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

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


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

Title: Winnetou, The Apache Knight
Author: Taggart, Marion Ames
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 "Winnetou, The Apache Knight" ***

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



                      WINNETOU, THE APACHE KNIGHT.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                           COMPANION VOLUME.


THE TREASURE OF NUGGET MOUNTAIN. Edited by Marion Ames Taggart. 12mo,
    cloth, 85 cents.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                    JACK HILDRETH AMONG THE INDIANS.

                                -------

                               WINNETOU,

                           THE APACHE KNIGHT.


               ADAPTED FOR OUR BOYS AND GIRLS FROM C. MAY

                                   BY

                          MARION AMES TAGGART.


                                   ❦


                     NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, CHICAGO:
                           BENZIGER BROTHERS,
                  Printers to the Holy Apostolic See.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                 Copyright, 1898, by BENZIGER BROTHERS.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CONTENTS.

                               ----------


         CHAPTER                                            PAGE
              I. TOWARD THE SETTING SUN,                       7
             II. MY FIRST BUFFALO,                            16
            III. WILD MUSTANGS AND LONG-EARED NANCY,          27
             IV. A GRIZZLY AND A MEETING,                     39
              V. THE SPEECH OF THE APACHE CHIEF,              52
             VI. A WISH AND ITS TRAGIC FULFILMENT,            60
            VII. A COMPACT WITH THE KIOWAS,                   68
           VIII. SAM HAWKINS GOES SPYING,                     82
             IX. WAITING THE ONSLAUGHT,                       92
              X. THE CAPTURE OF WINNETOU,                    102
             XI. A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION,                    116
            XII. A DUEL, AND CAPTURE BY THE APACHES,         128
           XIII. NURSED TO HEALTH FOR A CRUEL FATE,          142
            XIV. ON TRIAL FOR LIFE,                          155
             XV. A SWIM FOR FREEDOM,                         168
            XVI. TANGUA’S PUNISHMENT,                        180
           XVII. THE END OF RATTLER,                         190
          XVIII. TEACHING WINNETOU,                          204
            XIX. THE BURIAL OF KLEKI-PETRAH,                 214



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                      WINNETOU, THE APACHE KNIGHT.


                               ----------



                               CHAPTER I.

                       _TOWARD THE SETTING SUN._


IT is not necessary to say much about myself. First of all because there
is not very much to tell of a young fellow of twenty-three, and then
because I hope what I have done and seen will be more interesting than I
am, for, between you and me, I often find Jack Hildreth a dull kind of
person, especially on a rainy day when I have to sit in the house alone
with him.

When I was born three other children had preceded me in the world, and
my father’s dreamy blue eyes saw no way of providing suitably for this
superfluous fourth youngster. And then my uncle John came forward and
said: “Name the boy after me, and I’ll be responsible for his future.”
Now Uncle John was rich and unmarried, and though my father could never
get his mind down to anything more practical than deciphering cuneiform
inscriptions, even he saw that this changed the unflattering prospects
of his latest-born into unusually smiling ones.

So I became Jack Hildreth _secundus_, and my uncle nobly fulfilled his
part of the contract. He kept me under his own eye, gave me a horse
before my legs were long enough to bestride him, nevertheless expecting
me to sit him fast, punished me well if I was quarrelsome or domineering
with other boys, yet punished me no less surely if when a quarrel was
forced upon me I showed the white feather or failed to do my best to
whip my enemy.

“Fear God, but fear no man. Never lie, or sneak, or truckle for favor.
Never betray a trust. Never be cruel to man or beast. Never inflict pain
deliberately, but never be afraid to meet it if you must. Be kind, be
honest, be daring. Be a man, and you will be a gentleman.” This was my
uncle’s simple code; and as I get older, and see more of life, I am
inclined to think there is none better.

My uncle sent me to the Jesuit college, and I went through as well as I
could, because he trusted me to do so. I did not set the college world
afire, but I stood fairly in my classes, and was first in athletics, and
my old soldier uncle cared for that with ill-concealed pride.

When I left the student’s life, and began to look about on real life and
wonder where to take hold of it, I was so restless and overflowing with
health and strength that I could not settle down to anything, and the
fever for life on the plains came upon me. I longed to be off to the
wild and woolly West—the wilder and woollier the better—before I assumed
the shackles of civilization forever.

“Go if you choose, Jack,” my uncle said. “Men are a better study than
books, after you’ve been grounded in the latter. Begin the study in the
primer of an aboriginal race, if you like; indeed it may be best.
There’s plenty of time to decide on your future, for, as you’re to be my
heir, there’s no pressing need of beginning labor.”

My uncle had the necessary influence to get me appointed as an engineer
with a party which was to survey for a railroad among the mountains of
New Mexico and Arizona—a position I was competent to fill, as I had
chosen civil engineering as my future profession, and had studied it
thoroughly.

I scarcely realized that I was going till I found myself in St. Louis,
where I was to meet the scouts of the party, who would take me with them
to join the surveyors at the scene of our labors. On the night after my
arrival I invited the senior scout, Sam Hawkins, to sup with me, in
order that I might make his acquaintance before starting in the morning.

I do not know whether the Wild West Show was unconsciously in my mind,
but when Mr. Hawkins appeared at the appointed time I certainly felt
disappointed to see him clad in ordinary clothes and not in the
picturesque costume of Buffalo Bill, till I reflected that in St. Louis
even a famous Indian scout might condescend to look like every-day
mortals.

“So you’re the young tenderfoot; glad to make your acquaintance, sir,”
he said, and held out his hand, smiling at me from an extraordinary face
covered with a bushy beard of many moons’ growth and shadowed by a large
nose a trifle awry, above which twinkled a pair of sharp little eyes.

My guest surprised me not a little, after I had responded to his
greeting, by hanging his hat on the gas-fixture, and following it with
his hair.

“Don’t be shocked,” he said calmly, seeing, I suppose, that this was
unexpected. “You will excuse me, I hope, for the Pawnees have taken my
natural locks. It was a mighty queer feeling, but fortunately I was able
to stand it. I went to Tacoma and bought myself a new scalp, and it cost
me a roll of good dollars. It doesn’t matter; the new hair is more
convenient than the old, especially on a warm day, for I never could
hang my own wig up like that.”

He had a way of laughing inwardly, and his shoulders shook as he spoke,
though he made no sound.

“Can you shoot?” asked my queer companion suddenly.

“Fairly,” I said, not so much, I am afraid, because I was modest as
because I wanted to have the fun of letting him find out that I was a
crack marksman.

“And ride?”

“If I have to.”

“If you have to! Not as well as you shoot, then?”

“Pshaw! what is riding? The mounting is all that is hard; you can hang
on somehow if once you’re up.”

He looked at me to see whether I was joking or in earnest; but I looked
innocent, so he said: “There’s where you make a mistake. What you should
have said is that mounting is hard because you have to do that yourself,
while the horse attends to your getting off again.”

“The horse won’t see to it in my case,” I said with confidence—born of
the fact that my kind uncle had accustomed me to clinging to high-strung
beasts before I had lost my milk-teeth.

“A kicking broncho is something to try the mettle of a tenderfoot,”
remarked Hawkins dryly.

I suppose you know what a tenderfoot is. He is one who speaks good
English, and wears gloves as if he were used to them. He also has a
prejudice in favor of nice handkerchiefs and well-kept finger-nails; he
may know a good deal about history, but he is liable to mistake
turkey-tracks for bear-prints, and, though he has learned astronomy, he
could never find his way by the stars. The tenderfoot sticks his
bowie-knife into his belt in such a manner that it runs into his thigh
when he bends; and when he builds a fire on the prairie he makes it so
big that it flames as high as a tree, yet feels surprised that the
Indians notice it. But many a tenderfoot is a daring, strong-bodied and
strong-hearted fellow; and though there was no doubt that I was a
tenderfoot fast enough, I hoped to convince Sam Hawkins that I had some
qualities requisite for success on the plains.

By the time our supper was over there was a very good understanding
established between me and the queer little man to whose faithful love I
was to owe so much. He was an eccentric fellow, with a pretence of
crustiness covering his big, true heart; but it was not hard to read him
by the law of contraries, and our mutual liking dated from that night of
meeting.

We set out in the early dawn of the following morning, accompanied by
the other two scouts, Dick Stone and Will Parker, whom I then saw for
the first time, and whom I learned to value only less than Sam as the
truest of good comrades. Our journey was as direct and speedy as we
could make it to the mountain region of New Mexico, near the Apache
Indian reservation, and I was welcomed by my fellow-workers with a
cordiality that gave rise to hopes of pleasant relations with them which
were never realized. The party consisted of the head engineer, Bancroft,
and three men under him. With them were twelve men intended to serve as
our protectors, a sort of standing army, and for whom, as hardworking
pioneers, I, a new-comer, had considerable respect until I discovered
that they were men of the lowest moral standards.

Although I had entered the service only for experience, I was in earnest
and did my duty conscientiously; but I soon found out that my colleagues
were genuine adventurers, only after money, and caring nothing for their
work except as a means of getting it.

Bancroft was the most dishonest of all. He loved his bottle too well and
got private supplies for it from Santa Fé, and worked harder with the
brandy-flask than with his surveying instruments. Riggs, Marcy, and
Wheeler, the three surveyors, emulated Bancroft in this unprofitable
pursuit; and as I never touched a drop of liquor, I naturally was the
laborer, while the rest alternated between drinking and sleeping off the
effects.

It goes without saying that under such circumstances our work did not
progress rapidly, and at the end of the glorious autumn and three months
of labor we found ourselves with our task still unaccomplished, while
the section with which ours was to connect was almost completed. Besides
our workmen being such as they were, we had to work in a region infested
with Comanches, Kiowas, and Apaches, who objected to a road through
their territory, and we had to be constantly on our guard, which made
our progress still slower.

Personally my lot was not a bed of roses, for the men disliked me, and
called me “tenderfoot” ten times a day, and took a special delight in
thwarting my will, especially Rattler, the leader of our so-called
guard, and as big a rascal as ever went unhanged. I durst not speak to
them in an authoritative manner, but had to manage them as a wise woman
manages a tyrannical husband without his perceiving it.

But I had allies in Sam Hawkins and his two companion scouts, Dick Stone
and Will Parker. They were friendly to me, and held off from the others,
in whom Sam Hawkins especially managed to inspire respect in spite of
his droll peculiarities. There was an alliance formed between us
silently, which I can best describe as a sort of feudal relation; he had
taken me under his protection like a man who did not need to ask if he
were understood. I was the “tenderfoot,” and he the experienced
frontiersman whose words and deeds had to be infallible to me. As often
as he had time and opportunity he gave me practical and theoretical
instruction in everything necessary to know and do in the Wild West; and
though I graduated from the high school later, so to speak, with
Winnetou as master, Sam Hawkins was my elementary teacher.

He made me expert with a lasso, and let me practise with that useful
weapon on his own little person and his horse. When I had reached the
point of catching them at every throw he was delighted, and cried out:
“Good, my young sir! That’s fine. But don’t be set up with this praise.
A teacher must encourage his stupid scholars when they make a little
progress. I have taught lots of young frontiersmen, and they all learned
much easier and understood me far quicker than you have, but perhaps
it’s possible that after eight years or so you may not be called a
tenderfoot. You can comfort yourself with the thought that sometimes a
stupid man gets on as well as or even a little better than a clever
one.”

He said this as if in sober earnest, and I received it in the same way,
knowing well how differently he meant it. We met at a distance from the
camp, where we could not be observed. Sam Hawkins would have it so; and
when I asked why, he said: “For mercy’s sake, hide yourself, sir. You
are so awkward that I should be ashamed to have these fellows see you,
so that’s why I keep you in the shade—that’s the only reason; take it to
heart.”

The consequence was that none of the company suspected that I had any
skill in weapons, or special muscular strength—an ignorance that I was
glad to foster.

One day I gave Rattler an order; it was some trifling thing, too small
for me to remember now, and he would have been willing to carry it out
had not his mood been rather uglier than usual.

“Do it yourself,” he growled. “You impudent greenhorn, I’ll show you I’m
as good as you are any day.”

“You’re drunk,” I said, looking him over and turning away.

“I’m drunk, am I?” he replied, glad of a chance to get at me, whom he
hated.

“Very drunk, or I’d knock you down,” I answered.

Rattler was a big, brawny fellow, and he stepped up in front of me,
rolling up his sleeves. “Who, me? Knock _me_ down? Well, I guess not,
you blower, you kid, you greenhorn—”

He said no more. I hit him square in the face, and he dropped like an
ox. Fearing mischief from Rattler’s followers, and realizing that now or
never was my authority to be established, I drew my pistol, crying: “If
one of you puts his hand to a weapon I’ll shoot him on the spot.” No one
stirred. “Take your friend away, and let him sober up, and when he comes
to his senses he may be more respectful,” I remarked.

As the men obeyed me, Wheeler, the surveyor, whom I thought the best of
the lot, stepped from the others and came up to me. “That was a great
blow,” he said. “Let me congratulate you. I never saw such strength.
They’ll call you Shatterhand out here.”

This seemed to suit little Sam exactly. He threw up his hat, shouting
joyously: “Shatterhand! Good! A tenderfoot, and already won a name, and
what a name! Shatterhand; Old Shatterhand. It’s like Old Firehand, who
is a frontiersman as strong as a bear. I tell you, boy, it’s great, and
you’re christened for good and all in the Wild West.”

And so I found myself in a new and strange life, and beginning it with a
new name, which became as familiar and as dear to me as my own.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER II.

                          _MY FIRST BUFFALO._


THREE days after the little disciplining I had given Rattler, Mr. White,
the head engineer of the next section, rode over to us to report that
their work was finished, and to inquire what our prospects were for
making speedy connection. When he set out on his return he invited Sam
Hawkins and me to accompany him part of the way through the valley.

We found him a very agreeable companion; and when we came to the point
where we were to turn back we shook hands cordially, leaving him with
regret. “There’s one thing I want to warn you of,” Mr. White said in
parting. “Look out for redskins.”

“Have you seen them?” Sam asked.

“Not them, but their tracks. Now is the time when the wild mustangs and
the buffaloes go southward, and the Indians follow in the chase. The
Kiowas are all right, for we arranged with them for the road, but the
Apaches and Comanches know nothing of it, and we don’t dare let them see
us. We have finished our part, and are ready to leave this region; hurry
up with yours, and do likewise. Remember there’s danger, and good-by.”

Sam looked gravely after his retreating form, and pointed to a footprint
near the spring where we had paused for parting. “He’s quite right to
warn us of Indians,” he said.

“Do you mean this footprint was made by an Indian?”

“Yes, an Indian’s moccasin. How does that make you feel?”

“Not at all.”

“You must feel or think something.”

“What should I think except that an Indian has been here?”

“Not afraid?”

“Not a bit.”

“Oh,” cried Sam, “you’re living up to your name of Shatterhand; but I
tell you that Indians are not so easy to shatter; you don’t know them.”

“But I hope to understand them. They must be like other men, enemies to
their enemies, friends to their friends; and as I mean to treat them
well, I don’t see why I should fear them.”

“You’ll find out,” said Sam, “or you’ll be a greenhorn for eternity. You
may treat the Indians as you like, and it won’t turn out as you expect,
for the results don’t depend on your will. You’ll learn by experience,
and I only hope the experience won’t cost you your life.”

This was not cheering, and for some time we rode through the pleasant
autumn air in silence.

Suddenly Sam reined up his horse, and looked ahead earnestly through
half-closed lids. “By George,” he cried excitedly, “there they are!
Actually there they are, the very first ones.”

“What?” I asked. I saw at some distance ahead of us perhaps eighteen or
twenty dark forms moving slowly.

“What!” repeated Sam, bouncing up and down in his saddle. “I’d be
ashamed to ask such a question; you are indeed a precious greenhorn.
Can’t you guess, my learned sir, what those things are before your eyes
there?”

“I should take them for deer if I didn’t know there were none about
here; and though those animals look so small from here, I should say
they were larger than deer.”

“Deer in this locality! That’s a good one! But your other guess is not
so bad; they certainly are larger than deer.”

“O Sam, they surely can’t be buffaloes?”

“They surely can. Bisons they are, genuine bisons beginning their
travels, and the first I have seen. You see Mr. White was right:
buffaloes and Indians. We saw only a footprint of the red men, but the
buffaloes are there before our eyes in all their strength. What do you
say about it?”

“We must go up to them.”

“Sure.”

“And study them.”

“Study them? Really study them?” he asked, glancing at me sidewise in
surprise.

“Yes; I never saw a buffalo, and I’d like to watch them.”

I felt the interest of a naturalist, which was perfectly
incomprehensible to little Sam. He rubbed his hands together, saying:
“Watch them, only watch them! Like a child putting his eye to a rabbit’s
hole to see the little bunnies! O you young tenderfoot, what I must put
up with in you! I don’t want to watch them or study them, I tell you,
hut hunt them. They mean meat—meat, do you understand? and such meat! A
buffalo-steak is more glorious than ambrosia, or ambrosiana, or whatever
you call the stuff the old Greeks fed their gods with. I must have a
buffalo if it costs me my life. The wind is towards us; that’s good. The
sun’s on the left, towards the valley, but it’s shady on the right, and
if we keep in the shade the animals won’t see us. Come on.”

He looked to see if his gun, “Liddy,” as he called it, was all right,
and I hastily overhauled my own weapon. Seeing this, Sam held up his
horse and asked: “Do you want to take a hand in this?”

“Of course.”

“Well, you let that thing alone if you don’t want to be trampled to
jelly in the next ten minutes. A buffalo isn’t a canary bird for a man
to take on his finger and let it sing.”

“But I will—”

“Be silent, and obey me,” he interrupted in a tone he had never used
before. “I won’t have your life on my conscience, and you would ride
into the jaws of certain death. You can do what you please at other
times, but now I’ll stand no opposition.”

Had there not been such a good understanding between us I would have
given him a forcible answer; but as it was, I rode after him in the
shadow of the hills without speaking, and after a while Sam said in his
usual manner: “There are twenty head, as I reckon. Once a thousand or
more browsed over the plains. I have seen early herds numbering a
thousand and upward. They were the Indians’ food, but the white men have
taken it from them. The redskin hunted to live, and only killed what he
needed. But the white man has ravaged countless herds, like a robber who
for very lust of blood keeps on slaying when he is well supplied. It
won’t be long before there are no buffaloes, and a little longer and
there’ll be no Indians, God help them! And it’s just the same with the
herds of horses. There used to be herds of a thousand mustangs, and even
more. Now a man is lucky if he sees two together.”

We had come within four hundred feet of the buffaloes unobserved, and
Hawkins reined in his horse. In the van of the herd was an old bull
whose enormous bulk I studied with wonder. He was certainly six feet
high and ten long; I did not then know how to estimate the weight of a
buffalo, but I should now say that he must have weighed sixteen hundred
pounds—an astounding mass of flesh and bone.

“That’s the leader,” whispered Sam, “the most experienced of the whole
crowd. Whoever tackles him had better make his will first. I will take
the young cow right back of him. The best place to shoot is behind the
shoulder-blade into the heart; indeed it’s the only sure place except
the eyes, and none but a madman would go up to a buffalo and shoot into
his eyes. You stay here, and hide yourself and your horse in the
thicket. When they see me they’ll run past here; but don’t you quit your
place unless I come back or call you.”

He waited until I had hidden between two bushes, and then rode slowly
forward. It seemed to me this took great courage. I had often read how
buffaloes were hunted, and knew all about it; but there is a great
difference between a printed page and the real thing. To-day I had seen
buffaloes for the first time in my life; and though at first I only
wished to study them, as I watched Sam I felt an irresistible longing to
join in the sport. He was going to shoot a young cow. Pshaw! that, I
thought, required no courage; a true man would choose the strongest
bull.

My horse was very restless; he, too, had never seen buffaloes before,
and he pawed the ground, frightened and so anxious to run that I could
scarcely hold him. Would it not be better to let him go, and attack the
old bull myself? I debated this question inwardly, divided between
desire to go and regard for Sam’s command, meantime watching his every
movement.

He had approached within a hundred feet of the buffaloes, when he
spurred his horse and galloped into the herd, past the mighty bull, up
to the cow which he had selected. She pricked up her ears, and started
to run. I saw Sam shoot. She staggered, and her head dropped, but I did
not know whether or not she fell, for my eyes were chained to another
spot.

The great bull, which had been lying down, was getting up, and turned
toward Sam Hawkins. What a mighty beast! The thick head with the
enormous skull, the broad forehead with its short, strong horns, the
neck and breast covered with the coarse mane, made a picture of the
greatest possible strength. Yes, it was a marvellous creature, but the
sight of him aroused a longing to measure human strength with this power
of the plains. Should I or should I not? I could not decide, nor was I
sure that my roan would take me towards him; but just then my frightened
horse sprang forth from our cover, and I resolved to try, and spurred
him towards the bull. He heard me coming, and turned to meet me,
lowering his head to receive horse and rider on his horns. I heard Sam
cry out something with all his might, but had no time even to glance at
him. It was impossible to shoot the buffalo, for in the first place he
was not in the right position, and in the second place my horse would
not obey me, but for very fear ran straight towards the threatening
horns. The buffalo braced his hind legs to toss us, and raised his head
with a mighty bellow. Exerting all my strength, I turned my horse a
little, and he leaped over the bull, while the horns grazed my leg.

My course lay directly towards a mire in which the buffalo had been
sleeping. I saw this, and fortunately drew my feet from the stirrups; my
horse slipped and we both fell.

How it all happened so quickly is incomprehensible to me now, but the
next moment I stood upright beside the morass, my gun still in my hand.
The buffalo turned on the horse, which had also risen quickly, and came
on him in ungainly leaps, and this brought his flank under my fire. I
took aim. One more bound and the buffalo would reach my horse. I pulled
the trigger; he stopped, whether from fear or because he was hit I did
not know, but I fired again, two shots in rapid succession. He slowly
raised his head, froze my blood with a last awful roar, swayed from side
to side, and fell where he stood.

I might have rejoiced over this narrow escape, but I had something else
to attend to. I saw Sam Hawkins galloping for dear life across the
valley, followed by a steer not much smaller than my bull had been.

When the bison is aroused his speed is as great as that of a horse; he
never gives up his object, and shows a courage and perseverance one
would not have expected of him. So this steer was pressing the rider
hard, and in order to escape him Sam had to make many turns, which so
wearied his horse that he could not hold out as long as the buffalo, and
it was quite time that help arrived.

I did not stop to see whether or not my bull was dead. I quickly
reloaded both chambers of my gun, and ran across the grass towards Sam.
He saw me, and turned his horse in my direction. This was a great
mistake, for it brought the horse’s side towards the steer behind him. I
saw him lower his horns, and in an instant horse and rider were tossed
in the air, and fell to the ground with a dreadful thud. Sam cried for
help as well as he could. I was a good hundred and fifty feet away, but
I dared not delay, though the shot would have been surer at shorter
range. I aimed at the steer’s left shoulder-blade and fired. The buffalo
raised his head as if listening, turned slowly, then ran at me with all
his might. Luckily for me, his moment of hesitation had given me time to
reload, and therefore I was ready for him by the time the beast had made
thirty paces towards me. He could no longer run; his steps became slow,
but with deep-hanging head and protruding, bloodshot eyes he came nearer
and nearer to me, like some awful, unavoidable fate. I knelt down and
brought my gun into position. This movement made the buffalo halt and
raise his head a little to see me better, thus bringing his eyes just in
range of both barrels. I sent one shot into the right, another into the
left eye; a quick shudder went through his body, and the beast fell
dead.

Springing to my feet, I rushed toward Sam; but it was not necessary, for
I saw him approaching.

“Hallo!” I cried, “are you alive?”

“Very much so, only my left hip pains me, or the right; I’m sure I can’t
tell which.”

“And your horse?”

“Done for; he’s still alive, but he’s torn past help. We’ll have to
shoot him to put him out of his misery, poor fellow. Is the buffalo
dead?”

I was not able to answer this question positively, so we made sure that
there was no life in my former foe, and Hawkins said: “He treated me
pretty badly, this old brute; a cow would have been gentler, but I
suppose you can’t expect such an old soldier to be lady-like. Let us go
to my poor horse.”

We found him in a pitiable condition, torn so that his entrails
protruded, and groaning with agony. Sam loaded, and gave the poor
creature the shot that ended his suffering, and then he removed the
saddle and bridle, saying: “I’ll be my own horse, and put these on my
back.”

“Where will you get another horse?” I asked.

“That’s the least of my troubles; I’ll find one unless I’m mistaken.”

“A mustang?”

“Yes. The buffaloes are here; they’ve begun travelling southward, and
soon we’ll see the mustangs, I’m sure of that.”

“May I go with you when you catch one?”

“Sure; you’ll have to learn to do it. I wonder if that old bull is dead;
such Methuselahs are wonderfully tough.”

But the beast was dead, as we found on investigation; and as he lay
there I realized more fully what a monster he was. Sam looked him over,
shook his head, and said: “It is perfectly incredible. Do you know what
you are?”

“What?”

“The most reckless man on earth.”

“I’ve never been accused of recklessness before.”

“Well, now you know that ‘reckless’ is the word for you. I forbade you
meddling with a buffalo or leaving your hiding-place; but if you were
going to disobey me, why didn’t you shoot a cow?”

“Because this was more knightly.”

“Knightly! Great Scott! This tenderfoot wants to play knight!” He
laughed till he had to take hold of the bushes for support, and when he
got his breath he cried: “The true frontiersman does what is most
expedient, not what’s most knightly.”

“And I did that, too.”

“How do you make that out?”

“That big bull has much more flesh on him than a cow.”

Sam looked at me mockingly. “Much more flesh!” he cried. “And this
youngster shot a bull for his flesh! Why, boy, this old stager had
surely eighteen or twenty years on his head, and his flesh is as hard as
leather, while the cow’s flesh is fine and tender. All this shows again
what a greenhorn you are. Now go get your horse, and we’ll load him with
all the meat he can carry.”

In spite of Sam’s mocking me, that night as I stood unobserved in the
door of the tent where he and Stone and Parker sat by their fire I heard
Sam say: “Yes, sir, he’s going to be a genuine Westerner; he’s born one.
And how strong he is! Yesterday he drew our great ox-cart alone and
single-handed. Now to-day I owe him my life. But we won’t let him know
what we think of him.”

“Why not?” asked Parker.

“It might swell his head,” replied Sam. “Many a good fellow has been
spoiled by praise. I suppose he’ll think I’m an ungrateful old
curmudgeon, for I never even thanked him for saving my life. But
to-morrow I’ll give him a treat; I’ll take him to catch a mustang, and,
no matter what he thinks, I know how to value him.”

I crept away, pleased with what I had heard, and touched by the loving
tone of my queer friend’s voice as he spoke of me.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER III.

                 _WILD MUSTANGS AND LONG-EARED NANCY._


THE next morning as I was going to work Sam came to me, saying: “Put
down your instruments; we have something on hand more interesting than
surveying.”

“What is it?”

“You’ll see. Get your horse ready; we’re going to ride.”

“And how about the work?”

“Nonsense! You’ve done your share. However, I expect to be back by noon,
and then you can measure, as much as you will.”

After arranging with Bancroft for my absence, we started; and as Sam
made a mystery of the object of our expedition, I said nothing to show
that I suspected what it was.

We went back of the ravine where we were surveying to a stretch of
prairie which Sam had pointed out the day before. It was two good miles
broad, and surrounded by woody heights, from which flowed a brook
irrigating the plain. We rode to the westerly boundary, where the grass
was freshest, and here Sam securely tied his horse—his borrowed
horse—and let him graze. As he looked about him an expression of
satisfaction shone on his rugged face, like sunshine on rocks.
“Dismount, sir,” he said, “and tie your horse strong; we’ll wait here.”

“Why tie him so strongly?” I asked, though I knew well.

“Because you might lose him. I have often seen horses go off with such
companions.”

“Such companions as what?” I asked.

“Try to guess.”

“Mustangs?”

“How did you know?”

“I’ve read that if domestic horses weren’t well tied they’d join the
wild ones when a herd came along.”

“Confound it! you’ve read so much a man can’t get the best of you.”

“Do you want to get the best of me?”

“Of course. But look, the mustangs have been here.”

“Are those their tracks?”

“Yes; they went through here yesterday. It was a scouting party. Let me
tell you that these beasts are uncommonly sharp. They always send out
little advance-parties, which have their officers exactly like soldiers,
and the commander is the strongest and most experienced horse. They
travel in circular formation, stallions outside, mares next them inside,
and the foals in the middle, in order that the males may protect the
mares and young. I have already shown you how to catch a mustang with a
lasso; do you remember? Would you like to capture one?”

“Certainly I would.”

“Well, you’ll have a chance before noon to-day.”

“Thanks, but I don’t intend to catch one.”

“The dickens you don’t! And why not?”

“Because I don’t need a horse.”

“But a real frontiersman never asks whether he needs a horse or not.”

“Now look here, Sam; only yesterday you were speaking of the brutal way
the white men, though they do not need meat, kill the buffaloes in
masses, depriving the Indians of their food. We agreed that was a crime
against beasts and men.”

“Assuredly.”

“This is a similar case. I should do wrong to rob one of these glorious
fellows of his freedom unless I needed a horse.”

“That’s well said, young man; bravely said. Any man, any Christian worth
calling so, would feel thus; but who said anything about robbing him of
his freedom? Just put your education in lasso-throwing to the proof,
that’s all.”

“That’s a different thing; I’ll do that.”

“All right; and I’ll use one in earnest, for I do need a horse. I’ve
often told you, and now I’ll say again: Sit strong in your saddle,
control your horse well when you feel the lasso tighten, and pull; for
if you don’t you’ll be unseated, and the mustang will gallop off, taking
your horse and lasso with him. Then you’ll lose your mount and be, like
me, only a common foot-soldier.”

He was about to give more advice, but stopped suddenly, and pointed to
the northern end of the prairie. There stood a horse, one single,
solitary horse. He walked slowly forward, not stopping to graze, turning
his head first to one side, then to the other, snuffing the air as he
came.

“Do you see?” whispered Sam. “Didn’t I tell you they’d come? That’s the
scout come on ahead to see if all’s safe. He’s a wise beast! See how he
looks in all directions! He won’t discover us, though, for we have the
wind towards us.”

The mustang broke into a trot, running to the right, then to the left,
and finally turned and disappeared as we had seen him come.

“Did you see him?” cried Sam admiringly. “How wise he is! An Indian
scout could not have done better.”

“That’s so; I’m surprised at him.”

“Now he’s gone back to tell his general the air is pure. How we fooled
him! They’ll all be here shortly. You ride back to the other end of the
prairie, and wait there, while I go towards them and hide in the trees.
When they come I’ll chase them, and they’ll fly in your direction; then
you show yourself, and they’ll turn back towards me. So we’ll drive them
back and forth till we’ve picked out the two best horses, and we’ll
catch them and choose between them. Do you agree?”

“How can you ask? I know nothing of the art of mustang-catching, of
which you are past master, and I’ve nothing to do but follow your
directions.”

“All right. I have caught mustangs before to-day, and I hope you’re not
far wrong in calling me a ‘master’ of that trade. Now let’s take our
places.”

We turned and rode in opposite directions, he northward, I southward to
the spot where we had entered the prairie. I got behind some little
trees, made one end of the lasso fast, and coiled the other ready for
use. The further end of the prairie was so far off that I could not see
the mustangs when they first appeared, but after I had been waiting a
quarter of an hour I saw what looked like a dark cloud rapidly
increasing in size and advancing in my direction. At first it seemed to
be made up of objects about as big as sparrows, then they seemed like
cats, dogs, calves, and at last I saw them in their own proportions.
They were the mustangs in wild gallop, coming towards me. What a sight
these lordly beasts were, with their manes flying about their necks, and
their tails streaming like plumes in the wind! There were at least three
hundred head, and the earth seemed to tremble beneath the pounding of
their hoofs. A white stallion led them, a noble creature that any man
might be glad to capture, only no prairie hunter would ride a white
horse, for he would be too conspicuous to his enemies.

Now was the time to show myself. I came out, and the startled leader
sprang back as though an arrow had pierced him. The herd halted; one
loud, eager whinny from the white stallion which plainly meant: Wheel,
squadron! and the splendid fellow turned, followed by all his
companions, and tore back whence they had come. I followed slowly; there
was no hurry, for I knew Sam Hawkins would drive them back to me. I
wanted to make sure I was right in what I had seen, for in the brief
instant the herd had halted it seemed to me that one of them was not a
horse, but a mule. The animal that I thought a mule had been in the
front ranks, immediately behind the leader, and so seemed not merely to
be tolerated by its companions, but to hold honorable rank among them.

Once again the herd came towards me, and I saw that I was not mistaken,
but that a mule really was among them, a mule of a delicate light brown
color, with dark back-stripe, and which I thought had the biggest head
and the longest ears I had ever seen. Mules are more suitable for rough
mountain-riding than horses, are surer-footed, and less likely to fall
into abysses—a fact worth consideration. To be sure they are obstinate,
and I have known a mule be beaten half to death rather than take another
step, not because it was overladen or the way was hard, but simply
because it would not. It seemed to me that this mule showed more spirit
than the horses, and that its eyes gleamed brighter and more
intelligently than theirs, and I resolved to capture it. Evidently it
had escaped from its former owner and joined the mustangs.

Now once more Sam turned the herd, and we had approached each other till
I could see him. The mustangs could no longer run back and forth; they
turned to the side, we following them. The herd had divided, and I saw
that the mule was with the more important part, still keeping beside the
white horse, and proving itself an unusually strong and swift animal. I
pursued this band, and Sam seemed to have the same design.

“Get around them; I left, you right,” he shouted.

We spurred our horses, and not only kept up with the mustangs, but rode
so swiftly that we headed them off from the woods. They began to scatter
to all sides like chickens when a hawk swoops down among them; and as we
both chased the white stallion and the mule, Sam cried: “You’ll always
be a greenhorn. Who else would pick out a white horse?”

I answered him, but his loud laugh drowned my reply, and if he thought I
was after the white horse it did not much matter. I left the mule to his
tender care, and in a moment he had come so near her that he threw the
lasso.

The noose encircled the beast’s neck, and now Sam had to hold on as he
had directed me to do, and throw himself backward to make the lasso hold
when it tautened. This he did, but a moment too late; his horse did not
obey on the instant, and was thrown by the force of the jerk. Sam flew
through the air, and landed on the ground with a thump. The horse shook
himself free, and was up and off in a moment, and the mule with him,
since the lasso was fast to the saddle-bow.

I hastened to see if Sam was hurt, and found him standing, much shaken,
but not otherwise the worse. He said to me in mournful tones: “There go
Dick Stone’s chestnut and the mule without saying good-by.”

“Are you hurt?”

“No. Jump down and give me your horse.”

“What for?”

“To catch them, of course. Hurry up.”

“Not much; you might turn another somersault, and then both our horses
would be gone to the four winds.” With these words I put my horse after
the mule and Dick’s horse. Already they were in trouble, one pulling one
way, the other another, and held together by the lasso, so I could
easily come up with them. It never entered my head to use my lasso, but
I grabbed the one holding them, wound it around my hand, and felt sure
the day was won. I drew the noose tighter and tighter, thus easily
controlling the mule, and brought her back, together with the horse, in
apparent subjection to where Sam stood.

Then I suddenly pulled the noose taut, when the mule lost her breath and
fell to the ground.

“Hold on fast till I have the rascal, and then let go,” shouted Sam,
springing to the side of the prostrate beast. “Now!” he cried.

I let go the lasso, and the mule instantly jumped up, but not before Sam
was on her back. She stood motionless a moment in surprise, then rushed
from side to side, then stood first on her hind legs, then on her fore
legs, and finally jumped into the air with all four bunched together,
and her back arched like a cat’s. But still little Sam sat fast.

“Don’t get near; she’s going to try her last hope and run away, but I’ll
bring her back tamed,” shouted Sam.

He proved to be mistaken, however; she only ran a little way, and then
deliberately lay down and rolled. This was too much for Sam’s ribs; he
had to get out of the saddle. I jumped from my horse, seized the lasso,
and wound it around some tough roots near at hand. The mule, finding she
had no rider, got up and started to run off; but the roots were strong,
the noose drew tight, and again the animal fell. Sam had retired to one
side, feeling his legs and ribs, and making a face as if he had eaten
sauerkraut and marmalade.

“Let the beast go,” he said. “I believe nobody can conquer her.”

“Well, I guess not,” said I. “No animal whose father was no gentleman,
but a donkey, is going to shame me. She’s got to mind me. Look out.”

I unwound the lasso from the bushes, and stood astride the mule, which
at once got up, feeling herself freed. Now it was a question of strength
of legs, and in this I far surpassed Sam. If a rider presses his beast’s
ribs with strong knees it causes intense pain. As the mule began to try
to throw me as she had Sam, I caught up the lasso, half hanging on the
ground, and fastened it tight behind the noose. This I drew whenever she
began any of her tricks, and by this means and pressure of the knees I
contrived to keep her on all fours.

It was a bitter struggle, strength against strength. I began to sweat
from every pore, but the mule was dripping, and foam fell from her lips
in great flakes. Her struggles grew more and more feeble, her heavy
breathing became short gasps, till at last she gave in altogether, not
willingly, but because she was at her last limit, and stood motionless
with bulging eyes. I drew long, deep breaths; it seemed to me as if
every bone and sinew in my body were broken.

“Heavens! what a man you are!” cried Sam. “You’re stronger than the
brute! If you could see your face you would be scared; your eyes are
staring, your lips are swollen, your cheeks are actually blue.”

“I suppose so; that comes of being a tenderfoot who won’t be beaten,
while his teacher gives in and lets a horse and a mule conquer him.”

Sam made a wry face. “Now let up, young fellow. I tell you the best
hunter gets whipped sometimes.”

“Very likely. How are your ribs and other little bones?”

“I don’t know; I’ll have to count ’em to find out. That’s a fine beast
you have under you there.”

“She is indeed. See how patiently she stands; one feels sorry for her.
Shall we saddle and bridle her and go back?”

The poor mule stood quiet, trembling in every limb; nor did she try to
resist when we put saddle and bridle on her, but obeyed the bit like a
well-broken horse. “She’s had a master before,” said Sam. “I’m going to
call her Nancy, for I once had a mule by that name, and it’s too much
trouble to get used to another. And I’m going to ask you to do me a
favor.”

“Gladly; what is it?”

“Don’t tell at the camp what has happened this morning, for they’d have
nine days’ sport with me.”

“Of course I won’t; you’re my teacher and friend, so I’ll keep your
secrets.”

His queer face lighted up with pleasure. “Yes, I’m your friend, and if I
knew you had a little liking for me, my old heart would be warmed and
rejoiced.”

I stretched out my hand to him, surprised and touched. “I can easily
give you that pleasure, dear Sam,” I said. “You may be sure I honestly
care for you with real respect and affection.”

He shook my hand, looking so delighted that even my young
self-sufficiency could perceive how lonely this rough, cranky old
frontiersman was, and how great was his yearning for human sympathy.

I fastened Dick Stone’s horse with the lasso, and mounting mine, as Sam
got on Nancy, we rode away.

“She’s been educated, this new Nancy, in a very good school,” Sam
remarked presently. “I see at every step she is going to be all right,
and is regaining the old knowledge which she had forgotten among the
mustangs. I hope she has not only temperament but character.”

“We’ve had two good days, Sam,” I said.

“Bad ones for me, except in getting Nancy; and bad for you, too, in one
way, but mighty honorable.”

“Oh, I’ve done nothing; I came West to get experience. I hope to have a
chance at other sport.”

“Well, I hope it will come more easily; yesterday your life hung by a
hair. You risked too much. Never forget you’re a greenhorn tenderfoot.
The idea of creeping up to shoot a buffalo in the eye! Did ever any one
hear the like? But though hunting buffaloes is dangerous, bear-hunting
is far more so.”

“Black bear?”

“Nonsense! The grizzly. You’ve read of him?”

“Yes.”

“Well, be glad you don’t know him outside of books; and take care you
don’t, for you might have a chance to meet him. He sometimes comes about
such places as this, following the rivers even as far as the prairie.
I’ll tell you more of him another time; here we are at the camp.”

“A mule, a mule! Where did you get her, Hawkins?” cried all the men.

“By special delivery from Washington, for a ten-cent stamp. Would you
like to see the envelope?” asked Sam, dismounting.

Though they were curious, none asked further questions, for, like the
beast he had captured, when Sam wouldn’t he wouldn’t, and that was the
end of it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER IV.

                       _A GRIZZLY AND A MEETING._


THE morning after Sam and I had caught Miss Nancy we moved our camp
onward to begin labor on the next section of the road. Hawkins, Stone,
and Parker did not help in this, for Sam was anxious to experiment
further with Nancy’s education, and the other two accompanied him to the
prairie, where they had sufficient room to carry out this purpose. We
surveyors transferred our instruments ourselves, helped by one of
Rattler’s men, while Rattler himself loafed around doing nothing.

We came to the spot where I had killed the two buffaloes, and to my
surprise I saw that the body of the old bull was gone, leaving a broad
trail of crushed grass that led to the adjoining thicket.

“I thought you had made sure both bulls were dead,” Rattler exclaimed.
“The big one must have had some life in him.”

“Think so?” I asked.

“Of course, unless you think a dead buffalo can take himself off.”

“Must he have taken himself off? Perhaps it was done for him.”

“Yes, but who did it?”

“Possibly Indians; we saw an Indian’s footprint over yonder.”

“You don’t say! How well a greenhorn can explain things!” sneered
Rattler. “If it was done by Indians, where do you think they came from?
Dropped from the skies? Because if they came from anywhere else we’d see
their tracks. No, there was life in that buffalo, and he crawled into
the thicket, where he must have died. I’m going to look for him.”

He started off, followed by his men. He may have expected me to go, too,
but it was far from my thoughts, for I did not like the way he had
spoken. I wanted to work, and did not care a button what had become of
the old bull. So I went back to my employment, and had only just taken
up the measuring-rod, when a cry of horror rang from the thicket, two,
three shots echoed, and then I heard Rattler cry: “Up the tree, quick!
up the tree, or you’re lost! he can’t climb.”

Who could not climb? One of Rattler’s men burst out of the thicket,
writhing like one in mortal agony.

“What is it? What’s happened?” I shouted.

“A bear, a tremendous grizzly bear!” he gasped, as I ran up to him.

And within the thicket an agonized voice cried: “Help, help! He’s got
me!” in the tone of a man who saw the jaws of death yawning before him.

Evidently the man was in extreme danger, and must be helped quickly, but
how? I had left my gun in the tent, for in working it hindered me; nor
was this an oversight, since we surveyors had the frontiersmen purposely
to guard us at our work. If I went to the tent to get the gun, the bear
would have torn the man to shreds before I could get back; I must go to
him as I was with a knife and two revolvers stuck in my belt, and what
were these against a grizzly bear?

The grizzly is a near relation of the extinct cave-bear, and really
belongs more to primeval days than to the present. It grows to a great
size, and its strength is such that it can easily carry off a deer, a
colt, or a young buffalo cow in its jaws. The Indians hold the killing
of a grizzly a brilliant feat, because of its absolute fearlessness and
inexhaustible endurance.

So it was to meet such a foe that I sprang into the thicket. The trail
led further within, where the trees began, and where the bear had
dragged the buffalo. It was a dreadful moment. Behind me I could hear
the voices of the engineers; before me were the frontiersmen screaming,
and between them and me, in indescribable agony, was their companion
whom the bear had seized.

I pushed further in, and heard the voice of the bear; for, though this
mighty beast differs from others of the bear family in not growling,
when in pain or anger it utters something like a loud, harsh breathing
and grunting.

And now I was on the scene. Before me lay the torn body of the buffalo,
to right and left were the men, who were comparatively safe, having
taken to the trees, which a grizzly bear seldom has been known to climb,
if ever. One of the men had tried to get up a tree like the others, but
had been overtaken by the bear. He hung by both arms hooked to the
lowest limb, while the grizzly reached up and held him fast with its
fore paws around the lower part of his body.

The man was almost dead; his case was hopeless. I could not help him,
and no one could have blamed me if I had gone away and saved myself. But
the desperation of the moment seemed to impel me onward. I snatched up a
discarded gun, only to find it already emptied. Taking it by the muzzle
I sprang over the buffalo, and dealt the bear a blow on the skull with
all my might. The gun shattered like glass in my hand; even a blow with
a battle-axe would have no effect on such a skull; but I had the
satisfaction of distracting the grizzly’s attention from its victim.

It turned its head toward me, not quickly, like a wild beast of the
feline or canine family, but slowly, as if wondering at my stupidity. It
seemed to measure me with its little eyes, deciding, between going at me
or sticking to its victim; and to this slight hesitation I owe my life,
for in that instant the only possible way to save myself came to me. I
drew a revolver, sprang directly at the bear, and shot it, once, twice,
thrice, straight in the eyes, as I had the buffalo.

Of course this was rapidly done, and at once I jumped to one side, and
stood still with my knife drawn. Had I remained where I was, my life
would have paid for my rashness, for the blinded beast turned quickly
from the tree, and threw itself on the spot where I had stood a moment
before. I was not there, and the bear sought me with angry mutterings
and heavy breathing. It wheeled around like a mad thing, hugged itself,
rose on its hind legs, reaching and springing all around to find me, but
fortunately I was out of reach. Its sense of smell would have guided it
to me, but it was mad with rage and pain, and this prevented its
instinct from serving it.

At last it turned its attention more to its misfortune than to him who
had caused it. It sat down, and with sobs and gnashing of teeth laid its
fore paws over its eyes. I was sorry that necessity for saving human
life was causing the big fellow such pain, and, with pity for it, as
well as desire for my own safety, tried to make it short. Quickly I
stood beside it and stabbed it twice between the ribs. Instantly it
grabbed for me, but once more I sprang out of the way. I had not pierced
its heart, and it began seeking me with redoubled fury. This continued
for fully ten minutes. It had lost a great deal of blood, and evidently
was dying; it sat down again to mourn its poor lost eyes. This gave me a
chance for two rapidly repeated knife-thrusts, and this time I aimed
better; it sank forward, as again I sprang aloof, made a feeble step to
one side, then back, tried to rise, but had not sufficient strength,
swayed back and forth in trying to get on its feet, and then stretched
out and was still.

“Thank God!” cried Rattler from his tree, “the beast is dead. That was a
close call we had.”

“I don’t see that it was a close call for you,” I replied. “You took
good care of your own safety. Now you can come down.”

“Not yet; you make sure it’s truly dead.”

“It is dead.”

“You don’t know; you haven’t an idea how tough such a creature is. Go
examine it.”

“If you doubt me, examine it yourself; you’re an experienced
frontiersman, and I’m a tenderfoot, you know.”

So saying I turned to his comrade, who still hung on the tree in on
awful plight. His face was torn, and his wide-open eyes were glassy, the
flesh was stripped from the bones of his legs, and he was partly
disembowelled. I conquered the horror of the sight enough to say: “Let
go, my poor fellow; I will take you down.” He did not answer, or show
any sign of having heard me, and I called his comrades to help me. Only
after I had made sure the bear was dead would the courageous gang come
down from their trees, when we gently removed the wounded man. This
required strength to accomplish, for his arms had wound tightly around
the tree, and stiffened there: he was dead.

This horrible end did not seem to affect his companions in the least,
for they turned from him to the bear, and their leader said: “Now things
are reversed; the bear meant to eat us, but we will eat it. Quick, you
fellows, take its pelt, and let us get at the paws and steak.”

He drew his knife and knelt down to carry out his words, but I checked
him. “It would have been more fitting if you had used your knife when it
was alive. Now it’s too late; don’t give yourself the trouble.”

“What!” he cried. “Do you mean to hinder me?”

“Most emphatically I do, Mr. Rattler.”

“By what right?”

“By the most indisputable right. I killed that bear.”

“That’s not so. Maybe you think a greenhorn can kill a grizzly with a
knife! As soon as we saw it we shot it.”

“And immediately got up a tree! Yes, that’s very true.”

“You bet it’s true, and our shots killed it, not the two little
needle-pricks of your knife. The bear is ours, and we’ll do with it what
we like. Understand?”

He started to work again, but I said coolly: “Stop this minute, Rattler.
I’ll teach you to respect my words; do _you_ understand?” And as he bent
forward to stick the knife into the bear’s hide I put both arms around
his hips and, raising him, threw him against the next tree so hard that
it cracked. I was too angry just then to care whether he or the tree
broke, and as he flew across the space I drew my second and unused
revolver, to be ready for the next move.

He got up, looked at me with eyes blazing with rage, drew his knife, and
cried: “You shall pay for this. You knocked me down once before; I’ll
see it doesn’t happen a third time.” He made a step towards me, but I
covered him with my pistol, saying: “One step more and you’ll have a
bullet in your head. Drop that knife. When I say ‘three’ I’ll shoot you
if you still hold it. Now: One, two—” He held the knife tight, and I
should have shot him, not in the head, but in the hand, for he had to
learn to respect me; but luckily I did not get so far, for at this
moment a loud voice cried: “Men, are you mad? What reason have the
whites to tear out one another’s eyes? Stop!”

We looked in the direction whence the voice came, and saw a man
appearing from behind the trees. He was small, thin, and hunchbacked,
clad and armed like a red man. One could not tell whether he was an
Indian or a white; his sharp-cut features indicated the former, while
the tint of his face, although sunburned, was that of a white man. He
was bareheaded, and his dark hair hung to his shoulders. He wore leather
trousers, a hunting-shirt of the same material, and moccasins, and was
armed with a knife and gun. His eyes shone with unusual intelligence,
and there was nothing ridiculous in his deformity. Indeed, none but
stupid and brutal men ever laugh at bodily defects; but Rattler was of
this class, for as soon as he looked at the new-comer he cried:

“Hallo! What kind of a freak comes here? Do such queer things grow in
the big West?”

The stranger looked at him calmly, and answered quietly: “Thank God that
your limbs are sound. It is by the heart and soul that men are judged,
and I should not fear a comparison with you in those respects.”

He made a gesture of contempt, and turned to me, saying: “You are
strong, young sir; it is not every one can send a man flying through the
air as you did just now; it was wonderful to see.” Then touching the
grizzly with his foot, he added: “And this is the game we wanted, but we
came too late. We discovered its tracks yesterday, and followed over
hill and dale, through thick and thin, only to find the work done when
we came up with it.”

“You speak in the plural; are you not alone?” I asked.

“No; I have two companions with me. But before I tell you who they are,
will you introduce yourselves? You know one cannot be too cautious here,
where we meet more bad men than good ones.” He glanced significantly at
Rattler and his followers, but instantly added in a friendly tone:
“However, one can tell a gentleman that can be trusted. I heard the last
part of your discussion, and know pretty well where I stand.”

“We are surveyors, sir,” I explained. “We are locating a railroad to go
through here.”

“Surveyors! Have you purchased the right to build your road?”

His face became stern as he asked the question, for which he seemed to
have some reason; so I replied: “I have occupied myself with my task,
and never thought of asking.”

“Ah, yes; but you must know where you are. Consider: these lands whereon
we stand are the property of the Indians; they belong to the Apaches of
the Mascaleros tribe. I am sure, if you are sent to survey, the ground
is being marked out by the whites for some one else.”

“What is that to you?” Rattler cried. “Don’t bother yourself with the
affairs of others. Any one can see you are a white man.”

“I am an Apache, one of the Mascaleros,” the stranger said quietly. “I
am Kleki-Petrah.”

This name in the Apache tongue is equivalent to _White Father_, and
Rattler seemed to have heard it before. He bowed with mock deference,
and said: “Ah, Kleki-Petrah, the venerated school-master of the Apaches!
It’s a pity you are deformed, for it must annoy you to be laughed at by
the braves.”

“They never do that, sir. Well-bred people are not amused by such
things, and the braves are gentlemen. Since I know who you are and why
you are here, I will tell you who my companions are, or perhaps you had
better meet them.”

He called in the Indian tongue, and two extraordinarily interesting
figures appeared, and came slowly towards us. They were Indians, father
and son, as one could see at the first glance. The elder was a little
above medium height, very strongly built. His air was truly noble; his
earnest face was of pure Indian type, but not so sharp and keen as that
of most red men. His eyes had a calm, gentle expression, like one much
given to contemplation. His head was bare, his hair worn in a knot in
which was stuck an eagle’s feather, the badge of chieftainship. His
dress consisted of moccasins, leather leggings, and hunting-jacket, very
simple and unadorned. From his belt, in which a knife was thrust, hung
all the appointments necessary to a dweller on the plains. A
medicine-charm with sacred inscriptions cut around its face hung from
his neck, and in his hand he carried a double-barrelled gun, the handle
adorned with silver nails.

The younger man was clad like his father, except that his garments were
showier; his leggings were beautifully fringed, and his hunting-shirt
was embellished with scarlet needlework. He also wore a medicine-charm
around his neck, and a calumet; like his father he was armed with a
knife and a double-barrelled gun. He, too, was bareheaded, his hair
bound in a knot, but without the feather; it was so long that the end
below the knot fell thick and heavy on his shoulders, and many a fine
lady might have coveted it. His face was even nobler than his father’s,
its color a light brown with a touch of bronze. He seemed to be, as I
afterwards learned he was, of the same age as myself, and his appearance
made as profound an impression on me then, when I saw him first, as his
character has left upon me to-day, after our long friendship.

We looked at one another long and searchingly, and I thought I saw for a
moment in his earnest, dark eyes a friendly light gleam upon me.

“These are my friends and companions,” said Kleki-Petrah, introducing
first the father, then the son. “This is Intschu-Tschuna [_Good Sun_],
the chief of the Mascaleros, whom all Apaches acknowledge as their head.
And here stands his son Winnetou, who already in his youth has
accomplished more deeds of renown than any ten old warriors have in all
their lives. His name will be known and honored as far as the prairies
and Rockies extend.”

This sounded like exaggeration, but later I found that he had spoken
only the truth.

Rattler laughed insultingly, and said: “So young a fellow, and committed
such deeds? I say _committed_ purposely, for every one knows they are
only deeds of robbery and cruelty. The red men steal from every one.”

This was an outrageous insult, but the Indians acted as though they had
not heard it. Stooping down over the bear, Kleki-Petrah admired it,
calling Winnetou’s attention to its size and strength. “It was killed by
a knife and not a bullet,” he said as he rose.

Evidently, I thought, he had heard the dispute and wished me to have
justice.

“What does a school-master know of bear-hunting?” said Rattler. “When we
take the skin off we can see what killed him. I won’t be robbed of my
rights by a greenhorn.”

Then Winnetou bent down, touched the bloody wound, and asked me in good
English: “Who stabbed the beast?”

“I did,” I replied.

“Why did not my young white brother shoot him?”

“Because I had no gun with me.”

“Yet here are guns.”

“They are not mine; they were thrown away by these men when they climbed
the trees shrieking with terror.”

“Ugh! the low cowards and dogs, to fly like tissue-paper! A man should
make resistance, for if he has courage he may conquer the strongest
brute. My young white brother has such courage.”

“My son speaks truly,” added the father in as perfect English. “This
brave young pale-face is no longer a greenhorn. He who kills a grizzly
in this manner is a hero; and he who does it to save those who climb
trees deserves thanks, not insults. Let us go to visit the pale-faces
that have come into our dominion.”

They were but three, and did not know how many we numbered, but that
never occurred to them. With slow and dignified strides they went out of
the thicket, we following.

Then for the first time Intschu-Tschuna saw the surveying instruments
standing as we had left them, and, stopping suddenly, he turned to me,
demanding: “What is this? Are the pale-faces measuring the land?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“Why?”

“For a railroad.”

His eyes lost their calmness, and he asked sternly: “Do you obey these
people, and measure with them?”

“Yes.”

“And are paid for it?”

“Yes.”

He threw a scornful glance upon me, and in a contemptuous tone he said
to Kleki-Petrah: “Your teachings sound well, but they do not often agree
with what I see. Christians deceive and rob the Indians. Here is a young
pale-face with a brave heart, open face, honorable eyes, and when I ask
what he does here he tells me he has come to steal our land. The faces
of the white men are good and bad, but inside they are all alike.”

To be honest, his words filled me with shame. Could I well be proud of
my share in this matter—I, a Catholic, who had been taught so early:
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods”? I blushed for my race and
for myself before this fine savage; and before I could rally enough even
to try to reply, the head engineer, who had been watching us through a
hole in the tent, came forth to meet us, and my thoughts were diverted
by what then took place.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER V.

                   _THE SPEECH OF THE APACHE CHIEF._


THE first question the head engineer asked as we came up, although he
was surprised to see the Indians with us, was what had become of the
bear.

Rattler instantly replied: “We’ve shot him, and we’ll have bear-paws for
dinner, and bear-steak to-night for supper.”

Our three guests looked at me as if to see whether I would let this
pass, and I said: “I claim to have stabbed the bear. Here are three
witnesses who have corroborated my statement; but we’ll wait till
Hawkins, Stone, and Parker come, and they will give their opinion, by
which we will be guided. Till then the bear must lie untouched.”

“Not much will I leave it to the scouts,” growled Rattler. “I’ll go with
my men and cut up the bear, and whoever tries to hinder us will be
driven off with a dozen shots in his body.”

“Hold on, Mr. Rattler,” said I. “I’m not as much afraid of your shots as
you were of the bear. You won’t drive me up a tree with your threats. I
recommend you to bury your dead comrade; I would not leave him lying
thus.”

“Is some one dead?” asked Bancroft, startled.

“Yes, Rollins,” Rattler replied. “The poor fellow had jumped for a tree,
like the rest of us, and would have been all right, but this greenhorn
came up, excited the bear, and it tore Rollins horribly.”

I stood speechless with amazement that he should dare go so far. It was
impossible to endure such lying, and in my very presence. I turned on
Rattler and demanded: “Do you mean to say Rollins was escaping, and I
prevented it?”

“Yes,” he nodded, drawing his revolver.

“And I say the bear had seized him before I came.”

“That’s a lie,” said Rattler.

“Very well; here’s a truth for you,” and with these words I knocked his
revolver from his hand with my left, and with the right gave him such a
blow on the ear that he staggered six or eight feet away, and fell flat
on the ground.

He sprang up, drew his knife, and came at me raging like a wild beast. I
parried the knife-thrust with my left hand, and with my right laid him
senseless at my feet.

“Ugh! ugh!” grunted Intschu-Tschuna, surprised into admiration, which
his race rarely betray.

“That was Shatterhand again,” said Wheeler, the surveyor.

I kept my eye on Rattler’s comrades; they were angry, but no one dared
attack me, and though they muttered among themselves they did no more.

“You must send Rattler away, Mr. Bancroft,” I said. “I have done nothing
to him, yet he constantly seeks a quarrel with me. I am afraid he’ll
make serious trouble in the camp. Send him away, or, if you prefer, I’ll
go myself.”

“Oh, things aren’t as bad as that,” said Bancroft easily.

“Yes, they are, just as bad as that. Here are his knife and revolver;
don’t let him have them, for I warn you they’d not be in good hands.”

Just as I spoke these words our three scouts joined us, and having heard
the story of Rattler’s lying claim, and my counter-statement, they set
off at once to examine the bear’s carcass to settle the dispute. They
returned in a short time, and as soon as he was within hailing distance
Sam called out: “What idiocy it was to shoot a grizzly and then run! If
a man doesn’t intend making a fight, then what on earth does he shoot
for? Why doesn’t he leave the bear in peace? You can’t treat grizzlies
like poodle-dogs. Poor Rollins paid dear for it, though. Now, who killed
that bear, did you say?”

“I did,” cried Rattler, who had come to. “I killed him with my gun.”

“Well, that agrees; that’s all right. The bear was shot.”

“Do you hear that, men? Sam Hawkins has decided for me,” cried Rattler
triumphantly.

“Yes, for you,” said Sam. “You shot him, and took off the tip of his
ear, and such a loss naturally ended the grizzly, ha! ha! ha! If you
shot again it went wide of the mark, for there’s no other gun-shot on
him. But there are four true knife-thrusts, two above the heart and two
in it; who gave him those?”

“I did,” I said.

“You alone?”

“No one else.”

“Then the bear belongs to you. That is, the pelt is yours; the flesh
belongs to all, but you have the right to divide it. This is the custom
of the West. Have you anything to say, Mr. Rattler?”

Rattler growled something that condemned us to a much warmer climate,
and turned sullenly to the wagon where the liquor was stored. I saw him
pour down glass after glass, and knew he would drink till he could drink
no more.

The Indians had listened to our discussion, and watched us in silent
interest; but now, our affairs being settled, the chief,
Intschu-Tschuna, turned to the head engineer, saying: “My ear has told
me that among these pale-faces you are chief; is this so?”

“Yes,” Bancroft replied.

“Then I have something to say to you.”

“What is it?”

“You shall hear. But you are standing, and men should sit in
conference.”

“Will you be our guest?” asked Bancroft.

“No, for it is impossible. How can I be your guest when you are on my
lands, in my forests, my valleys, my prairies? Let the white men be
seated.”

“Tell me what you wish of me,” said Bancroft.

“It is not a wish, but a command,” answered Intschu-Tschuna proudly.

“We will take no command,” responded the head engineer with equal pride.

A look of anger passed over the chief’s face, but he controlled himself,
and said mildly: “My white brother will answer me one question
truthfully. Have you a house?”

“Yes.”

“With a garden?”

“Yes.”

“If a neighbor would cut a path through that garden would my brother
submit to it?”

“No.”

“The lands beyond the Rocky Mountains and east of the Mississippi belong
to the pale-faces. What would they say if the Indians came to build a
railroad there?”

“They would drive them away.”

“My white brother has answered truly. But the pale-faces come here on
these lands of ours, and drive away our mustangs and kill our buffaloes;
they seek among us for gold and precious stones, and now they will build
a long, long road on which their fire-horses can run. Then more
pale-faces will follow this road, and settle among us, and take the
little we have left us. What are we to say to this?”

Bancroft was silent.

“Have we fewer rights than they? You call yourselves Christians, and
speak of love, yet you say: We can rob and cheat you, but you must be
honest with us. Is that love? You say your God is the Good Father of all
men, red and white. Is He only our stepfather, and are you His own sons?
Did not all the land belong to the red man? It has been taken from us,
and what have we instead? Misery, misery, misery. You drive us ever
farther and farther back, and press us closer and closer together, and
in a little time we shall be suffocated. Why do you do this? Is it
because you have not room enough? No, for there is room in your lands
still for many, many millions. Each of your tribes can have a whole
State, but the red man, the true owner, may not have a place to lay his
head. Kleki-Petrah, who sits here before me, has taught me your Holy
Book. There it says that the first man had two sons, and one killed the
other, and his blood cried to Heaven. How is it with the two brothers,
the red and the white? Are you not Cain, and are we not Abel, whose
blood cries to Heaven? And when you try to destroy us you wish us to
make no defence. But we will defend ourselves, we will defend ourselves.
We have been driven from place to place, ever farther away; now we abide
here, where we believed ourselves at rest, but you come to build your
railroad. Have we not the same rights you have over your house and
garden? If we followed our own laws we should kill you; but we only wish
your laws to be fulfilled towards us: are they? No! Your laws have two
faces, and you turn them to us as it suits your advantage. Have you
asked our permission to build this road?”

“No,” said Bancroft. “It was not necessary.”

“Have you bought the land, or have we sold it?”

“Not to me.”

“Nor to any other. Were you an honest man sent here to build a way for
the fire-horse, you would first have asked the man who sent you whether
he had a right to do this thing, and made him prove it. But this you
have not done. I forbid you to measure further.” These last words were
spoken in a tone of most bitter earnest.

I had read much of the red man, but never had found in any book such a
speech from an Indian, and I wondered if he owed his fluent English and
forcible logic to Kleki-Petrah.

The head engineer found himself in an awkward predicament. If he was
honest and sincere he could not gainsay what Intschu-Tschuna had spoken;
but there were considerations more weighty with Bancroft than honesty,
so the chief had to wait his answer, looking him straight in the eyes.

Seeing that Bancroft was shifting about in his mind for a way out of his
difficulty, Intschu-Tschuna rose, saying decidedly: “There is no need of
further speech. I have spoken. My will is that you leave here to-day,
and go back whence you came. Decide whether you will obey or not. I will
now depart with my son Winnetou, and will return at the end of that time
which the pale-faces call an hour, when you will give me your answer. If
you go, we are brothers; if you stay, it shall be deadly enmity between
you and me. I am Intschu-Tschuna, the chief of all the Apaches. I have
spoken.”

Winnetou followed him as he went out from among us, and they were soon
lost to sight down the valley.

Kleki-Petrah remained seated, and Bancroft turned to him and asked his
advice. He replied: “Do as you will, sir. I am of the chief’s opinion.
The red race has been cruelly outraged and robbed. But as a white man I
know that the Indian must disappear. If you are an honest man and go
to-day, to-morrow another will come to carry on your work. I warn you,
however, that the chief is in earnest.”

He, too, rose, as if to put an end to further questioning. I went up to
him and said: “Sir, will you let me go with you? I promise to do or say
nothing that will annoy you. It is only because I feel extraordinary
interest in Intschu-Tschuna, and even more in Winnetou.”

That he himself was included in this interest I dared not say.

“Yes, come with me a little way,” he replied. “I have withdrawn from my
race, and must know them no more; but since you have crossed my path,
there can be no harm in our meeting, and some good may result from it.
We will walk a little together. You seem to me the most intelligent of
these men; am I right?”

“I am the youngest, and not clever, and I should be honored if you
allowed me to go with you,” I answered respectfully.

“Come, then,” said Kleki-Petrah kindly, and we walked slowly away from
the camp.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER VI.

                  _A WISH AND ITS TRAGIC FULFILMENT._


“YOU do not speak like a Westerner,” said Kleki-Petrah as we started.

“No, I am from the East,” I replied. “I came here to see the world.”

“A bad thing to see sometimes. I am a German. It must seem strange to
you to find a German become a full-fledged Apache.”

“God’s ways seem marvellous, but they are natural after all.”

“God’s ways! Why do you say _God_, instead of destiny, fate, or
fortune?”

“Because I am a Catholic, and recognize that the hand of God is in the
affairs of men.”

“You are right, and are happier than you know; never lose that
conviction. Yes, it is true that God’s ways often seem marvellous, but
are perfectly natural. The greatest marvels are the fulfilment of His
laws, and the daily actions of nature are the greatest marvels. A
German, a student, a teacher of some renown, and now an Apache—these
seem wonderful changes, but they came about naturally.”

Though he had taken me with him half unwillingly, he seemed glad to
speak of himself. We had not gone far from camp, and had lain down under
a tree, where I could study his face and expression at leisure. The
vicissitudes of life had engraved deep lines upon his brow; long furrows
of sorrow, the marks of doubt and thought, the many seams of care and
privation. Though his eyes might once have been piercing, angry,
threatening, now they were as calm and clear as a forest lake.

I should not have dared to question him as to his evidently strange
history, though I longed to know it, but he asked me all about myself,
and my answers were so full and frank that they gave him evident
pleasure.

When he had heard all there was to learn of me he bowed his head,
saying: “You are at the beginning of the conflict which I am ending, but
you need not fear. You have the good God with you who will never forsake
you. It was otherwise with me. I had lost my God when I left home, or
rather was driven from it, and instead of the staff of strong faith I
took with me the worst companion a man can have—a bad conscience.”

He looked at me as he said these words, and, seeing my face unchanged,
asked: “Are you not shocked?”

“Nonsense! who could suspect you of a great crime? I doubt your being a
thief or a murderer.”

I laughed as I spoke, but he said gravely: “Thank you, but you are
mistaken. I was a thief, for I stole much that was priceless. And I was
a murderer, the worst of murderers, for I slew souls. I was a teacher in
an advanced school, it does not matter where. I was born a Catholic, but
lost my faith, and my greatest pride lay in being free and having
dethroned God, and all my influence and skill went to robbing others of
their faith. I had great power over men, and numberless were the hearers
whom my lectures led into infidelity. Then came the revolution. He who
acknowledges no God recognizes no king or authority as sacred. I placed
myself at the head of a lawless band of malcontents, who acclaimed me as
their leader, and we rose in mad rebellion against constituted
authority. How many fell in that struggle! I was a murderer, and the
murderer not only of these, but of others that perished later behind
prison walls. I fled from my fatherland to escape a like fate. I had no
father or mother, no brother or sister; not a soul wept for me, but many
cursed me as the cause of their sorrow. In fleeing from the police I ran
one day through a little garden and entered a dilapidated house, where I
found an old mother and her daughter in direst need. They told me their
pitiful story with bitter tears. They had been comfortable, the daughter
married but a year to an honest man who earned enough for a decent
livelihood. He had heard my lectures, and been led away by them. He
persuaded his father-in-law to join him and take part in the rebellion
under my leadership. The young man fell on what he thought a field of
honor, but the old father was imprisoned. The women told me this not
knowing it was their listener who was responsible for their
wretchedness. God’s mills began to grind. Freedom was mine still, but
peace was gone. I wandered everywhere, but found no rest. I was often on
the verge of suicide, but a hand held me back—God’s hand. At last I
reached the United States, and came to the West. In Kansas I met a
priest, one of my own countrymen, and he saved me. He dispelled my
doubts, and gave me back faith and contentment. Dear Lord, I thank Thee
for it.”

He was silent awhile, with hands folded and gaze directed heavenward.
Then he resumed: “I fled from the world and men to do penance, and
turned towards the wilderness. I saw the red man’s wrongs, and my heart
overflowed with wrath and compassion. I resolved to atone as far as
might be for my wrong to the white man by devotion to the red. I went
among the Apaches, learned their tongue, and became their teacher.
Winnetou is my especial charge; were he the son of a European lord he
would be a renowned prince, for he is richly endowed by nature. Would
that I might see him a Christian! But though I have taught him all I
could of Catholic truth, it may never be, for he shrinks from deserting
the religion of his ancestors. However it may end I will remain with him
to the day of my death. He is my spiritual son; I love him more than
myself, and it would be joy to me to receive in my own heart a shot
intended for his, for I would gladly die for him, feeling that perhaps
such a death might wash away the last stain of my sins.”

His head sank on his breast, and I remained silent, feeling that
anything I could say would be trivial after such a confession, but I
took his hand and pressed it heartily. He understood, and returned the
pressure.

After a time he spoke again. “Why have I told you this? I have seen you
to-day for the first time, and probably we shall never meet again. Has
it been by the inspiration of God? For I, the former blasphemer, now
seek to find His will in all things. There is an indefinable feeling of
melancholy in my heart, which is not exactly sorrow. It is like the
feeling that comes to one when the autumn leaves are falling. How shall
my tree of life shed its leaves? Gently and after they are sere, or
shall it be cut down before its natural time has come?” He gazed in
silence down the valley, where I saw Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou
returning. They were mounted now, and leading Kleki-Petrah’s horse.

We rose to go to the camp, which we reached as the Indians came up.
Rattler leaned against the wagon, his face on fire, for in the short
time that had passed he had drunk as much as he possibly could, and was
a horrible sight. His eyes were like a wild beast’s, and I made up my
mind to watch him, for he was dangerous.

The chief and Winnetou dismounted and came towards us. “Have my white
brothers decided to go or stay?” asked Intschu-Tschuna.

The head engineer had thought of a compromise, and said: “We must stay
here whether we would or not, and obey the command laid upon us. But we
will send to Santa Fé and ask for instructions from those that sent us,
and then we will answer.”

This was a cunning thought, for by that time our work would be done. But
the chief said decidedly: “I will not wait. My white brother must say at
once what he will do.”

Rattler had filled a glass with whisky, and came towards the two
Indians, saying incoherently: “If the Indians will drink with me we will
go, if not we won’t. Let the young one drink first. Here’s fire-water,
Winnetou.”

He held out the glass. Winnetou stepped back in disgust.

“What! You won’t drink with me? That’s an insult. Here, take the whisky,
you red dog; lick it up, if you won’t drink it.” Before any one could
stop him, he had thrown the contents of the glass in the young Apache’s
face. According to Indian custom such an insult was to be avenged by
death, but Winnetou merely struck him to the earth, while, like his
father’s, his face betrayed no sign of what he felt, and the drunkard
picked himself up and staggered back to the wagon.

“Once more,” said Intschu-Tschuna, “and this is the last time, I ask:
Will the pale-faces leave our valley to-day?”

“We cannot,” was the reply.

“Then remember there is strife between us.”

I started towards them, but the three strangers turned back to their
horses without noticing me.

From the wagon came Rattler’s voice crying: “Get out, you red coyotes!
but the young one shall pay for knocking me down.” Quicker than it can
be told he had snatched a gun from the wagon and aimed it at Winnetou,
who was standing alone, without protection, where the bullet must have
found him; nor was there time to warn him.

Kleki-Petrah cried in anguish: “Down, Winnetou, down,” at the same time
springing before the young Apache. The shot whistled through the air.
Kleki-Petrah fell to the ground with one hand at his breast, while at
the same moment Rattler fell, struck by my hand. I had sprung at him as
soon as I saw his intention, but too late.

A cry of horror arose from all sides; only the two Apaches were silent.
They knelt by the friend who had given his life for them, and examined
his wound. It was close to the heart, and the blood flowed from it in
torrents. I, too, knelt by Kleki-Petrah, whose eyes were closed and
whose face was fast growing white and drawn.

“Lay his head on your breast,” I said to Winnetou. “If he sees you when
he opens his eyes, his death will be happier.”

Without a word Winnetou followed my suggestion, and his eyes never
wandered from the dying man.

At last he opened his eyes, and seeing Winnetou bending over him a
peaceful smile came over his suffering face, and he whispered:
“Winnetou, O my son, Winnetou!” Then his failing eyes seemed to seek
something, till he saw me, and he said to me in German: “Stay with him;
be true to him; carry on my work.”

He raised his hand imploringly; I took it, and replied: “I will, I
promise you I will.”

An ineffable expression came upon his face, and he murmured in a faint
voice: “My leaves are cut off, not fading; it is—wiped out. I
die—as—I—wished. God, forgive—forgive. Jesus, mercy—mercy—Mary,
pray—mercy—” He folded his hands, a flood of blood burst from his wound,
his head fell back: he was dead.

Now I knew what had led him to unburden his heart to me—the inspiration
of God, as he had said. He had wished to die for Winnetou; how quickly
had his wish been fulfilled! The last trace of his sin had been washed
away. God is love and infinite compassion; the contrite He will in no
wise cast out.

Winnetou laid the dead man’s head in the grass, slowly rose, and looked
interrogatively at his father.

“There lies the murderer where I have struck him down; he is yours,” I
said.

“Fire-water!” Only this brief reply came from the chief’s lips in
contemptuous tones.

“I will be your friend, your brother; I will go with you.” The words
burst from me involuntarily.

Intschu-Tschuna spat in my face. “Miserable cur!” he said, “thief of our
land, dare to follow us, and I will crush you!”

I let the insult pass, awed by the presence of the dead and my promise
to him.

The white men stood dumbly waiting to see what the Apaches would do.
They never glanced at us again. Placing the corpse on the horse which
Kleki-Petrah had ridden, they bound it fast, took the bridle, and,
mounting themselves, rode away.

They spoke no word, and as Sam Hawkins watched them disappear he said:
“That is more dangerous than the most dreadful threats. We shall see
trouble, and there lies the cause, with no mind or soul; what shall we
do with him?”

I did not wait to hear the answer; I saddled my horse and rode away. I
wished to be alone to escape hearing this last awful half-hour
discussed. It was late in the evening when, weary and exhausted in body
and soul, I returned to the camp.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER VII.

                      _A COMPACT WITH THE KIOWAS._


IT was decided by our party that we were not able, under the
circumstances, to punish Rattler for his crime, which was most
unsatisfactory to my youthful sense of justice. Sam pointed out,
however, that his punishment was swift and certain at the hands of the
Apaches; but the drawback to this consolation was that we who were
innocent were likely to suffer with the guilty. We knew that the Indians
would return to avenge Kleki-Petrah’s murder as soon as they could
summon their warriors, and the most important thing for us was to
discover where the main body of the braves were, how far the chief and
his son must ride to come up with them, and consequently when we could
expect their return. Bancroft was most anxious to finish our work before
we left, provided there was time before the anticipated attack, and
calculated that it would require five days to complete our task. So Sam
Hawkins volunteered to ride on the trail of the chiefs who had visited
us, to discover, if possible, all that we needed to know, and took me
with him, partly for protection, because I had earned such a reputation
for being able to strike a hard blow with what Sam called my “lily
lady-fingers,” partly that I might have experience in the art of
following a trail, and partly, I hope, because he liked to have me with
him.

I had not been able to eat or sleep the night after the murder, for I
could not cease going over the dreadful scene. I saw myself seated by
Kleki-Petrah, heard his story, which had become to me a dying
confession, and thought again and again of his last words, expressing a
presentiment of his coming death. Yes, the tree of his life had not
fallen naturally, but had been violently cut down, and by what an
assassin, for what a reason, and in what a manner! If there was any
consolation to be found in the bloody work of that day, it was that
Kleki-Petrah had died on Winnetou’s heart, and he had received the shot
intended for his beloved pupil.

But what of his request that I should cling to Winnetou and fulfil the
work that he had begun? Only a few moments before he had said that we
should probably never meet again, and indeed my path in life lay far
enough from the Apaches, and yet he had left me a problem the solution
of which would bring me into the most intimate relations with that
tribe. Was this request but chance words? Or was the dying man in the
last moment of his life, as his soul fluttered on the border of the next
world, given a glimpse of the future? It seems so, for events enabled me
to fulfil his wish, though then it appeared extremely unlikely that I
should ever be brought into friendly contact with Winnetou.

But why above all had I so quickly given my pledge to the dying man?
Through pity? Yes, undoubtedly; but there was another reason. Winnetou
had made an impression upon me such as I had never received from any
other man. He was exactly my age, yet of far greater parts, and this I
felt from the first glance at him. The proud earnestness of his clear,
velvety eyes, the quiet certainty of his bearing, and the profound
sorrow on his fine young face had revealed it to me. How admirable had
been his conduct and that of his father! And what a lesson for many a
white man lay in Intschu-Tschuna’s one word of explanation of Rattler’s
crime: “Fire-water!” These thoughts, and the dread of meeting as
enemies, returned to slay me and my comrades, these two whom I not only
liked, but whom I had promised to befriend, kept all sleep from my
eyelids, and it was with a heavy heart that I set out with Sam on the
following morning to ride on their trail.

We started early, before the sun had risen. It was my very first
scouting expedition, and, though I have since taken many such rides, I
can never forget this first one. The trail was easily followed, a fact
which made Sam doubt its being trustworthy; for he said that when an
Indian left his course so easily traced by an enemy the chance was it
was done only to lead that enemy into a trap. But I felt sure that in
this case it was only because the chief and Winnetou were too heavily
encumbered by the corpse of Kleki-Petrah, and in too great haste to
avenge his murder, to obliterate the trace of their course, and rode on
with no fear of an ambush.

It was an hour before mid-day when we came to a thicket of young oaks
where the Indians had evidently halted to cut saplings for a litter or
drag for the body of Kleki-Petrah, for we saw the leaves and twigs which
they had stripped from the young trees in its construction lying on the
ground. Here Sam reined up, saying: “Now we’ve gone far enough; we’ll
rest awhile. Winnetou rode all night to this point; do you see that the
trail goes on from here in single file? That means that they rode this
way to cover the fact that one has gone on alone, for greater speed,
leaving the other to follow with the body. The one in advance is
probably the chief, and Winnetou has taken charge of his murdered
teacher. This will enable Intschu-Tschuna to summon his braves quickly,
and we may expect their return very soon, perhaps before the five days
are up which you need for your work.”

We let our horses, or rather my horse and Nancy, drink at a stream which
flowed between the saplings, and we lay down to rest for half an hour
before we turned to go back. We lay silent, I thinking of the
approaching struggle with the Apaches, while I saw by the regular
heaving of his breast that Sam slept. If I needed a proof of the
intelligence of animals, and the keenness attained by the senses of both
man and beast in a life in the wilds, I was to receive it now. The mule
was tethered in the bushes, where she could see nothing, nibbling the
leaves and grass; she was not a sociable beast and preferred to be
alone, while my horse grazed close to my elbow. Suddenly Nancy uttered a
short, sharp, I might almost say warning, note, and in an instant Sam
was awake and on his feet.

“I was asleep, but Nancy woke me. Some man or beast is coming. Where is
my mule?” he cried.

“Here in the bushes; this way.”

We crawled through the undergrowth, and saw only Nancy looking out
through the branches. Her long ears waved excitedly, and her tail swung
from side to side; but when she saw us coming she quieted down; ears and
tail were still.

We peered out, and saw six Indians coming on the trail single file. The
first one, a short but muscular man, kept his head down, apparently
never raising his eyes from the trail. They all wore leather leggings
and dark woollen shirts, and were armed with muskets, knives, and
tomahawks. Their faces shone with grease, and across each one ran a red
and a blue stripe.

“What a lucky meeting! They are Kiowas, and they’ll save us,” said Sam.
“The one ahead is Bao, which means _Fox_, a daring and crafty warrior,
as his name indicates. The chief of the band is called Tangua, a bold
Indian, and a good friend of mine. They have their war-paint on, and
apparently they also are reconnoitering.”

The six warriors drew near while I was wondering how they could save us.
Six Indians would not be much help, but it was a comfort to find that
Sam knew them, and that at least we had nothing to fear from them. Sam
stepped forth from the bushes, put his hands to his mouth, and uttered a
peculiar sharp cry which they seemed to recognize, for they reined in
their horses and shouted back. Again Sam called to them and signalled,
and they understood both cry and signal, for, returning them, they
galloped toward us.

“Is our white brother Sam here?” asked the leader as he came up. “How
comes he in the path of his red friend and brother?”

“Bao, the crafty fox, has met me because he came upon my tracks,”
answered Sam.

“We thought they were the tracks of the red dogs we seek,” said the Fox
in broken but perfectly comprehensible English.

“What does my brother mean?”

“The Apaches of the tribe of Mascaleros.”

“Why do you call them dogs? is there enmity between them and the brave
Kiowas?”

“There is war between us and these scurvy coyotes.”

“I am glad to hear it. My brothers may sit down with us, for I have
something important to tell them.”

The Fox looked at me searchingly, and said: “I have never seen this
young pale-face; is he one of the warriors of the white men? Has he won
a name?”

If Sam had told him my own name it would have made no impression, so he
fell back on the name Wheeler had given me. “This is my dearest friend
and brother, and though he is young he is a great warrior among his own
people in the rising sun. Never in his life had he seen a buffalo, yet
two days ago he fought with two bulls to save my life, and killed them,
and yesterday he stabbed a grizzly bear of the Rockies with his knife,
and received no scratch himself.”

“Ugh! ugh!” grunted the Indians, regarding me approvingly.

“His bullet never misses its mark, and in his hand dwells such strength
that at a blow from him his enemy falls to the ground. Therefore the
white men of the West call him Old Shatterhand.”

Thus without any choice of mine I was given the name which has ever
since clung to me.

The Fox offered me his hand, and said in friendly tones: “If Old
Shatterhand will, we will be friends and brothers. We love men who can
knock down an enemy with a blow, and he shall be welcome among us.”

Which really meant: “We need allies with such strength, so come to us.”

However, I replied: “I love the red men, for they are the sons of the
Great Spirit, whose children we also are. We are brothers, and will
unite against all enemies who do not respect us.”

A smirk of satisfaction passed over his greased and painted face as he
replied: “Old Shatterhand has spoken well; we will smoke the pipe of
peace with him.” So saying he seated himself, and brought out a pipe
which he filled with a mixture apparently of red turnip, hemp, chopped
acorns, and sour sorrel, lighted it, rose, took a whiff, puffed it
towards heaven and earth, and said: “Above dwells the Great Spirit, and
here on earth exist the plants and beasts which he made for the Kiowa
warriors.” Then he took another whiff, and blew it towards the north,
east, south, and west, saying: “In all directions dwell the red and
white men who wrongfully take these beasts and plants for themselves;
but we shall find them, and take what is ours. I have spoken. How!”

What a speech! This Kiowa openly declared his tribe the owner of
everything, and hence robbery was not only his right but his duty. And I
must treat this sort of people as friends!

The Fox handed the pipe to Sam, who took half a dozen puffs and said:
“The Great Spirit judges not the appearance of men, nor can they deceive
Him by painting their faces, for He sees the heart. The hearts of the
warriors of the glorious tribe of the Kiowas are brave and wise. Mine is
bound to them as my mule is tied to the tree, and will be so forever. I
have spoken. How!”

That was just like Sam, the artful, jolly little man, who always knew
how to win his hearers, and yet have his joke.

And now it was my turn to take the foul pipe and become eloquent. I also
rose, took a whiff, and—yes, the turnip, hemp, acorns, sour sorrel were
all there in the pipe-bowl, but there seemed to be a fifth ingredient in
the mixture, for it tasted as if it had bits of felt shoes in it. I
puffed the smoke towards the earth and the sky and said: “The sunshine
and air come from Heaven, whence come all good gifts. The earth receives
the warmth and moisture, and gives them to the buffalo and mustang and
bear and deer, to the pumpkin and corn and all good plants from which
the red man makes his kinnikinnic, that in the pipe of peace breathes
brotherly love.”

I had read that Indians call their tobacco “kinnikinnic,” and the
knowledge opportunely came back to me now. A second time I filled my
mouth with smoke and blew it toward heaven, and continued: “In the west
rise the Rocky Mountains, and to the east stretch the plains; on the
north roll the seas, and the south is washed by the waters of the great
ocean. Were all the land between these points mine I would share it with
the warriors of the Kiowas, for they are my brothers. This year may they
kill ten times as many buffaloes and fifty times as many grizzly bears
as they number. May their corn grow as large as pumpkins, and their
pumpkins so great that twenty could be made from one. I have spoken.
How!”

These wishes were not very practical, but they seemed to please the
Indians as much as if they were already fulfilled. The Fox seized my
hand, assured me of his friendship for all time, then took the pipe
between his teeth, and smoked in supreme content.

Having brought the Indians into a state of high good humor, Sam said:
“My brothers say that the war-hatchet has been dug up between them and
the Apaches of the Mascaleros. How long has this been so? and what has
ended the peace between them?”

“Since the time two weeks ago, when the Apache dogs killed four of our
warriors.”

“Where?”

“At Rio Pecos.”

“That is not your camp, but that of the Mascaleros; what were your
warriors doing there?”

The Kiowa did not hesitate to reply candidly: “A band of our braves went
at night to capture some of the Apaches’ horses. The vile dogs watch
well; they killed our brave men. Therefore we have taken up the
war-hatchet.”

So the Kiowas had intended to steal, yet would make the Apaches atone
for their defence of their own property. I would have expressed my mind
on this conduct, but Sam signalled to me so energetically to be quiet
that I obeyed him, and he said: “My brother the Fox is out to spy; when
will his braves follow?”

“They are one day behind us.”

“Who leads them?”

“Tangua, the chief himself, at the head of two hundred braves.”

“And you expect to overcome the Apaches?”

“We will come upon them as the eagle swoops on the heron that has not
seen him.”

“My brother is mistaken. The Apaches know that they are to be attacked
by the Kiowas.”

The Fox shook his head incredulously, and replied: “How could they know
it? Do their ears reach to the tent of the Kiowas?”

“Yes.”

“I do not understand my brother Sam; he must tell me what he means.”

“The Apaches have ears which can walk and ride; yesterday we saw two
such ears that had been listening at the camp of the Kiowas.”

“Uff! Two ears. Two scouts?”

“Yes. My brothers have not considered everything. Intschu-Tschuna, the
chief of the Apaches, is a very wise warrior. When he saw that his
people had killed four Kiowas he said to himself that the Kiowas would
be avenged, and set out to spy upon you.”

“Uff! uff! He himself?”

“Yes, and his son Winnetou.”

“Uff! He too? Had we known that, we would have captured the two dogs. I
must hasten back to tell this to the chief, that he may call out more
braves. We are enough for a surprise, but not if we are expected. Will
Sam and Old Shatterhand ride with me?”

“Yes; not to Tangua, the chief of the Kiowas, but to our camp.”

“That I cannot do.”

“Hear what I say. Would you take Intschu-Tschuna, the chief of the
Apaches, a prisoner alive?”

“Uff!” cried the Kiowa as if electrified, and his voice was
ear-splitting. Then he said: “If my brother has a jest on his tongue I
will not bear it.”

“Nonsense! I am in earnest. In five or six days at most, and I can’t
tell how much sooner, you can capture the chief and his son Winnetou
alive.”

“Where?”

“In our camp; and you’ll see how if you listen to what I tell you.”

Sam then told the Indian of our road, to which they had no objection,
and of our meeting with the Apaches. As he ended he said: “I wondered to
see the two chiefs alone, and decided they were buffalo-hunting and had
parted from their followers for a little time, but now I see it all.
They were out reconnoitring, and the fact that the two heads of the
tribe made this ride themselves shows they considered it an important
matter. Now they will thirst for a double vengeance: on you, and on us
for Kleki-Petrah’s murder. They will send a smaller band against us than
against you, and the chief and his son will be with the former. After we
have shown you our camp, that you may find it again, you will go back to
your chief, tell him all I have said, and he will come with his two
hundred braves to wait for Intschu-Tschuna with his little band. We are
twenty strong, and of course will help you, and it will be child’s play
to capture the Apaches. It is like having the whole tribe to have the
chiefs, for you can demand of them what you will. Does my brother see it
all?”

“Yes; my white brother’s plan is very good, and we will start at once to
reach his camp before dark.”

We mounted and galloped towards the camp, cutting across by a shorter
route, since it was no longer necessary to follow the trail. I was
shocked at Sam Hawkins and very angry with him. Winnetou, the noble
Winnetou, and his father were to be betrayed into a trap, which if
successful would destroy them! How could Hawkins have formed such a
scheme? I tried in vain to get him apart from the Kiowas to ask an
explanation; but he seemed to suspect my intention, and stuck close to
the Fox, which made me angrier than ever.

When we got into camp I sprang from my horse, and lay down on the grass
in no very happy frame of mind. Disregarding all my signals to him, Sam
had taken the Indians to our men, who were in a high state of delight
when they learned they had come in friendship and there was no longer
any reason for our fearing the Apaches.

After the Kiowas had been hospitably received and entertained, Sam came
to me for the first time. “You have a long face to-night,” he said. “Is
it real indigestion or mental colic? I suspect it’s the latter; open
your heart to me and I’ll cure you.”

“I’d be glad if you could, Sam, but I doubt it.”

“Yes, I can; only try me.”

“Tell me, then, how Winnetou struck you?”

“As a fine fellow, just as he did you.”

“Yet you will betray him to his death; how does that hang together?”

“To his death! I? That’s impossible for my father’s son.”

“But you’ll make him a prisoner of these villains, and that means
death.”

“Don’t believe that fairy tale. On the contrary, I’d do a good deal to
save Winnetou if he were in danger.”

“Then why do you set this trap? And listen, Sam. If he is captured, I’ll
free him; and if a weapon is turned on him, I’ll stand by his side and
fight for him. I warn you of this frankly. I promised a dying man to be
his friend, and that is as binding to me as an oath.”

“I like that, I like that,” Sam announced. “We agree there.”

“Oh, yes,” I exclaimed impatiently, “you say so, but how do your good
words agree with your actions?”

“So that is what you want to know, hey? Old Sam Hawkins suspected you
wanted to speak to him, but he dared not let you. He’s a different
fellow than he seems, only he’s not going to show his cards to any one
but you and Dick Stone and Will Parker, who are to help in his plot. We
were lucky to have met the Kiowas and learned all we know now, and I
really don’t see any other way of saving ourselves from the Apaches.
However much you may admire Winnetou, you’d have to love him in
eternity, for, being ignorant of your devotion to him, he’d send you
there in short order. Now the Kiowas will come here with their two
hundred braves—”

“I’ll warn Winnetou,” I interrupted.

“Heaven forbid!” cried Sam. “That would only ruin us, for the Apaches
would put an end to us and the Kiowas together. No, they must actually
be face to face with death; and if then we secretly free them, as we
will, they’ll be grateful, and forego all revenge on us. At most they’ll
only demand Rattler of us, and I would not object to that. What do you
say now, my angry gentleman?”

I gave him my hand, and replied: “I am perfectly satisfied, my dear Sam;
you’ve thought it all out well.”

“Haven’t I? Hawkins has his good side, after all. Are we friends again?”

“Yes, old Sam, and I’m sorry I was so suspicious.”

“Then put your head down and sleep, for to-morrow there’s a good deal to
do. I’ll go now and look up Stone and Parker, to let them know where we
stand. Good night, and trust me better next time.”

Wasn’t he a kind, trusty fellow, this queer old Sam Hawkins?

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                       _SAM HAWKINS GOES SPYING._


WHEN Sam left me I tried to sleep, but it was long before I succeeded.
The camp was noisy over the coming of the Kiowas and our rescue thereby,
and besides my own thoughts were not soothing. Hawkins had spoken of his
plans confidently, as though they could not miscarry; but after I was
left alone I was not so sure of them. We were to free Winnetou and his
father, but nothing had been said of the other Apaches. Would they
remain in the hands of the Kiowas when their chiefs were rescued? We
four men could scarcely liberate all the Apaches, especially as it was
to be done so secretly that no suspicion could fall on us. And how were
the Apaches to come into the hands of the Kiowas? Hardly without a
struggle, and it was easy to foresee that these very two whom we wished
to deliver would defend themselves most bravely, and hence be in the
greatest danger of death. How could we prevent this? I thought long over
these problems, twisting myself into every imaginable position, but
could find no way out of the difficulty. The only thought which
comforted me in a measure was that clever, trusty little Sam would find
a way out; and as to myself, I determined to stand by the chiefs, and if
necessary defend them with my life. So at last I went to sleep.

The next morning I went at my work with redoubled energy to make up for
the previous day’s absence. Each man did his best, so we went forward
far more rapidly than usual, and by night had doubled the amount of work
done the day before, of course moving the camp onward as we worked. We
were equally industrious on the next day till noon, when an interruption
came in the shape of the Kiowas.

These Indians arrived just as the sun was highest; they were of strong
fighting build, all armed with guns, tomahawks, and knives. Their leader
was of truly imposing size, with a sharp, sinister face, and a pair of
knavish eyes that spoke no good of their owner. When I saw his face I
thought it would go hard with Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou if they fell
into his hands. He was called Tangua, a word meaning _Chief_. Though he
was there as our friend and ally, he treated us in a manner far from
friendly, but came like a tiger that had joined a leopard after prey and
would rend his ally the next moment.

As the chief came up he did not dismount to greet us, but made a
comprehensive salute with his hand, including us all, and rode straight
to our wagon and lifted the cover to look in. Its contents seemed to
please him, for he dismounted and got into the wagon to examine them.

“Oho!” cried Sam Hawkins, standing beside me, “he appears to want to
make up his mind as to our property before he says a word. If he thinks
Sam Hawkins is stupid enough to stand like a hitching-post, he makes a
mistake, as I’ll show him pretty quick.”

“No rashness, Sam,” I begged. “These two hundred fellows are too much
for us.”

“In numbers, yes; in wit, no,” he answered. “It looks as though we had
taken pretty poor accomplices, but come over to the wagon and hearken
how Sam Hawkins talks to such rascals. I’m well acquainted with this
Tangua, and if he doesn’t know I’m here he’ll have to find it out. Come
on.”

We had our guns in our hands, and proceeded to the wagon where Tangua
was rummaging. Sam asked in a warning tone: “Does the glorious chief of
the Kiowas wish to go instantly to the Happy Hunting Grounds?”

The Indian, whose back was toward us, stooping over, straightened
himself, turned to us, and answered gruffly: “Why does the pale-face
interrupt me with this silly question? Tangua will rule as a great chief
in the Happy Hunting Grounds in the end, but a long time must pass
before he journeys there.”

“That time may come in one minute.”

“Why?”

“Get out of the wagon and I’ll tell you; only be quick about it.”

“I will stay here.”

“Good; then go up in a burst,” said Sam, turning as if to go away.

The chief sprang from the wagon, seized Sam’s arm, and cried: “Go up in
a burst! Why does Sam Hawkins speak such words?”

“To warn you of death, which would have grabbed you in a moment if you
stayed there.”

“Uff! Is death in that wagon? Show him to me!”

“Later, maybe. Have not your spies told you why we are here?”

“I learned from them that you wish to make a road for the fire-horse of
the pale-faces.”

“That’s it, and such a road goes over rivers, under ground, and through
rocks; you know that, and you may have heard of the stuff with which we
blow up the mighty rocks which are in the way of our fire-horse’s feet.
Is it that powder with which we load our guns?”

“No; the pale-faces have made another discovery by which they can
overthrow whole mountains.”

“Right; and this discovery we carry in that wagon, done up in packages,
and if you touch it carelessly it will explode in your hands and blow
you into a thousand pieces.”

“Uff! uff!” he grunted, evidently shocked. “Was I near one of these
packages?”

“So near that if you had not sprung down you would be this moment in the
Happy Hunting Grounds. And what would you have had with you? No
medicine, no scalp-lock, nothing, nothing at all, but little bits of
flesh and bones. How could you rule as a great chief in the Happy
Hunting Grounds in such a state? You would have been crushed under foot
by the spirit-horses. An Indian who comes to the Happy Hunting Grounds
without medicine or scalp-locks will be received by the dead heroes with
contempt, and have to hide from their eyes, while they drink deep of all
Indian joys; this is the belief of the red man. What a misfortune, then,
to arrive shattered into little bits!”

One could see under the dark skin that the shock had driven the blood
from the chief’s face, and he cried: “Ugh! how good that you warned me
in time!”

“Because we are friends and brothers,” said Sam.

“I will go and warn my braves, lest they go near that dangerous wagon
and suffer death,” said Tangua.

“Do so, I pray you; for not only they, but you and I and all here would
be blown up with them. If one who does not understand how to use this
discovery were to touch it he would blow up his friends as well as his
enemies, while in our hands it is sure to blow up those whom we choose
to dispose of. Let us warn your braves, and at the same time remind them
that they have not yet greeted their white brothers.”

With this happy hint of the possible consequences of offending us, and
reminder of his omission, coupled with a sly wink at me, Sam accompanied
the chief to his braves.

The Kiowas and our three scouts held a conference to discuss the best
means for carrying out the capture of the Apaches, while we surveyors
continued working until darkness forced us to discontinue.

We seated ourselves all together around the fire after supper, and the
camp presented to me, unused to such a scene, a picture of the greatest
interest. Sam Hawkins and his two inseparable companions sat near me;
around the blazing fire were the redskins, their greased faces shining
in its light, while just beyond the horses were grazing, and dimly seen
in the distance were the sentinels which the chief had stationed there.
As I looked from one copper-colored face to another I saw none which I
would have trusted to show compassion to an enemy.

I asked Sam the result of the conference. “You may be satisfied,” he
said. “Nothing will happen to your two darlings.”

“But if they should try to defend themselves?”

“It will never come to that; they will be overcome before they have a
chance to know what has happened. We know which way they are coming; do
you?”

“They’ll go to the spot where they found us the other day, and follow on
our trail.”

“Right; you’re not so stupid as you look. Then we’re certain of the
first thing we must know, and that is the direction from which we’re to
expect them. The next thing is to find out the time.”

“That can’t be known exactly, but I suppose you can guess it pretty
closely.”

“Yes, if a man has any brains he can guess well enough, but guessing
won’t do for us. Any one who acts on guesswork in such circumstances as
these takes his skin to market. Certainty, absolute certainty is what we
must have.”

“We can only get that by sending out spies, and you put your veto on
that; you said the track of spies would betray us.”

“Indian spies; mark that—Indian spies. The Apaches know we are here, and
if they came upon the footprint of a white man it would not make them
suspicious. But if they found the footprint of an Indian it would be
very different; they would be warned. And since you are so wise, can you
guess what they would suspect?”

“That the Kiowas were here.”

“Yes, you have actually guessed it. If I did not need my old wig myself
I’d crown you with it; consider it done.”

“Thanks, Sam; I’ll try to deserve the honor. But now look here: you mean
that we should send white spies after the Apaches; is that it?”

“Not _spies;_ only one.”

“Is that enough?”

“Yes, if that one’s a fellow to be trusted, called Sam Hawkins. Do you
know the man?”

“I know if he undertakes a thing we need feel no more anxiety. He won’t
let the Apaches catch him.”

“No, not catch him, but see him. I mean to let them see me wandering
around, so they’ll think we feel as safe as in Abraham’s bosom. They
won’t touch me, because if I didn’t come back your suspicions would be
aroused.”

“Suppose they see you and you don’t see them?” I hinted.

“I seen and not see!” he exclaimed in pretended wrath. “If you give me
such a box on the ear as that it’s all over between us. Sam Hawkins’s
eyes may be little, but they’re sharp. As soon as I have seen them I’ll
slip back to you, that you may be warned when their spies are coming,
and act perfectly at ease.”

“But they’ll see the Kiowas if they send spies here,” I objected.

“Who will they see? Kiowas? Man, tenderfoot, most respected youngster,
do you think Sam Hawkins’s brains are made of cotton-wool or
tissue-paper? Our dear friends the Kiowas will be safely hidden, so
there won’t be the smallest trace of them; see? Then when the Apache
scouts have gone back to the braves, I’ll crawl after them and see when
the whole body moves. They’ll come by night, and we’ll burn our
camp-fire so we can be plainly seen. As long as it lasts the Apaches
will certainly stay hidden. We will let it burn out, and as soon as it
is dark steal over to the Kiowas. Then the Apaches will come—and find no
one! Of course they’ll be astonished, and light up the fire again to
look for us, when we shall see them as plainly as we were seen before,
and we’ll reverse the game and fall on them. Isn’t that a stroke? It
will be talked of long, and every one will say: ‘Sam Hawkins planned
that little business.’”

“Yes, it’s very fine, if everything goes as you expect. And after that
shall we free the Apaches?”

“Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou at least, and any others we can.”

“And what will happen to the rest?”

“Nothing bad, I’m sure. The Kiowas will be too busy at first looking for
the chiefs. But it’s time enough to plan the next step when we’ve got
through this one. What comes later we’ll take care of later. The next
thing to do is to select a good spot for carrying out our scheme, and
that I’ll attend to the first thing in the morning. We’ve talked enough
to-day; to-morrow we must act.”

He was right; there was nothing else to do now but await events.

The night was not very comfortable; a high wind arose, increasing to a
gale, and towards morning it grew unusually cold for that region. We
were awakened chilled to our marrows. Sam scanned the sky, and then
said: “Apparently we are going to have rain to-day, and that happens
rarely about here, but is the very best thing for our plan.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Don’t you know why?” replied Sam. “Look around here and see how the
grass is flattened down. The one thing I was afraid of was that when the
Apaches came it would show them that there was a greater number of men
and horses here than they saw. But if it rains it will wash away all
trace of this, and the grass will spring up again as fresh as ever. I
must set out to look for the place where we will let the Apaches
overtake us, and the Kiowas must go with me before the rain comes, so it
can wash away their tracks. In the meantime you can work in peace.”

He went over to lay his plan before the Kiowas, and in a short time all
the Indians rode away with Sam and his two companions. We followed them
slowly step by step as our work advanced, and towards noon Sam’s
prophecy was fulfilled; it rained, and in such torrents as can only fall
in those latitudes. It seemed as though an ocean were falling from the
skies.

In the midst of this torrent Sam came back with Dick and Will. We did
not see him until he was within twelve or fifteen feet of us, so thick
was the veil of rain before us. They had found a suitable place; Stone
and Parker were to remain and show it to us. But in spite of the weather
Hawkins went back, as soon as he had laid in provisions, to resume his
office of spy. As he disappeared in the thick rain I felt that
misfortune was close upon us, and a sense of loneliness and dread came
over me like a pall.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER IX.

                        _WAITING THE ONSLAUGHT._


THE rain ceased as suddenly as it began, and the sun shone down on us as
warm as on the day before. We worked rapidly till nightfall, and a few
hours’ labor in the morning brought us to a stream swollen by the late
rain, flowing beside a small open savanna, which was bordered on one
hand by trees and shrubs. A wooded peninsula ran out into the water, and
beside the stream rose a gentle elevation crowned by thick woods.

“This is the place Sam picked out,” said Stone, looking at it with an
air of recognition. “There couldn’t be a better place for our purpose.
The Kiowas are so hidden you might try hard and not find the least trace
of them, yet I know they see us perfectly. The savanna is covered with a
growth that makes it easy for the Apache spies to conceal themselves and
follow us unseen. Then look at the open plain of grass leading here. A
camp-fire burning on it will light all the savanna, and hide the
Apaches, so they can easily come upon us.”

His lean, weather-beaten face gleamed with satisfaction, but the head
engineer did not share the feeling. He shook his head, saying: “What is
the matter with you? Do you mean to say you rejoice that we can be so
easily overcome? I tell you it’s far from pleasant to me; I am paralyzed
at the mere thought.”

“The surer to fall into the hands of the Apaches,” cried Stone. “Don’t
let such feelings get hold of you, Mr. Bancroft. Of course I’m glad, for
the easier the Apaches can overtake us, the easier we can capture them.
Just look here. Over there on the heights are the Kiowas in the midst of
the woods. Their spies sit in the highest trees, and have surely seen us
coming, and in the same way they’ll see the Apaches, for they can look
all across the savanna.”

“Well, what earthly good will it do us, if we’re overtaken, to have the
Kiowas look across the savanna?”

“Don’t you see? They stay there only because here the Apaches would see
them. As soon as their scouts have come and gone the Kiowas will come
over to us, hide on the peninsula, and we’ll put our horses at its neck,
for then the Apaches will keep off it, as the horses would neigh if they
went near them, and give us warning. The Apaches will hide, and wait
till we’re asleep—”

“Suppose they shouldn’t wait?” I interrupted.

“That wouldn’t be dangerous for us,” he replied. “The Kiowas would come
to our assistance at once.”

“But then there’d be bloodshed, which we want to avoid.”

“Yes, but here in the West a drop of blood doesn’t count. Don’t worry;
the Apaches are sure to wait, for they know that if awake we’d defend
ourselves, and though we’d get the worst of it, still some of them would
be sure to get killed, and they value their blood as highly as we do
ours. Therefore they’ll wait till we lie down to sleep; then we’ll let
the fire go out, and go over to the island.”

Now that we were on the scene of action, and the hour was so near, I was
greatly perturbed in mind. I was not afraid, but I was anxious,
apprehensive of the result, and worried as to the fate of Winnetou, of
whom I had thought so much during the past few days that he had grown
near and dear to me, although he was still my enemy; and it must have
been a kind of mental telepathy, for I learned later that he had been
thinking continuously of me. Since the encounter could not be avoided, I
wished it might come soon and be over with; and this wish was to be
fulfilled.

It was a little short of mid-day when we saw Sam Hawkins returning. The
little man was weary, but his eyes gleamed with unusual fire.

“All’s well?” I asked. “But I see it is, dear old Sam.”

“Do you?” he laughed. “Where is it written, on my nose or in your
imagination?”

“No one who sees your eyes can doubt it.”

“So my eyes betray me; that’s good to know for another time. But you’re
right; everything is really better than I could have hoped.”

“Have you seen the spies?”

“Seen the spies! I’ve not only seen ’em, but I’ve seen the whole band;
and not only seen ’em, but heard and watched ’em.”

“Watched them! Then tell us, quick, what you’ve discovered.”

“Gather up your instruments, and go into camp while I go over to the
Kiowas to tell them what their part is to be. I’ll be back pretty soon.”

He sprang across the stream, and disappeared into the woods, while we
packed up our instruments, and went back to camp to await his coming. We
neither saw nor heard him till he stood among us, saying: “Here I am, my
lords; haven’t you eyes and ears? Now that shows you how you can get
close to men without their knowing it; and that’s the way I did
yesterday with the Apaches.”

“Tell us; tell us.”

“You shall hear; but I must sit down, for I’m pretty tired. My bones are
used to riding, and don’t enjoy walking any more; besides, it’s grander
to belong to the cavalry than to the infantry.”

He sat down near me, and then said, nodding his head positively: “We’ll
have the ball to-night.”

“To-night!” I echoed, half shocked, half glad. “That’s good.”

“H’m! you seem to be in a hurry to fall into the hands of the Apaches.
However, you’re right; it is good, and I’m glad, too, that we won’t have
to wait any longer. It’s no fun waiting when you don’t know how a thing
will turn out.”

“Don’t know! Is there any reason for anxiety?”

“Not a bit; on the contrary, I’m certain everything will go well. But
any man of experience knows that the best child may grow up bad, the
finest plans take a wrong turn from some unforeseen cause.”

“Well, do tell us what you heard. Hurry up.”

“Softly, softly, my young sir; everything in order. I can’t tell you
what I heard, because you must first know how I heard it. When I went
out in the rain from here I went back to where we were camping when the
two Apaches came to us, and had to hide at once, for there were three
redskins sniffing around. Apache spies, says I to myself; and so they
were. They surveyed the premises without coming on my trail, and sat
down under the trees where it was dry to wait for their chiefs, and I
had to wait, too, two long hours. At last came a mounted band, led by
Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou.”

“How many were there?”

“Just as I expected, about fifty men. The spies went out to meet them,
and after a few words with their chiefs went on ahead, the braves
following slowly. You may imagine, gentlemen, that Sam Hawkins followed
after them. The rain had washed out ordinary tracks, but the broad trail
of your camp was plain; I wish I might always have a trail as easy to
follow. But the Indians wanted to be very sure, for they peered into
every nook and corner and behind every bush, and made such slow progress
that darkness came on after we had gone only about two miles, and they
dismounted and made their camp.”

“And did you creep up to them there?”

“Yes; like wise fellows they made no fire, but Sam Hawkins, being
equally wise, thought that served him as well as them. So I crawled
under the trees, and wriggled forward on my stomach till I got near
enough to hear what they were saying. Their words were brief but to the
point. It is as we expected: they want to capture us alive.”

“And not kill us?”

“Not all at once. They want to take us to the Mascaleros village at Rio
Pecos, where we are to be tortured and die a living death, like carp
taken out of the water and put into a pond to fatten. I wonder what kind
of flesh old Sam’s would make, especially if they put me into the pan in
my leather hunting-jacket.”

He laughed in his silent, inward fashion, and added: “They’ve got their
eye on Mr. Rattler there, sitting as still as if heaven, with all the
saints, were waiting for him. Yes, Rattler, they’ve got a banquet ready
for you that I wouldn’t care to sit down to. You’re to be spitted,
impaled, poisoned, smothered, shot, broken on a wheel, and hanged, each
done a little more beautifully than the other, and only a taste of each
that you may be kept alive a long time and have the full benefit of all
the torture and anguish of death. And if after all you shouldn’t be
quite dead, you’re to be laid in the grave of Kleki-Petrah, whom you
murdered, and buried alive.”

“Merciful Heaven! did they say that?” gasped Rattler, his face blanched
with terror.

“That’s what they said, and you deserve it. I only hope if you do escape
you’ll be half decent in the future; and I guess you will be, for the
body of Kleki-Petrah will be a strong medicine for you.”

“Where is the main band of the Apaches which is out against the Kiowas?”
I asked.

“I don’t know; nothing was said of that. It doesn’t matter to us.”

Little Sam was mistaken in that; it was far from unimportant to us where
this band was, as we discovered in a few days.

Sam continued: “As I had heard enough, I should have come back to you at
once; but it was dark, and I couldn’t see the trail till dawn, so I
waited. I stayed all night hidden in the wood, and my legs were almost
broken. I was six miles from here, and I had to go out of my way to get
back unseen. And that is all I have to tell you.”

“But you said you were going to show yourself to them.”

“I know, and I should have done so, only—hark! did you hear anything?”

The scream of an eagle, thrice repeated, came from the woods.

“That’s the Kiowa spies,” he said. “They are over there in the trees. I
told them to give me this sign when they saw the Apaches on the savanna.
Come, sir; we’ll try what sort of eyes you have.”

This invitation was addressed to me. Sam rose to go, and I took my gun
to follow him.

“Hold on,” he said. “Leave that gun here. It’s true the frontiersman
should never go out without his weapons, but this is an exception,
because we must not seem to have any suspicion of danger. We’ll appear
to be gathering wood to make our fire, and the Apaches will conclude we
are going to stay here all night.”

We sauntered out, apparently wandering carelessly in and out among the
trees and bushes, breaking off the dry branches. We strained our eyes,
but could discover no one; yet later I learned from Winnetou himself
that fifty feet at most away from us he was hidden behind a bush
watching us. We gathered more wood for the camp-fire than we needed, for
Sam wanted enough in reserve to enable the Apaches to kindle the fire
quickly when they discovered we were gone.

Darkness fell, and we gathered in the camp for the eventful night. Sam,
as the most experienced, sat at the end of the grassy plain nearest the
savanna, where he could see the coming of the spies for whom we were
waiting, knowing they could not be far off. The fire blazed up, lighting
the plain and the savanna. How foolish and inexperienced the Apaches
must think us! This great fire was the very thing to guide an enemy to
us from afar. We ate our supper, and lounged about as if we were far
from suspecting any danger. The guns lay at some distance back of us
towards the peninsula, ready to be seized by us later in our flight.

Three hours after dark Sam stepped back to us and said softly: “The
spies are coming; two, one on this, one on that side. I heard and saw
them.” Then he sat down with us, and began to talk in a loud voice on
the first subject that occurred to him. We answered, and kept up a
conversation intended to show the spies how secure we felt. We knew that
they were there watching us, but by a strong effort we kept ourselves
from glancing towards the bushes concealing them.

The most important thing now was to know when they had gone. We could
neither hear nor see anything, and yet we dared not waste a moment after
their departure, for in a short time the whole band would be upon us,
and in that interval the Kiowas must come over from the peninsula. Hence
it was best not to wait until they had withdrawn, but to force them out.
So Sam rose as if he were going to get more wood, and went into the
bushes on one side, while I took the other.

We were now sure that the spies were gone. Sam put one hand to his mouth
and thrice imitated the croaking of a bull-frog. This was the signal for
the Kiowas to come; it would not be noticed by the Apaches, as we were
beside the stream. Sam then resumed his office of watchman to warn us of
the approach of the whole body of the enemy.

About two minutes after the signal was given the Kiowas came over, in
close single file—a long line of two hundred warriors. They had not
waited in the woods, but had come down to the bank to be ready for the
signal, and on receiving it had instantly sprung across the stream. They
crawled behind us in our shadow like snakes, lying close to the ground,
near the peninsula. This was done so quickly and silently that in three
minutes, at the most, the last one had joined us. In a short time Sam
came and whispered to us: “They’re coming on both sides. Don’t put on
any more wood; we must let the fire die down, and take care that an
ember is left for the Indians to kindle another.”

We piled what wood we had left around the fire, so that no light would
fall upon our retreat. After this was done each of us had to be more or
less an actor. We knew that fifty Apaches were close to us, yet that we
must not betray our knowledge by the slightest sign. We expected them to
wait until we were asleep; but what if they did not wait, but fell upon
us at once? Of course we had two hundred allies in the Kiowas, but in
that case there would be a bloody struggle that might easily cost some
of us our lives.

The time had come, and it was interesting to watch the various effects
it produced on my comrades. Rattler lay face downward on the ground as
if asleep, the fear of death gripping his heart with an icy hand. His
trusty friends glanced at one another with blanched faces; they could
not utter a word to help on our forced conversation. Will Parker and
Dick Stone sat there as calmly as if there were no such thing as an
Apache in the world. Sam Hawkins made jokes, and I laughed in spite of
myself at his nonsense. For now that the danger was upon us I was as
calm as if we were about to play a game of whist. And so we waited.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER X.

                       _THE CAPTURE OF WINNETOU._


FOR more than an hour we sat waiting the attack, and then concluded that
we had been right and the Apaches would not come until we were asleep.
The fire was getting low, and I thought there was no use in putting off
the evil hour, so I yawned, stretched myself, and said: “I’m tired, and
I’d like to go to sleep; how about you, Sam?”

“I’ve no objection,” he said. “The fire is going out anyway. Good night,
then.”

“Good night,” repeated all, and getting back from the fire as far as we
could we stretched ourselves out at full length. The flame grew dimmer
and dimmer, till it died out altogether, only the ashes still glowing;
but the light could not reach us because of the wood piled between us
and the fire, and we lay entirely in the shadow.

Now was the time to get quietly, very quietly, into safety. I reached
for my gun, and slowly crept away. Sam kept at my side, the others
following. When I reached the horses I stirred them up that the noise of
their stamping might cover any possible rustling we might make in going.
We came over safely to the Kiowas, who stood like panthers crouching for
prey.

“Sam,” I whispered, “if we want to spare the two chiefs we mustn’t let a
Kiowa get at them: understand?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll take Winnetou; you and Stone and Parker look after
Intschu-Tschuna.”

“One for you alone, and one for us three together? That’s no way to do.”

“Yes, it is. I’ll finish up Winnetou in short order, and there should be
three to take charge of his father, for his braves will be around him,
and if he should resist it would cost him his life.”

“Well, all right. We’d better go on a few steps and be first, or some
Kiowa will get ahead of us. Come.”

We posted ourselves a little in advance, and awaited in greatest
suspense the war-cry of the Apaches. It is customary for an Indian
leader to give the signal for an onslaught by a cry in which the rest
join like demons. This is intended to deprive the victim of all courage,
and is well adapted to its end. The best idea one can get of it is by
uttering a long-drawn-out _H-i-i-i-i-i-h_ at the top of his voice, at
the same time striking the mouth repeatedly with the hand to break the
sound into waves.

The Kiowas were at as high a tension as we were; each of them wanted to
be first, and pushed us forward further and further till we were too
near the Apaches for comfort, and I wished very heartily the onslaught
might come.

At last it did come. The _H-i-i-i-i-i-h_ arose in such a tone as to go
through my very marrow, followed by a howl as dreadful as if a thousand
devils had broken loose. We heard quick steps and springs over the soft
earth. Suddenly all was still; for a moment we could almost have heard
an ant crawl. Then we heard Intschu-Tschuna speak the short word: “Ko.”
This means “fire,” or “make a fire.” The ashes of our fire were still
smouldering, and as the Apaches obeyed him and threw the dry wood on
them, it kindled at once, and the flames leaped up anew, lighting the
entire camp.

Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou stood side by side, and a circle of braves
gathered around them as the Apaches saw to their amazement that we were
gone. “Uff! uff!” they grunted in astonishment. Winnetou then showed
that presence of mind which later so often excited my wonder. He saw
that we could not be far off, and that they, standing in the full light
of the fire, made a fine mark for our guns; therefore he cried:
“Tatischa! tatischa!” which means: “Be off!”

He had turned to spring away, when I stood before him, and for a moment
we looked each other in the face. Quick as lightning his hand was at his
knife, but before he could draw it I struck him in the temple. He
staggered and fell to the ground, and I saw that Sam, Will, and Dick had
overpowered his father. The Apaches howled in rage, but their cry was
hardly audible, for it was drowned by the horrible din of the Kiowas,
who now sprang upon them. As I had broken through the Apache circle, I
stood in the midst of a fighting, howling tangle of men, struggling
together. There were two hundred Kiowas against fifty Apaches, four to
one, yet these brave warriors defended themselves with all their
strength. I had all I could do to protect myself, and had to take a hand
in the fight, since I was in the midst of it; but I used my fists only,
as I had no desire to harm any one. After I had knocked down four or
five, and had space to breathe in, I saw the struggle was becoming
feebler, and five minutes after it began the whole thing was over.

Only five minutes; but under such circumstances five minutes seem a long
time. Intschu-Tschuna lay on the ground, and Winnetou beside him, both
bound. Not an Apache had escaped, for none of the brave fellows had once
thought of deserting his chief and making off through the darkness. Many
of them were wounded, as were some of the Kiowas, of whom three were
killed and five Apaches, which was exactly what we had hoped to avoid,
but they had made such fierce resistance that the Kiowas had drawn their
knives. The besieging party was all bound, and now came the question of
disposing of the prisoners. I wanted to make it as easy for them as
possible, but Tangua, the Kiowa chief, said imperatively: “These dogs
are ours, not yours, and I will decide what is to be done with them. I
would take them to our village, but we don’t want to be long on the way,
for their people might overtake us, and we have far to go. We will put
them to death by torture here.”

“I think you make a mistake,” I remarked.

“How?”

“In saying they belong to you. That is false.”

“It is true.”

“No; by the laws of the West a prisoner belongs to his captor. Take the
Apaches you captured, but those we captured belong to us.”

“Uff! uff! how wise you speak! So you want to keep Intschu-Tschuna and
Winnetou. But what if I won’t allow it?”

“You will allow it.”

He spoke angrily, but I answered him gently, though firmly. He drew his
knife, thrust it into the earth up to the handle, and said with flashing
eyes: “If you lay a hand on a single Apache your body shall be like this
earth in which my knife stands. I have spoken. How!”

This was said in deadly earnest; but I would have shown him that I was
not afraid of him if Sam Hawkins had not given me a warning glance which
kept me silent.

The captive Apaches lay around the fire, and it would have been easier
to leave them there where they could be watched with no trouble, but
Tangua wanted to show me they were really his property to do with as he
pleased, and ordered them tied to the trees near by. This was done, and
none too tenderly, the two chiefs being treated most roughly, and their
fetters drawn so tight as to make the blood burst from the swollen
flesh. It was absolutely impossible for a prisoner to break away and
escape unaided, and Tangua set guards around the camp to prevent rescue.

Our second fire burned in the same place as the first one, and we sat
around it alone, the Kiowas being as anxious to stay by themselves as we
were to have them do so. They had not shown themselves friendly towards
us from the first, and my late encounter with their chief was not
calculated to make them more so. The looks of hatred which they cast
upon us did not invite to confidence, and we felt that we might be glad
if we escaped with no further clash with them. They considered
themselves the lords of the situation, and regarded us as the big lion
in the menagerie regards the little dog he tolerates near him.

Sam, Dick, Will, and I were thinking about the execution of our plan to
free the chiefs, which was made the more difficult in so far that only
we could share in it. We dared not let our comrades into our secret, for
they would certainly oppose it, if not betray it to the Kiowas.

We sat together a long time, how long I could not tell, for I had not
yet learned to tell time by the position of the stars, but it must have
been till a little past midnight. Our companions slept, our fire had
burned low, and all the Kiowas’ fires were out but one. Sam whispered to
me: “All four of us cannot undertake this; two only are necessary.”

“Of whom of course I’m one,” I answered softly.

“Not so fast, dear boy; the matter is at the risk of life.”

“I know that.”

“And you want to risk your life?”

“Yes.”

“Well, you’re a brave fellow, but you’d not only risk your own, but the
lives of the two captives.”

“Of course.”

“I’m glad you admit it, for then I think you’ll leave it to me.”

“Not much.”

“Be reasonable. You know nothing about spying, and experience is
necessary for such a job. It must be born in a man to do these things,
and then he must know how to use his talent.”

“I’ll prove I’m fit for it. Look here: do you know whether Tangua is
asleep or not?”

“No.”

“And yet it is important, isn’t it?”

“Yes; I’ll crawl over and find out.”

“No, but I will, and prove I’m fit for the other job.”

“Suppose you’re discovered?”

“Then I’ll say I wanted to make sure the guards were doing their duty.”

“That’ll go, but for mercy’s sake be careful. If they see you they’ll
suspect you later of freeing the Apaches if they get off.”

“They won’t be far wrong.”

“Take each tree and shrub for a cover, and look out that the firelight
doesn’t fall on you; keep in the dark.”

“I’ll keep dark, Sam.”

“I hope so; and if you succeed I’ll give you credit for it, and think
maybe after ten years you may amount to something.”

I stuck my knife and revolver deep in my belt, not to lose them on the
way, and crept away from the fire. Now as I tell it, I know the awful
risk I took so lightly. I had no idea of spying on the chief; I wanted
to set Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou free. I had set my heart on doing it
myself, but Sam Hawkins stood in the way of my desire with his caution.
Even if I did succeed in spying on Tangua, I was afraid Sam would not
let me go to Winnetou, so I thought I would better make sure of going
while I had a chance. In doing this I not only risked my own life and
the lives of the Indians, but those of my comrades; for if I were
discovered it was all up with them, and I knew this quite well, but it
made little impression on my youthful self-confidence. Nor did the fact
that I had never crawled silently among enemies, Indian fashion, deter
me in the least; I felt perfectly sure of success.

The distance between our fire and the spot where Intschu-Tschuna and
Winnetou were bound was not more than fifty feet. I knew the best way to
creep there was on the fingers and toes; but it needed strength in these
members which I did not possess, so I crawled on my hands and knees like
a quadruped. Before I put a hand down I first felt the spot to make sure
there were no twigs that would crackle under the weight of my body and
thus betray me; and if I had to go under or between branches I tested
them carefully to make sure that I could get through. So of course I
went slowly, very, very slowly, but I did make some progress.

The Apaches were tied to trees on each side of the grassy plain, the two
chiefs on the left from our camp-fire. The trees stood at the edge of
the grass, and scarcely five feet away sat the Indian, appointed
especially to watch them because of their importance. This would make my
task very difficult, perhaps impossible; but I had a plan for
distracting his attention, at least for a moment, though to carry it out
I needed stones, and none seemed to be within reach.

I had put perhaps half my way behind me, and had been gone over half an
hour—twenty-five feet in half an hour!—when I saw something gleaming at
one side, and crawling over to it found to my great delight a small
depression in the earth filled with sand that was washed into it by the
recent rain and the overflow of the little stream. I filled my pocket
with the sand and crept on.

After another good half-hour I found myself at last behind Winnetou and
his father, possibly four feet away. The trees to which they were bound,
with their backs towards me, were not broad enough to cover me, but
luckily a leafy branch stood out at the foot of them which hid me from
the guard. A few feet behind him, again, there was a thorny bush upon
which I had designs.

I crawled first behind Winnetou, and there lay still a few minutes to
observe the guard. He seemed tired, for his eyes drooped as if it cost
him an effort to keep them open, for which I was grateful. Now I must
find out how Winnetou was fastened. I reached cautiously around the
trunk of the tree, and felt of his feet and legs. Of course he perceived
this, and I feared he would make a movement which would betray me, but
he was much too wise and had too much presence of mind for that. I found
his feet were tied together and bound by a thong to the tree, so that
two knife-cuts would be necessary. I saw by the flickering firelight
that his hands were crossed from right to left and bound backward to the
tree, and one cut would suffice to loose them. Now something occurred to
me of which I had not thought before: when Winnetou was freed he might
take to flight instantly, and that would put me in the greatest danger.
I thought and thought, but could find no way out of the difficulty; I
must risk it, and if the Apache sprang away at once I must save myself
with equal speed.

How mistaken I was in Winnetou! I did not know him. We have discussed
his liberation since, and he has told me that when he first felt my hand
he believed it to be an Apache’s. True, all whom he had brought with him
were captured, but it was possible that he had been followed by a scout
to bring him news of the main body of his braves. He was sure that he
was to be freed, and waited confidently the cutting of his bonds. But he
certainly would not fly at once, for he would not go without his father,
nor would he endanger the life of him who freed him.

I cut the two lower bands; the upper ones I could not reach in my
present position without risk of cutting Winnetou’s hands. So I must
stand up, and it was nearly certain the guard would see me. But I had
brought the sand for such a moment. I thrust my hand into my pocket,
took out a handful of it, and threw it past the guard into the bush
behind him. This made a rustle; the Indian turned and looked at the
bush. A second handful aroused his attention thoroughly—a poisonous
reptile might be hidden in there—and he rose, turned around, and
examined it carefully. Quick as a flash I had cut the thongs. In doing
so I felt Winnetou’s splendid hair in my eyes, and I seized a strand in
my left hand, cut it off with the right, and then sank to the ground
again. Why did I do this? To have proof that it was really I who had
freed him.

To my delight Winnetou did not make the slightest motion, but stood
precisely as before. I wound the hair into a ring and put it in my
pocket. Then I crawled behind Intschu-Tschuna, whose fastenings I
examined as I had Winnetou’s, and found him bound exactly as his son had
been, and he remained equally unmoved when he felt my hand. Again I cut
the lower thongs first; then I succeeded in distracting the guard’s
attention as before, and freed the chief’s hands. He was as considerate
as his son, and made no movement. It occurred to me that it would be
better not to let the thongs lie on the ground, for if the Kiowas found
them cut they might suspect us. So I took Intschu-Tschuna’s bands away,
crept back to Winnetou and got his, and then began my journey back.

I had to make what haste I could, for when the chiefs disappeared an
alarm would at once be given, and I dared not be anywhere around. I
crawled farther into the bushes to be out of sight if this happened, and
made my way back faster than I had come, but still cautiously. When I
got close to the camp I lay flat, and made the rest of the way by
wriggling along. My three comrades were alarmed about me, and as I again
lay down between them Sam whispered: “We were worried about you. Do you
know how long you’ve been? Almost two hours.”

“I shouldn’t wonder; half an hour going and half an hour coming, and an
hour there.”

“Why on earth did you stay so long?”

“To be sure the chief was asleep.”

“Good gracious! Dick and Will, hear this tenderfoot! To make sure the
chief was asleep, he stared at him a whole hour!”

“Never mind; I proved to you I could crawl.”

I was keeping my eyes strained on the two Apaches, wondering why they
delayed going. The reason was very simple: each was uncertain that the
other had been freed, and they stayed for a signal from their liberator.
As this was not forthcoming, Winnetou waited till he saw the guard’s
eyelids droop, when he motioned with his hand to his father, and the
chief returned the signal; then they disappeared from their places.

“Yes, you have given us proof,” said Sam Hawkins, answering my last
remark; “but if you think you could free the two chiefs by piercing
their bonds with your eyes for one full, precious hour, you’re mistaken.
It’s a difficult thing anyway; I’m not sure it can be done, but if it
can—good heavens! what is that?”

That instant the Apaches had vanished. I pretended not to see, and
asked: “What’s up? Why don’t you go on?”

“Because—am I blind or not?”

He rubbed his eyes, and cried: “Yes, by thunder! it’s so. Look yonder;
are Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou there?”

Before any one could answer the guard sprang up, stared a moment at the
deserted trees, and then uttered a piercing cry that awakened every
sleeper. The guard announced in his own vernacular what had happened,
and a tumult began which was beyond description. Every one ran to the
trees, white men and red, I following. But on my way I turned my pocket
wrong side out and got rid of the rest of the sand.

More than two hundred men surrounded the spot on which but a moment
before the two chiefs had stood. A howl of rage arose which told me
plainly what would be my fate if the truth came to light.

Tangua ordered half his men to disperse over the savanna, and search for
the missing men as well as they could in the darkness. He actually
foamed with rage. He struck the negligent guard in the face, tore his
medicine-charm from his neck and trod it under foot. This was an
everlasting disgrace, for the medicine-charm means everything to an
Indian, and to lose it is to lose honor, and be an outcast from his
tribe until he shall rehabilitate himself by killing an enemy and
seizing his charm, which will then be considered as the victor’s own.
The guard took his bitter punishment without a word, shouldered his gun,
and disappeared among the trees.

The chief’s rage was directed not only against this unfortunate Indian,
but against me. He strode up to me, and shrieked: “You wanted to keep
those two dogs for yourself; go after them and catch them.”

I was turning from him without answering, but he caught me by the arm,
saying: “Did you hear my command? Obey.”

I shook him off, and replied: “You cannot order me to obey you.”

“Yes, for I am the chief of all this camp.”

I drew from my pocket the tin box in which I kept my papers, and said:
“Shall I give you your proper answer, and blow up all your people? Speak
another word to displease me, and I’ll destroy you all with this
medicine that blows up the mountains.”

I was doubtful that this absurd statement would be believed, but it was.
He drew back, crying: “Uff! uff! Keep your medicine for yourself, and be
a dog like the Apaches.”

We white men went back to our fire, and naturally the topic of
conversation was the escape and how it came about. I did not reveal the
secret even to Sam, Dick, or Will. I was very happy in its possession,
and at the success of my attempt, which every moment of the vain search
for the fugitives made more certain.

The lock of Winnetou’s hair I have kept through all my wanderings in the
West, and I have it safe to-day, a reminder not only of a mad adventure,
but of a true friend.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XI.

                       _A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION._


THE Kiowas’ manner was such as to convince us that we would do well to
look after our own safety, and we dared not lie down to rest without
leaving one of our party on guard. We spent the night sleeping by turns,
and early in the morning our sentinel awakened us to say that the Kiowas
were following the trail of the fugitives, for which they had been
obliged to wait till dawn. We in turn followed them, and the trail led
us to the spot where Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou had left their horses,
and where they had mounted and ridden away. We surveyors resumed our
work; we dared not lose a moment, for the Indians were sure to return to
rescue their comrades and execute their twofold revenge, and we could
not know how soon this might be, for we had no idea where the main body
of the Apaches lay.

We worked hard till noon, when Sam Hawkins came to me and said: “There
seems to be something up among the Kiowas in regard to the prisoners.”

“Something? Don’t you know what?”

“They seem to be getting ready to kill them, and to do it soon, for they
are preparing the torture now.”

“We must stop that.”

“Now look here; the Kiowas are two hundred strong. Do you mean to say
you can stop their doing what they please?”

“I hope not to be obliged to do it alone; I count on you and Dick and
Will, and I have full confidence you won’t forsake me, but will do your
utmost to prevent such wholesale murder.”

“So you have confidence in us! I’m very grateful for it, for it’s no
trifle to have the confidence of such a man as you.”

“Listen, Sam; I’m in earnest. The fate of so many men is not a subject
for jesting.”

He gave me a whimsical glance out of his little eyes. “The dickens! So
you’re in earnest! Then I must pull a long face. But do you consider the
situation? We are only four against two hundred, for we can’t count on
the others. Do you think we could possibly succeed, or do you mean to
live up to your new name of Old Shatterhand, and knock down all the two
hundred warriors with your fist?”

“Nonsense! I didn’t give myself that name, and I know well enough we
can’t do anything against two hundred; but must it come to force?
Cunning is often better.”

“Now I wonder if you read that in your books? You’ll become prudent if
you don’t look out, and I’d like to see how you’d seem in that shape. I
tell you there’s nothing to be done here with all your cunning. The
Indians will do what they please, and not care a rap whether you like it
or lump it.”

“All right; I see I can’t depend on you, and I’ll have to act alone.”

“For mercy’s sake, don’t do anything foolish. You won’t have to act
alone, for, whatever you do, we’ll stand by you. But it’s not been my
habit to run my head against thick walls, for I know the walls are
harder than the head.”

“And I never said I’d do the impossible. But if there’s any way to save
the Apaches, we must find it.”

“Certainly; but what way is there?”

“I’ve been thinking I’d force the chief to do my will by holding a knife
to his breast.”

“And stab him?”

“If he wouldn’t give in, yes.”

“Good powers above! you’re mad,” he cried, shocked.

“I assure you I’ll try it.”

“It’s—it’s—” Sam checked himself, his surprised and anxious face taking
on another expression, until at last he said: “I don’t know as it’s such
a bad idea, after all. Nothing but force would make Tangua yield, and
with a knife at his breast he might—Well, actually, a greenhorn can have
a small, so-called idea once in a while.”

“The first thing is to get the chief away from his braves. Where is he
now?”

“Over there with them.”

“Will you get him off, Sam? Tell him I want to speak to him and can’t
leave my work.”

“I doubt if that’ll work; however, I’ll try. Suppose he brings some of
his men with him?”

“I’ll leave them to you and Stone and Parker; I’ll take care of Tangua.
Have thongs ready to bind him; the thing must be done quietly and
quickly.”

“Well, I don’t know how the plan’s going to work, but, as nothing else
occurs to me, you shall have your way. We risk our lives, and I have no
desire to die, but I think we may come out of it with a black eye.”

He laughed in his usual quiet manner, and went off.

My companions were too far away to have heard what we had been saying,
and it never occurred to me to tell them our plan, for I was sure they
would have prevented its execution. They valued their own lives more
than those of the captive Apaches, and I realized what a risk I ran. But
I felt I ought to give Stone and Parker a chance to withdraw if they
chose, and asked them if they wanted to take a hand in the game. Stone
replied: “What is the matter with you? Do you think we’re sneaks to
leave a friend in the lurch? Your scheme is a stroke worthy of a true
frontiersman, and we’ll be glad to take a hand; isn’t that so, Will?”

“Yes,” said Parker. “I’d like to see if we four ain’t the fellows to
beat two hundred Indians.”

I went on measuring, and did not look back until Stone cried: “Get
ready; they’re coming.”

I looked, and saw Sam approaching with Tangua and three other Indians.

“A man for each,” I said. “I’ll take the chief. Throttle them so they
can’t scream, and wait till I grab Tangua; don’t move first.”

We went over towards the Indians, and took up our position where a bush
screened us from the rest of the Kiowas left to guard the prisoners. The
chief’s face was none too friendly, and he said in equally unfriendly
tone as he came up: “The pale-face called Old Shatterhand has asked me
to come. Have you forgotten I am chief of the Kiowas, and you should
have come to me, not I to you?”

“I know you are the chief,” I answered.

“I have come because you have been a short time among us, and have yet
to learn politeness. Speak briefly, for I have no time.”

“What have you to do that is so important?”

“We are going to make the Apache dogs howl.”

“Why so soon? I thought you were going to take them to your village, and
torture them in the presence of your women and children.”

“We wanted to, but they would hinder us on the war-path, whither we now
go; so we shall kill them to-day.”

“I ask you not to do this.”

“It is not for you to ask.”

“Can’t you speak as civilly as I do to you? I only said I _asked_ you;
if I had commanded you, you might have had an excuse for being rude.”

“I want to hear nothing from you, and a command is out of the question.
No pale-face shall meddle in my affairs.”

“Have you a right to kill the prisoners? No, don’t answer, for I know
what you will say; but there is a difference between putting men to
death quickly and painlessly, and slowly torturing them. We shall never
allow that where we are.”

He drew himself up to his full height, and said scornfully: “Whom do you
think I am? Compared with me you are like a toad which would attack a
bear of the Rockies. The prisoners are mine, and I shall do what I
please with them.”

“They fell into your hands by our help, so we have the same right to
them that you have, and we wish them to live.”

“Wish what you please, you white cur; I laugh at your words.”

He spat at me; and would have turned away, but I let drive and knocked
him down. He had a hard skull, however, and, not being quite
unconscious, tried to rise. So I had to give him another blow before I
could pay any attention to the others. I saw Sam Hawkins kneeling on an
Indian whom he had seized by the throat; Stone and Parker held the
second one down, while the third ran shrieking away. I came to Sam’s
assistance, and we bound our man as Dick and Will finished up theirs.
“That was foolish of you; why did you let the third escape?” I said.

“Because Stone and I went for the same one. We lost only two seconds by
it, but it was enough to let that rascal escape.”

“No matter,” said Sam. “It only means that the ball will begin earlier.
In two or three minutes the Indians will be upon us, and we must take
care to have a free field between us.”

The surveyors had seen our action with horror, and the head engineer
came bounding over to us, crying: “What is the matter with you people?
What have you done? We shall all be killed.”

“You certainly will if you don’t join us now,” said Sam. “Call your
people over here, and come with us; we’ll protect you.”

“Protect us—” Bancroft began, but Sam interrupted him.

“Silence!” the little man said sternly. “We know what we’re about. If
you don’t stick to us you’re lost. Come on.”

We carried the three Indians to the open prairie, where we halted and
laid them down, for we knew an open plain where we could see all around
was safer than a position that afforded hiding-places. Scarcely had we
got there than we heard the Kiowas’ howls of rage, and after a moment
they came running towards us; but as one ran faster than another they
were strung out in a long line, not coming in a solid body; which was
lucky for us, as in the latter case it would have been harder to bring
them to a stand.

Plucky little Sam went a short distance towards them, and threw up both
arms as a signal to stop. I heard him call out something which I did not
understand. It had no effect until it was repeated, then I saw the first
Kiowa, as well as the one next to him, pause. Sam spoke to them,
pointing at us. Then I called upon Stone and Parker to raise the chief,
and swung a knife over his breast. The Indians howled indignantly. Sam
spoke further to them, and then one of them, next to Tangua in
authority, came out from the rest and proceeded towards us. As they came
up Sam pointed at our three prisoners and said: “You see I spoke the
truth. They are entirely in our power.”

The under-chief, whose face betrayed the fury within him, replied: “I
see that these two Indians are alive, but the chief seems to be dead.”

“He is not dead. Old Shatterhand’s fist knocked him down, and he is
unconscious, but he will soon revive. Sit down and wait; when the chief
comes to himself again we will treat with you. But the moment one of the
Kiowas touches a weapon Old Shatterhand’s knife will be plunged into
Tangua’s heart.”

“How dare you raise your hand against us who are your friends?”

“Friends! You don’t believe that yourself when you say it.”

“I do believe it; have we not smoked the pipe of peace together?”

“Yes, but we can’t trust this peace. Is it customary for friends to
insult one another?”

“No.”

“Yet your chief insulted Old Shatterhand. See, he begins to move.”

Tangua, whom Stone and Parker had laid down again, raised himself,
looking at us at first as though he did not feel sure what had happened,
then he recovered consciousness perfectly and cried: “Take off these
bands.”

“Why did you not listen to my request?” I asked. “You can’t give orders
here.” He gave me a look of rage, and snarled:

“Silence, boy, or I’ll tear your eyes out.”

“Silence is more fit for you than for me,” I answered. “You insulted me,
and I knocked you down. Old Shatterhand does not let go unpunished him
who calls him a toad and a white dog.”

“I will be free in a moment. If you do not obey me, my warriors shall
wipe you from off the earth.”

“You’d go first. Hear what I have to say. There stand your people; if
one of them moves a foot without permission, my knife goes into your
heart. How!”

I set the knife-point against his breast. He saw that he was in our
power, and could not doubt that I would fulfil my threat. There was a
pause, during which he seemed to long to annihilate us with his wildly
rolling eyes; then he tried to control his rage, and asked more mildly:

“What do you want of me?”

“Nothing except what I have already told you: that the Apaches shall not
die by torture.”

“Then you ask that they shall not die?”

“Do with them later what you will, but while we are with you nothing
must happen to them.”

Again he considered a while in silence. Through the war-paint on his
face we saw pass over it varying expressions of anger, hatred, and
malice. I expected that the contest of words between us would be long,
so wondered not a little when he said: “It shall be as you wish; yes, I
will do more than that if you will fulfil the condition I will make.”

“What is the condition?”

“First I want to tell you that you need not think I fear your knife. If
you stabbed me, you would be torn to shreds in a moment by my warriors.
No matter how strong you are, you cannot fight two hundred foes. So I
laugh at your threat to stab me. If I told you I would not do as you
wish, you could do nothing to me. Nevertheless the Apache dogs shall not
be tortured; I will even promise not to kill them if you will fight in a
life-and-death combat for them.”

“With whom?”

“With one of my warriors, whom I will choose.”

“What weapons?”

“Only knives. If he kills you, the Apaches must also die; but if you
kill him, they shall live.”

“And be free?”

“Yes.”

I could not help seeing that he considered me the most dangerous of his
white allies, and wanted to get rid of me; for it goes without saying
that his champion would be skilled in the use of the knife.
Nevertheless, after short consideration I answered: “I agree; we will
smoke the pipe of covenant, then the combat may begin.”

“What are you talking about?” cried Sam. “You can’t be so foolish as to
go into such a fight.”

“It is not folly, my dear Sam.”

“The greatest folly possible. In a fair fight the chances would be
equal, but they’re far from so here. Did you ever have a fight to the
death with knives?”

“No.”

“There; you see? Your opponent will, of course, be skilled with the
knife. And then think of the consequences of such a fight. If you die,
the Apaches die, too; but if you kill your adversary, who is the worse
for it? No one.”

“But if I win, the Apaches get their lives and freedom.”

“Do you really believe that?”

“Certainly; for it will be sealed by the solemn pipe of covenant.”

“The devil’s truth will be in such an oath, which covers some double
meaning. And even if it is meant honestly, you are a tenderfoot and—”

“Now give us a rest with your ‘tenderfoot,’ Sam,” I interrupted. “You’ve
been shown that this tenderfoot knows what he is about.”

Although Dick Stone and Will Parker joined Sam in imploring me to give
up the bargain, I persisted, and at last Sam cried impatiently: “No
good, boys; he must go on running his thick head against stone walls;
I’ll say no more against it. But I’ll see it’s a fair fight, and woe to
him who cheats you! I’ll blow him into a thousand pieces with my Liddy,
and they’ll be lost in the clouds.”

The arrangements for the combat were now made. Two circles were drawn in
the sand, touching each other and forming a figure 8. Each contestant
was to stand in one of these circles, and not step beyond it during the
combat. There was to be no quarter; one must die, and his friends would
not take revenge on his conqueror.

When everything was ready the bonds were removed from the chief, and we
smoked the pipe that sealed his promise to me. The two other prisoners
were freed, and the four Indians went off to fetch their champion and
summon the braves to see the combat.

The surveyors all protested with me, but I paid no attention to their
words, and Sam said: “You are a marvellously rash fellow. You will be
killed, and what shall I do in my old age? I must have a tenderfoot to
abuse; whom shall I scold if you are gone?”

“Some other tenderfoot.”

“That’s easier said than done, for I’ll never have another out-and-out
hopeless greenhorn such as you are in all my life. Let me take your
place. It’s no matter if an old fellow dies, but a young—”

“Now hold your kind tongue, my dear old Sam,” I interrupted. “It’s
better a hopeless greenhorn should die than a valuable, experienced
scout. But I hope I shan’t die.”

“Well, I’d rather take your place; but if I can’t, promise me to
remember it’s for life or death. Don’t come any of your humane nonsense;
remember, you’re not dealing with a knight or a square man, but a rascal
and a murderer, who will kill you if he can. So get ahead of him; don’t
hesitate. I’m afraid you’ll be weakly scrupulous.”

“I assure you I have no such idea. It’s he or I, and I’ll do my best
that it shan’t be I. There shall not be an ounce of relenting, I promise
you. I’ll save the lives of all the Apaches, and my own, at the price of
his, if I can. It’s life or death, as you say, my dear Sam, and I mean
to live; don’t fret. Say a prayer for me, if you remember how, and I
know you do; and I think God will bless a fight for such a good cause.
Hush; here they come.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XII.

                 _A DUEL, AND CAPTURE BY THE APACHES._


THE Indians came slowly towards us; not all, but a large number of them,
for Tangua had left a portion of them to guard the Apaches. On reaching
the spot a hollow square was formed, of which three sides were filled in
by Kiowas, our men occupying the fourth side.

The chief then gave a signal, and from the ranks of the Indians strode a
warrior whose proportions were absolutely gigantic. Laying aside all his
weapons except his knife, he stripped off his clothing to his waist. No
one could look upon his knotted muscles and not be anxious for me. The
chief led him into the middle of the square, and announced to us in a
voice ringing with the certainty of triumph: “Here stands Metan-Akva
[_Lightning Knife_], the strongest warrior of the Kiowas, whose knife no
man has withstood; his enemy dies beneath his blows as though struck by
lightning. He will fight Old Shatterhand, the pale-face.”

“Lord help us!” whispered Sam to me; “he’s a real Goliath. My dear boy,
it’s all up with you.”

“Nonsense!”

“Don’t forget there’s only one way to conquer this fellow, and that is
to make the fight a short one. Let the end be quick, for he can tire you
out, and then you’re lost. How’s your pulse?”

He put his fingers on my wrist, counted, and then said: “Thank God, not
more than sixty beats, and perfectly regular. You’re not excited? Aren’t
you a bit afraid?”

“It wouldn’t do to be upset or afraid in a case that depends on calm
blood and eye. The chief has selected this giant because he is
invincible, and we’ll see whether he really is so or not.”

While I was talking I, too, had stripped the upper part of my body, for,
although it was not necessary, I did not wish it to appear that I
desired to shield myself from the knife. I gave my gun and revolver to
Sam, and stepped forth into the middle of the square. One could almost
see the throbbing of good Sam Hawkins’ heart, but I felt undisturbed,
and confidence is the first requisite for a combat.

The chief summoned us to take our places. Lightning Knife looked me over
contemptuously, and said in a loud voice: “The body of this feeble
pale-face throbs with fear; is he afraid to enter the ring?”

Scarcely had these words been uttered than I stepped into the southward
circle, thus bringing my back towards the sun, while it shone into my
adversary’s eyes and blinded him. This may seem like taking an unfair
advantage, but considering I had never fought with knives before, while
he was renowned for his skill with them, this did not make up for the
advantages on his side, and it was perfectly fair. Tenderness towards my
opponent was worse than foolish; any weakness on my part would not only
have cost me my life, but the lives of the Apaches for whom I fought;
so, though a life-and-death combat is a horrible thing, I was forced to
do my best to kill this Hercules.

“He is actually going to try,” laughed Lightning Knife scornfully. “My
knife shall drink his blood. The Great Spirit gives him into my hand by
taking away his senses.”

Among Indians this sort of preliminary fight with tongues is customary,
and I should have been considered cowardly if I had stood silent, so I
answered: “You fight with the mouth, but I have here a knife; take your
place if you are not afraid.”

He bounded into the other circle, crying angrily: “Afraid! Metan-Akva
afraid! Did you hear that, ye Kiowa braves? I will have this white dog’s
life with my first stroke.”

“My first stroke will be the end of you. Now silence. You should not be
called Metan-Akva, but Avat-Ya [_Big Mouth_].”

“Avat-Ya, Avat-Ya! This coyote pig dares insult me; my blade shall eat
his bowels.”

This last threat was very short-sighted on his part, for it gave me a
hint as to the manner and place in which his weapon would be used. So he
did not mean to stab my heart, but give a knife-thrust below, and rip my
body.

We stood quite close, so that neither had to bend much to reach his foe.
Metan-Akva’s right arm hung straight down; he held the knife so that the
hilt rested on his little finger, and the blade stuck out from between
the thumb and index-finger, the edge turned upward. This showed that I
was right: he intended to strike upward from below, for if he were going
to strike downward he would have held the knife in the opposite way,
that is, so that the hilt lay against the thumb, with the blade thrust
outward through the fist by the little finger. Then I knew the way in
which I was to be attacked; now the main thing was to know the exact
moment, which his eyes would tell me. I knew the peculiar flash of the
eyes which in such cases precedes a blow.

I dropped my eyelids to let him feel more secure, but only watched him
closer through the lashes. “Strike, dog!” he cried.

“Be silent, and act, you red thief!” I replied.

That was a great insult, which must be followed either by an angry
answer or the attack, and the latter thereupon ensued.

An angry dilation of his pupil warned me, and the next moment his right
arm struck quickly and forcibly upward to rip my body like an old coat.
Had I been looking for a blow downward it would have been all over with
me, but I parried his thrust with my knife, and cut him deeply in the
forearm.

“Dog! swine!” he shrieked, dropping his knife in rage and pain.

“Don’t talk; fight,” I said, raising my arm, and then my knife was in
his heart up to the hilt. I instantly drew it out. The stroke was so
true that a little stream of red blood spurted out on me. My foe swung
backward and forward, groaned, and fell to the earth dead.

A wrathful howl burst from the Indians, but only the chief moved; he
came out from the others and knelt by my adversary, examined the wound,
rose, and gave me a look which I shall not soon forget. It was eloquent
of fear, hatred, amazement, and admiration. He would have gone away
without a word, but I said: “Do you see that I am still in my place,
while Metan-Akva has left his? Who has conquered?”

“You have,” he answered angrily, and went away; but after taking five or
six steps he turned back, and snarled at me: “You are a white son of the
wicked spirit. Our medicine-men will find out your charm, and then you
shall give up your life to us.”

“Do what you like with your medicine-men, but keep your word with us.”

“What word?” he asked haughtily.

“That the Apaches should not be killed.”

“We will not kill them; I have said it, and will hold to it.”

“And they shall be free?”

“Yes, they shall be free. What Tangua, the chief of the Kiowas, has said
shall be done.”

“Then I will go with my friends and untie them.”

“I will do that myself when the time comes.”

“It has come, for I have conquered.”

“Silence! Did we speak of the time?”

“It was not specified, but it is evident—”

“Silence!” he thundered again. “I will decide the time. We will not kill
the Apache dogs, but can we help it if they die for want of food or
drink? How can I help it if they starve before I free them?”

“Rascal!” I cried.

“Dog, speak another word like that, and—”

He did not finish his threat, but checked himself, looking me in the
face, which could not have been pleasant to look upon.

I completed his interrupted sentence. “And I’ll knock you down with my
fist, you vilest of all liars.”

He sprang back, drew his knife, growling: “You will not get near me
again with your fist. If you come one step towards me I’ll stab you.”

“So your Lightning Knife said, and tried to do, but you see he lies
there. I will consult my white friends as to what shall be done with the
Apaches. But if you harm a hair of their heads, you are lost. Remember,
I can blow you all up.”

With these words I went back to Sam, who could not hear the conversation
between the chief and me, because of the howling of the Indians. He
sprang to meet me, seized both my hands, crying: “Welcome, my dear, dear
boy! you have come back out of the jaws of death. Dick, Will, see here;
what do you think of this tenderfoot? But foolhardy men are always the
luckiest, and the worst root grows the biggest potato. When you went
into that circle my heart stood still; I could not breathe, and my
thoughts were full of how I’d carry out this tenderfoot’s last will and
testament. But a thrust, a stab, and the redskin rolled on the ground.
Now we’ve gained our end, and the Apaches are free.”

“You’re mistaken there,” I said.

“Mistaken? How so?”

“The chief made a mental reservation in his promise, which now comes to
light.”

“I mistrusted that,” cried Sam. “What is his reservation?”

I repeated Tangua’s words to him, and he was so angry that he instantly
started off to see the chief. I resumed the clothing and weapons I had
laid down, and thought over the situation. Evidently the Kiowas had been
confident that Lightning Knife would kill me, and they were furious over
the result of our encounter. They could not fall upon us, since it was a
life-and-death fight, and the survivor was promised security; but they
would find some excuse for a quarrel; of that we might be sure.

The chief was occupied attending to the body of the dead warrior, and
Sam found him in no mood to lend an ear to his protests. He strode back
to me in high dudgeon, and said: “The fellow absolutely refuses to keep
his word. He means to starve the prisoners to death, and he calls that
not killing them. But we’ll keep our eyes open, and get a shot at him.”

“Provided we don’t get a shot that is a boomerang,” I remarked.

“I think myself we’d better be ready to protect ourselves, for our life
may be in danger any moment. Lord help us, the moment’s come!” he cried.
“The Apaches have arrived, and there’ll be a lovely row. Get ready for
the fight, gentlemen.”

Over beyond, where the prisoners and their guards were, rose that
instant the shrill _H-i-i-i-i-i-h_, the war-cry of the Apaches. Contrary
to all expectation, Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou had already come back
with their warriors, and had attacked the camp of the Kiowas. Those who
were near us paused in amazement, and then the chief shouted: “The foe
among our brothers! Quick, quick, and help them.”

He would have rushed back, but Sam Hawkins cried: “You can’t go; don’t
you see we are surrounded? Do you suppose the Apache chiefs are such
fools as only to attack your guards and not know where you are?”

He spoke rapidly; but before he had quite finished, the awful,
soul-piercing cry arose around us. We were standing, as already said, on
an open prairie, and had been so occupied that the Apaches had crawled
behind the bush which had served us in our attack on Tangua, and had
surrounded us without our knowledge, and now sprang upon us from all
sides in overpowering numbers. The Kiowas shot at them with some effect,
but not enough to reckon.

“Don’t kill an Apache; not one!” I shouted to our three scouts, for
already the deadly battle raged around us.

The head engineer and the three surveyors defended themselves, and were
cut down. While my eyes were riveted on this awful sight I did not see
anything that went on around me. We were attacked by a considerable
band, and separated from one another. Although we cried out to the
Apaches that we were their friends, it had no effect: they flew at us
with tomahawks, and we perforce had to defend ourselves, however loath
to do so. With our guns wielded as clubs we struck down so many that we
won a little breathing-time for ourselves, during which I looked about
me. Sam, Parker, and Stone ran towards the bushes where the fight was
still hot, and, after making sure that the surveyors were beyond help, I
followed. I had scarcely reached the bush when Intschu-Tschuna himself
came up. He and Winnetou had been with that band of Apaches which had
captured the camp and freed their kinsmen. This achieved, both chiefs
had run to the assistance of the main body which we had encountered,
Intschu-Tschuna considerably in advance of his son.

As he bounded around the bush he saw me, and exclaiming: “Land-thief!”
raised his silver-studded rifle to knock me down. I cried out to him
that I was not his enemy, but he would not listen, only redoubling his
efforts to strike me. There was but one thing to do: if I would not be
overcome, perhaps killed, I must disable him. As he raised his arm again
for a blow I threw away my gun, with which I had parried his strokes,
hung on his neck by my left arm, and with my right fist gave him a blow
on the temple. His rifle dropped, he staggered and fell. Then behind me
a joyful voice cried: “That is Intschu-Tschuna, the chief of the Apache
dogs. I must have his scalp.”

Turning around I saw Tangua, the Kiowa chief, who had come upon the
scene just as all this happened. He dropped his gun, drew his knife, and
stooped over the unconscious Apache to scalp him. I seized his arm and
said: “Take your hands off. I have conquered him; he is mine.”

“Be silent, white vermin!” he snarled. “What have I to do with you? The
chief is mine. Get out, or—” He finished his sentence by striking at me
with his knife and seizing me with his left hand. I did not want to stab
him, so did not draw my own knife, but threw myself upon him and tried
to free myself from his grasp. Failing in this, I choked him till he
could not move, and then bent over Intschu-Tschuna, whose face was
bleeding from my knuckles. Just then I heard a rustle behind me, and
turned to see whence it came. This movement saved me, for I received on
the shoulder a violent blow which had been intended for my head, and
would certainly have broken it. It came from Winnetou. He had been
behind his father, as I have said before, and coming around the bush he
saw me kneeling over the chief, who lay bleeding and apparently
lifeless, and he promptly gave me the almost fatal blow with the butt of
his gun. Then he dropped the gun, drew his knife, and fell upon me.

My position was as bad as it could be. The blow had shaken my whole body
and lamed my arm. I tried to explain to Winnetou, but he gave me no
chance for a word. He stabbed me, and the point of the knife struck the
edge of the tin box in which I carried my papers, glanced up through my
neck, and pierced my tongue, but for which it would certainly have
entered my heart. Then Winnetou withdrew the knife, and held it ready
for the second stroke, his hand at my throat. The fear of death doubled
my strength; I could use only one arm and hand, and he lay across me
sidewise. I caught his right hand, and squeezed it till he dropped the
knife; then I seized his left arm at the elbow and pulled him over till
he had to let go of my throat. Then I lifted his knees, and with all my
strength pushed myself from under him, which threw the upper part of his
body on the ground. The next moment I was on his back, and our positions
were reversed.

The question now was how to hold him down, for if he got up I was lost.
Setting one knee on his thigh and one on his arm, I caught him around
the neck with my one useful arm, while with the other hand he was
feeling for his knife, fortunately in vain. Now followed an awful
struggle between us; yet could I have spoken, one word would have
sufficed to clear up the situation, but blood flowed in streams from my
mouth, and when I tried to speak with my pierced tongue I could only
stammer unintelligibly.

Winnetou exerted all his strength to throw me off, but I lay on him like
a mountain not to be gotten rid of. He began to gasp, and I pressed my
fingers into his windpipe so tight that he could not breathe. Must I
kill him? Not in any case. I freed his throat for a moment, and he
instantly raised his head, which gave me the chance I wanted. One, two,
three good blows with my fist in quick succession, and Winnetou was
unconscious: I had conquered Winnetou the unconquered. I drew a deep,
deep breath as well as I could and not draw down my throat the blood
which filled my mouth and streamed as fast from the external wound. As I
tried to rise I heard an angry howl from an Indian behind me, and
received a blow on the head which knocked me senseless.

When I came to myself it was evening; so long had I lain unconscious.
Everything seemed to me like a dream; I felt as though I had fallen down
beside the wall of a mill-wheel, which could not turn because I was
wedged between its paddles and the wall. The water rushed over me, and
the force which should have turned the wheel pressed on me stronger and
stronger till I thought that I should be crushed. All my limbs were in
pain, especially my head and one shoulder. By degrees I realized that
the mill was not a reality, but delirium, and the roaring and rushing
was not water, but the result of the blow which had felled me. And the
pain in my shoulder was not caused by a mill-wheel crushing me, but by
the blow which Winnetou had given me. The blood flowed from my mouth; it
rushed into my throat and choked me, and I awoke fully to myself.

“He moves; oh, thank God, he moves!” I heard Sam say. I had opened my
eyes, but what I saw was far from consoling. We were still on the spot
where the fight had taken place. Over twenty camp-fires were burning,
between which certainly five hundred Apaches were moving about. Many
were wounded, and a large number lay dead on two sides, the nearest
being the Apaches, and those on the opposite side, a little farther
away, the Kiowas. Around us were the captive Kiowas, all strongly bound;
not one had escaped, and Tangua, the chief, was among them. At a little
distance apart I saw a man lying with his body drawn together in a ring,
for the evident purpose of being tortured. It was Rattler. His comrades
were no longer alive, having been shot at once; but he, as the murderer
of Kleki-Petrah, was reserved for a slow and agonizing death. I was
bound hand and foot, as were Parker and Stone, who lay on my left. At my
right I saw Sam Hawkins, who was fastened by his feet, and his right
hand was bound against his back, but his left hand was free, as I
learned later, in order to tend me.

“Thank Heaven, you are conscious again, my dear Jack,” he said, stroking
my face lovingly with his free hand. “How do you feel? Do you want
anything?” I tried to answer, but could not. I saw Sam bending over me
with anxious eyes, but I heard and saw no more, for again I sank into
unconsciousness.

Upon regaining my senses I felt myself in motion, and heard the tread of
many horses’ feet. I opened my eyes. I was lying on the skin of the
grizzly bear I had killed, which was drawn together into a hammock and
hung between two horses, which were thus bearing me somewhere. I lay so
deep in the skin that I could see only the heads of the horses and the
sky above me. The sun shone down on me, burning like molten lead, and
swelling my veins. My mouth was swollen and full of blood; I tried to
move my tongue, but could not. “Water, water,” I tried to say, for I was
consumed with thirst, but I could only utter a hoarse groan. I said to
myself that it was all over with me, and tried to think of God, and make
a true act of contrition, and ask the mercy I was so soon to need, and
turn my eyes to the land on the shore of which I stood; but again
weakness overcame me. This time I fought with Indians, buffaloes, and
bears, rode for life-and-death over scorching plains, swam for months
over shoreless seas—in short, had a fever, caused by my wounds, in which
I struggled hard and long with death. Occasionally I heard Sam Hawkins’
voice, but far, far away; occasionally, too, I saw a pair of dark,
velvety eyes—Winnetou’s eyes. Then I died, was laid in my coffin and
buried. I heard the earth shovelled on the coffin, and lay in the ground
a whole unbroken eternity, unable to move, till the lid of my coffin
noiselessly slid off and disappeared. Was all this true? Could I be
dead? I raised my hand to my forehead, and—“Hallelujah! Oh, thank God!
He comes back from death; he is alive!” cried Sam.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                  _NURSED TO HEALTH FOR A CRUEL FATE._


AS I opened my eyes again upon this world I saw Sam Hawkins bending over
me, his face radiant with joy, and a little behind him were Dick Stone
and Will Parker, tears of happiness in their honest eyes.

Sam took both my hands in his, pushed away the forest of beard where his
mouth should be, and said: “Do you know how long you have lain here?” I
answered only with a shake of the head. “Three weeks; three whole weeks.
You have had a frightful fever, and became rigid—to all appearance dead.
The Apaches would have buried you, but I could not believe you were
gone, and begged so hard that Winnetou spoke to his father, who allowed
you to remain unburied until decomposition should set in. I have to
thank Winnetou for that; I must call him.”

I closed my eyes, and lay still; no longer in the grave, but in a
blessed languor, in weary content, only wishing to lie so forever and
ever. I heard a step; a hand felt me over and moved my arm. Then I heard
Winnetou’s voice saying: “Is not Sam Hawkins mistaken? Has Selki-Lata
[_Old Shatterhand_] really revived?”

“Yes, yes; we all three saw it. He answered my questions by movements of
his head.”

“It is marvellous, but it were better he had not come back, for he has
returned to life but to be killed.”

“But he is the Apaches’ best friend,” cried Sam.

“And yet he knocked me down twice.”

“Because he had to. The first time he did it to save your life, for you
would have defended yourself, and the Kiowas would have killed you. And
the second time he had to defend himself from you. We tried to explain,
but your braves would not hear us.”

“Hawkins says this only to save himself.”

“No, it is the truth.”

“Your tongue lieth. Everything you have said to escape torture convinces
us that you were even a greater enemy to us than the Kiowa dogs. You
spied upon us and betrayed us. Had you been our friend you would have
warned us of the Kiowas’ coming. Your excuses any child could see
through. Do you think Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou are more stupid than
children?”

“I think nothing of the sort. Old Shatterhand is unconscious again, or
he could tell you that I have spoken the truth.”

“Yes, he would lie as you do. The pale-faces are all liars and traitors.
I have known but one white man in whom truth dwelt, and that was
Kleki-Petrah, whom you murdered. I was almost deceived in Old
Shatterhand. I observed his daring and his bodily strength, and wondered
at it. Uprightness seemed seated in his eyes, and I thought I could love
him. But he was a land-thief, like the rest; he did not prevent you from
entrapping us, and twice he knocked me in the head with his fist. Why
does the Great Spirit make such a man, and give him so false a heart?”

I wanted to look at him as he spoke, but my muscles would not obey my
will. Yet as I heard these last words my eyelids lifted, and I saw him
standing before me clad in a light linen garment and unarmed.

“He has opened his eyes again,” cried Sam, and Winnetou bent over me,
looking long and steadily into my eyes.

At last he said: “Can you speak?” I shook my head.

“Have you any pain?” I made the same reply.

“Be honest with me! When a man comes back from death he surely must
speak the truth. Did you four men really want to free us?”

I nodded twice.

He waved his hand contemptuously, and cried excitedly: “Lies, lies,
lies! Even on the brink of the grave, he lies! Had you told the truth I
might have thought that at least you could improve, and ask my father to
spare you. But you’re not worth such intercession, and must die. We will
nurse you carefully, that you may be sound and strong to bear long
torture. A weak or sick man would die quickly, and that is no
punishment.”

I could not hold my eyes open any longer; oh, if I could but speak! The
crafty little Sam Hawkins did not put our case very convincingly; I
would have spoken differently. As I was feebly thinking this, Sam said
to the young Apache chief: “We have told you clearly what our part was
in this affair. Your braves would have been tortured, but Old
Shatterhand prevented it by fighting Metan-Akva and conquering him. He
risked his life for you, and as a reward he is to be tortured.”

“You have proved nothing to me, and the whole story is a lie.”

“Ask Tangua, the chief; he is in your hands.”

“I have asked him, and he says you lie. Old Shatterhand did not kill
Metan-Akva; he was slain by our warriors in the attack.”

“That is outrageous. Tangua knows we befriended you and got the best of
him, and now he wants to be revenged.”

“He has sworn by the Great Spirit, and I believe him, not you. I say to
you, as I have just said to Old Shatterhand, if you had been honest with
me I might have pleaded for you. Kleki-Petrah, who was our father,
friend, and teacher, showed me the beauty of peace and gentleness. I do
not seek blood, and my father, the chief, does as I desire. Therefore we
have not killed one of the Kiowas whom we captured, and they will pay us
for the wrong done us, not with their lives, but with horses, weapons,
skins, and vessels. Rattler is Kleki-Petrah’s murderer, and must die.”

Sam answered this, the longest speech I had heard from the silent
Winnetou, very briefly: “We can’t say we were your enemies when we are
your friends.”

“Silence!” said Winnetou sternly. “I see that you will die with this lie
on your lips. We have allowed you more liberty than the other prisoners
that you might attend Old Shatterhand. You are not worth such
consideration, and henceforth you shall be more restrained. The sick man
needs you no longer, and you must come with me.”

“Don’t say that, don’t say that, Winnetou,” cried Sam in horror. “I
can’t leave Old Shatterhand.”

“You must if I command it,” said the young chief. “I will not hear a
word. Will you come with me, or shall my braves bind you and take you
away?”

“We are in your power, and must obey. When shall we see Old Shatterhand
again?”

“On the day of his death and yours.”

“Not before?”

“No.”

“Then let us say good-by now, before we follow you.”

He grasped my hands, and I felt his beard on my face as he kissed my
brow. Stone and Parker did the same, and then they went away with
Winnetou.

I lay a long time alone, till the Apaches came and carried me I knew not
where, for I was too weak to see, and then I was left alone again, and
slept. When I awoke I could open my eyes and move my tongue a little,
and was far less weak than before. I found to my surprise that I lay in
the furthest corner of a large, square room, built of stone, which
received its light from an opening on one side which served as door. The
skins of grizzly bears had been piled on top of one another to make a
comfortable bed, and I was covered with a beautifully embroidered Indian
blanket. In the corner by the door sat two Indian women, one old, the
other young. Like all Indian women after they are past their youth, the
former was ugly, bent, and seamed by the hard work that falls on the
squaws when the braves are on the war-path or hunting. But the younger
was very beautiful, so much so that she would have attracted attention
in any civilized society. She wore a long, light blue garment, gathered
about the neck, and held around the waist by a girdle of
rattlesnake-skin. Her only ornament was her long, splendid hair, which
fell below her hips in two heavy black braids. It resembled Winnetou’s,
and the girl looked like him. She had the same velvety black eyes, which
were half concealed by long, dark lashes, and there was no trace in her,
nor in him, of the high cheek-bones of the Indian; her soft oval cheeks
curved into a chin with a mischievous dimple. She spoke softly to the
old woman, not to awaken me, and as her pretty, red lips parted in a
laugh, her even, white teeth flashed between them. Her delicate nose was
rather of Grecian than of Indian type, and her skin was a light copper
bronze, with a silvery tint. This maiden looked about eighteen years
old, and was, I felt sure, the sister of Winnetou.

I moved, and the maiden looked up from her work, rose, and came over to
me. “You are awake,” she said, in perfectly good English to my surprise.
“Is there anything you would like?” I opened my mouth, but closed it
again, realizing that I could not speak. However, I had been able to
move by an effort; perhaps I could speak if I tried. I made a great
effort, and said: “Yes—I—want—much.”

I was delighted to hear my own voice after more than three weeks’
silence, though the words came indistinctly and painfully.

“Speak slowly or by signs,” said the young girl. “Nscho-Tschi sees that
speech is painful to you.”

“Is Nscho-Tschi your name?”

“Yes.”

“It is fitting; you are like a lovely spring day when the first,
sweetest flowers of the year are blooming.”

Nscho-Tschi means “Fair Day,” and she blushed a little at my compliment.

“Tell me what you desire,” she said.

“Tell me first why you are here.”

“My brother Winnetou commanded me to nurse you.”

“You are very like that brave young warrior.”

“You wanted to kill him.” These words were said half as a question, half
as a statement, while she looked searchingly into my eyes, as if she
would read my very soul.

“Never!” I said emphatically.

“He does not believe that, and considers you his enemy. You have twice
struck down him whom no one has conquered.”

“Once to save his life; once to save my own. I loved him from the moment
I first saw him.”

Again she looked long at me, then she said: “He does not believe you,
and I am his sister. Does your mouth pain?”

“Not now.”

“Can you swallow?”

“I can try. Will you give me a drink of water?”

“Yes, and some to bathe in; we will bring it to you.”

She went away with the old woman, leaving me to wonder why Winnetou, who
considered me his enemy and utterly refused to credit any assurance to
the contrary, should send me his own sister as nurse.

After a time Fair Day came back with the older woman. The former carried
a vessel of brown clay, such as the Pueblo Indians use, filled with
fresh water. She thought me still too weak to drink without assistance,
and held it to my lips herself. It was dreadfully painful to me to
swallow, but it must be done. I drank in little mouthfuls and with long
rests between, until the vessel was quite empty. How it refreshed me!
Nscho-Tschi saw it, and said: “That has done you good. By and by I will
bring you something else, for you must be hungry, too. Now will you
bathe?”

The old woman brought me a gourd of water, and set it before me, with a
towel of fine white flax. I tried to use them, but was too weak. My fair
young nurse dipped the cloth in the water and bathed the face and hands
of the supposed enemy of her father and brother.

When she had finished, she asked me with a soft little pitying laugh:
“Were you always so thin?”

I felt my cheeks, and said: “I was never thin.”

“Look at yourself in the water.”

I looked into the gourd, and shrank back shocked, for the head of a
skeleton seemed to look up at me.

“What a miracle that I am alive!” I cried.

“So Winnetou says. You have even borne the long ride here. The Great
Spirit has given you an extraordinarily strong body, for few others thus
wounded could have endured a journey of five days.”

“Five days! Where are we?”

“In our pueblo, at Rio Pecos.”

“And are the Kiowas here, too?”

“Yes. They really ought to die; any other tribe would torture them, but
the good Kleki-Petrah taught us to be merciful, so they are to pay a
ransom and go home.”

“And my three comrades?”

“They are bound, and are in a room like this. They are well cared for,
because he who is to die by torture must be strong to endure or it is no
punishment.”

“And are they really to die?”

“Yes.”

“And I?”

“You, too.”

“Will Winnetou come to me?”

“No.”

“But I have something important to say to him.”

“He will not hear it. Yet if you will tell me what it is, perhaps he
will let me tell him about it.”

“No, thank you. I could tell you perfectly well; but if he is too proud
to come to me, I have a pride of my own, and will send him no messages.”

“You will not see him till the day of your death. We will leave you now.
If you need anything, call us; we shall hear, and will come to you.”

She gave me a little willow whistle, and then went away with the old
squaw.

My young nurse attended me faithfully every day; fed me savory broths
and porridges from a wooden spoon, kneeling at my bedside, and
nourishing me like a helpless child. Day by day I grew stronger under
this care, though for a long time it hurt me dreadfully to eat. I tried
to keep down all expression of pain, but in spite of myself the water
would stand in my eyes when I swallowed. Nscho-Tschi saw this, and
Indian-like admired silent endurance of pain.

“It is a pity,” she said suddenly one day, “that you were born a lying
pale-face, and not an Apache.”

“I do not lie; I never lie, as you will learn later.”

“I should be glad to think so, but Kleki-Petrah was the only pale-face
in whom truth dwelt. You murdered him, and must die, and be buried with
him.”

I felt sure that I should not die, for I had incontrovertible proof of
our innocence in the lock of hair which I had cut from Winnetou’s head
when I freed him. But had I it still? Had it not been taken from me? I
searched my pockets, and found everything as I had left it; nothing had
been taken from me but my weapons. I took out my box of papers, and
found Winnetou’s hair safely folded between them. I laid it back with a
happy heart; possessing this I had no fear of dying.

I smiled at the beautiful Indian girl quite cheerfully, and said: “The
sweet Fair Day will see that I shall live on many days.”

She shook her head. “You are condemned by a council of the elders,” she
said.

“They will decide otherwise when they hear that I am innocent.”

“They will not believe it.”

“They must, for I can prove it.”

“Oh, prove it, prove it!” she cried. “Nscho-Tschi would be glad indeed
if she could know you were no liar and traitor. Tell me your proof, or
give it to me, and let me take it to Winnetou.”

“Let him come to me to learn what it is.”

“He will not do that.”

“Nor will I send to him. I am not accustomed to sue for friendship, nor
send messengers to one who can come to me.”

“How unrelenting you warriors are! I should have been so glad to have
brought you Winnetou’s forgiveness.”

“I do not need to be forgiven, for I have done no wrong. But I would ask
a favor of you. In case you see Sam Hawkins, tell him to feel no
anxiety, for as soon as I am well we shall be free again.”

“Do not think that; this hope will never be fulfilled.”

“It is not hope, but certainty; later on Fair Day will tell me I was
right.” The tone in which I spoke was so confident that she gave up
contradicting me, and went away without another word.

I improved steadily; the skeleton took on the flesh and muscles of a
living man, and the wound in my mouth healed. Nscho-Tschi remained
always the same, kindly careful, yet sure that death was daily drawing
nearer me. I noticed after a while that when she thought herself
unobserved her eyes rested on me with a sorrowful, questioning look; she
seemed to be beginning to pity me. I had thought her heartless, but had
wronged her. At last, one beautiful, sunny morning in late autumn
Nscho-Tschi brought my breakfast, and sat beside me, instead of keeping
at a distance as she had done since I was able to move about and had
almost completely regained my strength. Her eyes were moist and rested
on me tenderly, and at last two tears rolled down her cheeks.

“You are crying,” I said. “What has happened?”

“The Kiowas are going home; their ransom has come, and now they go.”

“And that grieves you so? You must have indeed become good friends.”

“You do not know of what you speak, nor suspect what lies before you.
The farewell of the Kiowas is to be celebrated by your torture and that
of your three white brothers.”

I had been expecting this, and did not shrink as I heard it. I ate my
breakfast quietly, wondering what would happen before the sun went
down—possibly, in spite of my fancied security, the last sun I should
look upon. I gave the dish back to Fair Day, who took it, no longer able
to keep back her tears.

“This is the last time I shall speak to you,” she said. “Farewell. You
are called Old Shatterhand, and are a strong warrior. Be strong when
they torture you. Nscho-Tschi is sore distressed by your death, but she
will rejoice if you show no signs of pain and lock your groans in your
own breast. Give me this happiness, and die like a hero.”

With this prayer she went away, and I watched her through the open door.
Then I threw myself on the bed and waited, long, anxious hours, till
mid-day. At last I heard the tramp of many feet, and Winnetou entered,
followed by five Apaches. He looked at me long and searchingly. “Do you
remember when you were to see me again?” he asked.

“On the day of my death.”

“You have said it. That day has come. Rise; you must be bound.”

It would have been madness to attempt resistance, for there were six
Indians against me. I rose and they tied my hands together. Then two
thongs were put around my ankles, so that I could take short steps, but
could not jump or run. I was then led out to the platform which ran
around the pueblo house, and from which a ladder led to the ground. We
descended slowly from round to round, three Indians ahead, three behind,
I in the middle. On every platform stood women and children, who gazed
at me in silence and then came down and fell in behind us. All the
Indians of the village, numbering several hundred, were gathering to see
us die.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XIV.

                          _ON TRIAL FOR LIFE._


THE procession which was escorting me to torture passed on in silence,
its numbers augmenting as we went. I saw that the pueblo lay in a hollow
at one side of the broad valley of the Rio Pecos, into which we turned.
The Indians formed a half-circle, inside of which, next the children,
sat the women and maidens, among whom I saw Nscho-Tschi, whose eyes
rarely wandered from my face through the following trial. My three
comrades were already on the scene when I arrived, and showed that they
had been well cared for during our imprisonment. The expression of
faithful, loving old Sam’s face was divided between irrepressible joy at
seeing me again, and sorrow at the horrible circumstances in which we
met to part forever.

“Ah, my dear boy,” he cried, “here you come, too. It’s a dreadful, very
dreadful operation we’re to undergo; I don’t believe we can stand it.
Very few live through the torture, but if we do I imagine we’re to be
burned.”

“Have you no hope of deliverance, Sam?”

“I don’t see where it’s to come from. I have been racking my brains for
a week, but I haven’t found the least suggestion. We’ve been stuck in a
dark stone hole of a room, tied fast and well guarded—no earthly chance
to get away. How have you fared?”

“Very well.”

“I believe it. You’ve been fattened like a Martinmas goose, and for the
same reason. No, I see no deliverance for us, and the only thing to do
is to die bravely. You may believe me or not, but I feel neither fear
nor anxiety, though I know by night there will be nothing left of us on
earth but four little handfuls of ashes.”

“Possibly; but I haven’t lost hope. I believe that at the end of this
threatening day we shall find ourselves all right.”

“Is there any foundation for your hope?”

“Yes; a lock of hair.”

“A lock of hair!” he repeated in amazement. “Hair! What on earth do you
mean? Has some lovely maiden in the East sent you her locks to present
to the Apaches?”

“No; this is a man’s hair.”

He looked at me as if he doubted my sanity, shook his head, and said:
“My dear young friend, you’re really not right in your head. Your wound
has knocked something out of place there, for I must say I do not see
how a lock of hair can save us from torture.”

“No, but you will see; we’ll be free before the torture begins.”

No one prevented our talking together. Winnetou and his father and
Tangua were discussing something with the Apaches who had brought me
hither, and paid no attention to us. But now Intschu-Tschuna turned
around, and said in a voice plainly audible to all: “My red brothers,
sisters, and children, and also the braves of the Kiowa tribe, hear me.”
He paused till he saw that he had every one’s attention, and then
continued: “The pale-faces are the enemies of the red man, and only
seldom is there one whose eyes look upon us in friendship. The noblest
of these few good white men came to the Apaches to be their friend and
father. Therefore we gave him the name of Kleki-Petrah [_White Father_].
My brothers and sisters all knew and loved him; let them proclaim it.”

“How!” arose as with one voice from the entire circle. Then the chief
continued in a long and impressive speech to set forth the story of
Kleki-Petrah’s murder, and the attempt of the white men to build a
railroad through the Indians’ lands. It was a speech establishing our
guilt and pointing to our death, and was interrupted at intervals by the
acclaiming chorus of “How!” from the tribe.

“At the hands of any other Indians,” Intschu-Tschuna said, “who knew
what we know of these men, they would be given over to torture at once;
but we will be obedient to the teaching of our White Father, and be a
just judge; we will not condemn our enemies unheard, but they shall be
convicted out of their own mouths. You have heard,” he continued,
turning to Sam, “what I have said. You shall tell us the truth; answer
the questions I will put to you. You were with the white men who
measured for the road of the fire-steed?”

“Yes, but we three did not measure your land; we were there only to
protect those who did. And as to the fourth, who is called Old Shatter—”

“Silence!” the chief interrupted. “You shall only answer my questions,
and speak no further. You belong to these pale-faces? Answer yes or no.”

“Yes.”

“And Old Shatterhand measured with them?”

“Yes,” replied Sam reluctantly.

“And you protected these people?”

“Yes.”

“Then are you more guilty than they, for he who protects a thief
deserves double punishment. Rattler, the murderer, was your companion?”

“Yes, but he was no friend of ours; he—”

“Silence, dog! You are only to tell me what I wish to know; if you speak
beyond your brief answer you shall be whipped. You delivered us into the
hands of our enemies, the Kiowas?”

“No.”

“That is a lie.”

“It is the truth.”

“Did you not spend a whole night spying on us? Is that true or false?”

“It is true.”

“And you led the pale-faces to the water to entrap us, and hid the
Kiowas in the woods where they could fall upon us?”

“Yes, I did, but—”

“Silence! I want short answers and no long speech. That night and the
next day we lost sixteen warriors, and they, putting aside the blood and
suffering of the wounded, must be avenged. You must die; you have no
claim to pity or mercy.”

“We don’t want mercy; we want justice,” Sam interrupted.

“Will you be silent, dog?” thundered the chief. “I am through with you.
But since you speak of justice, Tangua, the Kiowa chief, may testify.
Are these pale-faces our friends?”

“No,” said the Kiowa, evidently rejoicing that things were going so
badly for us. “No; they begged me to kill you, to kill you all.”

This was too much for me. I broke the silence around us, crying: “That
is such a shameless lie that I would knock you down if my hands were
free.”

“Dog!” he shrieked, “I will knock you down.”

He raised his fist, but I said: “Strike, if you are not ashamed to
strike a man who cannot defend himself. You have been talking here of
justice, and letting us testify. Is that justice when a man can only say
what you have made up your mind he shall say? How can we testify if we
are to be whipped for speaking one word more than you want to hear?
Intschu-Tschuna is an unjust judge; he puts the questions so that our
answers must prove us guilty, allowing us to give no other, and when we
would speak the truth which would deliver us, prevents us with abuse. We
don’t care for such justice. We’d rather you began the torture. You
won’t hear a sigh from us.”

“Uff! uff!” I heard a woman’s voice cry, and knew it was Winnetou’s
sister.

“Uff! uff!” cried many Apaches round her, for courage is what Indians
most respect, and they praise it even in an enemy.

I continued: “When I first saw Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou I said to
myself they were brave men and just ones, whom I could love and honor.
But I was mistaken; they are no better than others, for they listen to
the voice of a liar and will not hear a word of truth. Sam Hawkins has
allowed himself to be silenced, but I do not care for your threats, and
despise a man who oppresses a prisoner only because he is helpless. If I
were free I’d talk to you differently.”

“Dog! You dare to call me a liar!” cried Tangua. “I’ll break your
bones!”

He raised his gun to strike me, but Winnetou sprang forward, caught it,
and cried: “The Kiowa chief must be quiet. Old Shatterhand has spoken
boldly, but I agree with him. Intschu-Tschuna, my father, the chief of
all the Apaches, may allow him to say all that he has to say.”

Tangua had to obey, and Intschu-Tschuna granted his son’s request.

He came near me, and said: “Old Shatterhand is like a bird of prey, that
still rends though he is caged. Did you not knock Winnetou down twice?
Have you not even struck me with your fist?”

“Did I do it willingly? Did you not force me to it?” I demanded.

“Forced you?” he repeated, amazed.

“Certainly. Your warriors would not listen to a word from us; they
attacked us so fiercely that we had to defend ourselves; but ask them if
we wounded them, though we might have killed them. Then when you came up
and attacked me, you would not listen to me either; I had to defend
myself, and I might have shot or stabbed you, but I knocked you down
because I was your friend and would not do you real harm. Then came
Tangua, the Kiowa chief, and wanted to take your scalp, and because I
would not let him he attacked me, and I conquered him. Then—”

“This miserable coyote lies as if he had a hundred tongues,” cried
Tangua.

“Are they really lies?” asked Winnetou.

“Yes; I hope my young brother Winnetou does not doubt my word.”

“I begin to; you lay senseless like my father when I came; that agrees
with his story. Let Old Shatterhand continue.”

“I had fought Tangua,” I resumed, “to save Intschu-Tschuna when Winnetou
came up. I did not see him, and he gave me a blow with his gun,
fortunately not on the head, but on the shoulder. He then wounded me
through the tongue, and I could not speak, or I would have told him that
I would be his friend and brother, for I loved him. I was badly hurt,
and my arm lamed, but I fought him, and he lay unconscious before me
like Tangua and Intschu-Tschuna. I could have killed both the Apache
chiefs; did I do so?”

“You would have done so, but an Apache came up and struck you down with
a tomahawk,” answered Intschu-Tschuna. “I admit there is something in
your words that almost awakens faith in them, but when you first knocked
down my son Winnetou you were not forced to do so.”

“Indeed I was. We wanted to save you and him. You are brave men, and
would have defended yourselves from the Kiowas, and you would have been
wounded or killed. We wanted to prevent this, so I knocked Winnetou
down, and you were overpowered by my friends.”

“Lies, nothing but lies,” cried Tangua. “I came up as he knocked you
down; it was he, not I, that would have taken your scalp. I would have
stopped him, but he struck me with that hand in which a great, wicked
spirit dwells and nothing can stand against it.”

I turned on him, and said threateningly: “I spared you, because I want
to shed no man’s blood; but if ever I fight you again, it will be with
weapons and not my fist, and you shall not get off so easily; mark
that.”

“You fight me!” he jeered. “We will burn you, and scatter your ashes to
the four winds.”

“I think not; I shall be free sooner than you think, and demand a
reckoning from you.”

“You shall have it, I promise you; and I wish your words might be
fulfilled that I might crush you.”

Intschu-Tschuna put an end to this little interlude by saying to me:
“Old Shatterhand is very bold if he thinks to be free. He has only made
statements, but has not proved them. Have you anything more to say?”

“Perhaps later; not now.”

“Say it now, for later you can say nothing.”

“I will be silent now, for I want to see what you decide in regard to
us. If I speak later, you will see that Old Shatterhand is not a man
whose word is to be despised.”

Intschu-Tschuna turned from us, and nodded to certain old warriors, who
left the circle and gathered around him for consultation, while Tangua
of course used every effort to turn the decision as he wished. The
conference lasted but a short time; the old braves came back to their
places in the circle, and Intschu-Tschuna announced in a loud voice:
“Hear, ye warriors of the Apaches and Kiowas, what has been determined
for these four pale-faces bound here. It had been previously decided in
a council of the elders that we should drive them into the water and let
them fight each other, and finally we would burn them. But Old
Shatterhand, the youngest of them, has spoken words which have found
favor with the wisdom of the elders. They deserve death, but it seems
they intended less wickedness than we believed. So we have withdrawn our
first sentence, and will let the Great Spirit decide between us.”

He paused for a moment, and Sam said to me: “Gracious! this is
interesting, very much so. Do you know what he means?”

“I suppose a duel, an appeal to arms; don’t you think so?”

“Yes, but between whom?”

The chief, continuing, answered Sam’s question. “The pale-face called
Old Shatterhand seems to be the foremost of them, so the decision shall
be entrusted to him. He shall be opposed by the one on our side whose
rank is highest; this is I, Intschu-Tschuna, the chief of the Apaches.”

“The mischief! He and you!” whispered Sam in the greatest amazement.

“Uff! uff! uff!” echoed through the Apache ranks, for they, too,
wondered that he should fight with me when he could so easily have
appointed another to the task; but his next words explained the reason
for this. “The honor of Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou has been sorely
injured,” continued the chief, “they having been knocked down by the
fist of this pale-face. They must wipe out this stain by fighting him.
Winnetou must give way to me, for I am older, and to me belongs the
right of killing Old Shatterhand.”

“You may be glad,” whispered Sam, “for your death will be quicker than
ours.”

Intschu-Tschuna spoke again: “We will unbind Old Shatterhand, and he
shall go into the river to swim across it, but he shall take no weapon.
I will follow him with a tomahawk. If Old Shatterhand can get across,
and reach that cedar standing there in the plain, he is saved, and his
comrades are free; they can go where they will. But if I kill him before
he reaches the cedar they, too, must die, but not by torture; they shall
be shot. Let all the braves signify that they hear my words and agree
with them.”

“How!” rose the answer in concert.

It may be imagined how excited they were at this announcement; Sam,
Dick, and Will more than I.

“These fellows have chosen badly; because you are our superior it
doesn’t follow that you know how to swim. What nonsense! Their real
reason is that you’re a tenderfoot. I should have taken this; I’d have
shown him that Sam Hawkins can go through the water like a trout. But
you! Consider, my dear young friend, that not only your life but our
lives hang on this; if you fail I can never speak another word to you.”

“Don’t worry, my dear Sam; I’ll do what I can. I don’t think for a
moment the Indians have any underhand reason for choosing me. I am sure,
too, I can save you more easily than you could have saved us.”

“Well, I hope so. And it’s for life or death. You mustn’t spare
Intschu-Tschuna; never think of doing that.”

“We’ll see.”

“That’s no answer; there’s nothing to see. If you spare him, you’re
lost, and we with you. These redskins can throw a tomahawk a hundred
feet away and cut off your fingers. You’ll get it in the back or head
before you can get over, no matter how well you swim.”

“I know, my dear Sam, and I know, too, that a thimbleful of wit is worth
more than a barrel-full of mere strength.”

“Wit! What good is that against a well-aimed tomahawk?”

“It helps, Sam, it helps; and I have a plan. Remember this: If I drown
we are saved.”

I said this hastily, for the three chiefs now came over to us.
Intschu-Tschuna said: “We will now free Old Shatterhand, but he need not
think he can escape, for more than a hundred will follow him to the
water’s edge.”

“It would never occur to me,” I said, “for, if I could get away, it
would be disgraceful to desert my comrades.”

I was liberated, and moved my arm to test its powers. Then I said: “It
is a great honor for me to contest with the chief of the Apaches, but it
is not an honor for him.”

“Why not?”

“Because I am no adversary for him. I have bathed, of course, but I
would not dare cross such a broad, deep river as that is.”

“I am sorry to hear it; Winnetou and I are the best swimmers of the
tribe, and it is no victory for us to conquer a poor swimmer.”

“And you are armed, while I am not; I go, then, to my death, and my
comrades must also die. When will you strike me with the tomahawk?”

“When it pleases me,” he said, with the contemptuous smile of a virtuoso
to an amateur.

“It may be done in the water?”

“Yes.”

I tried to appear more anxious and cast down than ever.

“And can I kill you?” I asked meekly.

He gave me a look which said plainly: “Poor worm! there’s no question of
that.” But he said: “It is a contest for life or death; you may kill me,
but in case such a thing happens you must still reach the cedar.”

“And I shall not be held guilty of your death?”

“No; if I kill you, your comrades must die; but if you kill me and then
get to the cedar, you are free. Come.”

He turned away, and I pulled off my coat and vest. Sam cried out to me
in anguish: “If you could see your face and hear the mournful tone of
your voice! I am in deadly fear for you and for ourselves.”

I could not answer him, for the three chiefs would have heard me; but I
had acted thus to make Intschu-Tschuna feel secure and less on his
guard.

“One more question,” I said before I followed him. “In case we are free,
shall we get back our property?”

He gave a short, impatient laugh, as if he thought this an insane
question. “Yes, you shall have it,” he said.

“Everything?”

“Everything.”

“Even horses and guns?”

He turned on me angrily, saying: “Everything; I have said it. A crow
flew beside an eagle in contest of speed, and asked what it should
receive if it conquered the king of birds. If you swim as stupidly as
you ask questions, I am sorry I did not give you an old squaw for an
adversary.”

We passed through the half-circle, which opened to make way for us. As I
passed Nscho-Tschi she gave me a glance in which she bade me farewell
forever. The Indians followed us, and settled down to watch the
interesting spectacle which was about to begin.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XV.

                         _A SWIM FOR FREEDOM._


I FULLY realized the extreme danger that I was in. No matter how fast I
swam, or what curves I made, the chief’s tomahawk was sure to overtake
me. There was but one hope, and that was in swimming under water, and
fortunately I was not the bungler I had made Intschu-Tschuna think me.
But I could not trust only to swimming under water, for I should have to
come up to breathe, and when I did that the tomahawk would crash into my
skull. No, I should not dare come to the surface, at least where the
Indians could see me. How should I manage? It was with profound
gratitude to God, on whom in my heart I was calling, that I saw that the
surroundings were favorable to me. We stood on an open, sandy beach; the
end where the woods began again was only a little over a hundred feet
away from me, and just beyond that the river made a bend which promised
well, and the other end of the strip of sand was a good four hundred
feet down-stream. If I sprang into the water and did not come up again,
they would naturally think I was drowned, and look for my body down the
stream, while my plan was to swim under water in the opposite direction.
There was one spot, not far up, where the river had cut under the bank,
which hung over and made an excellent refuge for a short
breathing-spell. Further on the bank was wooded to the edge, and an
alluvial growth seemed to meet it, which would serve perfectly for the
same purpose. But before the attempt was made cunning deception was
necessary. Intschu-Tschuna took off all his clothes except his light
Indian breeches, stuck the tomahawk into his belt, and said: “We are
ready; jump in.”

“Will you let me first try how deep it is?” I asked.

A contemptuous smile passed over his face as he called for a spear. It
was brought to me, and I stuck it down in the water. To my unspeakable
delight it did not touch bottom; but I acted more woe-begone and scared
than before, cowering down over the water, and dabbling my foot in it
like one who fears a shock if the water should touch him suddenly. I
heard a contemptuous murmur behind me, and Sam’s voice cried out: “For
the love of Heaven, come back! I can’t look on at this. Let them torture
us; it’s better than seeing such a figure of wretchedness before a man’s
eyes.”

I could not help wondering what Nscho-Tschi must think of me. I
straightened myself and looked around. Tangua’s face was the incarnation
of scorn; Winnetou’s upper lip had curled till one could see his
teeth—he was disgusted that he had taken my part; and his sister kept
her eyes down and would no longer look at me.

“I am ready; what are you waiting for now? In with you.”

“Must it really be?” I stammered. “Is there no other way?”

A shout of laughter arose, above which I heard Tangua’s voice crying:
“Let the frog go; give him his life. No warrior can lay his hand on such
a coward.”

And with a low growl like an angry tiger, Intschu-Tschuna said: “In with
you, or I’ll split your head with my tomahawk!”

I shrank away, sat down on the river brink, put first a foot and then a
leg in the water, and acted as though I was going to slide in.

“In with you!” cried Intschu-Tschuna again, and upset me by a kick in
the back. I threw up my arms as if I were helpless, uttered a shriek of
terror, and splashed into the water. The next moment this humbug was
over. I struck bottom, held my head down, and swam up-stream as fast as
I could. I heard a splash behind me: Intschu-Tschuna had jumped in. I
learned afterward that he had intended to let me have some headway, and
throw his tomahawk when I had almost reached the other shore. But since
I had shown such cowardice he abandoned this plan, and sprang in after
me quickly, intending to strike me as soon as I came up; such an idiot
was to be disposed of in short order.

I reached the spot where the bank hung over the stream, and let my mouth
come to the surface. No one could see me except the chief, because I was
under water, and to my grateful delight he kept his eyes down-stream. I
drew quick, deep breaths, and sank again to continue my way. Next I came
to the alluvial woods, under which I rose again to breathe. My head was
so well concealed that I ventured to remain longer at the surface, and I
saw the chief lying on the water like a wild beast ready any instant to
pounce on its prey.

Now the last and longest stretch lay before me to the beginning of the
woods, where shrubs and undergrowth hung over the bank. This I
accomplished happily, and won the bank completely covered with twigs.
Now to reach the bend of the river already mentioned, go around it, and
swim to the opposite bank; and this must be done most quickly of all,
for there was no place after this where I could come up to breathe. “Now
St. Christopher, brave ferryman, help me!” I thought. But before I
started I peered out through the bushes at those whom I had fooled. They
stood shouting and questioning on the bank, while the chief still swam
back and forth waiting for me, although I could not possibly have
remained so long under water. I wondered whether Sam Hawkins remembered
that I had said that if I were drowned we were saved.

I ran through the woods till I had left the bend of the river behind me,
took to the water again, and crossed safely, thanks to being considered
such a bad swimmer and afraid of the water. Yet it was a clumsy trick by
which they had been fooled, for they had known enough of me before to be
sure I was no coward.

I followed the woods down-stream to their end. Here, looking through the
bushes, I saw to my amusement that several Indians had jumped into the
stream and were poking about with their spears to find Old Shatterhand’s
body. I could easily have walked over to the cedar, but I did not wish
to owe my victory to craft alone, but to give Intschu-Tschuna a little
lesson, and make him grateful to me. He still swam around the same spot,
for it never occurred to him to look over to the other bank. I slipped
into the water again, lay on my back, so that my mouth and nose were
above water, and slowly propelled myself downward, paddling with my
hands. No one noticed me. When I got level with them I stood up,
treading water, and shouted: “Sam Hawkins, Sam Hawkins, we have won, we
have won!” The Indians heard me, looked over, and what a howl arose! No
one who has ever heard such a sound will forget it to the last day of
his life. As soon as Intschu-Tschuna espied me he swam towards me with
long, bold strokes, or rather darted towards me. I dared not wait too
long, but retreated to the bank, which I climbed, and remained standing
there.

“Quick! get to the cedar, quick!” shouted Sam Hawkins.

There was nothing to prevent my doing so, but still I did not move, for
he was not yet dangerously near. Then I ran swiftly towards the tree.
Had I been in the water, he could have thrown the tomahawk even at that
distance; but I was sure he would not use it till we were on a level.
The tree was three hundred feet away. When I had made half this distance
as fast as I could, I stopped again, and looked back just as the chief
came out of the water. He pulled the tomahawk from his belt, and ran
towards me. I did not move, but as he came dangerously close I turned as
if to fly, but only apparently. I felt sure that he would not throw the
tomahawk when I stood still, for I could then dodge it. So I started
running, stopped suddenly, and turned around. Right! He had paused to
make his throw surer, swung his weapon around his head, and, even as I
turned, hurled it at me. I leaped to one side: the tomahawk flew past
me, and buried itself in the sand. That was what I wanted. I ran over,
drew it out, and, instead of going on to the tree, walked deliberately
over to the chief. He uttered an exclamation of rage, and sprang at me
like a madman.

I raised the tomahawk, and called to him: “Halt, Intschu-Tschuna! You
deceived yourself in Old Shatterhand. Do you want your own weapon buried
in your skull?”

He paused, and cried: “Dog! How did you escape me in the water? The
wicked spirit has helped you.”

“Don’t you believe that. If any spirit has defended me, it is the good
Manitou.”

As I spoke I saw a secret determination light his eyes as he watched me,
and I said warningly: “You mean to surprise and attack me; I see it.
Don’t do it, for it would be your death. I will do you no harm, for I
really care for you and Winnetou; but if you attack, I must defend
myself. You know that I am stronger than you without a weapon, and I
have your tomahawk. Be wise, and—”

I could say no more. His wrath mastered him beyond control of his
reason. He threw himself towards me with hands outstretched like claws.
He thought he had me, but I slipped aside, and the force of his own
weight threw him down. Instantly I was over him; putting my left knee on
one arm, my right on the other, I held him with the left hand by the
throat, swung the tomahawk, and cried: “Intschu-Tschuna, do you ask for
mercy?”

“No.”

“Then I’ll split your head.”

“Kill me, you dog!” he gasped, struggling to get away.

“No, you are Winnetou’s father, and shall live; but I must make you take
a nap for a little while. You leave me no choice.”

I struck his head with the flat side of the tomahawk—a severe blow; his
limbs drew up convulsively, and then stretched out at full length. It
looked from where the Indians stood as though I had killed him, and
again I heard that awful howl.

I bound the chiefs arms down to his side with his belt, dragged him over
to the cedar, and laid him at its foot. I had to reach the tree, under
the conditions laid down, to complete the work and win our freedom. Then
I left Intschu-Tschuna lying there, and ran quickly back to the bank,
for three Indians had thrown themselves into the stream and were
swimming over, Winnetou at their head. In case they did not keep their
word this was too many, so I called to them as I reached the river:
“Your chief lives; I have done him no harm; but if you come here I will
kill you. Only Winnetou shall cross, for I wish to speak to him.” They
paid no attention to these words, but Winnetou rose in the water where
they could all see him, and uttered a word which I did not understand.
They obeyed it, turned back, and he came on alone. I waited for him at
the water’s edge, and as he emerged from it said: “It is well they
turned back, for it would have proved dangerous to your father to have
allowed them to come.”

“You have slain him with the tomahawk.”

“No; he forced me to strike him unconscious, because he would not give
in.”

“And you could have killed him; he was in your hands.”

“I would not willingly kill an enemy; certainly not a man I like and who
is Winnetou’s father. Here is his tomahawk. You shall decide whether or
not I have conquered and the promise to me and my comrades shall be
fulfilled.”

He took the tomahawk which I held out to him, and regarded me long and
steadily. His eyes grew milder and milder; their expression changing
into one of amazement, and at last he said: “What kind of a man is Old
Shatterhand? who can understand him?”

“You will learn to understand me.”

“You give me this weapon, not knowing whether we will keep our word or
not, yet you could defend yourself with it. Do you know you have
delivered yourself into my hands?”

“Pshaw! I’m not afraid, for in any case I have my hands, and Winnetou is
no liar, but a noble warrior, whose word will never be broken.”

He stretched out his hand to me, and replied: “You are right; you are
free, and the other pale-faces also, except the man called Rattler. You
have confidence in me; would I could have confidence in you!”

“You will yet trust me as much as I trust you; wait only a little while.
Now come to your father.”

“Yes, come; when Old Shatterhand strikes death may follow, even when he
does not intend it.”

We went over to the chief. Winnetou examined him, and then said: “He
lives, and will come to himself later with an aching head. I must not
stay here, but I will send some men over to him. My brother Old
Shatterhand may come with me.”

This was the first time he had called me “my brother.” How often I heard
him say it afterward, and how sincere, true, and faithful he was saying
it!

We turned back, and swam across the river. The Indians stood on the
opposite bank and saw us coming; they could perceive the difference in
Winnetou’s manner to me, and must have recognized the fact that I was
not what they supposed, either in the wrong done to them, or in
cowardice.

As we reached the bank Winnetou took me by the hand and said: “Old
Shatterhand has conquered; he and his three comrades are free.”

“Uff! uff! uff!” cried the Apaches, while Tangua stood looking at us
darkly.

Winnetou strode past him without looking at him, and led me to the
stakes to which my three comrades were bound.

“Hallelujah!” cried Sam. “We are saved! Man, youngster, tenderfoot, how
did you do it?”

Winnetou gave me his knife. “Cut their bonds,” he said. “You deserve to
do it yourself.”

I did so. As soon as they were free they threw themselves on me, and
took me in their arms, hugging me till I was actually hurt. Sam even
kissed my hand, with tears dropping into his beard. “My dear boy,” he
said, “if ever I forget you, may the first grizzly I meet devour me skin
and hair! How did you do this? You were so afraid of the water, and
everybody thought you were drowned.”

“Did I not tell you that if I were drowned we were saved?”

“Did Old Shatterhand say this before the contest?” asked Winnetou. “Was
it then all planned beforehand?”

“Yes,” I nodded.

“My brother knew what he would do. My brother is not only as strong as a
bear, but as cunning as the fox of the prairie. Whoso is his enemy must
be on his guard.”

“And is Winnetou such an enemy?”

“I was, but am no longer.”

“So you no more believe Tangua, the liar, but me?”

Again he looked at me long and searchingly as before, extended his hand,
and said: “Your eyes are good eyes, and there is no dishonesty in your
face. I believe you.”

I had resumed my discarded clothing, and took my tin box from the pocket
of my hunting-jacket, and said: “Therein has my brother Winnetou done me
justice; I will prove it to him. Perhaps he may know what this is.”

I unrolled the lock of hair, and held it up before him. He put out his
hand to take it, stopped short, and stepped back, completely amazed,
crying: “It is my own hair. Who gave you this?”

“Intschu-Tschuna said this morning in his address that the Great Spirit
had sent you an unknown deliverer when you were a prisoner in the hands
of the Kiowas. Yes, he was unknown, for he dared not let the Kiowas see
him; but now there is no longer need of his concealing himself. You may
truly believe that I was not your foe, but your friend.”

“You—you—it is you who freed us?” he gasped, more and more overcome, he
who never betrayed surprise. “Then we owe you not only our freedom but
our lives.”

He took me by the hand, and drew me to the place where his sister stood
watching us intently. He led me before her, and said: “Nscho-Tschi, see
here the brave warrior who secretly freed our father and me when we were
bound to the trees by the Kiowas. Let us thank him.”

With these words he drew me to him, and kissed me on each cheek. She
held out her hand to me, saying only: “Forgive.”

She was to thank me, but instead begged for forgiveness. But I
understood her; she had been secretly unjust to me; as my nurse she
should have known me better than the others, yet she, too, had doubted
me, and taken me for a miserable coward. She felt that it was more
important to make this right than to thank me as Winnetou wished.

I pressed her hand and said: “Nscho-Tschi will remember all I said to
her; now it is fulfilled. Will my sister believe me now?”

Fair Day smiled on me, and said simply: “I believe my white brother.”

I went back to explain to my three friends the mystery of the lock of
hair, and tell them that it was I who had freed the chiefs, while
Winnetou went to seek his father. Presently we saw them returning, and
went to meet them. Intschu-Tschuna looked at me with the same searching
gaze his son had given me, then he said: “Winnetou has told me all; you
are free, and will forgive us. You are a mighty and cunning warrior, and
will conquer many foes. He who is wise will be your friend. Will you
smoke the calumet of peace with us?”

“Yes, I would gladly be your friend and brother.”

“Then come with me and Nscho-Tschi, my daughter, to the pueblo. I will
give my conqueror a dwelling worthy of him. Winnetou, stay here to make
the arrangements you know of.”

We went back with him and Nscho-Tschi as free men to the pueblo which we
had quitted prisoners on our way to death.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XVI.

                         _TANGUA’S PUNISHMENT._


AS we approached the pueblo I saw for the first time what an imposing
stone structure it was. The American savage has not been supposed to
have had ability to build, but men who could raise such masses of stone
as the southwestern Indians have put into their pyramidal pueblos, and
knew how to fasten them securely with such insufficient tools as they
possessed, surely did not stand in the lowest ranks of intelligence or
knowledge of architecture. And though it is said with truth that these
Indians once possessed knowledge which their descendants have lost, it
must be remembered that if time and opportunity for advancement be
denied them they must inevitably deteriorate, and their present
inferiority proves rather the oppression of the white man than the
incapacity of the red man.

We climbed to the raised platform behind which lay the best apartments
of the pueblo. There Intschu-Tschuna dwelt with his children, and there
apartments were given us also. Mine was a large room, which like my
first one had no window, receiving its light only through the door, but
this was so broad and high that there was plenty of light. The room was
bare, but Nscho-Tschi furnished it quickly with skins, covers, and
ornaments, so that I felt at home at once. Hawkins, Stone, and Parker
were given a pleasant room together.

When the “guest-chamber” had been prepared, and I had taken possession
of it, Fair Day brought me a beautifully carved pipe of peace with
tobacco. She filled it herself, lighted it, and as I drew the first
whiff said: “My father Intschu-Tschuna sends you this pipe. He took the
clay for it himself from the sacred stone quarry, and I cut it. No man
has ever had it between his lips, and we beg you to accept it for your
own, and remember us when you smoke it.”

“Your goodness is great,” I said. “I feel ashamed that I can make no
gift in return.”

“You have already given us so much that we cannot thank you for it; the
lives of Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou were in your hands, and you spared
them, and to-day again you might have killed the chief and you did not
do so. Therefore our hearts turn to you, and if you will you shall be
our brother.”

“If that may be, then my dearest wish will be fulfilled. Intschu-Tschuna
is a renowned warrior, and I have loved Winnetou from the first moment
that I saw him. It would not only be a great honor but a great joy to be
the brother of such men; I only wish that my comrades could share it.”

“If they will, they shall be treated as if they had been born Apaches.”

“We thank you for this. So you carved the head of this pipe yourself?
How skilful your hands are!”

She blushed over this praise, and said: “I know that the women and
daughters of the pale-faces are far more skilful than we. Now I will go,
and bring you something else.”

She disappeared, and returned with my revolver, my knife, and everything
else that had been in my pockets, with nothing missing or injured.

“And how about our horses?” I asked.

“They are all here; you shall ride yours again, and Hawkins is to have
his Nancy.”

“So you know the mule’s name?”

“Yes, and the name of the old gun which he calls his ‘Liddy.’ When you
were ill I used to go to him every day to tell him you were progressing.
He is a funny man, but a good hunter.”

“Yes, and he is far more than that. He is a true, self-sacrificing
comrade, whom you can’t help loving. Now will you answer a question
truthfully?”

“Nscho-Tschi does not lie,” she replied, simply and proudly, “and least
of all would I lie to you.”

“Then why did your warriors leave the contents of my pockets untouched
when they took everything away from my comrades and the Kiowas?”

“Because my brother Winnetou ordered it so.”

“And do you know why he gave such an order?”

“Because he liked you.”

“Although he considered me his enemy?”

“Yes. You said a little while ago that you liked him from the moment you
first saw him; he had a similar feeling for you. It grieved him to be
forced to hold you his enemy, and not only an enemy—” She stopped,
evidently because what she was going to say would have wounded me.

“Say on,” I said.

She shook her head.

“Then I’ll finish for you. It did not grieve him so much to consider me
his enemy, for one can respect an enemy, but to consider me a liar, a
treacherous, false man. Is that it?”

“You have said it.”

“Never mind; I think he knows now he was mistaken. What about Rattler?”

“He will be tortured in a little while.”

“And why was I not told?”

“Winnetou would have it so; he thought your eyes could not see nor your
ears hear his agony.”

“I’ve no doubt he is right; but if I can bring about what I desire I can
bear it. In any case I must be there. What torture is intended for him?”

“Everything possible. He is the worst pale-face that the Apaches have
ever captured. He killed our White Father, whom we loved and honored,
and for no reason; therefore he must die by every agony which we know,
slow and long-continued.”

“That must not be; it is inhuman.”

“He deserves it.”

“And can you look at it?”

“Yes.”

“You, a maiden!”

She dropped her long lashes, and then raised her eyes to mine. “Your
women are not more tender-hearted than we. They do cruel things only for
their own pleasure, kill little birds for their feathers, and are not
always gentle; Kleki-Petrah has told me of them. Our ways are not your
ways, but a woman’s heart is everywhere the same, whatever the color of
her skin. The white men have not taught the Indian kindness, truth, or
justice. I can look on the punishment of a man who, in murdering
Kleki-Petrah, has given us pain greater than his. But I ask you not to
come to see Rattler tortured, for Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou will not
be pleased if they see you coming with me.”

“I will go with you none the less, and they will pardon it,” I said.

We descended the ladder again, and met Winnetou when we had gone but a
short distance. I had completely forgotten Tangua until that moment when
I saw him standing near, and there was no mistaking how angry he was.

I went up to him, and looking him steadily in the face demanded: “Is
Tangua, the Kiowa chief, a liar, or does he love truth?”

“Would you insult me?” he shrieked.

“No; I only want to know. Answer me.”

“Old Shatterhand must know that I love truth,” he said.

“You remember, then, what you said to me when I was bound over yonder.”

“I said many things to you.”

“You certainly did; but you know what I mean. If you don’t I’ll help
your memory. You said that we should have a settlement.”

“Did I say that?” he asked, elevating his brows.

“Yes, and you said further that you would be glad to fight me, for you
would crush me.”

“I don’t remember that; Old Shatterhand must have misunderstood me.”

“No; Winnetou was there and can confirm it.”

“Yes,” said Winnetou readily. “Tangua said he would settle with Old
Shatterhand, whom he would gladly fight, for he would crush him.”

“Now,” I continued, “you called me a frog without courage, and tried in
every way to do me harm. You’ve got to eat your words.”

I felt that I must punish this Indian, not merely for justice’ sake and
the effect on the Apaches, but for the benefit of those white men whom
he might meet in the future.

“My brother Old Shatterhand is right,” said Winnetou. “If you do not
keep your promise you will be a coward, and should be expelled from your
tribe. Such things must not happen here, for no man shall reproach the
Apaches with having a coward for a guest. What does the Kiowa chief
intend to do?”

“I will consider it.”

“For a brave warrior there is nothing to consider. Fight or be called a
coward.”

Tangua drew himself up, saying haughtily: “Tangua a coward! I will bury
my knife in the heart of him who says it.”

“I say it—I,” said Winnetou coolly, “if you do not keep your word to Old
Shatterhand.”

“I will keep it.”

“Then are you ready?”

“This moment; I long to taste his blood.”

“Good! Old Shatterhand will decide the weapons, for you insulted him.”

“No; I am a chief, and am greater than he.”

“Let him choose,” I interrupted. “It makes no difference to me what they
are.”

“It shall be guns, two hundred paces apart, and I will shoot first.”

Winnetou shook his head. “Tangua would have all the advantages for
himself,” he said. “Old Shatterhand must shoot first.”

“No,” I said. “He shall have his way. Let him shoot once, and I once,
and no more.”

“No,” said Tangua, “we will shoot till one falls.”

“Certainly; for after my first shot you will be down.”

“Boaster!”

“You will see. I could kill you, but I will not. The most severe
punishment for you would be to lame you; I will break your right knee.
Remember.”

“Do you hear that?” he laughed. “This pale-face, whom his own friends
call a greenhorn, announces beforehand where his shot shall go at two
hundred paces! Braves, let us laugh at him.”

He looked around invitingly, but no one laughed, and he said: “You are
afraid of him, but I will show you how I mock him. Come, let us measure
the paces.”

While this was being done I got my gun, examined it, and found it in
good condition. Both barrels were loaded, but to be sure of them I
discharged and reloaded them. Sam came up, and said: “I have a hundred
questions to ask you, and can’t get a chance. However, there’s one thing
I must ask you, and that is if you’re really going to shoot this fellow
in the knee?”

“Yes.”

“Only there?”

“That is punishment enough.”

“No, it certainly is not. Such vermin ought to be stamped on. Only think
of what he has been guilty, and everything has come from his having
stolen the Apaches’ horses in the first place. If I were in your place I
would put a bullet into his head; he’ll do his best to get one into
yours.”

“Or in my heart; I know that perfectly well.”

“But he won’t succeed; these Kiowas are no good at shooting.”

The ground has been measured by this time, and we took our places. I was
quiet as usual, but Tangua poured out a stream of abuse upon me, till
Winnetou, who stood on one side between us, said: “Let the Kiowa chief
be silent and pay attention. I will count three, and then he may shoot;
he who shoots before the time shall have my bullet in his head.”

Of course all the Indians were watching us with intense interest. They
had divided into two files, to right and left of us, so that a broad
path ran between them, at the end of which we stood. The deepest
stillness reigned. “The chief of the Kiowas may begin,” said Winnetou.
“One—two—three.” I stood still, presenting the entire width of my body
to my antagonist. At Winnetou’s first word he raised his gun, aimed
carefully, and at “three” fired. The shot went over me, close to my
head. No one uttered a sound.

“Now Old Shatterhand may shoot,” said Winnetou. “One—two—”

“Wait,” I interrupted. “I stand up fairly to the Kiowa chief, but he has
turned half around, so that the side of his face is towards me.”

“I may do so,” said Tangua. “Who shall forbid it? There was nothing said
as to how we should stand.”

“That is true, and Tangua certainly may stand as he likes. He has turned
his side to me because, that being narrower than the breast, he thinks
it will be harder for me to hit, but he is mistaken; I can hit him just
as well. I might have shot without a word, but I’ll be honorable with
him. He was to have a wound only in the right knee, but now that cannot
be, for if he stands with his side towards me the shot will shatter both
knees. That is the only difference; he can do as he likes; I have warned
him.”

“Shoot with bullets and not with words,” he answered, ignoring my
warning.

“Now Old Shatterhand shoots,” said Winnetou. “One—two—three.” My bullet
whistled through the air. Tangua uttered a loud shriek, dropped his gun,
threw up his arms, waved them about wildly, and fell.

“Uff! uff! uff!” echoed all around, and every one ran over to see where
he had been wounded. I also went over, the Indians respectfully making
way for me.

“In both knees, in both knees!” I heard on all sides.

Tangua lay moaning on the ground as I came up; Winnetou knelt by him
examining the wound. He saw me coming, and said: “The shot has gone just
where my white brother said it should; it has broken both knees. Tangua
can never again ride out to cast his eyes on the horses of another
tribe.”

When the wounded man saw me he began another torrent of abuse, but I
compelled him to be silent a moment, and said: “I warned you, and you
would not heed the warning; you alone are to blame.”

He dared not complain of the pain, for under no circumstances may an
Indian do this; he bit his lip, looked sullenly around, and growled: “I
am wounded, and cannot go home; I must stay with the Apaches.”

Winnetou shook his head, and answered decidedly: “You will go home, for
we have no room for the thief of our horses and the murderer of our
braves. We have not avenged ourselves with blood, but have accepted
ransom in beasts and goods; more you cannot expect. No Kiowa belongs in
our pueblo.”

“But I cannot ride.”

“Old Shatterhand was much more severely wounded than you are, and could
not ride, yet he had to come with us. Think of him often; it will be
good for you. The Kiowas must leave here to-day, and those of them that
we find in our domains to-morrow we will treat as they wished Old
Shatterhand to be treated. I have spoken. How!”

He took me by the hand and led me away, and I knew, though he said
nothing, that he was pleased with the result of this last adventure and
the punishment of his treacherous foe.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XVII.

                         _THE END OF RATTLER._


WINNETOU and I walked a little distance away from the Indians who were
still assembling to see Rattler’s torture. When we had gone beyond their
hearing, Winnetou asked me gravely why I had left the pueblo.

“We came back because we heard that Rattler was soon to die; is that
so?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“I do not see him anywhere.”

“He lies in the cart beside the body of his victim.”

“I was told that he was to be tortured, and I cannot look upon such a
death.”

“Therefore my father, Intschu-Tschuna, took you back to the pueblo. Why
did you not stay there? Why do you want to see something you cannot look
upon?”

“I hope that I may be present at his death without being shocked. My
religion teaches me to plead with you for Rattler.”

“Your religion? Is it not his also?”

“Yes and no; he was born a Christian, but not a Catholic Christian.”

“Did he keep its commandments?”

“Most certainly he did not.”

“Then it is not necessary for you to observe them in regard to him. Your
religion forbids murder; nevertheless he is a murderer, so the teachings
of your religion are not to be applied to our treatment of him.”

“I cannot be guided by what he has done; I must fulfil my duty without
regard to other men’s shortcomings. I beg of you, modify your decision,
and let this man die a speedy death.”

“What has been determined upon must be carried out.”

“And is there no way to fulfil my request?”

Winnetou’s eyes sought the ground; he thought earnestly for a while,
then said: “There is a way, but before I tell my white brother what it
is I must beg him not to use it, for it would disgrace him sorely in the
eyes of our warriors.”

“How would it? Is it a dishonorable action?”

“In the eyes of a red man it is. You would have to appeal to our
gratitude.”

“Oh, no decent man would do that.”

“No. We owe you our lives. If you appeal to that fact you could force my
father and me to do your will. We would hold a new council, and during
it we would speak of you in such a way that our warriors must
acknowledge our debt to you and grant your desire. But henceforth
everything you have done for us would be valueless. Is this Rattler
worth such a sacrifice?”

“Certainly not.”

“My brother sees that I speak frankly to him. I know the thoughts and
feelings in his heart, but my braves would never grasp them. A man who
appealed to gratitude would be contemptible to them. Shall Old
Shatterhand, who can become the greatest and most renowned warrior of
the Apaches, be driven away from us to-day because our braves despise
him?”

It was hard for me to answer; my heart bade me press my request, my
common-sense forbade it. Winnetou understood the struggle within me, and
said: “I will speak to Intschu-Tschuna, my father. My brother may wait
here.”

“Don’t do anything foolish,” said Sam as he left us. “You don’t know how
much may depend on this; maybe life itself.”

“Oh, that couldn’t be,” I said.

“Indeed it could easily. The red man so greatly despises any one who
asks a favor on the strength of what has been done for him that we
actually could not stay here if you did it; and if we left here we
should surely fall into the hands of the Kiowas, and there’s no need of
telling you what that means.”

Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou talked earnestly together for a while, then
they came to us, and the former said: “Had not Kleki-Petrah told me so
much of your faith, I should feel you were a man to whom it was a
disgrace to talk. But I can understand your wish perfectly; though if my
warriors were to hear it they would never understand, and would only
despise you.”

“It is not a question of my wish alone, but of Kleki-Petrah’s, of whom
you speak,” I said.

“How is it a question of his desire?”

“He believed in this same faith which commands me to make this plea, and
he died in it. His religion bade him forgive his enemies. Believe me, if
he could speak he would not consent to his murderer dying such a death.”

“Do you really think so?”

“I know it.”

He shook his head slowly. “What kind of men are you Christians? Either
you are bad, and then your wickedness is so great that no one can
understand it, or else you are good, and then your goodness is equally
incomprehensible.”

He and his son looked at each other, and spoke together privately, but
only for a moment. Then Intschu-Tschuna turned back to me and said:
“This murderer was your enemy also?”

“Yes.”

“And you have forgiven him?”

“Yes.”

“Then hear me. We will see if there is the least, tiniest spark of
goodness in him. Should we find one, we will try to do as you wish
without disgracing you. Sit here and wait. If I give you a signal, come
over to the murderer, and tell him to ask your pardon. If he does this,
he shall die quickly.”

“And may I tell him so?”

“Yes.”

Intschu-Tschuna went back with Winnetou to the circle of braves, and we
sat down where we were.

“I never dreamed that the chief would listen to you,” said Sam Hawkins.
“You must stand well with him.”

“That is not the only reason; it is the influence of Kleki-Petrah,
powerful though he is dead. These Indians have absorbed more real,
interior Christianity than you suspect.”

We looked over towards the cart wherein the doomed man lay, and saw a
long box-like object, on which a man was bound.

“That is the coffin,” said Sam, “made of hollow logs with wet leather
drawn over them, which will be air-tight when the leather has dried.
Kleki-Petrah’s body has been embalmed, you know.”

Not far from the head of the valley rose a cliff on which an open square
had been newly made of great stones piled on top of each other, and many
more stones had been gathered together around it. The man bound on the
coffin was now carried to this square. It was Rattler.

“Do you know why those stones have been collected there?” asked Sam.

“To build a tomb, I suppose.”

“Yes; a double tomb.”

“For Rattler, too?”

“Yes; they will bury the murderer with his victim.”

“Horrible! Think of being bound alive to the coffin of the man one
killed, knowing that is to be one’s last resting-place!”

“I really believe you are sorry for this man. I can understand your
interceding for a quick death for him, but I certainly can’t understand
your pity for him.”

The coffin was now raised so that Rattler was placed on his feet, and he
was bound fast by strong ropes to the stone wall of the tomb. The
Indians, men, women, and children drew near to the place, and made a
half-circle around it. Profound, expectant silence reigned.
Intschu-Tschuna stood before the coffin and spoke. “The Apache braves
are gathered here because their people have suffered a great loss, and
he who has caused it must pay for it with his life,” he said. He then
spoke in the figurative Indian manner of Kleki-Petrah, telling them of
his character and work, and the way in which he had met his death, and
concluded by announcing that it had been decided that Rattler was now to
be tortured, bound as he then was to the coffin, and should be buried
with his victim. Turning to me at this point, he gave me the expected
signal, and we went forward and were admitted into the circle. I had
been too far away before to see Rattler clearly, but now as I stood
before him, wicked and godless as he was, I felt the most profound pity
for the wretch. The coffin was twice the width of a man’s body and over
eight feet long. Rattler was fastened with his back to it, his arms
behind him, and his feet stretched apart. He showed that he had suffered
from hunger and thirst. A gag was in his mouth, and he could not speak;
his head, too, was fastened so that he could not move it. As I came up,
Intschu-Tschuna took the gag out of his mouth, and said:

“My white brother wished to speak to this murderer; now he may do so.”

Rattler could see that I was free and must be on good terms with the
Indians. I thought, therefore, that he would ask me to speak a good word
for him; but, instead of this, as soon as the gag was removed he said to
me bitterly: “What do you want of me? Get out of here! I don’t want
anything to do with you.”

“You have heard that you were doomed to die, Rattler,” I said gently.
“There is no way out of that; die you must, but—”

“Get out, you dog, get out!” he shrieked, trying to spit upon me, but
failing because he could not move his head.

“You must die,” I continued unmoved, “but how depends upon yourself. You
are to be tortured; that means long, long agony, through all this day,
and perhaps to-morrow. It is horrible to think of, and I want you to
escape it. At my request Intschu-Tschuna has declared that you shall die
quickly if you will fulfil the condition he has made.”

I waited for him to ask me what the condition was, but instead of doing
so he poured out a storm of abuse upon me which could not be repeated.
As soon as I could speak I said: “The condition is that you ask my
pardon.”

“Your pardon! I’d bite my tongue out first, and suffer all the tortures
this red beast can give me.”

“Remember, I did not make the condition, Rattler; it was Intschu-Tschuna
who decided thus, for I don’t care about your apology. Consider what
awful agony lies before you, and that you can escape it all by saying
the little word ‘Pardon.’”

“Never, never! Get out, I tell you! I never want to see your vile face
again. Go, and don’t bother me.”

“If I go now, it will be too late to call me back. Be sensible, and
speak the one little word, I beg you.”

“No, I tell you, no. Get out! Oh, if I weren’t tied I’d show you the
way!”

“As you please; but if you call me back I can’t come. Have you any
relatives I can send a message to? Any wish that I can carry out?”

“Only that you may follow me soon; nothing else.”

“Then I am helpless, and can do no more except beg you, as a Christian,
not to die in your sins. Ask God’s pardon, if not mine; think of your
crimes, and of the judgment that lies before you.”

What his reply to this was I cannot repeat; his words chilled me with
horror.

Intschu-Tschuna took my hand and led me away, saying: “My young white
brother sees that this murderer does not deserve his intercession. He
was born a Christian, and you call us heathen; but do you think a red
brave would speak such words?”

I did not answer, for what could I say? Rattler’s conduct was
inexplicable to me; he had been so cowardly, and had shown such abject
terror at the very mention of torture, and now he acted as though all
the pains of the world were absolutely nothing.

“It is not courage,” said Sam; “it’s clear rage, nothing but rage. He
thinks it’s your fault that he has fallen into the Apaches’ hands. He
hasn’t seen you since we were captured till to-day, and now he sees you
free and the red men friendly to you, while he must die, and that’s
ground enough for him to conclude we’ve played some trick. But let the
agony begin, and he’ll sing another tune.”

The Apaches did not let us wait long for the beginning of the torture. I
meant to withdraw; but I had never seen anything of the kind, and
decided to stay till I could look on no longer.

Several young braves came out from the rest with knives in their hands,
and placed themselves about fifteen feet from Rattler. Then at a signal
from the chief they began throwing their knives at him in such a way
that these would not touch him, but would enter the coffin all around
him. The first knife stuck in the leather at the right, the second in
that at the left of his feet, and so near them that there was no space
between them and the knives. The next two knives were aimed farther up,
and so on until the legs were outlined by knives. Till now Rattler had
kept still; but as the knives came higher and higher till his whole body
was surrounded by them, he began to be afraid. As each knife whizzed
through the air he uttered a cry of terror, and these cries grew
shriller and shriller the higher the Indians aimed. Now the body was all
framed around with knives, only the head being free. The first of the
knives next thrown struck the coffin to the left of the neck, the second
to the right, and they continued around the face till there was no room
left for the smallest blade, when all the knives were drawn out. This
was only a little introductory game, played by young lads to show they
had learned to aim true and throw straight; and having shown their skill
they returned to their places.

Intschu-Tschuna now called upon older youths, who were to throw at a
distance of thirty feet. When the first of this band was ready, the
chief went up to Rattler and, pointing to the upper part of the right
arm, said: “Aim here.”

The knife flew through the air, pierced the muscle, and stuck in the
coffin exactly at the spot designated. Rattler uttered a howl as if he
were in his last agony. The second knife went through the same spot in
the other arm, and his howls redoubled. The third and fourth knives were
aimed at the thigh, and entered exactly at the spot the chief indicated.

If Rattler had fancied that the Indians did not really mean to kill him,
he saw now that he was mistaken. Heretofore he had uttered only single
cries; now he howled unceasingly. The spectators murmured and hissed,
showing their contempt in every possible way. An Indian who dies by
torture acts far differently. As soon as the spectacle which is to end
with his death begins he raises his death-song, in which he celebrates
his own prowess and scorns those who are killing him. The greater his
agony the greater the insults he heaps upon his foes, and he never lets
a sigh of pain be heard. When he is dead his enemies acknowledge his
glory, and bury him with all Indian honors. It is glorious for them to
put such a hero to death, but it is quite different in the case of a
coward who shrinks from the slightest pain and begs for mercy. There is
no glory, but almost disgrace, in torturing such as he, and scarcely a
warrior is willing to have any part in his end; so he is knocked in the
head, or put to death in some other ignominious way. Such a coward was
Rattler. His wounds were trifling so far; they cost him some pain, but
they were far from being agony; nevertheless he howled as though he
tasted all the pains of the lost, and kept repeating my name, begging me
to come to him.

“My young white brother may go to him and ask him why he shrieks so. The
knives cannot yet have given him much pain,” Intschu-Tschuna said at
last.

“Yes, come; come here, come!” cried Rattler. “I must speak to you.”

I went, and asked him what he wanted.

“Take the knives out of my arms and legs,” he whined.

“I can’t do that.”

“But they’ll kill me; who can bear such wounds?”

“Good gracious! Is it possible you thought you’d be allowed to live?”

“You’re alive.”

“Yes, but I have not committed murder.”

“I did not know what I did; you know I was drunk.”

“The fact remains the same; you were often warned against liquor, and
you knew when you took it what a beast it made you.”

“You are a hard cruel man. Plead for me.”

“I have done so. Ask pardon and you shall die quickly.”

“Die quickly! I won’t die. I must live, live, live.”

“That is impossible.”

“Impossible! Is there no hope?”

“None at all.”

“No hope, no hope, no hope,” he wailed, and began such a clamor of cries
and groans that I could not stand it, and left him alone.

“Stay with me—stay with me,” he shrieked. “Stand by me.”

The chief interrupted him. “Stop howling, you cur. You are not worth
soiling the weapons of our braves.” And turning to his warriors he
asked: “Which of the sons of the brave Apaches will put an end to this
coward?”

No one answered.

“Will no one do it?”

Again silence.

“Uff! This murderer is not worthy to be killed by us, and he shall not
be buried with Kleki-Petrah. How could such a crow appear in the Happy
Hunting Grounds beside a swan? Cut him loose.”

Two little boys sprang forward at a signal, drew the knives from
Rattler’s limbs, and cut his bonds.

“Bind his hands behind his back,” continued the chief.

The boys, who could not have been more than ten years old, obeyed him,
and Rattler did not make the slightest attempt at resistance. What a
disgrace! I blushed to be a white man.

“Take him to the river, and push him into the water,” was the next
order. “If he can get to the other shore he shall be free.”

Rattler uttered a cry of joy, and let the boys lead him to the river.
They actually did push him in, for he had not sufficient sense of
decency to jump in himself. He sank at once, but came up again quickly,
and tried to advance by swimming on his back, which was not difficult
though his hands were tied, for his legs were free. Would he reach the
opposite bank? I could not hope that he would; he deserved to die, and
if he were allowed to live the one who spared him would almost render
himself guilty of the future crimes the miserable man was sure to
commit. The boys stood close to the water, and watched him.

“Get guns, and shoot him in the head,” said Intschu-Tschuna.

The children ran to the place where the braves had left their weapons,
and each took a gun. These little fellows knew well how to handle such
weapons; they knelt on the ground, and aimed at Rattler’s head.

“Don’t shoot; for Heaven’s sake don’t shoot,” he cried.

The boys spoke to one another; they acted like little sportsmen in
letting Rattler swim farther and farther, and the chief did not
interfere, seeing they knew their business.

Suddenly their shrill, boyish voices rang out in a sharp cry, and they
shot. Rattler was hit in the head, and instantly disappeared under the
water. No cry of triumph arose such as Indians always utter at the death
of an enemy. Such a coward was not worth breath, and their contempt was
so great that not an Indian looked after his body. They let it float
where it would, not even taking the trouble to make sure he was dead.

Intschu-Tschuna came to me and asked: “Is my young white brother
satisfied with me?”

“Yes; I thank you.”

“You have no reason to thank me. If I had not known your wish I should
still have acted nearly as I did. This cur was not worthy to suffer
torture. You have seen to-day the difference between brave red warriors
and cowardly white men. The pale-faces are all ready for any wickedness,
but when there is question of showing courage they howl like dogs that
see the whip.”

“The chief of the Apaches must remember that there are cowards and brave
men everywhere, as there are good and bad ones.”

“You are right, and I will not wound you. But no nation should think
itself better than another because it is not of the same color.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                          _TEACHING WINNETOU._


“AND now there is but one thing left to do to finish the work begun in
our meeting—a happy meeting in some ways, though so tragic in others,” I
said to the chief as we walked slowly towards Winnetou, whom we saw
approaching. “The Apache braves have only to bury Kleki-Petrah, and then
all will be completed, will it not?”

“Yes.”

“May I be present with my comrades?”

“Certainly; I should have asked you had you not made the request. You
talked with Kleki-Petrah on that miserable morning while we were gone
for our horses; was it an ordinary conversation?”

“No; it was a very earnest one, and important to us both. May I tell you
of what we talked?” Winnetou had reached us as I spoke, and I turned to
him with this question.

“Tell us,” he said.

“While you were gone that morning Kleki-Petrah and I sat down beneath a
tree. We soon discovered that we were of the same faith, and he opened
his heart to me. He had gone through a great deal, and borne much, and
he told me of his life. He also told me how dear you were to him, and
that it was his desire to die for Winnetou. This wish the Great Spirit
fulfilled but a few moments later.”

“Why did he wish to die for me?” asked Winnetou.

“Because he loved you, and also for another reason which I will explain
later. His death would then be an expiation.”

“As he lay dying on my heart he spoke to you in a tongue I could not
understand; what was it?”

“His mother tongue—German.”

“Did he speak of me then, too?”

“Yes.”

“What did he say?”

“He begged me to be true to you.”

“Be true—to me? You did not know me then.”

“I knew you, for I had seen you; and whoever sees Winnetou must know
what kind of a man stands before him. Besides, Kleki-Petrah told me of
you.”

“What answer did you give him?”

“I promised to fulfil his wish.”

“It was his last wish. You then became his heir. You promised him to be
true to me, and you protected me, guarded me, watched over me while I
pursued you as my enemy. The knife-thrust I gave you would have been
fatal to another, but your stronger frame it only wounded. I am very,
very guilty towards you. Be my friend.”

“I have long been that.”

“My brother.”

“With all my heart.”

“Then we will cement the bond over the grave of him who gave my soul
into your care. A noble pale-face has gone from us, and even in going
has given us another equally noble. My blood shall be your blood, and
your blood shall be my blood; I will drink yours, and you shall drink
mine. Intschu-Tschuna, the greatest chief of the Apaches, my father,
will consent to this?”

Intschu-Tschuna gave us each a hand, and said in a tone that evidently
came from his heart: “I consent. You shall be not merely brothers, but a
single man with two bodies. How!”

Having said this the chief left us, and Winnetou and I went away
together, and sat down by the bank of the broad Rio Pecos, now reddening
in the setting sun. The depths of Winnetou’s earnest nature had been
profoundly stirred by what he had just learned of his beloved teacher’s
dying love and care for him. He took my hand, and held it in his own for
a long time without speaking, and I had no desire to break the silence.
At last Winnetou moved, sighed, and asked: “Will my brother Old
Shatterhand forget that we were his enemies?”

“It is already forgotten,” I replied.

“But there is one thing you cannot forgive,” he said.

“What is that?”

“The insult my father gave you the day we met.”

“Oh, after the murder, when he spat in my face?”

“Yes.”

“Why could I not forgive that?”

“Because only blood can wash away such an insult.”

“Winnetou may dismiss all thought of it. That too was instantly
forgiven.”

“My brother says something that is impossible to believe.”

“You must believe it; I proved long ago that it was forgiven, for if it
were not I should have revenged myself on your father. Do you suppose
that Old Shatterhand could be treated thus, and not reply with his fist
if he resented it?”

“We wondered afterward that you did not do this.”

“The father of Winnetou cannot insult me. It was all a mistake; that is
all. Let us talk of something else.”

“I must speak of this, for I should be guilty if I did not tell my
brother the custom of our people. No brave ever admits a mistake, and a
chief can do so least of all. Intschu-Tschuna knows that he did wrong,
but he cannot ask your forgiveness. Therefore he bade me speak of it to
you. Winnetou acts for his father.”

“That was not at all necessary, and in any case we are quits, for I
insulted you.”

“Never.”

“Yes. Isn’t a blow of the fist an insult?”

“That was in combat, where it cannot count as an insult. My brother is
noble and generous; we will not forget it in him.”

“Let us speak of other things, dear Winnetou. I am to become an Apache;
how will it be with my comrades?”

“They cannot be taken into the tribe, but they are our brothers.”

“Without any ceremony?”

“To-morrow we will smoke the pipe of peace with them. In my white
brother’s home in the rising sun is there no calumet?”

“No; Christians are all brothers, and it is not necessary to announce
it.”

“All brothers! Is there no strife between them?”

“Certainly there is.”

“Then they are not different from us, or better than we. They teach
love, but do not feel it. Why did my brother come here?”

The Indians never ask such personal questions; but Winnetou could do so
in my case, because we were to be brothers, and he must learn to know
me.

“I wanted to see the West, and I wanted to try my skill in my
profession, and above all I wanted to win honor.”

“I do not see how you could win honor by—” He paused.

“By stealing your lands,” I finished for him. “Truly, Winnetou, I never
thought of that side at all. I was not to profit by the road, except as
I did my work well, and was paid for it.”

“Paid! paid! Do you care for gold? Do you need it?”

“I have an uncle, a second father, who will give me all I require; but
every young man of spirit wants to make his own name and fortune.”

“And measuring for that road would have done this?”

“It would have been a first step, and a long one, towards it.”

“And now you will not get your reward, because the measuring is not
done?”

“No.”

“How much longer time would have been necessary to finish it?”

“Only one day.”

“Had I known you as I know you now we would have delayed a day in coming
back.”

“That I might have finished my work?” I asked, touched by such
generosity.

“Yes.”

“That means that you would have consented to the robbery.”

“Not to the robbery, but only to the measuring. The lines you make on
paper do us no harm; the robbery only begins when the laborers of the
pale-faces come to build the road for their fire-horse.”

He considered a while, and a thought was shaping in his brain of such
nobility that I doubt if many white men would have been capable of
entertaining it. At last he uttered it: “My white brother shall receive
all the instruments again, and I will ask my father to allow him to
finish measuring for the road. We will go with our warriors and protect
him while he does this, and he shall send his papers to the men who
wanted them, as well as their instruments, and so shall he make this
first step towards the name and fortune he desires.”

“Winnetou,” I cried, moved beyond expression by a generosity which I
could hardly fathom, “dear, noble, kind Winnetou, there is no one like
you. I can never thank you.”

“There can never be thanks due me from you; my debt must always be
greater than yours, and my father has said we shall be as one man with
two bodies. But how are you to use this name and fortune? Not here among
the Apaches. Will you then go away from us?”

“Yes, but not immediately.”

“We shall be sorrowful. You are to be given the power and rank of a
chief of the Apaches. We believed you would stay with us always, even as
Kleki-Petrah stayed to the day of his death.”

“My circumstances are very different from his.”

“You are to become Winnetou’s brother, according to Kleki-Petrah’s will,
yet you would forsake him. Is that right?”

“Yes; for brothers cannot be constantly together when they have
different duties to fulfil. I must go back to those who love me at home,
and to whom I owe so much, and see them as well as my other brother
here.”

“Then we shall see you again?”

“Of course you will, for my heart will draw me back to you.”

“That rejoices my soul. Whenever you come we shall be glad. You speak of
other duties and other friends. Could you not be happy with us?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. I love Winnetou, and admire his noble father;
but I have been here too short a time to answer that question. It is as
when two birds alight on the branch of a tree. One is nourished by the
fruit of that tree; the other requires different food, and must fly
away.”

“Yet you must believe that we would give you everything you desire.”

“Indeed I know it; but when I spoke of food, I did not mean the
nourishment of the body.”

“Yes, I understand; you pale-faces speak of a food of the soul. I have
heard of it from Kleki-Petrah. He missed this food among us, and
sometimes he was very sad, though he tried not to let us see it. But
every spring he journeyed to Santa Fé, and was refreshed in soul. So, if
my dear brother Jack must go, he shall go; but his red brother begs him
to come back again.”

This was the first time Winnetou had ever called me by my own name, and
I was more than surprised to discover in him a knowledge of the most
sacred of Catholic practices, for of course he spoke of Kleki-Petrah’s
going to Santa Fé to fulfil his Easter duties.

“Winnetou,” I answered sincerely, “whatever there is at home that I
love—and there is much,—and whatever there is in the great cities of the
East to satisfy mind and soul, believe me I have learned to love you and
respect you too deeply to leave you willingly; and if I go away, nothing
but death shall keep me from returning to my red brother’s side. And
some day my brave Winnetou’s noble soul also shall be nourished with
that heavenly Food which Kleki-Petrah went so far to seek, and which I
need to help me on the way he has gone.”

“You are then a Christian, really believing in your faith?” he asked.

“I don’t say I’m a good Christian,—God alone knows whether or not I am
that,—but I have strong faith; yes, and I’d gladly be a good one.”

“And you think we are heathen?”

“No; you believe in the great, Good Spirit, and never worship idols.”

“Then grant me one request.”

“Gladly. What is it?”

“Never speak of your faith to me. Never try to convert me. It is as
Kleki-Petrah said. Your faith may be the true one, but we red men cannot
understand it. If Christians did not drive us out and oppress us, we
might feel that they were good men, and hold their teaching as good.
Then we might have time and place to learn what one needs to know of
your Holy Book and your priests’ teaching in order to understand them.
But he who is slowly and surely driven to death cannot feel that the
religion of those who kill him is the religion of love.”

“You must distinguish between the religion and the followers who only
acknowledge it in words, but never act by its light,” I said, at a loss
how to meet this reproach.

“So all the pale-faces say. Men call themselves Christians, yet do not
act as such. I cannot understand how it is that only one man, and now
that you have come I will say two men, of all the pale-faces I have
known, lived up to the Christian belief. We have our good Manitou, who
wishes all men to be good. I try to do as He wishes. Perhaps I am a
Christian—a better one than those who are so particular about the name,
but have no love in them, and never follow Christian teachings. So never
speak to me of your faith, and never try to make me a man who is called
a Christian, yet may be none. That is the request you must fulfil.”

I gave the promise, and have kept it. Are words necessary? Is not
practice a more eloquent preacher than mere speech? “By their fruits ye
shall know them,” said Our Lord; and I vowed in my heart to be
Winnetou’s teacher by my life. There came an evening at last, never to
be forgotten, when he spoke on this subject himself, and in bitter pain
I reaped the fruit of loving prayer and patient sowing as the dearest
friend I ever had lay dead with the waters of baptism glistening on his
brow.

Now I contented myself with a pressure of his hand, signifying that I
understood all the bitterness the wrongs of his race caused him, and we
said no more. Presently we arose, for the sun had gone down in splendor,
and the river was growing purple as the light faded. We went back to the
pueblo, and the brave chief, who was looking for us, welcomed us with a
fatherly kindness I had not felt in him before. We sat down to our
smoking meal together, and the beautiful Fair Day served us so
gracefully, so affectionately, that I thought with wonder how truly
among all sorts of men home was home, and love made home-coming sweet.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XIX.

                     _THE BURIAL OF KLEKI-PETRAH._


THE morning dawned fair and warm, and the pueblo was early astir for the
burial of Kleki-Petrah. Not all of the Apaches lived in the pueblo, for
though it was large it would have been far too small to have
accommodated them. Only Intschu-Tschuna and his most important braves
dwelt here, forming with their families and herds of horses the central
point of the tribe of Mascaleros-Apaches. From this pueblo the chief
ruled over the tribe, and thence took long journeys to the various
branches of the great Apache family which acknowledged him as their
head.

Representatives of every tribe had assembled to pay their last tribute
to the white friend whom they had all loved and honored, and who had
been faithful to them even unto death.

We, my comrades and I, repaired early to the spot where the grave was to
be erected. I estimated the height and breadth of the mass of stone, and
then, taking a tomahawk, Hawkins, Stone, Parker, and I went through the
woods, following the river downward, seeking a suitable tree from which
to make a cross.

When we returned to the burial-place the sorrowful ceremonies had begun.
The Indians had worked rapidly on the construction of the tomb, which
was nearly finished. It was surrounded by braves, who were intoning
their peculiar and profoundly touching death-song. Its dull, monotonous
tone was broken occasionally by a shrill, piercing cry, which startled
the ear as a sudden flash of lightning from heavy clouds startles the
eye by flashing across it. Twelve Indians were working on the tomb under
the direction of the two chiefs, and between them and the singers danced
a figure decked in all the insignia of his race, and making grotesque,
slow motions, and curious leaps.

“Who is that—the medicine-man?” I asked.

“Yes,” Sam replied.

“Indian customs at the burial of a Catholic! What do you say to that, my
dear Sam?”

“You don’t like it?” asked Sam.

“Certainly not.”

“Then don’t show it. You would offend the Apaches mortally.”

“But this absurd mumming annoys me more than I can say.”

“They mean well; they can’t do better than they know. It isn’t
heathenish. These good folks believe in one Great Spirit, to whom their
dead friend and teacher has gone. They bid him farewell, and mourn his
death in their own way, and everything that medicine-man does has a
symbolic meaning. Let them do as they will. There is no priest anywhere
near here, and they won’t prevent us putting our cross at the head of
the grave.”

As we placed the cross before the coffin Winnetou asked: “Shall this
sign of Christianity be placed over the grave?”

“Yes.”

“That is right. I should have asked my brother Old Shatterhand to make a
cross, for Kleki-Petrah had one in his dwelling, and begged us to put
one over his grave when he should die. Where must it stand?”

“At the head of the grave.”

“As in those great, tall houses in which Christians pray to the Great
Spirit? I have seen them. It shall be as you wish. Sit here and see that
it is done properly.”

In a short time the tomb was complete; it was crowned by our cross, and
had an opening left to receive the coffin, which still stood outside.
Then came Nscho-Tschi. She had been to the pueblo to get two clay cups,
which she had taken to the river and filled with water. Having done this
she returned to the grave and set them on the coffin—for what purpose I
was soon to learn.

Everything was now ready for the burial. Intschu-Tschuna gave a signal
with his hand for the song of lamentation to cease. The medicine-man
squatted upon the ground. The chief went up to the coffin, and spoke,
slowly and solemnly. “My brothers and sisters of all the tribes of the
Apaches,” he began, “the sun rises in the morning in the east and sinks
at night into the west, and the year awakes in the spring-time and in
winter sleeps again. So is it also with man. Is this true?”

“How!” arose heavily on all sides.

“Man rises like the sun, and sinks again into the grave. He comes like
spring upon the earth, and like winter lays himself down to rest. But
though the sun sets, it shines again in the morning; and when winter
disappears, once more the spring is here. Is this true?”

“How!”

“Thus has Kleki-Petrah taught us. Man will be laid in the grave, but
beyond death he rises again, like a new day and a new spring, to live
forever in the land of the great Good Spirit. This has Kleki-Petrah told
us; and now he knows whether he spoke truly or not, for he has
disappeared like the day and the year, and his spirit has gone to the
dwelling of the dead, for which he always longed. Is this true?”

“How!”

“His faith was not ours, nor is our faith his. We hate our enemies and
love our friends; but he taught us that man must also love his enemies,
for they too are our brothers. That we do not believe; yet when we have
obeyed his words it has been peaceful and well for us. Perhaps his faith
is also ours, only we could not understand him as he wished to be
understood. We say our spirits go to the eternal Happy Hunting Grounds,
and he hoped for eternal Blessedness. Often I think our Hunting Grounds
may be his Blessedness. Is this true?”

“How!”

“He often told us of the Saviour who came to make all men blessed. We
believe in his words, because there was never a lie on his lips. This
Saviour came for all men; has He been with the red man? If He came, we
would welcome Him; for we shall be destroyed or driven away by the
pale-faces, and we long for Him. Is this true?”

“How!”

“This was Kleki-Petrah’s teaching. Now I speak of his end. It came upon
him as a wild beast falls upon its prey. Sudden and unforeseen it was.
He was strong and well, and stood at our side. He would have mounted his
horse and ridden home with us, but the bullet of the murderer struck
him. My brothers and sisters may lament him.”

There arose a dull cry of woe, growing louder and higher, till it ended
in a piercing shriek. Then the chief continued: “We have avenged his
death. The cowardly dog who killed him was not worthy to follow him in
death; he has been shot by the children, and his body floats down the
stream. Is this true?”

“How!”

“Now is the spirit of Kleki-Petrah gone from us, but his body remains,
over which we raise a memorial to him, to show to our successors that we
had a good White Father who was our teacher, and whom we loved. He was
not born in this land, but he came from afar, beyond the big water,
where oaks grow. So to honor him and speak of our love for him we have
brought an oak to plant beside his grave. And as it sprouts and spreads
so will his spirit grow great beyond the grave. And as the oak grows so
will the words which we have heard from him sprout in our hearts, and
our spirits shall find shelter under its shade. But he has not gone from
us without sending us a pale-face who shall be our friend and brother in
his place. Here you see Old Shatterhand, a white man who knows all that
Kleki-Petrah knew, and is a stronger warrior than he. He has killed the
grizzly bear with his knife, and all his foes he strikes to earth with
his fist. Intschu-Tschuna and Winnetou were repeatedly in his power, yet
he did not slay us, but gave us our lives, because he loved us, and is a
friend of the red man. Is this true?”

“How!”

“It was Kleki-Petrah’s last word and last wish that Old Shatterhand
should be his successor with the Apache warriors, and Old Shatterhand
has promised to fulfil this wish. Therefore he shall be received into
the Apache tribe and become a chief. It shall be as though he were red
of skin, and born among us. To accomplish this he must have smoked the
calumet with every grown warrior of the Apaches; but this shall not be
necessary, for he will drink Winnetou’s blood, and Winnetou will drink
his, and then he will be blood of our blood, and flesh of our flesh. Do
the Apache braves agree to this?”

“How! how! how!” arose, thrice repeated, the unanimous response of all
present.

“Then let Winnetou and Old Shatterhand come here to the coffin, and let
their blood drop into the water of the bond of brotherhood.”

I had often read of the blood bond of brotherhood. It is a custom among
many savage and half-civilized people, and usually consists of the
mingling of the blood of the two making the compact, which is drunk by
both, and in consequence they become more closely united, more truly
brothers, than if they had been born of the same parents.

Winnetou and I were to drink each other’s blood. We placed ourselves on
each side of the coffin, and Intschu-Tschuna pricked first his son’s
wrist, holding it over the cup which Nscho-Tschi had brought. A tiny
drop of blood fell into it, and the chief set it aside. Then he repeated
the proceeding with me, and a tiny drop of my blood fell into the other
cup. Winnetou took the cup containing my blood in his hand, and I
received the one with his. Then Intschu-Tschuna said: “Life dwells in
the blood. The souls of these two young men shall mingle till there is
but one soul in them. Old Shatterhand’s thoughts shall be Winnetou’s
thoughts, and what Winnetou wills that shall also be the will of Old
Shatterhand. Drink!” I raised my cup as Winnetou raised his. It was Rio
Pecos water, to which the single drop of blood in it imparted no taste.
As we set down the empty cups the chief took my hand and said: “Thou art
now the son of my flesh equally with Winnetou, and a warrior of our
people. The renown of thy deeds shall be quickly known everywhere, and
no other warrior shall surpass thee. Thou art a chief of the Apaches,
and all branches of our people shall honor thee as such.”

This was indeed rapid advancement—from a young, newly graduated
collegiate to a chief of the Apaches; and I could not help fancying the
faces of my friends at home if they could see me now. And yet, strange
and wild as was the life around me, these fine red men were far more
congenial to me than many of my former associates.

How completely the words of Intschu-Tschuna were fulfilled that Winnetou
and I should be but one soul in two bodies! We grew to understand each
other without a word; we had but to look at each other to know what we
desired and felt, and there was never the slightest disagreement between
us. But I suspect this was less because we had drunk one another’s blood
than because there was naturally a strong attraction and sympathy
between us; and never again shall I love another friend as I loved my
brave Apache brother, my true-hearted Winnetou!

As Intschu-Tschuna spoke the last words all the Apaches had risen, even
the children, to shout a loud, applauding “How!” Then the chief added:
“Now is the new, the living Kleki-Petrah received among us, and we can
lay the dead in his grave. My brothers may now do this.” This was spoken
to the Indians who had built the tomb. I asked for a few minutes’ delay,
and nodded to Sam Hawkins, Dick Stone, and Will Parker to come up; with
these standing by me I said an _Our Father_, a _Hail Mary_, and a _De
Profundis_ over the coffin. Then was the body of the former atheist and
revolutionist, and at last the penitent and missionary, lowered into the
middle of the tomb, which the Indians sealed to await the dawn of that
new day of which Intschu-Tschuna had spoken.

This was my first experience of a burial ceremony among savages, and it
deeply impressed me. I was touched by the half perception of truth which
appeared in the chief’s words. Especially was I moved by the longing for
the coming of one who was to deliver them, which rang in these words,—a
longing like that of the people of Israel as they waited for the
Messiahs.

While the grave was closing the Indians’ death-chant was sung again, and
it sank into silence when the last stone was placed; the Apaches rose
from their places, and the whole great assembly seemed to melt away in
the stillness broken only by the fall of their moccasins, the rustling
of the leaves, and the ripple of the Rio Pecos. Nscho-Tschi came from
among the women and stood at her father’s right hand, Winnetou’s arm lay
across my shoulders as he stood at his father’s other side, and
Intschu-Tschuna had taken my right hand in his own. “You are my
children, and I am happy in you,” he said. “I thank the Great Spirit
that He has protected me through danger, and given me a strong, brave,
faithful son, and my other children a brother to protect them when I am
gone.”

“No, Intschu-Tschuna,” I said. “Rather should I thank Him for the love
and kindness I find so far from home, and among a strange people.”

“They are your people now,” said Nscho-Tschi quickly.

“And we are all happy and blest in one another,” said Winnetou. “All
grateful for the happy ending of a story begun in sorrow and wrath.
Come, my brother; let us go to the dwelling of our father
Intschu-Tschuna. A new life has begun for us all to-day.”

And so we walked together to the great pueblo, silent and peaceful,
though saddened by the solemn ceremony and parting from one the three
Indians had loved so well.

Winnetou spoke truly: though the story of our meeting ended here, a new
life had indeed begun; and unconscious of what lay before us we went
home together, turning our backs on what had been, and setting our faces
towards the future.



                PRINTED BY BENZIGER BROTHERS, NEW YORK.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



 ● Transcriber’s Notes:
    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was corrected.
    ○ Unbalanced quotation marks were left as the author intended.
    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.
    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.
    ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Winnetou, The Apache Knight" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home