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Bear the Cherokee Meets the Baptists

Baptists conveyed an offer to render the Bible—or at least a few of its most striking episodes—into the syllabary and supply copies of it to the people. Bear wanted me to read him some of the book before he decided whether to accept the offer or not. I more summarized than translated. He liked the story of Job, especially God's pride in his own handiwork in creating all the animals and the varieties of landscape and weather. Those features of the world were certainly noteworthy and successful. God's bragging about how well the nostrils of horses turned out struck Bear as some kind of truth about creation. He said that every being has at least one part that is of especial beauty, and his first wife had many such parts. As for the book of Job in general, he thought it was true enough that whatever power runs the earth sometimes beats a man down for no good reason whatsoever other than whim or black jest, but he also thought a good doctor like Granny Squirrel could work some medicine that would at least lighten the blows. Also, the story of the expulsion from Eden got his full attention, though his most persistent question was how big I thought the snake was. In the end, he said he judged the Bible to be a sound book. Nevertheless, he wondered why the white people were not better than they are, having had it for so long. He promised that just as soon as white people achieved Christianity, he would recommend it to his own folks. And that is the message sent to the Baptists, which they chose to take as a yes.

- Charles Frazier, Thirteen Moons (Random House, 2006), p. 91.
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