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A long time ago, there was an old man that the villagers called kee we zee. Every day he walked through the village on his way to his favorite place in the woods. He never talked to anyone, so the people assumed him to be a grumpy old man.

Kee we zee wasn’t a grumpy old man. It was that he just stopped talking to people since his wife went on the long walk. He moved deep into the woods where he could be by himself with his thoughts. He became good friends with the animals and had long conversations with them. They exchanged views, shared food and they gave kee we zee great companionship. So indeed, he did have many friends.  One day while walking through the village, a little boy, dared by his friends, went up to kee we zee and walked with him. The little boy, afraid of the grumpy old man, hung back. Wanting to show off for his friends that he wasn’t afraid, he slowly stepped closer. Kee we zee seeing the little boy, said, ”come with me” hearing softness in his voice, the boy followed and soon they were talking and laughing.

As time passed word spread through the village that kee we zee wasn’t grumpy. They saw that he was a kind and caring man who had much to talk about.  They noticed that he especially liked to talk to the children.  He told them things that their mothers and fathers didn’t know. Before long, the children of the village looked forward to kee we zee’s coming. They knew what he talked came straight from the heart.  Kee we zee liked his new village friends and was soon telling them stories and legends from a long time ago. This he knew he was good at and it seemed to be his purpose in life.

The tribal council could see how wise the old man was and invited him to live with them in the village. They gave him the choicest spot. It was on a little knoll that over looked the wigwams in the village and had the best berries, herbs and trees. This was their thanks to him for sharing his knowledge.

As time passed, he grew older and his body became bent. His walk was slower and he used a cane. Still, he had much to tell. Most of the children he had first taught had grown up and they in turn told their children kee we zee’s stories. One day, near winters end, the children came to hear kee we zee. As he shuffled outside of his wigwam, he told the children to all sit in a circle. He told them, this is my last story.  I am going on the long walk. When I am gone, let my wigwam stay. Leave my body here, because I’ll be back some day. The next day, the people of the village waited for kee we zee to come out of his wigwam. He never appeared. It was just as he said. He had gone on the long walk.  Time passed and his wigwam crumbled. Soon all plant life on the hill was gone. It was a barren place. The people looked sadly at the hill.  They waited patiently for their old friend to return, but it seemed that there was no sign of him. Then, after the last snow, when brother sun started getting warm and the plants and trees became green, the people saw a tall twig growing on the knoll. They watched it rise and spread out. It was the first oak tree on mother earth. It was kee we zee. He had come back as he said, as a tall strong oak tree.  So the people in memory of their first storyteller held their meetings and told stories under the tree. Kee we zee indeed had returned as a mighty oak tree, giving the people the first council tree on mother earth. It’s because of this legend that Native Americans go to the oak tree to pray for strength and wisdom.


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