13. Missouri

Next morning Krishna and Balarama were ready for their onward journey with their vehicle Karimukha. A fairy came to them and wished them a pleasant journey in a sweet voice.

“I am Missouri, your guide in this country” she introduced herself.

“We are Krishna and Balarama from Bharatha Desa. He is Karimukha our vehicle. By the by we will call you “Missouri Devi” as we call our sacred rivers.

Her blue eyes sparkled. Her blonde silky hair swirled, danced like waves around her face. On her beautiful slim body a light green dress was woven like a creeper and waved gracefully.

She smiled. They took leave from Shovia and the Shoshone people. They travelled through the Yellowstone region. Missouri pointed out the hot jets and springs and said “All the hot waters of this region join the Firehole River. This river joins another river, the Madison and they all eventually join me.” She showed a big lake. Powerful winds were blowing and tiny sand particles pricked all over the body. “A river by the name of Yellowstone flows into the lake and flows out at the other end. Then the river goes through a deep canyon and jumps the heights as a magnificent waterfall.” Then she took them to a small body of water called the Isa Lake. From one side of this lake, the river Firehole starts. It joins the Missouri and reaches the Atlantic Ocean. From the other end another small river called the Snake River, flows west and joins the great western ocean. This place in the Rockies is the dividing watershed.

Then Missouri guided them to follow the river Yellowstone. She said that at the confluence of Yellowstone with Missouri she will reappear and take them further. So saying she disappeared.

Then they travelled east along the Yellowstone river. They saw herds of bison crisscrossing the grass lands. There were mountain goats, black bears, and grizzly bears. Bandicoot-like beavers were freely swimming in the river. People were travelling in their boats.

At the confluence of the Missouri and the Yellowstone rivers, the fairy appeared with her white swan – Krishna smiled and addressed her. “Devi, how do you want us to proceed?”

“I will be travelling in my swan. You may follow the river on its bank”, she said.

“Devi! What about our travelling besides you in the river?” Krishna asked.

“By a boat? Then what about your elephant?” questioned Devi.

“That is not a problem. The elephant will transform into a tortoise and carry us in the river”, said Balarama.

Missouri was surprised at this. The elephant became a giant tortoise and carried Krishna and Balarama in the river, Missouri Devi was gliding in her swan by the side of Krishna and Balarama.

Krishna told Devi that at the upper reaches, during the childhood, the rivers jump and giggle and are very playful like little girls. After some time they develop maturity like the river here!”

Devi nodded her head and said after some distance my elder sister from the northern forests and lakes will join me. Her name is Mississippi. On our way many other sisters from the Rockies in the west and the Appalachian mountains from the east will join me, then we will become deeper and be responsible and feed the living beings on both sides. Finally we will reach our lord and master, the Atlantic Ocean.

In the meantime the great Mississippi from the north was coming with enormous speed. Missouri went and embraced her. She introduced the honoured guests from the Himalayan country. They resumed their journey. Mississippi Devi also glided along them and joined in their chat. A great river OHIO, joined at a distance.

Devi pointed out the Appalachian mountains on the east and said that if you cross the mountains you can see the eastern ocean (Atlantic). Krishna and Balarama desired to travel across the mountains.

Both the sisters agreed and promised to wait for them at the same place. Tortoise became Karimukha and they travelled towards east.

They crossed the mountains and met with several tribes of people. They came near the Atlantic Ocean. In that region the people called themselves POWHATAN. A pirate ship was anchored in the sea. The pirates came and attacked the Powhatans and took away the valuables. Along with that a teenaged girl was also abducted. Powhatan warriors took to their boats and chased them. Karimukha went to the waters and changed into Karingila the blue whale. As Karingila approached the pirate ship Krishna thought about Garuda his celestial vehicle. Garuda promptly landed on the back of the whale and took Krishna and Balarama. They swiftly landed on the ship.

The pirates attacked them with bow and arrows and axes. Balarama with his Gadha (club) defended and made their attack ineffective. Meanwhile Krishna, swinging his sword went to the lower berth of the ship and found the Powhatan girl and rescued her to the upper deck. Garuda was readily waiting, hovering over the ship. Krishna and Balarama swiftly boarded the giant bird with the girl, and Garuda flew towards the shore. Pirates tried to hit Garuda with their arrows. Balarama hit the arrows. They threw a fire ball attached to a stick. Krishna caught that and swung back towards the rails of the ship. The ship caught fire. They safely landed near the Powhatan chief and handed over his daughter. Karingila came towards land as Karimukha and walked towards Krishna.

In the Powhatan tribal village there was celebration in honour of the heroic guests. The girls with their deer and jungle cat masks, and men with the masks of wolves sang the praise of Krishna and Balarama, and danced. Sage Naradha appeared and participated in the celebrations.

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