A Rainbow in my Pocket by Evelyn E. Hoverman - HTML preview
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A Rainbow In My Pocket
A long time ago, in the far away land of the Navajo, there was a small village. A favorite time in the village was evening. The time when work was finished, fires had been lit, and the families gathered around the Hogan of the village story-teller. Have you ever seen a Hogan? It is a small, almost round, house made of adobe and wood. The door always faces east and catches the early morning sunlight as a new day begins.
This is a story told one evening to the children who had gathered at the story-tellers’ Hogan. The story was about Charlie Blue Feather, a young Navajo boy.
Morning was a time of adventure for Charlie. He would be out of bed by the time the first ray’s of sun touched the edge of the towering cliffs that surrounded his desert home. Charlie would swing open the door and let the new day into his house, then out he would run in the still cool air of dawn—- and just run. Perhaps he would see a lizard sleeping under a rock ledge or run with a Jack-Rabbit across a high ridge. He may even see a snake warming itself beside the shaggy bark of a Juniper tree. All these things lived in the harsh, yet beautiful desert that was Charlie’s home.
Charlie would run until he was out of breath, then throw himself down on the warm sand, feeling all tingling and laugh because it felt so good. He laughed for such
for such a long time a tear started running down his cheek. Charlie caught the tear on his finger, the sunlight touched it. It glistened and sparkled, and for just a moment he saw a rainbow in the shining drop. It was so beautiful he wanted to keep it to show to his mother, but it slid from his finger into the sand and was gone.
All the running and laughing had made Charlie hungry, he started home. His mother was frying bread on a fire outside their Hogan when he arrived. His father was helping his sisters gather their sheep together so they could be taken to a place where there was grass for the sheep to eat. The earth around their village was very dry, grass could not grow there. His sisters traveled far with the sheep, they would be gone all day. Charlie looked at his sisters in their long colorful shining skirts and soft velvet blouses with silver buttons. They were so bright in the sunlight it reminded him to tell his mother about the rainbow he had caught and how he had lost it in the sand. His mother smiled as she pointed all around them and said “See all the color on our land, - - in the rocks—on the cliffs, - - the blue of the sky—- the green of the Juniper tree, and all the golden light of the early morning. Their color comes from the many rainbows caught in tear drops that have fallen here”.
Charlie thought about what his mother had said as he ate his bread, still warm from the fire. It was true, there was beauty all around them, but Charlie
did know of a place that was not beautiful, it was gray and ugly and colorless. The more he thought about it the more sure he was that he could change it. “I will bring the next rainbow I catch to that place” said Charlie. Now his mind was made up, he decided to see what needed to be done. After looking around Charlie knew it would be useless to bring a rainbow here. Who would be able to see the beautiful colors if it was hidden by old broken wagons and wheels, bottles, cans and worn-out hides, all the things the village people no longer wanted and had been scattered about, it was ugly. Charlie sat for a long time thinking, he knew it would take him many days to clear away the mess village people had thrown there. Perhaps he could ask the other children of the village to help. He told them what he was going to do, and asked them to help, but no one was interested. Charlie started alone. The children watched him leave early each morning, and they would see him come home late in the afternoon. Gradually, one by one, they joined to watch him, not so much because they wanted to help, but because they were curious and really didn’t think Charlie could change the ugly place. Soon they too became interested because they saw it was changing, they decided to help. With many willing hands the job was soon finished and Charlie announced that now he would catch a rainbow, then it would be the most beautiful place around the village.
The children didn’t laugh at Charlie, but they didn’t quite believe either. They would watch and see, true Charlie had changed the place—but could he make it colorful—what was even more puzzling, could he catch a rainbow?
Not many days later Charlie woke to the sound of thunder, the great noise bounced against cliffs and echoed in the valleys. He heard drops of rain splattering outside the door. “I’ll find a hundred rainbows today” thought Charlie as he quickly dressed and ran out into the wet morning. He had not gone very far when he saw rain-drops caught in a lacy pattern of a spider web formed in the branches of a Juniper tree. Charlie looked at each and every drop, but there were no rainbows. He looked everywhere but couldn’t find a one—- not a single one. Sadly he went back to the Hogan and asked his mother why there were no rainbows to be found. His mother told him he must look when his heart is happy and the sky is filled with sunshine, rainbows can not be seen on dark unhappy days.
Charlie’s hopes of finding a rainbow had all but disappeared, then one sunny morning he was watching his father fill a bucket with water, one drop bounced high and seemed, for just a second, to be held in the air. In that tiny moment it caught the sunlight and glistened and sparkled and there was a rainbow. When the bright drop of water fell into the bucket, Charlie Blue Feather knew a rainbow had been caught. His father smiled as he watched Charlie running towards the ugly place by the cliff, swinging the bucket as he ran.
Charlie was so excited when he reached the colorless place, he could hardly wait to see what beauty the rainbow would bring. Quickly he emptied the bucket of precious water on to the ground. He stepped back a little and watched and waited and waited and waited, his eyes never leaving the spot of damp earth. He didn’t look up when a hawk, gliding high above the cliff, screeched down at him. He didn’t even move when a lizard ran across his foot. Charlie just watched and waited, and waited until it was getting late. The shadow of the cliff had stretched far across the desert floor. Soon the sun would be setting and it would be time to leave. There still was no color to be seen, with a very sad heart Charlie left and slowly walked home.
Time had passed, Charlie had not gone back to the cliff. One day while thinking about what he had done, his curiosity just would not let him stay away any longer. Charlie started walking towards the cliff, slowly at first, he didn’t want any of the village children to know how anxious he was, they didn’t believe Charlie had caught a rainbow. The closer he came to the cliff the faster he walked until, all of a sudden he was running. Charlie was running so quickly the toes of his deer hide boots barely touched the ground. He was very close to the cliff now and his heart began to sing. He saw color, beautiful soft green color, the color of tender new grass. It covered the ground with a downy haze. The most beautiful spot of all was where Charlie had left a rainbow, a tall scarlet flower was bloom-
ing there, it still does to this very day. Charlie was so happy the ugly place had become the most beautiful place around the village.
Charlie Blue Feather caught other rainbows after that time so long ago. The children knew he always kept one in his pocket, and they also knew a place can change from ugly to beautiful when someone cares enough to try.