The Little Girl Who Burned Down The Dog House "It weren't my fault."

Little Indian Girl at Watt's Lake, 1955     Once upon a time in a place far away from Austin, Texas, there lived a little idiot girl named Caroline and her family, who went all over the place, and she hated them all because of that.  And who would not?  Little girls like to feel cared for, secure and comforted, not dragged around like some old chair no body cares much ’bout, especially when they’re young.

     Now, oddly enough, that Little Girl changed, -overnight-  into a grizzlie Old Lady, who’s hand’s looked like a combination of her mother’s and her father’s hands, when they got old ( but it was like you could see both of their hands at the same time, every time she looked down at them, and they wouldn’t change back. ) And she hated them all because of that too.

     About the only thing truly good about her family, besides herself and her dog, Jenny,( well…maybe Jenny was really the only good one among that lot) she thought, but the truly good thing about her family that made them real speacial, was her father was kin to Pocahantas’ son.  Now, she was aware that this seemed like some form of somebody else’s idea of a load of horse doo, but it’wer the God’s honest truth.  She had seen the proof of that  fact with her very own eyes, ’cause one of her cousins did a big deal Thesis, and done got “a amster’ degree’ from college, which I ‘spect is better than a regular degree, but it’s hard to say. First time she heard that one, she though her cousin got a “hamster degree”, which sounds allot more likely.  But in truth, she did see with her own two eyes from copies of the ‘census’ taken over the years, where you could follow that group back to who was who’s mother and dad and all that, and the “piece of resistance” was the original land grant given to her grandmother’s family from King George III. Those kin of her’s must have been nuts as a cheezeball, cause old King George of England was crazy as they come; so he must have liked ’em right fine, cause they got an enormous acreage, at the time it was given- it was something like 6,ooo acres of prime farming land in the Virginia territory.  She thought it out and was pretty darn sure if her dad was kin to Pocahontas’s son, ‘chances are just as good that her father  (and this Little Girl that turned into a grizzled Old Lady) were “kins” with that old boy’s mothers ‘s-well, that’d be Pocahontas’ hereself.  It weren’t hard to follow that reasoning.

     That means that some part of that little girl was really an Indian, from  the Virginia territories. She didn’t know what part that were, but it didn’t matter much.  So she decided to start  play-acting with her dog,  Jenny (she’s part border collie, which are very smart dogs) in the Old Dog House right back of this particular house, that’s one of the houses they lived in when they went all over the place; And since she learned as how she was part Indian, for real, she could slip into that role quite naturally and easily, ‘speacially with that striped towel wrapped around her shoulders like an indian blanket. But even though she was pretending, she really was an Indian Girl all by her self, with her dog in front of an unlit cooking-fire, inside a little old house, (so that was like ironic or doublely strange)–Only she was too little, or too stupid, or too much of an idiot (like I said about her in the first place) so it seemed she weren’t able to figure in a lot of important stuff she was needing to learn about later, but after all she was only 6 years old. What could you expect, Rocket Science? 

      First off, she was gonna have a cooking fire like ’twas done when she saw Indians in the movies, but instead she ‘oughten’ to have put the fire in a more practical place, like outside, but she made up a right nice fire by the front of the door opening, so the other Indians would see the glow of the fire and know she was back there in that dog house. It didn’t seem like a bad Idea at first, ’cause it was just going to be a little fire. 

     When Jenny saw that one coming on, she took off quicker’d you could spit, cause she was one fine smart doggie.  But The little Indian Girl stayed right there, still staring into the fire, as it grew from the leaves she put on the bottom of the little dried tree branches she’d collected and carefully put all up into a stepel shape there, all by herself.   And the fire was so pretty, and it smelled real good, ’cause the branches came from under an apple tree in that back yard. But about the time she first noticed her fire was getting too big, there sort of whooshed out a strange noise, not like the fires she’d watched and listened to in fire places in other houses.  It sounded sort of like a whistling tune, but real quiet like it was whisperin to her, but with no real stable melody to it. But it was nice and warm inside that Dog house, and then the fire started to look stronger and bigger than she figured it’d ever grow on to be. She seemed to be hypnotized, but not in that weird way where her eyes would be going all in circles like the way they was always doin in the cartoons, but in a peaceful, solid way, as she continured to look into her “cookin’ fire”, and she wasn’t ‘ascared like she knew she ought to be. Then the “cooking fire” started catching onto the wood of the dog house, first into the floor and then up one side, and then to the other side.  But there she sat, cross-legged in the back of all that as ’twas goin on at the same time.   Only when the fire was a whole lot bigger than she was, did she understand that she was probably going to be on fire too, pretty much the next thing, cause it wouldn’t stop. And that wouldn’t be so pretty, and that wouldn’t smell real good either.

     It was so smokey in there, kind of like when her parent’s gave parties and every one was smoking ci-gars only worse than that, but the wind outside started kicking up ’cause she could hear that too.  Then some way out of that wind, came a strange sounding, moving real big shapeless thing that looked like it was a bunch of darker smoke, but  was real fast-like. And it wasn’t coming from her little puny legs and idiot head, that did this, but that smoke thing just sort of quicker you’d ever think any thing was possible, or any one she ever saw could do (and she was a fast runner herself, so she was on to what fast was), what ever that smoke thing was had her out of  and on the out side of that fire so quickly, she couldn’t even speculate or figure when it was done!  But she was out on the other side of the fire, still left sitting cross-legged, but definely outside of the burning dog house.  And that weird smoke-soundin’ whistlen continued, all during this that happened, and allot weirder than her brother’s eyes when he crossed’em and he whistled out the space a’ween his front teeth, that was her usual “too strange” thing, but not nearly as strange as that dark stuff that looked like compacted smoke, whisperin that quiet same whistling tune with no real melody to it.  And then that thing just faded into the direction the wind blew the smoke.   The little Indian Girl figured she ought to walk that way too, only real fast, so she wasn’t there when her family noticed what’d happened.   She might even find that same whistling wind-thing that took her out of that fire, cause she could have still been in the back where she’d be all black and burnt up, but she wasn’t; cause there she was, walking real fast, only  all covered with some black dirt, and the ends of her braded hair were sindged too; but she kept looking around  where she was, tryin’ to figure how that might have happend in some reasonable way, even though there wasn’t any clue ‘sept that sound went where she followed.

       But she found nothing there once she got way far from the smoke, she kept on walking that direction just for good measure, afor quite some time, cause she was way on down their street almost to the end of it, just thinking about what had happened that afternoon.  She even figured she didn’t really hate all her family either, only when they got real mad at her, like if she burned down the dog house on purpose or something. The she stopped walking and breathed real hard and stood real still, and went back to face the music, cause she couldn’t go on walking that way any further.

      The  whole Dog House and most everything near there was all burned down, and ruined, and black, and gone that day.  Even the climbin’ ‘Old Roses” next door on that fence that surrounded the back yard were that way too,black and mostly gone. There was only one big ( mostly blurt up) red rose left hanging on to the fence. She went there and took that away cause it was too awful to see. What was the Dog House was so awfully charred and gone, and every one in her family (that she’d mostly hated for pretty stupid reasons) were so truly sad about what happened there in the back yard , she could tell by looking at their faces. I think her mother had cried while she was out walkin’, but then  her mother looked real stern and went back inside the big house. The Little Indian Girl wished she could tell them about how that whistling smoke thing moved her out back of the fire, on to the outside yard. But she knew that wouldn’t believe her, “her and her stories.” Now, she hated herself too, even though what happened was miraculous and true, and it weren’t her fault, really.

       It stayed that way until her dad, took all that old black, left-over burned wood away. And her dad knew how to plant pretty green plants, in that place, a whole lot of new pretty bushes and flowers, so you’d never know about what’d happend. What was that dog house, I ‘spect, were’t nary a piece left over, and she got to be the one who mostly helped him put those new green plants too. Even when she looked at her brother, and he was doing that eye-crossed whistle thing to make fun of her, that seemed alright.  Even though they did that and it was so much better to see, she still felt real guilty, cause she knew she was the little Indian girl that caused that fire, but she wasn’t brave enough to say it were her that made that fire. And they would have hated her too. She had some suspicions they knew it was her that was bad; but they never said nothing ’bout that, not one word.

    By the next Spring, that yard was more pretty than it ever had been. Only thing that was bad, was the Old Red Roses to the front of that house that used to bloom so pretty, the one’s climbed over a white arched trellis there, died on down to the roots for no reason we could figure.  I guess sometimes that just happens. Even when The Little Indian Girl turned into being that Old Grisslie Lady, she’d think about what happened back then. Sometime’s she’d cry too, but it wasn’t a’cause the dog house burnt down, it was a’cause they were all gone but her-and they never even knew what really happened.

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