The Sons of Shem

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The Arapaho boys came across the dead body of the Rev. Linus Quimby wrapped in a wool blanket at the bottom of a buffalo wallow, a thick book clutched in his frozen hands and an expression of joy upon his face.

“It is already the Moon When the Buffalo Calves’ Noses Turn Brown and the first snow came last night, so to find a man, even a foolish white man, traveling without a horse or even a dog to carry his provisions shows he was as crazy as he looks,” said the younger boy, taking the blanket from the would-be missionary.

“Look at the useless fire he made of these white skins with markings, not the leavings of the buffalo or even a stick from the trees on the banks of the Niinéniiniicíihéhe’, only two days ride from here,” said the older boy, as he relieved his brother of the blanket and Rev. Quimby of a knife and a piece of flint.

After riding east until the sun had almost reached its highest point, the boys found the remains of Rev. Quimby’s horse being picked clean by coyotes and birds, stripped of its saddle by a roaming band of Cheyenne hunters and with more of those marked skins scattered on the yellow grass in the melting snow.

If the boys could read, they might notice one that was dated two days before, November 20, 1830, and it said: Last night I burned all my maps, Psalm 23 and First Thessalonians from my Bible, my Lord God, because where I am going in Your name, I have faith You shall guide me, help me lead the sons of Shem back to you, and we shall never be lost again.

A story of unrelenting faith, based on Lillie McFerrin’s prompt word, Maps

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10 thoughts on “The Sons of Shem

    • Thanks, Jo-Anne. I had started two other ones before I “felt” this one. What makes you feel it’s different from other ones I’ve written? I’d really be interested in knowing. Be well, my friend. 🙂 xo

  1. Joe, This is a fine portrait of the range of experience that humanity endures. It takes us from naive youth to the inevitable disappointments and disasters of age, misguided ideals and all. It’s a kind of epic outlined in a few lines, even to having the indifferent gods playing (or not playing) their parts. This is superior writing framed in great imagination.

    • Wow, thanks, Steve. That means a lot to me. You know me. I always think I’m the embodiment of that room full of monkeys pounding away on Smith-Coronas. Eventually, something halfway lucid shows up. See you soon!

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