Greener Grass – Deserted Children is a native American tale of two children who were completely abandoned by their tribe, left behind when everyone went off looking for greener pastures.
Told after Michael Meade in The Genius Myth.
„In facing the wounds of anger and resentment, we also awaken the possibilities of rediscovering the boldness and magic of human genius. All of that can be seen and be found in the midst of the most abandoned places in modern culture, for it exists in the heart of each person.“ (Michael Meade)
A Tale of Two Deserted Children
Once upon a time—there was a village in the middle of an open plain. The people of that village had decided that the grass must be greener somewhere else. So, they gathered up all their belongings and headed out for greener pastures, believing they would find a better life.
A young sister and her little brother, upon returning to their village after searching for berries, found it completely deserted. All they could see was the dust rising from many moccasins.
The orphan children were left alone with nothing but some bare teepee poles and the wisps of smoke rising from abandoned family fires.
The little brother grew up but was often silent and moody. He spent more and more time sitting with his head down, caught either in a mood of anger or resentment. And each time the brother lifted his head and stared at something living, it died.
When his head was down, the young brother with the killing stare was caught in the pull of sorrow and the pain of loss. When he lifted his head, he felt the rise of anger, rage, and resentment as the emotions came together and boiled over into the outer world.
His sister kept finding things that were surprising or life-supporting in the world around them.
She would repeatedly call her brother to look up and see some wonder that the world brought to their solitary village. Mostly he refused, keeping his head down, preferring his inner emotions and moods.
One day, a whole herd of buffalo came thundering by. The sister called her brother to look up and see the wonder. He refused, but the sister insisted that he had to see the marvellous sight. What could he do? It was his sister, the only one who cared for him. He raised his head, looked at the wondrous animals and no sooner did he glance upon them than they all fell down dead at the edge of the village.
As if by magic, the sister began to skin the hides and strip the meat from the buffalo. Soon, she had fashioned great robes to keep them warm at night. She also built racks and set the strips of meat to dry in the sun.
Later on the same thing happened when a herd of elk came grazing. The brother slew them with the killing stare and the sister used their skins to cover a teepee frame that had been left standing. She dried the elk meat on the racks and after that the children had plenty of food to live on.
A Magic Messenger
One day a raven flew over the abandoned village with its dark wings flashing in the sun. The sister did not bring the appearance of the bird of omens to the attention of her brother. Instead, in her generous fashion she threw a piece of dried buffalo meat up to the bird. The raven caught the meat and carried it in its beak until it arrived at the site of the new village where the tribe had settled.
The people who set off in search of grass that was greener found themselves in a place where famine had developed. Instead of living off the fat of the land, they inhabited a wasteland with no game to hunt and little to eat but the roots they could gather.
As the raven flew over, the young people were distracting themselves from the hunger they felt by playing games. When the bird dropped the buffalo meat in their midst, the young ones began to fight angrily over the scrap of food. They barely heard when the raven announced that back in the place of the old village there was plenty to eat.
Eventually, someone stopped the fight and the scrap of food was brought to the elders for consideration. They decided to send scouts to verify if what the raven said was true. The scouts returned with tales of racks full of buffalo and elk meat drying in the sun and piles of buffalo robes as well.
How the Story of Greener Grass ends
Soon, the whole village packed up again and returned along the path they had taken when they had high hopes of finding abundance. They arrived at the old village and stood in awe of all the dried meat, elk skins, and buffalo robes. They hesitated to enter the altered village but began shouting greetings to the children as if they had not earlier deserted them.
The sister asked why they had not stopped when she cried out to them with all her breath. They all became silent and sat on the ground. Then the sister asked her brother to look up and see the wonder that had come to the deserted village on that day. Understanding what would happen, the brother refused to look. Now, as if their roles had switched, she insisted that the killing stare be employed, while he argued for the side of life against death.
And, no sooner did he gaze upon them, than they all fell dead, right there on the ground.
The sister began to walk amongst the fallen bodies of all those who had deserted them when they were young and helpless. She began to speak to them saying:
“I wish that all those who have love in their hearts might rise up again. I wish that those who can seek forgiveness and can forgive others might come back into life and live here with us and help make the village over again.”
As the people with good hearts began to rise into life again the sister continued to speak. “May those who live remember what happens when they desert their children for something they cannot even see and may never actually find. May those who hear this story never forget what happens when people abandon their children and leave them behind.”
Michael Meade comments:
The truth is that everyone gets wounded on the road of life and death and the justice of it must be that each is also gifted in some way. Everyone in this world must be gifted in some way and the old term for gifts hidden in the soul of each person was their genius. It appears that the wounds of life are more evident and immediate than the gifts.
In facing the wounds of anger and resentment, we also awaken the possibilities of rediscovering the boldness and magic of human genius. All of that can be seen and be found in the midst of the most abandoned places in modern culture, for it exists in the heart of each person.
Meade, Michael. The Genius Myth. Greenfire Press. Kindle-Version. All tex-fragments are taken from this book of the renowned story teller, only slightly adapted for reasons of grammar. The story told by Michael Meade is woven inside another story about youth at risk.