The old man reached into the fire and took out a glowing coal. He held it in his fingers in front of Richard’s face. “You white men lost touch with how things really are. You think the whole world belongs to you.”

He tossed the coal away and walked back to the cabin.

“Don’t let him bother you,” said Tree Owl. “He won’t bring any of that into the lodge.”

“Why am I doing this again?”

“The sweat lodge is a ritual of purification. It’s like being reborn.”

“I guess I have to die first, then?”

“That’s the idea, Rich.”


Friday Fictioneers


Add Yours
  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    You and your imaginary friend have taken my breath away this morning. Due to the nature of one of my main characters in my current WIP I’ve been doing lots of research. Some days, I have to stop because it’s too devastating to continue. Good on the two of yous.

    Shalom from the Polar Vortex,


    • J Hardy Carroll

      Aw, thanks. Yeah, I grew up in Arizona and had the great good fortune to study with Comanche, Mojave, and Blackfoot medicine men. Part of this was understanding the role of American genocide. When I see how prevalent this murderous mindset still is, it really breaks my heart.

  2. Jelli

    Miigwetche! The story brings fond memories of times learning from my Gr. Grandma, Granny, and Grandfathers about the ways of medicine, of deep water prayers. Thank you for this story this morning when my soul is so weary… :) <3

  3. pennygadd51

    I found this story fascinating. You cleverly juxtapose the ‘miraculous’ handling of a glowing coal with the ‘miracle’ of rebirth in the sweat lodge. To me, this made the need to experience your own death something more than a figurative expression, making it to some extent an objective reality.

  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    I have lived in Arizona too, and though I never spent a lot of time outside the cities I god some infusion of the rituals by reading Tony Hillerman… rebirth by sweating… we have a little of this with real sauna (not the one you get in a spa, but a real wood fired one)

    • 4963andypop

      Well now I am totally eating my words Bjorn, when i said on dales blog that you, being from a cold climate, might not know much about scorpions. I stand corrected!

  5. Susie Clevenger

    He will either be steamed or fried. I can’t imagine what a sweat lodge is like. I guess you get a bit of hell that makes you begging for heaven.

Don't just stand there.