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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Gossip Hurts Everyone

Once there was a woman in a village who did not have much to do and she became angry at one of her neighbors. So she started a rumor, planted an evil seed that would hurt the neighbor's reputation and make others think less of her. This made the woman feel very powerful and in control. By bedtime, the woman felt bad and the next morning hurried to one of the Elders. She wanted to ask the Elder to help her overcome this evil. On the way to the Elders home that morning she could hear the people in the village whispering about her neighbor and of course, the story had been added on to.
The Elder listened to the woman and when she finished, he told her to go to the bird coop and pick out one bird, ring his neck and then go around the entire village plucking the bird, but to be sure and bring the last feather back to him. The woman anxious to undo the damage hurried to do what the Elder had told her. When she brought the last feather back to the Elder she asked for further instructions. The Elder told her to go home and come back in the morning.
The woman did not sleep at all and hurried to the Elder the next morning again hearing fragments of the words she had started two days before throughout the village as she went to the Elders home. When she reached the Elder, she was very upset and told the Elder, the words she had started were even worse than the day before. After listening, the Elder told the woman to get a pouch and go back to the place of origin and pick up all the feathers from the day before.
The woman hurried to pick up the feathers and eventually returned to the Elder. She told the Elder she picked up all the feathers she could, but could not get all of them because the wind had carried some of the feathers away and the children had picked them up and played games with them and some were taken other places for other reasons. The Elder said, what you have done is punishable by death by our people and you know this. By tradition, you have not sought out your sister to tell her what was in your heart, instead, you went behind her back because the truth would not allow you to face her. Momentarily, you gained power by talking about your neighbor who was not there to defend herself. The words you spoke against this person is like the feathers taken by the wind. Because you did not follow tradition and the ways of our Creator with your tongue, you cannot undo what you have done. You have shamed our people by placing yourself above the truth and the teachings of our ancestors and now you must live with the knowledge you have damaged more than one life, you have hurt us all. You have used your own people as a weapon against your neighbor who has done nothing to you, but because you were jealous or envious or because she disagreed with you, you have divided our people through your actions. He then handed her the feather she had given him the day before as a reminder of the cancer she had started.

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