• A group of kids huddled close round a sizzling campfire as the man sitting with crossed legs across from them slapped his hands together in exasperation. The man let out a chuckle as he handed out a few packaged snacks to the wide eyed children, who tore off the clear wrappings and tossed them carelessly onto the ground. One of the children, stood and and snatched a long stick from beside the fire, poking a pine cone into the flames. As the spines of the pine cone burned, the light illuminated the man's grinning face. He let out another gleeful chuckle and flicked his chin to the night's sky.“You kids have any idea how all those stars got up there?”
    Almost automatically the children shook their heads, except for the one standing. “Yea, I know. My dad says that they are all the home runs that the major leagues hit into the sky.” Another children, a girl with light hair and dark eyes said “That's stupid Sam, everyone knows your dads a liar. The stars are just other planets... I think...” She paused and looked up at the man, awaiting the approval of her correct answer. He only smiled, the fire giving his tanned skin a sienna hue. “Some of them are planets, but what are the stars?”
    A long pause followed his question and the man slapped his knee. “Well, do you want to know? I know how they were made. My own grandfather told me the story many many moons ago when I was only a bit older then you.”
    The girl who had spoken up before smiled wide “Yea! I wanna hear!” a few more children piped in with approval, but the one known as Sam rolled his eyes. “Another one of your stupid Native American stories again? Those stories are so dumb!” He threw his arms into the air and sat down, and crossed his arms over his chest. The girl glared at him “Sam, stop being mean. I wanna hear the story.” She turned her head to the man again. “Please tell your story. Please?”
    The man smiled and then his face grew serious as he began his tale “Long ago, there were no stars in the sky. And every night a man named Fala would go into the forests hunting food for his people, as many beasts only come out with the moon. Fala was a tall man, who was named for the dark color of his hair, which seemed so dark it could only come from the plumes of a crow. Fala was a brave man and would often bring home very large game for the tribe. He was well known for catching big bears, and often tala, or what you would call wolves.
    One night, he caught himself a very large buck for his tribe and he pulled it onto his shoulders to carry it home. The weight of the buck was so great that Fala was not able to see where his feet were trodding and his left foot came down upon one of the worst animals to find at night. Angered, the Askook sunk its large fangs into Fala's ankle, and then slithered away back into the dark bushes. Fala and the large buck fell and Fala could feel the poison spreading through his body. He thought that this would be the last few minutes of his life, and he closed his eyes, accepting the fate that would befall him.
    However, Fala had fate upon his side. A Chepi, or a wood spirit, appeared at Fala's side. The Chepi gazed upon Fala's pained face and she decided to help the poor man from such a terrible death. The Chepi touched the Askook wound and Fala felt a warmth rushing through his body instead of the poison. When Fala opened his eyes he was amazed to see a Chepi sitting beside him. She was beautiful, her skin, eyes and hair seemed to be made of the moon itself and although her touch was cold, it was softer and smoother then the nicest hides. The Chepi had long slivery hair which shined like the shimmer on a lake, and the wings which sprouted from her back seemed to be made of the morning fog sewn into thin sheets upon her, but, the most striking thing about the chepi was that her skin glowed a pale but wonderful light. Fala had never seen anything so beautiful. He fell in love with the Chepi, and the Chepi had fallen in love with him as well.
    After that night, Fala would disappear into the forests for long periods of time, but when he finally returned to his tribe, he never had any food for them. The tribe soon grew impatient with Fala and they demanded to know why he would disappear and show up with no food. Fala told the tribe of the Chepi and how they had fallen in love. The tribe grew angry and locked Fala up, telling him that he shouldn't be involved with a Chepi. For suns, Fala was confined, and was unable to see his beloved Chepi. The lonely Chepi waited night after night wondering if Fala would ever return to her. After a while, the Chepi grew so sad and her tears became so numerous that she made the dew on every blade of grass in the morning.
    A moon passed the Chepi with no sign of Fala's return. On the last night of the full moon, she rose above the trees hoping to see some sign of Fala, but in vain, she saw nothing. Fala, back in the tribe's village could see the Chepi hovering above the forest. She looked like a smaller, paler moon hanging above the forest like a lost firefly. Fala called to her, but his voice could only carry so far, and she could not hear him. With the Chepi's last hope of Fala gone, she turned herself from the forest and flew directly into the endless sky, leaving behind nothing but her tears which spread out over the whole dark shadow of night.”
    As the man ended his story, he paused looking at the children again, the smile returning to his face. “And that is how the stars got up there.” The blond girl rubbed her eyes, saying “Wow... that was so romantic and sad.... I feel bad for the poor Chepi.”
    Sam chimed in “That story was sappy, and fairies doesn't exist. I still say that the stars are home runs. At least my story is believable. And, how would your grandfather know this story anyways?”
    The man replied “Fala would be my grandfather, Sam. Maybe you'd rather talk to him?” He chuckled jokingly. Sam crossed his arms and snorted rebelliously. “Whatever.”
    Again, the man chuckled and stood up “Ok, kids it is getting late, time for bed. Everyone in your tents.” And with that the children got up from their seats and filed into the tents, Sam being the last one to follow. As Sam climbed into his tent, he waited until everyone else was zipped in before he started to zip his own tent shut. He grumbled “Stupid story. Mine was a lot better. I bet Fala wasn't real either.”And as he was about halfway done with zipping he saw out of the corner of his eye a pale light race off into the trees. He gasped and jumped out of the tent, running after the small ball of light bobbing away fast. “It's a Chepi! Chepi! Come back Chepi! Come back!” But the light was gone, leaving behind nothing but a small high-pitched giggle.