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Title: History, Manners, and Customs of the North American Indians
Author: Old Humphrey, 1787-1854
Language: English
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                     HISTORY, MANNERS, AND CUSTOMS
                                OF THE
                        NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS.


                           BY OLD HUMPHREY.


                  REVISED BY THOMAS O. SUMMERS, D.D.


                           Nashville, Tenn.:
                 SOUTHERN METHODIST PUBLISHING HOUSE.
                                 1859.



                            Prefatory Note.


This volume is one of a series of books from the ready and prolific
pen of the late George Mogridge--better known by his _nom de plume_,
"Old Humphrey." Most of his works were written for the London
Religious Tract Society, and were originally issued under the auspices
of that excellent institution. In revising them for our catalogue, we
have found it necessary to make scarcely any alterations. A "Memoir of
Old Humphrey, with Gleanings from his Portfolio"--a charming
biography--accompanies our edition of his most interesting works.

Every Sunday-school and Family Library should be supplied with the
entertaining and useful productions of Old Humphrey's versatile and
sanctified genius.

                                                    T. O. SUMMERS.

    NASHVILLE, TENN., Sept. 27, 1855.



                               PREFACE.


The present volume is in substance a reprint from a work published by
the _London Religious Tract Society_, and is, we believe, chiefly
compiled from the works of our enterprising countryman, CATLIN. It is
rendered especially attractive by the spirited and impressive
pictorial illustrations of Indian life and scenery with which it
abounds.

Great changes have occurred in late years, in the circumstances and
prospects of the Indian tribes, and neither their number nor condition
can be ascertained with much accuracy. We have endeavoured to make the
present edition as correct as possible, and have omitted some parts of
the original work which seemed irrelevant, or not well authenticated.
We have also made such changes in the phraseology as its republication
in this country requires.



                     THE INDIANS OF NORTH AMERICA


                            [Illustration]

                               CHAPTER I


It was on a wild and gusty day, that Austin and Brian Edwards were
returning home from a visit to their uncle, who lived at a distance of
four or five miles from their father's dwelling, when the wind, which
was already high, rose suddenly; and the heavens, which had for some
hours been overclouded, grew darker, with every appearance of an
approaching storm. Brian was for returning back; but to this Austin
would by no means consent. Austin was twelve years of age, and Brian
about two years younger. Their brother Basil, who was not with them,
had hardly completed his sixth year.

The three brothers, though unlike in some things--for Austin was
daring, Brian fearful, and Basil affectionate--very closely resembled
each other in their love of books and wonderful relations. What one
read, the other would read; and what one had learned, the other wished
to know.

Louder and louder blew the wind, and darker grew the sky, and already
had a distant flash and growling thunder announced the coming storm,
when the two brothers arrived at the rocky eminence where, though the
wood was above them, the river rolled nearly a hundred fathoms below.
Some years before, a slip of ground had taken place at no great
distance from the spot, when a mass of earth, amounting to well nigh
half an acre, with the oak trees that grew upon it, slid down, all at
once, towards the river. The rugged rent occasioned by the slip of
earth, the great height of the road above the river, the rude rocks
that here and there presented themselves, and the giant oaks of the
wood frowning on the dangerous path, gave it a character at once
highly picturesque and fearful. Austin, notwithstanding the loud
blustering of the wind, and the remonstrance of his brother to hasten
on, made a momentary pause to enjoy the scene.

In a short time the two boys had approached the spot where a low,
jutting rock of red sand-stone, around which the roots of a large tree
were seen clinging, narrowed the path; so that there was only the
space of a few feet between the base of the rock and an abrupt and
fearful precipice.

Austin was looking down on the river, and Brian was holding his cap to
prevent it being blown from his head, when, between the fitful blasts,
a loud voice, or rather a cry, was heard. "Stop, boys, stop! come not
a foot farther on peril of your lives!" Austin and Brian stood still,
neither of them knowing whence came the cry, nor what was the danger
that threatened them; they were, however, soon sensible of the latter,
for the rushing winds swept through the wood with a louder roar, and,
all at once, part of the red sand-stone rock gave way with the giant
oak whose roots were wrapped round it, when the massy ruin, with a
fearful crash, fell headlong across the path, and right over the
precipice. Brian trembled with affright, and Austin turned pale. In
another minute an active man, somewhat in years, was seen making his
way over such parts of the fallen rock as had lodged on the precipice.
It was he who had given the two brothers such timely notice of their
danger, and thereby saved their lives.

Austin was about to thank him, but hardly had he began to speak, when
the stranger stopped him. "Thank God, my young friends," said he with
much emotion, "and not me; for we are all in his hands. It is his
goodness that has preserved you." In a little time the stranger had
led Austin and Brian, talking kindly to them all the way, to his
comfortable home, which was at no great distance from the bottom of
the wood.

Scarcely had they seated themselves, when the storm came on in full
fury. As flash after flash seemed to rend the dark clouds, the rain
came down like a deluge, and the two boys were thankful to find
themselves in so comfortable a shelter. Brian's attention was all
taken up with the storm while Austin was surprised to see the room all
hung round with lances, bows and arrows, quivers, tomahawks, and other
weapons of Indian warfare together with pouches, girdles, and garments
of great beauty, such as he had never before seen. A sight so
unexpected both astonished and pleased him, and made a deep impression
on his mind.

It was some time before the storm had spent its rage, so that the two
brothers had some pleasant conversation with the stranger, who talked
to them cheerfully. He did not, however, fail to dwell much on the
goodness of God in their preservation; nor did he omit to urge on them
to read, on their return home, the first two verses of the forty-sixth
Psalm, which he said might dispose them to look upwards with
thankfulness and confidence. Austin and Brian left the stranger, truly
grateful for the kindness which had been shown them; and the former
felt determined it should not be his fault, if he did not, before
long, make another visit to the place.

When the boys arrived at home, they related, in glowing colours, and
with breathless haste, the adventure which had befallen them. Brian
dwelt on the black clouds, the vivid lightning, and the rolling
thunder; while Austin described, with startling effect, the sudden cry
which had arrested their steps near the narrow path, and the dreadful
crash of the red sand-stone rock, when it broke over the precipice,
with the big oak-tree that grew above it. "Had we not been stopped by
the cry," said he, "we must in another minute have been dashed to
pieces." He then, after recounting how kind the stranger had been to
them, entered on the subject of the Indian weapons.

Though the stranger who had rendered the boys so important a service
was dressed like a common farmer, there was that in his manner so
superior to the station he occupied, that Austin, being ardent and
somewhat romantic in his notions, and wrought upon by the Indian
weapons and dresses he had seen, thought he must be some important
person in disguise. This belief he intimated with considerable
confidence, and assigned several good reasons in support of his
opinion.

Brian reminded Austin of the two verses they were to read; and, when
the Bible was produced, he read aloud, "God is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear,
though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into
the midst of the sea."

"Ah," said Austin, "we had, indeed, a narrow escape; for if the
mountains were not carried into the sea, the rock fell almost into the
river."

On the morrow, Mr. Edwards was early on his way, to offer his best
thanks, with those of Mrs. Edwards, to the stranger who had saved the
lives of his children. He met him at the door, and in an interview of
half an hour Mr. Edwards learned that the stranger was the son of a
fur trader; and that, after the death of his father, he had spent
several years among the Indian tribes, resting in their wigwams,
hunting with them, and dealing in furs; but that, having met with an
injury in his dangerous calling, he had at last abandoned that mode of
life. Being fond of solitude, he had resolved, having the means of
following out his plans, to purchase a small estate, and a few sheep;
he should then be employed in the open air, and doubted not that
opportunities would occur, wherein he could make himself useful in the
neighbourhood. There was, also, another motive that much influenced
him in his plans. His mind had for some time been deeply impressed
with divine things, and he yearned for that privacy and repose, which,
while it would not prevent him from attending on God's worship, would
allow him freely to meditate on His holy word, which for some time had
been the delight of his heart.

He told Mr. Edwards, that he had lived there for some months, and
that, on entering the wood the day before, close by the narrow path,
he perceived by the swaying of the oak tree and moving of the
sand-stone rock, that there was every probability of their falling:
this had induced him to give that timely warning which had been the
means, by the blessing of God, of preserving the young lads from their
danger.

Mr. Edwards perceived, by his conversation and manners, that he was of
respectable character; and some letters both from missionaries and
ministers, addressed to the stranger, spoke loudly in favour of his
piety. After offering him his best thanks, in a warm-hearted manner,
and expressing freely the pleasure it would give him, if he could in
any way act a neighbourly part in adding to his comfort, Mr. Edwards
inquired if his children might be permitted to call at the house, to
inspect the many curiosities that were there. This being readily
assented to, Mr. Edwards took his departure with a very favourable
impression of his new neighbour, with whom he had so unexpectedly been
made acquainted.

Austin and Brian were, with some impatience, awaiting their father's
return, and when they knew that the stranger who had saved their lives
had actually passed years among the Indians, on the prairies and in
the woods: that he had slept in their wigwams; hunted beavers, bears,
and buffaloes with them; shared in their games; heard their wild
war-whoop, and witnessed their battles, their delight was unbounded.
Austin took large credit for his penetration in discovering that their
new friend was not a common shepherd, and signified his intention of
becoming thoroughly informed of all the manners and customs of the
North American Indians.

Nothing could have been more agreeable to the young people than this
unlooked-for addition to their enjoyment. They had heard of the
Esquimaux, of Negroes, Malays, New Zealanders, Chinese, Turks, and
Tartars; but very little of the North American Indians. It was
generally agreed, as leave had been given them to call at the
stranger's, that the sooner they did it the better. Little Basil was
to be of the party; and it would be a difficult thing to decide which
of the three brothers looked forward to the proposed interview with
the greatest pleasure.

Austin, Brian, and Basil, had at different times found abundant
amusement in reading of parrots, humming birds, and cocoa nuts; lions,
tigers, leopards, elephants, and the horned rhinoceros; monkeys,
raccoons, opossums, and sloths; mosquitoes, lizards, snakes, and scaly
crocodiles; but these were nothing in their estimation, compared with
an account of Indians, bears, and buffaloes, from the mouth of one who
had actually lived among them.



                    [Illustration: Indian Scenery.]

                              CHAPTER II.


Austin Edwards was too ardent in his pursuits not to make the intended
visit to the cottage near the wood the continued theme of his
conversation with his brothers through the remainder of the day; and,
when he retired to rest, in his dreams he was either wandering through
the forest defenceless, having lost his tomahawk, or flying over the
prairie on the back of a buffalo, amid the yelling of a thousand
Indians.

The sun was bright in the skies when the three brothers set out on
their anticipated excursion. Austin was loud in praise of their kind
preserver, but he could not at all understand how any one, who had
been a hunter of bears and buffaloes, could quietly settle down to
lead the life of a farmer; for his part, he would have remained a
hunter for ever. Brian thought the hunter had acted a wise part in
coming away from so many dangers; and little Basil, not being quite
able to decide which of his two brothers was right, remained silent.

As the two elder brothers wished to show Basil the place where they
stood when the oak tree and the red sand-stone rock fell over the
precipice with a crash; and as Basil was equally desirous to visit the
spot, they went up to it. Austin helped his little brother over the
broken fragments which still lay scattered over the narrow path. It
was a sight that would have impressed the mind of any one; and Brian
looked up with awe to the remaining part of the rifted rock, above
which the fallen oak tree had stood. Austin was very eloquent in his
description of the sudden voice of the stranger, of the roaring wind
as it rushed through the wood, and of the crashing tree and falling
rock. Basil showed great astonishment; and they all descended from the
commanding height, full of the fearful adventure of the preceding day.

When they were come within sight of the wood, Brian cried out that he
could see the shepherd's cottage; but Austin told him that he ought
not to call the cottager a shepherd, but a hunter. It was true that he
had a flock of sheep, but he kept them more to employ his time than to
get a living by them. For many years he had lived among the Indians,
and hunted buffaloes with them; he was, therefore, to all intents and
purposes, a buffalo hunter, and ought not to be called a shepherd.
This important point being settled--Brian and Basil having agreed to
call him, in future, a hunter, and not a shepherd--they walked on
hastily to the cottage.

In five minutes after, the hunter was showing and explaining to his
delighted young visitors the Indian curiosities which hung around the
walls of his cottage, together with others which he kept with greater
care. These latter were principally calumets, or peace-pipes;
mocassins, or Indian shoes; war-eagle dresses, mantles, necklaces,
shields, belts, pouches and war-clubs of superior workmanship. There
was also an Indian cradle, and several rattles and musical
instruments: these altogether afforded the young people wondrous
entertainment. Austin wanted to know how the Indians used their
war-clubs; Brian inquired how they smoked the peace-pipe; and little
Basil was quite as anxious in his questions about a rattle, which he
had taken up and was shaking to and fro. To all these inquiries the
hunter gave satisfactory replies, with a promise to enter afterwards
on a more full explanation.

In addition to these curiosities, the young people were shown a few
specimens of different kinds of furs: as those of the beaver, ermine,
sable, martin, fiery fox, black fox, silver fox, and squirrel. Austin
wished to know all at once, where, and in what way these fur animals
were caught; and, with this end in view, he contrived to get the
hunter into conversation on the subject. "I suppose," said he, "that
you know all about beavers, and martins, and foxes, and squirrels."

_Hunter._ I ought to know something about them, having been in my time
somewhat of a _Voyageur_, a _Coureur des bois_, a _Trapper_, and a
_Freeman_; but you will hardly understand these terms without some
little explanation.

_Austin._ What is a Coureur des bois?

_Brian._ What is a Voyageur?

_Basil._ I want to know what a Trapper is.

_Hunter._ Perhaps it will be better if I give you a short account of
the way in which the furs of different animals are obtained, and then
I can explain the terms, Voyageur, Coureur des bois, Trapper, and
Freeman, as well as a few other things which you may like to know.

_Brian._ Yes, that will be the best way.

_Austin._ Please not to let it be a short account, but a long one.
Begin at the very beginning, and go on to the very end.

_Hunter._ Well, we shall see. It has pleased God, as we read in the
first chapter of the book of Genesis, to give man "dominion over the
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle,
and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth
upon the earth." The meaning of which is, no doubt, not that he may
cruelly abuse them, but that he may use them for his wants and
comforts, or destroy them when they annoy and injure him. The skins of
animals have been used as clothing for thousands of years; and furs
have become so general in dresses and ornaments, that, to obtain them,
a regular trade has long been carried on. In this traffic, the
uncivilized inhabitants of cold countries exchange their furs for
useful articles and comforts and luxuries, which are only to be
obtained from warmer climes and civilized people.

_Austin._ And where do furs come from?

_Hunter._ Furs are usually obtained in cold countries. The ermine and
the sable are procured in the northern parts of Europe and Asia; but
most of the furs in use come from the northern region of our own
country.

If you look at the map of North America, you will find that between
the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans the space is, in its greatest
breath, more than three thousand miles; and, from north to south, the
country stretches out, to say the least of it, a thousand miles still
further. The principal rivers of North America are the Mackenzie,
Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, and St. Lawrence. The Mississippi is
between three and four thousand miles long. Our country abounds with
lakes, too: Ontario and Winipeg are each near two hundred miles long;
Lakes Huron and Erie are between two and three hundred; Michigan is
four hundred, and Lake Superior nearly five hundred miles long.

_Brian._ What a length for a lake! nearly five hundred miles! Why, it
is more like a sea than a lake.

_Hunter._ Well, over a great part of the space that I have mentioned,
furry animals abound; and different fur companies send those in their
employ to boat up the river, to sail through the lakes, to hunt wild
animals, to trap beavers, and to trade with the various Indian tribes
which are scattered throughout this extensive territory.

_Austin._ Oh! how I should like to hunt and to trade with the Indians!

_Hunter._ Better think the matter over a little before you set off on
such an expedition. Are you ready to sail by ship, steam-boat, and
canoe, to ride on horseback, or to trudge on foot, as the case may
require; to swim across brooks and rivers; to wade through bogs, and
swamps, and quagmires; to live for weeks on flesh, without bread or
salt to it; to lie on the cold ground; to cook your own food; and to
mend your own jacket and mocassins? Are you ready to endure hunger and
thirst, heat and cold, rain and solitude? Have you patience to bear
the stings of tormenting mosquitoes; and courage to defend your life
against the grizzly bear, the buffalo, and the tomahawk of the red
man, should he turn out to be an enemy?

_Brian._ No, no, Austin. You must not think of running into such
dangers.

_Hunter._ I will now give you a short account of the fur trade. About
two hundred years ago, or more, the French made a settlement in
Canada, and they soon found such advantage in obtaining the furry
skins of the various animals wandering in the woods and plains around
them, that, after taking all they could themselves, they began to
trade with the Indians, the original inhabitants of the country, who
brought from great distances skins of various kinds. In a rude camp,
formed of the bark of trees, these red men assembled, seated
themselves in half circles, smoked their pipes, made speeches, gave
and received presents, and traded with the French people for their
skins. The articles given in exchange to the Indian hunters, were
knives, axes, arms, kettles, blankets, and cloth: the brighter the
colour of the cloth, the better the Indians were pleased.

_Austin._ I think I can see them now.

_Basil._ Did they smoke such pipes as we have been looking at?

_Hunter._ Yes; for almost all the pipes used by the red men are made
of red stone, dug out of the same quarry, called pipe-stone quarry;
about which I will tell you some other time. One bad part of this
trading system was, that the French gave the Indians but a small part
of the value of their skins; and besides this they charged their own
articles extravagantly high; and a still worse feature in the case
was, that they supplied the Indians with spirituous liquors, and thus
brought upon them all the evils and horrors of intemperance.

This system of obtaining furs was carried on for many years, when
another practice sprang up. Such white men as had accompanied the
Indians in hunting, and made themselves acquainted with the country,
would paddle up the rivers in canoes, with a few arms and provisions,
and hunt for themselves. They were absent sometimes for as much as a
year, or a year and a half, and then returned with their canoes laden
with rich furs. These white men were what I called _Coureurs des
bois_, rangers of the woods.

_Austin._ Ah! I should like to be a coureur des bois.

_Hunter._ Some of these coureurs des bois became very lawless and
depraved in their habits, so that the French government enacted a law
whereby no one, on pain of death, could trade in the interior of the
country with the Indians, without a license. Military posts were also
established, to protect the trade. In process of time, too, fur
companies were established; and men, called _Voyageurs_, or canoe men,
were employed, expressly to attend to the canoes carrying supplies up
the rivers, or bringing back cargoes of furs.

_Basil._ Now we know what a _Voyageur_ is.

_Hunter._ You would hardly know me, were you to see me dressed as a
voyageur. Just think: I should have on a striped cotton shirt, cloth
trousers, a loose coat made of a blanket, with perhaps leathern
leggins, and deer-skin mocassins; and then I must not forget my
coloured worsted belt, my knife and tobacco pouch.

_Austin._ What a figure you would cut! And yet, I dare say, such a
dress is best for a voyageur.

_Hunter._ Most of the Canadian voyageurs were good-humoured,
light-hearted men, who always sang a lively strain as they dipped
their oars into the waters of the lake or rolling river; but
steam-boats are now introduced, so that the voyageurs are but few.

_Basil._ What a pity! I like those voyageurs.

_Hunter._ The voyageurs, who were out for a long period, and navigated
the interior of the country, were called _North-men_, or _Winterers_,
while the others had the name of _Goers and Comers_. Any part of a
river where they could not row a laden canoe, on account of the rapid
stream, they called a _Décharge_; and there the goods were taken from
the boats, and carried on their shoulders, while others towed the
canoes up the stream: but a fall of water, where they were obliged not
only to carry the goods, but also to drag the canoes on land up to the
higher level, they called a _Portage_.

_Austin._ We shall not forget the North-men, and Comers and Goers, nor
the Décharges and Portages.

_Basil._ You have not told us what a Trapper is.

_Hunter._ A _Trapper_ is a beaver hunter. Those who hunt beavers and
other animals, for any of the fur companies, are called Trappers; but
such as hunt for themselves take the name of _Freemen_.

_Austin._ Yes, I shall remember. Please to tell us how they hunt the
beavers.

_Hunter._ Beavers build themselves houses on the banks of creeks or
small rivers, with mud, sticks, and stones, and afterwards cover them
over with a coat of mud, which becomes very hard. These houses are
five or six feet thick at the top; and in one house four old beavers,
and six or eight young ones, often live together. But, besides their
houses, the beavers take care to have a number of holes in the banks,
under water, called _washes_, into which they can run for shelter,
should their houses be attacked. It is the business of the trappers to
find out all these washes, or holes; and this they do in winter, by
knocking against the ice, and judging by the sound whether it is a
hole. Over every hole they cut out a piece of ice, big enough to get
at the beaver. No sooner is the beaver-house attacked, than the
animals run into their holes, the entrances of which are directly
blocked up with stakes. The trappers then either take them through the
holes with their hands, or haul them out with hooks fastened to the
end of a pole or stick.

    [Illustration]

_Austin._ But why is a beaver hunter called a trapper? I cannot
understand that.

_Hunter._ Because beavers are caught in great numbers in steel traps,
which are set and baited on purpose for them.

_Brian._ Why do they not catch them in the summer?

_Hunter._ The fur of the beaver is in its prime in the winter; in the
summer, it is of inferior quality.

_Austin._ Do the trappers catch many beavers? I should think there
could not be very many of them.

_Hunter._ In one year, the Hudson's Bay Company alone sold as many as
sixty thousand beaver-skins; and it is not a very easy matter to take
them, I can assure you.

_Austin._ Sixty thousand! I did not think there were so many beavers
in the world.

_Hunter._ I will tell you an anecdote, by which you will see that
hunters and trappers have need to be men of courage and activity. A
trapper, of the name of Cannon, had just had the good fortune to kill
a buffalo; and, as he was at a considerable distance from his camp, he
cut out the tongue and some of the choice bits, made them into a
parcel, and slinging them on his shoulders by a strap passed round his
forehead, as the voyageurs carry packages of goods, set out on his way
to the camp. In passing through a narrow ravine, he heard a noise
behind him, and looking round, beheld, to his dismay, a grizzly bear
in full pursuit, apparently attracted by the scent of the meat. Cannon
had heard so much of the strength and ferocity of this fierce animal,
that he never attempted to fire, but slipping the strap from his
forehead, let go the buffalo meat, and ran for his life. The bear did
not stop to regale himself with the game, but kept on after the
hunter. He had nearly overtaken him, when Cannon reached a tree, and
throwing down his rifle, climbed up into it. The next instant Bruin
was at the foot of the tree, but as this species of bear does not
climb, he contented himself with turning the chase into a blockade.
Night came on. In the darkness, Cannon could not perceive whether or
not the enemy maintained his station; but his fears pictured him
rigorously mounting guard. He passed the night, therefore, in the
tree, a prey to dismal fancies. In the morning the bear was gone.
Cannon warily descended the tree, picked up his gun, and made the best
of his way back to the camp, without venturing to look after his
buffalo-meat.

_Austin._ Then the grizzly bear did not hurt him, after all.

_Brian._ I would not go among those grizzly bears for all in the
world.

_Austin._ Do the hunters take deer as well as other animals?

_Hunter._ Deer, though their skins are not so valuable as many furs,
are very useful to hunters and trappers; for they not only add to
their stock of peltries, but also supply them with food. When skins
have been tanned on the inside, they are called _furs_; but, before
they are tanned, they are called _peltries_. Deer are trapped much in
the same way as buffaloes are. A large circle is enclosed with twisted
trees and brushwood, with a very narrow opening, in the neighbourhood
of a well-frequented deer path. The inside of the circle is crowded
with small hedges, in the openings of which are set snares of twisted
thongs, made fast at one end to a neighbouring tree. Two lines of
small trees are set up, branching off outwardly from the narrow
entrance of the circle; so that the further the lines of trees extend
from the circle, the wider is the space between them. As soon as the
deer are seen moving in the direction of the circle, the hunters get
behind them, and urge them on by loud shouts. The deer, mistaking the
lines of trees set up for enemies, fly straight forward, till they
enter the snare prepared for them. The circle is then surrounded, to
prevent their quitting it, while some of the hunters go into it,
blocking up the entrance, and kill the deer with their bows and
arrows, and their spears.

_Basil._ I am sorry for the poor deer.

_Brian._ And so am I, Basil.

_Hunter._ Hunters are often obliged to leave food in particular
places, in case they should be destitute on their return that way.
They sometimes, too, leave property behind them, and for this purpose
they form a _cache_.

_Austin._ What is a _cache_?

_Hunter._ A _cache_ is a hole, or place of concealment; and when any
thing is put in it, great care is required to conceal it from enemies,
and indeed from wild animals, such as wolves and bears.

_Austin._ Well! but if they dig a deep hole, and put the things in it,
how could anybody find it? A wolf and a bear would never find it out.

_Hunter._ Perhaps not; unless they should smell it.

_Austin._ Ay! I forgot that. I must understand a little more of my
business before I set up for a hunter, or a trapper; but please to
tell us all about a cache.

_Hunter._ A cache is usually dug near a stream, that the earth taken
out of the hole may be thrown into the running water, otherwise it
would tell tales. Then the hunters spread blankets, or what clothes
they have, over the surrounding ground, to prevent the marks of their
feet being seen. When they have dug the hole they line it with dry
grass, and sticks, and bark, and sometimes with a dry skin. After the
things to be hidden are put in, they are covered with another dry
skin, and the hole is filled up with grass, stones, and sticks, and
trodden down hard, to prevent the top from sinking afterwards: the
place is sprinkled with water to take away the scent; and the turf,
which was first cut away, before the hole was dug, is laid down with
care, just as it was before it was touched. They then take up their
blankets and clothes, and leave the cache, putting a mark at some
distance, that when they come again they may know where to find it.

_Austin._ Capital! I could make a cache now, that neither bear, nor
wolf, nor Indian could find.

_Brian._ But if the bear did not find the cache, he might find you;
and then what would become of you?

_Austin._ Why I would climb a tree, as Cannon did.

_Hunter._ Most of the furs that are taken find their way to London;
but every year the animals which produce them become fewer. Besides
the skins of larger animals, the furs of a great number of smaller
creatures are valuable; and these, varying in their habits, require to
be taken in a different manner. The bison is found on the prairies,
or plains; the beaver, on creeks and rivers; the badger, the fox, and
the rabbit, burrow in the ground; and the bear, the deer, the mink,
the martin, the raccoon, the lynx, the hare, the musk-rat, the
squirrel, and ermine, are all to be found in the woods. In paddling up
the rivers in canoes, and in roaming through the woods and prairies,
in search of these animals, I have mingled much with Indians of
different tribes; and if you can, now and then, make a call on me, you
will perhaps be entertained in hearing what I can tell you about them.
The Indians should be regarded by us as brothers. We ought to feel
interested in their welfare here, and in their happiness hereafter.
The fact that we are living on lands once the residence of these
roaming tribes, and that they have been driven far into the wilderness
to make room for us, should lead us not only to feel sympathy for the
poor Indians, but to make decided efforts for their improvement. Our
missionary societies are aiming at this great object, but far greater
efforts are necessary. We have the word of God, and Christian
Sabbaths, and Christian ministers, and religious ordinances, in
abundance, to direct and comfort us; but they are but scantily
supplied with these advantages. Let us not forget to ask in our
prayers, that the Father of mercies may make known his mercy to them,
opening their eyes, and influencing their hearts, so that they may
become true servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The delight visible in the sparkling eyes of the young people, as
they took their leave, spoke their thanks. On their way home, they
talked of nothing else but fur companies, lakes, rivers, prairies, and
rocky mountains; buffaloes, wolves, bears, and beavers; and it was
quite as much as Brian and Basil could do, to persuade their brother
Austin from making up his mind at once to be a voyageur, a coureur des
bois, or a trapper. The more they were against it, so much the more
his heart seemed set upon the enterprise; and the wilder they made the
buffaloes that would attack him, and the bears and wolves that would
tear him to pieces, the bolder and more courageous he became. However,
though on this point they could not agree, they were all unanimous in
their determination to make another visit the first opportunity.

    [Illustration: Indian Cloak.]



              [Illustration: Chiefs of different Tribes.]

                             CHAPTER III.


The next time the three brothers did not go to the red sand-stone
rock, but the adventure which took place there formed a part of their
conversation. They found the hunter at home, and, feeling now on very
friendly and familiar terms with him, they entered at once on the
subject that was nearest their hearts. "Tell us, if you please," said
Austin, as soon as they were seated, "about the very beginning of the
red men."

"You are asking me to do that," replied the hunter, "which is much
more difficult than you suppose. To account for the existence of the
original inhabitants, and of the various tribes of Indians which are
now scattered throughout the whole of North America, has puzzled the
heads of the wisest men for ages; and, even at the present day, though
travellers have endeavoured to throw light on this subject, it still
remains a mystery."

_Austin._ But what is it that is so mysterious? What is it that wise
men and travellers cannot make out?

_Hunter._ They cannot make out how it is, that the whole of
America--taking in, as it does, some parts which are almost always
covered with snow, and other parts that are as hot as the sun can make
them--should be peopled with a class of human beings distinct from all
others in the world--red men, who have black hair, and no beards. If
you remember, it is said, in the first chapter of Genesis, "So God
created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male
and female created he them." And, in the second chapter, "And the Lord
God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom
he had formed." Now, it is known, by the names of the rivers which are
mentioned in the chapter, that the garden of Eden was in Asia; so that
you see our first parents, whence the whole of mankind have sprung,
dwelt in Asia.

_Austin._ Yes, that is quite plain.

_Hunter._ Well, then, you recollect, I dare say, that when the world
was drowned, all mankind were destroyed, except Noah and his family in
the ark.

_Brian._ Yes; we recollect that very well.

_Hunter._ And when the ark rested, it rested on Mount Ararat, which is
in Asia also. If you look on the map of the world, you will see that
the three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa, are united together;
but America stands by itself, with an ocean rolling on each side of
it, thousands of miles broad. It is easy to suppose that mankind would
spread over the continents that are close together, but difficult to
account for their passing over the ocean, at a time when the arts of
ship-building and navigation were so little understood.

_Austin._ They must have gone in a ship, that is certain.

_Hunter._ But suppose they did, how came it about that they should be
so very different from all other men? America was only discovered
about four hundred years ago, and then it was well peopled with red
men. Besides, there have been discovered throughout our country,
monuments, ruins, and sites of ancient towns, with thousands of
enclosures and fortifications. Articles, too, of pottery, sculpture,
glass, and copper, have been found at times, sixty or eighty feet
under the ground, and, in some instances, with forests growing over
them, so that they must have been very ancient. The people who built
these fortifications and towers, and possessed these articles in
pottery, sculpture, glass, and copper, lived at a remote period, and
must have been, to a considerable degree, cultivated. Who these people
were, and how they came to America, no one knows, though many have
expressed their opinions. But, even if we did know who they were, how
could we account for the present race of Indians in North America
being barbarous, when their ancestors were so highly civilized? These
are difficulties which, as I said, have puzzled the wisest heads for
ages.

_Austin._ What do wise men and travellers say about these things?

_Hunter._ Some think, that as the frozen regions of Asia, in one part,
are so near the frozen regions of North America--it being only about
forty miles across Behring's Straits--some persons from Asia might
have crossed over there, and peopled the country; or that North
America might have once been joined to Asia, though it is not so now;
or that, in ancient times, some persons might have drifted, or been
blown there by accident, in boats or ships, across the wide ocean.
Some think these people might have been Phenicians, Carthagenians,
Hebrews, or Egyptians; while another class of reasoners suppose them
to have been Hindoos, Chinese, Tartars, Malays, or others. It seems,
however, to be God's will often to humble the pride of his creatures,
by baffling their conjectures, and hedging up their opinions with
difficulties. His way is in the sea, and his path in the great waters,
and his footsteps are not known. He "maketh the earth empty, and
maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the
inhabitants thereof."

_Austin._ Well, if you cannot tell us of the Indians in former times,
you can tell us of the Indians that there are, for that will be a
great deal better.

_Brian._ Yes, that it will.

_Hunter._ You must bear in mind, that some years have passed since I
was hunting and trapping in the woods and prairies, and that many
changes have taken place since then among the Indians. Some have been
tomahawked by the hands of the stronger tribes; some have given up
their lands to the whites, and retired to the west of the Mississippi;
and thousands have been carried off by disease, which has made sad
havoc among them. I must, therefore, speak of them as they were. Some
of the tribes, since I left them, have been utterly destroyed; not one
living creature among them being left to speak of those who have gone
before them.

_Austin._ What a pity! They want some good doctors among them, and
then diseases would not carry them off in that way.

_Hunter._ I will not pretend to give you an exact account of the
number of the different tribes, or the particular places they now
occupy; for though my information may be generally right, yet the
changes which have taken place are many.

_Austin._ Please to tell us what you remember, and what you know; and
that will quite satisfy us.

_Hunter._ A traveller[1] among the Indian tribes has published a book
called "Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of
the North American Indians;" and a most interesting and entertaining
account it is. If ever you can lay hold of it, it will afford you
great amusement. Perhaps no man who has written on the Indians has
seen so much of them as he has.

    [Footnote 1: Mr. Catlin]

_Brian._ Did you ever meet Catlin?

_Hunter._ O yes, many times; and a most agreeable companion I found
him. He has lectured in most of our cities, and shown the beautiful
collection of Indian dresses and curiosities collected during his
visits to the remotest tribes. If you can get a sight of his book, you
will soon see that he is a man of much knowledge, and possessing great
courage, energy, and perseverance. I will now, then, begin my
narrative; and if you can find pleasure in hearing a description of
the Indians, with their villages, wigwams, war-whoops, and warriors;
their manners, customs, and superstitions; their dress, ornaments, and
arms; their mysteries, games, huntings, dances, war-councils,
speeches, battles, and burials; with a fair sprinkling of prairie
dogs, and wild horses; wolves, beavers, grizzly bears, and mad
buffaloes; I will do my best to give you gratification.

_Austin._ These are the very things that we want to know.

_Hunter._ I shall not forget to tell you what the missionaries have
done among the Indians; but that must be towards the latter end of my
account. Let me first show you a complete table of the number and
names of the tribes. It is in the Report made to Congress by the
Commissioners of Indian Affairs for 1843-4.

_Statement showing the number of each tribe of Indians, whether
natives of, or emigrants to, the country west of the Mississippi, with
items of emigration and subsistence._

+--------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Names of  |Number    |Number   |Present  |Number  |Number |Number |Daily  |
|tribes.   |of each   |removed  |western  |remain- |removed|of each|expense|
|          |tribe     |of each  |popula-  |ing east|since  |now    |of sub-|
|          |indigenous|tribe    |tion of  |of each |date of|under  |sisting|
|          |to the    |wholly or|each     |tribe.  |last   |subsi- |them.  |
|          |country   |partially|tribe    |        |annual |stence |       |
|          |west of   |removed. |wholly or|        |report.|west.  |       |
|          |the Missi-|         |partially|        |       |       |       |
|          |ssippi.   |         |removed. |        |       |       |       |
|----------+----------+---------+---------+--------+-------+-------+-------|
|Chippewas,|          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Ottowas,  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|and Potta-|          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|watomies, |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|and Potta-|          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|watomies  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|of Indiana|    --    |   5,779 |   2,298 |  92[a] |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Creeks    |    --    |  24,594 |  24,594 |  744   |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Choctaws  |    --    |  15,177 |  15,177 | 3,323  |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Minatarees|   2,000  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Florida   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Indians   |    --    |   3,824 |   3,824 |   --   |  212  |  212  |$7 68½ |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Pagans    |  30,000  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Cherokees |    --    |  25,911 |  25,911 | 1,000  |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Assina-   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|boins     |    --    |   7,000 |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Swan Creek|          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|and Black |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|River     |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Chippewas |    --    |      62 |      62 |   113  |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Appachees |  20,280  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Crees     |     800  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Ottowas   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|and Chip- |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|pewas, to-|          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|gether    |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|with Chip-|          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|pewas of  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Michigan  |    --    |   --    |   --    | 7,055  |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Arrapahas |  2,500   |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|New York  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Indians   |    --    |   --    |   --    | 3,293  |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Gros      |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Ventres   |  3,300   |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Chickasaws|    --    |  4,930  |  4,930  | 80[b]  |288[c] | 198[d]| 9 40½ |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Eutaws    | 19,200   |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Stock-    |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|bridges   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|and Mun-  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|sees, and |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Delawares |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|and       |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Munsees   |    --    |   180   |   278   |  320   |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Sioux     | 25,000   |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Quapaws   |    476   |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Iowas     |    470   |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Kickapoos |    --    |   588   |   505   |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Sacs and  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Foxes of  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Missis-   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|sippi     |  2,348[e]|         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Delawares |    --    |   826   |  1,059  |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Shawnees  |    --    |  1,272  |    887  |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Sacs of   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Missouri  |   414[e] |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Weas      |    --    |     225 |     176 |   30   |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Osages    |   4,102  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Pianke-   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|shaws     |    --    |     162 |      98 |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Kanzas    |   1,588  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Peorias   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|and       |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Kaskaskias|    --    |     132 |     150 |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Omahas    |   1,600  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Senecas   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|from      |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Sandusky  |    --    |     251 |     251 |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Otoes and |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Missourias|     931  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Senecas   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|and       |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Shawnees  |    --    |     211 |     211 |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Pawnees   |  12,500  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Winneba-  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|goes      |    --    |   4,500 |   2,183 |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Camanches |  19,200  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Kiowas    |   1,800  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Mandans   |     300  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Crows     |   4,000  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Wyandots  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|of Ohio   |    --    |     664 |    --   |   50[g]|   664 |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Poncas    |     800  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Miamies   |    --    |    --   |    --   |  661   |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Arickarees|   1,200  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Menomonies|    --    |    --   |    --   |2,464   |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Cheyenes  |   2,000  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Chippewas |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|of the    |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Lakes     |    --    |    --   |    --   |2,564   |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Blackfeet |   1,300  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Caddoes   |   2,000  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Snakes    |   1,000  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Flatheads |     800  |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Oneidas   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|of Green  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Bay       |    --    |    --   |    --   |  675   |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Stock-    |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|bridges of|          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Green Bay |    --    |    --   |    --   |  207   |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Wyandots  |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|of        |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Michigan  |    --    |    --   |    --   |   75   |       |       |       |
|          |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Pottawato-|          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|mies of   |          |         |         |        |       |       |       |
|Huron     |    --    |    --   |    --   |  100   |       |       |       |
+----------+----------+---------+---------+--------+-------+-------+-------+
|          | 168,909  |  89,288 |  83,594 |22,846  | 1,164 |  410  | 17 09 |
+----------+----------+---------+---------+--------+-------+-------+-------+


                                NOTES.

    [Footnote a: These 92 are Ottowas of Maumee.]

    [Footnote b: This, as far as appears from any data in the
    office; but, in point of fact, there are most probably no, or
    very few, Chickasaws remaining east.]

    [Footnote c: In this number is included a party, assumed to
    be 100, who clandestinely removed themselves; but they are
    withheld from the next column, because, it is not yet known
    what arrangement has been made for their subsistence, though
    instructions on that subject have been addressed to the
    Choctaw agent.]

    [Footnote d: Ten of these emigrated as far back as January,
    1842; but, as the number was so small, the arrangements for
    their subsistence were postponed until they could be included
    in some larger party, such as that which subsequently
    arrived.]

    [Footnote e: These Indians do not properly belong to this
    column, but are so disposed of because the table is without
    an exactly appropriate place for them. Originally, their
    haunts extended east of the river, and some of their
    possessions on this side are among the cessions by our
    Indians to the Government, but their tribes have ever since
    been gradually moving westward.]

    [Footnote g: This number is conjectural, but cannot be far
    from the truth, as Mr. McElvaine, the sub-agent, states that
    but 8 or 10 families still remain.]

_Hunter._ And now, place before you a map of North America. See how it
stretches out north and south from Baffin's Bay to the Gulf of Mexico,
and east and west from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. What a
wonderful work of the Almighty is the rolling deep! "The sea is His,
and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land." Here are the great
Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario; and here run the
mighty rivers, the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Ohio, and the St.
Lawrence: the Mississippi itself is between three and four thousand
miles long.

_Basil._ What a river! Please to tell us what are all those little
hills running along there, one above another, from top to bottom.

_Hunter._ They are the Rocky Mountains. Some regard them as a
continuation of the Andes of South America; so that, if both are put
together, they will make a chain of mountains little short of nine
thousand miles long. North America, with its mighty lakes, rivers, and
mountains, its extended valleys and prairies, its bluffs, caverns, and
cataracts, and, more than all, its Indian inhabitants, beavers,
buffaloes, and bisons, will afford us something to talk of for some
time to come; but the moment you are tired of my account, we will
stop.

_Austin._ We shall never be tired; no, not if you go on telling us
something every time we come, for a whole year. But do tell us, how
did these tribes behave to you, when you were among them?

_Hunter._ I have not a word of complaint to make. The Indians have
been represented as treacherous, dishonest, reserved, and sour in
their disposition; but, instead of this, I have found them generally,
though not in all cases, frank, upright, hospitable, light-hearted,
and friendly. Those who have seen Indians smarting under wrongs, and
deprived, by deceit and force, of their lands, hunting-grounds, and
the graves of their fathers, may have found them otherwise: and no
wonder; the worm that is trodden on will writhe; and man, unrestrained
by Divine grace, when treated with injustice and cruelty, will turn on
his oppressor.

_Austin._ Say what you will, I like the Indians.

_Hunter._ That there is much of evil among Indians is certain; much of
ignorance, unrestrained passions, cruelty, and revenge: but they have
been misrepresented in many things. I had better tell you the names of
some of the chiefs of the tribes, or of some of the most remarkable
men among them.

_Austin._ Yes; you cannot do better. Tell us the names of all the
chiefs, and the warriors, and the conjurors, and all about them.

_Hunter._ The Blackfeet Indians are a very warlike people;
_Stu-mick-o-súcks_ was the name of their chief.

_Austin._ Stu-mick-o-súcks! What a name! Is there any meaning in it?

_Hunter._ O yes. It means, "the back fat of the buffalo;" and if you
had seen him and _Peh-tó-pe-kiss_, "the ribs of the eagle," another
chief dressed up in their splendid mantles, buffaloes' horns, ermine
tails, and scalp-locks, you would not soon have turned your eyes from
them.

_Brian._ Who would ever be called by such a name as that? The back fat
of the buffalo!

_Hunter._ The Camanchees are famous on horseback. There is no tribe
among the Indians that can come up to them, to my mind, in the
management of a horse, and the use of the lance: they are capital
hunters. The name of their chief is _Eé-shah-kó-nee_, or "the bow and
quiver." I hardly ever saw a larger man among the Indians than
_Ta-wáh-que-nah_, the second chief in power. Ta-wáh-que-nah means "the
mountain of rocks," a very fit name for a huge Indian living near the
Rocky Mountains. When I saw _Kots-o-kó-ro-kó_, or "the hair of the
bull's neck," (who is, if I remember right, the third chief,) he had a
gun in his right hand, and his warlike shield on his left arm.

_Austin._ If I go among the Indians, I shall stay a long time with the
Camanchees; and then I shall, perhaps, become one of the most skilful
horsemen, and one of the best hunters in the world.

_Brian._ And suppose you get thrown off your horse, or killed in
hunting buffaloes, what shall you say to it then?

_Austin._ Oh, very little, if I get killed; but no fear of that. I
shall mind what I am about. Tell us who is the head of the Sioux?

_Hunter._ When I was at the upper waters of the Mississippi and
Missouri rivers, _Ha-wón-je-tah_, or "the one horn," was chief; but
since then, being out among the buffaloes, a buffalo bull attacked and
killed him.

_Basil._ There, Austin! If an Indian chief was killed by a buffalo,
what should _you_ do among them? Why they would toss you over their
heads like a shuttlecock.

_Hunter._ _Wee-tá-ra-sha-ro_, the head chief of the Pawnee Picts, is
dead now, I dare say; for he was a very old, as well as a very
venerable looking man. Many a buffalo hunt with the Camanchees had he
in his day, and many a time did he go forth with them in their
war-parties. He had a celebrated brave of the name of _Ah'-sho-cole_,
or "rotten foot," and another called _Ah'-re-kah-na-có-chee_, "the mad
elk." Indians give the name of _brave_ to a warrior who has
distinguished himself by feats of valour, such as admit him to their
rank.

_Brian._ I wonder that they should choose such long names. It must be
a hard matter to remember them.

_Hunter._ There were many famous men among the Sacs. _Kee-o-kuk_ was
the chief. Kee-o-kuk means "the running fox." One of his boldest
braves was _Má-ka-tai-me-she-kiá-kiák_, "the black hawk." The history
of this renowned warrior is very curious. It was taken down from his
own lips, and has been published. If you should like to listen to the
adventures of Black Hawk, I will relate them to you some day, when you
have time to hear them, as well as those of young Nik-ka-no-chee, a
Seminole.

_Austin._ We will not forget to remind you of your promise. It will be
capital to listen to these histories.

_Hunter._ When I saw _Wa-sáw-me-saw_, or "the roaring thunder," the
youngest son of Black Hawk, he was in captivity. _Náh-se-ús-kuk_, "the
whirling thunder," his eldest son, was a fine looking man, beautifully
formed, with a spirit like that of a lion. There was a war called The
Black Hawk war, and Black Hawk was the leader and conductor of it; and
one of his most famous warriors was _Wah-pe-kée-suck_, or "white
cloud;" he was, however, as often called The Prophet as the White
Cloud. _Pam-a-hó_, "the swimmer;" _Wah-pa-ko-lás-kak_, "the track of
the bear;" and _Pash-ce-pa-hó_, "the little stabbing chief;" were, I
think, all three of them warriors of Black Hawk.

_Basil._ The Little Stabbing Chief! He must be a very dangerous fellow
to go near, if we may judge by his name: keep away from him, Austin,
if you go to the Sacs.

_Austin._ Oh! he would never think of stabbing me. I should behave
well to all the tribes, and then I dare say they would all of them
behave well to me. You have not said any thing of the Crow Indians.

_Hunter._ I forget who was at the head of the Crows, though I well
remember several of the warriors among them. They were tall,
well-proportioned, and dressed with a great deal of taste and care.
_Pa-ris-ka-roó-pa_, called "the two crows," had a head of hair that
swept the ground after him as he walked along.

_Austin._ What do you think of that, Basil? No doubt the Crows are
fine fellows. Please to mention two or three more.

_Hunter._ Let me see; there was _Eé-heé-a-duck-chée-a_, or "he who
binds his hair before;" and _Hó-ra-to-ah_, "a warrior;" and
_Chah-ee-chópes_, "the four wolves;" the hair of these was as long as
that of Pa-ris-ka-roó-pa. Though they were very tall,
Eé-heé-a-duck-chée-a being at least six feet high, the hair of each of
them reached and rested on the ground.

_Austin._ When I go among the Indians, the Crows shall not be
forgotten by me. I shall have plenty to tell you of, Brian, when I
come back.

_Brian._ Yes, if you ever do come back; but what with the sea, and the
rivers, and the swamps, and the bears, and the buffaloes, you are sure
to get killed. You will never tell us about the Crows, or about any
thing else.

_Hunter._ There was one of the Crows called The Red Bear, or
_Duhk-pits-o-hó-shee_.

_Brian._ Duhk-pitch a--Duck pits--I cannot pronounce the word--why
that is worse to speak than any.

_Austin._ Hear me pronounce it then: _Duhk-pits-o-hoot-shee_. No; that
is not quite right, but very near it.

_Basil._ You must not go among the Crows yet, Austin; you cannot talk
well enough.

_Hunter._ Oh, there are much harder names among some of the tribes
than those I have mentioned; for instance there is
_Aú-nah-kwet-to-hau-páy-o_, "the one sitting in the clouds;" and
_Eh-tohk-pay-she-peé-shah_, "the black mocassin;" and
_Kay-ée-qua-da-kúm-ée-gish-kum_, "he who tries the ground with his
foot;" and _Mah-to-rah-rish-nee-éeh-ée-rah_, "the grizzly bear that
runs without fear."

_Brian._ Why these names are as long as from here to yonder. Set to
work, Austin! set to work! For, if there are many such names as these
among the Indians, you will have enough to do without going to a
buffalo hunt.

_Austin._ I never dreamed that there were such names as those in the
world.

_Basil._ Ay, you will have enough of them, Austin, if you go abroad.
You will never be able to learn them, do what you will. Give it up,
Austin; give it up at once.

Though Brian and Basil were very hard on Austin on their way home,
about the long names of the Indians, and the impossibility of his ever
being able to learn them by heart, Austin defended himself stoutly.
"Very likely," said he, "after all, they call these long names very
short, just as we do; Nat for Nathaniel, Kit for Christopher, and Elic
for Alexander."



                       [Illustration: Wigwams.]

                              CHAPTER IV.


It was not long before Austin, Brian, and Basil were again listening
to the interesting accounts given by their friend, the hunter; and it
would have been a difficult point to decide whether the listeners or
the narrator derived most pleasure from their occupation. Austin began
without delay to speak of the aborigines of North America.

"We want to know," said he, "a little more about what these people
were, and when they were first found out."

_Hunter._ When America was first discovered, the inhabitants, though
for the most part partaking of one general character, were not without
variety. The greater part, as I told you, were, both in hot and cold
latitudes, red men with black hair, and without beards. They, perhaps,
might have been divided into four parts: the Mexicans and Peruvians,
who were, to a considerable extent, civilized; the Caribs, who
inhabited the fertile soil and luxuriant clime of the West Indies; the
Esquimaux, who were then just the same people as they are now, living
in the same manner by fishing; and the Red Men, or North American
Indians.

_Austin._ Then the Esquimaux are not Red Indians.

_Hunter._ No; they are more like the people who live in Lapland, and
in the North of Asia; and for this reason, and because the distance
across Behring's Straits is so short, it is thought they came from
Asia, and are a part of the same people. The red men are, however,
different; and as we agreed that I should tell you about the present
race of them, perhaps I may as well proceed.

_Austin._ Yes. Please to tell us first of their wigwams, and their
villages, and how they live.

_Brian._ And what they eat, and what clothes they wear.

_Basil._ And how they talk to one another.

_Austin._ Yes; and all about their spears and tomahawks.

_Hunter._ The wigwams of the Indians are of different kinds: some are
extremely simple, being formed of high sticks or poles, covered with
turf or the bark of trees; while others are very handsome. The Sioux,
the Blackfeet, and the Crows, form their wigwams nearly in the same
manner; that is, by sewing together the skins of buffaloes, after
properly dressing them, and making them into the form of a tent. This
covering is then supported by poles. The tent has a hole at the top,
to let out the smoke, and to let in the light.

_Austin._ Ay, that is a better way of making a wigwam than covering
over sticks with turf.

_Hunter._ The wigwams, or lodges, of the Mandans are round. A circular
foundation is dug about two feet deep; timbers six feet high are set
up all around it, and on these are placed other long timbers, slanting
inwards, and fastened together in the middle, like a tent, leaving
space for light and for the smoke to pass. This tent-like roof is
supported by beams and upright posts, and it is covered over outwardly
by willow boughs and a thick coating of earth; then comes the last
covering of hard tough clay. The sun bakes this, and long use makes it
solid. The outside of a Mandan lodge is almost as useful as the
inside; for there the people sit, stand, walk, and take the air. These
lodges are forty, fifty, or sixty feet wide.

_Brian._ The Mandan wigwam is the best of all.

_Hunter._ Wigwams, like those of the Mandans, which are always in the
same place, and are not intended to be removed, are more substantial
than such as may be erected and taken down at pleasure. Some of the
wigwams of the Crow Indians, covered as they are with skins dressed
almost white, and ornamented with paint, porcupine quills and
scalp-locks, are very beautiful.

_Austin._ Yes; they must look even better than the Mandan lodges, and
they can be taken down and carried away.

_Hunter._ It would surprise you to witness the manner in which an
encampment of Crows or Sioux strike their tents or wigwams. I have
seen several hundred lodges all standing; in two or three minutes
after, all were flat upon the prairie.

_Austin._ Why, it must be like magic.

_Hunter._ The time has been fixed, preparations made, the signal
given, and all at once the poles and skin coverings have been taken
down.

_Brian._ How do they carry the wigwams away with them?

_Hunter._ The poles are dragged along by horses and by dogs; the
smaller ends being fastened over their shoulders, while on the larger
ends, dragging along the ground, are placed the coverings, rolled up
together. The dogs pull along two poles, each with a load, while the
horses are taxed according to their strength. Hundreds of horses and
dogs, thus dragging their burdens, may be seen slowly moving over the
prairie with attendant Indians on horseback, and women and girls on
foot heavily laden.

_Brian._ What a sight! and to what length they must stretch out; such
a number of them!

_Hunter._ Some of their villages are large, and fortified with two
rows of high poles round them. A Pawnee Pict village on the Red River,
with its five or six hundred beehive-like wigwams of poles, thatched
with prairie grass, much pleased me. Round the village there were
fields of maize, melons and pumpkins growing.

The Indians hunt, fish, and some of them raise corn for food; but the
flesh of the buffalo is what they most depend upon.

_Austin._ How do the Indians cook their food?

_Hunter._ They broil or roast meat and fish, by laying it on the fire,
or on sticks raised above the fire. They boil meat, also, making of it
a sort of soup. I have often seated myself, squatting down on a robe
spread for me, to a fine joint of buffalo ribs, admirably roasted;
with, perhaps, a pudding-like paste of the prairie turnip, flavoured
with buffalo berries.

_Austin._ That is a great deal like an English dinner--roast beef and
a pudding.

_Hunter._ The Indians eat a great deal of green corn, pemican, and
marrow fat. The pemican is buffalo meat, dried hard, and pounded in a
wooden mortar. Marrow fat is what is boiled out of buffalo bones; it
is usually kept in bladders. They eat, also, the flesh of the deer and
other animals: that of the dog is reserved for feasts and especial
occasions. They have, also, beans and peas, peaches, melons and
strawberries, pears, pumpkins, chinkapins, walnuts and chestnuts.
These things they can get when settled in their villages; but when
wandering, or on their war parties, they take up with what they can
find. They never eat salt with their food.

_Basil._ And what kind of clothes do they wear?

_Hunter._ Principally skins, unless they trade with the whites, in
which case they buy clothes of different kinds. Some wear long hair,
some cut their hair off and shave the head. Some dress themselves
with very few ornaments, but others have very many. Shall I describe
to you the full dress of _Máh-to-tóh-pa_, "the four bears."

_Austin._ Oh, yes; every thing belonging to him.

_Hunter._ You must imagine, then, that he is standing up before you,
while I describe him, and that he is not a little proud of his costly
attire.

_Austin._ I fancy that I can see him now.

_Hunter._ His robe was the soft skin of a young buffalo bull. On one
side was the fur; on the other, were pictured the victories he had
won. His shirt, or tunic, was made of the skins of mountain sheep,
ornamented with porcupine quills and paintings of his battles. From
the edge of his shoulder-band hung the long black locks that he had
taken with his own hand from his enemies. His head-dress was of
war-eagle quills, falling down his back to his very feet; on the top
of his head stood a pair of buffalo horns, shaven thin, and polished
beautifully.

_Brian._ What a figure he must have made!

_Hunter._ His leggings were tight, decorated with porcupine quills and
scalp-locks: they were made of the finest deer skins, and fastened to
a belt round the waist. His mocassins, or shoes, were buckskin,
embroidered in the richest manner; and his necklace, the skin of an
otter, having on it fifty huge claws, or rather talons, of the grizzly
bear.

_Austin._ What a desperate fellow! Bold as a lion, I will be bound for
it. Had he no weapons about him?

_Hunter._ Oh, yes! He held in his left hand a two-edged spear of
polished steel, with a shaft of tough ash, and ornamented with tufts
of war-eagle quills. His bow, beautifully white, was formed of bone,
strengthened with the sinews of deer, drawn tight over the back of it;
the bow-string was a three-fold twist of sinews. Seldom had its twang
been heard, without an enemy or a buffalo falling to the earth; and
rarely had that lance been urged home, without finding its way to some
victim's heart.

_Austin._ Yes; I thought he was a bold fellow.

_Hunter._ He had a costly shield of the hide of a buffalo, stiffened
with glue and fringed round with eagle quills and antelope hoofs; and
a quiver of panther skin, well filled with deadly shafts. Some of
their points were flint, and some were steel, and most of them were
stained with blood. He carried a pipe, a tobacco sack, a belt, and a
medicine bag; and in his right hand he held a war club like a sling,
being made of a round stone wrapped up in a raw hide and fastened to a
tough stick handle.

_Austin._ What sort of a pipe was it?

_Basil._ What was in his tobacco sack?

_Brian._ You did not say what his belt was made of.

_Hunter._ His pipe was made of red pipe-stone, and it had a stem of
young ash, full three feet long, braided with porcupine quills in the
shape of animals and men. It was also ornamented with the beaks of
woodpeckers, and hairs from the tail of the white buffalo. One thing I
ought not to omit; on the lower half of the pipe, which was painted
red, were notched the snows, or years of his life. By this simple
record of their lives, the red men of the forest and the prairie may
be led to something like reflection.

_Basil._ What was in his tobacco sack?

_Hunter._ His flint and steel, for striking a light, and his tobacco,
which was nothing more than the bark of the red willow. His medicine
bag was beaver skin, adorned with ermine and hawks' bills; and his
belt, in which he carried his tomahawk and scalping-knife, was formed
of tough buckskin, firmly fastened round his loins.

_Austin._ Please to tell us about the scalping knife. It must be a
fearful instrument.

_Hunter._ All instruments of cruelty, vengeance and destruction are
fearful, whether in savage or civilized life. What are we, that wrath
and revenge and covetousness should be fostered in our hearts! What is
man, that he should shed the blood of his brother! Before the Indians
had dealing with the whites, they made their own weapons: their bows
were strung with the sinews of deer; their arrows were headed with
flint; their knives were sharpened bone; their war-clubs were formed
of wood, cut into different shapes, and armed with sharp stones; and
their tomahawks, or hatchets, were of the same materials: but now,
many of their weapons, such as hatchets, spear-heads, and knives, are
made of iron, being procured from the whites, in exchange for the
skins they obtain in the chase. A scalping-knife is oftentimes no more
than a rudely formed butcher's knife, with one edge, and the Indians
wear them in beautiful scabbards under their belts.

_Austin._ How does an Indian scalp his enemy?

_Hunter._ The hair on the crown of the head is seized with the left
hand; the knife makes a circle round it through the skin, and then the
hair and skin together, sometimes with the hand, and sometimes with
the teeth, are forcibly torn off! The scalp may be, perhaps, as broad
as my hand.

_Brian._ Terrible! Scalping would be sure to kill a man, I suppose.

_Hunter._ Not always. Scalps are war trophies, and are generally
regarded as proofs of the death of an enemy; but an Indian, inflamed
with hatred and rage, and excited by victory, will not always wait
till his foe has expired before he scalps him. The hair, as well as
the scalp, of a fallen foe is carried off by the victorious Indian,
and with it his clothes are afterwards ornamented. It is said, that,
during the old French war, an Indian slew a Frenchman who wore a wig.
The warrior stooped down, and seized the hair for the purpose of
securing the scalp. To his great astonishment, the wig came off,
leaving the head bare. The Indian held it up, and examining it with
great wonder, exclaimed, in broken English, "Dat one big lie."

_Brian._ How the Indian would stare!

_Basil._ He had never seen a wig before, I dare say.

_Hunter._ The arms of Indians, offensive and defensive, are, for the
most part, those which I have mentioned--the club, the tomahawk, the
bow and arrow, the spear, the shield and the scalping-knife. But the
use of fire-arms is gradually extending among them. Some of their
clubs are merely massy pieces of hard, heavy wood, nicely fitted to
the hand, with, perhaps, a piece of hard bone stuck in the head part;
others are curiously carved into fanciful and uncouth shapes; while,
occasionally, may be seen a frightful war-club, knobbed all over with
brass nails, with a steel blade at the end of it, a span long.

_Austin._ What a terrible weapon, when wielded by a savage!

    [Illustration: _a_, scalping-knife. _b_, ditto, in sheath.
    _c_, _d_, war-clubs. _e_, _e_, tomahawks. _g_, whip.]

_Brian._ I would not go among the Indians, with their clubs and
tomahawks, for a thousand dollars.

_Basil._ Nor would I: they would be sure to kill me.

_Hunter._ The tomahawk is often carved in a strange manner; and some
of the bows and arrows are admirable. The bow formed of bone and
strong sinews is a deadly weapon; and some Indians have boasted of
having sent an arrow from its strings right through the body of a
buffalo.

_Austin._ What a strong arm that Indian must have had! Through a
buffalo's body!

_Hunter._ The quiver is made of the skin of the panther, or the otter;
and some of the arrows it contains are usually poisoned.

_Brian._ Why, then, an arrow is sure to kill a person, if it hits him.

_Hunter._ It is not likely that an enemy, badly wounded with a
poisoned arrow, will survive; for the head is set on loosely, in order
that, when the arrow is withdrawn, the poisoned barb may remain in the
wound. How opposed are these cruel stratagems of war to the precepts
of the gospel of peace, which are "Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you!"

_Basil._ What will you do, Austin, if you go among the Indians, and
they shoot you with a poisoned arrow?

_Austin._ Oh, I shall carry a shield. You heard that the Indians carry
shields.

_Hunter._ The shields of the Crows and Blackfeet are made of the thick
skin of the buffalo's neck: they are made as hard as possible, by
smoking them, and by putting glue upon them obtained from the hoofs of
animals; so that they will not only turn aside an arrow, but even a
musket ball, if they are held a little obliquely.

_Austin._ There, Basil! You see that I shall be safe, after all; for I
shall carry a large shield, and the very hardest I can get anywhere.

_Hunter._ Their spears have long, slender handles, with steel heads:
the handles are a dozen feet long, or more, and very skilful are they
in the use of them; and yet, such is the dread of the Indian when
opposed to a white man, that, in spite of his war horse and his eagle
plumes, his bow and well-filled quiver, his long lance, tomahawk and
scalping-knife, his self-possession forsakes him. He has heard, if not
seen, what the white man has done; and he thinks there is no standing
before him. If he can surprise him, he will; but, generally, the red
man fears to grapple with a pale face in the strife of war, for he
considers him clothed with an unknown power.

_Austin._ I should have thought that an Indian would be more than a
match for a white man.

_Hunter._ So long as he can crawl in the grass or brushwood, and steal
silently upon him by surprise, or send a shaft from his bow from
behind a tree, or a bullet from his rifle from the brow of a bluff, he
has an advantage; but, when he comes face to face with the white man,
he is superstitiously afraid of him. The power of the white man, in
war, is that of bravery and skill; the power of the red man consists
much in stratagem and surprise. Fifty white men, armed, on an open
plain, would beat off a hundred red men.

_Brian._ Why is it that the red men are always fighting against one
another? They are all brothers, and what is the use of their killing
one another?

_Hunter._ Most of the battles, among the Indians, are brought about by
the belief that they are bound to revenge an injury to their tribe.
There can be no peace till revenge is taken; they are almost always
retaliating one on another. Then, again, the red men have too often
been tempted, bribed, and, in some cases, forced to fight for the
white man.

_Brian._ That is very sad, though.

_Hunter._ It is sad; but when you say red men are brothers, are not
white men brothers too? And have they not been instructed in the
truths of Christianity, and the gospel of peace, which red men have
not, and yet how ready they are to draw the sword! War springs from
sinful passions; and until sin is subdued in the human heart, war will
ever be congenial to it.

_Austin._ What do the Indians call the sun?

_Hunter._ The different tribes speak different languages, and
therefore you must tell me which of them you mean.

_Austin._ Oh! I forgot that. Tell me what any two or three of the
tribes call it.

_Hunter._ A Sioux calls it _wee_; a Mandan, _menahka_; a Tuscarora,
_hiday_; and a Blackfoot, _cristeque ahtose_.

_Austin._ The Blackfoot is the hardest to remember. I should not like
to learn that language.

_Brian._ But you must learn it, if you go among them; or else you will
not understand a word they say.

_Austin._ Well! I shall manage it somehow or other. Perhaps some of
them may know English; or we may make motions one to another. What do
they call the moon?

_Hunter._ A Blackfoot calls it _coque ahtose_; a Sioux, _on wee_; a
Riccaree, _wetah_; a Mandan, _esto menahka_; and a Tuscarora,
_autsunyehaw_.

_Brian._ I wish you joy of the languages you have to learn, Austin, if
you become a wood-ranger, or a trapper. Remember, you must learn them
all; and you will have quite enough to do, I warrant you.

_Austin._ Oh! I shall learn a little at a time. We cannot do every
thing at once. What do the red men call a buffalo?

_Hunter._ In Riccaree, it is _watash_; in Mandan, _ptemday_; in
Tuscarora, _hohats_; in Blackfoot, _eneuh_.

_Basil._ What different names they give them!

_Hunter._ Yes. In some instances they are alike, but generally they
differ. If you were to say "How do you do?" as is the custom with us;
you must say among the Indians, _How ke che wa?_ _Chee na e num?_
_Dati youthay its?_ or, _Tush hah thah mah kah hush?_ according to the
language in which you spoke. I hardly think these languages would suit
you so well as your own.

_Brian._ They would never suit me; but Austin must learn every word of
them.

_Austin._ Please to tell us how to count ten, and then we will ask you
no more about languages. Let it be in the language of the Riccarees.

_Hunter._ Very well. _Asco, pitco, tow wit, tchee tish, tchee hoo,
tcha pis, to tcha pis, to tcha pis won, nah e ne won, nah en._ I will
just add, that _weetah_, is twenty; _nahen tchee hoo_, is fifty; _nah
en te tcha pis won_, is eighty; _shok tan_, is a hundred; and _sho tan
tera hoo_, is a thousand.

_Austin._ Can the Indians write?

_Hunter._ Oh no; they have no use for pen and ink, excepting some of
the tribes near the whites. In many of the different treaties which
have been made between the white and the red man, the latter has put,
instead of his name, a rough drawing of the animal or thing after
which he had been called. If the Indian chief was named "War hatchet,"
he made a rough outline of a tomahawk. If his name was "The great
buffalo" then the outline of a buffalo was his signature.

_Basil._ How curious!

_Hunter._ The _Big turtle_, the _Fish_, the _Scalp_, the _Arrow_, and
the _Big canoe_, all draw the form represented by their names in the
same manner. If you were to see these signatures, you would not think
these Indian chiefs had ever taken lessons in drawing.

_Brian._ I dare say their fish, and arrows, and hatchets, and turtles,
and buffaloes, are comical figures enough.

_Hunter._ Yes: but the hands that make these feeble scrawls are
strong, when they wield the bow or the tomahawk. A white man in the
Indian country, according to a story that is told, met a Shawnese
riding a horse, which he recognised as his own, and claimed it as his
property. The Indian calmly answered: "Friend, after a little while I
will call on you at your house, when we will talk this matter over." A
few days afterwards, the Indian came to the white man's house, who
insisted on having his horse restored to him. The other then told him:
"Friend, the horse which you claim belonged to my uncle, who lately
died; according to the Indian custom, I have become heir to all his
property." The white man not being satisfied, and renewing his demand,
the Indian immediately took a coal from the fire-place, and made two
striking figures on the door of the house; the one representing the
white man taking the horse, and the other himself in the act of
scalping him: then he coolly asked the trembling claimant whether he
could read this Indian writing. The matter was thus settled at once,
and the Indian rode off.

_Austin._ Ay; the white man knew that he had better give up the horse
than be scalped.

After the hunter had told Austin and his brothers that he should be
sure to have something new to tell them on their next visit, they took
their departure, having quite enough to occupy their minds till they
reached home.



                            [Illustration]

                              CHAPTER V.


"Black Hawk! Black Hawk!" cried out Austin Edwards, as he came in
sight of the hunter, who was just returning to his cottage as Austin
and his brothers reached it. "You promised to tell us all about Black
Hawk, and we are come to hear it now."

The hunter told the boys that it had been his intention to talk with
them about the prairies and bluffs, and to have described the wondrous
works of God in the wilderness. It appeared, however, that Austin's
heart was too much set on hearing the history of Black Hawk, to
listen patiently to any thing else; and the hunter, perceiving this,
willingly agreed to gratify him. He told them, that, in reading or
hearing the history of Indian chiefs, they must not be carried away by
false notions of their valour, for that it was always mingled with
much cruelty. The word of God said truly, that "the dark places of the
earth are full of the habitations of cruelty."[2] "With untaught
Indians," continued he, "revenge is virtue; and to tomahawk an enemy,
and tear away his scalp, is the noblest act he can perform in his own
estimation; whereas Christians are taught, as I said before, to
forgive and love their enemies. But I will now begin the history of
Black Hawk."

    [Footnote 2: Ps. lxxiv. 20.]

_Austin._ Suppose you tell us his history just as he would tell it
himself. Speak to us as if you were Black Hawk, and we will not say a
single word.

_Hunter._ Very well. Then, for a while, I will be Black Hawk, and what
I tell you will be true, only the words will be my own, instead of
those of the Indian chief. And I will speak as if I spoke to American
white men.

"I am an old man, the changes of many moons and the toils of war have
made me old. I have been a conqueror, and I have been conquered: many
moons longer I cannot hope to live.

"I have hated the whites, but have been treated well by them when a
prisoner. I wish, before I go my long journey, at the command of the
Great Spirit, to the hunting grounds of my fathers in another world,
to tell my history; it will then be seen why I hated the whites. Bold
and proud was I once, in my native forests, but the pale faces
deceived me; it was for this that I hated them.

"Would you know where I was born? I will tell you. It was at the Sac
village on Rock River. This was, according to white man's reckoning,
in the year 1767, so that I am fifty years old, and ten and seven.

"My father's name was Py-e-sa; the father of his father was
Na-nà-ma-kee, or Thunder. I was a brave, and afterwards a chief, a
leading war-chief, carrying the medicine bag. I fought against the
Osages. Did I fear them? No. Did I often win the victory? I did.

"The white men of America said to the Sacs and Foxes, to the Sioux,
the Chippewas, and Winnebagoes, 'Go you to the other side of the
Mississippi;' and they said, 'Yes.' But I said, 'No: why should I
leave the place where our wigwams stand, where we have hunted for so
many moons, and where the bones of our fathers have rested?
Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, or Black Hawk, will not go.'

"My heart told me that my great white father, the chief of America,
would not do wrong; would not make me go to the other side of the
river. My prophet also told me the same. I felt my arm strong, and I
fought. Never did the hand of Black Hawk kill woman or child. They
were warriors that Black Hawk fought with.

"Though I came down from the chief Na-nà-ma-kee, yet my people would
not let me dress like a chief. I did not paint myself; I did not wear
feathers; but I was bold and not afraid to fight, so I became a brave.

"The Osages were our enemies, and I went with my father and many more
to fight. I saw my father kill an enemy, and tear away the scalp from
his head. I felt determined to do the same. I pleased my father; for,
with my tomahawk and spear, I rushed on an enemy. I brought back his
scalp in my hand.

"I next led on seven of our people against a hundred Osages, and
killed one. After that, I led on two hundred, when we killed a
hundred, and took many scalps. In a battle with the Cherokees my
father was killed. I painted my face black, and prayed to the Great
Spirit, and did not fight any more for five years; all that I did was
to hunt and to fish.

"The Osages had done us great wrong, so we were determined to destroy
them. I set off, in the third moon, at the head of five hundred Sacs
and Foxes, and one hundred Ioways. We fell upon forty lodges. I made
two of their squaws prisoners, but all the rest of the people in the
lodges we killed. Black Hawk killed seven men himself. In a battle
with the Cherokees, I killed thirteen of their bravest with my own
hand.

"One of our people killed a pale-face American, and he was put in
prison; so we sent to St. Louis, to pay for the killed man, and to
cover the blood. Did the pale faces do well? No, they did not; they
set our man free, but when he began to run they shot him down; and
they gave strong drink to our four people, and told them to give up
the best part of our hunting ground for a thousand dollars every
twelve moons. What right had they to give our men strong drink, and
then cheat them? None.

"American white faces came, with a great, big gun, to build a fort,
and said it was to trade with us. They treated the Indians ill: we
went against the fort. I dug a hole in the ground with my knife, so
that I could hide myself with some grass. I shot with my rifle and cut
the cord of their flag, so that they could not pull it up to fly in
the air; and we fired the fort, but they put out the fire.

"One of our people killed a white, and was taken. He was to die, but
asked leave to go and see his squaw and children. They let him go, but
he ran back through the prairies next day, in time to be shot down. He
did not say he would come back, and then stay; he was an Indian, and
not a white man. I hunted and fished for his squaw and children when
he was dead.

"Why was it that the Great Spirit did not keep the white men where he
put them? Why did he let them come among my people with their
fire-drink, sickness, and guns? It had been better for red men to be
by themselves.

"We went to a great English brave, Colonel Dixon, at Green Bay: there
were many Pottawatomies, Kickapoos, Ottowas, and Winnebagoes there.
The great brave gave us pipes, tobacco, new guns, powder, and clothes.
I held a talk with him in his tent; he took my hand. 'General Black
Hawk,' said he, and he put a medal round my neck, 'you must now hold
us fast by the hand; you will have the command of all the braves to
join our own braves at Detroit.' I was sorry, because I wanted to go
to Mississippi. But he said, 'No; you are too brave to kill women and
children: you must kill braves.'

"We had a feast, and I led away five hundred braves to join the
British. Sometimes we won, and sometimes we lost. The Indians were
killing the prisoners, but Black Hawk stopped them. He is a coward who
kills a brave that has no arms and cannot fight. I did not like so
often to be beaten in battle, and to get no plunder. I left the
British, with twenty of my braves, to go home, and see after my wife
and children.

"I found an old friend of mine sitting on a mat in sorrow: he had come
to be alone, and to make himself little before the Great Spirit: he
had fasted long, he was hardly alive; his son had been taken prisoner,
and shot and stabbed to death. I put my pipe to my friend's mouth; he
smoked a little. I took his hand, and said 'Black Hawk would revenge
his son's death.' A storm came on; I wrapped my old friend in my
blanket. The storm gave over; I made a fire. It was too late; my
friend was dead. I stopped with him the remainder of the night; and
then my people came, and we buried him on the peak of the bluff.

"I explained to my people the way the white men fight. Instead of
stealing on each other, quietly and by surprise, to kill their enemies
and save their own people, they all fight in the sunlight, like
braves; not caring how many of their people fall. They then feast and
drink as if nothing had happened, and write on paper that they have
won, whether they have won or been beaten. And they do not write
truth, for they only put down a part of the people they have lost.
They would do to _paddle_ a canoe, but not to _steer_ it. They fight
like braves, but they are not fit to be chiefs, and to lead war
parties.

"I found my wife well, and my children, and would have been quiet in
my lodge; for, while I was away, Kee-o-kuk had been made a chief: but
I had to revenge the death of the son of my old friend. I told my
friend so when he was dying. Why should Black Hawk speak a lie? I took
with me thirty braves, and went to Fort Madison; but the American pale
faces had gone. I was glad, but still followed them down the
Mississippi. I went on their trail. I shot the chief of the party with
whom we fought. We returned home, bringing two scalps. Black Hawk had
done what he said.

"Many things happened. Old Wàsh-e-own, one of the Pottawatomies, was
shot dead by a war chief. I gave Wàsh-e-own's relations two horses and
my rifles to keep the peace. A party of soldiers built a fort at
Prairie du Chien. They were friendly to us, but the British came and
took the fort. We joined them; we followed the boats and shot
fire-arrows, and the sails of one boat were burned, and we took it.

"We found, in the boats we had taken, barrels of whiskey: this was bad
medicine. We knocked in the heads of the barrels, and emptied out the
bad medicine. We found bottles and packages, which we flung into the
river as bad medicine too. We found guns and clothes, which I divided
with my braves. The Americans built a fort; I went towards it with my
braves. I had a dream, in which the Great Spirit told me to go down
the bluff to a creek, and to look in a hollow tree cut down, and there
I should see a snake; close by would be the enemy unarmed. I went to
the creek, peeped into the tree, saw the snake, and found the enemy.
One man of them was killed, after that we returned home: peace was
made between the British and Americans, and we were to bury the
tomahawk too.

"We went to the great American chief at St. Louis, and smoked the pipe
of peace. The chief said our great American father was angry with us,
and accused us of crimes. We said this was a lie; for our great father
had deceived us, and forced us into a war. They were angry at what we
said; but we smoked the pipe of peace again, and I first touched the
goose quill; but I did not know that, in doing so, I gave away my
village. Had I known it, I would never have touched the goose quill.

"The American whites built a fort on Rock Island; this made us sorry,
for it was our garden, like what the white people have near their big
villages. It supplied us with plums, apples and nuts, with
strawberries and blackberries. Many happy days had I spent on Rock
Island. A good spirit had the care of it; he lived under the rock, in
a cave. He was white, and his wings were ten times bigger than swan's
wings: when the white men came there, he went away.

"We had corn and beans and pumpkins and squashes. We were the
possessors of the valley of the Mississippi, full seven hundred miles
from the Ouisconsin to the Portage des Sioux, near the mouth of the
Missouri. If another prophet had come to us in those days, and said,
'The white man will drive you from these hunting grounds, and from
this village, and Rock Island, and not let you visit the graves of
your fathers,' we should have said, 'Why should you tell us a lie?'

"It was good to go to the graves of our fathers. The mother went there
to weep over her child: the brave went there to paint the post where
lay his father. There was no place in sorrow like that where the bones
of our forefathers lay. There the Great Spirit took pity on us. In our
village, we were as happy as a buffalo on the plains; but now we are
more like the hungry and howling wolf in the prairie.

"As the whites came nearer to us, we became more unhappy. They gave
our people strong liquor, and I could not keep them from drinking it.
My eldest son and my youngest daughter died. I gave away all I had;
blackened my face for two years, lived alone with my family, to humble
myself before the Great Spirit. I had only a piece of buffalo robe to
cover me.

"White men came and took part of our lodges; and Kee-o-kuk told me I
had better go West, as he had done. I said I could not forsake my
village; the prophet told me I was right. I thought then that
Kee-o-kuk was no brave, but a coward, to give up what the Great Spirit
had given us.

"The white men grew more and more; brought whiskey among us, cheated
us out of our guns, our horses and our traps, and ploughed up our
grounds. They treated us cruelly; and, while they robbed us, said that
we robbed them. They made right look like wrong, and wrong like right.
I tried hard to get right, but could not. The white man wanted my
village, and back I must go. Sixteen thousand dollars every twelve
moons are to be given to the Pottawatomies for a little strip of land,
while one thousand dollars only was set down for our land signed away,
worth twenty times as much. White man is too great a cheat for red
man.

"A great chief, with many soldiers, came to drive us away. I went to
the prophet, who told me not to be afraid. They only wanted to
frighten us, and get our land without paying for it. I had a talk with
the great chief. He said if I would go, well. If I would not, he would
drive me. 'Who is Black Hawk?' said he. 'I am a Sac,' said I; 'my
forefather was a Sac; and all the nation call me a Sac.' But he said I
should go.

"I crossed the Mississippi with my people, during the night, and we
held a council. I touched the goose quill again, and they gave us some
corn, but it was soon gone. Then our women and children cried out for
the roasted ears, the beans, and squashes they had been used to, and
some of our braves went back in the night, to take some corn from our
own fields; the whites saw and fired upon them.

"I wished our great American father to do us justice. I wished to go
to him with others, but difficulties were thrown in the way. I
consulted the prophet, and recruited my bands to take my village
again; for I knew that it had been sold by a few, without the consent
of the many. It was a cheat. I said, 'I will not leave the place of my
fathers.'

"With my braves and warriors, on horseback, I moved up the river, and
took with us our women and children in canoes. Our prophet was among
us. The great war chief, White Beaver, sent twice to tell us to go
back; and that, if we did not, he would come and drive us. Black
Hawk's message was this: 'If you wish to fight us, come on.'

"We were soon at war; but I did not wish it: I tried to be at peace;
but when I sent parties with a white flag, some of my parties were
shot down. The whites behaved ill to me, they forced me into war, with
five hundred warriors, when they had against us three or four
thousand. I often beat them, driving back hundreds, with a few braves,
not half their number. We moved on to the Four Lakes.

"I made a dog feast before I left my camp. Before my braves feasted, I
took my great medicine bag, and made a speech to my people; this was
my speech:--

"'Braves and warriors! these are the medicine bags of our forefather,
Muk-a-tà-quet, who was the father of the Sac nation. They were handed
down to the great war chief of our nation, Na-nà-ma-kee, who has been
at war with all the nations of the lakes, and all the nations of the
plains, and they have never yet been disgraced. I expect you all to
protect them.'

"We went to Mos-co-ho-co-y-nak, where the whites had built a fort. We
had several battles; but the whites so much outnumbered us, it was in
vain. We had not enough to eat. We dug roots, and pulled the bark from
trees, to keep us alive; some of our old people died of hunger. I
determined to remove our women across the Mississippi, that they might
return again to the Sac nation.

"We arrived at the Ouisconsin, and had begun crossing over, when the
enemy came in great force. We had either to fight, or to sacrifice our
women and children. I was mounted on a fine horse, and addressed my
warriors, encouraging them to be brave. With fifty of them I fought
long enough to let our women cross the river, losing only six men:
this was conduct worthy a brave.

"It was sad for us that a party of soldiers from Prairie du Chien were
stationed on the Ouisconsin, and these fired on our distressed women:
was this brave? No. Some were killed, some taken prisoners, and the
rest escaped into the woods. After many battles, I found the white men
too strong for us; and thinking there would be no peace while Black
Hawk was at the head of his braves, I gave myself up and my great
medicine bag. 'Take it,' said I. 'It is the soul of the Sac nation:
it has never been dishonoured in any battle. Take it; it is my life,
dearer than life; let it be given to the great American chief.'

"I understood afterwards, a large party of Sioux attacked our women,
children, and people, who had crossed the Mississippi, and killed
sixty of them: this was hard, and ought not to have been allowed by
the whites.

"I was sent to Jefferson Barracks, and afterwards to my great American
father at Washington. He wanted to know why I went to war with his
people. I said but little, for I thought he ought to have known why
before, and perhaps he did; perhaps he knew that I was deceived and
forced into war. His wigwam is built very strong. I think him to be a
good little man, and a great brave.

"I was treated well at all the places I passed through; Louisville,
Cincinnati, and Wheeling; and afterwards at Fortress Monroe,
Baltimore, Philadelphia, and the big village of New York; and I was
allowed to return home again to my people, of whom Kee-o-kuk, the
Running Fox, is now the chief. I sent for my great medicine bag, for I
wished to hand it down unsullied to my nation.

"It has been said that Black Hawk murdered women and children among
the whites; but it is not true. When the white man takes my hand, he
takes a hand that has only been raised against warriors and braves. It
has always been our custom to receive the stranger, and to use him
well. The white man shall ever be welcome among us as a brother. What
is done is past; we have buried the tomahawk, and the Sacs and Foxes
and Americans will now be friends.

"As I said, I am an old man, and younger men must take my place. A few
more snows, and I shall go where my fathers are. It is the wish of the
heart of Black Hawk, that the Great Spirit may keep the red men and
pale faces in peace, and that the tomahawk may be buried for ever."

_Austin._ Poor Black Hawk! He went through a great deal. And
Kee-o-kuk, the Running Fox, was made chief instead of him.

_Hunter._ Kee-o-kuk was a man more inclined to peace than war; for,
while Black Hawk was fighting, he kept two-thirds of the tribe in
peace. The time may come, when Indians may love peace as much as they
now love war; and when the "peace of God which passeth all
understanding" may "keep their hearts and minds in the knowledge and
love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord."

_Austin._ Now, just before we go, will you please to tell us a little
about a buffalo hunt; just a little, and then we shall talk about it,
and about Black Hawk, all the way home.

_Hunter._ Well, it must be a short account now; perhaps I may describe
another hunt, more at length, another time. In hunting the buffalo,
the rifle, the lance, and the bow and arrow are used, as the case may
be. I have hunted with the Camanchees in the Mexican provinces, who
are famous horsemen; with the Sioux, on the Mississippi; the Crows,
on the Yellow-stone river; and the Pawnees, at the Rocky Mountains.
One morning, when among the Crows, a muster took place for a buffalo
hunt: you may be sure that I joined them, for at that time I was
almost an Indian myself.

_Austin._ How did you prepare for the hunt?

_Hunter._ As soon as we had notice, from the top of a bluff in the
distance, that a herd of buffaloes was on the prairie, we prepared our
horses; while some Indians were directed to follow our trail, with
one-horse carts, to bring home the meat.

_Brian._ You were sure, then, that you should kill some buffaloes.

_Hunter._ Yes; we had but little doubt on that head. I threw off my
cap; stripped off my coat; tying a handkerchief round my head, and
another round my waist; rolled up my sleeves; hastily put a few
bullets in my mouth, and mounted a fleet horse, armed with a rifle and
a thin, long spear: but most of the Crows had also bows and arrows.

_Basil._ Your thin spear would soon be broken.

_Hunter._ No; these thin, long spears are sometimes used, in buffalo
hunting, for years without breaking. When an Indian chases a buffalo,
if he does not use his rifle or bow and arrow, he rides on fast till
he comes up with his game, and makes his horse gallop just the same
pace as the buffalo. Every bound his horse gives, the Indian keeps
moving his spear backwards and forwards across the pommel of his
saddle, with the point sideways towards the buffalo. He gallops on in
this way, saying "Whish! whish!" every time he makes a feint, until he
finds himself in just the situation to inflict a deadly wound; then,
in a moment, with all his strength, he plunges in his lance, quick as
lightning, near the shoulders of the buffalo, and withdraws it at the
same instant: the lance, therefore, is not broken, though the buffalo
may be mortally wounded.

_Brian._ The poor buffalo has no chance at all.

_Austin._ Well! you mounted your horse, and rode off at full gallop--

_Hunter._ No; we walked our steeds all abreast, until we were seen by
the herd of buffaloes. On catching sight of us, in an instant they set
off, and we after them as hard as we could drive, a cloud of dust
rising from the prairie, occasioned by the trampling hoofs of the
buffaloes.

_Basil._ What a scamper there must be!

_Hunter._ Rifles were flashing, bowstrings were twanging, spears were
dashed into the fattest of the herd, and buffaloes were falling in all
directions. Here was seen an Indian rolling on the ground, and there a
horse gored to death by a buffalo bull. I brought down one of the
largest of the herd with my rifle, at the beginning of the hunt; and,
before it was ended, we had as many buffaloes as we knew what to do
with. Some of the party had loaded their rifles four or five times,
while at full gallop, bringing down a buffalo at every fire.

Very willingly would Austin have lingered long enough to hear of half
a dozen buffalo hunts; but, bearing in mind what had been said about
a longer account at another time, he cordially thanked the hunter for
all he had told them, and set off home, with a light heart, in earnest
conversation with his brothers.

    [Illustration]



                     [Illustration: Buffalo Hunt.]

                              CHAPTER VI.


The description of the buffalo hunt, given by the hunter, made a deep
impression on the minds of the young people; and the manner of using
the long, thin lance called forth their wonder, and excited their
emulation. Austin became a Camanchee from the Mexican provinces, the
Camanchees being among the most expert lancers and horsemen; Brian
called himself a Sioux, from the Mississippi; and Basil styled himself
a Pawnee, from the Rocky Mountains.

Many were the plans and expedients to get up a buffalo hunt upon a
large scale, but the difficulty of procuring buffaloes was
insurmountable. Austin, it is true, did suggest an inroad among the
flock of sheep of a neighbouring farmer maintaining that the
scampering of the sheep would very much resemble the flight of a herd
of buffaloes; but this suggestion was given up, on the ground that the
farmer might not think it so entertaining an amusement as they did.

It was doubtful, at one time, whether, in their extremity, they should
not be compelled to convert the chairs and tables into buffaloes; but
Austin, whose heart was in the thing, had a bright thought, which
received universal approbation. This was to make buffaloes of their
playfellow Jowler, the Newfoundland dog, and the black tom-cat.
Jowler, with his shining shaggy skin, was sure to make a capital
buffalo; and Black Tom would do very well, as buffaloes were not all
of one size. To work they went immediately, to prepare themselves for
their adventurous undertaking, dressing themselves up for the
approaching enterprise; and, if they did not succeed in making
themselves look like Indians, they certainly did present a most
grotesque appearance.

In the best projects, however, there is oftentimes an oversight, which
bids fair to ruin the whole undertaking; and so it was on this
occasion; for it never occurred to them, until they were habited as
hunters, to secure the attendance of Jowler and Black Tom. Encumbered
with their lances, bows, arrows and hanging dresses, they had to
search the whole house, from top to bottom, in quest of Black Tom; and
when he was found, a like search was made for Jowler. Both Jowler and
Black Tom were at length found, and led forth to the lawn, which was
considered to be an excellent prairie.

No sooner was the signal given for the hunt to commence, than Black
Tom, being set at liberty, instead of acting his part like a buffalo,
as he ought to have done, scampered across the lawn to the shrubbery,
and ran up a tree; while Jowler made a rush after him; so that the
hunt appeared to have ended almost as soon as it was begun. Jowler was
brought back again to the middle of the lawn, but no one could prevail
on Black Tom to descend from his eminence.

Once more Jowler, the buffalo, was set at liberty; and Austin, Brian,
and Basil, the Camanchee, Sioux, and Pawnee chieftains, brandished
their long lances, preparing for the chase: but it seemed as though
they were to be disappointed, for Jowler, instead of running away,
according to the plan of the hunters, provokingly kept leaping up,
first at one, and then at another of them; until having overturned the
Pawnee on the lawn, and put the Sioux and Camanchee out of all
patience, he lay down panting, with his long red tongue out of his
mouth, looking at them just as though he had acted his part of the
affair capitally.

At last, not being able to reduce the refractory Jowler to obedience,
no other expedient remained than that one of them should act the part
of a buffalo himself. Austin was very desirous that this should be
done by Brian or Basil; but they insisted that he, being the biggest,
was most like a buffalo. The affair was at length compromised, by each
agreeing to play the buffalo in turn. A desperate hunt then took
place, in the course of which their long lances were most skilfully
and effectually used; three buffaloes were slain, and the Camanchee,
Sioux, and Pawnee returned in triumph from the chase, carrying a
buffalo-hide (a rug mat from the hall) on the tops of their spears.

On their next visit to the hunter, they reminded him that, the last
time he saw them, he had intended to speak about the prairies; but
that the history of Black Hawk, and the account of the buffalo hunt,
had taken up all the time. They told him that they had come early, on
purpose to hear a long account; and, perhaps, he would be able to tell
them all about Nikkanochee into the bargain.

The hunter replied, if that was the case, the sooner he began his
narrative the better; so, without loss of time, he thus commenced his
account.

_Hunter._ Though in our country there are dull, monotonous rivers,
with thick slimy waters, stagnant swamps, and pine forests almost
immeasureable in extent; yet, still, some of the most beautiful and
delightful scenes in the whole world are here.

_Austin._ How big are the prairies? I want to know more about them.

_Hunter._ They extend for many hundreds of miles, though not without
being divided and diversified with other scenery. Mountains and
valleys, and forests and rivers, vary the appearance of the country.
The name _prairie_ was given to the plains of North America by the
French settlers. It is the French word for meadow. I will describe
some prairie scenes which have particularly struck me. These vast
plains are sometimes flat; sometimes undulated, like the large waves
of the sea; sometimes barren; sometimes covered with flowers and
fruit; and sometimes there is grass growing on them eight or ten feet
high.

_Brian._ I never heard of such high grass as that.

_Hunter._ A prairie on fire is one of the most imposing spectacles you
can imagine. The flame is urged on by the winds, running and spreading
out with swiftness and fury, roaring like a tempest, and driving
before it deer, wolves, horses, and buffaloes, in wild confusion.

_Austin._ How I should like to see a prairie on fire!

_Hunter._ In Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, and Louisiana, prairies
abound; and the whole State of Illinois is little else than a vast
prairie. From the Falls of the Missouri to St. Louis, a constant
succession of prairie and river scenes, of the most interesting kind,
meet the eye. Here the rich green velvet turf spreads out immeasurably
wide; breaking towards the river into innumerable hills and dales,
bluffs and ravines, where mountain goats and wolves and antelopes and
elks and buffaloes and grizzly bears roam in unrestrained liberty. At
one time, the green bluff slopes easily down to the water's edge;
while, in other places, the ground at the edge of the river presents
to the eye an endless variety of hill and bluff and crag, taking the
shapes of ramparts and ruins, of columns, porticoes, terraces, domes,
towers, citadels and castles; while here and there seems to rise a
solitary spire, which might well pass for the work of human hands. But
the whole scene, varying in colour, and lit up and gilded by the
mid-day sun, speaks to the heart of the spectator, convincing him that
none but an Almighty hand could thus clothe the wilderness with
beauty.

    [Illustration]

_Austin._ Brian! Do you not wish now to see the prairies of North
America?

_Brian._ Yes; if I could see them without going among the tomahawks
and scalping-knives.

_Hunter._ I remember one part where the ragged cliffs and cone-like
bluffs, partly washed away by the rains, and partly crumbled down by
the frosts, seemed to be composed of earths of a mineral kind, of clay
of different colours and of red pumice stone. The clay was white,
brown, yellow and deep blue; while the pumice stone, lit up by the
sunbeam, was red like vermilion. The loneliness, the wildness and
romantic beauty of the scene I am not likely to forget.

_Basil._ I should like to see those red rocks very much.

_Hunter._ For six days I once continued my course, with a party of
Indians, across the prairie, without setting my eyes on a single tree,
or a single hill affording variety to the scene. Grass, wild flowers,
and strawberries, abounded more or less through the whole extent. The
spot where we found ourselves at sundown, appeared to be exactly that
from which we started at sunrise. There was little variety, even in
the sky itself; and it would have been a relief, (so soon are we weary
even of beauty itself,) to have walked a mile over rugged rocks, or to
have forced our way through a gloomy pine wood, or to have climbed the
sides of a steep mountain.

_Brian._ I hardly think that I should ever be tired of green grass and
flowers and strawberries.

_Hunter._ Oh yes, you would. Variety in the works of creation is a
gift of our bountiful Creator, for which we are not sufficiently
thankful. Look at the changing seasons; how beautifully they vary the
same prospect! And the changing clouds of heaven, too; what an
infinite and pleasurable variety they afford to us! If the world were
all sunshine, we should long for the shade.

_Austin._ What do you mean by bluffs?

_Hunter._ Round hills, or huge clayey mounds, often covered with grass
and flowers to the very top. Sometimes they have a verdant turf on
their tops, while their sides display a rich variety of many-coloured
earths, and thousands of gypsum crystals imbedded in the clay. The
romantic mixture of bluffs, and hills, with summits of green grass as
level as the top of a table, with huge fragments of pumice stone and
cinders, the remains of burning mountains, and granite sand, and
layers of different coloured clay, and cornelian, and agate, and
jasper-like pebbles; these, with the various animals that graze or
prowl among them, and the rolling river, and a bright blue sky, have
afforded me bewildering delight. Some of the hunters and trappers
believe that the great valley of the Missouri was once level with the
tops of the table hills, and that the earth has been washed away by
the river, and other causes; but the subject is involved in much
doubt. It has pleased God to put a boundary to the knowledge of man in
many things. I think I ought to tell you of Floyd's grave.

_Austin._ Where was it? Who was Floyd.

_Hunter._ You shall hear. In the celebrated expedition of Clark and
Lewis to the Rocky Mountains, they were accompanied by Serjeant Floyd,
who died on the way. His body was carried to the top of a high
green-carpeted bluff, on the Missouri river, and there buried, and a
cedar post was erected to his memory. As I sat on his grave, and
looked around me, the stillness and the extreme beauty of the scene
much affected me. I had endured much toil, both in hunting and rowing;
sometimes being in danger from the grizzly bears, and, at others, with
difficulty escaping the war-parties of the Indians. My rifle had been
busy, and the swan and the pelican, the antelope and the elk, had
supplied me with food; and as I sat on a grave, in that beautiful
bluff in the wilderness--the enamelled prairie, the thousand grassy
hills that were visible, with their golden heads and long deep
shadows, (for the sun was setting,) and the Missouri winding in its
serpentine course, the whole scene was of the most beautiful and
tranquil kind. The soft whispering of the evening breeze, and the
distant, subdued and melancholy howl of the wolf, were the only sounds
that reached my ears. It was a very solitary, and yet a very
delightful hour.

_Basil._ I should not like to be by myself in such a place as that.

_Hunter._ There is another high bluff, not many miles from the cedar
post of poor Floyd, that is well known as the burial-place of
Blackbird, a famous chief of the O-ma-haw tribe; the manner of his
burial was extremely strange. As I was pulling up the river, a
traveller told me the story; and, when I had heard it, we pushed our
canoe into a small creek, that I might visit the spot. Climbing up the
velvet sides of the bluff, I sat me down by the cedar post on the
grave of Blackbird.

_Austin._ But what was the story? What was there strange in the burial
of the chief?

_Hunter._ Blackbird on his way home from the city of Washington, where
he had been, died with the small-pox. Before his death, he desired his
warriors to bury him on the bluff, sitting on the back of his
favourite war-horse, that he might see, as he said, the Frenchmen
boating up and down the river. His beautiful white steed was led up to
the top of the bluff, and there the body of Blackbird was placed
astride upon him.

_Brian._ What a strange thing!

_Hunter._ Blackbird had his bow in his hand, his beautiful head dress
of war-eagle plumes on his head, his shield and quiver at his side,
and his pipe and medicine bag. His tobacco pouch was filled, to supply
him on his journey to the hunting-grounds of his fathers; and he had
flint and steel wherewith to light his pipe by the way. Every warrior
painted his hand with vermilion, and then pressed it against the white
horse, leaving a mark behind him. After the necessary ceremonies had
been performed, Blackbird and his white war-horse were covered over
with turf, till they were no more seen.

_Austin._ But was the white horse buried alive?

_Hunter._ He was. The turfs were put about his feet, then piled up his
legs, then placed against his sides, then over his back, and lastly
over Blackbird himself and his war-eagle plumes.

_Brian._ That was a very cruel deed! They had no business to smother
that beautiful white horse in that way.

_Basil._ And so I say. It was a great shame, and I do not like that
Blackbird.

_Hunter._ Indians have strange customs. Now I am on the subject of
prairie scenes, I ought to speak a word of the prairies on the Red
River. I had been for some time among the Creeks and Choctaws,
crossing, here and there, ridges of wooded lands, and tracts of rich
herbage, with blue mountains in the distance, when I came to a prairie
scene of a new character. For miles together the ground was covered
with vines, bearing endless clusters of large delicious grapes; and
then, after crossing a few broad valleys of green turf, our progress
was stopped by hundreds of acres of plum trees, bending to the very
ground with their fruit. Among these were interspersed patches of rose
trees, wild currants, and gooseberries, with prickly pears, and the
most beautiful and sweet-scented wild flowers.

_Austin._ I never heard of so delightful a place. What do you think of
the prairies now, Basil? Should you not like to gather some of those
fruits and flowers, Brian?

_Hunter._ And then just as I was stretching out my hand to gather some
of the delicious produce of that paradise of fruit and flowers, I
heard the sound of a rattlesnake, that was preparing to make a spring,
and immediately I saw the glistening eyes of a copper-head, which I
had disturbed beneath the tendrils and leaves.

_Basil._ What do you think of the prairie now, Austin?

_Brian._ And should you not like to gather some of those fruits and
flowers?

_Austin._ I never suspected that there would be such snakes among
them.

_Hunter._ The wild creatures of these delightful spots may be said to
live in a garden; here they pass their lives, rarely disturbed by the
approach of man. The hunter and the trapper, however thoughtlessly
they pursue their calling, are at times struck with the amazing beauty
of the scenes that burst upon them. God is felt to be in the prairie.
The very solitude disposes the mind to acknowledge Him; earth and
skies proclaim his presence; the fruits of the ground declare his
bounty; and, in the flowers, ten thousand forget-me-nots bring his
goodness to remembrance. "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be
praised; and his greatness is unsearchable."[3]

    [Footnote 3: Ps. cxlv. 3.]

_Austin._ I could not have believed that there had been such beautiful
places in the prairies.

_Hunter._ Some parts are varied, and others monotonous. Some are
beautiful, and others far from being agreeable. The Prairie la Crosse,
the Prairie du Chien, and the Couteau des Prairies on the Mississippi,
with the prairies on the Missouri, all have some points of attraction.
I did intend to say a little about Swan Lake, the wild rice grounds,
Lover's Leap, the salt meadows on the Missouri, the Savannah in the
Florida pine woods, and Red Pipe-stone Quarry; but as I intend to
give you the history of Nikkanochee, perhaps I had better begin with
it at once.

_Austin._ We shall like to hear of Nikkanochee, but it is so pleasant
to hear about the prairies, that you must, if you please, tell us a
little more about them first.

_Basil._ I want to hear about those prairie dogs.

_Brian._ And I want to hear of Lover's Leap.

_Austin._ What I wish to hear the most, is about Red Pipe-stone
quarry. Please to tell us a little about them all.

_Hunter._ Well! If you will be satisfied with a little, I will go on.
Swan Lake is one of the most beautiful objects in the prairies of our
country. It extends for many miles; and the islands with which it
abounds are richly covered with forest trees. Fancy to yourselves
unnumbered islands with fine trees, beautifully grouped together, and
clusters of swans on the water in every direction. If you want to play
at Robinson Crusoe, one of the islands on Swan Lake will be just the
place for you.

_Basil._ Well may it be called Swan Lake.

_Hunter._ The first time that I saw wild rice gathered, it much
surprised and amused me. A party of Sioux Indian women were paddling
about, near the shores of a large lake, in canoes made of bark. While
one woman paddled the canoe, the other gathered the wild rice, which
flourished there in great abundance. By bending it over the canoe with
one stick, and then striking it with another, the grains of rice fell
in profusion into the canoe. In this way they proceeded; till they
obtained full cargoes of wild rice for food.

_Brian._ I wish we had wild rice growing in our pond.

_Hunter._ What I have to say of Lover's Leap is a little melancholy.
On the east side of Lake Pepin, on the Mississippi, stands a bold
rock, lifting up its aspiring head some six or seven hundred feet
above the surface of the lake. Some years since, as the story goes, an
Indian chief wished his daughter to take a husband that she did not
like. The daughter declined, but the father insisted; and the poor,
distracted girl, to get rid of her difficulty, threw herself, in the
presence of her tribe, from the top of the rock, and was dashed to
pieces.

_Basil._ Poor girl, indeed! Her father was a very cruel man.

_Hunter._ The chief was cruel, and his daughter rash; but we must not
be too severe in judging those who have no better standard of right
and wrong than the customs of their uncivilized tribe. It was on the
Upper Missouri river, towards the mouth of the Teton river, that I
came all at once on a salt meadow. You would have thought that it had
been snowing for an hour or two, for the salt lay an inch or two thick
on the ground.

_Austin._ What could have brought it there?

_Hunter._ The same Almighty hand that spread out the wild prairie,
spread the salt upon its surface. There are salt springs in many
places, where the salt water overflows the prairie. The hot sun
evaporates the water, and the salt is left behind.

_Brian._ Well, that is very curious.

_Hunter._ The buffaloes and other animals come by thousands to lick
the salt, so that what with the green prairie around, the white salt,
and the black buffaloes, the contrast in colour is very striking.
Though Florida is, to a great extent, a sterile wilderness, yet, for
that very reason, some of its beautiful spots appear the more
beautiful. There are swamps enough, and alligators enough, to make the
traveller in those weary wilds cheerless and disconsolate; but when,
after plodding, day after day, through morasses and interminable pine
woods, listening to nothing but the cry of cranes and the howling of
wolves, he comes suddenly into an open plain covered with a carpet of
grass and myriads of wild flowers, his eye brightens, and he recovers
his cheerfulness and strength. He again feels that God is in the
prairie.

_Basil._ Remember the alligators, Austin!

_Brian._ And the howling wolves! What do you think of them?

_Hunter._ The Red Pipe-stone Quarry is between the Upper Mississippi
and the Upper Missouri. It is the place where the Indians of the
country procure the red stone with which they make all their pipes.
The place is considered by them to be sacred. They say that the Great
Spirit used to stand on the rock, and that the blood of the buffaloes
which he ate there ran into the rocks below, and turned them red.

_Austin._ That is the place I want to see.

_Hunter._ If you go there, you must take great care of yourself; for
the Sioux will be at your heels. As I said, they hold the place
sacred, and consider the approach of a white man a kind of
profanation. The place is visited by all the neighbouring tribes for
stone with which to make their pipes, whether they are at war or
peace; for the Great Spirit, say they, always watches over it, and the
war-club and scalping-knife are there harmless. There are hundreds of
old inscriptions on the face of the rocks; and the wildest traditions
are handed down, from father to son, respecting the place. Some of the
Sioux say, that the Great Spirit once sent his runners abroad, to call
together all the tribes that were at war, to the Red Pipe-stone
Quarry. As he stood on the top of the rocks, he took out a piece of
red stone, and made a large pipe; he smoked it over them, and told
them, that, though at war, they must always be at peace at that place,
for that it belonged to one as much as another, and that they must all
make their pipes of the stone. Having thus spoken, a thick cloud of
smoke from his great red pipe rolled over them, and in it he vanished
away. Just at the moment that he took the last whiff of his great,
long, red pipe, the rocks were wrapped in a blaze of fire, so that the
surface of them was melted. Two squaws, then, in a flash of fire, sunk
under the two medicine rocks, and no one can take away red stone from
the place without their leave. Where the gospel is unknown, there is
nothing too improbable to be received. The day will, no doubt,
arrive, when the wild traditions of Red Pipe-stone Quarry will be done
away, and the folly and wickedness of all such superstitions be
plainly seen.

Here the hunter, having to attend his sheep, left the three brothers,
to amuse themselves for half an hour with the curiosities in his
cottage; after which, he returned to redeem his pledge, by relating
the history he had promised them.

    [Illustration: Indian Pipes.]



                            [Illustration]

                             CHAPTER VII.


"And now," said the hunter, "for my account of Nikkanochee.[4] I met
with him in Florida, his own country, when he was quite a child;
indeed he is even now but a boy, being not more than twelve or
thirteen years of age. The Seminole Indians, a mixed tribe, from whom
prince Nikkanochee is descended, were a warlike people, settled on the
banks of the River Chattahoochee. In a battle which took place between
the Indians and a party of whites, under Major Dade, out of a hundred
and fourteen white men, only two escaped the tomahawks of their
opponents. A Seminole was about to despatch one of these two, when he
suddenly called to mind that the soldier had once helped him in
fitting a handle to his axe. This arrested his uplifted weapon, and
the life of the soldier was spared."

    [Footnote 4: This sketch is supposed to be a narrative of
    facts, though the authority for it is not within the
    publishers' reach.]

_Austin._ Noble! noble! If all the Seminoles were like him, they were
a noble people.

_Hunter._ The tribe had good and bad qualities; but I tell you this
anecdote, because it affords another proof that the hardy Indian
warrior, in the midst of all his relentless animosity against his
enemy, is still sensible of a deed of kindness. On another occasion,
when the Seminoles, to avenge injuries which their tribe had received,
wasted the neighbourhood with fire and tomahawk, they respected the
dwelling of one who had shown kindness to some of their tribe. Even
though they visited his house, and cooked their food at his hearth,
they did no injury to his person or his property. Other dwellings
around it were burned to the ground, but for years his habitation
remained secure from any attack on the part of the grateful Seminoles.

_Basil._ When I go abroad, I will always behave kindly to the poor
Indians.

_Hunter._ The father of Nikkanochee was king of the Red Hills, in the
country of the Seminoles; but not being very much distinguished as a
warrior, he gave up the command of his fighting men to his brother
Oseola, a chief famous for bodily strength and courage. Before the war
broke out between the Seminoles, Oseola was kind and generous; but
when once the war-cry had rung through the woods, and his tomahawk
had been raised, he became stern and implacable. He was the champion
of his nation, and the terror of the pale faces opposed to him.

_Brian._ He must have made terrible work with his tomahawk!

_Hunter._ No doubt he did, for he was bold, and had never been taught
to control his passions. The command of the Saviour had never reached
his ears: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to
them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and
persecute you." The red man of the forest and the prairie has had much
to embitter his spirit against his enemies; but I will proceed. It was
in the year 1835, that between two and three hundred red warriors
assembled at Camp King, to hold a "talk," or council. They were met by
a battalion of white soldiers, who had two generals with them. At this
council, it was proposed by the whites that a contract should be made
between the two parties, wherein the Seminoles should give up their
lands in Florida in exchange for other lands at a great distance from
the place. Some of the red warriors were induced to make a cross on
the contract as their signature, showing that they agreed therewith;
but Oseola saw that such a course was bartering away his country, and
sealing the ruin of his nation.

_Austin._ I hope he did not put his sign to it.

_Brian._ So do I, and I hope he persuaded all the rest of the red
warriors not to sign it.

_Hunter._ When they asked him in his turn to sign the contract, his
lip began to curl with contempt, and his eye to flash with fiery
indignation. "Yes!" said he, drawing a poniard from his bosom, with a
haughty frown on his brow. "Yes!" said he, advancing and dashing his
dagger while he spoke, not only through the contract, but also through
the table on which it lay; "there is my mark!"

_Austin._ Well done, brave Oseola!

_Brian._ That is just the way that he ought to have acted.

_Basil._ He was a very bold fellow. But what did the generals say to
him?

_Hunter._ His enemies, the whites, (for they were enemies,) directly
seized him, and bound him to a tree. This was done in a cruel manner,
for the cords cut deep into his flesh. After this, he was manacled and
kept as a prisoner in solitary confinement. When it was thought that
his spirit was sufficiently tamed, and that what he had suffered would
operate as a warning to his people, he was set at liberty.

_Austin._ The whites acted a cruel part, and they ought to have been
ashamed of themselves.

_Brian._ Yes, indeed. But what did Oseola do when he was free?

_Hunter._ Revenge is dear to every one whose heart God has not
changed. No wonder that it should burn in the bosom of an untaught
Indian. He had never heard the words of Holy Scripture, "Vengeance is
mine; I will repay, saith the Lord," Rom. xii. 19; but rather looked
on revenge as a virtue. Hasting to his companions, he made the forest
echo with the wild war-whoop that he raised in defiance of his
enemies.

_Brian._ I thought he would! That is the very thing that I expected he
would do.

_Hunter._ Many of the principal whites fell by the rifles of the
Indians; and Oseola sent a proud message to General Clinch, telling
him that the Seminoles had a hundred and fifty barrels of gunpowder,
every grain of which should be consumed before they would submit to
the whites. He told him, too, that the pale faces should be led a
dance for five years for the indignities they had put upon him. Oseola
and the Seminoles maintained the war until the whites had lost
eighteen hundred men, and expended vast sums of money. At last, the
brave chieftain was made prisoner by treachery.

_Austin._ How was it? How did they take him prisoner?

_Hunter._ The whites invited Oseola to meet them, that a treaty might
be made, and the war brought to an end. Oseola went with his warriors;
but no sooner had he and eight of his warriors placed their rifles
against a tree, protected as they thought by the flag of truce, than
they were surrounded by a large body of soldiers, and made prisoners.

_Brian._ That was an unjust and treacherous act. Oseola ought to have
kept away from them.

_Basil._ And what did they do to Oseola? Did they kill him?

_Hunter._ They at first confined him in the fort at St. Augustine, and
afterwards in a dungeon at Sullivan's Island, near Charleston. It was
in the latter place that he died, his head pillowed on the faithful
bosom of his wife, who never forsook him, and never ceased to regard
him with homage and affection. He was buried at Fort Moultrie, where
he has a monument, inscribed "Oseola." His companions, had they been
present at his grave, would not have wept. They would have been glad
that he had escaped from his enemies.

_Austin._ Poor Oseola!

_Hunter._ This is only one instance among thousands, in which the red
man has fallen a victim to the treachery and injustice of the whites.
It is a solemn thought, that when the grave shall give up its dead,
and the trumpet shall call together, face to face, the inhabitants of
all nations to judgment; the deceitful, the unjust and the cruel will
have to meet those whom their deceit, their injustice and cruelty have
destroyed. Well may the oppressor tremble. "The Lord of hosts hath
purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out,
and who shall turn it back?"

_Basil._ But you have not yet told us of Nikkanochee. Please to let us
hear all about him.

_Brian._ Ay; we have forgotten Nikkanochee.

_Hunter._ I will now tell you all that I know of him; but I thought
you would like to hear of his uncle, he being so famous a warrior.
Nikkanochee is called Oseola Nikkanochee, prince of Econchatti, in
order that he may bear in mind Oseola, his warlike uncle, and also
Econchatti-mico, king of the Red Hills, his father. It is thought
that Nikkanochee was born on the banks of the river Chattahoochee. He
can just remember the death of his mother, when he was left alone with
her in a wigwam; but what I have to tell you about Nikkanochee took
place during the lifetime of his father, and his uncle Oseola. The
white men being at war with the Seminoles, the war-men of the latter
were obliged to band themselves together to fight, leaving their
squaws and children to travel as well as they could to a place of
safety. Nikkanochee, child as he was, travelled with the women through
the pine forests night and day; but a party of horse-soldiers overtook
them, and drove them as captives towards the settlements of the
whites.

_Brian._ Ay! now Nikkanochee is a prisoner! What is to become of him
now?

_Hunter._ The mothers were almost frantic. The wigwams they saw on the
road had been destroyed by fire, and the whole country had been
devastated. At nightfall they came to a village; and here, when it
grew dark, Nikkanochee, a little girl and two Indian women made their
escape. For some days they fled, living on water-melons and Indian
corn, till they fell in with a party of their own war-men, and among
them was Nikkanochee's father.

_Austin._ I hope they were safe then.

_Hunter._ Not being numerous, they were obliged to retreat. Pursued by
their enemies, they fled, sometimes on horseback, and sometimes on
foot; a part of the way through the swamps, thickets and pine forests.
At night, while the party were sitting round a fire, in the act of
preparing for refreshment some dried meat, and a wild root of the
woods reduced into flour, an alarm was given. In a moment they were
obliged once more to fly, for their enemies were upon their track.

_Brian._ Dreadful! dreadful!

_Hunter._ The fire was put out by the Indians, their blankets hastily
rolled up, and the squaws and children sent to hide themselves in the
tangled reeds and brushwood of a swamp, while the war-men turned
against the enemy. The Indians beat them off, but Econchatti-mico was
wounded in the wrist, a musket ball having passed through it.

_Brian._ Did Econchatti die of his wound?

_Hunter._ No; but he and the war-men, expecting that their enemies
would return in greater numbers, were again forced to fly. The dreary
pine forest, the weedy marsh, and the muddy swamp were once more
passed through. Brooks and rapid rivers were crossed by Econchatti,
wounded as he was, with his son on his back. He swam with one hand,
for the other was of little use to him.

_Austin._ Econchatti seems to be as brave a man as Oseola. Did they
escape from their enemies?

_Hunter._ While they were sitting down to partake of some wild turkey
and deer, with which their bows and arrows had furnished them during
their flight, their enemies again fell upon them. The Seminoles had,
perhaps, altogether two thousand warriors, with Oseola at their head;
but then the whites had at least ten thousand, to say nothing of their
being much better armed. No wonder that the Seminoles were compelled
to fly, and only to fight when they found a favourable opportunity.
But I must not dwell longer than necessary on my account; suffice it
to say, that, after all the bravery of the warriors, and all the
exertions of Econchatti, Nikkanochee once more fell into the hands of
the enemy.

_Basil._ Oh, that was terrible! I hoped he would get away safe.

_Brian._ So did I. I thought the white men would be tired of following
them into those dreary forests and muddy swamps.

_Austin._ How was it that Nikkanochee was taken?

_Hunter._ He was captured on the 25th of August, 1836, by some
soldiers who were scouring the country, and brought by them the next
day to Colonel Warren. Poor little fellow, he was so worn, emaciated
and cast down, that he could not be looked upon without pity. For
several weeks he hardly spoke a word. No tear, no sob, nor sigh
escaped him; but he appeared to be continually on the watch to make
his escape. The soldiers who had taken him prisoner declared that they
had followed his track full forty miles before they came up to him.
From the rising to the setting of the sun they hurried on, and still
he was before them. Nikkanochee must then have been only about five or
six years old.

_Basil._ Why, I could not walk so far as forty miles to save my life.
How did he manage it?

_Hunter._ You have not been brought up like an Indian. Fatigue and
hardship and danger are endured by red men from their earliest
infancy. The back to the burden, Basil. You have heard the saying,
"God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb." When the soldiers came up to
Nikkanochee, he darted into the bushes and long grass, where they
found him. At first, he uttered a scream; but, soon after, he offered
the soldiers a peach which he had in his hand, that they might let him
go. Placed on horseback behind one of the troopers, he was brought to
the military station.

_Brian._ They have him now, then, fast enough. I wonder what became of
Econchatti-mico, his father.

_Hunter._ That is not known. I should have told you that, in the
Seminole language, "Econ," means hill or hills; "Chatti," is red; and
the signification of "mico," is king: so that Econchatti-mico is, all
together, King of the Red Hills. The soldiers who captured Nikkanochee
disputed among themselves whether he ought not to be killed. Most of
them were for destroying every Indian man, woman, or child they met;
but one of them, named James Shields, was determined to save the boy's
life, and it was owing to his humanity that Nikkanochee was not put to
death.

_Brian._ That man deserves to be rewarded. I shall not forget James
Shields.

_Hunter._ When Nikkanochee had afterwards become a little more
reconciled to his situation, he gave some account of the way in which
he was taken. He said, that as he was travelling with his father and
the Indians, the white men came upon them. According to Indian
custom, when a party is surprised, the women and children immediately
fly in different directions, to hide in the bushes and long grass,
till the war-men return to them after the fight or alarm is over. Poor
little Nikkanochee, in trying to cross a rivulet, fell back again into
it. Besides this misfortune, he met with others, so that he could not
keep up with the party. He still kept on, for he saw an old coffee-pot
placed on a log; and Indians, in their flight, place things in their
track, and also break off twigs from the bushes, that others of their
tribe may know how to follow them. Nikkanochee came to a settlement of
whites, but he struck out of the road to avoid it. He afterwards
entered a peach orchard, belonging to a deserted house, and here he
satisfied his hunger. It was then getting dark, but the soldiers saw
him, and set off after him at full gallop. In vain he hid himself in
the grass, and lay as still as a partridge, for they discovered him
and took him away.

_Austin._ I wonder that Econchatti-mico, his father, or the brave
Oseola, his uncle, did not rescue him.

_Hunter._ It is thought that they did return upon the back trail, for
the place they had been in was shortly after surrounded by Indians,
with Oseola at their head; but just then a reinforcement of soldiers
arrived, and the Indians were obliged to retire. Had not the soldiers
come up just in time, the whole garrison might have fallen by the
rifles and scalping-knives of enraged Seminoles. Nikkanochee passed a
year with the family of Colonel Warren, and was beloved by them all
There was, no doubt, much sympathy felt for him, as the nephew of a
well-known warrior, and the son of the king of a warlike people.
Nikkanochee was afterwards taken under the protection of a gentleman,
who became much attached to him. He was educated with other children,
and taught to bend the knee in prayer, and to offer praise to the King
of kings and Lord of lords. Thus, in the providence of God, was
Nikkanochee brought from being a heathen to be a worshipper of the
true God and Jesus Christ.

_Brian._ How much longer did he remain abroad?

_Hunter._ A very few years, during which he became expert in climbing,
swimming, loading the rifle, and using the spear. He was bold enough
to attack the raccoon and otter, and was not afraid even of the
alligator; few of his age were more hardy, or could bear an equal
degree of fatigue. His kind protector, who adopted him as his own
child, took him over to England in the year 1840. But I have given you
a long account. May Nikkanochee become as celebrated for virtue and
piety as his ancestors and relations were for valour and war.



              [Illustration: Resting place for the Dead.]

                             CHAPTER VIII.


In the next visit of the three brothers to the hunter, he pointed out
to them the great influence that religion had on the character of any
people or country. A false religion brings with it a train of
unnumbered evils; while a knowledge of the true God, and a living
faith in the Saviour who died for sinners, continually promote among
mankind principles of justice and kindness, and communicate to their
hearts the blessings of peace and joy. "True it is," said he, "that
among professedly Christian people there is much of evil; much of
envy, hatred, malice, uncharitableness; of injustice, covetousness and
cruelty. But this proceeds not from Christianity, but from the fallen
state of human nature, which nothing but the grace of God can renew,
and from the great number of those who profess to be Christians, while
they are uninfluenced by the gospel of the Redeemer. Christianity will
neither allow us to dishonour God by bowing down to idols, nor to
injure man by injustice and oppression. The Indians of our country are
not found bowing down to numberless idols, as the inhabitants of many
countries are: they worship what they call 'the Great Spirit,' with a
deep reverence, humbling themselves before him, and undergoing
self-imposed torments, to gain his good will, which the generality of
Christians, in the manifestation of their faith, would find it hard to
endure. They believe also in an Evil Spirit, as well as in a future
state; and that they shall be happy or unhappy, just as they have done
good or evil, according to their estimate of those qualities, but this
belief is mixed up with mysteries and superstitions without number. I
speak of Indians in the forest and the prairie, who know nothing of
God's word, and who have never heard the voice of a missionary."

_Hunter._ The different tribes believe, that if they are expert in the
chase, bold in battle, and slay many of their enemies, they shall live
for ever, after death, in beautiful hunting-grounds, enjoying the
pleasures of the chase continually. You know that we, as Christians,
are enjoined to forgive our enemies; but untutored Indians delight in
revenge: they love to boast, and to shed blood; but we are taught, by
God's holy word, to be humble and merciful. There is one thing that
mingles much with the Indian character; and that is, medicine, or
mystery. I must try to make you understand it.

_Austin._ Yes; I should like to know all about it very well.

_Hunter._ Go where you may, among the Choctaws, the Seminoles, the
Crows, or the Blackfeet, every Indian has his medicine or mystery bag,
which he regards with reverence, and will not part with for any price.
He looks upon it as a kind of charm, or guardian spirit, that is to
keep him from evil. He takes it with him to battle, and when he dies
it is his companion.

_Austin._ But what is it? Is there any thing in the bag? What is it
that makes medicine?

_Hunter._ Every thing that is mysterious or wonderful to an Indian, he
regards as medicine. I do not mean such medicine as we get from an
apothecary; but he regards it as something awful, and connected with
spirits. This is a strong superstition, which has laid hold of the red
man throughout the whole of his race.

_Brian._ But is there any thing in the medicine bag?

_Hunter._ The medicine bag is usually the skin of some animal, such as
the beaver, otter, polecat, or weazel; or of some bird, as the eagle,
the magpie, or hawk; or of some reptile, as the snake or the toad.
This skin is stuffed with any thing the owner chooses to put into it,
such as dry grass, or leaves; and it is carefully sewed up into some
curious form, and ornamented in a curious manner. Some medicine bags
are very large, and form a conspicuous part of an Indian's
appendages; while others are very small, and altogether hidden.

_Basil._ Why, it is very foolish in the red men to carry such things
about with them.

_Hunter._ It certainly is so; but their fathers and their tribes have
done so for many generations, and it would be a disgrace to them, in
their own estimation, if they neglected to do the same. A young
Indian, before he has his medicine bag, goes perhaps alone on the
prairie, or wanders in the forest, or beside some solitary lake. Day
after day, and night after night, he fasts, and calls on the Great
Spirit to help him to medicine. When he sleeps, the first animal, or
bird, or reptile that he dreams of, is his medicine. If it be a
weazel, he catches a weazel, and it becomes his medicine for ever. If
it be a toad or snake, he kills it; and if it be a bird, he shoots it,
and stuffs its skin.

_Austin._ This is one of the most wonderful things you have told us
yet.

_Hunter._ What is called a medicine man, or a mystery man, is one who
ranks high in his tribe for some supposed knowledge. He can either
make buffaloes come, or cure disease, or bring rain, or do some other
wonderful things, or persuade his tribe that he can do them. Indeed,
among Indians, hardly any thing is done without the medicine man. A
chief, in full dress, would as soon think of making his appearance
without his head as without his medicine bag. There is a saying among
the Indians, that "a man lying down, is medicine to the grizzly
bear;" meaning, that in such a position a bear will not hurt him.

_Basil._ Is it true? Will not the grizzly bear hurt a man when he is
lying down?

_Hunter._ So many people say; but I should be very sorry to trust the
grizzly bear. I am afraid that he would be paying his respects to me
in a very rough way.

_Austin._ What was it that you said about the medicine man bringing
rain?

_Hunter._ Some of them are famous for bringing rain in a dry season.

_Austin._ But they cannot really bring rain.

_Hunter._ The matter is managed in this way.--When once they undertake
to bring rain, they keep up their superstitious ceremonies, day after
day, till the rain comes. Oftentimes it is very long before they
succeed. It was in a time of great drought, that I once arrived at the
Mandan village on the Upper Missouri. At the different Indian
villages, peas and beans, wild rice, corn, melons, squashes, pumpkins,
peaches and strawberries were often found in abundance; but, on this
occasion, the Mandans had a very poor prospect of gathering any thing
that required rain to bring it to perfection. The young and the old
were crying out that they should have no green corn.

_Austin._ Why did they not tell the medicine men earlier to make the
rain come?

_Hunter._ They did so: but it was not quite convenient to the medicine
men; for they saw clearly enough that there was not the slightest
appearance of rain. After putting it off, day after day, the sky grew
a little cloudy to the west, when the medicine men assembled together
in great haste to make it rain.

_Brian._ Ay! they were very cunning.

_Hunter._ No sooner was it known that the medicine men were met
together in the mystery lodge, than the village was all in commotion.
They wanted rain, and they were very sure that their medicine men
could bring it when they pleased. The tops of the wigwams were soon
crowded. In the mystery lodge a fire was kindled, round which sat the
rain-makers, burning sweet-smelling herbs, smoking the medicine pipe,
and calling on the Great Spirit to open the door of the skies, and let
out the rain.

_Basil._ That is the way they make it rain, is it?

_Hunter._ At last, one of the rain-makers came out of the mystery
lodge, and stood on the top of it with a spear in his hand, which he
brandished about in a commanding and threatening manner, lifting it up
as though he were about to hurl it up at the heavens. He talked aloud
of the power of his medicine, holding up his medicine bag in one hand,
and his spear in the other; but it was of no use, neither his medicine
nor his spear could make it rain; and, at the setting of the sun, he
came down from his elevated position in disgrace.

_Austin._ Poor fellow! He had had enough of rain-making for one day.

_Hunter._ For several days the same ceremony was carried on, until a
rain-maker, with a head-dress of the skins of birds, ascended the top
of the mystery lodge, with a bow in his hand, and a quiver at his
back. He made a long speech, which had in it much about thunder and
lightning, and black clouds and drenching rain; for the sky was
growing dark, and it required no great knowledge of the weather to
foretell rain. He shot arrows to the east and west, and others to the
north and the south, in honour of the Great Spirit who could send the
rain from all parts of the skies. A fifth arrow he retained, until it
was almost certain that rain was at hand. Then, sending up the shaft
from his bow, with all his might, to make a hole, as he said, in the
dark cloud over his head, he cried aloud for the waters to pour down
at his bidding, and to drench him to the skin. He was brandishing his
bow in one hand, and his medicine in the other, when the rain came
down in a torrent. The whole village was clamorous with applause. He
was regarded as a great mystery man, whose medicine was very powerful,
and he rose to great distinction among his tribe. You see, then, the
power of a mystery man in bringing rain. Does it not astonish you?

_Austin._ No, not a bit. I see that it was all a cheat.

_Brian._ I could make it rain myself as well as he did, for he never
shot his arrow to pierce the cloud till it was over his head.

_Hunter._ To be a mystery man is regarded as a great honour; and some
Indians are said to have suspended themselves from a pole, with
splints through their flesh, and their medicine bags in their hands,
looking towards the sun, for a whole day, to obtain it.

_Austin._ When I go among the Indians, I will not be a mystery man.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Hunter._ Now I will tell you something about Indian marriages. There
is very little ceremony in an Indian marriage. The father may be seen
sitting among his friends, when the young Indian comes in with
presents, to induce him to give him his daughter for a wife. If the
presents are not liked, they are not accepted; if they are approved,
the father takes the hand of his daughter, and the hand of the young
Indian, and slaps them together; after which a little feasting takes
place.

_Austin._ Why, that is like buying a wife.

_Hunter._ It is; but the young Indian has already gained the good will
of his intended wife: not by his fine clothes and his wealth, for he
has neither the one nor the other, but by showing her the skins of the
bears he has killed, and the scalps and scalp-locks of the foes he has
slaughtered; and by telling her that he will hunt for her, that she
may be kept from want, and fight for her, that she may be protected
from the enemies of her tribe. Indians have strange customs: some
flatten the heads of their young children, by laying them in a cradle,
with a pillow for the back of the head, and then pressing the
forehead, day after day, with a board, that comes down upon it, till
the nose and forehead form a straight line.

_Brian._ I should not like my head to be flattened in that manner.

_Hunter._ Children are carried about in their cradles on the backs of
their mothers, wherever they go; and when children die, they are often
left, in their cradles, floating on the water of a brook or pool,
which their superstition teaches them to regard as sacred. A cluster
of these little arks or cradles, or coffins as they may be called, of
different forms, in a lone pool, is a very picturesque and affecting
sight.

_Basil._ I shall often think of the pool, and the little cradles
swimming on it. It would remind me of Moses in the bulrushes.

_Hunter._ There are other singular customs among the Indians. The
Kowyas, the Pawnees, the Sacs and Foxes, the Osages, and the Iowas,
all shave their heads, leaving a tuft on the crown two or three inches
in length, and a small lock in the middle of it, as long as they can
make it grow. By means of this small lock of hair braided, they
ornament the tuft with a crest of the deer's tail dyed scarlet, and
sometimes add to it a war-eagle's feather.

_Austin._ How different from the Crow Indians! They do not shave off
their hair; but let it grow till it hangs down to the very ground.

_Hunter._ You have not forgotten that, I see. There is a cruel custom
among the Indians, of exposing their aged people, that is, leaving
them alone to die. If a party are obliged to remove from one place to
another in search of food, and there is among them an aged man, who
can no longer fight, nor hunt, nor fish, nor do any thing to support
himself, he is liable, although in his time he may have been a
war-chief, to be left alone to die. I have seen such a one sitting by
a little fire left him by his tribe, with perhaps a buffalo skin
stretched on poles over his head, and a little water and a few bones
within his reach. I have put my pipe to his mouth, given him pemican,
and gathered sticks, that he might be able to recruit his fire; and
when, months after, I have returned to the spot, there has been
nothing left of him but his skeleton, picked clean by the wolves and
bleaching in the winds.

_Austin._ This is one of the worst things we have heard of the
Indians.

_Basil._ Oh, it is very sad indeed!

_Hunter._ You would not forsake your father, in old age, in that
manner, would you?

_Austin._ No! As long as we could get a bit of bread or a drop of
water, he should have part of it, and we would die with him rather
than desert him.

_Brian_ and _Basil._ Yes; that we would!

_Hunter._ I hope so. This is, I say, a cruel custom; but it forms a
part of Indian manners, so that the old men expect it, and, indeed,
would not alter it. Indians have not been taught, as we have, to
honour their parents, at least not in the same way; but I can say
nothing in favour of so cruel and unnatural a custom. Among the Sioux
of the Mississippi, it is considered great medicine to jump on the
Leaping Rock, and back again. This rock is a huge column or block,
between thirty and forty feet high, divided from the side of the Red
Pipe-stone Quarry. It is about seven feet broad, and at a distance
from the main rock of about six or eight feet. Many are bold enough to
take the leap, and to leave their arrows sticking in one of its
crevices; while others, equally courageous, have fallen from the top
in making the attempt, and been dashed to pieces.

_Brian._ When you go to Pipe-stone Quarry, Austin, have nothing to do
with the Leaping Rock. You must get your medicine in some other way.

_Austin._ I shall leave the Leaping Rock to the leaping Indians, for
it will never suit me.

_Hunter._ There is a very small fish caught in the river Thames,
called white bait, which is considered a very great luxury; but, to my
taste, the white fish, of which the Chippewas take great abundance in
the rapids near the Falls of St. Mary's, are preferable. The Chippewas
catch them in the rapids with scoop-nets, in the use of which they are
very expert. The white fish resemble salmon, but are much less in
size.

_Austin._ The white fish of the Chippewas will suit me better than the
Leaping Rock of the Sioux.

_Hunter._ Among the Indians, feasting, fasting, and sacrifices of a
peculiar kind, form a part of their religious or superstitious
observances. Some of the Pawnees, in former times, offered human
sacrifices; but this cruel custom is now no more. The Mandans
frequently offered a finger to the god, or Evil Spirit; and most of
the tribes offer a horse, a dog, a spear, or an arrow, as the case
may be. Over the Mandan mystery lodge used to hang the skin of a white
buffalo, with blue and black cloth of great value. These were intended
as a sacrifice or an offering to the good and evil spirits, to avert
their anger and to gain their favour.

_Brian._ How many things you do remember!

_Hunter._ All the chiefs of the tribes keep runners: men swift of
foot, who carry messages and commands, and spread among the people
news necessary to be communicated. These runners sometimes go great
distances in a very short space of time.

_Brian._ You must have your runners, Austin.

_Austin._ Oh yes, I will have my runners: for I shall want pipe-stone
from Red Pipe-stone Quarry, and white fish from the Chippewas; and
then I shall send messages to the Cherokees and Choctaws, the
Camanchees, the Blackfeet and the Crows.

_Hunter._ The squaws, or wives of the Indians, labour very
contentedly, seeming to look on servitude as their proper calling.
They get in wood and water; they prepare the ground for grain, cook
victuals, make the dresses of their husbands, manufacture pottery,
dress skins, attend to the children, and make themselves useful in a
hundred other ways.

_Brian._ I think the squaws behave themselves very well.

_Hunter._ The smoking of the pipe takes place on all great occasions,
just as though the Indians thought it was particularly grateful to the
Good and Evil Spirits. In going to war, or in celebrating peace, as
well as on all solemn occasions, the pipe is smoked. Oftentimes,
before it is passed round, the stem is pointed upwards, and then
offered to the four points--east, west, north and south. In the hands
of a mystery man, it is great and powerful medicine. If ever you go
among the red men, you must learn to smoke; for to refuse to draw a
whiff through the friendly pipe offered to you, would be regarded as a
sad affront.

_Basil._ What will you do now, Austin? You never smoked a pipe in your
life.

_Austin._ Oh, I should soon learn; besides, I need only take a very
little whiff.

_Hunter._ You must learn to eat dog's flesh, too; for when the Indians
mean to confer a great honour on a chief or a stranger, they give him
a dog feast, in which they set before him their most favourite dogs,
killed and cooked. The more useful the dogs were, and the more highly
valued, the greater is the compliment to him in whose honour the feast
is given; and if he were to refuse to eat of the dog's flesh, thus
prepared out of particular respect to him, no greater offence could be
offered to his hospitable entertainers.

_Brian._ You have something a little harder to do now, I think,
Austin; to learn to eat dog's flesh.

_Austin._ You may depend upon it, that I shall keep out of the way of
a dog feast. I might take a little whiff at their pipe, but I could
not touch their dainty dogs.

_Hunter._ In some of the large lodges, I have seen very impressive
common life-scenes. Fancy to yourselves a large round lodge, holding
ten or a dozen beds of buffalo skins, with a high post between every
bed. On these posts hang the shields, the war-clubs, the spears, the
bows and quivers, the eagle-plumed head-dresses, and the medicine bags
of the different Indians who sleep there; and on the top of each post
the buffalo mask, with its horns and tail, used in the buffalo dance.
Fancy to yourselves a group of Indians in the middle of the lodge,
with their wives and their little ones around them, smoking their
pipes and relating their adventures, as happy as ease and the supply
of all their animal wants can make them. While you gaze on the scene,
so strange, so wild, so picturesque and so happy, an emotion of
friendly feeling for the red man thrills your bosom, a tear of
pleasure starts into your eye; and, before you are aware, an
ejaculation of thankfulness has escaped your lips, to the Father of
mercies, that, in his goodness and bounty to mankind, he has not
forgotten the inhabitants of the forest and the prairie.

The Indians have a method of hardening their shields, by smoking them
over a fire, in a hole in the ground; and, usually, when a warrior
thus smokes his shield, he gives a feast to his friends. Some of the
pipes of the Indians are beautiful. The bowls are all of the red stone
from Pipe-stone Quarry, cut into all manner of fantastic forms; while
the stems, three or four feet long, are ornamented with braids of
porcupine's quills, beaks of birds, feathers and red hair. The
calumet, or, as it is called, "the peace-pipe," is indeed, as I have
before said, great medicine. It is highly adorned with quills of the
war-eagle, and never used on any other occasion than that of making
and solemnizing peace, when it is passed round to the chiefs. It is
regarded as altogether a sacred utensil. An Indian's pipe is his
friend through the pains and pleasures of life; and when his tomahawk
and his medicine bag are placed beside his poor, pallid remains, his
pipe is not forgotten.

_Austin._ When an Indian dies, how do they bury him?

_Hunter._ According to the custom of his tribe. Some Indians are
buried under the sod; some are left in cots, or cradles, on the water;
and others are placed on frames raised to support them. You remember
that I told you of Blackbird's grave.

_Austin._ Ay! he was buried on horseback, on the top of a high bluff,
sitting on his horse. He was covered all over with sods.

_Hunter._ And I told you of the Chinock children floating on the
solitary pool.

_Basil._ Yes, I remember them very well.

_Hunter._ Grown-up Chinocks are left floating in cradles, just in the
same manner; though oftener they are tied up in skins, and laid in
canoes, with paddles, pipes and provisions, and then hoisted up into a
tree, and left there to decay. In the Mandan burial place, the dead
were ranged in rows, on high slender frames, out of the way of the
wolf, dressed in their best robes, and wrapped in a fresh buffalo
skin, with all their arms, pipes, and every necessary provision and
comfort to supply their wants in their journey to the hunting-grounds
of their fathers. In our burial grounds, there are generally some
monuments grander than the rest, to set forth the wealth, the station,
or the talents of those who slumber below; and, as human nature is the
same everywhere, so in the resting place of the Indians. Here and
there are spread out a few yards of red or blue cloth, to signify that
beneath it a chief, or a superior brave, is sleeping. The Mandan dead
occupied a spot on the prairie. Here they mouldered, warrior lying by
the side of warrior, till they fell to the ground from their frames,
when the bones were buried, and the skulls ranged with great care, in
round rings, on the prairie, with two buffalo skulls and a medicine
pole in the centre.

_Austin._ Ay! it would be of no use for the wolf to come then, for
there would be nothing for him. I should very much like to see an
Indian burying-place.

_Hunter._ Were you to visit one, you would see that the heart and
affections are at work under a red skin, as well as under a white one;
for parents and children, husbands and wives, go there to lament for
those who are dear to them, and to humble themselves before the Great
Spirit, under whose care they believe their departed relatives to be.
The skulls, too, are visited, and every one is placed carefully, from
time to time, on a tuft of sweet-smelling herb or plant. Life is but a
short season with both the white and the red man, and ought to be well
spent. It is as a flower that flourishes: "For the wind passeth over
it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more." But
I have now told you enough for the present. Come again, as soon as you
will; I shall have some anecdotes of Indians ready for you.

    [Illustration: Indian Cradle.]



                            [Illustration]

                              CHAPTER IX.


With willing feet, sparkling eyes and happy hearts, Austin and his two
brothers again set off for the cottage near the wood. On an ordinary
occasion, they might have found time for a little pleasant loitering;
but the Indian anecdotes they expected to hear excited their curiosity
too much to allow a single minute to be lost. A pin might have been
heard falling on the ground, when, seated in the cottage, they
listened to the following anecdotes of the hunter.

_Hunter._ It has pleased God to endue Indians with quick perceptions.
They are amazingly quick in tracing an enemy, both in the woods and
the prairie. A broken twig or leaf, or the faintest impression on the
grass, is sufficient to attract their attention. The anecdotes I am
about to relate are believed to be true, but I cannot myself vouch for
their correctness, having only read them, or heard them related by
others.

An Indian, upon his return home to his hut one day, discovered that
his venison, which had been hung up to dry, had been stolen. After
going some distance, he met some persons, of whom he inquired if they
had seen a _little, old, white man_, with a short gun, and accompanied
by a small dog with a bob-tail. They replied in the affirmative; and,
upon the Indian's assuring them that the man thus described had stolen
his venison, they desired to be informed how he was able to give such
a minute description of a person whom he had not seen. The Indian
answered thus:--

"The thief I know is a _little_ man, by his having made a pile of
stones in order to reach the venison, from the height I hung it
standing on the ground; that he is an _old_ man, I know by his short
steps, which I have traced over the dead leaves in the woods; that he
is a _white_ man, I know by his turning out his toes when he walks,
which an Indian never does; his gun I know to be short, by the mark
which the muzzle made by rubbing the bark of the tree on which it
leaned; that the dog is small, I know by his tracks; and that he has a
bob-tail, I discovered by the mark of it in the dust where he was
sitting at the time his master was taking down the meat."

_Brian._ Well done, Indian! Why, nothing could escape a man like
that.

_Austin._ An Englishman would hardly have been able to describe the
thief without seeing him.

_Hunter._ You shall have another instance of the quick perceptions of
the red men. A most atrocious and shocking murder was once committed,
by a party of Indians, on fourteen white settlers, within five miles
of Shamokin. The surviving whites, in their rage, determined to take
their revenge by murdering a Delaware Indian, who happened to be in
those parts, and who was far from thinking himself in any danger. He
was a great friend to the whites, was loved and esteemed by them, and,
in testimony of their regard, had received from them the name of Duke
Holland, by which he was generally known.

This Indian, satisfied that his nation were incapable of committing
such a foul murder in a time of profound peace, told the enraged
settlers that he was sure the Delawares were not in any manner
concerned in it, and that it was the act of some wicked Mingoes or
Iroquois, whose custom it was to involve other nations in wars with
each other, by secretly committing murders, so that they might appear
to be the work of others. But all his representations were vain; he
could not convince exasperated men, whose minds were fully bent on
revenge.

At last, he offered that, if they would give him a party to accompany
him, he would go with them in quest of the murderers, and was sure
that he could discover them by the prints of their feet, and other
marks well known to him, by which he would convince them that the
real perpetrators of the crime belonged to the Six Nations.

His proposal was accepted. He marched at the head of a party of whites
and led them into the tracks. They soon found themselves in the most
rocky part of a mountain, where not one of those who accompanied him
could discover a single track, nor would they believe that men had
ever trodden on this ground, as they had to jump from rock to rock, or
to crawl over them. They began to believe that the Indian had led them
across these rugged mountains in order to give the enemy time to
escape. They threatened him with instant death the moment they should
be convinced of the fraud.

The Indian, true to his promise, took pains to make them perceive that
an enemy had passed along the places through which he was leading
them. Here, he showed them that the moss on the road had been trodden
down by the weight of a human foot; there, that it had been torn and
dragged forward from its place. Again, he would point out to them,
that pebbles, or small stones on the rocks, had been removed from
their beds by the foot hitting against them; that dry sticks, by being
trodden upon, were broken; and, in one particular place, that an
Indian's blanket had been dragged over the rocks, and had removed or
loosened the leaves lying there, so that they did not lie flat, as in
other places. All these marks the Indian could perceive as he walked
along, without even stopping.

At last, arriving at the foot of the mountain, on soft ground, where
the tracks were deep, he found that the enemy were eight in number;
and, from the freshness of the foot-prints, he concluded that they
must be encamped at no great distance.

This proved to be the exact truth; for, after gaining the eminence on
the other side of the valley, the Indians were seen encamped: some
having already laid down to sleep, while others were drawing off their
leggings, or Indian stockings, for the same purpose, and the scalps
they had taken were hanging up to dry.

"See," said Duke Holland to his astonished companions, "there is the
enemy; not people of my nation, but Mingoes, as I truly told you. They
are in our power. In less than half an hour they will be all fast
asleep. We need not fire a gun, but go up and tomahawk them. We are
nearly two to one, and need apprehend no danger. Come on, and you will
now have your full revenge."

But the whites, overcome with fear, did not choose to follow the
Indian's advice, but desired him to take them back by the nearest and
best way. This he did; and when they arrived at home, they reported
the enemy to have been so great that they durst not venture to attack
them.

_Austin._ This instance is quite as wonderful as the other.

_Brian._ I would not have an Indian after me if I had done wrong; for
he would be sure to find me out.

_Hunter._ Red men often act very conscientiously. One day, an Indian
solicited a little tobacco of a white man, to fill his pipe. Having
some loose in his pocket, the white man gave him a handful. The next
day the Indian returned in search of the man who had given him the
tobacco.

"I wish to see him," said the Indian.

"Why so?" inquired some one.

"Why, I find money with the tobacco."

"Well! what of that? Keep it; it was given to you."

"Ah!" said the Indian, shaking his head, "I got good man and bad man
here," pointing to his breast. "Good man say, 'Money not yours; you
must return it:' bad man say, '_'Tis_ yours; it was given to you.'
Good man say, 'That not right: _tobacco_ yours, _money_ not yours.'
Bad man say, 'Never mind, nobody know it; go buy rum.' Good man say,
'Oh no; no such thing.' So poor Indian know not what to do. Me lie
down to sleep, but no sleep; good man and bad man talk all night, and
trouble me. So now, me bring money back: now, me feel good."

_Basil._ I like that Indian very much.

_Brian._ No one could have acted more honestly.

_Hunter._ Whatever the Indians may be, when oppressed, wronged and
deceived by the whites; and however they may act towards their
enemies; they are usually honest towards their own tribe. While I was
residing on the Big Beaver, says one who lived much among them, I
passed by the door of an Indian who was a trader, and had,
consequently, a quantity of goods in his house. He was going with his
wife to Pittsburg, and they were shutting up the house; as no person
remained in it during their absence. This shutting up was nothing else
than putting a large block, with a few sticks of wood, outside against
the door, so as to keep it closed. As I was looking at this man with
attention, while he was so employed, he addressed me in these words:--

"See, my friend, this is an Indian lock that I am putting to my door."

I answered, "Well enough; but I see you leave much property in the
house: are you not afraid that those articles will be stolen while you
are gone?"

"Stolen! by whom?"

"Why, by Indians, to be sure."

"No, no," replied he, "no Indian would do such a thing. Unless a white
man, or white people, should happen to come this way, I shall find all
safe on my return."

_Basil._ If we were to leave our doors in that way, our houses would
be sure to be robbed.

_Hunter._ No doubt they would; but Indians have good and bad
qualities. The notion entertained by the Iroquois Indians, respecting
the creation of mankind, will show how ignorant they are with respect
to the Creator of all things; but, indeed, if the blessed book of
truth were not in our hands, we should be equally ignorant ourselves.
Before man existed, say they, there were three great and good spirits;
of whom one was superior to the other two, and is emphatically called
the Great Spirit and the Good Spirit. At a certain time, this exalted
being said to one of the others, "Make a man." He obeyed; and, taking
chalk, formed a paste of it, and moulding it into the human form,
infused into it the animating principle, and brought it to the Great
Spirit. He, after surveying it, said, "This is too white."

He then directed the other to make a trial of his skill. Accordingly,
taking charcoal, he pursued the same process, and brought the result
to the Great Spirit; who, after surveying it, said, "It is too black."

Then said the Great Spirit, "I will now try myself;" and taking red
earth, he formed an Indian. On surveying it, he said, "This is a
proper or perfect man."

After relating the strange opinion of the Iroquois Indians, the hunter
advised the young people, on their return home, to look over the
account of the creation of the world and mankind, in the first chapter
of Genesis; telling them that they could not be too thankful for the
opportunity of reading God's word, which was not only sufficient to
keep them from error in such things, but was able also to make them
"wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." He told
them, that though the Indians were ignorant of holy things, they did
not want shrewdness and sagacity. "When General Lincoln," said he,
"went to make peace with the Creek Indians, one of the chiefs asked
him to sit down on a log; he was then desired to move, and, in a few
minutes, to move still farther. The request was repeated, until the
general got to the end of the log. The Indian still said, 'Move
farther;' to which the general replied, 'I can move no farther.'
'Just so it is with us,' said the chief. 'You have moved us back to
the water, and then ask us to move farther!'"

In the account of his expedition to the foot of the Rocky Mountains,
in 1821, Major Long relates the following anecdote of a Pawnee brave,
son of Red Knife, who, in the succeeding winter, visited the city of
Washington, during the session of Congress.

This brave, of fine size, figure and countenance, is now about
twenty-five years old. At the age of twenty-one, his heroic deeds had
acquired for him in his nation the rank of the bravest of the braves.
The savage practice of torturing and burning to death their prisoners
existed in this nation. An unfortunate female, of the Paduca nation,
taken in war, was destined to this horrid death.

The fatal hour had arrived. The trembling victim, far from her home
and her friends, was fastened to the stake. The whole tribe were
assembled on the surrounding plains to witness the awful scene.

Just as the funeral pile was to be kindled, and the whole multitude of
spectators were on the tiptoe of expectation, this young warrior,
having, unnoticed, prepared two fleet horses, with the necessary
provisions, sprang from his seat, rushed through the crowd, liberated
the victim, seized her in his arms, placed her on one of the horses,
mounted the other himself, and made the utmost speed towards the
nation and friends of the captive.

The multitude, dumb and nerveless with amazement at the daring deed,
made no effort to rescue their victim from her deliverer. They viewed
it as the immediate act of the Great Spirit, submitted to it without a
murmur, and quietly retired to their village.

The released captive was accompanied three days through the
wilderness, towards her home. Her deliverer then gave her the horse on
which she rode, and the necessary provisions for the remainder of the
journey, and they parted.

On his return to the village, such was his popularity, that no inquiry
was made into his conduct, and no censure was passed upon it. Since
this transaction no human sacrifice has been offered in this or any
other of the Pawnee tribes; the practice is abandoned. How influential
is one bold act in a good cause! This deed illustrates a grand
principle, boys. It is by such men that great reformations are made in
the world, and yet there is no mastery in it. Every one is capable of
doing that which he knows to be right, regardless of the opinions of
wicked men, or the habits of the weak and foolish, who follow customs
which have no apology but that others have done so before.

The publication of this anecdote at Washington led some young ladies,
in a manner highly creditable to their good sense and good feeling, to
present this brave and humane Indian with a handsome silver medal,
with appropriate inscriptions, as a token of their sincere
commendation of the noble act of rescuing one of their sex, an
innocent victim, from a cruel death. Their address, delivered on this
occasion, is sensible and appropriate, closing as follows:

"Brother--Accept this token of our esteem; always wear it for our
sakes; and when again you have the power to save a poor woman from
death and torture, think of this, and of us, and fly to her relief and
rescue."

To this the Pawnee made the following reply:--

"Brothers and sisters--This medal will give me ease more than I ever
had; and I will listen more than I ever did to white men.

"I am glad that my brothers and sisters have heard of the good deed
that I have done. My brothers and sisters think that I have done it in
ignorance, but I now know what I have done.

"I did do it in ignorance, and I did not know that I did good; but by
your giving me this medal I know it."

The cruelty of torturing and burning a captive, the great danger of
the female Indian, and the noble daring of the Pawnee brave, formed
the subject of conversation for some time among the young people; and
Austin was unbounded in his approbation of the Pawnee. Willingly would
he have contributed towards another silver medal for him, and Brian
and Basil would not have been backward in doing their part; but the
affair appeared hardly practicable, inasmuch as a reasonable doubt
existed whether the Pawnee brave was still alive; and, even if he
were, there seemed to be no direct way of communicating with him.



            [Illustration: Indian Horsemanship.--Page 160.]

                              CHAPTER X.


"Remember," said Austin, as he urged his brothers to quicken their
pace on their way to the cottage, "we have hardly heard any thing yet
about buffaloes and grizzly bears, and other animals which are found
in the woods and the prairie. Let us make haste, that we may have a
long visit."

Brian and Basil, being almost as anxious as their brother to hear all
about bears and buffaloes, quickened their pace as he desired them, so
that no long period had passed, before the hunter, at the request of
his youthful visitors, was engaged in giving them the desired account.

"The different animals and birds," said he, "that inhabit different
countries, for the most part, roam backwards and forwards, according
to the season. Creatures that love the cold move northerly in summer,
and such as delight in a warmer clime move southerly in winter. It is,
however, principally to obtain food that they remove from one place to
another. I must here explain to you, that though I have, in common
with most others who use these terms, spoken of buffaloes, the animal
which abounds in the prairie is not properly the buffalo, but the
bison."

_Austin._ But if they are bisons, why are they called buffaloes?

_Hunter._ That is a question that I hardly know how to answer. From
whatever cause it may have arisen, certain it is, that the name of
buffalo has become common; and, that being the case, it is used in
conversation, and oftentimes in books, as being more easily
understood.

_Brian._ What is the difference between a buffalo and a bison?

_Hunter._ A buffalo is an animal that abounds in Africa, resembling an
ugly cow, with a body long, but rather low; and very long horns. But
the bison stands very high in front, has a hump on the back part of
the neck covered with long hair, short horns, and a profusion of long
shaggy hair hanging from its head, neck and fore-legs.

_Austin._ Then a bison must look much fiercer than a buffalo.

_Hunter._ He does; and from the circumstance of his fore-parts
standing high, while he carries his head low, he always appears as if
he were about to run at you. Bisons abound throughout the whole of
our country, west of the Mississippi; but the reckless way in which
they are slaughtered, and the spread of civilization, are likely, in a
few years, greatly to decrease their numbers. Indians suffer much from
hunger, but they are very reckless when buffaloes are plentiful. On
one occasion, when among the Minatarees, I witnessed a grand capture
of buffaloes. It was effected by different parties taking different
directions, and then gradually approaching each other. The herd was
thus hemmed in on all sides, and the slaughter was terrible. The
unerring rifle, the sharp spear and the winged arrow, had full employ;
and so many buffaloes were slain, that, after taking their tongues and
other choice parts of them for food, hundreds of carcasses were left
for the prairie-wolves to devour. Thus it is that man, whether savage
or civilized, too often becomes prodigal of the abundance he enjoys,
and knows not the value of what he possesses, till taught by that want
into which his thoughtless waste has plunged him.

_Austin._ Ay, they will soon kill all the buffaloes, if they go on in
that manner.

_Hunter._ At present, they are to be seen on the prairie in droves of
many thousands; the woods, also, abound with them; and often, in the
heat of summer, an incalculable number of heads and horns are visible
in the rivers, the bodies of the bisons being under the water.

_Brian._ What, because they are so hot?

_Hunter._ Yes: the bison suffers very much from heat. It is no
uncommon thing to see a bison bull lay himself down in a puddle of
water, and turn himself round and round in it, till he has half
covered his body with mud. The puddle hole which he thus makes is
called a bison or buffalo wallow. The puddle cools him while he is in
it, and when he quits it, the mud plastered on his sides defends him
from the burning heat of the sun.

_Basil._ What a figure a bison bull must cut, with his shaggy hair and
his sides plastered all over with mud!

_Hunter._ Bears are often most formidable foes to the hunter; but
there is this striking difference between the common bear and the
grizzly bear, that while the former eats mostly vegetables, and will
do his best to get out of your way, the latter eats nothing but flesh,
and is almost sure to attack you. Hunters and Indians make it a rule
never to fire at a grizzly bear, unless in self-defence: except in
cases when they have a strong party, or can fire from a tree; for,
when he is wounded, his fury knows no bounds.

_Austin._ How can you escape from a grizzly bear, if he is so very
terrible?

_Hunter._ The common bear can climb a tree, as I have already told
you; but the grizzly bear is no climber. If you have time to get up
into a tree, you are safe: if not, you must reserve your shot till the
animal is near you, that you may take a steady aim. You must then
fight it out in the best way you can. Grizzly bears are sometimes of a
very large size, measuring from nine to ten feet in length. It was on
the Upper Missouri that I was once chased by one of these terrible
fellows, and a narrow escape I had.

_Austin._ How was it? Tell us all about it.

_Hunter._ I had just fired off my rifle at a bird which I took for an
eagle, little thinking how soon my wasted bullet (for I did not strike
the bird) would be wanted in defence of my life. The crack of my piece
reverberated from the green-topped bluffs that rose from the prairie;
and I suppose it was this that brought Sir Bruin upon me. He came on
with huge strides, and I had nothing but a hunting-knife to use in my
defence, my discharged rifle being of no use. There was no tree near,
so throwing down my piece, I drew my knife as a forlorn hope in my
extremity.

_Austin._ A hunting-knife against a grizzly bear!

_Hunter._ When the huge monster was within a few yards of me, to my
amazement, I heard the report of two rifles, and in the same instant
my tremendous foe fell, with two bullets in his head. This timely
assistance was rendered me by two of our party, who, having followed
my track, were near me when I thought myself alone.

_Austin._ Never was any one in greater danger.

_Hunter._ I will tell you an anecdote that I have read of a common
bear. A boy, about eight years old, was sent by his mother into the
woods, to bring home the old cow. At the distance of somewhat more
than half a mile, he found her, attended by some young cattle. He
began to drive them home; but had not proceeded far, when a bear came
out of the bushes, and seemed disposed to make his acquaintance.

The boy did not like his company; so he jumped upon the old cow's
back, and held on by her horns. She set out at full speed, and the
bear after her. The young cattle, lifting their tails in the air,
brought up the rear. Thus they proceeded, the young ones behind
frequently coming up to the bear, and giving him a thrust with their
horns.

This compelled him to turn round, and thus the old cow, with her brave
rider, got somewhat in advance. The bear then galloped on, and,
approaching the boy, attempted to seize him; but the old cow cantered
along, and finally brought the boy to his mother's house in safety.
The bear, thinking he should not be welcome there, after approaching
the house, turned about and scampered back to the forest. Sir Bruin
knew when he was well off; a whole skin is the best covering a bear
can have; but, if he ventures among mankind, he is likely enough to
have it stripped over his ears.

_Austin._ That was a capital old cow, for she saved the boy's life.

_Basil._ But the young cattle helped her, for they pushed the bear
with their horns.

_Brian._ Please to tell us about wild horses.

_Hunter._ The hordes or bands of wild horses that abound in some of
the prairies, are supposed to be the offspring of Spanish horses,
brought to Mexico by Europeans. They are extremely shy, keen in their
sight and swift of foot, so that to come up with them, except by
surprise, is no easy thing. I have seen them in great numbers from
the brow of a bluff, or have peeped at them cautiously from a ravine.

_Austin._ What kind of horses are they; and of what colour?

_Hunter._ Some of them are fine animals, but in general they are
otherwise. Stunted and coarse in appearance, they are of various
colours--bay, chestnut, cream, gray, piebald, white and black, with
long tails, fetlocks, top-knots and manes.

_Brian._ How do they catch them?

_Hunter._ In different ways. Sometimes a well-mounted Indian, armed
with his rifle, follows a horde of horses, until he can get a fair
shot at the best among them. He aims at the top of the neck, and if he
succeeds in striking the high gristle there, it stuns the animal for
the moment, when he falls to the ground without being injured. This is
called _creasing_ a horse: but a bad marksman would kill, and not
crease, the noble animal he seeks to subdue.

_Austin._ What other way is there of catching wild horses? for that
seems to be a very bad one.

_Basil._ It is a very bad way. They ought not to shoot them.

_Hunter._ They are much more commonly taken with the _lasso_; which is
a thong at least a dozen yards long, ending in a noose. This the
Indians throw, at full gallop, over the head of the flying steed they
wish to secure. Rarely do they miss their aim. When a horse is thus
caught, the hunter leaps from his steed, and lets out the lasso
gradually, choking his captive till he is obliged to stop: he then
contrives to hopple or tie his fore-legs; to fasten the lasso round
his lower jaw; to breathe in his nostrils, and to lead him home.

_Austin._ Breathe in his nostrils! Why, what does he do that for?

_Hunter._ Because experience has taught him, that it does much towards
rendering his captive more manageable. It is said, that if an Indian
breathes freely into the nostrils of a wild young buffalo on the
prairie, the creature will follow him with all the gentleness and
docility of a lamb.

_Brian._ Well! that does appear strange!

_Hunter._ There is one animal, which the Indians, the hunters and
trappers sometimes meet with, that I have not mentioned. It is the
cougar, or panther, or American lion; for it goes by all these names.
Now and then it is to be seen in the thick forests of the west; but,
being a sad coward, it is not so much dreaded as it otherwise would
be.

_Brian._ I should not much like to meet a cougar.

_Hunter._ The common wolf of America is as big as a Newfoundland dog,
and a sulky, savage-looking animal he is. So long as he can feed in
solitary places he prefers to do so, but, when hunger-pressed, he
attacks the fold; after which, Mr. Grizzly-skin loses no time in
getting to a place of shelter, for he knows that should he outrun the
stanch hounds that will soon be on his track, yet will a rifle ball
outrun him.

_Brian._ Yes, yes; Mr. Grizzly-back is very cunning.

_Hunter._ The prairie-wolf is smaller than the common wolf.
Prairie-wolves hunt after deer which they generally overtake; or keep
close to a buffalo herd, feeding on such as die, or on those that are
badly wounded in fighting with one another. The white, black, and
clouded wolves are in the northern parts. There are many kinds of
deer. I told you, that sometimes a deer-hunt took place on a large
scale, by enclosing a circle, and driving the deer into it. In
shooting antelopes, the hunter has only to stick up his ramrod in the
ground in their neighbourhood, and throw over it his handkerchief;
while he, with his rifle ready loaded, lies on the grass near at hand.
The antelopes will soon approach the handkerchief to see what it is,
when the hunter may make them an easy prey. The largest deer is the
moose deer, which is often seven feet high. He is an awkward,
overgrown-looking creature, with broad horns; but, awkward as he is, I
question if any of you could outrun him. Mountain and valley, lake and
river, seem alike to him, for he crosses them all. In the snow, to be
sure, the unwearied and persevering hound will overtake him; but let
him beware of his horns, or he will be flying head over heels in the
air in a twinkling. The moose deer, however, cannot successfully
strive with the hunter's rifle.

_Austin._ Nothing can stand against man.

_Hunter._ And yet what is man opposed to his Maker? His strength is
perfect weakness! In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, he "changes
his countenance, and sends him away."

_Basil._ What other kinds of deer do Indians catch?

    [Illustration: The Wapiti Deer.]

_Hunter._ The elk, with his large branching horns, who would despise a
palace as a dwelling-place. Nothing less than the broad sky above his
head, and the ground of the boundless forest beneath his feet, will
satisfy him. After the elk, come the Virginia, or common deer, the
wapiti deer, the black-tailed deer, and the cariboo. All these are the
prey of the hunter. Their savoury flesh supplies him with food, and
their soft skins are articles of merchandise. The mountain sheep may
often be seen skipping from one ledge to another of the rugged rocks,
and precipitous clayey cliffs of the western wilds, giving life to
the solitary place, and interest to the picturesque beauty of lonely
spots.

_Austin._ You have mentioned all the animals now, I think, that the
hunter chases; for you spoke before about beavers, badgers, foxes,
raccoons, squirrels and some others.

_Basil._ You have never told us, though, how they catch the musk-rat.
I should like to know that.

_Hunter._ Well, then, I will tell you how they take the musk-rat, but
must first speak about the prairie dog. Prairie dogs are a sort of
marmot, but their bark is somewhat like that of a small dog. Rising
from the level prairie, you may sometimes see, for miles together,
small hillocks of a conical form, thrown up by the prairie dogs, which
burrow some eight or ten feet in the ground. On a fine day, myriads of
these dogs, not much unlike so many rats, run about, or sit barking on
the tops of their hillocks. The moment any one approaches them, they
disappear, taking shelter in their burrows.

_Basil._ Oh, the cunning little rogues.

_Hunter._ The musk-rat builds his burrow (which looks like a
hay-stack) of wild rice stalks; so that, while he has a dry lodging, a
hole at the bottom enables him, when he pleases, to pass into the
shallow water beneath his burrow or lodge. In taking a musk-rat, a
person strikes the top of the burrow, and out scampers the tenant
within; but no sooner does he run through his hole into the shallow
water, than he is instantly caught with a spear. Myriads of these
little animals are taken in this manner for their fur.

_Brian._ They must be a good deal like prairie dogs, though one has
his house on the land, and the other in the water.

_Hunter._ These wide prairies, on which roam bisons and horses and
deer innumerable; and these shallow waters, where musk-rats abound,
will probably, in succeeding years, assume another character. White
men will possess them; civilized manners and customs will prevail, and
Christianity spread from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains; for
the kingdoms of the world, you know, are to become the kingdoms of our
Lord and of his Christ.

_Austin._ You have told us a great deal indeed, to-day, about the
prairies.

_Hunter._ I have already spoken of the prairie fires; I mean the
burning grass set on fire by accident, or purposely, for the double
advantage of obtaining a clearer path and an abundant crop of fresh
grass; but I must relate an adventure of my own, of a kind not likely
to be forgotten. So long as a prairie fire is confined to the high
grounds, there is very little danger from it; for, in such situations,
the grass being short, the fire never becomes large, though the line
of flame is a long one. Birds and beasts retire before it in a very
leisurely manner; but in plains where the grass is long, it is very
different.

_Austin._ I should like to see one of those great, high, round bluffs
on fire. There must be a fine bonfire then.

_Hunter._ There you are mistaken, for as I have already told you, the
grass is short on the bluffs. To be sure, the sight of a bluff on
fire, on a dark night, is very singular; for as you can only see the
curved line of flame, the bluff being hidden by the darkness, so it
seems as though the curved lines of flame were up in the air, or in
the sky.

_Basil._ They must look very beautifully.

_Hunter._ They do: but when a fire takes place in a low bottom of long
grass, sedge and tangled dry plants, more than six feet high; and when
a rushing wind urges on the fiery ruin, flashing like the lightning
and roaring like the thunder; the appearance is not beautiful, but
terrible. I have heard the shrill war-whoop, and the clash of
contending tomahawks in the fight, when no quarter has been given. I
have witnessed the wild burst where Niagara, a river of waters, flings
itself headlong down the Horseshoe Fall; and I have been exposed to
the fury of the hurricane. But none of these are half so terrible as
the flaming ocean of a long-grass prairie-fire.

_Austin._ Oh! it must be terrible.

_Hunter._ The trapper is bold, or he is not fit for his calling; the
hunter is brave, or he could never wage war as he does with danger;
and the Indian from his childhood is familiar with peril: yet the
Indian, the hunter and the trapper tremble, as well they may, at a
prairie-meadow fire. But I must relate my adventure.

_Basil._ I am almost afraid to hear it.

_Austin._ Poh! nonsense! It will never hurt you.

_Hunter._ A party of five of us, well mounted, and having with us our
rifles and lances, were making the best of our way across one of the
low prairie bottoms, where the thick coarse grass and shrubs, even as
we sat on our horses, were often as high as our heads; when we
noticed, every now and then, a flight of prairie hens, or grouse,
rapidly winging their way by us. Two of our party were of the
Blackfoot tribe; their names were Ponokah (elk) and Moeese (wigwam.)
These Indians had struck into a buffalo trail, and we had proceeded
for a couple of hours as fast as the matted grass and wild pea-vines
would allow, when suddenly the wind that was blowing furiously from
the east became northerly, and in a moment, Moeese, snuffing the air,
uttered the words, "Pah kapa," (bad;) and Ponokah, glancing his eyes
northward, added, "Eehcooa pah kaps," (very bad.)

_Austin._ I guess what was the matter.

_Brian._ And so do I.

_Hunter._ In another instant a rush was heard, and Ponokah, who was a
little ahead, cried out, "Eneuh!" (buffalo!) when three bisons came
dashing furiously along another trail towards us. No sooner did they
set eyes on us, than they abruptly turned southward. By this time, we
all understood that, to the north, the prairie was on fire; for the
air smelt strong. Deer, and bisons, and other animals, sprang forward
in different directions from the prairie, and a smoke, not very
distant, like a cloud, was visible.

_Austin._ I hope you set off at full gallop.

_Hunter._ We were quite disposed to urge our horses onward; but the
trail took a turn towards the burning prairie, and we were obliged to
force our way into another, in doing which my horse got his feet
entangled, and he fell, pitching me over his head some yards before
him. I was not hurt by the fall, for the thick herbage protected me;
but the worst of it was, that my rifle, which had been carelessly
slung, fell from my shoulder among the long grass, and being somewhat
confused by my fall, I could not find it.

_Brian._ You ought not to have stopped a moment.

_Hunter._ Perhaps not; but, to a hunter, a rifle is no trifling loss,
and I could not make up my mind to lose mine. Time was precious, for
the smoke rapidly increased; and both Ponokah and Moeese, who knew
more about burning prairies than I did, and were therefore more alive
to our danger, became very impatient. By the time my rifle was found,
and we were ready to proceed, the fire had gained upon us in a
crescent form, so that before and behind we were hemmed in. The only
point clear of the smoke was to the south; but no trail ran that way,
and we feared that, in forcing a road, another accident might occur
like that which had befallen us.

_Austin._ I cannot think what you could do in such a situation.

_Hunter._ Our disaster had come upon us so unexpectedly, and the high
wind had so hurried on the flaming storm, that there seemed to be no
time for a moment's thought. Driven by necessity, we plunged into the
thick grass to the south; but our progress was not equal to that of
the fire, which was now fast approaching, blackening the air with
smoke, and roaring every moment louder and louder. Our destruction
seemed almost certain; when Ponokah, judging, I suppose, by the
comparative thinness of the smoke eastward, that we were not far from
the boundary of the prairie bottom, dashed boldly along a trail in
that direction, in the face of the fire, crying out to us to follow.
With the daring of men in extremity, we put our horses to their speed,
broke through the smoke, fire, grass, and flame, and found ourselves
almost instantly on a patch of ground over which the fire had passed;
but, as the grass had evidently been scanty, we were free from danger.
From a neighbouring bluff, which the smoke had before hidden from our
view, we saw the progress of the flame--a spectacle that filled me
with amazement. The danger we had escaped seemed increased by the
sight of the fearful conflagration, and I know not whether terror,
amazement, or thankfulness most occupied my mind.

_Austin._ That was, indeed, a narrow escape.

_Hunter._ As we stood on the bluff, dismounted, to gaze on the flying
flames--which appeared in the distance like a huge fiery snake of some
miles in length, writhing in torture--my wonder increased. The
spectacle was fearful and sublime, and the conflagration nearest to us
resembled the breakers of the deep that dash on a rocky shore, only
formed of fire, roaring and destroying, preceded by thick clouds of
smoke. Before then, I had been accustomed to sights and scenes of
peril, and had witnessed the burning of short grass to some extent;
but this was the first time I had been in such fearful danger--the
first time I felt the awfulness of such a situation--the first time
that I had really seen the prairie on fire!

_Brian._ There can be nothing in the world like a burning prairie,
unless it be a burning mountain.

_Hunter._ A burning prairie, when we are near it, is a vast and
overwhelming spectacle; but every rising and setting sun exhibits
Almighty wisdom, power and goodness, on a scale infinitely beyond that
of a hundred burning prairies. It is a good thing to accustom
ourselves to regard the works of creation around us with that
attention and wonder they are calculated to inspire, and especially to
ponder on the manifestation of God's grace set forth in his holy word.
When burning prairies and burning mountains shall be all extinguished;
when rising and setting suns and all earthly glory shall be unknown;
then shall the followers of the Redeemer gaze on the brighter glories
of heaven, and dwell for ever with their Leader and their Lord.

    [Illustration]



                    [Illustration: Buffalo Dance.]

                              CHAPTER XI.


Buffaloes, bears, wild horses, wolves, deer, prairie-dogs and
musk-rats, were a fruitful source of conversation to the young people
in their leisure hours, until such time as they could again visit
their interesting friend at the cottage. Various plans were formed to
attack grizzly bears, to catch wild horses, and to scare away
half-famished wolves; in all of which, Jowler, notwithstanding his bad
behaviour at the buffalo hunt, was expected to act a distinguished
part. Black Tom was scarcely considered worth thinking about, he being
too wild by half for a wild horse, and too faint-hearted for a grizzly
bear. At one time, it was so far determined for him to play the part
of a prairie-dog, that Austin set about digging a hole for him:
before it was finished, however, the plan was abandoned; Brian and
Basil both feeling positive that, let Austin dig a hole as deep as he
would, Black Tom would never be persuaded to run into it.

After much deliberation, catching wild horses being given up--on the
score that Black Tom would run away too fast, and Jowler would not run
a way at all--a bear hunt was resolved on, having, as Brian observed,
two especial advantages: the first, that all of them could enjoy the
sport at once; and the second, that Jowler would be sure to attack
them all, just like a grizzly bear.

No time was lost in preparing their long spears, and in dressing
themselves as much like renowned chiefs as their knowledge and
resources would allow. And, in order that Jowler might the more
closely resemble a grizzly bear, a white apron was spread over his
broad back, and tied round his neck. The lawn was, as before, the
scene of their exploits, the prairie on which the fearful monster was
to be overcome; and, to the credit of their courage be it spoken,
neither Austin, Brian nor Basil, manifested the slightest token of
fear.

Jowler was led by them among the bushes of the shrubbery, that he
might burst out upon them all at once; and this part of the
arrangement answered excellently well, only that Jowler arrived on the
prairie first instead of last; add to which, the bushes having so far
despoiled him of his grizzly hide, the white apron, as to have pulled
it off his back, he set to work mouthing and tearing at it, to get it
from his neck. At last, in spite of a few untoward and unbearlike
actions on the part of Jowler, the attack took place. With undaunted
resolution, Austin sustained Jowler's most furious charges; Brian
scarcely manifested less bravery; and little Basil, though he had
broken his lance, and twice fallen to the earth, made a desperate and
successful attack on his fearful antagonist, and caught him fast by
the tail. It was on the whole a capital adventure; for though they
could not with truth say that they had killed the bear, neither could
the bear say that he had killed them.

The bear hunt being at an end, they set off for the cottage; for the
hunter had promised to describe to them some of the games of the
Indian tribes, and he was soon engaged in giving them an account of
the ball-play of the Choctaws. "At the Choctaw ball-play thousands of
spectators attend, and sometimes a thousand young men are engaged in
the game."

_Hunter._ It is played in the open prairie, and the players have no
clothes on but their trowsers, a beautiful belt formed of beads, a
mane of dyed horse-hair of different colours, and a tail sticking out
from behind like the tail of a horse; this last is either formed of
white horse-hair or of quills.

_Brian._ And how do they play?

_Hunter._ Every man has two sticks, with a kind of hoop at the end,
webbed across, and with these they catch and strike the ball. The goal
on each side, consisting of two upright posts and a pole across the
top, is set up twenty-five feet high; these goals are from forty to
fifty rods apart. Every time either party can strike the ball through
their goal, one is reckoned, and a hundred is the game.

_Basil._ What a scuffle there must be among so many of them!

_Hunter._ When every thing is ready for the game to begin, a gun is
fired; and some old men, who are to be the judges, fling up the ball
in the middle, half-way between the two goals.

_Brian._ Now for the struggle.

_Hunter._ One party being painted white, every man knows his opponent.
No sooner is the ball in the air, than a rush takes place. Every one
with his webbed stick raised above his head; no one is allowed to
strike or to touch the ball with his hands. They cry out aloud at the
very top of their voices, rush on, leap up to strike the ball, and do
all they can to help their own side and hinder their opponents. They
leap over each other, dart between their rivals' legs, trip them up,
throw them down, grapple with two or three at a time, and often fall
to fisticuffs in right earnest. There they are, in the midst of clouds
of dust, running, striking and struggling with all their might; so
that, what with the rattle of the sticks, the cries, the wrestling,
the bloody noses, the bruised shins, the dust, uproar and confusion,
such a scene of excitement is hardly to be equalled by any other game
in the world.

_Brian._ How long does the game last?

_Hunter._ It begins about eight or nine o'clock in the morning, and
sometimes is scarcely finished by sunset. A minute's rest is allowed
every time the ball is urged beyond the goal, and then the game goes
on again till it is finished. There is another ball-play somewhat
resembling this, which is played by the women of the Prairie du Chien,
while the men watch the progress of the game, or lounge on the ground,
laughing at them.

_Austin._ Do they ever run races?

_Hunter._ Yes, and very expert they are. Many of the tribes are
extravagantly fond of horses. You see an Indian, with his shield and
quiver, his ornamented shirt, leggins, and mocassins; his long hair
flowing behind him, or his head-dress of the war-eagle tailing
gracefully nearly to his heels; his lance in his hand; and his dress
ornamented with ermine, shells, porcupine quills and a profusion of
scalp-locks; but you see him out of character. He should spring on a
horse wild as the winds; and then, as he brandished his lance, with
his pendent plumes, and hair and scalp-locks waving in the breeze, you
see him in his proper element. Horse-racing among the Indians is an
exciting scene. The cruel custom, of urging useful and noble animals
beyond their strength, is much the same in savage as in civilized
life; but the scene is oftentimes more wild, strange, and picturesque
than you can imagine.

_Austin._ Ay, I remember that the Camanchees are capital riders. I was
a Camanchee in our buffalo hunt. Brian, you have not forgotten that?

_Brian._ But you had no horse to ride. I was a Sioux; and the Sioux
are capital riders too.

_Basil._ And so are the Pawnees, I was a Pawnee in the buffalo hunt.

_Hunter._ It was told me that the Camanchees--and, indeed, some of
the Pawnees also--were able, while riding a horse at full gallop, to
lie along on one side of him, with an arm in a sling from the horse's
neck, and one heel over the horse's back; and that, while the body was
thus screened from an enemy, they could use their lances with effect,
and throw their arrows with deadly aim. The Camanchees are so much on
their horses, that they never seem at their ease except when they are
flying across the prairie on horseback.

_Austin._ It would be worth going to the prairies, if it were only to
see the Camanchees ride.

_Hunter._ Besides horse-races, the Indians have foot-races and
canoe-races and wrestling. The Indians are also very fond of archery,
in which, using their bows and also arrows so much as they do, it is
no wonder they are very skilful. The game of the arrow is a very
favourite amusement with them. It is played on the open prairie. There
is no target set up to shoot at, as there is generally; but every
archer sends his first arrow as high as he can into the air.

_Austin._ Ay, I see! He who shoots the highest in the air is the
winner.

_Hunter._ Not exactly so. It is not he who shoots highest that is the
victor; but he who can get the greatest number of arrows into the air
at the same time. Picture to yourselves a hundred well-made, active
young men, on the open prairie, each carrying a bow, with eight or ten
arrows, in his left hand. He sends an arrow into the air with all his
strength, and then, instantly, with a rapidity that is truly
surprising, shoots arrow after arrow upwards, so that, before the
first arrow has reached the ground, half a dozen others have mounted
into the air. Often have I seen seven or eight shafts from the same
bow in the air at once.

_Austin._ Brian, we will try what we can do to-morrow; but we shall
never have so many as seven or eight up at once.

_Hunter._ The Indians are famous swimmers, and, indeed, if they were
not, it would often go hard with them. They are taught when very young
to make their way through the water, and though they do it usually in
a manner different from that of white men, I hardly think many white
men would equal them, either as to their speed, or the length of time
they will continue in the water.

_Austin._ But how do they swim, if their way is different from ours? I
can swim a little, and I should like to learn their way, if it is the
best.

_Hunter._ I am not quite prepared to say that; for, though red men are
more expert swimmers than white men, that may be owing to their being
more frequently in the water. They fish a great deal in the lakes; and
they have often to cross brooks and rivers in too much haste to allow
them to get into a canoe. A squaw thinks but very little of plunging
into a rolling river with a child on her back; for the women swim
nearly or quite as well as the men.

_Austin._ But you did not tell us wherein their way of swimming is
different from ours.

_Hunter._ Whites swim by striking out their legs and both arms at the
same time, keeping their breasts straight against the water; but the
Indian strikes out with one arm only, turning himself on his side
every stroke, first on one side and then on the other, so that,
instead of his broad chest breasting the water in front, he cuts
through it sideways, finding less resistance in that way than the
other. Much may be said in favour of both these modes. The Indian mode
requires more activity and skill, while the other depends more on the
strength of the arms, a point in which they far surpass the Indian,
who has had little exercise of the arms, and consequently but
comparatively little strength in those limbs. I always considered
myself to be a good swimmer, but I was no match for the Indians. I
shall not soon forget a prank that was once played me on the Knife
River, by some of the Minatarees; it convinced me of their adroitness
in the water.

_Basil._ What was it? Did they dip your head under the water?

_Hunter._ No; you shall hear. I was crossing the river in a bull-boat,
which is nothing more than a tub, made of buffalo's skin, stretched on
a framework of willow boughs. The tub was just large enough to hold me
and the few things which I had with me; when suddenly a group of young
swimmers, most of them mere children, surrounded me, and began
playfully to turn my tub round and round in the stream. Not being
prepared to swim, on account of my dress, I began to manifest some
fear lest my poor tub should be overturned; but the more fearful I
was, the better pleased were my mirthful tormentors.

_Austin._ Ah! I can see it spinning round like a peg-top, in the
middle of the river.

_Brian._ And did they upset the tub?

_Hunter._ No. After amusing themselves for some time at my expense,
now and then diving under the tub, and then pulling down the edge of
it level with the water, on receiving a few beads, or other trifles
which I happened to have with me, they drew me and my bull-boat to the
shore in safety. They were beautiful swimmers, and, as I told you, I
shall not soon forget them.

The dances among the Indians are very numerous; some of them are
lively enough, while others are very grave; and, then, most of the
tribes are fond of relating adventures.

There are the buffalo dance, the bear dance, the dog dance and the
eagle dance. And then there are the ball-play dance, the green corn
dance, the beggars' dance, the slave dance, the snow-shoe dance, and
the straw dance; and, besides these, there are the discovery dance,
the brave dance, the war dance, the scalp dance, the pipe-of-peace
dance, and many others that I do not at this moment remember.

_Brian._ You must please to tell us about them all.

_Austin._ But not all at once, or else we shall have too short an
account. Suppose you tell us of two or three of them now.

_Hunter._ To describe every dance at length would be tiresome, as
many of them have the same character. It will be better to confine
ourselves to a few of the principal dances. I have known a buffalo
dance continue for a fortnight or longer, day and night, without
intermission. When I was among the Mandans, every Indian had a buffalo
mask ready to put on whenever he required it. It was composed of the
skin of a buffalo's head, with the horns on it; a long, thin strip of
the buffalo's hide, with the tail at the end of it, hanging down from
the back of the mask.

_Austin._ What figures they would look with their masks on! Did you
say that they kept up the dance day and night?

_Hunter._ Yes. The Mandans were strong in their village, but
comparatively weak whenever they left it, for then they were soon in
the neighbourhood of their powerful enemies. This being the case, when
the buffaloes of the prairie wandered far away from them, they were at
times half starved. The buffalo dance was to make buffaloes come back
again to the prairies near them.

_Brian._ But how could they bring them back again?

_Hunter._ The buffalo dance was a kind of homage paid to the Great
Spirit, that he might take pity on them, and send them supplies. The
dancers assembled in the middle of the village, each wearing his mask,
with its horns and long tail, and carrying in his hand a lance, or a
bow and arrows. The dance began, by about a dozen of them thus
attired, starting, hopping, jumping and creeping in all manner of
strange, uncouth forms; singing, yelping, and making odd sounds of
every description, while others were shaking rattles and beating drums
with all their might; the drums, the rattles, the yelling, the
frightful din, with the uncouth antics of the dancers, altogether
presented such a scene, that, were you once to be present at a buffalo
dance, you would talk of it long after, and would not forget it all
the days of your lives.

_Basil._ And do they keep that up for a fortnight?

_Hunter._ Sometimes much longer, for they never give over dancing till
the buffaloes come. Every dancer, when he is tired, (and this he makes
known by crouching down quite low,) is shot with blunt arrows, and
dragged away, when his place is supplied by another. While the dance
is going on, scouts are sent out to look for buffaloes, and as soon as
they are found, a shout of thanksgiving is raised to the Great Spirit,
to the medicine man, and to the dancers, and preparation is made for a
buffalo hunt. After this, a great feast takes place; all their
sufferings from scarcity are forgotten, and they are as prodigal, and
indeed wasteful, of their buffalo meat, as if they had never known the
want of it.

_Austin._ Well, I should like to see the buffalo dance. Could not we
manage one on the lawn, Brian?

_Brian._ But where are we to get the buffalo masks from? The buffalo
hunt did very well, but I hardly think we could manage the dance
Please to tell us of the bear dance.

_Hunter._ I think it will be better to tell you about that, and other
dances, the next time you visit me; for I want to read to you a short
account, which I have here, of a poor Indian woman of the Dog-ribbed
tribe. I have not said much of Indian women, and I want you to feel
kindly towards them. It was Hearne, who went with a party from
Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean, many years ago, who fell in with
the poor woman.

_Basil._ Oh, yes; let us hear all about her; and you can tell us of
the dances when we come again.

_Hunter._ Now, then, I will begin. One day in January, when they were
hunting, they saw the track of a strange snow-shoe, which they
followed, and at a considerable distance came to a little hut, where
they discovered a young woman sitting alone. On examination, she
proved to be one of the Dog-ribbed Indians, who had been taken
prisoner by another tribe, in the summer of 1770; and, in the
following summer, when the Indians that took her prisoner were near
this place, she had escaped from them, intending to return to her own
country. But the distance being so great, and having, after she was
taken prisoner, been carried in a canoe the whole way, the turnings
and windings of the rivers and lakes were so numerous that she forgot
the track; so she built the hut in which she was found, to protect her
from the weather during the winter, and here she had resided from the
first setting-in of the fall.

_Brian._ What, all by herself! How lonely she must have been!

_Hunter._ From her account of the moons passed since her escape, it
appeared that she had been nearly seven months without seeing a human
face; during all which time she had supplied herself very well, by
snaring partridges, rabbits and squirrels: she had also killed two or
three beavers, and some porcupines. She did not seem to have been in
want, and had a small stock of provisions by her when she was
discovered. She was in good health and condition, and one of the
finest of Indian women.

_Austin._ I should have been afraid that other Indians would have come
and killed her.

_Hunter._ The methods practised by this poor creature to procure a
livelihood were truly admirable, and furnish proof that necessity is
indeed the mother of invention. When the few deer sinews, that she had
an opportunity of taking with her, were expended, in making snares and
sewing her clothing, she had nothing to supply their place but the
sinews of the rabbits' legs and feet. These she twisted together for
that purpose with great dexterity and success. The animals which she
caught in those snares, not only furnished her with a comfortable
subsistence, but of the skins she made a suit of neat and warm
clothing for the winter. It is scarcely possible to conceive that a
person in her forlorn situation could be so composed as to be capable
of contriving and executing any thing that was not absolutely
necessary to her existence; but there was sufficient proof that she
had extended her care much farther, as all her clothing, besides being
calculated for real service, showed great taste, and exhibited no
little variety of ornament. The materials, though rude, were very
curiously wrought, and so judiciously placed, as to make the whole of
her garb have a very pleasant, though rather romantic appearance.

_Brian._ Poor woman! I should like to have seen her in the hut of her
own building, and the clothes of her own making.

_Hunter._ Her leisure hours from hunting had been employed in twisting
the inner rind or bark of willows into small lines, like net-twine, of
which she had some hundred fathoms by her. With these she intended to
make a fishing-net, as soon as the spring advanced. It is of the inner
bark of the willows, twisted in this manner, that the Dog-ribbed
Indians make their fishing-nets; and they are much preferable to those
made by the Northern Indians.

Five or six inches of an iron hoop, made into a knife, and the shank
of an arrow-head of iron, which served her as an awl, were all the
metals this poor woman had with her when she escaped; and with these
implements she had made herself complete snow-shoes, and several other
useful articles.

_Austin._ Capital! Why, she seems able to do every thing.

_Hunter._ Her method of making a fire was equally singular and
curious, having no other materials for that purpose than two hard
stones. These, by long friction and hard knocking, produced a few
sparks, which at length communicated to some touch-wood. But as this
method was attended with great trouble, and not always successful, she
did not suffer her fire to go out all the winter.

    [Illustration: Indian Canoes.]



  [Illustration: _c_, drum. _d, d_, rattles. _e_, drum. _f_, mystery
                    whistle. _g_, deer-skin flute.]

                             CHAPTER XII.


Never, sure, did young people make a more grotesque appearance, than
did Austin, Brian, and Basil Edwards, in their attempt to get up a
buffalo dance. Each had a mat over his shoulders, and a brown paper
mask over his face; two wooden pegs on a string made a very
respectable pair of horns; bows and arrows were in abundance; a toy
rattle and drum, with the addition of an iron spoon and a wooden
trencher, supplied them with music; and neither Mandan, Pawnee, Crow,
Sioux, Blackfoot, nor Camanchee, could have reasonably complained of
the want of either noise or confusion.

Then, again, they were very successful in bringing buffaloes, without
which the dance, excellent as it was, would have been but an
unsatisfactory affair. Black Tom had been prudently shut up in the
tool-house, and Jowler tied up to a tree hard by, so that, when it
became expedient for buffaloes to appear, the house of Black Tom was
opened, and Jowler was set at liberty. All things considered, the
affair went off remarkably well.

"We are come to hear of the bear dance, and the dog dance, and the
beggars' dance, and the green corn dance," said Austin to the hunter,
on the following day, when a visit was paid to the cottage. The
hunter, with his accustomed kindness to the young people, lost no time
in entering on his narrative. "You must not forget," said he, "that
many of the dances of the Indians partake of a religious character,
for in them reverence and adoration are freely offered. The Indians'
worship of the Great Spirit, as I have already told you, is mingled
with much of ignorance and superstition, whether in dances or in other
observances; yet do they, at times, leave upon the mind of a spectator
a deep impression of their sincerity, though this does not excuse
their error. I have not as yet described their music, and therefore
will do it now."

_Austin._ Yes. Now for the music of the Indians, if you please, sir.

_Hunter._ If you ever go among them, and mingle in their dances, you
must not expect to have a band of music such as you have in our
cities. Whistles, flutes, rattles and drums are almost all their
musical instruments. You would be surprised at the music that some of
the young Indians produce with the mystery whistle.

_Austin._ Why is it called the mystery whistle?

_Hunter._ I have already told you that the red man calls every thing
mystery, or medicine, that is surprising; and as the notes of this
whistle are particularly sweet, it may be called a mystery whistle on
this account. There is another whistle that is very much in request
among the Indians, and that is the war whistle. The onset and the
retreat in battle are sounded on this instrument by the leading chief,
who never goes on an expedition without it. It is made of bone, and
sometimes it is formed of the leg bone of a large bird. The shrill,
scream-like note, which is the signal for rushing on an enemy, would
make you start.

_Brian._ What sort of a drum do they use? Is it a kettle-drum?

_Hunter._ No. It is merely a piece of raw hide, stretched as tight as
it can be pulled over a hoop. Some of their drums have but one end, or
surface, to beat upon, while others have two. What they would do in
their dances without their drums I do not know, for you hear them
continually. Their rattles are of different kinds, some much larger
than others; but the principle on which they are formed is the same,
that is, of enclosing stones of different sizes in hard, dry, raw
hide.

_Austin._ Have they no trumpets and cymbals, and clarionets and
violins?

_Hunter._ No, nothing of the kind. They have a deer-skin flute, on
which very tolerable music is sometimes made; but, after all, it must
be admitted that Indians are much better buffalo hunters than
musicians.

_Austin._ Ay; they are quite at home in hunting buffaloes.

_Hunter._ Yes; and they are at home, too, in dancing, being extremely
nimble of foot. Some of their dances are so hideous that you would be
disgusted with them, while others would keep you laughing in spite of
yourselves.

_Brian._ You must please to tell us about these dances.

_Hunter._ Dancing is a very favourite amusement of the Indians; though
it is, for the most part, of a character so different from that of
dancing in civilized life, that few people, ignorant of its meaning
and allusions, would like it. The body is so continually in a stooping
attitude, and the gestures and grimaces appear to be so unmeaning,
that at first it leaves an impression that they are ridiculing the art
of dancing, rather than entering into it in right earnest. There is
such creeping and jumping and starting, that a spectator can make but
little of it.

_Austin._ I can fancy that I see a party joining in the buffalo dance
now, with their masks over their faces. Please to tell us of the bear
dance.

_Hunter._ By and by. I will describe a few other dances first. The
beggars' dance is undertaken to prevail on such of the spectators as
abound in comforts to give alms to those who are more scantily
provided with them. It is danced by the young men who stand high in
the tribe. These shake their rattles, hold up their pipes and brandish
their lances, while they dance; chanting in an odd strain, at the top
of their voices, in praise of the Great Spirit, and imploring him to
dispose the lookers on to give freely. The dancers are all naked, with
the exception of a sort of kilt formed of quills and feathers; and a
medicine man keeps on all the time beating furiously on a drum with a
rattle, and hallooing out as loud as he can raise his voice.

_Austin._ That ought to be called the begging dance, and not the
beggars' dance; for the dancers do not beg for themselves, but for
others.

_Hunter._ You see that the object of the dance is a good one; for many
a skin, or pouch, or pipe, or other necessary article, is given by the
spectators to those of their tribe who need them. It is not common
among the Indians for their aged men and mystery men to mingle in the
dance, and yet I have seen, on especial occasions, a score of them
jumping and capering in a way very creditable to their agility. The
Sioux have a dance that ought to be called the doctors' dance, or the
dance of the chiefs.

_Brian._ Why, do the doctors dance in it?

_Hunter._ Yes; while a medicine man beats his drum, and a party of
young women sing, the chiefs of the tribe and the doctors make their
appearance, splendidly attired in their costliest head-dresses,
carrying a spear in one hand and a rattle in the other. Every movement
is strictly regulated by the beat of the drum, and the dance by
degrees becomes more and more spirited, until you would suppose the
party must be exhausted: but men so much in the open air, and whose
limbs are so little restrained by bandages and tight clothing, can
bear a great deal of fatigue. The pipe dance is one of the most
animated amusements.

_Basil._ Oh! do tell us about the pipe dance.

_Hunter._ In the ground in the centre of the village a fire is
lighted, and a party assemble round it; every one smoking his pipe, as
he sits on his buffalo skin, as though nothing was farther from his
thoughts than dancing. While these are whiffing away at a distance
from the fire, a mystery man, who sits nearer to the flame, smokes a
longer pipe, grunting at the same time a kind of tune. Suddenly is
heard the rub-a-dub of a drum, or the beat of some other instrument of
the same kind; when instantly starts to his feet one of the smokers,
hopping like a parched pea, spinning round like a top, and starting
and jumping, at every beat of the drum, in a very violent manner. In
this way he goes round the smokers, seemingly threatening them all,
and at last pounces upon one of them, whom he compels to dance in the
same manner as himself. The new dancer acts his part like the former
one, capering and jumping round the smokers, and compelling another to
join them. Thus the dance continues, till all of them are occupied,
when the hopping, the jumping, the frightful postures into which they
throw themselves, together with the grunting, growling, singing,
hooting and hallooing, are beyond all belief. There are few dances of
the Indians more full of wild gestures and unrestrained turbulence
than the pipe dance.

_Basil._ I hope you have a good many more dances to tell us of.

_Hunter._ The green corn dance of the Minatarees must be described to
you. Among Indian tribes, green corn is a great luxury, and the time
when it ripens is a time of rejoicing. Dances and songs of
thanksgiving are abundant; and the people give way not only to
feasting, but also to gluttony; so that often, by abusing the
abundance in their possession, they bring upon themselves the miseries
of want. The Indians have very little fore-thought. To enjoy the
present, and to trust the future to the Great Spirit, is their
constant practice.

_Austin._ How long does the green corn dance last?

_Hunter._ For eight or ten days, during which time there is the most
unbounded prodigality. Among many of the tribes, the black drink, a
very powerful medicine, is taken two or three days before the feast,
that the green corn may be eaten with a sharp appetite and an empty
stomach.

_Brian._ In what way does the green corn dance begin?

_Hunter._ As soon as the corn is in a proper state--and this is
decided by the mystery men--runners are despatched through the
village, that all may assemble on the following day to the dance and
the feast. Sufficient corn for the required purpose is gathered by the
women, who have the fields under their care, and a fire is made, over
which a kettle, with green corn in it, is kept boiling; while medicine
men, whose bodies are strangely painted, or bedaubed with clay of a
white colour, dance round it in very uncouth attitudes, with
corn-stalks in their hands.

_Austin._ I dare say, while the pot is boiling, they are all longing
to begin the feast.

_Hunter._ The first kettle-full is not for themselves, it is an
offering to the Great Spirit. There are many customs among the Indians
which cannot but bring the Jews to our remembrance; and this offering
of the first green corn does so very forcibly. The medicine men round
the fire shake their rattles, hold up their corn-stalks, and sing
loudly a song of thanksgiving, till the corn is sufficiently boiled;
it is then put upon the fire and consumed to a cinder. Before this
offering is made, none of the Indians would dare to taste of the
luxurious fare; but, afterwards, their appetite is unrestrained.

_Austin._ Then they begin to boil more corn, I suppose.

_Hunter._ A fresh fire is made, a fresh kettle of corn is prepared,
and the dance goes on; the medicine men keeping close to the fire, and
the others capering and shouting in a larger circle, their energy
increasing as the feast approaches nearer and nearer. The chiefs and
medicine men then sit down to the feast, followed by the whole tribe,
keeping up their festivity day after day, till the corn-field has
little more grain remaining in it than what is necessary for seed. You
have heard the saying, "Wilful waste brings woful want." The truth of
this saying is often set forth, as well in civilized life as among the
Indians.

_Basil._ I wonder what dance will come next.

_Hunter._ I need not describe many others. If I run rapidly through
two or three, and dwell a little on the bear dance and the war dance,
you will then have heard quite enough about dances. The scalp dance is
in use among the Sioux or Dahcotas. It is rather a fearful exhibition;
for women, in the centre of a circle, hold up and wave about the
scalps which have been torn from the slaughtered foes of the tribe,
while the warriors draw around them in the most furious attitudes,
brandishing their war-clubs, uttering the most hideous howls and
screams. The Indians have many good qualities, but cruelty seems to
mingle with their very nature. Every thing is done among them that can
be done, to keep alive the desire to shed blood. The noblest act a red
man can perform, and that which he thinks the most useful to his tribe
and the most acceptable to the Great Spirit, is to destroy an enemy,
and to bear away his scalp as a trophy of his valour. If it were only
for this one trait in the Indian character, even this would be
sufficient to convince every humane person, and especially every
Christian, of the duty and great advantage of spreading among them the
merciful principles of Christianity. A holy influence is necessary to
teach the untutored red man to forgive his enemies, to subdue his
anger, to abate his pride, and to stay his hand in shedding human
blood. The new commandment must be put in his heart: "That ye love one
another." The Mandan boys used to join in a sham scalp dance, in which
they conducted themselves just like warriors returning from a
victorious enterprise against their enemies.

_Basil._ They are all sadly fond of fighting.

_Hunter._ In the brave dance, of the Ojibbeways, there is plenty of
swaggering: the dancers seem as if they knew not how to be proud
enough of their warlike exploits. The eagle dance, among the Choctaws,
is an elegant amusement; and the snow-shoe dance, of the Ojibbeways,
is a very amusing one.

_Brian._ Please to tell us about them both.

_Hunter._ I must not stay to describe them particularly: it will be
enough to say, that, in the one, the dancers are painted white, and
that they move about waving in their hands the tail of the eagle; in
the other--which is performed on the first fall of snow, in honour of
the Great Spirit--the dancers wear snow-shoes, which, projecting far
before and behind their feet, give them in the dance a most strange
and laughable appearance.

_Brian._ I should very much like to see that dance; there is nothing
cruel in it at all.

_Basil._ And I should like to see the eagle dance, for there is no
cruelty in that either.

_Hunter._ The straw dance is a Sioux dance of a very curious
description. Loose straws are tied to the bodies of naked children;
these straws are then set on fire, and the children are required to
dance, without uttering any expression of pain. This practice is
intended to make them hardy, that they may become the better warriors.

_Basil._ That is one of the strangest dances of all.

_Hunter._ I will now say a little about the bear dance, and the war
dance. The bear dance is performed by the Sioux before they set off on
a bear-hunt. If the bear dance were left unperformed, they would
hardly hope for success. The Bear spirit, if this honour were not paid
to him, would be offended, and would give them no success in the
chase.

_Austin._ What! do the Sioux think there is a Bear spirit?

    [Illustration: Bear Dance.]

_Hunter._ Yes. The number of spirits of one kind or another, believed
in by the Indians, is very great. In the bear dance, the principal
performer has a bear-skin over him, the head of it hanging over his
head, and the paws over his hands. Others have masks of bears' faces;
and all of them, throughout the dance, imitate the actions of a bear.
They stoop down, they dangle their hands, and make frightful noises,
beside singing to the Bear spirit. If you can imagine twenty bears
dancing to the music of the rattle, whistle, and drum, making odd
gambols, and yelling out the most frightful noises, you will have some
notion of the bear dance.

_Brian._ Now for the war dance: that is come at last.

_Hunter._ It is hardly possible to conceive a more exciting spectacle
than that of the war dance among the Sioux. It exhibits Indian manners
on the approach of war. As, among civilized people, soldiers are
raised either by recruiting or other means; so, among the Indians,
something like recruiting prevails. The red pipe is sent through the
tribe, and every one who draws a whiff up the stem thereby declares he
is willing to join the war party. The warriors then assemble together,
painted with vermilion and other colours, and dressed in their war
clothes, with their weapons and their war-eagle head-dresses.

_Austin._ What a sight that must be!

_Hunter._ When the mystery man has stuck up a red post in the ground,
and begun to beat his drum, the warriors advance, one after another,
brandishing their war-clubs, and striking the red post a violent blow,
while the mystery man sings their death-song. When the warriors have
struck the post, they blacken their faces, and all set to dancing
around it. The shrill war-whoop is screamed aloud, and frantic
gestures and frightful yells show, but too plainly, that there will be
very little mercy extended to the enemy that falls into their hands.

_Brian._ That war dance would make me tremble.

_Hunter._ The Mandan boys used to assemble at the back of their
village, every morning, as soon as the sun was in the skies, to
practise sham fighting. Under the guidance and direction of their
ablest and most courageous braves and warriors, they were instructed
in all the mysteries of war. The preparations, the ambush, the
surprise, the combat and the retreat, were made familiar to them. Thus
were they bred up from their youth to delight in warfare, and to long
for opportunities of using their tomahawks and scalping-knives against
their foes.

When you next come to see me, I will give you an account of the cruel
customs of the mystery lodge of the Mandans; with the hope that it
will increase your abhorrence of cruelty and bloodshed, render you
more than ever thankful for the blessings of peace, and more anxious
to extend them all over the earth. The hardest of all lessons now, to
a red man, is, as I have before intimated, to forgive his enemies; but
when, through Divine mercy, his knowledge is extended, and his heart
opened to receive the truths of the gospel, he will be enabled to
understand, to love, and to practise the injunction of the Saviour,
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that
hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute
you."



             [Illustration: Interior of a Mystery Lodge.]

                             CHAPTER XIII.


It was well for Austin Edwards and his brothers, that their
acquaintance with their friend the hunter commenced during one of
their holidays, so that they were enabled to pay him a visit more
frequently than they otherwise could have done. The life led by the
hunter would have been far too solitary for most people; but his long
wanderings in the extended prairies, and his long sojournings in
places remote from society, had rendered the quiet tranquillity of
country scenes pleasant to him: yet, still, as variety has its charms,
it afforded him a pleasant change, whenever the three brothers visited
him.

In his younger days, he had entered on the life of a hunter and
trapper with much ardour. To pursue the buffalo (or, more properly
speaking, the bison) of the prairie, the deer, and other animals, and
to mingle with the different tribes of Indians, was his delight. With
wild animals and wild men he became familiar, and even the very
dangers that beset his path gave an interest to his pursuits: but his
youth was gone, his manhood was declining, and the world that he once
looked upon as an abiding dwelling-place, he now regarded as the
pathway to a better home.

Time was, when to urge the arrow or the spear into the heart of the
flying prey for mere diversion, and to join in the wild war-whoop of
contending tribes, was congenial to his spirit; but his mind had been
sobered, so that now to practise forbearance and kindness was far more
pleasant than to indulge in cruelty and revenge. He looked on mankind
as one great family, which ought to dwell in brotherly love; and he
regarded the animal creation as given by a heavenly Hand, for the use,
and not the abuse, of man.

In relating the scenes in which he had mingled in earlier years, he
was aware that he could not avoid calling up, in some measure, in the
youthful hearts of his auditors, the natural desire to see what was
new and strange and wonderful, without reflecting a moment on the good
or the evil of the thing set before them: but he endeavoured to blend
with his descriptions such remarks as would lead them to love what was
right and to hate what was wrong. Regarding the Indian tribes as an
injured people, he sought to set before his young friends the wrongs
and oppressions practised on the red man; that they might sympathize
with his trials, and feel interested for his welfare.

The few words that had dropped from his lips, about the ordeal through
which the Indians pass before they are allowed to join war-parties,
had awakened Austin's curiosity. Nor was it long before, seated with
his brothers in the cottage, he was listening to the whole account.
"Please to begin at the very beginning," said he, "and I shall not
lose a single word."

_Hunter._ The Sioux, the Crows, the Sacs, the Ojibbeways, the
Camanchees, and the Chippewas, all exhibit astonishing proofs of
patience and endurance under pain; but in none of the tribes has ever
such torture been inflicted, or such courage witnessed, in enduring
torment, as among the Mandans.

_Brian._ Now we shall hear.

_Hunter._ The Mandans, who, as I have already told you, lived, when I
was a hunter, on the Upper Missouri, held a mystery lodge every year;
and this was indeed a very solemn gathering of the tribe. I was never
present in the lodge on this occasion, but will give you the
description of an eye-witness.

_Basil._ Why did they get together? What did they do?

_Hunter._ You shall hear. The mystery lodge, or it may be called the
religious meeting, was held, first, to appease the wrath and secure
the protection of the good and the evil spirits; secondly, to
celebrate the great flood, which they believed took place a long time
ago; thirdly, to perform the buffalo dance, to bring buffaloes; and,
fourthly, to try the strength, courage and endurance of their young
men, that they might know who were the most worthy among them, and the
most to be relied on in war-parties.

_Austin._ How came the Mandans to know any thing about the flood, if
they have no Bibles?

_Hunter._ That I cannot tell. Certain it is, that they had a large,
high tub, called the Great Canoe, in the centre of their village, set
up in commemoration of the flood; and that they held the mystery lodge
when the willow leaves were in their prime under the river bank,
because, they said, a bird had brought a willow bough in full leaf to
the Great Canoe in the flood.

_Austin._ Why, it is just as if they had read the Bible.

_Hunter._ The fact of the deluge (however they came by it) had
undoubtedly been handed down among them by tradition for many
generations: but I must go on with my account of the Mandan gathering.
The mystery lodge was opened by a strange-looking man, whom no one
seemed to know, and who came from the prairie. This odd man called for
some edge-tool at every wigwam in the village; and all these tools, at
the end of the ceremonies, were cast into the river from a high bank;
as an offering, I suppose, to the Water spirit. After opening the
mystery lodge, and appointing a medicine man to preside, he once more
disappeared on the prairie.

_Brian._ What an odd thing!

_Hunter._ Twenty or thirty young men were in the lodge, candidates for
reputation among the tribe, who had presented themselves to undergo
the prescribed tortures. As they reclined in the lodge, every one had
hung up over his head, his shield, his bow and quiver, and his
medicine bag. The young men were painted different colours. The old
mystery man appointed to superintend the ceremonies sat by a fire in
the middle of the lodge, smoking leisurely with his medicine pipe, in
honour of the Great Spirit; and there he sat for four days, and as
many nights, during which the young men neither tasted food nor drink,
nor were they allowed to close their eyes.

_Basil._ It was enough to kill them all.

_Hunter._ On the floor of the lodge were buffalo and human skulls, and
sacks filled with water, shaped like tortoises, with sticks by them.
During each of the four days, the buffalo dance was performed over and
over again, by Indians, painted, and wearing over them whole buffalo
skins, with tails and hoofs and horns; while in their hands they
carried rattles, and long, thin, white wands, and bore on their backs
bundles of green boughs of the willow. Some of the dancers were
painted red, to represent the day; and others black, with stars, to
resemble the night. During these dances, which took place round the
Great Canoe, the tops of the wigwams were crowded with people.

_Austin._ I want to hear about the young Indians in the lodge, and
that old fellow, the mystery man.

_Hunter._ The superstitious and cruel practices of the mystery lodge
are too fearful to dwell upon. I shall only just glance at them, that
you may know, in some degree, the kind of trials the young Indians
have to endure. While the dances were going on, mystery men, inside
the lodge, were beating on the water sacks with sticks, and animating
the young men to act courageously, telling them that the Great Spirit
was sure to support them. Splints, or wooden skewers, were then run
through the flesh on the back and breasts of the young warriors, and
they were hoisted up, with cords fastened to the splints, towards the
top of the lodge. Not a muscle of their features expressed fear or
pain.

_Basil._ Shocking! shocking!

_Brian._ That must be horrible!

_Hunter._ After this, other splints were run through their arms,
thighs and legs; and on these were hung their shields, arms and
medicine bags. In this situation they were taunted, and turned round
with poles till they fainted; and when, on being let down again, they
recovered, those who had superior hardihood would crawl to the buffalo
skull in the centre of the lodge, and lay upon it the little finger of
their left hand to be chopped off; and even the loss of a second or
third finger is counted evidence of superior boldness and devotion.
After this, they were hurried along between strong and fleet runners:
this was called "the last race," round and round the Great Canoe, till
the weight of their arms having pulled the splints from their bodies,
they once more fainted, and in this state, apparently dead, they were
left to themselves, to live or die, as the Great Spirit might
determine.

_Austin._ I should think that hardly any of them would ever come to
life again.

_Hunter._ Nor would they, under common circumstances; but, when we
consider that these young men had fasted for four days, and lost much
blood in their tortures, there was not much danger of inflammation
from their wounds, and their naturally strong constitutions enabled
them to recover. All these tortures were willingly undertaken; nor
would any one of those who endured them, on any account whatever, have
evaded them. To propitiate the Great Spirit, and to stand well in the
estimation of his own tribe, are the two highest objects in the mind
of an Indian.

       *       *       *       *       *

The day after that on which Austin and his brothers heard from the
hunter the account of the mystery lodge, and the sufferings of the
young Mandans before they were thought equal to engage in a war-party,
two or three little accidents occurred. In the first place, Austin, in
making a new bow, cut a deep gash in his finger: and, in the next,
Brian and Basil, in scrambling among the hedges in quest of straight
twigs for arrows, met with their mishaps; for Brian got a thorn in his
thumb, while Basil had a roll down the bank into a dry ditch.

It is always a good sign in young people, when they put into practice
any real or supposed good quality of which they hear or read. The
patience and endurance of the young Mandans had called forth high
commendations from Austin, and it was evident, in the affair of the
cut finger, that he made a struggle, and a successful one too, in
controlling his feelings. With an air of resolution, he wrapped the
end of his pocket handkerchief tightly round the wound, and passed off
the occurrence as a matter of no moment. Not a word escaped little
Basil when he rolled into the ditch; nor did Brian utter a single
"oh!" when the thorn was extracted from his thumb.

    [Illustration: A War-Party.]

"You may depend upon it," said Austin, after some conversation with
Brian and Basil, on the subject of the young Mandans, "that the next
time we see the hunter, we shall hear something about the way in which
red men go to war. The sham fight, and the preparation of the young
warriors, will be followed by some account of their battles." In this
supposition he was quite correct; for, when they next visited the
cottage, the hunter proposed to speak a little about councils and
encampments and alarms and surprises and attacks. The conversation was
carried on in the following manner.

_Austin._ How do the Indians poison their arrows?

_Hunter._ By dipping the point of the arrow-head into the poison
prepared. The head of the arrow, as I told you, is put on very
slightly, so that it remains in the wound when the arrow is withdrawn.

_Brian._ Where do they get their poison? What is it made of?

_Hunter._ No doubt there is some difference in the manner of preparing
poison among the different tribes. But, usually, it is, I believe,
composed of deadly vegetable substances, slowly boiled together,
sometimes mingled with the mortal poison of snakes and ants. This is
prepared with great care. Its strength is usually tried on a lizard,
or some other cold-blooded, slow-dying animal. It is rapid in its
effects; for, if a fowl be wounded with a poisoned weapon, it dies in
a few minutes; a cat dies in five minutes; a bison, in five or six;
and a horse, in ten. Jaguars and deer live but a short time after they
are thus wounded. If, then, horses and bisons are so soon destroyed by
the poison, no wonder that men should be unable to endure its fatal
effects.

Before war is determined on among the Indians, a council is held with
great solemnity. The chiefs, and braves, and medicine men are
assembled. Then the enlisting takes place, which I have already
described; the war dance is engaged in, and weapons are examined and
repaired. The chief, arrayed in full dress, leads on his band. They
march with silence and rapidity, and encamp with great caution,
appointing sentinels in every necessary direction. Thus, lurking,
skulking and marching, they reach the place of their destination.
Another war council is held, to decide on the mode of attack; and
then, with rifles, war-clubs, scalping-knives and bows and poisoned
arrows, they fall upon their unsuspecting foes.

_Brian._ It is very sad to fight with such weapons as poisoned arrows.

_Hunter._ It is sad to fight with any kind of weapons; but, when once
anger enters the heart, and the desire to shed blood is called forth,
no mode is thought too cruel that will assist in obtaining a victory.
The continual warfare that is carried on between Indian tribes must be
afflictive to every humane and Christian spirit. None but the God of
peace can destroy the love of war in the hearts of either red or white
men.

Indians fight in a way very different from civilized people; for they
depend more on cunning, stratagem and surprise, than on skill and
courage. Almost all their attacks are made under cover of night, or
when least expected. A war-party will frequently go a great distance,
to fall upon a village or an encampment on a quarter most accessible.
To effect their object, they will hide for any length of time in the
forest, sleep in the long grass, lurk in the ravine, and skulk at
nightfall around the place to be attacked.

_Austin._ Did you ever go out with the Indians to fight?

_Hunter._ Yes. For some time I was treated very hospitably among the
Crows, near the Rocky Mountains; and as they had determined to go on
one of their war-parties, which I could not prevent, I resolved to go
along with them, to watch their way of proceeding.

_Austin._ Do tell us all about it.

_Hunter._ It was a thoughtless and foolish affair, when I was young
and rash; but I wished to be a spectator of all their customs. It was,
as I said, one of those foolish undertakings into which the ardour of
my disposition led me, and for which I was very near paying the price
of my life. A council was held, wherein it was decided to send a
strong war-party on foot to surprise a Blackfoot village. Every
stratagem had been used to lull the enemy into security.

_Brian._ Ay; that is just like the Indians.

_Hunter._ The red pipe was sent through the tribe, for the warriors to
smoke with it, much after the manner of the Sioux; the red post was
struck, and the braves and attendants painted their faces. When the
plan of attack was agreed on, every warrior looked to his weapons;
neither bow nor arrow, war-club nor scalping-knife, was left
unexamined. There was an earnestness in their preparation, as though
they were all animated with one spirit.

It was some time after sundown, that we left the village at a quick
pace. Runners were sent out in all directions, to give notice of an
enemy. We hastened along a deep valley, rounded the base of a bluff,
and entered the skirt of a forest, following each other in files
beneath the shadowy branches. We then passed through some deep grass,
and stole silently along several defiles and ravines. The nearer we
drew to the Blackfoot village, the more silently and stealthily we
proceeded. Like the panther, creeping with noiseless feet on his prey,
we stole along the intricate pathways of the prairie bottoms, the
forest, the skirt of the river and the hills and bluffs. At last we
made a halt, just as the moon emerged from behind a cloud.

_Austin._ Then there was terrible work, I dare say.

_Hunter._ It was past midnight, and the Blackfoot village was wrapped
in slumber. The Crow warriors dispersed themselves to attack the
village at the same instant from different quarters. The leader had on
his full dress, his medicine bag, and his head-dress of war-eagle
plumes. All was hushed in silence, nearly equal to that of the grave;
when suddenly the shrill war-whistle of the Crow chief rung through
the Blackfoot lodges, and the wild war-whoop burst at once from a
hundred throats. The chief was in the thickest of the fight. There was
no pity for youth or age; the war-club spared not, and the tomahawk
was merciless. Yelling like fiends, the Crow warriors fled from hut to
hut, from victim to victim. Neither women nor children were spared.

_Brian._ Dreadful! dreadful!

_Hunter._ Though taken thus by surprise, the Blackfoot braves, in a
little time, began to collect together, clutching their weapons
firmly, and rushing on their enemies, determined to avenge their
slaughtered friends. The panic into which they had been thrown
subsided, and, like men accustomed to danger, they stood not only in
self-defence, but attacked their foes with fury.

_Austin._ I wonder that every one in the Blackfoot village was not
killed!

_Hunter._ In civilized life, this would very likely have been the
case; but in a savage state, men from their childhood are trained up
to peril. They may lie down to slumber on their couches of skins, but
their weapons are near at hand; and though it be the midnight hour
when an attack is made on them, and though, awakened by the confusion,
they hear nothing but the war-cry of their enemy, they spring to their
feet, seize their arms, and rush on to meet their foes. It was thus
with the Blackfoot braves. Hand to hand, and foot to foot, they met
their assailants; brave was opposed to brave; and the horrid clash of
the war-club and the murderous death-grapple succeeded each other.
Even if I could describe the horrors of such a scene, it would not be
right to do so. As I was gazing on the conflict, I suddenly received a
blow that struck me bleeding to the ground. You may see the scar on my
temple still. The confusion was at its height, or else my scalp would
have been taken.

_Brian._ How did you get away?

_Hunter._ Stunned as I was, I recovered my senses before a retreat
took place, and was just able to effect my escape. The Crows
slaughtered many of their enemies; but the Blackfoot warriors and
braves were at last too strong for them. Then was heard the shrill
whistle that sounded a retreat. With a dozen scalps in their
possession, the Crows sought the shelter of the forest, and afterwards
regained their own village.

_Austin._ Are the Crow tribe or the Blackfoot tribe the strongest?

_Hunter._ The Crow Indians, as I told you, are taller and more elegant
men than the Blackfeet; but the latter have broader chests and
shoulders. The Blackfeet, some think, take their name from the
circumstance of their wearing black, or very dark brown leggings and
mocassins. Whether, as a people, the Crows or the Blackfeet are the
strongest, there is a diversity of opinion. The Blackfeet are almost
always at war with the Crows.

_Austin._ What battling there must be among them!

_Hunter._ Their war-parties are very numerous, and their encampments
are very large: and, whether seen in the day, in the midst of their
lodges; or at night, wrapped in their robes, with their arms in their
hands, ready to leap up if attacked by an enemy; they form a striking
spectacle. Sometimes, in a night encampment, a false alarm takes
place. A prowling bear, or a stray horse, is taken for a foe; and
sometimes a real alarm is occasioned by spies crawling on their hands
and knees up to their very encampment to ascertain their strength. On
these occasions the shrill whistle is heard, every man springs up
armed and rushes forth, ready to resist his assailing enemy. I have
seen war-parties among the Crows and Blackfeet, the Mandans and Sioux,
the Shawanees, Poncas, Pawnees and Seminoles. But a Camanchee
war-party, mounted on wild horses, with their shields, bows and
lances, which I once witnessed, was the most imposing spectacle of the
kind I ever saw. The chief was mounted on a beautiful war-horse, wild
as the winds, and yet he appeared to manage him with ease. He was in
full dress, and seemed to have as much fire in his disposition as the
chafed animal on which he rode. In his bridle-hand, he clutched his
bow and several arrows; with his other hand, he wielded his long
lance; while his quiver and shield were slung at his back, and his
rifle across his thigh.

_Austin._ I think I can see him. But what colour was his war-horse?

_Hunter._ Black as a raven; but the white foam lay in thick flakes on
his neck and breast, for his rider at every few paces stuck the sharp
rowels of his Spanish spurs into his sides. He had a long flowing mane
and tail, and his full and fiery eyes seemed ready to start out of his
head. The whole Camanchee band was ready to rush into any danger. At
one time, they were flying over the prairie in single file; and at
another, drawn up all abreast of each other. The Camanchees and the
Osages used to have cruel battles one with another. The Mandans and
the Riccarees, too, were relentless enemies.

_Brian._ And the Sacs and Foxes were great fighters, for Black Hawk
was a famous fellow.

_Hunter._ Yes, he was. But I have never told you, I believe, how the
medicine man, or mystery man, conducts himself when called unto a
wounded warrior.

_Austin._ Not a word of it. Please to tell us every particular.

_Hunter._ In some cases cures are certainly performed; in others, the
wounded get well of themselves: but, in most instances, the mystery
man is a mere juggler.

_Basil._ Now we shall hear of the mystery man.

_Hunter._ The Crow war-party that I had joined brought away two of
their wounded warriors when they retreated from the Blackfoot village,
but there seemed to be no hope of saving their lives. However, a
mystery man was called on to use his skill.

_Austin._ Ay; I want to know how the mystery man cures his patients.

_Hunter._ If ever you should require a doctor, I hope you will have
one more skilful than the mystery man that I am going to describe. The
wounded warriors were in extremity, and I thought that one of them was
dying before the mystery man made his appearance; but you shall hear.
The wounded men lay groaning on the ground, with Indians around them,
who kept moaning even louder than they did; when, all at once, a
scuffle of feet and a noise like that of a low rattle were heard.

_Austin._ The mystery man was coming, I suppose.

_Hunter._ He was; and a death-like silence was instantly preserved by
all the attendant Indians. In came the mystery man, covered over with
the shaggy hide of a yellow bear, so that, had it not been that his
mocassins, leggings and hands were visible, you might have supposed a
real bear was walking upright, with a spear in one paw, and a rattle,
formed like a tambourine, in the other.

_Basil._ He could never cure the dying man with his tambourine.

_Hunter._ From the yellow bear-skin hung a profusion of smaller skins,
such as those of different kinds of snakes, toads, frogs and bats;
with hoofs of animals, beaks and tails of birds, and scraps and
fragments of other things; a complete bundle of odds and ends. The
medicine man came into the circle, bending his knees, crouching,
sliding one foot after the other along the ground, and now and then
leaping and grunting. You could not see his face, for the yellow
bear-head skin covered it, and the paws dangled before him. He
shuffled round and round the wounded men, shaking his rattle and
making all kinds of odd noises; he then stopped to turn them over.

_Austin._ He had need of all his medicine.

_Hunter._ Hardly had he been present a minute, before one of the men
died; and, in ten minutes more, his companion breathed his last. The
medicine man turned them over, shook his rattle over them, howled,
groaned and grunted; but it would not do; the men were dead, and all
his mummery would not bring them back to life again; so, after a few
antics of various kinds, he shuffled off with himself, shaking his
rattle, and howling and groaning louder than ever. You may remember,
that I told you of the death of Oseola, the Seminole chief: he who
struck his dagger through the treaty that was to sign away the
hunting-grounds of his tribe, in exchange for distant lands.

_Austin._ Yes. You said that he dashed his dagger not only through the
contract, but also through the table on which it lay.

_Brian._ And you told us that he was taken prisoner by treachery and
died in captivity.

_Hunter._ Now I will tell you the particulars of his death; for I only
said before, that he died pillowed on the faithful bosom of his wife.
He had his two wives with him when he died, but one was his favourite.

_Austin._ Please to let us know every thing about him. It was at Fort
Moultrie in Charleston, South Carolina.

_Hunter._ Finding himself at the point of death, he made signs that
the chiefs and officers might be assembled, and his wishes were
immediately complied with. The next thing he desired was, that his
war-dress, that dress in which he had so often led his tribe to
victory, might be brought to him. His wife waited obediently upon him,
and his war-dress was placed before him.

_Basil._ What could he want of his war-dress when he was going to die?

_Austin._ Wait a little, Basil, and you will hear all about it, I dare
say.

_Hunter._ It was an affecting sight, to see him get up from his bed on
the floor, once more to dress himself as a chief of his tribe, just as
if he was about to head an expedition against the whites. Well, he put
on his rich mocassins, his leggings adorned with scalp-locks, his
shirt and his ornamental belt of war. Nor did he forget the pouch that
carried his bullets, the horn that held his powder; nor the knife with
which he had taken so many scalps.

_Brian._ How very strange for a dying man to dress himself in that
way!

_Hunter._ In all this, he was as calm and as steady as though about to
hunt in the woods with his tribe. He then made signs, while sitting up
in his bed, that his red paint should be given him, and his
looking-glass held up, that he might paint his face.

_Austin._ And did he paint his face himself?

_Hunter._ Only one half of it; after which his throat, neck, wrists
and the backs of his hands were made as red as vermilion would make
them. The very handle of his knife was coloured over in the same way.

_Basil._ What did he paint his hands and his knife-handle for?

_Hunter._ Because it was the custom of his tribe, and of his fathers
before him, to paint themselves and their weapons red, whenever they
took an oath of destruction to their enemies. Oseola did it, no doubt,
that he might die like a chief of his tribe; that he might show those
around him, that, even in death, he did not forget that he was a
Seminole warrior. In that awful hour, he put on his splendid turban
with its three ostrich feathers, and then, being wearied with the
effort he had made, he lay down to recover his strength.

_Austin._ How weak he must have been!

_Hunter._ In a short time he rose again, sitting in his full dress
like the leader of a warlike tribe, and calmly and smilingly extended
his hand to the chiefs and officers, to his wives and his children.
But this, his last effort, exhausted his remaining strength. He was
lowered down on the bed, calmly drew his scalping-knife from its
sheath under his war-belt, where it had been placed, and grasped it
with firmness and dignity. With his hands crossed on his manly breast,
and with a smile on his face, he breathed his last. Thus passed away
the spirit of Oseola.

_Austin._ Poor Oseola! He died like a chief, at last.

_Hunter._ He did, but not like a Christian, and, very likely, when he
grasped his scalping-knife, before his last breath forsook him, some
glowing vision of successful combat was before him. In the pride of
his heart, perhaps, he was leading on his braves to mingle in the
clash of battle and the death-grapple with his enemies. But is this a
fit state of mind for a man to die in? Much as we may admire the
steady firmness and unsubdued courage of an Indian warrior in death,
emotions of pride and high-mindedness, and thoughts of bloodshed and
victory, are as far removed as possible from the principles of
Christianity, and most unsuitable to a dying hour. Humility,
forgiveness, repentance, hope, faith, peace and joy, are needed at
such a season; and the time will come, we trust, when Indians, taught
better by the gospel, will think and feel so.

    [Illustration]



                    [Illustration: Mounted Chief.]

                             CHAPTER XIV.


The holidays of the three brothers were drawing to a close; and this
circumstance rendered them the more anxious to secure one or two more
visits to the cottage, before they settled down in right earnest to
their books. Brian and Basil talked much about the poisoned arrows,
and the mystery man; but Austin's mind was too much occupied with the
Camanchee chief on his black war-horse, and the death of the Seminole
chief Oseola, to think much of any thing else. He thought there was
something very noble in the valour of a chief leading on his tribe to
conquest; and something almost sublime in a warrior dressing himself
up in his war-robes to die. Like many other young people of ardent
dispositions, he seemed to forget, that when a victory is enjoyed, a
defeat must be endured; and that before any one can rejoice in taking
a scalp, some one must be rendered miserable or lifeless by losing it.
The remarks of the hunter, respecting the inconsistency of such
customs with the peaceful principles of religion, especially the
solemnities of a dying hour, had not been made altogether in vain; yet
still he dwelt on the image of Oseola grasping his scalping-knife,
crossing his hands over his breast, and dying with a smile on his
countenance.

On their next walk to the cottage, the way was beguiled by
endeavouring to call to mind all that had been told them on their last
visit; and, to do him justice, he acquitted himself uncommonly well.
It is true, that now and then his brothers refreshed his memory on
some points which had escaped him; but, on the whole, his account was
full, connected, and clear.

"And what must I tell you now?" said the hunter, as soon as he and the
young people had exchanged salutations. "Do you not know enough about
the Indians?"

To this inquiry, Brian replied that what they had heard had only
increased their curiosity to hear more.

"Well; let me consider," said the hunter. "I have told you about the
different tribes of Indians, their religion, languages, manners and
customs; their villages, wigwams, food, dress, arms and musical
instruments. I have described to you the fur trade; and dwelt on the
scenery of the country, the mountains, rivers, lakes, prairies and
many remarkable places. I have related the adventures of Black Hawk
and Nikkanochee. And, besides these things, you have had a tolerably
full account of buffaloes, bears, wild horses, wolves, deer and other
animals, with the manner of hunting them; as well as a relation of
Indian amusements, dances, sham fights, war-parties, encampments,
alarms, attacks, scalping and retreats. Let me now, then, dwell a
little on the Indian way of concluding a treaty of peace, and on a few
other matters; after which, I will conclude with the best account I
can give you of what the missionaries have done among the different
tribes."

_Austin._ I shall be very sorry when you have told us all.

_Brian._ And so shall I: for it is so pleasing to come here, and
listen to what you tell us.

_Hunter._ When it is agreed between hostile tribes that a treaty of
peace shall be made, the chiefs and medicine men of the adverse tribes
meet together, and the calumet, or peace-pipe, ornamented with eagle
quills, being produced, every one smokes a few whiffs through it. It
is then understood by them that the tomahawk is to be buried. The
pipe-of-peace dance is then performed by the warriors, to the beat of
the Indian drum and rattle, every warrior holding his pipe in his
hand.

_Brian._ That pipe-of-peace dance is a capital dance, for then
bloodshed is at an end.

_Hunter._ Unfortunately, war is apt soon to break out again, and then
the buried tomahawk becomes as busy as ever.

_Austin._ Well, I do like the Indians, in spite of all their faults,
and I think they have been used cruelly by the whites.

_Hunter._ As a general remark, those Indians who have had least to do
with civilized life are the most worthy of regard. Such as live near
white men, or such as are frequently visited by them, seem to learn
quickly the vices of others, without giving up their own. To observe
the real character of red men, it is necessary to trace the turnings
and windings of the Yellow Stone River, or the yet more remote
sinuosities of the Upper Missouri. The nearer the United States, the
more servile is the Indian character; and the nearer the Rocky
Mountains, the more independent and open-hearted.

_Austin._ If I ever go among the red men, the Yellow Stone River, or
the Upper Missouri, will be the place for me.

_Hunter._ Many of the chiefs of the tribes near the Rocky Mountains
may be said to live in a state of splendour. They have the pure air of
heaven around them and rivers abounding in fish. The prairie yields
them buffaloes in plenty; and, as for their lodges and dress, some of
them may be called sumptuous. Sometimes, twenty or thirty buffalo
skins, beautifully dressed, are joined together to form a covering for
a lodge; and their robes and different articles of apparel are so
rich with ermine, the nails and claws of birds and animals, war-eagle
plumes, and embroidery of highly coloured porcupine quills, that a
monarch in his coronation robes is scarcely a spectacle more imposing.

_Austin._ Ay, I remember the dress of Mah-to-toh-pa, "the four bears,"
his buffalo robe, his porcupine-quilled leggings, his embroidered
buckskin mocassins, his otter necklace, his buffalo horns, and his
splendid head-dress of war-eagle plumes.

_Hunter._ In a state of war, it is the delight of a chief to leap on
the back of his fiery steed, decorated as the leader of his tribe, and
armed with his glittering lance and unerring bow, to lead on his band
to victory. In the chase, he is as ardent as in the battle; smiling at
danger, he plunges, on his flying steed, among a thousand buffaloes,
launching his fatal shafts with deadly effect. Thus has the Indian of
the far-west lived, and thus is he living still. But the trader and
the rum-bottle, and the rifle and the white man are on his track; and,
like his red brethren who once dwelt east of the Mississippi, he must
fall back yet farther, and gradually decline before the approach of
civilization.

_Austin._ It is a very strange thing that white men will not let red
men alone. What right have they to cheat them of their hunting-grounds?

_Hunter._ I will relate to you an account, that appeared some time ago
in most of the newspapers (though I cannot vouch for the truth of it,)
of a chief who, though he was respected by his tribe before he went
among the whites, had very little respect paid to him afterwards.

_Brian._ I hope it is a long account.

_Hunter._ Not very long: but you shall hear. "In order to assist the
officers of the Indian department, in their arduous duty of persuading
remote tribes to quit their lands, it has been found advisable to
incur the expense of inviting one or two of their chiefs some two or
three thousand miles to Washington, in order that they should see with
their own eyes, and report to their tribes, the irresistible power of
the nation with which they are arguing. This speculation has, it is
said, in all instances, more or less effected its object. For the
reasons and for the objects we have stated, it was deemed advisable
that a certain chief should be invited from his remote country to
Washington; and accordingly, in due time, he appeared there."

_Austin._ Two or three thousand miles! What a distance for him to go!

_Hunter._ "After the troops had been made to manoeuvre before him;
after thundering volleys of artillery had almost deafened him; and
after every department had displayed to him all that was likely to add
to the terror and astonishment he had already experienced, the
President, in lieu of the Indian's clothes, presented him with a
colonel's uniform; in which, and with many other presents, the
bewildered chief took his departure."

_Brian._ He would hardly know how to walk in a colonel's uniform.

_Hunter._ "In a pair of white kid gloves; tight blue coat, with gilt
buttons, gold epaulettes, and red sash; cloth trowsers with straps;
high-heeled boots; cocked hat, and scarlet feather; with a cigar in
his mouth, a green umbrella in one hand, and a yellow fan in the
other; and with the neck of a whiskey bottle protruding out of each of
the two tail-pockets of his regimental coat; this 'monkey that had
seen the world' suddenly appeared before the chiefs and warriors of
his tribe; and as he stood before them, straight as a ramrod, in a
high state of perspiration, caused by the tightness of his finery,
while the cool fresh air of heaven blew over the naked, unrestrained
limbs of the spectators, it might, perhaps not unjustly, be said of
the costumes, 'Which is the savage?' In return for the presents he had
received, and with a desire to impart as much real information as
possible to his tribe, the poor jaded traveller undertook to deliver
to them a course of lectures, in which he graphically described all
that he had witnessed."

_Austin._ An Indian in white kid gloves, blue coat, high-heeled boots,
and cocked hat and feather! Why his tribe would all laugh at him, in
spite of his lectures.

_Hunter._ "For a while he was listened to with attention; but as soon
as the minds of his audience had received as much as they could hold,
they began to disbelieve him. Nothing daunted, however, the traveller
still proceeded."

_Austin._ I thought they would laugh at him.

_Hunter._ "He told them about wigwams, in which a thousand people
could at one time pray to the Great Spirit; of other wigwams, five
stories high, built in lines, facing each other, and extending over
an enormous space: he told them of war canoes that would hold twelve
hundred warriors."

_Austin._ They would be sure never to believe him.

_Hunter._ "Such tales, to the Indian mind, seemed an insult to common
sense. For some time he was treated merely with ridicule and contempt;
but, when, resolutely continuing to recount his adventures, he told
them about a balloon, and that he had seen white people, who, by
attaching a great ball to a canoe, as he described it, could rise in
it up to the clouds, and travel through the heavens, the medicine, or
mystery men of his tribe pronounced him to be an impostor; and the
multitude vociferously declaring that he was too great a liar to live,
a young warrior, in a paroxysm of anger, levelled a rifle and shot him
dead!"

_Austin._ Well, I am very sorry! It was very silly to be dressed up in
that way; but they ought not to have killed him, for he told them the
truth, after all.

_Brian._ I could never have thought that an Indian chief would have
dressed himself in a blue coat and gilt buttons.

_Basil._ And, then, the fan and green umbrella!

_Austin._ Ay, and the whiskey bottles sticking out of his
tail-pockets. He would look a little different from Mah-to-toh-pa.

_Hunter._ I have frequently spoken of the splendid head-dress of the
chiefs of some tribes. Among the Mandans, (and you know Mah-to-toh-pa
was a Mandan,) they would not part with one of their head-dresses of
war-eagle plumes at a less price than two horses. The Konzas, Osages,
Pawnees, Sacs, Foxes and Iowas shave their heads; but all the rest, or
at least as far as I know of the Indian tribes, wear long hair.

_Brian._ Yes; we remember the Crows, with their hair sweeping the
ground.

_Hunter._ Did I tell you, that some of the tribes glue other hair to
their own to make it long, as it is considered so ornamental?

_Basil._ I do not remember that you told us that.

_Hunter._ There are a few other things respecting the Indians that I
wish to mention, before I tell you what the missionaries have done
among them. In civilized countries, people turn out their toes in
walking; but this is not the case among the Indians. When the toes are
turned out, either in walking or running, the whole weight of the body
falls too much on the great toe of the foot that is behind, and it is
mainly owing to this circumstance, that so many have a deformity at
the joint of the great toe. When the foot is turned in, the weight of
the body is thrown equally on all the toes, and the deformity of the
great toe joint is avoided.

_Austin._ What! do the Indians know better how to walk than we do? If
theirs is the best way to walk, why do not we all walk so?

_Hunter._ I suppose, because it is not so elegant in appearance to
walk so. But many things are done by civilized people on account of
fashion. Hundreds and hundreds of females shorten their lives by the
tight clothing and lacings with which they compress their bodies; but
the Indians do not commit such folly.

_Brian._ There is something to be learned from the Indians, after all.

_Hunter._ There is a custom among the Sacs and Foxes that I do not
think I spoke of. The Sacs are better provided with horses than the
Foxes: and so, when the latter go to war and want horses, they go to
the Sacs and beg them. After a time, they sit round in a circle, and
take up their pipes to smoke, seemingly quite at their ease; and,
while they are whiffing away, the young men of the Sacs ride round and
round the circle, every now and then cutting at the shoulders of the
Foxes with their whips, making the blood start forth. After keeping up
this strange custom for some time, the young Sacs dismount, and
present their horses to those they have been flogging.

_Austin._ What a curious custom! I should not much like to be flogged
in that manner.

_Hunter._ There is a certain rock which the Camanchees always visit
when they go to war. Putting their horses at full speed, they shoot
their best arrows at this rock, which they consider great medicine. If
they did not go through this long-established custom, there would be
no confidence among them; but, when they have thus sacrificed their
best arrows to the rock, their hope and confidence are strong.

_Austin._ I should have thought they would have wanted their best
arrows to fight with.

_Hunter._ There is no accounting for the superstitions of people.
There is nothing too absurd to gain belief even among civilized
nations, when they give up the truth of God's word, and follow the
traditions or commandments of men. The Sioux have a strange notion
about thunder; they say that the thunder is hatched by a small bird,
not much bigger than the humming-bird. There is, in the Couteau des
Prairies, a place called "the nest of the thunder;" and, in the small
bushes there, they will have it that this little bird sits upon its
eggs till the long claps of thunder come forth. Strange as this
tradition is, there would be no use in denying it; for the
superstition of the Indian is too strong to be easily done away with.
The same people, before they go on a buffalo hunt, usually pay a visit
to a spot where the form of a buffalo is cut out on a prairie. This
figure is great medicine; and the hunt is sure to be more prosperous,
in their opinion, after it has been visited.

_Austin._ I do hope that we shall forget none of these curious things.

    [Illustration]



            [Illustration: Eliot Preaching to the Indians.]

                              CHAPTER XV.


For the last time but one, during their holidays, Austin and his
brothers set off, with a long afternoon before them, to listen to the
hunter's account of the proceedings of the missionaries among the
Indians. On this occasion, they paid another visit to the Red
Sand-stone Rock by the river, the place where they first met with
their friend, the hunter. Here they recalled to mind all the
circumstances which had taken place at that spot, and agreed that the
hunter, in saving their lives by his timely warning, and afterwards
adding so much as he had done to their information and pleasure, had
been to them one of the best friends they had ever known. With very
friendly and grateful feelings towards him, they hastened to the
cottage, when the Indians, as usual, became the subject of their
conversation. "And now," said Austin, "we are quite ready to hear
about the missionaries."

_Hunter._ Let me speak a word or two about the Indians, before I begin
my account. You remember that I told you of the Mandans.

_Austin._ Yes. Mah-to-toh-pa was a Mandan, with his fine robes and
war-eagle head-dress. The rain-makers were Mandans; also the young
warriors, who went through so many tortures in the mystery lodge.

_Hunter._ Well, I must now tell you a sad truth. After I left the
Mandans, great changes came upon them; and, at the present time,
hardly a single Mandan is alive.

_Austin._ Dreadful! But how was it? What brought it all about?

_Brian._ You should have told us this before.

_Hunter._ No. I preferred to tell you first of the people as they were
when I was with them. You may remember my observation, in one of your
early visits, that great changes had taken place among them; that the
tomahawks of the stronger tribes had thinned the others; that many had
sold their lands to the whites, and retired to the west of the
Mississippi; and that thousands had fallen a prey to the small-pox. It
was in the year 1838 that this dreadful disease was introduced among
the Mandans, and other tribes of the fur-traders. Of the Blackfeet,
Crows and two or three other tribes, twenty-five thousand perished;
but of the poor Mandans, the whole tribe was destroyed.

_Brian._ Why did they not get a doctor; or go out of their village to
the wide prairie, that one might not catch the disease from another?

_Hunter._ Doctors were too far off; and the ravages of the disease
were so swift that it swept them all away in a few months. Their
mystery men could not help them; and their enemies, the Sioux, had
war-parties round their village, so that they could not go out to the
wide prairie. There they were, dying fast in their village; and little
else was heard, during day or night, but wailing, howling and crying
to the Great Spirit to relieve them.

_Austin._ And did Mah-to-toh-pa, "the four bears," die too?

_Hunter._ Yes. For, though he recovered from the disease, he could not
bear up against the loss of his wives and his children. They all died
before his eyes, and he piled them together in his lodge, and covered
them with robes. His braves and his warriors died, and life had no
charms for him; for who was to share with him his joy or his grief? He
retired from his wigwam, and fasted six days, lamenting the
destruction of his tribe. He then crawled back to his own lodge, laid
himself by his dead family, covered himself with a robe, and died like
an Indian chief. This is a melancholy picture; and when I first heard
of the terrible event, I could have wept.

_Austin._ It was indeed a terrible affair. Have they no good doctors
among the Indians now? Why do they not send for doctors who know how
to cure the small-pox, instead of those juggling mystery men?

_Hunter._ Many attempts have been made to introduce vaccination among
the tribes; but their jealousy and want of confidence in white men,
who have so much wronged them, and their attachment to their own
customs and superstitions, have prevented those attempts from being
very successful.

_Austin._ Who was the first missionary who went among the Indians?

_Hunter._ I believe the first Indian missionary was John Eliot. More
than two hundred years ago, a body of pious Englishmen left their
native land, because they were not allowed peaceably to serve God
according to their consciences. They landed in America, having
obtained a grant of land there. They are sometimes called "Puritans,"
and sometimes "the Pilgrim Fathers." It is certain, that, whatever
were their peculiarities, and by whatever names they were known, the
fear of God and the love of mankind animated their hearts.

These men did not seize the possessions of the Indians, because they
had arms and skill to use them. But they entered into a treaty with
them for the purchase of their lands, and paid them what they were
satisfied to receive. It is true, that what the white man gave in
exchange was of little value to him. But the Indians prized trinkets
more than they would gold and silver, and they only wanted hunting
and fishing grounds for their own use. These early colonists, seeing
that the Indians were living in idleness, cruelty and superstition,
were desirous to instruct them in useful arts, and still more in the
fear of the Lord; and John Eliot, who had left England to join his
religious friends in America, was the first Protestant missionary
among the Indians.

_Austin._ I wonder he was not afraid of going among them.

_Hunter._ He that truly fears God has no need to fear danger in the
path of duty. John Eliot had three good motives that girded his loins
and strengthened his heart: the first, was the glory of God, in the
conversion of the poor Indians; the second, was his love of mankind,
and pity for such as were ignorant of true religion; and the third,
was his desire that the promise of his friends to spread the gospel
among the Indians should be fulfilled. It was no light task that he
had undertaken, as I will prove to you. I dare say, that you have not
quite forgotten all the long names that I gave you.

_Austin._ I remember your telling us of them; and I suppose they are
the longest words in the world.

_Hunter._ I will now give you two words in one of the languages that
John Eliot had to learn, and then, perhaps, you will alter your
opinion. The first of them is _noorromantammoonkanunonnash_, which
means, "our loves;" and the second, or "our questions," is
_kummogokdonattoottammoctiteaongannunnonash_.

_Austin._ Why that last word would reach all across one of our
copy-books.

_Basil._ You had better learn those two words, Austin, to begin with.

_Brian._ Ay, do, Austin; if you have many such when you go among the
red men, you must sit up at night to learn what you have to speak in
the day-time.

_Austin._ No, no; I have settled all that. I mean to have an
interpreter with me; one who knows every thing. Please to tell us a
little more about Eliot.

_Hunter._ I will. An author says, speaking of missionaries, "As I hold
the highest title on earth to be that of a servant of God, and the
most important employment that of making known to sinners the
salvation that God has wrought for them, through his Son Jesus Christ;
so I cannot but estimate very highly the character of an humble,
zealous, conscientious missionary. Men undertake, endure and achieve
much when riches and honours and reputation are to be attained; but
where is the worldly reputation of him who goes, with his life in his
hand, to make known to barbarous lands the glad tidings of salvation?
Where are the honours and the money bags of the missionary? In many
cases, toil and anxiety, hunger and thirst, reviling and violence,
danger and death await him; but where is his earthly reward?" Eliot's
labours were incessant; translating not only the commandments, the
Lord's prayer and many parts of Scripture into the Indian languages,
but also the whole Bible. For days together he travelled from place
to place, wet to the skin, wringing the wet from his stockings at
night. Sometimes he was treated cruelly by the sachems, (principal
chiefs,) sagamores, (lesser chiefs,) and powaws, (conjurers, or
mystery men;) but though they thrust him out, and threatened his life,
he held on his course, telling them that he was in the service of the
Great God, and feared them not. So highly did they think of his
services in England, that a book was printed, called "The
Day-breaking, if not the Sun-rising of the Gospel with the Indians in
New-England;" and another, entitled "The Clear Sunshine of the Gospel
breaking forth upon the Indians;" and dedicated to the parliament; in
order that assistance and encouragement might be given him. At the
close of a grammar, published by him, he wrote the words, "Prayers and
pains, through faith in Christ Jesus, will do any thing."

_Brian._ I should think that he was one of the best of men.

_Hunter._ He instituted schools, and devoted himself to the Christian
course he had undertaken with an humble and ardent spirit, until old
age and increasing infirmities rendered him too feeble to do as he had
done before. Even then, he catechised the negro slaves in the
neighbourhood around him; and took a poor blind boy home to his own
house, that he might teach him to commit to memory some of the
chapters in the Bible. Among the last expressions that dropped from
his lips were the words, "Welcome joy! Pray! pray! pray!" This was in
the eighty-sixth year of his age. No wonder he should even now be
remembered by us as "the apostle of the Indians."

_Basil._ I am very glad that you told us about him. What a good old
man he must have been when he died!

_Hunter._ You will find an interesting history of Eliot in your
Sunday-school Library, and the Life of Brainerd[5] also, of whom I
will tell you a few things. But I advise you to read both books, for
such short remarks as I make cannot be distinctly remembered; and the
characters of these eminent men you will only understand by reading
the history of their lives.

    [Footnote 5: Both these works are published by the American
    Sunday-school Union.]

_Austin._ We will remember this.

_Hunter._ There were many good men, after his death, who trod as
closely as they could in his steps: but I must not stop to dwell upon
them. David Brainerd, however, must not be passed by: he was a truly
humble and zealous servant of the Most High. You may judge, in some
degree, of his interest in the Indians by the following extract from
his diary:

_June 26._ "In the morning, my desire seemed to rise, and ascend up
freely to God. Was busy most of the day in translating prayers into
the language of the Delaware Indians; met with great difficulty,
because my interpreter was altogether unacquainted with the business.
But though I was much discouraged with the extreme difficulty of that
work, yet God supported me; and, especially in the evening, gave me
sweet refreshment. In prayer my soul was enlarged, and my faith drawn
into sensible exercise; was enabled to cry to God for my poor Indians;
and though the work of their conversion appeared _impossible with
man_, yet _with God_ I saw _all things were possible_. My faith was
much strengthened, by observing the wonderful assistance God afforded
his servants Nehemiah and Ezra, in reforming his people and
re-establishing his ancient church. I was much assisted in prayer for
my dear Christian friends, and for others whom I apprehended to be
Christ-less; but was more especially concerned for the poor heathen,
and those of my own charge; was enabled to be instant in prayer for
them; and hoped that God would bow the heavens and come down for their
salvation. It seemed to me, that there could be no impediment
sufficient to obstruct that glorious work, seeing the living God, as I
strongly hoped, was engaged for it. I continued in a solemn frame,
lifting up my heart to God for assistance and grace, that I might be
more mortified to this present world, that my whole soul might be
taken up continually in concern for the advancement of Christ's
kingdom. Earnestly desired that God would purge me more, that I might
be a chosen vessel to bear his name among the heathens. Continued in
this frame till I fell asleep."

_Brian._ Why, he was much such a man as Eliot.

_Hunter._ Both Eliot and Brainerd did a great deal of good among the
Indians. The language of Brainerd was, "Here am I, Lord, send me;
send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage
pagans of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort on
earth; send me even to death itself, if it be but in thy service, and
to extend thy kingdom."

_Brian._ I hardly know whether Eliot was the best man, or Brainerd.

_Hunter._ They were very unlike in one thing; for Eliot lived till he
was eighty-six years old; whereas Brainerd died in the thirtieth year
of his age. But though so young, it is said of him, by a learned and
good man, "The Life and Diary of David Brainerd exhibits a perfect
pattern of the qualities which should distinguish the instructor of
rude and barbarous tribes; the most invincible patience and
self-denial, the profoundest humility, exquisite prudence,
indefatigable industry, and such a devotedness to God, or rather such
an absorption of the whole soul in zeal for the Divine glory and the
salvation of men, as is scarcely to be paralleled since the age of the
apostles."

_Brian._ Then, he was as good a man as Eliot.

_Hunter._ You will read his life surely, after all you have heard
about the Indians, and will be surprised at his great success among
them. I will read you an extract from a letter written in those days
by some Oneida chiefs, by which you will see that the labours of these
good men were not in vain.

"The holy word of Jesus has got place amongst us, and advances. Many
have lately forsaken their sins, to appearance, and turned to God.
There are some among us who are very stubborn and strong; but Jesus is
almighty, and has all strength, and his holy word is very strong, too:
therefore we hope it will conquer and succeed more and more. We say no
more; only we ask our fathers to pray for us, though they are at a
great distance. Perhaps, by-and-by, through the strength and mercy of
Jesus, we shall meet in his kingdom above. Farewell.

    TAGAWAROW, _chief of the Bear tribe_.
    SUGHNAGEAROT, _chief of the Wolf tribe_.
    OJEKHETA, _chief of the Turtle tribe_."

_Austin._ Why, they were all three of them chiefs!

_Hunter._ The speech made by the chief, Little Turtle, at Baltimore,
on his way to see the President of the United States, will interest
you. Some Quakers, who saw him, told him that the habit among his
tribe of drinking rum prevented them from doing them good.

"Brothers and friends--When your forefathers first met on this island,
your red brethren were very numerous; but, since the introduction
amongst us of what you call spirituous liquors, and what we think may
justly be called poison, our numbers are greatly diminished. It has
destroyed a great part of your red brethren.

"My friends and brothers--We plainly perceive that you see the very
evil which destroys your red brethren. It is not an evil of our own
making. We have not placed it amongst ourselves; it is an evil placed
amongst us by the white people; we look to them to remove it out of
the country. We tell them, 'Brethren, fetch us useful things: bring
us goods that will clothe us, our women, and our children; and not
this evil liquor, that destroys our health, that destroys our reason,
that destroys our lives.' But all that we can say on this subject is
of no service, nor gives relief to your red brethren.

"My friends and brothers--I rejoice to find that you agree in opinion
with us, and express an anxiety to be, if possible, of service to us,
in removing this great evil out of our country; an evil which has had
so much room in it, and has destroyed so many of our lives, that it
causes our young men to say, 'We had better be at war with the white
people. This liquor, which they introduced into our country, is more
to be feared than the gun or tomahawk.' There are more of us dead
since the treaty of Greeneville, than we lost by the six years' war
before. It is all owing to the introduction of this liquor among us.

"Brothers--When our young men have been out hunting, and are returning
home loaded with skins and furs, on their way, if it happens that they
come where this whiskey is deposited, the white man who sells it tells
them to take a little drink. Some of them will say, 'No; I do not want
it.' They go on till they come to another house, where they find more
of the same kind of drink. It is there offered again; they refuse; and
again the third time: but, finally, the fourth or fifth time, one
accepts of it, and takes a drink, and getting one he wants another,
and then a third, and fourth, till his senses have left him. After
his reason comes back to him, when he gets up and finds where he is,
he asks for his peltry. The answer is, 'You have drunk them.' 'Where
is my gun?' 'It is gone.' 'Where is my blanket?' 'It is gone.' 'Where
is my shirt?' 'You have sold it for whiskey!' Now, brothers, figure to
yourselves what condition this man must be in. He has a family at
home; a wife and children who stand in need of the profits of his
hunting. What must be their wants, when even he himself is without a
shirt?"

_Austin._ There is a great deal of good sense in what Little Turtle
said.

_Hunter._ The war between England and America made sad confusion among
the Indians, and the missionaries too; for it was reported that the
missionaries were joining the French against the English, so that they
and the Indian converts were dreadfully persecuted.

Colonel de Peyster, who was then the English governor at Fort Detroit,
suspected the Christian Indians of being partisans of the Americans,
and the missionaries of being spies; and he wished the Indians
favourable to him to carry them all off. Captain Pipe, a Delaware
chief, persuaded the half king of the Hurons to force them away.
Persecution went on, till the missionaries, seeing that no other
course remained, they being plundered without mercy, and their lives
threatened, consented to emigrate. They were thus compelled to quit
their pleasant settlement, escorted by a troop of savages headed by an
English officer. The half king of the Hurons went with them. But I
will read you an account of what took place after they reached
Sandusky Creek. "Having arrived at Sandusky Creek, after a journey of
upwards of four weeks, the half king of the Hurons and his warriors
left them, and marched into their own country, without giving them any
particular orders how to proceed. Thus they were abandoned in a
wilderness where there was neither game nor provisions of any kind;
such was the place to which the barbarians had led them,
notwithstanding they had represented it as a perfect paradise. After
wandering to and fro for some time, they resolved to spend the winter
in Upper Sandusky; and, having pitched on the most convenient spot
they could find in this dreary region, they erected small huts of logs
and bark, to shelter themselves from the rain and cold. They were now,
however, so poor, that they had neither beds nor blankets; for, on the
journey, the savages had stolen every thing from them, except only
their utensils for manufacturing maple sugar. But nothing distressed
them so much as the want of provisions. Some had long spent their all,
and now depended on the charity of their neighbours for a morsel to
eat. Even the missionaries, who hitherto had uniformly gained a
livelihood by the labour of their hands, were now reduced to the
necessity of receiving support from the congregation. As their wants
were so urgent, Shebosh the missionary, and several of the Christian
Indians, returned, as soon as possible, to their settlements on the
Muskingum, to fetch the Indian corn which they had left growing in the
fields.

"Scarcely had the congregation begun to settle in Sandusky, when the
missionaries were ordered to go and appear before the governor of Fort
Detroit. Four of them, accompanied by several of the Indian
assistants, accordingly set off without delay, while the other two
remained with their little flock. On taking their departure, they
experienced the most agonizing sensations: partly, as they knew not
what might be the issue of the journey; and partly, as they were
obliged to leave their families in want of the common necessaries of
life. As they travelled chiefly by land, along the banks of Lake Erie,
they had to pass through numerous swamps, over large inundated plains,
and through thick forests. But the most painful circumstance was,
their hearing that some of the Indians, who had gone to Muskingum to
fetch corn, had been murdered by the white people; and that a large
body of these miscreants were marching to Sandusky, to surprise the
new settlement. This report, indeed, was not correct. Shebosh, the
missionary, and five of the Christian Indians were, it is true, taken
prisoners at Shoenbrunn and carried to Pittsburg. The others returned
safe to Sandusky, with about four hundred bushels of Indian corn,
which they had gathered in the fields. But as the travellers did not
hear a correct statement of these circumstances until afterwards, they
suffered meanwhile the greatest anxiety and distress.

"Having arrived at Detroit, they appeared before the governor, in
order to answer the accusations brought against them, of holding a
correspondence with the Americans, to the prejudice of the English
interest. The investigation, however, was deferred till Captain Pipe,
their principal accuser, should arrive. A circumstance which could not
but give them much uneasiness, as he had hitherto shown himself their
bitter and determined enemy. They had no friend on earth to interpose
in their behalf; but they had a Friend in heaven, in whom they put
their trust: nor was their confidence in Him in vain. On the day of
trial, Captain Pipe, after some ceremonies had passed between him and
Colonel de Peyster, respecting the scalps and prisoners which he had
brought from the United States, rose and addressed the governor as
follows:--'Father--You commanded us to bring the believing Indians and
their teachers from the Muskingum. This has been done. When we had
brought them to Sandusky, you ordered us to bring their teachers and
some of their chiefs unto you. Here you see them before you. Now you
may speak with them yourself, as you have desired. But I hope you will
speak good words unto them: yea, I tell you, speak good words unto
them; for they are my friends, and I should be sorry to see them ill
used.' These last words he repeated two or three times. In reply to
this speech, the governor enumerated the various complaints he had
made against the brethren, and called upon him to prove that they had
actually corresponded with the Americans, to the prejudice of the
English. To this the chief replied, that such a thing might have
happened; but they would do it no more, for they were now at Detroit.
The governor, justly dissatisfied with this answer, peremptorily
demanded that he should give a direct reply to his question. Pipe was
now greatly embarrassed; and, bending to his counsellors, asked them
what he should say. But they all hung their heads in silence. On a
sudden, however, he rose, and thus addressed the governor:--'I said
before that such a thing might have happened; now I will tell you the
truth. The missionaries are innocent. They have done nothing of
themselves; what they did, they were compelled to do.' Then, smiting
his breast, he added: 'I am to blame, and the chiefs who were with me.
We forced them to do it when they refused;' alluding to the
correspondence between the Delaware chiefs and the Americans, of which
the missionaries were the innocent medium. Thus the brethren found an
advocate and a friend in their accuser and enemy.

"After making some further inquiries, the governor declared, before
the whole camp, that the brethren were innocent of all the charges
alleged against them; that he felt great satisfaction in their
endeavours to civilize and Christianize the Indians; and that he would
permit them to return to their congregation without delay. He even
offered them the use of his own house, in the most friendly manner;
and as they had been plundered, contrary to his express command, he
ordered them to be supplied with clothes, and various other articles
of which they stood in need. He even bought the four watches which the
savages had taken from them and sold to a trader. After experiencing
various other acts of kindness from him they returned to Sandusky, and
were received with inexpressible joy by their families and the whole
congregation."

_Austin._ Well, I am glad it has all ended so happily. Captain Pipe
and Colonel de Peyster acted an unworthy part, to suspect the
missionaries.

_Brian._ They did; but the colonel declared before the whole camp that
they were innocent. That was making some amends for his suspicions.

_Basil._ Captain Pipe ought to have been ashamed of himself.

_Hunter._ The missionaries went through various trials, and nearly a
hundred Christian Indians--men, women and children--were cruelly
slaughtered; but afterwards the missions began to wear a more
prosperous appearance. I have now kept you longer than usual. The next
time you come here, I will finish my missionary account. Though among
the tribes near the whites great changes have taken place, yet, among
the Indians of the far-west, their customs are but little altered.
They join in the buffalo hunt, assemble in the war-party, engage in
their accustomed games, and smoke the pipe of peace, the same as
ever.



                [Illustration: Missionary and Indians.]

                             CHAPTER XVI.


In the former part of the hunter's relation, Austin Edwards and his
brothers thought of little else than of bluffs and prairies,
buffaloes, bears and beavers, warlike Indian chiefs and the
spirit-stirring adventures of savage life; but the last visit paid to
the cottage had considerably sobered their views. The hunter had
gradually won his way into their affections, by contributing largely
to their amusement; and he had, also, secured their respect and high
opinion, by his serious remarks. They had no doubt of his being a true
friend to Indians, and they had, on that account, listened the more
attentively to what he had advanced on the subject of missionaries.
The knowledge that they were about to hear the end of the hunter's
relation, though it hung a little heavy on their spirits, disposed
them to seriousness and attention.

"And now," said the hunter, as soon as Austin, Brian, and Basil had
seated themselves in his cottage, and requested him to continue his
missionary account, "I will give you the best statement I can, in a
few words, of the number of people who are employed among the Indians
in the missionary cause."

_Austin._ Yes; we shall like to hear that very well.

_Hunter._ The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
sustain missionary stations among the Cherokees, Choctaws, Pawnees,
Oregon tribes, Sioux, Ojibbewas, Stockbridge tribe, New York tribes
and the Abenaquis. There are twenty-five stations and twenty-three
missionaries, three medical missionaries, three native preachers, two
physicians, ten male and forty-five female assistants.

The Board of Missions connected with the Presbyterian church sustain
missions among the Creeks, the Iowas and Sacs, and the Chippeways and
Ottawas; three missionaries and their wives and several teachers are
employed.

The missionary society of the Methodist Episcopal church have
established missions among the Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandotts,
Kickapoos, Pottawatomies, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Senecas,
Creeks, Oneidas, Winnebagoes and some smaller tribes. From an old
report of this laborious society, 1844, I have copied a passage which
I will read you:

"It is now generally conceded, by those best acquainted with the
peculiarities of the Indian character, that however powerful the
gospel may be, in itself, to melt and subdue the savage heart, it is
indispensable, if we would secure the fruits of our missionary
labours, to connect the blessings of civilization with all our
Christian efforts. And we rejoice to learn, that among many of the
Indian tribes the civilizing process is going on, and keeping pace
with their spiritual advancement. They are turning their attention
more and more to agriculture, and the various arts of civilized life.
They have also established a number of schools and academies, some of
which they have liberally endowed from the annuities they receive from
the United States government. Some of these schools are already in
successful operation, and many of the Indian youth are making rapid
advancement in literary pursuits."

The Baptist Board of Missions have seven missions, embracing nineteen
stations and out-stations, thirty-two missionaries and assistants, ten
native preachers and assistants, fifteen organized churches and
sixteen hundred professing Christians. These missionary labours are
among the Ojibbewas, Ottowas, Tonewandas, Tuscaroras, Shawnees,
Cherokees, Creeks and Choctaws.

The United Brethren or Moravians, and the Board of Missions of the
Protestant Episcopal church, also maintain missions among the
Indians.

_Austin._ How do the missionaries preach to the Indians? Do they
understand their strange language?

_Hunter._ Your question calls to my mind one of the most interesting
and remarkable events of Indian history. I will endeavour to give you
a brief account of it. I refer to the invention of an alphabet by a
native Cherokee named George Guess or Guyst, who knew not how to speak
English and was never taught to read English books. It was in 1824-5
that this invention began to attract considerable attention. Having
become acquainted with the principle of the alphabet; viz. that marks
can be made the symbols of sound; this uninstructed man conceived the
notion that he could express all the syllables in the Cherokee
language by separate marks, or characters. On collecting all the
syllables which, after long study and trial, he could recall to his
memory, he found the number to be _eighty-two_. In order to express
these, he took the letters of our alphabet for a part of them, and
various modifications of our letters, with some characters of his own
invention, for the rest. With these symbols he set about writing
letters; and very soon a correspondence was actually maintained
between the Cherokees in Wills Valley, and their countrymen beyond the
Mississippi, 500 miles apart. This was done by individuals who could
not speak English, and who had never learned any alphabet, except this
syllabic one, which Guess had invented, taught to others, and
introduced into practice. The interest in this matter increased till,
at length, young Cherokees travelled a great distance to be instructed
in this easy method of writing and reading. In three days they were
able to commence letter-writing, and return home to their native
villages prepared to teach others. Either Guess himself, or some other
person afterwards, discovered _four_ other syllables; making all the
known syllables of the Cherokee language _eighty-six_. This is a very
curious fact; especially when it is considered that the language is
very copious on some subjects, a single verb undergoing some thousands
of inflections. All syllables in the Cherokee language end with
vowels. The same is true of the language of the islanders of the
Pacific ocean. But in the Choctaw language, syllables often end with
consonants.

"Some months since," says a report of the Cherokee mission in 1825,
"Mr. David Brown commenced the translation of the New Testament into
Cherokee, with the occasional assistance of two or three of his
countrymen, who are more thoroughly acquainted, than he is, with that
language. Already the four Gospels are translated, and fairly copied;
and if types and a press were ready, they could be immediately revised
and printed and read. Extracts are now transcribed and perused by a
few.

"It is manifest that such a translation must be very imperfect; but it
is equally manifest that much divine truth maybe communicated by it,
and probably with more accuracy than is commonly done by preaching,
either with an interpreter, or without one."

Another account is a little more full:

"It is well worthy of notice, that Mr. Guyst, the inventor, is a man
past the middle age. He had seen books, and, I have been told, had an
English spelling-book in his house; but he could not read a word in
any language, nor speak the English language at all. His alphabet
consists of eighty-six characters, each of which represents a
syllable, with the exception of one, which has the sound of the
English _s_, and is prefixed to other characters when required. These
eighty-six characters are sufficient to write the language, at least
intelligibly. The alphabet is thought by some of the Cherokees to need
improvement; but, as it is, it is read by a very large portion of the
people, though I suppose there has been no such thing as a school in
which it has been taught, and it is not more than two or three years
since it was invented. A few hours of instruction are sufficient for a
Cherokee to learn to read his own language intelligibly. He will not,
indeed, so soon be able to read _fluently_: but when he has learned to
read and understand, fluency will be acquired by practice. The extent
of my information will not enable me to form a probable estimate of
the number in the nation who can thus read, but I am assured, by those
who had the best opportunity of knowing, that there is no part of the
nation where the new alphabet is not understood. That it will prevail
over every other method of writing the language, there is no doubt."

_Austin._ Did they find the language could be easily written and
printed?

_Hunter._ In 1828 one of the missionaries of the American Board
devoted himself to the acquisition of the language, with a view to
translating the Scriptures, and preparing school-books and tracts for
the general instruction of the people. As he proceeded in the study of
the language, he found it more and more wonderful in its structure,
and the difficulties which must have attended the labour of reducing
it to a system became more and more apparent.

Before this, however, the enthusiasm of the people was kindled: great
numbers had learned to read; they were circulating hymns and portions
of Scripture, and writing letters every day, and even procured a medal
to present to the inventor, as a token of their gratitude for this
wonderful method of writing their own language. They began to talk
much of printing in the new and famous characters; appropriated money
to procure a press and types, and anticipated with joy the printing of
the Scriptures in a language they could read and understand.

At the same time the missionaries to the Choctaws were reducing their
language to a system. One of them collected more than 3000 words,
arranged according to the subjects to which they refer, which he
translated into English. Ten hymns were also translated into Choctaw,
and a spelling-book prepared in the same language.

_Austin._ But let us hear what became of the Guyst's Cherokee
alphabet. As that was an invention of his own, it seems very
wonderful.

_Hunter._ I will tell you. In the summer or fall of 1827, there was an
examination of one of the Cherokee mission schools, on which occasion
one of the chiefs made an address in the Cherokee language, of which
the following is a translation.

"Dear children:--I often speak to you, and encourage you to continue
in the pursuit of useful knowledge; such knowledge as will be for your
own good, and that of your own country. You are engaged in a good
thing. I am always pleased to see the progress you are making in
learning. I feel that much depends on you. On you depends the future
welfare of your country.

"When I was young there were no schools among us. No one to teach us
such learning as you are now obtaining. My lot was quite different
from yours. You have here many advantages. Improve them. Pursue the
paths of virtue and knowledge. Some of your fathers, who first agreed
for the teachers to come among us, are now no more. They are gone.

"It is now some years since a school was established in Creekpath,
your native place. I myself aided to build the first school-house. At
first the children did not learn very fast. But now, since the
establishment of a school at this place, they are doing much better. I
have reason to believe you are learning as fast as might be expected.
Some of you have been in school five years, and some not so long. You
have now acquired considerable knowledge. By-and-by you will have
more. This gives me great satisfaction. Remember that the whites are
near us. With them we have constant intercourse; and you must be
sensible that, unless you can speak their language, read and write as
they do, they will be able to cheat you and trample upon your rights.
Be diligent, therefore, in your studies, and let nothing hinder you
from them. Do not quarrel with each other. Aid one another in your
useful employ; obey your teachers, and walk in the way they tell you."

In November, after this speech was delivered, a fount of types in the
new Cherokee alphabet was shipped from Boston to the Cherokee nation:
and from an account published at the time, I take a few sentences.

"The press will be employed in printing the New Testament and other
portions of the Bible, and school-books in the Cherokee language, and
such other books in Cherokee or English as will tend to diffuse
knowledge through the nation. A prospectus has also been issued for a
newspaper, entitled the _Cherokee Phoenix_, to be printed partly in
Cherokee, and partly in English; the first number of which is expected
to appear early in January. All this has been done by order of the
Cherokee government, and at their expense. They have also hired a
printer to superintend the printing office, to whom they give $400 a
year, and another printer to whom they give $300. Mr. Elias Boudinot,
who was educated, in part, at the Foreign Mission School, then
established in Cornwall, (Conn.,) was appointed editor, with a yearly
salary of $300.

"Among the Cherokees, then, we are to see the first printing-press
ever owned and employed by any nation of the aborigines of this
continent; the first effort at writing and printing in characters of
their own; the first newspaper, and the first book printed among
themselves; the first editor; and the first well organized system for
securing a general diffusion of knowledge among the people. Among the
Cherokees, also, we see established the first regularly elective
government, with the legislative, judicial, and executive branches
distinct; with the safeguards of a written constitution and trial by
jury. Here, also, we see first the Christian religion recognised and
protected by the government; regular and exemplary Christian churches;
and flourishing schools extensively established, and, in many
instances, taught by native Cherokees."

_Brian._ I suppose, by this time, they have a great many books
printed, and more than one newspaper.

_Hunter._ Alas, poor fellows! they have had something very different
to think about since the times I have been speaking of. I cannot make
you understand all the particulars. But the government of the state
within whose bounds the Indian country lay, wished to have the Indians
under their control; while the Indians considered themselves, and had
always been treated by the United States government as independent
nations or communities. Treaties were made with them just as with
foreign nations. There were difficulties on every side. A proposition
was made to them, to sell their lands to the United States, and remove
to a country beyond the Mississippi. Some of the tribes were in favour
of this, and some were opposed to it. The state government became more
and more urgent for their removal, and at last effectual measures were
adopted for this purpose, and the Cherokees and other tribes were
driven from their homes, which were now becoming the abodes of
civilization and comfort and Christian love, and were compelled to
find a new residence in the far, far distant West. It is a melancholy
and reproachful chapter in our history as a nation; and we have reason
to fear that a day of retribution is at hand, if, indeed, it is not
now upon us. There is a just God, who plucks up and destroys even the
mighty nations of the earth; and, in every period of the world, his
power to visit their iniquities has been exhibited.

_Austin._ And have all efforts for their improvement been given up?

_Hunter._ O, no. As I told you just now, several interesting and
prosperous missions are established among them in their new abode; and
so lately as the years 1843-4, the sum of $300 was appropriated by the
American Bible Society, towards printing portions of the New Testament
in the Dakota tongue, for the use of the Sioux. And the same blessed
volume is now in the course of publication at the Bible Society's
house in New York, in the language of the Ojibbewas. This is a large
tribe, and their tongue is understood by several of the neighbouring
tribes. It is hoped that the possession of the gospel of peace by the
Sioux and Ojibbewas, in their respective tongues, will produce a more
pacific spirit between these two hostile tribes. To this end
Christians should pray that the Scriptures of truth may be accompanied
by the Spirit of truth; that they may bring forth the fruits of
holiness; and that the remnant of the tribes may all be brought to the
knowledge of the Saviour.

There are many obstacles to this most desirable event. The wars that
break out unexpectedly among the tribes, the reverence entertained for
superstitious customs, their removals from one place to another, the
natural indolence of Indians, and their love of spirituous liquors,
given by white men in order to deceive them; these and other causes
are always at work, operating against the efforts of the missionary. I
might, it is true, give you more instances than I have done of an
encouraging kind, respecting the Indians generally.[6]

    [Footnote 6: The reader is referred to a memoir of CATHARINE
    BROWN, a converted Cherokee girl, (written by the Rev. Dr.
    ANDERSON, and published by the _American Sunday-school
    Union_,) for one of the most interesting exhibitions of the
    influence of the Gospel upon the human heart, as well as for
    a very correct and gratifying account of missionary labour
    and success among untutored Indians.]

But, perhaps, it will be better now to sum up the account by saying,
the missionary is at work among them with some degree of success; and
though, from the remoteness of many of the tribes, their strong
attachment to the superstitions of their forefathers, and other causes
already alluded to, the progress of Christianity is necessarily slow,
there is no doubt that it will ultimately prevail; the promise has
gone forth, and will be fulfilled; the heathen will be the inheritance
of the Redeemer, and the uttermost parts of the earth will be his
possession. He who has clothed the arm of the red man with strength,
shod his feet with swiftness, and filled his heart with courage, will,
in due time, subdue his cruelty and revenge; open his eyes to discern
the wondrous things of God's holy law; dispose his mind to acknowledge
the Lord of life and glory, and make him willing to receive the gospel
of the Redeemer.

                               THE END.


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