by William A. La Fleur © 2003

"I don't have any gift grandpa."

"Now Kirby, ever since my knees went out I been looking for someone to take on the craft. Now I seen you got more power than I ever had. Don't be nay-saying the gift. You got it, whether you like it our not."

"But there is no gift. There is no power. I'm not really doing anything."

The old man pushed his hat back on his head, looked at his grandson and spoke softly. "Folks around here put powerful faith in the gift. You can't let them down. If you take away their faith, well, they'll have nothing left. I know you cotton to science and all that, but there's somethings in this world that's more powerful. Now you just keep doing like I taught you and let folks faith carry them through."

They pulled onto the Charles farm. Junior Charles was standing on the porch. He was a fidgety man with bug eyes.

"Hot one already and its only June tenth."

"Morning Junior. Well, We'll fix you right up. This here is my grandson Kirby. He's going to be doing the divining today."

"He got the gift?"

"Sure do. He's powerful in the craft. Just keep quiet and watch."

"Where do you need the well, Mr. Charles?"

"Just the other side of the road. See how dry it is already?" He walked over to the pickup and stared at the clear sky.

Kirby went across the road and through a dried out gully. As he went through the gully he pulled up two dry reeds. He took out his pocketknife and cut the reeds into arm length pieces, then balanced one across the other. The upper reed sat motionless, balanced on the other.

"He got the gift?"

"He's powerful in the craft. If there's water to be found the reed will start moving. Now hush and watch."

Although there was no breeze the top reed started to rock and then lean to the right. To keep it from falling Kirby moved to his right. As the reed rocked, so moved Kirby. He followed back and forth, at first staring at the reed, then with his eyes closed. Kirby rocked back and forth on unseen waves up and down the field.

He washed up over the road and toward the house. Closer, then father, round and round like a cork until a strong breeze blew the reed off the other and it fluttered to the ground at the base of the porch stairs.

Kirby bent down to retrieve it and when he looked up he saw a pair of bare feet. The toes were painted red and the feet led to pretty ankles that led to beautiful legs that led to a girl about his age in a floral sun dress and wind tossed golden curls. "Hi."

"This here is my niece, Barbara. She's down here from Chicago for the summer."

"Hi." Kirby said.

"When is she going back?"

"Late August, soon as school starts up again. Why?"

"I'm Kirby."

"Well then, you won't be getting a new well until late August then."

"My name is Barbara. Pleased to meet you." She spoke only for him.

"I told that boy some things are more powerful than science."

x x x

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