weakness to be overcome. Its appeal
is to the material part, and if allowed its way
it will in time disturb the spiritual balance
for which we all strive.
Therefore we must early learn the beauty
of generosity. As children we are taught to
give what we prize most, that we may taste
the happiness of giving; at an early age we
are made the family giver of alms. If a
child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling
too strongly to possessions, legends are
related that tell of the contempt and
disgrace falling on those who are
ungenerous and mean.
Public giving is a part of every
important ceremony. It properly belongs
to the celebration of birth, marriage, and
death, and is observed whenever it is desired
to do special honor to any person or event.
Upon such occasions it is common to
literally give away all that one has to
relatives, to guests of another tribe or
clan, but above all to the poor and the
aged, from whom we can hope
for no return.
Finally, the gift to the Great Mystery,
the religious offering, may be of little value
in itself, but to the giver's own thought it
should carry the meaning and reward
of true sacrifice.
Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman)
Santee Sioux (1858-1939)