There came a day when the Old Shaman became gravely ill. Everyone from the tribe gathered around his tent. Only the young hunter Adcal did not come. The sun had risen many times since Adcal was punished by the Old Shaman for refusing to worship the great Oh Du Ya. He grew up and became a great hunter, the best of the whole tribe. Everyone admired his skill, but many were wary of his unbridled anger. Now, women were weeping and begging him to forgive the Old Shaman and visit him one last time. But Adcal did not come.
Then the Chief Sorceress rose and started chanting. The people of the tribe joined in, repeating old, half-forgotten words.
“May the gods soothe your soul, Old Shaman,” cried the Chief Sorceress. “You have done us a lot of good. When the Northern neighbors attacked our village, your wise words of peace have saved us from much pain and destruction. When hunger threatened us two springs in a row, you went out on a long journey and the gods sent us food. Now you are going to the realm of the ancestors, and we are sad, Old Shaman! Do not leave us!”
“Do not leave us!” shouted the women and the children.
“Beloved ones,” spoke the Old Shaman, “Such is the way of our world that our lives must come to an end. Rejoice in the thought that I shall be soon reunited with the one who has created us all and who continues, in his infinite goodness, to provide for us and shelter us from evil.”
“Who is that, Old Shaman?” shouted one of the boys. His mother shushed him, and a few other children giggled.
“That is the great Oh Du Ya, my child,” said the Old Shaman and smiled at the boy. “Have you forgotten him?”
The boy blushed and hid behind his mother. The people of the tribe were looking at each other in confusion. They did not know what to say. Then the Chief Sorceress spoke:
“You are tired, Old Shaman. You have worked hard your whole life, and we shall remember you as long as we live. But we have always had trouble understanding your wise words about the great Oh Du Ya. This world is full of gods, Old Shaman. They fly and lurk in the shadows; they live deep underground and sometimes they send bad weather. They are angry and they are happy; and when they want an animal we gladly give it to them, so that they will feel better and give us what we need. We see the gods, we feel their presence around us. But I have never seen this great Oh Du Ya, Old Shaman. Tell us, how do you know that he exists? And how do you know what he wants from us?”
“Your words are foolish, Chief Sorceress,” spoke the Old Shaman sternly. “Those you speak of are in disagreement with each other, and their power is limited; they were once created and they shall surely perish some day; their desires are endless, and their greed insatiable. But the great Oh Du Ya is strong, wise, kind, and loving. He has made us all in his image, and in return he wants naught but one thing: that we be like him.”
Silence fell over the tribe after those words of the Old Shaman. Then the people began to talk to each other quietly. They were listening to the words of the Old Shaman, but none understood their meaning. Then the women and the children stopped talking, for someone approached the tent. It was the young hunter Adcal.
“Adcal is here, Adcal has come!” cried the women and the children.
“Greetings, Old Shaman,” spoke Adcal in a voice of steel. “I have come to visit you one last time, for I have something to tell you.”
“Speak, young hunter Adcal,” said the Old Shaman, and his gaze was warm and sorrowful. “I am glad to see you. Heed my words: I only punished you because I thought you were a youngster of great intelligence and supreme cunning. These gifts are powerful, and I did not want you to use them for evil. The punishment was mild, yet I could never feel at ease again. Tell me, have you forgiven me? And have you embraced the great Oh Du Ya with your spirit?”
“I have embraced much, Old Shaman,” said Adcal. “For once, I have embraced one truth, and I think it is important I share it with the people of our tribe.”
“Speak then, o great Adcal!” cried the Chief Sorceress. “You are the greatest hunter this tribe has ever seen; you have slain so many animals that we have food in abundance, and eternal gratitude to you and the gods!”