First Woman’s garden

Excerpt from Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King

Photo by Florian GIORGIO | Accessed on

This is an excerpt from the book Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King.

First Woman’s garden. That good woman makes a garden and she lives there with Ahdamn. I don’t know where he comes from. Things like that happen, you know.

So there is that garden. And there is First Woman and Ahdamn. And everything is perfect. And everything is beautiful. And everything is boring.

So First Woman goes walking around with her head in the clouds, looking in the sky for things that are bent and need fixing. So she doesn’t see that tree. So that tree doesn’t see her. So they bump into each other.

Pardon me, says that Tree, maybe you would like something to eat.

That would be nice, says First Woman, and all sorts of good things to eat fall out of that Tree. Apples fall out. Melons fall out. Bananas fall out. Hot dogs. Fry bread, corn, potatoes. Pizza. Extra-crispy fried chicken.

Thank you, says First Woman, and she picks up all that food and brings it back to Ahdamn.

Talking trees! Talking trees! says that GOD. What kind of world is this?

“Did someone say food?” says Coyote.

“Sit down,” I says. “Boy, this story is going to take a long time.”

So that good woman brings all that food back to Ahdamn. Ahdamn is busy. He is naming everything.

You are a microwave oven, Ahdamn tells the Elk.

Nope, says that Elk. Try again.

You are a garage sale, Ahdamn tells the Bear.

We got to get you some glasses, says the Bear.

You are a telephone book, Ahdamn tells the Cedar Tree.

You’re getting closer, says the Cedar Tree.

You are a cheeseburger, Ahdamn tells Old Coyote.

It must be tie for lunch, says Old Coyote.

Never mind that, First Woman tells Ahdamn. Here is something to eat.

Wait a minute, says that GOD. That’s my garden. That’s my stuff.

“Don’t talk to me,” I says. “You better talk to First Woman.”

You bet I will, says that GOD.

So. There is that garden. And there is First Woman and Ahdamn. And there are the animals and the plants and all their relations. And there is all that food.

“Boy,” says Coyote, “that food certainly smells good.”

They can’t eat my stuff, says that GOD. And that one jumps into the garden.

Oh, oh, says First Woman when she sees that GOD land in her garden. Just when we were getting things organized.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

Green Grass, Running Water – Summary

Here is the book summary from Goodreads:

King’s auspicious debut novel, Medicine River ( LJ 8/90), garnered critical acclaim and popular success (including being transformed into a TV movie). This encore, a genially wild tale with a serious heart, confirms the author’s prowess. It involves the creation of a creation story, the mission of four ancient Indians, and the comparatively realistic doings of 40-year-old-adolescent Lionel Red Dog, unfazable cleaning woman Babo, and various memorable Blackfoot and others in scenic Alberta. Clever verbal motifs not only connect the stories but add fun visual themes, including missing cars and a ubiquitous Western movie. In the end, everyone is thrown together by an earthquake at white human-made Parliament Lake, compliments of the four old Indians and the loopy trickster Coyote. Smart and entertaining, this novel deserves a big audience.

Copyright © 1993 by Thomas King.

You can find more details here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.