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Shaman
written by "Shea, Robert, 1933-1994"
...d her cheeks puff out. It seemed that mirth would make her burst. Every beat of his heart seemed to shake his whole body. He looked around slowly, trying to calm himself. Even if Redbird had waited for him, his sudden return must have shocked her. She needed time to prepare herself to meet him. And, like him, she did not want all these women watching their meeting and laughing. He would simply have to wait until Redbird was ready to greet him. A rack of crisscrossed wooden sticks for drying skins stood by the closed doorway. Slowly, deliberately, he walked over to the rack, leaned his rifle against it, and laid down his pack and bags. Then, turning his back on the wickiup, he sat down cross-legged on the ground. Water Flows Fast looked at him, open-mouthed. "Thank you for showing me the way," he said. Hiding his embarrassment, he made himself smile at the hundred or more women gathered to watch him. "What are you going to do?" Water Flows Fast asked. "I am going to rest and thank Earthmaker for seeing me here safely." "White Bear is a man of sense," said Three Horses, smiling his approval. "Is that all?" Water Flows Fast asked.[190] "I am going to wait for Sun Woman, my mother." "Is that all?" "That is all," said White Bear. Three Horses, who was no taller than his wife, gripped her plump upper arm firmly. "Let White Bear alone." "But—" Water Flows Fast started to protest, and her husband jerked her arm. "We will leave this man in peace," he said. Her lower lip jutting out, Water Flows Fast let Three Horses pull her away through the crowd. White Bear sat with his eyes downcast to discourage people from talking to him. Gradually the rest of the crowd dispersed. The back of his neck bristled. He knew Redbird was in the wickiup behind him. Sooner or later she must come out. To have her so close after all this time, to know she was there and to hear nothing but that terrible silence, and ye...

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