White Wolf Woman
Wa Ya sv-no-yi-e-hi-nv-do (Wolf Moon)
As told to and by Bear Medicine Walker
It was a time of the Wolf Moon, when a young Zuni Maiden was headed back to her home after gathering water from the nearby river, when the Navajo who were noted for their quick raids and fearless ways swept her up and carried her off. She silently watched as her village and fields burned and slowly became little more than a puff of smoke to her eyes. Her heart was shattered, and tears ran down her face.
They rode for what seemed like endless days and nights, with her tied tightly to the back of a horse. Every muscle on her cried out as each step of the horses hooves hit the ground. At daybreak, they came to a dwelling and she was dumped onto the ground in front of a group of Navajo Women. They helped her to her feet and took her into a nearby dwelling. She collapsed into a darkened corner and slept all day.
She was awakened by the sound of the Navajo Man as he entered and appeared before her. He reached down and pulled at her clothing. Her eyes pleaded with him, and then looked towards the other women as they reached and took their blankets and went out into the night. Thinking she had all but shed the last of her tears, more began to flow. It was to be a long night.
This continued for man days and nights until one morning she woke early to see the face of the Navajo Woman crouching near her. Gently holding out her hand she grasped the young Zuni maidens in her own. Then handing her a blanket and a pouch of food, she took her to doorway where she pointed to the rising sun. The young Zuni Maiden reached within herself and gathered all the strength she had and ran as fast as her legs could carry her. She ran through brush, over stones, through water and sand. She reached a high spot and turned to look. No one was following her. No one had found her.
Her large eyes looked out as she searched the terrain wondering where she was. The wind howled around her as she sat to rest and eat what little that she had been given and then laid down under the tree line to sleep. Pulling the blanket around her to keep her warm her body gave a small shudder, snow was beginning to fall. Soon her weary body fell into a deep sleep.
As the cold winds brewed across the lands, the sounds of paws crunching through the fresh fallen snow could be heard. Coming upon the small form of the Maiden, a White Wolf bent towards her and sniffed, its silvery blue eyes glinting in the night. Raising its head it released a howl to be sent out to the winds to its pack. The maiden woke with fear, afraid to move as the White Wolf stood over her.
Soon more wolves arrived dragging the lifeless body of a recent kill and pulling it towards the White Wolf. In turn It reached down and pulled it over to the young Maiden, covering it over her for added warmth. Then with a glance he commanded the pack to lay beside her, gently warming her body in the cold winter night. The wolf then encouraged her to eat form the kill as he nudged its share to her. She ate and her body began to replenish itself.
Soon the morning light shone through the trees, and the day looked brighter. Disheveled, and her body covered in blood, the cold biting into her skin, the Young Maiden began her journey once again to return to her village. At the end of the day, she fell exhausted to the ground. Crying out in pain and frustration as her body hit the earth. Tears once again ran down her cheeks, turning to ice before they could fall any farther. Once again a howl could be heard across the winds and soon the White Wolf returned by her side. It could hardly be seen as it moved towards her, its white fur blending with the snow. Reaching again with its paws and encircling its fur and sharing its warmth with her. Looking towards the moon, letting out a howl to the pack calling to them so they could add their warmth to their young charge. Soon they all slept.
Together they traveled for four more days. At daybreak upon the fifth day, the Wolf nudged to the young Maiden and looked in the direction of a distant village. Her feet ran numb to the pain they held, as she got closer to the tiny village. Next to her keeping pace was the White Wolf. Soon she began to see some people of her village, calling out to them and waving, she yelled her name. They all stood silently watching as she approached. Her joy suddenly turned to fear as she soon saw them lifting their bows towards her and pointing them at the White Wolf that ran by her side.
"No do not shoot this White Wolf! It is my protector and has brought me home!" She stopped standing at the entrance to the village, the White Wolf quickly turned and ran back towards which way they had come. The Wolf had gone. She collapsed at the men's feet.
They carried her to her family's lodge and left her on the cold bare floor. They left her there without uttering a word. Lying on the floor next to her was her Mother and Father. She called out to them and they did not respond. The cold winter’s wind screamed through the walls, swirling a dusting of snow around them all. With that she realized that the winds of life had long since left their bodies. She looked around her and the lodge was bare. She had come home to an empty place of death. She called out and no one answered. She was not a traitor to her people, she had been taken from them. She cried out in pain from a place deep within herself. Yet the people would not speak with her, and left her alone.
With the tender loving hands, she dug into the earth until her fingers were worn and bloody to reach the Yucca Root. So she could make the soap that would lovingly clean her parents and prepare them for burial. She adjusted their clothing and one by one she placed them on the tiny blanket and dragged them through the village to the place of the burial grounds. Once again the people watched, stared and said nothing. No one making an attempt to help her.
Leaving their bodies upon the Cliffs of Death, she sang the death song, chanting for their spirits to be taken to the Grandmothers and Grandfathers of the Sacred Directions. Lighting a small sacred fire, she then placed the burial bowls beside them with cornmeal borrowed from others to help in the souls safe journey. She then returned to her lodge. Empty as it was, it was home. Sometimes food was left at the door during the night. The adults of the village did not speak to her, yet as days passed, the young people of the tribe would come and visit. Asking her to tell the story of the White Wolf. So she went about her simple life each moment, sharing the strength and unconditional love that was shared with her by a wolf with all children that sought her out wanting to learn. Sharing with them stories and encouraging them to relish in their freedom and spirit, and in turn becoming a teacher to them all.
Years passed and with it time brought age, age brought weakness, and soon it was time for her to leave the village and go to the place of death. In her heart she knew she would never be taken, that she must take herself. She prepared herself, cleansing herself and putting on her worn leather dress.
She made her way through her door and onto the path that led to the burial site. The people watched as she crawled and pulled her frail self up the hill. Her eyes were filled with strength and dignity. She turned her head sensing something, and her ears heard a loud howling across the lands. She raised her voice and returned the howl. It was a howl of freedom that flowed from her, and as it did she transformed into that of a White Wolf. Gaining strength in her legs her eyes shone in the darkness as she ran across the hills to her freedom.
Today there is still seen a Woman with White flowing hair that stands a top White Woman Canyon even today. Having been seen to change before your eyes into a White Wolf. Helping others to find home, restore faith and find their own personal freedom. Listen to your Spirit form within you, and let it breathe and allow yourself to be who you are meant to be.