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Title: Running Fox
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 "Running Fox" ***

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                              RUNNING FOX



[Illustration: The next instant his own arrow dropped his enemy to the
ground.]



                              RUNNING FOX

                                   BY

                          ELMER RUSSELL GREGOR

                   AUTHOR OF “WHITE OTTER,” ETC. ETC.


                             [Illustration]


                            FRONTISPIECE BY
                            D. C. HUTCHISON

                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
                            NEW YORK—LONDON
                                  1918



                          Copyright, 1918, by
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

                Printed in the United States of America



                             ACKNOWLEDGMENT

  I beg to gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to Schoolcraft’s
  works on the Eastern Indians, and to Morgan’s “League of the
  Iroquois” for much valuable information about the old-time Lenape
  and Iroquois Indians, and to the Lenape-English Dictionary edited by
  Daniel G. Brinton, and published by The Historical Society of
  Pennsylvania, for many ancient Lenape words.

                                                 Elmer Russell Gregor.



                           Table of Contents

                 I—A LONELY VIGIL
                 II—INTO THE PERILOUS NORTH
                 III—A THRILLING ADVENTURE
                 IV—IN THE GRIP OF THE RAPIDS
                 V—WOLVES
                 VI—A PROWLER IN THE DARK
                 VII—THE MYSTERIOUS CANOE
                 VIII—A NARROW ESCAPE
                 IX—FORCED INTO HIDING
                 X—SPOTTED DEER DISAPPEARS
                 XI—A SKIRMISH WITH THE SHAWNEES
                 XII—SMOKE
                 XIII—SURPRISED
                 XIV—ANXIOUS DAYS
                 XV—A BATTLE WITH THE CHIPPEWAS
                 XVI—THE ESCAPE
                 XVII—PURSUED BY THE ENEMY
                 XVIII—THE IROQUOIS BLUNDER INTO A TRAP
                 XIX—THE ATTACK ON THE DELAWARE CAMP
                 XX—VICTORY



                              RUNNING FOX



                        CHAPTER I—A LONELY VIGIL


Having reached the age of sixteen winters, Running Fox, the son of Black
Panther, a famous Delaware war-chief, determined to establish his
reputation as a warrior. He knew, however, that before he could gain
admission into the gallant company of fighting men he would have to
prove his courage and ability in some daring exploit. Running Fox
believed that the Delawares would expect some extraordinary achievement
from the son of their most noted chief, and he resolved to surpass the
most noteworthy deeds of his tribesmen. He spent many days trying to
think of something sufficiently heroic to gain him the fame he desired.
As he could come to no decision, he finally went to his father, and
asked him to name the greatest possible achievement for a Delaware.

The eyes of the stern Delaware war-chief lighted with pride as he heard
the bold request of his son. He spent some moments silently studying the
face of the eager lad before him. Then, convinced that Running Fox was
in earnest, he answered him.

“My son, you have asked me to tell you the greatest thing a Delaware can
do. I will tell you. Far away toward Lowaneu,
The-Place-Where-The-Cold-Comes-From, in the Mohawk camp, lives a great
war-leader named Standing Wolf. You have heard our warriors talk about
him at the council-fires. He has killed many of our people. We have
fought many battles with him, but we cannot kill him. It must be that he
bears a charmed life. We believe that he has some mysterious power. Many
times our young men have surrounded him, but when they rushed in to
destroy him he always killed most of them and escaped. He has done some
wonderful things. It must be that he possesses some mysterious medicine
charm. If you can go to the Mohawk camp and find out how Standing Wolf
gets his power it will be the greatest thing you can do.”

“I will go,” Running Fox cried, impulsively.

“My son, you are brave enough, but you speak fast like a child,” replied
Black Panther. “You must think about this thing. Then you will begin to
see how hard it is. Many brave warriors have tried to do it. Not one
found out about it. Most of them lost their lives. The Mohawks are as
keen as wolves. When you enter their country, you will be in constant
danger of losing your life. If they find your trail it will be hard to
escape. But if you feel brave enough to try to do this great thing, then
you must go and talk with Sky Dog. He is a great medicine-person,
perhaps he will be able to help you. Now I have told you what to do.”

“My father, I will do as you have told me,” agreed Running Fox.

He went at once to find old Sky Dog, the venerable Delaware
medicine-man. When Running Fox arrived at the medicine-lodge and drew
aside the huge bear robe that hung before the entrance, he saw the aged
medicine-man sitting upon the ground before a small fire. He was tossing
small handfuls of dried sweet-grass upon the embers, and droning some
sort of medicine-song. He took no notice of the lad standing uneasily in
the doorway, and Running Fox began to wonder whether he had better
withdraw. While he hesitated, however, Sky Dog raised his head and
looked to see who his visitor might be.

“Hi, I see some one standing in the doorway of my lodge,” he said,
peevishly. “The light is bad, and my eyes are old, so that I cannot tell
who you are. Come in here, and let me look at you.”

Running Fox entered, and stood before the medicine-man. Sky Dog nodded
understandingly.

“Now I see who you are,” he said, “You are the son of a great chief.
Well, what do you want?” he demanded, sharply.

Running Fox suddenly felt bewildered in the presence of this great
medicine-person. For some moments, therefore, he maintained an awkward
silence.

“Well, have you no ears?” Sky Dog cried, impatiently. “I have asked you
something. Has your tongue left your mouth? Come, I am not here to be
stared at.”

The sharp reproach instantly aroused Running Fox from his reverie. He
saw that his stupid silence had angered Sky Dog, and he hastened to
explain the reason for his visit.

Sky Dog seemed astounded at his boldness. He shook his head, and stared
thoughtfully at the fire. It was a long time before he replied.

“You have spoken big words,” he said, finally. “You are only a boy, and
yet you have asked me to help you do something which our bravest
warriors have been unable to do. Do you think that I will listen to such
foolish prattle? No. You must show me that you are in earnest. Does your
father know about this thing!”

“Yes, my father sent me here,” replied Running Fox.

“Well, then I may do something about it,” said Sky Dog. “But there are
many things to be done before you can start on such a journey.”

“I am listening,” declared Running Fox.

“That is right. Well, first you must go to the sweat-lodge, and purify
yourself so that you can pray to Getanittowit, the Great One. Then you
must go away from the village for three days. You must go to a high
mountain, and ask Getanittowit, the Great One, to help you. You must
sing medicine-songs. You must not eat anything but a handful of parched
corn once each day. Perhaps if you do these things Getanittowit will
take pity on you, and send you a vision. If that comes to pass you must
come to me, and I will tell you the meaning of it. If you do not receive
a vision it will be useless to set out upon the undertaking, for you
will surely be killed. I have told you what to do. Go.”

Running Fox left the lodge in high spirits. He had little doubt that if
he faithfully carried out the commands of Sky Dog he would receive aid
and power that would enable him to achieve his ambition. He went to his
father and told him what Sky Dog had said. Then he hurried to the
sweat-lodge.

The Pimoakan, or sweat-lodge, was a low, dome-shaped structure made of
willow boughs, and covered with several layers of animal robes. It was
located close beside the river. As Running Fox approached it he saw Sky
Dog and an aged assistant heating stones at a fire near the entrance to
the lodge.

When the hot stones had been rolled into the lodge Sky Dog ordered
Running Fox to remove his clothing and crawl into the Pimoakan. Then the
medicine-man and his companion filled raw-hide buckets with river water,
and dashed it over the hot stones. When the lodge was filled with steam
they hung a number of heavy bear robes over the entrance, and left the
lad to his fate.

For some moments Running Fox believed that he would smother in the
stifling clouds of steam. Gasping and choking, he was on the point of
crying out to be released when he suddenly realized what it would mean.
He told himself that such an act would not only disgust Sky Dog, but
that it might even arouse the anger of Getanittowit, the Great One. The
possibility frightened him. He endured the ordeal with the uncomplaining
fortitude of a hardened warrior. The hot, steam-laden atmosphere induced
profuse perspiration, and water streamed from every pore in his body.
Running Fox grew weak and dizzy. He fought to overcome his weakness,
however, for he realized that it was only by thus cleansing himself that
he might become fit to hold communion with Getanittowit, the Great One.

While Running Fox was confined in the lodge, Sky Dog sat just outside
the entrance, chanting medicine-songs. He ordered Running Fox to repeat
them until he could sing them through without a mistake. Then Sky Dog
drew aside the bear robes, and commanded Running Fox to come out. The
lad staggered out, pale and faint. He presented a pitiful appearance.
Sky Dog pointed toward the river, and Running Fox stumbled down the bank
and threw himself into the icy water. The shock quickly revived him, and
in a few moments he clambered out quite recovered from his experience.

“Now you can go away and rest,” said Sky Dog. “But you must keep
thinking about the thing you wish to do. Then, when you feel strong, you
must take your robe and a little parched corn, and go away. You must do
that before two suns have passed. Go to some high place and stay there
three days. During that time you must continue to ask Getanittowit to
take pity upon you, and send you a vision. You must also keep singing
the medicine-songs. You must not take any weapons with you for that
would make Getanittowit very angry. At the end of three days come back
and tell me what you have seen. Now I cannot tell you anything more.
Go.”

Late the following day Running Fox took his deer-skin robe, and a small
bag containing parched corn, and left the village. He made his way
toward a high pine-clad mountain directly behind the great Delaware
camp. There were few who saw him go away, for Running Fox had carefully
guarded his plans. Two, however, his father and old Sky Dog, stood
together at the edge of the village and watched him disappear into the
shadows of the forest. Then they turned silently away, and walked
thoughtfully to their lodges.

When Running Fox finally reached the summit of the mountain the sun had
disappeared, and the purple evening shadows were settling in the
valleys. Seating himself upon the trunk of a fallen pine the young
Delaware looked wonderingly upon the glorious panorama that lay before
him. Far below was the Delaware village beside a splendid river which,
like a great serpent, glided down from the north between parallel ridges
of low wooded hills. Behind those ridges were others, rising one behind
the other, like great billows, until they eventually ended in a long,
irregular line of ghostly gray peaks far away against the brilliant
sunset sky. The entire country was covered with a vast primeval forest
which continued in all directions as far as the eye could see. At
various intervals isolated woodland lakes flashed from its Bomber green
background and rushing mountain cataracts blazed narrow white trails
down the hillsides. It was an unspoiled picture of natural grandeur, a
land blessed by the bounteous generosity of Getanittowit, who had filled
it with blessings for his children. The waters teemed with fish, the
forests swarmed with game, and the air was perfumed with the fragrance
of the pines. Running Fox looked upon it with pride and affection, for
it was the home of the great Lenape nation, his people, the Delawares.

Then the lad turned his eyes toward the north, and his face grew stern
and threatening. He realized that he was looking upon the hunting
grounds of his enemies, the fierce and warlike Mohawks. Somewhere in the
great silent wilderness that stretched for unknown leagues beyond the
headwaters of the river was the Mohawk village in which lived the famous
war-chief, Standing Wolf. Running Fox knew that to learn the secret
which would enable his people to triumph over their enemies he must find
and enter the hostile camp. For the first time he began to understand
the difficulty and peril of his task. It seemed like a foolhardy
undertaking for an untried lad of sixteen winters. Running Fox thought
of the experienced warriors who had sacrificed their lives in the
attempt. For a moment or so it weakened his confidence. He even wondered
whether he might not have chosen a feat beyond his ability. The idea
angered him. He told himself that no task was too great for the son of
Black Panther.

Running Fox continued his reveries until darkness closed about the
mountain-top. Then, as the fires began to twinkle down in the Delaware
camp, he rose and turned his face toward the sky. He stood some moments
gazing at the starry heavens. Then he suddenly began his appeal to
Getanittowit, the Great One.

Late in the night Running Fox was interrupted by the sound of something
moving stealthily through the forest. He was instantly alert, for he
recalled that more than one daring Iroquois scout had been detected
spying upon the Delaware camp from the summit of that very mountain. For
a moment Running Fox longed for his weapons. The next instant he
banished the thought for fear of angering Getanittowit. He believed that
as long as he sang the sacred medicine-songs, and repeated the words
which old Sky Dog had taught him, he would be safe from all danger. Thus
assured, he listened without fear to the mysterious sounds in the
darkness. At last a startled snort told him that it was only Achtu, the
deer. A few moments later he heard it dashing away through the woods.

Dawn found the devout lad, heavy-eyed and weary, still gazing into the
sky and calling upon Getanittowit to help him. “O Getanittowit, take
pity on me and help me to do what I have set out to do. O Getanittowit,
send me a vision. O Getanittowit, I have sung the sacred medicine-songs
many times to make you glad. O Getanittowit, take pity on me and help
me.” Running Fox continued to repeat the earnest appeal and sing the
sacred songs throughout the day. With the falling of darkness, however,
the exhausted lad ceased his exertions, and soon afterward fell into a
heavy slumber.

The following day Running Fox hovered on the verge of collapse. The
scant daily ration of parched corn was insufficient to maintain his
strength, and the long, trying ordeal began to sap his vitality. He had
stationed himself on a bare granite ledge which formed the very peak of
the mountain. There, in the full glare of the scorching summer sun, he
stood and offered his prayers to Getanittowit. At times his head reeled
and his legs trembled beneath him, but when that happened he staggered
to the shade of the forest, and refreshed himself at an icy spring which
bubbled forth between the roots of a massive hemlock. Then he toiled
painfully up to the ledge, and continued the sacred ceremony which he
felt confident would eventually win him the favor of Getanittowit.

More than half of the day had passed when Running Fox discovered
something which filled him with dismay. Far away toward the west
threatening black clouds were piling up above the hill-tops. The young
Delaware watched them with great anxiety. He knew that the Delawares
considered it a very bad omen to be overtaken by a thunder storm while
conducting one of their sacred ceremonies. It was considered especially
significant if one were praying to Getanittowit, the Great One. Under
those circumstances a thunderstorm was accepted as a sign of
Getanittowit’s displeasure. The thought filled Running Fox with panic.
Keeping anxious watch of the darkening western sky, the superstitious
young Delaware continued to chant the sacred medicine-songs to avert the
ill fortune that threatened him.

It was not long, however, before Running Fox realized that the storm was
actually approaching. The ominous black clouds had formed into a great
mass that was sweeping rapidly toward the sun, and the low, threatening
rumble of distant thunder echoed among the hills. The air grew hot and
stifling. A quick, darting line of fire cut the western sky. Running Fox
turned his eyes appealingly toward the sun, as he sang the
medicine-songs in a high, hysterical tone. Each moment he saw the storm
gaining greater force. The sky grew blacker, the thunder sounded louder,
and the lightning flashes became more frequent. Then the sun disappeared
behind the edge of the storm-clouds, and a peculiar yellow light flooded
the valleys. An uncanny hush had fallen upon the wilderness. Running Fox
was awed by the sound of his own voice. It sounded harsh and unnatural
for he was almost screaming the sacred songs in his eagerness to make
them effective. Then another sound reached his ears. The wind was
roaring over the ridge to the westward. A few moments later it swept
over the mountain-top. A hawk sailed across the sky on the crest of the
gale. Running Fox ceased singing to watch it. He wished that he, too,
might flee as easily. Before the bird had disappeared, the storm was
upon him. It began with a startling crash of thunder, and a crackling
flash of light.

Believing that his long ordeal had been in vain, and that he had in some
way offended Getanittowit, the Great One, Running Fox wished to die. He
knew that if he returned to his people with the disfavor of Getanittowit
upon him he would be shunned as one in league with Medsit, the Evil One.
He might even be driven from the camp. His heart failed him as he
thought of the disgrace which he had brought upon his father. Then, as
the first great drops of rain began to fall, he turned his eyes toward
the village. A number of people were standing at the edge of the camp,
gazing at the mountain-top. Somewhat apart from the others stood a
solitary figure, whom the disconsolate lad thought he recognized as his
father. The possibility roused him. He believed that Black Panther was
there to give him courage and to urge him to continue his petition. The
thought filled him with hope. Running Fox told himself that perhaps
Getanittowit was only testing his faith and courage. Encouraged by the
idea, he determined to show himself worthy. A few moments later,
therefore, when the Delaware camp was swept from his sight by a terrific
deluge of rain, Running Fox turned his face fearlessly toward the sky,
and again sang the medicine-songs. He was a heroic figure as he stood
alone on the mountain-top in the fury of the storm, calling upon the
great being whom his people believed ruled over all their destinies.
Most of the time his voice was lost in the crashing of thunder and the
roaring of the wind, but in every lull it rose strong and confident with
the new hope that had entered his heart.

“O Getanittowit, I am still here singing the sacred medicine-songs,” he
cried. “O Getanittowit, take pity on me. O Getanittowit, do not send me
back to my people without something good to tell them. O Getanittowit,
when I first heard the dreadful Thunder Beings I was afraid. Now my
heart is strong again. O Getanittowit, take pity on me.”

A terrifying crash of thunder was followed by a blinding flash of
lightning that shattered a huge dead pine and filled the air with giant
splinters. Running Fox was less than three bow-lengths from the tree.
When it was struck he staggered backward with his hands before his face,
and fell to the ground.

When Running Fox finally regained consciousness, he found himself
staring into darkness. For some moments he blinked his eyes to make sure
that they were open. When he had convinced himself, a great fear entered
his heart. He told himself that Getanittowit had destroyed his sight.
Raising his eyes toward the heavens in mute appeal he was astonished to
see the stars. He scarcely dared hope that they were real. He turned his
head and looked about him. He saw the dim, shadowy outlines of rocks,
and the shattered trunk of the giant pine. Then the truth suddenly
flashed upon him. It was night. Getanittowit had taken pity upon him,
and brought him back to life. Running Fox attempted to rise and give
thanks, but he was too weak. Besides, he was wet and cold. He longed for
his fire-sticks. Then, as he began to tremble, he suddenly remembered
his robe. He crawled about until he found it. It was quite dry on the
under side, and he wrapped it closely about him. Then exhaustion
overcame him, and he fell back unconscious.

Running Fox had barely closed his eyes when he heard some one calling
his name. Then he saw Machque, the bear. For a moment Running Fox felt
uneasy without his weapons, for the bear was a huge creature and looked
very fierce. However, as he had heard it call his name he knew that it
must be a medicine-creature, and he believed that it had come to help
him. While he was looking at the bear, he heard some one behind, him
calling his name. He looked and saw Achtu, the deer. It showed no fear
of the bear, and walked up and stood beside it. Then Running Fox knew
that they must be medicine-creatures. As he was thinking what to say to
them, he again heard his name, and this time it was Woakus, the fox. It,
too, went and stood beside the others. Then came Quenischquney, the
panther, and Wisawanik, the squirrel, and Gokhos, the owl, and the
terrible Wischalowe, the rattlesnake, whom the Delawares called “The
Frightener.” When they all were assembled, the bear was made the leader.

“Running Fox, we have come here to help you,” said this strange
medicine-creature. “You have stood the test, and now we are going to
help you. You are setting out to do a hard thing. If you do exactly as
we tell you, you will go through with it. What I have to say is short.
You know that my people are brave and powerful. You must fight and kill
one of my people. Then you must eat his heart, and wear his claws about
your neck. This will make you as strong and as brave as we are. I have
finished.”

“Running Fox, you have heard some one who is stronger and braver than I
am,” declared Achtu, the deer. “But you must remember that strength and
courage will not always save you. When you cannot fight you must run. My
people are the fastest people who live in the woods. You are going out
to do a great thing. I will tell you that you must kill one of my
people, and eat his heart. Then you will be able to run faster than your
enemies.”

“Running Fox, you have heard Machque, who is strong and brave, and
Achtu, who is very swift, but you must also be very cautious. You are
going upon a dangerous journey. If you are not careful you will surely
be killed. My people are very hard to catch. If you can kill one of our
old men, and cut off his ears, you will be as sharp as we are,” said
Woakus, the fox.

“Running Fox, you have heard some great people,” growled Quenischquney,
the panther. “Well, now I am going to help you. It is a good thing to be
strong, and brave, and swift, and cautious, but you must also be able to
steal up and surprise your enemies. No one can do that better than my
people. But I must warn you that our young men are very fierce, and you
will have a hard fight if you try to kill one of them. However, I will
give you power to do it. Then you must take the longest claw from each
foot, and keep them about you.”

“Running Fox, I am smaller and weaker than all these great people who
have talked to you,” barked Wisawanik, the squirrel. “However, I am also
more nimble, and better at hiding. If you wish to travel safely to the
village where Standing Wolf lives, you must be nimble and good at
hiding. If you will kill one of our chiefs who wear the black robes, and
carry his scalp with you, you will be able to hide so well that your
enemies will not be able to find you.”

“Running Fox, you have been promised some good things, but I am going to
offer you the best of all,” boasted Gokhos, the owl. “If you have all
the powers that these good friends are going to give you, it will all be
useless without my gift When darkness falls then it will be safer to
travel through the forest. But to do that you must have eyes that can
look through the night. My people have this gift. If you can kill one of
our great white leaders, who live far away in the country of the
Mohawks, you will not only be able to see as well at night as by day,
but you will also have magic power to overcome whoever may try to harm
you.”

“Running Fox, you know me; I am called ‘The Frightener’,” said
Wischalowe, the rattlesnake. “Whoever hears my warning trembles with
fear. If you will kill one of our old men, and tie his war-drum to your
belt so that it makes a noise when you walk you will frighten away all
who seek to harm you.”

When Wischalowe finished speaking they all remained silent, waiting for
some talk from Running Fox. For some moments he was at a loss as to just
how to address these strange medicine-creatures. While he was thinking
just how to thank them they suddenly disappeared. At that moment Running
Fox regained consciousness. Day had dawned, and the sun was well above
the eastern ridges. For a moment or so the bewildered lad looked
anxiously about him, expecting to see the strange creatures that had
appeared in his delirium. When he failed to find them his heart gave a
great hound of joy, for he believed that they had been
medicine-creatures sent by Getanittowit to help him. The idea gave him
strength, and he struggled to his feet and offered thanks to
Getanittowit. Then he toiled painfully down the mountainside. It took
him most of the day to reach the valley. When he finally staggered into
the camp he went directly to old Sky Dog, and collapsed as he reached
the door of his lodge.



                   CHAPTER II—INTO THE PERILOUS NORTH


That night Running Fox sufficiently recovered his strength to tell his
dream to Sky Dog, the medicine-man. The latter listened with much
interest as the excited lad described his conference with the strange
medicine-creatures. When he had finished his story, Sky Dog assured him
that the dream was a good omen. He declared that if Running Fox would do
as the medicine-creatures had advised he would pass safely through all
perils, and live to accomplish his purpose.

Running Fox hurried to his father’s lodge with a joyful heart. Having
been taught to believe all the simple superstitions of his people, he
had implicit faith in the assurances of the medicine-man. Still he
realized that his task was a difficult one. He knew that if the Mohawks
discovered his trail they would hunt him down as relentlessly as a pack
of wolves, and he felt sure that if he fell into their hands death at
the torture stake would be his only alternative. The thought sobered
him. However, it soon fled from his mind, for he believed that the
mysterious powers which he had received from the medicine-creatures, and
his own courage and resourcefulness, would enable him to outwit his
foes.

Black Panther was much impressed by the story of the dream. He, too,
declared that it was a good omen. He immediately sent criers through the
village inviting the people to a feast to celebrate his son’s departure
upon the war-trail.

When his plans became known Running Fox was besieged by a host of
youthful volunteers who begged to accompany him. He refused them,
however, as he was unwilling to assume the responsibility of a
war-leader before he had tested his own courage and ability. Still there
was one whom he found it difficult to deny. It was his friend, Spotted
Deer, a lad of his own age, and his constant companion through all the
happy years of boyhood. They had invariably shared every adventure, and
the thought of being barred from the first real war-journey drove
Spotted Deer into a frenzy of despair. He argued, he coaxed, he
reproached, but Running Fox refused to yield.

“No, my brother, I will not listen to your words,” declared Running Fox.
“A warrior must know how to fight before he leads his friends into
danger. I have never faced an enemy. I do not know what will happen to
me. Perhaps I shall do something foolish, and be killed. Spotted Deer, I
must go alone. No, I will not change it in my heart.”

“Running Fox, now I know that you will do this thing without me,”
replied Spotted Deer. “Well, I will not say anything more against it. I
feel like a very old man.”

The night before Running Fox planned to set out upon his journey his
friends came to his father’s lodge to talk with him. The last to leave
was Spotted Deer. The two friends sat together a long time. Running Fox
attempted to be light-hearted and gay, but Spotted Deer was moody and
depressed. However, when Running Fox brought forth the new war-equipment
which he had received from his father, Spotted Deer’s eyes lighted with
enthusiasm, and he became lively and interested. Then, having inspected
the various articles, he immediately relapsed into gloomy silence.

“My brother, when the next sun comes you are going away,” Spotted Deer
said, solemnly, as he finally rose to leave. “Perhaps I shall never see
you again. It is bad. I will not talk about it.”

They clasped hands, and looked earnestly into each other’s eyes. Then
Spotted Deer hurried away. When he had gone Running Fox seated himself
at the back of the lodge, and sat a long time staring moodily into the
darkness.

That night Running Fox found it impossible to sleep. His mind was
tortured by the thought of parting from his friend. Spotted Deer’s words
kept ringing in his ears: “Perhaps I shall never see you again.” As the
night dragged slowly along Running Fox was tempted to steal away while
the inmates slept, to tell Spotted Deer that he might accompany him. He
was dissuaded, however, by the fear of causing his friend’s death. Thus
the miserable lad fought his battle until the first gray light of dawn
stole into the lodge, and then he finally determined to venture into the
treacherous northern wilderness alone.

When Running Fox appeared in the village equipped for the war-trail, he
received a stirring ovation from his tribesmen. As he left his father’s
lodge he was immediately surrounded by a company of enthusiastic
friends, who paraded him about the camp to the accompaniment of shouts
and war-songs. Spotted Deer, however, took no part in the celebration.
Running Fox was greatly disturbed at his absence. When he finally asked
about him he learned that an old woman had seen Spotted Deer hurrying
away with his robe and weapons at dawn. She said that he had gone toward
the south. The news filled Running Fox with gloom. He feared that grief
might have driven Spotted Deer to some foolhardy resolve. However,
Running Fox had little chance to think of him at the moment, for he soon
found himself the center of a great throng of people who had gathered to
do him honor.

The lad appeared to splendid advantage as he stood beside his father in
the center of the camp. He was tall and graceful, with a fearless face
and flashing black eyes. Unlike his father and the warriors, who wore
their hair cropped close to the scalp, Running Fox had hair that reached
to his shoulders. His dress was like that of the older men. He was naked
above the waist, and wore a short buckskin skirt or tunic which extended
to his knees. Fringed buckskin leggings covered his limbs. His moccasins
were of elk-hide gayly decorated with dyed sweet grass. His equipment
included an elk-skin robe, a hickory bow, a buckskin case filled with
arrows, a flint knife, a stone war-club, a set of fire drills and a
small bag filled with parched corn.

“My friends, here stands a young man dressed for the war-trail,” Black
Panther told the Delawares. “Look closely at him for you may never see
him again. He is going upon a dangerous journey, Yes, he is going into
the country of our enemies, the boastful Mohawks, to find out how
Standing Wolf gets his power. It is a great thing to do. If he lives
through it I will give away many good presents. I have finished.”

The Delawares greeted the announcement with words of approval. Several
prominent warriors made speeches praising the lad for his courage, and
urging him to kill many Mohawks. Then old Sky Dog sang a number of
sacred medicine-songs, and fastened a small buckskin bag containing
sacred herbs about the neck of Running Fox to protect him from harm.

At the conclusion of the ceremony Running Fox set out upon his journey.
He followed a well-worn Delaware hunting trail that led northward along
the river. It was Kitschinipen, the summer planting season, and a great
primeval wilderness was at its best. The day was glorious. The sky was
cloudless, the air was soft and balmy and the earth was flooded with
sunshine. Wild flowers dotted the trail, and birds sang from the trees
and thickets. Running Fox found much to interest him. He stopped to
watch Tiskemanis, the noisy blue fisher bird, plunge into the water
after his prey. He called cheerily to Mehokuiman, the red bird. He
frightened ugly Gundaschees, the water-snake, from his sunny log at the
edge of the river. Then he heard the stealthy approach of Achtu, the
deer. As he had been advised to kill one of the old bucks by the
medicine-deer, Running Fox hastily prepared his arrow and concealed
himself behind a tree. In a few moments the deer approached the river to
drink. It was a doe, however, and the young Delaware withheld his arrow.
He knew that she had a fawn concealed in some nearby thicket, and he had
been taught to spare the mother and young of all creatures that there
might always be plenty of game for the hunters. He waited until the doe
had finished drinking, and then he showed himself. For a moment the
surprised creature stared at him with big frightened eyes, and then
hounded gracefully into the woods.

“Go in peace, my sister, I will not harm you,” cried Running Fox.

Soon afterward Running Fox had an experience that filled him with gloomy
forebodings. He was seated upon a boulder at the edge of the water when
he heard the harsh cries of Woapalanne, the great white-headed
war-eagle. Looking into the sky he discovered the bird soaring in great
circles directly above him. He feared that it was a bad omen, for old
Sky Dog had told him that the sudden appearance of Woapalanne invariably
meant war. Running Fox wondered if he was about to meet his enemies.
Until that moment the possibility had never entered his mind, as he had
considered himself quite safe as long as he remained within the Delaware
boundaries. Now, as the war-eagle continued to hover over him, he became
suspicious.

“Hi, Woapalanne, I see you flying around up there,” he cried, as he
shook his bow at the eagle. “I hear you making a great noise up there.
Sky Dog says it is a sign of war. Well, Woapalanne, you do not frighten
me. I will not turn around. I have set out to do something, and I am
going ahead with it. Woapalanne, Sky Dog says that you are a good
friend. That is why I have told you what I am going to do. But you must
not tell the Mohawks about me. That would be bad. Come, if you are a
good friend you must help me. Now I am going up on top of that high
mountain to look around.”

However, as Running Fox turned to enter the forest the eagle suddenly
changed its tactics, and flew away toward the south. This unexpected
maneuver greatly upset the young Delaware. His thoughts instantly turned
to his friend, Spotted Deer. Having learned that the latter had departed
upon some mysterious mission to the southward, Running Fox read a
warning in the final action of the war-eagle. He believed that Spotted
Deer was in peril. The thought refused to leave his mind.

When Running Fox reached the top of the ridge from which he planned to
reconnoiter the surrounding country, his sharp eyes quickly discovered
something which instantly aroused his interest, A thin wavering column
of smoke was rising against the sky some distance to the southward. The
sight of it filled him with emotion, for he knew that it came from the
Delaware camp. The day was almost ended, and in the distant smoke cloud
Running Fox saw a vision of the peaceful evening scene in the Delaware
village. In fancy he saw the happy groups about the fires, and heard the
songs and laughter. He wondered if he had been missed from the merry
little company before his father’s lodge. Twilight was gathering, and
the smoke column was slowly fading into the shadows. Running Fox looked
upon it with longing eyes, for he knew that it would soon be gone. The
thought saddened him. That frail spiral of smoke seemed like the last
tie that bound him to his people, and he dreaded to see it broken. When
it finally faded out in the dusk Running Fox felt a great loneliness
surge into his heart.

After he had carefully examined the country through which he intended to
pass on the following day, the young Delaware began to look for a safe
place in which to spend the night. He believed that it might be
dangerous to remain near the river, as he knew that hostile scouts often
followed the waterways under cover of darkness. Besides, he was still
upset by the actions of the war-eagle, and he determined to take every
precaution. He finally decided to camp beside a little spring, high up
on the mountainside.

Having killed a grouse earlier in the day, Running Fox broiled it over
the embers of a tiny fire, which he was careful to conceal between two
large rocks. Then, after he had eaten, he drew his robe about him, and
sat with his back against a pine, listening to the night sounds of the
wilderness. He heard Quekolis, the whippoorwill, raising his doleful
lament down near the river. Running Fox had heard the old men tell weird
tales about that mournful bird, and as he listened to its monotonous
serenade he wondered if it really did possess all the mysterious powers
with which the superstitions story tellers credited it. Then he heard
shrill piping sounds from the grass, and he knew that the Zelozelous,
the little black cricket people, were singing their medicine-songs. Some
time later Running Fox was startled by a piercing scream that sounded
from a distant ridge. He listened anxiously until it was repeated, and
then he recognized it as the hunting cry of soft-footed Nianque, the
lynx. Then the brooding, mysterious night-hush fell upon the forest.

Running Fox rose and raised his hands toward the heavens. After a few
moments of reverent silence he began to pray to Getanittowit. He asked
for courage and strength to perform his task. Then, after he had sung
one of the sacred medicine-songs to drive away any evil spirits that
might have discovered his fire, he prepared a couch of sweet-fern and
lay down to sleep.

Two-thirds of the night had passed when Running Fox suddenly found
himself sitting up, with his bow in his hands, staring anxiously into
the dark. He did not know what had awakened him, and for a long time he
neither heard or saw anything to give him a clue. He began to fear that
he had been dreaming. Then a twig snapped, and he became suspicious. He
knew that Mohawk scouts often ventured far into the Delaware hunting
grounds, and he feared that one of those sharp-eyed foes had discovered
his fire. The thought alarmed him. The possibility of an unseen enemy
stealing upon him under cover of the night set his heart throbbing
wildly. Still he had no idea of running away. Lying close to the ground,
he fitted an arrow to his bow, and strained his eyes in an effort to
find the mysterious prowler. For some time the silence was unbroken, and
he began to think that he had been needlessly alarmed by some passing
beast of the wilderness. Then he heard sounds which led him to believe
that some one was cautiously approaching his hiding place. Convinced
that he was about to experience his first encounter with an enemy,
Running Fox waited with the calm reliance of a veteran. The noise had
suddenly ceased, however, and the young Delaware believed that his foe
had stopped to listen. A few moments later the soft querulous call of
Gokhotit, the little red owl, sounded through the night. It seemed
barely a bow-shot away, and Running Fox redoubled his vigilance. When he
heard it again he became greatly excited. Then it was repeated a third
time, and Running Fox breathed easier, for he recognized it as a signal
from his friend, Spotted Deer.

Running Fox was undecided as to just what to do. His first impulse was
to reply to the familiar signal, but he overcame it and remained silent.
As he saw no reason to alter the decision he had made in the Delaware
camp, he planned to steal away and elude his friend under the protection
of the darkness. However, it soon became evident that sharp-witted
Spotted Deer had guessed his intention.

“Hi, my brother, have you closed your ears to the greeting of a friend?”
Spotted Deer inquired reproachfully. “I know that you are somewhere
close by. Yes, I believe you are hiding away in the night. I have
followed you here, and I will not turn back. No. If I do not find you,
then as soon as it grows light I will follow your trail. Running Fox, I
am going into the country of the boastful Mohawks with you. It is
useless for you to say anything more against it. I have set out to do
this thing, and now I am going through with it. Come, my brother, let us
meet, and talk together. Now I am going to listen for something.”

Running Fox still remained silent. However, the loyalty and devotion of
his friend had greatly affected him, and his heart was filled with
conflicting emotions. He found it harder than ever to ignore the
stirring appeal, and yet it seemed foolish to renew the discussion with
Spotted Deer. At last, however, his great love for his friend forced him
to answer.

“My brother, I have listened to your words. You have done a foolish
thing to come here. I was going to run away, but now I am going to stay
here and talk with you. I believe it is the best thing to do.”

A few moments afterward they clasped hands, while their eyes flashed the
welcome that neither could utter. Although he was still determined to
continue the journey alone, nevertheless Running Fox was delighted to
see his friend. He knew now that his fears concerning him had come to
nought, and it filled him with joy. It was evident that Spotted Deer had
turned toward the south to fool the Delawares, and then had circled
around to intercept his friend. Running Fox admired his stratagem.

“Running Fox, I believe your heart is bad toward me,” declared Spotted
Deer. “You say that I have done a foolish thing. Perhaps it is true, but
I will not turn back. If you do not listen to my words, then I will go
away and let the Mohawks kill me. Now you know what I am thinking about.
Yes, I am going through with it no matter how it comes out. I have
finished.”

“Spotted Deer, you are a good friend,” Running Fox replied, warmly. “My
heart is not bad toward you, but I must tell you that you have done a
foolish thing. You must turn back. I am going ahead alone. I have told
you about it many times. Now I must go through with it.”

They argued the question throughout the night. Then, as dawn crept
slowly out of the east, Running Fox finally yielded to the persuasion of
Spotted Deer.

“Spotted Deer, I see that you intend to do as you say,” declared Running
Fox. “You say that if you do not go with me you will let the Mohawks
kill you. That is very bad. Well, that makes me feel different about it.
You are my friend, and I will not let you throw away your life. If you
feel like going with me I cannot say anything more against it. Perhaps
you will be killed, but I cannot help it. You have asked me to do
something, and now I have done it.”

“Running Fox, you have done a good thing,” Spotted Deer cried, joyfully.
“Now I will sing again. I am going with you to find out about the great
chief Standing Wolf. Perhaps we will have many fights with the Mohawks.
You say that we may be killed. Well, my brother, we will die together.
It is enough.”



                   CHAPTER III—A THRILLING ADVENTURE


The sun was well above the mountains before the young Delawares
descended to the river, and resumed the perilous journey into the north.
Running Fox told Spotted Deer about the strange medicine-creatures that
had appeared in his dream, and Spotted Deer became quite excited.

“That was a wonderful thing to happen to a person,” he declared,
impressively. “You must do whatever those mysterious animals told you to
do. I cannot help you. You must do those things alone. I have heard my
father say that.”

“It is true,” agreed Running Fox. “If you try to help me it might do
great harm.”

As the lads were still well within the northern boundary of the vast
Delaware hunting grounds, they had little fear of an immediate encounter
with their foes-Still they were cautious, for they knew that such an
experience was not impossible, as both Shawnees and Iroquois frequently
invaded that territory to hunt and fish. The Shawnees were a powerful
nation living farther to the westward, with whom the Delawares had
fought many desperate battles.

The day was about half spent when Running Fox suddenly dropped to his
knees, and called excitedly to Spotted Deer. The fresh trail of a bear
crossed a narrow strip of gravelly beach and disappeared into the woods.
The tracks were huge, and it was evident that the animal had only
recently crossed the river.

“See, here is the track of Machque,” said Running Fox, as he measured
the footprints with his hands. “He must be very big, and very fierce. He
cannot be far off. I will follow his trail, and try to kill him. Spotted
Deer, you must wait until I come back. Perhaps it will take a long time
to do this thing, but you must wait. It is the only thing to do.”

“I would like to go with you, but I believe it would be bad,” declared
Spotted Deer. “You must do as it appeared in your dream. I will wait.”

A moment afterward Running Fox followed the tracks into the forest. The
lad had been well trained in the art of hunting by his father, and his
sharp eyes had little difficulty in keeping the trail. It led him along
the side of a rocky hillside, and then down into the bushy tangle of a
dark spruce swamp. The footprints looked very fresh, and Running Fox
moved forward as noiselessly as a lynx. He stopped after every few
strides to look, and listen and sniff. He had never killed a bear but he
had heard the hunters tell many stories about that crafty beast, and he
knew that it was only by using the utmost caution that he could hope to
get within bow-shot. He crossed the swamp without coming in sight of his
quarry, and followed the tracks over the top of another rocky hill. As
he was climbing carefully toward the summit he came upon an ant-hill
that had been dug open by the bear. The demoralized ants were still
rushing frantically over the wreck of their lodge. On the other side of
the hill Running Fox lost the trail on a steep ledge of smooth gray
rock. Circling carefully around the ledge he finally picked up the
tracks leading down into a narrow ravine that penetrated far back into
the hills. As the sides of the gully were covered with blueberry bushes,
the young Delaware understood why the bear had chosen that route. He saw
many crushed and uprooted plants which told him that the hear was
feeding upon the berries. Running Fox hurried along the ravine in the
hope of overtaking the bear at its feast, but although the trail seemed
continually to grow fresher the eager young hunter was unable to get
within sight of his quarry.

The ravine at last led up to a wide grassy plateau closed in on three
sides by low hardwood ridges. It looked like an ideal feeding ground for
elk and deer, and Running Fox saw several well-trod trails leading
through it. Then he saw something more interesting. Far over in the
opposite corner of the plateau he discovered some animal lying down. It
was beyond bow-shot, and Running Fox began to study how he might
approach without being seen. When he had watched some moments he decided
that the distant object was either an elk or a deer. As it failed to
move he concluded that it was asleep. Then he suddenly thought of the
bear tracks. They led directly out into the open plateau, and toward the
mysterious object in the farther corner. Running Fox was perplexed. He
knew that what he saw was not the bear. Still he realized that whatever
it was it had come there after the bear had passed. The idea did not
satisfy him, however, for he told himself that unless the bear had gone
by a long time before, the keen nose of an elk or a deer would instantly
have found the dreaded scent. In that event neither of those wary
creatures would be likely to sleep on the fresh trail of their enemy.
Running Fox felt positive that the bear had but recently crossed the
plateau, for the grass which had been trodden down was still springing
upright. Then the solution flashed into his mind—the animal he saw was
dead.

Having come to that decision Running Fox began to look for the bear. He
felt quite sure that it was somewhere near the carcass, unless it had
discovered him and rushed away. Still he rather doubted that, for the
wind was in his favor, and besides he believed that a bear as large as
the one he had followed would be in no great hurry to run off. He had
often heard his father tell how a bear would loiter in the vicinity of
such a bait for several days, feeding when hunger prompted and sleeping
in some nearby thicket between meals. Running Fox also realized that the
bear might have been feeding as he approached, and upon catching sight
or scent of him had retreated into the woods to watch. In any event he
told himself that the first thing to do was to go and examine the bait.

Running Fox made his way cautiously along the edge of the plateau,
taking advantage of whatever cover offered itself, and advancing against
the wind. When he finally came within bow-shot of the bait he saw that
it was an elk. Then he sat down to watch and listen. After he had waited
a long time without seeing or hearing anything of the bear, he went
forward to examine the elk. It was an old bull that apparently had died
from old age. Running Fox was surprised to find that almost one whole
side of the animal had already been eaten. He also saw that something
had been tearing at the carcass but a short time previously. The grass
was well trampled all about the bait, and Running Fox identified the
tracks of many different animals. The freshest tracks, however, were the
huge footprints of the bear which he had followed from the river.
Running Fox believed that the bear was feeding upon the carcass when it
suddenly became aware of his approach, and retreated into the woods. He
felt quite certain that it would return, and he determined to conceal
himself and watch.

The Delaware found much to interest him as he sat quietly in his hiding
place and waited for the bear to return. A flock of crows were the first
to appear. They made a great racket as they circled about the elk, and
the eyes of the young hunter flashed with anger. He knew from experience
that those noisy birds gave warning to all the wild things of the woods,
and he feared that their senseless commotion might arouse the suspicions
of the bear. They soon flew away, however, and Running Fox felt much
relieved. A short time afterward he saw something moving along the edge
of the timber at the other end of the plateau. In a few moments he
identified it as a deer. He took its appearance for proof that the bear
was not at the moment anywhere near. Then, as he watched the wary
creature browsing in the shadow of the woods, he heard soft, stealthy
footfalls directly behind him. Fitting an arrow to his how, Running Fox
turned in time to find himself facing a large red fox. Before the
surprised creature could bound to safety the expert young Delaware sent
his arrow through its heart.

Recalling the advice of the medicine-fox which had appeared in his
dream, Running Fox crawled noiselessly through the brush, and cut the
ears from his victim. He saw that the fox was very old, as its teeth
were worn almost to the gums. The discovery filled him with joy, for he
felt sure that by carrying the ears of that wise old chief he would
become as sharp and crafty himself.

Then for a long time nothing more appeared, and Running Fox began to
grow restless. The day was almost at an end, and he feared that Spotted
Deer would become impatient. Still he had no thought of leaving the
plateau, and was determined to spend the night there if the bear failed
to appear before dark. At sunset, however, he heard some large animal
moving through the woods. It sounded too heavy for a deer, and too noisy
for an elk, so that Running Fox believed it must be the bear. His heart
bounded at the thought. He had heard many stories about thrilling
battles with those great beasts of the wilderness, and he hoped that he,
too, might experience such an adventure. Then, as the sounds drew
nearer, all else was forgotten as the eager lad hurriedly fitted an
arrow to his bow, and fixed his eyes on the edge of the woods.

Running Fox was not kept long in suspense. In a few moments he saw the
bushes swaying, and the next instant a bear walked into the open. It was
not the huge creature which Running Fox had pictured in his mind, but
his disappointment soon gave way to surprise as two half-grown cubs
immediately followed their mother from the woods. All three animals soon
walked within range, but the bewildered young hunter withheld his arrow.
He feared to kill the mother bear and her young lest he should offend
the great medicine-bear which had appeared in his dream. Besides, he
told himself that a warrior could scarcely boast of such a feat. He
watched, therefore, while the old bear led her cubs to the carcass of
the elk, and began to feed.

Some time later when the mother bear raised her head and sniffed the
air, Running Fox instantly became alert. As the old bear continued to
watch the woods, the lad began to hope that the animal he had followed
might be returning. However, the bear soon resumed feeding, and Running
Fox believed that he was again doomed to disappointment. At that very
moment, however, a stick cracked over in the spot toward which the
mother bear had been looking. She again raised her head and sniffed.
Then she began to growl. Running Fox watched anxiously. For some moments
all was still, but the bear continued to growl, and sniff suspiciously.
Then a great black object appeared at the edge of the woods. Running Fox
knew at once that it was the bear he had trailed from the river. As it
walked slowly into the open and he saw how big it was he could scarcely
believe his eyes. It seemed to be very fierce, for it approached the
bait growling and snapping its jaws. As it drew near Running Fox saw a
round white spot, half as large as his hand, directly behind its
shoulder. It immediately fired the imagination of the superstitious
young Delaware. He believed that Getanittowit had placed that mark upon
the bear to guide the Delaware arrow.

Running Fox had been so absorbed in watching the approach of the giant
that for the moment he had forgotten all about the mother bear and her
cubs. Now he heard her growling and gnashing her teeth. He had expected
to see her dash away at the first sight of the intruder, but she showed
no such intention. Instead she gave every evidence of disputing the
right of ownership which the big bear apparently intended to assert.
Running Fox looked upon her with admiration as she stood there snapping
her jaws, and growling defiance at the huge brute that threatened her.
For a few moments the big bear stood watching her in surprise. He seemed
puzzled by her unexpected show of resistance. Then it roused his
fighting spirit, and he rushed forward roaring furiously.

As the cubs dashed for the timber, squealing with terror, the mother
bear prepared to meet the attack. She appeared scarcely more than half
the size of the monster that had attacked her, and yet she seemed quite
as fierce and eager to fight as he. When the big bear came within range
she rushed at him, and he reared and attempted to fall upon her. She was
too quick, however, and as he crashed down she rushed in and closed her
jaws upon a hind leg. Wheeling with the agility of a panther, he snapped
viciously at her neck, but she released her hold and jumped tuck in time
to save herself. Then he rushed at her in blind fury, and knocked her
off her feet. Turning upon her back, she clawed him like a wildcat.
Snarling, biting and tearing, the maddened beasts fought with a fury
that meant destruction to the vanquished. It soon became evident that
the mother bear was doomed to defeat. The tremendous bulk and strength
of her antagonist made him invincible. He was inflicting terrible
punishment upon his courageous foe, and it seemed only a matter of
moments before he would have her completely at his mercy.

However, it was at that stage of the encounter that Running Fox joined
in the fray. Completely carried away by the fierceness of the fight, the
lad jumped to his feet and shot his arrow at the big bear. In his
excitement, however, he missed his aim, and the arrow struck about a
hand-width above the white patch behind the shoulder. The bear twisted
about and snapped off the shaft close to its body. Then both bears
caught sight of him, and immediately ceased fighting. For a moment, as
they stood glaring at him and snarling, it looked as if they intended to
unite in attacking their common enemy. Then, as Running Fox drove a
second arrow into the body of the giant, the latter rushed forward
alone. At that instant the cubs began whimpering at the edge of the
forest, and the mother bear, weak and suffering from a score of ugly
wounds, ambled painfully off to join them. As the great bear came
roaring down upon him the young Delaware realized that he was fighting
for his life, and the thought steadied him. Twice more he sent his
arrows tearing into the great muscular body, but they seemed to have
little effect. The infuriated bear stopped just long enough to snap at
the feathered shafts, and then it made a final rush at its foe. However,
during that momentary delay Running Fox had fitted another arrow to his
bow. He held it until the bear was only a few paces away, and then, as
it rose unsteadily upon its hind legs, he uttered the shrill Delaware
war-cry and drove the arrow deep between its fore legs. The giant
crashed to the ground, and the excited lad immediately rushed forward to
strike it with his war-club. At that moment, however, the bear suddenly
recovered and struggled to its feet. The surprised young hunter almost
collided with it. It struck savagely at him, but he jumped aside, and
shot an arrow into the fatal mark behind the shoulder. It finished the
fight. The bear sank slowly to the ground, and lay still. This time,
however, Running Fox was more cautious, and he remained at a safe
distance until the last signs of life had vanished. Then he ran eagerly
forward and began to cut off the great curved claws.

By the time Running Fox had finished his task darkness had already
fallen, and as he was a considerable distance from the river he
determined to remain where he was until daylight. Then he suddenly
thought of the wounded mother bear. He feared that she was too badly
hurt to travel far away, and he had already seen enough of her temper to
make him cautious about risking an encounter in the dark. He left the
plateau, therefore, and spent the night farther down the ravine.



                  CHAPTER IV—IN THE GRIP OF THE RAPIDS


The sun was already above the tree-tops when Running Fox finally
rejoined Spotted Deer at the river. They seated themselves on a fallen
tree, and Running Fox showed his trophies and described his encounter
with the bear. When Spotted Deer heard about the peculiar white patch on
the bear’s shoulder he suggested that it might have been caused by a
former arrow wound. Running Fox scoffed at the idea, however, and
insisted that the mark had been placed there by Getanittowit.

“Yes, I believe that must be the way of it,” Spotted Deer agreed,
finally.

Running Fox said that they must eat the heart of the bear to comply with
the instructions which he had received in his dream. They kindled a tiny
fire, and broiled the meat on a willow branch. Then, after Running Fox
had sung several medicine-songs to pacify the spirit of the bear, the
superstitious young warriors divided the precious trophy and ate it with
solemn ceremony.

“Now I will tell you something,” said Spotted Deer. “After you went away
I began to look around. I walked along beside the water. Pretty soon I
heard a loud noise. Then I came to a place where the water goes very
fast. It makes a great noise and jumps up and down. Yes, it looks very
mad. I do not like that place. I believe the Bad Water Spirits live
there. I have heard my father tell about them. He says that they are
very fierce, and are always fighting down there under the water. Yes,
that is what makes the commotion. My father has told me that when any
one falls into such a place he is broken against the rocks, and eaten by
those Bad Water Spirits.”

“Yes, that is so, I have heard about it,” declared Running Fox.

“Well, I stood there a long time watching that place,” continued Spotted
Deer. “Then I went ahead. Pretty soon I saw a long strip of woods out
there in the middle of the water. I heard many birds singing in the
trees, and I stopped to listen. Then I saw some big rocks sticking out
of the water. As I was looking at them I saw a very big fish jumping
along between the rocks and the woods. Pretty soon I saw another. My
eyes told me that it was Schawanammek, the great sturgeon. Well, I kept
watching and I saw many of those big fish passing along. Then I saw how
they came to be in that place. The water was very swift all around that
strip of land, but between the rocks and the woods it was not so bad.
Well, when I saw those big fish I wanted to spear some of them with my
arrows. I said, ‘Hi, I will swim out to that place and kill some of
those fish.’ Then I saw how swift the water was, and I heard the noise
of that bad place below. Well, I began to think about it. I said, ‘I
will wait until Running Fox comes back, and then we will talk about it.’
Now we will go and see it.”

“Yes, let us go,” proposed Running Fox, as his eyes lighted with
enthusiasm.

As the lads hurried along the river they soon heard the sullen roar of
the rapids, and their hearts bounded at the sound. Then they came upon
the long stretch of tossing white-caps, and they stopped and looked with
superstitious awe upon the wild tumult of the waters. It was a
terrifying spectacle. As Spotted Deer had said, the river appeared to
have been roused into a fury. It raged past in great surging waves that
crashed against the rocks and sent drenching showers of spray high into
the air. In the calmer reaches the water whirled down into seething
black pools which sucked down into their dismal depths whatever the
torrent tossed into them. The Delawares shuddered as they looked upon
them, for they seemed like doors to that weird underwater world where
the Bad Water Spirits were supposed to dwell.

“That is a bad place,” Banning Fox said, solemnly.

“Come, let us hurry away,” proposed Spotted Deer.

A short distance beyond the head of the rapids they came opposite the
wooded island which Spotted Deer had described. They had not watched it
many moments before they saw a great fish jump from the water between
the rocks and the shore.

“See, there is Schawanammek!” Spotted Deer cried, excitedly.

“Yes, I saw him,” replied Running Fox. “Look, there goes another.”

They watched several large sturgeon fight their way through the narrow
channel that separated the rocks from the island.

“Well, now you see how it is,” said Spotted Deer. “Do you feel strong
enough to swim out there and kill some of those fish?”

For some moments Running Fox continued to study the water in silence.
The river was smooth but swift at that spot, and the head of the rapids
was dangerously near. Their angry roar sounded an ominous warning, and
Running Fox hesitated. He realized that the adventure was filled with
peril, and wondered whether he ought to risk himself for the mere sport
of killing Schawanammek. It seemed foolhardy for one bound upon an
important mission to take unnecessary chances. However, as the great
fish continued to show themselves Running Fox began to waver. Then he
suddenly realized that Spotted Deer was awaiting his decision, and the
latter’s proposal instantly seemed like a challenge. Running Fox
believed that Spotted Deer might be testing his courage. The possibility
made him reckless. Under those circumstances he would have tried to
reach the island even though he knew that the attempt was certain to
cost him his life.

“Spotted Deer, I am going to swim out to that place, and kill some of
those fish,” declared Running Fox. “Will you go with me?”

“Yes, I will go,” Spotted Deer replied, quietly.

“It will be a hard thing to do,” Running Fox warned him. “That water is
very strong. It will carry us along very fast. We must go farther ahead,
before we start to swim. If we get to that place perhaps we cannot get
away again. I do not know how it will be. Well, I am going to do this
thing no matter how it comes out.”

They walked along the shore until they were several bow-shots above the
island. Then, after they had concealed their robes and moccasins in the
bushes, they tied their bows and arrow-cases on their backs and waded
into the water. As it reached their knees they began to feel its
strength, Each stride forward made it more difficult to remain upon
their feet. When they had waded in waist-deep they threw themselves
forward and began to swim.

Once started, the lads swam boldly toward the middle of the river. Each
stroke took them into swifter water, and they soon realized the
seriousness of their adventure. Still they had no thought of turning
back. The river swept them along at startling speed, and they swam
desperately to get in line with the island. As they neared it they were
dismayed to see great boulders directly ahead of them. They knew that
unless they could get beyond them they would be swept against them and
destroyed.

“Come, we must swim harder,” cried Running Fox.

They redoubled their efforts. Every moment was precious. Running Fox was
the stronger swimmer, and he began to fear for Spotted Deer who was
several bow-lengths behind him. However, Spotted Deer saw his peril, and
was struggling desperately to place himself beyond the path of the
boulders. At last his efforts were successful, and he followed Running
Fox to the head of the island. They found a shallow place where they
managed to get upon their feet and scramble safely to the shore.

“Hi, that was a hard fight,” panted Spotted Deer, as they sat down to
recover from their exertions.

“Spotted Deer, I see that we have done a foolish thing,” Running Fox
said, soberly.

“Are you thinking about those Bad Water Spirits?” inquired Spotted Deer,
as he looked toward the rapids.

“No, I am not thinking about those mysterious people, but I believe we
have got ourselves into a trap,” declared Running Fox. “It was a hard
fight to get to this place, but it will be harder to get away.”

The idea sobered them. For the moment they forgot all about
Schawanammek, the great sturgeon. As they watched the river sweeping
past them, and heard the angry challenge of the rapids, they suddenly
realized that they had placed themselves in a serious predicament.

“Well, we have come here to kill some of those big fish,” said Running
Fox, attempting to make light of the adventure.

“Yes, let us go and find them,” proposed Spotted Deer.

They moved carefully along the wooded shore of the island until they
reached the narrow channel between the island and the boulders. The
water was comparatively quiet at that place, and they were able to wade
out to a large flat-topped rock upon which they seated themselves to
watch for sturgeon. As they waited for the first big fish to appear they
cast many uneasy glances toward the rapids. They appeared uncomfortably
near the lower end of the island. The noise seemed much louder. The lads
wondered whether they had underestimated the distance between the island
and that long stretch of white-crested waves. Then a sturgeon entered
the narrow channel, and all else was forgotten.

“Hi, here comes Sehawanammek!” cried Spotted Deer, as he hastily
prepared his bow.

As the great fish swam past the rock Spotted Deer drove his arrow into
it. It floundered helplessly for a moment or so, and Running Fox also
sent an arrow into its body. Then, to the surprise of the excited young
Delawares, the sturgeon turned and flashed down the channel with the
current. A few moments afterward they saw it drifting helplessly into
the rapids.

“That is bad,” said Spotted Deer. “We have lost two good arrows, and
Schawanammek has fooled us.”

“Well, we have sent some good food to Gunammachk, the otter,” laughed
Running Fox.

It was some time before another sturgeon appeared, and that, too, would
have been swept away by the river if Running Fox had not jumped
recklessly into the water and seized it. Aided by Spotted Deer he
dragged it to the island, and pulled it into the bushes.

“Well, we have killed Schawanammek,” said Spotted Deer. “Now we must eat
some of his flesh. Then we will be able to swim through the bad places
like he does.”

“Yes, I believe it will be a good thing to do,” agreed Running Fox.

Having left their fire-sticks with their robes, the lads were compelled
to eat the fish raw. Then they began to think about leaving the island.
They had no desire to waste more arrows on such easy game.

“Now we must get away from here,” said Running Fox.

“I see that it will be a hard thing to do,” declared Spotted Deer. “I
believe I was very foolish to talk about coming here. Now I have got you
into a bad place. I do not like that.”

“Spotted Deer, I came here because I wanted to show you that I was not
afraid. It was a foolish thing to do. Perhaps those Bad Water Spirits
will kill us. Then our people will say, ‘Running Fox was not sharp
enough to escape from the Mohawks.’ I am sorry I came here.”

They walked to the head of the island, and looked longingly toward the
forest on the river bank. It seemed a long ways off, and the water
looked very swift. Their task was to reach the shore before the current
carried them into the rapids. They knew that to do that they would have
to swim even harder and faster than they swam to reach the island.
Running Fox believed that he might be equal to the task, but he had
grave misgivings about Spotted Deer. The latter, however, felt quite as
confident as Running Fox. Before they entered the water Running Fox sang
several of the medicine-songs which old Sky Dog had taught him for just
such emergencies. Then, having asked Getanittowit to help them, the lads
began their perilous battle with the river.

It was impossible to make any headway directly against the current, and
the lads swam at a sharp angle but with their faces turned up the river.
They had not gone far, however, before they saw that they were
exhausting themselves without gaining enough to make the effort worth
while. Then Running Fox turned and swam directly across the current. He
found himself sweeping rapidly down the river, and he had grave doubts
of reaching the shore before he drifted into the rapids. Each moment he
heard their angry roar growing louder in his ears, and it nerved him to
greater efforts. Calling upon Spotted Deer to increase his exertions
Running Fox began a furious fight against the current. Strive as he
might, however, he was unable to stay his mad flight down the river. The
rapids were now only half as far away as they were when he started, and
Running Fox began to lose heart. He had gone only a third of the
distance between the shore and the island and each bow-length he drifted
found him in rougher water. It suddenly dawned on him that it would be
impossible to escape the rapids. For a moment the thought overwhelmed
him, and he was on the point of surrendering. Then he heard a wild
despairing cry behind him. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Spotted
Deer turning back toward the island. Running Fox knew at once that the
exhausted lad would never reach his goal. Twisting about he swam with
the current to intercept Spotted Deer in his wild plunge down the river.

“Come, Spotted Deer, show your courage!” cried Running Fox.

The challenge roused Spotted Deer to heroic efforts. He fought just long
enough to enable Running Fox to get in line with him, and then he ceased
struggling.

“Come, follow me!” shouted Running Fox. “Do not waste yourself. Let the
water carry you. Watch out for the bad places.”

A moment later they were sweeping toward the rapids. Running Fox picked
the route, and Spotted Deer tried to follow him. There was little chance
to swim. All they could do was to keep themselves afloat, and try to
dodge the rocks and whirlpools. It was a desperate chance, and the odds
were all against them. However, it was the only chance for life and
Running Fox had decided to take it. When they reached the head of the
rapids they shot forward into a stifling smother of white-caps. Then
they swirled down through the raging inferno of water at terrific speed.
Monster waves surged over them, huge boulders flashed by within
bow-length. Running Fox found it impossible to pick a route, and,
terrified and bewildered, he confined his efforts to keeping his head
above the surface and left the rest to chance. As for Spotted Deer, he
lost sight of his companion as soon as they entered the rapids, and he,
too, thought only of keeping from going down into the clutches of the
Bad Water Spirits. Gasping, choking and struggling, the unfortunate lads
were carried down the river. Once Running Fox crashed into a boulder,
but fortunately it was a glancing blow and he escaped with nothing more
serious than bruises. Spotted Deer drifted into one of the sucking black
pools, and in some miraculous manner was whirled around the edge and
thrown back into the current. There seemed no hope that either of the
swimmers would escape with his life.

Running Fox, however, finally reached the end of the rapids alive. When
he found himself afloat in calm water he could scarcely believe his good
fortune. His first thought was for Spotted Deer. He was nowhere in
sight. What had become of him? There seemed but one answer. He had been
pulled down by the Bad Water Spirits. Running Fox looked toward the
rapids, and his eyes glowed savagely. Then he saw something bobbing down
through the waves, and a great hope entered his heart.

“Fight, Spotted Deer! Fight! I am here to help you!” screamed Running
Fox, as he saw the form of his friend sweeping toward the end of the
rapids.

His words were useless, however, for Spotted Deer could not hear them.
As his limp body finally shot into the still water and sank from sight,
Running Fox dove after it and brought him to the surface. Then he swam
painfully to the shore with him, and placed him tenderly on the beach.
There was an ugly wound over his eye, and his limbs were bruised and
swollen. Running Fox himself was bloody and bruised, but he gave no
thought to his wounds. Bending frantically over his friend he worked
feverishly to expel the water from his lungs. He had seen his people
restore more than one unfortunate swimmer, and he had hopes of bringing
Spotted Deer back to life. However, his efforts seemed in vain and he
called hysterically upon Getanittowit for aid.

“O Getanittowit, see what the Bad Water Spirits have done,” he cried. “O
Getanittowit, take pity on me, and give me back my brother, Spotted
Deer. See, Getanittowit, he is sleeping. O Getanittowit, take pity on
him and wake him up.”

Then he worked with renewed energy. Still Spotted Deer showed no signs
of life. Running Fox was on the verge of collapse. He realized that he
would soon be unable to continue his efforts. The thought roused him.
Then, when he had given up hope, Spotted Deer sighed and opened his
eyes. He stared stupidly at Running Fox, and again lapsed into
unconsciousness. Still he was alive, and that was sufficient for Running
Fox. His strength returned, and he continued his exertions until Spotted
Deer regained consciousness. Then, as the latter smiled and whispered
his name, Running Fox fell exhausted beside him.



                            CHAPTER V—WOLVES


The following day found the Delawares too stiff and sore from their
battle with the rapids to proceed with their journey. They limped as far
as the spot where they had hidden their robes, and made no attempt to go
farther. Besides, they had lost a number of their arrows in the river,
and they spent the day making others to replace them. Toward evening as
Running Fox was stalking several grouse that had alighted in a tree, he
suddenly came upon a number of tracks that immediately claimed his
attention. Dropping to his knees he examined them with great care. Then
he rose and hastened to tell Spotted Deer, whom he had left resting upon
a couch of hemlock boughs.

“Spotted Deer, if you feel strong enough you must rise and follow me,”
said Running Fox. “I have found something to show you.”

“I will go,” declared Spotted Deer, rising stiffly to his feet.

They soon reached the spot where Running Fox had discovered the tracks,
and Spotted Deer examined them with much interest.

“This is strange,” he said after a few moments. “These tracks look like
the tracks of big dogs. How did they get here? Are we near a camp?”

“No, Spotted Deer, these are not dog tracks,” said Running Fox. “That is
what I took them for when I first saw them. Then I knew different. These
are the tracks of Timmeu, the wolf.”

“It is true,” replied Spotted Deer.

They noted that the tracks were several days old, and that the trail
turned toward the north. It was also apparent that there had been a
goodly number of wolves, for the lads saw tracks of various sizes. That
night as they sat beside a small fire broiling the grouse which Running
Fox had killed their thoughts turned to the wolf pack.

“I have heard the hunters tell about those wolves,” said Running Fox.
“They are very large and very fierce. They have fought with many of our
people. My father killed some of them when he was hunting along the
river.”

“Why are they down in this country?” inquired Spotted Deer. “This is not
the time for them to come down here. I have heard the hunters say that
in the time of growing things they travel far beyond the country of the
Mohawks.”

“What you say is so,” replied Running Fox. “When it is cold our people
have found them down near our village. I do not know how they come to be
here now.”

“Perhaps we shall see them,” Spotted Deer suggested, hopefully.

“No, I do not believe it,” said Running Fox.

The next day they resumed their journey at daylight. They had quite
recovered from their trip through the rapids, and excepting a few minor
cuts and bruises showed little evidence of the rough treatment which
they had received from the river. They felt that they had escaped with a
very light penalty for their foolishness, and they were very grateful to
Getanittowit. However, they agreed that they would be more careful in
the future.

“Pretty soon we will come to dangerous country,” said Spotted Deer, as
they continued up the river.

“Yes, we must keep a sharp watch for our enemies,” replied Running Fox.

They traveled through a splendid forest of massive oaks and chestnuts,
and they saw many signs of game. At one place they again saw wolf
tracks, but they were many days old and the lads gave them little
thought. Then they came upon a well-worn trail leading away from the
river, and as it showed fresh deer tracks they determined to follow it.
It soon led them to a shallow pool in the center of an open marshy
swale. From the numberless footprints, and the manner in which the
ground had been pawed, they knew at once that the place was a natural
salt-lick. They also knew that animals of all sorts frequented such
places, and as the day was less than half spent they determined to spend
some time watching for game.

“Perhaps we shall see some of the creatures that appeared in my dream,”
said Running Fox.

The wish was soon gratified, for they had barely concealed themselves at
the edge of the woods when they heard something approaching. They
watched closely, and in a few moments a splendid buck appeared on the
border of the marsh.

“Achtu,” whispered Spotted Deer.

“Sh,” cautioned Running Fox, as he prepared an arrow.

The wind was in their favor, and they had little fear of being
discovered. The deer made a splendid picture as it stood silhouetted
against the vivid green background of the forest. It was a big, graceful
creature, with horns still sheathed in the soft moss-like covering which
protects them until they complete their growth in the autumn. The buck
spent some moments listening, and sniffing for signs of danger. Then,
satisfied that all was well, he started toward the pool. At that moment,
however, the wind veered and brought him the danger scent. For one
fleeting instant he halted with his head raised in alarm. Then, having
located the danger, he wheeled and sprang toward shelter. Two arrows
sped after him. One flew high and stuck in a sapling, but the other
buried itself in his side. Then with a great bound he disappeared into
the woods. The lads heard him crashing away in mad flight, and they
looked at each other with disgust.

“That was bad work,” said Running Fox. “I was not ready. The wind fooled
us.”

“My arrow is sticking in that tree,” laughed Spotted Deer.

“Well, we must follow him,” declared Running Fox. “My arrow struck too
far back, but perhaps it will make him lie down.”

They hastened to the spot where the buck had disappeared, and found a
number of large red splashes upon the leaves. It was evident that the
deer had been hard hit, and they started hopefully on the trail. The
buck was traveling in great bounds, and bleeding freely. It was not
long, however, before they noticed that he was slackening his speed.

“We will soon come up with him,” said Running Fox.

Both lads were well experienced in the art of deer hunting, and they
instantly recognized the unmistakable signs that promised an early
collapse. They hurried along the trail, therefore, with high hopes of
overtaking their quarry before the end of the day. The tracks led them
into a vast hemlock swamp, and they advanced with great caution, for it
looked like an ideal hiding place for the wounded buck. They soon saw
that the deer had begun to walk, and at one place they saw that it had
stopped as if preparing to lie down. It had gone on, however, and the
lads hurried after it, keeping a sharp watch on all sides lest it should
suddenly spring from cover and escape. As they penetrated into the
gloomy depths of the swamp they saw many fresh tracks of lynx, and foxes
and rabbits, but they paid little attention to them for they knew from
experience that it was only by constant vigilance that they could hope
to overtake and surprise the animal they sought.

“See, he is growing weak,” said Running Fox, as he pointed to a place in
the trail which indicated that the buck had stumbled awkwardly over a
log that lay in his path.

Then they saw him lying under a spruce a short distance ahead of them.
The buck saw them at the same instant, and struggled to his feet.
Running Fox shot his arrow and scored another hit, but as Spotted Deer
released his bow-string the buck dashed between the trees and vanished
from sight.

“He will not run so far this time,” prophesied Running Fox.

The trail turned off at a sharp angle, and soon brought them to the edge
of the swamp. They followed it through the woods to a pretty woodland
stream, and there they found the buck lying dead beside the water.

“Well, I have done what the great medicine deer told me to do,” said
Running Fox.

“It is good,” replied Spotted Deer.

When they finished skinning and quartering the deer the twilight shadows
were falling upon the forest, and they decided to spend the night beside
the stream. As they were some distance from the river, they believed it
might be safe to make a tiny fire and dry some of the meat to take with
them. They worked at the task until long after darkness had fallen.
Then, as they wrapped themselves in their robes, and were preparing to
sleep, Spotted Deer suddenly sat up and listened anxiously.

“What is that?” he asked Running Fox.

For a moment or so they heard only the gentle murmuring of the breeze
through the tree-tops. Then, far away in the night, they heard a sound
that thrilled them. It was the hunting cry of the wolf-pack. They had
heard it more than once in the winter near the Delaware village, and
they recognized it immediately.

“Timmeu has found the blood trail,” said Running Fox.

The sounds came from somewhere beyond the swamp, and the lads had little
doubt that the wolves were following the trail of the wounded buck. The
thought stirred them, for they believed that they were about to have an
encounter with the savage brutes about which they had heard so many
wonderful tales. The sounds soon united in a wild babel that grew louder
and more distinct each moment.

“They are coming fast,” said Spotted Deer.

“Well, we will wait for them,” declared Running Fox. “Come, we will
bring in some brush for the fire, so that we can see them.”

They hurried to gather several armfuls of dry wood. Then they raked
together the embers of their fire, and fanned them into a flame. By that
time it was evident that the wolves were almost through the swamp. They
were making a great din, and it seemed as if there were many animals in
the pack. The eyes of the Delawares flashed as the wild baying drew
nearer.

“Now they are getting close,” cried Spotted Deer.

“Yes, they have come out of the swamp,” replied Running Fox.

The lads had heard enough about that famous pack to feel sure that they
would be attacked. Still the possibility failed to alarm them. They felt
confident that they would be able to defend themselves, and they were
eager for the fight. Then, as they waited anxiously for the wolves to
appear, the commotion suddenly ceased.

“Perhaps the fire has frightened them away,” Spotted Deer said,
regretfully.

“No, I do not believe it,” replied Running Fox. “Timmeu is very
cautious. Perhaps they saw our fire. Perhaps they found the man scent.
They are sneaking up to have a look at us. I have heard my father tell
how they do that. We must keep a sharp watch.”

They listened anxiously, and peered eagerly into the darkness in the
hope of locating the wolves. They felt quite certain that the wily
brutes were close at hand endeavoring to learn the strength of their
enemies before exposing themselves. For a long time, however, the alert
young hunters could find no evidence of them. Then they heard a snarl
almost in front of them. A moment afterward a pair of shining green eyes
flashed in the darkness. The next instant they were gone.

“Come, we must put some brush on the fire,” said Running Fox.

As the flames flared up and threw a circle of yellow light some distance
into the woods, the lads fitted arrows to their bows and watched for a
chance at the wolves. However, it appeared that those crafty beasts were
wise enough to keep beyond the glow. The Delawares heard them trotting
about through the undergrowth, but they were unable to see them. The
caution displayed by the wolves seemed like cowardice to the eager lads
who waited impatiently for them to attack, and they began to doubt some
of the stories they had heard concerning their ferocity.

“These animals are not brave,” sneered Spotted Deer. “Come, let us run
out and chase them away.”

“That would be a foolish thing to do,” cautioned Running Fox. “We must
not take any chances. I believe what we have heard is true. Perhaps they
are getting ready to make a big fight. Listen. Do you hear that? It is
their war-cry. Now we must be ready.”

A long, quavering howl sounded through the night. It was the rallying
cry, and it was immediately answered by a wild din from the pack. It was
evident that the wolves were growing bolder. They trotted about at the
edge of the firelight, and the lads caught fleeting glimpses of dim,
shadowy forms slinking through the shadows.

“Perhaps they will get brave enough to fight,” laughed Spotted Deer.

“They will fight,” Running Fox assured him.

The carcass of the deer was between the lads and the wolves, and it
appeared that the latter were preparing to fight for possession of it.
Still, it was some time before they grew hold enough to expose
themselves in the firelight. At last, however, one great wolf more
reckless than its companions rushed toward the prize. As it came into
the glow Spotted Deer shot his arrow, and the wolf rolled into the
hushes, howling dismally. Elated at his success, Spotted Deer raised his
voice in the Delaware war-cry.

“That was a bad thing to do,” said Running Fox. “Perhaps that will reach
the ears of an enemy.”

“It is true, Running Fox, I was very foolish,” Spotted Deer
acknowledged, guiltily.

At that instant the wolves charged in a body, and the lads saw that they
would have all the fighting they desired. They killed several of the
leaders, and for a moment the others hesitated. Then they divided and
formed a circle, and the Delawares realized that they had been
surrounded. Once roused to the attack, the wolves showed little fear,
and the lads soon found themselves engaged in a desperate encounter.
Standing back to back to prevent being attacked from the rear, they
fought furiously to keep the ferocious animals from reaching them. More
than one wolf was stopped in mid-air as it leaped forward to drag them
to the ground. Once Running Fox was compelled to use his war-club to
crush the skull of a wolf that had eluded his arrow. A moment later he
heard a warning cry from Spotted Deer, and wheeling about he saw the
latter borne to earth by a huge wolf that had two arrows sticking in its
side. Running Fox drove a third arrow into the fatal spot behind the
shoulder, and Spotted Deer leaped to his feet unharmed. Then the wolves
suddenly became demoralized, and retreated into the shadows. Spotted
Deer was eager to follow them, but Running Fox cautioned against it.

“We have had a hard fight, but we have come out of it,” said Running
Fox. “If we follow the wolves into the darkness we may be torn to
pieces.”

“Perhaps that is so,” agreed Spotted Deer.

They piled more brush on the fire, and kept a sharp watch for another
attack. However, as the time passed and the wolves failed to appear, the
lads believed that they had skulked off. Still it was a long time before
they dared to leave the fire to recover their arrows from the bodies of
the wolves they had killed. While they were engaged in the task they
heard savage snarls coming from the darkness, and saw the flash of angry
eyes. They realized, therefore, that they were in constant danger of
attack by the wounded wolves that had been unable to retreat with the
pack.

“This is dangerous work,” said Running Fox. “I believe the best thing to
do would be to wait until the light comes.”

He had barely uttered the warning, however, when a great black form
rushed from behind a rock and attacked him. It snapped savagely at his
legs, but he jumped aside in time to avoid the cruel white fangs. Then
he wheeled at bay. He saw the hateful green eyes glaring at him through
the night, and he aimed his arrow a short distance below them. As he
released the bow-string the wolf attempted to spring at him, but the
arrow plunged deep into its chest and ended its life. After that narrow
escape the lads decided to withdraw to the fire. They gathered enough
wood to last them through the night, and planned to take turns watching
until daylight.



                    CHAPTER VI—A PROWLER IN THE DARK


The night passed without further attack, and at dawn the lads scouted
carefully about the scene of the battle and found the bodies of twelve
large timber wolves. They found another wounded wolf hiding under the
top of a fallen tree, and they rushed upon it and killed it with their
war-clubs. Well pleased with their victory, the young Delawares spent
some time chanting war-songs and dancing about the bodies of their
victims. Then they broke off the tusks of the largest wolves as trophies
to be proudly exhibited when they finally returned to the Delaware
village.

On the way back to the river Running Fox saw a small dark animal
bounding along ahead of him. He immediately ran in pursuit of it, and as
it flashed up the trunk of a tree he saw that it was, as he had guessed,
a black squirrel. The squirrel hid on one side of the tree, and as
Running Fox moved cautiously about the tree-trunk the crafty little
creature moved with him, so that he was unable to surprise it. At last,
however, Running Fox took his bow and stirred the leaves on the opposite
side of the tree. It was an old hunting trick which he had learned from
his father, and it proved entirely successful. Thinking that its pursuer
was coming around on that side the bewildered squirrel edged around in
full view of Running Fox. A moment afterward it fell at his feet with an
arrow through its body.

“Well, Wisawanik knows how to hide, but I fooled him,” laughed Running
Fox, as he held up the prize. “See, Spotted Deer, I have killed a chief
who wears the black robe. Yes, I have done what the medicine creatures
told me to do.”

Running Fox removed the black pelt with great care, and fastened it to
his belt. Then they continued toward the river. As they neared the water
they climbed to the top of a hardwood ridge to reconnoiter. They knew
that they were almost at the end of the Delaware hunting grounds, and
the thought made them cautious.

“Pretty soon we will enter the country of our enemies,” said Running
Fox. “Many of our people have been killed in that country. We must be
very watchful.”

“We will be as sharp as Woakus, the fox,” replied Spotted Deer.

They were able to see a long way up and down the river from the top of
the ridge, and they studied the water with great care. However, as they
failed to discover anything to arouse their suspicions, they soon
resumed their way into the north. The day was more than half gone when
Running Fox suddenly stopped, and pointed to a high rocky cliff on the
opposite side of the river, and then to a massive dead pine directly
ahead of them.

“Do you see that high rocky place over there?” he inquired, turning to
Spotted Deer.

“Yes, I see it,” replied Spotted Deer.

“Do you see that big tree ahead of us?”

“Yes, I see it.”

“Well, we have reached the beginning of the great Iroquois hunting
grounds,” declared Running Fox. “It begins over there on that side where
you see those rocks, and it begins on this side where you see that big
tree ahead of us. Do you know anything about those rocks?”

“No, I do not know about them,” replied Spotted Deer.

“Well, I will tell you about something that happened there,” said
Running Fox. “I will tell it just as my father told it to me. Our people
call that place Laktschellan, which means the-jumping-over-place. Now I
will tell you how it got that name. A long time ago a Delaware hunter
was chased up on those rocks by some Mohawks. Well, when they saw him up
there they began to laugh because they thought he could not get away.
Pretty soon they heard him calling down to them. He told them that he
was going to jump down into the water. Well, when they heard that they
began to laugh some more, because they thought he would surely be
killed. Then some of the Mohawks began to climb up the rocks. When the
Delaware saw them coming he gave a loud shout and jumped away from the
rocks. He made a great noise when he fell into the water, and a white
cloud flew high up into the air. Well, the Mohawks began to watch the
water. They watched a long time, but he never appeared. Then they
thought he was dead. Some of them began to jump into the water to find
his body. Well, while they were doing that the Delaware was hiding in
the bushes a little way off. He was laughing about how he had fooled the
Mohawks. He waited there until the Mohawks got tired and went away. Then
he ran to the Delaware camp, and told what he had done. The name of that
brave man was Striking Hawk, and he lived a very long time ago.”

“That is a good thing to know about,” declared Spotted Deer. “Whenever I
pass that place I will always think about that brave hunter.”

A few moments afterwards the lads entered the hunting grounds of their
foes. The real war-journey had actually begun. The thought thrilled
them. Still they were serious and thoughtful. They knew that many foes
lurked in the vast wilderness which they were about to explore, and they
realized the difficulty of avoiding them. Besides the Mohawks there were
several other tribes of the great Iroquois nation who wandered into that
country to hunt and fish with their tribesmen. These visitors were
mostly Oneidas and Onondagas, whose villages were comparatively near the
Mohawks, but the fierce Cayugas and the still fiercer Senecas
occasionally came from the lakes and mountains far away toward the
setting sun. Then there were also the Shawnees, who frequently ventured
into the Iroquois country in large numbers. Such an array of enemies
might have made the most courageous warrior hesitate about entering that
perilous region, and the young Delawares knew that they must keep
constantly alert to their danger if they hoped to escape.

The lads continued along the river until near the end of the day, and
then they turned deeper into the forest to find a safe hiding place in
which to spend the night. They were making their way carefully over a
rocky piece of ground covered with blueberry bushes, when they heard a
loud buzzing sound close beside them.

“Hi, that is Wischalowe, the Frightener,” cried Running Fox.

They recognized the sound as the angry buzzing of a rattlesnake. It
seemed to be in a dense thicket of blueberry bushes, The lads realized
that they must approach it with caution, for they knew that its bite was
very deadly. Running Fox picked up several stones, and advanced
carefully into the thicket. When he came near the sound he stopped and
looked for the snake. At last he saw it several bow-lengths ahead of
him. It was coiled to strike.

“Hi, Wischalowe, I have found you,” cried Running Fox. “You look very
ugly. Yes, you are called ‘The Frightener.’ Well, I am not afraid of
you. Your war-cry does not frighten me. I have killed some of your
people. Now I am going to kill you. But I am going to give you a chance
to fight. Come, let me see how brave you are.”

Running Fox advanced directly toward the angry snake. He parted the
bushes carefully with his bow, and walked almost within bow-length. Then
he stopped, and continued to taunt Wischalowe. However, the rattlesnake
made no attempt to strike, and Running Fox tossed one of the stones
within a hand-breadth of it. The snake instantly lowered its head and
flattened its body against the ground—it was evidently about to strike.
Running Fox advanced a step nearer, and the snake uncoiled two-thirds of
its body and struck at him. He saw the ugly open mouth and the deadly
fangs as he sprang aside.

“Well, Wischalowe, you are very slow, like an old man,” laughed Running
Fox. “Yes, I see that you are very mad about it. You are making a great
noise. Perhaps it would frighten the women and children. Is that how you
got your name? Well, Wischalowe, this will be your last song. Now I am
going to kill you.”

However, as Running Fox threw the rock the snake struck, and he missed
it. Then to his surprise the snake partially coiled and struck again. It
was an unexpected maneuver, and the reckless young Delaware barely
escaped. He struck savagely with his bow, and hit the reptile a stunning
blow behind the head. Before it recovered he stooped and crushed it with
his war-club. Then he cut the string of bony scales, or rattles, from,
the end of its tail.

“Well, that was an easy fight,” laughed Running Fox, as he rejoined
Spotted Deer. “Wischalowe tried to frighten us, and now I have killed
him.”

“Wisehalowe was foolish,” replied Spotted Deer.

At the end of the day they stopped for the night beside a splendid
little woodland spring, in the midst of a wonderful forest of towering
hemlocks. The trees were so large and stood so close together that
perpetual twilight reigned beneath them. Night came swiftly after sunset
in that dense stand of timber, and the lads missed the cheery glow of
the little camp-fire, for they believed that it would be foolhardy to
run the risk of lighting it. They sat close together in the darkness,
therefore, conversing in low, guarded tones and listening anxiously at
the slightest sound. However, the great wilderness was unusually still,
and they heard only the night wind whispering softly in the tree-tops.

“Schawanachen, the warm wind, is singing the sleep song,” said Running
Fox.

“It is a pretty song,” replied Spotted Deer. “Come, we will pile up some
of this long grass, and let Schawanachen sing us to sleep.”

They gathered several armfuls of the long feathery ferns that grew in
great abundance at that spot, and made couches of them. Then they
wrapped themselves in their robes and lay down to sleep.

“Perhaps it would be a good thing for one of us to watch,” suggested
Running Fox.

“No, I do not believe we are in any danger here,” said Spotted Deer. “We
have not seen or heard anything to trouble us.”

“That is true,” agreed Running Fox. “Well, we will not do anything about
it.”

They had not been long asleep when Running Fox awakened with a feeling
that all was not well. He raised himself cautiously upon his elbow, and
spent many moments looking and listening for signs of danger. Spotted
Deer was slumbering soundly, and Running Fox determined not to awaken
him unless he discovered something to verify his uneasiness.

“This is a strange thing,” Running Fox whispered to himself. “I do not
see anything, and I do not hear anything, but I feel something wrong. I
believe we are in some kind of danger. Well, I will watch.”

For a long time, however, he found no reason for his suspicions. Still
the peculiar premonition of danger persisted. It troubled him. He
believed it was a warning from Getanittowit, and yet he did not know how
to interpret it. Then he thought he heard something moving through the
ferns. He held his breath to listen, but the silence was unbroken. At
last, convinced that his fears were groundless, Running Fox again lay
down to sleep. He had barely closed his eyes, however, when he was
roused by the same stealthy sound in the ferns.

“Now I know that something is wrong,” Running Fox told himself.

As he sat up and stared anxiously into the night he again heard the
gentle rustling of the ferns. For a moment he wondered if it might not
be the wind. All was still, however, and even the murmurs in the
tree-tops had died away. Running Fox felt that he was being watched. A
few moments later his suspicions were verified, as a pair of glowing
eyes shone from the darkness. Aware that they were threatened by some
savage prowler of the wilderness, Running Fox leaned over and touched
Spotted Deer.

“Do not make any noise,” cautioned Running Fox, as Spotted Deer
awakened.

“What has happened?” Spotted Deer inquired, anxiously.

“I do not know what it is, but something is watching us,” declared
Running Fox. “Yes, I heard it, and I saw its eyes.”

“Perhaps the wolves have followed us,” whispered Spotted Deer.

“No, it is something different,” replied Running Fox. “Listen.”

They heard something circling softly about them through the ferns. Then
they caught the momentary flash of a pair of eyes. The next instant they
vanished, and a twig snapped somewhere within bow-shot.

“I believe it is Timmeu, the wolf,” declared Spotted Deer. “Perhaps he
has come back to fight us.”

“No, it is not Timmeu,” replied Running Fox. “The eyes are different,
and this thing moves slower.”

They heard a low growl, like that of an angry dog. Then they again saw
the weird shining eyes watching them.

“Perhaps some Evil Spirit lives in this place,” Spotted Deer suggested,
uneasily.

“No, I do not believe it,” Running Fox assured him. “I believe it is
Quenischquney, the panther. Yes, it is the sound I heard in my dream.
Now I will tell you what to do. I will shoot my arrow. Then if
Quenisehquney jumps in to fight you must send your arrow into him. By
that time I will be ready with another arrow.”

“I am ready,” said Spotted Deer. “See, there are his eyes. He sounds
mad.”

Running Fox discharged his arrow. They heard it strike, and then a
terrifying scream rang through the night. A moment later a long dark
form crouched before them. They heard the tail swishing rapidly among
the ferns, and read a warning in the flashing eyes.

“Do something!” cried Running Fox, as he prepared another arrow.

Spotted Deer had hesitated an instant too long, and as he released his
bow-string the panther sprang. It missed him by less than a bow-length,
and disappeared into the night. They heard it coughing and snarling, and
thrashing about in the ferns. Then it suddenly became quiet.

“It is dead,” said Spotted Deer.

“Perhaps,” replied Running Fox. “Quenischquney is very cute, we must be
careful.”

They watched anxiously, but the eyes failed to appear. Then, as the
silence continued, Running Fox began to grow uneasy. He feared that the
panther might have sneaked away, and the possibility made him reckless.

“I do not like this,” he told Spotted Deer. “Perhaps, as you say,
Quenischquney is dead. But perhaps he has sneaked away. That would be
very bad. I must follow him and kill him. Yes, I must take his claws,
and wear them as the mysterious Medicine Creatures told me to do. If I
do not obey them something bad may happen to us. Now I am going over
there to find out if Quenischquney is dead.”

“That is a very dangerous thing to do,” protested Spotted Deer.

“Well, I cannot help it,” replied Running Fox. “I must not let
Quenischquney get away.”

“I will go with you,” proposed Spotted Deer.

They waited some moments, watching and listening for a clue to the
whereabouts of the wounded panther. Then, as the baffling silence
continued, they advanced cautiously toward the place where they had last
seen the glare of its eyes. They went forward very slowly, about a
bow-length apart. It was very dark, and they realized that they must
depend more upon their ears than their eyes to warn them of danger.
After every third or fourth stride, therefore, they stopped to listen,
while they peered anxiously on all sides of them for a tell-tale flash
of those ugly green eyes. However, they neither heard or saw anything of
the animal they sought.

“I believe that fierce Quenischquney is dead,” declared Spotted Deer.

“We must not be too sure,” Running Fox warned him.

He had barely finished speaking when they heard a warning growl directly
ahead of them. They stopped and watched for a chance to shoot their
arrows. The growling continued, and they heard the ferns rustling, but
they were unable to locate the panther. They knew it was close to them,
but for some reason they were unable to discover its eyes. For a moment
they were puzzled. Then Running Fox guessed the truth.

“I know how it is,” he whispered, excitedly. “Quenischquney is crouching
down in the high grass. I believe he is getting ready to jump.”

“Shall I send an arrow over there where we hear him?” asked Spotted
Deer.

Quenischquney himself answered the question, for at that very instant he
made his spring, and bore Spotted Deer to the ground. Running Fox saw a
long black shadow pass before him, heard a short angry snarl, and then
the quick startled voice of Spotted Deer. For an instant the suddenness
of the attack bewildered him. He hesitated a moment to recover his wits,
and then as Spotted Deer called to him he sprang to his assistance.

“O Running Fox! Running Fox!” screamed Spotted Deer.

“Use your knife!” cried Running Fox.

The next instant he was upon the panther. He plunged his flint knife
deep behind the shoulder.

Then, as the infuriated beast turned upon him, he drove an arrow into
its body. Quenischquney leaped, but crashed to the ground within a
bow-length. For some moments he thrashed wildly about in the ferns,
coughing and snarling furiously. Then he became still. The lads
approached cautiously, and saw him lying quietly upon his side. Running
Fox drove another arrow into him, but he failed to move. Then they went
up to him, and saw that he was dead.

“Did Quenischquney do much harm to you?” Running Fox asked Spotted Deer.
“Come over here and let me look at you.”

“No, Quenischquney did not harm me,” Spotted Deer replied, bravely. “I
felt his claws, but I stuck my knife into his throat, and he could not
bite me. Yes, I am bloody, but most of it came from Quenischquney. It is
a good thing you were with me. If I had been alone I might have been
killed.”

Running Fox saw that Spotted Deer had escaped without serious injury. He
had a number of painful gashes on his arms and the upper part of his
body, but Running Fox hurried him to the spring and soon stopped the
bleeding by soaking small pieces of sphagnum moss in the cold water and
inserting it in the wounds.

“Well, you will have some marks on your body to tell about when we get
back to our people,” laughed Running Fox.

“I will tell them how you killed Quenischquney,” replied Spotted Deer.

As Spotted Deer declared that he felt little pain from his injuries,
they returned to the dead panther and cut off the claws. Then they sang
medicine-songs, and danced about the body of Quenischquney until well
along toward the middle of the night.

“Now we will stop,” Running Fox said, finally, “It will soon be light.
Come, we will go back and lie down again.”

“Yes, we can sleep easy, fierce Quenischquney will not trouble us now,”
replied Spotted Deer.



                    CHAPTER VII—THE MYSTERIOUS CANOE


The Delawares had not gone far the following day before they came upon
an inviting eddy in the river, and as the day was unusually warm they
determined to loiter for a swim. The water was cool and refreshing, and
they splashed about in great delight. Spotted Deer especially enjoyed
it, for the cold water felt very soothing to the burning gashes he had
received from the panther. In spite of their frolicking, however, the
lads kept a sharp watch for foes. They soon saw the necessity of it, as
Running Fox suddenly looked up the river and discovered something which
caused them to scramble frantically to the shore.

A bark canoe had suddenly appeared around a bend of the river, and was
drifting slowly toward them. The lads watched it with great uneasiness.
It appeared to be unoccupied and abandoned. Still the suspicious
Delawares feared a trap. “Perhaps some one is lying down inside of it,”
suggested Spotted Deer.

“Well, we will soon be able to find out about that,” replied Running
Fox.

They studied the approaching canoe with great attention, but were unable
to tell to what tribe it belonged. Running Fox had been well trained in
the art of observing, and his sharp eyes soon told him enough to quiet
his fears.

“See, it sits high in the water,” he told Spotted Deer. “If any one was
inside it would be low down and heavy.”

“Yes, that is true,” agreed Spotted Deer. “But some one may be swimming
on the other side of it.”

“No, I do not believe it,” said Running Fox. “It does not tremble, and
it leaves no trail.”

Satisfied, therefore, that the mysterious canoe was deserted, the
Delawares wondered how they might gain possession of it without exposing
themselves to discovery. They feared that crafty foes might be watching
from ambush, and they hesitated to show themselves.

“See, it is moving toward land,” Running Fox whispered, excitedly.

A short distance below them a narrow gravelly beach reached far out into
the water, and they noticed that the canoe was drifting directly toward
it. They watched eagerly until the canoe finally struck upon the
projecting point of land. Then, as the canoe swung slowly about with the
current, they realized that they must act quickly to secure it.

“I will go out and catch it,” said Running Fox.

He skulked through the bushes as cautiously as a fox. When he reached
the spot where the canoe had struck he stopped to search the river for
foes. Then he saw the canoe swinging stern foremost down the river. He
realized that in another moment it would be beyond his reach. Throwing
caution to the winds, Running Fox rushed boldly into the water and
seized the prize. As he had guessed, it was unoccupied. As he drew it
toward him it left a tell-tale mark in the gravel. However, he made no
attempt to erase it, for he hoped that any one following on the trail
would find it and be deceived. It made it appear that, having lodged for
a time at that spot, the canoe had finally floated free and drifted down
the river.

Once in actual possession of the canoe, Running Fox signaled for Spotted
Deer to join him. They waded with the prize until they found a safe
hiding place, and then they dragged it into the bushes. They had found a
long hickory bow and a buckskin quiver filled with arrows in the bottom
of the canoe.

“This is very strange,” said Running Fox, as he examined the weapons.

The lads saw at once that they were different in pattern from their own,
and they had little doubt that they were of Iroquois design. Still they
were not sure. They stared at them in amazement. The whole affair was a
great mystery. They would have given much to know how far the canoe had
come, and how the weapons happened to be in it.

“Whoever left these things in that canoe was very foolish,” said Spotted
Deer.

“Well, I see that he kept the paddle,” replied Running Fox.

“That is true, I did not see that,” said Spotted Deer.

At first the Delawares were inclined to keep the weapons, and hide the
canoe in the woods until they returned down the river on their way to
the Delaware camp. It would have been a splendid trophy, and they
dreaded to lose it, but Running Fox finally decided to set it adrift.

“This canoe has floated away, and some one will come down here looking
for it,” he said. “If they do not find it, they will become suspicious.
Perhaps they will look for our trail. We have a long journey to make,
and we are in great danger. We will not take any chances. Come, we will
keep the weapons, and give up the canoe.”

“You are the leader, I will do as you say,” Spotted Deer said,
resignedly. “But if some one comes after this canoe they will miss the
weapons.”

“We will fool them about that,” laughed Running Fox.

They carried the canoe to the water, and as they set it adrift Running
Fox overturned it with his foot. Spotted Deer laughed as he saw the
reason for the wily bit of stratagem which would make the owner of the
canoe believe that his weapons were somewhere at the bottom of the
river. They watched until the canoe floated slowly from sight around a
bend of the shore.

“Now we must hide, and watch to see who comes after it,” said Running
Fox.

They concealed themselves in the bushes, and began to watch the river.
All day they remained there, as alert and patient as a lynx waiting for
prey. Nothing escaped them. Their eyes caught every movement, their ears
heard every sound.

“I do not believe any one will come,” said Spotted Deer, after they had
watched a long time in vain.

“We must wait,” Running Fox told him.

Then, toward the end of the day, their patience was rewarded. They saw a
second canoe coming swiftly down the river. They saw at once that it was
similar in pattern to the one that had preceded it. It was guided by two
sturdy paddlers, whom the lads recognized even at a distance as Mohawk
warriors. It was not the first time that the young Delawares had seen
those fierce fighters, for several had been captured and brought to the
village by Delaware scouts. Now, however, they looked upon them with
different emotions. The lads felt their hearts pounding wildly against
their ribs as the Mohawks approached, but they had concealed themselves
with great care and they had little fear of being discovered. At any
rate there was no chance to retreat.

“We must keep very quiet,” cautioned Running Fox.

The Mohawks kept to the middle of the river, while they watched the
shore for signs of the missing canoe. As they passed, the lads studied
them closely. The warrior in the stern of the canoe was a powerful
middle-aged man of threatening appearance, but his companion looked more
youthful and pleasing of countenance. They turned the canoe toward the
beach, and the Delawares wondered whether they would discover the mark
in the gravel. They were not long left in doubt, for they saw the
younger warrior pointing toward the spot, and talking excitedly to his
companion. The latter seemed suspicious. It was apparent that he was
watching the shore. Then he said something, and they moved slowly toward
the beach. They spent some time studying the mark in the gravel, and the
Delawares watched them in painful suspense. They wondered whether the
crafty Mohawks would really be deceived by the stratagem of Running Fox.
However, they soon saw that it had been successful, for the paddlers
pushed out into the current and disappeared down the river.

“We have fooled those warriors,” laughed Running Fox.

“I could have sent an arrow into them,” said Spotted Deer.

“That would have been very foolish,” Running Fox told him. “Perhaps you
would not have killed them, and they would have gone back and told their
people what had happened. No, we are in a dangerous country, and we must
not let them know about us. If they see us it will be hard to get near
their camp. The fox does not jump at the bear when he steals to his
lodge for meat.”

“That is true,” agreed Spotted Deer. “Well, I will be very cautious.”

“Pretty soon those warriors will come back,” said Running Fox. “We must
watch sharp.”

As the evening shadows were settling upon the forest the Mohawks
returned with the missing canoe. They passed close to the shore, and the
Delawares had a splendid view of them. They saw that the faces of the
canoemen were streaked with black.

“Those warriors are painted for war,” said Running Fox, after the
paddlers had passed from hearing.

“Yes, I saw the black marks across their faces,” replied Spotted Deer.
“Who are they going to fight?”

“I do not know,” Running Fox declared, uneasily. “We must find out.
Perhaps they are getting ready to fight our people. We will follow
them.”

They waited until they felt sure that the Mohawks were a safe distance
ahead of them, and then they left their hiding place, and followed
cautiously up the river. They soon came in sight of the canoes, and
trailed them until darkness finally blotted them from sight. Then the
Delawares were puzzled. They had expected the Mohawks to stop at the end
of the day. The fact that they still continued their journey made the
lads believe that they were either in a great hurry, or else were making
toward some familiar camp-site near at hand. The latter possibility
induced the Delawares to follow on the trail. They hurried along within
sound of the water, straining their eyes to catch the warning flicker of
a camp-fire. However, as the night wore on, and they failed to get any
trace of the mysterious canoemen, the Delawares began to realize that
they were exhausting themselves in vain.

“It is foolish to keep going,” declared Running Fox. “Perhaps those
warriors will not stop before it gets light. Perhaps they will stop, but
if they do not make a fire we cannot find them. They are painted for
war. Warriors on the war-trail do not make fires. If we try to go ahead,
we may pass them. That would make things bad for us. I believe the best
thing to do is to stop until it gets light.”

“Yes, I believe it will be the best thing to do,” agreed Spotted Deer.

They turned from the river, and reconnoitered carefully through the grim
black wilderness in search of a safe stopping place for the night. They
finally found suitable shelter in a thick stand of pines on the summit
of a rocky knoll directly above the river.

“This is a good place,” said Running Fox. “When it gets light we will be
able to see a long ways along the water. Perhaps we will find the
Mohawks.”

They determined to keep a sharp watch until daylight, for they feared
that their foes might be nearer than they supposed. It was agreed that
one should remain on guard while the other slept. Spotted Deer said that
he would take the first watch. He had not been long on guard when he
heard the weird serenade of Gokhos, the owl. Acting upon the impulse of
the moment he placed his hands to his mouth, and gave a perfect
imitation of the call. Running Fox sprang up at the sound.

“What was that?” he inquired, anxiously.

“I am talking with Gokhos,” laughed Spotted Deer.

“You are very foolish,” said Running Fox, as his eyes flashed angrily.
“Warriors do not cry out like children when there are enemies about to
hear. Perhaps what you heard was a signal. I have heard my father tell
how the Mohawks use the voice of Gokhos to call one another. You have
done a bad thing.”

Spotted Deer accepted the rebuke in silence. He suddenly realized the
peril of his act. It filled him with shame. He could offer no excuse.

“Running Fox, I see that I have done a very foolish thing,” he said. “I
did not think about it. Now I see that it may get us into trouble. I
feel very bad.”

“We will not talk any more about it,” said Running Fox.

They listened anxiously, and in a few moments they heard the call of
Gokhos again echoing through the forest. It seemed to come from farther
up the river. The notes sounded perfectly natural, but Running Fox was
suspicious.

“I believe it is Gokhos,” said Spotted Deer.

“Perhaps,” replied Running Fox.

A short time afterward the cry was repeated nearer at hand, and Running
Fox looked at Spotted Deer and smiled.

“Perhaps Gokhos is coming to talk with you,” he said. “I believe it will
be better to move away.”

As they retreated cautiously into the night, the weird, mocking cry
again came to them through the darkness. Running Fox strained his ears
to find a flaw in it, but it sounded genuine. Still he was distrustful.

“Well, perhaps it is only Gokhos,” he told Spotted Deer, “I do not hear
anything wrong with it, but I do not feel right about it. We have seen
the Mohawks. They were painted for war. We are in their country. We must
not be too bold.”

As he finished speaking they were surprised to hear Gokhos calling from
somewhere down the river. For a moment it allayed their suspicions, for
they realized that only Gokhos himself could have moved so rapidly. Then
they heard the other cry farther to the northward, and their fears were
strengthened.

“Now I believe it is the Mohawks calling one another,” declared Running
Fox. “We will stay here, and watch until it gets light.”



                      CHAPTER VIII—A NARROW ESCAPE


At daylight the lads continued along the ridge upon which they had spent
the night, until they found a spot which offered them a long,
unobstructed view of the river. Then they settled themselves to watch
for their foes. The mysterious owl calls on the previous night had
convinced them that some of the Mohawks were still down the river, and
they hoped before long to see them. They waited patiently until half of
the day had passed, but no one appeared.

“Perhaps they are moving through the woods on foot,” suggested Spotted
Deer.

“Perhaps,” replied Running Fox. “We have watched a long time, but we
have not seen any one. I believe the Mohawks have passed some other way.
Come, we will go ahead.”

They advanced through the forest with great caution, for they knew that
they might come face to face with their foes at any moment. Watchful,
and alert to their peril, therefore, the lads took every precaution.
Nothing escaped their notice. They stopped suspiciously each time the
wind stirred the leaves; they strained their ears to catch a warning in
the most familiar sound. The fact that the Mohawk canoemen were painted
for war suggested the possibility of a large war-party somewhere near at
hand. The Delawares knew that under those circumstances many sharp-eyed
scouts were roaming through the woods on all sides of them.

Toward the end of the day the lads heard a wild turkey calling. It
seemed to be somewhere on a ridge to the eastward, and they stopped to
listen. It was a common sound in the woods about the Delaware camp, and
under other circumstances they would have given little attention to it.
However, with the owl calls fresh in their minds, the Delawares
immediately became suspicious. Running Fox placed his finger across his
lips, and looked warningly at Spotted Deer.

“I will keep as still as Achpoques, the wood mouse,” laughed Spotted
Deer, as he recalled his blunder with the owl calls.

They listened some time before the call was repeated, and then they were
unable to discover anything suspicious about it. Nevertheless they
determined to wait until they heard it again. The next time, however,
Running Fox thought he detected an unfamiliar note. He had hunted wild
turkeys since he was old enough to pull a bowstring, and he was an
expert at imitating their call.

“I do not like that,” he told Spotted Deer. “No, I do not believe it is
Gulukochsun.”

“Well, we will listen again,” said Spotted Deer. “I did not hear
anything wrong about it.”

However, as the familiar gobble again rolled through the woods Running
Fox was compelled to acknowledge that he found it entirely natural.
Still he was not satisfied.

“This is not the time when Gulukochsun sounds his war-cry,” he declared,
suspiciously.

“I have been thinking about that,” replied Spotted Deer.

Then as they continued to listen they heard an answer. It sounded as if
it came from the opposite side of the river. The lads looked at each
other and nodded significantly. When they heard the call a second time
they detected several strange notes that proclaimed it false. They felt
certain that it came from a human throat.

“Perhaps some hunter is trying to draw Gulukochsun over there,”
suggested Spotted Deer.

“No, I do not believe it,” said Running Fox. “A hunter would come over
here to find Gulukochsun.”

“Yes, that is true,” agreed Spotted Deer.

The counterfeit call was soon answered, and then the gobbling ceased.
The lads were filled with suspicion. They began to mistrust that both
calls were false. They believed that Iroquois scouts were again
exchanging signals.

“Perhaps these are the same people who talked with the words of Gokhos,”
said Spotted Deer.

“Yes, that may be true,” replied Running Fox. “Well, I believe they are
going to meet down there at the water. We will steal down there and have
a look at them.”

“That will be a dangerous thing; to do,” said Spotted Deer.

“Yes, we must be very careful,” Running Fox told him.

Then they began a daring advance toward the river. They believed that
the scout whom they had heard first was still somewhere behind them, and
they hoped to reach the river ahead of him, They moved swiftly,
therefore, watching and listening for the first warning of danger. When
they finally got within easy bow-shot of the water they concealed
themselves in a dense thicket of willows. Then they watched anxiously
for their enemies to appear. It was not long before they again heard the
turkey call on the other side of the river. A few moments after it had
ceased, an answering gobble sounded from the woods directly back of
them. It was so perfect that if they had heard it under any other
circumstances they would have been entirely deceived.

“Now watch sharp,” cautioned Running Fox.

At that instant they saw a solitary warrior moving swiftly along in the
shadow of the trees on the opposite shore. In a few moments he dragged a
canoe from the bushes, and paddled rapidly across the river. He had
barely landed before another warrior passed noiselessly within several
bow-lengths of the concealed Delawares, and joined him at the edge of
the water.

“They are Mohawks,” whispered Running Fox.

Spotted Deer was about to reply when one of the warriors suddenly turned
and looked directly toward their hiding place. The lads felt quite sure
that they had been discovered, and their hearts bounded wildly at the
thought. Still it seemed impossible for the low whisper from Running Fox
to have reached the figures at the edge of the water. However, after a
moment or so the warrior had again turned to his companion, and the lads
breathed easier. Then they heard a bird stirring about noisily in the
undergrowth, and they understood why the warrior had looked toward their
hiding place. They instantly realized the danger that threatened them,
for both warriors were now looking intently toward the willows. The
Delawares feared that in another moment their suspicious foes might
decide to investigate the sound. Discovery seemed near at hand. They
realized that they must do something to quiet the fears of their
enemies. There was not a moment to spare. The lads looked anxiously into
each other’s eyes. Then the bird resumed its noisy search for food. One
of the warriors prepared to send an arrow into the willows. At that
moment Running Fox discovered the bird scratching among the leaves. The
bird saw him at almost the same instant, and as he moved cautiously it
sounded an alarm and flew above the bushes. The Mohawk laughed and
lowered his bow. The danger had passed.

Spotted Deer started to say something, but Running Fox placed his finger
across his lips and warned him to be still. Their narrow escape had made
him doubly cautious, and he feared that the lightest whisper might reach
the sensitive ears of those alert scouts. They were conversing
earnestly, and although they talked in guarded tones the lads distinctly
heard the low unintelligible hum of their voices. They listened eagerly
for they would have given much to know what was being said. However, the
Mohawks were talking too cautiously to give them a clue. Besides, the
Delawares doubted that they would have understood the Iroquois dialect
even if they had heard it. Once the warrior who had crossed the river
swept his arm toward the west, and the lads believed that he was
describing something of importance which he had discovered in that
direction. The Delawares studied the two men closely. They saw at once
that they were not the warriors whom they had seen the previous day.
These Mohawks were both great stalwart men in the prime of life. Their
faces, too, were painted black in token of war. It was evident that they
were scouts searching the forest for signs of their foes. In a few
moments they entered the canoe, and poled it rapidly up the river.

“Come, we must follow them,” declared Running Fox. “I believe the
Mohawks are gathering a great war-party. We must find out where they
are.”

Once the canoemen had disappeared around a long wooded arm of the shore,
the Delawares left the willows, and hurried through the woods in pursuit
of them. They kept a safe distance from the water for they feared that
the crafty Mohawks might suddenly return on their trail to make sure
that no one was following them. The lads had a vague idea that they were
nearing the headwaters of the river, and they began to look for several
prominent landmarks which had been described to them. Toward evening
they saw the first of them, a great granite-topped mountain on the
opposite side of the river. They had often heard it mentioned by the
Delaware scouts, and they realized that they were close to the great
Mohawk trail, which began at the headwaters of the river and extended
many leagues into the north. They also knew that the Shawnees entered
that region from the westward, and their trails, too, were to be found
somewhere in the vast forest beyond the river. The young Delawares
realized, therefore, that each stride was taking them into more perilous
ground, and they advanced with great care.

As the long evening shadows finally began to reach out over the water,
the Delawares feared that their foes were again about to escape under
cover of the darkness. The possibility made them more daring, and they
hurried along closer to the river. They had not gone far, however, when
they discovered the Mohawks moving slowly along near the shore. Just
before dark they landed, and dragged the canoe into the shadows.

“I believe they will stay at that place until it gets light,” said
Running Fox.

“We will watch for their fire,” said Spotted Deer.

“They will not light a fire,” declared Running Fox. “Now I will tell you
what to do. It would be foolish to go any nearer to them, before it gets
light. We will stay where we are. When the light comes I will tell you
something else.”

“Well, you are the leader,” replied Spotted Deer. “I will listen to your
words.”

When it grew dark they crawled beneath the drooping branches of a large
spruce. Then as the night wore on, and they heard nothing from their
foes, they stole silently to the river. All was black, and still, and
mysterious, and they were glad to return to their hiding place beneath
the spruce.

As the first gray hint of dawn appeared in the east Running Fox awakened
Spotted Deer, and led the way to the river. They waded carefully into
the water and swam to the opposite shore. Then they stole silently
through the woods until they were opposite their enemies. Dropping to
their hands and knees, they crawled into the fringe of bushes that lined
the water. Then, as the light strengthened, and they peered eagerly
between the branches, they saw three overturned canoes dimly outlined in
the shadows on the other side of the river.

“That is strange,” whispered Spotted Deer.

“The Mohawks have found one another,” said Running Fox.

A short time afterward they saw a lone figure at the edge of the forest.
They felt certain it was one of the Mohawk scouts. He stood in the
shadows watching the river. Then he hastened across the narrow beach,
and dropped at the edge of the water to drink. As he rose he looked
across the river, and the lads thought they recognized him.

“He is one of the warriors who found the canoe,” said Spotted Deer.

“Yes, now I see what has happened,” replied Running Fox. “When we heard
the calls of Gokhos, then that warrior and his friend were talking with
the warriors we followed here. Now they are all together. Pretty soon
they will meet the war-party.”

The Mohawk had already returned to the woods, and the lads watched
anxiously. Then they saw four figures gather about the canoes. They had
little difficulty in identifying them as the four scouts whom they had
seen previously. The Delawares were somewhat puzzled, however, when the
Mohawks carried two canoes to the water, and left the third lying at the
edge of the woods. Then three of the warriors entered the two canoes and
paddled up the river. The fourth Mohawk, whom the lads recognized as the
younger of the two who had searched for the canoe, remained behind. He
stood some moments looking after his companions, and when they passed
from sight he turned up the beach and disappeared into the forest.

“I believe the Mohawks have found some signs of the Shawnees,” declared
Running Fox. “They have left that warrior to watch. It is bad. Now we
cannot follow them. We must wait and see what he is going to do.”

“Perhaps he will wait there until the war-party appears,” said Spotted
Deer.

The possibility disturbed them, for they knew in that event they would
be in a serious predicament. It was a long time before their suspense
was ended. Then the Mohawk carried his canoe to the water, and
disappeared down the river. The Delawares had not expected that
maneuver, and they were unable to guess a reason for it.

“Perhaps the Mohawks have found the Shawnees, and that warrior has gone
to watch them,” suggested Spotted Deer.

“Perhaps,” replied Running Fox. “I do not like it. Perhaps there are
more Mohawks behind us. Yes, the war-party may be moving the other way.”

The thought alarmed them. As soon as the solitary warrior had passed
from sight, therefore, the Delawares hurried up the river on the trail
of his companions. When half of the day had passed they reached the
headwaters of the river. They had failed to overtake the Mohawks, and
they were somewhat at a loss to know just what to do.

“It is bad,” declared Running Fox. “We have come to a dangerous place.
We have lost sight of the Mohawks. We must be very careful until we find
their trail.”

“Perhaps they are watching this place,” said Spotted Deer.

“Well, we will creep around as softly as Quenischquney, the panther,”
replied Running Fox.

They scouted cautiously about the headwaters of the river until they
found a narrow trail leading toward the north. When they stooped and
examined it they found evidence which convinced them that some one had
passed over it that very day. They had little doubt that it was the
three Mohawks whom they had followed up the river.

“Perhaps this is the trail that leads to the great Mohawk camp,” said
Spotted Deer.

“No, my father told me different,” declared Running Fox. “This trail
leads to a big lake. Beyond that there are no trails. It will be hard to
find the Mohawk camp.”

They were moving carefully along the trail when they were halted by the
sound of voices directly ahead of them. It was evident that the speakers
were almost upon them, and the startled lads darted into the bushes and
dropped to the ground. In a few moments they saw two of the Mohawk
canoemen returning along the trail. They were walking slowly and looking
intently at the ground. It looked as if they had dropped something, and
had come back to find it. The Delawares were on the verge of panic, for
they believed that the sharp-eyed scouts would be almost sure to
discover their trail. However, when the Mohawks passed by within
bow-length of them the lads took hope. When they had gone from hearing,
Running Fox sprang to his feet and called upon Spotted Deer to follow
him.

“Come, we must fool those warriors, and get a good start,” he said.

They ran directly along the trail, being careful to leave plenty of
tracks. They had not gone far, however, before they heard the shrill cry
of Nianque, the lynx, ringing through the woods behind them.

“That is a danger signal,” Running Fox declared, excitedly. “Those
warriors have found our trail. Now we must run far back into the woods
and hide.”

They turned from the trail, and sped through the forest like frightened
deer. Then the lynx cry again sounded from the trail, and in a few
moments they heard it answered from the north. They knew that the
warriors who had discovered their trail had warned their comrade, and
they believed that they would soon be pursued.



                     CHAPTER IX—FORCED INTO HIDING


The Delawares had not gone far when they heard sounds which convinced
them that the Mohawks were already searching for them. The thought
spurred them to greater efforts, and they scrambled frantically to the
top of a low hardwood ridge to reconnoiter. They saw what appeared to be
a large spruce swamp directly ahead of them, and they determined to make
it their hiding place.

“If we reach that place it will be hard for the Mohawks to find us,”
said Running Fox.

As they started down the ridge, however, the piercing Mohawk war-cry
rang in their ears, and an arrow hummed angrily between them. Spotted
Deer instantly turned to fight, but Running Fox seized his arm and
dragged him forward.

“Run! If we stop we may be surrounded!” cried Running Fox.

They tore through the undergrowth at top speed and another arrow flew
harmlessly above their heads. As they ran Running Fox continued to
shout, “Saganaga! Saganaga!” It was the name by which the Delawares were
known to the Iroquois, and Spotted Deer could not guess his reason for
proclaiming his identity. They heard the Mohawk yelling savagely
somewhere behind them, and they knew that he was leading his comrades to
the trail.

“Let us wait, and kill that warrior,” proposed Spotted Deer.

“Yes, yes, as soon as we get to the swamp,” replied Running Fox.

However, as they neared the swamp they heard other cries still farther
behind them, and they realized that more Mohawks had joined the chase.
Then the cries and signals suddenly ceased, and the Delawares knew that
their foes were hurrying along in silence in the hope of surprising
them. The lads dared not slacken their pace, and when they finally
reached the border of the swamp they were almost exhausted. Then they
turned at bay, and waited in ambush to kill the Mohawk who had attacked
them on the summit of the ridge.

“How did that warrior come up with us so fast?” inquired Spotted Deer,

“Well, I believe that warrior was there all the time,” declared Running
Fox. “Perhaps he was traveling along that ridge when he heard the danger
cry of his people. Then he stopped to listen. Pretty soon he heard us
coming through there. Then he tried to kill us. I do not believe he
knows who we are.”

“Then why did you keep calling out ‘Saganaga’?” demanded Spotted Deer.
“Now he will know that we are Delawares.”

“No, he will not know it,” laughed Running Fox. “I called out that way
to fool him. He will take us for Shawnees. Yes, he will say, ‘Hi, the
frightened Shawanos took me for a Saganaga.’ Yes, he will tell his
people about it. They will take us for the boastful Shawnees.”

“Running Fox, you are very sharp,” said Spotted Deer. “Now I see that
you have done a good thing. But we must kill that warrior who found us
on the ridge. Yes, he will lead his people to this place, and perhaps
they will find us.”

“Well, I would like to kill him, but I do not believe he will rush ahead
alone,” replied Running Fox. “Perhaps he was with a war-party. I believe
the best thing we can do will be to go into this big swamp and hide.”

They watched and listened a few moments longer, and then they retreated
into the dreary depths of the swamp. Two-thirds of the day had passed,
and they believed that it would be impossible for the Mohawks to find
them before it grew dark. Then they hoped to steal away under cover of
the night. However, the Mohawks seemed determined to transform the swamp
into a trap, for instead of following the fugitives they scattered and
surrounded their hiding place. At nightfall the Delawares heard them
signaling on all sides of them, and their hearts filled with gloom.
Running Fox began to fear that he had blundered.

“Spotted Deer, I believe we have done a foolish thing,” he said,
bitterly. “Yes, I believe we should have kept out of this place.”

“The Mohawks cannot find us here,” Spotted Deer declared, confidently.

“Well, I am not sure about it,” replied Running Fox. “But it will be
hard to get away.”

It was too late for regrets, however, and the Delawares determined to
make the best of their predicament. When it grew dark, therefore, they
began a cautions advance toward the edge of the swamp. They moved
through the darkness as silently as phantoms. They had gone a
considerable distance when Running Fox suddenly stopped and whispered a
warning to Spotted Deer, who was following a bow-length behind him.

“Listen, something is coming,” cautioned Running Fox.

“Where is it?” inquired Spotted Deer.

“Sh,” breathed Running Fox.

Then, as they hastily prepared their arrows and stood there endeavoring
to identify the sound, they heard stealthy footfalls somewhere ahead of
them. They had little doubt that it was one of their foes. They wondered
if it was the warrior who had surprised them on the ridge. A moment
later a pair of great glassy eyes glowed in the darkness, and then they
heard a frightened snort. The next instant a deer crashed off toward the
border of the swamp.

“It was only Achtu,” said Spotted Deer.

“It is bad,” declared Running Fox. “If the Mohawks are watching they
will hear Achtu. Then they will say, ‘Something has frightened that
deer. Perhaps it was the people we are looking for.’ Yes, they will know
where we are. We must turn and go a different way.”

“Yes, I believe it would be a good thing to do,” agreed Spotted Deer.

The lads immediately changed their course, and planned to leave the
swamp farther to the west. They were moving cautiously in that direction
when they heard the call of Gokhos, the owl. They felt quite sure it was
a signal. In a few moments it was answered by the husky harking of
Woakus, the fox. Both calls seemed to come from somewhere in the swamp,
and the Delawares feared that the Mohawks had sent scouts to explore
their hiding place.

“The scouts have come to find us,” said Running Fox. “We will fool
them.”

They were almost at the border of the swamp when they were turned back
by voices directly ahead of them. Then, as they retreated into the
night, they again heard the short, quick yapping of Woakus, the fox.
This time it seemed to be almost within bow-shot, and the lads realized
their peril. They stopped and waited for the Mohawk scout to pass them.
In a few moments they heard him. Then he seemed to stop, and the
Delawares wondered if he had discovered them. Long, anxious moments
passed while they stood there, with arrows ready, peering expectantly
into the night. At last, however, they heard their foe moving toward the
edge of the swamp, and they knew that for the moment at least they were
safe.

“We must go back to the place we came from,” whispered Running Fox. “The
Mohawks are all around us. We cannot get away.”

“We will hide until they go away,” said Spotted Deer.

They began a slow, cautious retreat toward the middle of the swamp. They
were stopped many times by mysterious sounds which often seemed within
bow-length of them, but each time the danger passed, and they finally
gained the depths of the swamp in safety. Then they concealed themselves
in the dense top of a fallen hemlock, and determined to stay there until
daylight.

“Now we must find a better place,” said Running Fox, as the soft gray
light of dawn penetrated their hiding place. “Pretty soon the Mohawks
will come here to look for us. Then we must hide as close as Wisawanik,
the squirrel.”

“This is a good place,” replied Spotted Deer. “If we keep still it will
be hard to see us in here.”

“No, I do not like this place,” declared Running Fox. “The Mohawks will
be sure to look into this tree-top. We must hide where they will not
expect to find us.”

“Where shall we go?” asked Spotted Deer.

“Come, I will find a place,” Running Fox assured him.

Running Fox led the way to a great black spruce with low sweeping
branches. Then, as he began to climb, he asked Spotted Deer to remain
upon the ground. When Running Fox finally settled himself well up toward
the top of the tree, he called down to Spotted Deer and asked if he
could see him.

“No, I do not see anything of you,” replied Spotted Deer, after he had
walked carefully about the tree.

“That is good,” said Running Fox. “Now you must climb up here.”

As Spotted Deer began to climb they heard the first Mohawk signal. It
sounded a short distance south of them. In a few moments they heard
other signals from the east, the west and the north.

“The Mohawks have made a circle,” said Running Fox. “Pretty soon they
will draw together. Well, I do not believe they will find anything in
their trap.”

“No, Wisawanik has told us how to hide, and we will fool them,” laughed
Spotted Deer.

It was a long time before the lads heard anything further from their
foes. Then a flock of crows made a great commotion a short distance to
the right of them, and the Delawares believed that the noisy birds had
discovered one of the Mohawk scouts. They took delight in picturing the
rage of the helpless Mohawk as he heard the crows proclaiming his
advance to all within hearing distance of them.

“Ahas is warning us,” whispered Running Fox. “We must watch sharp.”

“Ahas is a good friend,” replied Spotted Deer.

When they had watched a long time without seeing any one they decided
that either Ahas had fooled them, or else the Mohawk had turned in some
other direction. Then the noise began again, and this time the crows
were much nearer. Peering carefully through the branches, the Delawares
saw them circling about above the tree-tops. As-they watched them, and
realized that the Mohawk scout might move directly toward their hiding
place, the lads suddenly understood their peril.

“I do not like that,” Running Fox said, uneasily. “If Ahas flies this
way it will be bad. Yes, he will see us, and make a great noise. Then
the Mohawks will know where to find us.”

“That is true,” agreed Spotted Deer.

They watched the crows with great anxiety. The birds were flying about
in short circles, and making a great racket. Then some of the crows
swung off, and flew directly toward the stand of spruces in which the
Delawares had taken refuge.

“Now we will see what is going to happen,” said Spotted Deer.

“Keep very still,” cautioned Running Fox.

As the crows approached their hiding place the Delawares huddled close
to the trunk of the tree, and sat as motionless as statues. The crows
passed so near that the lads distinctly heard the sound of their wings.
They escaped discovery, however, and the thought gave them confidence.

“See, those other birds are going away,” Spotted Deer whispered,
excitedly, a few moments afterward.

The crows had suddenly ceased their noise, and were flying off toward
the opposite end of the swamp. The Delawares watched them with thankful
hearts. They believed that Getanittowit had suddenly chased them away.
However, the lads knew that the danger was far from over, for at that
moment they heard a signal within bow-shot of their tree. A few moments
afterward they heard an answer. Then they heard twigs snapping, and they
looked at each other in alarm.

“The Mohawks are here,” whispered Running Fox.

They looked carefully down between the branches and saw a Mohawk warrior
emerge from the shadows. He stopped within bow-length of the spruce, and
the lads breathed fast with excitement. Then they heard him speak, and
they saw that another Mohawk had joined him. The newcomer had approached
so quietly that they had failed to hear him, and they realized how
easily one of those soft-footed scouts might steal upon them under cover
of the night. The two Mohawks exchanged a few words, and then they moved
cautiously toward the top of the fallen hemlock. The lads trembled as
they realized what would have happened if they had remained in that
hiding place. The Mohawks stooped and looked carefully into the dense
tangle of branches, and then they seated themselves upon the prostrate
trunk. It was not long, however, before another signal sounded close at
hand, and one of the warriors raised his hands to his mouth and imitated
the gobble of the wild turkey. It brought an immediate response, and
soon afterward a third warrior appeared. It looked as if the Mohawks had
selected that very spot for a meeting place, and the alarmed Delawares
feared the result. They knew that at any moment one of the keen-eyed
scouts might decide to look into the tree-tops, and the possibility kept
them in painful suspense. Signals were constantly being exchanged
between the scouts who had met, and those who were still searching the
swamp, and the crafty Delawares were careful to memorize the calls. When
the signaling finally ceased the lads courted ten Mohawks sitting in
council near the base of the spruce. They were stern, fierce looking
men, and the Delawares could easily guess what their fate would be if
they fell into their hands.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity to the anxious lads in the
tree-top, the Mohawks rose and prepared to leave. However, at the very
moment when the Delawares were rejoicing in their good fortune, one of
the scouts turned and looked toward the big spruce. The lads believed
that in some mysterious way he had suddenly learned their whereabouts.
Their hearts almost stopped beating at the thought. The Mohawk was still
looking up at the tree, and saying something to one of his companions.
That warrior, too, seemed to have discovered something of interest in
the top of the spruce. The Delawares were almost afraid to breathe. They
knew that the slightest move would betray them. Then as the moments
passed, and the Mohawks showed no intention of attacking them, they
began to hope that they had not been seen. Still the two Mohawks
continued to talk, and watch the tree. The other scouts had already
passed from sight.

“Come, these warriors are alone, let us kill them before they tell their
friends about us,” whispered Spotted Deer.

“No, we must wait until we are sure they have found us,” cautioned
Running Fox.

A moment afterward they saw the wisdom of his advice, for the two
Mohawks turned and disappeared after their comrades. The Delawares
looked after them in wide-eyed astonishment. They could scarcely believe
that they had gone.

“See, the robe Wisawanik gave us hides us from our enemies,” said
Running Fox. “Yes, Ahas flew over us, and could not find us. Then the
boastful Mohawks looked into this tree, and could not see us.”

“Perhaps the Mohawks have gone to tell their friends about us,”
suggested Spotted Deer. “Perhaps they will come back.”

“No, they would not leave us here to get away,” replied Running Fox. “I
believe that warrior was looking at this great tree. Yes, I believe he
was telling his friend something about it. Perhaps something happened to
him at this place. I do not believe he saw us.”

However, the lads watched anxiously for some time after the Mohawks had
disappeared. More than once they thought they heard them returning, but
as the time passed and they failed to appear the Delawares began to hope
that they had actually left the swamp. They had little doubt that other
Mohawks were stationed along the boundaries of the swamp, and they
believed it would be folly to attempt to leave their hiding place before
their foes had abandoned the search. They felt quite certain that the
Mohawks would loiter along the edge of the swamp through the night,
hoping that the fugitives would attempt to escape under cover of
darkness. Therefore, the wily Delawares determined to remain in the
swamp until the following day.

“It is the best thing to do,” declared Running Fox. “If the Mohawks do
not hear anything of us when it grows dark, then I believe they will
give up the hunt. Yes, I believe they will go away before the next sun
appears.”

“You are a good leader,” Spotted Dear declared, loyally, “You have
fooled the Mohawks. Now I believe we will get out of here.”



                   CHAPTER X—SPOTTED DEER DISAPPEARS


The night passed without alarm, and at daylight the Delawares began to
listen for signals. As the time passed, and they neither saw nor heard
anything of the Mohawks, they believed that they had finally abandoned
the pursuit.

“It is good,” declared Spotted Deer. “Now we will hurry away from here,”

“No, we must wait a little longer,” Running Fox warned him. “I believe
the Mohawks have gone away, but we must be sure. Perhaps they are
keeping quiet to fool us. Yes, they may be waiting along the edge of the
swamp.”

“Well, we will stay here,” agreed Spotted Deer.

They waited until the day was half gone, and then, having heard nothing
to rouse their suspicions, they again moved cautiously toward the border
of the swamp. As they neared it, they stopped and spent a long time
listening and watching. The way seemed clear, however, and they
determined to risk all on the chance. A few moments afterward they
crossed the boundary of the swamp, and disappeared into the forest.

“Now we are safe,” laughed Spotted Deer.

“Well, we got out of that trap, but there is still great danger,”
Running Fox warned him. “This country is filled with our enemies. We
must keep watching.”

Running Fox turned toward the west, as he believed that the Mohawks were
somewhere to the eastward. Besides, if his enemies should discover his
trail he hoped to mislead them into believing that he and Spotted Deer
were Shawnees, for he knew that those people lived in the great
wilderness to the westward. The Delawares continued to travel until long
after darkness had fallen, and finally stopped in a dense forest of
pines. They were greatly elated over their successful escape, but they
were somewhat worried by the thought that the Mohawks might have learned
their identity.

“If they know who we are, it will be hard to get near their camp,” said
Spotted Deer.

“Yes, that is true,“ replied Running Fox. ”But I do not believe they
know who we are. I believe they took us for Shawnee scouts.”

The next day the Delawares turned toward the north. They had been told
that the Mohawk village was somewhere within a day’s journey of a large
woodland lake, and they climbed to all the high places to look for it.
Their efforts were in vain, however, for the vast wilderness continued
unbroken as far as they could see. The following day, therefore, Running
Fox proposed that they should separate, and explore the country in
different directions.

“Yes, I believe it is the best thing to do,” said Spotted Deer.

It was agreed that Spotted Deer should reconnoiter from a range of
mountains farther to the westward, while Running Fox continued northward
along the ridge of hills which they had followed from the headwaters of
the river. They planned to meet at the end of the second day at the base
of a large pine-clad mountain about a day’s journey toward the north.

“Well, we are going away from each other,” said Running Fox. “We will be
in great danger. We must not let the Mohawks catch us.”

“We will watch out,” said Spotted Deer.

They agreed that if either of them failed to appear at the meeting place
at the appointed time the other was to wait there a full day longer.
Then if his comrade failed to appear he was to go in search of him. The
thought depressed them. They realized fully the peril of venturing alone
through the stronghold of their foes, but they saw no other way of
learning the location of the Mohawk camp. As Running Fox had said, it
seemed to be the only thing to do, and they determined to make the best
of it. Therefore, they parted without further ceremony, and hurried away
on their mission.

Early the second day, as Running Fox reconnoitered from the summit of a
high mountain, he discovered what appeared to be a large body of water
several days’ journey farther toward the north. He watched it a long
time, and finally decided that it must be the lake of which he had
heard. Then he examined the sky for a trace of smoke from the hidden
Mohawk camp. Several times he thought he had found it, but each time it
turned out to be clouds, and he finally decided that it would be useless
to waste more time looking for it. Well pleased with his discovery, he
hastened down the mountain and set out to meet Spotted Deer.

As Running Fox drew near the meeting place he stopped to reconnoiter.
Then, after he had circled carefully through the woods to make sure that
no enemies were lurking in the vicinity, he continued toward the spot
where he and Spotted Deer had planned to meet. Daylight had faded into
dusk, and night was near at hand. They had agreed to meet before dark,
and Running Fox felt quite sure that Spotted Deer was already at the
meeting place. To make sure he whistled the plaintive notes of the
white-throated sparrow. It was one of the signals which they had agreed
upon, and Running Fox listened anxiously for the answer. When he had
repeated the song many times without getting a reply he began to worry.
Then he told himself that perhaps Spotted Deer was somewhere out of
range of the signal. To make sure of reaching him, he imitated the
shrill quavering cry of Quenischquney, the panther. It echoed through
the woods with startling force, and Running Fox knew that if Spotted
Deer were anywhere near he would be sure to hear it. Still it brought no
response, and Running Fox was perplexed. Twice more he sent the
startling shriek ringing through the wilderness, and each time he feared
that sharp Mohawk ears might hear it, and detect the counterfeit. Still
he saw no other way of learning whether Spotted Deer was in the
vicinity. However, as time passed and he heard nothing from his friend
he became alarmed. He wondered what had detained Spotted Deer. The
question suggested many alarming possibilities, and Running Fox tried to
drive them from his thoughts. He told himself that Spotted Deer would
appear before the night passed, and soon after it grew dark he began to
signal with the call of the little red owl. He called many times, but no
response came out of the darkness. Then, when half of the night had
passed, Running Fox began to lose hope. He feared that Spotted Deer had
been killed or captured by the Mohawks, and the thought drove him to
despair. His first impulse was to rush recklessly away in search of
Spotted Deer. Then he suddenly remembered that he had agreed to wait a
full day at the meeting place.

Running Fox spent the following day in an agony of suspense. He neither
saw or heard anything of Spotted Deer, and by the time night came the
miserable lad had worried himself into a frenzy of despair. He had
little doubt that Spotted Deer had fallen a victim to the Mohawks, and
he began to blame himself for having sent him upon the expedition. Then
his heart filled with anger, and he determined to search the wilderness
until he had learned the fate of his friend. If Spotted Deer was a
prisoner he vowed to rescue him, and if he had been killed he promised
to avenge his death. Then, sleep being out of the question, Running Fox
spent the night singing his medicine-songs and praying to Getanittowit
for the safety of Spotted Deer.

Day had barely dawned when Running Fox started away in search of his
friend. He turned toward the west, and traveled at a pace that brought
him to the rugged range of mountains which Spotted Deer had set out to
explore, by midday. He climbed to the top of the ridge and continued
toward the north. As he sped through the forest, the distracted lad kept
a constant watch for the trail of Spotted Deer. However, he was unable
to find the slightest clue, and at dark he abandoned the search with a
heavy heart.

Having failed to discover any evidence of his friend, Running Fox was in
doubt as to just what to do. He still hoped that Spotted Deer might be
safe, and in that case he believed that he would eventually return to
the meeting place. Running Fox realized, therefore, that unless he, too,
returned, Spotted Deer might go in search of him. He told himself that
in that event they might never find each other. On the other hand if
Spotted Deer had been captured each moment was precious, and Running Fox
dreaded to think what might happen if he blundered into a wrong
decision. At daylight, however, he determined to return to the place
where they had agreed to meet.

The day had ended when Running Fox finally arrived at the appointed
rendezvous. He approached the spot with high hopes. At each stride he
expected to hear the familiar signal from his friend. When he failed to
hear it, he stopped and again whistled the notes of the white-throated
sparrow. Then he waited, straining his ears for the reply. There was no
answer, however, and Running Fox gave way to despair. He needed no
further proof. He was sure that Spotted Deer had fallen into the hands
of his foes. As he pictured his plight, Running Fox blamed himself for
not continuing the search. He feared he had lost the chance of saving
Spotted Deer. Running Fox knew only too well the hatred which the
Mohawks held for his people, and he felt sure that they would lose
little time in taking vengeance upon the unfortunate young captive. The
thought drove him to distraction. He determined to return at once to the
distant mountain range, and continue the search until he found the
Mohawks and learned the fate of his friend. However, his strength was
unequal to the task, for two days of forced traveling had completely
exhausted him. He realized, therefore, that it would be folly to attempt
to do anything further until he had recovered from his exertions.

Night had already closed down, and the disconsolate young warrior threw
himself upon the ground, and moaned out his grief for his friend. At
intervals he roused himself, and sat up to listen. More than once he
fancied he heard a cautious footfall near at hand, or a faint signal
farther away, and his heart bounded wildly. Each, time, however, his
imagination played him false, and his hope gave way to deeper despair.
At other times he imitated the call of the little red owl. It was a
favorite signal which he and Spotted Deer had used since their first
hunting expedition, and his heart ached as it went unanswered. Then his
tortured brain finally sought relief in sleep.

The sun was shining when Running Fox awakened. As he opened his eyes,
and sat up, he exclaimed with surprise. Spotted Deer was seated within
bow-length of him.

“Yes, I am here,” laughed Spotted Deer, as Running Fox continued to
stare at him in speechless amazement.

“I cannot believe what I see,” stammered Running Fox, as he moved over
to Spotted Deer and seized his hand. “Well, now I see that you are not a
ghost. How did you get here?”

“I came to this place while it was dark,” explained Spotted Deer. “Then
I gave the call of the little red owl. I did that many times, but no one
answered. Then I moved around looking for you. At last I found you. At
first I was frightened, for I thought you were dead. When you did not
move I touched you. You did not feel it. Then I shook you. You did not
feel that either. Then I got frightened again. Well, I stooped over and
listened. I heard your breath. That made me feel good. Then I said, ‘I
will sit here beside him, and pretty soon he will open his eyes and see
me.’ Well, you kept on sleeping, and pretty soon I fell asleep. When it
grew light I opened my eyes. Then I waited. Now you see me.”

Running Fox spent some moments in silent meditation. He was greatly
disturbed at what Spotted Deer had told him. He realized that utter
exhaustion had placed him at the mercy of any foe who might have
happened along. The thought worried him. He felt ashamed of his
weakness.

“Spotted Deer, I see you here alive—it is enough,” Running Fox
declared, warmly. “I believed that the Mohawks had caught you. Now I see
that you have escaped. I am feeling good again. But I must tell you that
I am troubled about something else. You say that you came up and took
hold of me. That is bad. A good war-leader would not let that happen. I
do not know how it happened, but I feel bad about it.”

“Running Fox, you must not talk that way,” replied Spotted Deer.
“Perhaps it will never happen again. You were very tired.”

Then Running Fox told of his exhausting search to find him, and Spotted
Deer instantly understood the reason for the helpless condition in which
he had found him.

“Now I see how it happened,” said Spotted Deer. “If you were not very
strong you would have been dead. Yes, if you were not a good war-leader
you would not have come back here. We will not talk any more about it.”

“Well, what did you find?” inquired Running Fox.

“I found a big war-party,” declared Spotted Deer.

“Tell about it,” Running Fox said, eagerly.

“Well, after I went away from here I went right to those mountains where
you tried to find me,” said Spotted Deer. “I could not see any water so
I kept going ahead. Soon after the second sun I heard some signals. Then
I heard some more. That made me very cautious. Well, pretty soon I found
an old trail. It turned back this way. Then I hid myself between some
rocks, and began to watch. After a long time I heard some one coming.
Then two warriors went by very fast. I could not see what they looked
like. Well, I kept watching, and pretty soon I heard many voices. Then I
saw that those people were not following the trail. They passed behind
me. I followed them. When the next sun came I saw that they were moving
toward The-Place-Where-The-Cold-Comes-From. Then I climbed a high hill,
and saw a big piece of water. It was about two suns’ travel ahead of
those people. Then I said, ‘Hi, they are Mohawks, and their village is
near that water.’ Well, I found out what I wished to know. Then I came
here.”

When Spotted Deer finished speaking Running Fox remained silent. He
seemed to be thinking about what Spotted Deer had told him. The latter
watched him closely. He wondered if he had displeased him by remaining
away so long.

“Well, Running Fox, how do you feel about it?” asked Spotted Deer.

“You say that you have found out what you wished to know,” replied
Running Fox. “I am not sure about that. I, too, saw that piece of water.
I came back to tell about it. I did not see any signs of the Mohawk
village. Perhaps it is near some other piece of water. You say that you
could not tell who those warriors are. Then how do you know that they
are Mohawks? We must not be too sure about that. There is only one way
to find out. We must catch up with them. Spotted Deer, I am not saying
anything against what you have done. This is our first war-trail. You
found those people. It was a good thing to do.”

“Running Fox, you have spoken good words,” declared Spotted Deer. “Now I
see that I did not find out enough about those people. Well, I will do
whatever you tell me to do.”

“We will go and find them,” replied Running Fox.



                CHAPTER XI—A SKIRMISH WITH THE SHAWNEES


The Delawares immediately set out to find the distant lake, and learn
the identity of the people whom Spotted Deer had seen. They followed the
route which Running Fox had taken several days before, and late the
second day they climbed to the top of the high mountain from which he
had discovered the lake. They judged that the water was about two days’
journey away.

“Does that look like the water you saw!” Running Fox asked Spotted Deer.

“Yes, it is the same,” replied Spotted Deer.

Then he turned toward the west, and pointed out the route which the
unknown war-party had followed.

“Well, if they did not turn off some other way they must be at the water
by now,” declared Running Fox. “It would be foolish, to try to catch up
with them. We must go ahead carefully, and see if we can find their
camp.”

“Yes, that is how I feel about it,” agreed Spotted Deer.

They spent the night on the mountain-top, and at dawn resumed their
journey toward the lake. Later in the day, as they were making their way
through a dense swamp, they heard a harsh cry over their heads. Looking
up they saw a large bald eagle circling slowly above the tree-tops.
Running Fox immediately became excited.

“See, there is Woapalanne!” he cried. “That means a fight. Yes, I saw
him flying around like that before I had the battle with the bear. Do
you hear him calling? Well, that is the war-cry of his people. Spotted
Deer, I believe we are going into some kind of danger.”

“Well, I do not know about those things, but I believe that what you say
is true,” said Spotted Deer.

They watched the eagle with gloomy forebodings, and as it chanced to
disappear into the north their suspicions were strengthened. Running Fox
felt confident that they were about to have an encounter with their
foes.

“We must keep together, and watch sharp,” he warned Spotted Deer.

At the end of the following day they reached the lake. Having seen
nothing of the roving company of warriors that Spotted Deer had
encountered, the lads wondered whether they were encamped somewhere
along the shore of the lake. They determined to take every precaution,
and instead of advancing directly to the lake they stopped on the top of
a low ridge some distance back from the water.

“We will wait here until it gets dark,” said Running Fox. “Then we will
crawl down there, and see if we can find out anything.”

The lake was large, and the Delawares had little doubt that it was the
body of water for which they had been cautioned to watch. They wondered
where the Mohawk camp was located. They believed it was somewhere toward
the north. Still they saw no evidence of it. They searched the sky until
dark, but were unable to find a trace of smoke. Then, as night finally
shut down, they determined to go to the shore of the lake to search for
the war-party.

The Delawares stole down through the silent black woods as softly and as
cautiously as Woakus, the fox. When they reached the edge of the water
they immediately sat down to watch and listen. They had little hope of
finding the telltale gleam from a camp-fire, for they knew that if the
Mohawks were actually on the war-trail they would not dare to expose
themselves in that manner, even in the heart of their own stronghold.
Therefore, when the lads found nothing to alarm them, they advanced
carefully along the shore of the lake. They had gone some distance when
they were astonished to see the light of a fire shining out over the
water. It was far ahead of them near the other end of the lake, and for
some moments the Delawares watched it in silence.

“It must be that those warriors have stopped there,” said Spotted Deer.

“It is mysterious,” replied Running Fox. “If those people are on the
war-trail why do they make a fire?”

The lads were unable to explain it. They had seen the Mohawks painted
for war, and under those circumstances it seemed incredible that they
would dare to make a fire. It appeared as if it must have been lighted
by some one else. Still, that too seemed beyond belief. The Delawares
realized that even a large war-party of enemies would scarcely be so
bold in the domains of their foes. Then Spotted Deer suggested that it
might be a company of warriors from one of the western villages of the
Iroquois.

“Yes, that may be true,” agreed Running Fox. “But there is something
strange about it.”

“What is it?” inquired Spotted Deer.

“Well, these people may he Oneidas or Onondagas,” said Running Fox.
“Perhaps they have come here to talk with their brothers, the Mohawks.
Perhaps they do not know that the Mohawks are on the war-trail. Perhaps
they have not seen any enemies on their journey. Well, if this water is
near the Mohawk village, why did these people stop here? If they are the
same people you saw, then they must have arrived here before the last
sun appeared. Why did they wait here? If they had gone on they would be
pretty close to the Mohawk camp by now.”

“What you say is true,” replied Spotted Deer. “But I will tell you how
it might be. I do not believe these people are Mohawks. I believe I was
wrong about that. I believe that they are Oneidas or Onondagas. Perhaps
they are Cayugas or Senecas from far away toward the place
Where-The-Sun-Goes-To-Sleep. Well, perhaps they have made a long
journey. Perhaps they want to rest. Perhaps the Mohawks do not know they
are here. Then they must wait. Yes, they must send scouts to tell the
Mohawks that they are coming to see them. Then the Mohawks will get
ready a big feast. It is the proper way to do. I believe that is why we
have found them here.”

“Well, I see that it may be as you say,” said Running Fox. “But we will
not find out about it by sitting here and talking. We see a fire. Well,
we must creep up close, and find out who made it.”

“I am ready,” declared Spotted Deer.

They rose and began a daring advance along the edge of the lake. They
moved with great caution, stopping frequently to listen for a warning of
danger. However, the fire was a considerable distance ahead of them, and
they believed that they would be comparatively safe until they got
within bow-shot of it. Then they were startled by a loud splash in the
river.

“What was that?” Spotted Deer whispered, anxiously.

“Sh,” cautioned Running Fox.

They listened many moments but the silence was unbroken.

“Perhaps it was some one paddling a canoe,” said Spotted Deer.

“I believe it was a big fish,” replied Running Fox. “Perhaps it was
Maschilamek, the trout.”

Then, as they heard nothing more, they continued toward the fire. They
had not gone far before they smelled smoke. They knew that the wind was
in their favor. It gave them confidence, for they realized that there
was less likelihood of being heard. A short time afterward they saw a
small light flash across their path. A moment later it appeared at one
side of them. Spotted Deer stopped.

“It is only Sasappis, the fire-fly,” whispered Running Fox.

“He is carrying his torch to frighten the witches out of the woods,”
declared Spotted Deer. “My mother has told me about him. We must be
careful not to harm him.”

A short distance farther on they were halted by the deep ringing notes
of the big horned owl. The call seemed to come from somewhere to the
right of them. It was repeated three times in rapid succession, and the
Delawares immediately became suspicious. A few moments afterward they
heard another owl calling directly behind them. It was so near that they
easily detected a number of false notes in it. They knew it was a
signal, and their hearts filled with alarm.

“We have run into a trap,” Running Fox whispered, savagely. “Come, we
must get to the water. It is the only chance.”

They were close upon the river, but as they turned to reach it they
heard twigs snapping directly ahead of them. Then they realized that
they had been surrounded, and that they must fight against heavy odds to
save themselves. They saw now that the fire was a clever ruse of their
enemies to draw their foes into an ambush. The lads had little doubt
that they were again face to face with the hated Mohawks.

“Stand still!” whispered Running Fox, as they heard some one passing
through the bushes at the edge of the river. “It is dark, and they may
go by us. Then we must rush into the water, and swim to the other side.”

“Let us climb into a tree,” proposed Spotted Deer.

“No, that would be foolish,” replied Running Fox. “These people have
surrounded us. They are close. If we climb into a tree they will know
where we have gone. Then they will wait until it gets light, and kill us
like Wisawanik, the squirrel.”

The next moment a piercing yell rang through the night, and the
Delawares heard their foes rushing forward on all sides of them. For an
instant they stood there, filled with panic. Then Running Fox recovered
his wits, and took command.

“Come, we must fight our way to the water!” he cried.

Fitting arrows to their bows they hurried toward the river. They had not
covered half of the distance, when two stalwart figures rose out of the
darkness to oppose them. An arrow sped close to Running Fox, and the
next instant his own arrow dropped his enemy to the ground. Turning to
call Spotted Deer, he heard him thrashing about in the undergrowth.
Rushing to his assistance, Running Fox found him fighting valiantly for
his life. Running Fox drove an arrow between the shoulders of his
assailant, and as the warrior rolled over the young Delaware stooped and
peered eagerly into his face. He felt sure that he was not a Mohawk, but
he was unable to identify him. Running Fox noted, however, that the
warrior’s face was streaked with charcoal, in token of war. Then the
lads heard their foes closing in upon them, and they realized that they
must be off. As they sped toward the river they heard some one behind
them shouting, “Mengwe! Mengwe!” at the top of his voice.

“Now I know who these people are,” cried Running Fox. “That person
behind us is shouting the Shawnee name for the Mohawks. Yes, this is a
Shawnee war-party. They take us for Mohawks. It is good.”

The Delawares reached the edge of the water in safety, and had waded in
knee-deep when the first Shawnees appeared on the shore. Then, as an
arrow hummed ominously above their heads, the lads plunged forward and
swam furiously to escape from bow-shot. They heard the Shawnees rushing
into the river in pursuit of them, and as soon as they reached deeper
water the Delawares dove from sight. They rose to the surface within
several bow-lengths of each other, far out in the river. They listened a
moment to make sure that none of their foes were within reach of them,
and then they turned and swam toward the opposite shore. They passed
through the water as silently as Winingus, the mink, for they knew that
sharp-eared foes were listening to catch the faintest sound. They heard
a number of signals from the shore they had left, and once they thought
they heard voices within bow-shot of them. It drove them to greater
efforts, and they raced through the water at top speed. However, as they
drew near the shore and found themselves in shallow water they moved
more cautiously. They believed that, having lost sight of them in the
darkness, their crafty foes were listening to hear them leave the water,
and they determined to take every precaution against giving a clue.

“We will swim ahead until we are a long ways above this place,” proposed
Spotted Deer.

“No, that would be a bad thing to do,” Running Fox told him. “If the
Shawnees reach land they will travel faster than we can move through the
water. Perhaps they will send scouts along the edge of the water. Then
it would be hard to get into the woods. We will swim ahead a little
ways, and then we will walk out.”

They swam some distance farther, and then waded ashore. They waited a
moment at the edge of the forest to listen for the Shawnees. The fire
was still burning brightly on the opposite shore, and the Delawares
smiled grimly as they realized how easily they had blundered into the
trap that had been set for their enemies, the Mohawks. Then, as they
feared that the Shawnee swimmers had reached land and begun to search
for them, they turned and sped away into the night.



                           CHAPTER XII—SMOKE


Running Fox immediately took the lead, and turned toward the north. He
believed that the Shawnees would hesitate to follow them far in that
direction for fear of being led into an ambush. Besides, it was the only
direction in which the Delawares could go without sacrificing their
lead. It was not long, however, before they heard signals ringing
through the night a short distance behind them.

“The Shawnees are close, we must travel faster,” said Running Fox.

Dawn was breaking when they reached the end of the lake. Having heard
nothing further from their pursuers they believed that they had turned
back. However, the fact that both the Mohawks and the Shawnees were
painted for war kept them alert to their danger. They believed that a
big battle was impending, and they felt sure that the wilderness was
filled with hostile scouts. Shortly after sunrise, therefore, they
stopped to rest, and hold a council-of-war.

“I believe the best thing to do is to keep going ahead until the sun
goes down,” declared Running Fox. “Then we will climb to a high place,
and look for smoke. If we do not see it, then we must circle around.
Yes, we must climb to all the high places, and look every way. I do not
believe the Mohawk camp is beyond two suns’ journey away. Perhaps it is
nearer.”

“I do not see any other way to do,” replied Spotted Deer.

They resumed their way into the north, keeping a sharp watch for their
foes, and climbing to the tops of the ridges to search the sky for
smoke. At the end of the day, however, they had seen nothing which would
give them a clue to the location of the Mohawk camp.

“Perhaps it is not near that water,” suggested Spotted Deer. “Perhaps we
have gone the wrong way.”

“No, I do not believe it,” said Running Fox,

“I am thinking about something different. The Mohawks are at war with
the Shawnees. Perhaps they are afraid to make fires.”

“Then how can we find the camp?” inquired Spotted Deer.

“I believe it will be a hard thing to do,” replied Running Fox. “We must
ask Getanittowit to help us.”

The following day they again decided to separate—Running Fox to make a
half circle toward the east, while Spotted Deer made a similar detour
toward the west. They agreed to meet at dark at a great spire-shaped
rock on the summit of a low hill directly ahead of them.

“No matter what you see, come back when it gets dark,” said Running Fox,

“I will do as you tell me,” agreed Spotted Deer.

Running Fox made his way toward a ridge of hills less than a half day’s
journey to the eastward. He had traveled about two-thirds of the
distance when he suddenly came upon the remains of a small fire. It had
been made between two rocks, and cleverly concealed by a screen of
brush. A few embers still glowed from the ashes, and it was evident that
whoever had camped there had only recently departed. Running Fox circled
carefully about the spot, trying to learn the identity of the firemaker.
He found some tracks leading toward the east. However, he was only able
to follow them a short distance, as the country was rough and rocky, and
they soon disappeared. Running Fox believed that the crafty scout had
purposely left a plain trail for a short distance to baffle his foes.
The Delaware felt quite sure that farther on the unknown traveler had
turned in another direction.

“I must watch out for that person,” Running Fox told himself.

He reached the ridge of hills a short time afterward, and looked
anxiously toward the north for evidence of the Mohawk camp. The sky was
clear and cloudless, however, and there was no trace of smoke. Running
Fox felt troubled. He feared that the unexpected appearance of the
Shawnees threatened the success of his expedition. Still he had no
thought of turning back. Having made his boast to his father he
determined to make it good, or sacrifice his life in the attempt.

The day was well advanced, and Running Fox had about decided to leave
the ridge and return to Spotted Deer, when he suddenly discovered a
heavy column of smoke rising above the tree-tops a short distance south
of him. It suggested many interesting possibilities, and Running Fox
studied it closely. For a long time it puzzled him. He could scarcely
believe that it came from the Mohawk camp. In the first place he felt
sure that the camp was farther from the lake. Besides, there was but one
dense column of smoke, while smoke from a village usually rose in
several thin columns, or hovered above the camp in light hazy clouds.
Running Fox decided, therefore, that the smoke which he saw must be a
signal. The possibility quickened his interest. Then the smoke column
began to waver and break. In a few moments he saw it separate into a
number of puffs or clouds. They followed one another at short intervals,
and Running Fox became convinced that some one was sending a message. He
would have given much to have been able to read it. He searched the sky
in all directions, hoping to see an answer but none appeared.

“I believe some one is talking to the Mohawk camp,” said Running Fox.

The Delaware realized that if his guess was true it was quite probable
that the signal would go unanswered. He believed that it would be read
by sharp-eyed sentinels who had been stationed on the high places to
watch for it, but he felt sure that no tell-tale spiral of smoke would
be permitted to betray the location of the village. If an answer were
sent, Running Fox believed it would appear somewhere far away from the
camp. Still, the mere sight of the signal filled him with hope, for he
told himself that the Mohawk village was surely somewhere within sight.
He waited until the smoke faded from the sky, and then as he saw nothing
to indicate that the signal would be answered he hurried away to meet
Spotted Deer.

Darkness had already fallen when Running Fox approached the rock where
he was to meet his friend. This time, however, his signal brought an
immediate response, for Spotted Deer was waiting for him.

“We have found each other—it is good,” said Spotted Deer.

“It is good, my brother,” replied Running Fox. “Have you looked around?”

“Yes, I have circled all around this hill; there is no one hiding here,”
Spotted Deer assured him.

“Then we will sit down and talk,” said Running Fox.

Running Fox told what he had seen to the eastward, and Spotted Deer
listened with great attention. The smoke particularly impressed him. He
agreed with Running Fox that it must have been a signal. However,
Spotted Deer was not so sure that it had anything to do with the camp.

“Perhaps that smoke was sent up by the Shawnees,” he suggested. “Perhaps
a Mohawk scout was talking with the war-party.”

“Well, it may turn out that way, but I feel different about it,”
insisted Running Fox. “Now you must tell me what you found out.”

Spotted Deer said that he had gone a considerable distance toward the
west without discovering any signs of his foes. Then he had climbed to
the top of a mountain to reconnoiter. He had watched a long time when he
finally saw what he believed was smoke far away toward the north. He had
strained his eyes to make sure, but it faded from the sky before he
could convince himself. Then he had set out to meet Running Fox.

“That is what happened,” concluded Spotted Deer.

“Well, we have not done much,” Running Fox declared, gloomily. “I
believe the Mohawk camp is close. There is only one thing to do. We must
keep moving around until we find it. We will wait here until the next
sun comes. Then we will look around some more.”

The following day they again scouted carefully through the woods in
search of the Mohawk camp. This time, however, they remained together
and turned toward the north. Running Fox felt convinced that the village
was somewhere in that direction, and as he was the leader Spotted Deer
was content to rely upon his judgment.

“I believe there must be a trail going toward that camp,” declared
Spotted Deer.

“Well, I did not hear our people say anything about it,” replied Running
Fox.

Nevertheless they determined to keep a sharp watch for anything that
looked like an opening through the forest. They continued toward the
north for half of the day, and then Running Fox proposed that they
should circle toward the west.

“That will bring us near the place where you saw something that looked
like smoke,” he told Spotted Deer.

“Well, I am not sure about what I saw, but I believe it would be a good
thing to go over there, and look around,” said Spotted Deer.

Then for a long time they traveled in silence. Running Fox seemed moody
and thoughtful, and Spotted Deer made no attempt to rouse him. The
latter realized that a war-leader had many responsibilities, and he felt
quite sure that Running Fox was meditating upon some plan for bringing
success to his undertaking.

“Spotted Deer, there are two things that trouble me,” Running Fox said,
finally.

Spotted Deer remained silent. He knew that it would not do to question a
war-leader unless the latter chose to enlighten him.

“First I am troubled because I have not found Gokhos, the great white
Medicine Owl,” continued Running Fox. “If we had the skin of that
mysterious bird I believe much good would come of it. But I am troubled
about another thing. Yes, I am troubled about the Shawnees. They have
come into this country to fight the Mohawks. It is a bad thing for us. I
believe the Mohawks will keep many warriors around the village. Well,
now I will tell you something different. I have set out to do this
thing, and I am going through with it no matter what happens to me.”

“Those are good words,” Spotted Deer declared, admiringly. “You will
soon find Gokhos, the great white Medicine Owl, and then we will be able
to do some great things. I am not thinking about the Shawnees——”

“Stop!” Running Fox interrupted, excitedly. “I see smoke rising behind
that ridge.”

They saw a misty blue haze drifting above the top of a low ridge
directly ahead of them.

“That is the place I was looking at,” said Spotted Deer. “Yes, I know it
by that big mountain over there.”

“I believe we have found the Mohawk camp,” declared Running Fox. “We
must watch sharp. If the village is on the other side of that ridge we
are very close. Spotted Deer, I believe we are in great danger.”

They immediately concealed themselves in the woods to watch. It was not
long, however, before both of them agreed that the smoke came from the
Mohawk camp. The thought filled them with joy. They believed that they
were almost within sight of their goal, and they were eager to verify
their hopes. However, Running Fox realized that it would be the height
of folly to attempt to look over the ridge before dark. He had little
doubt that, if the camp really was on the other side, the crafty Mohawks
had stationed scouts along the crest of the ridge to guard the village
against surprise. Therefore, he decided to wait until night came to his
assistance.

“We must stay here until it gets dark,” he told Spotted Deer. “Then we
will creep up on that ridge, and find out if the camp is over there.”

“I believe we will find it,” Spotted Deer replied, confidently.

“Well, that smoke looks like camp smoke, but I am not sure about it,”
said Running Fox.



                         CHAPTER XIII—SURPRISED


Shortly after dark the impatient young Delawares set out on their
perilous search for the Mohawk camp. When they reached the base of the
ridge they stopped to listen. Then, as they heard nothing to arouse
their suspicions, they climbed carefully up the steep brushy slope. They
were almost at the top when Running Fox thought he heard something
moving through the bushes. They immediately dropped and lay close to the
ground. They waited a long time, but nothing appeared. At last they
decided that they had been needlessly alarmed, and they rose and
continued up the ridge.

Once on top the Delawares’ first thought was to look for the glow of the
Mohawk fires. When they failed to find them they began to lose hope. It
was evident that the Mohawk camp was not where they had expected to find
it.

“I do not see what I expected to find—it is bad,” whispered Spotted
Deer.

Running Fox made no reply. He appeared to be listening.

“That smoke must have been another signal,” said Spotted Deer.

Running Fox still continued silent. He sat with his bow across his
knees, staring moodily into the night. Having been unable to draw him
into conversation, Spotted Deer, too, subsided into silence and waited
patiently for Running Fox to announce a plan of action.

They sat there for a long time, and then they were suddenly roused by
the sound of a dog barking somewhere near the spot where they had looked
for the Mohawk camp. Running Fox instantly became alert. Cautioning
Spotted Deer to silence, he listened eagerly. In a few moments the
barking changed to sharp cries of pain, and it was evident that the
animal had been cowed into silence. Then for a long time all was still.

“Now I know what I came here to find out,” said Running Fox. “My ears
have told me what my eyes could not see. Spotted Deer, the great Mohawk
camp is down there where we heard that dog.”

“Where are the fires?” demanded Spotted Deer.

“Perhaps there are no fires,” replied Running Fox. “Perhaps they are
hidden by the trees. Perhaps the camp is closed in by high stakes. I do
not know how it comes that we cannot see the fires, but I believe the
camp is there.”

“Then we will go down there and find it,” Spotted Deer proposed,
impulsively.

“No, I have a different plan,” Running Fox told him. “I am going down
there alone. I will look around. Then I will come back and tell you
about it. You must wait here.”

“Running Fox, that is not a good thing to do,” protested Spotted Deer.
“I must go with you. Perhaps you will get into a fight down there. Yes,
I must be there to help you.”

“Spotted Deer, I am the leader,” Running Fox reminded him. “I am doing
this thing because it is the best way to go about it. If we both go down
there and get caught then there will be no chance to get away. If I go
down there alone and get caught then you must get me out of it. I will
not go into the camp without you, but I must go and look around. It is
the only way to do. I will not talk any more about it.”

“Running Fox, you say that you are the leader, it is true,” replied
Spotted Deer. “Yes, I will do what you tell me to do. I believe it is
the best way.”

“That is good,” said Running Fox. “Now I will tell you something
different. If anything had happens to me down there I will make the call
of Quenischquney, the panther. If you hear that then you must come down
there and do what you can. But perhaps you will get into danger. Then
you must make the call of Quenisehquney. Then I will come to help you.
Now I am going away.”

“I will keep singing the sacred songs to help you,” said Spotted Deer.

“Yes, that will be a good thing to do,” agreed Running Fox.

A moment later he disappeared into the night. Running Fox moved down the
ridge with great caution, for he felt quite sure that Mohawk sentinels
were somewhere within bow-shot of him. He stopped many times to listen,
but heard nothing to alarm him. When he reached the bottom of the ridge
he turned directly toward the place where he had heard the dog barking.
As he advanced he kept a sharp watch for the warning glow of the Mohawk
fires. The forest was very dense, however, and as he believed that the
Mohawk village might be walled about by a log stockade he had little
hope of discovering the fires. Then he thought of a better plan.
Moistening one of his fingers, he raised it above his head and learned
that what little wind there was came from the north. As he was traveling
almost due west, he made a wide detour to get the wind in his face. Soon
afterward he saw the value of the wily maneuver, when the unmistakable
odor of smoke was borne to his nostrils. It filled him with joy, for he
realized that at last he had found an easy trail to the hostile camp.

Running Fox followed the tell-tale smoke scent with the eager
persistence of a famished wolf. As long as the breeze held steady he
hurried along with little fear of going astray. However, when the wind
weakened, or shifted, his task became more difficult. Under those
conditions he invariably lost the trail, and was compelled to circle
about until he found it. Thus he felt his way toward his goal, until at
last he was halted by the familiar sounds from the camp itself. He
stopped and raised his eyes to Getanittowit.

“O Getanittowit, I have come near to the camp of my enemies, the proud
and boastful Mohawks,” whispered Running Fox. “O Getanittowit, I am in
great danger. O Getanittowit, make me as sharp as Woakus, the fox, and
as brave as Machque, the bear. O Getanittowit, take pity on me and help
me.”

Having made this earnest appeal to Getanittowit, the Great One, the
devout young Delaware resumed his daring advance toward the Mohawk camp.
As he neared it the sounds increased, and he knew that the village
contained many people, The thought made him more cautious, and he
stopped to reconnoiter. Running Fox felt sure that he was within a few
bow-shots of the village, and yet he could see no trace of it. He
scouted cautiously through the woods looking for it, but although the
sounds warned him that the camp was dangerously close at hand the night
effectually hid it from his sight.

“This comes of not following the advice of Gokhus, the Medicine Owl,”
the superstitious young Delaware told himself. “Gokhus is the only one
who can see through the dark. Yes, if I had the skin of the great white
Medicine Owl I believe I would be able to see this camp.”

Nevertheless he determined to continue looking for the Mohawk village.
He knew that to come within sight of the camp he must run the risk of
capture and death, but he felt little fear. He believed that
Getanittowit would help him, and the assurance gave him courage. He
advanced, therefore, with every faculty keenly alert, determined to
actually see the hostile camp before he thought of turning back.

Running Fox was moving slowly through the woods when he suddenly found
himself on the edge of a large clearing. Corn and squashes were growing
there, and the Delaware instantly realized that he had found the Mohawk
camp. The thought set his heart beating wildly. Then he heard a number
of persons chanting a song, and looking toward the sound he saw a long
high, shadow stretching across one side of the clearing. He knew at once
that it was a log stockade enclosing the camp. He saw a pale yellow glow
above it, and he believed it came from the Mohawk fires.

Having finally got within arrow-range of his goal, Running Fox shrank
back into the shadows of the forest, and looked upon the great Mohawk
camp with awe. For a moment or so it frightened him, and he found
himself trembling with nervousness. It looked like a huge trap from
which it would be hard to escape. The thought weakened his confidence.
He heard a dog barking, and he wondered if it had caught his scent. He
raised a moistened finger into the air to test the wind. It was in his
favor, and he felt much relieved. A few moments afterward a small square
of light appeared in the long black wall. Something black flashed across
it, and then the light vanished into the night. Running Fox was
perplexed. He wondered if it had been a signal of some sort. Perhaps he
had been discovered. The possibility brought sweat to his brow. For an
instant he thought of retreating. However, the very suggestion filled
him with shame. He asked himself if Running Fox, the son of the great
war-chief, Black Panther, were a coward.

“No, I will not run away,” he whispered, savagely. “I will stay here,
and see what is going to happen to me.”

Then, as he continued to watch the grim black outline of the stockade,
the square of light again appeared, and this time it was some moments
before it vanished. In the meantime a number of dark objects had flashed
across it. Running Fox was unable to explain it. It seemed as if it must
be a signal to some one outside of the village. Still he could not
understand how it was done. He knew that there was no fire outside of
the stockade, else he would have seen the glare. Then where did the
light come from, and what made it? For a long time Running Fox was
unable to guess. At last, however, the truth flashed across his mind.

“Hi, now I know about it,” he told himself.

“There is a hole in that log wall. Yes, some one pulled something away,
and made it open. Then some one moved something across that place. Then
some one closed it up again, and made it dark. Pretty soon some one
opened it again. Then some one moved something across that place many
times. Perhaps it was a signal.”

Having guessed that much, it was only a few moments until the
sharp-witted young scout learned the full truth. He realized that the
opening must have been an entrance or door into the village, and that
the mysterious black objects which had momentarily shut out the light
were people either entering or leaving the camp. That, however, was the
only point about which he had any doubt. He would have given much to
know whether the people who had passed through the opening were warriors
returning from the war-trail, or scouts going out to look for the enemy.
Then, as a great commotion suddenly broke out in the camp, Running Fox
believed that the answer had been given by the Mohawks themselves.

“Yes, I believe some warriors have come back from the fight with the
Shawnees,” said Running Fox.

Each moment the noise increased, and it was evident that a celebration
of some sort was in progress. Then the glow above the stockade
brightened, and Running Fox believed that the fires were being rekindled
in preparation for some important ceremony. The thought pleased him, for
he believed that with the Mohawks absorbed in celebrating a victory, it
would be easier to approach the village. Having discovered the entrance
into the camp, the reckless lad resolved to have at least one peep at
his foes before he returned to Spotted Deer.

Running Fox waited until the noise indicated that the celebration was
well in progress, and then he moved toward the camp. He had carefully
noted the location of the opening in the stockade, but he feared to
approach it, for he knew that at any moment he might encounter some one
leaving the village. He turned toward the end of the stockade,
therefore, and was almost within leaping distance of the camp when he
was halted by a challenge directly behind him. Acting upon the impulse
of the moment, Running Fox stopped for an instant, and mumbled an
unintelligible reply. Then, as the night hid the person who had hailed
him, he tried to hurry away. He planned to dodge around the end of the
stockade and dash into the woods. The ruse failed, however, for the
suspicious Mohawk followed him. Aware that further attempts to deceive
would be useless, Running Fox ran off at great speed. The Mohawk
immediately raced after him, yelling at the top of his voice.

As Running Fox dodged around the end of the stockade he crashed into two
Mohawks who were running up at the call of their tribesman. The surprise
was mutual, and all three fell to the ground. A moment afterward the
young Delaware found himself lying helplessly upon his back with two
stalwart warriors holding him down. As he attempted to shout a warning
to Spotted Deer one of the Mohawks seized him by the throat and began to
choke him unmercifully. However, Running Fox had no idea of
surrendering. He fought with the fury of a wildcat until one of his foes
struck him a stunning blow on the head with a war-club.

When the lad regained his senses some moments later he found himself
surrounded by a number of Mohawk warriors. His arms had been tightly
bound behind him, and a heavy piece of buckskin had been tied over his
mouth. As Running Fox opened his eyes, the warrior who had choked him
kneeled and glared fiercely into his face. Then he seized him roughly by
the shoulder, and motioned for him to rise. As the Delaware obeyed the
Mohawks crowded excitedly about him, peering eagerly into his face, and
threatening him with their weapons. Running Fox showed no fear, however,
and in a few moments they ceased tormenting him and led him into the
camp.

The Mohawk village was lighted by several large fires, and Running Fox
saw a great many people gathered in the center of the camp. They were
mostly women and children, with a small company of old men and guards
who had been left behind to protect the village when the warriors had
rushed out at the cry of alarm. As Running Fox was led into the
firelight the Mohawks quickly recognized him as a Delaware, and
immediately began to taunt and abuse him. The old women and the boys
were particularly vicious, and several of the latter ran up and began to
beat him with sticks. The Delaware’s eyes flashed threateningly, but he
knew better than to resist for he realized that it would only expose him
to still harsher treatment from his tormentors.

When Running Fox and his guards reached the center of the village they
were beset by a great throng of people who seemed intent upon reaching
the prisoner. They appeared so hostile that the Delaware feared they
intended to kill him there and then. They surged wildly about him
shouting their war-cries, and striking at him over the shoulders of his
guards. The latter were struggling valiantly to protect him, but it
looked as if they would be overpowered at any moment. At the height of
the tumult, however, Running Fox saw several warriors hurrying forward
from the other end of the camp. As they approached, the foremost warrior
called out, and at the sound of his voice the Mohawks immediately fell
back. It was evident that the warrior was a man of great authority, and
Running Fox wondered if it could be Standing Wolf, the famous Mohawk
war-chief.

A few moments afterward the Mohawk stood before him. He was a tall,
broad-shouldered man of middle age, with a cruel face and restless black
eyes. For a moment Running Fox felt afraid of him. Then, as the Mohawk
looked searchingly into his face, the lad suddenly remembered that he
must uphold the honor of his tribe. He raised his head and met the
challenge unflinchingly. They gazed steadily at each other for several
moments, and the vast assemblage of Mohawks watched them in silence.
Then the Mohawk laughed scornfully, and turned to his people. He
addressed them in a few sharp sentences, and his words were received
with what seemed to be expressions of approval. At any rate the Mohawks
made no further demonstrations against the prisoner, and Running Fox
wondered whether the warrior had spoken in his behalf. It seemed too
much to expect, however, and the young Delaware feared that his relief
was only the prelude to a more trying ordeal yet in store for him. Then
he saw the man whom he took to be Standing Wolf, talking to the three
warriors whom Running Fox had encountered outside of the camp. A moment
later one of them approached him, and untied the buckskin bandage which
had been placed over his mouth. For an instant Running Fox was tempted
to shout a warning to Spotted Deer. Upon second thought, however, he
abandoned the idea. He doubted that Spotted Deer would hear it, and
besides, he believed it would be foolish to acquaint the Mohawks with
the fact that he had a companion. In the meantime the Mohawk leader had
again approached him. Running Fox was greatly astounded to hear him
speak in the Delaware dialect.

“Do the boastful Delawares send boys to fight their enemies?” he
inquired, sarcastically.

Running Fox made no reply.

“Well, do Delaware children remain silent when they are spoken to?” the
Mohawk demanded, angrily. “I do not like that. When Standing Wolf speaks
he must be answered. Come, speak fast or I will teach you how to obey.”

“I will answer you,” Running Fox said, angrily. “Standing Wolf, you have
asked me something. Well, I will tell you what you wish to know. My
people keep their men to fight the brave Shawnees. My people send their
boys to kill the Mohawks.”

It was a reckless speech, and Running Fox immediately realized that he
had sealed his doom as he looked into the angry eyes of Standing Wolf.
For a moment the great Mohawk war-chief looked upon him in unconcealed
amazement. Then he mumbled something, and advanced threateningly.
Running Fox showed no signs of weakening, however, and Standing Wolf
struck him a stinging blow across the mouth. It was the signal for a
wild outbreak from the onlookers, for they realized that their famous
war-chief had been insulted by a mere lad. The thought drove them into a
frenzy, and only the prompt interference of Standing Wolf himself saved
the Delaware from instant torture and death. When he had quieted the
people, the Mohawk chief called several trusted warriors to lead Running
Fox away.

The unhappy lad was taken to a square bark lodge or shack. It contained
a single room or compartment, and appeared dark and uninhabited. Once
inside the building, the Mohawks threw Running Fox to the ground and
bound his feet, which until that moment had been free. Then they left
him.

The two guards had barely gone from hearing when Running Fox heard
something stirring over in a corner of the lodge. However, darkness made
it impossible to tell what it was. He listened anxiously, and finally
thought he heard some one chanting a medicine-song. It was low and
indistinct, but still there was something about it that sounded
familiar. A few moments later Running Fox identified it as one of the
songs which he had learned from old Sky Dog, the Delaware medicine-man.
Then the startling truth suddenly confronted him.

“Spotted Deer!” Running Fox cried in a tense whisper.

“Yes, Running Fox, I am here,” replied Spotted Deer. “This is very bad.
Now I know that there is no chance for us.”



                        CHAPTER XIV—ANXIOUS DAYS


Spotted Deer said that he had been surprised and captured soon after
Running Fox left him. At first the Mohawks mistook him for a Shawnee,
and his appearance in the camp was the occasion for a wild commotion. He
was taken to the center of the village and tied to the torture stake.
Then the Mohawks suddenly discovered that he was a Delaware. They seemed
greatly surprised, and it was evident that they feared the presence of a
Delaware war-party somewhere near the camp. Thinking to frighten the
young captive into telling them what they wished to know, Standing Wolf
threatened him with all sorts of terrible tortures if he refused to give
the information they desired. However, Spotted Deer scorned the threats,
and the Mohawks were unable to make him talk. At last they unbound him,
and threw him into the lodge in which Running Fox so unexpectedly found
him.

“Now I have told you how I came here,” concluded Spotted Deer.

“Well, I see that you could not help it, but it is very bad,” replied
Running Fox.

Then he related his own experiences. When he told how he had defied the
great Mohawk war-chief, Spotted Deer exclaimed in astonishment.

“That was a foolish thing to do,” he declared.

“Yes, I see that I did a bad thing,” acknowledged Running Fox. “I
believe I will be killed, but you may live to get away and tell our
people what they wish to know.”

“No, Running Fox, I believe the Mohawks will kill me, too,” said Spotted
Deer.

At that moment Running Fox thought he heard some one moving cautiously
away from the entrance of the lodge, and he feared that spies had been
stationed there to listen. The Delawares immediately ceased talking.
They lay there a long time listening, but all was still. The night-hush
had fallen upon the camp, and it was evident that the Mohawks had
retired to their lodges. However, the lads felt quite sure that the
entrance to their own lodge was closely guarded. Still it seemed like an
unnecessary precaution, for they had been so skillfully bound that they
would have been unable to escape even if the way had been open.

Left to their thoughts, the lads immediately began to speculate upon
their chances. Running Fox believed that for himself at least death was
inevitable, and he tried to become reconciled to the thought. However,
his great fear was that by antagonizing the Mohawk chief he had also
sealed the fate of Spotted Deer. The possibility filled him with
despair. If only Spotted Deer might be spared to eventually learn and
carry away the secret which had brought them to the Mohawk camp, Running
Fox would have been willing to suffer and die without complaining. Now,
however, he believed that his sacrifice would be in vain. The idea drove
him into a frenzy. Carried away by emotion, he fought desperately to
free himself from his bonds. His efforts were useless, however, and he
soon saw the folly of wasting his strength, for the present escape
seemed impossible.

“It is no use to fight that way,” Spotted Deer told him. “No, we must
wait until we get a better chance.”

“That is true,” agreed Running Fox.

The long night finally passed, and as day dawned the lads looked
anxiously about the lodge to learn if they were guarded. They appeared
to be alone, but they mistrusted that sharp-eared sentinels were just
outside the entrance. However, the lads took advantage of their privacy
to study the details of their prison. It was a square, one story
structure about four bow-lengths high. It was made of slabs of bark
which were held in place by two rows of upright saplings or poles. The
roof, which was peaked, was also of bark, and had a small square opening
in the center to let out the smoke of the camp-fire. The lads found
themselves in a room about four bow-lengths square, with a shallow
fire-pit in the middle, and low willow bunks or platforms along two
sides. The lodge would have accommodated six or eight persons, and was
similar in design and material to those erected by the Delawares. It
showed no signs of recent occupancy.

It was not long before the Delawares heard some one approaching. Their
hearts quickened at the sound, for it suggested a number of disturbing
possibilities. Then the robe which covered the doorway was drawn aside,
and a warrior entered the lodge. He was a great powerful fellow, and he
stared so fiercely at the captives that they felt quite sure he meant
them no good. They returned his glances without wavering, and in a few
moments he turned and called to some one outside. An aged woman answered
the summons, and the lads saw that she brought food and water.

The warrior kneeled and unbound their hands. Then the old woman placed
meat and water before them, and hobbled away. The guard, however,
instantly began to annoy them. Pointing at the bones and scraps of meat
which had been set before them, he imitated the whining of a dog, and
laughed boisterously. The Delawares knew that he was trying to make them
understand that they had been fed with the leavings from the camp which
ordinarily were given to the dogs. The lads gave no sign that they
comprehended the insult. Realizing that refusal to eat the food might
subject them to a brutal attack, they consumed it in sullen obedience.
Then they looked expectantly toward the Mohawk. He was laughing and
making significant gestures with his knife to make them realize the
punishments that awaited them. They watched him without the slightest
trace of emotion. Their indifference seemed to anger him, and he began
to talk fiercely in the Mohawk dialect. The lads showed plainly that
they did not understand his threats, and he suddenly seemed to realize
that he was making himself ridiculous. A moment afterward he tied their
hands behind them, and drew the buckskin thongs deep into the flesh.
Then he laughed gleefully, and left the lodge.

“That warrior is very fierce,” said Spotted Deer, as the footfalls died
away.

“Well, he did not frighten us,” boasted Running Fox.

“That made him mad,” laughed Spotted Deer.

It was not long before they began to feel the effects of his cruelty.
The tight buckskin thongs ate slowly into their flesh, and caused them
great agony. However, they bore it in silence. Each knew what the other
was enduring, but neither of them was willing to acknowledge that the
Mohawk had made him suffer.

As the day progressed they heard considerable noise and confusion in the
camp, and they believed that the Mohawks were preparing for some
important ceremony. The thought filled them with gloomy premonitions.
Running Fox, especially, read a warning in the sounds. He knew that his
bold defiance of the famous war-chief would not be permitted to pass
unpunished, and he feared that at any moment he would be called out to
pay the penalty. He had heard many stories about the awful tortures
which the Mohawks inflicted upon their prisoners, and he wondered if he
were about to experience them. The possibility tried his nerve.

“Running Fox, what I hear makes me feel bad,” Spotted Deer said,
uneasily. “Perhaps the Mohawks are getting ready to kill us.”

“We must be brave,” Running Fox told him.

Soon afterward several fierce looking warriors entered the lodge, and
stared at the captives. However, they made no attempt to annoy them, and
left without speaking. The lads were at a loss to explain the visit.
Then other warriors came, and several women and children. As none of the
visitors showed any inclination to harm them, the Delawares felt
somewhat reassured. They knew that the Iroquois tribes often adopted
young warriors whom they captured, and they wondered if they, too, were
to be spared. The thought gave them hope, for while they would not have
thought of pledging allegiance to their foes, still they believed that
they might be able to turn the opportunity to good advantage.

“Yes, we will fool the Mohawks until we find a chance to get away,”
whispered Spotted Deer.

“They are sharp,” Running Fox warned him.

Then they heard criers going about the camp calling the people to
assemble. Their fears immediately returned. They listened anxiously as
the Mohawks began to sing, and shout their war-cries. Then the noise
suddenly ceased. The Delawares heard some one talking excitedly. They
thought they recognized the voice of Standing Wolf, the Mohawk
war-chief. At the end of the talk a great shout went up from the camp.

“I do not like that,” said Running Fox. “I believe some one is turning
the Mohawks against us.”

“Perhaps they are talking about something different,” Spotted Deer
replied, hopefully. “Perhaps a war-party is going out to fight the
Shawnees.”

“No, I do not believe it,” said Running Fox. “Spotted Deer, I believe we
will soon be killed.”

However, no one came to disturb them until the end of the day, and then
the warrior and the old woman again entered the lodge with food and
water. When the Mohawk unbound their wrists the lads found that they had
temporarily lost the use of their arms. They made several attempts to
reach the food that had been placed before them, but for some moments
they were unable to raise their hands from their sides. The Mohawk
seemed to take great delight in their discomfort. He jeered, and
laughed, and insisted upon their eating the food. The lads feared that
if they were unable to comply with his demands he would take away the
food, and tell the Mohawks that they had refused it. They made heroic
efforts, therefore, and finally succeeded in getting the food to their
mouths. Then the guard again bound their wrists, and left them to
suffer.

As the evening shadows fell upon the camp the Delawares once more heard
sounds of hustling activity. The Mohawks were breaking wood for fires,
and the lads felt a vague premonition of danger. In a few moments they
heard the crackling of the flames, and saw the light through the hole in
the roof of the lodge. They waited in anxious suspense.

“Pretty soon we will know what is going to happen to us,” said Running
Fox. “Do you feel brave?”

“I believe we are in great danger, but I am not afraid,” replied Spotted
Deer.

An ominous hush had fallen upon the camp. Then the covering was drawn
from the doorway of the lodge, and three warriors entered. The lads knew
at once that these men had been sent to get them, and they feared that
their hour of trial was at hand. For a moment they weakened. Then as the
Mohawks came toward them, they recovered their courage, and waited
calmly to learn their fate.

“Be brave,” said Running Fox.

“I am a Delaware,” Spotted Deer replied, proudly.

One of the Mohawks stooped and freed Running Fox from his bonds.

Then they motioned for him to rise. It was evident that they had no
intention of taking Spotted Deer. The latter struggled furiously to rise
and accompany his friend, but the Mohawks laughed and pushed him back.

“Keep still,” said Running Fox. “You must keep alive to finish this
thing. I am not afraid to die. Tell my father those words.”

Before he had finished speaking the Mohawks were leading him toward the
door of the lodge. He walked with difficulty, however, for his legs had
been so tightly bound that circulation had been entirely stopped. Each
step was agony, but the courageous lad fought hard to conceal his
suffering. As he was pushed roughly from the lodge he heard Spotted Deer
frantically singing the medicine-songs which old Sky Dog had taught him.
Running Fox wondered whether they would save him in the present
emergency.

Running Fox saw the Mohawks gathered about a great fire in the center of
the camp. They greeted his appearance with a wild outburst of yells, and
he realized that he could expect no mercy. His guards led him toward the
fire, and stood him with his back against a stout stake, a short
distance from the flames. Then Standing Wolf and a number of important
looking warriors walked up to him. For some moments they stared at him
in silence, and Running Fox looked fearlessly into their eyes. He knew
only too well the severity of the punishment which was about to be
inflicted upon him, but he determined to endure it without flinching. He
felt that the honor of his tribe was at stake, and the thought gave him
courage. The last trace of fear had left him, and he found himself calm
and unafraid. In a few moments he heard the Mohawk chief addressing him
in the Delaware tongue.

“Well, you were very boastful when you came here; do you feel brave
now?” demanded Standing Wolf.

“A Delaware is always brave,” replied Running Fox.

“Well, we will see about it,” Standing Wolf declared, warningly.

He turned and spoke a few words to the warriors behind him, and Running
Fox saw them smile contemptuously. Then Standing Wolf began to address
the great throng of people who had gathered about the fire. His speech
seemed to greatly excite them, and when he finished they began to shout,
and jeer, and threaten the captive. However, Standing Wolf and his
escort kept them in control. Then the chief spoke to the warriors who
had brought Running Fox from the lodge, and they immediately bound the
lad to the stake.

“Young man, you are about to see how the Mohawks treat their enemies,”
said Standing Wolf. “You, alone, are to blame for whatever happens to
you. You are young, and I might have saved you. But you talked very
boastful. Yes, you have made my heart black against you. Now you must
pay for it.”

Running Fox remained silent. There was nothing to say. He realized that
he had blundered, and that the blunder was to cost him his life.

Standing Wolf gave the signal, and a noisy company of women and boys
formed about the prisoner, while the warriors looked on. Then several
old men raised their voices in a weird chant, and the Mohawks began to
dance about the post. Running Fox saw that they were armed with supple
willow wands or whips, and he easily imagined what they intended to do
with them. They beat him unmercifully, but he endured it without a
tremor. Many diabolical old women tried to blind him by striking him
across the eyes, but he foiled them by slightly raising his head so that
the blows fell short. Standing Wolf and his warriors looked on with
sullen indifference, and Running Fox wondered if they intended to have
him beaten to death. Not until many of the women had exhausted
themselves did the Mohawk chief finally interfere, and stop them. Then
he again confronted the prisoner.

“Have you any words now?” he inquired scornfully.

Running Fox was covered with welts and gashes, but his eyes flashed as
defiantly as ever. He ignored the taunt, and remained silent.

“Well, I see that you are afraid to speak,” said Standing Wolf. “When
your mouth is closed your ears must be open. Listen to what I am about
to say. What you have just gone through is only the beginning of what is
going to happen to you. The women and boys have beaten you. Now we will
show you something different.”

When Standing Wolf finished speaking he called to the warriors, and they
formed a great circle about the prisoner. Most of them carried knives
and war-clubs, but a few had bows and arrows. When they had taken their
places Standing Wolf pointed at Running Fox, and spoke briefly in a
fierce tone. What he said seemed to rouse the Mohawks to a fury, and as
soon as he finished they began to dance wildly about the captive.

“O Getanittowit, help me,” whispered Running Fox. “O Getanittowit, make
me strong.”

As they danced past the stake each warrior crouched and yelled fiercely
into the ears of the erect young Delaware. Several struck him across the
face with their open palms, but he gave no evidence that he felt the
blows. Convinced that he was about to receive the full fury of the
hatred which the Mohawks held for his people, Running Fox resolved to
die like a hero. The Mohawks were rapidly rousing themselves into a
frenzy. They had drawn their knives, and were making vicious passes
within a few inches of his body. Some who carried war-clubs rushed
forward and struck the post within a handbreadth of his head. Running
Fox bore it all without flinching.

Then Standing Wolf once more interrupted the proceedings. This time,
however, he did not address the prisoner, but called several of his
escort aside and began to talk earnestly. A number of fiendish old women
immediately took advantage of the opportunity to attack the prisoner.
They rushed upon him with their sticks, and began to beat him over the
head and shoulders. Standing Wolf saw them, however, and promptly
ordered them to stop. A moment or so afterward he spoke to the warriors.
Running Fox watched him closely. He was unable to guess whether Standing
Wolf was talking for or against him. The Mohawks received his words in
silence, and the Delaware imagined he read disappointment in many of the
faces. At the conclusion of the talk two warriors left the circle, and
approached the prisoner. They stopped in front of him, and one drew his
knife. He stood a moment staring fixedly into the eyes of Running Fox.
The great crowd of Mohawks watched in ominous silence. Standing Wolf was
standing with his arms folded across his breast, smiling grimly. Running
Fox felt that his end was at hand, and he straightened proudly to
receive the knife-thrust in his heart. A murmur of approval rose from
the Mohawks. Many moments passed. Still the warrior hesitated to carry
out his command. Running Fox felt himself weakening under the suspense.
It was evident that the wily chief was hoping to break down his courage
before he killed him. The thought gave the lad new strength. Having
endured that far, he determined to maintain his nerve to the end. He
waited, therefore, smiling scornfully into the eyes of the warrior who
confronted him.

Then the Mohawk darted forward to perform his mission, but instead of
driving his knife into the heart of the prisoner he passed behind him,
and severed the thongs which bound him to the stake. A moment afterward
two guards led the astounded Delaware back to the lodge in which he had
been imprisoned.

“Well, my brother, Getanittowit has listened to the medicine-songs!”
Spotted Deer cried, joyfully, as soon as the Mohawks had passed out. “I
believed the Mohawks killed you, and I wanted to die. Now my heart is
filled with songs. Tell me how you come to be alive.”

“I cannot tell you that,” Running Fox said, confusedly. “I believed I
would be dead by now, and here I am alive. It is very mysterious.”



                 CHAPTER XV—A BATTLE WITH THE CHIPPEWAS


For a long time the lads were kept in continual doubt as to whether they
were to live or die. Then they unexpectedly found a friend in the young
son of one of the Mohawk medicine-men, a man of great influence with
Standing Wolf. From that time their uncertainty was set at rest. The
young Mohawk made them understand that they were not to be killed. Some
time later, when he had learned to express himself in the Delaware
tongue, he told why Running Fox had been spared.

The Mohawk said that Standing Wolf had determined to kill Running Fox,
but the medicine-man interfered. The latter had had a dream concerning
the youthful prisoners, and declared that a great calamity would fall
upon the camp if they were put to death. At first Standing Wolf paid
little attention to him, and prepared to carry out his revenge. However,
at the very moment when Running Fox was tied to the torture stake
misfortunes began to fall upon the camp. First an old man fell and broke
his leg. Then a child of one of the women who was participating in the
attack on Running Fox died suddenly while the mother was in the act of
beating the prisoner. As a climax the medicine-bundle fell from its
tripod in the sacred lodge, as the warriors were dancing about the
stake. Word of the strange coincidences was instantly carried to the
Mohawk chief, and when the alarmed medicine-man himself rushed up and
told what had happened to the medicine-bundle even Standing Wolf became
filled with superstitious awe, and immediately altered his decision
regarding the fate of the captive.

The Delawares showed great interest in the Mohawk medicine-bundle, and
asked a number of questions concerning it. They asked in vain, however,
for the young Mohawk only shook his head, and pretended to misunderstand
them. Fearing that further questioning might arouse his suspicions, they
immediately changed the topic of conversation.

Although Standing Wolf had spared the lives of the Delawares, he used
every means in his power to annoy and humiliate them. For a long time he
compelled them to go about the village with their hands loosely bound
behind them, so that they were powerless to save themselves from the
attacks of the women and children whom he made no attempt to restrain.
He also kept them on the verge of starvation, and fed them with the most
unpalatable scraps from the camp. They were warned that if they
approached nearer than a bow-shot to the doorway in the stockade they
would be killed by the first person who saw them. As they were
constantly watched, and the entrance to the camp was continually closed
and barred with massive logs, the lads thought the warning quite
unnecessary. Then as the days passed they were permitted to wander more
freely about the village. However, they soon realized that to attempt to
escape would be the height of folly. Therefore, they continued to
cultivate their friendship with the son of the medicine-man in the hope
of eventually learning the secret which had brought them upon their
mission. With that once in their possession, they had implicit faith
that Getanittowit himself would offer them an opportunity to escape from
their foes.

The Delawares had been in the Mohawk camp many days when Winaminge,
The-Time-Of-Roasting-Ears, arrived. It was at that season that the
Iroquois gathered together to celebrate the Green Corn Festival.
Sometimes the various Iroquois tribes celebrated the occasion in their
own village, and at other times they traveled to the villages of their
nearest tribesmen. Upon this particular occasion, however, it was
apparent that the Mohawks intended to observe the festival by
themselves. The Delawares watched the preparations with interest, for
they were similar to those which they had observed in their own tribe,
and they hoped that before the four days’ celebration ended they might
learn the secret for which they were risking themselves.

In celebrating the Green Corn Festival the ceremonies were begun each
day soon after dawn, and ended promptly at midday, or when the sun
reached the meridian. It was a festival of thanksgiving to Ha-weu-ne-yu,
the Great Spirit, for ripening the corn, beans and squashes. On the day
before the celebration began, the entire tribe gathered in the center of
the village to confess their wrong deeds, and promise to live better
lives. Strips of white shells, or wampum, were passed from one to
another, and each person held it while acknowledging his misdeeds, and
pledging himself to a better life in the future. The wampum was believed
to record and preserve each pledge. The women and even the older
children were required to join in the ceremony. The Delawares, however,
were barred from participating, or approaching within hearing distance.
They looked on in respectful silence from the door of their lodge.

“Well, we have made the vows,” the young Mohawk told them at the
conclusion of the ceremony. “When the next sun comes we will begin the
celebration.”

The lads would have liked to ask him if the mysterious medicine-bundle
would appear in the ceremony. They realized, however, that any reference
to it might ruin all chance of learning what they wished to know.

“Running Fox, I believe that these people are about to do a great
thing,” said Spotted Deer. “I believe Standing Wolf and the medicine-men
will have much to do with it. If we watch sharp perhaps we will find out
something about the mysterious medicine-bundle that gives this great
chief his power.”

“Yes, that is true,” replied Running Fox. “But we must be very careful.
The Mohawks are as cute as Sanquen, the weasel. If they find out what we
are after it will be the end of us.”

The Green Corn Festival began at dawn the following day. The Delawares
were awakened by a number of criers, or couriers, who hurried through
the camp calling the people from their lodges. As the lads reached the
door of their lodge they saw the Mohawks gathering in the center of the
village.

“Come, let us go over there, and see what is going to happen,” proposed
Spotted Deer.

“Perhaps that will make the Mohawks mad,” suggested Running Fox.

“Well, that may be true,” replied Spotted Deer. “But I am going to see
how near I can get.”

A moment afterward they were hurrying toward the center of the camp.
They had not gone far, however, when they encountered a surly looking
old woman who instantly challenged them. Pointing toward the lodge which
they had just left she made them understand that they were to return at
once. To be ordered about by a toothless old woman was a rather
humiliating experience for the high tempered young Delawares, especially
as they saw a number of warriors looking on with great amusement. For a
moment, therefore, the lads held their ground. This drove the old woman
into a wild rage, and she immediately seized a stick and began to beat
them. Realizing that further resistance might lead to more serious
consequences the Delawares began to walk slowly toward their lodge. The
old woman was not satisfied, however, and she tried to make them run. A
great crowd had gathered to watch her, and the Delawares heard much
jeering and laughing at their expense. Carried away by anger, Spotted
Deer suddenly wheeled and sprang at his tormentor, yelling so fiercely
that the old woman dropped her stick and hobbled away as fast as she
could go. The Mohawks were quick to see the humorous side of the
incident, and laughed good naturedly.

“I believe that old woman is a witch,” Running Fox declared, angrily,
when they reached the lodge. “She made us look foolish. Some time I will
kill many Mohawks to wipe that out of my heart.”

“She made me very mad,” replied Spotted Deer. “Well, I frightened her,
and now all the people are laughing about it. We must watch out. She
will try to harm us.”

Then their thoughts were diverted by the appearance of Standing Wolf and
a number of the principal men of the tribe. They stood in the middle of
the camp, and the Mohawks formed around them. There was a few moments of
silence, and then the Mohawk chief addressed his people. The eyes of the
Delawares glowed threateningly as they watched him, for he was a cruel,
relentless foe whom they had learned to hate.

“I would like to kill that man,” declared Spotted Deer.

“I believe he bears a charmed life,” said Running Fox. “We must find out
how he gets his power before we can kill him.”

“When Standing Wolf had finished speaking he called the father of the
lad who had befriended the Delawares, and the medicine-man approached
with something wrapped in a small black bearskin. Then he drew off the
robe, and presented Standing Wolf with what appeared to be a small
bundle of bird and animal skins.

“It is the mysterious medicine-bundle!” Spotted Deer whispered,
excitedly.

“Do not talk—watch,” Running Fox cautioned him.

They saw Standing Wolf carefully unfasten the wrappings from the
medicine-bundle, and remove a skin of the great white Medicine Owl. He
held it before him, and raised his face toward the heavens. It was
evident that he was chanting a sacred medicine-song. Then he turned
toward the four principal points of the compass, and repeated the
ceremony. The Delawares watched him with fascinated eyes. They believed
that at last the secret of his power had been discovered. Gokhos, the
mysterious white Medicine Owl, was his lucky talisman.

“Now I know why Getanittowit put us in this camp,” said Running Fox.
“Yes, I have seen the white robe of Gokhos, the Medicine Owl, and I will
not go away without it.”

“It is wrapped in the mysterious medicine-bundle,” Spotted Deer warned
him. “Much harm may come to us if we open one of those bundles.”

“No, I do not believe it,” replied Running Fox. “I must do as it
appeared in my dream. Spotted Deer, if we get that mysterious white
skin, I believe we will become as great as Standing Wolf.”

The thought fired their imagination. They lost all further interest in
the Green Corn Festival, and cared only to know into which lodge the
medicine-man carried the sacred bundle. They watched patiently until the
first day’s ceremony ended at midday. Then they sought to keep the
medicine-man and his precious burden in sight, but in spite of their
best efforts he eluded them in the great throng of Mohawks, and their
long vigil ended in bitter disappointment.

“I believe we will find it in the lodge of that medicine-man,” declared
Spotted Deer.

“No, I believe it is in the lodge of Standing Wolf,” said Running Fox.

“Well, if that is true perhaps some bad Medicine Creatures will kill us
if we go into the lodge,” Spotted Deer suggested, solemnly.

“Well, I cannot help it,” replied Running Fox. “When I find out where
the mysterious medicine-bundle hangs I am going in to get that skin.”

“How will you get away?” inquired Spotted Deer.

“When I have that big medicine thing I will be able to do anything,”
Running Fox assured him.

The Mohawks devoted the balance of the day to sports and games, and at
dark they gathered for the great feast of succotash, which was made of
corn, beans and squashes. The food was cooked in large clay urns, or
bowls, and each member of the tribe helped himself. Before the people
began to eat, however, one of the medicine-men started a weird,
melancholy chant, and in a few moments the entire tribe united in a
mighty chorus. It was a song of thanks to the Great Spirit, for
supplying their wants. At the end of the simple ceremony, the Mohawks
proceeded to enjoy themselves. The Delawares looked on with envious
eyes, for in spite of the hilarity and good-will which prevailed at the
feast the Mohawks showed no intention of sending any of the food to
their captives. “Perhaps this would be a good time to look for the
medicine-bundle,” suggested Spotted Deer. “The Mohawks are all together
in the middle of the camp, and there will be no one to see us.”

“No, we must not go now,” Running Fox told him. “If we leave this lodge
they will know about It. When we go to look for the medicine-bundle we
must know how we are going to get out of the camp.”

The Green Corn Festival continued through the three following days, and
each night the feast was resumed. The last night, however, was largely
given up to a number of sacred dances which the Delawares were not
permitted to see. While the dances were in progress the lads were bound,
and confined in their lodge. An aged warrior sat in the doorway to
prevent them from looking out.

The following day the village was thrown into a turmoil by the return of
several Mohawk hunters who said that a large war-party of Chippewas were
approaching from the north. The Delawares learned the news from their
friend, the son of the medicine-man. He said that the Mohawks expected
the Chippewas to attack the village in revenge for the death of a number
of Chippewa hunters whom the Mohawks had surprised and killed some time
previously.

“Yes, there will be a big fight,” declared the Mohawk. “The Chippewas
are very fierce, but my people will kill them. My friends, I warn you to
be very careful what you do. If you try to get away, or try to help the
Chippewas, you will surely be killed.”

The Delawares instantly realized the significance of his warning, and
they determined to profit by it. They knew that it would be foolhardy to
attempt to escape while the camp was besieged by enemies, for it was
certain that the entrances and weak spots would be more closely guarded
than ever. Besides, they had little doubt that if they should fall into
the hands of the Chippewas the latter would mistake them for Mohawks,
and kill them at once.

“This thing is bad for us,” said Running Fox. “If this fight goes
against the Mohawks they will believe that we have brought bad fortune
upon them, and perhaps they will kill us. If the Chippewas break into
the village they will kill us for Mohawks. We must do what we can to
show the Mohawks that we have nothing to do with it.”

The Delawares wisely remained in their lodge, therefore, while the
Mohawks prepared for battle. Scouts were immediately sent out to locate
the hostile war-party, while a great company of warriors assembled to
defend the camp. Standing Wolf and a number of sub-chiefs and
medicine-men hurried to the council-lodge.

“Now perhaps we will see how this great chief gets his power,” said
Spotted Deer.

“We will try to watch him,” replied Running Fox.

The day was almost ended when the lads saw the scouts enter the camp. A
short time afterward the young Mohawk came to the lodge, and told the
Delawares that the Mohawks expected the Chippewas to attack the village
some time during the night or early dawn. He also boasted that his
people had gained a notable victory over the Shawnees, and had sent
them, fleeing toward their own boundaries in a wild panic.

“The foolish Chippewas have come a long distance to get here, but we
will soon chase them away,” declared the Mohawk lad.

“Perhaps it will not be so easy,” suggested Spotted Deer.

“You will see,” laughed the young Mohawk.

The Delawares awaited the encounter with considerable impatience. They
had been warned against leaving the lodge under penalty of death, and
they realized that they would see little of the fight. However, they
were determined to see as much as possible, and as soon as it grew dark
they seated themselves in the doorway of the lodge. The camp was
brightly illuminated to guard against the Chippewas scaling the stockade
without being seen. Groups of warriors stood about the barred entrances,
and others patrolled the inside of the stockade. Standing Wolf and
several noted war-leaders stood in the center of the camp to give
commands. The women and children, and even the dogs, were sheltered in
the lodges.

“See, those warriors are talking about us,” said Running Fox.

Two of the warriors with Standing Wolf were looking toward the
Delawares. In a few moments they spoke to the war-chief, and he, too,
looked toward the Delawares.

“We have done a bad thing to show ourselves,” Running Fox declared,
uneasily.

The next moment they saw Standing Wolf call one of the fighting men, and
point at the lodge. The warrior at once turned and walked rapidly toward
the Delawares.

“Something is going to happen to us,” said Running Fox.

“Come, we will move back into the lodge,” proposed Spotted Deer.

“No!” cried Running Fox. “We will not be frightened into our den like
rabbits. We have put ourselves here. Well, we will stay here and meet
this man.”

As the warrior approached them he began to talk fiercely, and point
toward the interior of the lodge. The Delawares had little doubt about
his meaning, and yet they made no attempt to comply with his commands. A
moment later they realized their folly, for the Mohawk raised his bow
and shot an arrow directly between them. It was a hint which they
thought it well to accept, and they immediately withdrew into the lodge.
The Mohawk entered after them, however, and proceeded to bind their
hands and feet. Then, to make matters worse, he tied buckskin bandages
over their eyes.

“Well, we have got ourselves into this trouble,” Running Fox declared,
savagely. “It was foolish to show ourselves to Standing Wolf. Now we
will see nothing. If the Chippewas get into the camp we will be killed
like Moskimus, the rabbit, when we find him in our traps.”

“It is bad,” agreed Spotted Deer.

They lay a long time listening for the sounds of battle. An unusual hush
had fallen upon the camp, and it was evident that the Mohawks also were
listening. Then the notes of Gokhos, the owl, sounded close outside the
camp. In a few moments they heard the logs being drawn from the opening
in the stockade.

“One of the scouts has come into the camp to tell about something,” said
Spotted Deer.

“Listen!” cried Running Fox. “The Chippewas have come.”

The melancholy howl of the timber wolf rang through the forest. It rose
on four sides of the camp. Then a wild outburst of yells broke forth
close to the stockade.

“The fight has begun!” Spotted Deer cried, excitedly.

For some time the Mohawks and their foes contented themselves with
shouting defiance at one another. It was evident that the former felt
quite secure behind their log stockade, and had no inclination to risk
themselves in the open. It was not long, however, before the Delawares
heard sounds which led them to believe that the Chippewas intended to
force the fighting. They had apparently kindled fires on all side of the
stockade in an effort to burn the village. The possibility was somewhat
alarming to the helpless young captives in the deserted lodge. Once the
stockade caught fire they knew that it would only be a question of
moments before the dry bark lodge would be in flames. However, the noise
from the camp indicated that the Mohawks were quick to realize the
peril, and the Delawares had little doubt that they would rush out and
attempt to extinguish the fires.

“Listen, the Mohawks are on the outside of the camp!” Running Fox cried,
a few moments later.

The Delawares heard the fierce Mohawk war-cry ringing through the night
on every side of the village, and they knew that a great fight was
taking place on the other side of the stockade. The village was in wild
disorder. The sounds of battle had alarmed the women and children, and
roused the dogs, and all of them added their voices to the din. The camp
was lighted by the lurid glare of the flames, while dense clouds of
smoke rolled into the lodges. The Delawares feared that some of them had
already been set on fire. Then somewhere on the opposite side of the
village they heard sounds which set their hearts beating wildly.

“I believe the Chippewas have got into the camp!” declared Spotted Deer.
“We will see if the great Standing Wolf can drive them out.”

However, in a few moments they heard the triumphant yells of the
Mohawks, and they knew that the Chippewas had been forced out or
overcome. The fight on the outside of the camp seemed to be raging in
undiminished fury. Then there, too, the Mohawk war-cry echoed
triumphantly through the night, and the Delawares believed that for the
moment at least the Chippewas had been driven off.

“Well, the Mohawks have won a big battle,” said Spotted Deer, as the
sounds of conflict gradually subsided.

“It is good,” declared Running Fox. “Perhaps it will help us. I believe
the Chippewas have made a hole into the camp. Perhaps we will be able to
crawl out.”

Soon afterward they heard the Mohawk war-party entering the village in
triumph. They marched noisily about the camp shouting, and singing their
war-songs. The Delawares wondered whether they had brought in any
prisoners. Then the young Mohawk entered the lodge, and saw the
predicament of his friends.

“Hi, my friends, my people have done what I told you about,” he cried,
as he stooped and took the bandages from their eyes. “We have killed
many Chippewas. All who escaped are running toward their lodges.
Standing Wolf ran out and killed three Chippewas at one time. He is a
great man. Perhaps this great victory will make his heart good toward
you. Perhaps he will let you go. Now I will go, and talk with my father
about it. Perhaps he will help you.”

“You are a Mohawk, but you are a good friend,” Running Fox said, warmly.

While the Delawares had little hope that the fierce Mohawk chief would
relent and give them their liberty, still they realized that an appeal
in their behalf from one of the powerful Mohawk medicine-men might go a
long way toward gaining them sufficient freedom to enable them to
escape.

“See, they do not free our hands and feet,” said Spotted Deer. “I
believe the Chippewas have made an opening into the camp.”

“Well, we must try to do something,” declared Running Fox. “Pretty soon
it will get light. Then perhaps we can look around, and see what has
happened.”



                         CHAPTER XVI—THE ESCAPE


The following day the Delawares waited impatiently for an opportunity to
venture into the village, and learn the result of the battle. However,
the day was more than half gone before any one came to the lodge to free
them. Then a warrior came, and unbound them. He made them understand
that they might go into the camp, and partake of food.

“This is bad,” said Running Fox, as they left the lodge. “The Mohawks
kept us tied up until they closed up the place where the Chippewas got
in. Now there is no chance to get out.”

“Yes, I believe that is true,” agreed Spotted Deer.

They found the Mohawks still jubilant over their victory. The lads
realized, therefore, that it would be foolish to show themselves too
prominently at that time. Many of the younger warriors seemed carried
away by the glory of their first triumph, and the Delawares knew that
they would be only too willing to find an excuse for attacking them. For
some time the lads had been quite free from annoyance, and they had no
desire to lose the privileges which their long stay in the Mohawk camp
had brought them.

“Those young men are very fierce,” said Running Fox. “We must be very
cautious. I believe the best thing to do is to keep away from them.”

“Yes, I am watching them,” replied Spotted Deer. “We will take some
meat, and go back to the lodge.”

The Delawares made their way toward the old woman who had brought their
food. She was stirring something in a large clay urn which she had
propped up among the embers of the cooking fire. When the lads reached
her they stopped and waited expectantly. For some time the old woman
took no notice of them. Then the warrior who had unbound them shouted
some commands, and the woman immediately seized a forked stick and drew
a piece of deer meat from the urn. She gave it to the Delawares, and
motioned them away. Having learned the folly of opposing those irritable
old scolds, the lads determined to move off at once.

At that moment, however, some of the young Mohawks spied them, and ran
forward shaking their weapons, and yelling fiercely. The Delawares
immediately stopped and stood at bay. The Mohawks rushed up to them, and
tore the meat from the grasp of Spotted Deer. They threw it upon the
ground, and kicked it about in the dirt. Then one who appeared to be the
leader picked it up, and offered it to Spotted Deer. Before Running Fox
could warn him, Spotted Deer seized the meat and hurled it into the face
of the young Mohawk.

The next instant the enraged Mohawk and Spotted Deer were glaring
furiously into each other’s eyes. The Mohawk was only a lad, but he
looked considerably older and stronger than the Delaware. However,
Spotted Deer showed no fear of him. For a moment it looked as if the
friends of the Mohawk were about to take the matter out of his hands by
annihilating both of the Delawares. The one who had been insulted,
however, warned them against interfering. It was plain that he intended
to avenge the affront without assistance. His friends held back,
therefore, watching Running Fox. The latter realized that Spotted Deer
must settle the matter alone, but he determined to rush into the fight
at the first hint of the Mohawks reinforcing their tribesman.

Word of the impending battle had already been shouted through the camp,
and the Mohawks were running toward the spot from all parts of the
village. They formed a square about Spotted Deer and his adversary, but
showed no inclination to interfere with either of them. Running Fox
stood several bow-lengths from his friend, staring defiantly at the
young Mohawks.

For some moments the young warriors continued to glare at each other.
Each appeared to be trying to frighten the other, but neither seemed
much alarmed. Then, as his people urged him on, the Mohawk crouched and
began to circle about Spotted Deer, with his war-club in his hand. The
Delaware straightened and opened his palms, as he smiled scornfully at
his foe. For a moment the Mohawk hesitated. Then he accepted the
challenge, and threw down his weapon. A murmur of approval ran through
the Mohawks. Running Fox felt greatly relieved.

The Mohawk continued to circle cautiously about Spotted Deer, looking
for an opening. The Delaware, however, was equally alert, and kept
turning slowly with his eyes fixed on those of his foe. Several times
the Mohawk crouched and pretended he was about to spring in, but each
time he found Spotted Deer ready for him. Then for many moments they
circled, and dodged, and tried for an advantage, while the Mohawks
shouted encouragement to their young tribesman, and Running Fox prayed
silently to Getanittowit for the success of Spotted Deer.

Then the Mohawk thought he saw a chance, and sprang forward with the
agility and strength of a young panther. However, Spotted Deer had
anticipated the attack, and jumped back in time to escape being caught.
He wheeled about, and sought to catch his foe, but the Mohawk had
already recovered himself and resumed his position of defense. Both lads
had given a wonderful exhibition of quickness, and the Mohawks yelled
their delight. They began to realize that the Delaware was no mean
adversary for his older and larger opponent, and the prospect of a
desperate encounter filled them with enthusiasm.

In the meantime Running Fox had remained an impassive spectator. He
never for an instant appeared to lose control of himself. To all
appearances he was absolutely confident about the outcome of the battle.
However, had the Mohawks been able to read his thoughts they would have
learned the true state of his feelings. He knew that the impulsive act
of Spotted Deer had placed them in a desperate situation, and he foresaw
serious consequences. If the young Mohawk should win the encounter,
Running Fox realized that they would be made to suffer all sorts of
indignities from the younger members of the tribe. On the other hand, if
Spotted Deer should vanquish his rival it was equally certain that the
Mohawks would find some way of avenging the defeat. Running Fox waited,
therefore, prepared to act when the emergency presented itself.

Spotted Deer was quick to realize that the advantage rested with his
adversary, and he made no attempt to force the fighting. He had been
thoroughly trained in the art of wrestling, and he determined to remain
on the defensive until he had provoked the young Mohawk into exposing
himself. The latter, however, appeared to have been equally well
schooled in that particular style of combat, and he, too, seemed intent
upon waiting for an advantage that would give him an easy victory. For a
long time he tried to trick the Delaware by jumping forward as though he
were about to grapple with him. It appeared to be a favorite ruse, and
he seemed considerably surprised when Spotted Deer refused to be
deceived. Then the latter began to laugh at him. It was a daring bit of
effrontery which instantly roused the anger of the Mohawk and his
tribesmen. The result was exactly what Spotted Deer wished it to be, for
the infuriated young Mohawk immediately lost control of himself.
Throwing aside his caution, he rushed recklessly upon his foe.

The Mohawk sprang toward Spotted Deer in an effort to seize him by the
throat. Spotted Deer dodged and tripped him. Then as the Mohawk stumbled
forward the Delaware sprang upon him, and bore him to the ground. The
next moment Spotted Deer found himself upon his back with his foe
striving to throttle him. Aware that he was battling for his life, the
Delaware fought with the fury of a wildcat. After a few moments of
desperate fighting he managed to wriggle free, and rise to his knees.
Then the Mohawk again forced him to the ground. This time, however,
Spotted Deer found an opening, and locked an arm about the neck of his
foe. With his free hand he began to beat the Mohawk fiercely in the
eyes. It was the only style of fighting he knew, and his foe was using
similar tactics against him. In this primitive mode of fighting there
was no thought of fair-play. The same code of honor prevailed among all
the tribes, namely to disable or kill an adversary in the quickest
possible manner, and to accept punishment and death without flinching.
Both young warriors had been trained in that rigorous code, and both
were making every effort to live up to its principles.

It soon became apparent that unless the Mohawk speedily broke from the
grip of his foe he was doomed. Spotted Deer had forced his head down
close to the ground, and was punishing him without mercy. The Mohawk was
fighting furiously to free himself, but Spotted Deer held on with grim
determination. It was a desperate battle in which fists, feet and teeth
all played a part.

The Mohawks were wild with excitement. They saw their young tribesman in
grave danger of defeat, and the thought drove them into a frenzy. They
began dancing madly about the fighters, yelling encouragement to the
Mohawk, and threatening his foe. Running Fox watched them with great
anxiety. He feared that the emergency he had dreaded was at hand.

Spotted Deer was slowly choking the Mohawk into a condition of utter
helplessness. He had him entirely at his mercy, and it was plain that he
had no idea of sparing him. It was also plain that the Mohawks were
about ready to rush to the assistance of their tribesman. At that
moment, however, the battle was unexpectedly ended by the father of the
lad who had befriended the Delawares. Rushing up to the fighters the
medicine-man seized Spotted Deer and pulled him to his feet. For a
moment the furious young Delaware seemed about to attack the man who had
snatched away his victory. However, a warning glance from Running Fox
told him his peril, and he submitted to the interference. Then the
friends of the defeated young warrior rushed toward the Delawares to
avenge their tribesman. They were met by the Mohawk medicine-man who
dispersed them, and escorted the Delawares to their lodge.

“Hi, that was a great fight,” laughed Spotted Deer, when they were
safely in the lodge.

“Yes, you were brave enough but you have done a bad thing,” said Running
Fox. “Now there is no chance for us. Listen, the Mohawks are yelling out
there in front of the lodge. Pretty soon we will be taken out there and
killed.”

They heard a great commotion before the lodge, and they had little doubt
that the friends of the vanquished Mohawk were demanding their lives.
They knew better than to show themselves. In a few moments the friendly
young Mohawk came to them.

“My friends, do you hear that noise?” he asked. “Well, do you know what
it means? The young men are very mad. They want to kill you. Do not be
afraid. My father and Standing Wolf are talking to them. Pretty soon
they will send them away. You were very brave. Some of my people feel
good toward you. But I warn you that you must not do any more fighting.
If you do you will surely be killed.”

“You have come to us like a good friend,” replied Running Fox. “We will
keep thinking about your words.”

The noise ceased soon after the young Mohawk left them, and the
Delawares believed that the disturbers had finally dispersed. It was
some time, however, before they thought it wise to show themselves in
the doorway of their lodge. Then they saw that the village had
apparently become quiet.

Several days later a large company of warriors suddenly left the camp,
and the Delawares were glad to see that most of the young men who had
annoyed them were members of the party. They wondered if it were a
war-party. It seemed unlikely, for the warriors had left the camp
without ceremony, and the people showed little interest in their
departure.

“I believe they are either hunters or scouts,” said Spotted Deer.

“There are too many for scouts,” Running Fox told him. “We must try to
find out about it I believe it is a good thing for us. Now the people
who troubled us have gone away. There are not many warriors about. It
will be a good time to try to do something.”

When the young Mohawk came to see them they tried to learn the purpose
and destination of the warriors who had left the camp. Their efforts
were in vain, however, for the Mohawk professed to know nothing about
it. When they continued to question him he grew angry, and left the
lodge.

“Now we have done another foolish thing,” said Running Fox. “We have
made that young man mad. Perhaps he might have helped us. Now he may
turn against us.”

“No, I do not believe that,” Spotted Deer assured him. “He is our
friend. He will not do anything to harm us.”

“Spotted Deer, we must do something before those young men come back,”
declared Running Fox. “There are three things to be done. First we must
find a way to get out of this camp. Then we must find something to fight
with. Then we must get that mysterious medicine-bundle.”

“Those are hard things to do,” said Spotted Deer.

“Well, we must do them,” replied Running Fox. “When it gets dark, and
the Mohawks go to the lodges, I am going to creep around the village and
see if there is any way to get out.”

“Running Fox, if you do that you will surely be killed,” warned Spotted
Deer.

“No, I will not get caught,” Running Fox assured him.

Late that night Running Fox left the lodge, and stole quietly through
the camp until he reached the stockade. It was the first time he had
dared to approach it, and as he crept cautiously along in its shadow his
heart beat fast with excitement. He knew that if he were discovered it
would mean death not only for himself, but for Spotted Deer as well. The
thought made him careful. Stealthily, a stride at a time, he moved
toward the entrance of the camp. When he finally came near it, he
stopped to listen. All seemed safe, however, and he went on. In a few
moments he reached the great barricade of logs that closed the stockade.
He spent some time trying to move them, but without result. It was
apparent that it would require the united efforts of a number of strong
men to open the way into the village. Realizing the folly of wasting his
strength, Running Fox turned his attention to the upper part of the
stockade. He found that by climbing on top of the logs that formed the
barricade he was more than half-way to the top of the stockade. The
discovery filled him with delight. He believed that by placing Spotted
Deer on the barricade and standing upon his shoulders he might be able
to spring up and grasp the top of the stockade. Then he knew it would be
possible to draw himself to the top. Once there he felt quite sure that
he could reach down, and find a way to rescue Spotted Deer.

When Running Fox returned to the lodge he found that Spotted Deer had
disappeared. The discovery filled him with alarm. He wondered what it
meant. All sorts of startling possibilities flashed into his mind.
However, while he was trying to puzzle it out Spotted Deer appeared.

“Well, what have you done?” Running Fox inquired, sharply.

“I have brought some things to fight with,” said Spotted Deer.

He had scouted about the camp, and found two bows, a war-club and a case
of arrows. Running Fox listened to the story of his exploit in
amazement. Spotted Deer said that he had entered two lodges, and moved
cautiously among the sleepers until he found what he wanted. Once he had
been compelled to lie in the shadows while a warrior passed within
bow-length of him.

“You have been very brave,” said Running Fox. “But perhaps the Mohawks
will miss these things. Then it may make trouble for us.”

“I do not believe anything will come of it,” laughed Spotted Deer.

“Well, we must hide them with great care,” said Running Fox.

“No, we must not hide them, we must use them,” Spotted Deer declared,
excitedly. “Running Fox, I have found the mysterious medicine-bundle!”

The announcement so astounded Running Fox that it was some moments
before he was able to speak. The thing seemed impossible. He feared to
believe it.

“Spotted Deer, your words have set me shaking like an old man,” he
stammered, “I know that you have told me what is true, and still I am
afraid to believe it.”

“What I tell you is true,” Spotted Deer assured him. “The mysterious
medicine-bundle is hanging in the sacred medicine-lodge.”

“How did you know about it?” inquired Running Fox.

“I did not know about it,” acknowledged Spotted Deer. “When you went out
to look for a way to get out of the camp, I said, ‘Now I must do
something.’ Then I thought about the mysterious medicine-bundle. I
wanted to find it. I believed it must be in the sacred lodge. I told you
about that. Well, I found the lodge, but I was afraid to go in. Yes, I
was afraid of the Bad Spirits that help the Mohawks. Well, I was ashamed
about that. I went in. I moved around. I saw the mysterious
medicine-bundle hanging on three sticks. Then I heard a noise. Something
squeaked like Achpoques, the wood-mouse. I believe it was a Bad Spirit.
Well, I was afraid to touch that mysterious medicine-bundle, because
nothing wonderful has ever happened to me. You have seen the Medicine
People. Nothing can harm you. Now you must go to the sacred lodge, and
carry out the mysterious Medicine Thing that gives Standing Wolf his
power over our people. It will soon be light. You must not wait.”

Running Fox hurriedly told his plan for escaping from the village. He
told Spotted Deer to wait for him near the entrance into the camp. Then
he hastened away to secure the sacred medicine-trophy. As Spotted Deer
had said, the night was three-quarters gone, and Running Fox knew that
there was not a moment to spare. Still he realized that it might be
fatal to his chances to postpone the attempt until the following day. He
knew, too, that the company of warriors might return at any moment, and
he believed that the wisest course would be to take advantage of the
opportunity which had presented itself.

As Running Fox saw the outlines of the sacred lodge looming up before
him, he stopped and raised his face toward the heavens. He prayed
fervently to Getanittowit to help him in the great thing he was about to
attempt. Then he spent some time listening. The camp was still, and he
advanced toward the lodge. He had almost reached it when he was stopped
by a noise behind him. Some one was approaching. His heart jumped wildly
at the thought. Still he determined to stand his ground. Having got that
near to the prize, he had no idea of surrendering without a struggle.
Spotted Deer had given him one of the bows and a handful of arrows, and
he prepared to surprise and attack whoever was stealing upon him under
cover of the night.

The moments passed and no one appeared. Running Fox grew impatient. He
looked anxiously toward the east and thought he detected the first faint
trace of dawn. Each instant he delayed strengthened the chance of
failure. The thought made him reckless. He turned to enter the lodge. At
that moment he heard a low threatening growl close beside him. Then the
truth instantly flashed through his mind. One of the dogs had got his
scent. He had been long enough in the camp to win the confidence of the
surly wolf-like creatures that abounded there, and once the dog
recognized him he had little fear that it would raise an alarm. Still he
determined to take no chances. As it came close to him, growling and
sniffing, he drove an arrow through its heart. It fell without a sound.
The next moment Running Fox entered the sacred lodge.

Once inside, the lad hesitated, for his heart suddenly became filled
with superstitious fear. He had heard many stories about the fierce
Medicine-Spirits whom his people blamed for the remarkable success of
Standing Wolf and his warriors, and he had little doubt that something
terrible was about to happen to him. Then he suddenly recalled the words
of Spotted Deer, ”You have seen the mysterious Medicine People. Nothing
can harm you.“ The assurance gave him confidence. He believed that to
hesitate longer would show lack of faith in Getanittowit, in old Sky Dog
and in the powerful Medicine Beings that had appeared in his dream.

Moving carefully toward the rear of the lodge, Running Fox located the
tripod of poles which held the mysterious medicine-bundle. For a moment
the Delaware feared to touch it, lest he should be instantly destroyed
by some strange Medicine Being. However, the thought of helping his
people made him bold, and he reached out and removed the bundle from the
poles. Then for some moments he worked feverishly at the fastenings.
When the bundle lay open before him his eager eyes quickly discovered
the sacred white pelt of Gokhos, the Medicine-Owl. As he finally held it
in his hands, the superstitious lad believed that he had suddenly
received the power of the famous Mohawk war-chief. Hastily retying the
medicine-bundle, he hung it in its accustomed place, and hurried from
the lodge.

Running Fox was running toward the stockade when he suddenly encountered
some one walking through the camp. They were face to face before either
of them realized it, and there was little chance of avoiding
recognition. Running Fox tried to withdraw into the night, but the
Mohawk jumped forward and peered intently into his face. He identified
him at once. Running Fox tried to use his bow, but the Mohawk was too
close. He seized the Delaware, and shouted to rouse the camp. He was a
large, powerful man, but Running Fox was too quick for him. He jabbed an
arrow directly into his face, and as the Mohawk shrank back the lad
wrenched himself free and darted toward his goal.

“Jump up there!” shouted Running Fox, when he reached Spotted Deer.

They climbed nimbly to the top of the log barricade that closed the
entrance to the village, and then Running Fox clambered upon the
shoulders of Spotted Deer. The camp was in a wild turmoil, and they knew
it was only a question of moments before the Mohawks would be upon them.
Running Fox found that he was almost a bow-length from the top of the
stockade. The distance was greater than he had expected to find it, and
for a moment he lost hope. Then, as he realized what it would mean to
fail, he sprang frantically upward. His fingers closed about the tops of
the logs, and he struggled furiously to hold fast. For a moment or so it
seemed as if he must slip back. Then he found a toe-hold against one of
the logs, and improved his grip on the top of the stockade. The next
moment he had drawn himself to the top.

“The Mohawks are here, jump down and save yourself,” cried Spotted Deer.

Running Fox took no heed of the warning. Instead he lay across the top
of the stockade, and reached down to rescue Spotted Deer.

“Jump up, I will help you!” he shouted.

A moment later they had clasped hands, and Spotted Deer was struggling
desperately to reach the top of the stockade. Arrows were already
whizzing past them, but as yet the darkness had saved them from harm.
Once Spotted Deer had gained the top of the stockade in safety, they
turned about and dropped to the ground on the outside of the camp. They
heard the Mohawks struggling frantically with the logs that closed the
doorway.

“Come, we must ran fast!” cried Running Fox, as he dashed for the woods.

“I will follow you,” replied Spotted Deer.

Then they heard a wild babel of sounds behind them, and they knew that
the Mohawks were rushing from the camp. Above the tumult sounded the
fierce cry of Nianque, the lynx, the danger signal of the Mohawks. It
seemed to come from the top of the stockade, and the Delawares believed
that the Mohawks were sending a warning to the warriors who had left the
camp earlier in the day.



                   CHAPTER XVII—PURSUED BY THE ENEMY


The Delawares bounded through the woods like frightened deer, for they
knew that the Mohawks were close at their heels. Then they heard
something that filled them with dread. The dogs were baying fiercely on
their trail.

“Listen, the Mohawks have sent their dogs after us,” Running Fox cried,
savagely. “They will follow us like wolves. It will be hard to get
away.”

“Well, if they come up with us, we will stop and kill them,” said
Spotted Deer.

“We have few arrows,” Running Fox warned him.

“Perhaps we will not need them,” replied Spotted Deer. “These dogs have
seen us there in that camp many days. Perhaps when they find out who we
are they will not trouble us.”

“That may be true,” Running Fox agreed, hopefully.

They noted that the savage baying had already grown weaker in volume,
and they believed that most of the dogs had abandoned the chase, and
were barking from the edge of the camp. There were some, however, that
seemed intent upon overtaking the fugitives. In fact it was only a few
moments before the lads heard them bounding through the undergrowth a
short distance behind them. Realizing that flight would only invite an
attack, the lads instantly stopped and waited for the dogs to come up
with them.

“Here they are—watch sharp!” cried Running Fox.

The next moment four great wolf-like creatures overtook them. As the
lads faced them and ordered them off the curs seemed to recognize them.
They circled cautiously about them, sniffing and bristling, but showed
no disposition to attack. There was one, however, that suddenly grew
threatening as the Delawares attempted to resume their flight. It
snarled viciously, and rushed toward Spotted Deer. He waited until it
came within arm’s reach, and cracked its skull with the Mohawk war-club.

“Now we will get away,” he laughed, as the other dogs drew their tails
between their legs and scurried toward the village.

Without the help of the dogs the Mohawks soon blundered from the trail,
and it was not long before the lads heard them signaling on all sides of
them. What disturbed them was the fact that some of the Mohawks seemed
to be ahead of them. They could scarcely believe that their foes had
actually passed them, and they wondered if it might not be some of the
warriors who had left the camp early in the day.

“The Mohawks have surrounded us,” Spotted Deer said, uneasily.

“No, I am not afraid about that,” replied Running Fox. “They have lost
the trail, and they are scattering to find it. If we watch sharp we will
get by them.”

When it grew light the lads began to look for certain landmarks which
they had fixed in their memory. They planned to skirt the edge of the
lake where they had blundered into the Shawnees, and then make directly
toward the river. As the day progressed and they continued to avoid
their foes they began to feel more confident. Running Fox had little
doubt that the skin of the great white Medicine Owl was beginning to
exert its power.

“When the Mohawks find out that we have taken away the skin of Gokhos I
believe they will be afraid to follow us,” said Spotted Deer.

“No, I feel different about it,” replied Running Fox. “When Standing
Wolf finds out what we have done I believe he will bring a great
war-party to fight us. Yes, I believe he is already on our trail. We
must travel fast to warn our people.”

The sun was disappearing behind the western hills when the Delawares
finally reached the northern end of the lake. They had traveled at top
speed ever since their escape from the camp, and they were tired and
hungry. Nevertheless they feared to stop. They had little doubt that at
least some of the Mohawks were close behind them, and they knew it might
be fatal to sacrifice even part of their lead.

“We must keep going,” Running Fox said, grimly. “If the Mohawks do not
come up with us pretty soon I believe they will begin to hold back.”

They continued along the shore of the lake, and had gone about half of
its length before night finally overtook them. Then a big red moon rose,
and flooded the forest with its light. It blazed a broad silver trail
across the water, and as they watched it they suddenly saw the black
phantom-like forms of three canoes sweep swiftly across the path of
light. They were within bow-shot of the shore, and were apparently
making for the end of the lake.

“The Mohawks have fooled us,” said Running Fox. “Now they will get to
the river ahead of us. Perhaps they will wait at the end of this water.
We must keep a sharp watch.”

He had barely finished speaking when a loon called a short distance
farther down the lake. The Delawares felt certain that it was a signal
from the canoemen. In a few moments they were sure of it when they heard
a fox yapping on the opposite shore. Then close behind them sounded the
call of Gokhos, the owl.

“The Mohawks are all around us,” whispered Spotted Deer.

They believed that there was a shorter trail between the Mohawk camp and
the head of the lake, which accounted for the Mohawks overtaking them.
It was evident that they hoped to intercept them before they reached the
river. Spotted Deer proposed that when they reached the end of the lake
they should make a long detour toward the east, and gradually circle
back to the river. Running Fox promptly decided against it.

“No, that would take a long time,” he said. “We have done what we set
out to do. Now we must take the shortest trail to our people. I believe
we will find danger any way we go. The best way is to go ahead until we
strike the river.”

“We will do as you say,” agreed Spotted Deer.

Then for three long days they skulked through the forest endeavoring to
reach the headwaters of the river. Twice they were turned back, and
compelled to make long, wearying detours. When they finally reached
their goal near the end of the fourth day, they were almost on the point
of collapse. However, the sight of the river gave them new strength, for
it seemed like a friendly trail to their own village.

“Now we will soon be with our people,” laughed Spotted Deer.

“We will find much danger before we reach them,” Running Fox warned him.

The Delawares had little doubt that the Mohawks had canoes concealed
somewhere near the headwaters of the river, but they believed they had
already been put to use by their owners. Therefore, the lads determined
to take no chances trying to find them. Their one thought was to reach
their people in time to warn them against the great war-party that they
felt sure would follow them to the Delaware camp.

Late the second day they suddenly came in sight of a single canoe
directly ahead of them. It contained three Mohawk warriors, and was
close to the shore along which the Delawares were traveling. The
paddlers appeared tired, and the lads felt certain that they had paddled
desperately down the river in a last effort to overtake them before they
reached the Delaware hunting grounds.

“Look, those warriors are coming to the shore,” whispered Spotted Deer.

Shortly afterward the Mohawks brought the canoe to land, and two of the
paddlers stepped out. The third, however, remained in the canoe, and
paddled across to the opposite shore. Then, he, too, landed, and drew
the canoe into the bushes. Then all three Mohawks disappeared into the
woods.

“Those warriors have come a long ways ahead of the war-party to look for
us,” whispered Running Fox. “If they do not find us they will wait until
their people come.”

The lads were fearful of colliding with the canoemen who had disembarked
on their side of the river, and they determined to hide themselves until
darkness made it safe to advance. While they were waiting, Spotted Deer
suddenly formed a daring plan for outwitting their foes.

“When it gets dark I am going to swim across the water, and get that
canoe,” he told Running Fox.

The latter shook his head. It was some moments before he replied.

“No, you must not do that,” said Running Fox.

“Yes, I am going to do it,” declared Spotted Deer. “You are the leader,
but you must stay here until I see what happens to me. Yon have done a
great thing. You will bring great power to our people. It would be
foolish for you to get killed. If I get that canoe I will come back and
get you before it gets light. If I do not come back by that time you
will know that I have been killed. Then you must do the best you can to
reach our people. Now I am not going to talk any more about it.

“Spotted Deer, you are very brave,” said Running Fox. “If you get that
canoe it will be a good thing for us. Yes, then we can get away from the
Mohawks, and go to our people very fast. But you must not let anything
happen to you. Perhaps the Mohawks have set a trap. Perhaps the warrior
who dragged the canoe into the bushes is watching. You must be very
careful.”

“I will watch sharp,” Spotted Deer assured him.

Spotted Deer did not wait long after darkness fell. He believed that his
chances for success would be better if he made his attempt during the
early part of the night. He felt quite sure that at that time the
Mohawks would still be intent upon watching, but he feared that if he
waited until later they might become discouraged and decide to abandon
their vigil. Running Fox held the same opinion.

“Now I am going,” Spotted Deer whispered, when he was ready. “It may
take me a long time, but you must creep down close to the water and keep
listening. If I get the canoe I will come back near this spot. When I
get near the land I will slap the water like Amoch, the beaver. When you
hear that you must throw a little stone into the water. It will make a
splash like Maschilamek, the trout, and the Mohawks will think nothing
of it. But I will know what it means. Now I am going.”

“Go. I will watch for you,” said Running Fox.

A moment later Spotted Deer disappeared into the dark as silently as a
shadow. He turned directly toward the river, and when he came in sight
of the water he stopped to listen. Clouds filled the sky, and the night
was black and still. Spotted Deer raised his face toward the heavens,
and asked Getanittowit to aid him in his task. Then he advanced to the
edge of the water. For a moment or so he stood there looking and
listening. Then he waded carefully from the shore.

The river was narrow and still at that spot, and Spotted Deer crossed it
without difficulty. As he approached the shore he ceased swimming, and
turned upon his back. He floated a long time, listening for a warning of
danger. Then as he heard nothing to arouse his suspicions he swam to the
shore.

It took only a few moments to wade from the water, and cross the narrow
beach between the river and the stand of willows in which the Mohawk had
concealed the canoe. Spotted Deer entered the cover with great caution,
for he feared an ambush. His fears proved groundless, however, and he
reached the canoe in safety. Then he hesitated. The most perilous part
of his task was still before him, and he was somewhat in doubt as to
just how to proceed. He doubted his ability to carry the canoe to the
water, and still he realized that if he attempted to drag it through the
dense tangle of bushes he might make sufficient noise to warn the
Mohawk. Still there seemed to be only those two alternatives, and he
knew that every moment he delayed he increased his peril. He lifted the
how of the canoe to the level of his knees, and saw at once that it
would be almost impossible to get it to his shoulders. The question was
decided, therefore he would be compelled to drag it.

Holding his bow and arrows in one hand, Spotted Deer started to draw the
canoe from the willows. It was not an easy task, and the young Delaware
trembled at the noise he made. Each moment he expected to find the
Mohawk at his throat. Once out of the willows, however, he made better
progress. He had almost reached the water when he heard a twig snap at
the edge of the woods. Believing that he had been discovered, he threw
off his caution, and dragged the canoe toward the water with no attempt
to conceal the noise. As he launched it and clambered in over the side,
he heard the Mohawk running toward the river. Several strong paddle
strokes carried him from the shore, and then the night hid him from his
foe.

As Spotted Deer paddled frantically toward the opposite shore of the
river, he heard the Mohawk yelling furiously to warn his friends. The
anxious lad realized that once they reached the river it might be
impossible to rescue Running Fox. The thought drove him to still greater
exertions. As yet the two scouts had failed to answer the frantic
appeals of their tribesman. Then, when Spotted Deer was two-thirds of
the way across, he heard them signaling with the notes of the owl. Still
they seemed to be some distance back from the water, and he had hopes of
picking up Running Fox before they could reach the river.

Once within bow-shot of the shore, Spotted Deer ceased paddling and
struck the water a resounding whack with the blade of his paddle. Then
he listened anxiously for the splash of a stone. Several moments passed,
and the silence remained unbroken. Spotted Deer again struck the water
with his paddle. Still there was no answer. Spotted Deer suddenly grew
weak with fear. He believed that something had happened to Running Fox.
The possibility staggered him. He was unable to rally his wits. Then he
heard the Mohawk on the opposite side of the river imitating the scream
of Nianque, the lynx. A moment afterward the signal was answered from
the edge of the woods, a bow-shot farther down the river. The next
instant a stone struck the water within a bow-length of the canoe.

Wild with joy, Spotted Deer paddled furiously toward the shore. Running
Fox waded out to meet him. As he stepped into the canoe, an arrow sang
harmlessly past them. The next moment they heard the Mohawks rushing
into the water below them.

“Paddle hard!” cried Running Fox. “They will swim out and try to catch
us.”

“We will get by them,” declared Spotted Deer. “Keep watching ahead.”

He turned the canoe toward the opposite side of the river, and put all
his strength into his paddle strokes. Then, when he was half-way across,
he turned down the river. They had gone several arrow-flights when
Running Fox called a warning. A moment later they flashed past one of
the Mohawks, who was floundering desperately within three bow-lengths of
them.

“Now we are safe,” said Spotted Deer.

“Yes, I believe we have got away,” replied Running Fox. “You have done a
great thing.”

Spotted Deer asked Running Fox why he had been so slow in replying to
his signal. Running Fox said that at the time he heard it one of the
Mohawks was somewhere within a few bow-lengths of him, and he had feared
to make the slightest move. He had been compelled to wait, therefore,
until the Mohawk moved away.

“Well, we have fooled them,” declared Spotted Deer.

“Yes, that is true,” replied Running Fox. “But I believe they will bring
a great war-party to fight us.”



             CHAPTER XVIII—THE IROQUOIS BLUNDER INTO A TRAP


Two days later the lads reached the Delaware village. Their sudden
appearance caused a great commotion. “Running Fox has come! Running Fox
has come!” cried the Delawares. The news brought a great crowd to the
edge of the water. The enthusiasm was intense. Many of the younger
warriors waded out, and dragged the canoe to the shore. Then Running Fox
held up the sacred medicine-trophy, and the people went into ecstasies
of joy. “See, Running Fox has brought the scalp of Gokhos, the
mysterious white Medicine Owl,” they cried, excitedly.

As soon as the exhausted young warriors stepped from the canoe they were
surrounded by a great throng of friends who instantly began to ply them
with questions. Running Fox left Spotted Deer to struggle with them,
while he hurried away to find his father.

Black Panther showed little surprise as his son entered the lodge, and
offered him the famous trophy for which he had risked his life. However,
the lad’s mother flung herself upon him, and wept for joy. When he had
tenderly freed himself from her arms, Running Fox turned toward the
stern Delaware war-chief. The latter showed his pride and his joy in his
eyes, and the young warrior was satisfied.

“My son, you have come back,” said Black Panther. “It is good. I see
that you have brought the scalp of Gokhos, the Medicine Owl. Where did
you find it!”

“I found it in the sacred Medicine Bundle, which hangs in the Medicine
Lodge of our enemies, the Mohawks. I believe it is the thing that gave
Standing Wolf his power over us. Yes, I saw him talking to the Medicine
Spirits with this thing in his hands.”

“Well, my son, you have done a great thing,” declared Black Panther,
striving hard to conceal his emotion. “You are only a boy, but you have
done more than the bravest warrior. But you must not think about that.
No, you must find out how to get those mysterious powers, so that you
can help your people, and become a great chief. Take this thing to Sky
Dog, and ask him what to do.”

“Yes, I will go, but first I must warn you that a great war-party of
Mohawks are coming to fight us,” said Running Fox.

“How do you know that?” Black Panther asked, sharply.

“The scouts followed us a long ways down the river, and the Mohawks are
very mad. I believe Standing Wolf will bring a great war-party here to
try to get back this mysterious Medicine Thing.”

The warning seemed to make a strong impression upon Black Panther. He
immediately summoned a picked company of scouts, and sent them away to
watch for the Mohawks. Then he called a council of the principal
war-leaders to form plans for defending the village. It was evident that
the possibility of Standing Wolf leading his great war-party against the
camp filled even Black Panther with considerable uneasiness.

In the meantime Running Fox had hastened to the lodge of old Sky Dog. As
usual the aged medicine-man showed little interest as the visitor
entered the lodge. A moment afterward, however, when he learned who it
was he began to grow excited.

“Hi, I see that you have lived to come back,” he said. “That is because
I helped you. I have done some wonderful things, but this is the
greatest. Well, tell me what has happened to you.”

When Running Fox showed him the medicine-trophy, and related his
experiences since he left the camp, Sky Dog looked at him in
astonishment. It was apparent that he found difficulty in believing the
story. He gazed searchingly into the eyes of the lad, and examined the
medicine-trophy many times before he committed himself. Then he seemed
satisfied that the exploit was genuine.

“My son, I have listened to your words,” he said, soberly. “At first I
did not believe them. But now I know that you have told the truth. Yes,
I see that you have done the greatest thing I ever knew about, But you
must not feel too big about it. You must prepare yourself to become a
great leader. Take this sacred Medicine Thing, and keep it about you
whenever you are about to do anything big. It will give you great power.
But you must not give it to any one else. If you do that, something bad
will surely happen to you. Now I will tell you something. Standing Wolf
and his people will come here to get that great Medicine Thing. Yes,
they will come here before two suns pass. There will be a great battle.
Many people will be killed. Perhaps the Medicine Thing will help you.
Perhaps it will still help Standing Wolf. If it helps him, then you must
get rid of it. Sometimes these things turn out that way. There is only
one way to find out about it. You must carry it into the thick of the
fight. If it gives you power you will do great things. If it turns
against you, you will surely be killed. Now you must go and rest. I have
spoken.”

“Sky Dog, I will do as you tell me,” replied Running Fox.

Several days passed and still there was no word of the Mohawks. The
Delawares began to hope that they had been needlessly alarmed. Some of
them even began to doubt that the skin of the white Medicine Owl had
really come from the Mohawk medicine-bundle. However, they were careful
to keep their suspicions from reaching the ears of Running Fox or his
father. Others declared that Standing Wolf was afraid to fight without
the protection of his medicine charm. Still Black Panther and his
war-leaders continued to make preparations for the battle. They knew
Standing Wolf too well to deceive themselves by believing that he would
surrender his most valued possession without making a desperate attempt
to regain it from his foes. The delay only strengthened their fears, for
they believed he had sent runners to induce some of the neighboring
tribes of Iroquois to join in the attack on the Delaware camp.

Then the suspense was suddenly ended by the return of one of the scouts.
He said that a great company of Iroquois were coming down the river in
canoes, and the Delaware scouts had little doubt that many more were
traveling through the forest on foot. He declared that the Delawares
would be greatly outnumbered, as it appeared that the Mohawks had been
strongly reinforced by some of their neighbors from farther to the
westward.

The Delawares became greatly disturbed at the news. They had fought more
than one losing fight with the fierce Mohawk chief and his savage
warriors, and they fully realized the nature of the task that confronted
them. Besides, the village sheltered many women and children, and the
warriors dreaded to think what might happen if the Mohawks forced their
way into the camp. They knew from experience that once roused, the
Mohawks would kill every man, woman and child that fell into their
hands. For a time, therefore, the Delawares thought of abandoning the
camp and fleeing southward to the village of their tribesmen, the Minsi,
another tribe of the Lenape nation who lived a full day’s journey
farther down the river. However, when Black Panther heard of their fears
he immediately called them to assemble in council.

“Men of the Lenape nation, what has happened to your hearts?” demanded
the Delaware war-chief. “Have the Delawares turned into rabbits? Do you
tremble when you hear the name of Standing Wolf? Come, you must answer
me.”

The stern rebuke was received in silence. More than one stalwart warrior
lowered his eyes in shame as Black Panther challenged him. Then as no
one spoke, the chief continued.

“You have heard that the Mohawks are coming to fight us. Well, what will
you do about it? Do you feel like running away? I do not believe it. You
say that Standing Wolf has mysterious power over us. Well, I will tell
you that he has lost it. Running Fox has taken it away from him. The
great Mohawk war-chief is like a bear without claws. He can do no harm.
Running Fox will carry the mysterious Medicine Thing into the fight. If
you follow him he will lead you to victory. It is true that we have
never beaten Standing Wolf, but this time it will be different. Yes, Sky
Dog will tell you that. Come, I will tell you what to do. First we will
send scouts down the river to ask our brothers, the Minsi, to come and
help us. Then we will send the women and children down the river in
canoes. A warrior will sit in each canoe. Whoever is afraid of Standing
Wolf must leave his weapons, and go with the women and children. The
rest of us will stay here, and meet the boastful Mohawks. Now, my
brother, let me see who is afraid to stay.”

Not even the youngest boy responded. The Delawares answered the
challenge with a great shout of defiance that seemed to shake the hills.
Then they began to sing their war-songs, and parade about the camp. In a
few moments they called for Running Fox to address them.

“My brothers, I am a young man, and I have not much to say,” Running Fox
told them, modestly. “I have brought you the thing which gave Standing
Wolf his mysterious power over us. Now I am going to carry it into the
thick of the fight. I believe we will win a great victory. Now we must
get ready to fight.”

Then old Sky Dog rose and delivered a fiery harangue that instantly
roused the fighting mood of the warriors. He told them that Running Fox
had done the most wonderful thing in the history of the tribe. He
declared that the possession of the Mohawk medicine-trophy not only
insured them against defeat, but made victory certain. Then he called
upon them to go forth, and fight as they had never fought before.

In the meantime Spotted Deer and a young warrior named Little Snake had
already departed down the river to summon aid of the Minsi. The canoes
had been launched, and the women and children were getting into them.
Now that the Delawares had become eager to fight, it was difficult to
get warriors to accompany them. However, Black Panther selected the
escort, and chose the young untried warriors and a few of the older men
who had been disabled in previous fights.

The refugees had barely left the village when scouts brought word that
the Mohawks had disembarked about a half day’s journey from the camp.
The scouts said that it was evident they intended to advance through the
woods on the north side of the camp.

“The river was covered with canoes,” declared an excited Delaware scout.

Black Panther immediately called for a company of volunteers to go out
and lie in wait for the Mohawks. Most of the warriors responded, and he
chose a third of his entire force. Then he appointed Running Fox the
leader. It was an unusual honor for a lad of his years, but he had
proved his ability, and the Delawares were ready to follow him. They had
little doubt that the Mohawk medicine-trophy would bring him the same
powers which they believed it had bestowed upon Standing Wolf, and they
expected to see him accomplish equally wonderful feats.

“My son, I have made you the leader of this war-party,” said Black
Panther, as the lad came to him for final instructions. “You are very
young, and you have not been in many fights. You must listen to what I
am about to say. There are some great war-leaders in your party. There
is Broken Hand, and Two Elks, and Painted Dog. All those men are great
leaders. You must ask them to help you. But I have made you the leader.
You must know what to do. Now I will tell you. The Mohawks have left the
canoes. They will probably come down along this side of the river. You
must send good scouts ahead of you to find which way the Mohawks are
coming. It will be necessary to send some scouts across the river, for
the Mohawks may come down that side. Well, when you have found out which
way the Mohawks are coming you must put your warriors in their way. You
must hold them back until I get a chance to prepare the camp. You must
find a good place to hide in. Do not show yourselves until the Mohawks
are right between you. Then you must rush in and fool them. You must try
to kill as many as you can, and drive back the others. That may hold
them off until we can get ready to fight. However, if they are too
strong for you, you must fight your way back to the village. I have
finished.”

“My father, I will do as you have told me,” replied Running Fox. “I will
talk with Broken Hand, and Two Elks and Painted Dog. We will try to make
a good fight.”

Running Fox and his companions left the village in silence, for Black
Panther had cautioned the Delawares against making a demonstration. The
sun was low in the west, and the valiant company of fighters hurried
through the woods in the hope of finding the Mohawks before it grew
dark. Several of the scouts who had already located the enemy were sent
on ahead, and three other scouts were sent across the river in a canoe
to watch along the opposite shore.

By the time darkness finally closed down the Delawares had traveled a
considerable distance along the river. Then they stopped, and waited to
hear from the scouts. It was not long before one of them brought word
that the main Mohawk war-party was close at hand. He said that they were
following the Delaware hunting trail, and had sent a number of scouts
ahead of them. The Delawares lost little time in concealing themselves
along the sides of a narrow ravine. Then they waited anxiously for the
Mohawks to blunder into the ambush.

A short time afterward the Mohawk scouts entered the ravine. The
Delawares allowed them to pass through in safety. However, when the
war-party attempted to follow, the Delawares rose from concealment and
attacked them with great fury. The Mohawks were completely surprised,
and for a time they were thrown into great confusion. The Delawares had
little trouble in driving them from the ravine, and elated at their
success they attempted to turn the surprise into a rout. It was only a
few moments, however, before they discovered that they had made a
serious blunder. What they had mistaken for the war-party was only an
advance guard following the scouts. When the main war-party rushed up a
few moments later, the Delawares found themselves outnumbered by four to
one. Still Running Fox had no idea of retreating. He had been sent to
delay the Mohawks as long as possible, and he determined to make them
fight every stride of the way to the Delaware camp. Calling upon his
war-leaders to follow him, the young warrior fought with a reckless fury
that amazed his foes. Stimulated by his example, the Delawares not only
held their ground, but actually forced the Mohawks to give way. The
advantage was only temporary, however, for the Mohawks soon rallied, and
attacked so fiercely that the Delawares in turn were compelled to yield.
They retreated slowly, however, fighting so stubbornly that the Mohawks
began to grow cautious.

Running Fox had many narrow escapes, for he threw himself into the
thickest of the fighting. Twice he was compelled to fight desperate hand
to hand encounters with his foes, and each time he came off victorious.
At another time he was attacked by three Mohawks at once, but he
succeeded in dodging behind a tree and killed two of his assailants, and
wounded the third. The Delawares began to believe that the sacred white
Medicine Owl had made him invincible. Running Fox himself believed it,
and the thought gave him confidence.

The Delawares held back the Mohawks until daylight, and then the latter
suddenly retired. Running Fox knew better than to attempt to follow
them. He feared that the withdrawal was part of some clever stratagem,
and he immediately called a council of his war-leaders.

“I believe the Mohawks will wait until it gets dark again, and then they
will try to circle around us,” said Broken Hand. “I believe the best
thing we can do is to go back to the village. We have held back the
Mohawks until our women and children are safe. We can do no good by
staying here and throwing away our lives. I believe we can make a better
showing with our people at the village.”

“I feel strange about this thing,” declared Two Elks. “You have done
some wonderful things, but if you stay here I believe you will be
killed. I cannot help telling you this, because that is how I feel about
it.”

“I feel like Broken Hand,” said Painted Dog. “I have not seen Standing
Wolf in this fight. I believe he is somewhere about with another big
war-party. I saw many Oneidas in this war-party. Yes, I believe I killed
an Onondaga. Those people may be coming to help the Mohawks. Running
Fox, you are a good leader. You have done some wonderful things. But
there are only a few of us. Some of our friends have already been
killed. The Mohawks are too strong for us. If we stay here they will
come back and destroy us. I believe we must try to get away.”

“Well, my brothers, I have listened to your words, and I see that you
all feel the same way about it. I would like to stay and fight some
more, but I believe it would be foolish. We have done what we came here
to do. We have held back the Mohawks so that our people can get ready to
fight It is enough. Come, we will go.”



              CHAPTER XIX—THE ATTACK ON THE DELAWARE CAMP


When Running Fox and his companions returned to the camp they found
everything in readiness for an attack. As there was no stockade about
the village, the Delawares had hastily thrown up a number of barricades
made of logs and stones. Inside of the camp were several large
brush-piles to be lighted if the Mohawks attempted to enter the camp
under cover of the darkness. Water had been brought from the river, and
two boys had been selected to climb to the roof of each lodge as soon as
the fighting began to watch for fire-arrows.

Running Fox went to Black Panther and gave him a full account of the
fight with the Mohawks. The Delaware chief seemed much pleased, and said
that if the Mohawks had not been intercepted and held up they would have
reached the village before he had a chance to prepare for defense.

“My son, you have done a good thing,” he told Running Fox.

Soon afterward the scouts who had been sent across the river came into
the camp, and said that they had seen nothing of their foes.

“That is good,” declared Black Panther. “Now we know that the Mohawks
are all together.”

The Delawares had little fear that the Mohawks would begin their attack
before dark, still they determined to be ready for any emergency.
Therefore, as the sun sank slowly toward the hilltops they gathered in
the center of the camp to receive their final instructions from the
war-chief.

“My brothers, I have little to tell you,” said Black Panther. “You know
what has happened. Now the Mohawks have come to fight us. Running Fox
has broken the power of their great chief, Standing Wolf. I believe we
will be able to overcome him. We must all be brave. We must keep our
enemies outside of the camp. Pretty soon our brothers, the Minsi, will
come to help us. No matter what happens we must keep fighting until they
get here. Do not let anything make you afraid. If we win this great
battle, the Mohawks will never trouble us again. I have finished.”

When Black Panther finished speaking the Delawares stationed themselves
along the edge of the camp to watch for their foes. The night was well
advanced, however, before they heard anything to rouse their suspicions.
Then they heard the Mohawks signaling on two sides of the camp. It was
evident, therefore, that there were either two distinct war-parties, or
else the Mohawks had separated to attack the village on two sides.

The Delawares waited calmly at their posts, each man grimly determined
to avenge the long list of tribesmen who had died at the hands of those
fierce and implacable foes. The signals soon ceased, and then for a long
time all was still. The Delawares waited in trying suspense. A little
group of warriors huddled behind each barricade, and between them, at
the edge of the camp, were others to close the gaps. Black Panther and
the war-leaders moved back and forth between them.

The stillness was suddenly broken by a piercing yell, and a moment later
it was answered by another on the other side of the camp. Then the
Mohawks began their attack. They rushed toward the village shouting
fiercely, but the Delawares faced them without a tremor. They waited
until their foes were within a few bow-lengths of them, and then they
rose and met them with such a deadly volley of arrows that the astounded
Mohawks recoiled in confusion.

Then the Delaware war-cry rang triumphantly through the night, and the
Mohawks rallied at the sound. Roused to a fury by the stubborn
resistance of their foes, they fought with a reckless daring that
carried them to the very edge of the camp. There they met the Delawares
in a fierce hand to hand encounter. Although they had a tremendous
advantage in numbers the Mohawks found themselves outfought at every
point of contact with their courageous foes. Strive as they might, they
were unable to gain a foothold in the camp. They heard the familiar
voice of Standing Wolf urging them to victory, but it had suddenly lost
its power. The Mohawks began to realize that the fight was going against
them. Aware that they were wasting themselves in vain, they suddenly
became demoralized, and retreated in wild disorder.

The Delawares were frantic with delight. They had beaten back the
boastful Mohawks for the first time since Standing Wolf had begun to
make war upon them. Still they dared not become too hopeful, for they
feared that their success might prove to be only temporary. They had
little doubt that the Mohawks would speedily renew the attack, and they
knew that next time the fortunes of war might again turn in their favor.
However, their temporary victory gave them confidence, and they
determined to fight even harder when the Mohawks resumed the battle.
They believed that the sacred medicine-trophy had already made them
invincible.

“My brothers, we have beaten off the boastful Mohawks, but we are not
through,” cried Black Panther. “Do not feel too sure. They will come
again. Next time they will fight harder. They are much stronger than we
are. Yes, I believe there are three Mohawks for every Delaware. But I
saw some Oneidas and Onondagas. It is a great war-party. We must fight
very hard to keep alive until help comes. Now we must watch.”

Darkness had given way to the soft gray light of dawn when the Mohawks
made their second attempt to enter the village. This time they attacked
the camp on three sides, and the fighting was even fiercer than in the
first encounter. They were led by Standing Wolf and some of the most
noted Iroquois war-chiefs, and for an instant the Delawares lost
confidence. The Mohawks were quick to see their advantage, and they
fought recklessly to make the most of it. Rushing to the barricades they
struggled desperately with the gallant men who defended them. In one or
two places they overwhelmed them by force of numbers, and succeeded in
breaking through the line.

“Come, my brothers, we must fight harder!” shouted Black Panther, as he
ran boldly along the edge of the camp. “Standing Wolf has lost his
power. Running Fox has found it. Come, drive these boastful enemies from
the camp!”

Then Running Fox threw himself into the thick of the fight. Gathering a
little company of followers, he led them against the Mohawks who had
reached the edge of the camp. Waving the sacred medicine-trophy, and
calling upon his companions to follow him, he attacked his foes with
such ferocity that they fell back astounded. Before they could recover
from their surprise, the Delawares rallied, and drove them beyond the
barricades.

Then a warning came from the other side of the camp. Again Running Fox
led a gallant company to meet the invaders. This time, however, their
task was more difficult, and for a time the Delawares were unable to
dislodge their foes. Then in a thrilling hand to hand encounter Running
Fox killed the warrior who led the attack, and the Mohawks suddenly lost
their courage, and fell back.

Word of his prowess was instantly spread among the Delawares, and they
were finally convinced that the mysterious Mohawk medicine-trophy was
responsible for his remarkable success. The thought strengthened their
confidence, and filled them with such dogged determination that the
Mohawks were again compelled to fall back before their stubborn
resistance.

“Well, my brothers, you have made a great fight,” Black Panther cried,
enthusiastically. “The Mohawks have found out that we are men. They
tried to get into the camp, but we were too strong for them. Running Fox
has done some great things. It must be that the mysterious Medicine
Thing is helping him. But we are not through with this fight. I believe
it will last a long time. Well, we will not give in. No, we will keep
fighting no matter how long it takes. See, the Mohawks have disappeared
into the woods. The full light has come. It is good. I do not believe
the Mohawks will begin to fight again until it gets dark. Perhaps they
have gone away. Well, we will not let them fool us. We will keep
watching.”

The Delawares saw nothing further of their foes until near the end of
the day, and then they again heard them signaling on both sides of the
camp. It was evident that they were preparing to renew the attack. The
Delawares knew what to expect. Still there was not one among them who
showed the least trace of anxiety. They waited calmly, determined to
fight if need be until the last of them was killed.

The attack was renewed at sunset, and the Delawares were astounded to
find that on this occasion their foes were Oneidas and Onondagas. They
knew at once that the wily Mohawk war-chief had been holding these hardy
fighters in reserve, and had called upon them to relieve his own
warriors when the latter showed signs of weakening before the deadly
resistance of the Delawares.

“Hi, my brothers, the Mohawks have sent others to do what they cannot do
themselves!” cried Black Panther. “Come, we will show these people how
to fight!”

Although the unexpected appearance of the new fighting force filled them
with dismay, the Delawares fought as stubbornly as ever. The odds were
all against them, however, and they realized that only the timely
arrival of their tribesmen, the Minsi, could save them from disaster.



                           CHAPTER XX—VICTORY


Fighting continued at intervals throughout the night, and daylight found
the exhausted Delawares still keeping weary vigil at the edge of the
camp. They had lost almost half of their number, and they were
discouraged and hopeless. They watched the dawn of the new day with
gloomy forebodings, for they feared to imagine what might happen before
it ended. The Iroquois showed no intention of abandoning the fight, and
the Delawares knew that unless their tribesmen arrived to help them it
would be only a short time before they were finally overcome. They felt
sure that the three war-parties would unite for the final attack, and
they knew that there was little chance of holding them off. Each grim
Delaware warrior felt defeat and death hovering over him.

“My brothers, a new day has come,” said Black Panther. “Before it ends I
believe our brothers, the Minsi, will come to help us. Pretty soon we
will hear them shouting the war-cry. Then the Iroquois will run like
rabbits. We must keep our hearts brave. We have killed many of our
enemies. They tried to get into our lodges, but we beat them back. Now
they are hiding out there in the woods. Yes, they are afraid to face us
in the light. Come, we will let them hear our war-cry.”

Roused by the words of their chief, the Delawares rallied from their
gloom and sent their war-cry ringing through the forest. The Iroquois
immediately answered the challenge, and the Delawares shook their heads
soberly. However, as the time passed, and the Iroquois made no further
attempts against the village, the Delawares began to take heart. They
believed that their foes were waiting to make one supreme effort under
cover of the night, and they hoped that the Minsi war-party would arrive
in the meantime.

Then as the long day finally passed and their tribesmen failed to appear
the Delawares again lost heart. The approach of night filled them with
dread. They feared that long before daylight they would be overcome by
the superior numbers of their foes. The possibility staggered them. They
suddenly realized what it meant. They would be wiped out, destroyed from
the land, and their women and children would be homeless. The thought
filled them with new determination. They pledged themselves to fight
even harder than they had fought before.

As the ominous black shadows finally settled over the camp, the
Delawares nerved themselves for their task. They knew that the attack
would come suddenly, at any moment, and the thought kept them in trying
suspense. Then as the night dragged on and nothing happened, they began
to grow suspicious. They wondered if the Iroquois were stealing silently
upon them under cover of the darkness. They strained their ears to catch
a warning. All was still. The Delawares were bewildered. The uncanny
silence strained their nerves. Each moment they expected to hear the
terrifying Iroquois war-cry, and see their foes within arm’s reach of
them. Then some one shouted a warning from the end of the camp. The
suspense was ended. The fight had begun. The Delawares felt relieved.

“Light the fires! Light the fires!” cried the warriors near the point of
attack.

“No, no, not yet!” shouted Black Panther.

Then a streak of fire flashed through the night, and fell into the
village. It was a fire-arrow. The boys were ordered to the tops of the
lodges. A moment afterward the great Iroquois war-party rushed upon the
camp. They had approached close up to the barricades before the
Delawares discovered them. Then at the proper signal they rose, and
grappled with them. The Delawares fought desperately, but they were
hopelessly outnumbered, and it seemed to be only a matter of moments
before the Iroquois would force their way into the camp.

“Light the fires! Light the fires!” screamed the Delawares.

This time Black Panther realized the necessity for it. Then as the
flames roared through the piles of dry brush, and flooded the village
with light, he saw the Iroquois at the edge of the camp. They were
fighting recklessly to gain a foothold in the village, but the Delawares
were attacking them like a swarm of angry bees. Onondagas, Oneidas and
Mohawks had combined, and Standing Wolf himself was leading them. For a
time the Delawares held them off, but the odds against them were too
great, and the Iroquois eventually fought their way into the camp.

For an instant the Delawares faltered. Then they rallied about their
gallant war-chief and fought with the fury of despair. They had gathered
in force at one end of the camp, and the Iroquois were unable to
dislodge them. The Delawares knew that if they were scattered and driven
from the village they would be surrounded and annihilated. Therefore,
they determined to stand together until the end.

Running Fox was in a frenzy of despair. He realized that he alone was to
blame for the plight of his tribesmen, and the thought drove him to
distraction. It seemed as if his perilous journey to the Mohawk camp had
been in vain. The mysterious Medicine Creatures had apparently deceived
him. The sacred medicine-trophy for which he had risked his life seemed
powerless against the famous Mohawk war-chief. Getanittowit appeared to
have turned against him. Instead of aiding his people, the distracted
lad believed that he had brought about their destruction. He had fought
with a recklessness that had astounded both his tribesmen and their
foes, and still it seemed to have been in vain. Running Fox was beside
himself with grief. In the midst of the desperate encounter be raised
his arms toward the sky and called upon Getanittowit to help him. “O
Getanittowit, see what has happened to me. O Getanittowit, give me power
to help my people. O Getanittowit, send the powerful Medicine Creatures
to aid me,” he shouted excitedly.

Then a loud mocking laugh rose above the sounds of battle. Running Fox
did not need to look. He knew instinctively that it came from Standing
Wolf. A moment afterward he saw him fighting recklessly at the head of
his warriors. As usual be seemed to bear a charmed life. His tribesmen
were dropping on both sides of him, but as yet he was unharmed.

“See, we cannot harm that man!” the Delawares told one another in
superstitious awe. “It is useless to fight him. He will kill us all!”

“No! No! He cannot harm you, for I am going to kill him!” Running Fox
cried, hysterically. “See, I have the skin of Gokhos, the great white
Medicine Owl. My brothers, I have taken away the power from Standing
Wolf. I have just found out about it. Now you will see something. I am
going to kill that man. I am going to bring our brothers, the Minsi.
Pretty soon you will hear them. Now you must watch me.”

The next moment he bounded past his astonished tribesmen, and advanced
fearlessly upon the Mohawk chief. The latter shot an arrow at him, but
it flew harmlessly past his head. Then, as Running Fox laughed and
pointed to the medicine-trophy which hung upon his breast, Standing Wolf
uttered a yell of rage and rushed forward, war-club in hand. Before he
had taken two strides Running Fox drove an arrow through his heart.

“See, my brothers, see what I have done!” screamed Running Fox, as he
drove back several Mohawks who had rushed upon him to avenge the death
of their chief.

“It is the Medicine Spirits!” cried the Delawares, as they ran to his
support.

“Yes, I have the power!” shouted Running Fox. “Come, you must follow
me!”

He led the Delawares in a furious attack that utterly routed the
faltering Mohawks. The death of their famous chief had demoralized them,
and as they saw their comrades falling before the deadly arrows of the
wild-eyed young Delaware and his followers they suddenly became
panic-stricken and fled from the camp.

At that very instant the Delaware war-cry rang through the night and a
moment afterward a great company of Minsi fighting men poured into the
village. They threw themselves upon the bewildered Oneidas and Onondagas
and completely overwhelmed them. The Minsi gained a quick and easy
victory, for the superstitious Iroquois believed that some powerful
Medicine Spirit had suddenly come to the aid of their foes, and they
made little attempt to resist them. Finding themselves in danger of
being speedily annihilated by the fierce fighters who had suddenly
appeared before them, they, too, retreated from the camp in wild
disorder, and sought safety in flight. However, the Delawares were
determined to make the most of their victory, and they followed their
fleeing foes far into the wilderness, exacting a terrible vengeance for
the many wrongs which they had suffered at the hands of Standing Wolf
and his followers.

Late the following day when the last of the Delaware fighting men had
returned to the camp, Black Panther called upon all to assemble and give
thanks for the victory. It was a notable gathering, and the stern
Delaware war-chief looked upon his warriors with great pride. Then his
eyes sought out Running Fox, and for a moment he was almost overcome by
his emotion.

“My people, we have won a great victory,” said Black Panther. “Standing
Wolf, the great Mohawk war-chief, is dead. Many of his people have
followed him. The warriors who escaped are running toward their
villages. It will be a long time before they come here again. Do you
know how all this came about? Well, I will tell you. It is because
Running Fox went into the Mohawk camp, and brought away the skin of the
mysterious white Medicine Owl. Spotted Deer went with him. Those young
warriors have done the greatest thing that has ever been done by a
Delaware. But Running Fox has done something bigger than that. He has
killed the great chief Standing Wolf. That fierce warrior killed many of
our people. Yes, he killed many of our women and children. He destroyed
our crops, and burned our lodges. We wished to live in peace, but he
would not let us. He brought great trouble upon us. Now he will never
trouble us again. Running Fox has brought it to pass. He is very young,
but he has become a great warrior. Yes, he must have a place in the
council-circle. I have finished.”

The Delawares greeted the announcement with shouts of approval. They
called Running Fox and Spotted Deer to stand in the center of the camp,
while the great war-party paraded around them, singing the songs of
victory. Then they suddenly stopped, and raised their voices in the
great tribute which was only given to the famous war-chiefs of the
nation. It was a high honor, and the happy lads strove hard to conceal
their pride as they looked joyfully into each other’s eyes.

                                THE END





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