Summary of "The Man to Send Rain Clouds"

Topics: Bishop, Burial, Baptism, Death, Cemetery, Pope John Paul II / Pages: 5 (1038 words) / Published: Aug 23rd, 2010
"The Man to Send Rain Clouds" is a short story about the death of an old man on a Pueblo Indian reservation and the issues that arise from conflicting spiritual traditions and Christian traditions.
As the story opens, the dead body of an old man has been found under a cottonwood tree on an Indian reservation. The sheep that had been under the old man's care are grazing in scattered locations up and down an arroyo (ravine). Two men, Leon and his brother-in-law Ken, have discovered the body, which has apparently been lying under the tree for at least a day. Leon and Ken herd the sheep back to the camp and return by truck to the body.
Ken has brought a red blanket in which to wrap the body, but, before this is done, Leon ties a small grey feather in the old man's white hair. Ken gives Leon some paint and for the old man's face. Leon paints a streak of white across the man's forehead, blue across the cheekbones, yellow under the nose, and green across the chin. When he is finished painting, Leon steps back and smiles at the face of this dead man, who is his grandfather. Leon asks the old man to send some rain clouds.
Leon and Ken wrap the body in the red blanket and place it in the pickup truck before heading back to the Pueblo village. As the truck approaches the village, Leon recognizes the approaching car of Father Paul, the local parish priest. The priest motions for Leon to stop and asks Leon if old Teofilo has been found. Leon replies that he and Ken have just come from the old sheep camp, and everything is fine now.
The priest warns that at Teofilo's age, the old man should not be allowed to wander by himself in the remote area anymore. Leon affirms that this will not happen again. The priest asks Leon and Ken if they will be attending mass on Sunday, encouraging them to bring Teofilo as he drives away.
At Leon's house, Louise, Leon's wife, is waiting with a friend, Teresa. The women have prepared lunch, and they listen to Leon's story of finding Teofilo.

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