“I can't do it!”
“If that's so, then why are you still trying?”
”Because I have to. You told me. ”
”I never told you. I said it would be a shame to give up now. I never said you had to.”
“Fine, then I quit.”
The cub threw the shaft to the forest floor and stormed away. Snowfall sighed. The strong headed youngster could be incredibly impatient. She had been practicing with her to wield her weapon of choice, a spear; Snowfall's preference as well, but it had not been going smoothly. She decided to follow the cub in her own pace.
No matter how much attention befell her, Foxtail was young and seemed to be in constant need of more attention than her mother and father would dote upon her. The she-cub was curious, was willing to learn but she needed to abide by someone else's rules. Windburn already piled controls in place and Snowfall knew how restrictive those could feel, especially to one of Foxtail's age and temperament. Whispersilk had important labours for the entire tribe -- each of them -- and refused to bend to Foxtail's every whim or slant.
Foxtail was almost two times eight turns old and wanted to rebel, wanted to be the center of attention, even if it was the "wrong" sort. Just to see how far she could go. Snowfall knew from experience that this phase was temporary and that it was something every child had to go through, but after observing Foxtail -- and while it was good for her to develop on her own -- some borders had to be set, taught, and followed. But Foxtail had not been willing to cooperate much, and every task Snowfall had asked of her had been done with reluctance.
She found Foxtail's trail easily. The cub had left in anger and frustration, so hadn't hidden her trail. The footprints and broken twigs led Snowfall to the series of waterfalls, where she found her pupil throwing stones and pieces of mud into the water.
**With stubborn refusal, you are never going to learn how to hunt or even more important, how to defend yourself.**
Foxtail didn't even tilt her head. **I don't care.**
**I'm only trying to help you, Foxtail.**
**Why should you? It's not your job to help me. **
Ignoring the stern rejection in the cub's mental voice, Snowfall made her way over. She sat down at a distance to give her some space, and watched Foxtail continue throwing little stones. **I have made it so,** she continued. **I'm not going to watch you throw away your skills. Face it, Foxtail. I am suited best for this task. I'm good, and I enjoy it. You would be, as well. If you don't want to learn from anyone, does not take from the fact that they cannot teach.**
A silence followed.
**She never talks to me the way you do,** she snorted. Snowfall curved her lips, but waited for more to come.
**Sometimes I just think she doesn't care.** She heaved a sigh. **I just have the feeling I can do everything I want and she would just ignore it.**
**Is that the explanation for your behaviour?**
Foxtail tilted her head and hesitated. “Maybe,” she muttered. “I want her to see me. She does, but not in the way I want her to. I don't want a mother who just wants to do what suits her. She cares more about stupid clothes than she does me.”
Snowfall shook her head. “Whispersilk is who she is. She loves you, Foxtail. She loves her work and her tribe, and that is her place in it. You have to find your own place.” She paused for just a second. “And that's where I come in.”
Foxtail narrowed her eyes. “Are you doing her a favour?”
Snowfall shook her head. The cub was smart. **No. I am doing you a favour. Like I said, you're wasting some very good skills and I won't stand aside and watch that happen. There's a whole world for you out there, Foxtail, and it's waiting for you till you're ready for it. There's so much to see and learn. But if you keep on going like this, and be stubborn like this, you will never learn new lessons. You will never see beyond the boundaries you've put up around yourself. And you will need to open up. Only then you can and will start this learning process that will most probably never end. Look.** Snowfall took a small pebble and threw it in a small pool of water. **The pebble causes the water to move. The circles move and grow wider. It's the same thing. With every boundary you cross, you are able to see new things. It's an ongoing process, like the never-ending circles. But you have to start it yourself, otherwise there won't be any cause for it to start.**
Silenced by Snowfalls outburst, Foxtail stared over the water. Snowfall leaned back a little. Foxtail had to take the next step by herself.
**So… even you are still learning?**
Snowfall nodded seriously. **Like I said, it never ends. But only if you're open for it.**
**I want to be! But I don't know if I can…** Foxtail chewed her lip and her eyes flickered, but she kept silent. Snowfall sighed, and pushed herself up. She did not intend to push the girl even more. She started to move back in the holt's direction. She'd found the one person who could set her boundaries. It was up to Foxtail to see it that way now.
**Yes?** She turned around. She had only made a few paces and now towered above the cub.
**I'm sorry for running off. I really want to learn to use a spear properly. I want to learn new things.**
Snowfall curved her lips and stretched her arm. Foxtail grabbed her hand and pulled herself up. “Very well. But I can only teach you as much as I know.”
Foxtail smiled. “I'm going to get better than you. And then, I'm going to learn to wield something else. You watch me!”
Snowfall looked down at the cub's face and smiled.