I Have Been Told

A column by Anne M. Dunn

The Dream Drum

The journey had begun from a small village beyond the Arctic Circle in northern Canada. It began with 14-inch black ash hoop, not easily secured above the tree line. It had been a gift from a relative who lived in a warmer land. The drum maker always left a bit of caribou hair clinging to the hide. It was a signature. He also made a good drumbeater. He made a drum bag, too.

All of this was done according to a dream that he’d received under a full moon. He’d heard a prayer that night. The voice came from far away. It was a female voice asking for a drum. With no more information than that, he’d begun to bring the dream drum into reality.

When it was completed, a man arrived in the village. He was a visitor from Minnesota. He came in a canoe. At once the drum maker recognized him as the one who would carry the drum to its distant destination.

Without hesitation the maker of the drum approached the stranger with the request that he take the drum to the woman who was waiting for it. The stranger was surprised, but accepted the commission without question.

Then it was that the woman began to dream about the drum. She saw it coming to her from far away and as she waited she began to make new songs.

After many weeks the man was at her door. She invited him into her house and he handed her the bag with an apology. “I’m sorry, but I lost the beater. It slipped out of the bag and fell into the river. It has been a long journey.”

The woman realized that in all her dreams she’d never seen a beater with the drum. So, she thanked the man, gave him a cup of tea, a walleye sandwich and a wedge of blueberry pie. Then he went away. He disappeared into the night like a forgotten dream.

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