The chief returned to his people and told them they were to go west, as he had received a vision1
The people understood he was leading them to a better future and followed him without complaint. They gathered what few things they had and set out west through the forest that day and set off just before the sun dipped behind the trees. For many days they traveled, guided only by the direction of the sun and the silhouette of a hawk that always flew just on the edge of their sightline. Some said it was gold, others bronze; one said the hawk was as black as night. The only certainty of the hawk was that it was present no matter the hour.
One night after a long day of travel, the chief had a dream. In it, a golden hawk emerged from a liquid moon framed by a sky sark and silent as waves. He saw tongues of smoke rise from the hawk’s plumage and heard a muted roil as though he was underwater. He looked at the bird again and realized it was the same Hawk who had given him his mission. Upon making this discovery, the Hawk spoke to the chief inside his mind: “Remember you must die in order to save your people.” Then the Hawk vanished, and the chief woke up.
The chief continued on his journey without fearing the Hawk’s warning. He felt invigorated by his purpose and was eager to share his newfound hope with his people. But by and by, the chief noticed his body was growing weaker. It was gradual at first, feeling tired earlier in the day and moving more slowly than he had before, but then his weakness grew. He became thin and pale and had to be supported lest he get left behind. He rapidly developed a cough that nothing could remedy. The people feared for his life and their own futures, as the chief was young and had no heir. The chief told them not to be afraid, for his fate was to be different than theirs, but there would be a paradise for them all in the end.
The people came to a place where the trees thinned and a cold stream cut through the land like a liquid knife. Low hills sloped from the banks, and snow drifted from the trees in showers of light. By now, the chief was so weak that he was bedridden and only opened his eyes to say all would be alright. When the people approached the river, he stirred, a smile upon his bloodless lips. “We are here,” he rasped, and breathed his last. They buried him below a pine, and as they were digging someone pointed to something across the river. There, nestled amidst the newly disturbed snow and the immortal firs, was an old building atop which perched a golden hawk.
- The meaning of this word is unclear; it is an archaic term that appears to have meant “dream,” “vision,” and “sight” depending on the context. It refers to both literal and figurative seeing, which makes its translation rather difficult.