The Fourth Sign
He did not remember how many days he'd spent at the mouth of the cave, nor did it make a difference, for he had received the Vision he had come for.
It was in his final night at the Eternal Cave that the fourth Vision came to Grandfather, this time carried by the voice of a young child.
The child said, "The fourth and final sign will appear through the next ten winters [that is, ten years] following the night that the stars will bleed. During this time, the Earth will heal itself and man will die. For those ten years, the children of the Earth must remain hidden in the wild places, make no permanent camps, and wander to avoid contact with the last remaining forces of man. They must remain hidden, like the ancient scouts, and fight the urge to go back to the destruction of man. Curiosity could kill many."
There was a long silence, until Grandfather spoke to the child spirit, asking, "And what will happen to the worlds of man?"
There was another period of silence until finally the child spoke again. "There will be a great famine throughout the world, like man cannot imagine. Waters will run vile, the poisons of man's sins running strong in the waters of the soils, lakes and rivers. Crops will fail, the animals of man will die, and disease will kill the masses. The grandchildren will feed upon the remains of the dead, and all about will be the cries of pain and anguish. Roving bands of men will hunt and kill other men for food, and water will always be scarce, getting scarcer with each passing year. The land, the water, the sky will all be poisoned, and man will live in the wrath of the Creator. Man will hide at first in the cities, but there he will die. A few will run to the wilderness, but the wilderness will destroy them, for they had long ago been given a choice. Man will be destroyed, his cities in ruin, and it is then that the grandchildren will pay for the sins of their grandfathers and grandmothers."
"Is there then no hope?" Grandfather asked.
The child spoke again. "There is only hope during the time of the first and second signs. Upon the third sign, the night of the bleeding, there is no longer hope, for only the children of the Earth will survive. Man will be given these warnings; if unheeded, there can be no hope, for only the children of the Earth will purge themselves of the cancers of mankind, of mankind's destructive thinking. It will be the children of the Earth who will bring a new hope to the new society, living closer to the Earth and Spirit."
Then all was silent, the landscape cleared and returned to normal, and Grandfather stepped from the Vision. Shaken, he said that he had wandered for the next season, trying to understand all that had been given to him, trying to understand why he had been chosen.
Grandfather had related the story to me in great detail during that night of the four prophecies. I don't think that any event had been left out, and his emotions and thoughts were such that he actually relived it for us. Thus the power of his Vision became part of our spirit, our driving force, and a big part of our fears.
I sat for a long time up on the hill. The fire had gone out, and all had retired to sleep for the night. Creation seemed to be at a standstill, awaiting this darkest part of the night to pass by. I felt alone and vulnerable, as if all of Creation were scrutinising my every thought.
Grandfather had this Vision some time in the 1920s.