The Arrow Maker
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Author:  geo [ Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  The Arrow Maker

A Kiowa legend . . .

If an arrow is well made, it will have tooth marks upon it. That is how you know. The Kiowas made fine arrows and straightened them in their teeth. Then they drew them to the bow to see if they were straight.

Once there was a man and his wife. They were alone at night in their tepee. By the light of a fire the man was making arrows. After a while he caught sight of something. There was a small opening in the tepee where two hides had been sewn together. Someone was there on the outside, looking in. The man went on with his work, but he said to his wife, “Someone is standing outside. Do not be afraid. Let us talk easily, as of ordinary things.” He took up an arrow and straightened it in his teeth; then, as it was right for him to do, he drew the bow and took aim, first in this direction and then in that. And all the while he was talking, as if to his wife. But this is how he spoke: “I know that you are there on the outside, for I can feel your eyes upon me. If you are a Kiowa, you will understand what I am saying, and you will speak your name.” But there was no answer, and the man went on in the same way, pointing the arrow all around. At last his aim fell upon the place where his enemy stood, and he let go of the string. The arrow went straight to the enemy’s heart.

Author:  geo [ Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Arrow Maker

This comes from a collection of essays, The Man Made of Words, by N. Scott Momaday.

What I really liked about this story is that it has been passed down in an oral tradition and that it even exists today is through sheer luck. But maybe it is also a testament to the power of language. And in its own way this story is about language. The man is actualized when he speaks and his words are as dramatic as his fitting an arrow to the bow. I love the dramatic tension when the man says: "If you are a Kiowa, you will understand what I am saying, and you will speak your name.”

According to Momaday, "Precisely at this moment is the arrowmaker realized completely, and his reality consists in language. Implicit in his simple speech is all of his definition and all of his destiny, and by implication all of ours."

You can read this short essay here: ... er&f=false

Author:  johnson1010 [ Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Arrow Maker


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