" '. . .if you understood everything, the Creator wouldn't be a mystery. We're not talking about a little mystery, here. We're talking about the Great Mystery — Wakan Tanka — the mystery that's behind everything, before the beginning of life and after the end of death. The mystery that's behind the sky, the birds, the stars, everything. The Great Mystery. The Great Mystery.' He said it twice as if by repeating it he was going to drill it into my thick skull.

" 'I understand,' I said.

" 'Good. I figured you would. Now, remember when I said that it wasn't fair for the Creator to put all his teachings in a book, because then no one could have those teachings until they got that book? It's the same for the Buffalo Calf Woman or Jesus or anything else. That would mean that the people who don't have that teaching wouldn't have connection with the Creator. But everyone has connection with the Creator because everyone is part of creation, see?'

" 'I do.' I had no idea what this had to do with learning literature or world history, but Dan was in good spirits, and it seemed best just to let him talk.

" 'Now, sometimes the Creator might send something special to help a people learn or to give them some special knowledge. He might give one people the skill to keep track of things in books. He might give another the skill to listen to nature. Our people's history is in our stories. Your people collect history from everywhere and put it in books. Those are different skills, just like there are different ways of understanding the Creator.

" 'You need to think about this. What if the Creator gave every people something special, something that other people don't have? What if he put his teachings in different hearts in different ways, like he put different teachings in the rocks than in the animals?

" 'What if your Black Book way had one part of the truth and our Inipi way had a part of the truth and other people had a different part of the truth? How would you look at the world, then? Would you try to kill the ways of other people? I don't think so, because you'd be killing a part of the Creator's truth.

" 'It's the same with learning. Maybe we aren't the collecting people; maybe we are the listening people. Maybe we can't take everything apart as well as you can, but maybe we can help you remember how it went together. We are all fingers on the hands of the Creator. We must learn to work together to make this a better world. We must learn to work together to be the Creator's hands here on earth.'

" 'That's beautiful, Dan,' I said.

" 'Everything that's true is beautiful,' he said, 'because everything that's true is from the Creator.' "