Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Red Hunters And the Animal People
Author: Eastman, Charles A.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Red Hunters And the Animal People" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Transcriber's Notes:

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. The Glossary of Indian Words and Phrases located at the end of
   this e-text, contains the following accented vowels: ă ĕ ĭ ŭ and
   ē ī ō, as well as the acute symbol ´, if these characters do not
   display correctly the reader may wish to change their font to one
   that recognizes a unicode-8 character set.

3. Additional Transcriber's Notes appear at the end of this e-text.



Red Hunters
And the Animal People

By

Charles A. Eastman
(Ohiyesa)
AUTHOR OF "INDIAN BOYHOOD"

[Illustration]

New York and London

Harper & Brothers
Publishers, 1904


Copyright, 1904, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

_All rights reserved._
Published November, 1904.



[Illustration:                            [See p. 149
"THERE STOOD, IN ALL HIS MAJESTY, THE GRAY CHIEFTAIN"]



Contents


                                                        PAGE

   THE GREAT CAT'S NURSERY                                 3

   ON WOLF MOUNTAIN                                       24

   THE DANCE OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE                         46

   WECHAH THE PROVIDER                                    66

   THE MUSTERING OF THE HERDS                             89

   THE SKY WARRIOR                                       106

   A FOUNDER OF TEN TOWNS                                123

   THE GRAY CHIEFTAIN                                    143

   HOOTAY OF THE LITTLE ROSEBUD                          159

   THE RIVER PEOPLE                                      177

   THE CHALLENGE                                         200

   WILD ANIMALS FROM THE INDIAN STAND-POINT              224

   GLOSSARY OF INDIAN WORDS AND PHRASES                  247



Foreword


"And who is the grandfather of these silent people? Is it not the Great
Mystery? For they know the laws of their life so well! They must have
for their Maker our Maker. Then they are our brothers!"

Thus spoke one of the philosophers and orators of the Red men.

It is no wonder that the Indian held the animals to be his brothers. In
his simple mind he regards the killing of certain of them for his
sustenance to be an institution of the "Great Mystery." Therefore he
kills them only as necessity and the exigencies of life demand, and not
wantonly. He regards the spirit of the animal as a mystery belonging to
the "Great Mystery," and very often after taking its life he pays due
homage to its spirit. In many of the Dakota legends it appeared that
such and such an animal came and offered itself as a sacrifice to save
the Red man from starvation.

It was formerly held by him that the spirits of animals may communicate
important messages to man. The wild hunter often refused during the
remainder of his life to kill certain animals, after he had once become
acquainted with their spirit or inner life. Many a hunter has absented
himself for days and nights from his camp in pursuit of this knowledge.
He considered it sacrilege to learn the secrets of an animal and then
use this knowledge against him. If you wish to know his secrets you must
show him that you are sincere, your spirit and his spirit must meet on
common ground, and that is impossible until you have abandoned for the
time being your habitation, your weapons, and all thoughts of the chase,
and entered into perfect accord with the wild creatures. Such were some
of the most sacred beliefs of the Red man, which led him to follow the
trails of the animal people into seclusion and the wildest recesses of
the woods and mountains.

Observations made for the purposes of the hunt are entirely distinct
from this, the "spirit hunt," and include only the outward habits and
noticeable actions of the game.

The stories contained in this book are based upon the common experiences
and observations of the Red hunter. The main incidents in all of them,
even those which are unusual and might appear incredible to the white
man, are actually current among the Sioux and deemed by them worthy of
belief.

When the life-story of an animal is given, the experiences described are
typical and characteristic of its kind. Here and there the fables,
songs, and superstitious fancies of the Indian are brought in to suggest
his habit of mind and manner of regarding the four-footed tribes.

The scene of the stories is laid in the great Northwest, the ancient
home of the Dakota or Sioux nation, my people. The Great Pipestone
Quarry, Eagle's Nest Butte, the Little Rosebud River, and all the other
places described under their real names are real and familiar features
of that country, which now lies mainly within the States of Minnesota
and the Dakotas. The time is before 1870, when the buffalo and other
large game still roamed the wilderness and the Red men lived the life I
knew as a boy.

                                         OHIYESA (CHARLES A. EASTMAN).

  AMERST, MASS.



Red Hunters and the Animal People



The Great Cat's Nursery


A harsh and hateful cry of a sudden broke the peace of a midsummer night
upon the creek called Bear-runs-in-the-Lodge. It told many things to the
Red hunter, who, though the hour was late, still sat beside the dying
camp-fire, pulling away at his long-stemmed pipe.

"Ugh!" he muttered, as he turned his head in the direction of the deep
woods and listened attentively. The great cat's scream was not repeated.
The hunter resumed his former attitude and continued to smoke.

The night was sultry and threatened storm, and all creatures, especially
the fiercer wild animals, become nervous and irritable when thunder is
in the air. Yet this fact did not fully explain to his mind Igmutanka's
woman-like, almost hysterical complaint.

Having finished his smoke, he emptied the ashes out of the bowl of the
pipe and laid it against the teepee-pole at his back. "Ugh!" the hunter
once more muttered to himself, this time with a certain complacency. "I
will find your little ones to-morrow! That is what you fear."

The Bear-runs-in-the-Lodge is a deep and winding stream, a tributary of
the Smoking Earth River, away up at the southern end of the Bad Lands.
It is, or was then, an ideal home of wild game, and a resort for the
wild hunters, both four-footed and human. Just here the stream, dammed
of many beaver, widens its timbered bottoms, while its high banks and
the rough country beyond are studded with dwarf pines and gullied here
and there with cañon-like dry creeks.

Here the silvertip held supreme sway over all animals, barring an
occasional contest with the mountain lion and with the buffalo bull upon
the adjoining plains. It is true that these two were as often victorious
as he of the big claws and sharp incisors, yet he remained the terror of
that region, for he alone takes every opportunity to fight and is
reckless in his courage, while other chiefs of the Wild Land prefer to
avoid unnecessary trouble.

Igmutanka, the puma mother, had taken her leave of her two little tawny
babes about the middle of the afternoon. The last bone of the buffalo
calf which she had brought home from her last hunt had been served for
dinner. Polished clean by her sharp teeth, it lay in the den for the
kittens to play with. Her mate had left her early on that former hunt,
and had not returned. She was very nervous about it, for already she
feared the worst.

Since she came to Bear-runs they had been together, and their chance
acquaintance had become a love affair, and finally they had chosen and
made a home for themselves. That was a home indeed! Wildness, mystery,
and beauty combined in its outlook and satisfied every craving of the
savage pair. They could scarcely say that it was quiet; for while they
were unassuming enough and willing to mind their own affairs, Wild Land
is always noisy, and the hubbub of the wild people quite as great in its
way as that of the city of man.

The stream was dammed so often that Igmu did not have to jump it. The
water-worn cliffs, arching and overhanging every turn of the creek, were
dark with pines and cedars. Since her babies came she had not ventured
upon any long hunts, although ordinarily she was the more successful of
the two.

Now Igtin was gone and she was very hungry. She must go out to get meat.
So, after admonishing her babies to be still during her absence, and not
to come out of their den when Shunktokecha, the wolf, should invite them
to do so, she went away.

As the great cat slunk down the valley of the Bear-runs she stopped and
glanced nervously at every tree-root and grinning ledge of rock. On the
way to Blacktail Creek she had to cross the divide, and when she had
attained the Porcupine Butte she paused a moment for a survey, and saw a
large herd of buffalo lying down. But their position was not convenient
for an attack. There was no meat for her there.

She entered the upper end of the Blacktail and began to hunt down to its
mouth. At the first gulch there was a fresh trail. On that very morning
three black-tail deer had watered there.

Igmu withdrew and re-entered the valley lower down. She took her stand
upon a projection of the bank almost overhanging the stream, a group of
buffalo-berry bushes partly concealing her position. Here they will
pass, she thought, in returning to the main stream. Her calculation
proved correct. Soon she saw a doe with two yearlings coming towards
her, leisurely grazing on the choice grass.

The three were wholly unconscious of their danger. Igmu flattened her
long, lanky body against the ground--her long, snaky tail slowly moved
to and fro as the animals approached. In another moment she had sprung
upon the nearest fawn! A shrill scream of agony and the cracking of
tender bones mingled with the gladness of satisfying the pangs of
hunger. The mother doe and the remaining fawn fled for their lives over
the hills to the next creek, knowing well that she would not expose
herself in an open chase.

She stood over the lifeless body for a moment, then grabbed it by the
neck and dragged it into the dry bed of a small creek, where she was
not likely to be disturbed at her feast. The venison tasted deliciously,
especially as the poor nursing mother was almost famished. Having eaten
all she wanted, she put her claim-mark on the deer and covered it partly
up. It was her practice to cover her game to season, and also to make it
plain to all that know the laws of Wild Land that it is her
game--Igmutanka's! If any one disturbs it, he is running great risk of a
pitched battle, for nothing exasperates her family like the theft of
their game.

She could not carry any of it home with her, for even while she feasted
she had seen an enemy pass by on the other side of the creek. He rode a
long-tailed elk (pony) and carried a bagful of those dreadful winged
willows, and the crooked stick which makes the winged willows fly. Igmu
stopped eating at once and crouched lower. "Don't you dare come near
me," was the thought apparent through her large, round eyes. The man
passed without discovering her retreat.

"My babies!" thought Igmu. "They are all alone!" The mother-anxiety
seized her. It was dangerous now to cross the open, but her desire to
get back to her babies was stronger than fear. She ran up the ravine as
far as it went; then, seeing no one, ran like a streak over the divide
to the Porcupine Butte, where there were large rocks piled one upon
another. Here she watched again under cover. "Aw-yaw-yaw!" burst from
her in spite of herself. There were many cone-shaped teepees, which had
sprung up since the day before upon the wide plain.

"There are the homes of those dreadful wild men! They always have with
them many dogs, and these will surely find my home and babies," she
thought. Although her anxiety was now very great, and the desire to
reach home almost desperate, she yet kept her animal coolness and
caution. She took a winding ravine which brought her nearer to
Bear-runs, and now and then she had to run swiftly across the openings
to gain less-exposed points.

At last she came to the old stream, and the crossing where the Bobtail
Beaver had lived for as long as she knew anything about that country.
Her dam was always in perfect order, and afforded an excellent bridge.
To be sure, they had never been exactly on calling terms, but they had
become accustomed to one another as neighbors, and especially whenever
danger threatened upon the Bear-runs there was a certain sense of
security and satisfaction to each in the presence of the other.

As she passed hurriedly over the dam she observed a trap. Igmu shivered
as she recognized the article, and on a closer examination she detected
the hated odor of man. She caught the string attached to it and jerked
it out upon dry land, thus doing a good turn to her neighbor Sinteksa.

This discovery fully convinced her of the danger to her home and
children. She picked her way through the deep woods, occasionally
pausing to listen. At that time of the day no people talk except the
winged people, and they were joyous as she passed through the timber.
She heard the rushing of a water-fall over the cliff, now vibrating
louder, now fainter as she listened. Far beyond, towards the wild men's
camp, she heard the barking of a dog, which gave her a peculiar shiver
of disgust.

A secret path led along the face of the cliff, and there was one open
spot which she must cross to get to her den. "Phur-r-r!" she breathed,
and dropped to the ground. There stood one of the dreaded wild men!

No sooner had she put her head out of the woods than his quick eye
caught her. "Igmutanka!" he exclaimed, and pulled one of the winged
sticks out of his little bag.

Igmu was surprised for once, and fear almost overcame her. The danger to
her children and the possible fate of her mate came into her mind in a
flash. She hesitated for one instant, and in that instant she felt the
sting of the swift arrow. She now ran for her life, and in another
moment was out of sight among the gray ledges. "Ugh! I got her,"
muttered the Indian, as he examined the spot where she had stood.

Igmu never stopped until she reached her den. Her wild eyes gleamed as
she paused at the entrance to ascertain whether any one had been there
since she went away. When she saw and smelled that her home had not been
visited, she forgot for the moment all her fright and pain. Her heart
beat fast with joy--the mother-joy. Hastily she crawled into the dark
cave.

"Yaw-aw-aw!" was the mother's greeting to her tawny babes. "Yaw-aw-aw!"
they replied in chorus. She immediately laid herself down in the
farthest corner of the den facing the entrance and invited her babies to
come and partake of their food. Doubtless she was considering what she
should do when the little ones had appeased their hunger.

Presently the bigger baby finished his meal and began to claw the eyes
of his brother. The latter pulled away, smacking his lips and blindly
showing fight.

"Hush!" said the mother Igmu. "You must be good. Lie down and I will
come back soon."

She came out of her den, still carrying the winged stick in her back. It
was only a skin wound. She got hold of the end between her teeth and
with one jerk she pulled it out. The blood flowed freely. She first
rolled upon some loose earth and licked the wound thoroughly. After this
she went and rubbed against pine pitch. Again she licked the pitch off
from her fur; and having applied all the remedies known to her family,
she re-entered the cave.

Igmu had decided to carry her helpless babes to a den she knew of upon
Cedar Creek, near the old Eagle's Nest--a rough and remote spot where
she felt sure that the wild men would not follow. But it was a long way
to travel, and she could carry only one at a time. Meanwhile the hunters
and their dogs would certainly track her to her den.

In her own mind she had considered the problem and hit upon an
expedient. She took the smaller kitten by the skin of the back and
hurried with it to her neighbor Sinteksa's place, down on the creek.
There were some old, tumble-down beaver houses which had long been
deserted. Without ceremony she entered one of these and made a temporary
bed for her babe. Then she went back to her old home for the last time,
took the other kitten in her mouth, and set out on her night journey to
Cedar Creek.

It was now dark. Her shortest road led her near the camp of the red
people; and as she knew that men and dogs seldom hunt by night, she
ventured upon this way. Fires were blazing in the camp and the Red men
were dancing the "coyote dance." It was a horrible din! Igmu trembled
with fear and disgust as the odor of man came to her sensitive nostrils.
It seemed to her at this moment that Igtin had certainly met his death
at the hands of these dreadful people.

She trotted on as fast as she could with her load, only stopping now and
then to put it down and lick the kitten's back. She laid her course
straight over the divide, down to the creek, and then up towards its
source. Here, in a wild and broken land, she knew of a cavern among
piled-up rocks that she intended to make her own. She stopped at the
concealed threshold, and, after satisfying herself that it was just as
she had left it several months before, she prepared a bed within for her
baby, and, having fed him, she admonished him to be quiet and left him
alone. She must return at once for the other little cat.

But Igmu had gone through a great deal since the day before. It was now
almost morning, and she was in need of food. She remembered the cached
deer on the Blacktail Creek, and set out at once in that direction. As
usual, there were many fresh deer-tracks, which, with the instinct of a
hunter, she paused to examine, half inclined to follow them, but a
second thought apparently impelled her to hurry on to her cache.

The day had now dawned and things appeared plain. She followed the
creek-bed all the way to the spot where she had killed her deer on the
day before. As she neared it her hunger became more and more
irresistible; yet, instead of rushing upon her own, when she came within
a few paces of it she stopped and laid herself prone upon the earth,
according to the custom of her people. She could not see it, for it was
hidden in a deep gully, the old bed of a dry stream. As she lay there
she switched her tail slowly to and fro, and her eyes shot yellow fire.

Suddenly Igmu flattened out like a sunfish and began to whine nervously.
Her eyes became two flaming globes of wrath and consternation. She
gradually drew her whole body into a tense lump of muscles, ready to
spring. Her lips unconsciously contracted, showing a set of fine
teeth--her weapons--while the very ground upon which she lay was deeply
scarred by those other weapons, the claws. Eagerly she listened once
more--she could hear the cracking of bones under strong teeth.

Her blood now surged beyond all discretion and control. She thought of
nothing but that the thief, whoever he might be, must feel the
punishment due to his trespass. Two long springs, and she was on top of
a wicked and huge grizzly, who was feasting on Igmutanka's cached deer!
He had finished most of the tender meat, and had begun to clean his
teeth by chewing some of the cartilaginous bones when the attack came.

"Waw-waw-waw-waaw!" yelled the old root-digger, and threw his immense
left arm over his shoulder in an effort to seize his assailant. At the
same time her weight and the force of her attack knocked him completely
over and rolled him upon the sandy ground.

Igmu saw her chance and did not forget the usage of her people in a
fight with his. She quickly sprang aside when she found that she could
not hold her position, and there was danger of Mato slashing her side
with either paw. She purposely threw herself upon her back, which
position must have been pleasing to Mato, for he rushed upon her with
all the confidence in the world, being ignorant of the trick.

It was not long before the old bear was forced to growl and howl
unmercifully. He found that he could neither get in his best fight for
himself nor get away from such a deadly and wily foe. He had hoped to
chew her up in two winks, but this was a fatal mistake. She had sprung
from the ground under him and had hugged him tight by burying the
immense claws of her fore-paws in his hump, while her hind claws tore
his loins and entrails. Thus he was left only his teeth to fight with;
but even this was impossible, for she had pulled herself up close to his
neck.

When Mato discovered his error he struggled desperately to get away, but
his assailant would not let go her vantage-hold.

"Waw-waw-waw!" yelled the great boastful Mato once more, but this time
the tone was that of weakness and defeat. It was a cry of "Murder!
murder! Help! help!"

At last Igmutanka sprang aside, apparently to see how near dead the
thief might be, and stood lashing her long, snaky tail indignantly.

"Waw-waw, yaw-waw!" moaned and groaned the grizzly, as he dragged
himself away from the scene of the encounter. His wounds were deadly and
ugly. He lay down within sight of the spot, for he could go no farther.
He moaned and groaned more and more faintly; then he was silent. The
great fighter and victor in many battles is dead!

Five paces from the remains of the cached deer the victor, lying in the
shade of an immense pine, rested and licked her blood-soaked hair. She
had received many ugly gashes, but none of them necessarily mortal.
Again she applied her soil and pitch-pine remedy and stopped the
hemorrhage. Having done this, she realized that she was still very
hungry; but Igmu could not under any circumstances eat of the meat left
and polluted by the thief. She could not break the custom of her people.

So she went across from Blacktail to the nearest point upon
Bear-runs-in-the-Lodge, her former home, hoping to find some game on the
way. As she followed the ravine leading from the creek of her fight she
came upon a doe and fawn. She crouched down and crawled up close to
them, then jumped upon the fawn. The luscious meat--she had all she
wanted!

The day was now well advanced, and the harassed mother was growing
impatient to reach the babe which she had left in one of the abandoned
homes of Mrs. Bobtail Beaver. The trip over the divide between Blacktail
and Bear-runs was quickly made. Fear, loneliness, and anxiety preyed
upon her mind, and her body was weakened by loss of blood and severe
exertion. She dwelt continually on her two babes, so far apart, and her
dread lest the wild men should get one or both of them.

If Igmu had only known it, but one kitten was left to her at that
moment! She had not left the cave on Cedar Creek more than a few minutes
when her own cousin, whom she had never seen and who lived near the
Eagle's Nest upon the same creek, came out for a hunt. She intercepted
her track and followed it.

When she got to the den it was clear to Nakpaksa (Torn Ear) that this
was not a regular home, so that she had a right to enter and
investigate. To her surprise she found a little Igmutanka baby, and he
cried when he saw her and seemed to be hungry. He was the age of her own
baby which she had left not long before, and upon second thought she was
not sure but that he was her own and that he had been stolen. He had
evidently not been there long, and there was no one near to claim him.
So she took him home with her. There she found her own kitten safe and
glad to have a playmate, and Nakpaksa decided, untroubled by any pangs
of conscience, to keep him and bring him up as her own.

It is clear that had Igmu returned and missed her baby there would have
been trouble in the family. But, as the event proved, the cousin had
really done a good deed.

It was sad but unavoidable that Igmu should pass near her old home in
returning for the other kitten. When she crawled along the rocky ledge,
in full view of the den, she wanted to stop. Yet she could not re-enter
the home from which she had been forced to flee. It was not the custom
of her people to do so. The home which they vacate by chance they may
re-enter and even re-occupy, but never the home which they are forced to
leave. There are evil spirits there!

Hurt and wearied, yet with courage unshaken, the poor savage mother
glided along the stream. She saw Mrs. Bobtail and her old man cutting
wood dangerously far from the water, but she could not stop and warn
them because she had borrowed one of their deserted houses without their
permission.

"Mur-r-r-r!" What is this she hears? It is the voice of the wild men's
coyotes! It comes from the direction of the kitten's hiding-place. Off
she went, only pausing once or twice to listen; but it became more and
more clear that there was yelling of the wild men as well.

She now ran along the high ledges, concealing herself behind trees and
rocks, until she came to a point from which she could overlook the
scene. Quickly and stealthily she climbed a large pine. Behold, the
little Igmu was up a small willow-tree! Three Indians were trying to
shake him down, and their dogs were hilarious over the fun.

Her eyes flamed once more with wrath and rebellion against injustice.
Could neither man nor beast respect her rights? It was horrible! Down
she came, and with swift and cautious step advanced within a very few
paces of the tree before man or beast suspected her approach.

Just then they shook the tree vigorously, while the poor little Igmu,
clinging to the bough, yelled out pitifully, "Waw, waw, waw!"

Mother-love and madness now raged in her bosom. She could not be quiet
any longer! One or two long springs brought her to the tree. The black
coyotes and the wild men were surprised and fled for their lives.

Igmu seized and tore the side of one of the men, and threw a dog against
the rocks with a broken leg. Then in lightning fashion she ran up the
tree to rescue her kitten, and sprang to the ground, carrying it in her
teeth. As the terrified hunters scattered from the tree, she chose the
path along the creek bottom for her flight.

Just as she thought she had cleared the danger-point a wild man appeared
upon the bank overhead and, quick as a flash, sent one of those winged
willows. She felt a sharp pang in her side--a faintness--she could not
run! The little Igmu for whom she had made such a noble fight dropped
from her mouth. She staggered towards the bank, but her strength refused
her, so she lay down beside a large rock. The baby came to her
immediately, for he had not had any milk since the day before. She gave
one gentle lick to his woolly head before she dropped her own and died.

"Woo, woo! Igmutanka ye lo! Woo, woo!" the shout of triumph resounded
from the cliffs of Bear-runs-in-the-Lodge. The successful hunter took
home with him the last of the Igmu family, the little orphaned kitten.



On Wolf Mountain


On the eastern slope of the Big Horn Mountains, the Mayala clan of gray
wolves, they of the Steep Places, were following on the trail of a herd
of elk. It was a day in late autumn. The sun had appeared for an
instant, and then passed behind a bank of cold cloud. Big flakes of snow
were coming down, as the lean, gray hunters threaded a long ravine,
cautiously stopping at every knoll or divide to survey the outlook
before continuing their uncertain pursuit.

The large Mayala wolf with his mate and their five full-grown pups had
been driven away from their den on account of their depredations upon
the only paleface in the Big Horn valley. It is true that, from their
stand-point, he had no right to encroach upon their hunting-grounds.

For three days they had been trailing over the Big Horn Mountains,
moving southeast towards Tongue River, where they believed that no man
would come to disturb them. They had passed through a country full of
game, but, being conscious of the pursuit of the sheepman and his party
on their trail, they had not ventured to make an open hunt, nor were
they stopping anywhere long enough to seek big game with success. Only
an occasional rabbit or grouse had furnished them with a scanty meal.

From the Black Cañon, the outlet of the Big Horn River, there unfolds a
beautiful valley. Here the wild man's ponies were scattered all along
the river-bottoms. In a sheltered spot his egg-shaped teepees were
ranged in circular form. The Mayala family deliberately sat upon their
haunches at the head of the cañon and watched the people moving,
antlike, among the lodges.

Manitoo, the largest of the five pups, was a famous runner and hunter
already. He whimpered at sight of the frail homes of the wild man, and
would fain have gotten to the gulches again.

The old wolf rebuked his timidity with a low growl. He had hunted many a
time with one of these Red hunters as guide and companion. More than
this, he knew that they often kill many buffalo and elk in one hunting,
and leave much meat upon the plains for the wolf people. They respect
his medicine and he respects theirs. It is quite another kind of man who
is their enemy.

Plainly there was an unusual commotion in the Sioux village. Ponies were
brought in, and presently all the men rode out in a southerly direction.

"Woo-o-o!" was the long howl of the old wolf. It sounded almost like a
cry of joy.

"It is the buffalo-hunt! We must run to the south and watch until the
hunt is ended."

Away they went, travelling in pairs and at some distance apart, for the
sake of better precaution. On the south side of the mountain they stood
in a row, watching hungrily the hunt of the Red men.

There was, indeed, a great herd of buffalo grazing upon the river plain
surrounded by foot-hills. The hunters showed their heads on three sides
of the herd, the fourth side rising abruptly to the sheer ascent of the
mountain.

Now there arose in the distance a hoarse shout from hundreds of throats
in unison. The trained ponies of the Indians charged upon the herd, just
as the wolves themselves had sometimes banded together for the attack in
better days of their people. It was not greatly different from the first
onset upon the enemy in battle. Yelling and brandishing their weapons,
the Sioux converged upon the unsuspecting buffalo, who fled blindly in
the only direction open to them--straight toward the inaccessible steep!

In a breath, men and shaggy beasts were mixed in struggling confusion.
Many arrows sped to their mark and dead buffalo lay scattered over the
plain like big, black mounds, while the panic-stricken survivors fled
down the valley of the Big Horn. In a little while the successful
hunters departed with as much meat as their ponies could carry.

No sooner were they out of sight than the old wolf gave a feast-call.
"Woo-o-o! woo, woo, woo!" He was sure that they had left enough meat for
all the wolf people within hearing distance. Then away they all went for
the hunting-ground--not in regular order, as before, but each one
running at his best speed. They had not gone far down the slope before
they saw others coming from other hills--their gray tribesmen of the
rocks and plains.

The Mayala family came first to two large cows killed near together.
There is no doubt that they were hungry, but the smell of man offends
all of the animal kind. They had to pause at a distance of a few paces,
as if to make sure that there would be no trick played on them. The old
Mayala chief knew that the man with hair on his face has many tricks. He
has a black, iron ring that is hidden under earth or snow to entrap the
wolf people, and sometimes he puts medicine on the meat that tortures
and kills them. Although they had seen these buffalo fall before their
brothers, the wild Red men, they instinctively hesitated before taking
the meat. But in the mean time there were others who came very hungry
and who were, apparently, less scrupulous, for they immediately took
hold of it, so that the Mayala people had to hurry to get their share.

In a short time all the meat left from the wild men's hunt had
disappeared, and the wolves began grinding the soft and spongy portions
of the bones. The old ones were satisfied and lay down, while the young
ones, like young folks of any race, sat up pertly and gossipped or
squabbled until it was time to go home.

Suddenly they all heard a distant call--a gathering call. "Woo-oo-oo!"
After a few minutes it came again. Every gray wolf within hearing obeyed
the summons without hesitation.

Away up in the secret recesses of the Big Horn Mountains they all came
by tens and hundreds to the war-meeting of the wolves. The Mayala chief
and his young warriors arrived at the spot in good season. Manitoo was
eager to know the reason of this great council. He was young, and had
never before seen such a gathering of his people.

A gaunt old wolf, with only one eye and an immensely long nose, occupied
the place of honor. No human ear heard the speech of the chieftain, but
we can guess what he had to say. Doubtless he spoke in defence of his
country, the home of his race and that of the Red man, whom he regarded
with toleration. It was altogether different with that hairy-faced man
who had lately come among them to lay waste the forests and tear up the
very earth about his dwelling, while his creatures devoured the herbage
of the plain. It would not be strange if war were declared upon the
intruder.

"Woo! woo! woo!" The word of assent came forth from the throats of all
who heard the command at that wild council among the piled-up rocks, in
the shivering dusk of a November evening.

       *       *       *       *       *

The northeast wind came with a vengeance--every gust swayed and bent
even the mighty pines of the mountains. Soon the land became white with
snow. The air was full of biting cold, and there was an awfulness about
the night.

The sheepman at his lonely ranch had little warning of the storm, and he
did not get half of his cows in the corral. As for the sheep, he had
already rounded them up before the blizzard set in.

"My steers, I reckon, 'll find plenty of warm places for shelter," he
remarked to his man. "I kinder expect that some of my cows'll suffer;
but the worst of it is the wolves--confound them! The brutes been
howling last night and again this evenin' from pretty nigh every
hill-top. They do say, too, as that's a sure sign of storm!"

The long log-cabin creaked dismally under the blast, and the windward
windows were soon coated with snow.

"What's that, Jake? Sounds like a lamb bleating," the worried rancher
continued.

Jake forcibly pushed open the rude door and listened attentively.

"There is some trouble at the sheep-sheds, but I can't tell just what
'tis. May be only the wind rattling the loose boards," he suggested,
uncertainly.

"I expect a grizzly has got in among the sheep, but I'll show him that
he is at the wrong door," exclaimed Hank Simmons, with grim
determination. "Get your rifle, Jake, and we'll teach whoever or
whatever it may be that we are able to take care of our stock in night
and storm as well as in fair weather!"

He pushed the door open and gazed out into the darkness in his turn, but
he could not see a foot over the threshold. A terrific gust of wind
carried a pall of snow into the farthest corner of the cabin. But Hank
was a determined fellow, and not afraid of hardship. He would spend a
night in the sod stable to watch the coming of a calf, rather than run
even a small chance of losing it.

Both men got into their cowhide overcoats and pulled their caps well
down over their ears. Rifle in hand, they proceeded towards the
sheep-corral in single file, Jake carrying the lantern. The lambs were
bleating frantically, and as they approached the premises they
discovered that most of the sheep were outside.

"Keep your finger on the trigger, Jake! All the wolves in the Big Horn
Mountains are here!" exclaimed Hank, who was a few paces in advance.

Had they been inexperienced men--but they were not. They were both men
of nerve. "Bang! bang!" came from two rifles, through the frosty air and
blinding snow.

But the voice of the guns did not have the demoralizing effect upon
which they had counted. Their assailants scarcely heard the reports for
the roar of the storm. Undaunted by the dim glow of the lantern, they
banded together for a fresh attack. The growling, snarling, and gnashing
of teeth of hundreds of great gray wolves at close quarters were enough
to dismay even Hank Simmons, who had seen more than one Indian fight and
hair-breadth adventure.

"Bang! bang!" they kept on firing off their pieces, now and then
swinging the guns in front of them to stay the mad rush of the wild
army. The lantern-light revealed the glitter of a hundred pairs of
fierce eyes and shining rows of pointed teeth.

Hank noticed a lean, gray wolf with one eye and an immense head who was
foremost in the attack. Almost abreast of him was a young wolf, whose
great size and bristling hair gave him an air of ferocity.

"Hold hard, Jake, or they'll pick our bones yet!" Hank exclaimed, and
the pair began to retreat. They found it all they could do to keep off
the wolves, and the faithful collie who had fought beside them was
caught and dragged into darkness. At last Hank pushed the door open and
both men tumbled backward into the cabin.

"Shoot! shoot! They have got me!" yelled Jake. The other snatched a
blazing ember from the mud chimney and struck the leading wolf dead
partly within the hut.

"Gol darn them!" ejaculated Jake, as he scrambled to his feet. "That
young wolf is a good one for fighting--he almost jerked my right leg
off!"

"Well, I'll be darned, Jake, if they haven't taken one of your boots for
a trophy," Hank remarked, as he wiped the sweat from his brows, after
kicking out the dead wolf and securely barring the door. "This is the
closest call I've had yet! I calculate to stand off the Injuns most any
time, but these here wolves have no respect for my good rifle!"

Wazeyah, the god of storm, and the wild mob reigned outside the cabin,
while the two pioneer stockmen barricaded themselves within, and with
many curses left the sheep to their fate.

The attack had stampeded the flock so that they broke through the
corral. What the assailants did not kill the storm destroyed. On the
plateau in front of Mayaska the wolves gathered, bringing lambs, and
here Manitoo put down Jake's heavy cowhide boot, for it was he who
fought side by side with the one-eyed leader.

He was immediately surrounded by the others, who examined what he had
brought. It was clear that Manitoo had distinguished himself, for he had
stood by the leader until he fell, and secured, besides, the only trophy
of the fight.

Now they all gave the last war-cry together. It was the greatest
wolf-cry that had been heard for many years upon those mountains. Before
daybreak, according to custom, the clans separated, believing that they
had effectually destroyed the business of the hairy-faced intruder, and
expecting by instant flight to elude his vengeance.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the day before the attack upon the ranch, an Indian from the camp in
the valley had been appointed to scout the mountains for game. He was a
daring scout, and was already far up the side of the peak which overhung
the Black Cañon when he noticed the air growing heavy and turned his
pony's head towards camp. He urged him on, but the pony was tired, and,
suddenly, a blinding storm came sweeping over the mountainside.

The Indian did not attempt to guide his intelligent beast. He merely
fastened the lariat securely to his saddle and followed behind on foot,
holding to the animal's tail. He could not see, but soon he felt the
pony lead him down a hill. At the bottom it was warm, and the wind did
not blow much there. The Indian took the saddle off and placed it in a
wash-out which was almost dry. He wrapped himself in his blanket and lay
down. For a long time he could feel and hear the foot-falls of his pony
just above him, but at last he fell asleep.

In the morning the sun shone and the wind had subsided. The scout
started for camp, knowing only the general direction, but in his
windings he came by accident upon the secret place, a sort of natural
cave, where the wolves had held their war meeting. The signs of such a
meeting were clear to him, and explained the unusual number of
wolf-tracks which he had noticed in this region on the day before.
Farther down was the plateau, or wopata, where he found the carcasses of
many sheep, and there lay Jake's boot upon the bloody and trampled
snow!

When he reached the camp and reported these signs to his people, they
received the news with satisfaction.

"The paleface," said they, "has no rights in this region. It is against
our interest to allow him to come here, and our brother of the wandering
foot well knows it for a menace to his race. He has declared war upon
the sheepman, and it is good. Let us sing war-songs for the success of
our brother!" The Sioux immediately despatched runners to learn the
exact state of affairs upon Hank Simmons's ranch.

In the mean time the ruined sheepman had made his way to the nearest
army post, which stood upon a level plateau in front of Hog's Back
Mountain.

"Hello, Hank, what's the matter now?" quoth the sutler. "You look
uncommonly serious this morning. Are the Injuns on your trail again?"

"No, but it's worse this time. The gray wolves of the Big Horn Mountains
attacked my place last night and pretty near wiped us out! Every sheep
is dead. They even carried off Jake Hansen's boot, and he came within
one of being eaten alive. We used up every cartridge in our belts, and
the bloody brutes never noticed them no more than if they were pebbles!
I'm afraid the post can't help me this time," he concluded, with a deep
sigh.

"Oh, the devil! You don't mean it," exclaimed the other. "Well, I told
you before to take out all the strychnine you could get hold of. We have
got to rid the country of the Injuns and gray wolves before civilization
will stick in this region!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Manitoo had lost one of his brothers in the great fight, and another was
badly hurt. When the war-party broke up, Manitoo lingered behind to look
for his wounded brother. For the first day or two he would occasionally
meet one of his relations, but as the clan started southeast towards
Wolf Mountain, he was left far behind.

When he had found his brother lying helpless a little way from the last
gathering of the wolf people, he licked much of the blood from his coat
and urged him to rise and seek a safer place. The wounded gray with
difficulty got upon his feet and followed at some distance, so that in
case of danger the other could give the signal in time.

Manitoo ran nimbly along the side gulches until he found a small cave.
"Here you may stay. I will go hunting," he said, as plain as signs can
speak.

It was not difficult to find meat, and a part of Hank's mutton was
brought to the cave. In the morning Manitoo got up early and stretched
himself. His brother did not offer to move. At last he made a feeble
motion with his head, opened his eyes and looked directly at him for a
moment, then closed them for the last time. A tremor passed through the
body of the warrior gray, and he was still. Manitoo touched his nose
gently, but there was no breath there. It was time for him to go.

When he came out of the death-cave on Plum Creek, Manitoo struck out at
once for the Wolf Mountain region. His instinct told him to seek a
refuge as far as possible from the place of death. As he made his way
over the divide he saw no recent sign of man or of his own kinsfolk.
Nevertheless, he had lingered too long for safety. The soldiers at the
post had come to the aid of the sheepman, and they were hot on his
trail. Perhaps his senses were less alert than usual that morning, for
when he discovered the truth it was almost too late.

A long line of hairy-faced men, riding big horses and armed with rifles,
galloped down the valley.

"There goes one of the gray devils!" shouted a corporal.

In another breath the awful weapons talked over his head, and Manitoo
was running at top speed through a hail of bullets. It was a chase to
kill, and for him a run for his life. His only chance lay in reaching
the bad places. He had but two hundred paces' start. Men and dogs were
gaining on him when at last he struck a deep gulch. He dodged the men
around the banks, and their dogs were not experts in that kind of
country.

The Sioux runners in the mean time had appeared upon a neighboring
butte, and the soldiers, taking them for a war-party, had given up the
chase and returned to the post. So, perhaps, after all, his brothers,
the wild hunters, had saved Manitoo's life.

During the next few days the young wolf proceeded with caution, and had
finally crossed the divide without meeting either friend or foe. He was
now, in truth, an outcast and a wanderer. He hunted as best he could
with very little success, and grew leaner and hungrier than he had ever
been before in his life. Winter was closing in with all its savage
rigor, and again night and storm shut down over Wolf Mountain.

       *       *       *       *       *

The tall pines on the hill-side sighed and moaned as a new gust of wind
swept over them. The snow came faster and faster. Manitoo had now and
again to change his position, where he stood huddled up under an
overarching cliff. He shook and shook to free himself from the snow and
icicles that clung to his long hair.

He had been following several black-tail deer into a gulch when the
storm overtook him, and he sought out a spot which was somewhat
protected from the wind. It was a steep place facing southward, well up
on the side of Wolf Mountain.

Buffalo were plenty then, but as Manitoo was alone he had been unable to
get meat.

These great beasts are dangerous fighters when wounded, and unless he
had some help it would be risking too much to tackle one openly. A band
of wolves will attack a herd when very hungry, but as the buffalo then
make a fence of themselves, the bulls facing outward, and keep the
little ones inside, it is only by tiring them out and stampeding the
herd that it is possible to secure one.

Still the wind blew and the snow fell fast. The pine-trees looked like
wild men wrapped in their robes, and the larger ones might have passed
for their cone-shaped lodges. Manitoo did not feel cold, but he was soon
covered so completely that no eye of any of the wild tribes of that
region could have distinguished him from a snow-clad rock or mound.

It is true that no good hunter of his tribe would willingly remain idle
on such a day as that, for the prey is weakest and most easily conquered
on a stormy day. But the long journey from his old home had somewhat
disheartened Manitoo; he was weak from lack of food, and, more than all,
depressed by a sense of his loneliness. He is as keen for the
companionship of his kind as his brother the Indian, and now he longed
with a great longing for a sight of the other members of the Mayala
clan. Still he stood there motionless, only now and then sniffing the
unsteady air, with the hope of discovering some passer-by.

Suddenly out of the gray fog and frost something emerged. Manitoo was
hidden perfectly, but at that moment he detected with joy the smell of
one of his own people. He sat up on his haunches awaiting the new-comer,
and even gave a playful growl by way of friendly greeting.

The stranger stopped short as if frozen in her tracks, and Manitoo
perceived a lovely maid of his tribe, robed in beautiful white snow over
her gray coat. She understood the sign language of the handsome young
man, with as nice a pair of eyes as she had ever seen in one of the wolf
kind. She gave a yelp of glad surprise and sprang aside a pace or two.

Manitoo forgot his hunger and loneliness. He forgot even the hairy-faced
men with the talking weapons. He lifted his splendid, bushy tail in a
rollicking manner and stepped up to her. She raised her beautiful tail
coquettishly and again leaped sidewise with affected timidity.

Manitoo now threw his head back to sniff the wind, and all the hair of
his back rose up in a perpendicular brush. Under other circumstances
this would be construed as a sign of great irritation, but this time it
indicated the height of joy.

The wild courtship was brief. Soon both were satisfied and stood face to
face, both with plumy tail erect and cocked head. Manitoo teasingly
raised one of his fore-paws. They did not know how long they stood
there, and no one else can tell. The storm troubled them not at all, and
all at once they discovered that the sun was shining!

If any had chanced to be near the Antelope's Leap at that moment, he
would have seen a beautiful sight. The cliff formed by the abrupt ending
of a little gulch was laced with stately pines, all clad in a heavy
garment of snow. They stood like shapes of beauty robed in white and
jewels, all fired by the sudden bursting forth of the afternoon sun.

The wolf maiden was beautiful! Her robe was fringed with icicles which
shone brilliantly as she stood there a bride. The last gust of wind was
like the distant dying away of the wedding march, and the murmuring
pines said Amen.

It was not heard by human ear, but according to the customs of the gray
wolf clan it was then and there Manitoo promised to protect and hunt for
his mate during their lifetime.



The Dance of the Little People


In full view of Wetaota, upon an open terrace half-way up the side of
the hill in the midst of virgin Big Woods, there were grouped in an
irregular circle thirty teepees of the Sioux. The yellowish-white skin
cones contrasted quite naturally with the variegated foliage of
September, yet all of the woodland people knew well that they had not
been there on the day before.

Wetaota, the Lake of Many Islands, lies at the heart of Haya Tanka, the
Big Mountain. It is the chosen home of many wild tribes. Here the crane,
the Canadian goose, the loon, and other water-fowl come annually to
breed undisturbed. The moose are indeed the great folk of the woods, and
yet there are many more who are happily paired here, and who with equal
right may claim it as their domicile. Among them are some insignificant
and obscure, perhaps only because they have little or nothing to
contribute to the necessities of the wild man.

Such are the Little People of the Meadow, who dwell under a thatched
roof of coarse grasses. Their hidden highways and cities are found near
the lake and along the courses of the streams. Here they have toiled and
played and brought forth countless generations, and few can tell their
life-story.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Ho, ho, kola!" was the shout of a sturdy Indian boy, apparently about
ten years old, from his post in front of the camp and overlooking the
lake. A second boy was coming towards him through the woods, chanting
aloud a hunting song after the fashion of their fathers. The men had
long since departed on the hunt, and Teola, who loved to explore new
country, had already made the circuit of Wetaota. He had walked for
miles along its tortuous sandy shores, and examined the signs of most of
the inhabitants.

There were footprints of bears, moose, deer, wolves, mink, otter, and
others. The sight of them had rejoiced the young hunter's heart, but he
knew that they were for his elders. The woods were also full of
squirrels, rabbits, and the smaller winged tribes, and the waters alive
with the finny folk, all of which are boys' game. Yet it was the
delicate sign-language of the Hetunkala, the Little People of the
Meadow, which had aroused the enthusiasm of Teola, and in spite of
himself he began to sing the game scout's song, when Shungela heard and
gave him greeting.

"What is the prospect for our hunt to-day?" called Shungela, as soon as
his friend was near enough to speak.

"Good!" Teola replied, simply. "It is a land of fatness. I have looked
over the shores of Wetaota, and I think this is the finest country I
have ever seen. I am tired enough of prairie-dog hunts and catching
young prairie-chickens, but there is everything here that we can chase,
kill, or eat."

Shungela at once circulated the good game news among the boys, and in
less time than it takes an old man to tell a story all the boys of the
camp had gathered around a bonfire in the woods.

"You, Teola, tell us again what you have seen," they exclaimed, in
chorus.

"I saw the footprint of every creature that the Great Mystery has made!
We can fish, we can hunt the young crane, and snare the rabbit. We can
fool the owl for a night-play," he replied, proudly.

"Ho, kola, washtay! Good news! good news!" one urchin shouted. Another
ran up a tree like a squirrel in the exuberance of his delight. "Heye,
heye, he-e-e-e!" sang another, joyously.

"Most of all in number are the Little People of the Meadow! Countless
are their tiny footprints on the sandy shores of Wetaota! Very many are
their nests and furrows under the heavy grass of the marshes! Let
Shungela be the leader to-day in our attack upon the villages of the
Little People," suggested Teola, in whose mischievous black eyes and
shaggy mane one beheld the very picture of a wild rogue.

"Ho, ho, hechetu!" they all replied, in chorus.

"This is our first mouse-hunt this season, and you all know the custom.
We must first make our tiny bows and arrows," he said, again.

"Tosh, tosh! Of course!" said they all.

In the late afternoon the sun shone warmly and everything was still in
the woods, but upon the lake the occasional cry of the loon was heard.
At some distance from the camp thirty or more little redskins met
together to organize their mimic deer-hunt. They imitated closely the
customs and manners of their elders while hunting the deer. Shungela
gave the command, and all the boys advanced abreast, singing their
hunting song, until they reached the meadow-land.

Here the leader divided them into two parties, of which one went twenty
paces in advance, and with light switches raked aside the dead grass,
exposing a net-work of trails. The homes of the Little People were
underground, and the doors were concealed by last year's rank
vegetation. While they kneeled ready to shoot with the miniature bow and
arrows the first fugitives that might pass, the second party advanced in
turn, giving an imitation of the fox-call to scare the timorous Little
People. These soon became bewildered, missed their holes, and were shot
down with unerring aim as they fled along their furrow-like paths.

There was a close rivalry among the boys to see who could bring down
the largest number of the tiny fugitives, but it was forbidden to open
the homes or kill any who were in hiding.

In a few minutes the mice were panic-stricken, running blindly to and
fro, and the excitement became general.

"Yehe, yehe! There goes their chief! A white mouse!" exclaimed one of
the boys.

"Stop shooting!" came the imperative command from the shaggy-haired boy.

"It is a good sign to see their chief, but it is a very bad sign if we
kill any after we have seen him," he explained.

"I have never heard that this is so," demurred Shungela, unwilling to
yield his authority.

"You can ask your grandmother or your grandfather to-night, and you will
find that I am right," retorted the shaggy-haired one.

"Woo, woo!" they called, and all the others came running.

"How many of you saw the white mouse?" Teola asked.

"I saw it!" "I too!" "I too!" replied several.

"And how many have heard that to see the chief of the mouse people
brings good luck if the mice are spared after his appearance, but that
whoever continues to kill them invites misfortune?"

"I have heard it!" "And I!" "And I!" The replies were so many that all
the boys were willing to concede the authenticity of the story, and the
hunt was stopped.

"Let us hear the mouse legends again this evening. My grandfather will
tell them to us," Teola suggested, and not a boy there but was ready to
accept the invitation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Padanee was an ordinary looking old Indian, except that he had a really
extraordinary pair of eyes, whose searching vision it seemed that
nothing could escape. These eyes of his were well supported by an
uncommonly good memory. His dusky and furrowed countenance was lighted
as by an inner flame when once he had wound the buffalo-robe about his
lean, brown limbs and entered upon the account of his day's experience
in the chase, or prepared to relate to an attentive circle some
oft-repeated tradition of his people.

"Hun, hun, hay!" The old savage cleared his throat. A crowd of
bright-eyed little urchins had slipped quietly into his lodge. "Teola
tells me that you had all set out to hunt down and destroy the Little
People of the Meadow, and were only stopped by seeing their chief go by.
I want to tell you something about the lives of these little creatures.
We know that they are food for foxes and other animals, and that is as
far as most of us think upon the matter. Yet the Great Mystery must have
had some purpose in mind when He made them, and doubtless that is good
for us to know."

Padanee was considered a very good savage school-teacher, and he easily
held his audience.

"When you make mud animals," he continued, "you are apt to vary them a
little, perhaps for fun and perhaps only by accident. It is so with the
Great Mystery. He seems to get tired of making all the animals alike,
for in every tribe there are differences.

"Among the Hetunkala, the Little People, there are several different
bands. Some live in one place and build towns and cities like the white
man. Some wander much over forest and prairie, like our own people.
These are very small, with long tails, and they are great jumpers. They
are the thieves of their nation. They never put up any food of their
own, but rob the store-houses of other tribes.

"Then there is the bobtailed mouse with white breast. He is very much
like the paleface--always at work. He cannot pass by a field of the wild
purple beans without stopping to dig up a few and tasting to see if they
are of the right sort. These make their home upon the low-lying
prairies, and fill their holes with great store of wild beans and edible
roots, only to be robbed by the gopher, the skunk, the badger, who not
only steal from them but often kill and eat the owner as well. Our old
women, too, sometimes rob them of their wild beans.

"This fellow is always fat and well-fed, like the white man. He is a
harvester, and his full store-houses are found all through the bottom
lands."

"Ho, ho! Washtay lo!" the boys shouted. "Keep on, grandfather!"

"Perhaps you have heard, perhaps not," resumed the old man. "But it is
the truth. These little folk have their own ways. They have their plays
and dances, like any other nation."

"We never heard it; or, if we have, we can remember it better if you
will tell it to us again!" declared the shaggy-haired boy, with
enthusiasm.

"Ho, ho, ho!" they all exclaimed, in chorus.

"Each full moon, the smallest of the mouse tribe, he of the very sharp
nose and long tail, holds a great dance in an open field, or on a sandy
shore, or upon the crusty snow. The dance is in honor of those who are
to be cast down from the sky when the nibbling of the moon begins; for
these Hetunkala are the Moon-Nibblers."

As this new idea dawned upon Padanee's listeners, all tightened their
robes around them and sat up eagerly.

At this point a few powerful notes of a wild, melodious music burst
spontaneously from the throat of the old teacher, for he was wont to
strike up a song as a sort of interlude. He threw his massive head back,
and his naked chest heaved up and down like a bellows.

"One of you must dance to this part, for the story is of a dance and
feast!" he exclaimed, as he began the second stanza.

Teola instantly slipped out of his buffalo-robe and stepped into the
centre of the circle, where he danced crouchingly in the firelight,
keeping time with his lithe brown body to the rhythm of the
legend-teller's song.

"O-o-o-o!" they all hooted at the finish.

"This is the legend of the Little People of the Meadow. Hear ye! hear
ye!" said Padanee.

"Ho-o-o!" was the instant response from the throats of the little Red
men.

"A long time ago, the bear made a medicine feast, and invited the
medicine-men (or priests) of all the tribes. Of each he asked one
question, 'What is the best medicine (or magic) of your tribe?'

"All told except the little mouse. He was pressed for an answer, but
replied, 'That is my secret.'

"Thereupon the bear was angry and jumped upon the mouse, who disappeared
instantly. The big medicine-man blindly grabbed a handful of grass,
hoping to squeeze him to death. But all the others present laughed and
said, 'He is on your back!'

"Then the bear rolled upon the ground, but the mouse remained uppermost.

"'Ha, ha, ha!' laughed all the other medicine-men. 'You cannot get rid
of him.'

"Then he begged them to knock him off, for he feared the mouse might run
into his ear. But they all refused to interfere.

"'Try your magic on him,' said they, 'for he is only using the charm
that was given him by the Great Mystery.'

"So the bear tried all his magic, but without effect. He had to promise
the little mouse that, if he would only jump off from his body, neither
he nor any of his tribe would ever again eat any of the Little People.

"Upon this the mouse jumped off.

"But now Hinhan, the owl, caught him between his awful talons, and said:

"'You must tell your charm to these people, or I will put my charm on
you!'

"The little medicine-man trembled, and promised that he would if the owl
would let him go. He was all alone and in their power, so at last he
told it.

"'None of our medicine-men,' he began, 'dared to come to this lodge. I
alone believed that you would treat me with the respect due to my
profession, and I am here.' Upon this they all looked away, for they
were ashamed.

"'I am one of the least of the Little People of the Meadow,' said the
mouse. 'We were once a favored people, for we were born in the sky. We
were able to ride the round moon as it rolls along. We were commissioned
at every full moon to nibble off the bright surface little by little,
until all was dark. After a time it was again silvered over by the Great
Mystery, as a sign to the Earth People.

"'It happened that some of us were careless. We nibbled deeper than we
ought, and made holes in the moon. For this we were hurled down to the
earth. Many of us were killed; others fell upon soft ground and lived.
We do not know how to work. We can only nibble other people's things and
carry them away to our hiding-places. For this we are hated by all
creatures, even by the working mice of our own nation. But we still
retain our power to stay upon moving bodies, and that is our magic.'

"'Ho, ho, ho!' was the response of all present. They were obliged to
respond thus, but they were angry with the little mouse, because he had
shamed them.

"It was therefore decreed in that medicine-lodge that all the animals
may kill the Hetunkala wherever they meet them, on the pretext that they
do not belong upon earth. All do so to this day except the bear, who is
obliged to keep his word."

"O-o-o-o!" shouted the shaggy-haired boy, who was rather a careless sort
in his manners, for one should never interrupt a story-teller.

"It is almost full moon now, grandfather," he continued, "and there are
nice, open, sandy places on the shore near the mouse villages. Do you
think we might see them dancing if we should watch to-night?"

"Ho, takoja! Yes, my grandson," simply replied the old man.

       *       *       *       *       *

The sand-bar in front of the Indian camp was at some little distance,
out of hearing of the occasional loud laughter and singing of the
people. Wetaota was studded with myriads of jewel-like sparkles. On the
shadowy borders of the lake, tall trees bodied forth mysterious forms
of darkness. There was something weird in all this beauty and silence.

The boys were scattered along in the tall grass near the sand-bar, which
sloped down to the water's edge as smooth as a floor. All lay flat on
their faces, rolled up in their warm buffalo-robes, and still further
concealed by the shadows of the trees. The shaggy-haired boy had a bow
and some of his best arrows hidden under his robe. No two boys were
together, for they knew by experience the temptation to whisper under
such circumstances. Every redskin was absorbed in watching for the
Little People to appear upon their playground, and at the same time he
must be upon the alert for an intruder, such as Red Fox, or the
Hooting-owl of the woods.

"It seems strange," thought Teola, as he lay there motionless, facing
the far-off silvery moon, "that these little folk should have been
appointed to do a great work," for he had perfect faith in his
grandfather's legend of the Moon-Nibblers.

"Ah-h-h!" he breathed, for now he heard a faint squeaking in the thick
grass and rushes. Soon several tiny bodies appeared upon the open, sandy
beach. They were so round and so tiny that one could scarcely detect the
motion of their little feet. They ran to the edge of the water and
others followed them, until there was a great mass of the Little People
upon the clean, level sand.

"Oh, if Hinhan, the owl, should come now, he could carry away both claws
full!" Teola fancied.

Presently there was a commotion among the Hetunkala, and many of them
leaped high into the air, squeaking as if for a signal. Teola saw
hundreds of mice coming from every direction. Some of them went close by
his hiding-place, and they scrutinized his motionless body apparently
with much care. But the young hunter instinctively held his breath, so
that they could not smell him strongly, and at last all had gone by.

The big, brown mice did not attend this monthly carnival. They were too
wise to expose themselves upon the open shore to the watchful eyes of
their enemies. But upon the moonlit beach the small people, the
Moon-Nibblers, had wholly given themselves up to enjoyment, and seemed
to be forgetful of their danger. Here on Wetaota was the greatest
gathering that Teola had ever seen in all his life.

Occasionally he thought he noticed the white mouse whom he supposed to
be their chief, for no reason except that he was different from the
others, and that was the superstition.

As he watched, circles were formed upon the sand, in which the mice ran
round and round. At times they would all stand still, facing inward,
while two or three leaped in and out of the ring with wonderful
rapidity. There were many changes in the dance, and now and then one or
two would remain motionless in the centre, apparently in performance of
some ceremony which was not clear to Teola.

All at once the entire gathering became, in appearance, a heap of little
round stones. There was neither sound nor motion.

"Ho, ho, ho!" Teola shouted, as he half raised himself from his
hiding-place and flourished part of his robe in the clear moonlight. A
big bird went up softly among the shadowy trees. All of the boys had
been so fascinated by the dance that they had forgotten to watch for
the coming of Hinhan, the owl, and now this sudden transformation of the
Little People! Each one of them had rolled himself into the shape of a
pebble, and sat motionless close to the sand to elude the big-eyed one.

They remained so until the owl had left his former perch and flown away
to more auspicious hunting-grounds. Then the play and dance became more
general and livelier than ever. The Moon-Nibblers were entirely given
over to the spirit and gayety of the occasion. They ran in new circles,
sometimes each biting the tail of his next neighbor. Again, after a
great deal of squeaking, they all sprang high in the air, towards the
calm, silvery orb of the moon. Apparently they also beheld it in front
of them, reflected in the placid waters of Wetaota, for they advanced in
columns to the water's edge, and there wheeled into circles and whirled
in yet wilder dance.

At the height of the strange festival, another alarm came from the
shaggy-haired boy. This time all the boys spied Red Fox coming as fast
as his legs could carry him along the beach. He, too, had heard the
fairy laughter and singing of the Moon-Nibblers, and never in his whole
wild career is he better pleased than when he can catch a few of them
for breakfast or supper.

No people know the secret of the dance except a few old Indians and Red
Fox. He is so clever that he is always on the watch for it just before
the full moon. At the first sound that came to his sharp ears he knew
well what was going on, and the excitement was now so great that he was
assured of a good supper.

"Hay-ahay! Hay-ahay!" shouted the shaggy-haired boy, and he sent a swift
arrow on a dangerous mission for Red Fox. In a moment there came another
war-whoop, and then another, and it was wisdom for the hungry one to
take to the thick woods.

"Woo, woo! Eyaya lo! Woo, woo!" the boys shouted after him, but he was
already lost in the shadows.

The boys came together. Not a single mouse was to be seen anywhere, nor
would any one suspect that they had been there in such numbers a few
moments earlier, except for the finest of tracery, like delicate
handwriting, upon the moonlit sand.

"We have learned something to-night," said Teola. "It is good. As for
me, I shall never again go out to hunt the Little People."



Wechah the Provider


"Come, Wechah, come away! the dogs will tease you dreadfully if they
find you up a tree. Enakanee (hurry)!" Wasula urged, but the mischievous
Wechah still chose to remain upon the projecting limb of an oak which
made him a comfortable seat. It was apparently a great temptation to him
to climb every large, spreading tree that came in his way, and Wasula
had had some thrilling experiences with her pet when he had been
attacked by the dogs of the camp and even by wild animals, so it was no
wonder that she felt some anxiety for him.

Wasula was the daughter of a well-known warrior of the Rock Cliff
villagers of the Minnesota River. Her father had no son living,
therefore she was an only child, and the most-sought-after of any maiden
in that band. No other girl could boast of Wasula's skill in paddling
the birch canoe or running upon snow-shoes, nor could any gather the
wild rice faster than she. She could pitch the prettiest teepees, and
her nimble, small fingers worked very skilfully with the needle. She had
made many embroidered tobacco-pouches and quivers which the young men
were eager to get.

More than all this, Wasula loved to roam alone in the woods. She was
passionately fond of animals, so it was not strange that, when her
father found and brought home a baby raccoon, the maiden took it for her
own, kept it in an upright Indian cradle and played mother to it.

Wasula was as pretty and free as a teal-duck, or a mink with its
slender, graceful body and small face. She had black, glossy hair,
hanging in two plaits on each side of her head, and a calm, childlike
face, with a delicate aquiline nose. Wechah, when he was first put into
her hands, was nothing more than a tiny ball of striped fur, not unlike
a little kitten. His bright eyes already shone with some suggestion of
the mischief and cunning of his people. Wasula made a perfect baby of
him. She even carved all sorts of playthings out of hoof and bone, and
tied them to the bow of the cradle, and he loved to play with them. He
apparently understood much that she said to him, but he never made any
attempt to speak. He preferred to use what there is of his own language,
but that, too, he kept from her as well as he could, for it is a secret
belonging only to his tribe.

Wechah had now grown large and handsome, for he was fat and sleek. They
had been constantly together for over a year, and his foster-mother had
grown very much attached to him. The young men who courted Wasula had
conspired at different times against his life, but upon second thought
they realized that if Wasula should suspect the guilt of one of them his
chance of winning her would be lost forever.

It is true he tried their patience severely, but he could not help this,
for he loved his mistress, and his ambition was to be first in her
regard. He was very jealous, and, if any one appeared to divide her
attention, he would immediately do something to break up the company.
Sometimes he would resort to hiding the young man's quiver, bow, or
tomahawk, if perchance he put it down. Again he would pull his long
hair, but they could never catch him at this. He was quick and sly. Once
he tripped a proud warrior so that he fell sprawling at the feet of
Wasula. This was embarrassing, and he would never again lay himself open
to such a mishap. At another time he pulled the loose blanket off the
suitor, and left him naked. Sometimes he would pull the eagle feather
from the head of one and run up a tree with it, where he would remain,
and no coaxing could induce him to come down until Wasula said:

"Wechah, give him his feather! He desires to go home."

Wechah truly thought this was bright and cunning, and Wasula thought so
too. While she always reprimanded him, she was inwardly grateful to him
for breaking the monotony of courtship or rebuking the presumption of
some unwelcome suitor.

"Come down, Wechah!" she called, again and again. He came part way at
last, only to take his seat upon another limb, where he formed himself
into a veritable muff or nest upon the bough in a most unconcerned way.
Any one else would have been so exasperated that all the dogs within
hearing would have been called into service to bay him down, but
Wasula's love for Wechah was truly strong, and her patience with him was
extraordinary. At last she struck the tree a sharp blow with her
hatchet. The little fellow picked himself up and hastily descended, for
he knew that his mistress was in earnest, and she had a way of punishing
him for disobedience. It was simple, but it was sufficient for Wechah.

Wasula had the skin of a buffalo calf's head for a work-bag, beautifully
embroidered with porcupine quills about the open mouth, nose, eyes, and
ears. She would slip this over Wechah's head and tie his fore-paws
together so that he could not pull it off. Then she would take him to
the spring under the shadow of the trees and let him look at himself.
This was enough punishment for him. Sometimes even the mention of the
calf's head was enough to make him submit.

Of course, the little Striped Face could take his leave at any time that
he became dissatisfied with his life among the Red people. Wasula had
made it plain to him that he was free. He could go or stay; but,
apparently, he loved her too well to think of leaving. He would curl
himself up into a ball and lie by the hour upon some convenient branch
while the girl was cutting wood or sitting under a tree doing her
needle-work. He would study her every movement, and very often divine
her intentions.

Wasula was a friend to all the little people of the woods, and
especially sympathized with the birds in their love-making and
home-building. Wechah must learn to respect her wishes. He had once
stolen and devoured some young robins. The parent birds were frantic
about their loss, which attracted the girl's attention. The wicked
animal was in the midst of his feast.

"Glechu! glechu (Come down)!" she called, excitedly. He fully understood
from the tone that all was not right, but he would not jump from the
tree and run for the deep woods, thereby avoiding punishment and gaining
his freedom. The rogue came down with all the outward appearance of one
who pleads guilty to the charge and throws himself upon the judge's
mercy. She at once put him in the calf's head and bound his legs, and
he had nothing to eat for a day and a night.

It was a great trial to both of them. Wadetaka, the dog, for whom he had
no special love, was made to stand guard over the prisoner so that he
could not get away and no other dog could take advantage of his
helplessness. Wasula was very sorry for him, but she felt that he must
learn his lesson. That night she lay awake for a long time. To be sure,
Wechah had been good and quiet all day, but his tricks were many, and
she had discovered that his people have danger-calls and calls for help
quite different from their hunting and love calls.

After everybody was asleep, even Wadetaka apparently snoring, and the
camp-fire was burning low, there was a gentle movement from the
calf's-head bag. Wasula uncovered her head and listened. Wechah called
softly for help.

"Poor Wechah! I don't want him to be angry with me, but he must let the
little birds' homes alone."

Again Wechah gave his doleful call. In a little while she heard a
stealthy footfall, and at the same time Wadetaka awoke and rushed upon
something.

It was a large raccoon! He ran up a near-by tree to save himself, for
Wadetaka had started all the dogs of the camp. Next the hunters came
out. Wasula hurriedly put on her moccasins and ran to keep the men from
shooting the rescuer.

Wechah's friend took up his position upon one of the upper limbs of a
large oak, from which he looked down with blazing eyes upon a motley
crew. Near the root of the tree Wechah lay curled up in a helpless ball.
The new-comer scarcely understood how this unfortunate member of his
tribe came into such a predicament, for when some one brought a torch he
was seen to rise, but immediately fell over again.

"Please do not kill him," pleaded Wasula. "It is a visitor of my pet,
whom I am punishing for his misconduct. As you know, he called for help
according to the custom of his tribe."

They all laughed heartily, and each Indian tied up his dog for the rest
of the night, so that the visitor might get away in safety, while the
girl brought her pet to her own bed.

It was the Moon of Falling Leaves, and the band to which Wasula's father
belonged were hunting in the deep woods in Minnesota, the Land of
Sky-colored Water. The band had divided itself into many small parties
for the fall and winter hunt. When this particular party reached
Minnetonka, the Big Lake, they found the hunting excellent. Deer were
plenty, and the many wooded islands afforded them good feeding-places.
The men hunted daily, and the women were busy preparing the skins and
curing the meat. Wechah wandered much alone, as Wasula was busy helping
her mother.

All went well for many weeks; and even when the snow fell continuously
for many a day and the wind began to blow, so that no hunter dared
emerge from his teepee, there was dried venison still and all were
cheerful. At last the sun appeared.

"Hoye! hoye!" was the cheerful cry of the hunting bonfire-builder, very
early in the morning. As it rang musically on the clear, frosty air,
each hunter set out, carrying his snow-shoes upon his back, in the
pleasant anticipation of a good hunt. After the customary smoke, they
all disappeared in the woods on the north shore of Minnetonka.

Alas! it was a day of evil fortune. There was no warning. In the late
afternoon one came back bleeding, singing a death-dirge. "We were
attacked by the Ojibways! All are dead save myself!"

Thus was the little camp suddenly plunged into deep sorrow and mourning.
Doleful wails came forth from every lodge, and the echoes from the many
coves answered them with a double sadness.

Again the storm-wind raged. This time the dried meat was gone, and all
the women did nothing but bewail their misfortunes. "The evil spirit is
upon us!" they cried. "The enemy has taken away our husbands, and now
Wazeyah, the god of storm and winter, is ready to slay us!" So they
mourned as those having no hope.

When at last the storm ceased, the snow was very deep. The little ones
were famished. There was no meat in the camp and there were no hunters
to hunt. They were far from their permanent village upon the Minnesota
River. They must have food first, and then try to get back. So, for the
children's sake, the brave mothers and elder sisters began to look about
them to decide upon some action.

"Wasula, my child, what are you thinking of?" the mother asked.

"Mother, my father taught me to hunt, and he took so much pride in my
snow-shoeing! See, mother, here is one of his quivers full of arrows,
and here is a good bow." The girl spoke earnestly. "I can take care of
you, mother, until we get back to our relatives. I can shoot as straight
as any brave, and my father taught me how to circle a doe or buck to a
stand-still. Wechah will go with me and guide me, so that I shall not be
lost," continued Wasula, with a show of cheerfulness.

"But you must be careful, my child! The Ojibways are not far away. Some
of their warriors will perhaps have a mind to come again, now that they
have overcome all the men of our little band," sadly warned the mother.

Meanwhile Wechah sat by watching every motion, as if trying to read
their thoughts. He was evidently delighted when Wasula girdled herself
and threw her snow-shoes diagonally across her back. He gave one big,
joyous leap and ran out of sight ahead of her as she set out on the
hunt. Her poor mother watched her through the pin-holes in the teepee.
"Ah, I fear--I fear the dreadful warriors of the Ojibways!" she
muttered.

They went over the snow-clad Minnetonka towards Crane Island, and the
famished girl was scarcely able to run upon snow-shoes, although
ordinarily it was an easy task for her. Her people had been living upon
rose-berries and roots. Wechah, with a light foot, ran ahead of her into
the thick woods.

No sooner was he out of sight of home than all his native cunning
vividly returned to him, and the desire to find whatever was in his way.
Through the frosty air and among the snow-clad multitudinous trees he
swiftly ran. His ancient calling thrilled him through and through. Now
and then he ran up a tree, leaped far into the soft snow, and away he
glided again. Not yet do the wild inhabitants of the woods come out for
their guest, at least not upon Crane Island, for Wechah had not crossed
a single trail.

Deep in the forest at last the little Striped Face gave his signal-call,
according to the custom of his people. Wasula turned in the direction
of the sound and peered sharply through the snow-laden boughs. There he
stood upon a large limb, anxiously awaiting her coming.

He leaped from his high perch toward her, struck the ground like a
pillow, and made the soft snow fly up like loose feathers.

"I see--I see your deer-track," she laughed at him. "We shall try to get
one! You must now follow me, Wechah. It is Wasula's turn to lead."

The maiden's bow was carefully examined, and she picked out one of her
best arrows. Instead of following the trail, like a true hunter she
started with the wind and ran along for some distance, then described a
circle, coming just inside of her starting-point. Again she made another
circle within the first, but no deer had crossed her track. Upon the
third round she spied them hiding behind a large, fallen oak, whose dead
leaves afforded some shelter. As she described another circle to get
within arrow-shot, the doe stretched out at full length upon the snow,
laying her ears back, rabbit-like, to escape detection. Wasula knew the
trick of holding her. She did not pause for an instant, but ran along
until she gained an opening for a shot. Then she turned quickly upon the
quivering doe and let her swift arrow fly.

Instantly the doe and her two full-grown fawns got up and sprang away
through the woods and out of sight. Wasula had seen her arrow enter the
doe's side. She examined the trail--it showed drops of blood--and
immediately the huntress followed the trail.

In a few moments she heard Wechah give his shrill, weird 'coon-call.
Through an alley between rows of trees she saw him standing proudly upon
the dead body of Takcha.

"Oh, I thank thee, Great Mystery! I thank you, Wechah, for your kind
guidance," Wasula spoke, in a trembling voice. She took her
hunting-knife from her belt and skinned the legs of the doe up to the
knee-joints. Having unjointed them, she drew the fore-legs backward and
fastened them securely; then she put her hunting-strap through the
under-jaw and attached her carrying-straps. Thus she proceeded to drag
the body home.

Wechah was as happy as if he had shot the deer himself. Wasula realized
that her people were starving and she ran as fast as she could, but
before she was half-way across the lake her companion was in camp. As
she approached the shore, the stronger of the women came running to meet
and relieve her of her burden. They were overwhelmed with joy. She
slipped off her shoulder-straps and ran to her mother, while two of the
others hitched themselves to her carrying-lines and ran with the deer.
"Wasula, heroine, huntress! The gracious and high-minded!" In such wise
the old people sang her praises.

Several of the women had been out hunting, like Wasula, but none were as
successful as she and Wechah had been. Some brought back a single rabbit
or a grouse to quiet their crying babies. One brought a dead raccoon
which she had found in a trap. Wasula was sorry when Wechah saw this and
became visibly depressed.

When all the venison had been eaten, the rigor of winter still held in
this northern clime. The maiden hunted every day, but without success.
One afternoon the sun was getting low and she was still far from camp,
but she could not bear to go back empty-handed. She felt that upon her
success depended the lives of the others, for they could not yet move on
foot toward the village on the Minnesota River--the children would
suffer cruelly in such an attempt.

She was upon the trail of Shunktokecha, the wolf--not that she had any
hope of overtaking him, but it is well known that he is a good guide.
Wechah, too, was apparently unwilling to leave the trail. Their course
was directed toward one of the outlets of the lake.

When they reached this stream, other trails joined the one they were
following, making a broad path, and here and there the ice of the creek
was scratched by the wolf people as they passed. The huntress quickened
her steps in renewed hope. She knew that upon the trail there lies much
of joy, of fascination, and catastrophe; but every trailer only keeps
the joy in mind--it is enough to realize misfortune when it comes!

Around a sudden bend of the frozen creek another hunter's voice was
heard. It was Kangee, the raven. "Surely, there is game there, dead or
alive, for Kangee never speaks without a cause," she murmured.

Now Wechah disappeared around the point, and when she came into full
view she saw her pet jerk out of the stream something living. As the
object fell it curved itself upon the ice and again sprang glittering in
the air.

Wasula laughed, in spite of herself, the sing-song laugh of the wild
maid of the woods. "Hoya! hoya!" she screamed, and ran forward. Again
and again Wechah snatched out of the live water a large fish. When she
reached the spring in the creek, her pet had already taken out enough to
feed the whole camp.

The girl fell on her knees and peered into the water. It was packed to
the ice with the spring exodus of the finny tribes of Minnetonka for the
spawning! Every year, before the spring opens, they crowd upon one
another in the narrow passes of the streams. There was a spring here
where the ice was open, and hence the broad trail and the scratches of
wolves, bears, raccoons, crows, ravens, and many more.

"Good Wechah! We shall live now--our people cannot starve," said
Wasula, feelingly, to her pet. Her responsibility as the main support of
the camp was greatly lightened. At last she took her hunting-knife from
her belt and stripped the bark from a near-by birch. She shaped it into
a rough canoe and threw into it as many fish as it would hold. The sun
already hovered among the tree-tops as she hitched herself by means of
her carrying-lines to the canoe-shaped tray full of fish and started
homeward across an arm of the frozen lake.

Wechah ran playfully in front of her. The wild pet was full of his
cunning ways. When they reached a wooded shore he suddenly disappeared,
and the girl did not know which way he went. Presently she thought she
heard a baby cry away off in the woods; in a little while there seemed
to be a skunk calling, nearer, and still nearer; again she heard the
call of an owl. Finally the mimic rushed upon her from behind the shadow
of a huge pine, swiftly pursued by a bob-tailed 'coon.

"Ugh, Wechah! are you afraid of Sintay? 'Tis he is wicked and full of
cunning! He has broken away from several steel traps, and he always
takes the bait of a deadfall without harm to himself. If he ever chases
you again I will punish him," declared the huntress.

On seeing Wasula, the animal had disappeared among the shadows almost as
mysteriously as he emerged from them. It was now the close of Wechah
tawee, the 'coon's month, when the male raccoon leaves his winter
quarters and begins to look for company. This particular individual was
well known to the Indian hunters upon Lake Minnetonka. As Wasula had
said, he was the cunningest of his tribe, and he was also unusually
large and of a savage disposition. True, he fared luxuriously every day
upon berries, mice, fish, frogs, eggs from the swamps, and young birds
not yet able to fly. Then he sleeps a long and happy sleep through the
coldest moons of the year, undisturbed save when the Red man and his
dogs are about--he who loves to eat the fat of the 'coon and makes a
beautiful robe of his striped skin!

"You must keep away from Sintay, for he is dangerous," said Wasula, who
always talked to her pet as if he understood every word she said.
Nevertheless, while she struggled on with her load he had once more
disappeared. Soon a cry from him attracted her attention, and turning a
little aside from her path, she beheld Sintay sitting upon a
snow-covered log at the root of a large hollow tree, holding a comb of
wild honey in his two paws, listening angrily and growling over his
interrupted meal. In a moment something sprang into the air directly
over his head and alighted in front of him. It was Wechah.

Sintay screamed and clawed the air with his right paw, at the same time
clinging to the comb with the left. The new-comer bravely faced him.
Both were desperately in earnest, growling and snapping their sharp
teeth. The bee-tree was the bone of contention, and it was well worth a
fight.

Striking out with his big right paw, the tame raccoon launched forth to
secure the comb, whereupon Sintay struck at him with his disengaged paw,
but refused to let go with the other. It was a ludicrous sight, and
Wasula could not help laughing, especially when her pet succeeded in
tearing away a part of the comb and the contents were generously daubed
over their fur. But the fight soon became serious, and Wechah was
getting the worst beating he had ever had when his mistress interfered.
She struck at Sintay with her drawn bow and he dodged quickly behind the
tree, still unwilling to leave it to the intruders, but at last he fled.
It was the best thing for him to do!

Wechah stood before Wasula bleeding, his robe of fine fur sadly ruffled
and plastered with honey and snow. He looked sorry for himself, yet
proud of his discovery, and there was no time now to pity or rejoice. On
they ran till, within hailing distance of the camp, the girl gave the
wolf-call. The others were already very anxious. "She is coming!" they
cried to one another, joyously, and two went forth to meet her, for her
call meant a successful hunt.

Thus the maiden and her tame raccoon saved several families from
starvation. The run of fish would last for days, and there was much
honey in the tree, which they secured on the following day.

"It is my wish," said Wasula, "that you do not trap the 'coon again this
season, for the sake of Wechah, who has saved us all. In gratitude to
him, withdraw your deadfalls."

All agreed to this. Yet one spring morning when they were about to set
out on the return journey he was not to be found, and no one had seen
him. The huntress immediately took down her bow and quiver and searched
for his track, which she followed into the woods. Her love for Wechah
had never been fully realized by the people or perhaps even by herself.
"If Sintay has met and taken revenge upon him, I shall not return
without his scalp," she said to herself.

Over the still frozen lake to the nearest island lay Wechah's well-known
track, and he was apparently hunting for company. It was the time of
year when his people do so. He had run far and wide, meeting here and
there a bachelor 'coon. The tracks told the story of how they merely
dared one another and parted.

At last the trail lay over a slope overlooking a little cove, where
there stood a large sugar-maple. The upper quarter of it had been torn
off by lightning, leaving a very high stump. Wechah's tracks led
directly to this tree, and the scratches on its bark plainly told who
lived there. It was the home of Wechawee, the 'coon maid.

Wasula took her small hatchet from her belt and struck several quick
blows. There was a scrambling inside, and in a moment Wechah poked his
quaint striped face from the top. He looked very much abashed. Like a
guilty dog he whined, but showed no desire to come down.

"Wechah, you frightened me! I thought you had been killed. I am glad
now, my heart is good, that you have found your mate."

At this Wechah's new wife pushed her cunning head out beside that of her
husband. Wasula stood looking at them both for a few minutes with
mingled pleasure and sorrow, and ere she left she sang a maiden's
serenade to the bridegroom--the founder of a new clan!



The Mustering of the Herds


"Moo! Moo!" rang out the deep, air-rending call--the gathering call of
the herds! Hinpoha, or Curly Hair, the young bison mother, threw back
her head and listened nervously. She stood over her new-born baby in a
hidden nook upon the Shaeyela River, that flows through the Land of
Mystery.

No one was there to see, except two magpies which were loitering in the
neighborhood, apparently waiting for the mother to go away that they
might tease the helpless infant.

Tenderly she licked the moist hair of her dear one's coat, while the
beautiful black-and-white bird with the long tail talked to his mate of
mischief and plunder. Then the mother gently poked and pushed her little
one, persuading her to get up and try her tiny, soft-soled feet. It was
evident that she was not a common bison calf. Her color was not reddish
brown, but a soft, creamy white, like that of a sheep--the color of
royalty!

She toddled about unsteadily upon the thick mat of buffalo-grass. As she
learned to walk, step by step, the young mother followed her with
anxious eyes. Presently the little creature made a feeble attempt at
running. She lifted up her woolly tail, elevated a pair of transparent,
leaf-like ears, and skipped awkwardly around her mother, who never took
her black, limpid eyes from her wonderful first-born.

"Moo! Moo!" Again Hinpoha heard the impatient gathering call. Hastily
she pushed her baby with caressing nose into an old buffalo-wallow
overhung with tall grass, making a little cosey nest. The drooping
grass, like the robe of the Indian, concealed the little calf
completely.

"You must stay here," she signed. "Do not open your eyes to any
stranger. Do not move at all."

Hinpoha trotted northward, following the ravine in which she had hidden
her calf. No sooner had she disappeared from sight than those old
plunderers, magpie and his mate, swooped down from the lone willow-tree
that overhung the spot. Both perched lightly upon the edge of the
buffalo-wallow. They saw and heard nothing. They looked at each other in
surprise. "Ka, ka, ka," they talked together, wondering what had become
of the baby bison.

Up the long ascent Hinpoha ran, until she reached a point from which she
could command the valley and the place where she had hidden away her
treasure. Her watchful eyes ranged round the horizon and swept the
surrounding country. There was not a wolf there, she thought. She could
see the lone willow-tree that marked the spot. Beyond, the rough ridges
and occasional buttes were studded with pines and cedars, while the
white pillars and towers of the Bad Lands rose grandly in the distance.

As she went on to rejoin her herd upon the plains of the Shaeyela, she
beheld upon the flats the bison women gathered in great, black masses,
while on either side of them the buffalo men roamed in small groups or
singly, like walking pine-trees. Shaeyela had never looked more lovely
than on that morning in early spring--a warm, bluish haze brooding over
it--the big, ungainly cottonwoods, their branches knotted and gnarled
like the naked limbs of the old men, guarding the thin silver line of
the river.

Hinpoha ran swiftly down the last descent, now and then pausing for a
moment to announce her coming. Ordinarily she would have returned to her
people quietly and unnoticed, but she was excited by the unexpected
summons and moved to reply. As she entered the valley she saw other
buffalo women returning from their spring nurseries in the gulches,
giving their responses as they came. There was an undertone murmur
throughout the great concourse. All seemed to be moving toward the edge
of the belt of timber that clothed the river-banks. They pressed through
a scattered growth of gray-green buffalo-berry bushes.

By the signs of the buffalo women and the sound of their lowings,
Hinpoha knew that this was a funeral gathering. She hastened on with
mingled curiosity and anxiety. Within a circle of the thorny
buffalo-berry trees, under a shivering poplar, lay the lifeless form of
Ptesanwee, the white buffalo cow, the old queen of the Shaeyela herd.

Here all the dusky women of the plains had gathered to pay their last
respects to their dead leader. Hinpoha pushed her way into the midst of
the throng for a parting look. She joined in the wailing of the other
bison women, and the noise of their mourning echoed like distant thunder
from the opposite cliffs of the Shaeyela.

No bull buffalo was allowed to come near while the women hovered about
their dead leader. These had to return to their nurseries at last, and
then it was that the buffalo men approached in great numbers. The sound
of their mourning was great! They tore up the sod with their hoofs as
they wailed loudly for the dead.

The sun hovered over the western hills ere the gathering dispersed. The
dead was left to the silent night to cover, and the lonely poplar sang a
soft funeral song over her.

Hinpoha found her baby fast asleep when she reached her nursery upon
Willow Creek. The little creature was fed, and played about her mother,
grazing in the quiet valley, where none might see the cradle of their
future queen.

At the next mid-day, Hinpoha saw many of the bison people fleeing by her
secret camp. She at once suspected the neighborhood of the Red hunters.
"I shall go away, so that they will not find my teepee and my baby," she
said to herself. Accordingly she came out and followed the trail of the
fugitives in order to deceive the wild man, but at night she returned to
her nursery.

Upon the Shaeyela River, below the camp of the buffalo people, the wild
Red men were likewise encamped in great numbers. Spring was here at
last, and nearly all of the snow had gone, even from the gulches and
deep ravines.

A joyous hunting song pealed forth loudly from the council-lodge of the
Two Kettle band. The great drum beat a prelude to the announcement
heralded throughout the camp.

"Hear ye, hear ye, warriors! The game scout has come back with the news
that the south fork of the Shaeyela is full of the buffalo people. It is
the will of the council that the young men should now make the great
spring hunt of the bison. Fill your quivers with good arrows. Try your
bows. Heya, heya, ha-a-a-a!" Thus the herald circled the large
encampment.

"Woo! woo!" came from the council-lodge--a soldier-call, for the young
men to saddle up. At the same time, the familiar drum-beat was again
heard. The old men, the council men, were now left alone to perform
those ceremonies which were held to insure good hunting.

The long-stemmed pipe was reverently lifted from the sacred ground which
is its resting-place. The chief medicine-man, old Buffalo Ghost, took it
in his sinewy hands, with the mouth-piece foremost. He held it toward
heaven, then to the earth, and gave the "spirit talk." Having ended, he
lighted and passed it around the circle from left to right. Again one
struck the drum and sang in a high minor key. All joined in the refrain,
and two got up and danced around the fire. This is done to call the
spirits of the bison, and charm them into a happy departure for the
spirit land.

Meantime, the young warriors had mounted their trained buffalo-ponies,
and with a great crowd on foot were moving up the valley of the
Shaeyela. From every divide they surveyed the country ahead, hoping to
find the buffalo in great numbers and to take them unawares. The chief
hunter ascended a hill in advance of the others. "Woo!" he called, and
waved his right hand with the assurance of a successful hunt.

The warriors prepared for the charge just as they would prepare for an
attack upon the enemy. All preliminary orders were given. The men were
lined out on three sides, driving the herd toward the river. When the
signal was given, ponies and men sped forward with loosened hair and
flying lariat. The buffalo were compelled to run toward the river, but
some refused to run, while many more broke through the attacking lines
and fled across the Shaeyela and into the woods. There were some who
stood their ground and formed an outward-facing circle around the low
little buffalo-berry-hung grave. To this group many Red hunters came
yelling and singing.

"Hanta, hanta yo!" the leader cautioned, vainly. The first man who
ventured near the menacing circle was instantly tossed upon the horns
of an immense bull. He lay motionless where he fell.

Now the angry bison were left alone for the time, while the hunters
withdrew to a near-by hill for consultation. The signal of distress had
been given, and soon the ridges were black with riders. The unfortunate
hunter and his horse lay dead upon the plain!

"It is not the custom of the buffalo people to fight thus. They have
been known to form a ring to defend themselves against wolves, but
against man--never!" declared the game leader. "It is a sign of which we
ought to discover the meaning."

"You have heard their lowing," remarked another. "It is their habit to
mourn thus when they discover one of their number lying dead."

Suddenly the buffalo women started away in single file, the bulls
following; and walking slowly, without molestation from any, they all
disappeared in the direction taken by the fleeing herd. The hunters now
eagerly advanced to the spot where lay dead the white bison cow, the
queen of the buffalo people. The strange action of her followers was
explained. Every warrior approached the place as if treading upon
hallowed ground. They tied or hobbled their ponies at some distance, and
all came with tobacco or arrows in their hands. They reverently
addressed the dead cow and placed the tobacco gently around her for an
offering. Thus strangely ended the first spring hunt of that year upon
the Shaeyela, the ancient home of the buffalo people, where always the
buffalo woman chief, the white cow, is seen--the most sacred and honored
animal among the Sioux!

       *       *       *       *       *

The grass of the Bad Lands region was now spread in fresh green, all
beaded and porcupined with the early crocuses. The young queen was well
grown for her age, and could run as well as her mother for a mile or
two. Along Willow Creek she had been made to try her speed many times
daily.

"Come," she signed to her, one bright May day, and they both set out for
the forks of the Shaeyela, where once more the buffalo people were
assembled by thousands. Many of the mothers had already taken their
children back to the herd. As Hinpoha passed the lone bulls who are
wont to wander away from the rest for undisturbed feeding, they all
turned to gaze at her and her strange daughter. Each gave her sonorous
greeting, and some even followed after at a distance in wonder and
admiration.

When they reached a small group of buffalo women, there was much
commotion. One of the other mothers came forward to challenge Hinpoha to
a friendly contest, while the rest formed a ring around them, evidently
admiring the little calf. The black eyes and hoofs setting off her
creamy whiteness gave her a singularly picturesque appearance.

After the friendly tussle, the mother and daughter continued on their
journey to the forks of the Shaeyela. As they passed more and more of
their people, the "Moo" was given continuously, announcing the coming of
the new queen of the tribe. When they arrived at the place of meeting,
the excitement was great. Everywhere buffalo people were running toward
them to greet them with the "Moo!" The little folks ran up full of
curiosity, turned large eyes and ears on the stranger, and then fled
away with uplifted tail. The big, shaggy-haired old men came, too, and
regarded her gravely. Hinpoha was proud of her conspicuous position; yet
it was a trying reception, for every kind female caller felt obliged to
offer her a friendly trial of strength. At such times the little calf
watched her mother with excited interest.

The day was warm, the air soft and summer-like. Whenever there is a
great gathering of the bison, there are many contests and dances. So it
was on this occasion. It was their festival time, and the rumble of
their voices was heard by the other tribes of the prairie a great way
off.

       *       *       *       *       *

Again the herald's song pealed forth upon the sunshiny stillness of a
May morning. Every ear was turned to catch the expected announcement of
the wise men.

"Ye soldier hunters," was the summons, "come home to the teyoteepee!"
Many of the warriors, wrapped in their robes, walked slowly toward the
council-lodge in the middle of the Indian encampment.

"Hear ye, men and warriors!" exclaimed the chief of the teyoteepee,
when all were met together. "Our game scout has returned with the word
that upon the forks of the Shaeyela the buffalo people are holding their
summer gathering. Furthermore, he says that he saw a young buffalo chief
woman--a white calf! In the morning all the hunters are commanded to
make an attack upon the herd. If it be possible, we shall capture the
little queen.

"Hear ye, hear ye! We shall dance the great buffalo-dance to-night! The
Great Mystery is good to us. Few men are so favored as to see the queen
of the buffalo people even once in a lifetime.

"Eyuha nahon po!" he continued, "hearken to the legend that is told by
the old men. The buffalo chief woman is the noblest of all animals--the
most beloved of her people. Where she is, there is the greatest
gathering of her tribe--there is plenty for the Indian! They who see her
shall be fortunate in hunting and in war. If she be captured, the people
who take her need never go hungry. When the bison is scarce, the
exhibition of her robe in the buffalo-dance will bring back many to the
neighborhood!

"To-morrow we will make a great hunt. Be strong of heart, for her people
will not flee, as is their wont, but will fight for her!"

"Ho, ho! hi, hi!" replied all the warriors.

The buffalo were now holding their summer feasts and dances upon the
Shaeyela River--the tricky Shaeyela, who, like her sister, the Big
Muddy, tears up her banks madly every spring freshet, thus changing her
bed continually. The little hills define it abruptly, and the tributary
creeks are indicated by a few dwarf pines and cedars, peeping forth like
bears from the gulches. Upon the horizon the Bad Lands stand out in bold
relief, their ruined pyramids and columns bespeaking the power of the
Great Mystery.

Here at the forks the poplar-trees and buffalo-berry-bushes glistened in
fresh foliage, and the deep-yellow flowers of the wild bull-currant
exhaled their musky odor. There was a wide, green plain for the buffalo
people to summer in, and many had come to see their baby queen, for the
white bison was always found in the midst of the greatest gathering of
her people. No chief buffalo woman was ever seen with a little band.

The morning was good; the sun wore a broad smile, and his children upon
the Shaeyela River, both bison and wild Red men, were happy in their own
fashion. The little fires were sportively burning outside of each
teepee, where the morning meal had been prepared. It had been decreed by
the council that the warriors should paint, after the custom of warfare,
when they attacked the buffalo chief woman and her people upon the forks
of the Shaeyela.

Upon the slope of a long ridge the hunters gathered. Their dusky faces
and naked bodies were extravagantly painted; their locks fantastically
dressed; even the ponies were decorated. Upon the green plain below the
bison were quietly grazing, and in the very centre of the host the
little queen frisked about her mother. It was fully four arrow-flights
distant from the outer edge of the throng, and sentinel bulls were
posted still farther out, in precaution for her safety.

The Indians overlooking the immense herd had already pointed out the
white calf in awe-struck whispers. To them she looked like an
earth-visiting spirit in her mysterious whiteness. There were several
thousand pairs of horns against their few hundred warriors, yet they
knew that if they should succeed in capturing this treasure, the story
would be told of them for generations to come. It was sufficient honor
for the risk of a brave man's life.

"Hukahay! hukahay!" came the signal. Down the slope they sped to the
attack with all the spirit and intrepidity of the gray wolf. "Woo! woo!"
came from every throat in a hoarse shout. The earth under their ponies'
feet fairly trembled.

The buffalo bull sentinels instantly gave the alarm and started back in
the direction of the main body. A cloud of dust arose toward the sun as
the mighty gathering was set in motion. Deadly arrows flew like winged
things, and the beating of thousands of hoofs made a noise like thunder.
Yet the buffalo people would not break the circle around the white calf,
and for many minutes no Red man could penetrate it.

At last old Zuya, a warrior of note, came swiftly to the front upon his
war-steed. He held high above his head a blazing torch, and the
panic-stricken bison fled before him in every direction. Close behind
him came Zuya's young son, Unspeshnee, with a long lariat coiled in his
hand, and the two followed hard upon the fleeing buffalo people.

"Wa-wa-wa-wa!" came forth from hundreds of throats, like the rolling of
many stones upon new ice. "Unspeshnee! Unspeshnee has lassoed the
buffalo chief woman!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Amid a great gathering of curious people stood the white calf, wailing
continually, and a solemn rejoicing pervaded the camp of the Red
hunters. Already the ceremonies were in progress to celebrate this
event.

"It is the will of the Great Mystery," said they, "to recall the spirit
of the white chief. We shall preserve her robe, the token of plenty and
good-fortune! We shall never be hungry henceforth for the flesh of her
nation. This robe shall be handed down from generation to generation,
and wherever it is found there shall be abundance of meat for the
Indian."



The Sky Warrior


The all-night rain had ceased, and daylight appeared once more over the
eastern buttes. Hooyah looked about her, anxiously scanning the gray
dusk of morning for a glimpse of her mate, the while she spread her long
pinions over three rollicking and mischievous youngsters as any eagle
woman ever brooded. Her piercing gaze was directed oftenest toward the
lone pine--his favorite sleeping-tree. Surely it was time for him to
call her out on the usual morning hunt.

The Eagle's Nest butte was well known to the wild hunters of that
region, since it could be seen from a great distance and by many
approaches. Its overhanging sides were all but inaccessible, and from
the level summit could be discerned all the landmarks of the Bad Lands
in a circuit of seventy-five miles. The course of the Makezeta, the
Smoking Earth River, lay unrolled like a map beneath that eyrie. Hither
the bighorn, the grizzly, and others of the animal tribes had from time
to time betaken themselves, some seeking a night's refuge and others a
permanent dwelling-place. For many years, however, it had been well
understood that this was the chosen home of Wambelee, the eagle, whom it
is not well to molest.

Doubtless there have been tragedies enacted upon this imposing summit.
There is even a tradition among the wild Red men that the supremacy upon
old Eagle's Nest has cost many lives, and for this reason it is held to
be a mysterious and hallowed place. Certainly the tribes of Wild Land
had cause to desire and even to fight for its possession.

Suddenly there came to Hooyah's ears the whirring sound that announced
the near approach of her master. In the wink of an eye he was at her
side.

"Quick, quick! We must be off! I have found a doe with two small fawns.
I could have taken one fawn, but we shall have more meat if you are
there to take the other," he signalled to her.

Hooyah simply stepped aside and stretched herself thoroughly, as if to
say, "Go, and I will follow."

Wambelee arose clumsily at the start, but as he gained in speed and
balance he floated away in mid-air like a mystic cloud. Hooyah followed
within hailing distance, and they kept the same relative positions until
they reached Fishtail Gulch. It is well known to the Red hunters that
such is the custom of the bear, coyote, eagle, raven and gray wolf,
except when they travel in bands. The rule is a good one, since the
sought-for prey is less likely to take alarm when only one hunter is in
sight, and then, in case of flight, the second pursuer, who is
invisible, may have a better chance to make the capture, especially
should the fleeing one double on his track. He is certain to be
bewildered and disheartened by the sudden, unexpected reinforcement of
the foe.

Wambelee swung up on one of the adjacent buttes to spy out possible
danger, while his mate was balancing herself away up in the ether, just
over the black-tail mother with her twin fawns. Suddenly he arose in a
long spiral and ascended to the height of Hooyah, and there the two
plotted their assault upon the innocents, at the same time viewing the
secret movements of every other hunter.

It is the accepted usage of Wild Land that no one may wisely leave his
tracks uncovered while he himself is on the trail of another, for many
have been seized while enjoying the prize. Even the lordly eagle has
been caught by the wolf, the wild-cat, or by the wild man while
feasting, and in his gluttony has become an easy prey to the least of
hunters. Therefore it behooved Wambelee to be watchful and very
cautious.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Ho, Opagela, koowah yay yo-o-o!" This was the call of Matoska, a famous
hunter of the Sioux, at the door of his friend's lodge in the camp on
the Smoking Earth River. "Come out, friend; it is almost day and my
dream has been good. The game is plentiful; but you will need to be on
your guard, for the tracks of the grizzly hereabout are as many as I
have ever seen the Ojibway trails."

"Hun, hun, hay!" exclaimed the other, good-humoredly, as he pushed
aside the triangular door-flap and appeared wrapped in his blanket. "It
is always thus. When the hunting is poor, you will not be disturbed, but
when you are in a region of much game, all other hunters are there as
well! It is true that they are usually agreeable except two only--Mato,
the grizzly, and man himself. These two are always looking for trouble!"

Opagela was likewise noted for his skill in hunting, and especially for
the number of eagles that he had caught. This good-fortune had gained
him many ponies, for eagles' feathers are always in demand. Few men so
well understand the secrets of this bird. His friend was doubtless
expert in wood-craft, but in this particular he could not claim to be
the equal of Opagela.

"Come, let us hasten! We must be off before any other wild hunter can
gain the advantage. We shall appear foolish to them if we are seen
running about in full view," Matoska continued, as he adjusted the
thongs of his moccasins.

Both men soon disappeared in the gray mists of the morning. They ran
noiselessly side by side, scarcely uttering a word, up and along the
bluffs of the Smoking Earth River. They could see the white vapor or
breath of the bison hanging in the air at a distance, and black masses
of the animals were visible here and there upon the plains. But they did
not turn aside, for they were in search of other game. The Eagle's Nest
butte loomed up to their right, its bare walls towering grandly above
the surrounding country, and the big timber lay hidden below in the fog
that still clung about the river.

"Ho!" Opagela exclaimed, presently, to his companion, in an undertone.
"There is a hunter from above descending."

Both stood still in their tracks like petrified men. "Whir-r-r!" came
like the sound of a coming shower.

"Ugh, it is he!" Opagela said again, in a whisper, and made a motion
with his lips.

As the great bird, the giant hunter of the air, swooped down into the
gulch, a doe fled forth from it and ran swiftly over the little divide.
There was bawling and the sound of struggle just over the banks of the
creek, where the eagle had disappeared.

"Run, friend, run! Let us see him use his knife upon the fawn," urged
Matoska, and he started over the knoll at a good gait. The other
followed as if reluctantly.

The little gulch was a natural enclosure formed by a sudden turn of the
creek, and fenced with a thorny thicket of wild plum and buffalo-berry
bushes. Here they saw Wambelee in the open, firmly fastened upon the
back of a struggling fawn. Hooyah had missed her quarry, which took
refuge in the plum grove.

"Shoot! shoot!" whispered Matoska, at the same time drawing forth an
arrow.

"No, no; I recognize friends. This is the old pair who have dwelt for
many years upon the Eagle's Nest butte." There was a serious expression
upon the hunter's face as he spoke.

At this moment the eagle turned toward them. From his neck hung a single
bear's claw, fastened by a leather thong.

"Yes, it is he. Long ago he saved my life, and we are friends. I shall
tell you about it," Opagela said at last, and the two friends sat down
side by side at the edge of the plum-bushes.

"Many winters ago," began Opagela, "I was shot through the knee in a
battle with the Utes, a little west of the Black Hills. My friends
carried me with them as far as the creek which is now called the Wounded
Knee, and there we were overtaken by a Crow war-party. Our party had a
running fight with them and were compelled to retreat in haste. I begged
my friends to leave me on the trail, for I preferred to die fighting
rather than from the effects of my wound. They did so, but before they
reached me the Crow warriors withdrew.

"There I lay without food or water for four days. I was all skin and
bones. My thoughts were already in the spirit land, and I seemed to see
about me my relatives who had died.

"One morning my mind was clear, and once more I realized my
surroundings. I had crawled into the shade of a little grove of
plum-bushes. I gazed out upon the lofty buttes and the plains between
where we had so often camped in happiness and plenty. It seemed hard to
starve in the midst of such abundance.

"A few paces away I saw a doe with two fawns. They were fat and
tempting, but I had no strength to shoot. Then I felt that I was doomed
to die, and, indeed, believed that I was already half spirit and could
talk with spirits. I held out my hand to the Great Mystery and said:

"Is this the end? Then, Great Father, I am resigned. Let none disturb
me, for I would die in peace.

"At this moment the doe snorted and sprang directly over me. Alas! one
of her little ones was caught before it could plunge into the thicket.
It was seized by an immense eagle.

"The pretty little creature screamed and bawled like a baby, and my
heart was with her in her death-pangs, although I was perishing for
meat. I lay quite still and breathed softly. I slyly closed my eyes when
the eagle seemed about to look in my direction. He appeared to be a very
warlike, full-grown bird, with splendid plumage.

"He dressed his meat a few paces from me. I could smell the rich odor of
the savory venison, and it made me desperate. I wanted to live now. But
it was his game. I was a wounded, helpless, dying man--he a strong,
warlike hunter. I could only beg a piece of his meat, but it was not
the time for me to do so until he had eaten his fill.

"The zest with which he partook of his meal made me chew while he tore
off pieces of the meat, and swallow whenever he swallowed a savory
morsel. At last I could not endure it any longer.

"'Ho, kola!' I said, feebly.

"The sky warrior lifted his noble head with the mien of a great chief.
At first he did not discover where the voice came from, but,
nevertheless, he made a show of indignation and surprise.

"Again I said, almost in a whisper, 'Ho, kola, it is time you should
cheer a dying warrior's heart.'

"He saw me. 'Hush-h-h!' he sighed, and released his great talons from
the body of the fawn.

"My mind was clear now, and the sight of meat seemed to give me
strength. I took my long knife in one hand and my war-club in the other,
and I rose and hopped towards him. He tried to fly, but could not. This
is his greatest weakness--that when he kills big game he surfeits
himself and is sometimes unable to fly for half a day or longer. As the
eagle is not a good walker, he could not get away from me. All his
dignity disappeared. Helpless as a woman, he lay before me with
outstretched wings.

"I had no wish to harm him who had preserved my life. I lassoed him with
my lariat and fastened him to a plum-tree while I ate of the meat. It
was tender and luscious, and my strength returned to me even as I ate.

"I could not walk, so Wambelee and I camped together, for I did not care
to be alone. Little by little we became friends. On the second day his
wife came in search of him. When she found him a captive she scolded
violently, perhaps him alone, perhaps me, or both of us.

"The next time she came prepared to make war upon me in order to release
her husband. She appeared high up, floating among the clouds; then
suddenly gave a scream, woman-like, and shot down with all the
fierceness of a warrior, coming directly toward me.

"I was getting strong now, and I shook my bow over my head at her. Then
she swung upward within a few bows' length, so that I could feel the
wind of her attack.

"After she had done this several times, she perched upon a near-by
butte and watched. She did everything in her power to make her captive
husband's heart strong. Now and then she would sail slowly over our
heads, coaxing, scolding, and apparently having a loving, conjugal talk
with him.

"At last I sat beside her mate and gave him some meat, which he took
from my hand. She saw this feast of two warrior-friends, and came within
a few paces of us. I threw her a piece of the venison, which she took,
and ate of it.

"Our meat was now gone, and we moved nearer to the stream. I awoke early
in the morning. Wambelee was uneasy, and stared continually into the
gray dusk. I looked in the same direction, and I saw four black-tail
deer approaching the water to drink. I had tied one end of Wambelee's
lariat to a young sapling, and let him sit by me, concealed under the
bushes. He had a long lariat. When the deer were almost upon us, I took
my sharpest arrow and shot the buck deer. At the same time Wambelee
secured a fawn. Now we were rich, for we had all the meat we wanted!

"When we first moved our camp, the eagle woman did not like it, because
she did not understand. But again she came every day and got rations for
herself and her eaglets on the nest. It was a day's run for a warrior
from the Eagle's Nest butte to the place where we were upon the Wounded
Knee.

"I was now strong and able to walk a short distance. Wambelee and Hooyah
had become my good friends. They feared me no longer. One day I said to
him:

"'My friend, you have saved my life. I am strong again, and I shall
return to my people. You also must go back to your children. I have
three in my lodge, and you should have as many. See, I will give you a
necklace--a brave's necklace--before you go.'

"I took one claw from my necklace of bears' claws, and tied it about his
neck with a leather thong. I also cut a little figure of a man out of a
deer's hoof, and tied it to the eagle woman's neck.

"'You have been a faithful and brave wife to my friend Wambelee,' I said
to her. 'You shall have this for a token from his friend.'

"Then I released Wambelee. He stepped aside, but showed no sign of
going. The eagle woman simply busied herself with cutting out a piece
of venison to take to her hungry children.

"'I see that you are true friends. I will take two feathers from each of
you,' I said.

"I took two feathers from each and stuck them in my head. The eagle
woman rose with the meat, but Wambelee still stood by me. I said, 'Go,
friend, it is time,' and reluctantly he rose and followed her.

"When they had left me it was lonely, and I could not stay. I took my
lariat and my weapons and walked slowly up the creek, which was then
called Blacktail Creek. From that day it has been known as the Wounded
Knee.

"Before sunset, Wambelee came back to see where I was. I was compelled
to travel very slowly, and they watched and followed me from day to day
until I reached home. There I was as one returned from the dead.

"Nor is this all. In my journeyings these two have many times come near
me. I have a signal-call for them, and they have one for me. They have
been my guide to game, and I have shared my game with them."

Opagela thus ended his story. Matoska had listened with an attentive
ear and a respect that bordered upon reverence.

"It is well, friend," he said, finally, with marked significance.

The two old eagles had busied themselves meanwhile with their game,
eating a part and preparing part to take to their children. They now
showed signs of age. Their coats were of a brownish color, and their
tail-feathers creamy white.

Opagela filled his pipe and held it toward them in token of his good
wishes. Then he offered it to his companion.

"We shall smoke," he said, "to their long life and success in hunting."
Matoska silently nodded assent.

"And how is it, friend, that you kill so many eagles?" he asked, at
last.

"I have never killed one," said Opagela. "I have caught many, but
without harm to them. I take several of the tail-feathers and let them
go. Because I have always many eagle feathers, the warriors think that I
kill them.

"Sinkpay both captures and kills them," he continued. "He makes a fish
out of a water-soaked log. He whittles it to the shape of a fish, puts
a weight on it, and ties it to a long rope which he holds from the shore
of a certain lake. You know the eagle is a good fisherman, and when he
sees from a great height the make-believe fish of Sinkpay, he drops down
very swiftly and buries his claws deeply in the spongy wood. Then
Sinkpay pulls this wooden fish to shore with the eagle clinging to it,
because he cannot pull out his long, crooked talons. Always his greed is
his destruction," concluded the hunter.

"And how do you catch yours?" quoth Matoska.

"Upon a hill frequented by eagles, I dig a hole and lie in it, covered
with brush, and holding up a freshly killed rabbit. The eagle sees the
rabbit a great way off, and he will immediately shoot down and seize it.
I catch him by the leg and pull him down into the hole. There I tie his
feet and pull out several of his tail-feathers.

"You will never catch an eagle twice with the same trick. My old friends
know all about it, and delight to play with me by tearing the skin of
the bait while hovering out of reach."

"And how do you recognize those two old eagles?" again asked Matoska.

"I know them as well as you know one man from another. You cannot doubt
me, for you see their necklaces.

"I have kept this matter sacred and secret for many years. It is not
well to talk of the favors of the Great Mystery. But you have seen my
friend the sky warrior and his wife, therefore I told it to you. You
will not speak of it?" the old hunter asked his friend, who nodded
gravely. The two old eagles, laden with their prey, flew heavily away in
the direction of the Eagle's Nest.



A Founder of Ten Towns


Upon a grassy plateau, overlooking the flats of the Owl River, was
spread out Pezpeza's town. The borders of the table-land were defined by
the river's bed, and it was sufficiently high for the little inhabitants
to command the valley both up and down for a considerable distance.
Shungela Pahah, or Fox Ridge, stretched upward on the horizon, and the
rough country back of it formed many ravines and gulches for the
solitary habitations of wolves and foxes.

No prettier site could be imagined for a town of the prairie-dog people,
among whom there is no more enterprising frontiersman than Pezpeza.
Although it was situated in plain view of one of the large summer camps
of the wild Sioux, the little people had been left unmolested. The wild
men lived then in the midst of the greatest game region of the Dakotas,
and, besides, they had always looked upon the little mound-builders as
having once been real people like themselves.

All over the plateau, which was semicircular in form, were scattered
hundreds of mounds, and on that particular morning, when the early Sioux
hunter rode by upon his favorite pony, every house was alive with the
inhabitants. Upon the mounds of the old deserted houses stood the
faithful and good neighbor, Pezpeza ta ayanpahalah, Pezpeza's herald,
the owl; for if any house is left vacant, he immediately occupies it.
Here and there, upon a sun-baked mound, lay coiled the other neighbor,
Sintayhadah, the rattlesnake.

The herald had announced the coming of the wild Red man upon his hunting
pony; therefore every prairie-dog had repaired to the top of the mound
beside his dwelling. Some stood upon their hind-legs, that they might
better see for themselves the approaching danger, and from this place of
safety they all shrilly scolded the intruders; while the little herald,
who had done his duty and once more fulfilled his unspoken contract
with his hosts to be their scout and crier, perched calmly upon a
chosen mound and made his observations.

In the middle of the town, upon a large mound, there stood an unusually
large dog. When the warning was given, he had slowly dragged himself
outside. His short, thick fur was much yellower than that of the others,
a sign of advancing age; and while the citizens were noisy in their
protests, he alone was silent. It was Pezpeza, the founder of this town
and of many another, the experienced traveller. His old friend, the
faithful herald, who had just given warning, perched not far away. These
two had journeyed together and shared each other's hardships, but
Pezpeza was the prime mover in it all, and there was none wiser than he
among his people.

Pezpeza's biographer and interpreter tells thus of his wonderful
frontier life and adventures.

Pezpeza was one of many children of an old couple who lived upon the
Missouri River bottoms. He had learned while yet small that the little
prairie-owl was their very good neighbor and friend. He had repaired
and occupied one of their abandoned houses. It was generally understood
by the little mound-builders that this quiet, unassuming bird notifies
them of approaching danger; and, having no bad habits, the prairie-dogs
had tacitly accepted them as desirable and useful townsfolk. The owl,
for his part, finds a more convenient home and better food in the towns
than he could possibly find elsewhere, for there are plants peculiar to
the situation which attract certain insects, mice, and birds, and these
in turn furnish food for the owls.

Their common neighbor, the rattlesnake, lay at times under a strong
suspicion of treachery, and was not liked any too well by the other two.
However, the canny and cold-hearted snake had proved his usefulness
beyond any doubt, and was accepted under strict and well-understood
conditions. He was like the negro in the South--he was permitted to
dwell in the same town, but he must not associate with the other two
upon equal terms. It is clear that the dog and the owl together could
whip and terrorize the snake and force him to leave the premises at any
time if they felt so disposed, but there is a sufficient reason for
allowing him to remain. The wolf, coyote, fox, swift, and badger, all
enemies of the little mound-builders, will not linger long in the
neighborhood of rattlesnakes, and this is equally true of the Red
hunter. The coyote and badger could easily lie flat behind the mound and
spring upon the prairie-dog when he comes out of his hole. The Sioux boy
could do the same with his horse-hair noose. But these wild hunters,
with full knowledge of the deadly rattlesnake, dare not expose
themselves in such a fashion. The snake, on his side, gets his food much
easier there than anywhere else, since all kinds of small birds come
there for seeds. Further, his greatest enemies are certain large birds
which do not fear his poison, but swoop down, seize him, and eat him in
mid-air. From this danger he is safer in a dog-town than elsewhere,
owing to the multitude of holes, which are ingeniously dug upward and
off at one side from the main burrow, and are much better than the snake
can provide for himself.

Pezpeza was like all the young people of his tribe. He loved play, but
never played with the snake young people--on the contrary, he would
stand at a safe distance and upbraid them until they retired from his
premises. It was not so with the children of the little herald, the owl.
In fact, he had played with them ever since he could remember, and the
attachment between them became permanent. Wherever Pezpeza goes, the
little owl always comes and sits near-by upon some convenient mound. If
any hawk is in sight, and if he should see it first, he would at once
give the warning and Pezpeza would run for his house.

Every day some prairie-dog left the town in quest of a new home. The
chief reason for this is over-population--hence, scarcity of food; for
the ground does not yield a sufficient quantity for so many.

One morning, as he was coming out of their house, Pezpeza found his
father lying dead within the entrance. At first he would not go by, but
at last he left the house, as did the rest of the family. None returned
to their old home. The mother and children built a new house on the edge
of the town, dangerously near a creek, and the old homestead was after
that owned by a large rattlesnake family who had always loafed about
the place. The new home was a good one, and the new ground yielded an
abundant crop, but they were harassed by the wolves and wild-cats,
because they were near the creek and within easy approach.

Pezpeza was out feeding one morning with a brother when all at once the
owl gave the warning. They both ran for the house, and Pezpeza got in
safe, but his brother was carried off by a wolf.

When he came out again, the place was not like what it used to be to
him. He had a desire to go somewhere else, and off he started without
telling any one. He followed an old buffalo-trail which lay over the
plain and up the Owl River.

The river wound about among the hills and between deeply cut banks,
forming wide bottom-lands, well timbered with cottonwoods. It was a warm
day of blue haze in the early spring, and Pezpeza ran along in excellent
spirits. Suddenly a warning screech came from behind, and he lay flat,
immovable, upon the path. Ah, it is his friend the young herald, the owl
playmate! The owl had seen his young friend run away over the prairie,
so he flew to join him, giving no thought to his people or his own
affairs.

The herald flew ahead and perched upon a convenient mound until his
friend came up; then he went ahead again. Thus the two travelled over
the plain until they came to a point where many buffalo skulls lay
scattered over the ground. Here, some years before, the Red men had
annihilated a herd of buffalo in a great hunt.

As usual, the herald flew ahead and took up his position upon a buffalo
skull which lay nose downward. The skull was now bleached white, but the
black horns were still attached to it. The herald sat between these
horns.

Meanwhile Pezpeza was coming along the buffalo-path at a fairly good
speed. Again he heard the danger-call and ran for the nearest skull to
hide. He was glad to find that the thin bones of the nose were gone, so
that he could easily enter it. He was not any too quick in finding a
refuge, for a large eagle swooped down with a rush and sat by the skull.
Pezpeza had crouched in the inner cavity, and when he was discovered he
made a great show of indignation and fight. But the eagle, having made a
careful study of the position of his intended victim, finally flew away,
and in due time Pezpeza proceeded on his journey.

He did not go far, but when he had found a level, grassy plateau,
commanding all the approaches, he began without delay to dig a home for
himself, for he is not safe a moment without a home. The herald sat a
little way off upon a stray bowlder, and occasionally he would fly out
for a short distance and then return.

The sun hovered over Fox Ridge, and long columns of shadow were cast by
the hills. Pezpeza, weary with his journey and the work of digging a
home at least deep enough for a night's occupancy, had laid himself away
in it to sleep. The herald, as usual, constituted himself a night-watch,
and perched upon the newly made mound. There he sat with his head sunk
deep in his soft feathers.

No sooner had the sun set in the west than the full moon appeared in the
east, but the owl still sat motionless. He did not move even when a gray
wolf came trotting along the buffalo-trail. When he came opposite the
mound he stopped and held his muzzle low. At last he cautiously
advanced, and when he was dangerously near the owl flew away and the
wolf rushed upon the mound, and stood for a while peering into the hole.

It was now the herald's turn to annoy. It is true he cannot do anything
more than bluff, but he is skilled in that. Especially at night, his
gleaming eyes and the snapping of his bill, together with his
pretentious swoop, make even the gray wolf nervous, and it was not long
before he had decided to go farther.

The next morning the enterprising town-builder earnestly went about
completing his home, although one could see only the little mound and
the cup-shaped entrance--all else was deep underground. Every day there
were arrivals, singly or in couples, and now and then a whole family.
Nearly all brought their heralds with them, and these, likewise, came
singly or in pairs. Immediately, each couple would go to work to prepare
a dwelling for themselves, for they are not safe without them, and,
besides, they seem to believe in independent homes. Thus in one moon
the town became a respectably large one.

Shunkmanitoo, the wolf, had many a time trotted over the plateau and
seen either a lone buffalo bull grazing or lying down chewing his cud,
or an antelope standing cautiously in the middle that he might better
see the approach of any danger. Now, after a few days' absence, he found
a flourishing village, and one by no means devoid of interest and
attraction.

Every bright day the little people played "catch-the-laugh." It is so
called by the Red people. When all were outside their houses, one would
jump into the air and make a peculiar sound, half squeak and half growl.
The nearest one would take it up, and so on throughout the village. All
would rise on their hind-feet and bob up and down, at the same time
giving the peculiar cry. This performance they repeat whenever they are
happy.

Pezpeza's town was now quite populous. But he was not the mayor; he did
not get any credit for the founding of the town; at least as far as the
Red people could observe. Their life and government seemed to be highly
democratic. Usually the concentration of population produced a certain
weed which provided abundance of food for them. But under some
conditions it will not grow; and in that case, as soon as the native
buffalo-grass is eaten up the town is threatened with a famine, and the
inhabitants are compelled to seek food at a distance from their houses.
This is quite opposed to the habit and safety of the helpless little
people. Finally the only alternative will be the desertion of the town.

Thus it happened that Pezpeza, when the buffalo-grass was all gone about
his place, began to realize the necessity of finding a new home. The
ground was not adapted to the crop that generally grew in a prairie-dog
town. One morning he was compelled to go beyond the limits of the
village to get his breakfast, and all at once the thought of going off
in search of a good town-site seized him strongly. He consulted no one,
not even his best friend, the owl. He simply ran away up the river.

The buffalo-trails were many and well beaten. He followed one of
them--he knew not whither. The herald soon discovered his departure and
again followed his friend. Pezpeza was glad to see him fly past and take
the lead, as usual.

The trail now led them to the brow of the table-land. Below them, along
the river-bottoms, great herds of buffalo grazed among the shady
cottonwood groves, and the path led down the slope. It was safer for the
little town-maker to get among the big, burly bison, for the wolf does
not go among them at such times. It is usually just beyond the herd that
he peeps from behind the hills, watching for a chance to attack an
isolated cow.

The buffalo did not pay any attention to the little fellow running on
the trail and almost under their feet. They even allowed the herald to
perch upon an old bull's back in order to keep within sight of his
friend. Through the great herd the two proceeded. It was hot, and the
grass was all eaten off close to the ground. There was no food for the
little traveller.

He had descried a fair plateau on the opposite side of the Owl River as
he came down the hill, and his mind was fixed upon this land. He was
heading for the river, but found himself much hampered by the
increasing number of the buffalo.

At the edge of the bank which marked the old bed of the stream Pezpeza
came to a stand-still. Here the trail entered the woods and the bison
followed it in single file. As they skirted the bank they passed so near
him that their broad backs were almost within his reach, and some of
them stopped for a moment to rub themselves against its steep sides.
Finally there came an old bull with horns worn almost to the skull. He
stopped just below Pezpeza and dug his stumpy horn into the earth wall,
and Pezpeza sprang gently upon his back and flattened himself out as
thin as he could.

The bull did not suspect that anything unusual had happened. He supposed
that what he felt was merely a lump of dirt that he had loosened with
his horns, and off he walked quite unconcernedly on the trail towards
the river. Many of his people were already crossing, and he followed
them. The herald was perched upon the back of another bull, and so the
pair crossed the Owl River.

There was a broad meadow-land through which the trail led up on the
other side until it lost itself in a sage-bush plain. Here the bison
scattered to graze, and many followed the ravines for better grass.
Pezpeza let himself slide from the bull's back, who gave a jump and a
snort, but it was too late to enter a protest.

The little town-builder now began his work as faithfully as before, and
soon founded another large town. But again the misfortunes of life
compelled him and his friend to leave the place. Thus they travelled up
the river, now upon one side and now the other, and never more than a
day's journey. More than once Pezpeza found a mate, and he raised many a
family; but, like a true pioneer, he could never remain long in an old
and overcrowded town.

His tenth and last home was the beautiful table-land at the junction of
Owl River with Lost Creek. As has been described in the beginning, it
was a semicircular plain of large extent and commanded a striking view.
At the very head of the embankment, which sloped abruptly down to the
river level, there stood a number of large grassy mounds, and among them
were several peculiar structures composed of poles placed upright in
the ground with others arranged horizontally so as to form a sort of
shelter.

The town-maker gave no serious thought to these things. The grass upon
the plateau was excellent, and he set to work at once, selecting a site
for his home near the centre of the plain, for greater safety. Every day
new-comers came, and it was a source of satisfaction to him that his
selection was such as every prairie-dog could not but approve. In a few
days the town was fairly started.

There arrived one day a family who took up their claim close by
Pezpeza's place. In this family there was a pretty maid, according to
Pezpeza's notion and fancy. There was no reason why he should not think
so, for he was now a widower, a wolf having carried off his faithful
mate of several years' standing. It was soon noticed by the other little
people that the pretty maid with garments the color of the buffalo-grass
in autumn had gone to live with Pezpeza.

Pezpeza's town was now a place of respectable size, well known in all
that region. The coyote and gray wolf knew it well; the Red man also,
for, as I said in the beginning, their favorite summer camp was not far
away, and there they were wont to dance the "sun dance" at every
midsummer.

At times the Red men were seen to come and roam, singing, around the
large mounds and the curious scaffolds, and before they went away they
would place one of their number upon a new scaffold or heap another
mound. Still the little people gave no thought to these strange actions.

Many, many of their tribe came from all directions, until Pezpeza's town
might almost be called a city. Many children were born there. The
plateau was alive with the little mound-builders, who constantly built
their homes farther and farther out, till at last some had built right
under the Red men's scaffolds and hard by the large mounds, which were
the graves of their dead.

Pezpeza's ground did not yield its usual crop any more. His children
were all grown and had homes of their own. For some reason he did not
care to go far away, so the old folks simply moved out to the edge of
the town.

Pezpeza was now old and very large and fat. Never had he known for so
long a time a happy home as in the town upon the "scaffold plain," as
the place was called by the Red people. When they came to visit the
graves of their dead they had never troubled the little mound-builders,
therefore the old founder of many towns did not think of danger when he
built very near to one of the scaffolds, and there were others who did
the same.

On a bright autumn morning, early risers among the little people saw one
of the Red men standing under a newly built scaffold and wailing loudly.
He was naked and painted black. Many of the young people of the town
barked at him as he stood there in their midst, and some of the young
heralds, disturbed by the noise of his wailing, flew about and alighted
upon the scaffolds. When he ceased mourning, he turned about and talked
long at the little people and then went away.

The angry mourner reported at the great camp that the prairie-dogs and
their owls were desecrating the graves, and it was time that they should
be driven away. A council was held, and the next day the Red men came
with their dogs and killed many. Their arrows pinned many of them to the
ground before they could dodge into their holes. Then they scattered
all over the town and remained there, so that none dared to come out.
The owls were shot or driven away, and the Red men killed every
rattlesnake that they found. It was an awful time! During the night many
of the little people went away, deserting their homes.

The next day the same thing happened again, and the Red men even stopped
up the entrances to many of the houses with round stones. Again in the
night many of the little mound-builders left the town.

On the third day they came and set fire to the plain. After that, in the
night, all the remaining population abandoned the town, except only
Pezpeza. All this time the founder of the ten towns had remained
in-doors. He was old and reluctant to move. At last he emerged with his
mate. An awful sight met their eyes. On the blackened plain not one of
the great population could be seen. Not one of their many children and
grandchildren was there to greet them or to play at "catch-the-laugh"!

As soon as they dared the two old people sought food under the
scaffolds, where the grass was not burned. Two Red men arose from
behind a grave and let their arrows fly. Alas! the aged leader of the
mound-builders was pinned to the ground. His mate barely escaped a
similar fate, for the other missed.

The herald saw everything that had happened. He took up his watch from
the centre of the ruined town. The sun went down, moonlight flooded the
prairie, and he heard the evening call of the coyotes upon Fox Ridge. At
last he saw something moving--it was the widowed mate of his friend,
running along the trail from the desolate town. He gave one last look
about him, then he silently rose and followed her.



The Gray Chieftain


On the westernmost verge of Cedar Butte stood Haykinshkah and his mate.
They looked steadily toward the setting sun, over a landscape which up
to that time had scarcely been viewed by man--the inner circle of the
Bad Lands.

Cedar Butte guards the southernmost entrance to that wonderland,
standing fully a thousand feet above the surrounding country, and nearly
half a mile long by a quarter of a mile wide. The summit is a level,
grassy plain, its edges heavily fringed with venerable cedars. To
attempt the ascent of this butte is like trying to scale the walls of
Babylon, for its sides are high and all but inaccessible. Near the top
there are hanging lands or terraces and innumerable precipitous points,
with here and there deep chimneys or abysses in the solid rock. There
are many hidden recesses and more than one secret entrance to this
ancient castle of the gray chieftain and his ancestors, but to assail it
successfully requires more than common skill and spirit.

Many a coyote had gone up as high as the second leaping-bridge and there
abandoned the attempt. Old grizzly had once or twice begun the ascent
with doubt and misgiving, but soon discovered his mistake, and made
clumsy haste to descend before he should tumble into an abyss from which
no one ever returns. Only Igmutanka, the mountain-lion, had achieved the
summit, and at every ascent he had been well repaid; yet even he seldom
chose to risk such a climb, when there were many fine hunting-grounds in
safer neighborhoods.

So it was that Cedar Butte had been the peaceful home of the big
spoonhorns for untold ages. To be sure, some of the younger and more
adventurous members of the clan would depart from time to time to found
a new family, but the wiser and more conservative were content to remain
in their stronghold. There stood the two patriarchs, looking down
complacently upon the herds of buffalo, antelope, and elk that peopled
the lower plains. While the sun hovered over the western hills, a coyote
upon a near-by eminence gave his accustomed call to his mate. This
served as a signal to all the wild hunters of the plains to set up their
inharmonious evening serenade, to which the herbivorous kindred paid but
little attention. The phlegmatic spoonhorn pair listened to it all with
a fine air of indifference, like that of one who sits upon his own
balcony, superior to the passing noises of the street.

It was a charming moonlight night upon the cedar-fringed plain, and
there the old chief presently joined the others in feast and play. His
mate sought out a secret resting-place. She followed the next gulch,
which was a perfect labyrinth of caves and pockets, and after leaping
two chasms she reached her favorite spot. Here the gulch made a square
turn, affording a fine view of the country through a window-like
opening. Above and below this were perpendicular walls, and at the
bottom a small cavity, left by the root of a pine which had long since
fallen and crumbled into dust. To this led a narrow terrace--so narrow
that man or beast would stop and hesitate long before venturing upon it.
The place was her own by right of daring and discovery, and the mother's
instinct had brought her here to-night, for the pangs of deadly sickness
were upon her.

In a little while relief came, and the ewe stood over a new-born lamb,
licking tenderly the damp, silky hair, and trimming the little hoofs of
their cartilaginous points. The world was quiet now, and those whose
business it is to hunt or feed at night must do so in silence, for such
is the law of the plains. The wearied mother slept in peace.

The sun was well above the butte when she awoke, although it was cool
and shadowy still in her concealed abode. She gave suck to the lamb and
caressed it for some time before she reluctantly prepared its cradle,
according to the custom of her people. She made a little pocket in the
side of the cave and gently put her baby in. Then she covered him all
up, save the nose and eyes, with dry soil. She put her nose to his
little sensitive ear and breathed into it warm love and caution, and he
felt and understood that he must keep his eyes closed and breathe
gently, lest bear or wolf or man should spy him out when they had found
her trail. Again she put her warm, loving nose to his eyes, then patted
a little more earth on his body and smoothed it off. The tachinchana
closed his eyes in obedience, and she left him for the plain above in
search of food and sunlight.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a little before dawn, two wild hunters left their camp and set out
for Cedar Butte. Their movements were marked by unusual care and
secrecy. Presently they hid their ponies in a deep ravine and groped
their way up through the difficult Bad Lands, now and then pausing to
listen. The two were close friends and rival hunters of their tribe.

"I think, friend, you have mistaken the haunts of the spoonhorn,"
remarked Wacootay, as the pair came out upon one of the lower terraces.
He said this rather to test his friend, for it was their habit thus to
criticise and question each other's judgment, in order to extract from
each other fresh observations. What the one did not know about the
habits of the animals they hunted in common the other could usually
supply.

"This is his home--I know it," replied Grayfoot. "And in this thing the
animals are much like ourselves. They will not leave an old haunt unless
forced to do so either by lack of food or overwhelming danger."

They had already passed on to the next terrace and leaped a deep chasm
to gain the opposite side of the butte, when Grayfoot suddenly
whispered, "In ahjin!" (Stop!). Both men listened attentively. "Tap,
tap, tap," an almost metallic sound came to them from around the
perpendicular wall of rock.

"He is chipping his horns!" exclaimed the hunter, overjoyed to surprise
the chieftain at this his secret occupation. "Poor beast, they are now
too long for him, so that he cannot reach the short grass to feed. Some
of them die starving, when they have not the strength to do the hard
bucking against the rock to shorten their horns. He chooses this time,
when he thinks no one will hear him, and he even leaves his own clan
when it is necessary for him to do this. Come, let us crawl up on him
unawares."

They proceeded cautiously and with cat-like steps around the next
projection, and stood upon a narrow strip of slanting terrace. At short
intervals the pounding noise continued, but strain their eyes as they
might they could see nothing. Yet they knew that a few paces from them,
in the darkness, the old ram was painfully driving his horns against the
solid rock. Finally they lay flat upon the ground under a dead cedar,
the color of whose trunk and that of the scanty soil somewhat resembled
their clothing, and on their heads they had stuck some bunches of
sage-bush, to conceal them from the eyes of the spoonhorn.

With the first gray of the approaching dawn the two hunters looked
eagerly about them. There stood, in all his majesty, heightened by the
wild grandeur of his surroundings, the gray chieftain of the Cedar
Butte! He had no thought of being observed at that hour. Entirely
unsuspicious of danger, he stood alone upon a pedestal-like terrace,
from which vantage-point it was his wont to survey the surrounding
country every morning. If the secret must be told, he had done so for
years, ever since he became the head chief of the Cedar Butte clan.

It is the custom of their tribe that when a ram attains the age of five
years he is entitled to a clan of his own, and thereafter must defend
his right and supremacy against all comers. His experience and knowledge
are the guide of his clan. In view of all this, the gray chieftain had
been very thorough in his observations. There was not an object anywhere
near the shape of bear, wolf, or man for miles around his kingdom that
was not noted, as well as the relative positions of rocks and
conspicuous trees.

The best time for Haykinshkah to make his daily observations is at
sunrise and sunset, when the air is usually clear and objects appear
distinct. Between these times the clan feed and settle down to chew
their cud and sleep, yet some are always on the alert to catch a passing
stranger within their field of observation. But the old chief spoonhorn
pays very little attention. His duty is done. He may be nestled in a
gulch just big enough to hold him, either sound asleep or leisurely
chewing his cud. The younger members of the clan take their position
upon the upper terraces and under the shade of projecting rocks, after a
whole night's feasting and play upon the plain.

As spoonhorn stood motionless, looking away off toward the distant
hills, the plain below appeared from this elevated point very smooth and
sheetlike, and every moving object a mere speck. His form and color were
not very different from the dirty gray rocks and clay of the butte.

Wacootay broke the silence. "I know of no animal that stands so long
without movement, unless it is the turtle. I think he is the largest ram
I have ever seen."

"I am sure he did not chip where he stands now," remarked Grayfoot.
"This chipping-place is a monastery to the priests of the spoonhorn
tribe. It is their medicine-lodge. I have more than once approached the
spot, but could never find the secret entrance."

"Shall I shoot him now?" whispered his partner in the chase.

"No, do not do it. He is a real chief. He looks mysterious and noble.
Let us know him better. Besides, if we kill him now we shall never see
him again. Look! he will fall to that deep gulch ten trees' length
below, where no one can get at him."

As Grayfoot spoke the animal shifted his position, facing them squarely.
The two men closed their eyes and wrinkled their motionless faces into
the semblance of two lifeless mummies. The old sage of the mountains was
apparently deceived, but after a few moments he got down from his lofty
position and disappeared around a point of rock.

"I never care to shoot an animal while he is giving me a chance to know
his ways," explained Grayfoot. "We have plenty of buffalo meat. We are
not hungry. All we want is spoons. We can get one or two sheep
by-and-by, if we have more wit than they."

To this speech Wacootay agreed, for his curiosity was now fully aroused
by Grayfoot's view, although he had never thought of it in just that way
before. It had always been the desire for meat which had chiefly moved
him in the matter of the hunt.

Having readjusted their sage wigs, the hunters made the circuit of the
abyss that divided them from the ram, and as they looked for his trail
they noticed the tracks of a large ewe leading down toward the
inaccessible gulches.

"Ah, she has some secret down there! She never leaves her clan like this
unless it is to steal away on a personal affair of her own."

So saying, Grayfoot with his fellow tracked the ewe's footprint along
the verge of a deep gulf with much trouble and patience. The hunter's
curiosity and a strong desire to know her secret impelled the former to
lead the way.

"What will be our profit, if one slips and goes down into the gulch,
never to be seen again?" remarked Wacootay, as they approached a
leaping-place. The chasm below was of a great depth and dark. "It is not
wise for us to follow farther; this ewe has no horns that can be made
into spoons."

"Come, friend; it is when one is doubting that mishaps are apt to
occur," urged his companion.

"Koda, heyu yo!" exclaimed Wacootay, the next moment, in distress.

"Hehehe, koda! Hold fast!" cried the other.

Wacootay's moccasined foot had slipped on the narrow trail, and in the
twinkling of an eye he had almost gone down a precipice of a hundred
feet; but with a desperate launch forward he caught the bough of an
overhanging cedar and swung by his hands over the abyss.

Quickly Grayfoot pulled both their bows from the quivers. He first tied
himself to the trunk of the cedar with his packing-strap, which always
hung from his belt. Then he held both the bows toward his friend, who,
not without difficulty, changed his hold from the cedar bough to the
bows. After a short but determined effort, the two men stood side by
side once more upon the narrow foothold of the terrace. Without a word
they followed the ewe's track to the cave.

Here she had lain last night. Both men began to search for other marks,
but they found not so much as a sign of scratching anywhere. They
examined the ground closely without any success. All at once a faint
"Ba-a-a!" came from almost under their feet. They saw a puff of
smokelike dust as the little creature called for its mother. It had felt
the footsteps of the hunters and mistaken them for those of its own
folk.

Wacootay hastily dug into the place with his hands and found the soil
loose. Soon he uncovered a little lamb. "Ba-a-a!" it cried again, and
quick as a flash the ewe appeared, stamping the ground in wrath.

Wacootay seized an arrow and fitted it to the string, but his companion
checked him.

"No, no, my friend! It is not the skin or meat that we are looking for.
We want horn for ladles and spoons. The mother is right. We must let her
babe alone."

The wild hunters silently retreated, and the ewe ran swiftly to the spot
and took her lamb away.

"So it is," said Grayfoot, after a long silence, "all the tribes of
earth have some common feeling. I believe they are people as much as we
are. The Great Mystery has made them what they are. Although they do not
speak our tongue, we often seem to understand their thought. It is not
right to take the life of any of them unless necessity compels us to do
so.

"You know," he continued, "the ewe conceals her lamb in this way until
she has trained it to escape from its enemies by leaping up or down from
terrace to terrace. I have seen her teaching the yearlings and
two-year-olds to dive down the face of a cliff which was fully twice the
height of a man. They strike on the head and the two fore-feet. The ram
falls largely upon his horns, which are curved in such a way as to
protect them from injury. The body rebounds slightly, and they get upon
their feet as easily as if they had struck a pillow. At first the
yearlings hesitate and almost lose their balance, but the mother makes
them repeat the performance until they have accomplished it to her
satisfaction.

"They are trained to leap chasms on all-fours, and finally the upward
jump, which is a more difficult feat. If the height is not great they
can clear it neatly, but if it is too high for that they will catch the
rocky ledge with their fore-feet and pull themselves up like a man.

"In assisting their young to gain upper terraces they show much
ingenuity. I once saw them make a ladder of their bodies. The biggest
ram stood braced against the steep wall as high as his body could reach,
head placed between his fore-feet, while the next biggest one rode his
hind parts, and so on until the little ones could walk upon their broad
backs to the top. We know that all animals make their young practise
such feats as are necessary to their safety and advantage, and thus it
is that these people are so well fitted to their peculiar mode of life.

"How often we are outwitted by the animals we hunt! The Great Mystery
gives them this chance to save their lives by eluding the hunter, when
they have no weapons of defence. The ewe has seen us, and she has
doubtless warned all the clan of danger."

But there was one that she did not see. When the old chief left his clan
to go to the secret place for chipping his horns, the place where many a
past monarch of the Bad Lands has performed that painful operation, he
did not intend to rejoin them immediately. It was customary with him at
this time to seek solitude and sleep.

The two hunters found and carefully examined the tracks of the fleeing
clan. The old ram was not among them. As they followed the trail along
the terrace, they came to a leaping-place which did not appear to be
generally used. Grayfoot stopped and kneeled down to examine the ground
below.

"Ho!" he exclaimed; "the old chief has gone down this trail but has not
returned. He is lying down near his chipping-place, if there is no other
outlet."

Both men leaped to the next terrace below, and followed the secret pass
into a rocky amphitheatre, opening out from the terrace upon which they
had first seen the old ram. Here he lay asleep.

Wacootay pulled an arrow from his quiver.

"Yes," said his friend. "Shoot now! A warrior is always a warrior--and
we are looking for horn for spoons."

The old chief awoke to behold the most dreaded hunter--man--upon the
very threshold of his sanctuary. Wildly he sprang upward to gain the top
of the cliff; but Wacootay was expert and quick in the use of his
weapon. He had sent into his side a shaft that was deadly. The monarch's
fore-hoofs caught the edge--he struggled bravely for a moment, then fell
limp to the rocky floor.

"He is dead. My friend, the noblest of chiefs is dead!" exclaimed
Grayfoot, as he stood over him, in great admiration and respect for the
gray chieftain.



Hootay of the Little Rosebud


On the south side of Scout Butte there is a crescent-shaped opening,
walled in by the curving sides of the hill. This little plain cannot be
seen from the top of the butte. There is a terrace upon its brow on
which a few scrub pines grow, so regularly that one would think them set
there by human hands. Half-way up the incline there stood at one time a
lone cedar-tree, and at its foot there might have been discerned a flat,
soft mound. It consisted of earth thrown up from the diggings of a
cavern. The wild people approaching from the south could see this mound,
but would scarcely note the entrance to the immense den hidden behind
it. One coming down from the butte would not notice it, as there were no
signs other than the earth pile. The Little Rosebud River takes its rise
at the threshold of this natural barricade.

This was the home of Hootay, the aged medicine-man of the Little Rosebud
country. He was a fighter of many battles, this great and wise grizzly,
who was familiarly called Hootay, or Stubby Claws, by the Sioux hunters.
They had all known of him for many years. It was believed of him that he
had scalped not less than eight braves, and killed even more ponies and
dogs. No less than three and ten times the Sioux had made expeditions
against him, but each time they had failed. For this reason they
declared that he had good war-medicine. Among the warriors it had long
been understood that he who takes Hootay's scalp may wear a war-bonnet.
This acknowledgment of his prowess, of course, was not made known to the
aged yet still formidable bear.

Up and down the Little Rosebud he had left his well-known imprint, for
he had lost two toes on one foot. Aside from the loss of his big claws,
he had received several arrow and knife wounds during his warlike
career.

Early in the fall, Hootay had felt a severe aching of his old hurts. He
had eaten of every root-medicine that he knew, but there was no relief.
Instinct led him to early retirement and hibernation.

His new home was a commodious one, well filled with dry grass and
pine-needles. It is the custom of his people to remain quiet until the
spring, unless serious danger threatens. A series of heavy storms in
early winter had covered and concealed all his rakings of dry grass and
other signs of his presence, therefore he thought himself secured from
molestation. There he lay most of the time in a deep sleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Sechangu Sioux never altogether leave this region. It is true that
many wander away to the Missouri, the Muddy Water, or follow the buffalo
down to the Platte River, but some would always rather trust to the
winter hunt upon this familiar stream. This winter, High Head, with his
little band of eleven men, was wintering at the old place. Among them
was Zechah, a renowned hunter, who had followed this band because of his
love for Hintola, the chief's daughter. It had been a long courtship,
but they were married at last. Zechah's skill had been proved by his
father-in-law, and the arrow test was only sport to him. His unerring
aim was now the pride of the old chief.

The party encamped on the Little Rosebud had eaten all of their fresh
meat. They must seek for game. Accordingly, three teepees went farther
up the river. The winter was wellnigh over when there came a heavy thaw,
and snow-shoes were made for the use of the hunters.

They pitched the teepees, looking like a trio of white conical bowlders,
in a well-protected bottom. Winding gulches diverged from the main
stream like the ribs of a huge snake, until they lost themselves in the
hills. These dry creek-beds were sentinelled by cedar-trees, erect and
soldier-like, which at a distance looked very black, but near by they
appeared green.

The party was cheerful. High Head was in the best of spirits, telling
the history, traditions and legends of the region.

"This," said he, "is the country of the wild tribes who walk with four
feet. It is the home of those people of unknown language. It has never
been said that one could starve upon the Little Rosebud. In the summer
it is the land of battles, both among the wild tribes and among men. In
the winter-time there is peace."

At this moment a solitary singer, standing on the brink of a high cliff
behind and above the teepees, broke into a weird and doleful chant.

"Listen to the warriors, the song of the warriors of Wazeyah, the god of
cold and storm!" Thus he sang in a high, minor key, with sudden drops to
lower notes and inflections.

When he ceased silence reigned, except for the occasional snapping of a
burning ember.

Presently the watcher descended and made his report. "There is a great
wind and snow coming. Our ponies are some distance away. We shall not be
able to find them all for the darkness and the storm-wind approaching."

"Ho, ho," spoke High Head, confidently. "It is not bad. We shall eat
meat to-morrow. The snow will be deep, and my son-in-law will have the
easier hunting. It may be that I myself will lasso a great bear,"
chuckled the old man.

It snowed and the wind blew on that night and for four nights
following. The little store of dried meat that they had brought with
them was entirely exhausted. On the fifth day they all sat looking
silently into the fire. Their faces were worn and haggard. The children
cried for food, but there was no food. Wazeyah, the god of winter, still
waged war, and the snow was piled high around their teepees.

Night came, the darkness fell heavily, and terrified them with the
thought of death around their feeble fires. Famine was sitting among
them with a stern face. At last all but two rolled themselves in their
warm buffalo-robes and lay down. Even should the storm cease, they
feared that none now was strong enough to hunt.

Zechah sat beside his young wife, gazing into the fire. "It will be sad
news for my father that I died of starvation upon the Little Rosebud,"
he mused. "It will be told for generations to come, whenever they camp
at this place."

When at last he lay noiselessly down, he could not sleep. Looking up
through the smoke-hole, he sang a hunting song to himself in an
undertone:

    "The wind brings the secret news--good news of the hunting!
    It is a scent--it may be a trail--it may be a sound of the game!
    Whatever it be, it is a clew to the hunter,
    A sign from above to appease hunger, to save life!"

Singing thus, Zechah had forgotten that he was hungry, when all at once
he saw a bright star through the smoke-hole. He had not noticed that the
wind had ceased to blow.

The hunter arose softly, put on fur-lined moccasins, and girded himself
with a strong strap over his lightest robe. He took his knife, a bow,
and quiver full of arrows, and set out through the gray, frosty air.

It was now almost daylight. The rocks and pines were robed in white,
like spirits. The snow was deep and heavy under Zechah's feet, but he
was determined to succeed. He followed the ridges where the snow was
well blown off. He had forgotten his own hunger and weakness, and
thought only of the famishing people for him to serve.

Above the eastern hills the day was coming fast. The hunter hurried
toward the gulches where he knew the game was wont to be. Just as he
reached the higher ridges the sun appeared over the hills, and Zechah
came upon the track of another early hunter. It was Shunkmanitoo, the
gray wolf. He followed the trail until he came out upon a hill
overlooking a deep gulch. He could only see the tips of the pines along
its course. At a little distance, Shunkmanitoo sat upon his haunches,
apparently awaiting Zechah. Again he took the lead and the wild hunter
followed. The wolf looked back now and then as if to see whether the man
were coming.

At last he paused upon a projecting bank commanding the bottom of the
gulch. The Sioux approached him. When he had come very near, the wolf
went on down the slope.

"Hi, hi!" Zechah spoke his thanks with arms outstretched toward the
rising sun. Through a rift in the bank he saw a lone bison, ploughing up
the deep snow in search of grass. He was well covered with snow and had
not seen the two hunters appear above. Zechah at once dodged backward in
order to approach his game behind cover and stealthily.

He was now almost over the gulch, partly concealed by a bunch of dead
thistles. There was no suspicion in the mind of Tatanka. Zechah examined
his arrows and bow. He placed the sharpest one to his bow-string, and
with all the strength that he could muster he let the arrow fly. In
another instant he saw Tatanka snort and plough up the snow like mad,
with the arrow buried deep in his side. The bison did not know who or
what had dealt him such a deadly thrust. He ran in a circle and fell
upon the snow, while blood coursed from his nostrils, staining its
whiteness.

Zechah was almost overcome by his good-fortune. Again he held his right
hand outstretched toward the sun, and stood motionless.

"Hi, hi, hi, hi! tunkashela!" Thus he blessed the Father of all.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the March thaw set in, the snow was melted off the south side of
the hills. Hootay had doubtless had this danger in mind, for he could
not have selected a more excellent place to avoid the catastrophe. But,
alas! the best calculations will sometimes miscarry. It was nothing more
than a stray root of the cedar-tree at his door which deviated the
course of the water, running harmlessly down the hill, into Hootay's
home. In a short time the old medicine-man was compelled to come out,
drenching wet.

He sat down on a dry corner of the mound to meditate upon his future
course. In his younger days he would have thought nothing of this
misfortune, but now he was old and rheumatic. No inhabitant of that
country knew better than he that it is not safe to sleep in the woods on
the bottom-lands in the spring of the year. Hootay is a boastful hunter,
often over-confident, yet wise in wood-craft, and what he has once
learned he never forgets. He knew that when a thaw comes all the hills
contribute their snow and water to the Little Rosebud, and for a few
days it runs a mighty river. Even Chapa, the beaver, is wont at such
times to use his utmost precautions to guard against disaster.

Hootay carefully considered the direction of the wind, sniffed the air
to discover if any other wild hunter were near, and finally set out in a
southwesterly direction toward the head of the Little Rosebud.

He had not gone far when he felt that he was scarcely equal to tramping
through the slush and mud. More than this, he was leaving too broad a
trail behind him. These considerations led him along the pine ridges,
and for this course there was still another reason. He was hungry now,
but there was little hope of meeting with any big game. Along the ridges
there is early exposure of the ground where edible roots may be
obtained, and where he hoped also to find dry bedding.

He had fair success in this, and had made himself somewhat comfortable
when the blizzard set in. He had found tolerable shelter but very little
food, and since his winter rest was so unexpectedly broken up, food he
must have. As soon as the storm ceased, he had to venture out in search
of it. He could no longer depend upon roots--the snow was far too deep
for that. He must catch what he could. The old fellow was now almost
hopelessly slow and weak, but he still had a good deal of confidence in
himself.

He waded clumsily through the deep snow, following a dry creek-bed; and,
now and then, from force of habit, he would stealthily climb the bank
and scan the field above and below before exposing himself. This was
partly for self-protection and partly in the hope of surprising his
game.

Presently Hootay came upon the footprint of another hunter. He snarled
and put his muzzle closer to the trail when he detected the hateful odor
of man. At the same instant he smelled fresh meat.

The very smell seemed to give him a new lease of life, for he sat up on
his haunches and began sniffing the air eloquently. His hair was as
shaggy as that of an old buffalo-robe, and his age and sitting posture
made his hump appear very prominent.

"Waugh, waugh!" the old man grunted, with an air of disgust, for there
came to his nose a strong human scent mingled with the savory odor of
the life-giving meat.

Zechah distinctly heard the snort of a bear. He seized his bow and
quiver full of arrows.

"Can it be that Hootay is near?" he muttered to himself. "He may perhaps
add my scalp to the many that he has taken of my people, but I will
first send an arrow of mine into his body!"

He rested his bow upon the shaggy head of the dead bull, and went on
skinning it with a large knife, working rapidly. Presently the gray wolf
approached from another direction.

"Ho, kola, you have guided me to game! It is yours and mine. You, too,
shall have meat," he said.

As soon as he had skinned one side, Zechah cut off a generous piece and
walked toward Shunkmanitoo, who was sitting upon his haunches, watching
him work in that wonderful way with a single sharp thing in his hand.
But he did not think it best to trust the wild man too far, for he still
carried that sharp thing in his hand as he approached him with the meat.
He arose and moved backward a few paces.

"Do not fear, kola! Warriors and hunters like ourselves must have faith
in each other when they work together for a good cause," the Red man
said, again. He placed the meat upon the snow where Shunkmanitoo had
been sitting, and returned to his work.

After a time, and with apparent reluctance, the big, burly wolf came
back to his meat and examined it. At last he ate of it. It was good. He
no longer feared the wild man. From time to time Zechah would throw him
a piece of meat until he was satisfied.

The hunter had cleared away the snow around the buffalo, which was now
cut up in convenient pieces for carrying. He was exceedingly hungry. He
had, indeed, eaten a piece of the liver, which the Sioux always eats
raw, but this only served to sharpen his appetite. He had heavy work
before him, for he must take some of the meat home to his starving wife,
and then bring as many of the people as were able to walk to carry the
rest to camp. There were plenty of dry boughs of the pine. He made a
fire by rubbing together the pieces of dry cedar-wood which every Indian
hunter of that day carried with him, and, broiling strips of the savory
meat upon live coals, he ate of it heartily.

Suddenly a fearful growl was heard. Zechah had dismissed the idea of a
bear from his mind as soon as his friend Shunkmanitoo appeared. He was
taken by surprise. When he looked up, Hootay was almost upon him. He
came forward with his immense jaws wide open, his shaggy hair making him
look as big as a buffalo bull against the clear whiteness of the
landscape.

Shunkmanitoo's chance was small. He occupied the only road to Zechah's
position, and there were perpendicular walls of snow on either side of
him. His only hope lay in his quickness and agility. As Hootay rushed
madly upon him with uplifted paw, the wolf sprang nimbly to one side and
well up on the snow-bank. His assailant had to content himself with
raking down the snow, and in the effort he plunged into a heavy drift
from which he was unable to drag himself.

Hootay was in sad trouble, for he had tumbled right into a deep gully
filled to the brim with soft snow, and the more he struggled the deeper
he was sinking. Zechah perceived the situation, and made ready to send
the fatal arrow.

Hootay waved his right paw pitifully. There was something human-like
about him. The Indian's heart beat fast with excitement. Weakened by his
long fast, he scarcely saw or heard clearly, but, according to the
traditions of his people, the old bear addressed him in these words:

"No, Zechah, spare an old warrior's life! My spirit shall live again in
you. You shall be henceforth the war prophet and medicine-man of your
tribe. I will remain here, so that your people may know that you have
conquered Hootay, the chief of the Little Rosebud country."

It is not certain that he really said this, but such was the belief of
the hunter. He put his arrow back in the quiver, and immediately,
according to custom, he took his pipe from his belt and smoked the pipe
of peace.

A huge piece of meat was suspended from his shoulders above the quiver,
and, with his bow firmly grasped in the right hand, Zechah addressed his
friend Shunkmanitoo:

"Ho, kola, you have eaten what is yours; leave mine for my starving
people!"

The wolf got up and trotted away as if he understood, while Zechah
hurried back on his own trail with tidings of life and happiness.

He ran as often as he came to open ground, and in a short time stood
upon the top of the hill with the little group of teepees just below
him. The smoke from each arose sadly in a straight column, tapering
upward until lost in the blue. Not a soul stirred and all was quiet as
the dead.

"Ho, he ya hay!" the hunter chanted aloud, and ended with a war-whoop.
Out of the sleepy-looking teepees there came a rush of men and women.
Old High Head appeared with outstretched hands, singing and pouring
forth praises. "Hi, hi, hi, hi!" he uttered his thanks, in a powerful
voice, still stretching his arms to heaven.

Hintola was the quietest and most composed of them all. She went first
to meet her husband, for it was the custom that, when the son-in-law
returns with game, his wife must meet him outside the camp and bring
back food to her parents.

Having distributed the meat in small pieces, High Head announced his
son-in-law's success as a hunter, and solicited all who were able to
join him in going after the remainder. He ended with a guttural song of
cheer and gladness.

It was then Zechah told of his meeting with the other wild hunters, and
how Hootay was conquered and imprisoned in the snow.

"Ugh, ugh!" grunted High Head, with much satisfaction. "This means a
war-bonnet for my son-in-law--a story for coming generations!"

But the hunter did not repeat the bear's words to himself until he had
become a famous war prophet. When the people went after the meat, they
found the old warrior lying dead without a wound, and with one accord
they made a proper offering in his honor.



The River People


Away up the Pipestone Creek, within sight of the Great Pipestone Quarry,
lived old Chapawee and her old man Hezee, of the beaver tribe. Unlike
some of their neighbors, they had emigrated from a great distance. They
had, therefore, much valuable experience; and this experience was not
theirs alone--it was shared with their immediate family. Hence their
children and their children's children were uncommonly wise.

They had come to this country many years before, and had established
their home in this ancient and much-prized resort of the two-legged
tribe. Around the Pipestone Quarry the wild Red men would camp in large
numbers every summer, and it seemed that the oldest beaver could not
remember a time when they were not there. Their noisy ways were
terrible indeed to the river people, who are a quiet folk.

It was the custom with this simple and hard-working pair to build a very
warm house for themselves. In fact, they had both summer and winter
homes, besides many supply and store houses. Their dam was always in
perfect order, and their part of the creek was the deepest and clearest,
therefore their robe of furs was of the finest. If any of the Hezee band
was ever killed by the two-legs, their fur was highly valued.

Chapawee always insisted upon two rooms in her house: one for herself
and the old man, and one for her yearling children who chose to remain
with them for the first winter. She always built one very large house,
running deep into the bank, so that in case of overflow or freshet they
would still be safe. Besides the usual supply-houses, she and her old
man excavated several dining-rooms. These are simply pockets underground
at the edge of the stream. In case of any danger on the surface, they
could take some food from a store-house and carry it to one of these
dining-rooms, where it was eaten in peace.

It was the rule with the old folks to eat apart from their year-old
children. The yearlings, on the other hand, eat all together, and have
as much fun and freedom as they please. Their merriest frolics, however,
are in the night, in and upon their swimming and diving pond. Here they
coast rapidly head-first down a steep bank slippery with mud, lying upon
their chests or sitting upon their haunches, and at times they even turn
somersaults and perform other acrobatic feats. This coasting has a
threefold object. It is for play and also for practice; to learn the art
of sliding into deep water without unnecessary noise; and, more than
all, according to the Red people, it is done for the purpose of
polishing and beautifying their long, silky fur.

The beaver tribe are considered wisest of the smaller four-legged
tribes, and they are a people of great common-sense. Even man gains
wisdom and philosophy from a study of their customs and manners. It is
in the long winter nights, as is believed and insisted upon by the wild
Indians, that the beaver old folks recite their legends to their
children and grandchildren. In this case it was usually Chapawee who
related the traditions of her people and her own experiences, gathering
about her all the yearlings and the newly married couples, who might
take a notion to go off in search of a new claim, just as she and Hezee
did. So it was well that they should thoroughly understand the ways and
wisdom of their people.

To be sure, she had breathed it into them and fed them with it since
before they could swim; yet she knew that some things do not remain in
the blood. There are certain traits and instincts that are very strong
in family and tribe, because they refer to conditions that never change;
but other matters outside of these are likewise very useful in an
emergency.

Old Chapawee could never sleep after the sun reaches the middle of the
western sky in summer. In winter they all sleep pretty much all of the
day. Having finished her supper with Hezee one night under the large
elm-tree on the east side of the dam, she dove down with a somersault,
glided along close to the bottom of the pond, inspecting every pebble
and stray chip from their work-room, until she reached the
assembly-room, which might almost be called a school-house in the
manner of the paleface.

She came scrambling up the slippery bank to the middle entrance. No
sooner had she shaken off the extra water from her long hair than
Hezee's gray mustache emerged from the water, without exposing his head.
He was teasing the old lady, trying to make her believe there was a crab
in the landing. Quick as a flash she flopped over in the air and slapped
the side of her broad tail upon the water where her spouse was lurking
to deceive her. Down he dove to the bottom and lay there motionless as
if he expected her to hunt him up; but after a while he went off and
notified all the young people that it was time for their gathering at
the old meeting-house.

Here Chapawee occupied the place of honor, while Hezee filled the
undignified position of errand-boy. All the young beavers came in, some
still carrying a bit of sapling in their mouths, but, on realizing their
mistake, each dove back to place it where it belonged. They arranged
themselves in a circle, sitting upright on their flat tails for
cushions, their hands folded under their chins.

"A long time ago," began Chapawee, the old beaver grandmother, "we lived
on the other side of the Muddy Water (the Missouri), upon a stream
called Wakpala Shecha (Bad River). Father and mother, with my older
brothers and sisters, built a fine dam and had a great pond there. But
we led a hard life. There are not many ponds on Bad River and the stream
dries up every summer, therefore thousands of buffalo came to our place
to drink. They were very bad people. It seems that they do not respect
the laws and customs of any other nation. They used to come by the
hundred into our pond and trample down our houses and wear holes in the
banking of our dam. They are so large and clumsy that they would put
their feet right through the walls, and we had to hide in our deepest
holes until we were very hungry, waiting for them to go away.

"Then there were the shunktokechas and shungelas (wolves and foxes), who
follow the buffalo. They, too, are a bad and dangerous sort, so that
mother and father had to be continually on the watch. We little beaver
children played upon the dam only when mother thought it safe. In the
night we used to enjoy our swimming, diving, and coasting school. We
practised gnawing sticks, and the art of making mud cement that will
hold water, how to go to the bottom silently, without effort, and to
spank the water for a signal or danger-call with our tails.

"There were many other bad people in that country. There was the ugly
old grizzly. He would sometimes come to our place to swim and cool off.
We would not mind, only he is so treacherous. He was ready to kill one
of us at any moment if we gave him the chance.

"Mother played a trick on him once, because he was such a nuisance. He
was wont to crawl out upon one of the logs which projected from the dam
and over the deep water. This log was braced by posts in the water.
Mother lay on the bottom and loosened the soil and then quickly pulled
one of the posts away, and the old grizzly fell in headlong. She dove to
one side, and, as the old man struggled to get out, crawled up behind
him and gashed one of his hind paws with her sharp wood-choppers. Oh,
how the old fellow howled and how he scrambled for the dam! He groaned
long as he sat on the bank and doctored his wounded foot. After that he
was never again seen to sit upon one of our logs, but when he came to
the river to drink and cool off his hot paws he always took the farthest
point from our houses, and then he only put one foot in the water at a
time.

"Mother was dreadfully afraid of one wicked animal. That was Igmu, the
mountain lion. He does not live in this part of the country, and it is
such a relief," said the old beaver woman. "Whenever one of the Igmus
comes to our place, we all hurry to deep water and lie there, for they
have been known to dig through the walls of our houses.

"There was still another danger that our people had to contend with.
Wakpala Shecha has a swift current and a narrow bed, and we had terrible
freshets two or three times in a season.

"At last there came a great flood. It was after I was two years old and
had learned everything--how to chop wood, which way to fell the trees,
and what to store up for the winter; how to mix mud cement and drive
posts in the creek bottom, and all of the other lessons. Early in the
spring, while there was still snow on the ground, a heavy rain came.
Every dry gulch was a torrent. We had never known such a flood. It
carried away all our dams and made our strongest houses cave in. We did
not dare to go to shore, for we could hear the wolves calling all along
the banks.

"At last mother and father bound two drift-logs together with willow
withes. We all helped, as none of us ever think of being idle. Upon the
logs we made a rude nest, and here we all slept and ate as we floated
down the stream.

"After several days we came to a heavily timbered bottom where there was
a very large fallen tree. The roots held firmly to the bank and
projected over the water. We all let go of our raft and climbed upon it;
there were bushy branches at the top. We trimmed the trunk of the tree
leading to dry land and built a temporary nest upon the bushy top, until
the water should go down and we could find a good place to build. Mother
and father went down the stream the next night to explore for a new
home, and I was left in the nest with two brothers. We, too, explored
the shores and little inlets near us, but we all came back to the nest
that morning except mother and father. I have never seen them from that
day to this.

"I and my two brothers slept together in the warm nest. All at once I
felt a slight jar. I opened my eyes, and there lay upon the trunk of our
tree a fierce Igmu, ready to fish us out with his strong arm and hooked
claws.

"Kerchunk! I dropped into the deep stream to save my life. I swam a
little way, and then came to the surface and peeped back. Ah, I saw him
seize and violently dash one of my brothers against the tree, but the
other I did not see. Perhaps he did as I did to save himself.

"I went down the Bad River until I came to the Big Muddy. Ice was
floating in huge cakes upon the brown flood. I wanted to go, too, for I
had heard of a country far to the sunrise of the great river. I climbed
upon a floating ice-cake, and I moved on down the Muddy Water.

"I kept a close watch on the shores, hoping to see father and mother,
but I saw no sign of them. I passed several islands, but the shores
were loose sand. It was not the kind of soil in which our people build,
so I did not stop, although there were fine tall cotton woods and all
the kinds of trees that we eat. Besides, I did not care to go to shore
or up the mouths of any of the creeks unless I should discover signs of
our tribe. It was the first time in my life that I had ever been alone.

"So I kept on my ice-boat until I was out of food, and then I stopped at
an island. I swam near the shore to find a good landing, and when I
reached the bank I saw the footprints of a beaver man. My heart beat
hard, and I could hardly believe my eyes. Some one had cut down a fresh
sapling, and as I ate of the delicious bark and twigs I was watching for
him every moment. But he did not come.

"Then I went back to the water's edge to study the trail and see where
he went. I found to my disappointment that he had gone back to the
water. As my mother had taught me every beaver sign, I knew he was a
traveller, come to take food, as I was. Hoping to overtake him, I
hurried back to another floating cake of ice, and again I found myself
going down the big stream.

"When I came in sight of another island, I watched carefully and saw
some one moving on the shore. I was not hungry then, but I landed and
began to nibble a twig at the water's edge. Presently I saw a beautiful
young man coming toward me with a fine sapling in his mouth. I think I
never saw a nicer looking beaver man than Kamdoka! He, too, was so glad
to see me, and brought me the sapling to eat.

"We were soon so devoted and absorbed in each other that we forgot all
about our journey. Kamdoka proposed that we should never leave one
another, and I agreed. He at once built a rude house right under a high
bank, where a tree had fallen over the water and its roots still held
firm. On each side he planted double rows of sticks, and plastered the
whole with mud. The narrow door was concealed by the tree-trunk, and led
directly into the water. This was our first home. It was only for a few
days, for we soon discovered that we could not live there.

"There were still a few large cakes of ice going down the river, and on
these we continued our journey, until one night our ice broke up and we
were forced to swim. At last we came to a country which was just such as
we would like to live in, and a stream that seemed the very one we had
been dreaming about. It had good, firm banks, nice landings, and was
just small enough to dam if necessary. Kamdoka and I were very happy.
This stream the Red people call the Wakpaepakshan (Bend of the River).

"It was not long before the wild men came in great numbers to this
beautiful river, and they were worse than Igmu and the grizzly. With
their round iron with the iron strings they caught many of the beaver
neighbors. Sometimes they would come with their dogs and drive us out of
our houses with dry entrances; again, they would hide the round iron at
our coasting and diving places, so that they caught many of our people.
It is impossible to get away when one is bitten by one of these round
irons. It was this which forced us at last to leave this lovely spot.

"While we still lived upon this stream, it came about that Kamdoka was
called Hezee. His fine pair of wood-choppers had grown short and very
yellow--that is why he is called Hezee--Yellow Teeth. Hezee and I
forsook our home after our little Chapchincha was caught by the wild
men. Hezee's sharp eyes discovered one of these ugly irons on our
premises, and he reported it to me. I cautioned the children to be
careful, and for a time they were so, but one morning my baby, my little
Chapchincha, forgot, and, plunging blindly down from our landing, she
was seized! They took her away with them, and the very next night we
moved from that place.

"We found the mouth of this stream and followed it up. We selected many
pretty places, but they were all claimed by some of the older
inhabitants. Several times Hezee fought for the right to a home, and you
can see where he had an ear bitten off in one of these fights. We had no
peace until we came within sight of the Pipestone Quarry. To be sure,
there are many wild men here also, but they come in midsummer, when they
do not kill any beaver people. We simply keep close to our homes when
they are here, and they scarcely ever trouble us.

"Children, we have made many fine homes, Hezee and I. We both came from
beyond the Muddy Water--a very bad country. It is the country of
coyotes, bears, bighorns, and the like. This is a country for our
people. If any of you should be dissatisfied, or driven to leave your
home, do not go beyond the Muddy Water. Always take one of the large
streams, going to the south and the sunrise of the great river.

"You see my fingers getting stubby and nailless. Hezee's wood-choppers
are no longer sharp. His long mustache is gray now. We are getting old.
But we have lived happily, Hezee and I. We have raised many beaver
people. We shall hope never to go away from this place.

"Children, be true to the customs of your people. Always have good
homes. First of all, you must build a strong dam--then you will have
deep water. You must have both underground homes and adobes. Have plenty
of store-houses, well filled; and when the enemy comes to kill you, you
can hold out for many days."

These were the old beaver woman's words to her young people. "Ho, ho!"
they applauded her when she had done.

"You must learn all these things," said old Hezee, after his wife had
done. "Always gnaw your tree more on the side toward the stream, so that
it will fall over the water. You should cut down the trees on the very
edge of the bank. Dive to the bottom and under the bank as the tree
falls. Sometimes one of us is pinned down by a branch of a fallen tree
and dies there. I myself have seen this. The water is the safest place.
You must never go too far away from deep water."

Up and down Pipestone Creek for four or five miles spread the community
formed by Chapawee's and Hezee's descendants. There was not any large
timber, only a few scattered trees here and there, yet in most places
there was plenty of food, for the river people do not depend entirely
upon the bark of trees for their sustenance. No village was kept in
better order than this one, for it was the wisdom of Chapawee and Hezee
that made it so. Summer nights, the series of ponds was alive with their
young folks in play and practice of the lessons in which the old pair
had such a pride. Their stream overflowed with the purest of spring
water. No fish were allowed to pollute their playgrounds. The river
people do not eat fish, but no fish are found in their neighborhoods. If
Mr. and Mrs. Otter, with their five or six roguish children,
occasionally intruded upon their domain, the men of the tribe politely
requested them to go elsewhere. So for a long time they held sway on the
Pipestone Creek, and the little beaver children dove and swam
undisturbed for many summers.

But Chapawee and Hezee were now very old. They occupied a pond to
themselves. Both were half blind and toothless, but there were certain
large weeds which were plentiful and afforded them delicious food. They
remained in-doors a great deal of the time.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Ho, koda!" was the greeting of two Indian men who appeared one day at
the door of the old American Fur Company's store upon the Sioux
reservation in Minnesota.

"How, Red Blanket! How, One Feather!" was the reply of the trader.
"Isn't it about time for you people to start in on your fall trapping?"

"Yes, that is what we came for. We want traps, ammunition, and two
spades on account. We have learned from the prairie Indians that the Big
Sioux and its tributaries are full of beaver, otter, mink, and
musk-rats. We shall go into that region for two months' hunting," said
Red Blanket, speaking for the two. Both men were experienced trappers.

"We must strike the Pipestone Quarry and then follow down that stream to
its mouth," remarked One Feather to his friend, after they had returned
to camp with a load of goods that they had secured on credit, and had
cut up some of the tobacco for smoking.

A few days later two solitary teepees stood on the shore of the pond,
under the red cliffs of the Pipestone Quarry.

Red Blanket had gone down the stream to examine the signs. Toward
evening, he came in with a large beaver on his shoulder.

"Koda, the stream is alive with beaver! I saw all of their dams and
their houses, and many were out swimming without fear. They have not
been disturbed in many years."

Soon both hunters emerged from their teepees heavily laden with traps,
each man accompanied by his intelligent dog. They saw many fresh tracks
of the inhabitants as they approached the beaver village. Their houses
above ground were large and numerous, and their underground homes were
as many, but the entrances were concealed by the water. The slides were
still wet with recent plays.

"It is the home of their great chief," said Red Blanket, impressively.
"Friend, let us sit down and offer the pipe! We must smoke to the beaver
chief's spirit, that he may not cast an evil charm upon our hunting."

Both men sat down upon their crossed feet in the tall meadow-grass to
carry out the familiar suggestion. One Feather pulled the leather
tobacco-pouch from his hunting-belt, and filled the pipe. He held the
mouth-piece to the four corners of the earth before handing it to his
companion. As they smoked, their faces were serious, and expressed the
full dignity and importance they had given to their intended massacre of
a harmless and wise people.

"Let us go down a little way," said One Feather, finally. "I want to see
how far the dams extend, and if it is only one family or many."

When they reached the second dam, the pond contained very little sign of
beaver. There were landing and feeding places, but apparently they were
not much used. The water was very deep and clear. Beyond this pond were
many fresh signs again. This raised a new question in the minds of the
Red hunters. On the way back again, they stopped on the shore of this
pond and smoked again, while they discussed why there was not much life
there, when there was such fine, deep, clear water, and the dams in such
perfect condition.

"It may be a haunted pond," said One Feather.

"It is certain that some strange thing lives in this deep water," added
Red Blanket, with gravity. They were fully concealed by the tall grass,
and their dogs lay quietly at their sides.

"Look, my friend, it is he!" exclaimed One Feather, suddenly. They
quickly faced about to behold an animal scramble up the steep bank. Both
of his ears were entirely gone. The hair of his head and face was quite
gray, including the few coarse whiskers that the beaver people wear. It
looked very like the unshaven face of an old man. The hair of his body
was short and rough--the silky, reddish coat was gone.

"It is an old, old beaver," whispered One Feather. "Ah, he is the
grandfather of the village! I see now why this pond is not much used by
the young folks. The old people live here."

He was apparently half blind and hard of hearing, as they had made
enough noise to attract Hezee's attention, but he did not move. Soon
Chapawee came up slowly and sat beside her old man. As the two sat
there, upright, sunning themselves, there came from a distance an
undertone call. Then a large female beaver glided up the stream, bearing
in her mouth the fine, branchy bough of a tree, which she must have gone
some miles to get. She approached the old pair, and kindly set the
branch before them. While they greedily nibbled at it, the young woman
quietly disappeared.

"These are people much like us. Surely they build much warmer houses
than we do," said Red Blanket, laughing.

"Yes, they are a wonderful people," replied his friend, with a serious
face. "This is the grandmother's pond. We shall respect it to-morrow,"
he continued. "We shall open the other dams and drain the water off,
then the entrances will all be dry and our dogs will enter their homes
and drive them out. When they come out, we shall spear them." This was
the plan of One Feather, to which his companion assented.

It was a sad day for the river people. Presently the two slayers came to
the pond of Hezee and Chapawee, where they lay nestled together in their
old, warm bed.

"I would like to leave the two old people alone," said One Feather. "But
we cannot get at the upper ponds without draining this one." So it was
decided to break down both of their dams. When the entrance to their
house was exposed, the dogs rushed in and were beginning to bark, but
One Feather called them back.

The work was accomplished, but it had taken two days. It was a sad
massacre!

"We must repair the dam for the old folks before we go, and I have left
four young ones alive, so that they can help feed them. I do not want
their spirits to follow us," said One Feather. So on the very next
morning the two hunters came back to the middle pond. Red Blanket with
his dog was a little in advance.

"Come here, friend!" he called. There Hezee and Chapawee lay cold and
stiff in the open.

They had gone out in the dark to rebuild their dam, according to the
habit of a long life. Then they visited some of their children's homes
for aid, but all were silent and in ruins. Again they came back to work,
but it was all in vain. They were too old; their strength had left them;
and who would care in such a case to survive the ruins of his house?



The Challenge


The medicine-drum was struck with slow, monotonous beat--that sound
which always comes forth from the council-lodge with an impressive air
of authority. Upon this particular occasion it was merely a signal to
open the ears of the people. It was the prelude to an announcement of
the day's programme, including the names of those warriors who had been
chosen to supply the governing body with food and tobacco during that
day. These names were presently announced in a sing-song or chanting
call which penetrated to the outskirts of the Indian village.

Just as Tawahinkpayota, or Many Arrows, was cutting up a large plug of
black tobacco--for he was about to invite several intimate friends to
his lodge--"Tawahinkpayota, anpaytu lay woyutay watinkta mechecha, uyay
yo-o-o!" the sonorous call, came for the second time. He stepped outside
and held up an eagle feather tied to a staff. This was his answer, and
signified his willingness to perform the service.

Having cut a sufficient quantity of tobacco, Many Arrows asked his wife
to call at the home of each of the famous hunters whom he intended to
honor, for it is the loved wife who has this privilege. Flying Bee was
the first invited; then Black Hawk, Antler, and Charging Bear. The lodge
of Many Arrows was soon the liveliest quarter of the Big Cat
village--for this particular band of Sioux was known as the Big Cat
band. All came to the host's great buffalo-skin teepee, from the top of
which was flying a horse's tail trimmed with an eagle feather, to denote
the home of a man of distinction.

"Ho, kola," greeted the host from his seat of dignified welcome. "Ho,"
replied each guest as he gracefully opened the door-flap. Inside of the
spacious teepee were spread for seats the choicest robes of bear, elk,
and bison. Mrs. Tawahinkpayota, who wished to do honor to her husband's
guests, had dressed for the occasion. Her jet-black hair was smoothly
combed and arranged in two long plaits over her shoulders. Her face was
becomingly painted, and her superb garment, of richly embroidered
doeskin completed a picture of prosperous matronhood.

While her husband offered the guests a short round of whiffs from the
pipe of peace, she went quietly about her preparations for the repast,
and presently served each in turn with the choicest delicacies their
lodge afforded. When all with due deliberation had ended their meal, the
host made his expected speech--for it was not without intention that he
had brought these noted men together.

"Friends," said he "a thought has come to me strongly. I will open my
mind to you. We should go to Upanokootay to shoot elk, deer, and
antelope. We have been long upon the prairie, killing only buffalo. We
need fine buckskin for garments of ceremony. We want also the skins of
bears for robes suitable to a warrior's home, such as the home of each
one of you. And then, you know, we must please our women, who greatly
desire the elk's teeth for ornament, and for fine needle-work the quills
of the porcupine."

"Ho, ho!" they replied, in chorus.

"It is always well," resumed Many Arrows, "for great hunters to go out
in company. For this reason I have called you three together. Is it not
true that Upanokootay, Elk Point, is the place we should seek?"

Again they all assented. So it came about that the five hunters and
their wives, who must cure and dress the skins of the game, departed
from the large camp upon the Big Sioux River and journeyed southward
toward the favored hunting-ground.

It was near the close of the moon of black cherries, when elk and
antelope roam in great herds, and the bears are happiest, because it is
their feasting-time. There was to be a friendly contest in the hunting.
All agreed to use no weapon save the bow and arrows, although the
"mysterious iron" and gunpowder had already been introduced.
Furthermore, they agreed that no pony should be used in running down the
game. Thus the rules which should govern the character of the hunt were
all determined upon in advance, and the natural rivalry between the
hunters was to be displayed in a fair and open trial of skill and
endurance. It was well known that these five were all tried and mighty
men beyond most of their fellows. This does not mean that they were
large men; on the contrary, none was much above the medium height, but
they were exceptionally symmetrical and deep-chested.

On the second morning, the men scattered as usual, after selecting a
camping-ground at which all would meet later in the day. Each hunter was
attired in his lightest buckskin leggings and a good running pair of
moccasins, while only a quiver with the arrows and bows swung over his
stalwart shoulders. All set out apparently in different directions, but
they nevertheless kept a close watch upon one another, for the chief
occasion of an Indian's mirth is his friend's mistakes or mishaps in the
chase.

Flying Bee hastened along the upper ridges overlooking the plain. What!
a great herd of elk grazing not far away! It was needful to get as close
to them as possible in order to make a successful chase. He threw off
all superfluous garments, tossed his quiver to one side, and took three
arrows with the bow in his hand. He then crept up a ravine until he came
within a short distance of the herd. As he cautiously raised his head
for a survey, he saw a jack-rabbit's long ears a little way off, while a
yearling antelope showed itself above the long grass to the left.

"Ugh, you may fool the elk, but you can't fool me!" he remarked as he
smiled to himself.

Again, on the farther side, a fawn's head was turned in the direction of
the herd.

"Ho, ho!" chuckled Flying Bee. "Where is the other?"

Just then, at his right, a little buffalo calf's head was pushed
cautiously above a bunch of grass.

"Ugh, you are all here, are you? Then I will show you how to chase the
elk."

He pulled a large bunch-weed and held it in front of him so that the elk
could not see him for a moment. Then he ran forward rapidly under cover
of the weed.

He had scarcely done this when Charging Bear emerged from the direction
of the fawn display. Tawahinkpayota came forth from the antelope head,
while Black Hawk and Antler rose up where the jack-rabbit and calf had
lain. Bee disappeared in the midst of the fleeing herd, as he was a
runner of exceptional swiftness. The great herd departed in a thunder of
hoofs, and the five friends paused to smoke together and exchange jokes
before going to examine their game. Black Hawk, whose quarry had gone
with the rest, carrying his arrows, was greatly disappointed, and he
immediately became a butt for the wit and ridicule of the others.

"How is this, friend? Have the elk such a fear of the harmless
jack-rabbit? It seems that they did not give you a chance to make your
swift arrows count."

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed Tawahinkpayota. "The elk people never knew before
that a rabbit would venture to give them chase."

"Ah, but he has often been seen to run after elk, deer, and even buffalo
to save his own scalp from the wolves when he is pursued!" Thus Charging
Bear came to the rescue of his friend.

And so they joked while Antler filled the pipe.

"We must take only one or two short whiffs," he reminded them, as he
crowded down the mixture of tobacco and willow bark into the red bowl.
It was the time of hunting and running, when men do not smoke much, and
the young men not at all.

Having finished their smoke, they arose and followed the trail of the
elk. The animal shot by Flying Bee lay dead not far away, with an arrow
sticking out of the opposite side of its body, for he was a powerful
man. Soon they came to two does lying dead, but there were no arrows,
and the wounds were not arrow wounds.

"Ho, kola, hun-hun-hay! Surely you could not use your knife while
running bow in hand?" remarked Black Hawk.

"We shall make it a rule hereafter that no one shall use any strange or
unusual weapon," added Many Arrows, jestingly.

"You see now how a Bee can sting!" chimed in Charging Bear, in much
mirth and admiration for the feat of his friend.

This, or something not unlike it, was now their daily experience, while
their wives busily dressed the skins of their game and cured such of the
meat as they cared to save. Each man kept a mental record of his shots
for future reference, and all bore with unfailing good-humor the kindly
ridicule of their fellows. They often hunted singly, yet the tendency
was to be on the lookout for one another as well as for themselves,
knowing that they were always in more or less peril from ferocious
animals, as well as from the enemies of their people. They would also
send out one of their number from time to time to scout the ground over
which they expected to hunt on the following day.

"Ho, koowah yay yo, kola!" was the cry of Black Hawk, one evening,
inviting his companion hunters to feast at his lodge. He had been
appointed to scout the field south of their camp, and, having explored
the country thoroughly, was ready to make his report.

"The land south of us, along the river," said he, "is well peopled with
elk, deer, and beaver, and the prairie adjoining is full of buffalo. As
far as the eye can see, their herds are countless. But, friends," he
added, "there are also bears in this region. I have seen them, and I saw
many of their fresh tracks."

Black Hawk was a clever scout, and could imitate both the actions and
call of any animal so as almost to deceive his fellow-hunters. He had
covered considerable ground that afternoon.

"There is, however, no recent sign of any of our enemies, and the game
is better than in any year that I have come here," he said again.

"Ho, ho, ho!" was the chorus of thanks from the others.

"Flying Bee, you have hunted in this region longer than the rest of us.
Tell us of the wisdom of other years," suggested one.

"Ho, kola, hechetu!" again came the approving chorus.

The feast was eaten, the pipe was laid aside, and Flying Bee began thus:

"It was in the same year that the great battle was fought between the
Omahas and the Yankton Sioux, under this high ridge. We were hunting
upon the other side, and I saw then as many elk and deer as there are
now. I was a young man and had just begun to know the ways of the elk
and his weaknesses.

"You must never allow him to get your scent, but you can let him see
you, provided he does not understand. If he thinks you are some other
animal, he will not trouble to move away, but if you make him curious
he will come to you. If you put on a brown suit and appear and disappear
in the edge of the woods at evening or early morning, the doe will
approach you curiously. In the spring moons you can deceive her with the
doe-caller, and a little later than this you can deceive her with the
call of the buck elk.

"If you have a 'mysterious iron' you can shoot down any number of them.
A woman or a white man could do as much. Also, if you have a swift pony
you can run down almost any game. This is no true test of skill. Do as
we are doing now--hunt on foot with only the bow and arrow or the knife
and stone for weapons, for these were the weapons of our people for
untold years.

"There are no finer animals than the elk folk. I have studied their
ways, because, as you know, we have followed their customs in courtship
and warfare as much as those of any nation. Doubtless all our manners
and customs were first copied from the ways of the best animal people,"
added the speaker.

"Ho, kola, hechetu!" was the unanimous endorsement of his friends.

"From now on the great elk chieftain gathers his herd. The smaller herds
are kept by smaller chiefs, and there are many duels. I say again, no
duel is brave and honest as that of the elk. When the challenge comes,
it means a death-notice and must be accepted. The elk is no coward; he
never refuses, although he knows that one at least must die in the
fight.

"The elk woman, too, is the most truly coquettish of all animals. She is
pretty and graceful, but she is ready to elope with the first suitor.
Therefore, we call the young man who is especially successful in
courtship the elk young man. The girlish and coquettish young woman we
call the elk maiden.

"The bear and the buffalo are people of much mouth. They make a great
deal of noise when they fight. The elk is always silent and does nothing
that is unbecoming. Those others are something like the white men, who
curse and broil much among one another," Bee concluded, with an air of
triumph.

"I have several times witnessed a combat between the elk and the
grizzly. I have also seen the battle between the buffalo bull and the
elk, and victory is usually with the latter, although I have known him
to be mortally wounded."

"And I have witnessed many times the duels between great elk chiefs,"
joined in Many Arrows.

"These people go in large bands from this time until the winter, when
they scatter in smaller bands. The elk leads a bachelor's life from
January until midsummer, and about July he begins to look for company."
This was Antler's observation.

"There are two large herds near Smoky Hill, upon the river meadows. It
will be easy to catch some of the does in the evening, when they return
to their fawns. They hide the fawns well.

"Some leave them in the woods, others take them into the deep ravines.
My wife is anxious that I should bring her a fawn's skin for a fancy
bag," suggested Black Hawk.

"It will take some good running to catch a fawn at this time of the
year. They are quite large now, and the earliest fawns are already out
with the herds," remarked Many Arrows. "The moon of strawberries is
really the best time to catch the doe and fawn with a birchen whistle.
However, there are some still hidden, and as long as the doe suckles her
fawn she will always come back to it at evening."

Having received such encouraging reports from their advance scout, the
wild hunters immediately removed their camp to the vicinity of the great
herd. It was a glorious September morning, and the men all left for the
field at daybreak to steal upon the game. They hurried along in single
file until near enough, then they broke ranks, separated, and crept
around an immense herd of elk. The river here made a quick turn, forming
a complete semicircle. A lovely plain was bounded by the stream, and at
each end of the curve the river and woods met the side of the upper
plateau. The whole scene was commanded by the highest point of the
ridge, called by the Indians Smoky Hill.

The elk people had now reached the climax of their summer gayety and
love-making. Each herd was ruled by a polygamous monarch of the
plains--a great chieftain elk! Not a doe dared to leave the outskirts of
the herd, nor could the younger bucks venture to face their mighty
rival of the many-branched horns and the experience of half a score of
seasons.

Of this particular herd the ruler was truly a noble monarch. He had all
the majesty that we might expect of one who had become the master of a
thousand does.

The elk women were in their best attire and their happiest spirits. The
fawns were now big enough to graze and no longer dependent upon their
mothers' milk, therefore the mothers had given themselves over wholly to
social conquests. Every doe was on the alert, and used her keen sight,
ear, and scent to the utmost to discover the handsomest elk young man,
who, though not permitted to show himself within the kingdom of the
monarch, might warily approach its boundaries.

Hehaka, the monarch, was dressed in his finest coat and had but lately
rubbed the velvet from his huge and branchy antlers. His blood was
richest and bluest of the elk folk. He stood upon the outer edge and
continually circled the entire herd--a faithful guardian and watchful of
his rights.

Around this herd the wild hunters converged and, each taking up his
assigned position, were ready to begin the attack. But they delayed
long, because of their great admiration for the elk chieftain. His
bearing was magnificent. The unseen spectators noted his every movement,
and observed with interest the behavior of the elk women.

Now and then a doe would start for the edge of the woods, and the ruler
would have to run after her to remind her of his claim. Whenever this
happened, a close scrutiny would reveal that a young buck elk had shown
his broadside there for a moment, desiring to entice one of the
monarch's elk women away. These young bucks do not offer a challenge;
they dare not fight, for that would mean certain death; so that they
show the better part of valor in avoiding the eye of the jealous
monarch. But they exert the greatest attraction over the susceptible elk
women. All they need do is to show themselves, and the does will run
towards them. So the Indians say of certain young men, "He has a good
elk medicine, for he is always fortunate in courtship."

About the middle or end of August these young bucks begin to call. They
travel singly over hill and plain, calling for their mates until their
voices grow hoarse and fail utterly. All this finally ends in the
breaking-up of the monarch's harem.

The call of the elk when new is a high-pitched whistle, pleasant to hear
as well as fascinating and full of pathos. The love-call of the Indian
youth is modelled upon the whistle of the elk.

Now, the Yanktons, unknown to our party, had routed a large herd of elk
on the day before on the plains south of the high ridge, but the great
chieftain of the herd had escaped into the hills.

His herd destroyed, the chief was all alone. He could not forget the
disaster that had befallen his people. He came out upon the highest
point of the ridge and surveyed the plains below--the succession of
beautiful hills and valleys where he had roamed as lord. Now he saw
nothing there except that immediately below him, upon a grassy plateau,
were one or two circular rows of the white, egg-shaped homes of those
dreadful wild men who had destroyed or scattered all his elk women. He
snorted and sniffed the air and tossed his immense horns, maddened by
this humiliation.

"It is now calling-time. I have acquired the largest number of branches
on my horns. It is my right to meet any king among my people who thinks
himself better able than I to gather and keep a harem." Though weary and
disappointed, he now grew bold and determined. "It is now calling-time,"
he seemed to say to himself. "To-morrow at sunrise my voice shall open
the call upon the old elk hill! I know that there must be many elk women
not far away. If any buck should desire to meet me in battle, I am
ready!"

The lonely elk passed a wretched night. He could not forget what had
happened on the day before. At dawn hunger seized him, and he ate of the
fine dew-moistened grass until he was satisfied. Then he followed the
oak ridges along the side of Smoky Hill, travelling faster as the day
began to break. He thought he saw here and there a herd of elk women
loom large through the misty air, but as the shadows vanished he
discovered his mistake. At last he stood upon the summit, facing the
sunrise.

The plains below were speckled far and wide with herds of antelope and
of bison. The Big Sioux River lazily wound its way through the beautiful
elk land. He saw five teepees upon a rich plain almost surrounded by a
bend of the river, and not far away there grazed a great band of elk
women, herded apparently by a noble buck.

The heart of the lonely one leaped with gladness, and then stung him
with grief and shame. He had not heard one elk-call that year as yet. It
was time. Something told him so. It would not break the elk's custom if
he should call.

His blood arose. His eyes sparkled and nostrils dilated. He tossed his
branchy, mighty antlers and shook them in the air, he hardly knew why,
except that it was his way of saying, "I dare any one to face me!"

He trotted upon the very top of Smoky Hill. The air was fresh and full
of life. He forgot at that moment everything that had passed since his
mother left him, and his mind was wholly upon the elk people who were
gathered there below him in a glorious band. He felt that he must now
call, and that his voice should sound the beginning of the elk-calling
of that season upon the Big Sioux.

Flying Bee had notified his fellow-hunters by means of a small mirror of
the presence of a grizzly in their midst, and each one was on the alert.
Soon all had located him, and moved to a point of safety. They preferred
to see him attack the herd rather than one of themselves, and they were
certain that the monarch of the Big Sioux would give him a pitched
battle. He was the protector of every doe in his band, and he had
doubtless assured them of that when he took them into the herd.

"Whoo-o-o-o!" a long, clear whistle dropped apparently out of the blue
sky. A wonderful wave of excitement passed through the great herd. Every
tobacco-leaf-shaped ear was quickly cast toward Smoky Hill. The monarch
at once accepted the challenge. He stepped in front of his elk women and
lifted his immense head high up to sniff the morning air. Soon he began
to paw and throw up the earth with his fore and hind hoofs alternately.

Just then the second call came--a piercing and wonderful love-call! The
whole band of elk women started in the direction of the challenger.
Every one of them gave the doe's response, and the air was filled with
their stamping and calling.

The monarch started to intercept them in great rage and madness. The
hunters all ran for the nearest tall trees from which they might witness
the pending duel, for they knew well that when two of these rulers of
the wilderness meet at this season it can be for nothing less than a
battle to death. As Bee settled himself among the boughs of a large ash
that stood well up on the brow of the river-bank, he easily commanded
the scene.

He saw the challenger standing upon the highest point of Smoky Hill. In
a moment he descended the slope and ran swiftly to the level of the
plain. Here he paused to give the third challenge and the love-call--the
call that the Indian youth adopted and made their own.

Again the elk women were excited and stamped their hoofs. The monarch
now let them alone, and started on a run to meet the challenger. Bee
could not restrain himself; he had to give a sympathetic whoop or two,
in which his fellows willingly joined. The elk paid no attention, but
when old grizzly found that he was among many warriors, he retreated to
an adjoining creek to hide.

The challenger saw his adversary coming, and he hurried forward without
a pause. The elk women were thrown into the greatest confusion, and even
the five warrior-hunters became much excited, for they always admired a
brave act, whether the performer were a man like themselves or one of
the four-footed folk.

When the monarch saw that the challenger was in earnest, he took up his
position in front of his herd. On came the other, never pausing after
the third call. When he was within a hundred paces, the monarch again
advanced, and the two came together with a great clash of mighty
antlers. Both trembled violently for an instant; then each became tense
in every muscle of his body as they went into action.

Now one was pushed bodily along for some distance, and now the other was
pressed back. At one time both kneeled down and held each other fast
with locked horns. Again they were up and tugging with all their
strength. The elk women were excitedly calling and stamping in a circle
around their lovers and champions, who paid no heed to them.

At last the monarch made a rush with all the strength that was left him.
He turned the body of the challenger half-way round. Quick as a flash he
pulled off and jabbed three prongs of his horns deep into the other's
side. But, alas! at that moment he received an equal wound in his own
body. Exhausted by loss of blood, they soon abandoned the contest. Each
walked a few steps in an opposite direction, and lay down, never to rise
again!

All of the hunters now descended and hurried to the spot, while the elk
women fled in a great thunder of hoofs. They wished to give to the two
combatants a warrior's homage.

The challenger was already dead. The monarch was still living, but his
life was ebbing so fast that he did not even notice their approach.

Flying Bee held his filled pipe toward the fallen king. "Let thy spirit
partake of this smoke, Hehaka!" he exclaimed. "May I have thy courage
and strength when I meet my enemy in battle!"

It is the belief of the Indian that many a brave warrior has the spirit
of a noble animal working in him.

The five hunters were so greatly touched by this event that they
returned to camp empty-handed out of respect for the brave dead. They
left handfuls of cut tobacco beside each of the elk, and Black Hawk took
off one of the two eagle feathers that he always wore and tied it to the
monarch's head.



Wild Animals from the Indian Stand-point


"Tula, tula, kola, the game is plentiful--once more the flats of the
Cheyenne are covered with buffalo--winter is still at a distance and all
is well!"

Thus laughingly exclaimed old Hohay as he approached the teepee of
Sheyaka, a renowned hunter of the Sioux.

"Ugh, you are all here, even Kangee and Katola. What is in your minds?"
he continued, as he entered and took his seat.

"Ho, brother-in-law, it is good of you to join us. We are merely
enjoying our smoke," replied the genial host. "Ah, you are still the
coyote that you were in your younger days! Smoke never entered your
nostrils without drawing you as by a rope. But now that you are here you
must decide between us. Kangee maintains that the doe never fights. I
have said that she has been known to defend herself even more fiercely
than her brother," urged Sheyaka.

"It is agreed by all our hunters that you have studied the ways of the
animals more closely than any of us," chimed in Kangee. "Of course, we
have all heard the traditions of the old hunters as they have been
handed down from our fathers, but the things that we ourselves have seen
and known are straight and strong in our minds as a newly made arrow,"
he added.

Hohay had been pulling silently at his long-stemmed pipe, but in a
minute he passed the pipe on to Kangee and tightened the robe about his
knees to get himself into a story-teller's attitude, for he had no idea
of dismissing this favorite subject in a few words.

"We must remember," he began, slowly, "that the four-footed people do
not speak after our fashion. But what of that? Do we not talk with our
eyes, lips, fingers? Love is made and murder done by the wink of an eye
or by a single motion of the hand. Even we ourselves do not depend
altogether upon speech for our communication with one another. Who can
say that they have not a language?"

"Ho, ho, henaka," interrupted Kangee. "I will help you a little here,
good Hohay! It is well known that the alarm-call of the loon, the crane,
and the wild goose is understood by all of the winged people that swim
the lakes. This is not all. Many of the four-footed people of the woods
know it as well. It often happens when I hunt water-fowl that one gives
the alarm and immediately all the ducks will swim out, away from the
shore. Those that cannot swim crouch down to conceal themselves, and
even small animals stealthily and swiftly dodge back into the woods. Yet
the same birds' love and play calls were not heeded nor did they disturb
the peace, although they were at times very noisy and talkative."

"Ho, ho," they all said.

"Tadota and I," continued Kangee, "once saw a doe call to her fawn to
lie down and hide. It happened in this way. We were hunting up a ravine
and came upon the doe and fawn about a hundred paces apart. They were
both standing to graze, as it was early in the evening. As soon as the
doe saw us she gave her warning call, which usually causes the fawn to
run toward her. But in this case the little creature dropped instantly
into the tall grass. After we had shot the doe we came up to her, but
she lay perfectly still and refused to rise. I may be wrong, but I
believe the doe told the fawn to drop.

"I have also seen a doe and fawn playing," he went on, "when plainly the
mother directed her young to leap a stream which she herself had just
crossed. The fawn was timid and would not jump. Three times the doe
called, pounding the ground with her fore-foot. At last she sprang back
and caressed the fawn with her nose and stood with her a little while,
and then once more leaped the stream. The young fawn came to the very
edge of the bank and nervously smelled and examined it. Meanwhile the
doe called emphatically, and finally the little one jumped. So I think
there is good ground for saying that the wild animals have a language to
which we have not the key."

"Kangee is right," spoke up Sheyaka.

"Ugh," said Katola, who had not spoken before. "He has made the doe and
fawn real people. They can neither speak nor reason," added the
doubter, "and the fawn hides because it is its nature to hide, not
because the mother has instructed it."

"Hun-hun-hay!" exclaimed Hohay, who was older than the other three. "The
animals do teach their young, and the proof is that the young often fail
to perform the commonest acts of their parents when captured very early
and kept by man. It is common knowledge among us that the buffalo calf
and fawn have refused to swim when tamed, and do not run swiftly and
well as when trained by the mother, and, in fact, have no disposition to
run when let loose with the prairie before them.

"Again, it is well known that all elk are not equally good runners. Some
of them we could run down on foot and that shortly, while others try the
strength of the best running horse, all in the same season of the year
and even in the same herd. It looks to me as if some mothers were better
trainers than others.

"This training is very important, because wild life is a constant
warfare, and their lives often depend upon their speed in flight. The
meat-eating animals, too, must be in good trim, as they are compelled to
chase their game daily.

"The bear is one of the hardest trainers among the wild mothers. In the
midsummer moon she gives them a regular trial-heat. It is an unlimited
run, only measured by the endurance of the mother. The poor cubs drop
out of the race one by one, whenever one is winded. But in case one
holds out, he remains with her in the same den during the following
winter. That is the prize of the victor."

"Who has seen or killed the mother-bear in the winter with a single
cub?" asked Katola.

"I have seen it," replied Hohay.

"And I also," added Sheyaka.

"But I still do not believe that they teach their young, like the Red
people," Katola said. "Some run better than others because they are
stronger, not because of their better training."

"Sheyaka wants to hear about the doe," resumed Hohay, "but I have talked
much on other points so as to get my mind fairly on the trail. The doe
is the most sensitive animal of all that man hunts. She is the woman in
every way, depending upon her quickness and cunning in hiding and the
turns she takes in her flight. Perhaps she has the best nose and ears of
all animals, but she has a very small idea of the hunter's acuteness.
She knows well the animal hunters, who can smell and run, but of man she
knows little, except that, though clumsy, he is dangerous.

"This delicate little squaw can fight desperately when she is cornered
or in defence of her young. She has even been known to attempt the life
of a man under those circumstances! But, Sheyaka, it is time to smoke,"
said the wild philosopher at this point.

"Ho, koda, chandee ota," replied Sheyaka, as he graciously produced the
finely cut tobacco and willow bark. "Katola, you have a good voice; sing
us a hunting song," added the good-natured host.

"Ho, ho," the company spoke in approval of the suggestion.

Katola gave them a song without words, the musical, high-pitched
syllables forming a simple minor cadence, and ending with a trill. There
was a sort of chorus, in which all the men joined, while Katola kept
time with two sticks, striking one against the other, and Washaka, the
little son of the host, danced in front of them around the embers of the
central fire. The song finished, the pipe was silently smoked, passed
and re-passed around the circle.

At last old Hohay laid it aside, and struck a dignified attitude, ready
to give the rest of his story.

"Katola is right in one way," he admitted. "He cannot be blamed for
having never seen what has been witnessed by other hunters. We believe
what we ourselves see, and we are guided by our own reason and not that
of another. Stop me when I tell you a thing hard to believe. I may know
it to be true, but I cannot compel you to believe it."

Kangee could not contain himself any longer, but exclaimed:

"I have even known the coyote to make her pups carry and pile the bones
of the buffalo away from their den!"

"Ugh, ugh!" responded the old man. "You compel me to join Katola. That
is hard to prove, and while the coyote is a good trainer and orderly,
and it is true that their old bones are sometimes found outside the
den, I have never before heard that she makes the little ones pile them.
I am not willing to put that into my bag of stories.

"Now, as to the ability of the doe to fight. When I was a boy, I hunted
much with my father. He was a good coyote--he trained well and early.
One spring we were living in the woods where there was very little game,
and had nothing to eat but musk-rats. My father took me with him on a
long deer-hunt. We found a deer-lick beside a swollen pond. The ground
was soft around the pond, with reeds and rushes.

"'Here we shall wait,' said my father.

"We lay concealed in the edge of the woods facing a deer-path opposite.
In a little while a doe appeared on the trail. We saw that she was in
full flight, for her tongue was protruding and she breathed hard. She
immediately waded out to the middle of the pond and stood with only her
head out of water.

"On her trail a large gray wolf came running, followed by his mate. The
first, without hesitation, swam out to the doe. She reared upon her
hind-feet as he approached, raising both of her front hoofs above the
water. The wolf came on with mouth wide open and grinning rows of teeth
to catch her tender throat, but her pointed hoofs struck his head again
and again, so rapidly that we could not count the blows, which sounded
like a war-club striking against a rock. The wolf disappeared under the
water.

"Just at this moment the other wolf emerged from the rushes and hastened
to the assistance of her mate. The doe looked harmless, and she swam up
to her. But the same blows were given to her, and she, too, disappeared.
In a little while two furry things floated upon the surface of the pond.

"My father could not restrain his admiration for her brave act; he gave
a war-whoop, and I joined him heartily."

"Ho, ho! You did not shoot the doe, did you?" they asked.

"If we did that, we would be cowards," replied the story-teller. "We let
her go free, although we were in need of food. It was then I knew for
the first time that even the doe while in flight watches every chance to
make a good defence. She was helpless on dry land, so she deliberately
awaited the wolves in the deep water, where she could overcome them.
Thereafter, when I hunt I keep this in my mind. My game is fully awake
to the situation, and I must use my best efforts and all my wits to get
him. They think, and think well, too."

"It is all true," Kangee assented, enthusiastically. "The buffalo is the
wisest of all the larger four-footed people," he went on, "in training
the young calf."

"Ugh, ugh! they do not train their young, I tell you!" interrupted
Katola, again.

"Wait until Kangee tells what he knows and then tell us your thought,"
interposed Hohay. "It is not fair to doubt the word of a fellow-hunter."

"I want to tell what I myself saw," resumed Kangee. "Near the Black
Hills, in the early spring, we hunted the bison. My brother and I
followed two cows with their small calves. They disappeared over a ridge
into a deep valley.

"We hastened on and saw only one cow running on the other side without
her calf. In the ravine we came upon the other, and saw her vigorously
push the calf down two or three times, but each time it rose again."

"Ha, ha, ha! The calf refused to hide," they all laughed.

"When she saw us, she turned and ran on with her calf. Presently she
entered another valley, and emerged on the other side without the little
one. At the first ravine, one cow succeeded in cachêing her calf--the
other failed. She had a disobedient child, but finally she got rid of
it. After a time the calf understands its mother's wishes; then she
always succeeds in cachêing her young when pursued."

"Tula, tula, kola! That is common knowledge of all hunters; surely
Katola cannot doubt that," remarked Hohay.

"Not that--I only said that they do not teach them. They do these things
without thought or deliberate planning," insisted Katola.

"But you must know that even a baby who has no mother after a while
forgets to take the breast when one is offered to him. It is constant
bringing to the young creature and continual practice--that is
teaching," Hohay declared, and the other two nodded approval.

"Neither do I believe in a language of animals," Katola remarked.

"It may be there is none; but, even so, do we not convey the strongest
meaning without a sound or a word? In all our speeches what is most
important may be expressed by a silence, a look, or a gesture--even by
the attitude of the body." Hohay continued rapidly in his argument: "Is
it impossible that these people might have a simple language, and yet
sufficient for their use?

"All that a man can show for his ancestry, when he is left alone from
infancy, are his two legs, two arms, a round head, and an upright
carriage, or partially upright. We know this from those children who
have been found by wolves and nourished in their caves until well grown.
They were like beasts and without a language.

"It is teaching that keeps man truly man and keeps up the habits and
practices of his ancestors. It is even so with the animals. They, too,
depend for their proper skill and development upon the mother influence,
encouragement, and warning, the example constantly set before them which
leads them to emulate and even surpass their elders. We Red men have no
books nor do we build houses for schools, as the palefaces do. We are
like the bear, the beaver, the deer, who teach by example and action and
experience. How is it? Am I right?" the old man appealed to his
attentive listeners.

"Yes, yes, it is true," replied Kangee and Sheyaka, but Katola said
nothing.

"Is it not our common experience," resumed Hohay, "that when we kill or
trap one or two beaver in a night, all the beaver stay in-doors for
several nights within a considerable distance? This is equally true in
the case of the otter and mink. I have often started up a deer, and
every deer he passed in his flight would also flee. But when they run at
random in play they do not cause a general stampede.

"Their understanding of one another's actions is keener and quicker than
we can give news by words, for some are always doubters, and then we of
the two-legged tribe are given to lie at times, either with or without
intention. This proves that the animal does not lack the power to give
news or intelligence to his family and neighbors. If this is so, then
they do not lack means to convey their wishes to their young, which is
to teach them."

This declaration was received in silence, and, presently, Hohay added:
"How is it, Sheyaka? Is it commonly accepted by our hunters that some of
the four-footed people play tag and hide-and-seek with their little
ones?"

"Ho, it is well known," responded the host. "I have seen a black-tail
doe run away from her fawn and hide. When the little one ran to find
her, calling as he seeks, she would rush upon him playfully at last from
some unexpected nook or clump of bushes."

"Once I saw a beaver," continued Hohay, "send her whole family to the
opposite side of the pond when she was about to fell a large tree. One
of the young ones was disobedient and insisted upon following the mother
to her work, and he was roundly rebuked. The little fellow was chased
back to the pond, and when he dove down the mother dove after him. They
both came out near the shore on the opposite side. There she
emphatically slapped the water with her tail and dove back again. I
understood her wishes well, although I am not a beaver."

"It is the way of the beaver," remarked Sheyaka, "not to allow her
children to play out-of-doors promiscuously or expose themselves to
danger. She does not take them with her to fell trees until they are old
enough to look out for themselves. But she brings them all out at night
to learn the mother-tricks and trade. She is perhaps the wisest of all
the smaller animals."

"The grizzly is an excellent mother of her kind," suggested Kangee. "I
once followed a mother bear with two small cubs. As soon as she
discovered me, she hastened toward a creek heavily fringed with
buffalo-berry bushes. When she disappeared over the bank, I hurriedly
followed to see what she would do. She had sent one of the cubs into the
thick bushes, and a little farther on she tried to dispose of the other
in another good place, but the cub would not obey. It came out each time
and followed her. Suddenly she grabbed and threw it violently into a
thicket and then ran around the creek and came out almost opposite.
There she watched me from under cover."

"Bears, wolves, and foxes," commented old Hohay, "often cuff or slap
their young to teach them obedience. Katola might say that the obedience
is inborn or instinctive, but it is not. Young animals can be very rude
and disobedient to their parents when they are small, but their mothers'
training is strict and is continued until they leave them. We Red people
have followed their example. We teach our children to respect and obey
their elders," concluded the old story-teller.

"The fox is a most orderly eater," Kangee remarked. "Why, she will not
allow her children to eat greedily! We know that when she finds a nest
full of ducks' eggs--for she is a great egg-stealer--she will drive away
the excited young foxes, and roll out egg after egg to each one in turn.
Each must wait until she serves him again."

"When I was a young man," said Sheyaka, "I have often called the fox for
fun, when I had no intention of harming him. He is a keen and cunning
hunter, but easy to fool when you know his weakness. I would imitate the
squeaking of the larger field-mouse. He never hesitates, but runs
directly to the place where the noise comes from.

"Once I saw him afar off, travelling over a burnt prairie. I lay down in
unburnt tall grass, and gave the mouse-call. He came on as if he were
very hungry, running at top speed, and I kept squeaking so as to make it
seem as if there were many mice.

"When he reached the tall grass he sprang high as he came, and when he
jumped clear over me I suddenly gave a war-whoop and waved my blanket.
You should have seen how scared he was! He tried to turn back in mid-air
and fell almost upon me so that I got hold of his tail. I laughed so
hard that I could scarcely keep my hold, but the end of the matter was
that he left part of his fine brush with me. I wore it for a long time
as a hunting trophy."

The others laughed heartily, but Katola said: "Ugh, you were not fair
with him, for you invited him to a feast and then gave him such a fright
that he would always hate and fear his brother man."

"That is true; yet at times a hunter can with propriety play a joke upon
a fellow-hunter," declared old Hohay.

"It is strange that none of the other animals like the Igmu, the great
cat people," remarked Sheyaka, as if he desired to draw out Hohay, who
had loosened the buffalo-robe around his loins and settled down with
the evident satisfaction of one who has spoken his mind upon a disputed
question.

"Toh, they are to the others as Utes to the other Red men," he replied
at once. "They are unsociable, queer people. Their speech has no charm.
They are very bashful and yet dangerous, for no animal can tell what
they are up to. If one sees you first, he will not give you a chance to
see so much as the tip of his tail. He never makes any noise, for he has
the right sort of moccasins.

"Igmu scatters her family in the summer. The old pair go together; the
young go singly until paired. In the winter hunting they often travel
within hailing distance, but not like us, the woman following the
warrior. One goes up a gulch or creek while the other follows an
adjacent creek, and they have a perfect understanding. They feed in
common on the game they kill, and unite to oppose a stranger."

"Tell us something of the customs of the larger four-footed people, as
the moose, elk, and bison," urged Sheyaka. "But it is time to smoke," he
added, as he passed to the old man a lighted pipe.

"Ho, ho, kola; you know an old man's weak points, Sheyaka! I was about
to ask for the pipe, but you have read my thoughts. Is it not time for a
song? Can you not give us a buffalo or elk song? My stories will move
with more life and spirit if you bring the animal people into my
presence with your songs."

So Kangee sang a buffalo song, a rude yet expressive chant, of which the
words went something like this:

    "Ye the nation of the west--
      A-hay-hay-a-hay!
    Ye the people of the plains--
      A-hay-hay-a-hay!
    The land is yours to live and roam in;
    You alone are preservers of life--
    'Tis ordained from heaven that you should preserve our lives!"

"Oo-oo-oo-oo!" they all joined in the yelps which are the amen of savage
song.

Hohay took one or two heavy pulls on the pipe, forcing a column of smoke
through his nostrils, and handed it back to Sheyaka. He tightened the
robe about him once more, and his wrinkled face beamed with excitement
and delight in his subject.

"It is from these large and noble four-footed tribes that we derive
many of our best customs," he said, "especially from the elk and buffalo
people. But, boy, you have danced well! Your father dances like an old
bear--where did you learn the art?"

These savage jokers were highly personal, but jokes were never resented
in their life, so Sheyaka laughed heartily and good-naturedly with the
rest.

"The buffalo and elk people are among the noblest on earth," continued
Hohay, after the laugh was ended. "The grizzly is a drunken, mad
fighter, who attacks without reason. He is conceited because he is well
armed, and is continually displaying his weapons. The great cat is much
more ready to mind his own business, but, after all, he is much of a
coward. The wolf warriors are brave where there is meat. All these
characteristics are shown also among men.

"The buffalo and the elk fight only for their people and their country.
They do not hunt among other tribes, and where they live together in
large numbers there are fewer quarrels than among the same number of men
together. They never leave their children until they are able to take
care of themselves.

"They have made everything possible to us in our free life. They supply
us with food, shelter, and clothing, and we in turn refrain from
needlessly destroying the herds. Their summer gatherings are the
grandest sight I have ever seen.

"But I must stop, friends. There is one sad thing about all this. It has
just come into my mind. The wild man is bad enough, but there comes
another man--the paleface--who has no heart for what is dearest to us.
He wants the whole world for himself! The buffalo disappear before
him--the elk too--and the Red man is on the same trail. I will stop
here, for it brings me sad thoughts."

He ended, and the others dropped their heads; not a word was uttered
after this turn of the Red philosopher's logic. Hohay left the teepee,
and the others followed him in silence.



Glossary of Indian Words and Phrases


an-pay´-tu lay wo´-yu-tay wa´-tin-kta mē-che´-chă u´-yay
yō, bring me food to-day.

chăn-dee´ ō´-tă, plenty of tobacco.

Chă´-pa, the beaver.

Chă´-pă-wee, the female beaver.

Chăp-chin´-chă, the young beaver.

ē-nă´-kă-nee, hurry.

e-yă´-yă lō, he ran away, he is gone.

ē-yu´-hă nă-hon´ pō, hear ye all.

glē-chu´, come down.

hăn´-tă, look out.

Hă´-yă Tănk-ă, Big Mountain.

Hay´-kinsh-kah, the spoonhorn or bighorn.

hĕ´-chĕ-tu, it is well.

Hĕ-hă´-kă, the elk.

hĕ-hĕ-hĕ, an exclamation of distress.

hē´-nă-kă, wait.

Hē-tunk´-ă-lă, the mouse.

hē-yu´ yō, come here.

Hē-zee´, Yellow Teeth--a nickname.

hī, hī, an exclamation of thanks.

Hĭn-hăn´, the owl.

Hĭn´-pō-hă, Curly Hair--nickname for yearling buffalo
cow.

Hĭn-tō´-lă, Blue Hair.

hō, yes--denotes approval, or a salutation.

Hō´-hay, Assiniboine.

Hoo´-tay, Claws or Stubby Claws--nickname for a bear.

Hoo´-yah, the female eagle.

ho-yă´, run of fish.

hō-yay, come on, let us do it.

hu´-kă-hay´, come on.

hŭn-hŭn-hay´, an exclamation of surprise.

Ig-mu´-tănk-ă, the puma.

Ig-tin´, Long Whiskers--a nickname for a puma.

ĭn ah´-jin, stop or stand still.

Kăm-dō´-kă, Slaps the Water--nickname for a beaver.

Kăn-gee´, the raven.

Kă-tō´-lă, Knocks.

kō-lă, or koda, friend.

koo´-wah yay yō, come here.

Mă-kē´-zē-tă, Smoking Earth--name of a river.

Măn´-ĭ-too, the wolf--abbreviation of shunk-man´-i-too.

Mă-tō´, the bear.

Mă-tō´-skă, White Bear.

mă-yă´-lă, a steep place.

mă-yă´-skă, white cliff.

Min-ne-tonk´-ă, Great Water--name of a lake.

Ō-pă´-gē-lă, Fills the Pipe.

Pă-dă´-nee, Pawnee.

Pēz-pēz´-ă, the prairie-dog.

Pēz-pēz´-ă tă ā´-yăn-pă´-hă-lă, the prairie-dog's herald
(the owl).

Ptay-săn´-wee, White Cow.

Sē´-chăn-gu, Burnt Thighs--nickname of a band of Sioux.

Shă-ē´-yĕ-lă, Cheyenne.

Shē-yă´-kă, the diver.

Shun-gē´-lă, the fox.

Shun-gē´-lă pă-hah´, Fox Ridge.

Shunk-măn´-ĭ-too, the wolf.

Shunk-tō´-kĕ-chah, the wolf.

Sink-pay´, the musk-rat.

Sin-tāy, Tail--a nickname.

Sin-tay´-hă-dah, Rattle Tail, the rattlesnake.

Sin-tay´-ksă, Bob-tail--a nickname.

tă-chin´-chăn-ă, fawn or lamb.

Tă-dō´-tă, Plenty of Meat.

Tăk´-chă, the deer.

tă-kō´-jă, grandchild.

Tă-tănk´-a, the bull.

Tă-wă´-hink-pay-ō´-tă, Many Arrows.

tee´-pee, lodge.

Tē-ō´-lă, Wounded in the Lodge.

tē-yō´-tee-pee, council-lodge.

tōsh, certainly, of course.

tu-lă´, an exclamation of satisfaction.

tun-kă´-shē-lă, grandfather.

Un-spĕ´-shnee, Don't Know How.

U-păn´-ō-koo-tay, Elk Point; the place where elk are shot.

Wă-coo´-tay, Shoots.

Wă-dē´-tă-kă, Brave.

Wăk-pă´-ē-păk-shăn, Bend of the River.

Wăk-pă´-lă shē´-chă, Bad River.

Wăm-be-lee´, the eagle.

Wăsh-ă´-kă, strong.

Wăsh-tay´, good.

Wă-su´-lă, Little Hail.

Wă-zee´-yah, the god of cold or winter; the north.

Wē-chah´, the raccoon.

Wē-chah´-tă-wee´, February--the coon's month.

Wē´-tă-ō´-tă, Lake of Many Islands.

woo, woo, a war-whoop.

wō´-pă-tă, place of killing or dressing game.

Zē-chah´, the squirrel.

Zu´-yă, warrior.


THE END


       *       *       *       *       *
Transcriber's Notes: (Cont'd)

4. Minor punctuation and hyphenation inconsistencies have been corrected
   without comment.

5. Typographical corrections:

   p. 75, "Wazeeyah" to "Wazeyah" (3) (Wazeyah, the god of storm)
   p. 205, "Tawahinkpeota" to "Tawahinkpayota" (4) (Tawahinkpayota
           came forth).

6. Word variations:

   "bobtailed" (1) and "bob-tailed" (1)
   "Hun, hun, hay!" (2) and "Hun-hun-hay!" (1)
   "mountain lion" (1) and "mountain-lion" (1)

7. Frontispiece Illustration facing the Title Page has been relocated to
   directly below the Title Page.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Red Hunters And the Animal People" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home