The Magic Bow

Bishinik, date unknown

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By Dana Baker

The young boy sat with his father as he had done many times, watching and learning. His father had worked on this for several days, slowly shaping the wood into a strong and beautiful bow. Slowly moving his hand along the bow he began to speak. “Many years ago when I was your age, my grandfather had a bow that was built of great strength and glowed with the beauty of the moon, I called it the “Magic Bow”.

Laying the bow in front of the boy, his father continued, “Grandfather was challenged many times, when he held the “Magic Bow”, the feather would quiver as though ready to guide the arrow and when it left the bow, the arrow glided through the air with strength and never missed”.

“One night”, he continued, “I sat with other boys of my age and talked of the magic bow.”

“The magic is in the Eagle feather that is fastened on the bow” one said. “No”, another said, “the strength of the bow is in the magic”. “The arrow?” “Could it be that all of these together is the magic?” one question was asked. “Could be” we all said and continued to sit around the fire. “Curiosity of the young was in us strong” he said as he laid an arrow beside the bow.

Grandfather was a man of strength and much knowledge and so that we would not be like children, we agreed to sneak the bow away and return it before light when we knew the magic of the bow. When grandfather fell asleep we quietly took the bow, it was very long, we traded carrying it towards a clearing we all knew of.

We laid leaves on the ground and then the magic bow on top of the leaves. As the moon light glittered on the bow, the bow did glow, when the gentle morn breeze blew, the feather did move”, “But still we felt no magic.” The boys father had taken an eagle feather from a pouch and had tied it onto the bow, then be began again.

After sitting in silence around the bow, we were surprised when grandfather stepped from out of the darkness and knelt beside us. He picked the bow up and with a smile asked, “Did you each learn of the magic?” “We shook our head no.” He held the bow towards us and said. “There is no magic in the bow itself for without the arrow the bow would only be a bow, and without the bow the arrow only an arrow. The feather is there to remind you that one is not one without the other. The magic that you each are looking for is in the patience it took to make the bow strong and to learn to use it. For without this knowledge there could be no Magic Bow.”

Grandfather taught us of the Magic Bow and he said that one day we would make our own.

The boy’s father stood and handed the boy the bow saying, “The bow is finished, now you shall learn its magic.”