Ishi

was the last of the Yahi tribe 
hid in the dark woods of Northern Cal 
for 40 years by himself and 
had singed off his hair in morning for his dead. 
But hungry and cold one winter morning,  Ishi
walked down the mountain and into the modern world.

An anthropologist studied Ishi and recorded 
over 400 of Ishi's songs but couldn't understand the meaning. 

They took Ishi to the opera, taught him to wear suits and made him
strip for photos, the thin smile of Ishi curved like his hunting bow.  
He never told them what happened to his people 
out of respect for the dead 
but agreed to take the scientists back to his land. 

In the woods, Ishi talked of his people.  The scientists learned of the
great massacres by the Indian hunters and how
Ishi and his mother escaped
jumping into the cold creek and  floating downstream 
with the bodies of the dead.

Ishi adapted to modern life and the anthropologist took leave
as a linguist came to solve the meaning of the Yahi's tales.
That summer they worked all day and he noted Ishi's
stories of Coyote, Crow and Bear until
Ishi caught TB.  

One day Ishi  collapsed and
on his death bed, almost too weak to talk Ishi
pointed South at the hole in the sky
and before passing, he said,

You stay here, 
I go.

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