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´╗┐Title: Spotted Deer
Author: Gregor, Elmer Russell, 1878-
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 "Spotted Deer" ***

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



                              SPOTTED DEER

                         BY ELMER RUSSELL GREGOR

AUTHOR OF "THE WHITE WOLF," "THE WAR TRAIL," "RUNNING FOX," ETC.


    D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
    NEW YORK, 1924, LONDON

    COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY
    D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

    PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.



[Illustration: "PERHAPS SOME SHAWNEES ARE HIDING OVER THERE."]



CONTENTS


I. THE CRY OF THE LOON

II. A NIGHT OF ANXIETY

III. CAPTURED

IV. A WILY CAPTIVE

V. THE SHAWNEE CAMP

VI. A TRYING ORDEAL

VII. THE MYSTERY WOMAN

VIII. THE ALARM

IX. AWAY ON THE SEARCH

X. THE ABANDONED CANOE

XI. A COUNCIL OF WAR

XII. ON THE TRAIL

XIII. A STRANGE ALLY

XIV. WAITING AND WATCHING

XV. AN EASY VICTORY

XVI. A DARING RUSE

XVII. SPOTTED DEER OBTAINS HIS FREEDOM

XVIII. SHAWNEE TREACHERY

XIX. SURROUNDED

XX. A TIMELY RESCUE



SPOTTED DEER



CHAPTER I

THE CRY OF THE LOON


Spotted Deer was returning to the Delaware village from a hunting
expedition. He was in high spirits for he had been most successful. His
canoe contained the carcass of a fat young buck, a brace of geese and
several grouse. Spotted Deer sang softly to himself. It was a simple
song of thanks to Getanittowit, the Great One.

    Listen, Getanittowit, I am singing about you.
    Getanittowit has filled my canoe with meat.
    Getanittowit has made me a great hunter.
    O Getanittowit, I feel good about it.

It was a glorious day in early autumn. The soft balmy air was perfumed
with the invigorating fragrance of the pines. The water sparkled in the
sunshine. A smoky blue haze hung between the hills. The forest blazed
with color. Spotted Deer looked about him with delight. A red-tail hawk
circled slowly above his head. A woodpecker drummed its challenge upon a
dead pine. Spotted Deer smiled at the sound as he recalled an occasion
when his friend Running Fox had used it as a signal to fool his foes.
Lost in reverie, Spotted Deer ceased paddling to watch the great black
and white woodpecker hammering noisily on a bleached limb of the pine.
Having found no evidence of foes in the Delaware hunting grounds, the
young warrior felt secure.

"Hi, Papaches, you are making a big noise up there," he laughed, as he
shook his bow at the bird.

The next moment he grew silent and alert. The call of Quiquingus, the
loon, sounded somewhere behind him. Spotted Deer looked anxiously up the
river. There was something about the call which made him suspicious. He
searched the water with great care, but saw nothing of the loon. He
became uneasy. Several disturbing questions rose in his mind. Was the
call false? Was it a signal from his foes? Had he been discovered?

The latter possibility was alarming as he was more than a day's journey
from the Delaware camp. Spotted Deer was undecided as to just what he
should do. Many moments passed while he watched anxiously for the loon.
The woodpecker had flown. The forest was silent. Spotted Deer hoped that
the cry would be repeated. When he failed to hear it, his suspicions
grew stronger. He wondered if some sharp-eyed scout were watching from
the edge of the forest. The thought made him cautious. He paddled into
the center of the river, where he was a long bow-shot from either shore.
Then for a long time he waited and watched. However, as he neither saw
nor heard anything further of the loon, he finally determined to
continue on his way.

Spotted Deer had gone only a short distance when the call was repeated.
Stopping his canoe, he again searched the water. The mysterious cry
seemed to have come from somewhere along the west shore of the
river--the side on which he had seen the woodpecker. Spotted Deer
examined the shadows with infinite care, but his efforts were futile.
The loon was nowhere in sight. His failure to discover it, and the
significant fact that the call had been repeated when he started down
the river, increased his uneasiness. He was almost convinced that the
cry was counterfeit. Still he wished to be sure. He waited some time,
watching for the conspicuous white breast of Quiquingus, the Laugher.

"It is not Quiquingus," he declared, at last.

Having decided that the call was an imitation, Spotted Deer wondered why
the one who had made it had risked disclosing his hiding place. In a
moment the truth flashed through his mind. He believed the call had been
a signal to announce his approach to some one farther down the river.
The thought caused him grave concern. He feared that he had blundered
into a perilous predicament.

"I must watch out," Spotted Deer murmured, uneasily.

He permitted the canoe to drift slowly with the water while he meditated
upon a plan of action. Feeling quite certain that he had encountered a
company of his foes, his chief concern was to learn if they had canoes.
In that event, he believed he would be in considerable peril. If,
however, his enemies were hunting through the woods on foot, he believed
there was little to fear while he kept to the middle of the river.

"I will go ahead," he said.

The sun had disappeared. Twilight had fallen upon the woods. Long black
shadows swept over the water. The day was far spent. Spotted Deer
watched closely along the edge of the timber. He knew that it would be
easy to blunder past a canoe concealed in the shadows near the shore.
Several times he was deceived by half-submerged trunks of fallen trees
which in the baffling twilight resembled canoes. Then, as he paddled
slowly around an abrupt turn in the river, he suddenly discovered two
canoes crossing directly ahead of him. Each canoe contained two
paddlers. They were a considerable distance away, but as Spotted Deer
was exposed in the center of the river he had little doubt that he had
been seen. The actions of the distant canoemen confirmed his fears. They
had ceased paddling and were looking steadily toward him. In the
meantime the Delaware had turned his canoe into a stretch of quiet water
to avoid drifting toward the strangers. They showed no inclination to
approach, and soon disappeared into the shadows along the west side of
the river.

Spotted Deer suspected a trap. He feared that other canoemen were
concealed along the opposite side of the river. Under those
circumstances it seemed folly to venture ahead before darkness came to
shield him. Then he suddenly realized that it might be equally dangerous
to loiter. He believed that other foes were somewhere behind him, and he
feared that they had canoes. In that event they might sweep around the
river at any moment and he would find himself trapped between his
enemies. The thought was alarming. It roused him to action. He turned
about and paddled slowly up the river. Keeping well within the shadows
from the forest, he soon passed around the turn which hid him from his
foes. At that moment the melancholy wail of Gokhos, the owl, sounded
behind him. He knew at once that it was a signal from the canoemen.

"I am in danger," Spotted Deer said, softly.

He feared that the warriors whom he had discovered would follow him, and
that other foes might come down the river in response to the signal.
Aware of his peril, Spotted Deer ceased paddling and stared anxiously
into the shadows. The sunset glow had faded from the sky. The forest was
dark. Night was closing down. However, a narrow trail of daylight still
lingered in the middle of the river. Spotted Deer looked upon it with
misgiving. It was a barrier which he feared to cross.

Then he again heard the cry of Gokhos, the owl. It still came from down
the river, and seemed no nearer than it was before. Spotted Deer was
perplexed. Had the canoemen failed to follow him? It seemed most
unlikely. He became suspicious. Perhaps his foes were attempting some
clever stratagem to quiet his fears. He wondered if the call had been
sounded to mislead him into believing himself free from pursuit while
his enemies approached cautiously through the shadows. He watched
closely. He wondered why the signals brought no response. What had
become of the concealed scout who had imitated the cry of the loon?
Spotted Deer began to think. Had he been deceived? Had Quiquingus
himself uttered that cry? Spotted Deer scoffed at the idea. He felt sure
that he would have discovered the bird if it had been anywhere within
sight.

"No, no, it was not Quiquingus," he declared, emphatically.

A moment afterward he heard the call of Gokhos repeated farther up the
river. His suspicions were confirmed. He realized that he was between
his foes.

"Quiquingus has changed to Gokhos," he said, soberly. "I must be
cautious."



CHAPTER II

A NIGHT OF ANXIETY


As the signals were not repeated, Spotted Deer feared that his foes were
approaching each other with the hope of trapping him between them. He
realized that he must act quickly. For a moment only he studied his
predicament. If he attempted to dash down the river, the odds were
against him. He felt certain that there were two of his foes in each
canoe, and he also knew that the weight of the game in his own canoe
would be a serious handicap to his speed. It seemed folly, therefore, to
attempt an open race for safety. Still, he knew that if he remained upon
the water there would be little chance of avoiding his foes. There
seemed but one thing to do, and that was to hide in the woods until the
canoemen passed. He resolved to try the ruse.

Night had fallen, and forest and river were cloaked in darkness. Aware
that his foes might have come within bow-shot, Spotted Deer realized
that each moment was precious. Turning toward the shore he maneuvered
the canoe with rare skill. It glided forward as easily and silently as a
drifting leaf until Spotted Deer stopped it at the edge of the bushes.
He tested the depth of the water with his paddle. It was shallow. He
waited a moment or so, listening for a warning of danger. All was still.
Feeling secure, Spotted Deer stepped from the canoe and waded toward the
shore. As he left the water, he again stopped to listen. He heard a
splash a short distance below him. His heart beat wildly. He believed
that his foes were close at hand. There seemed little chance of
concealing the canoe before they found him. He listened in breathless
suspense. In a few moments he heard another splash. This time it gave
him relief. He had recognized it as the signal of Amoch, the beaver,
slapping the water with his great broad tail.

"Amoch," Spotted Deer murmured, softly.

He moved cautiously along the edge of the woods until he found an
opening in the undergrowth. Then he drew the bow of the canoe from the
water. Stooping, he seized the fore legs of the buck and dragged it from
the canoe. It was a difficult task as the deer was heavy and Spotted
Deer feared to make a sound. When the buck was safely on the ground, he
drew the canoe into the bushes. Then he crouched behind it to watch and
listen for the approach of his foes.

If his enemies passed, Spotted Deer planned to launch his canoe and slip
noiselessly down the river. However, he disliked to abandon the deer. It
seemed like presenting it to his foes. The idea irritated him. For an
instant he determined to take it. Then he suddenly realized the folly of
placing himself at a disadvantage.

"Perhaps they will not find it," he told himself, comfortingly.

At that moment he heard a low, indistinct sound on the water. He
listened. Long, anxious moments passed. The silence was unbroken.
Spotted Deer wondered if he had been deceived. He waited in trying
suspense to learn if his fears were real.

"There is no one there," he said, finally.

Then the call of Gokhos, the owl, sounded directly before his hiding
place. It was low, and soft, and querulous, and he realized why it had
seemed so far away when he heard it before. He listened anxiously for
the sound of voices, but the signal was followed by silence. Spotted
Deer watched eagerly for the canoe, but it was hidden in the darkness.
He wondered if it had passed. He listened for the slightest clew, but
heard nothing which would tell him what he wished to know. He waited
impatiently for an answer to the call. Many moments passed before he
heard it. At last it echoed weirdly across the water. Spotted Deer tried
to locate it. He decided that it came from the north. It convinced him
that his foes were searching along both sides of the river.

Spotted Deer tried to guess the identity of the mysterious canoemen. He
believed that they were Mohawks. The thought filled him with alarm. It
suggested disturbing possibilities. They might be scouts moving down the
river to spy upon the Delaware camp. Perhaps a war party was following
close behind them. The idea filled him with gloom. He knew that the
unsuspecting Delawares were totally unprepared for an attack, and he
feared to think what might happen if a strong force of Mohawks should
suddenly appear before the village. The possibility roused him. His
heart filled with a reckless resolve to help his people. He determined
to ignore his own peril, and slip away to warn the Delawares.

"Yes, yes, I must go," Spotted Deer told himself.

He listened for further sounds from his foes. As he heard nothing to
arouse his suspicions he determined to begin his perilous journey down
the river. Aware that the slightest sound might betray him, he drew the
canoe toward the water with infinite care. After he had gone a
bow-length he stopped to listen. All was quiet. Spotted Deer felt
encouraged. Slowly, carefully, a bow-length at a time, he dragged the
canoe to the river. When he reached the water he stopped and stared
anxiously into the night. Then he stepped into the canoe, and pushed it
from the shore.

Once afloat, Spotted Deer believed that he would be safer in the center
of the river. The signals had sounded near the shore, and he felt sure
that his enemies would expect to find him hiding in the heavy shadows
from the forest. The entire river was shrouded in darkness, and Spotted
Deer was unable to see more than a bow-length beyond his canoe. He
paddled slowly, moving his paddle through the water to avoid making the
slightest sound. Realizing that at any moment he might collide with his
foes, he was alert and ready for an emergency.

Spotted Deer had gone several arrow flights when he suddenly heard
voices. They were close by. He stopped his canoe, and attempted to
locate the sounds. The talk had ceased. Spotted Deer wondered if his
foes were as near as they had seemed. He knew that voices might be heard
a long distance over water, and he realized that the sounds might have
come from near the shore. He determined to make sure. His canoe drifted
slowly with the water. He made no effort to stop it. It was an easy and
noiseless way of slipping down he river.

In a few moments Spotted Deer again caught the low, ominous murmur of
subdued voices. This time he located the sounds. They seemed to be
directly ahead of him. The discovery alarmed him. He stopped his canoe
and turned abruptly from his course. Having performed the maneuver
without a sound, Spotted Deer hoped to pass safely by his foes. He had
taken only a few paddle strokes, however, when he discovered a long,
black object squarely in his path. There was no time to turn. Throwing
all his strength into a quick deep stroke of his paddle, Spotted Deer
crashed bow foremost against the side of a canoe. It immediately
capsized and spilled its astounded occupants into the river. By the time
they rose from beneath the water, the wily young Delaware had
disappeared into the night.

Spotted Deer paddled furiously down the middle of the river. His eyes
twinkled merrily as he heard the angry shouts of the men in the water.
They were calling wildly to their companions. Spotted Deer grew serious
when he heard their appeals answered from various parts of the river. He
suddenly realized that he had encountered a strong force of his enemies.
However, having successfully eluded them he was hopeful of getting away.

Then he heard the long, piercing shriek of Nianque, the lynx, some
distance farther down the river. The cry had sounded perfectly natural,
and still, under the circumstances, he mistrusted it. He ceased paddling
and listened suspiciously. Precious moments passed. The call was not
repeated. The cries and signals from his foes had stopped. An ominous
hush had settled upon the forest. Spotted Deer feared it. He believed
that the lynx cry had carried a warning.

"It is bad," he whispered.

Fearing to loiter, he moved cautiously down the river. He wondered if
crafty scouts were waiting to intercept him. Could he escape them? The
possibility of another collision with his mysterious foes tried his
courage. Still, he believed that his safest plan was to continue on his
way. Night was his ally, and he hoped to pass safely in the darkness. He
felt quite sure that his foes were close behind him. He feared that they
would soon overtake him. The thought made him reckless. He resolved to
continue down the river.

Spotted Deer paddled desperately to keep ahead of his pursuers. He
believed that they would separate and again attempt to trap him between
them. The thought made him wary. He determined to keep in the center of
the river, as he feared that his foes were on both sides of him. His one
chance seemed to be to go ahead. He realized that even that course might
bring him into contact with some lurking foe. The mysterious lynx cry
still lingered in his mind. It depressed him. If it had been a signal,
he felt almost certain that he would find his enemies waiting for him
farther down the river.

It was not long before Spotted Deer saw his suspicions confirmed. He was
astounded to see the river ahead of him brightly illuminated. On each
shore a great fire was blazing fiercely at the edge of the water. The
light from the flames spread far out over the river. Spotted Deer
realized that it would be impossible to pass without being seen. His
heart filled with despair. He appeared to have run into a trap. There
seemed to be slight chance of escape. He paddled wildly toward the
shore. Sheltered by the darkness, he hoped to elude the foes who had
pursued him down the river. He was within bow-shot of the woods when he
heard the careless splash of a paddle close behind him. Aware that he
had been discovered, Spotted Deer made frantic efforts to reach the
shore. An arrow hummed threateningly above his head. A moment afterward
he heard another arrow strike the water within bow-length of his canoe.
He glanced uneasily over his shoulder. A grim, black shape swept out of
the night. Then his canoe crashed against the shore. A piercing yell
rang across the water. Seizing his weapons, Spotted Deer jumped from the
canoe, and dashed into the woods.



CHAPTER III

CAPTURED


Having gained the forest in safety, Spotted Deer stopped for a moment to
listen. He heard signals passing along the river. Then a twig snapped
close beside him. He turned in alarm. At that instant some one sprang
upon him and bore him to the ground. He struggled desperately, but the
shouts of his unknown assailant soon brought assistance, and the young
Delaware was speedily overcome. His arms were twisted behind him and
securely bound, and then he was pulled to his feet and led toward the
river.

Spotted Deer was bewildered by the suddenness of the attack. It was some
moments before he fully realized what had happened. His first thought
was to identify his captors. It was difficult to recognize them in the
darkness. He listened closely to catch their talk. Having been a captive
in the Mohawk camp, he was familiar with the Mohawk dialect. These
mysterious strangers, however, spoke a different tongue. It was evident
that they were not Mohawks. Spotted Deer was astounded by the discovery.
Into whose hands had he fallen? He quickly guessed.

"Shawnees," he murmured.

When they reached the river, Spotted Deer was led to a canoe. He seated
himself without protest. It seemed folly to resist. There were three
canoes along the shore. One belonged to Spotted Deer. Two stalwart
paddlers entered the canoe with the Delaware. The warrior who seated
himself in the stern placed his bow and several arrows close beside him.
It was a significant warning which Spotted Deer understood. He saw
several figures moving about at the edge of the water. It was impossible
to count them. Then the canoe was pushed from shore, and Spotted Deer
wondered what fate awaited him. He had little hope.

As the Shawnees paddled swiftly toward the middle of the river, they
raised a piercing cry that echoed threateningly through the night, and
filled the Delaware with gloomy premonitions. It had barely died away
before it was answered from various parts of the river. Then the cry of
Nianque, the lynx, again sounded through the darkness. A wild chorus of
shouts immediately rose in reply. Spotted Deer looked down the river.
The fires were still burning fiercely. He saw several figures moving
about in the glow. He believed they were waiting for the canoes.

The Shawnees met in the center of the river. Spotted Deer counted four
canoes. Each held two paddlers. Two canoes were brought alongside of the
one in which he sat, and the Shawnees peered curiously at him. He had
little doubt that they were the warriors whom he had encountered farther
up the river. They exchanged a few words with his guards, but as Spotted
Deer was unfamiliar with the Shawnee dialect he could not understand
them. Then the canoes were turned toward the fire on the west shore of
the river.

As they moved slowly down the river the Shawnees began to sing. Spotted
Deer felt sure it was a boastful recital of their recent exploit. Then,
as they drew nearer the fire, he saw a canoe crossing from the east side
of the river. It, too, held two paddlers. They apparently were eager to
be present when the captive was brought in, for they were paddling at
top speed.

When the canoes entered the illuminated stretch of water, Spotted Deer
found an opportunity to study his foes. He examined the warrior in the
stern of the canoe. Although apparently of middle age he appeared
vigorous and active, and his deep chest and wide, sloping shoulders
denoted endurance and strength. His face was stern and sullen, and his
eyes flashed threateningly into the steady, unflinching eyes of his
captive. There was earth on his leggings and a long red scratch down his
arm, and Spotted Deer believed he was the one with whom he had fought.
There was something about him that suggested power, and the Delaware
felt sure that he was a leader.

In the meantime the other canoes had come nearer, and Spotted Deer saw
the paddlers at close range. There were six. Four were young men, and
the others were mature warriors who seemed about the age of the Shawnee
who faced him in the canoe. While Spotted Deer was examining his foes,
they were equally occupied in staring at him. There were two in
particular who glared fiercely into his face, and threatened him. He had
little doubt that they were the warriors whom he had thrown into the
river. As Spotted Deer turned his head, one of them struck him with the
paddle. They laughed derisively as the enraged Delaware faced them with
flashing eyes. Angered by Spotted Deer's boldness, the Shawnee again
raised his paddle, but the warrior in the stern of the canoe spoke
sharply and the blow was withheld.

A few moments later the canoes reached the shore. Four Shawnees awaited
them. As the warrior stepped from the bow of the canoe the other Shawnee
motioned for Spotted Deer to follow him. The Delaware was immediately
surrounded by his foes. They crowded closely about him, jeering and
threatening, and scowling fiercely into his face. Spotted Deer showed no
fear. He faced them with a calm courage that compelled respect. The
Shawnees quickly realized that their youthful prisoner was a bold and
seasoned warrior.

The older of the two warriors who had shared the canoe with Spotted Deer
seemed to be in authority. He appeared to be the leader of the company.
He confronted Spotted Deer and studied him with great care. The others
watched in silence. Spotted Deer took equal pains to examine his foe.
Thus for some moments captor and captive stared at each other. They
offered a striking contrast--the Shawnee stalwart and mature, a seasoned
veteran of the war trail; the Delaware agile and youthful, and equally
familiar with the privations and perils of the warrior. The same
indomitable courage flashed in the eyes of both. Each saw it and
realized its significance. Spotted Deer read cruelty and hatred in the
glance of his captor. The Shawnee saw fearlessness and defiance in the
eyes of his captive.

At last the Shawnee turned and addressed his companions. His tone was
sarcastic as he pointed toward the Delaware, and the Shawnees laughed
mockingly. Spotted Deer felt the hot fighting blood surge to his brain.
He was filled with sudden and intense hatred for this haughty foe who
seemed to regard him with contempt. However, the wily young warrior was
far too crafty to betray his feelings. Aware that the Shawnees would be
quick to read the slightest trace of emotion, he feigned a stolid
indifference that baffled them.

Spotted Deer was led nearer the fire, and ordered by signs to seat
himself upon the ground. Two Shawnees sat beside him. They held
tomahawks and made it plain that they were eager for an opportunity to
use them. The rest of the company stood a short distance off, staring at
the fire. The leader seemed annoyed. Spotted Deer believed he was
impatient with the men who had illuminated the river. At his command two
of his companions hastened into the woods. In a few moments they
returned carrying long saplings with which they scattered the blazing
logs and rolled them into the water.

When the fire had been destroyed, the Shawnees carried a number of
embers into the woods, and made a small fire behind the shelter of a
large rock. The blaze on the opposite side of the river was left to burn
out. Spotted Deer believed it was a clever maneuver to deceive any
enemies who might happen to be in the vicinity.

The night was well advanced, and the Shawnees made preparations to
sleep. Spotted Deer watched them with interest. He wondered what they
would do with him. For the moment, at least, there seemed little chance
of escape, and still he realized that an unexpected opportunity might
offer itself. His hope was destroyed when two of his foes came forward
and bound his feet. Then the Shawnees gathered about him, and lay down
to sleep.

Spotted Deer was helpless and miserable. The Shawnees had taken his
robe, and he suffered from the cold. The rawhide thongs with which he
was bound cut into his wrists and ankles, and interfered with
circulation. It was impossible to sleep. He stared gloomily at a star
that twinkled through an opening in the dense black canopy of tree tops.
His lips moved silently in a petition to Getanittowit, the Great One.

Spotted Deer lay motionless until he felt sure that the Shawnees were
asleep. Then he strained to loosen the thongs about his wrists. The
effort only increased his agony. He waited a few moments; and then he
tried to move his feet. The attempt was equally futile. He had been
cruelly and skillfully bound, and he realized that it was folly to
attempt to free himself.

Aware that only daylight might bring relief, Spotted Deer longed for the
night to pass. Each moment increased his suffering, but he bore it with
the stolid fortitude which he had inherited from his people, and fixed
his thoughts upon the Shawnees. There were twelve in the party and he
believed that they were hunters. The thought gave him comfort. His fears
for his people subsided. He believed that they were in little peril from
the small company of Shawnees. In fact he was greatly astounded at their
boldness in venturing so far into the Delaware hunting grounds. He was
also perplexed to explain the canoes. The Shawnees lived along another
large river a number of days' travel to the westward, and Spotted Deer
could scarcely believe that they had carried the canoes through the
wilderness. They were usually encountered hunting through the woods on
foot whenever they ventured into Delaware territory. Spotted Deer
thought about it for some time. Then an interesting possibility suddenly
entered his mind. He believed that the Shawnees had come from the north,
and it was possible that they had taken the canoes from the Mohawks. In
that event he had little doubt that they would either destroy them or
carry them to the Shawnee camp as trophies. Then another possibility
suggested itself. Perhaps the crafty Shawnees would leave the canoes
along the river to deceive the Delawares into believing that their hated
foes, the Mohawks, had invaded the Delaware hunting grounds. The thought
disturbed him. He feared that the stratagem might confuse his friends,
and lead them on a false trail.

At that moment his thoughts were diverted by the barking of a fox on the
opposite side of the river. Spotted Deer listened closely. He wondered
if it was a signal. Had Delaware hunters discovered the fires? His heart
bounded at the thought. The Shawnees had awakened. Spotted Deer heard
them talking. He turned his head, and saw the warriors beside him
sitting erect. They, too, apparently were listening. The silence
continued some time. Then the quick, husky yaps of the fox again sounded
across the river. The Shawnees were silent. Spotted Deer felt that they
were watching him. He lay motionless.

After the call had ceased, Spotted Deer heard some one passing in the
darkness. He believed that scouts had gone to the river to watch. He
feared that they might discover a company of Delawares. In that event he
had little hope for his life. He felt sure the Shawnees would kill him
as a precaution against being betrayed into the hands of their foes. He
waited in trying suspense to learn the outcome of the reconnaissance.

It seemed a very long time before Spotted Deer finally heard sounds
which led him to suspect that the scouts had returned. He believed they
had learned something important. The Shawnees were talking excitedly. In
a few moments they drew close about him. He wondered if they had
discovered his people, and intended to kill him. For an instant he had a
reckless impulse to cry out and betray them. At that moment, however,
one of the Shawnees stooped and released Spotted Deer's ankles. The
Delaware took hope. He decided to remain silent. Then he was lifted to
his feet. For a moment he was unable to stand. A sharp command from the
leader of the company roused him to the effort. A moment afterward he
was led away toward the west.



CHAPTER IV

A WILY CAPTIVE


The Shawnees moved through the woods in silence. They had abandoned the
canoes. Spotted Deer felt certain that they had been alarmed, and were
making a stealthy retreat under cover of the night. He wondered if the
Delawares had discovered them. The possibility excited him. He began to
form reckless plans for escaping if his people should overtake the
Shawnees.

Then he suddenly realized that it might have been the Mohawks who had
been discovered along the river. In that event he believed he was in
equal peril with his captors. Once overtaken by those fierce foes from
the north, Spotted Deer feared that the little company would be speedily
annihilated. For him, however, death would be preferable to falling into
the hands of the Mohawks. Having escaped from their village, with his
friend Running Fox who had carried away a priceless medicine trophy, and
then killed their famous chief, Standing Wolf, Spotted Deer knew only
too well the punishment that would be inflicted upon him. If, therefore,
the Mohawks were on the trail of the Shawnees he was as eager as his
captors to elude them.

Spotted Deer traveled through the woods with great discomfort. Unable to
use his arms, he was powerless to protect himself from contact with tree
trunks and undergrowth. A guard led him through the darkness, but made
no attempt to save him from the stinging blows from branches which were
released by the warriors in advance. Several times Spotted Deer barely
escaped having his eyes destroyed. Once he stumbled over a log and fell
headlong into the undergrowth. His guard seized the opportunity to
attack him. Regaining his feet the hot-tempered young Delaware turned
savagely upon his foe, but the Shawnee swept his hand to his
knife-sheath and Spotted Deer realized the folly of resistance. At that
instant he recognized his assailant as the leader of the company. The
discovery increased his hatred for that arrogant foe.

At daylight the Shawnees halted beside a stream. Spotted Deer counted
them. There were only eight. He believed that the missing warriors had
remained behind to watch their foes. He wondered if their comrades had
stopped to wait for them. He finally decided that they expected the
scouts to overtake them at that spot.

As the Shawnees loitered beside the stream, they produced rations of
dried meat, and ate heartily. One of the warriors beside him held a bone
before Spotted Deer, and laughed contemptuously. The Delaware ignored
the taunt. He realized that a display of temper would only invite
further affronts. The Shawnees were keeping a sharp watch upon him.
Despite his helplessness they seemed to be suspicious and fearful that
he might attempt to escape. Spotted Deer had hoped that, when darkness
passed, they might free his arms, but they showed no intention of
releasing him. He suffered intensely, but gave no sign. His agony was
forgotten as he fixed his mind on plans for escape.

Then, as he sat watching his captors, he suddenly heard the notes of
Gulukochsun, the wild turkey. The experienced young hunter instantly
recognized the call as a counterfeit. He realized at once that it was a
signal. The Shawnees showed interest. They listened in silence until the
call was repeated. Then two warriors disappeared into the woods. Spotted
Deer believed they had gone to meet the scouts from the river. It was
not long before the latter appeared. There were two. Four warriors still
were missing.

The scouts were engaged in conversation with the leader of the company.
The Shawnees gathered about them to listen. One, however, remained
beside the Delaware. His captors seemed determined to take every
precaution against his escape. Spotted Deer would have given much to
know what they were saying. His guard seemed equally curious. They
talked in low tones, however, and the Shawnee appeared unable to catch
their words. His face betrayed his impatience. He evidently disliked the
task to which he had been assigned. He began to grumble threateningly at
Spotted Deer. The latter treated him with scornful indifference.

Spotted Deer felt certain that the scouts had brought word of
considerable importance. The Shawnees gave unmistakable evidence of it.
They were talking soberly and shaking their heads. Spotted Deer
continued to watch them. He believed that enemies had been discovered
along the river. "Were they Delawares or Mohawks?" The question caused
him great suspense. If the Shawnees had stolen Mohawk canoes and left
them at the river, he feared that his people would be deceived. In that
event there seemed little hope for him. Having experienced the
discomforts and perils of captivity in the Mohawk camp, Spotted Deer
feared that similar trials awaited him at the Shawnee village. For a
moment the idea shook his nerve. Then he drove it from his mind with the
assurance that his people would come to his aid in time to save him.

In the meantime the Shawnees had ceased talking, and appeared ready to
resume their journey. They showed no great haste, however, and Spotted
Deer believed they had little fear of being overtaken. Their
indifference made him doubt that they had encountered the Delawares. He
was certain that the latter would never permit them to withdraw without
a fight. It seemed probable, therefore, that the Mohawks had come down
the river to recover the canoes. For a moment the thought filled him
with fear for the safety of his people. Then he realized that a small
force of Mohawk scouts would be unlikely to loiter near the stronghold
of their foes. Spotted Deer believed that once in possession of their
canoes they would lose little time in withdrawing from the Delaware
hunting grounds.

As the Shawnees were crossing the stream the call of the wild gobbler
again echoed through the woods. One of the scouts immediately replied.
Then the Shawnees waited. In a few moments four warriors appeared. The
company was now complete, and the leader gave the word to advance.
Spotted Deer was placed between two warriors near the head of the party.
He suffered greatly, for his arms were cramped and numb, and the rawhide
had cut far into his swollen wrists. Pride, however, enabled him to
conceal his agony from his foes.

Toward the end of the day the Shawnees stopped at a spring in the bottom
of a wooded ravine. It was evident that they planned to remain there for
the night. Spotted Deer grew weak at heart as he thought of the long
hours of agony before him. It was gradually sapping his strength. His
one fear was that he might collapse. The thought enraged him. He would
rather die than appear weak before his foes.

Just before dark, however, the Shawnee leader freed the wrists of his
captive. Then he offered him a generous portion of dried meat. Spotted
Deer was unable to take it. His arms were powerless. The Shawnee laughed
cruelly at the plight of his foe. He threw the meat upon the ground, and
walked away. Spotted Deer turned his back upon it. Then for some time he
was unmolested.

It was not long, however, before the Shawnees again bound his arms and
feet. This time they drew the rawhide even tighter than before in the
hope of forcing an appeal from the courageous young captive. Spotted
Deer remained silent. Only the threatening flash of his eyes gave
warning of the fierce emotions raging in his heart. When his foes had
rendered him powerless, he faced the Shawnee leader and laughed
scornfully.

As the Shawnees failed to make a fire, Spotted Deer believed that they
feared pursuit. The thought kept him alert. He determined to be ready if
his tribesmen should attempt to rescue him. When he was finally forced
to lie down in the midst of his foes, he endured his discomfort with a
calm fortitude that astonished them. The night was cold and frosty, and
a piercing north wind swept through the ravine. The Shawnees wriggled
far down into their robes. Spotted Deer, however, was without shelter.
The cold soon overcame him. Violent chills swept through him. Sharp,
darting pains passed along his limbs. It seemed as if his arms were
being twisted from his body. Each moment intensified his agony. There
was no way to obtain relief. The night seemed endless. He prayed to
Getanittowit to send daylight.

Then Spotted Deer heard something which roused him from his misery.
Soft, stealthy footfalls sounded close at hand. He raised himself to
listen. At that moment an arm was thrown about his neck, and he was
dragged to the ground. A hand was clapped across his mouth, and he felt
a knee against his chest. Completely bewildered, Spotted Deer wondered
what had happened. He heard the Shawnees whispering excitedly. He
believed that they had been overtaken by their enemies, and feared that
he would betray them. Had the Delawares come? Spotted Deer listened for
the familiar war cry. He feared that it might be the signal for his
death. The Shawnees had become silent. They were listening and watching
to interpret the peril which seemed to threaten them. Many moments
passed. The footfalls had ceased. Spotted Deer wondered if the Delawares
were preparing to rush upon their foes. Then he realized that it might
be the Mohawks. The possibility filled him with alarm. He was not afraid
to die, but he weakened at the thought of falling into their hands.

A moment afterward the suspense was ended. A loud, startled snort
sounded through the darkness, and then something bounded away through
the undergrowth. The Delaware and the Shawnees both understood. It was
Achtu, the deer. The Shawnees laughed nervously. The warrior removed
himself from Spotted Deer. There was no longer need for caution. The
crisis had passed.

At daylight the Shawnees freed Spotted Deer from his bonds. They gave
unmistakable warning that an attempt to escape would end in death. The
Delaware, however, was too miserable to make the effort. It was a long
time before he could use either his arms or his legs. When he had
somewhat recovered, the Shawnees gave him meat. He ate it, for he was
weak and hungry. Besides, he wished to prolong the interval of freedom.
Meanwhile he searched his brain for a way to outwit his foes. His
predicament seemed hopeless.

At sunrise the Shawnees resumed their way toward the west. Spotted Deer
was astounded when they left him the freedom of his arms. A great hope
rose in his heart. He believed that he might be able to leave clews
which would lead his friends to his rescue. The Shawnees had taken his
weapons but had left his empty knife-sheath attached to his belt.
Spotted Deer found an opportunity to free it without attracting the
attention of his foes. A few moments later he dropped it beside the
trail. He knew that if his friend Running Fox should find it, he would
recognize it at once. Then as he accompanied his captors through the
woods he made every effort to leave a plain trail. Several times he
appeared to stumble, and each time he cleverly overturned a stone with
his foot and broke or bent the bush or limb which he had seized for
support. His clumsiness brought angry protests from his guards but they
apparently failed to detect the stratagem. Thus throughout the day the
wily young Delaware left signs which he hoped his friends might
eventually find and follow.

That night the Shawnees seemed more bold. They made a fire, and appeared
to be in high spirits. Spotted Deer believed that they were within a
day's journey of their village. He missed several warriors and he felt
sure that they had gone ahead to announce their exploit in the Shawnee
camp. The thought sobered and depressed him. After they had given him
meat, the Shawnees again bound his wrists and feet. However, they
permitted him to lie close to the fire and the warmth gave him some
comfort.

The following day the Shawnees advanced through the woods with far less
caution. They talked and laughed and sang, and it was evident that their
recent anxiety had passed. Spotted Deer felt sure that they were
approaching their village. The thought made him reckless. Although he
was closely guarded, his arms were free, and he determined to seize the
slightest opportunity for an attempt to escape. He believed that his
foes might grow less vigilant as they drew nearer the Shawnee camp, and
he hoped to catch them off their guard. He became as alert and watchful
as a lynx, ready at any moment to dash into the forest. Before he could
act upon the reckless impulse, however, the Shawnees suddenly appeared
to have guessed his intentions. They stopped him, and bound his arms
behind his back.

For an instant only, Spotted Deer betrayed his anger in his face. Then
as his foes began to laugh and jeer he recovered himself. His heart,
however, was heavy with despair. It seemed as if his last hope had
vanished. He believed that his crafty captors had taken the precaution
to render him powerless against the attacks which might be made upon him
as he entered the Shawnee village.



CHAPTER V

THE SHAWNEE CAMP


At midday the Shawnees climbed to the top of a high pine-clad ridge, and
Spotted Deer looked down upon a great river. Close beside it, on a
grassy flat, was the Shawnee village. It was composed of many bark huts,
and inclosed on three sides by a high log stockade. The front was open
to the river. As the Shawnees had stopped to rest, Spotted Deer had an
opportunity to study the camp. He viewed it with stirring emotions. Once
inside the log barricade, he wondered what fate awaited him. He saw many
people moving about at the edge of the village, and passing from lodge
to lodge. Several canoes were on the river. Smoke rose from the camp.

Then one of the Shawnees uttered a piercing whoop that echoed shrilly
across the valley. It roused the camp. People ran from the lodges and
assembled in the center of the village. Their upturned faces made it
plain that they were gazing toward the top of the ridge. The heavy
timber concealed the Shawnees and their captive. The Shawnee called
again, and a great shout rose from the camp. Then the dogs barked
furiously.

The Shawnees began to descend toward the river. The western side of the
ridge was steep and rough, and Spotted Deer was greatly handicapped. He
found it difficult to remain on his feet. The Shawnees were following a
narrow, precipitous trail, and there were places where the free use of
both arms was almost a necessity. The Shawnees, however, showed no
concern for the safety of their captive. At a number of steep places, he
lost his footing and slid several bow-lengths before he regained his
balance. At other spots the trail shrank to a mere foothold across the
face of precipitous ledges where a false step meant severe injury or
even death. Spotted Deer astounded his captors with his calm nerve and
marvelous agility. More than once they expected to see him hesitate at
some particularly perilous part of the trail. He never wavered, however,
and made his way over places where the Shawnees were compelled to steady
themselves with their hands.

"The Delaware is like Tschinque, the mountain cat," they told one
another.

When they finally emerged from the timber at the level of the river,
they were instantly discovered from the camp. Their appearance threw the
village into a commotion. The entire tribe seemed to have rushed out to
see them. Men, women and children assembled beyond the stockade. They
united their voices in a wild bedlam of sound that might have filled a
less courageous captive with terror. Spotted Deer, however, showed no
fear. His experience on the war trail, and his adventure in the Mohawk
camp, had taught him what to expect in the unfortunate circumstances in
which he found himself. He was prepared, therefore, to accept
discomfort, torture and death with the unshakeable courage which his
people demanded of their warriors.

As his captors led him toward the village they began to sing, and
Spotted Deer knew that they were giving a boastful recital of their
exploit. In the meantime a company of men and boys were hurrying forward
to meet them. They were followed by a large pack of dogs. The Shawnee
leader stationed himself beside the captive. Spotted Deer was astonished
when he was addressed in his own dialect.

"Delaware, we have brought you to our village," the Shawnee told him.
"Our people are waiting for you. They are very mad. Perhaps they will
kill you."

Spotted Deer received the threat in silence. The Shawnee studied him
closely. He was angered by the scornful smile of the Delaware.

"Have my people frightened away your words?" he demanded, sarcastically.

"I see many dogs," replied Spotted Deer. "A Delaware is not afraid of
dogs."

For an instant the Shawnee seemed about to attack him, but at that
moment they were surrounded by the company from the village. The
Shawnees pushed and jostled wildly in their efforts to reach the
prisoner. His captors, however, held them off. The leader called out in
commanding tones, and the Shawnees fell back. They seemed frantic with
excitement, and Spotted Deer knew that they would show little mercy.

As they moved toward the camp, some of the boys began to taunt and jeer
and throw stones and sticks. The dogs, too, were snarling and snapping
and skulking between the Shawnees to reach the stranger. One
particularly ugly-looking brute rushed forward and attempted to fasten
its fangs in Spotted Deer's leg. He kicked savagely and it slunk away.

Once at the edge of the camp, Spotted Deer was made the object of a
vicious attack. His guards were swept aside, and men, women and children
rushed upon him and began to beat him. For some moments he believed he
would be killed. Then some one called out loudly from the village, and
the attack suddenly ceased.

Three warriors were walking slowly toward the crowd of Shawnees. It was
evident at once that they were persons of importance. As they
approached, Spotted Deer studied them with great interest. Two were
robust men of middle age, and the third seemed considerably older. He
wore a bearskin robe, and carried a tomahawk. Spotted Deer believed he
was the one who had called out. He wondered if it was the war chief of
the Shawnees.

As the three warriors advanced, the Shawnees separated to permit them to
reach the prisoner. Spotted Deer had been badly battered by his foes,
and the Shawnees laughed indifferently as they saw the evidence of his
punishment. There was a bold challenge in his glance, however, that
compelled their respect. It was apparent that the youthful warrior had
little fear of them. For some moments they studied him in silence. Then
the oldest warrior turned and addressed the great company of Shawnees.
When he ceased speaking, they entered the village.

The Delaware was taken to the center of the camp. He presented a
striking appearance as he walked between his guards with his head erect
and his eyes flashing defiance at his jeering foes. He was led to a
large bark lodge, and pushed through the doorway.

Spotted Deer found himself in a good-sized room which was occupied by an
old woman, who was busily engaged poking the embers of a small fire. His
guards had followed him into the lodge, and at sight of the three
intruders the old woman began to scold furiously. Then she suddenly
noticed that Spotted Deer was a stranger. She rose, and tottered forward
to look at him. In a moment she turned, and questioned her tribesmen.
When they replied, her aged face flamed with hate. She rushed at Spotted
Deer like some horrible witch who was about to shrivel him with the heat
of her wrath. Cackling fiendishly, she thrust her bony, talon-like hands
at his eyes. He avoided her, and then sprang forward so menacingly that
she drew back shrieking in terror. Then the Shawnees ordered her from
the lodge. She turned at the doorway and shook her clenched hand at the
captive. A moment afterward they heard her haranguing the crowd that had
assembled outside. Spotted Deer believed that she might prove to be a
crafty and dangerous foe.

In the meantime one of the Shawnees had motioned for the prisoner to
seat himself upon the wide platform of poles that extended along the
side of the room. Then they bound his ankles, and withdrew.

Left to himself, Spotted Deer began to study the lodge. It was similar
in plan and structure to the Delaware lodges. The walls and roof were
made of slabs of bark fitted between two rows of poles, and held in
place by splints and ropes made of twisted strands of bark. Each slab
was punctured at the ends and securely tied in position with bark
fibers. The roof, which was somewhat arched, was braced with many small
poles and had an opening in the center as an exit for the smoke from the
camp fire. The lodge was about five bow-lengths wide and four
bow-lengths long. A wide platform of poles extended along each side of
the room. The floor was packed earth. There was a shallow fire pit in
the center. The lodge was without furnishings, and appeared deserted.
Spotted Deer wondered how the old woman had chanced to be there. As
there was nothing to indicate that she had been cooking, he believed
that she had entered the lodge to burn incense and conduct some
mysterious medicine rite. The thought stirred his imagination. He
realized that she might be one of the strange Medicine Women. In that
event he feared that she might exert a powerful influence against him.

His meditations were interrupted by a noisy commotion outside. He heard
people talking excitedly before the entrance to the lodge. He wondered
if the Shawnees were about to attack him. Then, above the confused
clamor, he recognized the shrill cackling voice of the mysterious old
woman. It was evident that she was still talking against him. A few
moments later he saw her peering into the lodge. Many faces appeared
behind her. She pointed a long, crooked finger at Spotted Deer, and
launched forth into a violent tirade. Her face wore a diabolical
expression. She appeared beside herself with rage. Spotted Deer believed
she would lead the Shawnees into the lodge to kill him. He was at a loss
to understand why the vicious old creature showed such animosity toward
him. However, neither she nor the people with her attempted to enter the
lodge. In a few moments they withdrew, and Spotted Deer heard them
moving toward another part of the camp.

He was left alone until the end of the day. Then the robe was raised
from the doorway and several warriors entered the lodge. One was the
haughty leader whom Spotted Deer had learned to hate. An old woman
followed behind them. She carried a portion of roasted meat and a wooden
bowl. For a moment Spotted Deer mistook her for the violent creature who
had annoyed him. As she came nearer, he was relieved to learn that she
was not that ill-tempered individual. She placed the meat and a bowl of
water beside him and hurried away. Then one of the warriors freed him.
Spotted Deer again found his arms powerless.

"Come, Delaware, eat some meat so that you will be strong when we come
to kill you," the Shawnee leader said, threateningly.

"A Delaware is always strong," Spotted Deer replied, boastfully.

"Well, we will see about it," laughed the Shawnee. "There is an old
woman out there who is talking bad against you. She is a Mystery Woman.
No one knows how she came here. She has been here a long time. She has
done some big things. My people will listen to her words. She says the
Delawares killed her people. Her heart is black against you. She wants
to see you die. It is good."

Spotted Deer remained silent. The threat made little impression upon
him. He had already anticipated the fate which the Shawnee prophesied.

"Well, how do you feel about it?" inquired the Shawnee.

The Delaware refused to reply. He was endeavoring to secure the meat and
water before his foe became impatient and took them away. After several
torturing attempts, he succeeded. The Shawnees jested laughingly. He
knew they were rejoicing at his discomfort. He strove heroically to
conceal it, but his arms were stiff and swollen and he found great
difficulty in raising the food to his month.

"You are a young man, but we will make you old," laughed the Shawnee.
"Your arms are already too weak to pull the bow. See how you shake! Are
you frightened?"

Sharp words rushed to the lips of Spotted Deer but he kept them back. He
realized that an outburst of anger would invite a fresh attack from his
foes. As he was completely in their power, he believed it would be folly
to antagonize them. He smothered the fierce emotions that raged in his
heart, and remained calm. When he had eaten the meat the Shawnees bound
his arms, and passed out of the lodge.

Spotted Deer immediately began to think about the Mystery Woman. He
wondered if she possessed the strange powers which the Delawares
credited to the Medicine People. He had been taught to regard those
mysterious people with superstitious fear. The thought that the strange
old woman might be one of them caused him considerable uneasiness.
Having incurred her hostility, he wondered if she would cast some evil
spell upon him. The credulous young Delaware started at the possibility.

As the long day finally came to an end, Spotted Deer wondered if he
would be left unguarded through the night. He heard people laughing and
singing in various parts of the camp, and smelled the smoke from their
fires. A narrow streak of light showed at the doorway of the lodge. He
believed the Shawnees were eating the evening meal. A short time
afterward he heard the dogs snarling and fighting over the bones which
had been thrown to them.

Then some one went through the camp crying out in a loud voice. Spotted
Deer knew that it was a courier calling the people to assemble for some
particular event. He heard them passing the lodge. The streak of light
at the side of the doorway grew wider. It was evident that a large fire
had been lighted close by. He heard the crackle of the flames. Soon
afterward some one began to speak. Spotted Deer listened closely. He
felt quite certain that he recognized the voice of the Shawnee leader.
He talked some time, and when he finished speaking, a great shout went
up from the company. His words seemed to have found approval. Spotted
Deer wondered if he had been the subject of his discourse. Other
speakers followed. Then, after a short interval of silence, the shrill
voice of the Mystery Woman echoed through the camp. It filled Spotted
Deer with a vague, superstitious fear. She spoke in a wild, hysterical
manner, and it was not long before he heard sounds which led him to
believe that she was rousing the Shawnees against him. When she finally
subsided, the night rang with their shouts. Spotted Deer was filled with
gloomy premonitions of impending disaster.

When the tumult finally ceased, the night was far spent. Then some one
entered the lodge. Spotted Deer stared anxiously toward the doorway. The
impenetrable darkness concealed his visitor. The latter approached
without making a sound. In a few moments Spotted Deer felt a hand upon
his shoulder. It passed down his arm and stopped at his wrists. Having
made sure that the binding was secure, his unseen foe then examined the
thongs about his ankles. Then he withdrew as noiselessly as he had
approached. Spotted Deer wondered if he had gone out. Some time
afterward he thought he heard a sigh near the doorway of the lodge. He
believed some one was on guard.



CHAPTER VI

A TRYING ORDEAL


At dawn Spotted Deer looked anxiously about the lodge, hoping to see the
mysterious visitor who had entered during the night. He had disappeared.
The Delaware was alone.

The camp was astir with the usual daylight activities. Spotted Deer
recognized familiar sounds. People were calling from the lodges.
Children were running about in play. The women were breaking sticks for
the fires. He heard the crackle of freshly kindled wood. Smoke drifted
into the lodge. Soon afterward he smelled the tantalizing odor of
roasting meat. It roused his appetite. He wondered if the Shawnees would
bring food.

It was not long before a warrior and an old woman entered the lodge. The
warrior carried his tomahawk and the old woman brought meat and water.
The Shawnee unbound the Delaware in grim silence. Then he motioned for
the woman to place the meat and water beside the captive. He seated
himself to wait while Spotted Deer ate. The old woman stood watching
him. The Shawnee pointed toward the door and she hurried out.

It was some time before Spotted Deer could use his arms. The Shawnee
showed no impatience. He seemed content to enjoy the discomfort of his
foe. He was a young man, not much older than the Delaware. His face was
stern and cruel, and his eyes were bold and piercing. He was sinewy and
well formed, and looked as if he might be a dangerous adversary. He
waited silently until Spotted Deer had finished eating, and then he
bound him. Then he called the old woman who came and took away the bowl.
The Shawnee followed her from the lodge.

As he was not further disturbed, Spotted Deer began to consider his
chances. He wondered if the Shawnees intended to kill him. He had little
doubt of it. The Mystery Woman wished to see him die, and the Shawnee
leader had declared that his people would listen to her words. Spotted
Deer had slight hope of being spared. He knew the hatred which the
Shawnees had for the Delawares and he believed he would be made the
victim of their vengeance. Still he had passed safely through many
perilous days of captivity among the fierce Mohawks, and the thought
gave him courage. If the Shawnees delayed his execution, he believed his
friends might discover his plight in time to rescue him. He relied
particularly upon his friend Running Fox, a famous young warrior who was
the son of the great Delaware war chief, Black Panther. The lads had
shared many perilous adventures and each had implicit confidence in the
loyalty and ability of the other. Spotted Deer felt sure that, once
alarmed at his absence, Running Fox would make desperate efforts to find
him. If he finally learned of Spotted Deer's predicament, the latter
knew that nothing but death would prevent him from extricating him from
his difficulty.

"Running Fox will come," he assured himself.

Then he suddenly realized that, even if his friends should find his
trail, they might arrive too late to save him. The thought sobered him.
He feared that if the Shawnees planned to kill him they would carry out
their intention with little delay. They, too, might anticipate an
attempt by the Delawares to rescue him. He realized that the coming
night might bring his death. For an instant the idea startled him. Then
he drove it from his thoughts, and made an earnest appeal to
Getanittowit, the Great One.

    Getanittowit, see what has happened to me;
    See, Getanittowit, the Shawnees have caught me.
    Great Getanittowit, take pity on me.
    Getanittowit, tell my people about it;
    Getanittowit, bring them here to help me.
    Great Getanittowit, take pity on me.

He had barely finished his petition when the Shawnee leader entered the
lodge. For some moments he stood before Spotted Deer in silence. He
stared steadily into his eyes, and the Delaware met his glance without
flinching. Then the Shawnee began to speak.

"Delaware, I have come to tell you that you must die," he said.

He paused to note the effect of his words. Spotted Deer showed no
emotion. He waited calmly for the Shawnee to continue. It was some
moments before the latter spoke.

"Many bad things will happen to you," he said, finally. "Pretty soon we
will see if you are brave enough to go through with it. I do not believe
you are brave enough to go through with it. You are a Delaware. When you
see what the Shawnees are about to do to you I believe you will cry like
a woman. Then our young men will laugh at you."

The Shawnee again paused and looked searchingly at the captive. Spotted
Deer smiled scornfully. He showed no inclination to speak. His control
amazed his foe. He had expected to rouse him into a violent outburst of
temper. He appeared baffled by Spotted Deer's indifference. It annoyed
him. His anger showed in his face. Having failed to intimidate the young
Delaware, the Shawnee appeared to be in a dilemma. Spotted Deer believed
he had entered the lodge to carry out some crafty plan. For some moments
he maintained an awkward silence. The Delaware watched closely. He saw a
swift, cunning glance flash from the eyes of his foe. At that instant
the Shawnee addressed him.

"Well, young man, I see that you are brave," he said, less harshly. "It
is good. Perhaps I will help you. But you must do as I tell you. Will
you listen to my words?"

"Speak," Spotted Deer said, coldly.

"You are a Delaware," resumed the Shawnee, "Your people are our enemies.
Our enemies must die. If I do not help you my people will surely kill
you. You are a young man. I believe you are a brave warrior. It would be
foolish to throw away your life. I will tell you how you may keep it.
You must help me kill the great chief Black Panther. He is----"

"Stop!" Spotted Deer cried, furiously. "I have closed my ears. You speak
the tongue of my people, but you talk like a Shawnee. The Shawnees are
afraid of our great chief, Black Panther. It is good. They run to their
lodges when they hear his voice. You wish to kill him but you are
afraid. You ask me to help you. Shawnee, if my hands were loose I would
pull you to pieces. I am a Delaware. A Delaware will die for his people.
Go, Shawnee dog, and tell your brothers the words of Spotted Deer."

The Shawnee listened in dumbfounded amazement as the enraged young
Delaware defied him. As Spotted Deer finished speaking, however, his foe
suddenly gave way to passion. Springing wildly upon the helpless
captive, the Shawnee began to choke him. Spotted Deer was entirely at
his mercy. The Shawnee seemed determined to kill him. He slowly
increased the power of his grip, and Spotted Deer began to strangle. The
Shawnee laughed fiercely as he stared upon the distorted features of his
victim. Then, when the tortured Delaware finally began to lose
consciousness, the Shawnee suddenly released him.

"No, I will not kill you," he said. "It would be foolish. I will take
you to my people. I will give them your words. Then you will see how the
Shawnees kill their enemies."

He watched indifferently until he saw Spotted Deer recovering from the
attack, and then he left the lodge. For some time afterward Spotted Deer
gasped and choked in his efforts to recover his breath. Then he composed
himself to think. He feared that his bold defiance would cost him his
life. He believed that the Shawnee had spared him to receive a worse
fate from his tribesmen. Spotted Deer knew only too well the sort of
vengeance the Shawnees would inflict upon him.

"I am a Delaware--I must be brave," he kept telling himself.

Spotted Deer abandoned hope. It was evident that if his friends came,
they would arrive too late to save him. He felt sure that the night
would bring his death. He knew that the Shawnees would do their utmost
to make him suffer, in the hope of breaking his spirit and making him
die a weakling in their eyes. The thought roused his spirit. His eyes
flashed excitedly, as he told himself that it was his duty to uphold the
honor of his people. The thought fired him with enthusiasm. He resolved
to die as the Delawares would wish him to die.

"The Shawnees will see a warrior," he said, proudly.

Then his thoughts turned to Running Fox. The lads had been inseparable
companions and Spotted Deer grieved at the thought of leaving him. It
was the first peril he had faced without the companionship of his
friend. He took comfort, however, in the thought that Running Fox would
avenge him. Spotted Deer was entirely familiar with the grim
determination and dogged courage of that fiery-tempered young warrior,
and he knew that the Shawnees would be made to pay dearly for what they
were about to do.

As the long day finally drew toward its end, Spotted Deer heard sounds
which confirmed his fears. The village hummed with activity. It was
evident that the Shawnees were preparing for some unusual event. He saw
the glow from a great fire in the center of the village. The Shawnees
were shouting and laughing and singing their war songs. He heard them
passing the lodge and calling to him as they went by. Then the robe was
lifted from the doorway, and the diabolical old Mystery Woman peered
into the lodge. She shook her finger at him and laughed shrilly. Her
voice carried a threat of impending disaster, and Spotted Deer was
relieved when she passed on. Other Shawnees drew aside the robe and
looked into the lodge. Some stared in silence, others cried out
threateningly. Then they, too, hurried away.

A few moments afterward Spotted Deer heard some one talking loudly near
the center of the camp. The Shawnees had become quiet. When the speaker
finished, however, they raised their voices in a wild shout that carried
a sinister warning to the helpless young captive. He realized that his
ordeal was at hand. There was no way of escape. He was resigned. He
turned to Getanittowit, the Great One, for strength to defy his foes and
uphold the honor of his people.

    O Getanittowit, I am about to die.
    See, Getanittowit, I am not afraid.
    Getanittowit, make me strong.
    Getanittowit, make me brave.
    Getanittowit, take pity on me.
    O Getanittowit, help me.

Soon afterward Spotted Deer heard some one approaching the lodge. He
realized that the Shawnees were coming for him. He nerved himself to
meet the emergency. The Shawnee leader and another warrior entered the
lodge.

"Delaware, we have come to take you to our people," the leader told him.
"You must get ready to die."

Spotted Deer showed no emotion. He remained silent as the Shawnees
unbound his feet. For some moments, however, he found it difficult to
stand. The effort caused him great agony. The Shawnees were impatient.
The leader seized him and pushed him forward.

"Come, have we frightened you so that you cannot walk?" he asked,
mockingly.

Spotted Deer rallied at the challenge. He staggered unsteadily toward
the doorway of the lodge. Fearing a trick, the Shawnees sprang after
him. They seized him and led him outside.

The village was brightly illuminated by the glow from a large fire in
the center of the camp. About it was gathered a great company of
Shawnees. The appearance of the prisoner threw them into a frenzy of
excitement. As he was led forward by his guards the Shawnees began to
shout and laugh and shake their weapons. They made it plain that he
might expect no mercy.

Spotted Deer was bound to a heavy log that had been set up a short
distance from the fire. Then the warrior who had interfered in the
attack at the edge of the camp came toward him. He was accompanied by
the leader of the scouts and several other warriors. The Shawnees
suddenly grew quiet as these men approached the captive. The oldest
warrior addressed Spotted Deer in the Delaware dialect.

"You are a young man, but you are a Delaware," he said. "The Delawares
are our enemies. The Shawnees kill their enemies. You must die. You have
spoken big words. Now we will see how brave you are."

He turned and spoke briefly to his tribesmen. A company of warriors came
forward and formed a circle about the Delaware. They carried their
weapons and were painted for war. The Shawnees greeted them with shouts
of approval. For a few moments they stood, glaring fiercely at the
prisoner. Then they began to move slowly about the fire, stepping in
time with the rhythm of a slow, mournful chant.

It was a weird and fascinating scene: the great fire roaring and
crackling and sending its sparks high up into the night; the vast
assemblage of Shawnees with their fierce, eager faces, like wolves
gathered about a stricken deer; the circle of half-naked warriors moving
slowly about their foe in the prelude to the grim ceremony that would
follow. And, most interesting of all, the youthful prisoner, bound and
helpless, waiting calmly for torture and death at the hands of his
enemies.

For some moments the dancers continued their slow, sinister parade about
the captive. They made no attempt to attack him, but appeared to be
endeavoring to impress him with their grim earnestness. The solemn,
dirgelike chant was taken up by the entire company, and Spotted Deer
believed that the Shawnees were singing the death song. Then one of the
warriors, who seemed to be a leader, suddenly straightened and raised a
piercing yell that reverberated wildly through the camp. It broke the
solemnity of the ceremony and roused the dancers to action.

A moment afterward they began capering frantically about Spotted Deer,
shouting and jeering and flourishing their weapons. The Shawnees urged
them on with yells of approval, and the entire assemblage was soon in an
uproar. Once aroused, the dancers soon began to threaten and attack
their prisoner. They swung their war clubs about his head, aimed their
arrows at his heart and made close, dangerous passes with their knives.
Some rushed forward and struck him in the face.

Spotted Deer faced the ordeal without a tremor. His heart was filled
with a fierce resolve to uphold the traditional courage of his people,
and he was determined to remain strong to the end. He waited, therefore,
with head erect and eyes flashing, for the punishment which he felt sure
would soon be inflicted upon him. The Shawnees appeared to be rousing
themselves into a fury. Encouraged by the shouts of the spectators, the
dancers had thrown off restraint and abandoned themselves to the mad
antics of the war dance. They made every effort to intimidate the
unfortunate young warrior who had fallen into their hands. Some rushed
toward him and drove their tomahawks into the post close beside him.
Others shot their arrows within a hand-width of his body. Several seized
him by the scalp-lock and swept their knives about his head. Spotted
Deer, however, showed no fear.

Then above the tumult he suddenly heard the shrill, ominous laugh of the
villainous old Mystery Woman. A moment afterward she tottered forward
into the firelight, and pointed excitedly toward the captive. As she
stood revealed in the lurid glow from the flames her appearance was
startling. Her frail, bowed form was covered with an old deerskin robe.
Her white, unkempt hair fell loosely about her shoulders. Her aged
features were distorted in a fiendish grin, and her small, ferretlike
eyes glowed threateningly from their deep cavities beneath her shaggy
brows. She looked like an evil demon whom the fire had drawn from
concealment in the black depths of the night. The Shawnees watched her
in silent, superstitious awe. Spotted Deer felt his courage falter as
the fearsome old creature confronted him.

In a few moments she turned and addressed the four warriors who stood
apart from the rest of the Shawnees. As they made no attempt to stop
her, Spotted Deer believed that they were eager to hear her words. He
had little doubt that she was talking against him. When she finally
finished her excited harangue, one of the warriors called to the
dancers. They immediately ceased their exertions and stood quietly in
their places. Then the warrior whom Spotted Deer believed to be the
Shawnee chief made a brief talk. The Shawnees seemed to approve his
words.

In a few moments Spotted Deer saw preparations which enabled him to
guess the sort of punishment which the Mystery Woman had suggested for
him. The great company of Shawnees suddenly broke up, and the women and
old men and some of the boys hurried to the lodges. The old Mystery
Woman hobbled away, cackling gleefully. It was not long before Spotted
Deer saw his suspicions confirmed. Those who had disappeared were
returning with sticks and stout willow switches and small whips with
rawhide lashes. They were laughing and calling out in joyful
anticipation of their attack upon the prisoner. Behind them followed the
Mystery Woman. She, too, carried a willow wand and Spotted Deer felt
sure she would make savage use of it.

In the meantime the warriors jeered and threatened but made no further
attempts to injure him. Spotted Deer believed they were restrained by
the man whom he took for the war chief. The latter called out sharply
whenever one of the younger warriors showed an inclination to attack the
captive, and each time his command was obeyed. Spotted Deer realized,
however, that the respite was only temporary. He believed that his foes
were simply delaying his torture and death to give the fierce old
Mystery Woman an opportunity for vengeance.

The women and old men and boys had formed in two long lines about two
bow-lengths apart. They were singing and shouting and shaking their
sticks at the captive. Then a warrior freed Spotted Deer from the stake.
A moment afterward he was led forward to receive his punishment. Spotted
Deer realized exactly what was about to happen. He knew that he would be
compelled to make his way along the narrow lane between his foes who
would beat him as he passed. As his arms were bound behind him he was
powerless to defend himself against the attack. He realized that he
might lessen his punishment by dashing wildly along the course, but his
spirit rebelled at the thought. He feared that the maneuver would make
him appear frightened and weak in the eyes of his foes.

"Delaware, run!" cried the Shawnee leader, as he pushed Spotted Deer
between the lines of excited Shawnees.

Spotted Deer ignored the command. For an instant only he hesitated while
he looked calmly along the rows of fierce, eager faces. One in
particular stood out in contrast with the others. It was the evil,
grinning face of the old Mystery Woman who stood at the end of the line.
As Spotted Deer began the perilous journey between the lines, he heard
her shrill, harsh voice rising threateningly above the tumult.

The Shawnees were astounded when the Delaware started forward at a slow
walk. For an instant the unexpected maneuver baffled and confused them.
They wondered if fear had suddenly driven the power from his limbs.
Having expected him to make a wild dash for the end of the lines they
could think of nothing but fright as the reason for his strange action.
They began to laugh and jeer as they struck him about the head and
shoulders with their whips.

"Come, come, make the frightened Delaware run!" they cried.

Then they suddenly realized the significance of his conduct. They saw
that the Delaware was defying them. The realization drove them into a
fury. Weak and aged arms grew strong with emotion, and Spotted Deer
staggered beneath the violence of the attack. Some of the women jabbed
viciously at his eyes with their sticks. Some of the infuriated old men
kicked savagely at his legs. The boys beat him with their fists. All
struck him about the face and head with their sticks. By the time he had
covered half of the course he was suffering from many cuts and bruises.
It was evident that unless he hastened, he was threatened with serious
injury or even death. Still he refused to save himself by running. He
preferred to die rather than give the Shawnees an opportunity to boast
that a Delaware had run from their women and old men.

When Spotted Deer finally reached the end of the course, he was attacked
by the Mystery Woman. Throwing away her stick, she rushed upon him and
thumped him about the body with her fists. Her frail old arms lacked
strength, and her blows did little damage. Then, as several warriors
seized the Delaware and prepared to take him away, the Mystery Woman
drew a knife from her belt and attempted to reach the captive. The
Shawnees intercepted her and led Spotted Deer away.

He was greatly surprised when they took him to the lodge instead of the
stake. The Shawnees followed close behind him, shouting wildly and
threatening to overwhelm his guards and put him to death. He reached the
lodge in safety, however, and was pushed through the doorway. Then he
heard the warrior who seemed to be the chief talking to the people. Was
he attempting to pacify them? Spotted Deer listened anxiously. He heard
the Shawnees moving away. He believed that for the moment at least he
was safe.



CHAPTER VII

THE MYSTERY WOMAN


When the Shawnees had dispersed, two warriors entered the lodge. They
bound Spotted Deer's ankles, and then they seated themselves near the
doorway. Spotted Deer believed they intended to remain on guard through
the balance of the night. For some time he heard them talking. Then they
became quiet. He wondered if they had gone out. The fire in the camp had
died down. The lodge was dark. He was unable to see them. He listened
anxiously to learn what he wished to know. Then, as he heard nothing to
indicate that the guards were still in the lodge, he relaxed upon the
platform of poles and tried to sleep. It was useless. He had been
severely beaten by the Shawnees, and his face and head ached and
throbbed from the cuts and bruises. The lodge was cold and drafty, and
as he was without a robe he began to shiver violently. Each moment
increased his discomfort, and he wondered if the Shawnees had spared him
to prolong his agony. At last, however, exhaustion brought relief and he
fell into a light, restless slumber.

Then he suddenly awakened and sat up to listen. He heard soft, stealthy
footfalls near the doorway. The lodge was dimly lighted by a narrow
streak of moonlight that had entered through the smoke hole in the roof.
Spotted Deer watched closely. In a few moments he saw some one enter the
lodge. Then as the huddled figure hobbled toward him, he recognized the
bowed form of the Mystery Woman. The discovery filled him with
superstitious fear. He believed she had come to kill him. As she came
closer he saw that she carried a bowl. He wondered if it contained a
strange medicine potion. Perhaps she planned to cast some evil spell
upon him. The thought was alarming.

The Mystery Woman came directly to him. For a moment or so she stared
wildly into his face. Then she spoke. Spotted Deer could scarcely
believe what he heard. She was addressing him in the Delaware tongue.

"My son, do not be afraid, I have come to help you," she said.

For some moments Spotted Deer looked at her in astonishment. Then he
recovered himself and sought to conceal his emotion. Her words had made
him suspicious. He recalled the deceitful offer of the Shawnee leader.
He feared that she, too, was attempting to deceive him with some clever
bit of treachery. Perhaps she hoped to gain information about his
people. He determined to be on his guard.

In the meantime the Mystery Woman was watching him closely. Her face
betrayed impatience. It was evident that his silence annoyed her.

"Have you no tongue?" she asked, sharply.

Spotted Deer still remained silent. He believed that he was confronted
by a crafty and dangerous foe, and he realized that he must be cautious.
His inherited dread of the strange Medicine People made him doubly
suspicious of the mysterious old creature who addressed him.

"You say you are a Delaware," she said, angrily. "I have spoken Delaware
words. I see that you do not know them. I do not believe you are a
Delaware."

There was something in her tone that conveyed a warning. Spotted Deer
suddenly realized that it might be fatal to rouse her anger. He believed
that it would be wise to hear what she wished to say. He decided to
speak.

"A Delaware keeps his words for his friends," he said.

"Hi, now I see that you are one of my people," the old woman whispered,
excitedly.

Spotted Deer started at her words. For an instant they filled him with
hope. Then he realized that the wily old Mystery Woman was attempting to
deceive him and quiet his suspicions. He determined to match wits with
her.

"You are a Shawnee," he said, contemptuously.

She went close and glared fiercely into his face. Her expression
startled him. Her features were quivering with emotion. Hate blazed from
her eyes. Her breath came in quick, sobbing gasps. She seemed to be
struggling against the impulse to kill him. It was some time before she
could speak.

"Those are bad words," she said, savagely. "I will shake them from my
ears. I have come here to help you. There is little time. You must
believe what I am about to tell you. Listen, my son, to the words of a
Delaware."

Spotted Deer was impressed. There was an earnestness in her tone that
was convincing. Impulse urged him to believe her. Caution, however, kept
him suspicious. He still feared treachery.

"I will listen," he told her.

"It is good," declared the Mystery Woman. "Now I will try to help you."

She placed the bowl beside him and moved to the front of the lodge. She
drew aside the robe and peered outside. In a few moments she returned to
Spotted Deer.

"There is no one there," she told him. "The camp is still. Now I am
going to do something good for you."

"If you are a Delaware, untie me and let me get away," said Spotted
Deer.

"No, no, that would be foolish," she declared. "If I untie you perhaps
some one will come in and find out about it. Then both of us will be
killed. Anyway you could not get away. The Shawnees are afraid that your
people are coming to help you. Scouts are watching around the edge of
the camp."

Spotted Deer continued silent. He was unable to decide whether the old
Mystery Woman was telling the truth or simply attempting to win his
confidence. In either event he was eager to learn her plans. She had
seated herself beside him, and was dipping a piece of buckskin in the
bowl. Spotted Deer watched her with considerable uneasiness. Then as she
began to bathe his face and head, his suspicions suddenly vanished and a
great hope entered his heart.

"Come, old woman, if you are a Delaware tell me where you came from," he
said, eagerly.

"I am a Minsi," she said, quietly.

"Those people are my brothers," he told her. "I have been to their
village. Your words are good. Tell me something more."

"Have you seen the great chief Big Hawk, and Black Rabbit the mysterious
Medicine Person?" she asked.

"Yes, yes, I have talked with those people," Spotted Deer assured her,
excitedly.

"Have you seen the great rock that stands behind the village? Have you
heard how Leaping Dog killed four bears?"

"Yes, yes, I know about those things," said Spotted Deer.

"Well, then, I will tell you that I am White Crane. Leaping Dog was my
father."

"Woman, I believe your words," Spotted Deer told her. "Now I know that
you are a Delaware. Tell me how you come to be here."

"I cannot give you many words," she told him. "The night is almost gone.
Pretty soon the Shawnees will begin to move around. If they find me here
it will be bad. I will talk fast. You must listen sharp."

"Friend, my ears are open," said Spotted Deer.

"My son, a long time ago I went into the hills with my mother to pick
berries. We were quite a ways from our village. While we were picking
berries we heard a great shout behind us. Then my mother seized me and
began to run. We saw some warriors chasing us. Pretty soon they came up
with us. I was frightened and I began to cry. One of those warriors
seized me. My poor mother drew a small knife and plunged it into him.
Then one of his friends knocked her on the head with his war club and
she fell into the bushes. I never saw her again.

"Those warriors took me a long ways. We traveled many days. I got very
tired but I kept going. I did not know those people but I hated them
because they had killed my mother. Well, my son, one night when they
were sleeping I crawled away. The woods were very black and I was
afraid, but I kept going. After a long time I heard a dog barking. That
frightened me. I did not know what to do. Then I said, 'Perhaps there is
a village over there. Perhaps some good people live there. Perhaps they
will take pity on me and give me something to eat and a place to sleep
in.'

"I went that way. Pretty soon I saw some lodges. I was greatly
frightened. My legs began to shake. I listened sharp. I did not hear any
one. Then I went nearer. Pretty soon I entered the village. It was dark
and still. I kept very quiet. Then I saw some little red lights from a
fire. I went over and sat down in that place.

"When the light came, an old woman came out of a lodge and saw me. She
began to talk very fast, but I did not know her words. Then she called
her people. They came running from the lodges. When they saw me sitting
by the fire, they did not know what to make of it. They were shaking
their heads and talking and pointing toward the sky. Then I knew that
they took me for a Medicine Person. It made me feel good. I knew they
would not harm me.

"My son, that is how I came here. I have been here a long, long time.
Now I am an old woman. I have never talked our tongue. The Shawnees have
never harmed me. They call me the Mystery Woman. They listen to my
words. Getanittowit has helped me. I have done some big things. Perhaps
I can save you."

"Who were those people who carried you away?" inquired Spotted Deer.

"I believe they were Mohawks," she told him. "I know those people came
into our country before this thing happened to me."

As she ceased speaking, they heard something moving outside the lodge.
They listened in breathless suspense. Then the old woman seized the bowl
and hurried toward the door. Spotted Deer saw her draw aside the robe.
He believed she was listening. Long, anxious moments passed. He wondered
if she had left him. Then he saw her. She was crouching in the doorway.
In a few moments she rose and came to him.

"It was a dog," she said.

Spotted Deer nodded understandingly.

"It is almost light," she told him. "Pretty soon I must go away. But
first I must tell you something. My son, when I saw you I asked about
you. When I heard that you were a Delaware, my heart grew big for you.
Then I fooled the Shawnees. You saw what I did. It was the only way to
save you. They believe I wish to kill you. It is good. They will listen
to my words. I will try to save you. It will be a hard thing to do.

"Now I will tell you about it. The warrior who brought you here is
Walking Bear. He is a great war leader. He is very mad at your people.
He says the great chief Black Panther killed his brother. He says that
he has killed many Delawares. He says that you must die. That old man
who talked to you is Howling Wolf. He is a great Medicine Person. Now
you know about those people."

"Who is the chief?" Spotted Deer asked, eagerly.

"Big Dog is the chief."

"Where is he?"

"He is away on the hunt. That is why the Shawnees did not kill you. I
told them Red Dog would be very mad about it. I told them they must wait
until he comes. They listened to my words. That is how you come to be
alive. But, my son, the Shawnees will surely kill you when Big Dog comes
back."

"When will he come?" inquired Spotted Deer.

"Before three suns pass," the Mystery Woman said, solemnly. "If I do not
get you away before that time you must prepare to die. I will try hard
to save you. No matter what I do you must know that I am trying to help
you. Now I am going away."

"You are a good friend," Spotted Deer said, gratefully. "If I get away I
will take you to your people.".

"No, no, you must not try to do that," she told him. "It would be
useless. I am old and feeble. I cannot travel. I would hold you back.
The Shawnees would catch us. You must go alone. I will stay here and die
in the Shawnee village. If you get away you can tell my people about
me."

A moment later she hurried from the lodge. Spotted Deer realized that he
had found a crafty ally. He wondered if she would be able to save him.
He feared to hope. He knew that the Shawnee chief might return at any
moment, and then the Mystery Woman would be powerless.



CHAPTER VIII

THE ALARM


The long, silent night was slowly merging into dawn when the Delawares
were suddenly awakened by a piercing shout from the center of the camp.
Thoroughly alarmed, they rushed from the lodges, weapons in hand,
expecting to find themselves beset by foes. Instead they found Dancing
Owl, a young warrior who had left the village the previous day to hunt.

"Well, young man, what has happened?" inquired Black Panther, the famous
Delaware war chief.

"The Mohawks are on the river," Dancing Owl told him.

The announcement threw the Delawares into a frenzy of excitement. They
feared that their fierce foes from the north were about to attack the
village.

"Where are they?" Black Panther asked, anxiously.

"I saw them a sun's travel up the river," declared Dancing Owl.

The Delawares felt relieved. They realized that there was at least time
to prepare for defense. They crowded eagerly about Dancing Owl and began
to question him. Then Black Panther asked them to assemble at the
council lodge to hear the words of Dancing Owl.

"Come, Dancing Owl, tell us about this thing," said Black Panther, when
they had seated themselves.

"Well, my friends, I hunted hard but I did not kill any game," said
Dancing Owl. "I kept going along the river until it got dark. Then I sat
down to rest. Pretty soon I heard the cry of fierce Nianque, the lynx. I
listened sharp. After a long time I heard it again. It was up the river.
I went ahead. I went a long ways. Then I saw a great light. I heard some
one shouting. That made me cautious. I waited a long time. Then I heard
some more shouts. Then I went ahead very slow. I kept looking ahead.
Pretty soon I saw two big fires. There was one on each side of the
river. Then I stopped. I did not know what to make of it. I kept
watching. Pretty soon I saw some warriors moving around one of those
fires. They were on the other side of the river. They were far off. I
could not tell about them. Then they went away. Pretty soon some of them
came back. They knocked away the fire. Then I could not see them.

"Well, my friends, I kept watching. I said, 'Those people will cross the
water and knock away the other fire. I will creep up close and see who
they are.' Then I went ahead. I was very cautious. The fire kept
burning. I was looking for those people on the water. I did not see
them. Then I heard Woakus, the fox. It was close ahead of me. It did not
sound good. I listened sharp. Pretty soon I heard it again. Then I said,
'Some one is making that noise.' I kept watching the fire. It made a big
light. I kept around the edge of it. Then I heard some one moving in the
bushes. He was close. I got ready to fight. Then I saw that person at
the edge of the light. He was a Mohawk. Then he went away.

"I watched a long time. Then I heard the call of Gokhos, the owl. It was
the call of the big night bird with the ears. I knew it was the Mohawks.
It was on the other side of the water. Pretty soon I heard it again. It
was on the side of the water where I was. I kept watching. The fire was
going down. The light closed up. I went nearer. I heard some people
talking. Pretty soon I saw five canoes. They came across the water. I
saw two Mohawks in every one of those canoes. Then I saw another canoe.
It was near the edge of the woods. Pretty soon two Mohawks got into it.
Then they all paddled up the river. I waited a long time. Then the fire
died out. I heard a great shout. I was far up the river. I knew it was
the Mohawks. Then I hurried away and came here. Now I have told you all
I know about it."

The Delawares remained silent for some moments after Dancing Owl had
finished his story. It baffled them. They were at a loss to account for
such unusual recklessness on the part of the Mohawks. They could
scarcely believe that those crafty foes would dare to proclaim their
presence so near the Delaware camp. They could think of no reason for
the two great fires along the river. They feared it was part of some
clever stratagem.

"Dancing Owl, I have listened to your words," Black Panther said,
finally. "This thing is mysterious. I cannot tell what to make of it.
Now I am going to ask you something."

"I am listening," Dancing Owl told him.

"You came back along the river," said Black Panther. "Your eyes are
sharp. Did you see anything?"

"No, I did not find any signs," declared Dancing Owl. "I kept watching
for the Mohawks but I did not see them. I believe they went the other
way."

"Well, my friends, I cannot tell what to make of it," acknowledged Black
Panther. "Only a foolish person makes a big fire to tell his enemies
where to find him. The Mohawks are not foolish. They are as sly as
Woakus, the fox. I cannot tell why they made those big fires. It is
mysterious. I believe something bad will come of it. Come, Sky Dog, you
are a great Medicine Person, perhaps you can tell us about it."

Sky Dog, the aged Delaware Medicine Man, rose to his feet in obedience
to the command of his chief. He was a picturesque figure as he stood in
the center of the great circle of Delawares who were looking
questioningly into his face. He had wrapped himself in a heavy wolf-skin
robe for protection from the sharp autumn air, and his white hair showed
beneath the edges of a great beaver-skin cap. For some moments he faced
his tribesmen in silence. Then he began to speak.

"My people, you have heard the words of Dancing Owl," he said. "This
thing he tells about is mysterious. I cannot make anything of those
great fires. I will go away and think about it. Then perhaps I will tell
you something."

It was evident that the Delawares were disappointed. They had implicit
faith in the ability of the old Medicine Man, and they had hoped that he
would be able to tell them the significance of the fires. However, as
he, too, seemed perplexed and bewildered by the audacity of the Mohawks,
the Delawares saw little chance of arriving at an early solution of the
mystery.

"My brothers, as we do not know why the Mohawks did this thing, and
there is no use of talking about it like a lot of foolish old women,"
Black Panther told them. "We know that the Mohawks were close to our
village. Dancing Owl saw them. He says those Mohawks went up the river.
Perhaps they will come back. We must keep a sharp watch. I believe they
are trying to fool us. Perhaps they are scouts. Perhaps there is a big
war party hiding in the woods. Perhaps the scouts made those fires to
draw our warriors up the river. Then it would be easy for the war party
to get into the camp. We must be cautious."

His words raised the suspicions of his tribesmen. They believed he had
guessed the plans of their foes. The idea roused them. They began to
discuss the possibilities. Some of the younger and more impulsive
warriors were eager to organize a war party and go out to search the
woods. Most of the older men counseled against it.

"No, it would be foolish to do that until we know about this thing,"
said Yellow Wolf, a famous veteran of the war trail. "We must send out
scouts to find out if the Mohawks are in the woods. Then we will know
what to do."

"Yes, yes, that is the best thing to do," the Delawares told one
another.

There was one, however, who took no part in the discussion. He was
Running Fox, the son of Black Panther, and the most famous of all the
Delaware warriors. Although but a youth, his daring exploits had made
him the idol of his people. Two years previous, accompanied by his
friend Spotted Deer, he had gone to the Mohawk camp and successfully
escaped with the great Mohawk medicine trophy. When the famous Mohawk
chief, Standing Wolf, led a great war company into the Delaware village
to recapture the token, Running Fox killed him, and drove the Mohawks
from the camp. The following year, he and Spotted Deer journeyed into
the north and killed the mysterious White Wolf, which the Delawares
believed brought famine and pestilence upon them. That achievement
convinced the Delawares that Running Fox had received the mysterious
powers of a Medicine Person. In spite of his youth, therefore, they
looked upon him as one able to lead and counsel, and they were eager for
his opinion concerning the Mohawks and their fires.

"Running Fox, Running Fox!" they cried.

Running Fox rose in response to their cries. He was tall and sinewy,
with an alert face and bold, flashing eyes. He possessed the quiet,
forceful dignity of his father, and the Delawares looked upon him with
pride and affection.

"My friends, you have asked me to talk to you," said Running Fox. "I
have listened to the words of Dancing Owl. I do not believe we are in
any danger. I do not believe those Mohawks will come any closer. I do
not know what to make of those great fires. I am not thinking about
them. I am thinking about my brother, Spotted Deer. I believe he is in
great danger. My heart is heavy. Perhaps those Mohawks have carried him
away. Perhaps they have killed him. It is bad. I do not like to talk
about it."

As Running Fox finished speaking a gloomy silence fell upon the
Delawares. His words had carried an ominous warning. The Delawares
suddenly realized the peril which threatened Spotted Deer. He had left
the village some days previous on a hunting expedition to a lake several
day's journey to the northward where he hoped to kill a bear. He had
expected to return at the end of six days. The seventh day had just
dawned. Spotted Deer had failed to arrive. The Mohawks were on the
river. Startling possibilities flashed into the minds of the Delawares.

"My son, what you say is true," declared Black Panther. "I believe
Spotted Deer is in danger. He has not come back. It is bad. If he does
not come before this sun passes, we must go to find him."

"My father, I will not wait," Running Fox told him. "Spotted Deer is my
friend. We have done many big things together. If the Mohawks have
caught him it would be foolish to wait. We must come up with them before
they reach their village. If they take him to the camp he will surely be
killed. I am going to find him."

"Yes, yes, it is the best thing to do," agreed old Sky Dog, the Medicine
Man. "I saw this thing in a dream. I did not wish to talk about it. Now
I see what it meant. You must go, Running Fox. Do not lose any time.
Keep going until you come in sight of the Mohawks. I believe you will
find Spotted Deer."

Running Fox was immediately besieged by a host of eager volunteers who
wished to accompany him. Most of the active warriors of the tribe
desired to go. He found it hard to refuse them, for all wished to prove
their loyalty for Spotted Deer. Running Fox realized, however, that a
large company would be less likely to succeed than a few picked scouts
moving swiftly on the trail.

"My friends, I see that you all wish to help Spotted Deer," he said. "It
is good. It makes me feel big. But I must tell you that it would be
foolish. Perhaps what Black Panther says is true. Perhaps many Mohawks
are hiding in the woods. Most of you must stay behind to guard the
village. A few of us will go to find Spotted Deer. I will be the leader.
I will ask Dancing Owl, and Yellow Wolf, and Painted Hawk, and Crooked
Foot, and Turning Eagle to go with me. It is enough. Now, my friends, go
to your lodges and get ready to go away."

"Wait!" shouted old Sky Dog. "You are going into great danger. If I do
not help you, something bad may happen. You must all come to my lodge,
and I will make a smoke to Getanittowit and ask him to help you."

"It is good," said Running Fox.



CHAPTER IX

AWAY ON THE SEARCH


When the six scouts who were going to search for Spotted Deer assembled
at the lodge of Sky Dog they found the old Medicine Man seated beside a
small fire. He was tossing handfuls of dried sweet grass upon the
embers, and droning a medicine song. For some moments he took no notice
of the little company of warriors who stood at the entrance to the
lodge, waiting for an invitation to enter. At last he looked up and saw
them.

"Come in," he said, curtly. "Sit down here in front of me. No, no, do
not come so close. Move back. There, that is good."

When they had obeyed his instructions he resumed the ceremony which they
had interrupted. They watched with solemn interest while he continued to
toss sweet grass upon the fire and chant the medicine song.

    Getanittowit, here is sweet smoke for you.
    I am making it to please you.
    Getanittowit, I hope you will feel good about it.
    Great Getanittowit, I hope you will help me.

In a few moments Sky Dog rose and took the sacred medicine pipe from a
tripod of poles at the rear of the lodge. He unwrapped it with great
care and brought it to the fire. He filled the bowl with the inner bark
of the red willow and lighted it with an ember. He puffed smoke toward
the sky, the abode of Great Getanittowit; toward the earth, the abode of
the mysterious Underneath People; toward the north, the east, the south
and the west, the abodes of the Wind Makers. Then he puffed smoke over
the six scouts. Then for many moments he sat with his eyes closed.

The scouts were much impressed. They believed that Sky Dog was
counseling with the mysterious Medicine Beings. They watched him with
superstitious fascination, fearing to speak or even move lest they might
break the spell and incur the displeasure of Sky Dog and the powerful
Medicine People.

Running Fox, however, was impatient. He realized that each moment was
precious, and he was eager to be away on the trail of the Mohawks. His
great fear was that they might reach their village before he could
overtake them. He knew only too well the fate that awaited Spotted Deer
in the Mohawk camp. He was greatly relieved when Sky Dog finally opened
his eyes and spoke.

"My brothers, I will help you," he said. "I have talked with the
mysterious Medicine People. It is good. I believe you will find Spotted
Deer. I have asked the Medicine People to make you strong against the
Mohawks."

He rose and went to the back of the lodge. In a few moments he returned
with a buckskin thong to which was tied a small charm or token. He
fastened it about the neck of Running Fox.

"Running Fox, I am giving this to you because you are the leader," he
said. "It is the claw of the mysterious Medicine Beaver. It will make
you brave. It will keep you strong. It will make you safe against your
enemies. Now, my friends, you must go. When you have gone I will do some
other things to help you. I believe you will do what you are setting out
to do. I have spoken."

"Sky Dog, we have seen you talking with the mysterious Medicine People,"
Running Fox told him. "You have asked them to help us. It is good. It
makes us feel strong. You have fastened this Medicine Thing around my
neck. You say it will help me. I will keep it. Now we are going to find
our brother Spotted Deer."

They immediately left the lodge. As they appeared in the village they
were surrounded by a great company of friends who were eager to warn and
advise. Running Fox refused to loiter.

"My friends, we cannot stop here to talk," he told them. "If the Mohawks
have carried off Spotted Deer we must travel fast to come up with them.
There is little time. We must go."

A few moments later they left the village and went to the river. Then
Running Fox explained his plans.

"My brothers, you heard the words of Black Panther," he said. "Perhaps
there are many Mohawks hiding in the woods. We must be cautious. It
would be foolish to take canoes. The Mohawks would surely see us. We
must travel on foot. There is only one way to do this thing. Some of us
must travel along the other side of the river. Some of us must go along
this side. Then perhaps we will find some signs of Spotted Deer."

"It is good," agreed Yellow Wolf.

"I will ask Painted Hawk, and Turning Eagle and Crooked Foot to go
across the river," said Running Fox. "I will ask Yellow Wolf and Dancing
Owl to stay on this side with me. Now, my friends, you must listen sharp
to what I am about to tell you. In the day we will talk to each other
with the call of Woakus, the fox. When it grows dark we will use the
voice of Gokhos, the owl. If you make one call we will know where you
are. If you make three calls we will know you have found signs of
Spotted Deer. If you make the call end in the middle we will know you
are in danger. If you hear us make those calls you will know about it.
Come, we will go."

"Who will take us across the river?" inquired Painted Hawk.

A number of volunteers offered to paddle the scouts across the water.
When they were half-way across the river, Running Fox and his companions
disappeared into the woods.

"We must travel fast," said Running Fox.

It was a notable company. Dancing Owl and Turning Eagle were young
warriors about the age of Running Fox. Both were noted for their courage
and ability. Dancing Owl had killed a number of Mohawks and had been
captured by the Shawnees. Turning Eagle was a famous scout. Yellow Wolf
and Painted Hawk and Crooked Foot were seasoned veterans of the war
trail. Each was the hero of many thrilling exploits. Running Fox had
great confidence in the warriors whom he had chosen to accompany him. He
believed that once on the trail of Spotted Deer, they would follow it
into the Mohawk camp if it became necessary.

Running Fox led the way along a familiar trail that followed the river
toward the north. His anxiety for his friend made him impatient, and he
traveled at an exhausting pace. Dancing Owl and Yellow Wolf kept close
behind him. At midday they found themselves a considerable distance from
the Delaware village. Then they became more cautious.

"Now we must watch sharp," said Running Fox.

Aware that at any moment they might encounter a Mohawk war party, they
kept their eyes and ears alert to discover the slightest hint of danger.
Their caution seemed useless, for they saw nothing to arouse their
suspicions.

"Those Mohawks must have gone up the river," declared Dancing Owl.

Running Fox remained silent. He found little comfort in the words of
Dancing Owl. His mind was filled with gloomy premonitions concerning
Spotted Deer. For the moment the fate of his friend was all that
interested him. If the Mohawks had withdrawn from the Delaware hunting
grounds he feared that they had taken Spotted Deer with them. Running
Fox grew weak at the thought. It roused him to still greater efforts,
and he almost ran along the trail in his eagerness to overtake his foes.

At dark the Delawares stopped to rest. Then Running Fox attempted to
locate his tribesmen on the other side of the river. Approaching close
to the water, he gave the cry of Gokhos, the owl. They listened
anxiously as it echoed through the woods. Many moments passed. There was
no response.

"Our brothers are far behind," said Running Fox.

The thought disturbed him. He had planned to continue traveling through
the night in the hope of gaining upon the Mohawks. Still he disliked to
go ahead without hearing from the scouts on the other side of the river.
He waited impatiently. Then he repeated the signal. Again it failed to
bring an answer. Running Fox grew uneasy.

"It is mysterious," he told Yellow Wolf. "I do not know what to make of
it. Perhaps something bad has happened to our friends. Perhaps the
Mohawks were hiding over there."

"No, I do not believe anything has happened to our brothers," Yellow
Wolf told him. "We came here very fast. We followed a trail. Our friends
could not come so fast. It is hard going on the other side of the river.
They fell behind. I believe they will come."

"Well, Yellow Wolf, I see that what you say may be true," said Running
Fox.

Then for some moments he remained silent. His mind was filled with
disturbing possibilities. He found it difficult to come to a decision.
He realized that each moment of delay lessened his chance of overtaking
the Mohawks. Still he wished to know what had happened to his friends.
It seemed foolish to go ahead until he heard from them. It was possible
that they might have encountered the Mohawks, or found Spotted Deer or
some signs of him. Running Fox finally determined to wait.

The three scouts had barely seated themselves at the edge of the woods
when they heard the call of Gokhos a short distance farther down the
river. Their spirits rose at the sound, for they realized that their
friends were safe.

"Our brothers have come," said Dancing Owl.

"It is good," Running Fox replied, with much relief.

A moment afterward he replied to the signal There was no answer. He had
not expected any. Having located him he knew that his tribesmen would
continue along the river in silence. Too many signals might arouse the
suspicions of any foes who might be loitering in the vicinity.

"Come, my brothers, we will go ahead," said Running Fox. "When our
friends come they will make the signal. When they do not hear anything
they will know that we have gone. Then they will go ahead. We will keep
going until we get to the place where the big fires were. Then we will
stop and rest. When it gets light we will look around."

Running Fox again led the way at a breakneck pace. The trail led through
a dense black forest of towering pines and hemlocks, and the Delawares
were unable to see a bow-length before them. In spite of the darkness,
however, they had little difficulty in keeping the trail. They followed
its narrow winding course with the speed and certainty of Timmeau, the
wolf. Day was close at hand when they finally approached the spot where
Dancing Owl had discovered the Mohawks.

"We are coming to the place where I saw those fires," he said.

"Now you must go ahead," Running Fox told him.

Dancing Owl took the lead. They realized that they might be blundering
into a trap, and they were as alert and cautious as Woakus, the fox.
Mauwallauwin, the great Hunting Moon, shed his light upon the river, and
they kept a sharp watch for canoes. It was not long before Dancing Owl
stopped and pointed toward the water.

"See, there is the place where I saw the fire," he said.

They stood at the edge of the woods and looked upon a wide, open stretch
of beach that intervened between the water and the forest. The place
which Dancing Owl had indicated was several arrow-flights farther along
the river. He was eager to approach it, but Running Fox counseled
caution.

"Wait," he said. "Perhaps there is some one there. We will watch and
listen."

"Your words are good," declared Yellow Wolf.

They waited some time, and then as they discovered nothing to arouse
their fears they moved noiselessly toward the place where the fire had
burned. They had gone less than a bow-shot, however, when Dancing Owl
suddenly collided with a great black form that rose from the trail.
There was an angry snarl, and two fierce eyes blazed from the darkness.

"Machque!" cried Dancing Owl, as he sprang back and shot his arrow.

A savage roar sounded through the night as the bear charged upon the
astounded Delawares. It struck down Dancing Owl and then rushed at
Running Fox. He shot his arrow and dodged nimbly around a tree. The next
instant the enraged bear confronted Yellow Wolf. He, too, drove his
arrow into it, and sprang from its path. Then it crashed away into the
darkness. For some moments they heard it floundering noisily through the
undergrowth, and then the sounds ceased.

"Hi, Machque is mad," laughed Running Fox, as he came from behind the
tree.

"I thought he was a Mohawk," said Dancing Owl.

"Did he tear you?" Yellow Wolf asked, anxiously.

"No," replied Dancing Owl. "He tried to strike me but I jumped away.
Then he bumped into me and I fell down."

"Well, we all shot arrows into him," said Yellow Wolf. "I believe he
went over there and fell down dead."

"Come, we will go over there and find out about it," Dancing Owl
proposed, impulsively.

"No, no, that would be foolish," Running Fox told him. "Machque is sly.
Perhaps he has gone away. Perhaps he is waiting to fool us. It is black
under those big trees. We cannot see him. Perhaps he would kill us. I am
not afraid but we have set out to find Spotted Deer. If we let Machque
tear us we cannot help our brother. It will soon be light. Then we will
find Machque."

"Yes, Running Fox, I see that it is the best thing to do," agreed
Dancing Owl.

"We must watch sharp. Perhaps Machque will come back," said Yellow Wolf.

"Yes, we will keep quiet and watch," Running Fox told him.

They seated themselves at the edge of the timber to wait for daylight.
Dancing Owl was almost exhausted. Having traveled at top speed to reach
the Delaware camp with news of the Mohawks, the return journey had been
a severe test of his courage and endurance. He lay upon the ground and
immediately fell into a heavy slumber. His comrades remained awake to
watch.



CHAPTER X

THE ABANDONED CANOE


At dawn Running Fox and his companions made their way to the edge of the
timber and looked anxiously along the river. A short bow-shot away they
saw the charred logs and ashes from the fire. Then they looked across
the water and saw the remnants from the other fire. For the moment,
however, the Delawares took little interest. Their first thought was to
look for the Mohawks. They watched some time, but saw nothing to
indicate that their foes had loitered in the vicinity. Still, Running
Fox determined to take every precaution.

"I believe the Mohawks have gone away," he said, finally. "But we must
not feel too sure about it. Perhaps they are hiding in the woods.
Dancing Owl, you must keep watching. Come, Yellow Wolf, we will look for
Machque. I believe he is close by. If we find him we will get back our
arrows."

"It is good," said Yellow Wolf.

They left Dancing Owl concealed at the edge of the forest, and went to
search for the bear. The trail was plain and easy to follow and red
splashes on the leaves gave evidence that Machque had been badly
wounded. They had little doubt that he was already dead. Still they
resolved to take no chances, for they knew that if Machque was alive he
might prove to be a dangerous foe. They advanced with great caution,
watching closely for a sight of the bear. Then, within an arrow-flight,
the trail suddenly came to an end at a great tangle of brush and fallen
timber.

"Look sharp," Running Fox cautioned. "Machque is in there."

They stopped and peered anxiously into the cover. It was dense and as
twilight still lingered beneath the heavy stand of evergreens they were
unable to discover the bear. Several times they thought they saw it, but
they were deceived by stumps and shadows. They listened a long time, but
heard nothing to give them a clew.

"If Machque is in there, he must be dead," Yellow Wolf said, at last.

"Perhaps he crawled through that place and went out on the other side,"
Running Fox told him. "We will circle around and find out about it."

"It is the best thing to do," said Yellow Wolf.

They separated and began to move cautiously around the tangle. They had
taken only a few strides when they heard low, ominous growls coming from
beneath a confused mass of roots and brush. They stopped and prepared to
fight.

"Look sharp, Machque is coming out!" Running Fox cried, warningly.

A moment afterward there was a sharp crackling of sticks and the wounded
bear forced its way through the tangle. It emerged within a bow-length
of Yellow Wolf. At sight of him it reared unsteadily upon its hind legs,
and Yellow Wolf drove his arrow into its chest. Roaring furiously, the
bear dropped to its feet and turned to enter the cover. Yellow Wolf ran
close up to it and drove another arrow behind its shoulder. Machque
flashed about with the agility of a lynx and rushed wildly upon his foe.
Yellow Wolf turned to run but tripped over a log and plunged headlong
into the brush. At that moment Running Fox rushed recklessly upon the
bear and struck it with his tomahawk, Machque wheeled to attack him, and
then Yellow Wolf jumped to his feet and shot an arrow. The bear
collapsed. For some moments it continued to struggle, and then it lay
still. The Delawares looked at each other and smiled.

"Machque is dead," said Yellow Wolf. "He was very strong and very
fierce. Running Fox, you were brave. You kept Machque from tearing me. I
will tell our people about it."

Having killed the bear, they had little inclination to loiter. They left
Machque where he had fallen and turned toward the river. They found
Dancing Owl staring anxiously across the water. He heard them
approaching and motioned for them to be cautious. Then he pointed
mysteriously across the river. Running Fox and Yellow Wolf feared to
move. For some moments they stood motionless, searching the opposite
shore. Then Dancing Owl signaled for them to advance. They sank to their
hands and knees and crawled carefully through the undergrowth.

"What do you see?" Running Fox inquired in a cautious whisper.

"I saw something moving through the bushes," Dancing Owl told him. "I do
not know what it is."

"Where was it?" asked Yellow Wolf.

"Over there near that white tree," said Dancing Owl.

They fixed their eyes on a large white birch at the edge of the woods.
It was close by the place where the fire had been. They wondered if
crafty Mohawk scouts were lingering in the vicinity. They watched
anxiously, but the mysterious object failed to appear.

"Did it look like a warrior?" inquired Running Fox.

"I do not know," replied Dancing Owl. "I saw some bushes move. Then
something passed. It went fast. It was behind the bushes, I could not
see what it was."

"Perhaps our brothers are over there," suggested Yellow Wolf.

Running Fox remained silent. A still more interesting possibility had
entered his mind.

"Perhaps it was Spotted Deer," he said.

"Yes, yes, perhaps it was Spotted Deer," Dancing Owl said, eagerly.
"Come, give the signal and we will see what comes of it."

"That would be bad," Running Fox warned him. "If the Mohawks are over
there we must keep quiet and watch. If it is Spotted Deer our brothers
will meet him. Then they will call us."

A moment later they heard the call of Woakus, the fox, a short distance
farther down the river. They listened in breathless suspense. Two
stirring possibilities instantly flashed across their minds. Had their
friends met Spotted Deer? Were they about to call them? The signal,
however, was not repeated. They turned to one another in alarm. Aware
that their tribesmen were advancing along the opposite side of the
river, they feared that they might be blundering into an ambush.

"It is bad," Yellow Wolf whispered, uneasily. "We do not know who is
over there. If the Mohawks are hiding in that place they will catch our
brothers. We must warn them."

"Yes, yes, make the signal," Dancing Owl said, anxiously.

"Wait," cautioned Running Fox. "I have found out who is over there. Look
sharp near that crooked tree. See, there is Achtu, the deer."

A moment afterward they saw the buck standing at the edge of the timber.
It had raised its head and was looking down the river. They believed it
had caught the danger scent. An instant later it vanished into the
shadows.

"Achtu has run away," said Running Fox. "Our brothers must be close."

Then he replied to the signal. In a few moments an answer came from
across the river. Painted Hawk and his companions were almost at the
place where the fire had been lighted.

"Our friends have come up with us--it is good," said Running Fox. "They
will keep watching over there. Now we will go and look around that place
where the fire was."

They spent some time scouting about in the vicinity of the spot where
the fire had been. They found several tracks near the ashes from the
fire, and the mark of a canoe at the edge of the water. As the clews
were of little importance Running Fox was eager to hurry away on the
trail of the Mohawks.

"See, our friends are over there," Yellow Wolf said, suddenly.

They saw two of their comrades searching along the opposite shore.
Running Fox quickly identified them as Painted Hawk and Crooked Foot. He
had little doubt that Turning Eagle was on guard at the edge of the
woods. Running Fox stood at the edge of the water and waved his arms.
When he had attracted the attention of his tribesmen, he pointed toward
the north and made it plain that he was about to continue along the
river. Then Painted Hawk pointed to the woods behind him and swept his
arm in a short circle.

"Our brothers are going to move around over there to look for
something," Running Fox told his companions. "Perhaps they have found a
sign."

"See, they are telling us to wait here," Dancing Owl cried, excitedly.

Painted Hawk had pointed across the water and then seated himself. In a
few moments he rose and again swept his arm toward the woods. Then he
appeared to be waiting for a signal from his friends.

"I am going ahead," said Running Fox. "Yellow Wolf, I will ask you to go
with me. Dancing Owl, you must stay here and wait for a signal from
Painted Hawk."

Dancing Owl walked from the timber and seated himself near the water.
Running Fox pointed toward him. Then he pointed toward Yellow Wolf and
himself and then up the river. Painted Hawk seemed to understand. A
moment afterward he and Crooked Foot disappeared into the timber.

"Dancing Owl, you must hide in the woods and wait," said Running Fox.
"Come, Yellow Wolf, we will go."

At that instant Dancing Owl was looking sharply along the shore. Then he
pointed excitedly toward a bowlder that rose above the water, a short
distance away.

"I saw something go behind that rock," He said.

Running Fox and Yellow Wolf turned in alarm. The next moment they saw
something drifting slowly past the bowlder. The three Delawares stared
at it in amazement. They had suddenly recognized it as a paddle. The
discovery roused their suspicions. They feared that a canoe was
somewhere near.

"Come, jump into the bushes!" cried Running Fox.

They hid themselves and looked anxiously up the river. The paddle was
near the shore and appeared to be drifting still nearer. They watched it
in trying suspense. They longed to secure it, but still they feared to
make the attempt.

"Perhaps the Mohawks saw us," said Yellow Wolf. "Perhaps they threw that
paddle into the water to fool us. If we try to get it we may be killed."

"Yes, I believe it is a trick," Dancing Owl said, suspiciously.

Running Fox kept silent. He was staring at the paddle with eager,
fascinated eyes. He had suddenly resolved to secure it.

"Keep watching," he cried, as he ran toward the river.

He waded into the water and when it rose to his waist, he reached out
and drew the paddle toward him with his bow. As he lifted the paddle
from the water he cried out in astonishment. Then he hurried to the
shore and ran to his companions.

"See, see, this paddle belongs to Spotted Deer!" he told them,
excitedly. "Here is his mark."

They instantly recognized the design which had been cut into the blade.
For some time they stared at it in silence. They were trying to guess
how the paddle had chanced to drift into their hands.

"It is bad," Running Fox said, finally.

His companions kept silent. They had little doubt that ill fortune of
some sort had befallen Spotted Deer, and their minds were filled with
gloomy premonitions. The finding of the paddle made them almost certain
that Spotted Deer had been either captured or killed by the Mohawks.
Running Fox was crushed by the possibility. For some moments he appeared
unable to rouse himself. Then he suddenly turned toward the river and
imitated the cry of Woakus, the fox. Three times he sent the call across
the water to tell his friends that he had found signs of Spotted Deer.

"Come, Yellow Wolf, we will go ahead and try to find out about this
thing," he said. "Dancing Owl, you must stay here."

"I will wait," Dancing Owl told him.

Suspicious and fearful of running into a trap, the two Delawares moved
along the river with great caution. They kept close to the water, hoping
to find further clews to the fate of Spotted Deer. They had gone a
considerable distance when they finally discovered something which
caused them to stop and exclaim in alarm. An overturned canoe had lodged
in a mass of driftwood a short distance from the shore. The canoe was of
Delaware design, and they knew at once that it belonged to their missing
tribesman. They gazed upon it in silent dismay. Each was unwilling to
express the fear which had entered his mind. Running Fox again gave the
signal which told his friends that he had found further signs of Spotted
Deer. Soon afterward Dancing Owl came to join them.

"My brothers, something bad has happened to Spotted Deer," he said,
solemnly, as he saw the canoe.

Running Fox stared wildly into his face. His misery showed in his eyes,
and his companions looked upon him with pity. Two alarming possibilities
confronted them. They believed that Spotted Deer had either been
overtaken and killed by the Mohawks or had overturned his canoe and
perished in the river in a desperate effort to escape.

"I am going out to get that canoe," Running Fox said, suddenly.

He again waded into the river and made his way to the overturned canoe.
There was a long, jagged rent in the bow. The discovery increased his
fears for Spotted Deer. He dragged the canoe to the shore and watched in
gloomy silence while Yellow Wolf and Dancing Owl made a careful
examination.

"Well, my friends, what do you make of it?" Running Fox asked them.

"It is bad," declared Yellow Wolf. "I believe that hole was made by a
rock. Perhaps Spotted Deer was going fast to get away from the Mohawks.
Perhaps it was dark. He could not see far ahead. Then he bumped into
that rock and fell into the river. Perhaps the Water Monsters pulled him
down. Perhaps he got to land. I cannot tell you about it. It looks bad."

"Yes, it looks bad," agreed Running Fox. "Dancing Owl, tell us how you
feel about it."

"It looks bad," said Dancing Owl. "We found that paddle. That was bad. A
warrior does not throw away his paddle. Now we have found this canoe. It
was turned over. There is a hole in it. I believe something bad has
happened to Spotted Deer."

"Listen," cautioned Running Fox.

At that moment they heard the call of Woakus, the fox, somewhere in the
vicinity of the spot where they had left Painted Hawk and his
companions. In a few moments the signal was repeated. Then it sounded
the third time. The Delawares looked at one another in surprise. Had
their friends found signs of Spotted Deer on the other side of the
river? It seemed impossible. Still there was no reason to doubt the
signal.

"It is mysterious," declared Yellow Wolf.

Running Fox repeated the call. Then they listened in grave suspense. It
was not long before the answer came. Again the signal sounded three
times. There was no chance for uncertainty. It was plain that Painted
Hawk and his companions had discovered a clew. The thought filled
Running Fox with hope. Then he began to wonder if his tribesmen had been
deceived. Having found the paddle and canoe of Spotted Deer, it was
difficult to understand how the latter had been located on the other
side of the river. Still Running Fox had full confidence in the judgment
and skill of Painted Hawk and his companions. All were experienced
warriors and scouts, and he knew that they would be unlikely to send a
false signal.

"I do not know what to make of this thing, but I believe our brothers
have found something," he said, finally. "If Spotted Deer was over
there, perhaps he is alive."

"Perhaps Spotted Deer is with our brothers," Dancing Owl suggested,
hopefully.

Running Fox and Yellow Wolf remained silent. They were doubtful. Running
Fox felt quite certain that if Spotted Deer had met his tribesmen, he
would have sent a signal across the water to relieve the anxiety of his
friends.

"Well, my brothers, we must try to find out about this thing," declared
Running Fox. "It would be foolish to go ahead until we know about it. I
am the leader. I will tell you what I propose to do. We must cross the
water and talk with our friends. There is only one way to get over
there. We must use this canoe. We cannot do that until we close that
hole. Come, we will pull the canoe into the woods and fix it. Then we
will wait until it gets dark. Then we will go to meet our friends."

They carried the canoe some distance into the woods. Then, while Dancing
Owl watched the river, Running Fox and Yellow Wolf scouted through the
woods searching for pitch. They found it in hard nodules on the trunks
of many of the pines and spruces, and they soon gathered a sufficient
quantity. Then they returned to Dancing Owl who said that he had seen
nothing to cause alarm.

"It is good," said Running Fox. "Pretty soon we will be ready to go
across the water."

They made a small fire between two logs and placed a large flat stone
across them. When it became heated they placed the pitch upon it. It
took a long time for the pitch to soften. When it finally began to melt
they daubed it upon the ends of flattened sticks and hurried to the
canoe. Then as Dancing Owl and Yellow Wolf held the jagged edges of the
bark in place, Running Fox applied a thick coating of hot pitch over the
tear. It was necessary to make many applications both on the inside and
outside of the canoe to render it water-tight. When the task finally was
completed the day was well advanced.

"Now we will cross the water and meet our friends," proposed Dancing
Owl.

"No, my brother," Running Fox cautioned him. "We must wait. We made a
fire. Perhaps the Mohawks saw the smoke. Perhaps they are watching the
water. We will wait until it gets dark."

"Yes, we must wait," agreed Yellow Wolf.



CHAPTER XI

A COUNCIL OF WAR


When twilight finally fell, Running Fox and his companions carried the
canoe to the river. They launched it and found it water-tight. Then
Running Fox paddled slowly along the edge of the shore. They were
watchful and alert for danger, but the river appeared free of foes. It
was almost dark when they came opposite the spot where they expected to
find their friends. Running Fox ceased paddling and imitated the cry of
Gokhos, the owl. It was answered from the other side of the river.

"Our friends are waiting," said Yellow Wolf.

Running Fox turned the canoe toward the center of the river. Once beyond
the shadows near the shore, they realized that they were in plain sight
of any foes who might be lurking in the forest. They kept a sharp watch
for the sudden appearance of canoes. When they came within bow-shot of
the place where the fire had been, Running Fox again ceased paddling and
waited for a signal. He felt quite sure that they had been seen by their
friends. In a few moments they heard the call of Gokhos directly ahead
of them. Running Fox paddled cautiously toward the shore. Then they
recognized the voice of Painted Hawk.

"My brothers, the way is clear," he said.

As they stepped ashore their friends hurried forward to inquire about
the canoe. When they learned that it belonged to Spotted Deer they were
dumb with amazement.

"It is mysterious," Painted Hawk declared, at last. "I believe Spotted
Deer was in this place. How did his canoe get across the water?"

"Have you found signs of Spotted Deer?" Running Fox inquired, quickly.

"We found signs that told us a prisoner was here," said Painted Hawk. "I
believe it was Spotted Deer. That is why I called you. When it grows
light I will show you those signs. Perhaps you can tell us about it."

"If Spotted Deer is a prisoner it would be foolish to wait," Running Fox
declared, impatiently.

"We found many tracks," explained Painted Hawk. "We cannot follow them
until it gets light."

"Well, tell us about it," said Yellow Wolf.

"Wait," cautioned Running Fox. "First we must pull this canoe into the
bushes. Then we will go and sit down in the woods. See, Mauwallauwin is
peeping over the trees. Pretty soon the river will be light. If we stay
here in the open, perhaps our enemies will see us."

The others quickly saw the wisdom of his words. The moon was rising
above the eastern ridges and they knew that they would soon become
conspicuous on the open shore of the river. They dragged the canoe from
the water and carried it into the bushes. Then they withdrew into the
shelter of the forest. Fearful of making a fire, they seated themselves
in a little circle and began to talk.

"My brothers, I will tell you about this thing," said Painted Hawk.
"When we came to this place we began to look around for our enemies. We
did not find them. Then we came down here near the water and began to
look for signs. We saw some tracks around the place where the fire was.
We saw the marks of canoes near the water. Then we began to look around.
Pretty soon we found some tracks in the woods. Then we found some ashes
and black wood behind a rock. We saw where some people had been lying
down. Then Turning Eagle found something big. His eyes are sharp. He was
looking at a place where some one had been lying down. Then he saw
something to tell about. Come, Turning Eagle, tell our brothers about
it."

"I will tell you about it," said Turning Eagle. "I was looking around
that place where those people had been lying down. I was looking sharp.
Then I saw something strange. It looked like it looks when our brother
Wisawanik, the squirrel, pulls away the leaves. I looked close at that
place. Then I saw some more marks on the ground. They were made by
fingers. Then I thought about it. I said, 'Some one was lying down with
his hands behind him.' They were in the middle of his back. They were
crossed. Then I said, 'That person was a prisoner.' Then I called
Painted Hawk and Crooked Foot to look at those marks. They felt good
about it. That is all I have to say about it."

"Are you sure about this thing?" Running Fox inquired, eagerly.

"Yes," declared Turning Eagle. "I looked sharp. What I have told you is
true."

"Come, we will go to this place," proposed Dancing Owl.

"No, we must not do that," Running Fox told him. "If we go to that place
in the dark we cannot see anything. Perhaps we will wipe away many
tracks. We must wait until the light comes. Then we will go and find out
about it."

"This thing is mysterious," declared Yellow Wolf. "If the Mohawks caught
Spotted Deer over here, how did we come to find his canoe on the other
side of the water?"

For some moments the Delawares remained silent. They seemed unable to
answer the question. The circumstances were confusing. At last, however,
Dancing Owl spoke.

"My brothers, I saw those big fires near the water," he told them. "I
went up close. Then I saw the Mohawks. I saw them go up the river. I did
not see anything of Spotted Deer."

"Turning Eagle, did those people who were here go back to the river?"
Running Fox asked, anxiously.

"I cannot tell you that," said Turning Eagle. "We found many tracks.
Some were going toward the woods. Some were going toward the river. They
were all mixed together. But I will tell you that some tracks went away
into the woods. Yes, I believe those people went away toward
the-place-where-the-sun-sleeps. We tried to follow those tracks. Then it
got dark and we could not see them."

Running Fox was greatly impressed by the announcement. His mind was
filled with interesting possibilities. He began to doubt that the
Mohawks had carried Spotted Deer up the river. The uncertainty gave him
hope. Still he was unable to guess what had become of his friend. Having
found his abandoned canoe it was evident that misfortune of some sort
had overtaken him. For the moment Running Fox felt helpless to solve the
mystery of Spotted Deer's strange disappearance. His one hope was that
Spotted Deer was still alive.

"My friends, I will tell you how I feel about this thing," said Yellow
Wolf. "Spotted Deer has disappeared. We have found his canoe. Something
bad must have happened to him. Dancing Owl saw the Mohawks in this
place. He did not see Spotted Deer in their canoes. Painted Hawk and
Crooked Foot and Turning Eagle are good scouts. They have found many
tracks over here. Turning Eagle says there was a prisoner here. I
believe his words. Now, my friends, we cannot tell who left those
tracks. I believe they were Mohawks. We cannot tell about that prisoner.
Perhaps it was Spotted Deer. Perhaps it was some one different. We
cannot tell about those big fires. Now you see if we cannot tell about
these things it will be hard to know what to do. Come, Running Fox, you
are the leader, tell us about it."

"Yellow Wolf, what you say is true," replied Running Fox. "It is hard to
know about this thing. I will tell you how I feel about it. I do not
believe the Mohawks took Spotted Deer up the river. Dancing Owl was
watching. He did not see him. Turning Eagle has sharp eyes. I believe
what he tells us is true. I believe that prisoner was Spotted Deer. If
he was with the people who slept at this place, then they must have
taken him away. Turning Eagle says they went away toward
the-place-where-the-sun-sleeps. My friends, perhaps those people were
not Mohawks. The Shawnees live over there beyond the hills. Perhaps
those people were Shawnees. Perhaps they came over here to hunt. Perhaps
they caught Spotted Deer. Perhaps they are going to the Shawnee village.
When it gets light we will try to find out about it. Now I cannot tell
you any more."

"Running Fox, your words are good," said Painted Hawk. "I believe those
people who went away on foot were Shawnees. I cannot tell about Spotted
Deer. You found his canoe on the other side of the water. I believe he
was over there. Perhaps the Mohawks caught him over there. Perhaps they
did not come down where Dancing Owl was watching. Dancing Owl says he
heard the call of Gokhos. It was up the river. Perhaps the people who
caught Spotted Deer were calling the warriors at the fires. Perhaps the
Mohawks followed Spotted Deer down the river. Perhaps they made those
fires so that he could not pass. I do not know about this thing. This is
how I feel about it."

"My brothers, I have listened to the words of Yellow Wolf, and Running
Fox and Painted Hawk," said Crooked Foot. "Now I will give you some
words. We must try to find out the best thing to do. I will tell you how
I feel about it. I believe the Mohawks were here and I believe the
Shawnees were here. I believe the Mohawks went away in canoes. I believe
the Shawnees walked away. I saw those marks on the ground. I believe
there was a prisoner lying in that place. If it was Spotted Deer, then I
believe he went away with the Shawnees. That is all I have to say about
it."

Then the Delawares became silent. Having failed to come to a definite
conclusion regarding the disappearance of their tribesman, each of them
was meditating upon the possibilities suggested by his friends. They
realized that only daylight could give them a clew to the mystery.

"Well, I see that we feel different about this thing," Running Fox told
them. "There is no use of talking any more. We must wait until the light
comes. Then we will go and look sharp at those tracks. If they tell us
that Spotted Deer was taken away by the Shawnees, we will know what to
do. If we cannot tell about it then we must separate. Some of us must go
to the Mohawk village. Some of us must try to follow the people who
walked away. My friends, that is all I can tell you about it."

"We will wait until it gets light," agreed his friends.

A moment afterward Running Fox rose and walked away. His heart was heavy
with grief and he wished to be alone. He made his way to the edge of the
timber and seated himself at the base of a giant pine. The great, black
forest was hushed in slumber. The night was glorious. The air was sharp
and still. The heavens were sprinkled with stars. The river sparkled in
the moonlight. Running Fox was unimpressed. His mind was filled with
thoughts of Spotted Deer.

"It is bad," he kept telling himself.

Convinced that Spotted Deer had been captured by either the Mohawks or
the Shawnees, Running Fox realized that each moment of delay lessened
the chance of saving him. The thought that Spotted Deer might be
depending upon him drove him into a frenzy of despair. He saw little
chance of overtaking his foes before they reached their village, and
then he feared he might be too late to help his friend. His courage
weakened at the thought. Spotted Deer had been his loyal friend and
companion since early boyhood, and a strong affection existed between
them. They had shared many perilous adventures and each had risked his
life to save the other. Now, when he believed Spotted Deer was in urgent
need of assistance, Running Fox felt powerless to help him. The thought
overwhelmed him with grief. Rising to his feet, he spread his arms
toward the sky and offered an earnest, impassioned appeal to
Getanittowit, the Great One.

    Great Getanittowit, listen to my words.
    Getanittowit, something bad has happened.
    Getanittowit, tell me about it.
    Great Getanittowit, my heart is black.
    Getanittowit, take pity on me.
    Getanittowit, make me brave and strong.
    Getanittowit, give me power to find Spotted Deer.

After he had finished his appeal, Running Fox stood for a long time
staring anxiously into the heavens. Then a star swept across the sky and
dropped into the west. The superstitious young warrior accepted it as a
good omen. He believed that his prayer had been answered.

"Getanittowit has sent me a sign," he said. "Now I will find Spotted
Deer."



CHAPTER XII

ON THE TRAIL


It was barely light when the anxious Delaware scouts hastened to the
river to study the tracks at the spot where the fire had been. Running
Fox spent only a few moments at that place. Then he moved along at the
edge of the water. He soon found the marks of several canoes, and
stopped to examine them. There were many tracks on the shore. It was
evident that the skillful young scout had found a clew. He crouched low
to the ground and studied the footprints with great care. His companions
watched hopefully. Then he suddenly left them, and went farther along
the river. He coursed to and fro between the woods and the water like an
eager wolf on the trail of game. At last he disappeared into the forest.
His friends waited patiently. They believed he was working out some clew
which he had discovered at the spot where the canoes had been lifted
from the water. It was a long time before he returned. Then they saw him
approaching slowly along the edge of the woods. He appeared to be
following a trail. In a few moments he called his friends. As they
joined him he crouched and pointed to several moccasin tracks which were
scarcely discernible on an open patch of ground.

"My friends, I have found out about this thing," Running Fox said, as
his eyes flashed excitedly. "Come, we will go back where those canoes
were, and I will tell you about it."

When they arrived at that spot, Running Fox again stooped to examine the
tracks. He seemed to be studying them even more carefully than before.
Several times he measured them with his hands. Then he rose and smiled
confidently at his friends.

"Yes, my brothers, I know about this thing," he said. "I will tell you
about it. I believe Spotted Deer was brought here in one of those
canoes. See, here are the tracks of some one who stepped out of one of
those canoes. He stood here by himself. Those other tracks are all
around him. I believe the warrior who stood alone was a prisoner. Those
other people stood around to look at him. I believe that prisoner was
Spotted Deer. I believe some one brought him across the water in a
canoe. My brothers, I do not believe the Mohawks had anything to do with
it."

His friends exclaimed in surprise. If Spotted Deer had been brought
there in a canoe, they believed it must have been the Mohawks who had
brought him. It was some moments before they recovered from their
astonishment. Then they began to question Running Fox.

"Who do you believe brought Spotted Deer here?" Painted Hawk asked him.

"The Shawnees," said Running Fox.

"Dancing Owl saw Mohawks in those canoes," Crooked Foot reminded him.

"Yes, I believe the words of Dancing Owl," declared Running Fox.
"Now you must listen close. When I saw these tracks I knew there
was a prisoner in one of those canoes. I believe it was Spotted
Deer. Turning Eagle says some people took him away toward
the-place-where-the-sun-sleeps. I believe it was the Shawnees. Then I
said, 'The Shawnees must have come in those canoes. That prisoner got
out of one of those canoes. Dancing Owl saw the Mohawks take the canoes
away. How did it happen? I will try to find out about it.' Then I went
along the river. I looked sharp. Pretty soon I found a track. Then I
found another. Then I found some more. They were coming this way. They
kept close to the woods. I saw where some one had been standing. Then I
said, 'These people stopped here to watch something. They were cautious.
I believe they were scouts.' I followed up those tracks. I went fast.
Pretty soon I came to a place where two canoes had been pushed into the
bushes. Then I began to think about it. Now I will tell you what I found
out.

"I believe the people who came here in those canoes were Shawnees. I
believe the people who came here on foot were Mohawks. I believe the
Shawnees took those canoes from the Mohawks. I believe the Shawnees saw
Spotted Deer. I believe some were ahead of him and some were behind him.
I believe the Shawnees who were ahead of Spotted Deer made those big
fires to light the river. Then he could not pass. I believe the other
Shawnees came up with him. I believe Spotted Deer tried to get away and
bumped into a rock. Then they caught him and brought him to the big
fire. Then they got afraid and stopped that fire. Then they went up into
the woods where Turning Eagle found those signs.

"Then I believe the Mohawks came down here after those canoes. They saw
the fires. They crept down through the woods. The Shawnees heard them
and ran away. Then the Mohawks took away the canoes. My friends, I
believe Spotted Deer is in the Shawnee camp. That is how I feel about
it."

"Running Fox, I believe what you say is true," Painted Hawk said,
excitedly. "You are as sharp as Woakus, the fox."

"Yes, yes, Running Fox has found out about it," declared the others.

"Well, my friends, there is no use talking about it," Running Fox told
them. "We must try to do something. Turning Eagle, show me the place
where those people were lying down."

They made their way into the woods and soon came upon the remains of the
fire behind the rock. Running Fox examined the signs. He agreed with
Turning Eagle that one of those who had slept there was a prisoner.

"It must have been Spotted Deer," declared Running Fox. "Now we must try
to find him. Come, we will follow those people."

He led the way along the trail. For some distance it was plain and easy
to follow, and Running Fox marveled at the carelessness of his foes. It
appeared that the travelers had little fear of being pursued.

"The Shawnees are like foolish old women," said Yellow Wolf. "They leave
many signs."

Toward the end of the day, however, the trail began to grow indistinct
and difficult to follow. The woods were freer from undergrowth and the
travelers seemed to have become more cautious. They had left few signs.
The Delawares were compelled to travel more slowly. Running Fox grew
impatient at the delay.

"It is bad," he said, irritably. "It will take us a long time to reach
the Shawnee village. Perhaps it will be too late to help Spotted Deer."

"If Spotted Deer is with these people, perhaps he will leave a sign,"
suggested Turning Eagle.

"I am watching sharp," Running Fox told him.

Soon afterward they lost the trail on a barren, rocky hillside. There
were neither tracks nor signs to guide them, and they halted in dismay.
Then they separated and began to search. Some moved along the slope,
others went along the summit of the ridge.

"Perhaps it is a trick," Crooked Foot said suspiciously. "Perhaps those
people have turned off. Perhaps they are not Shawnees."

The possibility was disturbing. Running Fox, however, felt confident. He
believed they would find the trail at the base of the ridge. His hopes
were verified when Turning Eagle suddenly called:

"Here are tracks," he said.

They hurried down the hillside and found the trail continuing toward the
west. They followed it until the end of the day when it led them to a
little stream that flowed from the north. Running Fox stopped and looked
sharply at Dancing Owl. Dancing Owl nodded understandingly. It was a
familiar spot.

"This is the place where Running Fox and Spotted Deer took me away from
the Shawnees," he told his companions. "They were very brave. They
fought back many Shawnees."

The year previous, Dancing Owl had been captured by the Shawnees, who
were taking him to their village, when Running Fox and Spotted Deer
discovered his plight. They followed swiftly on the trail and overtook
their foes at the stream. Then the daring Delawares crossed the water
below their enemies and concealed themselves in the bushes on the
opposite side of the stream. As the Shawnees were crossing, the two
young Delawares made a fierce attack from ambush and threw the Shawnees
into such confusion that Dancing Owl was able to escape. Then the three
Delawares sped safely away while the bewildered Shawnees were hiding in
the woods in fear of an attack from a large war party of Delawares.
Dancing Owl told the story to his friends with great delight.

"It was a great thing to do," laughed Yellow Wolf. "The Delawares are
too sharp for the foolish Shawnees."

"Yes, yes," agreed Dancing Owl. "If Spotted Deer is alive we will fool
the Shawnees and carry him away."

"Well, if the Shawnees have killed Spotted Deer, I do not care what
becomes of me," declared Running Fox. "I will go into the Shawnee camp
and keep shooting my arrows at the Shawnees until they kill me."

As the day was almost at an end the Delawares decided to spend the night
beside the stream. Aware that the Shawnees might send scouts back along
the trail to make sure that they had not been followed, Running Fox
determined to take precautions.

"My friends, it would be foolish to stay here," he said. "I see that
those people stopped here. Perhaps some of them will come back and find
us. We will go along the water until we feel safe."

"It is good," said Painted Hawk.

They moved a considerable distance down the stream until they came to a
dense stand of spruces. The heavy forest offered a splendid hiding
place, and they determined to remain there until daylight. The night
passed without alarm, and at dawn they crossed the stream. Then they
again set out along the trail.

"We must look sharp," cautioned Running Fox. "Perhaps scouts have stayed
behind to watch. If they see us they will run to their people. Then they
will kill Spotted Deer."

They saw nothing to arouse their suspicions, and at sunset they stopped
at a little spring in the bottom of a wooded ravine. They soon found
signs which made it plain that their foes had spent the night at that
place.

"These people did not make a fire," said Running Fox. "I believe they
were afraid. Perhaps they thought some one was close behind them."

"Perhaps some of the Mohawks followed them," Crooked Foot told him.

"No," replied Running Fox. "Those Mohawks came to get their canoes. When
they got them they went away. They were close to our village. They were
afraid of our people."

"Yes, I saw them go away," said Dancing Owl.

They spent the night in the ravine, and at dawn they again set out on
the trail. It was not long before they found signs which gave evidence
that the Shawnees were advancing with less caution. The Delawares
believed that they were approaching the Shawnee camp. The thought roused
them to their peril. They realized that at any moment they might
encounter a company of Shawnee scouts.

"We have come into the country of our enemies," running Fox warned them.
"We must watch out."

A moment later he stopped suddenly and picked something from the ground.
He stared at it in amazement. Then his face lighted with joy. He began
to laugh. He held a buckskin knife-sheath above his head.

"See!" he cried, "Spotted Deer has left a sign. This thing belongs to
him."

His companions crowded eagerly about him. They passed the knife-sheath
from one to the other. It was of Delaware workmanship and bore a design
similar to the one which they had seen on the blade of the paddle. There
was no doubt that it belonged to Spotted Deer. They felt sure that the
crafty young warrior had purposely dropped it to guide them on the
trail. The thought filled them with hope.

"It is good," said Running Fox. "Now we know that Spotted Deer is in the
Shawnee camp."

Although he fully understood the peril to which Spotted Deer was
exposed, Running Fox was greatly relieved to know that his friend had
escaped falling into the hands of the Mohawks. Aware of the intense
hatred which those fierce foes had for Spotted Deer and himself, he knew
that they would have wasted little time before taking vengeance upon the
unfortunate captive. He was somewhat more hopeful, however, of finding
Spotted Deer alive in the Shawnee camp.

"Here are more signs," he told his friends.

They loitered for a moment to examine a freshly broken branch. It had
been twisted toward the west. They knew, at once, that it was the work
of Spotted Deer.

"The Shawnees have untied the hands of Spotted Deer," laughed Yellow
Wolf. "See how he is using them."

They continued to find other clews. Bent twigs, broken branches and
loosened stones appeared at frequent intervals. The trail, too, had
become wide and plain. It was evident that Spotted Deer was using his
feet as well as his hands to leave signals for his friends. His
stratagem made it possible for them to hurry along with little
uncertainty. Then they came to a spot where the undergrowth was broken
and trampled. They stopped to examine it.

"Some one fell down at this place," Running Fox said, soberly.

He stooped and began to look closely at the broken bushes. Then he
examined the ground. His companions believed that he was searching for
evidence to prove that Spotted Deer had been injured. They, too, looked
upon the spot with alarm. They feared that the Shawnees might have
suddenly detected Spotted Deer in the act of leaving a clew, and struck
him down in their anger.

"Perhaps the Shawnees have killed our brother," said Running Fox, as his
eyes flashed threateningly. "Come, look through the bushes."

Alarmed by his words, the Delawares separated and circled carefully
about the spot. They searched faithfully but found nothing to confirm
their fears.

"It is good," said Running Fox. "We will go ahead."

New clews assured them that Spotted Deer had passed the spot in safety.
Encouraged by the thought, they rushed along at a furious pace. Running
Fox was determined to reach the Shawnee village at the earliest possible
moment.

"We must go fast," he said. "Perhaps the Shawnees are about to kill
Spotted Deer."

The possibility roused the Delawares to frantic efforts and they sped
through the woods with no thought of fatigue. Shortly after midday they
came upon the place where the Shawnees had spent the third night. They
saw the ashes from a fire, and they believed that the nearness of the
village had made the Shawnees bold.

"Come, we must go faster," cried Running Fox, as he hurried on.

Darkness had already fallen when they finally stopped on the summit of a
steep, wooded ridge. Then as they looked down into the valley on the
other side, they suddenly discovered the fires in the Shawnee village.
For some moments they looked in silence. They thought of Spotted Deer
and their hearts filled with ominous doubts. Was he still alive?

"Well, my brothers, there is the camp of our enemies, the Shawnees,"
said Running Fox. "Pretty soon some of us will go down there and try to
find Spotted Deer. If he is alive, we will take him away. If he is dead,
I will rush into the camp and kill many Shawnees."



CHAPTER XIII

A STRANGE ALLY


The Shawnee camp was brightly illuminated by the glow from the fires,
and the Delawares saw many people passing about. The Shawnees appeared
to be engaged in their ordinary tasks, and there was nothing to indicate
that anything of importance was taking place. The Delawares noted that
the village was located beside a river. They saw the light reflected on
the water.

"I have seen that camp before," said Yellow Wolf. "It is close by a big
river. It is a long ways from the edge of the woods. The ground around
it is bare. There are many high logs stuck in the ground around the
village. It will be hard to get into it."

Running Fox listened in silence. He suddenly realized the difficulty of
his task. If the camp was surrounded by a log stockade, he knew it would
be impossible to see anything of Spotted Deer without entering the
village. He had little hope of being able to accomplish that perilous
feat. He knew that even if he should succeed in getting into the camp,
it might be impossible to locate and reach Spotted Deer. For the moment
he lost confidence. Then he suddenly realized that Spotted Deer had
relied on him. The clews which he had left along the way took on a new
significance. Running Fox accepted them as mute appeals for aid from the
friend who more than once had risked death to help him. The thought
stirred him. He determined to sacrifice his life if necessary in an
attempt to free Spotted Deer.

"Getanittowit will help me," he murmured.

"It will be hard to get down to that place," Painted Hawk said,
suddenly.

"There is a trail that goes down there, but it is very steep," Yellow
Wolf told him. "A long time ago I was with some scouts, and we came over
here and found out about this place."

"It would be foolish to follow that trail," Running Fox told them.
"Perhaps the Shawnees are watching."

"Well, Running Fox, you are the leader, tell us what you propose to do,"
said Painted Hawk.

"I am going to ask Yellow Wolf and Dancing Owl to go down there with
me," said Running Fox. "I am going to ask the rest of you to wait up
here. I cannot tell you what we are going to do. I do not know how to
get into that camp. I do not know how to find out about Spotted Deer. I
am going down there to look around. If we do not come back before it
gets light you will know that something bad has happened to us. If you
hear the call of Gokhos three times, you must come to us. If you do not
hear it, then you must wait until it gets light."

"We will keep your words," Painted Hawk told him. "If the Shawnees catch
you, one of us will go and tell our people. Two will keep watching. Then
we will bring a big war party to get you."

"It is good," said Running Fox. "Come, my friends, we will go."

A moment afterward the three daring scouts disappeared into the night.
Their departure filled their friends with doubts. They knew the peril to
which Running Fox and his companions were exposing themselves, and they
had grave fears for their safety.

"Our brothers are brave," Painted Hawk declared, hopefully. "I believe
they will fool the Shawnees. Yes, I believe we will see them again."

Running Fox made no attempt to find the trail of which Yellow Wolf had
spoken, but turned directly down the side of the ridge. The way was
steep and perilous, and they proceeded with great caution. The night was
black and starless and great Mauwallauwin hid behind the clouds. Running
Fox was thankful for the darkness. He knew that it would make it easier
to approach the Shawnee camp.

"Mauwallauwin is helping us," he said. "He has put away his light so
that the Shawnees cannot see us."

When they finally reached the base of the ridge they stopped at the edge
of the timber to watch and listen for their foes. They found a wide
stretch of barren ground between them and the Shawnee village.

"That is a bad place," declared Dancing Owl. "If the Shawnees catch us
out there, it will be hard to get away."

"We must be cautious," Running Fox told him.

Then as they heard nothing to alarm them, they left the shelter of the
woods, and moved slowly across the open ground. As they approached the
village they suddenly thought of the dogs. There was little doubt that
some of them were prowling about outside the camp.

"If they smell us they will make a great noise," said Yellow Wolf.

Running Fox moistened his finger and held it above his head to test the
wind. It came from the direction of the village. The discovery somewhat
relieved their anxiety. There was less probability of the dogs catching
their scent. Then they suddenly heard something which brought them to a
standstill. It was the call of Gokhotit, the little red owl. It sounded
over near the edge of the timber. It was a favorite signal between
Spotted Deer and Running Fox. The latter thrilled as he heard it. A
great hope rose in his heart. Twice it sounded softly through the night
and then it ceased.

"Listen!" Running Fox whispered, excitedly. "That is a signal. I have
heard Spotted Deer use it many times. Perhaps he is hiding over there.
Come, we will go over there and find out who it is."

They turned and hurried toward the place where they had heard the call.
The possibility of finding Spotted Deer made their hearts beat wildly.
As they drew near the timber they became more cautious. They realized
that the call might have been made by a Shawnee, and they determined to
be on their guard. When they finally came within bow-shot of the woods
they stopped and listened. Then the call was repeated directly ahead of
them. There was something weird and mysterious about it as it rose
tremulously through the night.

"Now watch out!" Running Fox warned, as he fitted an arrow to his bow.

Then he replied to the signal. His call was soft and low and only
sufficiently loud to reach the ears of the mysterious caller at the edge
of the woods. The Delawares listened anxiously as it died away. A moment
afterward they heard an answer. It, too, was low and guarded.

"It is mysterious," said Yellow Wolf.

"I believe it is Spotted Deer," declared Dancing Owl.

"Be cautious," Running Fox warned him.

Alert, and ready to defend themselves, they advanced carefully toward
the timber. When they were within easy speaking distance they stopped.
Then Running Fox called softly.

"Spotted Deer," he said.

"Spotted Deer is in the Shawnee village," replied a voice from the
darkness.

It was the voice of a young boy or a woman and the Delawares turned to
one another in surprise. For some moments they remained silent while
they tried to solve the mystery. Many thoughts passed through their
minds. Had some wily Shawnee scout discovered them and prepared a clever
stratagem to lure them to their death? Had Spotted Deer found a friend
among the Shawnees? Was it one of their own people? Before they could
arrive at a decision the strange voice again sounded from the woods.

"Do not be afraid, Delawares," it said. "I have come here to help you.
Perhaps I can save Spotted Deer. You must listen to my words."

"Who are you?" demanded Yellow Wolf.

"The Shawnees call me the Mystery Woman."

"It is a Medicine Person," Running Fox whispered, uneasily. "We must
listen to her words. Perhaps she will help us."

"Do not try to kill me," said the mysterious person in the timber. "If
you kill me, Spotted Deer will surely die."

"No, my friend, we will not kill you," Running Fox assured her.

"Then I will tell you what to do," she said.

"We will come over there and talk with you," proposed Running Fox.

"No, no, stay where you are," she commanded, impatiently. "Come, there
is little time. Close your mouth and open your ears."

"We will listen," Running Fox told her.

"Well, Delawares, I will tell you that the Shawnees have caught your
brother, Spotted Deer," she told them. "He is tied up in the Shawnee
camp. You cannot reach him. Scouts are watching around the camp. If you
try to get into the village you will surely be killed. Now listen sharp
to what I am about to tell you. The Shawnees are going to kill Spotted
Deer. They are going to kill him when the great chief Big Dog returns
from the hunt. He will come before two suns pass. That is why I came
here to find you. Spotted Deer says his people will come. He says his
friend Running Fox will come."

"I am here," said Running Fox.

"It is good," she replied. "How many have come?"

The Delawares remained silent. The question made them suspicious. They
feared that this mysterious woman might be attempting to gain
information for their foes.

"Well, I see that you are cautious," she laughed. "It is good. Now I
will tell you what to do. Red Dog will cross this ridge. He will come
along a steep trail that comes down from the top of the ridge. Two great
warriors will come with him. They are Many Beavers and Striking Bear.
They are very brave. When those warriors come to the Shawnee village,
Spotted Deer must die. If they do not come, perhaps I can help him. Now
you know about it. I have finished."

"My friend, you have spoken big words," said Running Fox. "I do not know
who you are but my heart is good toward you. I believe you are trying to
help us. It is good."

They waited some moments but there was no response. The silence aroused
their fears. They looked anxiously into the darkness. They listened for
the approach of stealthy footsteps. There was no hint of danger.

"Come, my friend, give us some more words," Running Fox said, finally.

The appeal was futile. The strange voice had ceased. The Delawares
became uneasy. They wondered if they had been conversing with one of the
mysterious Medicine Beings. Then they heard the call of Gokhotit, the
little red owl. It was far away toward the Shawnee village.

"She has gone," said Yellow Wolf.

"Perhaps she will tell Spotted Deer about us," Running Fox said,
hopefully.

"Do you believe her words?" Dancing Owl asked, anxiously.

"Yes," said Running Fox. "I believe she came here to help us. I cannot
tell about it. It is mysterious. Perhaps Getanittowit sent her here. I
believe something good will come of it."

"Well, I do not know what to make of it," declared Dancing Owl. "Are you
going to the Shawnee camp?"

"No," replied Running Fox. "I believe it would be foolish. It would be
hard to get into that camp. If we go over there and get caught, Big Dog
and his friends will come to the camp. Then we will all be killed.
Anyway I believe that strange woman is a Medicine Person. If we make her
mad, much harm may come of it. I am going to turn around. We will go
back and tell our brothers about it."

"It is the best thing to do," said Yellow Wolf.



CHAPTER XIV

WAITING AND WATCHING


Although the mysterious stranger had assured them that the trail to the
top of the ridge was unguarded, the Delawares believed that the more
difficult route through the woods might be safer. As they began the
steep, exhausting climb, the clouds suddenly broke and Mauwallauwin
flooded the valley with his soft, mystic light.

"It is a good sign," declared Running Fox. "Great Mauwallauwin has sent
the light to show us the way."

When they finally reached the summit of the ridge they hastened to the
spot where they had left their friends. The latter were greatly
surprised at the sudden return.

"You have come back--it is good," said Painted Hawk. "Now I know that my
brother Spotted Deer is alive."

"Yes, he is alive," Running Fox told him.

"Did you see him?" Crooked Foot asked, eagerly.

"No," replied Running Fox.

"Then how do you know about it?" Turning Eagle inquired, curiously.

"Listen, my friends, I will tell you about it," said Running Fox.
"Something mysterious has happened to us. We were going to the Shawnee
camp. Then we heard the call of Gokhotit, the little red owl. It is the
signal which Spotted Deer makes. It was very soft. It came from the
timber. We stopped. I began to think about Spotted Deer. Then we heard
it again. We went toward the place where it was. We said, 'Perhaps it is
Spotted Deer.' We could not tell about it. We were very cautious. When
we got close, we got ready to fight. We said, 'Perhaps it is the
Shawnees.' Then I made the call. Pretty soon we heard it come back. It
was close by. Then I called out very soft. I said, 'Spotted Deer.'
Pretty soon some one talked to us. 'Spotted Deer is in the Shawnee
camp,' that person told us. It sounded like an old woman. We looked hard
but we could not see any one. It was very dark. Perhaps that is why we
could not see that person. Perhaps there was no one there. I cannot tell
about it. It sounded mysterious. We kept still. We did not know what to
do."

"Yes, yes, tell us about it," Turning Eagle said, eagerly, as Running
Fox paused.

"Well, my brothers, pretty soon that voice came again," said Running
Fox. "It said, 'Do not be afraid, Delawares. I have come here to help
you. Perhaps I can save Spotted Deer. You must listen to my words.'

"When we heard those words we did not know what to do. Then I called
out. I said, 'Who are you?'

"'The Shawnees call me the Mystery Woman,' that voice told us.

"Then I said, 'It is a Medicine Person.'

"Well, my friends, then we listened sharp. That person told us what we
went down there to find out about. Now I will tell you about it. Spotted
Deer is tied up in the Shawnee camp. The Shawnees will kill him when Big
Dog, the great Shawnee chief, returns from the hunt. Big Dog will cross
this ridge. Big Dog will go down that trail that Yellow Wolf told us
about. That mysterious person told us that we must not go to the camp.
Scouts are watching around the village. That person told us we would
surely be killed if we tried to go there.

"Then the voice stopped coming to us. We waited a long time. We listened
sharp. We did not hear anything. Then I called out. Nothing came back.
We waited a long time. Then I called out again. Nothing came back. Then
we heard the call of Gokhotit, the little red owl. It was far away near
the Shawnee village. Then we turned around and came here. Now I have
told you about it."

"Running Fox, if that person was a Medicine Person a great thing has
happened to you," said Crooked Foot. "It is mysterious."

"My brothers, I do not like this thing," Painted Hawk declared,
uneasily. "Perhaps that mysterious person was a Shawnee. Perhaps the
Shawnees are trying to catch us. Perhaps they are trying to keep us here
until a war party comes out from the village."

"Yes, I believe that is what they are trying to do," agreed Turning
Eagle. "We must watch out."

"My friends, I do not believe the Shawnees had anything to do with it,"
Running Fox told them. "Perhaps it was a mysterious Medicine Person.
Perhaps it was some one else. I do not know who it was. But I believe
that person came there to help us. I believe the words of that person.
Come, Yellow Wolf, you are a great warrior, tell us how you feel about
it."

"Yes, Yellow Wolf, you heard this thing, tell us about it," urged
Painted Hawk.

"My friends, I believe we must do what that person told us to do," said
Yellow Wolf. "I do not know who it was but I believe what Running Fox
says is true. I believe that person came there to help us."

"Running Fox, you are a great war leader; Yellow Wolf, you are a great
scout; we will listen to your words," said Painted Hawk.

"It is good," replied Running Fox. "Now I will tell you what I propose
to do. Yellow Wolf, you must lead us to that trail. Some of us will stay
at the top. Some of us will go down and watch below. Two must watch. The
rest must lie down and sleep. I will watch below. Yellow Wolf, you must
watch at the top. If the Shawnees try to come up that trail, I will hear
them. If Big Dog tries to go down that trail, Yellow Wolf will hear him.
I will ask Painted Hawk and Turning Eagle to go with me. Crooked Foot
and Dancing Owl must stay with Yellow Wolf."

Yellow Wolf led the way along the crest of the ridge until they came to
the place where the steep, narrow trail wound down the hillside. Then
they separated to carry out the instructions of Running Fox.

"If you hear the call of Gokhos three times, you will know that there is
danger," Running Fox explained as he departed down the hillside.

The Delawares took turns at watching through the night, but they neither
saw nor heard anything to alarm them. At daylight they met at the top of
the ridge. Then Running Fox announced another important discovery.

"My friends, when we were coming up here we found many tracks on that
trail," he said. "Yes, Spotted Deer went down there. We found his
tracks."

"How do you know that," Painted Hawk asked, curiously.

"We saw some places where some one slid along," said Running Fox. "That
person could not use his hands to hold himself back. Then we said, 'That
person was a prisoner.' Then we knew it was Spotted Deer."

Having passed the night without alarm, and discovered signs which seemed
to prove that Spotted Deer had passed along the trail, the Delawares
became less suspicious of the mysterious stranger. It appeared as if her
words had been verified.

"I believe what that mysterious person told us is true," said Turning
Eagle.

"Well, she did not send the Shawnees here," said Running Fox. "Perhaps
Big Dog will come. We must keep watching."

"Is Big Dog alone?" inquired Painted Hawk.

"No," said Running Fox. "Two warriors are with him. That mysterious
person told us about them. They are Many Beavers and Striking Bear. She
says they are very brave."

"If she knows these things, she must be a Shawnee," declared Crooked
Foot. "If she is a Shawnee, I believe she is trying to fool us."

"I believe she knows these things because she is a great Medicine
Person," Running Fox told him. "If she is a Shawnee, how does she know
about that signal? Spotted Deer did not tell the Shawnees about it. My
brothers, I do not know who that strange person is, but I believe she is
working against the Shawnees. I believe she is trying to help us."

His confidence quieted the suspicions of his friends. They, too, began
to rely upon the aid of the mysterious stranger. Having discovered them
near the village, it was evident that she had concealed the fact from
the Shawnees. The Delawares took hope in the thought.

"Well, we will wait here and see if her words come true," said Yellow
Wolf.

"Yes, we will watch for Big Dog," Running Fox told him.



CHAPTER XV

AN EASY VICTORY


For some time the Delawares fixed their attention upon the Shawnee camp.
They particularly noted the high log stockade which inclosed the village
on three sides. The only approach was from the river.

"That is a bad place to get into," said Painted Hawk.

The others nodded a solemn assent. They realized that the crafty
Shawnees had made their village almost impregnable, and there seemed to
be little chance of freeing Spotted Deer.

"My friends, there is no use of feeling bad about this thing," Running
Fox told them. "We came here to help Spotted Deer. We must go through
with it."

"How do you propose to do this thing?" Painted Hawk asked him.

"I cannot tell you that until I find out about the Shawnee chief," said
Running Fox.

At that moment their thoughts were diverted by the sudden appearance of
three canoes. They had moved out from the shore and turned up the river.
There were two paddlers in each canoe. The Delawares watched closely.

"It is bad," declared Painted Hawk. "Perhaps those warriors are going to
meet their chief. Perhaps he will come to the camp in one of those
canoes."

"No, I do not believe it," Running Fox told him. "That mysterious person
says that Big Dog will cross the ridge. Then he must be coming from
the-place-where-the-sun-appears. Those Shawnees are going toward Lowan,
the Cold Place."

"Yes, that is true," said Yellow Wolf. "I do not believe they are going
to meet Big Dog. I believe they are going up the river to hunt."

Somewhat relieved by the opinions of the two famous warriors, the little
company of Delawares sought to banish the doubts which had entered their
minds. They had great confidence in Running Fox and they believed he
would find a way to overcome the difficulty. Their only fear was that he
might have been deceived by the words of the stranger whom he had
encountered near the Shawnee camp. Running Fox, however, seemed
confident that she was attempting to help them.

They watched patiently through the day, but Big Dog and his friends
failed to appear. Then as the evening shadows settled in the valley,
they saw the three canoes returning to the camp. There were only two
warriors in each canoe. The Delawares felt greatly relieved.

"Well, Big Dog did not come with them," said Painted Hawk. "See, Yellow
Wolf, your words have come true."

The paddlers had come ashore, and were carrying the carcass of a deer or
an elk toward the camp. It was evident that they were hunters. Having
entered the village, they were immediately followed by a great company
of people. They made a great commotion and the sounds of rejoicing
reached the scouts on top of the ridge.

"They have brought meat--the Shawnees feel good," said Turning Eagle.

Then as darkness closed down and the fires began to twinkle in the
Shawnee camp, Running Fox resolved to return to the base of the ridge.
He hoped again to meet the mysterious stranger whom he had encountered
the previous night. This time, however, he determined to go alone.

"My brothers, pretty soon I am going down there," he said. "Perhaps I
will find that mysterious person. Perhaps she will tell me something
different."

Each of his friends was eager to accompany him. He refused them and
insisted upon going alone.

"It is foolish to go down there alone," Crooked Foot warned him.
"Perhaps that person will bring some Shawnees to catch you."

"I will be cautions," Running Fox assured him.

A few moments afterward he departed upon his perilous mission. He
reached the base of the ridge in safety, and stopped to search the wide
stretch of barren ground that surrounded the camp. The sky was clear and
cloudless, and Mauwallauwin had driven the night shadows far back into
the depths of the forest. Running Fox realized that it would be folly to
expose himself in the open. He moved along at the edge of the timber
until he approached the spot where he had encountered the stranger. Then
he stopped to listen. He waited a long time but the only sounds came
from the camp. Still he determined to loiter.

"Perhaps she will come," he told himself.

Then he heard something moving through the woods behind him. He fitted
an arrow to his bow and listened sharply. The warning of Crooked Foot
suddenly came to his mind. He realized that he was exposing himself to
great peril. The thought made him as alert and watchful as Nianque, the
lynx. Having stationed himself in the shadows beneath a great spruce, he
had little fear of being seen. The sound had ceased. Running Fox
wondered if the prowler had become suspicious. Perhaps he, too, was
listening. Then Running Fox heard the soft, querulous call of Gokhotit,
the little red owl. It seemed within several bow-lengths of him. The
signal thrilled him. He looked eagerly toward the sound but the caller
was concealed in the darkness. Running Fox feared to reply. He listened
anxiously for the sound of voices. The silence reassured him. It was
evident that the caller was alone. Many moments passed, and still he
remained silent. Then the call was repeated. It was a perfect imitation
and Running Fox admired the skill of the one who had given it. Then he
answered it. The notes had barely died away before the same weird voice
addressed him from the night.

"You have come--it is good," it said. "Are you alone?"

For a moment Running Fox hesitated to reply. The question made him
suspicious. His silence seemed to anger the stranger.

"Come, come, do not be so cautious," she said, irritably. "If you are
afraid of me, run away like Muschgingus, the rabbit, and leave your
brother to die."

The taunt roused his anger. He instantly accepted the challenge.

"Hi, woman, take care," he said, warningly. "Those are bad words to
speak to a Delaware. Now listen to what I am going to tell you. I came
here because I am not afraid of you. If you have something to tell me,
speak. I will listen."

"It is good," said the stranger. "I see that you are brave like your
brother, Spotted Deer. Well, my son, I will not bring any harm upon you.
I have come here to tell you something. Now listen to my words."

"Wait," interrupted Running Fox. "Are you alone?"

"Yes."

"Then go over there in that light place and sit down."

"No, no, I am going to stay here," she insisted.

Her caution dispelled the suspicions of Running Fox. He realized that if
she had intended to betray him into ambush she would have accepted his
offer. He began to feel secure.

"Well, do as you like about it," he said.

"I have talked with your brother about you," she told him. "Spotted Deer
feels strong because you are near. He says you will do something big.
Now you must listen to my words. Do not try to go into that camp. It is
useless. If you go there you will surely die with Spotted Deer. There is
only one thing to do. You must watch until Big Dog comes. Then you must
kill him. You must also kill those two great warriors. It will be a hard
thing to do, but you must be strong. Then perhaps I will be able to get
Spotted Deer out of the camp before the Shawnees kill him. There is not
much time. They are talking bad against him. If Big Dog does not come
into the camp before the third sun comes, I believe they will kill your
brother."

"Woman, you speak big words," declared Running Fox. "I told my friends
about them. They said, 'Perhaps that person is a Shawnee. Perhaps she is
trying to fool you.' We have watched sharp. One sun has passed. Big Dog
has not come."

"Listen, you Delaware," she said, angrily. "If you do not believe my
words, then shake them from your ears and go away. One sun has passed.
Another will soon come. Before that sun goes away Big Dog will cross
that ridge. He will come down that trail. Now I have told you about it.
If I get Spotted Deer out of the camp I will send him up there on the
ridge to look for you. Tell your friends that they are foolish to talk
against me. Pretty soon they will see that I have done a big thing for
them. Now I am going away."

"Wait," urged Running Fox. "Tell me who you are? Do you live in the
Shawnee camp?"

There was no response. Made reckless by his eagerness to learn the
identity of his mysterious ally, he moved stealthily toward the spot
where he had heard her. The maneuver was useless. She had gone.

"Well, she must be a great Medicine Person," Running Fox told himself.
"I believe she will give me power to help Spotted Deer."

Encouraged by the thought, he hastened away to take her message to his
friends. He had barely begun to climb when he heard the dogs barking
furiously at the Shawnee camp. He stopped and listened uneasily. Then,
as the racket ended as suddenly as it began, he wondered if the strange
Mystery Woman had entered the village.

"My friends, I have talked with that mysterious person and nothing bad
has happened to me," Running Fox told his companions. "Now I know that
she is trying to help us."

"Tell us her words," Painted Hawk said, eagerly.

"She says that Spotted Deer knows about us," Running Fox told them. "She
says that he feels strong about it. She says that Big Dog and his
brothers will cross this bridge before the next sun goes away. She says
we must stop them. She says if they get away, Spotted Deer must die. My
brothers, I believe the words of that mysterious person. I believe she
is a good friend."

"Do you know who she is?" inquired Painted Hawk.

"No," replied Running Fox. "When I asked her about it she went away. I
crept ahead to stop her. When I got there she was gone. It is
mysterious. It must be that she is a great Medicine Person."

"Well, if she feels good toward us, perhaps she will give us power to do
big things," Dancing Owl suggested, hopefully. "Perhaps she will tell us
how to get into the Shawnee camp."

"No, I do not believe she will tell us how to do that," said Running
Fox. "She says it would be a foolish thing to do. She says we would be
killed. She says we must catch Big Dog. Then she will try to get Spotted
Deer away."

"Pretty soon we will see if her words come true," said Turning Eagle.

They again took turns at watching, but the night passed without
incident. They became convinced that the Shawnees were ignorant of their
presence on the ridge. It seemed certain, therefore, that the mysterious
stranger had failed to betray them to their foes.

"Well, my brothers, if that mysterious person did not tell the Shawnees
about us she must be trying to help us," said Painted Hawk. "I do not
know what to make of it. I believe she must be a Medicine Person.
Perhaps Getanittowit sent her here to do this thing."

As the sun rose above the eastern hills, the Delawares suddenly realized
that the fate of Spotted Deer might be settled before it finally crossed
the sky and disappeared into the west. The thought made them serious. If
the words of their unknown ally proved true, they believed that the life
of their friend depended upon their vigilance. If the Shawnee chief
eluded them, they feared that Spotted Deer would die before the dawn of
another day. Having learned that the chief and his companions were
expected to approach from the east, they turned their attention to that
side of the ridge.

Then, as they waited for the appearance of their foes, Running Fox began
to study the possibilities for saving Spotted Deer. A number of
disquieting questions rose in his mind. Suppose they should kill Big Dog
and his companions, would the mysterious Medicine Person be able to
delay the execution of Spotted Deer? He had strong doubts of it. She had
warned him that the Shawnees were growing impatient. She believed that
if Big Dog failed to arrive at the camp before another sun rose, the
Shawnees would kill spotted Deer. The possibility filled Running Fox
with alarm. He suddenly determined that it would be a blunder to kill
the Shawnee chief.

"See, my friends, the sun is high overhead," said Running Fox. "The day
is passing. Pretty soon Big Dog and his friends will come. Yes, I
believe we will see them before the sun goes away. Now I will give you
some words. I feel different about this thing. I believe it would be
foolish to kill Big Dog and his friends. We must catch them and keep
them alive. It will be a hard thing to do but I believe it is the only
way to save Spotted Deer. I am the leader. You must do as I tell you."

His companions turned to him in amazement. They wondered if their ears
had deceived them. It seemed impossible that Running Fox could have
arrived at such an astounding decision. They waited for an explanation.

"My brothers, I see that my words sound bad in your ears," he said. "It
is because you do not know what I propose to do. I cannot tell you that,
until we catch the Shawnee chief. Now I will tell you what you must do.
I will ask Yellow Wolf and Dancing Owl to stay over here with me. The
rest of you must hide along the other side of the trail. Put away your
bows. Keep your war clubs in your hands. If Big Dog and his friends walk
between us, rush out and strike them down. Strike hard enough to make
them sleep, but do not try to kill them. Then I will tell you what to
do."

At that moment Dancing Owl placed his finger across his lips and pointed
warningly down the eastern side of the ridge. The Delawares listened in
great suspense. Then they heard voices. Some one was climbing up the
slope.

"Hide yourselves!" whispered Running Fox.

They separated, and concealed themselves on each side of the trail. They
held their war clubs in their hands and watched anxiously for the
appearance of the three Shawnee hunters. It was not long before they
heard them close at hand.

"Get ready," Running Fox cautioned his companions.

A moment later the Shawnees appeared. The Delawares were overjoyed to
see each of their foes bowed beneath a heavy load of game. It was a
severe handicap, and placed the Shawnees at a great disadvantage. They
were panting heavily from their exertions in climbing the ridge. Having
reached the top, they stopped and looked upon the camp. The Delawares
waited in breathless suspense. They feared that at any moment the
Shawnees might raise a shout to announce their return. As the
possibility filled him with fear, Running Fox was tempted to drive his
arrows through them. At that instant, however, the Shawnees turned and
approached the trail.

The Delawares were well hidden, and they had little fear of being seen.
The Shawnees showed no signs of suspicion. They came to the head of the
trail and turned to follow it down the hillside. At that instant Running
Fox gave the signal and the Delawares rushed from cover. The astounded
Shawnees had little chance to defend themselves. Hampered by their heavy
packs, they were attacked with a grim, silent ferocity that threw them
into confusion. Before they could rally they were struck down.

"Come, pull off these packs!" cried Running Fox, as he dropped to his
knees beside his unconscious foe and began untying the pack thongs.

When the Shawnees regained consciousness some time later, they found
themselves powerless. Their feet and hands were tightly bound with the
rawhide thongs from the packs, and they were gagged with heavy pieces of
buckskin which had been cut from their shirts. Unable to move or speak,
they glared defiantly into the faces of the triumphant Delawares who
stooped over them and laughed gleefully. Then they seized their helpless
captives and carried them some distance along the ridge.

"It is good," laughed Turning Eagle. "The mysterious--"

"Sh," Running Fox cautioned, "the Shawnees have ears."

"Yes, yes, be cautious," warned Yellow Wolf.



CHAPTER XVI

A DARING RUSE


For some time the Delawares studied the prisoners in silence. Then
Dancing Owl suddenly recognized one of them. He was one of the warriors
who had captured him the year before. The hot-tempered young Delaware
immediately began to taunt and tantalize his foe.

"Well, Shawnee, I have caught you," he laughed. "How do you feel about
it? Do you know who I am? Yes, yes, I see that you are afraid of me. You
were very fierce when you caught me. Perhaps I will kill you. Then we
will see how brave you are."

His friends listened with delight. They laughed scornfully as the
enraged Shawnee glared helplessly at his conqueror. Then they attempted
to identify Big Dog, the Shawnee chief. Running Fox realized that unless
he could learn which of the prisoners was Big Dog, it would be
impossible to carry out the daring, plan by which he hoped to rescue
Spotted Deer. He studied the Shawnees with great care. They seemed about
of an age. All were men in the full prime of life. Two were of strong
and muscular physique. The third was lithe and sinewy. The latter was
the one whom Dancing Owl had recognized. All had the stern, fearless
face and bold eyes of the seasoned warrior. As there was no distinction
in dress or bearing, Running Fox found nothing to guide him to a
decision. He resolved to consult his friends.

"Turning Eagle, stay here and watch," he said. "Come, my brothers,
follow me."

When they were safely beyond hearing of their foes, the five Delawares
seated themselves to talk.

"My brothers, we have done a good thing," said Running Fox. "The words
of that mysterious Medicine Person have come true. She is a good friend.
We must try to find out who she is. But first we must find out about Big
Dog. I cannot go ahead with what I intend to do until I find out which
one of those warriors is Big Dog. Do any of you know him?"

His friends shook their heads.

"Well, can any of you pick him out?"

"Did the Medicine Person tell you how to know him?" inquired Painted
Hawk.

"No," said Running Fox. "I was foolish; I did not ask about it."

"It will be a hard thing to find out," declared Crooked Foot. "I looked
sharp at these warriors but I cannot tell you what you wish to know."

"I do not believe that warrior I talked to is Big Dog," said Dancing
Owl. "He was not the leader of those warriors who caught me. A great
chief is always the leader."

"Yes, yes, that is true," agreed his companions. "One of the others must
be Big Dog."

Running Fox had already reached that conclusion. He was glad to hear it
indorsed by his friends. Still he realized that even with one of the
warriors eliminated it would be quite as difficult to learn which of the
others was Big Dog. Aware that a mistake might prove fatal, he resolved
to do nothing until he became certain of the identity of the Shawnee
chief.

"My friends, we must be sure about this thing," he said. "Now I will
tell you how to find out about it. Yellow Wolf, you speak Shawnee words.
You must talk to those warriors. Be sharp. Try to catch them."

"Yes, Yellow Wolf, you must try to fool them," said Crooked Foot.

"Well, I will see what I can do about it," agreed Yellow Wolf.

They rose and returned to the prisoners. The sun was dropping toward the
western ridges. The day was far spent. Running Fox was impatient. He had
planned to make his bold attempt to free Spotted Deer early in the
night. He realized that there was little time to learn what he wished to
know. He watched anxiously as Yellow Wolf approached the Shawnees and
addressed them in their dialect.

"Come, come, Big Dog, open your eyes," he said, sharply, as he studied
the faces of his foes.

Two of the Shawnees glanced quickly at their companion. His face clouded
with anger. Yellow Wolf laughed and turned to Running Fox.

"There is the great chief Big Dog," he said, as he pointed toward the
Shawnee who had been betrayed by his friends.

"It is good," declared Running Fox.

As Turning Eagle continued to watch the prisoners, the other Delawares
again withdrew to talk. Then Running Fox explained his plans.

"Yellow Wolf, you are as sly as Sanquen, the weasel," he laughed. "My
brothers, Yellow Wolf found out what we wished to know. It is good. Now
I will tell you what I propose to do. I am going to talk to those
Shawnees. I am going to tell them about Spotted Deer. I am going to tell
them that they must help us. I am going to ask one of those warriors to
go to the Shawnee village with me. I am going to ask him to talk to his
people. When he gives them my words, I believe they will let Spotted
Deer walk out."

"Running Fox, if you do this thing I believe you will surely be killed,"
Painted Hawk declared, soberly.

"That Shawnee will tell his people to kill you," said Dancing Owl.

"No, I do not believe it," replied Running Fox. "Come, we will go and
tell the Shawnees about it. You must listen sharp to my words."

When they reached the captives, Running Fox stooped and stared steadily
into the face of Big Dog. The eyes of the Shawnee blazed with hate. The
Delaware straightened and began to speak.

"Big Dog, do you know the words of my people?" he asked.

The Shawnee gave no sign that he understood. Running Fox felt sure that
he was attempting to deceive. He waited some moments, and then he
resumed speaking.

"If you do not know my words there is no chance for you," he said. "I
have come here to give you a chance for your life. Now listen sharp to
what I am about to tell you. Your people have caught my brother, Spotted
Deer. He is tied up in your village. I believe your people are about to
kill him. If they kill him you must die. We have come here to take
Spotted Deer away. You are a great chief. If you speak to your people
they will listen. You must tell them to let Spotted Deer go. If you do
that no harm will come to you. Come, be quick, give me a sign."

For several moments the Shawnee remained motionless. Then he glanced at
his companions. His eyes questioned them. The Delawares watched closely.
Would he yield? Their hopes died as the stern Shawnee chief stared
defiantly at Running Fox. The latter still waited. He began to wonder if
the Shawnee really understood his words.

"Well, Shawnee, I see that we must kill you," he said, finally. "Come,
my brothers, the foolish Shawnees wish to die."

The Delawares drew their bows and advanced upon the captives. The latter
gave no evidence of fear. Running Fox watched anxiously. He knew that
unless he could force the Shawnees to agree to his terms there was
slight chance of saving Spotted Deer. It was apparent, however, that Big
Dog and his companions intended to defy him. The thought suddenly roused
him into a temper. His face grew dark with anger, and his eyes flashed
dangerously. He jerked his bow into position and fitted an arrow. Then
he drew back the bow-string and aimed the arrow at the heart of Big Dog.
At that instant the chief slowly raised himself. Running Fox lowered his
bow. His eyes lighted with hope.

"Well, Shawnee, I see that you wish to speak," he said. "It is good. We
will listen to your words. But first I will tell you something. If you
try to call out when I take that thing away from your mouth I will shoot
my arrow through you. Remember those words."

Big Dog nodded. Then Running Fox began to untie the buckskin gag. The
other Shawnees watched with interest. It was some moments before Big Dog
spoke.

"I heard your words," he said, brusquely.

"Well, how do you feel about it?" inquired Running Fox.

"I will do this thing," said Big Dog.

"It is good," Running Fox told him. "Now you must listen sharp. I know
about your brothers. They are Many Beavers and Striking Bear. Do they
know my words?"

"Many Beavers knows your words," said Big Dog, as he exchanged glances
with the warrior beside him.

"My brothers, let Many Beavers speak," said Running Fox.

Many Beavers sat up and the Delawares removed the gag from his mouth.
Then Yellow Wolf drew his knife and sat close beside him.

"If you try to call out I will kill you," he said.

"Now, Shawnees, I will tell you how to keep your lives," Running Fox
told them. "I am going into your village with Many Beavers. He must
carry the words of Big Dog to his people. He must tell them that Big Dog
is a prisoner. He must tell them that, if any harm comes to me, Big Dog
will die. He must tell them that Big Dog says to let Spotted Deer walk
away with me. He must tell them that if I do not take Spotted Deer to my
people before the next sun comes, Big Dog and Striking Bear will die.
You have heard my words. If you do this thing we will give you your
lives. If anything bad comes of it you must die. I have finished."

Running Fox ceased speaking and watched the Shawnees. For some moments
they remained silent. They appeared to be studying his plan. At last Big
Dog spoke.

"What you propose to do is foolish," he said. "If you go into my village
with Many Beavers, my people will surely kill you. I am the only one who
can save you. There is only one way to do this thing. You must go to the
village with all three of us. Then no harm will come to you. Then I will
tell my people to let your brother walk out. Delaware, I am a great
chief. I know about these things. I have told you the best way to do
it."

"Shawnee, I am laughing at you," Running Fox told him. "Do you believe
you can fool me with those words? No, I will not talk about them. I have
told you how to keep your life. Now you must answer. Will you do as I
tell you?"

"Yes, I will go to the camp with you," Big Dog replied, craftily.

"Many Beavers will go with me," Running Fox said, angrily. "You will
stay here with Striking Bear until I bring back Spotted Deer. Come, I
will not talk any more. Will you do this thing?"

"Well, if you wish to throw away your life, I will not stop you,"
laughed Big Dog.



CHAPTER XVII

SPOTTED DEER OBTAINS HIS FREEDOM


At the end of the day the Delawares noted sudden activity in the Shawnee
camp. It convinced them that the Shawnees were preparing for some
unusual event. The village was brightly lighted by several great fires,
and the people appeared to be gathering for an important ceremony.

"It is bad," said Painted Hawk, "Something big is going on down there.
Perhaps the Shawnees are about to kill Spotted Deer."

"Yes, it is bad," agreed Crooked Foot.

"Perhaps the Shawnees are getting ready for Big Dog," suggested Dancing
Owl.

Running Fox offered no opinion. The sudden bustle in the Shawnee camp
had aroused his suspicions. He was unwilling to express the fears which
had crept into his heart.

"Come, Running Fox, what do you make of it?" Yellow Wolf asked him.

"I believe Spotted Deer is in danger," said Running Fox. "There is no
time to spare. I must go."

He hurried to the Shawnee captives. Turning Eagle was watching them. As
Running Fox approached, Turning Eagle came to meet him.

"Big Dog and Many Beavers have been talking," he said.

Running Fox seemed unimpressed. He had slight doubt that the crafty
Shawnees had discussed the possibility of betraying him into the hands
of their people. The thought caused him little anxiety. Having made it
plain that his peril was their peril, he believed that they would heed
the warning.

"Many Beavers, I have some words for you," he told the Shawnee. "I am
going to untie you. I am going with you to the Shawnee camp. If any harm
comes to me, Big Dog and Striking Bear will die. If I do not bring back
Spotted Deer before another sun comes, then they must die. Now you know
about it. If you let your people kill me, you will know that they are
also killing your brothers. I have spoken."

He stooped and freed Many Beavers. Then he ordered him to rise. The
Shawnee obeyed. The Delawares watched suspiciously. They had serious
misgivings about the outcome of the adventure.

"My brothers, keep my words," said Running Fox. "If I do not bring
Spotted Deer here before the next sun comes, then you must kill these
Shawnees. Then you must go to our people and tell them that I have
followed Spotted Deer on the Long Trail."

Then he disappeared into the night with Many Beavers. They followed the
steep, hazardous trail toward the river. Mauwallauwin gave them light,
but the way was difficult and dangerous. The Shawnee walked ahead. He
was without weapons. Running Fox followed close behind him. He was armed
with bow and arrows. They traveled in silence. When they reached the end
of the trail, the Shawnee led the way across the open stretch of beach
that led to the camp.

As they finally drew near the village, they heard sounds which told them
that a celebration of some sort was in progress. Running Fox grew
anxious. He wondered if he had come too late to save Spotted Deer. A
wild chorus of shouts rang through the night, and his courage weakened
at the sound. The Shawnee suddenly stopped. Running Fox feared
treachery.

"Something big is happening," Many Beavers told him. "I will go ahead
and find out about it. Then I will come back and tell you about it."

"No," Running Fox said, sharply. "I will go with you."

"It is bad," the Shawnee warned him. "Perhaps my people are mad. If you
go in there they may kill you."

"Big Dog and Striking Bear are on the ridge," Running Fox reminded him,
significantly. "I am not afraid. Go into the camp. I will follow you."

Aware that further words would be useless, the Shawnee moved rapidly
toward the entrance to the camp. Running Fox followed boldly after him.
A few moments later they entered the village. The Shawnees were gathered
about a great fire. They suddenly subsided into silent amazement at
sight of Many Beavers and his companion. Many Beavers walked directly
toward them.

"Keep close beside me," he warned Running Fox.

Once they had identified the Delaware, the Shawnees rushed toward him,
calling out threateningly. Many Beavers held up his hand and called out
in strong, commanding tones. The Shawnees became quiet. They crowded
eagerly about the two warriors and began to speak excitedly to their
tribesmen. Running Fox ignored them. He had suddenly discovered Spotted
Deer tied to a stake near the fire. Everything else was forgotten.
Spotted Deer was apparently unable to see him in the midst of the
Shawnees.

"He is alive--it is enough," Running Fox murmured, thankfully.

In the meantime several warriors whom he took to be chiefs had made
their way to Many Beavers. They were talking earnestly and the Delaware
believed that Many Beavers was giving them the message from Big Dog. He
watched closely. Many Beavers waved his arm toward the ridge. He was
speaking seriously. The Shawnees showed interest. Then Many Beavers
spoke to Running Fox.

"This man is Walking Bear," he said. "He is a great war leader. He will
give you some words."

"Delaware, I see you have come to die with your brother," said the
Shawnee.

"Those words do not frighten me," Running Fox replied, angrily. "Many
Beavers has told you what brings me here. I will not talk about it. Your
great chief, Big Dog, and your brother, Striking Bear, are with my
people. Do you wish to see them? Then go over there and untie my
brother. If we do not go back to that place, your brothers will die. I
have finished."

"Hi, Delaware, you speak big words," laughed the Shawnee leader.

At that moment a wild, hysterical laugh echoed through the camp. Then an
old woman pushed her way through the crowd, and confronted Running Fox.
She was a fierce-looking old creature. For a moment she stared
searchingly into his face. Then she turned and addressed the Shawnees.
Running Fox longed to know what she said.

"My people, what I dreamed about has come true," cried the old Mystery
Woman. "Big Dog is in great danger. You must be careful what you do.
Perhaps I can do something to save him. You must listen to my words and
do as I tell you."

Her words filled Running Fox with excitement. He had suddenly recognized
her voice. He felt sure that she was the mysterious Medicine Woman who
had told him about Big Dog. He would have given much to have understood
her words. The Shawnees were giving her serious attention. Running Fox
took hope.

"She is talking against you," Many Beavers said, treacherously.

Running Fox betrayed no interest. He felt sure, however, that the
strange old Medicine Woman would prove a valuable ally. Then Walking
Bear, the Shawnee war leader, approached Running Fox and attempted to
take his bow. Running Fox drew back threateningly.

"Come, Delaware, give me that bow," the Shawnee cried, angrily.

When Running Fox refused, "Walking Bear called to his people, and
several warriors rushed forward and seized the Delaware. They took away
his weapons and threw him to the ground. The Shawnees crowded forward to
attack him, but Many Beavers and the war leader held them back. Then
they tied his hands behind him and permitted him to rise. Running Fox
remained calm. He smiled scornfully as the Shawnees led him toward the
fire.

"My brother, I see that the Shawnees have caught you," Spotted Deer
said, sadly. "It is bad. I am to blame for this. I have brought you here
to die."

"No, my brother, we will not die," Running Fox assured him. "I have come
here to take you away."

"How can you do that?" Spotted Deer asked, with surprise.

"Watch and listen," said Running Fox.

Many Beavers was talking to the Shawnee leaders. In a few moments he
accompanied them to a big lodge near the center of the camp. Most of the
Shawnees followed them. A number of warriors, however, seated themselves
near the Delawares. The latter had little doubt that the Shawnees had
gone to hold a council.

"Pretty soon they will let us walk out," Running Fox said, confidently.

The warriors who were guarding them made it plain that they did not wish
them to talk. As the Delawares realized that it might be dangerous to
defy them, they became quiet. Then they waited anxiously for the
Shawnees to come from the lodge. Several times they heard the voice of
the old Mystery Woman. Each of the Delawares longed to tell his friend
about her, but feared that the Shawnees who were on guard might
understand.

The night was half gone when the Shawnees finally came from the council
lodge. They moved silently toward the fire, and seated themselves in a
great circle about the Delawares. Then Many Beavers and Walking Bear
approached Running Fox. Walking Bear began to speak.

"Delawares, listen to my words," he said. "You have asked us to do a big
thing. You are a Delaware. The Delawares are our enemies. The words of
our enemies are bad. If we do as you tell us you will go back and kill
our brothers. No, Delaware, the Shawnees are not so foolish. Now I will
tell you what our people propose to do. You must go back and bring Big
Dog and Striking Bear to the river. Then you must make the call of
Gokhos, the owl. Then we will send some warriors and your brother out
there to meet you. Then we will let our brother walk away with you. Then
Big Dog and Striking Bear will come to the camp. It is the only way to
save yourself."

"It is useless," said Running Fox. "I see what you are trying to do. You
cannot catch us so easy. I have given you my words. A Delaware will
carry out what he proposes to do. If you let my brother walk out with
me, your chief and Striking Bear will come back to you. If you do not do
this thing, they will die when the next sun appears. There is no use of
talking any more about it. The night is half gone. That ridge is a long
ways off. There is little time. Tell me what you propose to do."

"Yes, Delaware, I will tell you!" Walking Bear shouted, furiously. "I
intend to kill you. Then I will lead a war party to kill your friends on
that ridge. That is what I propose to do."

He turned and began a fiery speech to his people. His words brought them
to their feet, and roused them into a passion. As he continued speaking,
they began to cry out and shake their fists at the Delawares. It was
evident that the Shawnee war leader was deliberately inciting them to
scorn the warning of Many Beavers and take vengeance upon their foes. As
he finished talking, most of the warriors ran to the lodges and returned
with their weapons. Then they formed a circle about the Delawares.
Running Fox was seized and bound to the stake with Spotted Deer.

"Listen, you great war leader," Running Fox called out, sarcastically.
"I know that you are trying to frighten me. I am laughing at you. You
are afraid to kill me. You have heard the words of your brother, Many
Beavers. Now I will tell you that whatever your people do to us, we will
do to your brothers. Now do as you feel like doing."

At that moment Many Beavers began to speak. His voice was low and calm
and it was apparent that he was attempting to pacify the Shawnees.
However, as Walking Bear had thoroughly aroused them, the words of Many
Beavers seemed to have little effect.

The warriors had already begun to circle about the stake, and as Spotted
Deer had passed through two similar ordeals he knew what to expect. This
time, however, he feared that the excited Shawnees might actually take
his life. Running Fox, too, was beginning to feel less confident. The
Shawnees were apparently relying upon some wily stratagem to save their
tribesmen while they seemed determined to kill their foes. Running Fox
wondered if a war party had secretly left the camp. The thought filled
him with alarm.

Then as the warriors began to dance about the stake and brandish their
weapons, the old Mystery Woman suddenly appeared before the Shawnees.
She looked like one demented. Her eyes were wild and staring, her
wrinkled yellow face was drawn with emotion and her short, white locks
were rumpled in wild disorder. She pointed a bony arm at the Shawnees
and began to shout wildly. The dancers stopped to listen. The Shawnees
looked upon her in superstitious awe.

"Shawnees, Shawnees, Shawnees!" she screamed. "Think what you are about
to do. You are about to throw away the life of Big Dog. You are about to
throw away the life of the great warrior, Striking Bear. What will those
great men think about you? I saw this thing in a dream. I told you about
it. You wiped away my words. Now you are about to bring many bad days
upon us. There is only one way to do. You must do as Many Beavers tells
you to do. There is no other way. Big Dog is depending upon you.
Striking Bear is depending upon you. They are saying, 'We are Shawnees.
It is good. The Shawnees will not throw us away.' Are you going to give
them to our enemies, the boastful Delawares? Are you going to let those
people say, 'See how brave we are; we killed the great chief, Big Dog.
The Shawnees were not sharp enough to save him.' How will you feel about
that? You saw me try to kill that boastful young Delaware. Now I am glad
I did not do it. If that foolish young warrior was not here, we could
not save Big Dog. Are two Delaware boys worth as much as two great
Shawnee warriors? No, no, no! Let them walk away. You call me a great
Mystery Woman. Then listen to my words. Time is short. Let them run to
that ridge and save our brothers. I know about this thing. It is good.
They will do as they propose to do. I have made their hearts good to do
this thing. It is the only way I can save Big Dog. Shawnees, you must
listen to my words."

The Delawares felt sure she was speaking in their behalf. They believed
that she had won the confidence of the Shawnees. They had begun to talk
seriously among themselves. Many Beavers and the war leaders had called
the warriors about them. The wild ceremony at the fire had suddenly come
to an end. For the moment the Delawares were left alone. The old Mystery
Woman rushed over to them and shook her finger in the face of Running
Fox. She twisted her face into an ugly snarl, but her words were low and
friendly.

"If you get away you must send those Shawnees to the camp," she said.
"If you harm them I must die."

"I will send them," Running Fox promised her. "Be quick, tell me who you
are."

"He knows," she murmured, as she rushed upon Spotted Deer and pretended
to claw at his eyes.

Then Many Beavers and the war leader approached, and she hurried away.
For some moments the Shawnees stared sullenly upon their foes. Then
Walking Bear stepped forward and freed the Delawares from the stake. He
showed no inclination to unbind their hands.

"Delawares, we will let you walk away," he said. "We will see if a
Delaware will do as he proposes to do. If you kill Big Dog and Striking
Bear, we will surely come and wipe away your people. Go, and send our
brothers."

"Untie my hands," Running Fox commanded, fiercely.

"No," said Walking Bear.

"Then I will wait here and let your brothers die," said Running Fox.

"Come, come, untie his hands--there is little time," Many Beavers said,
irritably.

He called a young warrior to free the Delawares. Then he motioned for
them to go.

"Wait," said Running Fox. "I came here with a bow and some good arrows.
I will take them away."

"Yes, I, too, had a good bow and some arrows and a good robe," declared
Spotted Deer. "You must give them to me."

The Shawnees finally returned the weapons but refused to surrender the
robe. The Delawares realized that it might be perilous to insist upon
its return. They walked slowly toward the end of the camp while the
Shawnees taunted and threatened, but made no attempt to harm them.

"Shawnees, listen to my words," Running Fox cried out, as he turned at
the end of the village. "You are sharp. Perhaps you will try to do
something. If you follow us, your chief will never come back."

The next moment the Delawares disappeared into the night.



CHAPTER XVIII

SHAWNEE TREACHERY


Once outside of the camp the Delawares hurried toward the timber at top
speed. They were fearful, and suspicious of the Shawnees, as they
believed that a large war party might set out to follow them to the
ridge.

"We must watch out, the Shawnees are sly," warned Running Fox.

"Yes, yes," agreed Spotted Deer.

"Do you know about that old Medicine Woman?" Running Fox inquired.

"Yes, I know about her," Spotted Deer told him.

"Who is she?" Running Fox asked, eagerly.

"She is White Crane--she is a Minsi," said Spotted Deer.

Running Fox immediately stopped. He turned excitedly to Spotted Deer.

"Then she is one of our people!" he cried.

"Yes," replied Spotted Deer.

"We must help her," said Running Fox. "Come, we are Delawares. We will
go back there and take her away."

"No, it would be useless," Spotted Deer told him. "She will not go. I
talked with her about it. She says she has been there a long time. The
Shawnees believe she is a great Medicine Person. They listen to her
words. She has everything good. She is very old. She says she cannot
travel. She says she wants to die in the Shawnee camp."

"Well, then, we must leave her," agreed Running Fox.

As they moved across the long stretch of open ground they kept sharp
watch behind them. The moonlight made it possible to see for a
considerable distance, and they expected at any moment to discover a
company of Shawnees following rapidly on their trail. They heard a
bedlam of confused sounds from the camp, and had little doubt that the
Shawnees were gathered in noisy council to plan some wily stratagem
which might turn their chagrin into joy.

"I believe it will be hard to get away from those people," Running Fox
said, uneasily. "They are very mad because we fooled them, I believe
they will try to catch us."

Spotted Deer struggled along in silence. His limbs were stiff and
swollen as the result of the tight binding to which he had been
subjected in the Shawnee camp. Each stride caused him agony, but he made
no mention of his suffering. Several times, however, he lurched against
Running Fox, and at last the latter guessed that something was wrong.

"Hi, I see you are falling around," he said anxiously. "Did the Shawnees
hurt you?"

"It is my legs," Spotted Deer said, lightly. "The Shawnees gave me the
legs of an old man."

Running Fox grew thoughtful. He understood the plight of his friend, and
it filled him with alarm. He feared that Spotted Deer might be unable to
make the long, swift journey to the Delaware camp. Spotted Deer seemed
to have guessed his thoughts.

"Do not be afraid," he said. "I will keep going."

"You are brave," said Running Fox.

They were nearing the timber along the base of the ridge when they
suddenly heard the shrill, piercing scream of Nianque, the lynx. It
seemed to have come from the camp. They stopped to listen. It filled
them with dread.

"It is the signal of the Shawnees," Spotted Deer said, softly. "I heard
it when I was coming down the river."

"It means something bad," declared Running Fox. "Come, we will get into
the woods."

"Perhaps some Shawnees are hiding over there," suggested Spotted Deer.

"Yes," said Running Fox. "We must be cautious."

They reached the timber in safety, and moved cautiously along the bottom
of the ridge. The night was far gone and there was little time to spare.
Running Fox knew that unless he reached his friends before sunrise, they
would surely kill Big Dog and his companion. Having given his word to
the old Mystery Woman, Running Fox was determined to save them. He
decided, therefore, that the Shawnee trail would offer the quickest and
easiest way to reach the top of the ridge.

"Did you come along here?" he asked Spotted Deer, as they began to
climb.

"Yes," said Spotted Deer. "My hands were tied and I had a hard time of
it."

"We found your marks," Running Fox told him. "Did the old Mystery Woman
tell you about us?"

"Yes," said Spotted Deer. "She told me you came here to help me. Running
Fox, it was a great thing to do. You are a brave warrior and a good
friend. You risked your life to help me. It makes me feel big. I will
think about it when I am an old man. When the Mystery Woman told me
about you I felt very strong. I said, 'Running Fox will get me out of
this.' Now you have done it."

"Spotted Deer, you are my brother--it is enough," said Running Fox.

Dawn was showing in the east when they finally neared the end of the
trail. Running Fox stopped and imitated the bark of Woakus, the fox. He
expected an immediate response. It failed to come. He listened uneasily.
The silence aroused his suspicions. In a few moments he repeated the
signal. Many moments passed. The baffling silence continued.

"It is mysterious," he whispered.

"Are our people here?" Spotted Deer asked, anxiously.

"Yes, they were close by," Running Fox assured him.

Fear had suddenly gripped his heart. He was perplexed and startled by
the strange silence of his comrades. It suggested alarming
possibilities. Perhaps the Shawnees had escaped. It seemed impossible.
Perhaps a company of Shawnees had found and overpowered Yellow Wolf and
his companions. His courage weakened at the thought.

"Something bad has happened," he told Spotted Deer. "We must watch out."

"Listen," whispered Spotted Deer.

A twig had snapped somewhere in the undergrowth beside the trail. They
fitted arrows to their bows, and looked expectantly into the shadows.
The woods were still dark, and it was impossible to see into the cover.
They listened in trying suspense. Then they heard the low, plaintive
notes of the little white-throated sparrow. It was close at hand.
Running Fox took hope.

"It must be Yellow Wolf; that is his signal," he said.

"Be cautious," Spotted Deer warned him.

Running Fox imitated the song. It had barely died away before they heard
a familiar voice from the edge of the woods.

"Running Fox?" it queried, softly.

"I am here," replied Running Fox.

A moment afterward Yellow Wolf stood beside them. He grasped the hand of
Spotted Deer. Then he led the way into the woods. They followed him in
silence. He took them to the spot where Running Fox had left the
prisoners. There was no one there.

"What has happened?" Running Fox asked, in alarm.

"Everything is good," Yellow Wolf assured him. "Come."

He led them a considerable distance farther along the ridge, where they
found Turning Eagle and the Shawnee prisoners. Painted Hawk and Crooked
Foot and Dancing Owl were missing.

"Where are our brothers?" Running Fox asked, in surprise.

Yellow Wolf moved his finger across his lips, and turned his eyes toward
the Shawnees. Then he moved away, and Running Fox and Spotted Deer
followed him. He went well beyond earshot of the prisoners before he
began to speak.

"Now I will tell you about it," he said. "Our brothers have gone to
watch along the ridge. We believe the Shawnees are trying to find us. It
is bad. We must get away from here."

"Did you hear anything?" inquired Running Fox.

"Yes," replied Yellow Wolf. "First we heard the call of Gokhos, the owl.
It was down there on the side of the ridge. It sounded good. Then we saw
Big Dog raise his head and look around. He did not know we were watching
him. That made us cautious. Pretty soon we heard the call of Gokhos
again. It was in a different place. It did not sound like it sounded
before. Then we were afraid. Some of us went to watch. Then we heard the
call of Woakus, the fox. We said, 'Running Fox is coming. Perhaps he
will meet the Shawnees. We must be ready to help him.' You did not come.
Then we heard the call of Woakus again. It was not so close. Then we
said, 'Running Fox did not make it.' Then we went to watch. I went to
that trail. When I heard that call I was not sure about it. That is why
I did not answer you. Now you know why we left that place, and came over
here. We did it to fool the Shawnees."

"Well, Yellow Wolf, there is only one thing to do," Running Fox told
him. "We must call our brothers and get away as fast as we can."

"It is good," replied Yellow Wolf. "Now we will kill those boastful
Shawnees."

"No," Running Fox said, firmly. "We will let them walk away."

"Does a Delaware let his enemies walk away?" Yellow Wolf asked, in
amazement.

"A Delaware does what he tells a friend he will do," declared Running
Fox. "A good friend helped us to save Spotted Deer. If we do not let the
Shawnees go, much harm may come upon that friend. Perhaps she will be
killed. I have told her we will let the great chief Big Dog go to his
people. We have found our brother Spotted Deer. It is what we set out to
do. Getanittowit sent the Mystery Woman into that camp to help us. She
has done a big thing. Now we must listen to her words. She says if Big
Dog does not come back it will be bad for her. Perhaps the Shawnees will
kill her. She is a Minsi. Some time I will tell you about her. She has
given Spotted Deer to his brothers. It is a great thing to do. The
Shawnees must live."

"You are the leader," Yellow Wolf said, loyally. "We will listen to your
words."

Then they were joined by Painted Hawk and Dancing Owl. The scouts had
returned to the rendezvous to learn if Running Fox had returned. They
were overjoyed to find Spotted Deer.

"It is good," cried Dancing Owl. "You helped Running Fox to take me away
from the Shawnees. Now I have helped Running Fox take you away from the
Shawnees. Hi, it is good. Now I am going over there to kill that Shawnee
who tied me up."

"No," said Running Fox. "We must let him walk away. The old Mystery
Woman tells us to do this thing. She is a good friend. We must listen to
her words."

"Well, I will close my ears to her words," Dancing Owl said, savagely.
"That Shawnee is my enemy. He tried to kill me. He talked bad against
me. I am a Delaware. A Delaware does not let his enemies slip away. I am
going to kill him."

"No," Running Fox said, quietly. "I have told you what I propose to do.
I am the leader."

Dancing Owl stared threateningly into the eyes of his friend. His heart
burned with a desire to avenge the insults and injuries which he had
received at the hands of the Shawnees the year previous. He had
determined to fully retaliate upon the hated enemy whom fate had placed
in his power. Now Running Fox refused him his opportunity. For a moment
Dancing Owl rebelled against the authority of his leader. Then he
suddenly recalled that Running Fox had saved his life. Gratitude
instantly drove the anger from his heart.

"Running Fox, I will listen to your words," he said.

"Come, we are losing time," Running Fox said, impatiently. "We must
leave these Shawnees and hurry away. Where is Crooked Foot?"

When they returned to Turning Eagle and the prisoners, they found that
Crooked Foot was still missing. His absence made them uneasy. Day had
dawned, and the first hint of sunrise was showing above the hills. They
realized that it would be dangerous to loiter.

"Come, Yellow Wolf, call Crooked Foot," said Running Fox.

He had barely uttered the words when Crooked Foot appeared. He, too, was
filled with joy at the sight of Spotted Deer. After he had greeted him,
he called Running Fox and Yellow Wolf and led them away to talk.

"We must go away fast," he told them. "I believe a big war party is
coming to catch us. There is little time."

"Did you see them?" Running Fox asked, anxiously.

"No, I did not see them but I heard many signals," Crooked Foot told
him.

"It is enough--we must go," said Running Fox.

When they returned to their companions, they found Dancing Owl crouching
above the Shawnee and threatening to drive his knife into his heart. He
rose as Running Fox hurried forward, and laughed mischievously. Running
Fox went to the Shawnee chief, and commanded him to sit up. Big Dog
obeyed. Then Running Fox addressed him.

"Big Dog, listen to my words," he said. "I am about to give you your
life. I am doing this thing because I went to your village and took my
brother from your people. If your people had killed my brother, I would
have killed you. I told them I would let you go. I am a Delaware. A
Delaware makes his words come true. Now listen close. I am about to take
that thing out of your mouth. Then I am going away. If you shout out
before I am far away, I will come back and kill you. If you keep quiet a
long time, you will live to see your brothers. Yes, I believe they will
find you. Keep my words."

Running Fox stooped and untied the buckskin gag. Then the other Shawnee
sat up. Running Fox laughed fiercely.

"Striking Bear, I will leave you as you are," he said. "You did many bad
things to my brother. He wants to kill you. If you know my words, listen
sharp. Take care what you do if you wish to live."

"Come, Delaware, untie my hands and give me my weapons," Big Dog cried,
angrily.

"Wait for your brothers," laughed Running Fox. "But do not try to call
them. Remember what I have told you."

The Delawares left the enraged Shawnees and hurried down the eastern
slope of the ridge. They felt quite certain that the sly Shawnee chief
would lose little time in calling his tribesmen. They were barely
half-way down the ridge when they heard him shouting.

"I would like to go back and kill that Shawnee," said Dancing Owl.

"It would be foolish," Running Fox told him. "I believe his friends are
close by. Perhaps they would catch you. We have done what we came to do.
Now we must try to get back to our people before something bad happens
to us."

"Yes, my brothers, we must keep going," declared Crooked Foot. "I
believe the Shawnees will try hard to turn us back."

The reckless scramble down the rough hillside was a severe ordeal for
Spotted Deer. The slope was strewn with bowlders and tree trunks, and a
dense tangle of brush and vines concealed the pitfalls. Spotted Deer
stumbled painfully over the obstructions, striving heroically to conceal
his agony. Running Fox, however, was keenly aware of his suffering.

"You are very brave," he said. "Can you keep going?"

"Yes," Spotted Deer replied, grimly.

They had finished the descent and were fighting their way through a
heavy thicket of laurel when they suddenly heard the cry of Nianque, the
lynx. It sounded behind them, and seemed to come from the top of the
ridge.

"The Shawnees have found Big Dog," said Turning Eagle.

"Perhaps they are telling their friends about us," Yellow Wolf
suggested, suspiciously.

"Yes, I believe there is some one down here," declared Running Fox. "We
must watch sharp."

He wondered if a war party of Shawnees had slipped from the camp during
the night, and turned eastward to intercept the Delawares when they left
the ridge. The possibility caused him great uneasiness. He knew that if
a large company of Shawnees were scouting about the vicinity it would be
difficult to avoid them. Then the lynx cry was repeated on their right.

"It is bad," said Crooked Foot. "We are running into a trap."

"The Shawnees are trying to get ahead of us," declared Painted Hawk. "If
they turn us back their friends will come up behind us."

"We will watch out," said Running Fox.

They advanced more cautiously. Convinced that a force of their foes was
somewhere in the vicinity, they feared blundering into an ambush.
Running Fox believed that the Shawnees had separated into several
companies, and he realized that it would be difficult to avoid them. The
day passed without an encounter, however, and as darkness fell the
Delawares felt encouraged. They had reached the wooded ravine where they
had spent a night on their way to the Shawnee village. Fearful that
Spotted Deer would be unable to continue traveling through the night,
Running Fox determined to remain there until daylight.

"We have seen nothing of the Shawnees," he said. "We have come fast. We
will rest here until it gets light."

"No, no," cried Spotted Deer. "Running Fox, I see that you are trying to
make it easy for me. I will not listen to your words. We must keep
going. If we stop here, the Shawnees will come up with us. Perhaps some
of you will be killed. Come, my friends, listen to my words. I will keep
going."

"Spotted Deer, you are a great warrior," Running Fox told him. "You are
as strong as Machque, the bear, and as brave as fierce Quenischquney,
the panther."

"Listen," cautioned Yellow Wolf.

The call of Gokhos, the owl, sounded a short distance away. It carried a
sinister warning to the Delawares. Their mad flight seemed to have been
in vain. The Shawnees were close behind them. There was not a moment to
lose.

"Come!" cried Spotted Deer.

"Yes, we must go," agreed Running Fox.



CHAPTER XIX

SURROUNDED


For two days the Delawares traveled cautiously through the woods without
seeing or hearing anything of their foes. They had little doubt that the
Shawnees had turned back. Running Fox was elated at his success.

"It is good," he said. "We have done what we set out to do. Nothing bad
has happened to us. We have fooled our enemies. Spotted Deer is alive.
My heart feels big."

"Running Fox, you are a good leader," Yellow Wolf told him.

They were less than a day's journey from the great river which flowed
past the Delaware camp, and they believed that their peril had passed.
Before the end of another day they hoped to be with their people. They
knew that a splendid welcome awaited them, and the thought made them
eager to reach the camp without delay. They hastened along, unmindful of
their fatigue.

The day was nearing its close, and they had stopped for a few moments on
the crest of a low, barren ridge to rest, when they suddenly heard a
loud, ringing shout within bow-range of them. Before they could recover
from their amazement several arrows sped over their heads.

"Run, run!" shouted Running Fox, as he led the way down the ridge.

They dashed madly down the slope, and turned toward a dense spruce swamp
that began a short distance from the base of the ridge. Wild shouts
behind them gave warning that they were being hotly pursued. Running Fox
looked back and saw a strong company of warriors scrambling recklessly
down the rocky hillside. One glance was sufficient to recognize them.

"The Mohawks! The Mohawks!" he cried in alarm.

The warning struck fear to the hearts of his companions. They knew the
fate that awaited them at the hands of those fierce foes, and they fled
before them like frightened deer. They gained the edge of the swamp, and
rushed wildly into its gloomy depths. They went a considerable distance
before they dared to stop. Then they took shelter behind a barricade of
fallen trees, and waited anxiously for the appearance of their foes. The
shouts had ceased at the border of the swamp, and the silence increased
their fears.

"They are creeping ahead to find us," Painted Hawk whispered.

"Well, we can make a good fight here," Running Fox said, boldly.

The twilight shadows had already fallen in the great forest of spruces,
and the Delawares knew that it would soon be dark. The thought gave them
hope. Unless the Mohawks tracked them directly to their hiding place,
they believed that the night might save them from discovery. They waited
in trying suspense, expecting each moment to see the dim, shadowy forms
of the Mohawks approaching between the trees. As time passed and they
failed to appear, the Delawares began to wonder if they really had
stopped at the border of the swamp.

"Perhaps they are afraid to follow us into this place," said Painted
Hawk.

"Perhaps they went the other way," Dancing Owl suggested, hopefully.

"My brothers, I believe they are outside," Running Fox told them. "They
know we are Delawares. They are cautious. Once we fooled them when they
were coming to our camp. Perhaps they took us for scouts. Perhaps they
believe we are trying to lead them into a trap. See, it is almost dark.
Pretty soon we will be safe."

His words encouraged his friends. Having escaped from the sudden attack,
they believed that for the moment at least, they were safe. They began
to wonder how the Mohawks had chanced to be in the vicinity.

"I believe it is a war party," said Running Fox.

"Perhaps they are going to fight our people," Turning Eagle said,
uneasily.

"No, I do not believe it," Running Fox told him. "They are too far from
the river. I believe they are going to fight the Shawnees. I believe
those warriors went back and told their people how the Shawnees took
away their canoes. Then I believe they made up a war party and came out
to fight the Shawnees."

"Yes, I believe that is true," declared Crooked Foot. "I believe they
were going to find the Shawnees, and then we came along."

"Well, if that is so, perhaps they will not try to find us," said
Dancing Owl.

"My brothers, I have heard you all talking about this thing," said
Yellow Wolf. "Now I will tell you how I feel about it. I believe what
Running Fox says is true. But I also believe that we are in great
danger. The Mohawks are our enemies. Running Fox and Spotted Deer have
carried away their great Medicine Bundle. Running Fox has killed their
great chief, Standing Wolf. They are thinking about those things. I
believe they would like to kill us instead of the Shawnees. Yes, I
believe they will try to find us."

The Delawares gave silent endorsement to his words. They believed that
they were in greater peril from the Mohawks than they had been from the
Shawnees. They had greater respect for the courage and ability of the
former, and they knew that if the Mohawks really made a persistent
effort to capture them, it would be far more difficult to escape.

"Hi, what I was afraid of has happened," said Yellow Wolf.

The deep, solemn tones of the great-horned owl had sounded from the
opposite side of the swamp. It was the favorite signal of the Mohawks
and the Delawares knew only too well what it meant. They suddenly
realized why the Mohawks had stopped at the edge of the swamp.

"It is bad," Running Fox said, soberly. "The Mohawks have circled around
us. Pretty soon they will close in. Then we must watch out."

It was evident that the crafty Mohawks had separated and surrounded the
swamp. There seemed little doubt that they would eventually advance from
all sides and attempt to drive their enemies from cover. It was a
favorite and successful method of securing game, and the Delawares
realized that it would be hard to escape from the trap. They listened
anxiously to learn if their fears were true. It was not long before they
were convinced. The solemn warning of the great-horned owl sounded from
the two remaining sides of the swamp. The circle was completed. The
Mohawks were ready to advance.

"Lie close, perhaps they will not find us," said Running Fox.

It was a long time before they heard anything to rouse their suspicions.
Then they heard soft, guarded signals passing through the night, and
they knew that the Mohawks had entered the swamp. They strained their
ears to detect the stealthy approach of their foes. Darkness had settled
down, and they realized that it would be impossible for the Mohawks to
find them unless they blundered directly upon their shelter.

"If they come upon us we must fight them back, and try to get away,"
said Running Fox.

A few moments afterward they heard a sharp crackling of brush close by.
They smiled grimly as they realized that one of the scouts had stumbled
into a tangle of dead tree tops. He soon extricated himself, and then
they heard nothing more of him. They knew, however, that at any moment
he might discover their hiding place. The thought kept them alert. Then,
as he failed to find them, they took hope.

"He has passed--it is good," whispered Dancing Owl.

"Sh!" cautioned Running Fox.

He feared that the cunning Mohawk might be listening within bow-length
of them. Then they heard the call of the horned owl from the border of
the swamp. In a few moments it was answered by one of the scouts. The
Delawares felt sure that the main company of their foes was still
lurking along the edge of the swamp. The thought alarmed them. They
believed that the Mohawks planned to hold them in their hiding place
until the night passed. The possibility made escape seem hopeless.
Convinced that daylight would make it easy for the Mohawks to find them,
they feared that they would soon be overcome and annihilated. The idea
startled them. Having survived the perils of their expedition against
the Shawnees, they were overwhelmed by the sudden disaster which had
overtaken them almost within sight of their village. In the meantime the
Mohawks had become quiet, and it was evident that they had abandoned the
search and were waiting for the darkness to pass.

"It is bad," said Crooked Foot. "When it gets light, they will come in
here and kill us."

"We must fight them off," declared Yellow Wolf.

"Perhaps we can get away before the light comes," proposed Dancing Owl.

"No, it is useless to try to get past them," Running Fox told him.
"There are many Mohawks around this place. They are watching sharp. If
we try to go out, they will kill us."

Then for a long time they continued silent. Each was trying to think of
a way out of the predicament. They suddenly realized that they had
rushed recklessly into a trap from which there seemed to be no way of
escape. Regrets, however, were futile. They knew it was folly to waste
time blaming themselves.

"My brothers, we have done a big thing, we must not die," Yellow Wolf
told them. "We must find a way out of this thing."

"It will be hard to get away," said Crooked Foot.

"There is only one thing to do," Running Fox declared, suddenly. "We
must hold out until our people come to help us."

"How will they know about it?" Crooked Foot asked, in surprise.

"I will try to go to them," Running Fox said, quietly.

"No, no, you must not do that," Spotted Deer said, anxiously. "You have
risked your life to help me. You must not risk your life again. If you
try to do this thing, the Mohawks may catch you. If they see who you
are, terrible things will happen to you. Come, Running Fox, we will all
try to get away. Then if the Mohawks catch us, we will die together."

"Yes, my brother, it is the best way to do," declared Crooked Foot.
"Perhaps we will get by them."

"No, my friends, I will not listen to your words," Running Fox declared,
firmly. "I believe I can do this thing. I am the leader. I must try to
get you out of this."

"Well, Running Fox, if you are going to do this thing I will go with
you," Spotted Deer told him.

"No, you cannot do that," said Running Fox. "You must stay here and
fight back the Mohawks until I bring our people to help you. Now, my
friends, listen sharp to my words. I am going to try to get past the
Mohawks. Perhaps it will take me a long time. If the Mohawks catch me, I
will make a great shout. If you do not hear it before it gets light, you
will know that I got away. Then I will bring a big war party. You must
keep strong. Keep fighting back the Mohawks until our people come. Now
keep these words. I will not make any signals. If you hear any, you will
know that I did not make them. Now I am going."

"My brother, I feel bad about this thing," Spotted Deer said, as he
grasped the hand of his friend. "If my legs were fast I would not hold
back. I will make a big fight."

"I will come back," Running Fox said, bravely.

Then he left them and vanished into the night as silently as a shadow.
He turned toward the eastern side of the swamp, as the nearest course to
the Delaware camp lay in that direction. Fully alive to the peril which
threatened him, he moved through the darkness with the alert, nervous
caution of Achtu, the deer. He stopped many times to listen for his
foes. As he neared the edge of the swamp, he turned his face toward the
sky and called upon Getanittowit to guide him safely past the watchful
Mohawks. Then he heard them somewhere ahead of him. For an instant only
he caught the murmur of their voices. It was sufficient to warn him of
his peril. He turned sharply from his course and crept away with slow,
cautious steps. He went several arrow-flights before he again ventured
to approach the edge of the swamp. Once more, however, he heard sounds
which drove him back.

"It is bad," he murmured. "The Mohawks are everywhere."

He turned toward the south. Several arrow-flights brought him to the
border of the swamp. He stopped to listen. All was silent. The way
seemed clear. He hurried forward. A twig snapped sharply beneath his
feet. Some one hailed him. He gave several loud snorts to imitate a
frightened buck, and bounded noisily through the brush. The Mohawk
laughed softly. The trick had deceived him. His suspicions were allayed.

Having passed safely by the Mohawks, Running Fox sped through the night
with a light heart. At dawn he climbed to the summit of a high ridge
that rose from the west side of the river. Far away to the southward he
saw the smoke from the Delaware camp. For some moments he watched it
with flashing eyes. Then he raced madly down the ridge. He reached the
river a considerable distance below the spot where he had left the canoe
of Spotted Deer. He wondered if it would be safe to go up the river in
search of it. If the Mohawks had come down the river in canoes, he
believed they had left them somewhere near the spot where the Shawnees
had kindled the fire. Perhaps scouts had been left behind to watch. The
possibility made him hesitate. He knew, however, that the canoe offered
him the quickest way to reach his people.

"I will go," he said.

He hurried along at the edge of the timber. It seemed a great distance
to the spot where he had found the trail of the Shawnees. When he
finally came in sight of the charred logs on the shore, he stopped and
looked sharply for signs of his foes. There was no evidence of them. He
circled cautiously through the woods, and approached the place where he
had concealed the canoe. It had disappeared. He stared in astonishment.
Who had found it? He felt quite certain that it had been taken away by
the Mohawks. The thought awakened his suspicions. He searched through
the bushes in the hope of finding their canoes. His efforts were futile.
There were no fresh tracks to indicate that the Mohawk war party had
visited the spot.

"It is mysterious," he said.

Running Fox suddenly realized that he was wasting time. The thought
roused him. Each moment was precious. The slightest delay might prove
fatal to his friends. He looked across the river. It was wide, and deep
and swift. For an instant only he hesitated. Then he pushed his bow into
its wolf-skin case, and waded boldly into the water. It was bitterly
cold, and the shallow pools along the shore were crusted with ice.
Unmindful of the shock, Running Fox threw himself forward and began to
swim.

A bow-shot from the shore he caught the full force of the current and
was borne rapidly down the river. Then as he struggled fiercely to free
himself, the chill of the water began to cramp his muscles. For an
instant his tired limbs refused to work. Weighted down by his buckskin
shirt and breeches, he sank beneath the surface. He fought his way above
water, and kicked the cramp from his legs. His strength, however, was
rapidly leaving him. The shore seemed very far away. The channel was
wider than he had suspected. He appeared unable to escape from the
fierce grip of the current. The intense cold was penetrating to his
heart. His fingers contracted with cramp. His legs began to drag. His
strokes grew steadily weaker. He was losing ground. For an instant he
lost hope.

"The fierce Water Monsters will get me!" he cried in dismay.

Then he suddenly thought of his friends. He had pledged himself to save
them. They had placed their confidence in him. Getanittowit had listened
to his appeal and aided him to escape from the swamp. The way had been
made clear for him to reach his people. Now he was throwing away his
life, and sacrificing his friends to the Mohawks. He rallied at the
thought. The hot fighting blood rushed to his brain. He continued his
desperate battle with the river.

"I must live to help my brothers," he said, savagely.

Struggling frantically, he slowly fought his way across the channel.
Stroke by stroke, he dragged himself from the clutches of the current.
At last he was free. He had reached a long stretch of quiet water. He
took courage. His fear of the dreaded Water Monsters suddenly left him.
He swam more easily. He fixed his eyes upon the shore. It was less than
a bow-shot away. Slowly, steadily, he shortened the distance. Each
stroke strengthened his confidence. At last he cautiously lowered his
feet. They struck the bed of the river. A few moments afterward he
ceased swimming and began to wade. He staggered from the water and made
his way to the edge of the woods. Then he collapsed and crumpled into
the brush. It was only a few moments before he recovered and struggled
to his feet.

"Am I a woman?" he asked himself, fiercely.

He turned, and started along the river. For a short distance he advanced
with slow, unsteady strides. Then he fought back his weakness and forced
himself into a swifter pace. It was not long before he was again
traveling at his best speed.

"I must go fast--there is little time," he kept telling himself.

The Delawares were lighting the evening fires when Running Fox finally
tottered into the camp and fell exhausted before the lodge of his
father. The Delawares gathered about him in wild alarm. They had little
doubt that some great misfortune had overtaken the scouts who had gone
to rescue Spotted Deer. They feared that all but Running Fox had been
captured or killed.

"Carry him into the lodge," said Black Panther.

When Running Fox opened his eyes he found himself between bear robes,
lying beside the fire in his father's lodge. Black Panther and Sky Dog,
the Medicine Man, sat near him. For a moment he looked at them in
bewilderment. Then he recalled what had happened. He threw off the robes
and sat up excitedly.

"Come, my father, call the warriors!" he cried.

"What has happened?" Black Panther asked, calmly.

"The Mohawks have caught our brothers," he told them. "Our brothers are
hiding in a big swamp. The Mohawks are all around them. Pretty soon they
will rush in and kill them. Spotted Deer is there. We took him away from
the Shawnees. Come, call our people. Give me some meat. I must take you
back there to help our brothers."

Then, while Running Fox drank great bowls of steaming broth, Black
Panther sent a crier through the camp to summon the warriors. A great
company gathered before the council lodge. Running Fox rushed wildly
from his father's lodge to address them.

"My brothers, there is no time to talk," he cried. "You know what has
happened. Come, push your canoes into the water. I will lead you to our
brothers."

"This will be a big fight," cried Black Panther, the famous war chief.
"If the Mohawks kill our brothers, we will go to the Mohawk village and
kill many people. I am your chief. I will lead you."

His words filled the warriors with enthusiasm. They began to dance and
sing their war songs. Then they hurried to the river. A few moments
later a fleet of canoes moved swiftly away into the twilight. A great
war party of Delawares had gone to the aid of their tribesmen.



CHAPTER XX

A TIMELY RESCUE


The departure of Running Fox filled his companions with dismal
premonitions of disaster. They had grave doubts that he would be able to
pass the alert guards along the edge of the swamp, and they feared that
he would either be killed or captured by his foes. They listened
anxiously, fearing that at any moment a piercing shout would warn them
that their comrade had gone to his death. Then, as the stillness
continued, they began to feel more confident. It was a long time,
however, before they dared to give expression to their hopes.

"I believe Running Fox got away," Dancing Owl said, finally.

"Perhaps it will take him a long time to get out of this place," Spotted
Deer reminded him.

"Well, we have not heard any sounds," Crooked Foot declared, hopefully.
"Nothing bad has happened to him."

When the long night finally passed, they felt confident that Running Fox
had escaped. The thought thrilled them. They knew that if they could
stand off the Mohawks, a strong force of Delawares would eventually come
to their rescue.

"We must be strong," said Spotted Deer. "I believe Running Fox will
bring our people."

At daylight they heard the owl-calls around the edge of the swamp. They
were repeated many times until the woods rang with the weird chorus. The
Mohawks were exchanging signals. The Delawares felt certain that their
foes were getting ready to close in.

"Now we must lie close," said Spotted Deer.

They crouched far down into the intricate barricade of tree trunks in
the hope of escaping the sharp eyes of the Mohawk scouts. They had
little hope that those shrewd foes would fail to notice such a promising
hiding place. The great chorus of owl-calls had ceased, but there were
other signals rising in various parts of the swamp, and the Delawares
knew that the search had begun.

"I saw some one pass over there between those trees," Dancing Owl
whispered, excitedly.

"Keep watching," said Spotted Deer.

In a few moments the scout again showed himself between the trees. He
was moving toward their hiding place. Then he suddenly discovered the
confused jumble of fallen trees. He immediately disappeared behind the
trunk of a great spruce.

"That scout is cautious," whispered Turning Eagle. "I was getting ready
to kill him."

"Save your arrows," Spotted Deer cautioned him. "We must keep them until
the Mohawks rush up to us."

They knew that the Mohawk was watching from behind the tree. The thought
kept them motionless. They felt quite certain that he would not pass on
without examining the cover. Then they heard him signaling. Their hopes
fled. They knew he had become suspicious.

"He is calling his friends," whispered Yellow Wolf. "There is no hope.
They will surely find us."

"Pretty soon we will have to fight," declared Crooked Foot.

As the signal had been answered, the Delawares watched anxiously on all
sides for the appearance of other scouts. It was not long before they
saw another Mohawk darting swiftly between the trees. He had come from a
different direction. As he discovered the hiding place he, too, stopped
and took shelter. Then a third Mohawk came from behind them. He
approached well within bow-range and crouched to peer into the cover.

"That warrior will find us," Yellow Wolf said, fearfully.

An instant later his fears were confirmed. The scout straightened and
raised a piercing yell that reverberated threateningly through the
swamp. Dancing Owl prepared to shoot his arrow at him, but he sprang
behind a tree.

"Well, my brothers, the Mohawks have found us," said Spotted Deer. "Now
we must fight. We are in a good place. If you save your arrows until our
enemies come close, it will be hard for them to reach us. I believe we
can hold them off a long time. Keep close behind these trees. We must
keep alive until our brothers come."

Having found their foes, the Mohawks immediately surrounded their hiding
place. They were within easy bow-range and some exposed themselves with
great boldness, but the Delawares withheld their arrows. They believed
that their crafty foes were tempting them to waste their supply.

"Wait," cautioned Spotted Deer.

The Mohawks seemed in no haste to make an attack. They saw that their
enemies were in a strong position, and they realized that it might be
difficult and costly to dislodge them. Bitter experience had taught them
that the Delawares were crafty and fearless fighters who would compel
them to pay dearly for victory. They believed it would be folly to rush
recklessly into a fight before they had carefully considered plans for
overcoming them. Leaving scouts to watch, the main company of Mohawks
withdrew to hold a council. They stole away so stealthily, however, that
the Delawares did not learn that they had gone.

"They are afraid of us," said Turning Eagle. "I do not believe they are
going to rush upon us."

"They are very sly and very brave," Spotted Deer cautioned him. "I
believe they are getting ready to do something. We must watch sharp."

They waited in great anxiety to learn what their foes intended to do.
The delay encouraged them. They felt sure that Running Fox was speeding
toward the Delaware camp, and the thought made them strong. Once advised
of their predicament, they knew that their people would make desperate
efforts to arrive at the swamp in time to save them. The longer the
Mohawks postponed the attack, therefore, the stronger became the hopes
of the Delawares.

"Perhaps they will hold off until it gets dark again," suggested Dancing
Owl.

"No, I do not believe it," said Spotted Deer. "They are talking about
how to do this thing."

Soon afterward the Mohawks returned within bow-range. They commenced to
taunt and threaten and sing their war songs. Then they began to move
closer. The heavy stand of timber offered them splendid shelter. They
darted quickly from tree to tree, and the Delawares caught only swift,
momentary glimpses of them. It was a crafty, cautious method of attack
which enabled the Mohawks to advance upon their foes with little peril
to themselves.

"They are getting close, we must stop them," Crooked Foot said,
anxiously.

"Wait," cautioned Spotted Deer. "If you shoot your arrows you will hit
the trees. Wait until the Mohawks rush in."

He had barely finished speaking when an arrow imbedded itself in the
tree trunk behind which he crouched. He had been seen by one of the
Mohawks. The thought made him more cautious. Aware that the Mohawks were
watching for a chance to kill them from ambush, the Delawares realized
that it might be fatal to expose themselves.

"Keep quiet," Spotted Deer warned them. "The Mohawks are watching
sharp."

Then, for some time, neither Delawares nor Mohawks showed themselves.
The former crouched low in their shelter, waiting for their enemies to
begin the attack. The Mohawks stood behind trees with their arrows ready
and their eyes fixed hopefully on the tangle of tree trunks which
sheltered their foes. The Delawares were well pleased at the caution
displayed by the Mohawks. They knew that each moment of delay increased
their chances of rescue. Several times they saw the faces of their foes
peering cautiously around the trees, but the mark was too small to
warrant risking their arrows. Then some one addressed them in the
Delaware dialect.

"Hi, now we know who you are," he said. "You are Delawares. It is good.
We took you for our enemies, the Shawnees. That is why we chased you
into this place. Do not be afraid. Come out, Delawares. We will not harm
you. Come out and talk with us. Perhaps you can tell us about the
boastful Shawnees. Our hearts are good toward you. That is why we held
back our arrows when we found out who you are."

For a moment Spotted Deer was tempted to reply to the treacherous words
of the Mohawk. Then he suddenly realized that the warrior might
recognize his voice. Having been a prisoner in their camp, he believed
it would be foolish to risk the chance of being recognized. In the
meantime the Mohawk appeared to be growing impatient.

"Well, Delawares, how do you feel about it?" he inquired.

Spotted Deer nodded toward Yellow Wolf. The latter addressed the Mohawk.

"Mohawk, we heard your words," he said. "We are talking about them. You
must give us time to decide what to do. There are only a few of us. I
see that there are many of you. We must be cautious. We know that you
are very fierce. Perhaps if we come out you will take away our arrows.
Wait there a little while. Then we will tell you what we have decided to
do."

The Mohawk instantly detected the sarcasm which had been skillfully
woven into the reply. It filled him with rage, but he realized that it
would be foolish to betray himself to his foes. He waited until he had
choked back the fierce words that rose to his lips, and then he prepared
another trap for the Delawares.

"I see that you are cautious," he said, calmly. "Well, we will not wait
for you. We must go to fight the boastful Shawnees. Come out when you
are ready. The way is clear. Listen, I am going to tell my friends to go
away. You must not try to harm us. If you do, perhaps we will have to
kill you."

"Go, Mohawk, we will save our arrows," laughed Yellow Wolf.

They heard the Mohawk talking loudly to his companions. A few moments
afterward they saw many of the Mohawks retreating cautiously into the
shadows. They knew at once that it was a wily trick to lure them into
the open, and they felt sure that a strong force of scouts was still
lurking within bow-shot. They gave no hint of their suspicions, however,
as they were overjoyed at the possibility of further delay by the
Mohawks. Then they heard shouts and signals from the border of the
swamp. They chuckled gleefully as they realized the trouble the Mohawks
were taking to deceive them.

"Now watch sharp, I am going to make them show themselves," said Spotted
Deer.

He seized a number of brittle twigs and began to break them, while he
stamped upon others with his feet. The noise made it appear as if the
Delawares were leaving the shelter. Deceived by the trick, a number of
alert Mohawk scouts peeped anxiously from behind their trees. The
Delawares laughed softly as they discovered them. Aware that they had
been tricked, the enraged Mohawks sent a harmless volley of arrows into
the barricade.

"Hi, hi, that made them mad," laughed Crooked Foot.

For a long time afterward they saw nothing further of their foes. They
had little doubt that the scouts still kept watch behind the trees, but
they were anxious to know what had become of the tricky Mohawk leader
and the rest of the war party. More than half of the day had passed, and
the Delawares believed there was slight danger of attack before night.
Their minds turned to Running Fox and their people. They believed that
he had reached the camp, and that a great war party of Delawares was
already speeding to their rescue.

"If the Mohawks wait a little longer, we will fool them," said Dancing
Owl.

"Perhaps they will creep up to us when it gets dark," Spotted Deer told
him.

"Perhaps our people will come by that time," suggested Turning Eagle.

"No, they cannot get here so quick," declared Yellow Owl. "I have been
thinking about it. If Running Fox got to the camp I believe they will
come soon after the next sun appears. That is a long time to wait. I
believe the Mohawks will try to do some big things before the night goes
away."

At that moment they suddenly learned what had become of the crafty
Mohawk leader and the warriors who had followed him to the edge of the
swamp. A ringing shout rose behind them. They turned to find a company
of Mohawks rushing upon them. At the same time the warriors who had been
concealed behind the trees ran in from the opposite direction. Attacked
from both sides, the Delawares were momentarily bewildered. Their foes
were at the barricade before they recovered from their surprise.

"Come, Delawares, fight for your lives!" cried Spotted Deer.

The Mohawks had abandoned their caution and were exposing themselves
with unusual recklessness. Unable to reach their foes with arrows, they
were attempting to force their way into the tangle of logs to beat down
the Delawares with their war clubs. The fight soon became a fierce
hand-to-hand struggle. The Delawares, however, had the advantage.
Protected by the dense cover, they fought with a desperate ferocity that
astonished their foes. Spotted Deer drove his arrow through a Mohawk who
had clambered over the barricade and was about to crush his skull with
his war club. Yellow Wolf seized another warrior and threw him back into
the arms of his comrades. Crooked Foot and Turning Eagle fought side by
side and drove back the Mohawks with a deadly volley of arrows. Dancing
Owl struck down a warrior who was about to kill Yellow Wolf. Then the
Mohawks gave way and rushed to cover. The attack ended as suddenly as it
began.

"Hi, that was a good fight," Yellow Wolf laughed, excitedly, as he
examined a gash on his arm.

"We showed the Mohawks how to fight," Spotted Deer said, grimly.

Except for the slight wound which Yellow Wolf received, the Delawares
escaped unharmed. As the Mohawks outnumbered them six or eight to one,
they were greatly elated at their success. They had little fear that the
attack would be renewed before dark. The Mohawks had carried off their
disabled comrades, and the Delawares were unable to learn what the
effort had cost them. They had withdrawn beyond arrow-range and were
shouting and singing war songs.

"They sound very fierce, but we made them run," Dancing Owl said,
boastfully.

"They will come back when it gets dark," Yellow Wolf warned him.

The thought made them serious. They knew that the night would give the
Mohawks a great advantage. It would enable them to creep close up to the
shelter, and the Delawares feared that it would be impossible to
discover them. They realized, therefore, that although they had
successfully resisted the first savage attack of their foes they were
still in great danger. They believed that the Mohawks would make a still
more determined effort under cover of the darkness.

"Perhaps we can fool them," said Turning Eagle. "When it gets dark we
will creep away from here. Then perhaps we can get out of this swamp
when the Mohawks rush to this place to fight us."

"No, my brother," Spotted Deer told him. "The Mohawks have found us.
They are very sharp. They will keep us here. I believe they are watching
close by. When it gets dark, they will come closer. If we leave this
place, I believe we will be wiped out."

"It is true," said Yellow Wolf. "We must stay where we are."

In the meantime the Mohawks had become silent. The Delawares instantly
became alert. They wondered if their foes were again advancing
noiselessly through the timber. The sun has disappeared, and the
twilight shadows were creeping into the swamp. The Delawares kept sharp
watch on the spaces between the trees. The Mohawks, however, failed to
show themselves.

"What do you make of it?" Crooked Foot asked Spotted Deer.

"I believe they are waiting until it gets dark," said Spotted Deer.

They watched uneasily as the light slowly faded from the swamp. The
approach of darkness filled them with dread. The night threatened them
with disaster. They wondered if they would live to see the dawn. Vague,
alarming doubts entered their minds. They became discouraged and
depressed. Then they roused themselves with the thought that their
people were rushing to their assistance. It gave them hope, and
strengthened their courage. They believed that the Delawares were
already well on their way toward the swamp. They told themselves that
they must hold out until they arrived. Their hearts beat wildly at the
possibility of another sudden victory over the Mohawks.

"Our people will come," Spotted Deer said, confidently. "Pretty soon we
will see the Mohawks running like rabbits."

The swamp was almost dark. It was difficult to see between the trees.
The shadows were lengthening. Night was closing its long black fingers
about the forest. All was hushed. The Delawares believed that the hour
of peril was at hand. They peered fearfully from their cover, and
listened closely for the approach of their foes.

"What has become of them?" Crooked Foot asked, suspiciously, when half
of the night had passed.

"I do not know what to make of it," Spotted Deer told him.

"Perhaps they have gone away," said Dancing Owl.

"No," declared Yellow Wolf. "Keep watching. They will come."

The night was far gone when they finally heard sounds which convinced
them that the Mohawks were close at hand. A soft, cautious signal
sounded through the darkness. Some moments afterward a twig cracked. The
Delawares prepared to defend themselves. They feared that their foes
were creeping silently toward the barricade.

"Get ready, they are close by," Yellow Wolf cautioned.

"They are here!" shouted Turning Eagle, as he shot his arrow.

An instant afterward the piercing war cry rang in their ears, and the
Mohawks charged recklessly upon the shelter. They scrambled wildly into
the mass of fallen timber and attempted to reach the Delawares. However,
as only a few at a time could force their way into the dense tangle, the
Delawares drove them back with a deadly volley of arrows. Then they made
another desperate attack, and several warriors actually got within reach
of the Delawares. The latter attacked them with great courage, and soon
found themselves fighting at close quarters in the dark. Encouraged by
the success of their comrades, the rest of the Mohawks were fighting
their way into the tangle.

"Die like men!" shouted Spotted Deer, as he hurled himself upon one of
his foes.

At that instant a terrified yell rang through the night. It came from
the edge of the swamp. It had barely died away before the thrilling
Delaware war cry rose from a hundred throats. The Mohawks turned in
dismay. The Delawares raised a great shout that filled the hearts of
Black Panther and his warriors with joy.

"Our brothers are alive!" cried the great war chief. "Come, Delawares,
wipe away the boastful Mohawks."

Aware that they had been trapped, the demoralized Mohawks scrambled from
the tangle and fled into the night. They had not gone an arrow-flight
before they encountered the Delawares. The latter had completely
surrounded the scene of battle.

"Wait, Mohawks, our people have come to meet you!" laughed Yellow Wolf.
"Do not be afraid. Wait. We are coming out to talk with you. Wait,
Mohawks, perhaps our people will tell you about the Shawnees."

The Mohawks had taken shelter behind trees, hoping that the Delawares
might rush by them. The Delawares, however, hunted them out with the
calm, thorough persistence of wolves. They took a terrible vengeance
upon the fierce foes who had attempted to annihilate their tribesmen.
Few of the Mohawks escaped. Those that got away fled wildly toward the
north to carry the news of their disaster to their people.

"My brothers, you are alive--it is enough," cried Running Fox, as he
rushed to meet his friends.

"Running Fox, you have given us our lives," cried Crooked Foot. "You are
a great war leader."

"My brother, you took me away from the Shawnees," Spotted Deer said,
with emotion. "It was a great thing to do. Now you have done another
great thing. Come, I will go and tell Black Panther and our people about
it."


THE END



By ELMER R. GREGOR


    JIM MASON, BACKWOODSMAN
    JIM MASON, SCOUT

_Western Indian Series_

    WHITE OTTER
    THE WAR TRAIL
    THREE SIOUX SCOUTS

_Eastern Indian Series_

    SPOTTED DEER
    RUNNING FOX
    THE WHITE WOLF





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