Wailing and Weeping

Tuti and Ami took turns laying wet rags on their brother Lodo’s head and chest. They had sent their cousin to find the medicine man who was traveling to another village. Day after day Lodo grew worse. He did not eat, he did not cool off, and he soon stopped talking.

Their cousin sadly brought the neighbors for a smoke and fire wake.

The men dug a pit as deep as a man is tall. The women sang songs about the circle of life while they fashioned a sort of stretcher. Lodo was carefully lifted onto it, washed one last time, and then carried to the pit.

Women began to wail, but none so loud as Tuti and Ami. Why hadn’t the medicine man come yet? Lodo’s eyes stared off into the distance. He held his arms still. The earth would claim him soon. The women covered him in long banana leaves. The men lowered him in with vine ropes. The hole was covered with a thick layer of leaves. The wailers remained all night.

Three days later the medicine man arrived. He stood at Lodo’s grave and wept.

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