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Title: Young Sioux Warrior
Author: Kroll, Francis Lynde
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 "Young Sioux Warrior" ***

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                          FRANCIS LYNDE KROLL



                                 YOUNG
                                 SIOUX
                                WARRIOR


[Illustration]

                     ILLUSTRATED BY CHARLES H. GEER

                           _GROSSET & DUNLAP_
                                NEW YORK

                 Copyright 1952 by Lantern Press, Inc.
              MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


 _To L.L.C. whose firm, kind guidance of another young warrior long ago
                   is gratefully remembered._ F.L.K.



                                Contents


  CHAPTER ONE                                                         13
  CHAPTER TWO                                                         30
  CHAPTER THREE                                                       49
  CHAPTER FOUR                                                        65
  CHAPTER FIVE                                                        82
  CHAPTER SIX                                                         96
  CHAPTER SEVEN                                                      113
  CHAPTER EIGHT                                                      130
  CHAPTER NINE                                                       144
  CHAPTER TEN                                                        165
  CHAPTER ELEVEN                                                     178



                         List of Illustrations


  He tried to find words to thank his grandfather                     19
  He went slowly and fearfully towards the roaring falls             103
  With a fire in front it made a comfortable shelter                 136
  Little Bear picked out a young, fat cow                            173



                          YOUNG SIOUX WARRIOR



                              CHAPTER ONE


Little Bear sat far back in the great wigwam. The warriors formed a
circle around the council fire in front of him. Little Bear had listened
to the long debate wishing he dared speak. Plainly two of the older
warriors wanted this small hunting party to return to the main Sioux
camp. He bent forward to listen as Big Buffalo, one of those two
warriors, stood up to speak.

“It is foolish to stay longer.” Big Buffalo spoke slowly. “The Pawnees
have driven the buffalo from our hunting grounds. Next they will attack
this small party.”

The moment Big Buffalo sat down, Flying Arrow leaped to his feet.

“Let’s drive the Pawnees out,” he roared.

Little Bear had to clap his hands over his mouth to keep from shouting
his approval. With deep disappointment he saw the heads around the
circle shake in disagreement. Even the young warriors, whom he would
have expected to approve Flying Arrow’s words, shook their heads. Little
Bear’s eyes lighted with hope when he saw his grandfather, Great Bear,
get to his feet.

“The Pawnees on the other side of the river are many,” Great Bear
pointed out. “We are too few to attack them. We could send to the main
camp for more warriors, but that would take long. Yet, if we are alert,
we can get meat to take back to the main camp.”

When Great Bear sat down, Rain-Maker got to his feet.

“Great Bear spoke words of wisdom,” Rain-Maker agreed. “We can hunt
buffalo on our way back to the main camp. We may get much meat.”

Little Bear looked expectantly at his grandfather. He knew this wasn’t
the plan Great Bear had in his mind. The old warrior would never suggest
they should run from the Pawnees. Little Bear expected Grandfather to
jump up and angrily deny that this was his plan. But Grandfather made no
move to get to his feet. Instead, he waited to give others a chance to
speak.

“He meant we’d hunt buffalo here and not run from the Pawnees.” Little
Bear was frightened when he realized he had spoken aloud.

He drew his blanket over his head and huddled down to make himself as
small as possible. He wanted to stand up and dash out of the wigwam, but
that would be still worse. A Sioux boy must wait and follow the
warriors. He held himself quiet. He had spoken, in the warriors’ council
without permission. He must stay and take his punishment.

“The small one with the big mouth has spoken truly.” Flying Arrow had
stood and was talking. “Great Bear would not counsel us to run from the
Pawnees.”

Little Bear hung his head in shame. He had been called “the small one
with the big mouth.” He knew he deserved the name. It would not have
seemed quite so bad if someone other than Flying Arrow had given it to
him.

Nevertheless from then on, the discussion changed. There was no more
talk of starting back to the main camp without meat. The warriors agreed
the Pawnees were not likely to attack while the Sioux were on their own
hunting grounds. They decided they would stay and hunt buffalo. When
they had enough meat, they would start for the main camp. Even though
they were sure the Pawnees would not attack, they decided they would
have outriders, scouts, and sentinels on every hunting trip.

When the council was over, Great Bear was among the first to leave the
council wigwam. Little Bear waited until every warrior had stepped
through the flap before he left. As soon as he was out of the wigwam, he
hurried to catch Grandfather. His hope that Grandfather would let him go
with the warriors on tomorrow’s hunting trip made him forget he would be
scolded for speaking in the council.

Great Bear reached his tepee before Little Bear caught up with him. The
old warrior went into the tepee without stopping. Little Bear knew his
grandfather would want to make medicine before tomorrow’s hunt. There
was nothing he could do except wait outside until Grandfather came out.

Time dragged slowly. It seemed to Little Bear the sun had stopped in the
western sky and wasn’t trying to sink to rest in the west. At last there
was a faint rustle at the flap of the tepee. Little Bear looked up to
see Great Bear step outside. For some time Great Bear stood looking
silently at him.

“You spoke in the council today,” Great Bear said sternly. “It was a
great honor to a boy to be allowed to enter the council tent with the
warriors. Speaking without permission was poor repayment of an honor.”

“I know, Grandfather.” Little Bear spoke hesitantly with his eyes upon
the ground. “I am ashamed.”

“You earned a new name. One which will be hard to live down.”

There was a hint of a smile in the old warrior’s eyes.

“I am ashamed,” Little Bear repeated.

Without another word Grandfather turned and reached inside the tepee. He
straightened up with a bow in his hand.

“Tomorrow you will be twelve summers,” Great Bear told him. “It is time
you learned to use a good Sioux bow. I made this for you.”

Little Bear took the bow Grandfather held out to him. He tried to find
words to thank his grandfather, but there was a lump in his throat. For
a terrible moment he thought he was going to cry. Any warrior in the
Sioux camp would be proud to own a bow Great Bear had made. He held the
bow towards his grandfather.

[Illustration: _He tried to find words to thank his grandfather_]

“Keep it, Grandfather,” he said slowly, “until I earn the right to have
it.”

“Nonsense.” Great Bear spoke sharply. “Even Sioux warriors make
mistakes. The bow is yours. Tomorrow we shall have a lesson in its use.”

“Thank you, Grandfather.” Little Bear smiled happily. Then he understood
the meaning of Grandfather’s words. “Tomorrow we shall have a lesson?
Aren’t we going with the hunting party?”

“No.” Great Bear shook his head. “The Great Spirit warned me I should
stay in camp. You and I and the two old ones will stay while the others
hunt.”

The next morning Little Bear was up early. He carried his new bow as he
went to watch the hunting party leave camp. By the time the hunters had
ridden out of sight, Little Bear was feeling less disappointed.
Grandfather was going to give him lessons in the use of the bow. That
would be almost as good as the excitement of a buffalo hunt.

“First you and I will scout to the river to see if any Pawnees are
near,” Great Bear told him.

Grandfather took two arrows from his quiver and handed them to Little
Bear. As he followed his grandfather out of camp, Little Bear felt he
was almost a warrior. As soon as they were out of camp, Great Bear moved
as carefully as he could. At each step he made sure he didn’t tread on a
stick that might snap under his foot. Little Bear followed carefully
behind him, stepping in Grandfather’s tracks. Instead of following the
most direct route to the river, Great Bear took advantage of all cover.

When they were near the river, Great Bear got to his hands and knees and
then stretched out on his stomach. Little Bear needed no signal to
follow his example. They inched forward until they were near the river’s
bank. Here they lay silently watching the opposite bank for any sign of
their enemies. A big ant crawled across Little Bear’s shoulders, but he
made no move to brush it off. Slowly the sun climbed high in the sky,
and yet Great Bear continued to watch. Finally he began to edge back
from the river bank. They crawled back many paces before Great Bear got
to his feet.

“The Pawnees must have moved upstream,” he decided.

Little Bear thought of the Sioux hunting party riding upstream on their
own side of the river.

“Shouldn’t we warn our hunters?” he asked.

“If they have scouts ahead and a sentinel behind as we agreed,”
Grandfather explained, “they can’t be surprised.”

When they were well back from the river, Great Bear stopped. He took
Little Bear’s bow and aimed an arrow at a sapling about twenty paces
away. Little Bear watched closely. Great Bear pulled the bow string back
and let the arrow fly. There was a sharp thud as the arrow struck. It
split the sapling in two. Grandfather handed the bow to Little Bear.

“Put an arrow in that sapling next to the one I hit,” he directed.

The other sapling was larger than the one Great Bear had hit. Little
Bear had used a bow and arrow before. He had owned a small bow as long
as he could remember. This large bow was better made than his small one
and would shoot much straighter. He fitted an arrow to the string and
aimed just as Grandfather had done. He fired for the sapling. The arrow
whizzed past it.

“I missed,” he exclaimed disappointedly.

“That was close,” Grandfather encouraged him. “Let’s get the arrows and
you can try again.”

It took some time to find the arrow Little Bear had shot. When they did
find it, he started practicing again. Grandfather watched him and showed
him better ways of holding the bow and taking aim. Although few of
Little Bear’s arrows hit the sapling, most of them came close.

“Practice every time you have a chance,” Great Bear advised. “You are
doing very well.”

The sun was almost straight overhead when they returned to camp. Little
Bear wondered at Grandfather’s restlessness. Plainly he was worried
about something. As soon as he had eaten, Little Bear started towards
the meadow to see about their horses. The warriors had been sure no
Pawnee would dare try to steal horses so near a Sioux camp and they had
left no guards. Little Bear was sure the warriors were right, but he
knew Grandfather would expect him to look anyway.

He climbed the low hill to the north of the camp. From the top of it he
could look down into the small valley where the horses were grazing. He
gave a little gasp of dismay. Great Bear’s best horse wasn’t with the
rest of the herd. Little Bear felt a tremendous relief when a group of
horses, standing close together, moved apart and he saw Great Bear’s
horse was there after all. Next he turned his attention to a roan colt
owned by Flying Arrow. The colt was not yet two summers old, but he was
almost large enough to begin his training. Little Bear wanted to own
that colt. It was going to grow into a fine horse, but Flying Arrow
prized it highly, too. He would want a tremendous price for it.

“I’m going to find a way to own that horse,” Little Bear promised
himself.

He turned back towards the camp. When he came within sight of their
tepee, he saw that Grandfather was waiting for him. He increased his
speed.

“The horses are all right, Grandfather,” he reported.

“Good.” Grandfather nodded. “I am glad you went to look at them without
waiting to be told. A good warrior looks after his horse.”

Little Bear glowed with pleasure. Grandfather was quick to scold when he
did wrong, but he was equally quick to praise when Little Bear did well.

Great Bear went into the tepee to rest. Little Bear sat outside to wait.
He would have liked to take his bow and go hunting. However, Grandfather
hadn’t told him to go. Perhaps it would be better to wait until Great
Bear was ready to go with him.

[Illustration]

He had sat in front of the tepee for some time when he became aware of a
faint drumming sound. He listened carefully. The sound was too faint for
him to be sure, but it did seem to be that of a horse ridden at full
gallop. He stepped away from the tepee in order to hear better. Now the
sound was quite plain.

Little Bear had heard no sound from the tepee, but there was Grandfather
standing beside him. They had stood together for only a few breaths when
the rider raced into view.

“It’s Flying Antelope,” Great Bear exclaimed.

It was Flying Antelope, one of the hunters, charging into camp as though
the whole Pawnee nation were chasing him. The other two warriors who had
stayed in camp came hurrying towards them as Flying Antelope pulled his
horse to a sliding stop.

“The Pawnees have our hunting party cornered in Buffalo Trap Canyon,”
Flying Antelope gasped. “I must ride to the main camp for help.”

“It is a long journey,” Great Bear protested. “Help will be too late.”

“It is my only chance,” Flying Antelope insisted.

Great Bear looked at the other two warriors. They shook their heads.
They had no other plan to offer.

“Then you must have a fresh horse,” Great Bear decided. “Little Bear,
bring one of my horses for Flying Antelope.”

Almost before Great Bear had finished speaking, Little Bear was racing
up the hill towards the meadow where the horses were grazing. As soon as
he crossed the hill, he slowed to a walk. He didn’t want to startle the
horses. He gave a low, shrill whistle. His own horse raised its head.
When Little Bear repeated the whistle, the horse started towards him. He
noticed that Flying Arrow’s roan colt took a few steps towards him, and
he thought how easily the colt could be trained.

In a moment Little Bear had mounted his own horse. It took him only a
short time to catch one of Grandfather’s horses. Then, sure that Great
Bear would want a horse for his own use, he caught another one.

As soon as Little Bear returned to camp, Flying Antelope mounted one of
the horses and sped out of camp.

“He will be too late,” Great Bear said, shaking his head.



                              CHAPTER TWO


Little Bear watched silently as Grandfather moved restlessly about the
camp. He seemed to be studying, trying to find some plan by which he
could rescue the hunters from the Pawnees. Little Bear had decided he
might as well take the horses back to the meadow when Grandfather spoke.

“Flying Antelope will be too late,” Great Bear repeated. “I will ride to
Buffalo Trap Canyon. Perhaps I can find a plan to save our warriors.”

Little Bear waited, hoping Grandfather would tell him to come, too. But
Great Bear mounted his horse without another word.

“Suppose you want to send a message back?” Little Bear asked. “You have
no one to bring it, Grandfather.”

A brief smile touched the corners of Great Bear’s mouth.

“You were going to offer to go with me and be my messenger?” he asked.
He shook his head. “It is too dangerous.”

“I am a Sioux.” Little Bear drew himself up proudly. “Many times you
have told me, ‘A Sioux’s first duty is to his tribe.’”

Still Great Bear hesitated. At last he nodded.

“I can trust you to obey orders,” he agreed. “I will have you stay
behind, as much out of danger as possible. I may need a messenger.”

Great Bear turned his horse to the west, and Little Bear followed him.
Little Bear wanted to ride as fast as their horses could go. He was
afraid the Pawnees might start an attack before he and Great Bear could
get to Buffalo Trap Canyon. But Grandfather kept his horse at a steady,
ground-eating lope. Despite his impatience, Little Bear knew Grandfather
was right. When they reached the canyon, their horses would not be too
tired to run.

He watched anxiously as the sun climbed across the sky. It seemed to
Little Bear they must have ridden far enough to reach the place where
the sun went to rest at night. At last Great Bear pulled his horse to a
stop in a small valley.

“Buffalo Trap Canyon is not far ahead,” Grandfather explained. “You
watch the horses. I will go to the top of the hill and see what is
happening.”

“And if you need a messenger, Grandfather?” Little Bear asked.

Grandfather hesitated.

“I am old and slow,” he admitted. “We might need speed. You follow me.
If anything happens to me, you are to run to our horses and ride to our
camp. You will wait there until help comes from the main camp.”

[Illustration]

Great Bear led the way up the hill. Near the top he got on his hands and
knees and crawled forward. Little Bear followed his lead. It was slow
work as they had to be careful not to make the least sound. The top of
the hill was flat with a few small trees scattered about. It was covered
with thick, dry grass.

Now they had to be doubly careful. They had to get through the dry grass
without making a sound and at the same time keep a sharp watch for
enemies. The Pawnees might be careful enough to have a lookout on this
hill. They edged forward to the rim of the hill. The last few yards they
lay on the ground and wriggled forward like snakes. When Little Bear
parted the grass and looked down, he could see a small valley with a
little stream running through it. Across the stream a large party of
Pawnees was waiting at the mouth of Buffalo Trap Canyon.

“That is the only way out of Buffalo Trap Canyon,” Great Bear whispered.
“Our men can’t escape.”

“We must help them,” Little Bear whispered fiercely.

“What can two of us do against all those Pawnees?” Great Bear asked
hopelessly.

“Perhaps we could give the Sioux war cry,” Little Bear suggested. “They
might think a war party was coming to help our hunters.”

“The Pawnees aren’t very smart,” Great Bear answered, “but they are too
smart to be fooled so easily.”

For a time they watched the Pawnees in silence. It soon became plain the
Pawnees were ready to go into action. Whatever the two of them would try
to do to save the hunters, they would have to do soon. There were four
mounted warriors at the entrance to Buffalo Trap Canyon. Now one of them
wheeled his horse and raced up to the main group of Pawnees. He waved
his bow and shouted something to the other warriors. Immediately they
began to gather their bows and equipment. They were ready to start their
attack!

“This isn’t a very good plan,” Little Bear whispered, “but if I can get
down this hill without being seen, it may work.”

Quickly he outlined his plan to Great Bear. He pointed out the tall
grass next to the stream as he spoke. Great Bear looked where Little
Bear pointed. He studied the hiding places the hillside offered. He
turned his glance towards the Pawnees. They had hesitated and were
talking together. At last Great Bear nodded.

“It might work,” he agreed. “Only I shall go and you will stay here.”

“That wouldn’t work, Grandfather,” Little Bear pointed out. “I am small.
I can bend over and go rapidly. If the Pawnees see the grass moving,
they will think I am some kind of animal. Besides, if I have to run,
your bow will protect me.”

Great Bear hesitated for so long a time that Little Bear was sure he was
not going to give his consent.

“We must try, Grandfather,” Little Bear insisted.

“Yes.” Grandfather nodded grimly. “You may be able to do it. Be sure
your first arrow only scares a horse. As soon as you shoot, turn and run
this way.”

Now that it was time for action, Little Bear was thoroughly frightened.
He could feel his heart pounding against his ribs. It took all of the
power of his will to force his legs to shove him forward across the rim
of the hill. The top part of the slope was almost bare of grass. If a
Pawnee warrior looked that way, he would be sure to see Little Bear. It
seemed to Little Bear it took hours for him to wriggle forward until he
was in grass high enough to cover him.

A bit farther on he came to grass high enough so that he could get on
his hands and knees. Now he could go faster. As the grass bent in front
of him, he was able to watch the Pawnees. One of them turned towards
him. Little Bear came to a complete halt, holding his breath. The Pawnee
took a step in his direction. Little Bear could see the warrior so
plainly that it seemed impossible the warrior would fail to see him.
Another warrior spoke to the one watching. The watcher turned towards
the speaker. Little Bear let his breath out in a sigh of relief.

The warrior did not turn back towards Little Bear. With new hope Little
Bear started forward. He kept his eyes on the Pawnees and was not able
to watch where he put his hands and knees. Sharp stones cut into his
hands and through his leggings. He saw the warriors were ready to start
for their horses. He moved ahead more rapidly.

[Illustration]

When he reached the grass at the side of the stream, he found it wasn’t
as high as it had looked from the top of the hill. He didn’t dare stand
erect. He fitted an arrow to his bow and, still kneeling, took careful
aim. The Pawnees were moving towards their horses. They were sure to see
the arrow and mark the spot from which it came. This first one had to be
exactly right. There would be no chance to fire a second one. Little
Bear drew the bow back and let the arrow fly.

It was an almost perfect shot. The arrow scraped across the back of one
of the Pawnee horses, just enough to hurt and frighten it. The horse
gave a squeal of terror and lunged forward. Instantly the whole herd of
horses stampeded.

The Pawnees had seen the arrow almost the moment it left Little Bear’s
bow. Two of them whirled towards him, drawing their bow strings back as
they turned. One of them sent an arrow flying towards Little Bear, but
before the other one could shoot, an arrow from the top of the hill
knocked him to the ground.

For a moment the Pawnees were in complete confusion. Little Bear sent an
arrow towards them and then slipped downstream in the tall grass. He
moved so carefully that the Pawnees could not tell he had left his
hiding place. Arrows struck where he had been hiding moments before. He
lay quiet, hoping they would think that they had hit him.

He raised his head enough to get a look at the war party. Their leader
had taken charge. He had called the mounted men from the entrance to
Buffalo Trap Canyon and sent them after the horses. Two warriors were
starting up the hill towards Great Bear and two more were coming towards
Little Bear. The rest of the party were running to try to help recapture
their horses.

Little Bear hesitated only a moment. He knew he would have no chance
against two Pawnee warriors. If the Sioux warriors would come charging
out of the canyon while the Pawnees were scattered, all of them could
escape. But evidently the Pawnees had kept the hunters so far back in
the canyon that they couldn’t see what was going on outside. Little Bear
knew there was only one chance for him to escape. He leaped to his feet
giving the Sioux war cry.

The two Pawnees, taken by surprise, hesitated. Little Bear turned and
started running up the steep hill. He heard Great Bear echo the war cry.
Then he gave all of his attention to escaping his pursuers. He ran in a
zig-zag course to make it harder for them to hit him. He saw Great Bear
stand and saw his arrow come whizzing by. There was a cry behind him.
Great Bear had stopped one of the pursuers.

Little Bear risked a backward glance. Great Bear’s arrow had knocked
down one of the Pawnees. The other warrior was bending over the one on
the ground. The two warriors who had been going towards Great Bear had
stopped. Both of them were sighting arrows towards Great Bear. Little
Bear gave a warning cry, but Great Bear was too slow. Little Bear saw
the Pawnee’s arrow strike and Great Bear crumple to the ground. Little
Bear stopped and turned towards the Pawnees. But their leader had seen
the danger of the Sioux hunters charging from the canyon. He was roaring
orders at the Pawnee warriors. The two who had started towards Great
Bear turned back. They went over and helped carry the warrior Great Bear
had hit.

The Pawnees, who were afoot, formed a compact squad and moved away from
the canyon mouth. At first they moved slowly, but when Little Bear again
raised the Sioux war cry, they broke into a run. Little Bear didn’t wait
to see if the hunters came out of the canyon to pursue the Pawnees. He
turned and dashed up the hill to Great Bear.

As Little Bear ran up to him, Great Bear was just struggling to a
sitting position. The Pawnee arrow had grazed the side of his head. It
had made a deep cut in the skin, which was bleeding badly. Little Bear
examined the cut quickly.

“I’m all right,” Great Bear assured him. “It just knocked me down.”

He got to his feet. Little Bear again gave the Sioux war cry, and Great
Bear joined him. They saw a Sioux warrior carefully edge out of the
entrance to the canyon. Both of them waved at the warrior. He saw them
and returned the signal. Then he darted back into the canyon. A few
minutes later the whole Sioux hunting party charged out of the canyon.
They crossed the stream and raced towards Little Bear and his
grandfather.

When the hunters were safely on top of the hill, all of them turned to
look towards the Pawnees. It was plain that the stampeded horses had not
yet been caught. A rider had come back to get the wounded warriors. The
others were still plodding away from the canyon.

“They won’t be back,” Big Buffalo stated.

“What became of their horses?” Flying Arrow asked.

“Stampeded,” Great Bear answered. “Big Buffalo is right. By the time
they catch their horses, they won’t want any more fighting.”

“You have saved our lives, Great Bear,” Flying Arrow said.

“Not I,” Great Bear answered quickly. “Little Bear stampeded their
horses.”

Flying Arrow turned to Little Bear.

“In the council I said you had a big mouth.” He spoke slowly and
gravely. “Now I say I was wrong. You shoot well. You have a strong right
arm.”

There were grunts of approval from the other warriors. Flying Arrow held
up his hand for silence.

“Since you have saved my life,” he went on, “I want to give you a
present. I know you want my roan colt. He is yours.”

Little Bear gave a choked gasp of pleasure. He had the bow Grandfather
had made for him and now the young horse he wanted. He searched his mind
for words with which to thank Flying Arrow. His glance moved to his
grandfather. Great Bear was watching him intently. There was some
question in Grandfather’s sober eyes, but Little Bear couldn’t decide
what it was. He wished he could ask Grandfather. Then he remembered
something Great Bear had told him about when it was proper to accept
gifts from friends. Slowly he turned towards Flying Arrow.

“I thank you.” He spoke as gravely as Flying Arrow had. “I cannot accept
my friend’s horse for doing what any Sioux should do. But if my friend
should care to give me something he has made with his own hands, I would
treasure it.”

A chorus of approval ran around the circle of warriors. Little Bear saw
the pleased look on Great Bear’s face. He heard one of the warriors say,
“Spoken like a Sioux warrior.”

Flying Arrow smiled at him.

“Sometime I will repay you, Little Bear,” he promised. “I see Great Bear
has made you a bow. Take this quiver I made. May it always hold arrows
that fly true!”

Flying Arrow took his quiver from around his neck. He tied his arrows
with a thong and handed the quiver to Little Bear. It was a beautiful
piece of leather. On it, Flying Arrow had carved a warrior chasing a
buffalo. He had worked the top with beads. As soon as Flying Arrow had
handed Little Bear the quiver, each of the warriors selected his
straightest arrow and put it in the quiver.

As Little Bear was trying to find the right words to express his thanks,
Flying Arrow glanced towards Great Bear.

“We must have buffalo fat for Great Bear’s wound,” the warrior said.
“Bring one of the fat young buffalo we killed.”

“That was a large party of Pawnees,” Rain-Maker reminded him. “They may
come back to attack us.”

“I don’t believe they will,” Flying Arrow answered. “However, the wind
is blowing from the north. When you get across the stream, set the grass
afire. They will have to flee from a prairie fire.”

Rain-Maker and another young warrior mounted horses and rode towards
Buffalo Trap Canyon. As soon as they were across the stream, they
stopped and set the grass afire. Then they raced into the canyon to be
out of the path of the fire. When they returned, they were carrying the
meat they had taken from the carcass of a young buffalo. Some of the
hunters had built a fire. While Flying Arrow tied buffalo fat across
Great Bear’s wound, others cooked meat for their meal. Little Bear stood
and watched the fire Rain-Maker and his companion had started. It had
already burned across the valley below and was sweeping over the hill.
Any Pawnees in front of it would have to run for their lives.

As soon as they had eaten, the hunters returned to Buffalo Trap Canyon.
They removed the meat from the buffaloes they had slain, wrapped it in
buffalo hides, and loaded it on the extra horses. When the party was
ready to leave, two young warriors were sent ahead. They were to ride in
front and stop any war party that might be coming from the main Sioux
camp. There was no longer any danger from the Pawnees.

The sun was down and it was almost dark when the party rode into camp.
The warriors dismounted and unloaded the meat from the pack horses. Then
Little Bear drove all of the horses across the hill to the meadow. At
the top of the hill he dismounted and let his own horse go with the
others.

He hurried back to Grandfather’s tepee and crawled into his blankets.
Soon he was fast asleep, dreaming he was training the roan colt Flying
Arrow had wanted to give him.



                             CHAPTER THREE


Little Bear was out of the tepee the next morning before the sun had
started up the eastern sky. Early as he was, Great Bear was already
broiling buffalo steaks over a low fire.

“You are early this morning, Grandfather,” Little Bear greeted him.

“It seemed the Great Spirit was trying to warn me,” Great Bear
explained. “He wouldn’t let me sleep. I feel there is danger.”

Little Bear had no thought of laughing at his grandfather. Many times
Grandfather had thought the Great Spirit was trying to warn him of
danger, and danger had appeared soon afterwards. No, if Great Bear was
afraid of danger, danger must be near.

[Illustration]

“Bring me a horse,” Great Bear ordered. “I’ll make a scouting trip
before the others are ready to break camp.”

“Have our hunters decided to return to the main camp?” Little Bear
asked.

“It is time for Old-Man-of-the-North to send snow,” Great Bear answered.
“We will join the other Sioux and move with them to the winter camp.”

Little Bear opened his mouth to make a request, but thought better of it
and remained silent. Grandfather noticed his hesitation.

“Bring your horse, too.” He smiled. “You may as well learn about
scouting. Besides, you were a great help yesterday.”

Little Bear looked at the wound on the side of Great Bear’s head. Great
Bear had removed the bandage. The wound had healed remarkably overnight
and now seemed only a deep scratch.

“Your wound is healing well,” Little Bear said.

“It was just a scratch.” Great Bear snorted. “Off with you.”

Little Bear didn’t want Grandfather to change his mind about the
scouting trip. He turned and hurried away towards the meadow. As usual,
when he came within sight of the horses, Little Bear slowed to a walk.
As he neared the herd, he gave that low whistle.

He knew at once something was wrong. He saw his own horse lift its head
and look towards him. He repeated the whistle, still looking carefully
at the herd. He was sure some of the horses were gone. He gave a gasp of
dismay. Flying Arrow’s roan colt was gone. Impatiently he whistled
again. His horse left the herd and trotted towards him. As he was
waiting for his own horse, Little Bear saw the roan colt come out of the
brush to the west and join the rest of the herd. At least it wasn’t
gone.

He mounted his horse and rode into the herd. He had been right. Some of
the horses were gone. Grandfather’s best buffalo horse, the black one,
wasn’t there. Flying Arrow’s Blazed Face and some of the other horses
were missing, too. He turned his horse and rode around the herd to the
place where he had seen the colt coming out of the underbrush. There he
found tracks leading from the meadow.

Little Bear was careful to keep his horse away from the trail the other
horses had left. If the horses had been stolen, he wanted to leave all
possible signs for the trackers to read. He followed the trail some
distance, but he didn’t find the missing horses. He pulled his horse to
a stop and sat motionless, trying to decide what to do. If the horses
had merely wandered from the herd, the sooner he hunted for them, the
easier it would be to find them. But it didn’t seem likely that a few of
the horses had wandered off and the others remained. Far more likely the
missing ones had been stolen. He should notify Great Bear and the other
warriors at once.

He swung his horse around and rode back to the herd. It would save time
if he brought the horses into camp for the warriors. He drove most of
the herd ahead of him into camp. Grandfather and several other warriors
heard him coming. They were waiting for him beside Great Bear’s tepee.

“Some of our horses were stolen during the night,” Little Bear reported.

“The Pawnees wouldn’t dare,” Red Cloud growled. “The horses have strayed
away.”

“I hunted for them,” Little Bear explained. “Their trail showed they had
gone fast. If they had strayed, they would have stopped often to graze.”

“The Pawnees had their lesson yesterday,” Red Cloud insisted. “They
wouldn’t dare come back that close to our camp.”

“Others besides Pawnees like Sioux ponies,” Great Bear observed.

The warriors looked questioningly at Great Bear.

“Crows steal Sioux horses, too,” he explained.

Flying Arrow nodded excitedly. “Let’s follow their trail and get our
horses back,” he exclaimed.

“It may not be so easy,” Great Bear warned. “Whoever stole our horses
has a long start. Perhaps he was careful to leave a poor trail. Little
Bear, take us to the trail.”

Little Bear led the way back to the place where he had found the trail.
The other warriors waited while Great Bear got down and examined the
tracks. He studied them carefully. At last he turned to the other
warriors.

“It was a Crow,” he told them, “and only one. He got our horses soon
after our camp went to sleep. He has almost a sun’s start on us, and you
may be sure he will try to hide his trail as soon as he is away from our
camp.”

“We must follow at once,” Flying Arrow insisted. “We won’t let him steal
our horses.”

“Some of us must stay and guard the meat,” Red Cloud objected. “The
chiefs will be expecting us to bring it to the main camp.”

“The chiefs will be angry if we delay the tribe’s start to winter
camping grounds,” Limping Fox warned. “It will not be long until
Old-Man-of-the-North sends snow flying.”

“Red Cloud and Limping Fox have spoken wisely,” Great Bear agreed. “We
must take our meat to the main tribe at once, but I will not lose my
horses to a thieving Crow. While the rest of you return to camp, I will
go after the horses.”

“You should not go alone,” Flying Arrow protested. “I will go with you.”

“The chiefs put you in charge of this hunting party,” Great Bear
reminded him. “You must return with it.”

“That is true,” Flying Arrow admitted. “Still, you should not go alone.”

“I will go with Grandfather,” Little Bear offered.

“Why of course,” Great Bear exclaimed. “I should have thought of that.
Little Bear has proved himself dependable.”

None of the warriors offered a protest. If any of them thought a boy
would be small help on so dangerous an errand, they didn’t say so. The
party rode back into camp where Great Bear busied himself gathering the
things they would take with them. When he had finished, there were only
two small bundles.

“We can travel faster if we travel light,” he explained. “We will find
our food as we need it.”

Despite their haste, the sun was almost overhead when they reached the
trail again. Great Bear took the lead and Little Bear followed behind.
They went rapidly, as whoever had stolen the horses had made no attempt
to hide his trail. They had not gone far before Little Bear realized the
trail was leading straight towards Buffalo Trap Canyon. He could see
Grandfather was troubled because the trail was running so straight and
was so well marked.

When they came to the stream that ran through the valley in front of the
entrance to Buffalo Trap Canyon, Little Bear saw why Grandfather had
been troubled by the plain trail. The trail led straight across the
stream into the place where the grass had been burned off. Here it
became a maze of criss-crossing tracks. Great Bear dismounted and
carefully studied the marks. Little Bear jumped from his horse and
looked, too. The tracks completely puzzled him.

“He led the horses in and out of the stream so that we wouldn’t know
whether to look upstream or downstream for his trail,” Great Bear
explained.

He led Little Bear along the trail upstream. There were many places
where the horses had been led into the stream and back out again. They
returned to the stream they had followed and went downstream. It was the
same here. The horses had been led in and out of the water so many times
it was impossible to tell whether they had finally gone upstream or
down.

“He is clever,” Great Bear admitted grudgingly. “We shall have to search
upstream and downstream to find which way he really went.”

Little Bear looked over the valley where yesterday’s fire had burned off
the grass.

“Perhaps it wouldn’t make any difference whether he went upstream or
downstream,” Little Bear suggested. “I think he would circle around and
get on the trail the Pawnees made when they ran yesterday. He would
think we couldn’t find his trail there.”

Great Bear gave him a surprised look.

“Very good,” he praised. “Of course that is what he would do. When we
find the Pawnees’ trail, we shall find his, too.”

Where the fire had burned, it had covered all traces of the Pawnees’
tracks. But Great Bear judged the Pawnees would ride out of the path of
the fire as quickly as possible. He led the way out of that valley and
into the next one. The fire had burned over this one, too, but had not
gone very high on the hills that formed the south boundary of it. Great
Bear led the way in that direction.

Little Bear anxiously watched the sun. It was dropping to the ground
rapidly. It seemed to be trying to hide its light so that they would
have more trouble finding the Crow. From the time he and Great Bear had
started on the trail, he had known they couldn’t find the horses before
night. Still, he had hoped they could at least find the Pawnees’ trail
before darkness fell. Suddenly Great Bear stopped his horse.

“Here is the Pawnee trail,” he pointed out. “The Crow didn’t ride along
it here, but I think you are right. In the morning we shall find his
trail, too.”

They rode across the next ridge of hills and down into another small
valley. Here the grass was tall and a small spring gurgled up. Little
Bear hobbled their horses while Grandfather got out cold meat for their
supper.

“We’ll have no fire tonight,” Grandfather told him.

While they were eating, Grandfather explained to Little Bear that the
Crow warrior must have seen the Sioux escape from the Pawnee trap. The
Crow would know the Sioux would feel safe after the Pawnees had fled. He
would guess they wouldn’t have a guard watching their horses. It would
give him a good chance to make a raid.

“He would go towards the land of the setting sun, wouldn’t he?” Little
Bear asked.

Grandfather nodded.

“He would circle around and get onto the Pawnees’ trail. He would follow
it until he was sure we had given up trailing him. Then he would turn
directly towards the land of the setting sun,” Great Bear judged.

As soon as he had finished eating, Little Bear rolled himself up in his
buffalo robe and quickly fell asleep. He was awakened during the night
by the sounds of the horses moving about. He sat up quickly. Then he
remembered the horses were not used to hobbles. They were making so much
noise because they were moving awkwardly. He rolled himself in his robe
again and fell asleep.

Morning light was showing only faintly in the east when Grandfather
awakened him. Little Bear rolled his robe into a bundle and tied it on
his horse. He accepted the food Grandfather gave him and munched it as
they rode towards the Pawnees’ trail. When they reached the trail,
Grandfather rode to the left of it and motioned for Little Bear to ride
to the right.

[Illustration]

Little Bear would have liked to let his horse go racing along the trail.
He was sure the Crow was speeding away with the stolen horses while they
were following slowly, searching for his trail. But he knew they
couldn’t find the Crow’s trail unless they went slowly. The farther they
rode, the surer Little Bear became that his idea had been wrong. The
Crow wouldn’t have circled that far before getting on the Pawnees’
trail. He looked across at Great Bear. How much farther would
Grandfather ride before he gave up and turned back to search for the
Crow’s trail at the stream?

Then Grandfather called to him softly. “Here’s where he rode into the
Pawnees’ trail.”

Little Bear turned his horse to Grandfather’s side of the trail. The
grass was bent down, and there were plain tracks where the rider had
brought his horses into the trail. Grandfather dismounted and studied
the tracks.

“One horse has a bad stone bruise,” he pointed out. “See how light the
foot print is. That horse is limping.”

Little Bear dismounted and bent over the tracks. He could see that one
hoof had not cut as deeply as the others.

“We should soon catch him,” he exclaimed.

“We have lost much time finding the trail,” Great Bear reminded him. “He
is far ahead and today we must find game. Our food is gone.”

He smiled at Little Bear’s look of disappointment.

“Never fear,” he promised. “We will catch him and get our horses.”



                              CHAPTER FOUR


Grandfather’s words warned Little Bear the chase was going to be much
longer than they had planned. If there were hope of catching the thief
before another sunrise, Grandfather wouldn’t stop to find food. He began
to worry that a storm might erase the trail, or that the warrior would
get back to the land of the Crows, where he would have friends to help
him and it would be too dangerous for them to follow.

Now that they were sure they were on the trail of the Crow, Grandfather
increased the pace to an easy lope. It was a pace the horses could keep
up all day. It would carry them over a great distance. The Pawnees’
trail led almost due west so that there was no need to watch for a place
where the Crow had left it. He was sure to stay on it as long as it went
in that direction. The sun was almost straight overhead when they came
to a small stream. Both Grandfather and Little Bear knelt and drank the
clear, cool water. They let the horses drink their fill, too.

Grandfather and Little Bear sprawled in the sun while they allowed the
horses to graze. Little Bear was very hungry, but he made no complaint.

“This afternoon we will get a buffalo,” Great Bear announced.

“Food will be good,” Little Bear agreed.

[Illustration]

After a short rest, they started on the trail again. It led them across
a shallow, sandy stream, wider than any they had crossed before. They
had ridden about an hour after crossing the stream when the trail turned
sharply to the left. Great Bear kept his horse to the right side of the
trail and motioned for Little Bear to follow behind him. Both watched to
the right. It was certain the Crow would not follow the trail far in
this direction, and when he turned off, he would turn to the right and
go west. After a time Great Bear slowed his horse to a walk.

“He wouldn’t have followed the Pawnees’ trail much farther,” Grandfather
said uneasily. “We must be sure we don’t lose his trail. If we do, we’ll
lose more time.”

Both of them watched the trail carefully. The grass on both sides was
tall and dry. Five or six horses, turning out of the trail, would leave
a track that could easily be seen. Yet they went on and on without
finding a sign that any horses had turned out of the trail. Finally
Great Bear stopped his horse and dismounted. He bent over the trail and
studied it carefully.

“There is no sign of a limping horse,” he said.

“The warrior could have the lame horse at the front of the line so that
the others would walk over his tracks and hide them,” Little Bear
suggested.

“He could,” Great Bear agreed, “but I don’t think he would. He’s
probably sure no one is following him and the lame horse would travel
better at the end of the line.”

“Grandfather,” Little Bear exclaimed in dismay. “Do you remember that
wide, sandy stream we crossed far back there?”

Little Bear almost had to laugh at the disappointed look on Great Bear’s
face.

“Of course,” Great Bear moaned. “The stream is wide enough so that the
Crow could lead his horses up it and hide his trail. That is where he
turned off.”

He and Little Bear turned their horses back the way they had come. Now
they rode at a headlong pace, as though trying to recapture the time
they had lost. When they came to the river, Great Bear turned upstream.
Both Grandfather and Little Bear rode slowly along the bank, watching
for the place where the Crow had left the stream. They had gone so far
that Little Bear was wondering if they had been wrong, when Grandfather
stopped his horse and pointed. There was the trail the horses had left
as the Crow brought them out of the water.

The plainly marked trail led straight west. No one could have hidden a
trail made by several horses in that dry grass.

“It is nearing time for the sun to go to rest,” Grandfather said after
they had followed the trail some distance. “We must get a buffalo for
our food.”

Great Bear kept a careful watch to each side. Little Bear was puzzled by
the old warrior’s carefulness. Finally Great Bear stopped by a
tree-lined stream.

“I have been watching for signs of buffalo,” Great Bear explained. “I am
sure there are buffalo near. You gather wood while I go to the top of
that hill to the north.”

Great Bear left his horse with Little Bear and set off on foot for the
top of the hill. While Grandfather was gone, Little Bear searched for
wood. He picked up only sticks which were thoroughly dry. These would
make a hot fire, but would give off very little smoke or flame. An enemy
would have to be close to find a fire built with such wood.

Great Bear soon returned.

“There is a big herd of buffalo in the valley across the hill,” he told
Little Bear, “but I am afraid we don’t dare shoot one of them.”

“Why?” Little Bear asked anxiously.

“The hills to the north of the herd are high and steep,” Great Bear
explained. “When we ride towards the herd, the buffaloes will run to the
west. If they run far, their dust and noise will warn the Crow someone
is following him.”

“Couldn’t we ride to the west and come towards the herd from that
direction?” Little Bear suggested.

“Of course not,” Great Bear answered sharply. “The wind blows from that
direction. The buffaloes would catch our scent long before we were near
them.”

Little Bear was ashamed of the question he had asked. He should have
remembered the wind would carry the scent of anyone to the west of the
herd.

“I could ride to the setting sun and start the buffaloes running this
way,” Little Bear proposed. “You could ride from this direction and
shoot a buffalo for us.”

“That plan might work,” Grandfather agreed. “However, the one riding
from the west would need to know how close he dared ride and how fast.
Only an experienced hunter would know that.”

“Perhaps you could circle the herd and I could shoot a buffalo for us,”
Little Bear suggested.

“It is our best chance,” Great Bear agreed. “We shall try it.”

Grandfather gave Little Bear careful instructions as to how long he
should wait before crossing the hill and just how he was to shoot a
buffalo when he rode into the herd.

“Shoot the first fat calf you can,” Great Bear instructed. “Then wait
for me.”

After Grandfather had left to circle to the west of the herd, Little
Bear checked his arrows. Two of them were not quite true. These he laid
near the wood he had gathered for the fire. Then he mounted his horse
and rode halfway up the hill. He dismounted and tied his horse to a
shrub.

On foot, Little Bear went forward slowly and carefully. Halfway from his
horse to the top of the hill, he dropped to his hands and knees and
crawled forward. Near the top of the hill he lay on his stomach and
squirmed ahead. When he reached the top of the hill, he slowly raised
his head and looked into the valley below him.

It was a much larger valley than any they had crossed that day. The hill
on which he was lying sloped gently down to the valley floor. There were
so many buffaloes in the valley that trying to count them would be like
trying to count the sands on a river bank. Many of the buffaloes were
grazing. A few young ones were scuffling. Not far from Little Bear an
old bull buffalo was rolling on the ground. There were many buffalo cows
with calves at their sides. Little Bear picked out one large, fat calf
as the one he would shoot for their food.

[Illustration]

He waited patiently for the signs Great Bear had told him the buffaloes
would make when they caught the first faint trace of man scent. He saw a
cow, far out in the valley, lift her head and sniff to the west. Another
cow did the same. This was the sign they were catching a trace of Great
Bear’s scent. Little Bear slid back a few paces, jumped up, and ran to
his horse.

Little Bear’s horse pulled excitedly at its rope. Grandfather had used
that horse as his buffalo-hunting horse before he gave it to Little
Bear. It had caught the scent of buffalo and was as excited about taking
part in the chase as Little Bear was. The moment Little Bear untied the
horse and jumped on its back, it sped off like an arrow shot from a bow.

When horse and rider charged over the hill, the bull buffalo that had
been rolling on the ground scrambled awkwardly to his feet. The
buffaloes nearest Little Bear pushed forward. In a matter of moments the
whole herd was running. The cows and calves moved to the front while the
bulls ran clumsily at the rear of the herd.

Little Bear spied the calf he had selected. By the pressure of his knees
against the horse’s side, he guided it towards the calf. Two bulls,
running side by side, were in the way. The horse raced straight towards
them. The bulls floundered aside and the horse sped between them.

Nearer and nearer to the calf the racing horse carried its rider. Little
Bear fixed an arrow to his bow. As his horse brought him alongside of
the calf, Little Bear let the arrow fly. It struck the calf in the
foreleg, but the calf didn’t even waver in its stride. Little Bear
fitted another arrow to his bow. He pressed his knees tightly against
the horse’s side and leaned far over towards the calf. He took careful
aim for the spot just back of the calf’s foreleg, as Great Bear had told
him to do. He drew the bow string back with all of his strength and let
the arrow fly. It flew straight to the mark. The calf lunged forward and
fell to the ground.

Little Bear pulled his excited horse to a stop and turned back to the
calf. The buffaloes that had been behind swerved to the side and raced
on. Little Bear saw the herd veer from the west and make for the steep
hills at the north end of the valley. After a time Great Bear rode into
sight from the west.

The buffaloes soon slowed their speed. Little Bear had heard warriors
tell that buffaloes couldn’t see very far. This herd soon proved the
truth of the warriors’ statement. As soon as the buffaloes had run far
enough to lose Great Bear’s scent, they stopped. The plan had worked.
Even if the buffalo herd was near the Crow who had stolen the Sioux
horses, it had not run far enough to alarm him.

Grandfather pulled his horse to a stop beside Little Bear. He glanced
down at the buffalo calf.

“Good,” he praised. “Not many hunters are able to get their first
buffalo with only two arrows.”

Little Bear helped his grandfather skin and butcher the buffalo. Despite
the fact that they wanted to travel light, Great Bear insisted that they
save the buffalo hide.

“A hunter should save the hide of his first buffalo,” he said.

They returned to the spot they had selected for their camp. Great Bear
examined the sticks Little Bear had collected for their fire. He nodded
approval. He was very careful as he started the fire to make sure he
didn’t put too much fuel on at once. He wanted no tell-tale smoke rising
from the flames. He did so well that Little Bear could see no smoke
rising from the fire when he was only a few paces away.

“Grandfather?” Little Bear questioned as they were eating their supper.
“If we get Flying Arrow’s horses back for him, would it be right for me
to accept the roan colt as a reward?”

“It would be.” Grandfather nodded. “The Sioux law is that horses which
have been stolen and are not recovered within three days belong to
whoever recaptures them later.”

“When we find that Crow,” Little Bear went on, “will you let me help
recapture the horses?”

“You are anxious to have that roan colt, aren’t you?” Great Bear smiled.

“He will grow up to be a fine horse,” Little Bear replied. “Will you let
me help capture the horses?”

“No matter which of us takes the horses,” Great Bear explained, “they
will belong equally to each of us. Each is doing his part to get them.”

They sat together in silence as the fire died down. Little Bear was
thinking of what a good horse he could train that roan colt to be. The
horse he had now was the best trained in the whole Sioux camp, and it
had been almost too old to train when Grandfather gave it to him. If he
had the colt to train, he could do still better.

“The Great Spirit does not help us much,” Great Bear said after they had
sat in silence for some time.

“The Crow has strong medicine,” Little Bear agreed. “His trail is hard
to follow.”

“We are nearing the place of water-that-falls,” Great Bear told him. “If
we are not near the Crow tomorrow when the sun sinks, we will turn
aside. I shall go to the falls and listen for a message from the Great
Spirit.”

“May I try to get a message from the Great Spirit, too?” Little Bear
requested. “I should like to find medicine which will make sure that I
get the roan colt.”

“You may try for a vision,” Great Bear agreed.
“Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls may have a message for you. Now go to sleep.
In the morning we start early.”

Obediently Little Bear curled up in his robe. The last thing he saw as
he pulled the robe over his head was the hide of the buffalo he had
shot. Grandfather had hung it over a large bush. Little Bear dropped off
to sleep, dreaming he was mounted on a big roan horse and chasing the
whole Crow tribe ahead of him.



                              CHAPTER FIVE


The light of the tiny fire Great Bear had kindled awakened Little Bear
the next morning. Grandfather had meat cooked for their meal. As soon as
they had finished eating, Great Bear cooked all of the meat that was
left.

“When we get near the Crow, we won’t dare start a fire,” he explained.

They lost little time getting started. Great Bear packed the cooked meat
in one bundle and tied it on his horse. The buffalo hide was added to
Little Bear’s pack. They pushed their horses as fast as they dared.
Little Bear watched the trail left by the Crow. He was disappointed to
see it was getting no fresher. Their enemy was traveling as fast as they
were.

Their rest at noon was brief. When they started on again, Little Bear
noticed Grandfather was constantly looking towards the northwest. As the
afternoon wore on, the old warrior showed more and more anxiety. Little
Bear noticed a bank of rain clouds in the northwest, but it was odd for
Great Bear to worry about so small a thing as a soaking by a rainstorm.

“Why do the clouds trouble you, Grandfather?” Little Bear asked.

“I have the feeling of bad weather,” Great Bear replied. “These canyons
are dangerous places when Old-Man-of-the-Sky dumps much water.”

[Illustration]

They had left the wide flat valleys and were riding through narrow
canyons with steep sides. There were many openings leading into these
canyons. Little Bear wondered if Grandfather could find his way if there
were no trail to follow. Probably he could. He seemed to know where they
were. Little Bear had been thinking how easy it would be for the Crow to
hide his horse in one of the canyons leading from the one they were in.
He could wait for them and easily ambush them. He hadn’t thought at all
of the danger of a heavy rain sending water roaring down the narrow
canyon. Now that Grandfather had mentioned his fears, Little Bear
remembered tales of warriors who had been caught in sudden floods and
drowned.

He heard the faint roll of distant thunder. Soon the sound came nearer
and became an almost continuous rumble. Little Bear saw a fork of
lightning streak across the clouds.

“We must get to higher ground,” Great Bear warned. “Watch for a way out
of this canyon.”

They urged their horses to a faster pace. The sound of thunder was no
longer a distant rumble, but had become a crashing roar.
Old-Man-of-the-Sky was throwing his lightning bolts all around them.
Great Bear halted at a place where it seemed it might be possible for
the horses to climb the canyon wall. He jumped from his horse and
grabbed the halter rope. It was a steep slope and the ground was loose,
giving the horse poor footing. With Great Bear pulling at the rope, the
horse slowly struggled up the bank. Little Bear waited until Great Bear
had his horse halfway up before he started to follow. Both horses
slipped and struggled, but slowly fought their way ahead.

At last they came to a wide shelf on the side of the hill. It didn’t
appear to be a very safe place. Little Bear wondered how much rain it
would take to loosen the ledge from the side of the cliff and send it
crashing to the bottom of the canyon. They had no choice except to stay.
The walls of the canyon above them were so steep that they couldn’t go
any higher.

The rain started with a few scattered drops which soon became a pounding
downpour. Both Little Bear and Grandfather grabbed their buffalo robes
and pulled them around their shoulders as they crouched against the side
of the cliff. Little Bear could hear the thunderbolts, which
Old-Man-of-the-Sky was throwing at the earth, crashing and bouncing
back. There was the mounting roar of the wind around them.

The horses had moved about the ledge, looking for grass. As the wind
rose, they, too, crowded against the cliff for shelter. Little Bear
thought he could hear another roar mounting above the roar of the wind.
Great Bear crouched forward in order to hear better.

“It is a wall of water going down the canyon,” Great Bear guessed,
shouting to make his voice heard.

“Will it be this high?” Little Bear tried to keep the fear out of his
voice.

“We can only wait and see,” Grandfather answered.

The storm had shut out the light so quickly that it was almost dark.
Little Bear crouched despairingly against the cliff. He felt above his
head in the hope he could find rough places which could be used as steps
out of the canyon. The wall was smooth and water running down it made it
slippery. If the water in the canyon rose to their shelf, there was no
way of escape.

He couldn’t talk to Great Bear. The thundering, crashing roar of water
was so loud he couldn’t have made himself heard if he had leaned close
to Great Bear’s ear and shouted. The rain began to slacken, but the roar
of water in the canyon grew louder. Little Bear knew that even if the
rain stopped at once, the water in the canyon might still rise to their
shelf.

He waited for what seemed hours. The rain decreased until there was only
a light drizzle falling. Little Bear’s muscles ached from sitting in his
cramped position. At last he could stand it no longer. Slowly he got to
his feet. Sharp pains ran up and down his arms and legs, but as he
continued to move around, the pains soon left. Was the deafening roar of
water in the canyon decreasing? He waited, listening. He saw Great Bear
raise his head in a listening attitude. Slowly Grandfather got to his
feet.

“The water is going down,” Great Bear shouted.

It was true. Only a few minutes earlier he couldn’t have heard
Grandfather shout. The roar of rushing water lessened rapidly. In a
short time the sound was no more than what a small river would have
made.

Not until his fear of rising water had completely disappeared did Little
Bear realize how uncomfortable he was. He was wet through and thoroughly
chilled. He had to clamp his jaws tight to keep his teeth from
chattering.

As the downpour of rain had lessened into a drizzle, it had grown
lighter, but it was only the light of evening. Soon it would be
pitch-dark again.

“We must find fuel and build a fire,” Great Bear warned.

There were no trees on the small shelf. Finding wood appeared to be a
hopeless task. Darkness fell rapidly, adding to their difficulties.
Little Bear searched to the right and Grandfather to the left. Little
Bear found a small clump of brush and a few dead branches. He got down
on his hands and knees and groped around, but could find no more. He
carried the few he had found back to the cliff. Great Bear had been more
fortunate. He had brought back a large, dead limb.

“There must be more wood where I found this branch,” Great Bear said.
“It must have blown from a tree at the top of the cliff. When we get a
fire started, we may be able to find more.”

They had a hard time starting a fire. The branch Great Bear had found
seemed to be soaked almost entirely through. Great Bear took his knife
and peeled away the outer part of the limb. When he had whittled to a
part of the limb that was almost dry, he had Little Bear hold his robe
to shield the shavings from the rain. Grandfather whittled off a
good-sized pile of shavings and then cut a few thicker pieces of wood.

When he thought he had enough shavings to start a fire, Great Bear laid
aside his knife and picked up flint and steel. He struck them together.
A spark fell on the pile of shavings and immediately went out. Great
Bear moved the shavings about, trying to get drier ones to the top of
the pile. He struck another spark, but again it died without lighting
the shavings.

“These shavings aren’t dry enough,” Great Bear declared. “I’ll have to
get drier shavings.”

He took up his knife and cut into the branch in another place. Little
Bear’s arms were aching from holding the heavy buffalo robe. Great Bear
whittled carefully until he had another pile of shavings ready. He
struck flint to steel. A spark dropped on the shavings and went out. He
struck again. Another spark fell, smouldered a moment, and blazed up in
a tiny flame. Great Bear slowly added shavings and, as the flame leaped
up, put thicker pieces on the fire.

“You won’t need to hold the robe over it now,” he told Little Bear.

Thankfully Little Bear laid the buffalo robe on the ground. He would
have liked to sit down and rest, but they needed more fuel. As Great
Bear slowly built up the fire, Little Bear started out to find more
wood. The tiny fire gave little light. Yet when Little Bear was some
distance from the fire and turned to face it, he could see better. He
found two more small limbs.

As soon as Great Bear had the fire burning well enough so that he dared
leave it, both of them went back and searched. In the darkness they had
to move carefully for fear they would slip over the edge of the cliff.
Although they searched carefully, they found only two small handfuls of
wood. By the time they returned to the fire, the rain had stopped.

“We’ll dry our robes first,” Great Bear decided.

He set up some of the larger sticks to make a framework near the fire.
They laid the robes over the framework. When the robes were dry, they
removed their clothes, wrapped themselves in the robes, and hung their
clothes on the framework to dry.

It was not until he was comfortably warm that Little Bear realized how
hungry he was. He found the package of meat they had brought with them.
While they were eating, Little Bear noticed how their tiny fire made a
flickering light on the canyon wall.

“Won’t our enemies be able to see this fire a great distance?” he asked
anxiously.

“No,” Great Bear assured him. “There are hills high above us in every
direction. Besides, anyone caught in this rain would be as busy trying
to get dry as we are.”

It was then that a terrible thought struck Little Bear. “The rain washed
away the Crow’s trail,” he exclaimed.

“Yes,” Grandfather agreed sadly. “Now we won’t be able to track him. We
may as well start for the winter camp in the morning.”

“We can’t give up,” Little Bear protested, thinking of that roan colt he
hoped to own when he returned Flying Arrow’s other horses. “We must be
near the Crow.”

“Very likely we are near him,” Great Bear agreed, “but this land is made
up of many small canyons like the ones we came through. How are we to
find the Crow?”

“You said we are near the place of water-that-falls,” Little Bear said
thoughtfully. “Let’s go there before we give up. Perhaps
Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls will guide us to our enemy.”

“All of the spirits seem to work for our enemy,” Great Bear pointed out.
“Yet it might be a gift would win the help of
Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls. But what do we have to offer as a gift?”

“We could make him a present of the buffalo hide,” Little Bear
suggested. “He should like a present of the hide of my first buffalo.”

“That would be a fine present indeed.” Great Bear smiled. “We shall take
it to him tomorrow.”

Little Bear wrapped himself in his robe and fell into a fitful sleep. He
dreamed that he was climbing up and down steep canyon walls while a
splendid roan horse was leaping across the canyons. The horse seemed
never to run off and leave him, but always stayed just the width of one
canyon ahead of him.



                              CHAPTER SIX


The sun was just climbing over the hill to the east when Little Bear
awoke. There was an unusual stillness about the camp. He sat up with a
puzzled look. A glance at Great Bear’s robe showed part of the reason
for the stillness. Great Bear was still asleep. Little Bear crawled
silently out of his robe and looked around. The horses were gone!

Into Little Bear’s mind flashed a picture of Grandfather and him,
trudging afoot that long, weary journey to the main Sioux camp. He went
over to the spot where the horses had been standing. He felt some relief
when he wasn’t able to find any moccasin tracks. If the horses had
strayed off, he might be able to catch them.

The horses’ tracks led to the edge of the shelf and down the steep bank.
There were great furrows plowed in the soft mud where the horses had set
their feet and slid down. Little Bear went slipping and sliding down the
trail the horses had made. When he got to the bottom of the canyon, he
found a small stream of water was still running. He noticed the horses
had stopped to drink from the muddy stream. He glanced back at the side
of the canyon. The high water mark was far above his head. He and
Grandfather would have been swept away by the torrent if they hadn’t
climbed out of it when they did.

He had no trouble following the horses’ tracks. The animals’ hooves had
left deep marks in the wet ground. Nevertheless he was pleased to find
the two horses grazing on some bunches of grass that had not been
covered with mud. Since he was sure the horses would not stray far,
Little Bear started back to camp. He had trouble climbing up the
slippery bank, but finally got back to the shelf. Great Bear was
crawling out of his robe as Little Bear returned.

“Where are the horses?” Great Bear demanded anxiously.

“They are grazing in the canyon,” Little Bear explained.

“If we can find wood, we will build a fire,” Great Bear decided. “There
is small danger anyone will see the smoke.”

They searched the place where they had found wood for last night’s fire.
There were only a few small sticks they had missed in the darkness.
Great Bear whittled these into fine shavings. After many failures, he
finally managed to get a fire started. The damp wood didn’t make a very
good fire, but it did give off some heat.

“How far is it to the place of tumbling waters?” Little Bear asked.

“Not far,” Grandfather answered. “We should be there by the time the sun
is straight overhead.”

The trip towards the place of tumbling waters was slow and tiresome.
Great Bear had lost all hope of recapturing the stolen horses. Little
Bear, too, was greatly discouraged. Unless Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls
told one of them in a dream how to find the trail, the Crow was almost
sure to escape. At first Little Bear took some pleasure from the thought
that the Crow might have been caught in the flood. It would be good to
have the Great Spirit get rid of one enemy. Then he remembered that if
the Crow were drowned in a flood, the horses would be, too, and the
thought was less pleasant.

Great Bear’s horse plodded slowly along with Little Bear’s following.
There was a heavy carpeting of grass in the canyon, but the flood had so
soaked the ground that the horses sank deep. The sun was almost straight
overhead when they came out of the canyon onto higher ground. Here the
footing was more solid and the horses moved faster.

“Are we getting near, Grandfather?” Little Bear asked.

“It will take longer than I expected,” Grandfather admitted. “Still, we
should be there before dark.”

After following high ground for a time, Great Bear turned his horse to
the left. The ground sloped to the south, and soon Little Bear saw they
were nearing a river. Grandfather led the way along the bank of the
stream. For some time Little Bear had thought he heard a roaring sound
like that of the night before. Now there could be no doubt of it. It was
the roar of rushing water. He wondered anxiously why Great Bear didn’t
turn towards higher land so that they could escape this flood.

“We are near the place of tumbling waters,” Great Bear explained,
stopping his horse. “We will turn the horses loose to graze while we go
ahead on foot.”

Little Bear looked about the place where they had stopped. He saw a
small stream winding through a clump of willows and emptying into the
river. Great Bear led the way along the bank of this stream. As they
went ahead, the roar increased steadily. Little Bear kept a watch on all
sides, half expecting Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls, or some other spirit,
to step out and stop them. Little Bear was carrying the skin of the
buffalo he had shot, and he was ready to drop it and run if a spirit
appeared.

They rounded a clump of trees and came into view of the waterfall.
Little Bear stopped to look. High above them the water dropped over a
rocky ledge and came cascading down to a pool below. Part way down, a
huge boulder split the sheet of water into two separate sprays. Both
sprays fell into one large pool and churned the water up as though there
were an evil spirit stirring it.

Great Bear had to lean close to Little Bear’s ear to make himself heard
above the roar of the falling water.

“You go behind that fall,” he directed, pointing to the fall at the
left. “Behind it you will find a place that is almost dry. Lay the
buffalo skin near the water where the Spirit will be sure to find it.
Then sit down and wait for a vision. I will go behind this one. If the
Spirit sends you a vision, be sure to ask how we can get our Sioux
horses back.”

Little Bear nodded. He went to a narrow place below the pool and jumped
to the other side. He went slowly and fearfully towards the roaring
falls. If he had been alone, he would have turned back. He wondered how
he could possibly get through that sheet of falling water to get behind
it. But as he came closer, he saw that the water spurted out a
considerable distance from the bank. He could walk to one side and get
behind the falls.

Behind the falls the roar of water was not nearly so loud. Little Bear
took the buffalo skin and carefully stretched it out near the falling
water. There was a fine mist spraying upon him, but when he moved back
near the bank, the spray no longer hit him. He found a large boulder
where he could sit with his back against the wall. He held himself
motionless, waiting for a visit from Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls.

[Illustration: _He went slowly and fearfully towards the roaring falls_]

Perhaps it was because he was more than a little frightened at being
there, or because it was all new and wonderful that he was alert and
wide-awake. In all of the stories Grandfather and other warriors had
told him of speaking with spirits, the warriors had always been asleep
when the spirits appeared. Little Bear tried closing his eyes, but that
did no good. He thought of getting up and walking around, but there was
scarcely enough room behind the falls.

He noticed mud swallows were darting about behind the sheet of falling
water. The small birds would light on the ground, dip their beaks in the
mud, and fly high up on the face of the cliff. They never flew in a
straight course, but always zig-zagged irregularly. Since he had nothing
better to do and needed practice with his bow, Little Bear began to
shoot at the darting birds. They flew so swiftly and darted so
unexpectedly that he couldn’t hit any of them. He had shot his fifth
arrow when suddenly a large warrior, mounted on a beautiful roan horse,
rode out of the falls straight towards him. Little Bear knew at once
this was Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls coming to visit him.

“I see you like my little birds,” the Spirit said in a rumbling voice.

Little Bear could find no words to answer him.

“I know you are here because a Crow warrior has stolen horses from your
hunting party,” the Spirit went on. “You want to get them back so that
your grandfather will have a good buffalo hunting horse and you can
trade for a roan colt. You gave me a present. Come, I will show you how
to get your horses.”

Little Bear got on the horse behind the Spirit and they rushed off
towards the setting sun. They soon saw the Crow running ahead of them.
They followed him through woods, across streams, and over rocky ground.
Once they lost the Crow in a snowstorm. The wind blew the snow at them
so hard that the Spirit and Little Bear had to get off and walk. They
came upon the Crow again in a small canyon. He was scraping snow aside
to make a place where he could build a fire.

“We can get the horses while he isn’t watching,” the Spirit said.

At that moment Little Bear woke up. He was still sitting on the rock
behind the waterfall. He was cold, hungry, and bewildered. Had
Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls shown him how to get their horses back, or
was the whole adventure only a dream? Perhaps Grandfather could tell
him. Little Bear gathered his arrows and stepped out from behind the
waterfall. The sun had gone down and it was almost dark. Great Bear was
waiting for him below the pool.

Little Bear jumped across the stream and joined his grandfather. Without
a word Great Bear led the way back to their horses. Little Bear noticed
Grandfather seemed even more discouraged and disturbed than when they
had started for the falls. As he gathered wood for a fire, Little Bear
became more worried, too. Probably he hadn’t had a message from the
Spirit, but had only dreamed the whole thing.

“Did you get a message from Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls?” Grandfather
asked as they were eating.

Little Bear told him what had happened. “Was it a message or only a
dream, Grandfather?”

“I don’t know,” Great Bear answered sadly. “I, too, had a vision. All I
saw was that we were going towards the land of the setting sun.”

Suddenly his face lighted up.

“Of course it is a message.” Great Bear gasped. “The Crow is going
towards the setting sun. We shall find his trail again.”

The next morning they were up early. The sun had not yet risen over the
hill when they mounted and rode off. They rode out of the valley and
then turned west. Instead of having Little Bear follow as before, Great
Bear had him ride well to the left. Both of them constantly searched the
ground for signs of their enemy’s trail. They were so intent on watching
for signs of a trail that neither of them noticed that birds were no
longer flying up, ahead of them. They would have ridden straight on if
Little Bear’s horse hadn’t tossed its head and come to a stop.

“There is something ahead,” Great Bear warned in a low voice. “Quick,
get into that clump of brush.”

They put their horses behind a small clump of brush growing on the
hillside. The clump was too small to make a good hiding place, but
anyone coming from the other side of the hill would have to get to the
top of the hill before he could see them there.

“What do you think is over there?” Little Bear whispered as they tied
their horses.

“It must be that Crow warrior we are hunting,” Great Bear guessed.
“Probably he had to make a circle after the flood. He must be just
ahead. We will scout to the top and see.”

They crouched low and slowly worked their way to the top of the hill. At
the top Little Bear had to choke back a gasp of surprise. A party of at
least twenty Pawnees was riding into the glade on the other side of the
hill. If Little Bear’s horse hadn’t given the warning, the two Sioux
would have ridden straight into that Pawnee war party without a chance
of escape. Even now the danger was great. The Pawnees were sure to send
scouts to the top of the hill. Grandfather and Little Bear must move
quickly to have a chance of escaping.

Careful to make no sound they crawled back. As soon as they were far
enough down the hill, they got to their feet and hurried to the horses.
They jumped on their horses and started back the way they had come.
Little Bear would have liked to kick his horse with his heels and send
it flying, but Grandfather led the way at a walk. Although the ground
was soft from the heavy rain, the sound of running horses would carry
across the hill to the Pawnees.

Great Bear turned his horse towards a coulee which cut into the hillside
for some distance. Little Bear kept a constant watch towards the top of
the hill. He and Grandfather were almost to the coulee when he saw the
head feathers of a Pawnee warrior rising from the other side of the
hill.

“Run for it, Grandfather,” he whispered urgently, but at that moment the
head feathers disappeared.

The Pawnee had turned back before he had reached a point high enough so
that he could see them.

“He turned back,” Little Bear called softly.

No other Pawnee appeared before Great Bear led the way into the coulee.
When Little Bear and his grandfather dismounted, the banks of the coulee
were almost high enough to conceal the horses. Great Bear motioned for
Little Bear to take the halter ropes and lead the horses down the
coulee. Great Bear leaned against the bank and watched towards the top
of the hill.

“Wait,” Great Bear ordered. “Two warriors are coming over the hill.”

Little Bear stopped. He crouched low and held the lead ropes firmly so
that the horses could not toss their heads. The Pawnees would be sure to
investigate any movement in the coulee.

“They turned back.” Great Bear spoke in relief.

Little Bear got to his feet and started forward again.

“Here comes another one,” Great Bear whispered warningly.

Little Bear crouched and waited. He saw Great Bear fit an arrow to his
bow. Little Bear waited tensely. If the warrior came only a short
distance over the hill, he would be able to see into the coulee. Great
Bear could pick him off with an arrow, but the Pawnee’s horse would be
sure to bolt back to the Pawnee camp. Chance of escaping was fading
rapidly.

“He turned back.” Great Bear breathed a great sigh of relief. “We’ll go
ahead now.”

Little Bear led the horses while Grandfather stayed behind to watch for
other Pawnees. The coulee deepened rapidly until soon Little Bear and
the horses were well hidden. As soon as Little Bear had the horses in
the deeper part of the coulee, Great Bear joined him. They pushed
through the coulee until it opened into a small valley. Here Great Bear
called a halt.

“It will be better for us to wait here until the sun sets,” he decided.



                             CHAPTER SEVEN


“I believe those are the Pawnees who had our hunting party trapped,”
Little Bear said as they waited. “I thought I recognized some of the
horses.”

“I’m sure it is the same party,” Great Bear agreed.

“We ought to punish them,” Little Bear suggested.

There was a hint of a smile at the corners of Great Bear’s mouth.

“And how do you think two of us are to punish twenty Pawnee warriors?”
he asked.

“We could capture some of their horses,” Little Bear proposed.

Grandfather remained thoughtfully silent for a long time.

“It might be done,” he agreed finally, “although it would be dangerous.
Pawnee war parties usually hobble their horses and keep them near camp.”

“Then there will be no sentry watching the horses,” Little Bear pointed
out.

“We shall try,” Great Bear agreed. “I shall try to think of a plan that
will work.”

While Great Bear was trying to think of a plan, Little Bear was
thinking, too. He remembered how easily the Crow had made off with the
Sioux horses, but those horses had been across a hill from camp. The
Pawnees would have their horses near their camp. Besides, the horses
would be hobbled. The hobbles would have to be removed before the horses
could be taken and that would add much to the danger of the attempt.

“I believe I have a plan,” Great Bear said. “When the Pawnees are
asleep, we shall approach their horses from this side. That way the
horses will be between us and the Pawnee camp. There will be less danger
of our being seen. Above all, we must be careful not to excite the
horses. The Pawnees will be sure to investigate any unusual sounds.”

As soon as the sun had gone down, and before darkness closed in, they
started off. As usual Great Bear led the way. The path he chose followed
the valley in a winding course to the west.

“We should be directly south of their camp now,” Great Bear said as he
halted. “This is a good place to leave our horses.”

They tied their horses and started north on foot. Their way led up a
gently sloping hill, which divided their valley from the one in which
the Pawnees were camped. By the time Little Bear and his grandfather had
reached the top of the hill, darkness had closed around them.

[Illustration]

The Pawnees had selected a good spot for their camp. It was in the
middle of a saucer-like valley. There were a few scattered trees in the
valley, but not enough to offer hiding for anyone trying to sneak up on
the camp. The Pawnees had eaten their supper and were lounging about a
big campfire. Little Bear could see large bundles lying at the edge of
the firelight. He knew those were bundles of meat wrapped in buffalo
hides.

“They are foolishly brave.” Great Bear grunted. “They have killed
buffalo on Sioux hunting grounds, and now they have a big campfire, as
though they were in their own land.”

“We will teach them to stay off Sioux hunting grounds,” Little Bear
whispered fiercely.

The two lay and watched the camp. The north wind was chilly, making the
campfire look inviting. As Great Bear had planned, the Pawnee horses
were south of the camp. He and Little Bear wouldn’t have to circle the
Pawnee camp to get to the horses.

It seemed to Little Bear the warriors would never roll up in their
blankets and go to sleep. The campfire died down to glowing embers.
Finally the last Pawnee warrior rolled up in his blankets. Little Bear
started to crawl forward, but Grandfather reached out and put a hand on
his shoulder.

“Wait,” Great Bear ordered. “Pawnees are sly.”

Little Bear waited impatiently. It would take a long time to crawl to
those horses and still longer to untie hobbles and get away from the
Pawnee camp. If he and Grandfather didn’t start soon, the sun would be
up before they were out of the valley. Great Bear lay motionless, and in
a moment Little Bear understood the wisdom of Grandfather’s caution. He
saw a shadowy movement in the Pawnee camp. An ember in the dying fire
broke and sent up a flame of light. In that light Little Bear saw a
warrior crawl out of his blankets and start circling the herd of horses.

The warrior made a complete circuit of the herd. Sometimes he was hidden
from view behind a horse or in its shadow, but at last Little Bear saw
the warrior return to his blankets. Still Great Bear made no move to
start towards the horses. After a time, another warrior left his
blankets as the first one had done. It was so dark Little Bear couldn’t
follow the warrior’s movements after he left the glow of the fire, but
at last he saw that warrior complete his circuit and return to his
blankets.

“Will they do that all night?” Little Bear whispered despairingly.

“No,” Great Bear reassured him. “But there will be one more and perhaps
two.”

To Little Bear it seemed certain the night would be gone while he and
Grandfather waited. At last he saw a shadowy movement that told him a
third warrior was making a circuit of the herd.

“There may be another one,” Great Bear warned, “but we can wait no
longer. Keep a sharp watch. We are starting.”

For some time they crawled forward side by side. When they reached a
point about halfway to the horses, they separated as Great Bear had
planned. Little Bear swerved to the left and Great Bear to the right.
Little Bear inched forward until he was near enough to the horses so
that the sounds they made would hide any little noise he made as he
crept forward. He got to his hands and knees and moved more rapidly.
Suddenly he flattened out and lay motionless. A few steps ahead, between
him and the horses, a Pawnee warrior was circling the herd. Little Bear
dared not cry out a warning to Grandfather.

Little Bear’s heart was thumping so loudly he was sure the Pawnee must
come to investigate the sound. Even when the warrior moved on, Little
Bear’s heart continued to race. The Pawnee might still discover Great
Bear. The minutes dragged by with no unusual sounds until finally Little
Bear was sure the warrior hadn’t seen Grandfather either.

Little Bear started forward again. When he was near enough to the horses
so that they would hide him from the camp, he slowly got to his feet.
The nearest horse snorted loudly and moved back awkwardly. Little Bear
stood motionless until the horse again started to graze. Carefully
Little Bear moved to the side of the horse. It tossed its head
restlessly and then stood quietly.

Now Little Bear moved in front of the horse and knelt down. Quickly he
unknotted the hobble ropes. He got to his feet and moved to the next
horse. It reared back excitedly. Little Bear dared not take time to
quiet an excited horse, and so he left it and stepped up beside another
one. This horse scarcely raised its head as Little Bear stroked its
side. He knelt and unhobbled it.

When Little Bear got to his feet again, he stood motionless, trying to
see into the darkness. Any warrior making a circuit of the herd would be
sure to spot horses moving without hobbles. He would investigate
immediately. At last, satisfied there was no warrior near, Little Bear
put his hand on the horse’s mane and guided it towards the other horse
he had unhobbled. He kept the horse walking slowly so that its movements
would not easily be seen by a watcher. At last he had the two unhobbled
horses together.

Little Bear had thought that when he got the two horses together, the
most dangerous part of the raid would be over. He saw now he had been
wrong. The only way he could get his horses to the edge of the herd was
to keep them moving side by side. He had to walk between them with a
hand in the mane of each. Instead of staying close to other horses so
that their movements would hide the movements of his horses, Little Bear
had to find places where the horses were widely separated. At the edge
of the herd, he stopped his horses and wiped the sweat from his brow.

He left the horses standing and scouted a short distance in the
direction from which each of the Pawnees had come to circle the herd. He
saw something move ahead of him. Little Bear waited until he was sure it
was a Pawnee warrior. Then he carefully slipped back and stood between
his two horses. He put a hand in the mane of each and held them quiet.
The Pawnee warrior came close. One of the horses took a step forward,
and Little Bear’s heart quit beating. But the Pawnee didn’t notice the
horse wasn’t hobbled. He went on around the herd.

Little Bear waited for a long time after the warrior had passed. He
would have liked to jump on the back of one of the horses and go racing
away from the Pawnee camp. Still he obeyed Grandfather’s orders and
waited silently. At last, sure the Pawnee warrior had returned to his
blankets, Little Bear started his horses forward. Often he turned to
look behind him. He saw two horses come out of the herd and start
towards him. For a panic stricken moment he was sure it was a Pawnee
warrior using the horses as a screen. He almost laughed aloud with
relief when he realized it was Great Bear with the two horses he had
captured.

Little Bear swung his horses to the right so that the four of them would
be farther apart and not so noticeable. He no longer allowed his horses
to stop and graze, but kept them moving. Slowly he came towards the top
of the hill. Every moment he expected to hear an outcry from the camp
below. He reached the top of the hill, and still there was no sound from
the Pawnee camp. It seemed to take hours to cross the hill and get far
enough down the other side to be out of sight of the camp, but at last
it was done. The first part of their raid had been successful.

“We made it,” Little Bear gloated as Grandfather joined him beside their
own horses.

“We aren’t away yet,” Great Bear reminded him. “The Pawnees will try to
catch us.”

“How soon do you think they will miss the horses?” Little Bear asked.

“Not until morning,” Great Bear guessed. “We’d better start.”

“We will be a long way by morning,” Little Bear vowed.

“Not as far as I would like to be,” Great Bear warned. “We have to
circle their camp and then go north. If they guess that is what we are
doing, the Pawnees will take a short cut. They may be able to catch us.”

Grandfather and Little Bear each mounted his own horse and led the ones
which he had captured. Once the captured horses were well away from the
Pawnee camp, it would be easier to drive them, but now there was too
much danger the horses would make a break for camp. It was so dark
Little Bear wondered how Grandfather could find the way. Although they
went slowly, they went steadily. They had gone a great distance before
Great Bear turned north.

Little Bear judged they must be about straight west of the Pawnee camp
when the first faint light showed in the east. Grandfather had been
right. They were still too close to the Pawnee camp. If the Pawnees
guessed the route he and Grandfather were taking, there was still grave
danger. As it became light enough to see, Great Bear urged his horse to
an easy lope.

[Illustration]

They rode into a country which was even rougher than that behind them.
There were narrow valleys surrounded by steep hills. Great Bear kept at
an almost straight course, as though he were sure of the route they were
to follow. Every time they started up a hill, Great Bear rode ahead.
Then he would dismount and walk in front of his horse. At the top of
each hill he would look back and make sure no Pawnees were in sight
before he would signal Little Bear to bring the horses across the top of
the hill. When the sun was straight overhead, Great Bear halted beside a
small stream.

“We are safe now.” He smiled. “The Pawnees will not dare follow us
farther into Sioux hunting grounds.”

Little Bear toppled off his horse and stretched out on the ground. He
hadn’t believed anyone could get so tired riding a horse. Grandfather
stretched out beside him.

“We have been successful enough that we can return to the main camp
proudly,” Great Bear exclaimed happily.

“Aren’t we going to try to catch that Crow?” Little Bear asked.

Great Bear shook his head.

“You have two good horses,” he pointed out. “I am sure Flying Arrow will
trade you the roan colt for either of them.”

“I suppose he will,” Little Bear agreed. “And you have two good horses,
but I don’t believe either of them is as good as your buffalo horse the
Crow took.”

“We should return to the main camp,” Great Bear insisted. “We have won a
victory over the Pawnees. That is enough.”

Little Bear looked at the four captured horses. They were good horses.
He and Grandfather had been lucky to pick out such good horses in the
dark. Undoubtedly Flying Arrow would trade the roan colt for any one of
the horses. Little Bear knew he and Grandfather could ride into the main
Sioux camp in triumph. No other boy in the entire Sioux nation was the
owner of three such fine horses. Yet it angered him to think of the Crow
warrior going unpunished. The Pawnees had been punished for their attack
on the Sioux hunting party. That Crow warrior should be taught it wasn’t
safe to steal Sioux horses.

“Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls pointed out we could find the Crow if we
went towards the setting sun,” Little Bear reminded his grandfather.

“He warned of snow,” Great Bear remembered, “and he said nothing of
Pawnees. I think it was only a dream and no message from a spirit.”

“As you say, Grandfather,” Little Bear agreed, “although I think that
Crow should be punished and I would like to have you get your buffalo
horse back.”

Great Bear smiled proudly.

“Someday you will be a great chief, Little Bear,” he prophesied. “You
have a ready tongue and the courage to do what your tongue suggests. We
shall spend two more days trying to find the Crow’s trail.”



                             CHAPTER EIGHT


Since their supply of meat was almost all used, Great Bear decided he
should get a buffalo. While Great Bear was gone, Little Bear busied
himself around the camp. He took the ropes with which the Pawnee horses
had been hobbled and spliced them to make two long ropes. The long ropes
could be used to tie packs onto the backs of horses. He was just
finishing when Grandfather returned to camp.

Grandfather had killed and butchered a fat buffalo cow. He had the meat
tied in two large bundles, each bundle wrapped in half of the buffalo
hide. They used one of the ropes Little Bear had spliced and tied the
packs securely on the back of one of the captured horses.

“We shall ride west until time to make camp,” Great Bear decided.
“Tomorrow we shall go south and west to see if we can find our enemy’s
trail.”

As both of them were tired from the long, hard day’s ride, they stopped
early to make camp. Great Bear selected a small valley in which there
was a large grove of trees. Wood was plentiful and as they were so deep
within Sioux territory, it was safe to build a fire. When the fire died
down to embers, Great Bear roasted buffalo tongue over the coals. Little
Bear gorged himself on the delicious meat.

They made an early start the next morning. It was a cloudy, damp day and
Little Bear began to wonder if he had made a mistake, urging Grandfather
to return to pursuit of the Crow. Spirit-of-Water-That-Falls had
promised a victory over the Crow. But the Spirit had allowed a victory
over the Pawnees. Perhaps one victory was all the Spirit intended for
them to win.

“It looks as though the Great Spirit will send more rain to hide the
Crow’s trail again,” Grandfather said, interrupting Little Bear’s
thoughts.

“We must be getting near the Crow.” Little Bear spoke encouragingly.

“We should be,” Great Bear agreed. “After the big rain, the Crow must
have seen signs of the Pawnees. He would lose much time hiding his trail
from them.”

“We’ll catch him,” Little Bear insisted stoutly.

By noon, when they stopped to rest their horses and cook food for
themselves, the rain Great Bear had expected began to fall. It was only
a light mist, but a light breeze from the southeast drove it into their
faces. Little Bear noticed Grandfather was constantly casting anxious
glances towards the north.

“Why do you watch the north?” Little Bear asked.

“I am afraid Old-Man-of-the-North is getting ready to send snow,” Great
Bear explained.

“Not this early,” Little Bear protested. “We have had no ice yet.”

“Sometimes Old-Man-of-the-North is unreasonable,” Great Bear answered.
“It seems all of the spirits have been working to protect the Crow. I
feel Old-Man-of-the-North is sending snow.”

“Then let’s lose no time,” Little Bear urged. “We must find the Crow’s
trail before snow covers it.”

Grandfather nodded.

“We are now on Crow hunting grounds,” he said. “We cannot go much
farther.”

When they started again, Little Bear took charge of the captured horses
so that Grandfather could give all of his attention to looking for the
Crow’s trail. The rain was becoming heavier, but it was warm rain. Great
Bear’s fears that Old-Man-of-the-North was sending snow seemed foolish.
Little Bear’s spirits rose. He knew Grandfather was sure they were near
the Crow. Otherwise the old warrior would not take the time to follow so
zig-zag a course. So Little Bear was not greatly surprised when
Grandfather pulled his horse to a stop and triumphantly pointed to the
ground.

“Here’s the Crow’s trail,” Great Bear announced.

Little Bear rode alongside. Both of them dismounted and studied the
marks left by the horses.

“I don’t see a track made by the horse with a stone bruise,” Little Bear
said doubtfully.

“He could be at the head of the string,” Great Bear pointed out, “or
since the ground is soft from so much rain, the bruise may have healed
quickly. I am sure this is the Crow’s trail.”

Little Bear knew Grandfather’s ability at reading signs on a trail too
well to doubt his explanation.

“The trail is new,” Little Bear suggested. “The Crow cannot be far
ahead.”

“You are learning to read trail signs.” Grandfather nodded approvingly.
“We must go carefully so that the Crow will not know we are near. You
stay behind with our horses. I will scout ahead.”

Little Bear waited until Grandfather was many paces ahead before he
started with the horses. The trail followed the low lands where the Crow
could travel easily. Evidently he was so sure no one was following him
that he didn’t even stop on high ground to watch the trail behind him.
Occasionally while Grandfather was carefully making his way to high
ground to get a better look ahead, Little Bear would dismount and study
the Crow’s trail. Even if Old-Man-of-the-North did send the snow
Grandfather feared, the Crow wouldn’t escape. Grandfather was sure to
lead a raid against the Crow’s camp tonight.

[Illustration: _With a fire in front it made a comfortable shelter_]

Without warning the wind switched to the north. Strong gusts whipped
rain into Little Bear’s face. It wasn’t long until the rain carried an
icy sting and flakes of snow were floating among the rain drops. In a
surprisingly short time the rain had completely changed to driving snow.

Grandfather waited for Little Bear in the shelter of a clump of trees.

“We must make camp,” Great Bear told him. “These early storms are often
bad in this country.”

Little Bear jumped from his horse and quickly pulled the bundles off the
pack horse. He turned the horses loose to graze before snow could cover
the grass. Both he and Great Bear worked rapidly making camp. There were
many dry branches under the trees. These they heaped in a pile for
firewood.

They had just turned to the work of cutting green poles to use in
building a lean-to shelter when the snow quit falling. The wind died
down, and there was a rift in the clouds to the west letting the sun
shine through.

“It’s over,” Little Bear exclaimed. “Now we can get back on the trail.”

“It’s only a lull,” Great Bear warned without stopping work. “It will be
worse in a few minutes.”

Great Bear was proved right almost at once. The wind came up again,
driving icy snow into their faces. The trees with their low branches
offered some protection, but even here the swirling snow made it
difficult for Little Bear and his grandfather to see. They worked as
rapidly as possible. They drove two large poles into the ground and
lashed a third pole to those two. Great Bear laid smaller poles with one
end against the cross pole and the other on the ground. Little Bear
helped pile branches against the poles until the shelter was completed.
The finished shelter was a lean-to, closed to the north and open to the
south.

Grandfather started a fire on the south side of the lean-to where some
of the heat would reflect back into the shelter. Little Bear went to a
near-by pine tree and broke off great armfuls of small branches. He
shook the snow from these and piled them in the lean-to. He spread the
buffalo robes over the branches. With a fire in front the lean-to made a
comfortable shelter.

Great Bear took enough meat from one of the packs for a couple of meals.
He rerolled the pack and hung it and the other pack of meat in a tree.

“Animals can’t get our food there,” he said.

Little Bear shivered as he thought of the kind of camp they would have
had to make if the snow had caught them on the prairie. Out on the
plains with no protection from the wind, it would have been almost
impossible to make a camp and find fuel. Still Little Bear knew that if
he hadn’t coaxed Grandfather to continue in pursuit of the Crow, the two
of them might now be safe in the main Sioux camp.

“It is my fault Old-Man-of-the-North caught us here with his snow,”
Little Bear admitted.

Great Bear looked at him thoughtfully.

“It doesn’t matter whether we are here or far to the north,” Great Bear
answered. “Old-Man-of-the-North would have found us with his snow. The
Crow has strong medicine. The spirits are protecting him.”

“Yet we are nearer to him than we have been before,” Little Bear pointed
out. “He can’t run from us until the storm stops and then he will leave
a plain trail.”

“That is true,” Great Bear agreed hopefully. “Perhaps his medicine is
not as strong as I thought.”

For a time they sat in silence. The wind rose, and the drifting snow
seemed to close them off from the rest of the world. If the storm
continued this way much longer, drifts would be piled so high the horses
would not be able to wade through them. A short time before, Little Bear
had been eager to keep Great Bear searching for the Crow. The storm
showed him they should start for the Sioux winter camp as soon as
possible.

“Will the storm be over so we can start for camp tomorrow, Grandfather?”
he asked.

Great Bear raised his eyes from the fire.

“Not tomorrow,” he replied. “Perhaps the day after. But we are not
starting back without the horses that Crow stole from our herd.”

Little Bear gave him a surprised look.

“The Crow’s trail will be covered,” Little Bear protested.

“We may not need to find the trail,” Grandfather said thoughtfully.
“Tell me about that dream you had at the place of water-that-falls.”

Little Bear related what seemed to have happened in his dream. Great
Bear listened closely as his grandson told about the part where he and
the warrior had ridden the roan horse and especially to the part where
they had walked to the Crow’s camp during a snowstorm.

“It must have been a message.” Great Bear nodded at the end. “It is the
very place the Crow would pick to camp until this storm is over.”

Little Bear began to take new hope.

“Do you have a plan, Grandfather?” he asked excitedly.

“If it is still snowing in the morning, we may be able to surprise the
Crow and get the horses,” Great Bear said. “If it stops snowing before
morning, we will get the horses tomorrow night.”

“Wouldn’t it be better to get them tonight?” Little Bear urged. “We know
the Crow will be in camp now. In this storm he won’t expect a raid.”

“There are several reasons why we couldn’t get them tonight,” Great Bear
pointed out. “It would be difficult to find our way. Besides, we might
not be able to get the horses to move out of the valley in the dark and
the storm.”

“How shall we be able to get them in daylight?” Little Bear wondered.

“I believe the place where the Crow is camped is a small canyon like
Buffalo Trap Canyon,” Great Bear explained. “It has only one entrance
and the Crow won’t be camped there. He will find a protected place
behind some trees. The horses will be at the north end of the canyon
where high cliffs will protect them. If we are careful, we may be able
to get all of the Crow’s horses without his seeing us.”

“Tomorrow we will get the horses,” Little Bear vowed.

There was no sign of the storm’s lessening. To Little Bear it seemed the
wind was blowing harder than before. As darkness deepened, the fire
lighted up a space of only a few feet in each direction. Before he
crawled into his buffalo robe, Great Bear rolled two large branches on
the fire.

“These will hold fire until morning,” he said.



                              CHAPTER NINE


When Little Bear awoke the next morning, Grandfather was just getting
up. Little Bear rolled over and lifted his head for a look out from the
lean-to. Snow was still swirling in the air. It had drifted over the
pile of wood and up near the fire. Parts of the two large branches Great
Bear had put on the fire were still there, but the fire itself seemed to
be out.

Great Bear went over to the fire. He tilted one of the pieces of wood up
and blew against the charred end. Smoke began to curl from that end, and
soon a blaze flamed up. Great Bear went to the wood pile. He brushed
some of the snow away and drew some small branches from the bottom of
the pile. He placed the small branches against the charred end of the
wood and again blew on it. A flame leaped up, caught the small branches,
and in a moment the fire was blazing cheerfully. Little Bear crawled out
of his buffalo robe and stood beside the fire.

“I’ll see about our horses,” he offered.

He stepped away from the shelter and faced directly into the wind.
Hard-driven snowflakes pelted his face. He could scarcely move forward.
By every small shrub there was a drift of loose snow through which he
had to wallow. The strong wind drew the breath from his lungs so that he
often had to stop and turn his back. When he got near the hills at the
north end of the valley, the snow was deeper, but the wind hit him with
less force.

Little Bear found the horses standing at the foot of the hills. They
were huddled together with their heads pointing away from the wind. The
grass was covered with deep snow drifts, but Little Bear knew the horses
wouldn’t starve. When the animals got hungry, they would paw through the
loose snow to the grass.

The trip back to camp was much easier. The wind shoved Little Bear
forward, and he could see far enough ahead to avoid the deepest drifts.

“How are the horses?” Great Bear asked.

“They’re near some steep hills to the north,” Little Bear replied. “The
hills protect them from the wind.”

“They’ll be all right until we get back,” Great Bear said.

“Isn’t there danger a mountain lion might kill some of them?” Little
Bear wondered. “I have heard warriors tell of mountain lions attacking
horses after a storm.”

“It has happened,” Grandfather agreed, “but usually only after a storm
has lasted several days. There will be no danger before we get back.”

They ate the food Great Bear had cooked. When they had finished, he
cooked more and made two small bundles of it. One he gave to Little
Bear, and the other he kept himself. Great Bear stood for a long time
looking at the buffalo robes.

“Why are you looking at our robes?” Little Bear asked.

“I am trying to decide whether or not we should take them with us,”
Great Bear explained.

Little Bear thought of the drifts of loose snow through which he had
waded on his way to look at the horses.

“They would make a heavy pack to carry through loose snow,” he
protested.

“They would.” Great Bear nodded. “And yet, if we are delayed in the
storm, they would save us much suffering.”

At last he made up his mind.

“We shall leave them,” he decided.

They gathered more wood and piled it near the lean-to. It took some time
to find a large log to hold fire. Little Bear finally found one under a
large tree. Together he and Grandfather dragged it to the fire and
rolled it onto the coals.

“It will hold fire until we get back,” Great Bear stated.

Great Bear led the way from camp. He went directly west. As soon as the
two of them stepped from behind the sheltering trees, the wind hit them
with full fury. Snow pelted their faces so that they had to bend forward
and walk with eyes squinted. The nearer they came to the base of the
hills, the deeper the snow became. Their progress was painfully slow.
They had not gone far through the deeper drifts when Great Bear turned
his back to the wind and stopped to rest.

“I’ll take a turn at breaking trail,” Little Bear offered.

“All right,” Great Bear assented.

Little Bear stepped past his grandfather and began to plow through the
loose snow. At every step the drifts were deeper. They hadn’t gone many
paces when Little Bear had to stop to rest. Grandfather stepped past him
and took the lead again. Thus, taking turns at breaking a path, they
slowly moved forward. As they started up the slope, they found the
drifts were not so deep. Halfway up the hill there was scarcely any snow
at all.

[Illustration]

While the snow was not as deep when they got higher, the wind hit them
with greater force. The snow swirled around them until Little Bear
wondered how Grandfather could find his way. If there were any
landmarks, drifting snow hid them. Still Grandfather moved forward as
surely as though he were following a marked trail.

By the time they reached the top of the hill, both of them were gasping
for breath. They tramped down the snow in the next drift they came to
and crouched down to rest. Out of reach of the wind they were almost
comfortable. Little Bear dreaded starting again, but if they were to
reach the Crow’s camp and get back before dark, they couldn’t lose much
time.

When they started on again, they were on a flat plateau at the top of
the hill. Here they felt the full force of the wind. However, there was
an advantage, too. The wind had swept most of the snow away and walking
was easier. They stopped only once while crossing the plateau. The wind
bit through their clothes so that they were quickly chilled.

Great Bear led the way into another valley. Here the drifts were deep
and walking was difficult. Little Bear thought with dread of another
hill ahead of them. He wondered if he could climb it. He was so tired it
seemed every step must be his last. Yet he followed without protest
until Great Bear halted behind a clump of trees.

They tramped out another shelter in the loose snow and sank down to
rest. Great Bear opened one of the packages of food. Little Bear had
thought he was too tired to eat, but the food tasted surprisingly good.
He felt much better after he had eaten and had rested a few minutes.

“If I have judged correctly,” Great Bear told him, “our enemy is camped
in the next canyon. It is a narrow one with the only entrance from the
south.”

“Shall we have to take the horses out that entrance?” Little Bear asked.

“It is the only way,” Great Bear replied. “We must use great care so
that the Crow does not see nor hear us. He could easily ambush us at the
entrance.”

“Do we go in through that entrance?” Little Bear wondered.

“It is the easiest way,” Great Bear pointed out. “Besides, we want to
make sure the Crow isn’t camped near it.”

Rest and food had so completely restored Little Bear that he waited
impatiently for Grandfather to start. Great Bear smiled at his
impatience.

“This will be our last rest until we are back in our own camp,” he
warned.

At last Great Bear started on. He led the way to the hills at the west
side of the valley and there turned south. Despite deep snow Grandfather
and Little Bear moved rapidly. The wind at their backs pushed them
along. They kept close to the hills until there was an opening to the
west. Here they again turned west. Now they had a steep hill protecting
them from the wind. The hill was so high and steep that snow did not
fall at its base. That left a bare path for the two Sioux to follow. In
a short time they came to the end of the hill. There was an opening
leading north. Great Bear stopped.

“This is the entrance to the canyon,” he pointed out. “We will go
slowly. This canyon widens after a short distance. It will be safest for
us to stay at the east side and follow that side to the north end. I am
sure the horses will be at that end.”

“And the Crow?” Little Bear wondered.

“I hope he has made camp behind trees on the west side,” Great Bear
responded. “It would be the best place for a camp. If I am right, we can
get to the horses without the Crow’s seeing us.”

“He is our enemy,” Little Bear reminded his grandfather. “Perhaps we
should hunt the Crow before we take the horses.”

Great Bear hesitated, but finally shook his head.

“It is what I should like to do,” he admitted, “but we can’t take the
time. If I am wrong and he is not in this canyon, we shall scarcely have
time to get back to our camp before dark.”

To follow Grandfather’s plan, they had to turn directly into the wind.
It whistled through the narrow entrance to the canyon with such force
they could hardly move ahead. They struggled ahead for a long time
before the canyon widened and they changed their direction. Along the
east edge of the canyon the snow was piled high. Again Little Bear
alternated with his grandfather at the job of breaking trail.

The worst came when they turned straight north into the face of the
wind. Either the strong wind or the deep snow would have made walking a
difficult task. The two together made it almost impossible. Slowly
Grandfather and Little Bear fought their way forward. At last they
reached the hills which formed the north rim of the canyon. Little Bear
was breaking trail. He turned west. Now he could go faster. The high
hills broke the force of the wind and there was no snow close to the
base of the cliffs.

“Go slowly,” Grandfather warned. “The Crow may be camped east of the
horses.”

Little Bear nodded. He knew it would be easy to stumble into the Crow’s
camp. He came to a sudden stop and held up his hand warningly.

“There are the horses,” he exclaimed.

Great Bear stepped up beside Little Bear to get a better look.

“We must go carefully,” Great Bear warned. “The Crow may be camped near
his horses.”

Great Bear took the lead. He led the way out into the canyon away from
the shelter of the cliffs. In the deep snow it would have been
impossible for them to move swiftly. To the impatient Little Bear, it
seemed they were scarcely moving at all. But, at last, they were beside
the horses. Little Bear counted ten horses. So not only would he and
Grandfather get back the horses the Crow had stolen from the Sioux, but
they would get some of the Crow’s horses, too.

Grandfather and Little Bear had mapped their plans when they stopped to
rest. Now both of them acted as they had agreed. Great Bear went to his
own buffalo horse. He mounted and rode a few paces along the trail he
and Little Bear had made. Little Bear went to one of the horses that had
belonged to Flying Arrow. He climbed onto it and turned it towards the
rear of the herd. The horse hung its head low and refused to move.
Desperately Little Bear drummed his heels against the horse’s side until
it finally started. Little Bear had to fight the horse all of the way,
but finally got it to the rear of the herd.

Blowing snow almost hid Great Bear from sight where he was waiting ahead
of the herd. He was watching Little Bear. As soon as he saw Little Bear
was in place, Great Bear started. At first the herd was unwilling to
move from its sheltered place. Little Bear crowded his horse towards the
herd. The other horses hesitated, but finally started to follow
Grandfather.

One horse broke from the herd and tried to turn back. Little Bear’s
horse, which had been so reluctant to move before, suddenly darted
aside. It got in front of the runaway horse and turned it back with the
rest of the herd. Two other horses tried to break from the herd, but
Little Bear’s horse was too quick for them. Once aroused, it seemed to
enjoy keeping the other horses in line. The entire herd finally settled
into line following Great Bear.

“We have done it,” Little Bear gloated to himself. “We have really
punished that Crow. He will have to walk to the Crows’ winter camp.”

Little Bear had to stifle the triumphant Sioux war cry that welled up in
his throat. The next moment he was struck a terrific blow on his left
shoulder. The force of the blow spun him off his horse, headlong into
the deep snow. He lay dazed, half choked by snow in his nose and mouth.
He put his right hand to his shoulder. His shirt was badly torn and
blood was running down his arm. He forced his fingers to feel the wound.
It was deep, but not deep enough to cripple his arm. He flexed the
fingers of his left hand. Although it hurt badly, he could move them.

After his first dazed fright, Little Bear regained control of himself.
He knew what had happened. The Crow had seen him. While Little Bear was
intent on driving the horses, the Crow had sneaked up on him and shot.
If it had not been for snow and wind, the arrow would have struck Little
Bear’s heart.

Little Bear’s horse had stopped and was standing with head hanging low.
Little Bear could look under the horse in the direction from which the
arrow had come. He could see no sign of the Crow. Little Bear waited,
puzzled by the lack of movement. Suddenly it dawned upon him what plan
the Crow would follow.

Little Bear got to his feet, putting his bow in his left hand. There was
a sharp pain in his shoulder when he grasped the bow firmly, but he
forced his fingers to hold it. With his right hand he fitted an arrow to
the bowstring. He stepped around his horse. His guess had been right.
The Crow had slipped ahead and was taking aim at Great Bear. Great Bear
had sensed something was wrong. He had stopped his horse and was turning
his head to look back at the herd of horses. His startled glance fell on
the Crow.

Great Bear reached for his bow, but he didn’t have a chance. The Crow’s
arrow was pointed straight at him. The Crow’s movements were deliberate.
He was certain he had plenty of time, and he was making sure his first
arrow got rid of his enemy. Hurriedly Little Bear brought up his bow. He
had no time to take aim. He pulled the bowstring tight and let the arrow
fly. The arrow struck the Crow a glancing blow along his arm and knocked
the warrior’s bow out of his hand.

The Crow bent forward quickly to pick up his bow, but his left hand
couldn’t grasp it. Great Bear swung his horse to face the Crow. Little
Bear stepped forward, fitting another arrow to his bow. When the Crow
realized his arm was so injured that he couldn’t use his bow, he
straightened up. He stood with his injured arm hanging at his side and
turned to face Great Bear.

[Illustration]

Great Bear rode slowly towards the Crow. The warrior stood unflinchingly
watching his enemy. Great Bear took careful aim. Still the Crow stood
facing him. Little Bear came to a halt and watched in amazement.

“That Crow is as brave as a Sioux,” he admitted to himself admiringly
and was sorry it was necessary to kill so brave an enemy.

At the last moment Great Bear swerved his horse aside and rode past the
Crow. If his plan had been to torment the Crow into showing fear, it
failed. The Crow stood as motionless as a wood carving.

Great Bear completed a circle and for the second time rode at the Crow.
Little Bear was ashamed of his own urge to cry out for Grandfather to
spare the warrior. The Crow was his enemy. He had stolen Sioux horses
and shot at Little Bear. The Crow deserved to die, and yet it took all
of Little Bear’s will power to force his eyes to watch the scene. The
Crow faced Great Bear without a sign of fear. Great Bear stopped his
horse a few paces from the warrior. He drew his bowstring taut and took
careful aim. Then slowly he lowered his bow. Great Bear raised his right
hand in the sign of peace. He untied the package of food from his belt
and dropped it for the Crow. Then he turned his horse and rode back to
the head of the herd.

Little Bear watched unbelievingly. He kept an arrow pointed at the Crow,
ready in case of treachery. The Crow picked up the package of food and,
with one hand, awkwardly knotted it to his belt. Without another look
towards Grandfather and Little Bear, the Crow turned and started away.

Little Bear climbed back onto his horse. As there was no longer any need
to avoid the Crow, Great Bear turned off the trail and led the way
directly towards the canyon entrance. The snow was not so deep in the
middle of the canyon, and Grandfather was able to set a faster pace.
Little Bear could feel blood oozing from his wound. It hurt badly, but
he gave no sign.

The struggle back to camp in the swirling snow was a blur in Little
Bear’s mind. His horse kept the unwilling herd following Great Bear.
Little Bear used all his remaining strength to cling to his horse’s
back. It seemed to him he had been riding for hours by the time
Grandfather halted in front of the lean-to. Little Bear slid awkwardly
from his horse and staggered to the shelter. He sprawled out on his
buffalo robe.

Grandfather came hurrying anxiously back to the lean-to. He bent over
Little Bear.

“You are wounded,” he exclaimed angrily. “I should have killed that
Crow.”

“He was too brave,” Little Bear murmured and fell asleep.



                              CHAPTER TEN


Little Bear didn’t know how long he slept. When he awoke, it was dark
except for the light of the campfire. The horses were gone. Little Bear
guessed Grandfather had put them with their other horses. He could see
Grandfather was cooking something over the fire.

Little Bear lifted his head to watch. He saw with relief that there were
no flakes of snow drifting down into the fire. The storm was over.
Grandfather glanced towards the lean-to.

“How is the shoulder?” Great Bear asked when he saw Little Bear was
awake.

Little Bear felt of his shoulder. Grandfather had cut the shirt away and
applied a poultice. The wound was sore, but the throbbing pain was gone.

“It is better,” Little Bear answered.

Grandfather came from the fire carrying something on a clean piece of
bark. He bent over Little Bear and removed the poultice. Very gently
Great Bear applied a new poultice.

“The soreness should be gone by morning,” he assured Little Bear.

Grandfather returned to the fire and began broiling the steaks he had
cut. Little Bear’s mouth watered at the smell of cooking meat. He
couldn’t remember ever having been so hungry before. Despite his hunger,
when Grandfather offered him the first steak, Little Bear remembered his
manners.

“You first, Grandfather,” he said.

“Wounded warriors are always fed first.” Great Bear smiled.

Little Bear felt a glow of pride. Grandfather had said “wounded
warriors.” Had Grandfather meant to call him a warrior?

Little Bear was still puzzling over that question when he went to sleep.
It was his first thought when he wakened the next morning. He sat up in
his buffalo robe, happy to find his shoulder hardly pained at all.

There was no snow falling and the sky was clear. As soon as the sun was
a short way up in the sky, it would start to melt the snow.

“Shall we start for home today?” Little Bear asked.

“If your wound is healed enough,” Great Bear answered.

Grandfather removed the poultice and examined the wound.

“You can travel,” he decided. “I’ll put a bandage on for safety.”

Little Bear went with Grandfather to get the horses. As the two of them
approached the herd, Little Bear stopped to admire their horses. He and
Grandfather together had sixteen good mounts, enough for a small hunting
party. Grandfather watched Little Bear’s pleasure.

“You are rich.” Great Bear smiled. “Few warriors own that many ponies.
You can pick a fine horse from this herd and it won’t matter whether you
are able to buy Flying Arrow’s roan colt or not.”

“We have many good horses,” Little Bear agreed, “but I must have that
roan colt.”

Little Bear and his grandfather each selected a horse to ride. They
returned to camp, packed the meat they had left, and tied it on the back
of one of the other horses. They turned out of the valley and rode
northward. As much as possible Grandfather avoided the deep drifts.
Despite his care, they rode through much deep snow and their progress
was slow.

Although the sun shone warmly most of the day, the snow melted very
little. Great Bear constantly looked to the northwest. Early in the
afternoon he called a halt. He had chosen a small valley, well supplied
with trees, for their camping place. Little Bear found a place where the
horses could paw through the snow to grass.

“I saw you often looked to the northwest,” Little Bear said, as they sat
by their campfire. “Are you afraid there will be more snow?”

“I am.” Great Bear nodded. “It doesn’t feel like snow weather, but we
have been fortunate. The spirits have helped us. Some of them are sure
to turn against us. I am afraid Old-Man-of-the-North will send another
snowstorm.”

Despite Great Bear’s prediction the next morning dawned clear. He and
Little Bear made an early start. In the country across which they were
now traveling, the snow had not piled up so much. They were able to
avoid most of the deep drifts. They went much farther that day than they
did the first day.

“How long will it take us to reach the Sioux home camp?” Little Bear
asked when they stopped for the night.

“If this weather holds, we shall be there in three more days,” Great
Bear judged.

The next day was another clear, sunny day. Grandfather and Little Bear
moved steadily ahead. When they had started, Great Bear had always
ridden at the front of the herd. Little Bear was proud that now
Grandfather often let him ride ahead. It was almost admitting he was a
warrior.

When they camped that night, Grandfather was very pleased.

“With another day’s travel as good as this,” he exulted, “we’ll get home
the following day even if Old-Man-of-the-North does send more snow.”

They moved as steadily ahead the next day as they had the day before.
About the middle of the afternoon Little Bear was riding in the lead. He
rode to the top of a small hill. In a wide valley just across the hill
was a great herd of buffaloes. The herd was moving east. Since the wind
was from the north, Little Bear’s scent was not carried to the
buffaloes. He whirled his horse around and rode back to stop Grandfather
and the horses.

“What is wrong?” Great Bear demanded anxiously.

“There is a great herd of buffalo just ahead of us,” Little Bear told
him.

Great Bear dismounted and walked to the top of the hill. He soon
returned.

“The herd is moving to the lowlands ahead of the snows,” Great Bear
explained. “We can get all the meat our horses can carry.”

Little Bear’s eyes sparkled. He and Great Bear would ride into camp with
a long string of captured horses. If they brought those horses in,
loaded with meat, they surely would be heroes.

“Let’s get some buffaloes,” he urged.

Grandfather had been as excited as Little Bear. Now he hesitated.

“Riding into a big herd when it is on the move is dangerous,” he
cautioned.

“I have killed a buffalo,” Little Bear reminded him.

“I know you have.” Great Bear’s voice snapped. “I know, too, the last
time you visited a council, you were called boy-with-the-big-mouth.”

“I am sorry, Grandfather.” Little Bear hung his head. “I did not mean to
boast.”

“You have done enough to make the warriors forget that other name.”
Great Bear’s voice was softer. “Don’t boast and get it back. Remember,
when you do great deeds, others will speak of them.”

“I will remember,” Little Bear promised.

“That is good,” Great Bear approved. “Now, let us make plans for our
buffalo hunt. This time we want no calves; just young, fat cows.”

They sat together while Great Bear explained how they were to hunt
buffaloes. When Great Bear had finished, he and Little Bear hobbled all
of their horses except two. Little Bear started to mount the horse he
had ridden when they took the horses from the Crow. Grandfather stopped
him.

[Illustration: _Little Bear picked out a young fat cow_]

“You will ride my buffalo horse,” Grandfather told him. “I have hunted
more times than you. I want you to have a well-trained horse so that you
will be sure to get two buffaloes.”

Buffaloes are nearsighted creatures, depending upon their sense of smell
to warn them of danger. Since the wind was blowing from the herd towards
the two hunters, they were able to get close before the buffaloes were
aware of danger.

Little Bear picked out a young, fat cow and started his horse towards
it. He gave his whole attention to his bow and arrows, depending upon
his horse to bring him alongside of the buffalo. When he was beside the
buffalo, Little Bear fired for the spot just back of the foreleg. The
arrow struck a bone and glanced off. Little Bear took careful aim. This
time the arrow struck just back of the buffalo’s foreleg and buried
itself to the shaft. The buffalo took two stumbling steps before it
fell.

Little Bear’s horse raced after another buffalo. The buffalo swerved
farther into the herd and the horse followed. As the horse carried
Little Bear alongside of the buffalo, some movement at the edge of the
herd pushed the buffaloes close together. The one Little Bear was after
was so close to him he couldn’t get a shot at a vital spot. He took a
quick look over his shoulder. Two big bulls were crowding close behind
his horse. He was surrounded by a sea of buffaloes. If his horse
stumbled, there would be no escape.

Desperately Little Bear pressed his right knee against the side of his
horse to try to force it away from the buffalo on that side. The horse
tried to crowd over, but the close-packed buffaloes did not yield.
Little Bear knew he had to get out of that herd. If a buffalo ahead of
him stumbled, or his horse missed a step, he would be thrown under the
herd and trampled to death. A cow, ahead of him and slightly to the
left, did stumble to its knees. There was a momentary lessening of the
pressure. The horse crowded to the left. Now Little Bear had enough room
to try a shot at the buffalo he had been following. He fired an arrow
and saw it sink in. The buffalo crumpled to the ground.

Instantly Little Bear’s horse moved over into the opening left by the
slain buffalo. Before the herd could close together again, the horse was
edging to the right. With the skill of a tightrope walker the horse
worked its way through narrow openings towards the fringe of the herd.
Time and again Little Bear thought his mount would be knocked down and
both of them trampled underfoot, but each time the horse escaped.

At last the horse carried its rider out of the herd. Little Bear ran his
hand across his wet brow. He was thankful Grandfather had insisted that
he take this horse. No other horse could have carried him out of that
herd.

When he had somewhat recovered, Little Bear looked around. Great Bear
was busy butchering one of the buffaloes he had slaughtered. Little Bear
rode back to help. He and his grandfather worked steadily until they had
skinned and butchered all the five buffaloes they had killed. The sun
had gone down by the time the task was finished.

Little Bear brought up the other horses while Grandfather put the meat
in packs. They loaded the meat on the horses and rode on until they
found a suitable place for a camp.

“Shall we reach the main camp tomorrow?” Little Bear asked, as he helped
Grandfather prepare their camp.

“We can,” Great Bear assured him. “However, if we ride to a place near
the camp and wait until morning, everyone in camp will see us come in
with our fine string of horses and our big supply of meat.”

“That would be a way of boasting,” Little Bear objected.

Grandfather smiled. “It would be,” he agreed.



                             CHAPTER ELEVEN


Little Bear was up before daylight the next morning. He built up the
fire and, as soon as he saw Great Bear stirring, set off to get their
horses. When he returned with them, Grandfather had food cooked.

“You are eager to start.” Grandfather smiled.

“I want to get back to the tribe.” Little Bear nodded.

Great Bear’s guess that Old-Man-of-the-North would send another snow
before the main Sioux camp was reached was surely wrong. The sun climbed
out of the east into a cloudless sky. Little Bear helped his grandfather
pack the meat on the horses they had captured from the Pawnees and on
the two Crow ponies. He wondered why Grandfather didn’t put some of the
meat on the Sioux ponies, but Great Bear offered no explanation.

Each of them mounted the same horse he had ridden when the two of them
left the Sioux hunting party. Little Bear knew this was done to call
attention to the horses they had captured.

At times it seemed to Little Bear they were scarcely moving. Yet he knew
they were going faster than on any other day since they had started
towards the winter camp. There was little snow on the ground and no deep
drifts. The horses seemed to sense the long journey was almost done.
They pushed ahead rapidly with little urging.

Each time Little Bear looked at the string of horses, he wondered again
why Great Bear hadn’t loaded any of the Sioux horses. Surely Grandfather
didn’t intend to give the horses back to their former owners.

“You told me,” Little Bear began when they were stopped at noon, “that
stolen Sioux horses not recaptured within three days belong to whoever
takes them after that time.”

Great Bear glanced towards the string of horses.

“That is right.” He nodded.

“Then all of these horses belong to us,” Little Bear insisted.

“They do.” Great Bear nodded again. “However, when hunters or warriors
return from a successful raid, they should give presents to the poor and
to their friends.”

“We should give half of our meat to Lone Eagle’s widow and her
children,” Little Bear suggested.

“That will be good.” Grandfather smiled. “Half of it is a generous gift.
I am proud that you are generous.”

They were silent for some time. Little Bear had the odd feeling that
Grandfather was not quite pleased with him. Grandfather had said that he
was proud, but something was lacking.

“And our friends?” Grandfather asked after a time.

Little Bear looked towards the horses. He turned his eyes towards
Grandfather, but the old warrior was looking off to the west.

“We must bring our friends some presents,” Little Bear agreed. “Do—do
you think we should give the horses back to the men they were stolen
from?”

“By Sioux law the horses are ours.” Great Bear spoke gravely. “This has
been your first raid. You have played a warrior’s part. Now you must
make a warrior’s decision. Whatever you decide we should do with the
horses, we will do.”

While they were still some distance from the camp, Little Bear decided
about the horses. The gift of half of the meat to the widow and her
children was far more generous than anyone would expect. He and
Grandfather could make presents for their friends. Flying Arrow might
demand two horses for the roan colt or even three. Little Bear was
determined the only horses with which he would part were the ones Flying
Arrow would demand for the roan colt.

Long before Grandfather and Little Bear came within sight of the main
Sioux camp, they could hear the dogs barking. Little Bear knew scouts
would see Grandfather and him. There would be a delegation of warriors
riding out to meet them. Great Bear wanted his grandson to ride ahead,
but Little Bear refused.

“You are the leader,” Little Bear insisted. “You must lead into camp.”

As they rode around a high cliff and came in sight of the Sioux camp
spread over a great valley, they saw a party of horsemen riding to meet
them. Great Bear raised his voice in the victory chant, and Little Bear
joined him.

The warriors circled the string of horses, gazing admiringly at them.
Flying Arrow’s face lighted up when he saw the two horses he had lost.
Little Bear heard the warriors praise Great Bear for his victory. It was
strange that Grandfather didn’t tell the warriors Little Bear had helped
win the victory. After the warriors had circled the captured horses
several times, they formed a line on each side. Little Bear thrilled
with pride as he and Grandfather were escorted into camp.

Before the party reached the first tepee, every boy in camp was
following. Great Bear rode directly to the lodge of Lone Eagle’s widow.
He stayed on his horse and waited. Little Bear ran forward and started
unloading meat. There were exclamations of approval when he left half of
the meat at the widow’s lodge. The procession moved on to Great Bear’s
lodge. Here the rest of the meat was unloaded.

“I’ll take the horses to the corral, Grandfather,” Little Bear offered.

Grandfather hesitated. He seemed about to say something, but changed his
mind. He nodded and turned away.

Little Bear declined the offers of help from the boys surrounding the
horses. He rode slowly towards the corral. When he was near it, he
hesitated for some time. Finally he made up his mind. He jumped from his
horse, tied the halter rope up, and turned the horse into the corral. He
did the same with Great Bear’s horse, the two that had belonged to the
Crow and the four they had captured from the Pawnees. When he came to
the Sioux horses he and Grandfather had taken from the Crow, he removed
the halter from each before he put it in the corral. He carried the
halters back to Great Bear’s tepee.

When Little Bear entered the tepee, Great Bear was gone.

“The warriors have called him to the council to tell of our adventure,”
Little Bear thought to himself.

He stretched out on the buffalo robes to rest. His head had hardly
touched the soft fur when a young warrior stuck his head inside the
tepee.

“You are wanted at the council tent,” the warrior announced.

Little Bear scrambled excitedly to his feet. This was indeed a great
honor. He wrapped a bright blanket around his shoulders and picked up
the halters. He hid the halters under the blanket so that no one could
see them.

At the council wigwam, the young warrior held the flap aside and
politely waited for Little Bear to enter. Little Bear’s heart skipped a
beat when Rain-Maker waved him to a place of honor beside Great Bear in
the council circle.

There was a brief silence as Little Bear settled down beside his
grandfather. At a signal from Rain-Maker, Great Bear got to his feet.

“It was a good raiding party.” Great Bear spoke slowly. “It is unseemly
for a grandfather to boast of his grandson, yet often, when I would have
turned back, like a true Sioux, Little Bear urged me to go on. Much of
what we have done, we have done because he wouldn’t give up. He
suggested the generous present for the widow. He will tell you of
presents we plan for our friends.”

[Illustration]

Great Bear sat down. Every eye in the council wigwam turned on Little
Bear. He was frightened, but not too frightened to wonder how
Grandfather had guessed about the presents. Grandfather would not have
mentioned presents unless he was sure Little Bear had some for their
friends. Then he understood. It was what Grandfather thought right.
Great Bear had been so sure Little Bear would see and do the right thing
that he had announced the presents without waiting to hear Little Bear’s
plans.

Slowly Little Bear got to his feet. His eyes searched out the hunters
who had lost horses to the Crow. To each of these he handed a halter.

“This is the halter of the horse a Crow stole from you,” he said to each
warrior, as he held out a halter. “Your friends, Great Bear and I, are
returning your horses to you.”

Flying Arrow was last. To him Little Bear handed two halters. There was
a chorus of approval from the council as Little Bear sat down beside his
grandfather. When Grandfather smiled proudly at him, Little Bear forgot
he didn’t have any horses left that were good enough to trade for the
roan colt.

Flying Arrow jumped to his feet.

“In many ways Little Bear has proved himself a warrior,” Flying Arrow
said. “Twice he has done me a great service. I have a roan colt which I
want to have belong to a good warrior. Since Little Bear has proved we
are friends, he cannot refuse my gift.”

With all the warriors watching, Flying Arrow stepped in front of Little
Bear. He drew a halter from under his blanket and held it towards Little
Bear.

“My friend,” he said, “your roan colt is in the corral. You will train
him to be the good horse of a good Sioux warrior.”

Little Bear hung his head. No one must see his eyes. He knew those tears
stinging the backs of his eyelids were not warriorlike, but he was so
happy he couldn’t stop them. He had been called a warrior and the roan
colt was his!



                          YOUNG SIOUX WARRIOR


                         By FRANCIS LYNDE KROLL

                     Illustrated by CHARLES H. GEER

It was in the days when the Pawnees and the Sioux roamed the plains in
search of buffalo herds. In the camp of the Sioux, Chief Great Bear sat
at the council fire with his braves who planned to drive the Pawnees
from the Sioux hunting grounds.

But Great Bear had other problems. His grandson, Little Bear, was
beginning to grow up. He had to be taught how to use a bow and arrow,
how to shoot straight, how to saddle a horse, how to ride, and the many
things a young Indian needed to learn.

How Great Bear trained his little grandson and how together they tracked
a horse thief who stole their horses: how the courage, determination,
and ability of Little Bear saved the entire tribe, make absorbing,
exciting reading, and when at length Little Bear is finally called
“warrior,” the reader has an authentic, historically accurate picture of
the real life of a boy in an Indian tribe.


                _This is a Young Heroes Library Volume._


                            GROSSET & DUNLAP
               Publishers of WORDS: _The New Dictionary_
                           New York 10, N. Y.



                           OTHER BOOKS IN THE
                          YOUNG HEROES LIBRARY


                          YOUNG SIOUX WARRIOR
                        YOUNG SAND HILLS COWBOY
                        YOUNG PONY EXPRESS RIDER
                         YOUNG VISITOR TO MARS
                           YOUNG BUCKSKIN SPY
                        YOUNG HERO OF THE RANGE
                          YOUNG INFIELD ROOKIE
                         YOUNG CIRCUS DETECTIVE
                           YOUNG CROW RAIDER



                          Transcriber’s Notes


--Copyright notice provided as in the original—this e-text is public
  domain in the country of publication.

--Silently corrected palpable typos; left non-standard spellings and
  dialect unchanged.

--In the text versions, delimited italics text in _underscores_ (the
  HTML version reproduces the font form of the printed book.)





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