The Emporium Gazette
Issue 7 -- November 1999

Indian Legends
by Bob Nailor

The young boy of six stood looking at the item before him, wondering why such a thing would be here on the trail.

"An Indian relic," his grandfather's soft voice said.

"Why's it here, Grandpa?"

"Legends. Myths. Campfire stories. I've heard the one about this here thing, though."

"Tell me."

The two sat on a nearby log and looked at the relic before the old man spoke.

* * * * *

A long time ago, an Indian maiden, Leaping Deer, a member of the now lost tribe of Hiwaes, gave birth to a very beautiful baby boy. Upon seeing the child she named him Smiling Pebble because his face was shiny like the bottom of a clear river bed and he had a happy smile.

Smiling Pebble was a good child and always tried to make his mother proud of him, but Leaping Deer was concerned. For some reason, Smiling Pebble would trip and fall down.

She hoped that he would grow out of it, but many moons passed and Smiling Pebble continued to trip himself.

It was tradition on a child's sixth birthday to give up the baby name and be given a new name. The tribe elders gathered in the main lodge and sent a messenger to Leaping Deer's teepee. He called for Smiling Pebble to attend the ceremony.

Smiling Pebble eagerly joined the messenger and they proceeded to where the elder's waited. When Smiling Pebble was motioned to enter, he tripped and fell into the lodge in front of the elders.

The gathered mages nodded and mumbled among themselves while Smiling Pebble stood to face them.

The medicine man moved toward Smiling Pebble. He paced a circle around the young boy, appraising him.

You are no longer Smiling Pebble," the medicine man said, placing his hands the lad's shoulders. "Now you will be known as Tumbling Stone."

"Tumbling Stone," the boy echoed the medicine man's words.

"Like a stone, you tumbled into the lodge," another elder said. "Come, we will introduce you to the tribe."

Tumbling Stone who once was called Smiling Pebble followed the elders from the lodge.

Moons passed and Leaping Deer watched Tumbling Stone grow into a handsome young man. She knew that soon the elders would once again call her son for a naming.

Tumbling Stone ran beside the pony, grabbed its mane and lifted himself onto its back, only to slide off the other side and fall to the ground. Leaping Deer's heart filled with tears realizing that her son was extremely clumsy and that the whole tribe knew it. They were always bringing her son back when he had fallen, bruising himself and needed some motherly attention.

Finally, the moon that Tumbling Stone had hoped for arrived and he was summoned to the lodge by the elders. He walked proudly and quickly with the messenger for tonight he would be given his manhood name.

He pulled back the bearskin that covered the entrance and stepped in, catching his mocassin on a loose leather tong. Tumbling Stone again fell into the lodge. On hands and knees he looked up at the elders.

The medicine man stood, then moved to help Tumbling Stone stand up.

"I give you this name," the medicine man said speaking Tumbling Stone's new name. The elders inside the lodge nodded approval.

Tumbling Stone turned from the gathered group of old men and left the lodge. He raced into the woods, leaving his people.

When Leaping Deer heard that her son had left the tribe she immediately went in search of him. When she didn't return in a few days, the whole tribe searched for their lost members, hunting the mountains and hillsides. For each member went in a different direction searching for Tumbling Stone and his mother, Leaping Deer. They were never to be seen again.

* * * * *

"Okay, Grandpa," the young boy said. "But what was Tumbling Stone's new name?"

"Falling Rocks," the elder said. "You've seen the sign that says 'Watch For Falling Rocks'? They were put up by the Hiwaes when they were searching for their lost brother."

"But what is this?" the lad asked pointing at the relic.

He smiled. "This is the other sign they put up looking for Leaping Deer."


Bob Nailor is author of "The Secret Voice," an Amish-Christian story, "Pangaea, Eden Lost," an adventure story, "Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold," a Celtic fantasy, and "2012: Timeline Apocalypse," an end-of-time tale. He is also included in several anthologies and collections. Check his website at

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