The day that medium, Tana Hanley, told Don Silver the story of his past life as a boy named Brave Hawk, he thought the whole thing was nonsense. She explained that a Native American chief by the name of White Cloud had come through to her to tell the story of Bird, a young Caucasian boy who had stolen from the tribe. Bird was captured and eventually adopted into an Arapaho tribe in South Dakota, sometime in the seventeenth century. There, he was given his new name: Brave Hawk.
That night, a colorful and powerful dream changed Don's mind. In the dream, his spirit guides came forth and compelled him to write a book about his past life.
Bird grew up on a small farm southwest of Lake Michigan. Life on the farm was hard, but that was the way of things then. When he was older, he went to work with his father-in-law and brother at their trading post, where he was eventually captured by the Arapaho.
Bird soon became a part of their community. Beloved by the chief, little Bird was made a part of the tribe and earned his new name through acts of bravery and survival under difficult circumstances.
This is the story of his new life among his Native American family, a story of a past life that the author hopes will inspire everyone to open their minds to the miraculous nature of eternity.
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A Past Life
As Told by Brave Hawk
By Don D. Silver
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 Don D. Silver
All rights reserved.
We lived by a river that had a large floodplain, it had very rich soil. The farm was on a rise of ground overlooking the river and flood plain. The farm was located south west of what is now Lake Michigan. My grandparents and my father and mother established the farm. My grandparents are now deceased. My father Mark and my mother Mary and Aunt Sue now ran the farm. Chum my older brother and I were always busy at chores, trapping, fishing and hunting.
Our farm was located a mile and a half or so from the village. We hired help from the village at times. We also had living quarters for our workers who help run the farm. We had cows, horses and chickens. We didn't raise hogs. The villagers raised hogs and if we wanted any pork we would barter for it. We also had a pair of wonderful black mules. They were very strong and did a lot of the heavy work hauling a wagon and doing the plowing etc. We had a large wagon also two wheel carts with very large wheels. The wagon and carts were used to haul our goods for trade into the city.
Our house was located next to a spring that ran year around. Our water was always clear and easily accessible. Our house had plank flooring. The houses in the village were all dirt floors at this time. I didn't realize at the time, we were quite well-to-do. Our house was much larger than any others, it was surprising for me to go into the houses in the village and find dirt floors. I did this on occasion to deliver papers or some other things to the family. I didn't know why but there didn't seem to be many small children or babies in the village. All the girls were married or seem to be attached to someone. This didn't seem to bother Chum or I. We had so many other interests to keep us busy when our chores were done such as fishing hunting trapping and exploring.
When younger, Chum and I weren't very keen on learning. Mom and dad insisted and would tutor us with Susan's help. It wasn't long we started to read some of the books that my father had in his library then Chum and I were glad we had been made to study. Mother and father were well educated, were the only ones who could read and write in this area. This was also a good source of income; villagers from all over came to them for reading of letters and legal papers etc. Mother and aunt Sue were herbalist and many came to them for healing herbs which was another source of income.
Aunt Sue was my father's younger sister she wasn't a lot older than I was. Aunt Sue took me under her wing and kept track of me and my shenanigans. I was an only child, I thought a boy named Chum was my older brother but he wasn't a brother by blood, he was adopted. We got along very well and did everything together. I was called Bird because of all my tumbling and running antics. Mother said I was like a bird flitting and landing here and there. I would light and perch on the rail fence that went around mother's herb garden. Then I would run along the rails and this is when mother said I was acting like a little bird. This is when everybody started calling me bird. I don't recall my real name.
I loved the mules and I was around them all the time. I was under their feet a lot, would also run and tumble and light on their backs. Chum and my father didn't know how the mules put up with me. My father watched, could see that the mules were very careful not to step on me. Father concluded that the mules really like me as I did them.
Every evening after chores Chum and I had to study, reading writing arithmetic etc. Then we had sponge baths before bed, mother insisted. Mom dad aunt Sue, then Chum and I would take clean water in a large basin for our sponge bath. This consisted of washing the whole body. Mom would have different herbs that smelt real good, so we went to bed smelling fresh. In the mornings we washed our hands and face. Then had breakfast, eggs and porridge and meat. Milk was our main drink at breakfast and at evening meals.
We were now ready for our chores. When younger my chores consisted of gathering the eggs cleaning the hen house. I kind of enjoyed this. My aunt Sue would assist me, it was a good experience. Sue would show me how to get the eggs from under a sitting hen. She would wave one hand in front of the hen then slide the other hand under the hen and retrieve the eggs. Chum and I also had to watch for fox, raccoons and skunks etc. We made traps and caught quite a few. The hides were worth a good sum so they were sent to the city. As I grew older, my chores increased to working with Chum and others in the sheds and barn. This is when I was around the animal's cows, horses and the mules. This was a lot of enjoyment for me also. Learning how to handle animals without getting hurt and without hurting them.
Chum had a horse of his own. Mom at first wanted to get me a pony, but dad had different ideas. He ended up buying me a filly. We became much attached. Chum and I were together all the time. He was my big brother; he would laugh at my tumbling and cartwheels. He and dad really enjoyed how the mules put up with my antics.
Dad hired a strange man who came looking for work. We had a large plot of land that dad wanted to plow so the mules were harnessed and brought out to the plot. The mules just would not work for this man. I was keeping an eye on the mules; I could tell the mules didn't like this man at all. Next thing that happened, the man went into the woods and got a large stick, he was going to beat the mules. This is when I ran and put a stop to it. I then ran and got on one of the mules back. They then behaved only because I was there. At noon I went looking for my father, then told him how the man was acting around the mules. He was going to beat the mules and I put a stop to it. Then I got on the mules back and stayed till lunchtime. Dad got rid of the man and paid for a day's wages. Then he said any man that treats an animal in that fashion isn't much of a man.
As I grew older Chum taught me about the Flint lock Rifle. Dad found one for me from the blacksmith and gunsmith in the village. I knew the blacksmith and gunsmith by the name of Chuck. The rifle dad chose for me was one of Chuck's designs. It was shorter and lighter and a little easier to handle. I traveled with Chum with a rifle before. So knew what was going on with the hunting and fishing. This was a new experience for me, first time I was actually shooting at an animal. Had done a lot of practicing before I was allowed to hunt. Safety was always the first thing I was taught. I became a real good shot; Chum was also a good shot. We competed he would out shoot me then I would out shoot him.
When we had planned on hunting, next day, we didn't shirk our chores. But worked like heck to get our chores done. Then we were off on our next excursion. At the time hunting and fishing and trapping were year-round. When we managed to bring back fish and game mom and aunt Sue were happy to cook them for everyone's meal. The hides from trapping were cleaned and ship to the city. We used salt to preserve them.
I don't recall any church but we always said prayers at meals and in the evenings. At one time a preacher came to the village and everyone was enthused to be able to hear some preaching, prayers and hymns to sing to. Mom, dad, Aunt Sue, Chum and I went to the village to hear this preacher. It was an outdoor arrangement, the villagers had set up rough benches and others just sat on the ground. Mom and Sue had made lunches for all. The preacher showed up with his Bible he didn't say any prayers, but started in with fire and brimstone type of hollering and if everybody didn't listen to them they were going to hell. My father then stood up and motioned to mom, Sue Chum and my self it was time to go. I could tell dad was really upset. As we left the preacher followed used words that were quite offensive to dad. Dad turned and faced the preacher and proceeded to walk him backwards. When he saw the look on dad's face the preacher backed off. When dad and our family left many of the villagers did also. Mom and dad are well respected in the village and all around. They knew dad was very upset with this preacher.
Chuck the gunsmith and his two-men hadn't come to the meeting. The villagers proceeded to tell him what had happened. They told how upset dad was and how the preacher carried on. Even after dad left he was saying that dad and everybody else would to go to hell because they weren't listening. He also was telling everyone our family was sure to experience the wrath of God. When he had finished everyone left.
Chuck and his two men went looking for the preacher. It wasn't long before they found him. They then just gathered them up, took him to a tree, then put a rope around his neck through it over a limb and hauled it uptight. The preacher was so scared he even wet himself. He was then told if they let them go and that he was found anywhere in the vicinity they would hang him. He left in one hurry, and was never seen again.
Chum and I were spending a lot of time at the blacksmith shop. Chuck had a couple of men working for him, he did all the supervising, and the finer work he took care of himself. I was interested in the shop especially the rifles and threr works. Chuck was about my mother's age. His mother and father were both dead. His father left him the blacksmith shop and all the tools. Chuck had left to go back east for awhile. He would tell us about some of his exploits. He was always welcome at our house and was very good friends with mom and dad. I asked about his mother and he said he didn't remember her. She had crossed over when he was very young. When he returned from his gallivanting he was ready to settle down, and resumed working with his father in the shop. He told us that his father passed away shortly after he had returned home.
Chuck would come to dinner once a week or sometimes more. Chum and I really enjoyed his talk with father and mother and we would get him to tell about his shenanigans when he was back east. He was in with a rough bunch and learned how to handle himself in a fight. It wasn't long before no one challenged him. He was that good.
On Sundays the villagers would have contest of all kinds. Running, shooting, wrestling etc, no one could beat me at running. I was always way out front in every race. They decided to put in obstacles to slow me down, but it just slowed the others down. I would make tumbling jumps over most and hand vault over the real tall ones. Chum and I would also enter their shooting contest, we were both excellent shots. One time Chum would out shoot me, the next time I would out shoot him. Very seldom we would not fail to win the prize. The prizes were usually cooked food goods of some kind. Apples potatoes and any other vegetables like beets, carrots, squash, pumpkins etc.. Cakes and pies were the favorites. Mom and dad furnished a lot of the prizes. There was a lot of drinking, but overall everyone had a good time.
Bow shooting was another contest I didn't participate in. I would stand at the targets and confirm where the arrow struck. While doing this I could see arrows coming, and I told others that you could knock an arrow out of the air because I could see them coming. Best if you stand at the side of the arrows path. They just laughed at me. So I stood next to the target and proceeded to knock an arrow out of the air before it hit the target. The Bowman was very angry. I apologized, and told him that the Guys laughed at me so I was bound to prove it could be done. He was also amazed that I was able to do it. I promised to replace his arrow with more than just one. This satisfied him.
The only time there was trouble was when strangers showed up. Most just enjoyed the challenges and fun. Chuck and a few others kept things in hand. A bully showed up, he had challenged and beat up some of the contestants. He used this stick club in his fighting. Chuck had been keeping an eye on him, this is when Chuck got Chum and I together told us we needed to know how to protect ourselves in a fight. He said this bully had been watching me and knew he would look for an opportunity to corner and challenge me. Like Chuck said he couldn't be by my side all the time when the bully was around. Chuck said it might not happen, but being prepared was assurance of not getting beaten to a pulp. Chuck worked with Chum and I out back in his blacksmith shop, he showed us a lot of is fighting strategies. One main thing was not to hit so much but to poke real hard instead. He also said take your jacket or shirt and wrap it around your arm to ward off the main part of the blow. Always anticipate the blow that was coming ward it off and make your move at the same time. Don't hesitate, if possible always attack first. This gives a much greater advantage when you get in the first blow. After a couple weeks we were pretty darn good. Chum and I had fun practicing together. We were enjoying life and spent all our time together.
It wasn't half a dozen Sundays that went by when I got challenge I had started carrying a club of my own design in my waistband. I left the gathering to get some cold water from the spring. This is when this bully and his followers cornered me. I had turned to go back to the village games and six of these Guys were standing there. This bully had a mean smirk on his face. I then wrapped my arm with my shirt before I was quite ready, he came at me. I warded his blows off with my arm, he saw his blow were being caught by my arm and decided to go for my legs.
Then I was able to get a good jab in his left side as he stooped to hit my legs. I was still able to ward off that blow with my arm. My Jab had taken some of the wind out of him. He then struck again, checked it with my arm. I then made a hell of a jab to his upper gut. This stopped him dead in his tracks. Then I jabbed him in the throat. When he grabbed his throat, I stepped in and gave a hard wallop to the side of the head, which put him down. He dropped his club so I went over and picked it up. The fight had lasted about five minutes. The group that had been watching parted as I approach them. Chum heard the running was about to start, this is when someone told him the bully had challenged me and Chum took off on the run to help me, if I had needed help. I Could See Chum coming on the Run, I met him and said I was OK but the bully wasn't. He slapped me on the back and congratulated me. The other men went to where the games were being held and told a story about the fight that was quite exaggerated. All I could think of it was great to have a big brother. Everyone had heard about the fight by this time and came to check me out. They thought I would have some very bad bruises to my head and face. They then found out the bully had left. He couldn't talk and was bent over holding his gut. I took the bully's club dropped it off at the blacksmith shop. I knew Chuck would know what it meant.
We went back to the village to check everything out and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Running races were Coming up and I didn't want to miss it. Chum had already won the wrestling match and would also run but he was just an average runner. I ran the races and won all events quite easily. Neither of us would do any drinking of the liquor or hard drinks. We didn't like what it did to the men that did drink also didn't like the taste. A lot of them drank to excess and by evening a good many of them had passed out. This didn't appeal to Chum or myself. Chuck would have a drink or two but never would drink to excess.
I Asked Chum where mom and dad were? Chum said they had already gone home. So we decided to go home also. I walked into the house and asked mom to look at my arm because I was having hard time moving my hand. My arm was swelled up from warding off the bully's blow. Mom said it wasn't broken just badly bruised. Thanks to Chuck's advice it was wasn't broken. My father came to see what was happening and Mom was using spring water as a compress. Dad took a look, turned and went to get his rifle down, he said to Mom he would back in a while. He thought the bully would be in the village bragging, he was going to go and shoot him. Chum chimed in with mom not to go, Chum then told dad that the bully had left in very bad shape because I beat him very badly. I had never seen my father get upset like that before, I realize then how much our father mother cared for us. I decided to carry a, stick my left shoulder. Both Dad and Chum were laughing at me and said, well Bird you are now ready for anything. Well my answer was by gosh I am ready. I knew there was no swearing aloud. We never heard dad swear and he didn't condone it. So we never fell in the habit of doing it.
Excerpted from A Past Life by Don D. Silver. Copyright © 2015 Don D. Silver. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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