Kipoch the wanderer strolled through the meadow and loved the feel of the warm breeze. A sunny afternoon always brought a smile to his face and made him forget everything.
One day, he thought about how beautiful the daylight was and wondered where the light came from. He looked up at the sun and he pondered the source of power in the great ball of fire. In villages across the land there would be fire-keepers who kept the blazes going so they don’t shut off, but who kept the sun on fire?
He just had to know, somebody knows what’s going on and he was going to find out. His plan was to check out a few of the villages and ask how and why certain people were chosen and when they take their breaks.
He saw a small village of Cree living on the great plains, many of the women were busy tending to hides and teaching their children how to do various tasks needed for daily survival and sustenance. Kipoch was naturally curious about this and wondered how they could be so disciplined and determined to keep up the harmony that the tribe enjoyed. Everybody did their part but the one he was most interested in was the Firekeeper, keeper of the flames.
He didn’t see any kind of fire keeping within the village and the only camp fires were for smoking meat and hides. He then noticed a small lodge at the edge of the river. It was more like a tipi than a lodge but there was definitely smoke coming out of it. This was it, he thought.
He crept to the tipi and gently rapped on the buffalo hide covering, “Hello, is anyone there?” he asked. “Who’s there?” the person inside responded.
“It’s Kipoch, I want to know how you keep the fire going,”
“Please leave me alone and get away from here, you’re only going to mess things up, I heard about you.”
Hearing this, Kipoch started kicking the tipi and yelling, “LET ME SEE WHAT YOU DO!”
The person inside started yelling, “No you idiot, I am the keeper of the flame, the flame in the sky.”
Kipoch stopped, “keeper of the flame in the sky?” he repeated, “YOU are the one who keeps the sun and it’s fire? Why are you the only one here, is it even safe here?”
“It’s been safe here for 100 years, roots along the sacred river are the ingredients that keeps me well enough and strong enough to keep the fire alive. This is my last summer, and then I must pass on this gift to another.”
Kipoch decided that maybe he can be the new keeper of the flames, “O gifted one, I volunteer my life to the flame in the sky.” Kipoch proclaimed proudly.
“Ha ha, you? I don’t think so Kipoch, you can’t even take care of yourself.” The Firekeeper, who is not supposed to be bothered by anybody at all, started laughing hardily and forgot his time to sprinkle sacred herbs into the fire to continue the flame.
This responsibility, which has been in existence since the world began, had never been taken for granted or treated with such thoughtlessness. “No, the herbs! Kipoch, you made me forget the herbs, get out of here, I have to try and regain the flame.”
Kipoch ran into the woods where he always sought seclusion from the inconveniences of life and dealing with other people. Many times it was just to get away from the trouble he had caused but it was safe from harm nonetheless.
All of a sudden, the sun started flickering like a campfire being blown from the harsh winds of the plains. Kipoch was startled by this and needed to get away from the trouble he had caused, but where would he go? The sunshine always brought a ray of hope from past troubles but it was now in danger of shutting out.
Quickly he had to figure something out. What could he do? What was the Firekeeper talking about, sacred herbs? What sacred herbs? He knew about rat root and Labrador tea leaves but what did the Firekeeper need to ignite the power of sunshine?
He was running out of time and had no time to think so he grabbed whatever plant species he could find along the way to the tipi. He grabbed leaves; berries, roots, and soil, there had to be something the Firekeeper could use.
When he got to the tipi, the Firekeeper was panicking and pacing along the river, he was frantically snapping up whatever roots from under the willow trees. He saw Kipoch running towards him holding a bushel of plants and yelling out to him, “I GOT SOME MEDICINE!”
When Kipoch got near the Firekeeper, the Firekeeper knocked the bushel down and started rummaging through it. “YES, THAT’S IT!” he shouted.
He went running into the tipi and caught the last spark with the Labrador tea leaf, just enough to spark it up and then the rest of the herbs could stoke the flame and then to a perfect campfire.
The sun was saved and mother earth had her warmth secured.
As Kipoch was wandering through the land once again, after saving the world (according to him), he wondered what caused the rain to come down.