Fools Crow

Fools Crow

by

James Welch

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Fools Crow: Chapter 31 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The woman in white approaches Fools Crow. He notices her short hair, like the hair of mourners, and asks if he is in the Shadowland. The woman laughs and touches his arm. Women do not usually touch strange men, and he is startled by her directness. She asks if he is hungry, and when he says he doesn’t feel hunger, she replies, “No, there is no hunger here.” She invites him to her lodge, where she has some tobacco.
Fools Crow is insulted when Feather Woman laughs at him and touches him, and this is a product of their patriarchal society. Women don’t behave this way, and he is clearly uncomfortable by her display of control and power.
Themes
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
The strange woman’s lodge is plain and unadorned just as she is, and her tobacco is good and sweet. Fools Crow notices a digging stick standing in the corner and feels strangely content. As he sits back and smokes, he watches the woman painting designs onto a yellow skin. She begins to sing the sleeping song and Fools Crow feels himself relax.
Feather Woman’s lodge is also a reflection of her mourning. Like her appearance, her surroundings mirror her inner pain and emptiness. The digging stick is a major clue to her identity as Feather Woman, but Fools Crow is too tired to make the connection.
Themes
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Fools Crow wakes “to the blue light of false dawn.” The walls of the lodge and all the surfaces appear blue, and when Fools Crow looks to the yellow hide, he had seen the woman painting on, he discovers that the hide is blank. Confused, he begins to think that it has all been a dream, but he knows that the woman is real. He longs to be near her again. 
The disappearing hide is evidence of Feather Woman’s magic and spirituality. Fools Crow knows that she is real because she is real. Feather Woman is a mortal Pikuni woman, and while Sun Chief has banished her to an eternal world of mourning, she is just like Fools Crow and his people.
Themes
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
As Fools Crow exits the lodge, he hears the cries of winter geese. He is convinced that his dreams have tricked him, and he has been sent to this place to die. Skunk Bear has betrayed him too, and he can’t understand why his spirit animal would do such a thing. With the sound of the geese closer now, Fools Crow is sure that all his power is gone.
The sounds of geese are out of place—Fools Crow has already established that there are no animals here. His fear and loss of power reflects the lack of animals. Without nature and animals to draw from, Fools Crow is powerless.
Themes
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
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Fools Crow sees the woman in a clearing. She is sitting on the ground and her hands are lifted to the horizon. There is a bulging sack nearby and a digging stick at her feet. She begins to sing a mournful song about Morning Star, and as Fools Crow looks to the sky, he sees Morning Star and Poia above. The woman begins to weep, and the sound of crying geese escapes her mouth. Suddenly, Sun Chief enters the clearing and blankets the area with blinding light.
This scene is the whole point of Feather Woman’s punishment. She is continually remined of her disobedience by the digging stick at her feet, and she is left in eternal agony at the sight of Morning Star and Poia. 
Themes
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Fools Crow approaches the woman and asks if she is all right. “I was digging turnips,” she says. “I must have lost my way.” Inexplicably, Fools Crow feels himself becoming angry. “Who do you mourn?” he asks. “Who are you?”
Fools Crow feels inexplicably angry because Feather Woman is the reason why his people suffer. When Feather Woman disobeyed the moon, she unleashed all forms of suffering onto the people for the first time.
Themes
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon