One day, in the land of the Native American people of Laguna Pueblo, the keeper of the books of knowledge and adventure had a problem. There were more than 300 children in the place of learning, but the shelves held far too few books. As a result, many of the children had read the same stories several times, and they were becoming bored.
The leaders of the place of learning developed a plan. From their reservation in New Mexico, they sent forth an ambassador. After traveling far to the east, the ambassador chanced upon a friendly neighbor named Tamar Abrams.
Abrams knew the benefits of variety. Jamestown, the school of her daughter in the village of Arlington, had 14,000 volumes for its young seekers of knowledge and adventure. Surely, she said, her community could help.
Before the setting of the sun, a goal was set: The people of Jamestown would collect 1,000 books, doubling the stacks of knowledge and adventure at Laguna Pueblo.
The Jamestown elders then asked their children to help. They searched through shelves and under beds. They traded silver coins for paperbacks at the local booksellers. And, searching through long lists of titles on mysterious glowing screens, they promised future payment to the people of Amazon.
With all these efforts, the collection grew -- slowly at first, but then with great speed, like the wild horses of the popular stories.
Before long, men with carts strained under the load of the deliveries. The elders realized their goal had been too modest.
The keeper of books of knowledge and adventure was amazed at each day's finds: Third-grader Wyatt Prominski sent accounts of hunters, warriors and village leaders. Second-grader Kathryn Young had collected tales of twin teenaged princesses. There were stories of sorcerors and scientists. And of alien clones. And a flying caped man who wore only underpants.
The new stacks soon totaled more than 5,600. The children of Laguna Pueblo cheered. Then they gave thanks. Dozens of messages flew as if carried by eagles over the plains and mountains and rivers to the neighbors of the east.
The words of young Stevie Rae Yellowhorse echoed among the halls of Jamestown. "It means a lot to our school," he said to his new friends. "It's important because we get to read different types of books. And we will learn about different experiences."
The people of Jamestown also were learning. With great excitement, they also wrote letters, telling their new friends about their favorite things. Amid the ink and pencil smudges, a bond developed. It stretched between two cultures, nearly two thousand miles apart.
But that's not the end of the story.
One of the Jamestown elders was so energized by the friendship that she took her children to the faraway place of learning. Marla Bolotsky Rosen, fourth-grader Aaron and second-grader Talia were greeted with a ceremony and a blessing. Dances of the eagle, buffalo, deer and butterfly were performed. And gifts were given to the visitors as a show of thanks.
And still there is another chapter . . .
Laguna Pueblo send forth another ambassador, Stanley Lucero. The storyteller told of butterflies never flying straight and a spider bringing the sun to the land. All during the stories, the people of Jamestown smiled. They had given away knowledge and adventure. And, without even realizing it, they had gotten it back in return.
And the next chapter is just beginning . . .
-- Scott Moore
from left, Kathryn Young, Lia Knowlton and
Alyssa Herbst at Jamestown Elementary. The Arlington
school helped fill the empty shelves for the students
of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, below.