The Seminole tribe was not unlike any of the other Native American tribes that had been driven out under the sheer force of the United States Army, but what set them apart was their will to face anything even the things, which most people would be appalled by. Menewah, had been the second son to the chief of their people, but this gave him less responsibility towards the governing, and more towards the fighting, and hunting aspects of which were needed for their small community. The young brave had never really desired to lead the village as he watched his father’s battle scarred face become etched in worry lines. The old man’s eyes had yellowed, and his skin appeared like leather from the sun’s unrelenting rays beating down on it.
For these reasons, and many more Menewah quickly became the best hunter in his tribe, and he quickly became one of the most sought after braves. All the young ladies in the village who were of marrying age had hoped to capture the eye of Menewah. This Indian brave was tall, and had broad shoulders he had a proud chin, and commanding eyes. The ladies all said he seemed to peer right into their souls when his gaze pierced theirs.
Of all these young ladies Hialeah was the least impressed with the sweet-talking, and boasting of her peers. It was not that she did not like Menewah, and she knew that they were right in their doting upon him, but Hialeah wanted the man she married to pursue her. She wanted him to win her heart, and prove he could love her at night as fervently as he loved the hunt in the morning. She did not simply want the wealthiest, or the best hunter, or the most appealing of the braves. She wanted the most willing to devote himself to her, and her alone.
Menewah was humble, but the doting of many women had began to slightly overfill his head which caused a pang of disappointment to hit him in the heart when he noticed of all the tokens, and pieces of jewelry he had been given not a single one had come from Hialeah. Why? Of all the women in the village why did Hialeah not bring him anything? Weren’t they supposed to bring tokens to the males of marrying age? He wondered if Hialeah were interested in one of the other braves, but he was sure it could not be his older brother as he were already married the previous spring. That meant it could only be one of the hunting men. With a cocky grin Menewah strode towards the group of males,
“So which one of you has captured Hialeah’s affection?” He boldly interrupted their jesting conversation.
“Hialeah? I don’t think any of us have caught that girl’s eye. Though I wish I did she’s by far the prettiest,” one of the closest men, Nokosi nod towards him. He was a burly, and tall man who stood at about5’9. Unlike most of their tribe Nokosi was a bit more hairy, and the texture of each follicle seemed to be a bit more winding for this reason he was named Nokosi; bear and he certainly fit the part. There was nothing handsome about the brave, and his response caused the other men to roar with heartfelt laughter,
“The rest of you got anything to say for yourselves? Have you been given a token of the pretty one’s own making?” Menewah waited from the all to say anything, but they all simply shook their heads. Not a single one had gained her attention. Something was certainly strange about that. Menewah wondered if Hialeah simply did not want to marry any of them. A woman with her own mind, he thought to himself. With piqued curiosity he pivoted upon the ball of his foot leaving the laughing braves to their roaring chuckles as he crossed the village in search of Hialeah’s hut.
It didn’t take him long to cross the distance from one side of the village to the other, but as he walked closer to her hut his heart began to pump wildly. Not anything like he had expected any girl to cause, but somehow this seemed more like a hunt than a visit. He stopped some five feet shy of the entrance looking over the place he gaze ran from the right to the left, and back again just as person’s figure would cross his peripheral vision. It was Hialeah walking up beside him,
“Excuse me? Can I help you with something?” Hialeah looked up at Menewah with an inquiring look. The chief’s son had never been interested in approaching her before.
“Hialeah, yes I was actually looking for you,” He flashed her his most dazzling smile, but Hialeah did not look impressed,
“You were looking for me?” She narrowed her eyes at him, her hands clutching her small weaved basket filled with persimmons she had gathered.
“Yes, I was. Why, is that a problem?” He brought his right hand up to the nape of his neck where he began to massage it nervously. This was an odd gesture for him to make, and suddenly he felt unlike any predator looking upon his prey. In fact he felt like he were the prey now entering the vixen’s lair.
“Men like you do not look for women like me. You have far to many squaws to consider throughout your day, Menewah.” Hialeah replied nodding towards her hut,
“Now, if you please I would like to go inside. I have a lot of preparing for tonight’s meal.” Menewah was shocked by her refusal to speak to him. She must have found him undesirable, but it did not seem any caught her eye. It was true she was the prettiest her tawny skin looked soft like a doe’s. She spent hours plaiting her hair into intricate braids, and she seemed to have a talent with the needle works. Her moccasins were hand-made with special rock beads that she had personally made. He noticed she was very crafty as he looked at the small obsidian pendant that she wore at her neck. He had heard the other girls sometimes came to her to create the tokens for the other braves, and even for him. He remembered another obsidian piece, which had recently been given to him by one of the other girls named, Tsula. Suddenly he began to piece things together. Hialeah was the talented princess, and Tsula was an attention-starved fox. Sly, and cunning she had tried to use Hialeah’s talents to win him over for a spouse. Disgust filled with a fiery rage as he moved to and allow Hia’s passage inside the hut,
“Does Tsula have you make me jewelry?” He asked with a commanding tone. Hialeah shook her head as she entered the small habitation.
“Why does it matter who has me make anything?” She asked walking straight on past him. She knew he would not enter the hut without a chaperone due to respect for their culture, and knowing she were an unwed maiden. This only fueled Menewah’s anger even more, and did something completely unexpected. He followed Hialeah inside the hut.
“I demand to know if you are the one who made the jewelry, Hialeah.” He said standing near the exit in case anyone did happen to come by. He did not want to embarrass her, but he had to know if Tsula had been lying to him all this time. He had truly considered her above all the others, but seeing she had used the talents of a far more beautiful squaw, and lied about it did not impress him much.
“How dare you, come in here like you think you own everything! I do not care if you are the chief’s son. You are arrogant, and rude.” She dropped the basket in shock as the male came bursting through her hut.
“I dare because you made the jewelry, and I know you like me!” He made the statement in a rather accusatory manner, and with little to no proof of anything he said.
“I like you? Just because I made some jewelry for another does not mean I like you, Menewah. Not every girl is without a brain.” She crossed both arms over her chest, a blatant display of resistance her body language had sounded off. Menewah shook his head,
“Okay, then you don’t like me. How can I change that?” If he could have his pick of them all why not find the one who would not pick any of them all. Something about her resistance intrigued the young man.
“Change it? I don’t know. Stop being so vain for one.” She replied in a huff.
“Vain? You think I am vain?” He chuckled at her remark clearly amused by that statement; “I think your friends are telling you stories about me.”
“Well, you could leave now.” She pointed towards the exit, “That would be a good start to changing what I think.” He nodded, and turned to leave again, but before he did he said, “Any chance one day I may get a token that you made specifically for me?” Hialeah sighed, she really did like him, of all the men it were undeniable he was the most credible, but he never spoke to her. She was shy, not as confident as some of the other girls particularly Tsula. She had always figured Tsula would be the one Menewah would marry, and the rest of the braves were rash none of them appealed to her. She quietly whispered,
“Only the passage of time will tell that, Menewah.”
It came to pass that over the next few weeks Menewah had finally grown that token he had so desired. With each morning that he rose for the hunt he thought of only completing the tasks of his obligations as quickly as he could so that he could return to the village, and her company. Hialeah too had grown accustomed to hurrying to finish her chores, and readying the token she had wanted so long to give to him. The voyage towards her wedding day now had finally been completed.
The dawn had broken through the cypress trees that joyous August day. She was adorned in the finest deerskin, and her hair was plaited elegantly with eagle’s feathers laced through the braids and wrapped with leather ties. She approached her bridegroom with a smile as the entire village came to watch the unity of the young brave, and his chosen future wife.
And thus began their happy ending. Who said all fairytales had to start with ‘Once Upon a Time?’