The Voice from the Forest

Little Elk stumbled into the tepee. "I'm so angry I could do something awful," he shouted at his Big Brave. "What is it, my son, that makes you snarl like a cub bear?" he asked him patiently. "It's that boy in the forest. I don't like him. I think I'll go out and shoot an arrow at him."

"Just what has he done? How has he made you feel this way?"

Little Elk took his father's hand, and, leading him to the edge of the forest he pointed and answered: "A little while ago I was playing here, and I stumbled and fell. I shouted, 'Hey!' and someone in the forest there hollered back, 'Hey.'

When I heard this, I shouted, 'What's your name?' and he just mocked me by shouting in return, 'What's your name?'

Then I cried, 'Come out and let me see you.' Again he repeated what I said. Every time I said anything he just mocked me back. Finally I got real angry and said to him, 'Come out and fight!', and he shouted back, 'Come out and fight!'"

Little Elk's father looked at him for a moment. "Would you like to try an experiment, son?" he asked quietly. "Sure, Father. What is it?" he replied. Under his breath Little Elk muttered: "I'd certainly like to get hold of that sassy fellow in the forest."

"Now, son, suppose you go to the edge of the forest and shout, "I like you" and see what happens. Little Elk looked questioningly at his father, hesitated for a moment, then peering into the forest, he shouted, "I like you!"

A look of amazement spread over his face as the voice from the forest replied, "I like you!" Little Elk followed with, "Let's be friends."

Little Elk's father put his arm around his shoulder. "You have been fighting with your echo, Little Elk," he said. "There is a real reason in what you have done today. When you were angry with your echo, he was angry with you. When you were friendly with him, he was friendly with you. May this teach you that the best way to have friends is to be a good friend."