Chapter 1 – Susamie
Susamie knew that there had to be something more to life than what she had seen so far, but she also had this feeling that she need only wait and she would get the answers she sought. Her friends called her a dreamer. Her Mother could not understand her. Her Father wanted a son, not a daughter, so pretty much left her to her thoughts, uninhibited.
Her responsibilities consisted of grinding corn, grinding corn, and more grinding corn. She had exhibited such a talent at grinding corn that the corn she ground was highly sought within the kingdom. In this matter, her Father was very interested, for Susamie’s ground corn had great value. It was said that the consistency of the her ground corn was pleasing to the Gods, and every warrior in the kingdom felt that if they ate of the corn she ground before their battles, they would be most ferocious and most fierce in the face of their enemies, and the Gods would preserve them to live a long life. For after all, they “had” eaten of the most precious of all the corn of the kingdom. So as far as wealth of families is concerned, Susamie’s family was high on the list of wealth, and Susamie knew it was mainly because of her ground corn.
At eighteen, Susamie was already beautiful to behold. She had long, straight black hair, dark eyes, and a button nose, but she felt no different than any of the other girls in the kingdom. She was, also, slim and fit. In fact, each morning before she went about grinding corn, she found solace in running. She could run fast! Many of the warriors who sought her ground corn also sought Susamie’s hand for marriage, so she had to run fast, faster than any of those warriors, at least. She thought they only wanted to marry her for the wealth which would be theirs because of her ground corn. She could not believe they would want her because of her beauty, or because of her dreams.
Grinding corn all day, gave a girl plenty of time to dream. Susamie dreamed. She dreamed of her future. She replayed her past. She relished her present. She kept telling herself, “What more could a girl ask for?” Susamie just knew, though, that there had to be more to life than this. She also had no doubt that that question would be answered soon.
Every day as she ground corn, she would see and hear the old warriors arrive to buy corn from her Father. As they bartered and haggled over the price of the day, they also talked. They talked of battles. They talked of politics. They talked of many things both trivial and of major importance. They talked as if Susamie was not there. After all, she was only a girl any way, and she was young at that, too, beside the fact that they became so used to her being there in the room that soon they did not notice her at all. So they talked.
Susamie was a great listener. She did not care that they forgot she was there, because she was able to hear their stories and conversations, which would give her more and more to dream about. For Susamie, at least it appeared to be a kind of parasitic relationship, which caused her to giggle, occasionally, because it seemed to her that she was the parasite, and they were not even aware of the nourishment they were providing her while she was grinding corn.
She learned of the enemy, although she never could surmise why the enemy had become the enemy. She learned that they were a fair skinned group of people. She learned that they were well fortified and, the word used by the old warriors was, “they cheated” at the traditions of war. The enemy would wear armor which could not be penetrated by the spears, darts, or arrows of the warriors of the kingdom. “How dare they!” was chanted by the old warriors. This fair skinned enemy, by some old warriors, was also called our brethren, which totally confused Susamie, for how could the enemy also be a brother. She felt that if she were to have a brother, he could never be her enemy.
Every night after grinding corn all day, Susamie would steal off to the edge of town where the river ran. There she would take off her sandals and wade in the stream. The sound of the running water brought peace and joy to Susamie. The water seemed to be perfect to take all her cares and troubles off downstream. She would often see deer on the other shore which also were wading in the water. “The deer,” Susamie would think, “now they are beautiful. Why couldn’t I have been born a deer?” When Susamie had first started coming to the river there had been only one. The next year had brought three, but now there were eight. One buck, three does, and four fawn. “What a perfect life!” continued Susamie’s thoughts. “They don’t need to worry about marriage. They don’t have to grind corn all day. They just need to be on guard for the hunters.”