It was a hot and dry summer night

in the high desert, in the Mojave;

the young Indian girl stood in the

center of a circle of maidens,

following the instructions of the

Elder, He Who Makes it Rain.

She stood with her arms outstretched

Palms up

to receive the gift of water.

It had been a long and hot dry summer

and water was badly needed for

the tribe,

For the livestock

For mother earth herself.

The circle of maidens,

young girls like herself,

joined hands and walked in a

circle, clockwise, while she,

her arms still outstretched

began a slow tentative step


and so they continued this dance

while the elders and all others

remained asleep inside their teepees;

it was not fitting for any of them to

witness the Rain Dance of the Maidens;

None dared peek outside their teepees.

One hour passed,

two hours.

and the young maiden’s outstretched

arms grew heavy and tired,

such was her burden.

Tears filled her eyes and ran down

her face and yet she continued the

rain dance as prescribed by the Elder,

He Who Makes It Rain.

Time lost all meaning.

The night was dark,

but in the third hour,

the magic hour of three,

a bolt of lightning filled the sky

and hope filled the hearts of

all the young girls performing

The Rain Dance of the Maidens;

They continued on–for lightning

did not always mean a storm;

Near the end of the third hour,

the young maidens felt drops

falling on their heads;

Renewed energy filled the hearts

of all the young maidens

and they danced a little harder,

a little faster,

and the girl in the center turned

so fast she seemed to be spinning.

Soon, the Elder, He who Makes It Rain

came out of his teepee and declared

his endeavor a success.

He had, indeed, made the rain fall.

The maidens fell into a heap on the

ground and slept, mindless of the rain

falling on and around them.

All the members of the tribe

went one by one up to the Elder

to give thanks and present him

with a gift for making it rain;

They gave him feathers from

an owl and a crow and some

pretty sun-like stones from

the riverbed and all reaffirmed


was a most wise Elder, indeed.


Sandra Lee Smith

originally posted August 12, 2010

Updated August 2, 2018


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