I see a tree. It is a tam-aw-rack,” she recited, and then stopped Captain Clark from picking up Pomp, who was crawling near the fire.
“No, no. Do not stop him,” she said. “He must learn to make his own decisions, take the responsibility for his actions. It is like I hear you tell the men.”
“At this incredibly early age?” gasped Captain Clark, rubbing his chin. Sacajawea could hear the whiskers scraping like two dry pines in a high wind.
“When he begins to crawl, no one cries ‘no’ and drags him from the enticing red of the coals. I am watching that he does not burn. He must learn himself the bite of fire and to let it alone. See how he jerks his hand back?”
The baby whimpered, and with a tear-wet face brought his burned fingers to Captain Clark, who was nearest him, for soothing. Clark immersed the baby fingers into his now-cold tea.
“See,” Sacajawea continued. “His eyes do not turn in anger toward his mother or any other person who might have pulled him back, defeating his natural desire to test, to explore. His anger is now against the red coals. So – he might creep back another time, but cautiously. So – soon he will discover where warmth becomes burning.” She let her hands fall into her lap, and Clark handed the child to her.
An excerpt from Sacajawea (pg. 446) by Anna Lee Waldo. Avon Books 1984. A tale of the historic Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805.