ned bad.I came home from the hunt on an early summer day. It had been a poor hunt, and most of the hunters returned empty handed. Ashanta greeted me at the cookfire, deeply immersed in her cooking. Bundapa wasn't with her, so I went into the hut to chech on him. He wasn't lying on the skins where I expected to find him. When asked, Ashanta simply pointed toward the river. I was confused, and I admit, a little scared, so I ran in the direction she had pointed. When I stopped,the river flowed swiftly by, gurgling at my feet. But the river was not what I saw. Caught in the grass at the river bank were the skins my son had been swaddled in. Quickly, I retrieved them, and beneath them I found the true horror. My son lay face down in the water, his body was limp. Cold. Tears flooded my eyes andI fell to my knees, my sons lifeless body cradled in my quivering arms. I don'tknow how long I knelt there, but I stayed until I no longer had tears left to cry.My sons arms hung loosely over my own as I staggered through the villagetoward my hut. The hut of the village chief. Sitting outside his own hut, the Medicine Man cast his bones, but I hardly noticed. When I finally reached my hutAshanta waited inside with bowls of soup waiting to be eaten. She looked numb. Itried to speak, but found I had no voice. I tried again, and a barely audible voice came forth."What did you do?"Ashanta did not respond, she just bowed her head. Anger flooded my veinsmomentarily relieving my grief, and I beat her. She had killed my son. She hadstolen my life. She had taken my soul. Everything that mattered to me, she had taken.When finally, my anger cleared, she lay at my feet sobbing. Her blood covered my fists, the walls, the floor. I hardly felt any remorse, but, for some strange reason, I still loved her. Tears came anew at the realization of what I'ddone. Leaving the hut, I sought out the Medicine Man. Ashanta's cuts and bruises would need to be tended to. Her soul would need to be cleansed of the evil which had caused this.It turned out the Medicine Man was already heading for my hut. Without asking any questions, he told me to wait at his hut while he tended to Ashanta.It was too late for Bundapa, he said. So I waited. At my feet were the bones theMedicine Man had cast earlier. There, a small mouse skull was penetrated by another small bone. The other bones were scattered about all in pairs, and all crossed. I didn't know it then, but this was a really bad omen, and I wish I had known.The Medicine Man cared for Ashanta for what might have been several weeks, but I hardly noticed the time pass by. I was numb, and I hurt. I had no ideawhat life would hold for me now. When finally, the Medicine Man reported that Ashanta was well enough to have visitors, my spirit lifted. I would finally be able to see the woman that I loved. Certainly I was unhappy, and a part of me didn't want to see her again, but that was not the way of my people.She lay on our bed waiting for our arrival. Both her arm, and her leg were wrapped in skins and braced by branches. She was bruised all oved, and when she gave us a weak smile I could see that she was missing some teeth. My gut wrenched at the damage I had done, and I vomited. I forced myself to look at her again, but vomited some more. I couldn't look at her. I had to leave, so I excusedmyself. When the Medicine Man returned, he explained that much damage had been done, and the damage to her soul was deep, but in 3 days time, she would look better.