The Washoe princess had done something of which her tribe didn’t approve. Much to the dismay of her family she had run off with a white man. Her father being the instinctual hunter and gatherer sought her whereabouts. Her brothers found her and the white man and brought them back to her father. The white man was scalped and the princess was dragged to her death until her father reached the shores of Dá’aw. He then tossed her body into the chilly waters of this heavenly lake. There the fish below ate away at her flesh and feasted upon her brown eyes. It was due to the protective vessel of skeletal proportions that the fish could not get to her heart. As she rested forever cold in the depths of this alpine lake, the currents so deep they sent her bones whirling around and around, while her heart sat peaceful, yet petrified.
One day, after many seasons had passed, a young Native American man came to the shores of Dá’aw with his canoe in tow, looking to catch a few fish. The natives warned him not to fish the waters where the currents rise to the surface, forming a whirlpool. This was because these waters were in fact haunted with cursed fish, cursed with the poison of lost love. These fish, if caught was said through lore, to bring about a curse of loneliness. The man, of course, did not listen and proceeded to go fishing. As the man found himself lost in his own art of fishing—fishing for the fish of his life—he was so focused on catching a fish that he didn’t realize the whirlpool’s current had pulled him adrift upon the haunted waters of love. When he noticed the current drawing him in, he paddled with ease until he found calmer water. From there, he proceeded to fish.
After a few casts, the hook sunk with ease through the icy, crystal blue waters. The hook, it then snagged itself stuck, of all places, within the princess’ petrified heart. The man he felt the hook catch and he thought to himself, “I’ve caught a big one, the fish of my life. This fish will feed the whole village.” In his mind, he was thinking, “The village will be so proud of me, everyone will be fed with hope, and I shall be free of a hunter’s chore for at least a season.” Then he came to realize the weight that pulled on the other end of his fishing pole—it was the weight of resting in peace—it juddered his canoe with all of its might. The other end of his line, it jerked, it cried with courage, it pulled at his so-called strength, all the while he found himself fighting a strength he had never known. The lake started stirring, the whirlpool it doubled in size in a moment’s notice. The canoe it started thrashing, agitated with a violent turbulence like nothing the man had ever seen. The man’s mind shook with a quaking mentality as the hidden princess was trying to disentangle her self. But the more she struggled to untangle her self, the more tangled she became as the man’s line wrapped around the bones of her eternal being. No matter how hard she fought, the man kept reeling, dragging her upwards with his strength, he had tugged at her heart until she reached the surface, by nothing more than that of his sheer will.
The man had turned around to grab his net—not paying attention to his catch—he had grown so excited with hope that he did not notice as her head had risen to the surface. He did not see the barnacles that filled her eyes, or the forest green moss that covered her cold scalp. Nor did he see the freshwater crustaceans that gleamed within the orbs of her skull. When the man finally turned around the princess’ skeleton was bundled up like a bag of bones on the tip of his canoe, hanging on by her teeth.
The man, his soul it screamed for the first time in his life. His heart, he could feel it beating in his knees, whilst his eyes hid haunted in the back of his head—his ears they turned to fire with fright. His face shone like the fear that fell upon his feet. He shrieked again and knocked her off the canoe with a swift kick of his foot. He began to paddle like a demon possessed for the shoreline. The man did not realize the princess was tangled within his line. He became frightened all the more as he looked behind—for she appeared to stand on her feet as he and the canoe approached the shore. No matter the direction in which he chose—she was right behind—within arm’s reach. Her illusive breath spoke of winter’s fog, pouring over the water like clouds of certain suffering. Her arms they flailed about, as though trying to snatch the man’s heart right out from within him.
The man, he wailed with panic again as he ran aground. In one failed swoop, he found his way clumsily out of the canoe. He hit the ground running, clutching tight was his fishing pole. The layer of snow beneath his feet crackled with each running step. The pearl tinted skeletal princess was still held snug by her heart, as the man set the hook deeper within her without even noticing it. Over the peaks he ran, through the valleys and there she was, right behind him. He ran passed the flesh of wild game that he had laid out to cure for the looming winter ahead.
Through it all, she was there behind him, in fact she took some of the game and gorged upon its flesh, for she had not eaten in many, many seasons. Finally the man ran upon his shelter, he dove through the tapestry of a door and proceeded to crawl upon his hands and knees, like a child lying scared in the dark. His heart began to kick like a mighty drum. He felt safe at last.
You can imagine as he lit the oiled wick of his lamp. There she—her—lay bundled like a bag of bones upon his doorway floor. One foot rested over her shoulder, her knees in her rib, and her elbow behind her back. At first the man was terrified but as she lay there peaceful, he began to contemplate upon himself, finding that he was no longer frightened. Perhaps it was the light within him that softened her features. He couldn’t help but notice her petrified heart glowing with rhythm in the shadows of what once was nothing. Or maybe it was because his lonesome, wearied heart had been beating alone for too long. But the man he felt something kindred wash over him. He began to feel it in his breathing. He felt his own heart open up. Slowly he offered his hand to the princess with a delicate touch. He began to untangle her bones from the line. As he did this he sang a gentle song of love. First he unraveled the line from her toes, still singing, he unwrapped her ankles, moving next to her knees, then her thighs, finally he unwound her hips and then he pulled the hook from her petrified heart, with the gentlest of ease, and slowly her heart it began to beat again. The man he dressed her in fur to keep her warm for she had been left submerged in the freezing cold for way too long. Her bones rested in the being of perfect order.
The man stoked the fire within his humble abode, while he brooked upon her loving gaze of peace for hours on end. In her fur, she dared not utter a single movement—lest she wanted the man to drag her through another side of hell, breaking her soul to pieces for the rest of eternity. The man fell drowsy and drifted off to sleep. Soon he was dreaming, and as men often do in their dreams—he wept—all the while the tears of joy were sliding down his sleeping cheek. And this is what happened to the man.
The petrified princess, she saw the glistening tear through the ambient fire and realized for how long she had been thirsty. Her body it clanked as she crawled over to the slumbering boy. She put her mouth to his tear—this tear—to her parched soul held a rivers worth of trust. She drank until her thirst was faithfully satisfied.
Then while she lay quenched beside him, she reached inside him and took from him his kick drum heart, she sat upright and banged on all sides like a drum, while eating away at his hearts flesh. As she drummed, she sang her own song of flesh. The more she sang, the more her skeletal body filled with her lost flesh. She sang songs of flowing hair with beautiful brown eyes given from God. Most important were her working hands that she had once been graced with, slowly she could feel the blood of love running through her ice-cold veins. She sang of the divide between her legs and sang of breasts enough to keep the man comfortable. Then she sang songs of nurturing because that is all she ever wanted to do before being dragged to her heart’s death. When she was done singing, she crept into the dreaming mans bed and lay silent, flesh to flesh with him. As she slipped in close to him, in his dreams he fell into her proximity and in his heart she stood with infinity. She returned to him his drumming heart as he slept like he had fallen by the graveside. And that is how they both came to be awakened, wrapped around each others soul, tangled up from one night alone together, but in another way now, in a way of goodness and eternity.
The well fed village now called Lake Tahoe cannot say or remember how the princess came to her first ill fortune, but her and the man they called “Whirling Log” went away together and were well fed with each other’s happiness and unconditional love, and when you look to a winter’s sunset, you can see them wandering hand in hand, walking with the hope that Heaven was right around the corner. And the fishermen still say that is why anytime you throw a line in that mystical whirlpool, with the petrified whirling log spinning circles for eternity, you might just catch the fish of your life.
BeLove © 2018