Kakuna and the sad little girl

Kakuna was a pretty little five-year old girl.  Her mother had named her thus so that she would remember that she should always fasten her moccasins.  Often, Kakuna fell because she did not know how to make the knot and buckle that held her moccasins in place.

Kakuna lived with her grandfather, father, mother, brothers and sisters in a birch bark tent, in the heart of the forest.  The family lived by hunting and fishing.  One winter day, her parents left to tend their traps and snares with the elder children, leaving Kakuna with her grandfather in the tent.  After three or four days, Kakuna started to be worried and asked her grandfather why her family was away so long.

More the days passed, the more the little girl was sad.  She was frightened and cried almost all the time.  Her sadness was so great that she no longer ate, and she was not interested in any game suggested by her grandfather.

Seeing the distress of his granddaughter, the grandfather decided to take her for a walk in the forest.  Every evening, about seven o’clock, the two walked hand in hand in the snow.  The grandfather spoke of the silence of the forest:  « Look at the stars, the northern lights, how beautiful they are! »

But Kakuna appeared not to hear him.  She constantly repeated the same question about the return of her family to the campsite.  From day to day, she wasted away.  The grandfather did not know what to do to chase away the sadness that had overcome Kakuna.

With an evening illuminated by the northern lights, he suddenly had the idea of taking Kakuna to the edge of the lake to see, better, the coloured reflections and dancing of the northern lights.  Come with me to the edge of the lake, you will see, it is not difficult.

The grandfather took Kakuna’s hand; she walked very slowly and without enthusiasm.  She was very sad, terribly weakened.  On the edge of the lake, the grandfather explained to Kakuna that by rubbing her finger nails one against the other she would make the northern lights dance and change, and even change their colours.

Very gently Kakuna started to rub her nails and, little by little, the northern lights began to move.  The grandfather told her to rub more rapidly and the northern lights would follow the rhythm of her hands.  Kakuna rubbed her nails more and more rapidly; the northern lights danced briskly, singing loudly and with the colours multiplying.  It was a dazzling spectacle and Kakuna was amazed.  The effect was magic.  The grandchild began to laugh, sing and dance.

The following day, she asked her grandfather to return near to the lake to make the northern lights dance again.  During these magic moments, she was forgetting the absence of her family.

Under the affectionate care of her grandfather, Kakuna recovered a taste for life.  Evening after evening, the little girl amused herself with this new game.  But, for the grandfather, the time had come when he understood that her parents would never return; they had drowned when going down the river which fed the lake.

Kakuna became sad and sobbed gently.  But, quickly, she consoled herself thinking of the joy she had gained with her new game.  She imagined that her parents could see her amusing herself with the northern lights.  During these magic moments, she found her parents who, from up high, in this life without end, could see her and be proud of her.

By this game, the grandfather in his wisdom had taught Kakuna that she was not alone, that hope and confidence could transform pain into joy.