~ Cherokee Pony Bells ~

Yahula was a Cherokee man
and traveled to different clans
He was a horse trader of renown
Folks knew when he was around

The people could always tell
by the tinkling of pony bells
And Yahula's loud singing voice
always made their hearts rejoice

Yahula had braided with skill and ease
bells in the manes of his ponies
You could hear the bells day or night
and it brought hearts great delight

The spring hunt was under way
and Yahula was along that day
Suddenly a shift came in the wind
and a raging snow storm blew in...

As the snow continued to fall
Yahula didn't answer their call
They no longer heard him singing
nor the pony bells ringing...

The snow covered mountains and hills
and there was no sound of bells still
In the storm's cold bitter frost
It was for sure Yahula was lost...

The people's hearts were in pain
that they would not see Yahula again
But in their hearts his memory burned
and then one night Yahula returned!

But he would have to soon go away
Yahula said, "I visit, but cannot stay
for I have eaten foods of immortals
and cannot live now in human portals"

Then the Cherokee Removal came
some whispered Yahula's name
many wondered about him
would he be able to find them

Time passed slowly into years
and no pony bells did they hear
But there are stories still told
Among the Tribe's very old

That on certain soft summer nights
you'll hear pony bells ever so light
From their soft tinkling sound
They know Yahula's still around

Across Oklahoma's star filled sky
There Yahula's spirit will never die
You can still hear him singing
and the pony bells ringing...

Barbara LaBarbera
2004 used with permission

 Based on an old Cherokee story

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