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EDWRD S. ELLIS
Deerfoot and Whirlwind.
NEW DEERFOOT SERIES
Deerfoot on the
EDWARD S. ELLIS
Author of "Deerfoot in the Forest," "Deerfoot in the
Mountains," "An American King," "The Cromwell of
Virginia," "The Boy Pioneer Series," "Log Cabin
Series," Etc., Etc.
with Eight Engravings by J. Steeple Davis
THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.
THE J*EW DEERFOOT JERIEJ
EDWARD S. ELLIS
J. STEEPLE DAVIS
No. 1. Deerfoot in the Forest
No. 2. Deerfoot on the Prairies
No. 3. Deerfoot in the Mountains
Each contains seven half-tone engravings and color frontispiece,
They make more real the fortunes and adventures of the heroic
little band that journeys through the wilderness and prairies from
the Ohio to the Pacific. It was in the time of daring when Lewis
and Clark were engaged in their thrilling expedition that the
adventures narrated by the distinguished author of boys' books
are described as occurring. Our old friends, George and Victor,
of the "Log Cabin Series," are again met with in these pages,
and the opportunity of once more coming face to face with Deer-
foot will be welcomed by every juvenile reader.
The New Deerfoot Series is bound in uniform style In cloth, with
side and back stamped In colors.
Price, single volume - $ 1 .00
Price, per set of three volumes, in attractive box - - 3.0O
THE JOHN C. WINSTON Co., 1905
CHAP I. WESTWARD BOUND 9
CHAP. II. THE FIRST CAMP 20
CHAP. III. THIEVES OF THE NIGHT 38
CHAP. IV. AN ACQUAINTANCE 52
CHAP. V. A CLOSE CALL 69
CHAP. VI. A MISHAP 81
CHAP. VII. JACK HALLOWAY 95
CHAP. VIII. GOOD SEED no
CHAP. IX. A BATTLE ROYAL 124
CHAP. X. WHIRLWIND 141
CHAP. XI. PHYSICIAN AND PATIENT 153
CHAP. XII. A HURRIED FLIGHT 167
CHAP. XIII. A STARTLING AWAKENING ... 178
CHAP. XIV. SHOSHONE CALLERS 190
CHAP. XV. A QUESTION OF SKILL AND
CHAP. XVI. WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY 214
CHAP. XVII. IN THE MOUNTAINS 226
CHAP. XVIII. INDIAN CHIVALRY 239
CHAP. XIX. A CALAMITY 251
CHAP. XX. OLD FRIENDS 262
CHAP. XXI. PRESSING NORTHWARD 275
CHAP. XXII. A CHANGE OF PLAN 287
CHAP. XXIII. THE MONARCH OF THE SOLI-
CHAP. XXIV. A MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER . . 311
CHAP. XXV. THROUGH THE GREAT DIVIDE 323
CHAP. XXVI. PARTING COMPANY 335
CHAP. XXVII. DOWN THE COLUMBIA 347
CHAP. XXVIII. AT LAST 359
FRONTISPIECE: DEERFOOT AND WHIRLWIND
DANIEL BOONE AND DEERPOOT . . . 64
"HELLOA ! " 101
A BATTLE ROYAL 135
THE ANGLO-SAXON EVERY TIME 207
THE CRITICAL MOMENT 248
A WESTERN MONARCH 303
IN THE RAPIDS 355
DEERFOOT ON THE PRfllRIES.
ONE morning in early spring, at the begin-
ning of the last century, a party of
four persons left the frontier town of
Woodvale, in southern Ohio, and started on
their long journey across the continent.
Do you need an introduction to the little com-
pany? Hardly, and yet it is well to recall them
First of all was our old friend Deerfoot, the
Shawanoe, to whom we bade good-bye at the
close of the story "Deerfoot in the Forest,"
with a hint of the important expedition upon
which he had decided to enter with his com-
panions. He was mounted on a tough, wiry
J6 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
pony that had been presented to him by his
friend Simon Kenton, and which, in honor of
the famous ranger, the new owner had named
This horse was provided with a bridle, but
that was all. Deerfoot, one of the finest of
horsemen, never used a saddle. He said the
bare back of a well-conditioned steed was more
pleasant than a seat of leather, and he had
never yet bestrode an animal that could dis-
place him. On this trip the Indian youth car-
ried as his principal weapon the handsome rifle
presented by General William H. Harrison,
Governor of Indiana Territory. Deerfoot had
not yielded a bit of his faith in his bow, but
that implement would not prove so handy as
the other in an excursion on horseback.
Besides, his three companions had begged him
to leave his bow at home, and he was quite
willing to do so.
Deerfoot was dressed as he has been before
described, but he carried a long, heavy blanket
that was strapped to the back of his horse
and served in lieu of a saddle. The powder
horn and bullet pouch suspended from his
neck were as full as they could carry. He
WESTVARD BOUND. U
looked so graceful on his animal that many
expressions of admiration were heard from the
people of Woodvale who had gathered to see
the start. Deer.oot did not seem to hear any
of the compliments, though some were
addressed directly to him. He was never
pleased with anything of that nature.
Little need be said of Mul-tal-la, the Black-
foot, who had come from the neighborhood of
the Rocky Mountains on an exploring expedi-
tion of his own, and was now to return with
the Shawanoe as his .comrade. The sturdy,
shaggy horse, which he had obtained through
the help also of Simon Kenton, was accoutred
like the one ridden by Deerfoot. The blanket
strapped to his back was the one brought by
the owner from that far-off region, and served
him also as a saddle. The Blackfoot, like
nearly all the Indians of the Northwest, was
an excellent horseman. Through some whim,
which no one understood, Mul-tal-la had named
his animal "Bug," a title so unromantic that
for a long time it was never heard without
causing a smile from his companions. Some-
times Mul-tal-la also grinned, but nothing could
induce him to change the name.
J2 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
You remember the grief of Victor Shelton
was so depressing over the death of his father
that he surely would have gone into a decline
but for the ardor roused by this proposed
excursion to the Pacific. The prospect was so
fascinating that he came out of the dark clouds
that gathered about him, and was the most
enthusiastic of the four.
George was almost as deeply stirred and in
as high spirits as his brother, but now and then
a tremor of fear passed over him when he
thought of what they would have to pass
through before their return. He would have
shrunk and probably turned back but for Deer-
foot. There was no person in the world in
whom he had such faith as in the young Shaw-
anoe; but there is a limit to human attainment,
and it might be that his dusky friend would
soon reach his when the four turned their faces
George had named his horse "Jack," while
Victor called his "Prince." All were quite
similar to one another, being strong, sturdy,
docile and enduring, but none was specially
gifted in the way of speed. More than likely
they would meet many of their kind among the
WESTWARD BOUND. )3
Indians which, would be their superior in fleet-
ness. But, if danger threatened, our friends
would not rely upon their horses for safety.
Now, in setting out on so long a journey,
which of necessity must last many months, our
friends had to carry some luggage with them,
This was made as light as possible, but pared
to the utmost there was enough to require a
fifth horse. While of the same breed as the
others, he was of stronger build and best fitted
for burdens. He was the gift of Ralph Genther,
who, you may recall, was beaten in the turkey
shoot by Deerfoot. It was Genther who named
" 'Cause," explained the donor, "if you let
him to go as he pleases, he'll make the crook-
edest track in creation; he will beat a ram's
horn out of sight."
Excepting his blanket, Mul-tal-la had no lug-
gage which he did not wear on his person.
It must be admitted that the American Indian
as a rule is much lacking in that virtue which
is said to be next to godliness. Despite the
romance that is often thrown around the red
man, it is generally more pleasant to view him
at a distance. Close companionship with him
is by no means pleasant.
14 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
I need hardly say that it was not so with
Deerfoot. He was as dainty as any lady with
his person. Kenton, Boone and others had
laughed at him many times because of his care
in bathing and the frequency with which he
plunged into icy cold water for no other reason
than for tidiness and health. The material of
which his hunting shirt and leggings were made
allowed them to he worn a long time without
showing the effects, but underneath them was
underclothing kept scrupulously clean by
Deerfoot 's own hands. Only his close friends
knew of his care in this respect, and some of
them looked upon it as a weakness approaching
effeminacy. And you and I esteem him all the
more for these traits, which harmonized with
the nobility of his character.
So it was that in the large package secured
to the back of Zigzag was considerable that
Deerfoot himself had wrapped up, and with the
modesty of a girl carefully screened from pry-
ing eyes. Aunt Dinah, had she been per-
mitted, would have loaded down two horses
with articles for the twins, who, she declared,
could not possibly get on without them. As it
was, it is enough to say that the boys were far
WESTWARD BOUND. 13
better remembered than they would have been
if left to themselves. As Victor expressed it
when he saw her gathering and tying up the
goods, they had enough to last them for a jour-
ney round the world.
The start was made early on Monday morn-
ing, when the sun was shining bright and the
opening spring stirred every heart into life
and filled it with thankfulness to the Giver of
All Good. Men, women and children had
gathered in the clearing to the north of the
settlement to see the party start and to wish
them good speed on their journey. Deerfoot
and Mul-tal-la had ridden in from the Shaw-
anoe's home the day before, so that the start
might be made from the settlement.
There were the laughing, the jesting, the
merry and earnest expressions, with here and
there a moist eye, when the travelers were seen
seated on their horses and pausing for the final
words. The one most to be pitied in all the
group was Aunt Dinah, who was bravely trying
to hide her real feelings under an expansive
smile, in which there was not a shadow of
mirth or pleasantry. She stood on the outer
edge of the boisterous group, her folded hands
J6 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
under her apron, her eyes fixed on the boys,
who were laughing, shaking hands and
exchanging wishes and jests with their friends.
Suddenly the colored woman walked forward,
pushing her way through the throng to the side
of Deerfoot. Then she drew a piece of old-
fashioned blue writing paper from under her
apron and handed it up to him. He looked
smilingly down at her, and she, without saying
anything, walked back to the fringe of people
and faced around again.
Deerfoot opened the slip and saw some
writing in pencil. During the years when
George and Victor Shelton struggled, with
more or less success, to obtain a common-school
education, Aunt Dinah had managed to pick up
a bit here and there of elementary knowledge.
She had spent a long time the night before,
groaning in spirit, often sharpening her stub
of a pencil, which, of course, she frequently
thrust into her mouth, rubbing out and
re-writing, perspiring and toiling with might
and main to put together a message for the
young Shawanoe's eyes alone. Not until the
other members of the household had long been
sunk in slumber did she get the missive in final
WESTVARD BOUND. J7
Some of the letters were turned backward,
all curiously twisted, the lines irregular and
the writing grotesque, but the youth to whom
the paper was passed made out the following:
* ' Mister Dearf ut i f eal orf ul bad 2 hav u go
orf with them preshus babiz pleas tak gud car
of em, and bring em back rite side up
"i'll pra 4 u and the babiz evry nite and
mornin, and if i doan forgot in de midle ob de
da. i'll pra speshully 4 u, cause as long as ure
all rite, they'll B all rite.
"p. s. u'll fine rapped in paper in de top
bundel sum caik dat am 4 u speshully, but u
may let de oders hab 1 bite if u feels like it
member dat i'm prayin 4 u.
"p. s. Doan eet 2 mutch ob de caik 2 wunst,
or it'll maik yo syck it'll B jus' like you 2 gib
it awl to de oders, but doan you dootl Eet
mose ob it yosellf.
"p. s. De caik am 4 yo speshully. Ise
prayin' 4 yo.
"p. .s. Doan forgot Ise prayin' 4 yo. De
caik am 4 yo.
"p. s. De caik am yo's Ise prayin' 4 yo."
J8 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
There was not the ghost of a smile on the
face of the Shawanoe while carefully tracing
the meaning of this crude writing. He gently
refolded the paper, reached one hand within
his hunting shirt, and, drawing out his Bible,
put the folded paper between the leaves and
replaced the book. Then, heedless of the
clamor around him, he looked over the heads
of the people at the lonely woman standing a
little way off and watching him with manifest
Turning the head of his horse toward her,
he deftly directed him through the throng and
halted at the side of Aunt Dinah. She was so
confused that she was on the point of making
off, for nearly everyone was looking at the
two, the action of Deerfoot having drawn atten-
tion to the couple. Leaning over his horse he
extended his palm.
" Good-bye, Aunt Dinah."
She bashfully reached up her big hard hand.
He held it for a few moments, and, looking
down in the ebon countenance, spoke in a low
"Deerfoot thanks you; he is glad that you
will pray to the Great Spirit for him, for he
WESTWARD BOUND. J9
needs your prayers. Your promise is sweet
Aunt Dinah did not speak, for with every eye
upon her and the Indian she could not think
of a syllable to say. While she was trying
to do so, Deerfoot did something which no one
ever saw him do before, and which was so
strange that it hushed every voice. He leaned
still farther from the back of his horse and
deliberately touched his lips to the cheek of
the colored woman. Then he straightened up,
and, without a word, started his animal on a
brisk walk to the northward, the others falling
into line behind him.
THE FIRST CAMP.
IT was inevitable that, during the weeks and
months spent by Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la
together, they talked often and long about
the journey to the Northwest. At night in the
depth of the forest, by the crackling camp-fire,
or when lolling in the cavern home of the young
Shawanoe, it was the one theme in which both,
and especially the younger, was absorbingly
You need hardly be reminded that a hundred
years ago the immense territory west of the
Mississippi was an unknown region. Teem-
ing to-day with a bustling, progressive people
numbering millions, covered with large cities
and towns, gridironed by railways, honey-
combed with mines, humming with industry,
and the seat of future empire, it was at the
opening of the nineteenth century a vast soli-
tude, the home of the wild Indian and wild
THE FIRST CAMP. 2J
A few daring hunters and trappers had pene-
trated for a little way into the " Louisiana
Purchase, " and they carried on a disjointed
barter with the red men, but the fragmentary
knowledge brought back by them scarcely
pierced the shell of general ignorance. Cap-
tains Lewis and Clark had not yet made their
famous journey across the continent, but they
were getting ready to do so, for President Jef-
ferson's heart was wrapped up in developing
the largest real estate transaction ever made.
It may be said that Deerfoot pumped the
Blackfoot dry. Had that enterprising traveler
kept a diary of his journeyings and experiences
from the time he and his companion started
eastward, it would not have told the Shawanoe
more than he gained from his friend by his
continuous questioning. Deerfoot traced with
a pencil on a sheet of paper a rude map of
the western country, based wholly on the infor-
mation gained from his guest. He made many
changes and corrections before he completed
and filed it away, as may be said, for future
Several important facts were thus estab-
lished, and these you must bear in mind in order
22 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
to understand the incidents I have set out to
In the first place, the home of the Blackfeet
Indians a century ago was not to the westward
but on the east of the Bocky Mountains, as it
is to-day. In order to reach the Pacific Coast
one had to climb over that great range and
enter the country of the Flatheads and numer-
ous other tribes. Mul-tal-la had proved his
enterprise as an explorer by doing this several
years previous to making his longer journey to
When Mul-tal-la left home he and his com-
panion rode southward until well into the
present State of Colorado. Then they turned
east, passing through what is now Kansas and
Missouri, crossing the Mississippi and entering
the fringe of civilization, for they were fairly
within the Northwest Territory organized a
number of years before.
Deerfoot planned to take this route in
reverse. Where the Blackfoot was impressed
by everything he saw, he had retained an excel-
lent recollection of the route, and this knowl-
edge was sure to be of great help to Deerfoot
and his friends. The course to be followed
may be roughly outlined thus :
THE FIRST CAMP. 23
A little to the north of Woodvale the party
would turn westward, crossing the present
States of Indiana and Illinois to St. Louis,
Thence they would follow the course of the Mis-
souri to where it makes its abrupt bend north-
ward. At that point they intended to leave it
and push westward until th^ time came to head
due north and make for the Blackfoot country.
This in a general way was the route upon which
took place most of the incidents recorded in
the following pages.
When the border settlement dropped out of
sight, the company fell into what may be called
the line of march. Deerfoot was in the lead,
next rode the Blackfoot, then Zigzag the pack
horse, and last George Shelton, with Victor
bringing up the rear. The rule was to advance
in Indian file except when they reached the
plains, where the topography permitted them
to bunch together. In fact this lining out of
the horsemen was necessary most of the time,
for the trails used by them did not allow two
to ride abreast. However, it permitted free
conversation, so long as there was no necessity
Deerfoot led the way over a well-marked
24 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
trail which was familiar to him, for he had
traversed it often by day and by night. As
was his custom at such times, he rode for hours
without speaking a syllable. There was no call
for this, but it was his habit. He heard the chat
of the boys to the rear, George continually
turning his head to address or listen to his
brother. Deerfoot did not care, for no danger
threatened any of them, and he was pleased
that the couple, especially Victor, were in such
The Blackfoot showed the same peculiarity
as the leader, and which it may be said is char-
acteristic of the American race that of silence
and reserve when on the march, even while
there is perfect freedom to converse. The
Shawanoe would not have objected had his
friends called to him, but they did not do so.
At the end of half an hour the trail, which
led directly through the woods, became so level
and open that Deerfoot struck his horse into a
gentle trot. Bug did the same, but Zigzag did
not seem to think it was expected of him, and
continued plodding forward at his usual slug-
gish gait. The load, however, which he car-
ried was not burdensome, and George Shelton
THE FIRST CAMP. 25
shouted to him in so startling a voice that
Zigzag broke into a trot so vigorous that it
threatened to displace his pack. It is not
impossible that the animal was planning for
that, but the burden had been secured too well
Suddenly Zigzag swerved to the right and
pushed among the trees. A sharp order from
George brought him back, and then he dis-
played a tendency to wabble to the left. To
convince him that no nonsense would be per-
mitted, George galloped nigh enough to deliver
a resounding whack on his haunch with the
stock of his gun. After that Zigzag conducted
"It seems strange, George, " said Victor, as
well as his jolting horse would permit, "that
only a few months ago we were in danger of
our lives in this very place, and now we
needn't have the least fear."
"All due to Dearfoot," replied George; "the
whole cause of the trouble was Red Wolf, when
he started to climb that rope and it broke with
him ; that also broke up the plotting ; with their
leader gone they had no heart to try anything
further in that line."
26 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"I spoke to Deerfoot about it, and he says
the cause was more than that. Tecumseh
means well, and is determined to make his war-
riors keep the treaty of Greenville. He did
not know all the mischief Ked Wolf was up to,
and was in a fury when he learned it. About
that time, too, Tecumseh got a hint from Gov-
ernor Harrison through Simon Kenton that no
more such doings would be tolerated, and he
took the hint. No harm would come to us if
we rode alone into any of the Shawanoe or
Miami or Wyandot villages. But, ' ' added Vic-
tor, "I'd feel a good deal better to have Deer-
foot with us."
"He'll be as much a stranger as we after we
get out of this country."
"Still he's an Indian and knows better than
anyone else how to handle those of his race.
Mul-tal-la is sure to be of good service, too."
"Have you any idea how long we shall be
"No; and I don't care. I feel as if I should
like to spend several years on the other side
of the Mississippi."
"You'll get homesick before that. I had a
talk with Deerfoot last night and found he
THE FIRST CAMP. 27
doesn't expect to start on the return before
next spring. "
"Will it take us as long as that to reach the
Blackfoot country f "
"Of course not, but Deerfoot means to look
upon the Pacific Ocean before he comes back,
and that, as he figures it, is about a thousand
miles beyond the Blackfoot country. Accord-
ing to what Mul-tal-la says, the biggest moun-
tains in the world lie just west of his country,
and we have got to climb over or get through
them some way. What do you think of the
"It tickles me half to death. I wonder
whether Deerfoot would care if I threw up my
hat and yelled."
"I'm sure I don't know."
"Well, here goes, anyway!"
And what did the irrepressible youth do
but fling his cap a dozen feet above his head and
emit a whoop of which Tecumseh would not
have been ashamed. Both Deerfoot and Mul-
tal-la looked wonderingly around, and each
smiled. The Shawanoe's smile grew broader
when Victor made a grasp to catch his cap as
it came down, but missed it and it fell to the
28 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES,
" Plague take it!" exclaimed the lad, slipping
out of the saddle without stopping his horse,
and running back to recover his head-gear.
While he was doing so Deerfoot emitted a
war-whoop himself, and struck the heels of his
moccasins against the ribs of Simon, who
instantly broke into a gallop. Bug was hardly
a moment behind him, and Zigzag, for a wonder,
caught the infection. George saw what their
leader was up to, and he pretended he could not
restrain his own horse. The shouts he sent
out while seeming to do his best frightened
Jack into a gallop, and Prince proved that he
did not mean to be left behind.
Thus when Victor had snatched his cap from
the ground, replaced it on his head and turned
to trot the necessary few paces, he saw the
whole line in a gallop, with his own horse sev-
eral rods in advance of him.
"Whoa! Plague take you! Whoa! Don't
you hear me?" shouted the indignant lad,
breaking into a desperate run.
There could be no doubt that all the animals
as well as their riders heard the command,
which was loud enough to penetrate the woods
for half a mile. Prince being the nearest*
THE FIRST CAMP. 29
surely must have noted the order, but he
seemed to think that, inasmuch as the horses
ahead of him increased their speed, it was
proper for him to do the same. At any rate
he did it, and succeeded so well that his owner
saw the space widening between them.
By this time Victor knew that Deerfoot was
at the bottom of it all. No man can do his best
when laughing or shouting, and the pursuer
ceased his call and bent all his energies to over-
taking the fleeing horses. He thought the
leader would soon show some consideration for
him and slacken his pace, but the Shawanoe
seemed to be stern and unsympathizing that
forenoon, for he maintained the gallop, with
the others doing the same, and the task of the
running youngster loomed up as impossible.
It wouldn't do to get mad and sulk, for no
one would pay any attention to him least of
all Deerfoot, who liked fun as well as anybody.
Besides, the exercise promised to do the youth
a world of good.
But fortune came to his relief when least
expected. Victor had traveled this trail so
often that he knew it almost as well as Deer-
foot. He remembered it made a sharp curve
30 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
to the left not far in advance. When he caught
sight of the young Shawanoe, therefore, calmly
galloping around the bend, the lad dived among
the trees and sped at a reckless rate.
"They ain't so smart as they think they are!
I'll beat 'em yet confound it!"
He thought surely his head had been lifted
from his shoulders, for at that moment a pro-
jecting maple limb, not quite as high as his
crown, slipped under his chin and almost
hoisted him off his feet. He speedily found he
was intact and had suffered little more than a
shock to his feelings. He was quickly at it
again and soon caught sight of Deerfoot rising
and sinking with the motion of his horse and
the others stringing behind him.
A moment later Victor leaped into the trail,
recoiling just enough to let the leader pass him
as he stood. But Deerfoot reined up and
stared at him as if in wonder.
"Does my brother love to wander in the
woods that he should leave his saddle?" was
the innocent query of the dusky wag.
"You think you know a good deal, don't you?
Wait till I get a chance; I'll pay you for this,"
was the half -impatient answer.
THE FIRST CAMP. 3J
"Deerfoot is so scared by the words of his
brother that he may fall off his horse/' said
the Shawanoe with mock alarm. "Will he not
forgive Deerfoot because he did not stop when
he heard his brother crying behind him?"
" You go on. I'll catch you one of these days
and make you sorry."
With an expression of grief Deerfoot started
forward again, his horse on a walk. Those
behind had also stopped, and they now resumed
the journey. The Shawanoe kept his eye to the
rear until he saw Victor was in the saddle
again, when his pace immediately rose to a trot
and all were quickly jogging forward as before.
George tried to look sympathetic, but he
could not, and his brother saw his shoulders
shaking with laughter as he rode on, not daring
to trust himself to speak. By this time the
impulsive Victor had rallied from his partial
anger, and decided that the best thing to do
was to join in the general good-nature and
merriment over his mishap.
Noon came and passed, but Deerfoot showed
no intention of going into camp. He humored
the animals by dropping to a walk. They were
allowed to drink several times from the small
32 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
streams crossed, and occasionally were given
a breathing spell of fifteen or twenty minutes.
The Shawanoe knew how to treat their kind and
did not press them too hard. When these long
pauses were made the riders dismounted, lolled
at the side of the trail, talked together, but
neither Deerf oot nor Mul-tal-la made reference
to food for themselves, and the boys were too
proud to hint anything of their hunger.
When the afternoon was well advanced the
party came to an open space, crossed near the
middle by a sparkling brook, which issued from
under some mossy rocks to the right. Early as
was the season, there was considerable growth
of succulent grass, which offered the best kind
of nourishment for the horses. Deerfoot
announced that they would spend the night in
this place, and, leaping from the back of Simon,
plunged into the wood in quest of game, of
which they had had more than one glimpse
while on the road.
Meanwhile the Blackfoot and the boys
relieved Zigzag of his load, removed the other
saddle and bridles, and devoted themselves to
gathering wood for the night. With such an
abundance on every hand this was a light task.
THE FIRST CAMP. 33
When the leaves were heaped up, with a mass
of dry twigs loosely arranged on top and larger
sticks above them, George Shelton took out the
sun-glass which had been presented to him by
one of his neighbors. The sun was still high
enough for him to catch a few of the rays and
concentrate them upon the leaves, which
speedily broke into a smoking flame that soon
spread into a roaring fire. The method was
not much superior, after all, to the old-fash-
ioned flint and steel, but the instrument was
new so far as the present owner was concerned,
and he liked to use it."
One of the most treasured presents to Vic-
tor was a good spy-glass that had been used by
one of General Wayne's officers throughout the
Eevolutionary War, and afterward in the
Indian campaigns in the West. The lad had
not found a good chance as yet to employ it,
but when its power was explained to Mul-tal-la
he was delighted and declared it would prove
beyond value to them while crossing the plains,
and he spoke the truth.
The fire was no more than fairly going when
the report of Deerfoot's rifle sounded not far
off in the woods. No one was surprised, for
34 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
game was plenty, though it was not the most
favorable season, and it was safe to rely upon
the dusky youth for an unfailing supply of food
whenever it could possibly be secured.
When a few minutes later Deerfoot came in
sight he was carrying a big wild turkey, from
which he had torn the feathers, plucked the
inedible portions, and washed the rest in the
clear water of the brook. All that remained to
do was to broil the meat over the fire and coals
as soon as they were ready.
Aunt Dinah had expressed an ardent wish
to stow among the bundles of the packhorse
some specimens of her best cookery in the way
of bread and cake, but the brothers protested
so vigorously that there was neither need nor
room for anything of that kind that she
refrained. There was, however, considerable
salt, pepper and other condiments, though
neither tea nor coffee.
Deerfoot broiled the turkey without help
from the others. It was cut into pieces which
he toasted on green sticks skewered through
them, turned over in front of the blaze and laid
for a few minutes over the blazing coals. When
the first piece was ready he passed it to Victor.
THE FIRST CAMP. 35
"That's 'cause he feels remorse for his mean-
ness towards me," reflected the lad, sprinkling
salt on the juicy flesh and then sinking his sharp
incisors into it, realizing, as many a youngster
has realized before and since, that the best
sauce for any sort of food is hunger.
The next portion went to George, the third to
Mul-tal-la, and last of all Deerfoot provided
for himsel". This was his invariable rule, and
all his friends knew it so well that they never
Water was brought from the brook in one
of the tin cups with which they were furnished,
and all made a nourishing and palatable meal.
The last mouthful had been masticated to a
pulp and swallowed when Deerfoot, without a
word, rose gravely to his feet and walked to
where the big pack of Zigzag lay. The corners
of the huge parcel had been gathered, and were
tied over the middle with big knots. Under
these was so large a gap that Deerfoot readily
thrust in his hand without undoing the fasten-
ing. Fumbling around for several minutes he
brought out a goodly sized package wrapped
about with coarse brown paper.
Every eye was upon him, for all were won-
36 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
dering what he was seeking and had found. He
carefully unwrapped the paper and then took
from within something about a foot in diameter,
of circular shape, three or four inches in thick-
ness, and bulging upward in the middle. It
was of a dark-brown color, the interior so full of
richness that it had burst the crust in one or
two places and, pushing outward, gave a
glimpse of the slightly browned wealth within.
Eaising the object in one hand, Deerfoot broke
off a piece, whose craggy sides were of a golden
yellow, creamy and light as a feather. Then
the others identified it.
It was a " sugar cake," specially prepared
by Dinah, and in mixing and baking it she had
excelled herself. It certainly was a triumph
of skill, and, despite the meal just finished, the
sight of the delicious richness with which the
brothers had become familiar many a time
made their mouths water.
Deerfoot acted as if nobody else was in the
neighborhood. Having broken off the golden
spongy chunk, he lifted it to his mouth, and it
was a wonder how fast it disappeared. The
Shawanoe certainly had a sweet tooth, for his
eyes sparkled as he munched the soft delicacy.
THE FIRST CAMP. 37
In a minute or two the first segment vanished,
and he instantly set to work on the second,
meanwhile looking longingly at the mangled
original, as if grudging the time he had to wait
before disposing of that.
"Well, did you ever?" whispered Victor.
"Aunt Dinah made that on purpose for him,
and we were dunces enough not to take what
she offered us."
Neither of the boys was unjust enough to
attribute the salute which the young Shawanoe
gave the colored woman to this cause, for they
knew that was impossible, but it was a sight,
nevertheless, to see the fellow place himself out-
side of the cake. When it was about one-fourth
gone he seemed to become aware that he had
companions. Looking up as if in astonishment,
he broke and divided the major portion between
the boys. Some was offered to the Blackfoot,
but he shook his head. He had never tasted of
such food, and, if he knew his own heart : never
would give it a chance at his interior organiza-
THIEVES OF THE NIGHT.
DEERFOOT could be a stern master when
necessary. While it would have been
no hardship for him and Mul-tal-la to
divide the duties of sentinel each night, he
meant that the boys should bear their part.
They were big and strong enough to do so, and
there was no reason why they should not. He
informed them that George was to watch the
camp for the first half of the night, or rather
for an hour beyond the turn, when he was to
awake Victor, who would take his place until
daylight. This was to be the rule throughout
the expedition, except when some exigency
demanded the services of the elders.
Enough fuel had been gathered to last
through the darkness. It was Deerfoot's plan
to avoid the Indian villages so far as was prac-
tical, although little or nothing was to be feared
from meeting those of his own race. The
Blackfoot had come in contact with many tribes
THIEVES OF THE NIGHT. 39
on his long journey eastward, but excepting
in two instances nothing of an unpleasant
nature occurred. You have learned that the
tribes which formed the confederacy crushed
by "Mad Anthony" Wayne at Fallen Timber
were now so peaceably inclined toward the
white settlers that not much was to be feared
And yet it was not wise to tempt them too
far. An Indian loves a horse, and among the
tribes were plenty of thieves who would run
off the animals of our friends if the chance
were offered. So the latter did not mean to
offer the chance.
The air was crisp, for the spring was only
fairly open, and the little company that gath-
ered round the crackling blaze called their
blankets into use. The animals were allowed
to crop the grass near at hand, and to lie down
when they chose. None was tethered, for they
were not likely to wander off, and if they
showed a disposition to do so the sentinel could
easily prevent it.
The four lolled about the blaze after finish-
ing their evening meal, talking mainly of the
long journey and the experiences awaiting them.
40 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Mul-tal-la answered Deerfoot's questions again,
for though the Shawanoe was well informed,
his inquiries were for the benefit of the boys,
whose interest naturally was keen.
When the night was well advanced, Deerfoot,
without any preliminary, drew his little Bible
from his hunting shirt, and leaning forward so
that the light fell upon the small print, read the
Twenty-third Psalm, which, you remember, was
one of his favorite chapters. His voice was
low, musical and reverent, and no professional
elocutionist could have given the sublime pas-
sage more impressively.
The three listened attentively, none speaking
during the reading. It seemed to George and
Victor that they had never felt the beauty and
sweetness of the book whose utterances are
sufficient for every condition of man and every
state of the human mind. The surroundings,
the great future which spread out so mysteri-
ously before them, the certain dangers that
impended, their utter helplessness and a sense
of the all-protecting care of their Heavenly
Father, filled their souls as never before.
It would be hard to fathom the imaginings
and thoughts of the Blackf oot. He was sitting
THIEVES OF THE NIGHT. 4J
erect, with his blanket about his shoulders, only
a few paces from the young Shawanoe, and kept
his eyes upon the noble countenance as the
precious words filled the stillness, the listener
fearful that some syllable might escape him,
He had learned much of the true God in his
talks with the devout youth, and, like him, had
fallen into the habit of praying morning and
evening, and sometimes for a few moments in
the busiest part of the day.
The brothers recalled that loved parent who
had been lying in his- grave for weeks, and
remembered how he had prayed and how tri-
umphantly he had passed away when the last
solemn moment arrived, and both firmly
resolved from that time forward so to live that
there could be no question of the reunion that
to both was the dearest, most joyous and thrill-
ing hope that could possibly fill their hearts.
While the two sat beside each other, silent
and listening, George gently reached out his
hand. Victor saw the movement, and, taking
the palm within his own, fervently pressed it.
At the same moment the brothers looked into
each other's eyes. It was enough; volumes
could have said no more.
42 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Deerfoot finished, and, closing the book,
returned it to its resting place over his heart.
Then without a word he turned and knelt on
the cool earth. Instinctively the three did the
same and all prayed.
Not a word was heard, but heart spoke to
heart, and all communed with Him whose ear
is never closed against the petition of his chil-
dren. Had either of the boys prayed aloud
he would have stammered, for he could not have
shaken off the question as to how his words
impressed his companions. It is the impossi-
bility in many cases of one freeing himself from
this hindrance that makes the sentences of the
petitioner halt and stumbling, because to a
certain degree they are addressed to men rather
than directly to the Father. The Blackfoot
would have found it almost impossible to shape
intelligently his sentences if he spoke aloud,
but he could talk freely in his own way to his
Maker. Deerfoot could have done far better
than any of the others, for he would not have
hesitated, but he preferred the silent petition,
and rarely spoke his words unless he was asked
to do so or a special necessity existed.
The others took their cue from him, and when
THIEVES OF THE NIGHT. 43
they heard the gentle rustling which showed
that he had resumed his sitting posture they
did the same. Then he nodded to George, who,
rifle in hand, walked softly out in the gloom
to where the animals had lain down for the
night, in the midst of the grass and near the
rippling brook. As he did so he bade his
friends good night, and they disposed of them-
selves in the usual way, each with his blanket
wrapped about him and his feet turned toward
the fire. Within ten minutes every one of the
three was sunk in sweet, refreshing slumber.
The night was clear and studded with stars.
There was no moon, the gloom being so deep
that the watcher could see only a few paces in
any direction. Often as he had spent the night
in the dim solitudes, sometimes with danger
brooding and again when all was tranquil, he
could never cast off the emotions that filled his
being when he stood thus alone, with friends
dependent perhaps upon his vigilance. He
listened to the soft rippling of the brook, the
hollow stillness of the vast forest, like the
moaning of the far-away ocean which has been
called the voice of silence, the occasional rest-
less movement of one of the horses, and the
44 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
gentle stir of the night wind among the burst-
ing foliage overhead and around him. Then
he looked toward the fire at the dimly outlined
forms, partly within and partly without the
circle of illumination, and again his heart was
lifted to the only One who could ward off dan-
ger from him and his friends.
The youth marked out a beat for himself
parallel with the brook and two or three rods in
length. Sometimes he paused and, leaning on
his gun, peered into the hollow gloom which
inclosed him on every hand. He knew that so
long as he kept on his feet he would not fall
asleep, but if he sat down the lapse was inevi-
table. Better still to walk to and fro, as is the
practice of the sentinel, for while doing so he
was safe against the insidious weakness which
steals the senses from the most rugged man
ere he is aware.
George did not believe that any danger
threatened the camp unless of the nature hinted
by Deerfoot. It might be that some wandering
Miamis or Wyandots or Shawanoes had
observed the little party and their horses and
cast covetous eyes upon the latter. If so, they
would not dare to proceed to violence, but might
THIEVES OF THE NIGHT. 45
try to run off one or two of the animals, hoping
to get far enough away with them before dis-
covery of the theft to make pursuit useless.
It was this apprehension which kept the youth
alert and watchful.
George Shelton had paced to and fro for
more than an hour without hearing or seeing
anything to excite misgiving. The cry of a
wolf in the distance and the nearer scream of
a panther were given scarcely a thought, for
both were too common to cause alarm.
The first disturbance came from the action
of his horse Jack, who had lain down at a point
farther off than the others. All the animals
seemed to be resting quietly, when, at the
moment the lad was nearest his own and was
about to turn to retrace his steps, Jack raised
his head and emitted a slight whinny, though
none of the others showed any disquiet.
The sentinel paused and looked at his pony,
dimly outlined in the darkness. He saw he had
raised his head and appeared to be interested
in something on the other side of the brook.
George lifted the hammer of his rifle, suspect-
ing that some prowling wolf or other wild beast
was trying to creep nigh enough to assail the
46 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
horses. The youth peered into the gloom and
listened, hut all remained as silent as the grave.
He held his motionless position for several
minutes, in douht what he ought to do, if indeed
he could do anything. Then with rare courage
he hegan slowly walking toward the point in
which Jack seemed interested, holding his gun
ready to raise and fire on the instant.
He reached the brook and was about to leap
lightly across when the figure of an Indian rose
from the grass and stood revealed hardly ten
feet distant. He did not move, and seemed to
have come up from a hole in the earth. The
sight was so startling to the lad that he stopped
abruptly and exclaimed in a low tone :
1 ' Helloa ! Who are you ? ' '
"Howdy,brudder?" replied the redskin in the
same guarded voice.
"What do you want, stealing into our camp
"Me Par-o-wan friend of paleface me
"You haven't told me what you want,"
repeated the impatient youth, with his gun half
raised, for he was suspicious, and saw that the
other held a rifle almost in the same position as
THIEVES OF THE NIGHT. 47
"Par-o-wan brudder; sit down talk wid
brudder lub brudder. "
"Dog of a Miami! leave at once! You have
others with you ! If you tarry we shall shoot
every one of you ! ' '
It was not George Shelton who uttered this
warning, but Deerf oot, who appeared at his side
4SO suddenly and noiselessly that the lad had
no thought of anything of the kind until he
heard the familiar voice.
"Par-o-wan friend ob Deerf oot he no hunt
him he go away," replied the Miami, plainly
scared by the words and manner of the young
Shawanoe, who now raised his rifle to a "dead
level " and acted as if he meant to fire.
t ' Deerf oot knows you and those that are with
you, Par-o-wan ! You are the thieves who have
come to steal our horses. Go quick or I
In a panic of fear the Miami wheeled and
dashed off so fast that he threshed through the
undergrowth and wood like a frightened wild
animal. Deerfoot waited a minute in the same
vigilant attitude, and then quietly remarked :
"They will trouble us no more. Now Deer-
foot will sleep."
4S DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"But tell me what woke you; I didn't give
any alarm," said the mystified George Shelton.
"My brother spoke. Deerfoot heard his
voice. My brother is watchful, but he will not
be troubled again by the Miamis, for they are
And without anything further the Shawanoe
walked silently back to his place by the camp-
fire, drew his blanket around him and five min-
utes later was sleeping as peacefully as before
he was awakened by the soft voices of the man
"Well, that beats all creation!" muttered the
grinning lad, as he resumed his pacing to and
fro. "We didn't make enough noise to wake a
sleeping baby, but he must have been roused
by the first word, for he was at my side in a
few seconds. I don't see the need of putting
one of us on guard when Deerfoot wakes up
like that. He's a wonder and no mistake."
So full was George's faith in the young
Shawanoe that he was absolutely sure nothing
more was to be feared from the Miamis who
had evidently stolen up to the camp with the
intention of running off one or more of the
horses. He paced regularly over his beat until
THIEVES OF THE NIGHT. 49
certain it was well past midnight, when he went
up to the fire, threw more wood on it and
touched the arm of his brother.
You know that when you sink into slumber
with the wish strongly impressed on your mind
of awaking at a certain minute, you are almost
sure to do so, or at least very near the time
stamped on your brain. While George Shelton
was in the act of stooping to rouse Victor the
latter opened his eyes and rose to the sitting
"I'm ready," he said softly, coming to his
feet, gun in hand. "Have you seen anything,
The latter quickly whispered the particulars
of the little incident already told.
"Well, if Deerfoot said they won't be back,
they won't be back; but I mean to keep a look-
out for them."
With which philosophical decision Victor
strolled out to the beat whose location his
brother had made known to him. While gath-
ering the blanket about him to lie down
George glanced at Deerfoot, who lay within
arm's length. At that moment one of the
embers at the base of the fire fell apart and the
flare of light fell upon the face of the Shawanoe.
50 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
George saw that his large dark eyes were
open, and no doubt he had heard every word
of the cautious bit of conversation between the
brothers. He did not speak, however, and
immediately closed his eyes again, no doubt
dropping off to sleep as quietly as before. It
was a considerable time before George slum-
bered, for the experience of the evening, even
though it amounted to little, touched his nerves.
Finally he glided off into the land of dreams.
Victor did his duty faithfully, as his brother
had done, and with his senses keyed to a high
tension, but not the slightest disturbance
occurred. Deerfoot was right in his declara-
tion. If Par-o-wan had companions they had
been too thoroughly frightened to risk rousing
the anger of the Shawanoe.
The latter acted as provider again and fur-
nished his friends with another meal upon wild
turkey, promising to vary the diet in the course
of a day or two, though no one felt like com-
plaining, since there was an abundance for all,
and such meat is not to be despised, even
though one can become tired of it.
Thus early in their venture our friends met
with a disagreeable experience, for though the
THIEVES OF THE NIGHT, 51
day dawned with the sun visible, the tempera-
ture fell and a cold, drizzling rain set in, which
promised to last for hours. Deerfoot read the
signs aright, and before the rainfall began con-
ducted his companions to a rocky section a
little way off the trail, where they found shelter
for themselves and partial protection for their
horses. Had there been an Indian village
within easy distance they would have made
their way thither, being sure of a welcome.
It was not the cheerless day itself that was
so trying, for that was,, much improved by the
fire they kept going, but it was the enforced
inaction. Few things are harder to bear than
idleness when one is anxious to get forward.
The boys fretted, but Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la
accepted the situation philosophically, as they
always accepted the bad with the good. No
murmur would have been heard from either
had they been halted for several days. Deer-
foot, indeed, had reached that wise state of
mind in which his conscience reproved him for
complaining of anything, since he knew it was
ordered by One who doeth all things well.
THE cold, dismal, drizzling rain lasted
without cessation till night closed in.
The horses were allowed to graze suffi-
ciently to satisfy their hunger, but they shrank
shivering under the lee of the rocks, where
they were only partly protected. Every mem-
ber of the party proved his sympathy by cover-
ing an animal with his blanket, an extra one
being provided for Zigzag, so that after a time
all became comfortable. The fire that was kept
blazing on the stony floor under a projecting
ledge warmed the four so well that they were
able to get on quite well without additional
Mul-tal-la asked the privilege of going off
on a hunt in the afternoon. His bow was at
disadvantage in the wet, and he borrowed Deer-
foot 's rifle, with which he had practiced enough
to acquire a fair degree of skill.
AN ACQUAINTANCE. 53
4 * What will my brother bring back?" asked
"Whatever his brothers want," replied the
Blackfoot in good English. He looked first at
Deerfoot for his request.
"Let my brother bring a buffalo," he replied,
knowing very well that none was in the neigh-
"Mul-tal-la would have to journey too far,"
said the warrior, who had acquired from his
friend the habit of speaking of himself in the
third person; "but if Deerfoot wants it he will
hunt till he finds a buffalo."
"Then let my brother bring anything,"
added the Shawanoe significantly, as if he
doubted the ability of his friend to shoot any
kind of game. That was the impression, too,
he meant to make.
The Blackfoot turned to the boys.
"I'm not particular," remarked George, who
was inclined to sympathize with the homely but
"What would my brother like more than
anything else?" persisted Mul-tal-la.
' i I think a meal of venison would taste good.
What do you say, Victor?"
54 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"Nothing can suit me better/'
"My brothers shall eat deer's meat when
Mul-tal-la comes back," was the confident com-
ment of the hunter.
Deerfoot looked alarmed.
"Let not my brother wait till he shoots a
deer," he said.
"Why shall he not wait?"
"Because my brother may never come back
if he waits for that, ' ' was the slurring explana-
tion of the young Shawanoe. The Blackfoot
grinned almost to his ears, displaying a set of
teeth that rivaled those of the Shawanoe. No
one could accept a joke better than this dusky
wanderer from the Eocky Mountains.
Mul-tal-la had not been gone more than a
quarter of an hour when the report of his gun
was heard. Deerfoot smiled and wondered what
the result had been. But it was Mul-tal-la 's
moment of triumph when, soon after, he came in
sight bending under the weight of the f orequar-
ters of a goodly sized deer. He had come upon
three of the animals as they were plucking the
tender shoots of the young trees and under-
growth. The meeting was as much of a sur-
prise to him as to the deer themselves. A
AN ACQUAINTANCE. 55
hunter could not have asked a fairer shot, and
as the three terrified creatures whirled about
to make off, he sent a bullet into one just back
of the fore leg and brought him down.
No one ever saw the proud Blackfoot do more
amazing grinning than when he emerged from
the woods and flung the carcass at the feet of
"Now, if my brother wishes Mul-tal-la to
bring him a buffalo, he will do so. ' '
Deerfoot reached out his hand and shook that
of the Blackfoot.
"Mul-tal-la is a great hunter. He brings
back that which he goes out to seek. Deerfoot
is sorry that he said doubting words."
"Oh, he needn't worry, for Mul-tal-la cares
not for his idle talk."
The prospect of a clear day on the morrow
and the bountiful meal of venison, even though
it was perhaps fresher than was desirable, put
all in the best of spirits. The evening passed
much as the previous one. The boys made
themselves a bed of boughs that had been dried
by the heat of the fire, and slept undisturbed
till morning, the Indians acting the part of
sentinels and not being disturbed through the
56 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
The morning came bright, mild and sun-
shiny. The breakfast was eaten early, and
the sun had hardly risen when the little caval-
cade was in motion. Deerfoot now made an
abrupt turn to the left, and by nightfall had
penetrated a goodly distance into the present
State of Indiana. The pace was a walk and
was maintained until night began closing in.
Then followed days so similar to one another
that it would be monotonous to give the history
of each. The adventurers were compelled to
cross a number of streams, several of consid-
erable size, but, by searching, fords or shallow
places were found where the horses waded
without submerging their riders and without
making it necessary to unload Zigzag and
transport his burden on a raft. This good
fortune, however, could not be expected to last.
The rivers that interposed were sure to prove
the most serious obstacles in their path.
Most of the time Deerfoot was able to dis-
cover well marked trails, which he turned to
account if they led in the right direction. A
curious sight was the "salt licks" which now
and then they came upon. Sometimes these
covered more than an acre and marked where
AN ACQUAINTANCE. 57
the brackish water, oozing upward, left a fine
incrustation of salt, of which all kinds of ani-
mals are very fond. Some portions had been
licked over hundreds and perhaps thousands
of times by the buffalo, deer, bears, wolves and
other beasts, until they were worn as smooth as
a parlor floor. The horses of our friends were
allowed to do considerable lapping for them-
selves, for they appreciated the privilege.
Hardly a day passed on which strange
Indians were not met. None showed any hos-
tility, and responded to the signs of friendship
always made by Deerfoot at first sight of them.
These signs are so universal among the red men
that a native of the American coast could
readily make himself understood by an Indian
on the banks of the Pacific. The Shawanoe
kept to his rule of avoiding villages so far as
he could. While he felt little fear for himself
and companions, he thought the horses were
likely to arouse the cupidity of the strangers,
with the result that some of the animals would
be stolen or unpleasant consequences would
flow from the meetings.
So, with now and then an unpleasant varia-
tion in the weather, but never checked for more
58 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
than an hour or two, and heading slightly to
the south, the party steadily progressed until
in a little less than a week they passed out of
the section now known as Indiana into that of
southern Illinois. Straight across this they
rode, still crossing the interposing rivers,
sometimes with the help of a raft, with the
horses swimming alongside, but oftener hy
wading. They found the Indians of this sec-
tion inclined to be rovers, and it was generally
easy to find the fords used by them. Pushing
steadily on, with the spring rapidly advancing
on every hand, and with fine weather most of
the time, our friends finally came to the banks
of the mighty Mississippi, at a point directly
opposite St. Louis.
This city, which to-day is one of the leading
ones in the Union, was at that time an unsightly
collection of cabins and wooden houses strung
along the river. Founded long before by the
French as a trading post, it had not developed
much beyond that when visited by Deerfoot and
his companions. The Mississippi was broad,
muddy from recent freshets and rapid. Look-
ing across to the town the Shawanoe declared
that it would not do to attempt to swim the
river, though the task was not impossible.
AN ACQUAINTANCE. 59
It was early in the forenoon when they came
to the Father of Waters, and they began making
signals to those on the other side to come to
their help. There were plenty of boatmen who
turned an honest penny in this way, and the
party was not kept waiting long. A broad flat
boat, with a square sail, was seen to put out
from the wharf, and the two occupants began
laboring with might and main. They used
long poles for most of the distance, for the wind
was more favorable for the return, then swung
big paddles, and so at last brought the awk-
ward craft to the eastern bank.
The situation was complicated at first
because the couple were Frenchmen who could
hardly speak a word of English, but it was easy
to make them understand that their services
were needed to place the party in the town on
the other bank. George and Victor Shelton
had a moderate supply of Spanish silver that
country still claiming the territory and Deer-
foot carried some. The Blackfoot, of course,
had nothing of the kind. The price asked by
the Frenchmen was moderate, and men and ani-
mals went aboard.
Horses and owners proved a dangerously
60 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
heavy cargo. The looks of fear showed on the
faces of the voyageurs, as they were by pro-
fession, when Zigzag, the last, stepped gingerly
aboard with his load. Even Deerfoot was anx-
ious, for the flatboat sank near to its gunwales.
Fortunately a moderate breeze was blowing in
the right direction, and by trimming boat and
using care the party made the passage without
On the western bank our friends found them-
selves in a motley and interesting community.
The chief business of St. Louis, as it continued
to be long afterward, was trading in furs.
From that point boats ascended the Mississippi
or, a short distance above, turned off up the
Missouri, the big brother of the great stream,
carrying with them hunters and trappers, some
of whom remained for long months in the wild
regions of the Northwest. When the voy~
ageurs, with their rhythmic songs and vigorous
swing of their oars, came down the river again,
they brought with them valuable loads of
peltries, which found ready sale at the post.
The pay received by these hardy adventurers,
and which represented in most instances toil,
privations and perils extending through many
AN ACQUAINTANCE. 61
weary weeks, was, as a rule, speedily wasted in
riotous living. Penniless, remorseful and with-
out credit, the hunters and trappers had no
choice but to make off again, returning in due
time to repeat their folly, or mayhap to fall
victims to the treachery of the red men whose
territory they invaded.
The visitors attracted less attention than
they expected. Indians and white hunters were
too common a sight in St. Louis to be remarked
upon. Perhaps if the inhabitants had known
that the last visitors were on their way to the
other side of the continent they would have
given them more heed, but, on the advice of
Deerfoot, the secret was kept from all chance
When Mul-tal-la and his companion came
down the Missouri in a canoe it was easy
enough to transport themselves to the eastern
bank. They obtained the boat in the country
of Iowa Indians, and, leaving it on the eastern
bank, never saw it again.
As a good deal of the day remained the
travelers ate their noon meal at one of the
taverns, where the food was less inviting than
the game secured by their own rifles, and then
62 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
remounting, they headed across the country for
a hamlet named La Charrette, about which they
had made inquiries and learned that it was
the last white settlement on the Missouri. It
was too far to reach that day, but they expected
to make it on the morrow if no check occurred.
Even though they were so near St. Louis they
found no lack of game, and the question of food
gave them the least concern of any. The
Blackfoot, however, had told his friend more
than once that they were to reach sections
where the matter would be found one of con-
La Charrette proved to be a dilapidated ham-
let of half a dozen log cabins, standing close
to the river. The country was so open when
they approached the wretched dwellings that
our friends were riding in a bunch, with Zig-
zag a little to the rear. Several half -clothed
children were seen playing in the mud near the
water's edge, but no one else for the moment
was visible. Deerfoot had just remarked that
he was so unfavorably impressed with the
appearance of the little settlement that they
would not stop, as had been his intention, when
a man was seen to come out of the door of the
AN ACQUAINTANCE. 63
nearest cabin. He carried a long rifle, was
dressed in the costume of the hunters of Ken-
tucky, and was as straight and erect as an
Indian. He paused and looked down at the
children, apparently unaware of the approach
of the horsemen.
Victor, who was riding at the elbow of Deer-
foot, heard him utter an exclamation of aston-
ishment. Turning his head, he saw the Shaw-
anoe intently studying the man who had just
come into view. The next moment Deerfoot
made another exclamation, and, leaping from
his horse, ran to ward -the other. The latter
was quick to detect the sound of his footsteps,
and turned to look at him. As he did so the
boys gained a fair view of his face. He had
a somewhat elongated countenance, was
smoothly shaven, with a prominent nose, and
seemed to be in middle life.
It was evident that he recognized Deerfoot
before the latter reached him. The man was
seen to smile, stride forward and warmly grasp
the hand of the dusky youth, while the two
talked fast, though their words could not be
"They seem to be old acquaintances, " said
64 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
the wondering Victor. "I don't see how that
can be, for Deerf oot has never been in this part
of the country."
"But the man may have been in ours. I
never saw him before; have you?"
The hunter had turned his gaze from the
face of Deerfoot, apparently because of some-
thing said by him, and was looking at the
Blackf oot and the brothers, who were approach-
ing with their horses on a slow walk. Deer-
foot also turned and beckoned the boys to draw
near. They did so, scrutinizing the stranger,
whom they certainly had never seen until then.
To their amazement the young Shawanoe
introduced them to Daniel Boone, the most
famous pioneer of the early West. The boys
had heard of him times without number, for he
was an old acquaintance of their father, and
they knew how intimate he and Kenton had
been. He was genial and pleasant, although
always inclined to reserve, and insisted that
the company should dismount and spend the
rest of the day and night with him.
It was hard to refuse, but the signs of pov-
erty, and especially the sight of several wan
faces peering through the broken windows.
Daniel Boone and Deerfoot.
AN ACQUAINTANCE. 65
decided Deerfoot that it would be more consid-
erate for them to make excuse. The presence
of so many, even if divided among several
households, could not but be burdensome.
But the boys dismounted and walked with
Deerfoot and Boone to the cabin from which
the pioneer had emerged, and found seats on
the broken-down porch. The Blackfoot pre-
ferred to stay where he was and look after the
The talk was one that the boys remembered
all their lives. The sight of Deerfoot, who
was as well known to- Boone as to Kenton,
seemed to warm the cockles of the pioneer's
heart, and he talked with a freedom that would
have astonished his friends. Deerfoot did not
hesitate to tell him of the destination of him-
self and boys and the long venturesome journey
before them. The mild blue eyes lit up.
"I wish I could go with you!" exclaimed
' ' Why can 't you 1' ' asked Deerfoot. * ' It will
make all our hearts glad."
The great ranger shook his head.
"No; I'm too old."
"Why, you can't be more than fifty, if you
are that much," sqjd the impulsive Victor.
66 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
With a smile that showed his fine, even teeth,
" Fifty years ago I was older than Deerfoot
is now, for I'm close to three score and ten. I
do a little hunting, as I expect to do to the end
of my life, but I couldn't stand such a tramp
as you have started on, my friends. How-
sumever, it's the best thing in the world for
these youngsters, and they couldn't have better
company than Deerfoot."
"We found that out long ago," said George
Shelton warmly. "If it hadn't been for him,
my brother and I would have never lived to
"My brother shouldn't talk that way," pro-
tested the Shawanoe with a blush.
"Haven't you always told us to speak the
truth?" asked Victor. "And you know what
George just said is as true as it can be. ' '
Deerfoot would have liked to deny it, but
he could not. Nevertheless, it was not pleasing
to listen to praise of himself, as, I am forced to
say, he was often compelled to do. He shook
his head and looked at Boone.
"How long has my brother lived here!"
"Between two and three years. I expect
to stay with my relatives till I die. ' '
AN ACQUAINTANCE. 67
The veteran again urged the company to
remain over night with him. Their presence
had already drawn the attention of every
inhabitant of the hamlet. Boone remarked
that most of the men were off hunting, but
loungers were noticed in front of several of the
cabins staring curiously at the visitors, while
the women and children did most of their
gaping from the windows. Most of these were
composed of oiled paper punched through by
soiled fingers, but several had been furnished
with glass, and there seemed hardly a single
sound pane among them all.
Fearing that the people would crowd closer,
as they were beginning to do, Deerfoot took
advantage of the renewed invitation to rise to
his feet and say that it was time they were on
the way again. Throughout the interview the
Blackfoot sat on his horse gazing indifferently
to the westward, as if he discovered nothing
of interest in any direction.
Boone warmly shook the hands of Deerfoot
and the boys, and waved them good-bye as they
You have learned something of Daniel
Boone, the great pioneer of Kentucky, though,
68 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
as I have told you, Simon Kenton was his
superior in many respects. Boone was earlier
on the ground, being considerably older than
Kenton, and that fact helped his fame. He
was a colonel in the United States Army, and
went to Kentucky before the opening of the
Kevolution. In 1793 he removed to Upper
Louisiana, which at that time belonged to the
Spaniards, who appointed him a commandant
of a district. It is worth adding, in conclusion,
that both Boone and Kenton lived well beyond
four-score. There is no denying that an out-
door life is healthful and tends to longevity,
even though, as in their cases, it was attended
with privation, suffering and no little danger.
A CLOSE CALL.
NOW you must not forget that most of
the names of rivers, mountains and
settlements which I use in this story
had no existence when Deerfoot and his friends
started on their journey across the continent.
A large number of these names were bestowed
by Captains Lewis and Clark, who came after
the little party. Some of the titles have stuck,
and a good many have undergone changes. It
was these explorers who gave the Rocky (then
known as Stony) Mountains their name, to say
nothing of other peaks and ranges. Lewis and
Clark showed much ingenuity in making up the
long list, and it must be admitted that in many
instances the change of title since then was not
Our friends left the Missouri some distance
beyond old Fort Osage, where the stream
changes its course, and instead of flowing
directly east, comes from the north. They
70 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
headed a little south of northwest, and when we
look upon them again the four were in the
western part of the present State of Kansas and
below the Arkansas Eiver. Had they turned
south they would have had to cross only a com-
paratively narrow neck of Oklahoma to enter
the immense State of Texas.
By this time it was early summer and the
region was like fairyland. The surface was
rolling prairie, and the luxuriant grass was
dotted with an exuberance of wild flowers, bril-
liant, beautiful and fragrant, while the soft blue
sky, flecked here and there by snowy patches
of cloud, shut down on every hand. North,
south, east, west, every point of the compass
showed the same apparently limitless expanse
of rolling prairie, watered by many streams
and fertile as the ' ' Garden of the Lord. ' '
The party had become accustomed to the
varying scenery which greeted them from the
hour of leaving their distant home, and especi-
ally after crossing the Mississippi, but they
were profoundly impressed by the wonderful
loveliness on every hand. Mul-tal-la had
passed over the same ground before, but it was
not clothed in such enchanting verdure. Not
A CLOSE CALL. 71
a single tree was in sight, but the grass in some
places brushed the bellies of the horses, and no
one needed to be told that at no distant day the
region would become one of the most pros-
perous on the continent.
At intervals the horsemen came to higher
swells in the prairies, upon which they halted
and surveyed the surrounding country. While
the weather was warm, there was just a touch
of coolness which made it ideal for riding, walk-
ing or, in fact, living and drawing one 's breath.
The best of fortune had attended the little
company thus far. There had been some
delays and checks in crossing the streams, and
once Zigzag 's stubbornness came within a hair
of losing the contents of the pack strapped to
his back. Bug, the horse of Mul-tal-la, wan-
dered off one night, and he, too, developed such
a spell of obstinacy that it was a whole day
before he was found again. Had he not been
recovered just when he was he would have been
run off by a party of Pawnees, who seemed dis-
posed to make a fight for him. These warriors
were large, finely formed and numerous enough
to wipe out the four, but the exercise of tact
finally adjusted matters, and nothing more of
an unpleasant nature occurred.
72 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
But, without dwelling upon these and other
annoying incidents, we find our friends in the
section named on this bright, sunshiny fore-
noon in early summer, riding at a leisurely gait
toward the setting sun, for the time had not yet
come to turn northward and make for the hunt-
ing grounds of the Blackfeet.
Deerfoot checked his horse on the crest of
the moderate elevation, with one of the brothers
on either side of him, and Mul-tal-la farther
to the left. All carefully scanned the horizon
and the grand sweep of prairie that inclosed
them on every side.
"Do my brothers see anything more than the
stretch of plain?" asked Deerfoot.
Naturally one of the first things done by
George Shelton at such times was to bring his
spyglass to his eye. It was a good instrument
and proved of value to all. He had been thus
engaged for several minutes when the Shaw-
anoe asked his question.
"No," was the reply. "There seems to be
no end to waving grass and shining flower."
"Let my brother look to the northward,"
said Deerfoot, pointing in that direction, "and
tell me what he sees."
A CLOSE CALL. 73
George did as directed. At first he saw
nothing unusual, but as he peered he observed
a change in the color of the landscape. Far off
toward the horizon he noted, instead of the
variegated hue, a dark sweep, as if the prairie
ended on the shore of a dun-colored lake or sea.
It covered thirty degrees of the circle. His
first thought was that it was a large body of
water, for as he studied it closer he perceived
a restless pulsation of the surface, which
suggested waves, though there was not a
breath of wind where the company had halted.
"It looks to me like a big body of water, "
said the boy, lowering his glass.
"Let me have a squint, " remarked Victor,
reaching for the glass, which was passed to him.
Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la did not speak, but
exchanged significant looks.
Victor held the glass to his eyes for several
minutes, while the others waited for him to
"It looks like a body of water," he finally
said, without lowering the instrument, "but,
if it is, it's coming this way!"
It was the Blackf oot who grinned and uttered
the single word:
74 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"So they are! You might have known that,
"You didn't know it till Mul-tal-la told you."
Very soon the animals were identified by the
naked eye. Numbers had been seen before, but
never so large a herd as that upon which all
now gazed with rapt attention. There must
have been tens of thousands, all coming with
that heavy, plunging pace peculiar to those
animals. Sometimes an immense drove would
be quietly cropping the herbage, when a slight
flurry would set several in motion. Then the
excitement ran through the whole lot with
almost electric suddenness, and all were soon
plunging in headlong flight across the plain.
The buffalo, or more properly the American
bison, is a stupid creature and subject to the
most senseless panics. Thousands have been
known to dash at the highest speed straight
away. Sometimes the leaders would come
abruptly to the top of a lofty bluff, perhaps
overlooking a stream deep below. . In vain they
attempted to hold back or to swerve to one side.
The prodigious pressure from the rear was
resistless, and they were driven over the cliff
into the water, with the others piling upon
A CLOSE CALL. 75
them, and those again borne under by the
remainder of the herd until hundreds were
trampled, smothered and drowned in the muddy
water beneath. Only those at the extreme rear
were able to save themselves, and that not
through any wit of their own.
As the seething host bore down upon the
horsemen it was seen that the front, which was
spread out over an expanse of several hundred
yards, was coming straight for the elevation
upon which our friends were waiting and
watching them. Bellowing mingled with the
thunderous tread of the mighty mass, and the
sight was enough to awe the stoutest heart.
"They will trample us to death," called the
scared Victor, looking at Deerfoot, who was
calmly contemplating the approaching army.
The horses raised their heads, looked toward
the brown, undulating mass, snuffed, snorted
and trembled with terror, for their instinct told
them that the peril was bearing down upon
them with hurricane swiftness.
It would not do to wait, for the most frightful
of deaths threatened the party. Mul-tal-la
slipped from his horse and whipped the blanket
from his back. Deerfoot also dismounted, but
76 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
did not take his blanket with him, though he
carried his gun.
"Let my brothers come with me," he said
sharply to the boys, who nervously sprang from
their saddles and hurried to his side.
The Blackfoot ran a few paces in front of
the three and began vigorously waving the
blanket over his head, shouting at the top of
his voice. At the same moment Deerfoot
leveled his gun and fired at the nearest bison,
which was less than a hundred yards off. The
bullet struck the gigantic head, but the beast
did not suffer the slightest harm. He plunged
forward with the same impetuosity as before.
Deerfoot caught the gun from George's
grasp and fired again, but with no more effect
than at first. The horses were snorting and
rearing and in danger of breaking off in the
irrestrainable panic shown by the bison. The
Shawanoe reached for the rifle of Victor, and
the lad eagerly passed the weapon to him.
"Let my brothers look to the horses," he
called, still cool but under restrained excite-
ment. The boys ran to the animals and
immediately found their hands full, for a horse
frantic with fear is one of the most unmanage-
able of creatures.
A CLOSE CALL. 77
Deerfoot did not discharge the third weapon,
but awaited the chance to make his shot
effective. It was a waste of ammunition to
launch a bullet at the iron-like front of a bison.
The surest avenue to his seat of life is back of
the foreleg. The heads were held so low by
the plunging brutes that they acted as shields
to the vulnerable portions from that direction,
and the position of the Shawanoe did not allow
a favorable aim.
Mul-tal-la ran several steps toward the
thundering herd, and then began leaping into
the air, swinging his blanket and shouting like
a crazy man. In any other circumstances his
antics would have caused a laugh, but this was
no time for merriment. Deerfoot was the only
tranquil member of the party, and he stood
with weapon half raised, unable to decide what
to do to avert the peril sweeping down upon
them like a hurricane.
Seconds were beyond value. Unless the
bison were diverted at once the breath of life
would be crushed out of the four and out of
their animals. Wild bello wings filled the air,
and peculiar crackling, rattling sounds, limit-
less in number, were heard. These were caused
78 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
by the contact of the horns of the bison, which
were crowded so close in many places that the
wonder was how they were able to move at all.
The last hope seemed to lie in the Blackfoot.
Unless his shoutings and contortions with the
fluttering blanket, which threatened to be
whipped into shreds, checked the furious
beasts, they could not be stayed at all. He
produced no more effect than the flicker of a
straw in the wind.
At this appalling juncture, Deerfoot, with
both arms outstretched, the left hand hold-
ing the rifle of Victor Shelton, dashed toward
the head of the herd, which was only a few rods
away. He was seen to make a tremendous
leap, which landed him on the back of an enor-
mous bull. Instead of firing the gun, he
grasped it by the barrel and smote the bison
with the stock, the blow descending upon one of
his eyes. The youth's strange position, which
he managed to maintain, gave him the first
chance to make a telling shot. Like a flash he
fired at the nearest bison, sending the bullet
down through the forepart of his body and into
a spot so vital that, with a frenzied bellow, he
stumbled forward and rolled over and over like
A CLOSE CALL. 7*
a huge block of wood driven from the throat
of a giant piece of ordnance.
While executing his lightning-like move-
ments, the Shawanoe added his shoutings to
those of his friend, and then laid about him
with the clubbed weapon. The unique per-
formances of the two did the business. The
fall of one bison, the strange figure dancing as
it seemed in mid-air, injected a panic into that
part of the herd, which split into two divisions
that thundered past the terrified group as if the
elevation formed a small island in the center of
a rushing torrent.
Deerfoot allowed himself to be carried a
number of yards on the back of his frantic
steed. When abreast of the horses he sprang
from his perch and ran up beside them, where
the boys had all they could do to restrain the
animals. As if nothing unusual had occurred,
the Shawanoe joined in their efforts, and, by
main force, restrained the brutes from break-
ing away and diving among the bison, where
they could not have survived more than a few
The wedge having been inserted into the
onrushing herd, nothing more remained to be
80 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
done. The dividing point not only was main-
tained, but the bison began separating farther
back, so that by and by the partition point was
twice as distant as at first.
None of the rifles was loaded, and no
attempt was made to ram a charge into them
while the stampede continued. The Blackfoot,
however, seemed to catch the wild ardor of
panic, and, dropping his blanket, brought his
bow into play. Arrow after arrow was launched
at the bison. Though none fell, a number
were grievously hurt and, as they dived past,
more than one showed an arrow projecting like
a giant feather from some part of his body.
So enormous was this herd of bison that nearly
an hour passed before the last galloped by and
followed with undiminished speed the thou-
sands that were headed southward and running
as if they would never stop.
THE flight of so immense a number of
bison during the dry season would
have filled the air with thick clouds of
suffocating dust, but our friends were spared
this infliction. It was not only early in the
season, when the grass was green and the soil
damp, but there had been a heavy rainfall a
couple of days before. "
After the rear of the herd had thundered
past, bellowing, flinging their heels and putting
forth their best exertions, as if Death himself
were nipping at their heels, the little party
having quieted their horses, remounted and
gazed after the vanishing drove. A singular
result of the shots of Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la
showed itself. In neither case was the bison
killed outright, but the one struck by the Shaw-
anoe and four of those hit by the Blackfoot
were so badly wounded that they wabbled and
sagged down and were quickly crushed. Here
52 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
and there, at varying distances, the dark humps
were seen in the trampled grass, looking like
mounds of brown dirt.
Since the four made it a rule to depend upon
their rifles for food, they had no sooner
reloaded the weapons than they set out to
secure their dinner from the spoils before them.
All had eaten bison meat before. Though some
profess to relish it, the flesh is rather tough
and sometimes so strong that it takes a hungry
man to enjoy such a meal. The animal, how-
ever, like all others, has his choice portions.
Mul-tal-la was sure that no more palatable
feast could be had than from buffalo tongue.
Accordingly, he and Deerfoot, leaving the rest
of the game untouched, provided themselves
with those delicacies, which were well cooked
by means of dried buffalo chips, and all
declared themselves well satisfied.
Strange that only a comparatively short time
ago millions of bison roamed over the prairies
of the West, and to-day you never meet a
specimen except the few that are preserved
with difficulty in Yellowstone Park, and in
several zoological collections. The last bison
must soon disappear and the animal become
A MISHAP. 83
extinct, all because of the wanton cruelty of
men who called themselves sportsmen and
butchered the creatures by the thousand.
The dinner was made without water, which
was a small matter, for there was no need of
the explorers suffering on that account, since
streams were abundant and they did not have
to travel far to obtain the element of the best
It was about the middle of the afternoon that
Deerfoot led the way up another of the
numerous rises in the prairie, and halted to
give the horses a needed rest. Although the
pace was kept at a walk, traveling through the
luxuriant grass was trying, and consideration
was due the animals who did the work.
As usual, the four who dismounted scanned
every part of the visible horizon. George Shel-
ton often called his spyglass into use while
riding over the plain, and thus gained the
pleasure of being the first to announce certain
discoveries ; but the elevations, that were never
of much extent, gave a more favorable view.
Directly westward, in a line with the course
they were pursuing, all, without the aid of the
glass, observed five or six animals cropping the
84 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
grass. They were of delicate build, resembling
deer, but looked more dainty and graceful. It
was not until after Mul-tal-la and Deerfoot had
studied them for several minutes through the
glass that the former made known their nature.
They were antelopes, one of the fleetest and
most quick-sighted animals in the West.
Although they were fully a fourth of a mile
away, they saw the travelers the instant they
came up the rise of land. They tossed their
heads and stared at the strangers while the
latter were studying them. Then they dashed
off with the speed of the wind, but did not
go far when they stopped short, turned part
way round and gazed at the horsemen, as if
expecting them to follow. Seeing they did not,
the antelopes resumed their grazing, the two
most timid stopping every now and then to look
up, as if in doubt whether they ought not to
place a greater distance between them and the
strange-looking creatures on the elevation.
''Would my brothers like to eat of antelope?"
asked Mul-tal-la, addressing all three of his
"I suppose it would taste good," replied
Victor, "for everything tastes that way in this
A MISHAP. 85
part of the world, which I suppose is because
I'm so plaguey hungry most of the time."
"Mul-tal-la cannot get nigh enough to bring
down the antelopes," remarked Deerfoot, "for
they go faster than any of our horses can run. ' '
"My brother Deerfoot cannot get near
enough to shoot an antelope, but Mul-tal-la
finds no trouble in doing so."
The brothers were astonished by the audacity
of this remark. Did the Blackfoot presume to
think his fleetness of foot could be compared
with that of the Shawanoe, who had never met
his equal? They looked at Deerfoot to see how
he took the slur. He was never troubled by
"It will please the heart of Deerfoot to see
his brother bring back one of the antelopes.
Does he want Deerfoot 's gun?"
"No; it shall be done with Mul-tal-la 's bow
and arrow," was another surprising declara-
Saying no more, the Blackfoot, bearing his
long bow in his right hand, walked down the
gentle slope and moved, not toward the ante-
lopes, but to the south. The timid creatures
noticed him at once, for he made no effort to
86 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
conceal himself. All the six raised their heads
and watched him with evident misgiving. The
two that had shown so much fear from the first
glanced first at him and then at the group on
the rise in the prairie, as if uncertain which
was the most to be dreaded.
Had Mul-tal-la walked directly toward the
animals they would have been off like so many
arrows, but he bore away as if they were not in
his mind. As it was, however, three of the
antelopes galloped a hundred yards or so to the
north, when, seeing that their companions did
not follow, they stopped and resumed their
The warrior walked steadily until he was
equidistant from his friends and from the ante-
lopes. Still facing away from the latter, he
now sank to the ground and began creeping
toward the animals. Deerfoot, who, like the
boys, was watching every movement, smiled.
"They will not let my brother come nigh
enough to reach them with an arrow, " he
remarked, not a little amused over what looked
like the certain discomfiture of his companion,
for, despite the tall grass, he was sure to be
detected by the creatures.
A MISHAP. 87
Sure enough, he had advanced but a little way
when the whole six bounded off as if they would
never stop. Mul-tal-la ceased crawling, but
did not rise.
"What is he doing? " asked the puzzled Vic-
tor, closely watching the red man, who could
be plainly seen without the aid of the glass.
His action was curious. Still lying on his
face, he raised one hand as far above his head
as he could reach, and slowly waved it from
side to side with a regular, pendulum move-
ment. The antelopes that were bounding off
abruptly stopped, wheeled part way round and
stared at the oscillating hand. They stood for
a little while, and then one of them began step-
ping cautiously toward the object. The others
reluctantly imitated him, so that the singular
sight of six antelopes marching carefully in
Indian file was displayed. Deerfoot chuckled,
for he now understood the trick.
Before long the leader paused, stared a
moment, and then, whirling suddenly around,
dashed off with an amazing burst of speed,
only, however, to run for less than fifty yards,
when the former performance was repeated.
The foremost halted, turned once more and
88 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
stepped gingerly in the direction of that hand,
with the fringed covering for the arm, swaying
from side to side. This time he approached
nearer than before, though with frequent halts
and bluffs at dashing off again.
Had Mul-tal-la varied his rhythmic swing or
risen to a stooping posture even, or tried to
creep nearer, the antelopes would have fled like
so many birds on the wing. But his action was
that of an automaton, and all the time he lay
low in the grass, never removing his eyes from
the game he had marked for his own.
First forward, then a halt, then a brief
retreat, followed by a still closer approach,
the little farce went on, until the interested
Deerfoot and the boys saw that the foremost
antelope was almost within reach of Mul-tal-la.
Then for some time the issue looked doubtful.
But the same cause that has been the death
of unnumbered antelopes proved the undoing
of another on this particular afternoon. Five
remained in the background, but one, and he
the best of the bunch, kept slowly stepping, with
frequent stops, until at last he crossed the dead
line and sealed his fate.
The pretty creature seemed to awaken to the
A MISHAP. 89
startling fact, for he abruptly wheeled to dash
off. In the act of turning Mul-tal-la quickly,
drew his arrow to a head and launched it. The
watchers caught a glimpse of the feathered
missile as it rose from the grass, made a slight
curve, and, while the antelope was turning,
buried itself to the feather in his side, entering
just back of the fore leg.
The victim made a leap straight up in air,
spun around several times like a top, and then
dived to the ground, rolled on its side, and,
after some pawings, ceased to struggle. Never
was game more fairly brought down.
The moment Mul-tal-la let fly with the arrow
he sprang to his feet and hurried after it. The
five antelopes were off at full speed, never
pausing, and soon disappeared in the distance.
The Blackfoot was seen to bend over his quarry
and busy himself with his knife. Then he
walked proudly toward his friends, bringing
his prize with him. He had done what he
promised, and all congratulated him.
It was still early in the afternoon and the
party resumed traveling, deflecting a little to
the south. Before it was dark they came to a
small tributary of the Arkansas, where they
90 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
decided to camp for the night. When the ante-
lope meat was dressed, washed and broiled in
the same way as their midday meal had been
prepared, it proved rather disappointing. The
animal was lean, the meat tough and not
specially palatable. It was agreed that they
would have done better by making use of the
best portions of one of the bison which had
been brought down.
Mul-tal-la, who knew all about these timid
creatures, told his friends of their most
striking peculiarity. While it is impossible to
approach them by direct means, an appeal to
their insatiate curiosity rarely or never fails.
Even the wolves make use of this remarkable
weakness. One of the cunning pests will lie,
in the grass, revealing just enough of his head
or body to attract the notice of the antelopes
in the distance. The trick is more difficult in
this case than when a hunter plays it. Some-
times it is so prolonged, because of the sus-
picions of the game, that one wolf will relieve
another before the victim is brought near
enough to be seized.
A more common plan is for the wolves to
attack the creatures when crossing rivers or
A MISHAP. 91
large streams. They are poor swimmers,
though among the fleetest of animals, and are
helpless when thus assailed.
The morrow proved as fine as the preceding
two or three days. The sun shone bright and
the few clouds drifting across the sky only
served to make the deep blue softer and more
beautiful. While the morning was somewhat
cool, the weather was quickly modified by the
rays of the sun. Even the horses seemed to
catch the glow of high spirits and broke into
an easy gallop without any urging on the part
of their riders. Zigzag was the only one that
objected, and he did it through simple stub-
bornness, for his burden was not onerous.
The afternoon of this day brought an experi-
ence to Deerfoot the like of which was never
known before or afterward. He was thrown
from his horse, and that, too, when his gait was
a walk. It came about in this manner:
He was riding slightly in advance, as was his
custom. He had swept the horizon with his
eyes, as he always did at intervals, and seeing
nothing unusual, allowed himself to sink into
a reverie. This was not amiss, for such spells
of meditation never lasted long and nothing
92 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
of an alarming character could steal undetected
upon them, even if he should forget his sur-
roundings for an indefinite time. Mul-tal-la
was always alert, and George Shelton was as
fond as ever of appealing to his spyglass.
The horse Simon was walking easily forward
when one hoof entered a gopher hole and he
sank to his knee. The stop was so abrupt that
Deerfoot, who was entirely off his guard, slid
over the animal's neck to the ground. He was
taken completely by surprise, without a second
for preparation, but even then he dropped upon
his feet and turned to learn the cause of the
George and his brother smiled at the discom-
fiture of their friend, but ceased the next
instant when they saw that his horse had been
seriously hurt. He attempted to take a step,
but checked himself with a moan of pain, and
then rested on his three legs. The alarmed
Deerfoot stooped and gently passed his hand
over the injured portion. Simon moaned
again and placed his nose on the shoulder of
his owner, as if begging him to give him relief.
The young Shawanoe straightened up, patted
the forehead of the suffering beast, and said in
a choking voice :
A MISHAP. 93
"His leg is broken V 9
And then he nerved himself to do the hardest
thing of his life. With the eyes of the dumb
animal fixed appealingly upon him, as if he.
read his purpose, Deerfoot brought his rifle to
a level and sent a bullet through the brain of
It was an act of mercy, but it hurt the youth
more than the victim. He stood with the
smoking weapon in his hand, looked at Simon
as he sank unconscious to the ground, breathing
out his life as he did so with a single pitiful
moan. Then Deerfoot turned away and,
bowing his head, sobbed like a child.
Simon had always been a good animal,
though he was not the equal, either in speed
or intelligence, of many others ; but a man and
horse cannot be comrades very long without
forming an affection for each other. Deer-
foot's kindness to such dumb beasts always
drew them toward him, and he had learned to
love this devoted horse who had borne hjrp
hundreds of miles from his home.
Neither George nor Victor Shelton spoke, for
they sympathized so deeply with their friend
that their voices would have broken had they
94 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
tried to utter a word. They had reined up their
own animals, and now quietly waited for the
Shawanoe to speak. The Blackfoot had also
halted and, instead of looking at his comrade,
turned his face toward the west. Not a muscle
of his face moved, and no one could have read
his thoughts, but it cannot be doubted that he
sympathized with the young Shawanoe.
Unable to console him, Mul-tal-la held his
It was several minutes before Deerfoot was
able to master his grief. By and by he
regained his self-control, but all saw the traces
of tears when he faced his friends. He spoke
in an even voice, but his words were remark-
"My brothers, Deerfoot has read the Bible
through many times. He has searched every
page, but has not yet found a place where it
says that the poor animals like Simon shall not
inherit the kingdom that awaits us. Deerfoot
believes he shall meet Simon again in that coun-
try, and if my brothers think different let them
not say so."
And yet there are thousands to-day who hold
the same sweet belief that was held by Deer-
foot the Shawanoe.
THE loss of Deerfoot's horse was received
more seriously by the friends of the
young Shawanoe than by himself.
There were several ways of meeting the diffi-
culty. George Shelton proposed that the load
carried by Zigzag should be divided among the
others and the animal used by the dismounted
one. The latter shook his head, and Victor
suggested that he and his brother take turns
with him in riding their horses. Before that
proposition was made Mul-tal-la came forward
with a similar one affecting only him and his
The Shawanoe declined them all.
"Deerfoot will walk," he calmly said. "He
has done so many times. He will not grow
tired as soon as the horses. Let us go for-
To show that the question was settled he
strode off across the prairie, carrying his rifle
96 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
in a trailing position and stepping with his
elastic gait, which he could maintain hour after
hour without fatigue. Moreover, it would have
been no hardship for him to strike into a lope
which would have kept the animals at a trot
throughout the day. You know that a man,
trained to the exercise, can walk farther than
a horse, and no person was ever better trained
than the young Shawanoe.
The oppression caused by his loss showed
itself for a long time. He held his place in
advance of the others, rarely speaking and
often acting as if unaware that he had com-
panions with him. They respected his moods,
and though they chatted among themselves, said
little or nothing to him.
About the middle of the afternoon the boys
descried an object in the horizon to the north-
east, which at first they took to be a white cloud
heaped against the sky. But its stationary
position and its peculiar form revealed that it
was a mountain peak whose summit was cov-
ered with snow. Seen against the sky it had a
soft bluish tint which made it a most striking
figure in the landscape. The clear air of these
regions makes distances deceptive, objects
JACK HALLOVAY. 97
seeming to be much nearer the spectator than
they are. When Victor said he thought they
might camp that night at its hase, the Black-
foot told him that hy traveling all of next day
they would hardly be able to reach the moun-
tain, which is one of the loftiest of that section.
The truth of Mul-tal-la's words was evident
when, after fully four hours of brisk walking,
they camped on the bank of a small creek and
saw the sun sink behind the mountain peak,
which appeared to be as far away as ever.
The plain was still treeless, and the fire kindled
on the gently sloping bank was of dry buffalo
chips such as had already done them service.
Before daylight had departed the horizon was
scanned with the aid of the spyglass without
discovering anything of an unusual character.
It was the turn of the red men to act as sen-
tinels, and Deer foot quietly said that he would
take the first watch, calling the Blackfoot when
he thought proper. As usual, he read a chapter
from his Bible. After he had finished and the
devotions of all were over, he again took out
the book, placing himself so that enough light
fell upon the pages to permit him to read. The
last sight that the boys had of him was in this
98 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
motionless posture and occasionally turning a
leaf. Thus he sat when the three sank into
restful slumber. The succulent grass was so
abundant that the horses, relieved of saddles,
bridles and burdens, were left free to crop as
long as they chose and to sleep when the notion
came to them.
A half hour after his friends had fallen
asleep Deerfoot put away his book and rose to
his feet. It was profoundly still. On his right
flowed the slightly muddy stream, no more than
fifty feet wide and of shallow depth. In other
directions stretched the slightly rolling prairie
until lost in the gloom. The moon was near the
full, but its light was treacherous and uncer-
tain because of the masses of clouds that slowly
drifted across its face. At times one could see
quite clearly for a hundred yards or more, and
then the shadows crept up to the camp, whose
fire threw out comparatively little light. Now
and then the watchful sentinel was able to detect
the dim outlines of the farther shore, even when
the surface of the stream did not reflect the
mild glow of the fire.
Nothing escaped his vigilant eye. It was not
yet midnight when Bug, the horse of Mul-tal-la,
JACK HALLOVAY. 99
showed a strange restlessness. He whinnied
softly two or three times, and finally came to
his feet. Deerfoot moved silently to his side^
patted his neck and spoke soothingly. The
animal showed no alarm, but rather curiosity.
His nose was pointed to the south, where he
seemed to scent something unusual.
The Shawanoe waited till the moon emerged
from the clouds and then peered in that direc-
tion. He could detect nothing out of the com-
mon. He walked a little way and again waited
for the moon's face to become unveiled. Still
all looked the same as before. He went back
to Bug and found him in the former position,
with ears pricked forward, nose thrust slightly
out and breathing more rapidly than was his
wont. The other horses gave no sign of dis-
The Shawanoe was puzzled. He felt that if
this dumb brute was able to detect the approach
of danger he ought to do the same. Kneeling,
he pressed one ear against the damp ground.
As he did so he was sensible of a faint
rhythmic, velvet-like tremor, which was inaudi-
ble when he raised his head. Using the earth
again as a medium, he listened and brought all
100 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
his faculties into play. The singular pulsation
neither increased nor diminished. The best
comparison he could make was to that of the
multitudinous tramping of thousands of tiny
feet upon the earth miles away, recalling the
gradual subsidence of the racket created by the
stamping of the bison. Deerfoot knew it was
not produced by those animals. It could not
have been elk or deer, for they never herded in
such vast numbers, nor could it have been made
by wolves, since their tread was too soft for the
sound to penetrate far.
The Shawanoe was mystified. Eising to his
feet again he stood gazing southward, wonder-
ing what strange thing was to come out of the
flickering moonlight. But none appeared, and
hearing a movement of Bug, he turned and saw
him disposing himself for the night. He lay
down on the grassy earth, prepared to continue
the rest which had been broken so curiously.
This looked as if the uneasiness of the horse
was over. A few minutes later Deerfoot again
placed his ear against the ground. Immedi-
ately he was aware that that faint, tremulous
throbbing which had so mystified him was
passing away. Whatever had caused it was
" Helloa !
JACK HALLOVAY. JOJ
receding, and soon the silence became as pro-
found as before. He was still at a loss to
understand its nature, though he thought it was
produced by animals treading the earth in
Walking back to camp, he noted the three
unconscious forms wrapped in their blankets,
for there was enough sharpness in the air to
make the warmth pleasant and little heat was
given out by the fire. The Shawanoe paused
just far enough away to be revealed dimly in
the subdued glow, and was leaning on his rifle,
listening, looking and meditating, when the
stillness was broken by a single exclamation :
It was the voice of a white man on the other
side of the stream which ran close to the camp.
The face of the moon Happened to be clear at
that moment, and glancing across, Deerfoot saw
a shadowy figure standing on the edge of the
water. The head and front of a horse showed
at his side, and he was evidently studying the
camp upon which he had come.
Deerfoot straightened up and promptly called
' i Helloa ! Come over and see us. ' '
J02 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
As he spoke he walked down to the edge of
the stream, as if to meet the stranger, who in a
cheery voice replied :
"That suits me. I was thinkin' of doin' that
same thing. "
He was seen to swing himself upon the back
of his horse, whose ribs he kicked with his
heels and ordered forward. The animal
stepped with some hesitation into the water,
snuffing and feeling his way. He had advanced
only two or three paces when Deerfoot observed
that he was followed by two other horses, each
of which carried a large pack on his back. The
distance was short, but it took some time for
the three animals to ford the stream, which was
no more than two or three feet deep, with a
bottom of soft mud.
The moment the leader touched dry land the
man slipped from the saddle and extended his
"Why, you're an Injin!" he exclaimed. "I
didn't think that, but I'm powerful glad to see
"And Deerfoot is glad to see his brother,"
replied the smiling Shawanoe, returning the
pressure of the other.
JACK HALLOWAY. MB
"Who are you?" asked the white man, peer-
ing closely into the countenance as dimly seen
in the firelight.
"Deerfoot, and a Shawanoe by birth."
"Shawanoe," repeated the white man. "I
don't remember havin' heerd tell of them var-
mints that is of that tribe/' he corrected with
a laugh; "no offence."
"Their home is a good many miles from here,
"Ah! that explains it. I've seed worse
lookin' redskins than you."
"And plenty better ones," said Deerfoot
rather taken with the off-hand manner of the
"Dunno 'bout that. There are a few good
ones among the redskins and some powerful
mean ones. I'm suited with you so fur, from
the ground up."
The visitor was of massive frame, fully six
feet high, broad in proportion, with a grizzly
beard that covered his face to the eyes and
flowed over his breast. He was dressed like a
half-civilized Indian, wearing a fur cap, thick
shoes instead of moccasins, and with a heavy,
loose coat flung over his deerskin hunting shirt.
J04 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
He had a strong, well-formed nose and bright
gray eyes, which peered keenly from under his
shaggy brows. His voice was deep, and with
a genial musical tone which was pleasing and
fitted well his frank manner. He shifted his
long rifle to his left hand when he extended the
other to the Shawanoe and scanned him with a
sharpness evidently acquired by his long
experience on the prairies and in the mountains.
"Deerfoot is glad to meet his brother. He
hopes he will stay for the rest of the night with
him and his friends. ' '
"Who mought they be?" asked the man,
looking around at the three forms wrapped in
blankets near the fire. The boys were sleep-
ing quietly, and even the Blackf oot did not seem
to have been disturbed by the rather boisterous
greeting of the visitor.
"Afore you tell me about 'em, I guess I may
as well unship my rudder," added the latter,
who proceeded deliberately to remove the loads
from the other two horses and place them on
the ground. Then each was freed from his
belongings and given a resounding slap in turn:
' i Off with you and none of your tricks. If I
haven't cured you of tryin' to sneak off I'll cure
you in the mornin', and don't you forget it."
JACK HALLOW AY. JOS
His own horse kicked up his heels, flirted his
head and led the way, the others soberly follow-
ing out into the gloom till they came to the
place where the animals of our friends were
reposing. There was some neighing, meant
for greetings, and then no further attention was
given by them to one another.
Deerfoot flung some chips on the blaze and
sat down, inviting his visitor by a gesture to do
the same. He assumed a lolling posture and
produced a short black clay pipe. Crumbling
some plug tobacco in the palm of his hand, he
poked it into the bowl with his forefinger and
lit it from the fire.
"My name is Jack Halloway," he said, after
several puffs. "IVe spent the winter in the
mountains, trapping beaver and foxes and sich,
and am on my way to St. Louis with a good
load of peltries. IVe had better luck than
usual and am later in gettin' back than is
gin 'rally the case, but it paid to wait, though
I did have some trouble with the Snake Injins.
Howsumever, you said you was goin' to tell me
'bout your friends that seem to be sleepin'
powerful heavy like."
Deerfoot had decided that no harm could
106 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
come from telling this man the truth about him-
self and his companions, and he now did so.
The Indian belonged to the Blackf oot tribe, and
had been on a visit a long way to the east.
Deerfoot had agreed to accompany him on his
return home, but hoped to be with his own
friends again the following year. Then he told
of the twin boys, sons of a friend of his. One
was going into a decline because of grief over
the loss of his parent, and it was agreed that
the only cure was through diverting his
thoughts and energies by this long and hard
journey. That no mistake had been made was
proved long before, for the lad had gained so
rapidly in strength and spirits that he was his
former self again and physically the equal of
his brother in every respect.
Jack Halloway listened with close interest,
for the story was remarkable. He sagely
remarked, however, that if the boys had been
so greatly benefited the wisest thing to do was
for the three to turn back and allow the Black-
foot to finish his journey alone.
"I jedge from what I've heerd that you're a
powerful cute Injin and know that, though
you're a good many miles from St. Louis, you
JACK HALLOVAY. J07
ain't half way to the Pacific yit. IVe never
been there myself, but I know 'nough of the
mountains and Injins to know that the job is
the biggest thing in all creation. Depend upon
it, Shawanoe, you'll never get home onless you
turn back now! 9 '
This was said with great earnestness, the
trapper nodding his head and slapping his knee
with his palm.
"The words of my brother are wise, but it
would sadden the hearts of my brothers if we
went home, and he who was ill would become
ill again and die."
"See here, younker, own up now; it ? s you
who'd feel the worst."
And to help make his meaning clear, Jack
Halloway leaned over and thrust his thumb into
the ribs of Deerfoot and chuckled. The Shaw-
anoe could not help smiling.
"Deerfoot can never be happy till he looks
upon the face of the great water that lies far
toward the setting sun. He must go on."
"Wai, you're boss of the job, as I can see
from what you say, but I want to tell you one
thing that you don't know."
"There are many things that Deerfoot
JOS DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
The trapper glanced around, as if afraid of
being overheard, and then lowered his voice
almost to a whisper as he leaned toward him:
"The varmints in the mountains that you've
got to git through are gettin' more cantakerous
than ever. I've trapped and hunted among
'em for nigh onto twenty year, and never had
as much trouble as last winter. I've been told
by the boys that come down the Missouri in the
spring that there's just as good huntin' and
trappin' up that way, and the varmints don't
bother 'em half as much as out here; so I've
made up my mind to strike out for that part
of the world next fall when I go for the beaver
Jack Halloway was not slow to see that his
warnings were thrown away on the young
Shawanoe, and was discreet enough to take
another line. He puffed his lips for some
minutes, continually glancing at Deerfoot, who
tried to act as if unconscious of this scrutiny,
which at times became embarrassing. Sud-
denly the trapper started like a man who had
"That's powerful qu'ar," he said, "and I
beg your pardon. ' '
JACK HALLOWAY. fW
While speaking he was groping hurriedly
through an interior pocket of his coat, and now
brought forth a flask and twisted the cork
"I allers take a keg of it into the mountains,
for there's no thin' like it when you find the
weather a bit too cold, and it's just as good
when it's too hot or you've got the blue devils
and don't feel right. After you."
And he leaned over and reached the flask to
/T\HE young Shawanoe smiled, shook his
head and looked into the keen eyes
"Deerfoot thanks his brother, but he never
tasted of liquor and will die before he wets his
lips with it."
The amazement of the trapper was not with-
out its humorous feature. He remained lean-
ing toward the youth, his hand outstretched
with the uncorked flask in it and staring at him
as if literally paralyzed. Then he drew a deep
breath, swung back and exclaimed :
"Wai, I'll be skulped ! You're the first Injin
I ever seed that wouldn't sell his moccasins for
a swaller of red eye. It gits me!"
Deerfoot watched him with amused interest.
Jack Halloway held up the flask at arm's
length and surveyed it thoughtfully. Once h
started to place it to his lips, but shook his
head, then jammed the cork back in place (the
GOOD SEED. \\\
screwed tops were unknown in those days) and
thrust the flask into his pocket again.
"Ef you won't drink with me, Shawanoe, I
won't drink afore you."
"Let my brother do as he feels like doing."
"Which the same is what I've done. As I
was sayin', I allers take a keg of the extract
of happiness with me and manage things so it
will last till I get back to St. Louis; but bein'
as I stayed longer than usual, I've come so
near running out that that flask has got to keep
me alive for some weeks to come. I tell you
it's powerful tough, but there's no help for it.
Every trapper or hunter that I run across if
I run across any will be as bad off as me."
"When my brother gets to St. Louis what
will he do with his peltries?"
"Why, sell 'em, of course. What did you
"He has a good many," remarked Deerfoot,
glancing at the piles on the ground near at
"You're right. It has been a good season,
and them skins is vallyble. There's one black
fox that 's the same as a hundred dollars to me,
and the rest will bring three hundred dollars
112 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"My brother lias much money saved from
"Much money! Not a blamed cent, though
I orter have. Shawanoe, the biggest fools I
admit it is we trappers, who spend winters in
the mountains, freezing starvin' and dodging
redskins, and then travel hundreds of miles to
git back to St. Louis, where we can sell our
peltries as quick as a wink. Then we go onto
a big, glorious spree, and at the end of a week
or two haven't enough left to buy a plug of
'backer. We loaf around, doin' 'nough odd
jobs to keep us from starvin' till the weather
begins to git cold, when we 're off for the moun-
tains agin. And so it goes year after year r
and we're fools to the end."
"Is my brother alone in the world!"
"Lucky I haven't any wife or children, but
I've got the best old mother that ever drawed
breath. She has a little home which she man-
ages to hold onto by takin' in sewin' and doin'
little fancy things for the neighbors, who be
kind to her. If they warn't I don't know what
would become of her, for I'm no good; I don't
deserve such a mother, ' ' added the trapper with
a sigh, "for she is never as happy as when I'm
GOOD SEED. JJ3
with her, and she 'd work her fingers off for me.
'Bout all she does is work and pray, and nevei
an unkind word to say to her good for nothin'
"By and by she will close her eyes and go
to the Great Spirit, and when my brother walks
into the little home she will be gone and ' '
"Thar! thar! Don't say nothin' more!"
interrupted the trapper with a wave of his
hand. "I can't stand it. If I go back home
and find her dead, as I 'spose I shall some day,
I'll die myself; if I don't, I'll blow my worth-
less brains out, for I won't want to live."
"My brother longs to see his mother again.
If he should kill himself or do wrong he will
never see her more. Let him live right and
they shall dwell together forever. Let him go
back to St. Louis and drink no more. Let him
give the money to the mother who loves her
son and has suffered much for him. Then my
brother will make her face shine with hap-
piness, and she will live much longer."
Jack Halloway turned his head and stared
at Deerfoot for a full minute without stirring
or speaking. The Shawanoe kept his gaze
upon the fire, but he knew the scrutiny he was
JJ4 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
under, and he " waited. " When the trapper
spoke it was in a low voice, as if addressing
"To think of an Injin talkin' that way to
Jack Halloway ! Why, I never had a white man
do it; but his words are as true as gospel.
Fact is, they are gospel."
He relapsed into a reverie which lasted so
long that Deerfoot gently interposed.
"My brother tells me that his mother prays.
Does my brother pray?"
Jack started and again stared at the dusky
"This beats all creation. Yas, I used to
pray, but it was a long time ago, when I was
a younker and bowed my head at my mother's
knee. I Ve been a wild, wicked scamp that ain't
worth the prayer of such an angel as she is.
Shawanoe, do you pray!"
"Once when Deerfoot was a child he was as
wicked as Satan himself; but he was made a
prisoner by the palefaces. There was a good
woman among them who told him about the
Great Spirit who is a loving Father to all His
children, and she taught him to pray to Him.
Deerfoot prays to his Father every morning
GOOD SEED. ... JJ5
and night, and often through the day, and his
Father always listens and does that which is
best for him. Let my brother do the same.
He will give him strength to drink that poison
no more, and when he dies he will see his mother
Again Jack Halloway asked himself whether
he was awake or dreaming. He had heard in
a vague way of the missionaries and their labors
among the Indians. He had been told that
there were some converts among the red men,
but never until now had he seen one. Like
most of his calling, he looked upon all Indians
as bad, and therefore the implacable enemies
of the white men. He had had more than one
desperate encounter with them, and when he
groped his way into the mountains it was
always a contest of wits between him and them,
with the prospects more than once against him.
He looked upon them as he looked upon so
many rattlesnakes, that were likely to be found
coiled at any moment in his path.
And yet here was a full-blooded Indian talk-
ing to him better than he had ever heard any
missionary talk. The trapper knew from the
build, the alertness, the assurance of move-
116 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
ment of the youth, and a certain something
impossible to describe that he would be a ter-
rific antagonist in a fight, but nothing seemed
further from the Shawanoe's thoughts. He
talked with the persuasive gentleness of a
woman, and in all his experience never had the
grizzled trapper felt such an arrow pierce right
into the core of his heart.
In a few simple words Deerfoot had drawn
a vivid picture of that sweet, patient, forgiving,
praying parent, waiting in her far-away home
the return of the rough, profane, wicked son,
for whom she was ready to sacrifice her life at
any time, and, indeed, was sacrificing it to his
thoughtlessness and indifference. Most as-
tounding of all, the Shawanoe had held out a
hope to him that he had never known of or in
fact dreamed had an existence.
With that fine-grained tact which was one
of Deerfoot 's most marked traits, he refrained
from breaking in upon the meditation of the
other. He knew the leaven was working and
did not wish to interfere with it.
Jack Halloway, the trapper, now did a sin-
gular and unexpected thing. Without a word,
he rose to his feet and faced the stream flowing
GOOD SEED. \\7
past the camp. The youth, who was watching
his movements, saw him bring the flask from
his breast pocket and swing his arm backward.
Then he brought it quickly forward, striking
and checking his hand smartly against his hip
and making the throw known as " jerking. "
The flask shot from his grasp and sped out
in the gloom, falling with a splash that was
plainly heard in the stillness.
"Thar, Shawanoe!" he exclaimed, facing
about, "you've made me do what I never
believed any man could_ make Jack Halloway
do. Now I've got to travel all the way to St.
Louis without a swaller of the infarnal stuff.
It'll take two or three weeks, and I know it'll
be powerful tough, but I'm going to do it!"
Deerfoot had risen to his feet and, in a voice
tremulous with emotion, he said :
"My brother has done well. He will never
be sorry. The Great Spirit will make him
strong, but my brother must pray to Himior
"Pray!" repeated the trapper; "that's
goin' to be 'bout all I'll do atween here and St.
Louis, and I won't let up till the good Lord does
what you say, and what I know He'll be power-
m DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
ful glad to do for such a miserable scamp as
The next act of the trapper was as remark-
able as the former one. He strode out to
where he had sent the three horses, roused each
and began reloading them and saddling and
bridling his own. Suspecting his purpose,
Deerf oot asked :
"Will not my brother wait till morning !"
"Not a minute longer than I have to. I'm
afeard that mother of mine will die afore I can
git to her and beg her to forgive and help me
to be a half-decent man."
Instead of protesting, Deerfoot aided in
reloading the animals. Neither spoke while
this was going on. When it was finished and
the massive trapper had swung again into his
saddle, he reached his broad palm down to his
"Good-bye, Shawanoe. May I ax you when
you're at your prayers to put in a word for me?
I've an idee that the Lord will be more pleased
to hear from you than me."
"Deerfoot will never forget to do as his
brother asks, and he is sure that all will now
be well with his brother."
GOOD SEED. U9
' ' I'll make a big wrastle for it. Good-bye !"
He struck his heels against the side of his
horse, who, though roused from rest, moved
off, followed -by the pack animals as if they
were a couple of docile dogs. They soon dis-
appeared in the moonlight, but Deerfoot stood
for a long time gazing thoughtfully toward the
point where he had last seen the man who had
come so strangely into his life and then passed
"Something tells Deerfoot that his brother
shall do well and they shall meet again."
The Shawanoe, as we shall learn in due time,
was right in this belief.
A soft rustling caused him to look round.
The Blackfoot was standing at his side.
"My brother is late in awaking Mul-tal-la,"
he quietly said.
"My brother did not need to be awakened,
for he heard the words of the white man who
has just gone."
"Yes; Mul-tal-la heard all that was said by
him and Deerfoot. The Great Spirit is pleased
"Deerfoot prays that He will ever be pleased
with him. He is striving to live so the Great
Spirit will not frown upon him."
J20 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Forgetting in his ardor the somewhat formal
manner of speaking, the Blackfoot earnestly
"If you are not good, then there never was
a good man. Let my brother rest, for the Great
Spirit will watch over him like a father."
The Shawanoe walked to the place vacated
by the other and lay down, while the Blackfoot
took upon himself the duty of sentinel for the
remainder of the night.
As Deerfoot stretched out he recalled the
singular disturbance heard earlier in the even-
ing, and he shifted the enveloping blanket so
as to allow him to rest one ear against the cool,
As he did so he caught the same faint, curious
pulsing again. It was more distinct and
instantly drove all thought of sleep from his
brain. It was as if thousands of feet were
striking the ground, mingling, running into one
another, and yet preserving a certain regularity
that was puzzling to the last degree.
Because the noises were heard more plainly
he believed that whatever caused them was
drawing near the camp. Still the approach
was slow, which it would seem could not have
GOOD SEED. . m
been the fact if the unknown animals were
approaching. They must be following a course
that, while bringing them somewhat closer,
would carry them by on one side or the other.
The strange peculiarity already noted again
presented itself. By and by the sounds grew
fainter, as if the creatures, whatever their
nature, were receding. This suggested the odd
theory that they were traveling in a great circle
and might again approach. Deerfoot rose and
walked to where Mul-tal-la was standing near
the resting horses, which still showed no signs
of uneasiness. The Shawanoe told of the puz-
zle that troubled him.
The Blackfoot had not observed anything of
that nature. When lying on his blanket it
interposed between him and the earth, and thus
shut out the almost inaudible throbbings that
mystified his companion. Mul-tal-la now knelt
and pressed his ear against the ground, Deer-
foot doing the same.
Both held their position for some time and
"They are strange sounds," remarked the
Blackfoot, "but very soft."
"They were a little louder when Deerfoot
J22 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
first heard them. They must be made by some
animals that cannot be buffaloes."
"No, the noise would be different. Mul-
tal-la knows what they are, for he heard them
when he came this way many moons ago and his
eyes rested on the animals."
"What are they?" asked the surprised Deer-
"Wild horses," was the answer.
The Shawanoe was astonished, for he had
never thought of anything of that nature. He
had heard rumors, as far away as his own home,
of droves of wild horses that roamed over the
western plains, numbering many thousands.
Eeports of the same nature reached him when
in St. Louis. Some one had told him that when
the Spaniards came to the Southwest, more
than two centuries before, a few of their horses
had wandered off, and it was from them that
the numberless droves had descended.
You need not be reminded that this is a
fact. A century ago enormous droves of wild
horses roamed over the Llano Estacado and in
northern Texas, to which region and neighbor-
hood they mainly confined themselves, though
many of them were met on the plains a consid-
GOOD SEED. 123
erable distance to the northward. It would not
be strange if our friends came in contact with
them, though not one had yet been seen.
Mul-tal-la said that he and his companion
encountered a herd that was as numerous as the
buffaloes that had lately threatened them, and
at one time the two were in danger of being run
down by the equine rovers. By hard work,
however, they got out of their way.
A BATTLE ROYAL.
THE camp was astir early. George and
Victor Shelton were surprised when
told by Deerfoot of the visit received
the night previous. A trapper had called upon
him with three horses, conversed for an hour or
more, and then departed, and was now miles
away on the road to St. Louis. The Shawanoe
related nothing of what passed between him
and Jack Halloway except to say that he was
belated in leaving the beaver runs in the moun-
tains and meant to lose no time in reaching his
The towering peak, crested with snow,
showed to the westward, but apparently it was
little nearer than when first descried in relief
against the blue sky. Mul-tal-la said that
instead of keeping on to the peak and the range,
which was quite extensive, they would now
swerve to the northward and make more
directly for the Blackfoot country. The head-
A BATTLE ROYAL. 125
waters of the North Fork of the Platte were
among these elevations, and the journey would
become easier through flanking them, as he and
his companion had done when coming east-
ward. The range, however, trended to the
northeast, and they would have to cross it in
order to reach the sources of the numerous
branches of the Yellowstone and Missouri.
Then the course would bend to the northwest,
parallel to the great Rocky Mountain range, but
always east of it. Eemember that the names
of rivers and mountains which I use were
wholly unknown to our friends, who had to rely
for their general knowledge upon the informa-
tion given by the observant Blackfoot.
The morning meal finished, and animals
having been saddled and the packs replaced,
Deerfoot, declining all offers to ride, asked
George Shelton to loan him his spyglass for a
few minutes. He pointed the instrument to
the south, and stood for some time closely
studying the horizon, for the sky was bright,
and in the clear air his vision, thus aided,
reached for a long distance.
It was apparent to his friends that he had
discovered something of interest. They peered
J26 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
in the same direction, but without seeing any-
thing except the monotonous undulations of the
grassy plain. Not a tree, not a mountain, nor
any prominent object was in sight.
Still it was evident that the Shawanoe was
interested. Finally he handed the glass to
George, who was in the saddle on the back of
"Let my brother tell me what he sees," he
The boy leveled the instrument and a moment
"Horses! There are ten hundred thousand
"Deerfoot fears his brother has not counted
right," remarked the Shawanoe.
"I may be two or three out of the way,"
replied the lad, "but I never before saw so
He passed the glass to the impatient Victor,
who took his turn at scanning the remarkable
scene. Mul-tal-la sat as immobile as a statue
on his horse, calmly waiting for the others to
complete their scrutiny. His eyes were
turned to the south, and the slight wrinkling of
his cheeks showed that he was looking hard,
A BATTLE ROYAL. J27
though there was no other evidence of concern.
Victor added his expressions of astonishment
to those of his brother, and handed the instru-
ment to the Blackfoot, who, of course, had
learned its use long before. Thus the round of
observation was finished.
That George had been extravagant in his esti-
mate became clear when it was agreed that the
drove of wild horses numbered perhaps two
or three hundred. They were coming at an
easy canter in a direct line for the camp, so that
in a short time all were in plain sight of the
unaided eye. No doubf they had wandered
northward from the plains of Upper Texas as
it is now called tempted by the fine pasturage,
and possibly by that longing for change which
sometimes shows itself in a quadruped to a
hardly less degree than in a biped.
The picturesque scene did not make our
friends lose sight of their own situation as
regarded these wild animals. If they chose
they could overrun the camp and trample all to
death as the stampeded bison threatened to
do but a short time before. Would they do sol
Mul-tal-la, whose previous experience gave
him greater knowledge, did not think he and
J28 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
his companions were in special danger. Wild
horses were not disposed to attack travelers,
though there was a possibility of their doing
so if provoked or if strangers got in their path
or annoyed them. He warned his friends to
watch against their own horses dashing out and
joining the drove, though even if they did so
they were liable to harm by the others, who
were likely to resent such an intrusion.
The domestic horses were only a few min-
utes behind their owners in discovering the
strangers' approach. They showed consider-
able excitement, throwing up their heads, snuf-
fing the air and staring affrightedly to the
south. Only one, however, betrayed a dispo-
sition to make closer acquaintance with his wild
brethren. It was Zigzag, who broke into a
sudden awkward gallop, heading directly for
But he had time to go only a few paces when
Deerf oot leaped in front of him, seized the rope
halter and whirled him around with no gentle
force. The horse persisted, but the youth spoke
sharply, slapped the side of his head, and
Mul-tal-la, who was the only one of the company
that had provided himself with a switch,
A BATTLE ROYAL. J2*
brought it down about the head and neck of the
stubborn creature with a vicious vigor that
quickly subdued him. Zigzag would have cut
a fine figure in bouncing about among the wild
animals with his huge pack on his back. Mean-
while a close watch was kept on the others,
who could not fail to be impressed by the object
lesson that had just been given them.
The drove maintained their easy swinging
gallop until within two or three hundred yards*
They had acted as if unaware of the little group
drawn up on the prairie and scrutinizing them.
Then the canter dropped "to a trot, and then to a
walk, the varying movements when these changes
took place adding to the novelty of the picture.
Among the horses were piebalds, roans, grays,
sorrels and several of a milk-white color. The
undulating bodies, with their different tints,
were like the changing figures of the biograph.
Deerfoot explained to the boys that nothing
was to be done unless the wild creatures con-
tinued to advance and showed a purpose to
attack. At the proper moment he would give
the word and they would fire into them, relying
upon bringing down a number and stampeding
the herd. Each of the party sat or stood, rifle
J30 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
in hand, awaiting the order from their leader,
and closely watching every action of the wild
horses, ready to let fly the instant it became
All at once, as if in obedience to a word of
command, the herd paused, threw up their
heads and stared at the small group. Several
whinnied and showed excitement, for the sight
must have been wholly new, and if they were
not alarmed they were mystified.
Bug, Jack and Prince behaved better than
was expected. They were in a tremor and
plainly frightened, but remained under control.
Zigzag seemed to be meditating some coup, but
Deerfoot stood within a pace of his head, and
was prepared to check anything of that nature.
The animal had enough sense not to invite any
more punishment, and remained still.
But previous to this, all had noticed the most
striking feature of the exhibition. The drove
was under the lead of a stallion that was the
most superb steed upon which any of the
travelers had ever looked. He was of large
size, of a glossy coal-black color, and had a
long flowing mane and a tail that reached almost
to the ground. With head erect and every limb
A BATTLE ROYAL. m
and movement the picture of beauty, grace and
strength, he was impressively perfect. The
sight was one to hold a spectator spellbound
with admiration. Even Deerfoot forgot for a
moment the situation of himself and compan-
ions in his wonder at the picture before him.
Perhaps you know that the roving bands of
wild horses are generally under the leadership
of a stallion who has attained the honor by
beating off all rivals, and who retains his
supreme power until, as his years increase and
his prowess declines, some younger aspirant
dethrones him and takes his place as king. As
commander-in-chief of his equine army, the
stallion must be of unflinching courage and
game to the death. No band of wolves, no mat-
ter how numerous, dare attack the compact
body under his leadership, nor indeed need the
horses fear any marauder of the plains, for
with such an example of knightly dauntless-
ness ever before them, their heels and teeth are
Like obedient soldiers, the members of the
herd stood motionless, with heads raised, snuf-
fing the air and gazing at the strange creatures,
three of whom were astride of members of their
J32 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
own species, and one afoot; and, like an officer
who will not permit a subaltern or private to
assume a risk that he fears to take himself, the
stallion of midnight blackness now advanced,
as if to call the strangers to account.
He came forward at a measured deliberate
walk, head high in air, tail sweeping near the
ground, mane falling low, with his silken ears
thrust forward, eyes glowing, and indulging in a
peculiar flirting of his nose, as if he sought
thereby to sharpen his perceptions. The mouth
was partly open, and it was clear that he did
not feel quite at ease in thus approaching the
strange group. But the eyes of his subjects
were upon him, and he would die before falter-
ing in the face of an enemy. So he came on,
with a step that was the more impressive
because it was so slow, so deliberate and yet so
While Mul-tal-la, George and Victor Shel-
ton were studying him with absorbing intent-
ness, Deerfoot, the Shawanoe, became an actor
in the extraordinary drama.
His position was slightly in advance of his
friends. He now handed his rifle to Mul-tal-la
and coolly walked forward toward the stallion.
A BATTLE ROYAL. J33
His arms were hanging at his side, and his step
was timed to that of the horse, so that it was
as if both were marching to the tap of the same
drum. His action centered the eyes of all the
animals of both parties as well as those of his
friends upon him.
When this singular performance began less
than fifty paces separated the Shawanoe and
the equine chief. The approach continued
until half the interval was passed, when the
stallion paused. Evidently he was not clear as
to the meaning of the youth's conduct. The
latter slowed his pace, but did not stop. The
horse raised his head higher, flirted his nose,
flinging a speck of foam over his black breast.
Probably, had the two been alone, he would
have retreated, for there was something uncanny
in the advance of the Shawanoe, but he remem-
bered that the eyes of his own soldiers were
upon him, and he could not show the white
feather. Possibly, too, he understood that his
enemy, as he regarded him, was without any
formidable weapon with which to defend him-
self. The next action of the brute gave reason-
ableness to this theory, for, after his brief
pause, he resumed his approach at a brisker
step than before.
*34 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Deerfoot now stood still and awaited his
coming, his arms still at his side, but with all
his muscles, nerves and senses strung to the
highest tension. The stallion meant to fight
him, and the youth was waiting for the battle
Mul-tal-la hardly breathed, so intense was
his interest, but he held his bow and arrow
ready to launch the missile if it should become
necessary to save his friend. The brothers
would have shot the stallion without further
delay had they dared to do so, but they could
only imitate the Blackfoot hold themselves
ready to interfere at the critical moment. They
could not run the risk of offending their friend
by interposing until the necessity arose.
The black steed advanced with a more con-
fident step, and Deerfoot stood as if he were
a figure carved in stone. Then, when they were
within a step or two, the stallion thrust forward
his head, and his white teeth were seen to
gleam as he made a vicious snap at the face of
the youth. The latter recoiled just enough to
escape the bite, and with the flat of his hand
smote the side of the nose with a vigor that
must have given a sharp tingle to the horse.
A Battle Royal.
A BATTLE ROYAL. J35
With a neigh of rage he instantly reared and
savagely pawed the air with his front hoofs.
He struck at the Shawanoe, who leaped slightly
back to avoid the feet, which, had they landed,
would have cloven his skull in twain. Then
he ran swiftly for a few paces and with a single
bound rose like a bird in air and dropped
astride of the satin back.
"Now throw Deerfoot if you can!" he
shouted. Then he called to his dazed friends:
"Leave us alone!"
Who can imagine the rage of the stallion
when he found that a man was on his back? It
took him a few seconds to understand the mor-
tal insult, and then his fury burst forth like the
fires of a volcano. In his wild delirium he
emitted a shrieking cry, such as his species
sometimes utter when in the extremity of ter-
ror, and began rearing and plunging in the
very desperation of frenzy. "Bucking," as
displayed by the bronchos of the West in these
times, was an unknown science to him, but he
seemed one moment to be standing on his fore
feet with his flying heels kicking vertically
upward, and then, reversing in a flash, became
upright like a man. Next he spun around as
J36 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
if he were a top, first to the right and then to
the left, up-ended again, alternating with an
abruptness that would have made an ordinary
Deerfoot held his seat as if he were a part
of the brute himself. The luxuriant mane gave
him a firm support. Sometimes he lay flat on
the back of the steed, when he appeared to be
trying to stand on his head, and the next
moment was extended on his face and gripping
the forelock. Then he was over the shoulders,
and, in the same moment, astride of his
haunches, but never once did he yield his seat.
While this battle royal was raging the other
wild horses did a cowardly thing. Frightened by
the struggle, whose nature they could not under-
stand, they broke into a panic and dashed
headlong to the southward. Had they pos-
sessed a tithe of the courage of their leader and
gone forward to his aid, Deerfoot would have
been doomed, but they basely deserted him in
his extremity. What matter if they lost their
despot! There were plenty of rivals to take
his place. "The king is dead long live the
Again the stallion's head went up in air.
A BATTLE ROYAL. 137
The right hand of Deerfoot gripped the fore-
lock, and he seemed to hang suspended, so
nearly perpendicular was the position of the
two. In the delicate poise the slightest impulse
was enough to throw the center of gravity
outside the base. The Shawanoe gave that
impulse by swinging his feet and body back-
ward while supported by the forelock.
Over went the stallion squarely on his back
with a thump that shook the ground. The
shock was a severe one and by no means pleas-
ant, nor was it what the brute had figured upon.
He pawed the air, kicked and quickly struggled
to his feet. The moment he came up Deerfoot,
who had easily eluded the danger, sprang upon
his back again.
Although he could not have forgotten his
overthrow, the stallion reared once more,
taking care not to rise as high as before.
Standing thus nearly erect, his fore hoofs beat-
ing the air, the rider holding himself in place
by twisting the fingers of his right hand in the
forelock, Deerfoot leaned forward alongside the
neck of the brute, and, reaching down with his
left hand, seized the ankle of the stallion just
below the fetlock, where he could almost span
138 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
The grip was like that of Damascus steel,
and when the Shawanoe drew upward and held
the hoof against the body of the horse, almost
touching the upper part of the leg, because of
the abruptness of the bend at the knee, it was as
if the foot was imprisoned in a vise. The stal-
lion, in his blind struggles, went forward on
one shoulder and rolled over. Deerfoot was
off again, and, letting the scared brute clamber
to his feet, vaulted upon his back as before.
By this time the stallion was panic-smitten.
Sweat was beginning to show, and his satin
coat gleamed with new luster. Finding him-
self once more on his feet, he uttered another
wild whinny and burst away over the prairie
like a thunderbolt. It is not likely that he
recalled the drove of which he was leader. If
he did, he must have been angered by their
base desertion of him, for he headed straight
westward, and, when last seen by our friends,
was running at his highest bent toward the
snow-clad mountain, with the Shawanoe firmly
seated on his back. George Shelton kept the
glass to his eye till the two became a flickering
speck in the distance and then vanished.
Deerfoot was well satisfied with the way
A BATTLE ROYAL. J39
things had gone and were still going. He had
"cut out* 7 the stallion from his herd, had mas-
tered him in the furious fight, and, to complete
the conquest, it was necessary still further to
subdue him; that could be done only by allow-
ing or compelling the brute to exhaust himself.
The fight recalled his conquest years before of
Thunderbolt, also a black stallion, on the other
side of the Mississippi.
The heart of the Shawanoe glowed with
admiration and pride in the magnificent
creature whom he had resolved to capture and
subdue. Never had he bestrode so matchless a
steed, nor one with a more beautiful stride, as
he flew westward like the wind. Could he be
made a prize he would be worth a prince's ran-
Deerfoot therefore complacently waited for
the stallion to tire himself out. It looked as if
he would never do so, but there is a limit to the
capacity of every animal. Mile after mile was
swept under those rhythmic hoofs with no
apparent slackening, but by and by the watch-
ful youth noted a lagging of the gait. The pace
was beginning to tell. Waiting until the slow-
ing became more marked, Deerfoot struck his
140 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
heels against the ribs, slapped the sweaty neck
and emitted a series of striking war-whoops.
The stallion was off again as if fired from
the throat of a columbiad, and maintained the
pace for fifteen or twenty minutes, when he
began falling away. The rider kicked, slapped
and shouted, and the horse responded with
another burst, which made the air whistle in a
gale past the ears of the rider. The brute was
reeking with sweat, but he struggled gallantly.
He had flung many miles behind him and was
good for many more.
The alternating slackening and bursts of
speed were kept up till finally the sorely pressed
animal was unable to respond. After several
brave but useless efforts he ceased the attempt.
He had done his best and could do no more.
DEERFOOT waited till sure of the ex-
haustion of the stallion. Then while
he was still galloping in his tired way,
lie slipped from his back and, dropping to the
ground, began running beside him.
The instant the horse felt himself free of his
master he dashed off at the highest bent of his
speed, as if determined to be rid of the dreaded
one at whatever cost. You know what a won-
derful runner the young Shawanoe was, and he
now put forth every ounce of energy at his com-
mand. The sight was thrilling. The incom-
parable youth was making a race with the black
stallion, and the exhibition was marvelous.
Ah, if you could have been there with a camera
to take a snapshot of the struggle !
Now, no man ever lived who could outrun a
blooded or trained horse. It would be absurd
for me to pretend that the Shawanoe youth,
with all his marvelous fleetness, could outspeed
J42 DEERPOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
a wild animal like the black stallion. It would
have been idiotic for him to attempt it, unless
his rival was so handicapped that a marked
advantage rested with the biped. I have shown
that Deerfoot possessed that advantage in the
fatigue of the steed. Moreover, as I have made
clear in another story concerning the young
Shawanoe, he was able to keep up the exertion
longer than a horse, and had proved it by run-
ning one down when each started fresh.
He had no fear, therefore, when he dropped
off the animal 's back, nor did he feel any mis-
giving because, in the first minute or two, the
stallion slightly drew away from him. The
youth knew he could run him down, and he
meant to do it.
The horse gained until he was fifty feet in
advance. The consciousness of his advantage
nerved him to the utmost. With head aloft and
the sweat showing in foam where the limbs
rubbed the body, he kept an eye on the fearful
thing he seemed to have shaken off. There he
was, a short distance to the rear, and a little to
one side. The form slowly receded, but while
the horse was doing his best it began to close the
gap between them. The brute saw it drawing
steadily nearer, with the resistless certainty
of fate. The Shawanoe's feet doubled under
him so rapidly that the eye would have found
it hard to see the twinkling moccasins. He was
doing his very best, and you have been able to
form some idea of what that was. Not the
least remarkable feature of all was that Deer-
foot did not seem to be affected in the least
by his terrific exertions. He breathed no faster
than when walking, and was capable of keeping
up the tremendous run for a time that, were
it named, would sound incredible.
Near and nearer drew the dreaded figure, and
the stallion, if capable of such an emotion,
must have felt the chill of despair creeping
through his frame. But it was useless to fight
against fate, and he put forth no further effort,
even when the pursuer drew up alongside, and,
repeating his remarkable bound, once more
dropped astride the perspiring body.
Deerfoot now changed his treatment of the
exhausted stallion. Instead of speaking
sharply and beating his heels against his sides,
he patted his neck, rubbed a palm gently down
its side and uttered soothing expressions. It
was hardly to be expected that the brute would
J44 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
understand this, for it was all new and strange
to him, hut the fiercest wild animal instinctively
knows the difference between brutality and
kindness. Something within the horse re-
sponded to these advances, and by and by he
dropped to a walk and made no effort to unseat
or harm his rider.
Deerfoot's wish was to return to his friends,
for they must have been left many miles to the
rear, and, though they were quite likely to fol-
low him, they must still be separated from him
by a long distance. He therefore tried to turn
the stallion the other way. This proved harder
than he anticipated. He first drew the nose
around, but the animal kept going straight on
as before, even with his head awry. Then the
youth slipped to the ground, placed himself in
front of his charge, and flung up his arms. The
stallion stopped, made a motion as if to bite
him, and then, frightened by his own temerity,
paused. Still he refused to change his course.
The Shawanoe was working patiently when
the horse turned to one side, pricked up his
ears and started off at a trot. The youth sus-
pected the meaning of this action: the brute
had scented water, of which he must have felt
the need, and was hurrying to it. Instead of
remounting Deerfoot ran ahead of the animal,
and glancing over his shoulder to make sure he
was followed, broke into a lope which he accom-
modated to the speed of his pursuer.
The youth was right in his supposition. Not
far in advance, in a slight depression of the
prairie, he caught the gleam of water, marking
where a small tributary of the North Fork
flowed from the mountainous regions on the
west. Increasing his speed, the Shawanoe
reached the water first, and, stooping down,
drank his fill of the clear current, which still
retained much of the coolness of the elevated
regions whence it came.
The stallion broke into a faster gait as he
drew near, and pushed his nose into the stream
beside the youth and drank his fill. It was odd,
when he had finished, to see him raise his head,
with the current dripping from his frothy
mouth, and look earnestly at the youth. Had
he been gifted with the power of speech he
probably would have said :
"I have come across many queer creatures
while roving the plains, but you are the queer-
est of them all. You don't look as if you would
146 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
stand any show in a fight with me. I've beaten
many rivals and am ready to beat more, but
you're too much for me. I take off my hat to
you, and now what do you intend to do with
me? If I get the chance to lay you out, I'll
do it, but I'm afraid I won't get the chance."
The Shawanoe was on the alert, suspecting
the stallion would try some trick after refresh-
ing himself with water. In turning away from
the stream, the head of the steed happened to
point eastward, the direction in which Deer-
foot wished to go. He again vaulted upon his
back and the brute continued on that course.
What the rider feared was that the stallion
would set out to find the drove that had deserted
him. This could not be permitted, for it would
ruin the plan the Shawanoe had in mind. He
expected to have another battle with his prize,
and held himself alert for it, but he was pleased
and surprised by the docility of his captive.
This may have been partly due to his
exhaustion, or who shall say that the brute did
not wish for time in which to formulate some
scheme for overthrowing the being that had
Deerfoot kept up his caresses and gentle
treatment of the prisoner. He strove to famil-
iarize him with his voice and to win his confi-
dence. He had proved he was master of the
terrible brute, and the task was now to con-
vince the brute that he was his friend. This
was sure to be hard, and he could not hope to
succeed for awhile to come.
They had traveled a few miles when once
more Deerfoot slipped to the ground. As he
landed he walked close to the shoulder of the
horse and patted and addressed him as he
would a child whom he loved. The stallion at
first resented the familiarity. He shook his
head as if displeased, edged away and finally
snapped at the youth. The Shawanoe knew it
would not do to let the animal forget who was
master. So, when the black muzzle and gleam-
ing teeth showed, he slapped his nose and spoke
brusquely to him. This was followed by more
caresses and soothing expressions. By and by
the horse ceased showing resentment. Then
Deerfoot remounted as before.
Thus the strange acquaintanceship pro-
gressed. It was impossible for the wild stal-
lion to become tamed in a few hours, though
we have professors in these times who conquer
J48 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
the most vicious beasts in less than a single
hour, but sometimes the horses do not stay
conquered. It can be said that the youth and
horse became quite intimate as they journeyed
together, and the youth had good reason to
believe that ere long they would become friends.
As he had supposed, Mul-tal-la and the boys
did not remain idle after the Shawanoe's hur-
ricane departure. Hardly had he vanished in
the horizon when the three set out to follow
him, pressing their animals hard. While it
cannot be said that they were free from anxiety
for their friend, they were not much alarmed.
There could be no after-contest that would be
fiercer than that which had taken place under
their very eyes, and they had come to ask one
another whether there was any situation in
which the young Shawanoe would not be well
able to take care of himself.
At every few paces George Shelton brought
his glass into use and scanned the prairie in
advance, not forgetting to bestow a glance now
and then in other directions, for there was no
saying what whim would control the black
"I see them!" suddenly called George.
"They are coming this way!"
"Is Deerfoot on the horse?"
"Of course; you don't suppose he would
walk, do you?"
"I didn't know but that the stallion was so
tired Deerfoot would have to carry him," was
the innocent answer. "Let me have a squint."
Victor and Mul-tal-la each descried the ani-
mal, but since he was in a direct line and held
his head high it was some minutes before they
could make sure that the Shawanoe was on his
back. It was the Blackfoot who announced
that he was riding the captured horse at a walk.
But Deerfoot had descried his friends before
this, and he now showed his mastery over the
animal by forcing him to a moderate gallop,
which was kept up till the two parties had come
within a few rods of each other. Then the stal-
lion stopped and showed renewed excitement.
It was due to the nearness of the other horses,
whom he did not like, and he repelled a closer
Three of the animals were indifferent and
displayed no curiosity, but Zigzag seemed to
think he was excepted from the disfavor of the
captive. He pointed his nose toward him,
whinnied, and then advanced rapidly. Mul-
J50 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
tal-la was about to interfere when Deerfoot
called to him not to do so.
The Shawanoe did all he could to quiet his
horse, but with the light of mischief in his eyes
watched the meeting between the two brutes.
Zigzag came right on, with nose thrust out, as
if he intended to kiss the other, who grew more
and more displeased. Suddenly the stallion
whirled around his rider not trying to
restrain him and let fly with both heels, which,
had they landed fairly, would have injured
Zigzag, but a portion of the bulging pack inter-
posed. Zigzag was sent backward for several
steps, and so shaken that he was disgusted.
The snubbing was too direct to be misunder-
stood, and he sullenly wheeled and rejoined his
own friends, quite content to leave the aristo-
cratic interloper to himself.
All four laughed, for there was a humanness
about the whole thing that was amusing. The
boys and the Blackfoot were delighted, while
the expression of Deerfoot left no doubt of his
pleasure over the prize he had gained. Many
a wild horse had been brought to earth by the
skilfully thrown lasso or riata, hobbled and
mastered by the horseman who had his own
animal to give him aid, but whoever knew of
such a thing being done by a single person
without help in any form whatever? And yet
you have been shown that that was precisely
what was done by Deerf oot the Shawanoe.
Mul-tal-la quite overwhelmed his youthful
friend with praise. Addressing him in the
tongue of the Blackfeet for he did not wish the
boys to understand his earnest words he
declared that the feat was one that no other
living man could perform. There were fine
horsemen among the different tribes, and Mul-
tal-la had witnessed many of their exhibitions
of skill, but there was none to be compared with
Deerfoot. The dusky fellow was specially
ardent in praising the deftness, power and
quickness with which the Shawanoe had thrown
the wild stallion without bridle or saddle or
aid of any kind.
"See the fellow blush!" said the grinning
Victor to his brother. "That shows that Mul-
tal-la is praising Deerfoot. I never saw an
Indian blush, for it's too much like a negro
trying to do it, but Deerfoot can't help showing
"There," added George, watching the coun-
152 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
tenance of their friend, "he has told Mul-tal-la
to stop, and he daren't refuse. If I had half
the smartness of Deerfoot I should expect to
sit down and hear everybody praise me. They
couldn't help it."
"I don't know about that. I don't wait for
folks to praise me."
"Because you would grow gray before they
did it. Hark!"
Sitting astride of the motionless stallion their
friend called :
"Will my brothers give Deerfoot a name for
"Yes," George hastened to answer; "call him
The Shawanoe shook his head. The inappro-
priateness of the name was apparent, even to
the Blackfoot. Indeed, the proposer was in
"I have it," said Victor. "Make it Whirl-
"My brother speaks with the words of wis-
dom, ' ' replied the Shawanoe. ' ' His name shall
be Whirlwind, though it would not be bad if it
were Thunderbolt, like the steed that was con-
quered many moons ago. ' '
PHYSICIAN AND PATIENT.
THUS the noble black stallion was named.
If ever a person felt proud of his prize
it was Deerfoot, the Shawanoe. The
wild horse had been literally cut out from
the herd of which he was monarch and made
captive by the dusky youth. The battle
between the two was a fair one, and the Indian
was the victor, and never was a more striking
Deerfoot, however, knew that his work was
not yet done, though he had made fair progress
with it. He must win the affection of the
creature, or all that had been previously done
would go for naught.
Since the Shawanoe never made use of a sad-
dle, his blanket serving that purpose, and since
also there was none at command, no suggestion
was offered him in that respect. Victor Shel-
ton, however, took upon himself to say:
J54 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"You will have to bridle him, and he will
The captor shook his head.
"So long as Deerfoot lives Whirlwind shall
not wear saddle or bridle. He shall be ruled by
kindness, as all animals should be ruled."
"Well, if anyone can do it, you're the chap,
but it will be as big a job as teaching him that
you're his master."
The Shawanoe improved every minute. He
continually spoke soothingly to the stallion,
patted his neck and sides, and never lost
patience with his restlessness. By and by the
youth approached and in the gentlest manner
possible spread his blanket over the glossy
coat, not yet dry from the moisture caused by
his determined fight. Whirlwind shied and for
some minutes would not permit the liberty, but
after a time suffered himself to be persuaded.
The blanket was held in place only by the
weight of Deerfoot, who bestrode it. Then,
rifle in hand, he urged the steed forward, and
he responded somewhat uncertainly.
One thing interested and amused our friends
from the beginning. Whirlwind did not hesi-
tate to show his contempt for the common
PHYSICIAN AND PATIENT. J55
horses around him. The snubbing given to the
presumptuous Zigzag was no more marked
than his feeling toward the others. Had they
invited the rebuff, it would have been as de-
cisive as the one described, but they knew
enough to keep their distance. When cropping
the grass at the noon halt, the stallion did so at
some distance from the others, and it may be
added that at night Deerfoot humored his aris-
tocratic prejudices by allowing him to " flock by
himself. " He would have nothing to do with
any of his species, further than a captured
prince is obliged to come in contact with his
Toward Mul-tal-la and the Shelton brothers
the steed was indifferent. While he displayed
no ill will to them, he exhibited no special
friendship. If they approached with caresses
he permitted the liberty, but it gave him no
pleasure, and he would have been quite con-
tent if they kept their distance and left him
It was different, however, regarding Deer-
foot. No animal living is quicker to recognize
his master, or to know when an incompetent
has him in charge, than a horse. To his last
J56 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES,
day Whirlwind would vividly remember that
desperate struggle in which he was thrown and
subdued by the matchless youth. There must
have been a feeling akin to respect, mingled
perhaps with fear, toward the victor who had
done what was never yet done to Whirlwind by
man or animal.
This sentiment may be considered the foun-
dation upon which Deerfoot set to work to
build the friendship, the trust and the affection
of the magnificent brute. It was a task
demanding limitless patience, prudence, tact
and skill ; but the Shawanoe possessed all those
virtues, and he called them into play. While
riding in advance of his companions he set out
to teach Whirlwind to understand and obey his
commands. In this task he showed a peculiar
shrewdness which I cannot help believing would
not have occurred to another.
When he wished the stallion to turn to the
right or left, he employed two methods. The
pressure of the right knee meant that Whirl-
wind should turn in that direction, and of the
left knee that he should take that course; the
pressure of both knees that he should increase
his pace, the increase to be added to so long as
PHYSICIAN AND PATIENT. J57
the pressure was repeated, the same as if he
were pricking his sides with his spurs.
Now, all these methods are in use at the
present day and have been from time imme-
morial, so there was nothing noteworthy in
them. But Deerfoot had a word or synonym
for each, as he had for several other commands,
and which he taught his steed after a time to
obey with equal promptness. These words
were not English, but a mixture of Shawanoe
and Blackfoot, accompanied by sounds that
were original with himself.
His reason for adopting this plan was to
prevent anyone else "knowing how to control
Whirlwind. It might come about that at some
time in the future the animal would fall tem-
porarily (Deerfoot would not allow himself to
believe it could ever be permanently) into the
possession of some one else. That person, not
knowing the code of the Shawanoe and the
stallion, would be at great disadvantage. The
trick was worthy of the Shawanoe.
While leading the advance the youth held
little or no communication with his friends;
his whole interest was in the instruction of
Whirlwind, and he gave his skill to that. The
J58 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
stallion possessed a fine grade of intelligence,
much above that of the animals plodding behind
him. Deerf oot was not long in discovering that
his horse was pretending to a dullness that
was not real. But the time came when the kind
patience of the youth made its impression, and
the steed responded with a quickness that
delighted Deerfoot. Thenceforward his prog-
ress was so rapid that it astonished the
Blackfoot and the boys.
The party were now journeying almost due
north. The guide would have insisted upon
this change of route had it not been made by
Mul-tal-la, because he was not wholly free of
the fear of the reappearance of the herd of wild
horses which had deserted their chief that
morning. A troublesome if not dangerous
complication was more than probable in such
an event. Every mile, therefore, that the trav-
elers progressed made the meeting less likely,
and, I may as well say, it never took place.
While there was no lack of pasturage for
the animals, the men and boys were not always
so fortunate. At that time the country through
which they were journeying abounded with elk,
deer, antelopes, wild turkeys, grouse and
PHYSICIAN AND PATIENT. J59
beaver, and the streams were stocked with pike,
bass, salmon-trout, catfish, buffalo fish, perch
and other fish, including a species of shrimp,
yet these were not always within reach. Some
of the game mentioned were scarce in one sec-
tion and plentiful in another, and, although they
often showed themselves in the distance, were
often shy and fled upon the first approach of a
hunter. Instinctively they feared man, and the
raids of the Indians taught them lessons that
were not forgotten.
When at noon a halt was made on the bank
of a small, winding, sluggish stream that found
its way into one of the branches of the Platte,
the boys tried their luck at fishing. It need
not be said that several hooks and lines were
in their outfit. The couple were not rewarded
with a single bite. Then Mul-tal-la took up the
task with no better success. Finally Deerfoot
was appealed to, for, as you know, the brothers
believed he could do anything within the range
of human possibility. He carefully baited his
hook with angleworms and seized the occasion
"Mul-tal-la and my brothers are small chil-
dren. They are slow to learn. Let them watch
J60 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Deerfoot and he will teach them how to bring
fish from the water."
He whirled the line, weighted with a pebble,
out to the middle of the creek, and was so con-
fident of quickly drawing in some sort of fish
that he did not squat down as the boys and
Mul-tal-la had done. The three stood around
and looked wishful, though had they not been
so a-hungered they would have been glad to see
the Shawanoe make the failure they had made.
By and by the boys began to make remarks :
"I like to see Deerfoot yank out the fish just
as soon as he throws in his hook," was the
first observation of George, made within five
minutes after the pebble had sunk from sight.
"He's waiting to catch two at a time. He
knows how hungry we are, and I shouldn't
wonder if he feels that way himself," added
the grinning Victor.
"Maybe some of the fish saw him throw out
the line, and have gone off to bring up their
friends, so as to give him a good show."
"Don't catch too many, Deerfoot. We don't
need more than fifty or a hundred."
Mul-tal-la said nothing, but his teeth showed.
He was enjoying the quiet fun. The Shawa-
PHYSICIAN AND PATIENT. J6J
noe acted as if he heard nothing. The line
rested lightly in his fingers, which were so deli-
cately poised that he was sure to feel the slight-
est tug or twitch, and he kept his eyes on the
surface of the turbid stream.
Suddenly he gave a jerk and rapidly hauled
in the line, hand over hand. When the hook
came creeping out of the current the bait was
gone, and no fish was in sight.
The brothers snickered.
"Did you ever know of meaner fish?" asked
Victor; "that hook was fast in his gills, but he
twisted it loose. It wasn't fair. I hope Deer-
foot doesn't feel bad."
"I saw something like the tail of a fish as
he flirted off," added George. "I guess he
doesn't know who is fishing that is, who is
trying to fish."
Never a word did Deerf oot speak. He baited
his hook with the utmost care, and in obedience
to an old superstition which prevailed even at
that day among fishermen, spat upon the bait
before casting it into the water.
"Ah, that'll fetch 'em!" exclaimed George,
smacking his lips in anticipation of the coming
feast. "No fish can refuse such a bait as
J62 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
All the same they did refuse it. Though the
Shawanoe waited patiently for a full half hour
and once or twice felt something toying with
the hook, he caught nothing. Finally he drew
in the line and wound it up.
"My brothers talked so much they scared
the fish away," he remarked. "We shall have
to wait till to-night or to-morrow or next week
The dismay on the faces of the brothers gave
Deerfoot his turn at merriment. They knew
lie was able to go a day or two without food and
not seem to mind it. With them, however, it
was different, but seemingly there was no help
for them. They accepted the situation with the
best grace possible, which was poor enough.
Meanwhile the horses were cropping the
juicy grass, Whirlwind by himself and the
others herding together. All had had a good
rest, and the party now gathered together for
their journey, which was pressed as before,
Deerfoot in the lead, talking with and giving
instructions to Whirlwind. The weather be-
came perceptibly colder, as if from the prox-
imity of the snow-covered peak and the lofty
range of mountains that stretched beyond the
limit of their vision.
PHYSICIAN AND PATIENT. 563
About the middle of the afternoon Whirlwind
showed a slight limp. It was so slight, indeed,
that no one noticed it except Deerfoot. He
instantly checked the stallion, slipped off his
back and made an investigation. The cause
was apparent: the left knee showed signs of
swelling. That was the leg whose ankle the
Shawanoe had gripped and imprisoned for a
minute or two during the fight in the morning.
In falling violently the knee had been injured,
but to so small an extent that this was the first
evidence of any such thing.
The hunters and trappers, when absent on
their long excursions in the mountains and soli-
tudes, were, of course, without the means of
shoeing their animals, and it need not be said
that Whirlwind's hoofs had never been thus
shielded. This was a small matter, for the pro-
tection was not needed. Moreover, the outfit
of our friends contained nothing in the nature
of liniment, ointment, unguent or even grease
that could be used in an emergency like the
present. Deerfoot was without any medica-
ment that could be applied to the knee of the
stallion. All he could do was to give it rest
and leave the healing to nature. That he
instantly decided should be done.
164 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"Let my brothers go on. When Whirlwind
is well Deerfoot will join them," he said,
addressing the three.
"How far shall we go?" asked George.
"My brothers will go as far as they can.
Deerfoot will find them when Whirlwind is able
to walk without pain. It may be one, or two or
three days, but Deerfoot will have no trouble,
for the trail will be plain."
The Shawanoe and Blackfoot talked for a
few minutes in order to perfect an understand-
ing, and then the three rode off, leaving Deer-
foot alone with Whirlwind, to whom he gave
his full attention.
No mother ever passed her cool hand across
the fevered brow of her child more lovingly
than did the young Shawanoe fondle the sen-
sitive knee of the mettled steed. The latter did
not twitch or resent the caress, for the magnet-
ism of the touch, its gentleness and the soothing
words were worth more than any medicinal
oil could have been. The soft, cool palm slid
over the silken hair like the brush of down.
The motion was always toward the hoof and
never up the limb "against the grain." Some-
times, while one hand was thus employed, the
PHYSICIAN AND PATIENT. J65
other patted the nose that was bent down in
acknowledgment of the kindness.
When finally Deerfoot stepped back and
straightened up, Whirlwind stood firmly on all
his legs. Had his master called for it, he would
have galloped off with hardly a perceptible
But Deerfoot had no such thought. That
knee should not be permitted to go into service
until as strong and sound as the other. While
the injury was insignificant, it was sure to
become worse through unwise treatment. All
that was necessary was'to give nature a chance ;
she always strives to right such matters, and
the most that medical skill can do is to help,
and all too often the effort proves a hindrance
rather than an aid.
The downy rubbing was repeated at inter-
vals and did much good. Whirlwind showed
his appreciation by lowering his head and rest-
ing his nose on the shoulder of the stooping
Deerfoot, whose heart responded to the caress.
He felt that they had become real friends.
Some time later he coaxed Whirlwind to lie
down. The stallion was reluctant at first, for a
horse dislikes to do this except when tired out,
J66 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
and then he is often satisfied with rolling on his
back, but he yielded. Then Deerfoot plucked
several handfuls of grass, cutting off the roots
with his knife, and fed them to his friend, who
ate probably to please him, for surely he could
not have been hungry.
Now and then the knee was tenderly kneaded,
and certainly improved, if indeed it was riot
already cured. When at last the chilly night
closed in, the young Shawanoe lay down beside
Whirlwind, so arranging the blanket that it
covered both, and their bodies were mutually
warmed by the contact. Physician and patient
were doing well, thank you.
A HURRIED FLIGHT.
/T LTHOUGH George and Victor Shelton
| parted for the time from Deerfoot
with regret, it cannot be said that
either felt any misgiving. There could be no
doubt of the Shawanoe's ability to track them
all the way to the Pacific if necessary, for the
trail would be plain except when they took to
the water, which was not likely to be for a long
time to come. Moreover, Mul-tal-la had said
that little was to be feared from the Indians of
the country through which they must make their
way. Had the boys been alone danger might
threaten, for most of the hunters and trappers
who penetrated those vast solitudes looked
upon and treated the red men as their enemies,
and naturally were thus looked upon and
treated in their turn.
The Blackfoot and his companion met with
no trouble of this nature on their eastward
journey. They were always able to make clear
)6ft DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
their meaning by signs, and the fact that the
two belonged to the same race with the different
tribes was a sufficient passport. It seemed
reasonable, therefore, to believe that the pres-
ence of Mul-tal-la gave all the protection that
could be needed.
The Blackfoot took Deerfoot's place as
leader, the brothers riding a little to the rear r
with Zigzag plodding in his usual indifferent
fashion. Just now the chief concern of the
boys was as to how they were to obtain a meal,
for the thought of going to sleep without food
To the left, in the direction of the foothills,
they descried a half-dozen elk browsing; but
the game were as timid as antelopes, without
their fatal defect of overwhelming curiosity,
and they made off long before our friends could
get within range. Several miles to the east-
ward a dark undulating mass which covered
hundreds of acres showed where another vast
herd of bison were moving southward. Vic-
tor was disposed to ask Mul-tal-la to change
their course so as to get a shot at one of the
animals, but his brother urged him to wait in
the hope of a better chance to bring down some-
A HURRIED FLIGHT. J69
An hour later this chance presented itself.
Three graceful antelopes came in sight as the
horsemen rode over an elevation. They were
cropping the grass on the slope of a hill nearly
a half mile distant. George brought his glass to
his eye and saw that the alert creatures had
already caught sight of them. They were
standing with heads erect and staring at the
strangers, ready to dash off like the wind on
the first demonstration or further move toward
" There 's our supper J" exclaimed Victor, as
the three halted, for the Blackfoot was also
interested in the sight. "I know they aren't
the best food in the world, but I'm too hungry
to be particular. Mul-tal-la, how are we to
"I will let my brother shoot one of them,"
replied the Blackfoot, who, as you know, had
caught Deerfoot's manner of speech.
"That suits me. George, you don't mind.
It will be your turn next time."
"I'm satisfied," returned his brother; "but
you must remember and not let your impatience
run away with you. Keep cool or we shall have
to go without supper."
J70 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
" Don't fear for me,'* remarked the ardent
Victor, who slipped out of the saddle and set
off without delay; "I know what's at stake. "
Had he gone directly toward the antelopes
they would have been off on the instant.
Instead, he went back over the ridge just
crossed, thus interposing that screen between
him and the animals. By following this he
could approach within a fourth of a mile of the
game, and from that moment the utmost cau-
tion and skill would be necessary. His brother
and the Blackfoot withdrew so as to occupy a
position on the crest of the elevation, where
they could observe the actions of Victor from
the beginning and at the same time keep an eye
upon the antelopes themselves.
The latter fixed their attention upon the
point where the horsemen had first come into
view, hesitating whether to break away in swift
flight or to wait until they could gratify their
resistless curiosity. George Shelton and Mul-
tal-la had dismounted, and lying down in the
grass, took care not to show themselves,
through fear of alarming the game, for, if the
antelopes should make off, slight chance of
securing a meal would remain.
A HURRIED FLIGHT. 17 J
Meanwhile Victor was stealing along the
ridge until, as he judged, he had reached a
point nearly opposite the animals, who were a
furlong distant. Then he crept up the eleva-
tion, whose crest fortunately was crowned with
the same exuberant growth of grass that grew
in the valley beyond.
So painstaking was he that his friends lost
sight of him and did not know when he was at
the crest of the elevation until the antelopes
showed by their excitement that they had
detected him. They had resumed cropping the
grass, when all three abruptly raised their
heads and dashed off at the height of their
astonishing speed. A moment later Victor was
seen running down the slope until a little
beyond the base, when he dropped on his face.
Immediately after, while his body was
screened from sight, he raised the ramrod of his
rifle, with his cap on the upper end. The lower
point was pushed down into the earth so that
unaided it supported the headgear. He had
improved on the method of the Blackfoot.
At first it looked as if this artifice had come
too late, for the antelopes continued running.
When first seen they were in a valley-like
J72 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
depression with a width of a third of a mile.
They made a pretty picture as they skimmed
up the opposite slope with their bodies show-
ing in relief against the green background.
The cap, however, on top of the ramrod was
so conspicuous that they were not long in dis-
covering it. The three stopped, turned side-
ways and stood a few minutes gazing intently
at the strange object. Then all three broke
into a gentle trot toward it, keeping side by side
most of the way. One of the trio had more
sense or possibly more timidity than his com-
panions, for he abruptly stopped and refused
to go any farther. Strangely enough, the
others showed no hesitation until within a hun-
dred yards of where the boy, stretched out in
the grass, was waiting for the moment when
he could make his aim sure.
"I wonder if they ain't twins like me and
George," was the whimsical fancy of the lad,
as he watched the similarity of action on the
part of the two antelopes. They had halted at
precisely the same second, and now moved for-
ward again, both stepping high and advancing
with a curious hesitation which indicated the
mental struggle between fear and curiosity.
A HURRIED FLIGHT. J73
One turned to the left and ran nimbly in a
circle of several rods diameter, coming around
and facing the ramrod and cap again, as if
hypnotized. At the same moment the other
described a similar circle to the right, return-
ing like his companion, so that the two stood
side by side, with heads raised, and stepped
off again, as if keeping time with the signals
of some one who had trained them to the per-
Victor was impatient, but he had too much
prudence to throw away the opportunity that
he knew would come to him in a few minutes.
When both animals were nigh enough for him
to be sure of his aim he still hesitated, with
gun pointed, hammer raised and finger on the
trigger. He was wondering how much nearer
they would approach. Surely, when they
caught sight of him in the grass, their curiosity
would vanish, and they would dash off in the
very extremity of terror. He lay low and
His plan was to hold his fire until the dis-
covery should burst upon the antelopes and
they wheeled to flee. This turning would give
him his best chance, and he intended to shoot
at the crisis of the change of direction.
J74 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
One of the creatures paused, as if he had
observed something that warned him to halt.
His companion took three steps more and then
halted, with head high in air and one foot lifted
and poised like a pointer dog.
It was at this juncture that Victor Shelton
bore hard on the trigger, for he dared wait no
longer, though he had decided a moment before
to fire as the animals wheeled.
To his dismay the hammer of his rifle did
not descend. He pressed harder, but the iron
claw which grasped the flint remained immova-
ble. Then the truth flashed upon him. In his
excitement he had only half-cocked his gun.
There should have been three clicks when he
drew back the hammer, but there were only two.
In that position it would not obey the trigger,
no matter how hard the pressure. It must be
drawn to a full cock.
Without shifting his posture, he raised his
thumb from the trigger guard, so that it passed
over the hammer, and then pulled it back as
far as it would go. It was at full cock, but in
reaching that point it emitted a single click.
Faint as was the sound, it was heard by the
two antelopes fully fifty yards away, and they
A HURRIED FLIGHT. J75
whirled to dash off. At the instant that their
sides were toward him, Victor discharged his
gun and sent the bullet straight and true. One
antelope kept on running, his head flung back,
while he sped across the valley like a swallow
on the wing. The one that had been smitten
flirted back again and then came on a full run
straight for the spot in the grass from which
the fatal missile had been fired, as if deter-
mined to slay his foe before his own strength
" Great Caesar!" exclaimed the scared Vic-
tor; "I didn't know an antelope was that sort
of beast. I've got to get out of here mighty
There was no time to reload his weapon.
Never did he leap to his feet and make off at
greater speed than when he saw the antelope
bearing down upon him, and it may be added
that never did he run so fast as in going up
the slope and down the other side, and then in a
line for his companions.
At such critical moments a boy does not con-
sider his duty done unless he does all he can
in the way of yelling. The shouts that Victor
Shelton sent resounding over the surrounding
J76 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
country must have reached several miles. He
did not look behind him, for that would have
interfered to a fractional extent with his speed,
but ran with might and main, marking each
leap by a tremendous outcry.
He expected with every breath to feel the
antelope's razor-like hoofs carve their way
downward into his shoulders. That several
minutes passed without such carving he
accepted as proof that he was making as good
time as his furious pursuer. If this was grati-
fying it was also surprising, for Victor had
never been noted for his fleetness of foot, and
he knew something of the fleetness of the
antelope. He concluded that there was no tell-
ing what a boy of his age can accomplish in
the way of running until the actual necessity
for it arises.
All this time Victor did not forget to yell.
But after awhile the expenditure of so much
breath began to affect his strength. So he
closed his mouth and gave his whole attention
to getting over the ground in the best possible
Because of this cessation of his outcries he
became aware that his brother was also shont-
A HURRIED FLIGHT. 177
ing. Listening carefully, Victor was finally
able to catch his words :
"What are you running for!"
"That's a pretty question!" he reflected,
"when he can see for himself that the antelope
is determined to have my life!"
It occurred to the fugitive to look around
and see how far he was leaving his fearful
enemy behind. He was not in sight. He had
not even come over the ridge, but had fallen
before taking more than a dozen steps in the
direction of the lad. This spurt was a blind,
aimless flight, its direction being involuntary.
The antelope would not have dared to attack
the boy any more than it would have dared
to assail a grizzly bear.
A STARTLING AWAKENING.
/TT\HAT night, after a bountiful meal,
George Shelton quietly said to his
"You remember, Victor, that you and I left
home on the morning of the turkey shoot, tell-
ing father that we didn't wish to stay and win
"Of course, but nobody believed us."
"I don't suppose anyone did, but if you had
gone into that foot-race against Deerfoot and
Ralph Genther, neither would have had a
show. I never dreamed how fast you can run
till I saw that antelope after you."
"See here now, George, what's the use of
talking forever about that! You would have
done just as I did if you saw a wild animal
coming down on you like a whirlwind, and just
after you had wounded him."
"I suppose I should, but I couldn't have
made the time you did."
A STARTLING AWAKENING. 179
"I wonder whether Deerfoot will come up
with us to-night, " remarked Victor, anxious
to change the subject of conversation, and
peering in the gloom to the southward.
"No," replied the grinning Mul-tal-la; "you
will see nothing of our brother for some days.
He will not let Whirlwind use his leg till he
knows he can't hurt it, and that won't be for
some time yet."
The camp had been made on the slope of the
ridge, over which they had passed once or twice,
and at the base of which meandered a small
stream that finally made its way into one of the
tributaries of the Platte, and so finally reached
the Gulf of Mexico. Beyond this water the
land sloped upward again. Thus it will be seen
that our friends were near the bottom of a val-
ley, covered with succulent grass, and showing
here and there growths of willows and a species
of alfalfa, whose bark sometimes serves ani-
mals for food, but owing to the small size of the
growth itself the wood is comparatively worth-
It was the turn of Victor to mount guard for
the first half of the night. The horses had
become so accustomed to the routine that, after
J80 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
packs, saddles and bridles were removed, they
could be trusted to crop the herbage until ready
to lie down for the night. Zigzag had gotten
into the habit of nibbling much longer than his
companions. Perhaps his teeth were not so
good, but the sentinels had often observed him
moving here and there long after his com-
panions were asleep. George Shelton named
his natural stubbornness as the cause, thougK
the charge was hardly fair.
The night had progressed far enough for
George to wrap himself in his blanket, for the
night was quite cold, and lie down with hia
feet to the fire. The Blackfoot was not yet
ready to sleep. Instead, he sat with his blanket
around his shoulders and seemed to sink into
a reverie. He remained motionless for a long
time, gazing absently into the fire and saying
nothing to anyone. At last Victor gently
reminded him that he was at liberty to sleep
while the boy guarded the camp.
Instead of lying down the Indian rose to his
feet and stood for some minutes looking off
to the northward toward the nearest stretch
of mountains or the opposite side of the valley.
It was as if he had noted something in that
A STARTLING AVAKENING. J8J
direction which interested him. He turned to
the boy :
"Let not my brother fear; Mul-tal-la will not
be away long."
And with this remark he walked down the
slope, soon passing from sight in the gloom.
"That's a queer piece of business," reflected
Victor. "I wonder what's the matter; maybe
he's seen some of his people over yonder and
has gone to call upon them."
However, there was no cause for misgiving,
and the youth gave the Blackfoot no further
thought, knowing he would return when he
thought proper. Meanwhile the brothers need
not fear disturbance from man or animal.
The weather was still clear, though the trav^
elers had observed a heavy black cloud over the
mountains, just before sunset, which threatened
a downpour of rain, but the black mass was
moving northward above the peaks and soon
disappeared. The moon was near the end of
the first quarter, and shed enough light for one
to see quite clearly for a distance of fifty yards
more or less. This illumination was steady,
for not a cloud drifted across its face to pro-
duce the shifting shadows and alternations of
J82 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
light and obscurity which often mystified the
man or boy on guard.
It had struck Victor more than once that
whoever acted as sentinel was for most of the
time wasting the hours that might as well have
been spent in rest. Not once had anyone been
in danger of attack from wild animals, nor since
crossing the Mississippi had any Indians
molested them. Moreover, he was sure that in
the event of anything of the kind the horses
would give timely warning. But Deerfoot had
made the order, before leaving the young State
of Ohio, that never was the camp to be left
unguarded, and while he was with them the
rule had not been disobeyed. It was useless
to protest to the Shawanoe, who had a way of
enforcing his views which no one dared oppose.
No argument, therefore, had been offered, and
that sense of honor which was ingrained with
the twins made each more careful of carrying
out the views of the " guide, counsellor and
friend" during his absence than when he was
with them. Consequently, Victor Shelton, rest-
ing his gun over his shoulder, began slowly
pacing to and fro, after the manner of a veteran
sentinel. His beat was twenty steps or so, and
A STARTLING AVAKENING. 183
one termination brought him near where the
horses had already lain down for the night.
Bather it should be said that only three of them
had done so, for Zigzag, acting out his queer
disposition, was seen moving slowly here and
there as he munched the lush grass. He
was likely to keep it up for an hour or two, and
the boy gave no heed to him.
A monotonous hour had worn away when
Victor's attention was drawn to the wakeful
horse. He was standing with head raised, bits
of grass dripping from his jaws, ears pricked,
and staring toward the other side of the valley,
as if he had discovered something in that
' ' I guess Mul-tal-la is coming back7' ' was the
thought of the lad, "and Zigzag hasn't noticed
that he is absent."
But no Blackfoot came into view in the dim
light, and the animal's restlessness, instead of
passing, became more marked. He threw his
head still higher, looked more keenly and
emitted a faint neigh.
"I wonder what's the matter with him," said
Victor, turning aside from his beat and walk-
ing out to the animal, whom he patted and tried
J84 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
to soothe. To his astonishment he found the
horse was in a tremor, as if scared by some-
thing he either saw or heard.
Victor turned his gaze in the same direction r
hut could discover nothing to explain the alarm
of the brute. Then he listened.
From the direction of the mountains he heard
a peculiar sound. It was a dull but steadily
increasing roar, such as you have noticed at
night when a railway train was first detected
miles distant. The boy supposed it was a gale
of wind, similar to what he had felt more than
once since crossing the Mississippi, and, indeed,
while still on the other side of that river.
But no sooner had he formed this conclusion
than he was sensible of a difference in the
sound from that which had come to mind. It
was more intense and its volume was growing
faster than he had ever observed before.
"I wish Mul-tal-la was here," was the
thought of Victor, who began to feel uncom-
fortable; "he would know the meaning of that,
which is more than 7 know."
He still believed the uproar was caused by
wind, though of a more violent nature than any
yet noted by him. A whirlwind, a hurricane,
A STARTLING AVAKENING. 185
or what in these times is called a cyclone, may
have been born among the mountains, and
would soon be careering over the prairies with
terrific might. If such proved the fact, Victor
could think of nothing to do; for, though he
and his brother fled, they would be as liable
to run into the vortex or centre of disturbance
as to be caught where they were.
His alarm, however, led him to hurry to the
side of George and awaken him. The latter
was on his feet in an instant, startled by the
terrifying noise, which had aroused the other
horses, who also arose and showed signs of fear.
Before the two could exchange more than a few
words the darkness was pierced by the voice
of the Blackfoot from some point on the other
side of the valley.
"Make haste, brothers! Flee to the highest
land you can reach !"
"That means a cloudburst !" exclaimed
George. "That is what the black cloud did.
The valley will be a rushing torrent in a few
minutes ! ' '
The words were yet in his mouth when the
roar of the brook a little way off was heard.
The forerunner of the flood was sweeping down
J86 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
the valley and would be quickly followed by a
Niagara of water.
The boys ran to the horses and began with
desperate haste to make them ready for flight.
The goods on hand were too valuable to be lost.
Saddles and bridles were hurriedly adjusted in
a slipshod fashion, and then both bent their
energies to replacing the packs upon Zigzag,
who won the gratitude of the brothers by acting
as if he understood the danger and was eager
to give all the help he could. He stood motion-
less while with nervous, trembling hands the
two fixed the bulky bundles in position.
"Li's here!" called out Victor, who felt the
water about his ankles and rapidly rising. ' ' It
won't do to wait another minute!' 1
The horses were headed up the slope and all
broke into a gallop, for the instinct of their
species often surpasses the reason of man in
such crises of peril. The lads ran alongside,
slapping their haunches and urging them to
It looked for a few minutes as if, despite their
haste, they would be overwhelmed, for within
two or three minutes after starting they were
wading through the rushing volume that
A STARTLING AWAKENING. 187
reached to their knees. Victor stumbled, and
George, with a cry, caught his arm, believing
he was about to be swept off his feet, but he
recovered himself and plunged up the slope
faster than before.
Nothing could have saved the boys and ani-
mals but the steady ascent which they made.
A river was sweeping down the valley like that
which wiped out Johnstown in the Conemaugh
Valley nearly a century later. Few compre-
hend the appalling power of a great volume
of water, which in the disaster referred to
tossed locomotives about as if they were so
The moonlight showed the muddy torrent
carrying limbs, trees and even rocks, tumbling
and rolling together in one fearful swirl down
the valley. The stream was already more than
a hundred feet wide, and gathered width and
volume with terrifying rapidity.
In a few minutes though it seemed ten
times as long boys and horses paused on the
crest of the ridge. They were now fifty feet
higher than their camp, and the torrent steadily
pursued them until within a dozen paces of
where they stood. If it climbed that interval
J88 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
nothing could save them. They watched the
rushing river for a time in silence.
"Is it coming any higher! " asked Victor in
an awed voice.
"I think it is creeping up, but not so fast as at
"Won't it be safer to keep on running?''
' ' No ; we shall have to go down into the low-
land beyond, and if the water comes over this
ridge we shall be caught."
"And if it does that we shall be caught
"It's likely to pass round at some point
above, and then it will be all up with us it has
done so!" added the startled George.
As he spoke he pointed down the other side
of the slope which they had climbed. He was
right ; the muddy current had forked above and
was flowing down on both sides of them. Boys
and horses were standing on an elongated
island which might be overflowed at any
The destructive cloudbursts that sometimes
break with cyclonic suddenness in the West are
as shortlived as they are violent. It is impos-
sible that it should be otherwise, for they con-
A STARTLING AWAKENING. J89
sist simply of a sudden precipitation or fall of
an enormous mass of water from the skies,
which naturally hunts with the utmost swift-
ness for the lowest level. That found, the
frightful flurry is speedily over.
It was with unspeakable relief that George
and Victor Shelton finally saw that the torrent
had ceased to climb the slope. A few minutes
later they uttered a prayer of thankfulness
when they perceived that the volume was dimin-
ishing and the margin of the torrent was
steadily retreating down the incline again. All
danger for the time was over.
"How is it that Mul-tal-la is on the other
side of the valley f " asked George.
"I don't know. He left camp soon after you
lay down, telling me he wouldn't be gone long.
He must have had some business or pleasure to
look after. I thought maybe he had gone to
make a call on some of his people. It was lucky
for us that he saw what was coming and gave us
warning in time."
/TT\HE torrent loosed by the cloudburst
steadily grew less and less, and at the
end of two hours the stream had shrunk
almost to its former insignificant proportions.
The boys might have returned to the site of
the camp and remained in safety until morn-
ing, but they had no inclination to do so.
Indeed, it would have been hard to identify the
spot, for the grass everywhere lay as flat as if
a mountainous roller had pressed it down.
Here and there could be dimly seen the trees,
some shorn of their limbs, so that they were like
so many logs, twisted and pronged stumps and,
strange as it may seem, boulders weighing in
some instances several tons, lay where they had
been flung by the raging waters.
When no doubt remained that the danger was
over, the bridles, saddles and packs were again
placed on the ground and the horses set free.
It was impossible to start another fire, since
SHOSHONE CALLERS. W
no fuel was obtainable, and the brothers sat on
the ground, wrapped in their blankets and near
enough to feel their mutual warmth. The
shock through which they had passed drove
away all inclination to sleep, and they talked
and speculated until the gray light of morning
glowed in the east.
Naturally they looked for the return of the
Blackfoot, who had left them the night before.
The valley, strewn with the debris of the flood,
stretched out before them, and they gazed up
and down its winding extent and across to the
corresponding slope, but without seeing man
or animal. Not the least striking feature of the
scene was the carcases of several elks and ante-
lopes, while in the distance was recognized the
brown, bulky body of an immense bison or buf-
falo. These various animals, doubtless with
others that were not visible, had paid the pen-
alty of being caught in the irrestrainable rush
of the torrent.
That Mul-tal-la had met with any mishap was
impossible, for it was he who discovered the
nature of the peril before the brothers knew of
it. The same recourse was at his command, for
all he had to do was to make for the higher land,
J92 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
where he would be beyond reach of the wrathful
But the sun climbed the sky and the longing,
wandering and impatient boys saw nothing of
their friend. Almost directly opposite and a
fourth of a mile away was a mass of boulders,
some of which had apparently been brought
down by the torrent.
"It seems to me," said Victor, "that some-
thing is moving near those rocks. Try your
spyglass on them, George."
A minute's scrutiny was enough to show that
Victor was right.
"There are several Indians," said George,
still holding the glass in place. "They seem
to be looking at us."
"Mul-tal-la must be with them. I suppose
he is telling about his two companions."
"I don't make him out, for the rocks inter-
fere. You try it."
He passed the glass to Victor, and, as the
brothers stood side by side, the second leveled
the instrument at the group. At the same
moment the red men came from behind the
boulders and moved down the slope in the
direction of the boys, as if they meant to call
SHOSHONE CALLERS. J93
on them. All were afoot, and two were of
shorter stature than the others.
With the help of the glass Victor Shelton
gained a clear view of the faces of the whole
party, who were dressed much the same as the
"Mul-tal-la isn't there, " said the surprised
lad. ' 1 1 don 't understand that. ' '
"He can't be far off. He's likely to show
up pretty soon. Shall we wait for those
Indians, for they mean to visit us that's cer-
"I don't see how we can help ourselves. If
we start to leave it will look as if we are afraid
of them, and, though they are on foot, they can
overhaul us without trouble. No; let's stand
our ground. I don't believe they mean any
harm, but I should feel a good deal easier in
mind if Mul-tal-la was on hand. It is odd
that he and Deerfoot should be away at the
time we are most likely to need them."
The strangers came straight forward, and
were soon so near that every face was clearly
seen without the aid of the glass. The brothers
learned that what they suspected was true : two
of the Indians were boys, perhaps a little older
J94 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
than our young friends, and one of them was
certainly taller. All were armed with bows and
arrows, their dress being similar, as has been
already said, to that worn by the Blackfoot.
George and Victor felt anything but com-
fortable. Previous experience warranted the
hope that the Indians meant no harm, but for
the time the youths could not be certain on that
point. While the strangers probably would
have acted friendly had either the Shawanoe
or Blackfoot been with the lads, it was doubtful
how it would be when they found the two alone.
Place a party of lawless persons, no matter
what their race, in a tempting situation, where
they have no fear of any consequences of
wrong-doing, and they may be depended upon
to do wrong.
Had the boys been certain that mischief
impended they would have warned the party
off, but doubting and puzzled as to what was
best to do, they waved their hands in token of
good-will and awaited their coming as if
nothing in the world could please them more.
The nearer the Indians approached the less
the boys liked their looks. Their dress was
shabby and their faces ugly. The taller of the
SHOSHONE CALLERS. J95
dusky youths had daubed his face with paint at
some remote period in the past, and enough
remained to add to his repulsive looks, which
were not diminished when his broad mouth
expanded into a grin. His companion was not
quite so tall, and was of broader and huskier
The least repellent of the three warriors dis-
played some superiority in dress to the others.
The hunting shirt had more fringes at the bot-
tom; the dilapidated moccasins showed a few
more beads, and he had three stained eagle
feathers pointing upward from his crown, while
neither of the others sported more than two.
From these facts and a certain deference shown
by the couple, George and Victor believed this
fellow was a chief among his people. Further-
more, our friends were convinced that this par-
ticular redskin was the father of the boys, and
I may add that in both suppositions the brothers
"Howdy?" grinned the leader, who was a
pace or two in advance of the others. As he
spoke he extended his right hand to George, his
long bow being in the left hand.
"Howdy?" replied George, taking the palm
1% DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
of the other. "I am glad to see my brothers,"
he hypocritically added.
It was quickly apparent that none of the
Indians could speak English. The salutation of
the leader was the only word he knew. He
made a response to George 's greeting, but it
was unintelligible to the boys. He said some-
thing more, and, releasing his hand, reached
out and took George's rifle from his grasp.
It was done so deftly that the weapon was
gone before the owner knew it.
"Why did you let him have that?" asked the
"He took it before I had any idea of what
he was after. Maybe he only wants to look
The chief held up the gun, inspected the ham-
mer and trigger, squinted one eye down the
barrel (and Victor Shelton never wished more
fervently that the rifle would go off), pretended
to aim at some target in the distance, and then,
instead of returning the weapon to the owner,
passed it to one of his warriors.
He next looked at Victor, and took two or
three steps toward him. The boy retreated,
shaking his head and griping his weapon with
SHOSHONE CALLERS. 197
" There '11 be a fight before you get this, you
old scamp!" replied the lad, compressing his
lips and showing his anger so plainly that no
one could mistake.
The dusky countenance of the chief took on
a dangerous glint and his black eyes twinkled
"Better let him have it," said his brother.
"There's no help for it."
"He doesn't get it without a fight. I won't
stand like a lamb and let him rob me."
The consequences must have been serious had
not Mul-tal-la, the Blackfoot, put in an appear-
ance at this critical moment. He came over
the ridge from behind the boys, proving that he
had crossed the devastated valley some time
All the strangers turned their faces toward
the new arrival, and it was apparent from the
expression on the face of the chief that he
recognized Mul-tal-la. They had met when the
Blackfoot passed through this region the year
before, though none of the other four knew
The chief seemed really glad to meet the
wanderer. They greeted each other and talked
W DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES,
for several minutes, as if they had not the
slightest knowledge of the presence of the
"They act as if they belonged to the same
tribe, " said George, who, like his brother, was
closely watching the couple. "I wonder if
these folks are Blackfeet."
"I don't think so. They are not dressed
quite the same. They look different, and the
home of the Blackfeet is a good many miles to
Victor was in a combative mood. He could
not get over his anger because of the robbery
they had suffered, not to mention the second
one that impended. He scowled at the chief
and then glared at the youths standing by them-
selves. The shorter looked back and grinned
"I'd like to have a set-to with that imp," said
Victor to his brother. "Did you ever see a
And to show his contempt Victor deliberately
doubled his fist and shook it at the fellow, who
grinned and placed his hand threateningly on
the haft of his knife at his girdle. When mat-
ters looked ominous it was the lot of Mul-tal-la
SHOSHONE CALLERS. W
to interfere again in the interests of peace.
Turning abruptly, he said to the boys :
"This Indian is Black Elk, chief of the Sho-
shones. Their warriors sometimes visit the
Blackfeet, and he and I talk each other's tongue.
Those are his boys, Young Elk and Antelope."
"What does he mean by taking George's gun
from him? He was about to rob me of mine
when you came up, but he won't get it without
"Let not my brother be hasty," said the
Blackfoot soothingly. "Black Elk has thou-
sands of warriors and can do as he wills with
us, but he is a friend of the Blackfeet ; I stayed
for several days and nights with him when on
my way through here a year ago. Because he
is a friend, he will not do what he meant to do.
He says you shall make contest with his two
sons, and the two that beat shall own the guns.
Are you willing?"
"Nothing will suit me better, if the fight is
to be a fair one," was the prompt reply of
"I am ready," added George; "but can you
trust these people?"
"Mul-tal-la does not know about the others,
200 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
but what Black Elk says he will do, that he
"Well, what is his plan! "
The Blackfoot now turned and talked for
some minutes with Black Elk, one of the chiefs
of the Shoshones. Then the chief called his
sons to him, and there was more talk. The
dusky youths looked at the boys and grinned
in a way that showed they were pleased over
the prospect and counted upon making short
work of the palefaced intruders.
"I'm aching to get at that chunky chap," said
Victor, who for some reason had taken an
intense dislike of the ill-favored youth.
"Maybe you will ache more after you are
through with him. You must keep cool, Victor,
or it will go hard with you. ' 9
Mul-tal-la now addressed himself to the boys.
* ' Black Elk has made these rules : My
brother," indicating George, "shall wrestle
with Antelope he is the tall one and, if he
throws Antelope, then the gun shall be given
back to my brother ; but if Antelope throws him,
then he shall keep the gun of my brother."
Mul-tal-la was slyer than his friends had sup-
posed. He had been in the company of the
SHOSHONE CALLERS. 201
youths long enough to learn that George Shel-
ton was the superior of his brother in wrestling,
and indeed possessed no little skill in that
respect. The Blackfoot was sanguine that the
white youth could overturn Antelope. And yet
he was by no means certain, for the Indian was
taller and showed that he was strong and agile.
Many red men pride themselves on their skill
in wrestling, and have good grounds for doing
so. Mul-tal-la warned George of this and
impressed upon him not to throw away the
slightest advantage he could gain from the very
To prove that Black Elk meant to be fair, he
compelled his son to lay his knife on the ground
beside his bow. The youth carried no toma-
hawk or other weapon, and to reciprocate,
George handed his knife to Mul-tal-la.
"I suppose I am to wrestle that other mon-
key," muttered Victor, scowling at the youth.
"No!" replied the Blackfoot, with a grin;
"you and he are to fight."
"Good! that suits me to a dot!" exclaimed
the pleased Victor.
A QUESTION OF SKILL AND COURAGE.
THE situation had taken on a most sin-
gular phase. The Shelton brothers
were waiting on the crest of the ridge
for the return of their Blackfoot friend, when
in a brief time they were called upon to enter
into a brief struggle with two Sho shone or
Snake Indians for the possession of their own
Withal, the paleface youths were eager for
the contest. This was especially true of Victor,
who, as he expressed it, was aching for a set-to
with the broad, strongly built youth, toward
whom he had taken an intense dislike from the
The arrangements were made by the chief
Black Elk and Mul-tal-la, the two warriors
standing as immobile as if hundreds of miles
removed from the spot, though it is not to be
supposed they were not interested. Their
leader and the Blackfoot talked again for two
A QUESTION OF SKILL AND COURAGE. 203
or three minutes, while George and Victor stood
side by side, awaiting the test. The rifle of one
was still held by a Shoshone, while Victor clung
to his own weapon.
"I don't give it up till I have to," grimly
remarked the lad. "One of them has yours,
and Mul-tal-la shall take charge of mine; he'll
act fair, but I don't believe any of the others
will. George, if you don't throw that copper-
colored scamp you're no brother of mine, and
you'll have to settle with me,"
"I'll do my best I promise you that. Don't
forget that you have a tough job before you."
Mul-tal-la addressed the brothers :
"My brother George will wrestle with Ante-
lope first; then my brother Victor will see
whether Young Elk is stronger than he."
"How many falls are we to have!" asked
1 ' Only one. If he lays you on your back you
must give up your gun to the Antelope. You
will not have another chance, but will have to
go without a rifle till you can get one somewhere
"In all the wrestling matches I ever saw it
was the best two out of three falls. The fellow
may play some trick on me."
204 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"You mustn't let him," said Victor, impa-
tiently; "you know as many tricks as he.
Bemember I've got my eye on you, and if he
beats you, you'll have to take a turn with me.''
"Save your strength for yourself," replied
George. "Well, I'm ready," he added, ad-
dressing his dusky friend.
The spectators formed a sort of ring, and
the youths advanced to the middle, each warily
watching the other and on the alert for the first
The wrestling bouts of the early days were
not conducted as in these times. The rule was
for the contestants to take their places with
their sides touching, and each with his arm
around the waist or neck of the other. The
same style still prevails in many places remote
from towns. When thus interlocked the con-
testants began the struggle, twisting, bending,
straining and tugging with might and main and
with all the skill the two could bring to their
aid. The spectacle of wrestlers standing face
to face and using their toes to feint and tap
each other, most of the motions being simul-
taneous, like two fighting chickens, while watch-
ing a chance to catch the other unawares, was
formerly unknown in this country.
A QUESTION OF SKILL AND COURAGE. 205
It will be noted that in the old style, provided
both were right or left-handed, one of the
wrestlers had a manifest advantage, since his
stronger side was turned toward the weaker
side of the other. Among boys this advantage
was often decided by lot, or by the first shout
of his claim by one of the contestants. The
handicap served also to even matters when
there was a marked superiority of strength or
skill on the part of one youth.
George Shelton was right-handed, like most
boys, and he determined not to yield that point
to the other. It speedily developed, however,
that the Antelope was left-handed, for he vol-
untarily placed his left arm over the shoulders
of George something he would not have done
had his right side been the stronger.
Instead of placing his arm under that of his
foe, George Shelton slipped it on top, though
not much was gained thereby. He made up
his mind that if there was to be any strangling
done he would do his share. Thus they stood,
with every nerve braced and every sense alert,
waiting for the first test.
The grip of the Antelope, who, it will be
remembered, was taller than George, suddenly
206 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
tightened and he bore our young friend back-
ward. But the latter kept his feet and braced
for the struggle to fling the other forward on
his face, which was made the next instant.
Then the seesawing went on for several sec-
onds and with the same alternating abruptness
as before, when the young Indian put forth his
utmost power to lift the other off his feet. Had
he succeeded, he would have had no trouble in
flinging him forward on his back or face, for
a person can do little when kicking in the air
with his feet clear of the earth.
George defeated his enemy by also lifting.
With both straining in the same manner neither
could succeed, and the weight of both remained
on the ground. Then the Antelope ceased his
effort, with the intention of trying some "lock"
of which the white boy knew nothing.
But this was the opportunity for which
George Shelton was waiting. In the instant
of the cessation by his antagonist, the watchful
lad suddenly put forth every ounce of strength
and lifted the young Indian clear. He strove
desperately to regain his footing, but his
shabby moccasins vainly trod the air, and
before he could recover his grip George hurled
A QUESTION OF SKILL AND COURAGE. 207
him violently forward on his side. He struct
the ground with a shock that made it tremble.
George lay across his body, from which the
breath was driven.
Never was fairer fall seen. The young
Shoshone was defeated so decisively that, had
there been an official umpire or referee, no
appeal could have been made to him.
"Good! Good!" exclaimed the delighted
Victor, dancing with delight and clapping his
hands. "I'll own you for my brother, George.
I couldn't have done better."
Mul-tal-la grinned, for he could not conceal
his pleasure. The spectators, including Young
Elk, looked savage, and the brow of Black Elk
was like a thundercloud. No one spoke, but all
must have thought volumes.
Having thrown his rival, George Shelton lay
across him for a few moments, then leaped up,
sprang back several paces, and turning to Mul-
"Tell him, if he wants it, I'll give him another
"No; my brother has won his gun."
At the same moment Black Elk reached to
the warrior holding the rifle, and, taking it from
208 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
him, strode to where George Shelton was stand-
ing and handed it back without a word. Thus
far the chief was certainly disposed to act
" Thank you for giving me what is mine,"
said the exultant youth, bowing so low and
smiling so broadly that the chief must have
understood he was receiving thanks, even
though none of the words was intelligible.
"Now, Victor, " added George, turning to his
brother as he stepped beside him, "I'll say to
you what you said to me that is, that if you
don't get the best of that grinning imp, who is
eager to pummel you, you're no brother of
While the discomfited wrestler slouched back
beside his father, who acted as if he was
ashamed of him, the other son fairly bounded
into the arena. He stood grinning, with fists
doubled, and manifestly impatient for the sport
to begin. To hurry his foe he twisted his face
into an insulting grimace.
No one knew Victor's quick temper better
than his brother. It was that which caused him
his only misgiving.
"Victor," said he, with much earnestness, "if
A QUESTION OF SKILL AND COURAGE. 209
you don't keep cool and have all your wits
about you, you'll get whipped. He's stronger
than his brother, and you have a harder job
before you than I did. Eemember KEEP
Now, Victor himself was fully aware of his
infirmity, but, like many thus afflicted, he often
yielded to it. At the very opening of the bout
he came within a hair of falling a victim to his
own impetuous temper. Neither he nor the Sho-
shone displayed any of the scientific points
which are seen to-day when two professionals
face each other in the ring, for they had not
had any instruction. You would have said
the pose of both was wrong, for, instead of hold-
ing the right hand across and in front of the
chest for purposes of parrying, while the
"leading" was done with the left, they stood
with fists thrust out and side by side, but both
balanced themselves well on their feet, and
were on the watch for an opening.
Victor looked straight into the dusky face
and felt a thrill of anger when the Shoshone
indulged in another tantalizing grimace.
Young Elk made several quick feints, and then,
with surprising quickness, smote the cheek of
210 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Victor with the flat of his hand, and leaped
back and grinned at him.
The blow set Victor's blood aflame, and, for-
getting caution, he rushed upon the other, only,
however, to receive a second blow which almost
carried him off his feet. It was directly on
the mouth and started the blood. But it undid
the mischief of the slap given a moment before.
Our young friend suddenly realized that he had
no slight task before him, and he heeded the
words of his brother, who again called to him to
keep cool. He mastered his temper and did a
clever thing by pretending to be scared. When
Young Elk carefully advanced he retreated, and
hurriedly glanced over his shoulder, as if look-
ing for a place of refuge.
The Indian was deceived and grew confi-
dent. He came forward and drew back his
right fist ready to strike, while Victor con-
tinued cautiously to give ground. Finally he
braced and awaited the attack. The closed
hand of the Shoshone shot forward, but the blow
was eluded by an instant recoil of the head for
an inch or two. Victor felt the wind of the
blow on his nose, so close came the fist of his
A QUESTION OF SKILL AND COURAGE* 2\\
Then with astonishing quickness he concen-
trated his strength in his good right arm and
landed straight and true upon the cheek of the
other, who was sent backward and reeled to
one knee, but was up again in a flash.
It became clear that Young Elk was afflicted
with as quick a temper as vexed the white
youth, for he made a blind, headlong rush, as
if to carry everything before him. As he
dashed on, his arms sawed the air like a wind-
mill. Victor, never more cool and self-pos-
sessed, parried for -a moment or two until
another opening offered, when he drove his fist
again into the flaming countenance with a force
that sent his antagonist flat upon his back. He
had scored a clean knockdown.
But the Shoshone was not yet vanquished.
He bounded to his feet as if made of rubber,
and with more coolness than before advanced
again upon his antagonist. Each was now in
a mental state to do full justice to his own
prowess. Several minutes were spent in
"sparring for an opening/' but Victor Shelton
quickly proved he was superior in skill. 'He
dodged and parried several blows, and, when
he landed again, it was the most effective stroke
212 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
yet done. He delivered his fist accurately upon
the jaw of the grinning youth, who again went
Victor sprang forward and stood over him,
waiting for the Sho shone to rise that he might
give him the finishing blow. Young Elk lay
as if "taking the count." He was dazed for
the moment by the terrific blows he had
received, and all the fight was knocked out of
him. He looked up at the young gladiator, then
rose, and, instead of facing him, turned and ran
at full speed down the ridge.
The amazed Victor took two or three steps
in pursuit, but immediately saw that he was not
the equal of the other in fleetness, and drew
back. The exasperated chief shouted to his son
to return, but he was too panic-stricken to obey,
and continued running.
Victor was thrown into wild rage by his
disappointment. He was not yet through with
his foe though it would seem that he ought
to have been and he wheeled around, panting,
and looking for some one upon whom to vent
"What are you gaping at?"
The question was addressed to the Antelope,
A QUESTION OF SKILL AND COURAGE. 2J3
standing bewildered and mystified by the whirl-
wind rush of events. Before he could answer,
if he had been disposed to do so, Victor drove
his fist into the partly painted face and, topple^
the owner over on his back. He was heard
to grunt as he struck the ground, and, hastily
clambering to his feet, he too turned and fled
after his still running brother as if death were
at his heels.
"I'll fight you, if you want it," called Victor,
striding in front of the chief, who probably did
not understand his meaning. " Fetch on all
the Shoshones in the country, and I'll tumble
them on top of one another. ' '
But George Shelton and Mul-tal-la saw the
moment had come to interfere. The latter
hastily stepped up to the lad and laid a restrain-
ing hand on his shoulder. George did the
"Come, Victor," he said, "you have done
enough ; you have won your gun, and now don 't
spoil everything by your foolishness."
LET us do justice to Black Elk, chief of
the Shoshones, who acted like a true
sportsman. He had witnessed the dis-
comfiture of his sons, and could not conceal his
disgust and exasperation. Little doubt that
soon after the incidents described he "settled"
with his heirs, not so much because of their
overthrow, but because of the cowardice they
had shown. Courage with the red men, no less
than with our own race, is a cardinal virtue, as
the lack of it is an unpardonable sin.
Victor Shelton allowed his brother to lead
him away from his threatening pose in front
of the chieftain of the red men. He saw the
rashness of his last act, and hoped the leader
would overlook it. And Black Elk not only did
that, but he did more. He deliberately strode
across to Victor, offered his hand, and said
something, which Mul-tal-la interpreted:
"He says my brother is a brave youth; he is
VIRELESS TELEGRAPHY. 215
the master of his sons ; he would be glad to adopt
you and have you live with him as the one who,
when he dies, shall become the leading chief
of his tribe, which numbers many hundred
" Great Caesar !" exclaimed the astonished
Victor. ' ' Give him my thanks, but tell him the
thing can't be thought of."
Black Elk was so pleased with the boys that
he still urged Mul-tal-la to go with them to his
village and stay for a long time. The Blackf oot
finally convinced the' chief that being on his
return to his own home, from which he had
been absent many moons, it would not do to
linger on the road. He had sad news to carry
to his people and to the relatives of the com-
panion who had met his death in the East. He
would be blamed if he delayed in bearing the
sorrowful message to them.
So finally the two parties separated. Black
Elk shook hands with each of the three, and the
grim warriors came forward and did the same.
Then the Shoshones passed down the slope and
headed toward the rocks on the other side of
the valley, where George and Victor Shelton
first caught sight of them.
2J6 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES,
The horses being ready, our friends mounted
and started forward again. Their course was
a little to the east of the range through which
they would soon have to force their way in
order to reach the Blackfoot country. Mul-
tal-la explained that he had a pass in mind,
which was a day's ride away, and probably
would not be entered before the following
morning. It will be remembered that our
friends had partaken of no food since the pre-
vious evening. None referred to it, for they
could well wait until the middle or, if necessary,
until the close of the day.
The weather continued favorable. Summer
had come, and in the lower portions of the
country the heat at midday was often oppres-
sive. Mosquitoes had begun to annoy the
travelers, who might count upon being plagued
by them for the rest of their journey. These
pests are more unbearable in cold regions,
during the brief summer season, than in the
temperate regions of a country.
The sun shone clear and strong, but the three
were already upon elevated ground, and the
nearness of the mountains doubtless helped to
cool the air. At intervals they came upon the
VIRELESS TELEGRAPHY. 2*7
interesting creatures peculiar to the West and
known as prairie dogs, their dwellings con-
sisting of holes burrowed in the ground, often
covering acres in extent, beside which the little
animals would sit and gaze at the horsemen
as they filed past. Sometimes they emitted
queer whistling noises, and, upon observing
anything suspicious on the part of the travelers,
whisked into these openings and vanished in a
twinkling. Then they could be seen peeping
out, and, when the seeming danger had passed,
they clambered back fo their posts, as lively and
watchful as ever. To-day the prairie dogs
have become so harmful to agriculture in some
parts of the West that the problem of extir-
pating them is under consideration and is a
The Blackfoot as usual kept his place at the
front, while the brothers rode side by side, talk-
ing when disposed, and sometimes going for
miles without exchanging more than a few sen-
tences. This conversation revealed the fact
that both did not feel entirely at ease regard-
ing Black Elk and his Shoshones. At the time
of which I am writing this tribe numbered more
than five thousand people, and was one of the
2J8 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
most important in the West. Their main vil-
lages lay to the westward of the Rocky Moun-
tain range, about the headwaters of the stream
now known as South Fork of the Lewis Eiver.
With so many warriors, it was not strange that
some of their hunting parties often came
through the passes in the Eockies and roamed
over the level country on the east. Since they
were generally provided with horses, it seemed
singular that Black Elk and his companions
were on foot. Mul-tal-la said beyond a doubt
all owned animals, which were at no great
When the Blackfoot was told by the boys of
their fears, they were surprised to find that he
shared them, though not to the same extent.
He explained that for some time to come the
chieftain's principal emotion would be that of
exasperation against his sons for the sorry
showing they had made against the two white
youths. They were sure to receive punishment
at his hand for running away tjiat would last
them a lifetime.
But after the first burst of passion was over,
Black Elk would begin to think of the two white
lads that had brought this disgrace upon the
WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY. 2J9
royal household, and, as he mused, his resent-
ment would kindle toward them. All the
Indians not unnaturally looked upon every
white man as an intruder. Though history
shows that the aborigines welcomed their
visitors, yet the action of the latter was so cruel
that the friendship of the red men was turned
to enmity. Thus most of the trappers and
hunters who ventured into the West and North-
west took their lives in their hands, and many
never came back from the wild solitudes. The
story of the settlement of our country is a con-
tinuous one of outrage and massacre, in which
the fault lay almost always at the door of the
Black Elk could not fail to feel resentful over
the fact that the disgrace of his sons had been
inflicted by members of that hated race. It was
quite likely, therefore, that, repenting the
magnanimity he had shown, he would try to
visit his vengeance upon the two youths while
they were yet within reach.
The duty of our friends, therefore, was plain :
they must lose no time in hurrying beyond dan-
ger. When Mul-tal-la was asked what the
result would have been had the apparently
220 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
honest invitation of Black Elk been accepted,
the Blackfoot smiled.
"My brothers would have been treated well
for a time, but they would not have lived long. ' '
"How would it have been with you?" asked
"Mul-tal-la did not hurt Young Elk or the
Antelope ; his skin is of the same color as Black
Elk's. They are brothers."
This was another way of saying the Blackfoot
had nothing to fear from the Shoshones. It
was the boys who were in peril.
Victor more than once was tempted to ask
their companion the cause of his absence the
night before, but refrained after speaking to
George, who told him if Mul-tal-la wished he
would give the information without questioning.
If he did not, it was not tactful to bother him.
The boys noted that the Blackfoot, from his
place in front, occasionally turned his head and
scanned the horizon, especially to the south and
"That means that he doesn't believe we are
through with the Shoshones," said Victor, when
his brother commented upon the action.
"If they intend any harm, I don't see why
WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY. 22*
they don't follow us, without trying to hide
from our sight. We can't travel fast, and they
wouldn't have any trouble in overtaking us
before we went many miles."
"That isn't the Indian fashion of doing busi-
Inasmuch as Mul-tal-la showed no such inter-
est in studying the country they were leaving
behind them, George frequently brought his
spyglass into play. Whenever they reached
an elevation, though of slight extent, he directed
the instrument toward the points which he saw
were passing under the scrutiny of their guide.
The most careful study, sometimes shared with
Victor, failed to reveal anything of a disturbing
nature. It was well to be on guard, but it
looked as if the Blackfoot was unduly sus-
The surface of the country became more
broken, for the two were gradually entering
the foothill region of that mighty range which
extends over many degrees of the American
continent. The air remained clear and sharp,
different species of wood were met, and it was
not yet noon when they halted beside one of
the numerous small streams which issued from
222 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
the mountains, and, frolicking and tumbling
eastward, finally found its way into the Mis-
souri and so on to the Gulf.
The water was crystalline and cold. The
horses drank from it, for it was not imprudent
to permit them to do so, since their gait had
been moderate and they were neither too warm
nor too tired. The draught was refreshing to
the boys and the Blackfoot. The latter told
them that if they would start a fire he would
try to woo a meal from the brook, which con-
tained numerous deep pools and abounded with
eddies, where fish were sure to be found.
George and Victor set to work with anima-
tion. From the stunted pines they broke oft
dry twigs and fractured larger limbs into
pieces until something of a pile was gathered
and heaped up against a small boulder. It took
some time to make the flame catch from the
steel and tinder, but both had had a good deal
of experience in kindling a fire in difficulties,
and they succeeded in starting a blaze of no
Mul-tal-la was ready, and appeared with
three fish, weighing two or three pounds apiece.
/They resembled salmon-trout, but were not.
WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY. 223
However, there was no doubt they would make
an excellent meal, and it did not take our
friends long to prepare it. As you remember,
the boys had brought considerable seasoning in
the form of salt and pepper, and they made
sparing use of them. The Blackfoot, like the
rest of his people, did not know the use of condi-
ments in preparing his food. It would have
mattered little to him had he been forced to eat
his fish raw, but he had learned to show defer-
ence to the tastes of Deerfoot and other civil-
ized persons, and often affected a fastidious-
ness which was foreign to him.
When the midday meal was finished Mul-
tal-la borrowed the glass from George Shelton,
and walking a hundred paces or so to the west-
ward, climbed a rock and pointed the instru-
ment to the south and west. He held his erect
posture so long, with the instrument immovable,
that the boys, who were watching him, were
sure he had made the discovery for which he
had groped so long and hoped not to make.
Such was the fact. Some five or six miles
to the southwest he descried a finger of smoke
climbing into the clear air, and showing dis-
tinctly against the blue sky, near the foothills.
224 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Such a sight was so common and so natural in
that part of the world that it would not have
caused the Blackfoot any unrest had he not
noted a new and disquieting feature. The line
of vapor did not climb the sky, as such lighter
substance naturally does, but its course was
sinuous and waving, like a ribbon held by one
end and shaken out.
This proved that it was meant as a signal by
those who had kindled the fire. That thin,
vibratory line of smoke was a message sent for
miles across the wild country, and the wireless
telegram carried an important meaning. Who
was sending it?
" Black Elk, the Shoshone chieftain," was the
instant answer which presented itself to the
Blackfoot. Did it bear any relation to the red
man and his white companions? Undoubtedly
it did in the estimation of Mul-tal-la.
To whom was the message sent?
That question remained to be answered. Of
course it could not be meant for Mul-tal-la and
his young friends, for there was no conceivable
cause for any signal of that nature. It fol-
lowed, therefore, that the oscillating line of
vapor was intended for other Shoshones who
were in the neighborhood.
VIRELESS TELEGRAPHY. 225
Accordingly, Mul-tal-la now began scrutin-
izing with the utmost care every other portion
of the landscape within his field of vision. To
the east and south the view extended for a long
distance, but was shortened by the towering
mountains to the west and northwest. Some-
where among these rugged masses must be the
other wandering Shoshones, and, sooner or
later, they were sure to catch sight of the signal
fire, because it was too conspicuous to remain
hidden for any length of time.
If the signal was seen by those for whom it
was intended, they would reply much in the
same manner, for the peculiar code does not
admit of much variation. Perhaps the most
that it could tell would be that the notice had
been seen and understood. The party of the
second part would then proceed to act.
Again and again the Blackfoot's eye ranged
over his field of vision, but at the end of an
hour no new discovery had rewarded his efforts
IN THE MOUNTAINS.
"\/f UL-TAL-LA, the Blackfoot, performed
J^ j^ some mental calculations that would
have been creditable to Deerfoot, the
Possessing a remarkable memory of places,
he easily recalled the location of the pass which
he and his companions had used when on their
journey eastward. Naturally he planned to
utilize it again on his return with his three
friends. He did not forget that during his visit
to Black Elk, on the former occasion, he had
described the route by which he crossed the
formidable mountain range. The Shoshone
chieftain praised his skill and wisdom in
making use of the pass, which he himself had
traversed more than once.
It followed, therefore, that Black Elk would
expect his old acquaintance to guide the youths
over the same course. He had therefore sig-
nalled to the Shoshones in the mountains to cut
IN THE MOUNTAINS. 227
off the little party, and the most promising
place for that was in the pass which was famil-
iar to both. Consequently, the prudent thing
for Mul-tal-la to do was to mislead Black Elk
as to his time of entering the pass.
It has been said that the entrance could be
reached by the close of the afternoon, but the
first intention of the Blackfoot was to camp at
this entrance until the following morning,
arranging to make the passage by daylight.
You must not form the idea that when a moun-
tain pass is referred to, it is in the nature of a
road which can be followed without trouble and
that few difficulties are met. The great South
Pass through the Eockies is twenty miles wide
in many places, and a party of emigrants have
often entered and tramped it for a long way
before learning they were journeying over an
old route that has been used by thousands of
persons in crossing the plains.
A mountain pass as understood in the West
may be described as a means of getting across
or through a range. It often involves steep
climbing and descent, winding past wild and
dangerous precipices, with the hardest work
conceivable. It requires several days and
228 DEERTOOT CIS rHE PRAIRIES.
sometimes a week or more to traverse. It has
happened that a party, after penetrating to a
long distance, has discovered that they have
been following a blind path, and they are
obliged to turn back and hunt for a new one.
The most experienced mountaineers sometimes
go astray. On one of Fremont's exploring
expeditions his guide lost his way and the most
disastrous results followed. Many of the
hardiest scouts and all of the mules froze to
death, and the explorer himself had a narrow
escape from a similar fate.
It would have been impossible for the two
Blackfeet to find their way through the range
had they been forced to depend upon them-
selves, but the trail had been used for years
by hunters and wild animals, and was so clearly
marked that, traveling only by daylight, it was
easy to avoid going wrong.
Mul-tal-la explained the problem that con-
fronted him, and the boys saw it was both diffi-
cult and dangerous. His plan was to press on
till they arrived at the entrance to the pass, and
then, instead of waiting until morning, do the
utmost traveling possible by night. The Sho-
shones would not expect this. Therefore, if all
IN THE MOUNTAINS. 229
went well, our friends would gain a good start
and, by keeping it up as long as they could,
might throw their enemies so far to the rear
that they would be eluded. The Blackfoot
thought they could reach the comparatively
level country beyond at the end of three days,
provided they made good use of the nights,
which, you will remember, were partly lit by the
moon, and provided also the weather continued
"The smoke of this fire will tell Black Elk
where we are," remarked George Shelton, when
they were about to resume their journey.
"Yes; had Mul-tal-la seen the signal of Black
Elk the fire would not have been started, but
it is too late now."
"It seems to me," said Victor, "that since
you have located Black Elk and his party, the
only thing left is to keep a lookout for the
Shoshones in front."
"My brother speaks the words of wisdom."
"Thanks and now, Mul-tal-la, why not go
by that pass you have been talking about and
take a new one through the mountains ? ' '
The Blackfoot explained that that was the
question he had been turning over in his mind,
230 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
but the plan could not be followed, because he
had no knowledge of any other path. There
might be none, or, at best, he would have to
spend a long time in hunting for it, and when
found, they were likely to be turned back by
obstructions of which they could know nothing
until they faced them. The conclusion was
therefore clear : they must use the old pass with
which he was familiar.
But the Blackfoot had a little trick in mind,
which he explained to his friends. They would
select a camping site among the foothills near
where they would have to make the change of
route to enter the mountains. They would
start another fire, whose smoke would give
their enemies the impression that they had
halted for the night. The Shoshones, following
the rule of their race, were not likely to molest
the travelers until the night was well advanced,
and by that time Mul-tal-la hoped to be beyond
reach. Care and skill and not a little good
fortune were necessary to success, but the faith-
ful guide was hopeful.
It took only a fraction of the time I have used
for a full understanding to be reached by the
Blackfoot and the boys. At the request of
IN THE MOUNTAINS. 231
George Shelton, their friend retained the spy-
glass, while he and his brother depended upon
their unaided eyesight. Mul-tal-la held his
position a hundred yards, more or less, in
advance, with the laden Zigzag plodding after
and the brothers bringing up the rear. All
were fortunate in one respect : none of the ani-
mals omitting the previous accident to the
horse Simon and later to Whirlwind had fallen
lame. This was fortunate when it is remembered
that all were unshod and they had been obliged
to pass more than one rough place. This good
fortune could hardly be expected to continue,
now that the hardest part of the journey thus
far confronted them.
The course wound among the elevations and
depressions, past boulders and rocks, with
grass, trees and undergrowth continually
obtruding, and with the rugged outlines of the
mountains towering above the cloud line on
their left. At varying distances the great
peaks climbed far into the sky, their crests
white with snow, and in some cases the fleecy
clouds wrapped them about so closely that it
was hard to tell where one ended and the other
232 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Now and then a breath of icy air was wafted
over the lads, and they involuntarily shivered.
Then in the soft hush the weather for a time
became oppressive. Up and down, to the right
and left, in and out, the three pushed onward,
making better progress than at any time for
The guide gave the boys no attention, for
none was necessary. They understood matters,
and the part they had to play was simple. The
Blackfoot could be seen now and then to check
his horse and lift the instrument to his eye.
While he gave his chief attention to the front,
he did not neglect to scan every portion of his
field of vision.
One fact puzzled the Blackfoot. Hours had
passed since Black Elk sent his signal across
the miles of country, but the reply, so far as
Mul-tal-la could discover, was yet to be given.
It could hardly be done without his seeing it.
The fact that nothing showed suggested the
possibility of there being no Shoshones in that
section to answer the command of their chief.
Such might be the fact, but it was unlikely that
a veteran like Black Elk would call to any of
his warriors unless he knew they would respond.
IN THE MOUNTAINS. 233
Mul-tal-la acted as if such a contingency was
out of the question.
The sunlight was still in the air when the
Blackfoot reined in his horse and dropped
from his back. They were in a rough, broken
section, filled with rocks, undergrowth, stunted
pines, oaks and other varieties of trees, while
a small brook brawled and splashed and
tumbled some distance away in its eager hunt
for a channel to the Platte.
"It looks as if we are done for the day/' said
George, noting the action of their friend. "If
we are, we have made better time than we
expected. ' '
The Blackfoot beckoned them to approach,
and they rode up beside him.
"Here we wait till night/' he explained.
"When we turn yonder we begin to travel over
the trail that will bring us into the open country
on the other side of the mountains if Black
Elk does not say no, ' ' he added, with his mean-
"You have seen nothing of the answer to his
signal?" asked George.
" No ; the sky in front and over the mountains
234 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"How about that?" broke in Victor, pointing
to the westward, in which direction the pass
The others turned and saw that which they
had been hoping not to see. A spiral, oscillating
line of smoke was creeping slowly upward in
the clear air. Moreover, it was not more than
half a mile distant. Although the reply of the
Shoshones to their chief had been delayed, it
had come at last. The warriors were on hand,
and in the path which the travelers had intended
The three scanned the telltale column of
vapor in silence. In the circumstances the
glass could give no help. The interval was too
brief and the object itself too ethereal and
vague to call for any strengthening of vision.
Finally George asked, involuntarily dropping
his voice, as one does in the presence of dan-
"Will that change your plans, Mul-tal-la!"
He thought for a minute, with his eyes still
on the smoke, before answering.
"Mul-tal-la cannot speak of a surety, but he
does not think so."
As he explained matters from his point of
IN THE MOUNTAINS. 235
view, the former course that he had indicated
remained the right one to follow. The dis-
covery simply added another element of danger
to that which was there from the first. By
kindling the fire where they had halted, they
would give the impression that they had gone
into camp for the night. This subterfuge
ought to lure the Shoshones to the place in
order to make their attack during the darkness.
The situation could not have been more deli-
cate. To carry out the plan of the Blackfoot
it was necessary for him and his companions to
set out over the pass as soon as it became dark.
They would thus be going directly toward the
hostiles, who, in case they did not wait until a
late hour, would be coming at the same time
toward the travelers. Using the one road, it
would seem that an encounter was inevitable.
The hope of averting such a meeting rested
on the fact that the pass was of varying width,
and in many places two or three routes were
open. Two men following opposite directions
might miss each other by a half-mile interval,
and without the possibility of mutual discovery.
Again there were stretches where they would
have to come face to face. A not important
236 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
advantage of our friends was that they would
be expecting and would, therefore, be on the
lookout for the Shoshones, while it was not
likely the latter would be watching for the
Blackfoot and the boys, who were supposed to
be at the entrance to the pass, where the smoke
of their camp-fire spoke of their presence.
A vigorous blaze having been started, Mul-
tal-la took the lead as before. It was under-
stood that he was to hold his place considerably
farther in advance than usual. Upon the first
sign of their enemies he would warn them by
signal, when they could conceal themselves, if
possible, until the hostiles passed down the trail
to the supposed camp. If this could be accom-
plished, the danger would be past and the prob-
lem solved. Everything depended upon the
skill of the Blackfoot.
Night had begun closing in when the start
was made in the order named, excepting that
Mul-tal-la, as has been stated, led by a longer
interval, and Victor Shelton was at the extreme
rear. The guide was invisible to the boys most
of the time.
The trail steadily ascended, and for an hour
or more was easy traveling. It wound to the
IN THE MOUNTAINS. 237
right or left, passing into deep hollows, climb-
ing steep ridges, circling obstructions in the
form of massive piles of rocks, but without
interposing any difficult places where it was
necessary to halt or grope one's way.
The little company had penetrated more than
a mile in this manner without hearing or seeing
anything to cause alarm. Mul-tal-la was
beyond sight, but the boys, George leading, were
silent, listening and peering into the gloom,
which, as yet, was unlighted by the moon. That
would not rise for some time to come.
Suddenly a soft tremulous whistle came from
the front. This was the signal agreed upon,
and the brothers instantly halted. Zigzag was
so well trained that he did the same. It had
been deemed best to place him between Jack
and Prince, so as to hem him in, as may be said.
Fortunately the check came at a favorable
point. The rocks and undergrowth on the right
offered a good place for hiding, and George
Shelton, slipping from his saddle, grasped the
bridle rein of his horse and forced him to one
side. The animal stumbled, but a few steps
took him far enough. Leaving him, George
dashed back to Zigzag, and with harder work
238 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
almost dragged him after Jack. Victor was on
the ground almost as soon as his brother, so
that the boys and three horses were speedily
bunched together, beyond sight of anyone pass-
ing over the trail unless his attention was
drawn to them.
Quick as they had been the precaution was
not a minute too soon. Mul-tal-la must have
failed to discover his peril until it was almost
The first warning was a singular one. A
sneeze sounded, followed by a guttural excla-
mation, and the next moment the crouching lads
saw the dim outlines of a warrior striding
stealthily over the pass to the eastward. He
was moving slowly, with head thrust forward,
and carried a long bow in his hand. Before he
passed out of sight a second loomed to view,
then a third, a fourth and a fifth all gliding
like so many phantoms of the night, and doubt-
less making for the supposed camp of the trav-
elers a mile or more away.
Stooping low and silently watching the
shadows, the brothers were beginning to
breathe freely when, to their consternation,
Zigzag emitted a whinny which, in the stillness,
could have been heard half a mile away.
THE Shoshones instantly stopped and one,
of them uttered an exclamation. It
was easy for them to tell the direc-
tion from whence the unexpected sound had
come, and all stood peering into the gloom,
bows tightly grasped and hands ready to draw
their arrows from the quivers and launch them
at the instant demanded.
Victor was so incensed with Zigzag that he
was tempted to send a bullet through his brain,
but restrained himself. He whispered to
George at his side :
" Don't stir or speak, but be ready to shoot !"
His intention was to fire upon the Shoshones
if they advanced upon them. Such an advance
undoubtedly would have been made, for the hos-
tiles could not have been aware of the real
danger of it, but it was prevented by the unex-
pected appearance of the Blackfoot, who came
hurrying down the pass on foot, and called to
240 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
the Shoshones in their own tongue. The
strangers immediately turned their attention to
him, and the boys, from their covert, had the
singular spectacle presented of a single warrior
in seemingly friendly converse with five who
were believed to be enemies.
"I don't understand what he means," whis-
pered George; "do you?"
"Haven't any idea, but it looks as if there's
going to be a fight. If it comes, you take the
one to the left and I'll drop him on the right;
we mustn't waste our bullets."
"That will leave Mul-tal-la with three to
"But won't we take a hand? We must jump
right into it. After we have wiped them all out,
I think I'll knock Zigzag in the head confound
him! He's to blame for all this."
"Don't be hasty, Victor. If Mul-tal-la needs-
our help he'll call to us; he must know we are
ready and won't fail him."
Meanwhile the Blackfoot was holding a talk
with the five Shoshones, who made up the entire
party. It seemed strange that a struggle did
not open at once, but it may have been because
the hostiles were ignorant of the force hiding;
INDIAN CHIVALRY, 24*
beside the trail and holding them under their
guns. An Indian, no more than a white man,
likes to engage in a contest with a foe whose
strength is unknown.
Suddenly, to the amazement of George and
Victor Shelton, Mul-tal-la called to them :
"Let my brothers come forward; no harm
shall be done them!"
"Well, that gets me!" muttered Victor. "I
don 't know whether to obey him or not. ' '
"It won't do to refuse, but we'll be ready."
Leaving their animals behind, the two
straightened up and picked their way to the
path, each firmly grasping his gun and resolute
that there should be no repetition of the per-
formance earlier in the day.
The obscurity did not prevent the brothers
gaining a good view of the five warriors, who
surveyed them with unconcealed interest as
they came into the trail and halted behind the
Blackfoot and several paces from the nearest
Shoshone. The strangers resembled the war-
riors who were the companions of Black Elk,
the chief. Though he could not be certain,
George believed that one at least whom they
had met that morning was with the party before
242 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Mul-tal-la now told a remarkable story so
remarkable, indeed, that the boys could not
credit it. These five Shoshones were the ones
to whom Black Elk had signalled by means of
his camp-fire, and to which they had replied
later in the day. But the exchange of messages
was meant as a friendly interference in behalf
of the Blackfoot and his companions.
The chief had good reason to believe that a
hunting party of Cas-ta-ba-nas were in the
mountains, and a meeting between them and
the travelers was almost certain. The Cas-ta-
ba-nas were a small tribe whose villages and
hunting grounds were to the eastward of the
principal range of the Eockies. They were
small in numbers, but of warlike disposition,
and were often engaged in hostilities with
others of their race. They were wise enough,
however, not to molest the Shoshones or
Snakes, who were so much more numerous and
powerful that they would have exterminated the
whole tribe had provocation been given. It
would not be far from the truth to say the Cas-
ta-ba-nas were vassals of the Shoshones.
It appeared to be the fate of the smaller tribe
to become involved to a greater degree with the
INDIAN CHIVALRY. 243
whites than were others of their race. This
may have been because the most productive
beaver-runs were in their section of the West,
and consequently more trappers were drawn
hither. There had been a fight the preceding
winter between three white men and a party of
Cas-ta-ba-nas, in which two of the latter were
killed. This inflamed the anger of the tribe
toward the palefaces. What more likely, there-
fore, than that, when they came upon a couple
of the hated race under the escort of a single
Blackfoot, they should destroy all three?
Black Elk, therefore, as the extraordinary
story ran, had signalled to the Shoshones to
warn the Cas-ta-ba-nas that they must not
molest the little party on their way through
their country. If they violated the command
Black Elk would make sure that they suffered
This was the story told to the boys, and
which impressed them as incredible.
"I don't believe a word of it," said Victor,
who did not hesitate to speak plainly, inasmuch
as Mul-tal-la was the only Indian present who
could understand his words; "do you?"
"Mul-tal-la does not know; it may be true."
244 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"How could Black Elk tell all this to another
party of Shoshones by means of the smoke of
his camp-fire!" asked George Shelton.
" He could not. "
"Then how did these people get his mes-
"This Shoshone," replied the Blackfoot,
indicating the warrior whom the youth believed
he had met before, "was with Black Elk. He
sent him to find these Shoshones with the word
from the chief; but it took him a long time to
find them ; that is why we did not see the return
to the signal till the day was near done."
"What need was there of his finding the
others? Couldn't he have given the message
to the Cas-ta-ba-nas himself without asking
anyone to help him 1 ' '
"That he would have done had he not found
his friends before darkness came. It may be,"
added Mul-tal-la significantly, "that the Cas-
ta-ba-nas are more afraid of five Shoshones
than of a single one."
"It may all be as you say, Mul-tal-la, but
Victor and I find it mighty hard to believe it;
but we'll do as you wish. What's the next
INDIAN CHIVALRY. 245
"Let my brothers bring their horses to the
George and Victor obeyed, and a few minutes
later the three emerged into the dim light.
Victor used the occasion to give Zigzag a spite-
ful kick as a reminder of his offense, but feared
that the plodding, contrary animal was not
much benefited by the discipline.
While the lads were thus employed Mul-tal-la
and the Shoshones came to an understanding.
The travelers were to resume their journey
through the mountains, the five friends if such
they really were maintaining the lead, with the
Blackf oot riding next and his companions in the
order already named.
"That suits me," was the comment of Victor.
"I never would have those villains walking
behind us ; it would be too easy for one to send
an arrow through me when I wasn't thinking.
If they try any trick now two or three of them
are sure to go down. I wish I knew whether or
not they are lying."
"We shall have to wait and find out."
"And while we are doing that they may lead
us into a trap. Ah! if we only had Deerfoot
with us! They wouldn't fool him, though he
246 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES,
never saw a Shoshone unless he has met one
since we left him. Seems to me, George, it's
about time that young chap showed up.'**
"I don't think we need look for him for sev-
eral days. You remember he told us as much.
He isn't thinking of anyone now except Whirl-
wind, and he won't let that horse run the risk
of falling lame."
"And when Deerfoot does turn up he'll have
the stallion trained so well that he'll know
more than all our horses together, which isn't
much. But we haven't any time to think of
them. Mul-tal-la is nobody's fool, and I don't
think he is likely to let this party outwit him,
but I'll be glad when we are rid of them."
"Suppose they stay with us till we meet the
Cas-ta-ba-nas and then join them in attacking
"That's the thing I've been thinking about.
You see, though there are five of the Shoshones
now, they have no weapons except bows and
arrows. We have three guns and they have
learned about them from the white men they
have fought. So what is more likely than that
they are afraid to put up a fight until they have
INDIAN CHIVALRY. 247
"It wouldn't surprise me if it is as you say.
I haven't heard how many the Cas-ta-ba-nas
are in this part of the country, but if they don't
number more than the Shoshones the two par-
ties will be too many for us to handle. ' '
"We'll make it interesting, anyway,"
sturdily replied Victor.
It was a strange procession that filed through
the mountains, the five Shoshones stalking for-
ward in Indian file, with Mul-tal-la riding close
to the last, then George Shelton and his brother,
with Zigzag patiently plodding at the rear, it
being deemed safe to leave him in that position,
since there was no call for extra precaution, and
he had little or no chance to disturb the arrange-
By and by the moon appeared above the
range and added to the dim light that had thus
far guided the two parties. The trail which
they were following proved easier of travel
than at the beginning. Twice they had to cross
small streams, but the rushing water was no
more than a few inches deep and the footing of
the animals was secure. Then they wound
along a precipice, reaching downward fully a
hundred feet, where the path was so narrow
248 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
that there was scant room for a single laden
horse. Peering into the gloomy depth the
brothers felt a shrinking, for the slip of any
one of their horses would have brought woeful
consequences. George and Victor drew a sigh
of relief when they reached a safer place.
Here the trail broadened for many yards, and
traveling was all that anyone could wish. The
progress was deliberate and seemingly as auto-
matic as if regulated by machinery. The line
of Shoshones did not increase nor slacken its
gait, even when treading the narrow portion
which caused tfie lads disquiet.
Unexpectedly in making a turn they came
upon a camp-fire burning some rods to the left
of the trail and in an open space. The first
glance showed that fully a dozen warriors were
grouped about it, some lolling on the ground
or on boulders, several standing up, and most
of them smoking long-stemmed pipes, which
were made from a peculiar red clay found in
the vicinity. They had evidently eaten their
evening meal some time before.
' ' The Cas-ta-ba-nas ! ' ' exclaimed George,
speaking over his shoulder to his brother.
The Shoshones halted and spoke to Mul-tal-la,
The Critical Moment.
INDIAN CHIVALRY. 249
who dismounted and talked with them for a few
minutes. Then the Blackfoot addressed the
"Let my brothers wait till Mul-tal-la comes
back to them. ' '
With that he turned off with the Shoshones,
who headed straight for the camp of the Cas-
ta-ba-nas, the party straggling forward without
any regard to order. George and Victor
remained seated on their horses, watching the
The glow of the fire, added to the moonlight,
made everything more or less visible. The
arrival of the visitors naturally caused a stir.
The Cas-ta-ba-nas who were seated rose to
their feet, and immediately an earnest con-
versation began. Hosts and guests could be
seen gesticulating vigorously, and across, the
intervening space came the odd sounds made
by their peculiar manner of speaking. Specu-
lating and wondering, the boys watched and
awaited the issue of the curious incident. They
looked for a sudden outbreak, though hopeful
it would be averted. If the Shoshones meant
to play false, their treachery would speedily
appear. The conclusion could not be delayed
longer than a few minutes.
250 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
While the brothers were intently studying the
picture the Blackfoot was seen to withdraw
from the group and walk hurriedly back to
where he had left his friends. Shoshones and
Cas-ta-ba-nas stayed where they were, but gazed
after him and at the forms of the boys and
horses not far off.
"We shall now know what's up," said George
"Whatever it is, the decision has been made."
Mul-tal-la came up, cool and collected, but
"It is as my brothers hoped," were his
words. "Black Elk did as his warriors said;
the Cas-ta-ba-nas have been told that he will
slay anyone of them that dares hurt Mul-tal-la
or the palefaces with him. They dare not dis-
obey the words of the great Black Elk. No
harm shall come from them to us. Let us
And so it proved that chivalry is not dead
even among the American Indians.
IT seemed too good to be true, and yet all
doubt vanished with the words spoken by
"I can't say I liked the way Black Elk acted
when we first met," said Victor, "but he has
proved himself more of a man than I supposed.
I hope now he won't punish Young Elk for run-
ning away from me. ' '
"Because / gave him enough. Anyway,
whatever the father did to his boys has been
already done, so we needn't worry over it."
"Mul-tal-la," said George, "you haven't any
"It is wrong to doubt; the words of Black
Elk were true; he spoke with a single tongue.
My brothers need not fear."
"Why don't those Shoshones of his come
back and see us through the mountains! It
strikes me that that is the right thing to do."
252 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"No; they will stay with the Cas-ta-ba-nas
and hold them back if they try to do us harm.
They will be with them till we are far away;
then they can go back to Black Elk and tell him
that all has been done as he ordered."
"It is better than I thought," said the pleased
George. "I don't suppose we are likely to run
against any more of those people ; if we do, we
can fall back on these reserves."
The Blackfoot silently led the journey for
an hour longer. No one observing the surety
of his movements would have thought he had
been over the route but once before. Every-
thing appeared to be as familiar as if he had
spent his life in the mountains. The trail con-
tinued to ascend and soon became harder to
travel. Several times it looked to the boys as
if they would be checked and turned back, but
their guide always found a course that per-
mitted the passage of their horses' feet.
"This is well enough," finally remarked Vic-
tor, "but I don't see the need of it. We did a
good deal of traveling to-day, and if those
Indians to the rear are friendly what's the use
of hurrying to get away from them?"
"I don't think Mul-tal-la means to travel
A CALAMITY. 253
Even as George spoke the Blackfoot halted.
He had been pushing on in order to reach the
most favorable spot for camping. It was
found near the base of a mass of black frown-
ing rocks, from beneath which bubbled a tiny
stream of ice-cold water. This formed a deep
pool close to the rocks, and then dripped away
in the gloom of the boulders, trees and under-
growth. The place was sheltered against the
arctic winds which sometimes rage at this alti-
tude, and indeed was so attractive that while
our friends were gathering fuel and preparing
for camp, they saw it had been used more than
once for the same purpose by other hunting
parties in the neighborhood.
Hardly had the animals been relieved of sad-
dles, bridles and the pack, and the fire started,
when the three were given a taste of the varia-
ble climate of that section. Although summer
had fully come, the wind moaned and howled
through the trees at the summit of the rocks
and on their right and left. Suddenly Victor
In a twinkling, as it were, the air was filled
with blinding flakes, which eddied and whirled
254 DEERJFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
about the three and covered their bodies with
its white mantle. The horses found protection
by huddling close to the pile of stone, though
the temperature was not very low.
The flurry passed almost as quickly as it
arose. In a few minutes the air was as clear
as before, and the moon shone from an
unclouded sky. The friends gathered about
the fire, which was soon burning vigorously.
It was the turn of George Shelton to go on
guard for the first part of the night, changing
places with his brother at the usual hour.
Since this duty had to be divided among three
persons, the Blackfoot would do his share in
the early half of the following evening, alter-
nating with George, while Victor would be
given rest. This plan was kept up when Deer-
foot was absent, so the division of the work
was as equitable as it could be. When the
party included four people the arrangement
The action of Mul-tal-la removed any linger-
ing misgiving the boys may have felt. Had
the Blackfoot been distrustful of the honor of
Black Elk, the Shoshone chieftain, he himself
would have acted as sentinel for the first por-
A CALAMITY, 255
tion and probably throughout all the dark-
ness; but, while the night was still young, he
wrapped himself in his blanket and stretched
out to sleep, Victor Shelton speedily doing the
Left to himself, George Shelton entered upon
his task in his usual deliberate manner. The
fire was replenished from the wood that had
been gathered, and with his gun resting on his
shoulder he marked out a beat over which he
slowly tramped to and fro. At the middle of
the course he moved in front of the fire, so that
any foe lingering near could have seen him
clearly, and, had he been so disposed, picked
off the youth without risk to himself.
George at first felt a natural shrinking when
he knew his form was shown in relief against
the yellow background, but after the pacing
had been kept up for an hour or so without
molestation this feeling passed off, and his
thoughts became tranquil. He often peered into
the gloom which walled him in on every hand,
pausing and listening, but hearing nothing
unusual. His expectation was that some prowl-
ing beast would be attracted by the light of the
camp-fire, but it was the summer time, when
256 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
they were not likely to be pressed for food, and
nothing in the nature of an attack was to be
feared from wolves, bears or any species of
The youth looked up at the sky, which was
clear and cold. The moon gave only slight
illumination, and now and then he traced many
of the constellations, as he and his brother had
often done when at home or when on the trail in
the leafy solitudes. He gazed at the Pleiades,
which to him and Victor were always the
Seven Stars, and again noted the peculiarity
of that beautiful group with which I am sure
you are familiar. When you look at the stars
fixedly and try to count, you can see but six,
but glancing abruptly at them the seven are
visible. He recalled the fancy that one of the
cluster was so modest that when stared at it
shrinks from sight, to steal into view again
after the scrutiny is removed. It seemed to
George that he never looked at the heavens on
a starry night without his eyes immediately
resting upon the Dipper, as he and his friends
called a portion of the constellation of Ursa
Major. Then, too, he traced the Little Dipper,
located Orion and the North Star, and in the
A CALAMITY. 257
loneliness of the hour mused upon the One who
had launched all these stupendous orbs into
space and set them spinning over their mighty
orbits, as they shall spin until time shall be
Who can look at the worlds circling through
the dome of heaven without being profoundly
awed by his own insignificance and the infinite
greatness of the Author of all these marvels?
How little and mean seem the affairs of this
life when we are brought into such intimate
communion with the wonders that are beyond
the grasp of the greatest intellect!
But the hours wore on and George was still
tramping to and fro when he saw Victor sit up,
fling aside his blanket and rise to his feet.
Impressed before falling asleep with the duty
that awaited him, he awoke at the right minute
without external help. The two exchanged
places after a few words, during which George
made known that he had not seen or heard any-
thing to cause alarm.
The experience of Victor was quite similar
to that of his brother, and when the gray light
of the morning began stealing through the
mountains the slumber of the Blackfoot had
258 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
continued unbroken. He showed no surprise
over the report of the boys. Upon leaving the
camp of the Cas-ta-ba-nas the night before it
was with a feeling of certainty that Black Elk
had carried out his promise in spirit and letter.
While the boys bathed faces and hands in the
crystalline pool, the Blackfoot strolled off, bow
and arrow in hand, in search of breakfast.
Wild turkeys were so plentiful in the mountains
that he soon came back with a big, plump bird,
from which they made their usual excellent
breakfast. He told the boys that the meal must
suffice until night, for he did not mean to halt
any longer than necessary to rest the horses.
Two meals a day are enough for anybody, and
it is slight hardship for a hunter or traveler to
get on with a single repast.
Soon after the journey was resumed the trail
began to descend, but shortly rose again,
though not to the same extent. The air was
clear and sunshiny, and before noon, despite
their elevation, which was not great, the heat
became uncomfortable. To relieve the animals
and for the sake of the exercise all needed, the
three walked most of the time, Mul-tal-la keep-
ing his place at the head, while the brothers
trailed at the rear.
A CALAMITY. 259
It was slightly past noon when they paused
to rest their animals. The spot was in a
valley-like depression, through which wound a
stream of clear, cold water. A little to the
right of the trail this expanded into a pool or
pond several rods across and fifteen or twenty
feet deep. The water, however, was so trans-
parent that the stones and pebbles could be
plainly seen in the deepest portion.
The temptation was too great to be resisted.
Victor's eyes sparkled.
* ' George, we must "have a swim ! I never
saw a finer place. Who'll be first in? "
The Blackfoot, like most of his race, was
much less fond of water than the Caucasian.
Mul-tal-la smiled at the ardor of his young
friends, and remarked that he would stroll down
the trail to refresh his memory as to the route.
Then he passed out of sight, and the boys were
left to themselves.
"This is a good chance to do our weekly
washing," said George, as they began dis-
robing; "it's time we attended to that."
It was the practice of the boys and Deerfoot
to look after that indispensable work at regular
intervals, for they had not the excuse of the
260 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
lack of opportunity, since rarely were they out
of sight of water. So the brothers brought
their underclothing from the pack of Zigzag
and laid it on the bank to don when their swim
was over. Then they cleansed that which they
had taken off, as well as they could without the
help of soap. I am afraid they hurried through
with the task, for in a very brief time they were
frolicking in the icy water and enjoying them-
selves as nobody in the world can enjoy him-
self unless he is a rugged youngster, overflow-
ing with health and animal spirits.
They dived and swam; they splashed and
tried to duck each other; their happy laughter
rang out, and it seemed to them as if they could
do nothing finer than spend the remainder of
the day in the pool. If the first contact with
the icy element gave them a shock, it also
imparted an electric thrill which tingled from
the crown of the head to the end of the toes, and
made them shout and cry out in the wanton
ecstasy of enjoyment.
But in due time they felt they had had
enough and the moment had come to don their
clothing again, leaving that which had been
washed spread out and drying in the sunlight.
A CALAMITY. 26*
They reluctantly emerged from the pool and
gingerly picked their way over the pebbles.
Victor was a few paces in advance. His
brother was in the act of leaving the water
when Victor uttered an exclamation :
" Great Caesar, George! Somebody has
stolen our clothes!"
"~ T can't be, ' ' gasped the mystified George ;
"Come and see for yourself; where
did you leave your clothes?"
"Over there on top of that boulder/' replied
George, coming forward and staring at the
"Well, do you see them noiv?"
"Maybe the wind blew them off," weakly
suggested the other, although he knew such a
thing was impossible, for there had not been a
breath of air stirring for hours.
The two 'made careful search. Not a stitch
of their garments was to be seen.
"And the thieves have taken those we spread
out to dry. Aren't we in a pretty fix? We'll
have to travel naked until we can kill a bear or
two and rob them of their hides."
"Who was the thief?" was the superfluous
query of George, staring here and there in
OLD FRIENDS. 263
quest of the wretch who had done this "low
down" thing. "You don't suppose it was Mul-
"No ; how could it be? "What would he want
of our clothes 1 We saw him go down the trail ;
I don't believe he is within a mile of us."
"Maybe Black Elk and his warriors have
been following and waiting for a chance of this
Victor shook his head. The thought was
"He couldn't have known there would be any
such chance, and if he wanted to do us harm he
would have done it long ago. B-r-r-r-r! I'm
cold ! ' ' muttered the lad with a shiver.
The matter was becoming serious, for if their
clothing was gone they were in a woeful plight
indeed. You will bear in mind that coats,
trousers, caps, stockings, shoes everything
had disappeared. The theft included the
underclothing that had been removed and
cleansed by the boys, as well as the extra suits
taken from the pack carried by Zigzag. Since
these made up the only two undersuits owned
by the brothers, you will admit that their situa-
tion could not have been more cheerless.
264 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
A curious fact was that their guns had not
been disturbed, though both were left leaning
against the boulder on which the clothing was
laid, and must therefore have been seen by the
"We'll have to go into the water to get warm
again," said Victor, with folded arms, bent
form and rattling teeth. "I don't see that we
can do anything but wait till Mul-tal-la comes
"What can he do?"
"If he can't find our clothes he can go out
and rob some bears or other wild animals of
theirs, and let us have 'em"
George Shelton caught a flying glimpse of
a tightly rolled bundle of clothing which at that
instant shot through the air and, striking Vic-
tor in the back of the neck, sent him sprawling
on his hands and knees. George turned to see
the point whence came the pack, and at the
same instant a similar one landed full in his
face and knocked him backward. But he had
caught sight of Deerfoot, the Shawanoe, who
rose from the farther side of an adjoining
boulder, and both heard his chuckle, for he could
not resist the temptation of having a little fun
at the expense of the brothers.
OLD FRIENDS. 265
"We might have known it was you/ 9 ex-
claimed Victor, clambering to his feet and pro-
ceeding to untie the knots in his shirt and
drawers, and finding it no slight task.
"We won't forget this," added George,
warningly ; ' l you think you are very smart, but
well catch you some time when you are not
watching. ' '
Deerf oot was shaking with merriment, and as
he came forward he said :
"My brothers need not wear bare-skins as
they feared they would have to do. ' '
(This is the only pun of which we have any
record that was ever made by Deerf oot.)
The shivering lads began donning their
clothing, and then shook hands with their
friend. The meeting was a happy one. The
Shawanoe was as glad to see them as they were
to meet him, whom they had missed more than
they had ever supposed could be possible. He
told them he had nursed Whirlwind until his
lameness was gone, when he set out at a
leisurely pace to overtake his friends. On the
way he fell in with Black Elk, the Shoshone
chief, and spent several hours in his company*
Though it was not easy for the two to under-
266 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
stand each other, they managed to do so through
the universal sign language to the extent that
the Shawanoe learned that the chieftain had
acted the part of a friend to the Blackfoot and
the boys when they were in danger from a
roving band of Cas-ta-ba-nas. So, knowing all
was well, Deerfoot had not hurried to overtake
the party in advance.
"Where's Whirlwind ?" asked Victor, while
hastily dressing himself.
"He is modest," replied Deerfoot. "When
my brothers are clad to receive company he will
come forward to greet them."
"Seems to me you're getting mighty particu-
It took the boys but a short time to dress,
when, after hopping about for a minute or two,
to restore their numbed circulation, they
became comfortable. Being satisfied with an
inspection, Deerfoot emitted a sharp whistle.
It was immediately answered by a neigh, and
the next moment the magnificent black stallion
trotted into view around a bend in the trail and
approached the party. Proud as ever, he paid
no attention to the other horses, who raised
their heads and saluted him as he came in view.
OLD FRIENDS. 267
Halting a few paces away, he looked at his
master as if awaiting his commands.
"Cannot Whirlwind bow to his friends 1"
gravely asked the Shawanoe; "since they are
not polite enough to salute him, let him teach
them what is right. "
The horse bent his head forward, drawing
in his nose slightly and making a graceful
"This is George Shelton; my brother does
not know much, but he means well."
Whirlwind stepped slowly forward and then
sank on one knee. It was the one that had been
lame, but it was now as strong as ever.
"This is my brother Victor; he means well
sometimes, but my brother must not be trusted
"I wonder that he pays us any attention
after the character you have given us,"
remarked Victor, who nevertheless bowed low
to the salutation of the stallion.
Deerfoot now gave a striking demonstration
of the intelligence of Whirlwind and of the
training which he had received during the com-
paratively brief time that he and his master
had been alone together. Not looking at him,
the Shawanoe addressed Victor:
268 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"Deerfoot would be glad if Whirlwind would
stand up for him. ' '
That the stallion understood these words was
proved by his instantly rising as nearly erect
as possible on his hind feet.
"Now let him give my brother's handker-
chief to his brother."
Whirlwind thrust his nose forward and began
fumbling about the breast of Victor. In a
moment he drew his handkerchief from an
inside pocket, stepped across to the pleased and
wondering George, and shoved it into his coat.
"That gives my -brother two handkerchiefs.
It is not right. Let Whirlwind put the first
one back where it belongs."
Without hesitation the animal obeyed.
"The gun leaning against the rock the one
nearest us belongs to my brother Victor. He
is lazy; therefore let Whirlwind bring it to
The stallion walked the few steps necessary,
turned his head sideways and, grasping the
rifle of Victor near its stock in his teeth,
brought it to the amazed youth.
"Now make him bring mine to me," said
OLD FRIENDS. 269
"No; he has done enough of that; get it for
yourself. Now, Whirlwind, Deerfoot is pleased
with you; come forward and kiss him."
The horse walked up in front of the Shawa-
noe, thrust out his tongue and licked his cheek.
His master kissed his nose, patted his neck and
spoke endearingly to him. There could be no
question that the wonderful animal was happy
and proud in the affection of his master, who,
in his way, was more remarkable than he, since
he had taught him all this.
"Only one thing i s- lacking, " remarked Vic-
tor, after he and George had expressed their
amazement; "you ought to teach him to talk."
1 ' Though he may not use words like men, yet
he can make his meaning known to Deerfoot,
and that is enough."
"There isn't any doubt about his knowing
what you say. You ought to teach him to be
more considerate of the feelings of Bug and
Jack and Prince and Zigzag. He doesn't seem
to care anything for them."
"Whirlwind has the right to treat those of
his kind as he pleases. None of them is his
equal. Deerfoot is glad to see how careful he
is of his company. If he is willing to notice
270 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
my brothers, " added the Shawanoe with a
smile, "isn't that enough?"
It was at this juncture that the stallion gave
the most remarkable proof of his intelligence
that had yet been seen. It almost struck the
boys dumb with astonishment.
You remember that after washing their
underclothing they spread them out on the
ground to dry in the sun. Deerfoot brought
the garments from where he had hid them and
again spread them out. They had lain a con-
siderable time, and Victor was about to inspect
them to see if the moisture had evaporated, but
Deerfoot checked him. Addressing the stallion
"Let Whirlwind examine the clothes lying on
the ground ; if they are dry, he will hand them
to my brothers; if they are wet, he will leave
them lie where they are."
Victor's first fear was that the brute was
about to chew up his garments, for he closed
his teeth in a corner of his shirt, held it a
moment, sniffing at it, and then came over and
laid it at the feet of the youth. Of course he
could not know that the article belonged to this
lad, for he had not been told.
OLD FRIENDS. 271
He returned and in the same manner picked
up the other garment belonging to Victor and
started to lay that also at his feet. After a
single pace he stopped, shook his head and
flung the article back where it had been lying.
"That isn't quite dry enough," said the won-
dering and laughing owner. "I wonder how
it is with your clothes, George. "
Precisely the same thing was repeated with
the underclothing belonging to George Shelton.
One garment was dry, but the other retained a
little dampness, which, however, would soon
" Don't ask him to do anything more," said
Victor; "I shall be scared. It does seem that
such animals should have souls."
"Deerfoot is sure they have," replied the
Shawanoe with deep feeling.
Deerfoot now told Whirlwind to leave them
for the time. He strolled off to the more
abundant growth of grass on the other side of
the trail. The three watched him amusedly,
and noticed that he kept apart from the other
horses. He was a born aristocrat, and always
would remain so.
Zigzag was munching and looked up at the
272 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
stallion, as if he felt like renewing the acquaint-
ance that had not been of a very pleasing char-
acter. He kept an eye on Whirlwind, and when
he began cropping the grass Zigzag had the
temerity to try to join him. Before he reached
the stallion, however, he received too plain a
hint to disregard. Whirlwind deliberately
faced the other way, thus placing his heels
toward the horse, so as to be ready for use when
Zigzag came within reach. The latter paused,
looked reproachfully at Whirlwind, and then
solemnly walked back to his former companions.
The snubbing was as emphatic as the former
and was sufficient.
A few minutes later Mul-tal-la came in sight
and joined his friends. All sat down on the
boulders and exchanged experiences. Deer-
foot had little to tell that was of interest. He
was not disturbed by the cloudburst, and his
occupation while absent from his friends had
been, as he stated, the looking after and train-
ing of Whirlwind. The animal recovered from
his lameness sooner than his master expected,
and the latter could have rejoined his com-
panions sooner, but he spent hours in " getting
acquainted " with his prize and in training him
OLD FRIENDS, 273
to understand the words spoken to him. It has
already been told that some of the commands
of Deerfoot were uttered in a mixture of lan-
guages, or rather in no language at all, the object
being to throw difficulties in the way of anyone
who might possibly gain possession of the stal-
lion for a time.
The Blackfoot gave it as his belief that they
would have no further trouble with people of his
own race. They were approaching the Black-
foot country, and, though some of the tribes
through whose grounds they must yet pass
warred with one another, there was no hostility
between any of them and the Blackfeet, unless
it had broken out during the absence of Mul-
tal-la, which was not likely.
While the friends were holding this familiar
converse, the Blackfoot thought the time had
come to warn them against a danger they were
likely to be called upon to face, though it had
not presented itself as yet. He told them of
a species of bear, sometimes seen farther north,
which was of such enormous size and ferocity
that no single hunter dare fight him alone. Mul-
tal-la said that he and three of his people had
had such a fight, with disastrous results to the
274 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Blackfeet. Two of the latter had guns, which,
though of an antique pattern, were effective
and would have quickly killed an ordinary
animal. The bear was shot repeatedly, but he
slew one of the warriors who had firearms and
wounded another so badly that he died a few
weeks later. And in the end the bear got away,
apparently none the worse because of the bul-
lets and arrows that were driven into his body.
YOU know, of course, that the Blackfoot
was describing the grizzly bear, though
he did not call it by that name, any more
than he referred to the Rocky Mountains as
such. George and Victor were inclined to
think that Mul-tal-la was exaggerating, for it
was hard to believe" that so formidable a
creature existed. They had learned in Ohio
and Kentucky that no brute traversed the soli-
tudes that could not be slain by a single bullet
if rightly directed, and several bullets, even
when not aimed at the most vulnerable point,
were generally sufficient to do the business.
Deerfoot, however, was impressed by the
words of his friend. He had hunted with Mul-
tal-la long enough to know his bravery and
skill. He knew that if he entered any conflict
with man or beast he would give a good account
of himself. It was certain that he had put up
a sturdy fight with his companions, but the fact
276 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
that a single animal had defeated the four and
slain two proved that he must have been a for-
midable monster indeed.
When Mul-tal-la, after answering further
questions, gave it as his belief that they were
likely to meet one or more of these terrors, the
eyes of Deerfoot sparkled. He dearly hoped
that such an encounter would take place, for
he could never forget the ecstatic thrill of a
fight in which all his unequalled prowess had
to be brought into play.
But the Shawanoe saw the danger that
threatened the boys. Inasmuch as all four
were likely to be separated for hours at a time
while on their journey, it might fall to the lot
of George and Victor to meet a grizzly bear.
If so, the most natural thing for them to do
would be to open hostilities at once. Deerfoot
warned them against such fatal rashness.
"My brothers must not try to shoot or hurt
the bear unless they have no other way of
saving themselves. "
"What shall we do?" asked Victor.
"Run as hard as my brothers can."
"Victor is mighty good at that. You don't
know how fast he can run, Deerfoot."
PRESSING NORTHWARD. 277
The Shawanoe looked inquiringly at George,
who at that moment caught a warning grimace
from his brother. Deerfoot saw the by-play
and had his own suspicions, but kept them to
himself. He was determined to learn the truth
from Mul-tal-la, and he did so before the close
The halt had already extended beyond the
time set by the Blackfoot, and the journey was
now taken up and pushed till night. Mul-tal-la
kept in the lead, with the Shawanoe next and
the boys at the rear. When the afternoon drew
to a close they were well through the narrow
portion of the range and among the foothills
on the farther side. Although the country was
broken and rough in many places, the traveling
was not difficult, and the party hoped to make
good progress until at the end of a few days
they would again enter a mountainous region.
This would take a long time to traverse, and
when it was passed they would be on the border
of the Blackfoot country, though still a long
way from the Pacific.
That night Mul-tal-la and Deerfoot shared
the watch between them, the boys resting undis-
turbed throughout the darkness. The weather
278 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
remained clear, and at an early hour they were
on the road again and pressing forward with
vigor. The Blackfoot showed that peculiarity
which comes to many in drawing near their des-
tination; the closer he approached to home the
greater became his haste.
The following day the boys met a pleasant
experience. At the noon halt, while Mul-tal-la
and Deerfoot were sitting on a fallen tree and
talking, with the horses browsing near, George
and Victor wandered off to look for fruit.
They had seen some of it earlier in the fore-
noon, but it was too unripe to be edible. After
living so long on meat they felt a natural crav-
ing for lighter food. The Blackfoot told them
they ought to find that for which they were
hunting, for they were in a region where fruit
was plentiful and the season was now far
enough advanced for some of it to be ripe.
George was the first to succeed in the hunt.
A shout brought his brother to his side. George
was busy among some bushes that were crimson
with wild currants, and he was picking and eat-
ing them greedily.
" Better not eat too many," warned Victor,
proceeding straightway to violate his own
PRESSING NORTHVARD. 279
advice. "You know we are not used to this
kind of stuff, and it may play the mischief with
"If I ate as much as you I should expect to
die," was the rather ungracious response of
George, who nevertheless heeded the counsel
and began searching further for some other
kind of fruit that had less acidity.
He succeeded sooner than he expected, for he
ran directly into a growth of raspberries, man
of which were purplish black in color, soft, mild
and delicious to the palate. He called to Vic-
tor and the two enjoyed a veritable feast. In
the midst of it they were joined by Mul-tal-la
and Deerfoot, who partook as bountifully as
they. Later in the season they found an
abundance of plums, wild apples and no end of
The journey continued for several days with-
out special incident. When they reached the
stream now known as the Great Horn they
faced a serious problem. The current was
rapid and deep, coursing violently between high
ridges, some of which were so lofty that a regu-
lar canon was formed. Mul-tal-la said they had
come upon this river a considerable distance
280 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
above the place where he and his companion
forded it, and on the suggestion of Deerfoot
he began searching for the ford or ferry, as it
might prove. When nightfall came it had not
been found, and the Blackfoot expressed doubts
of his being able to locate it.
This unexpected difficulty gave Whirlwind
an opportunity to display his skill and intelli-
gence. The party had paused at a place where
the stream was a hundred feet or more in width,
and with the current so roiled that there was
no way, except by actual test, of ascertaining
its depth. By hard work the horses might be
able to swim or work their way across, but the
necessity of taking care of the property on the
back of Zigzag added to the difficulty. It was
important that it should be protected from wet-
ting. It would take a long time to build a
raft on which to carry the stuff to the other
side, and even then there would be risk of its
being swept down stream. A dull roar that
came to the ears of our friends through the soli-
tude showed that there were falls or violent
rapids at no great distance below, into which
the raft would be likely to be driven with the
loss or irreparable injury of much of the mer-
PRESSING NORTHWARD. 281
Deerfoot was disposed at first to divide this
among the four, who could hold the articles
above their heads while their horses were swim-
ming, but he distrusted the ability of the boys
to do their part.
The important thing was to learn the depth
of the stream. He therefore asked Whirlwind
to cross to the other rocky bank. If he could
do this without swimming all difficulty was
removed. The stallion was quick to under-
stand the request made of him, though it is
hardly to be supposed that he comprehended
its full significance. When told to enter the
stream he did so with only natural hesitation,
feeling his way as his kind do when the ground
in front is uncertain.
All attentively watched the noble animal as
he waded out into the swift current, his foot-
hold firm and strong. The water crept higher
and higher, and when the middle was reached
it touched his body. This was encouraging, but
the channel might run close to the farther shore,
and none breathed freely until the depth was
seen to be decreasing. Finally the steed
stepped out without once having been in water
that was four feet deep, and at no point, despite
282 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
the velocity of the current, did he have serious
trouble in keeping upright.
"No place for crossing could be better, " said
the pleased Shawanoe. "Here we will pass
to the other side."
He whistled to Whirlwind, who instantly
stepped into the water again, and came back
much more quickly than he had gone over. His
master leaped on his back, and, giving the word
to his horse, led the way, with Mul-tal-la almost
at his side.
"It will be just like Zigzag to take a notion
to roll when he gets out there," said Victor, as
he drove the packhorse in ahead of him.
"If he does it will be the worst roll of his
life," replied George, who half feared the stub-
born animal would try to do something of that
nature. But, of course, Zigzag had too much
sense to attempt anything of the kind. Indeed.
he did his part so faithfully that he emerged
from the river with his load as intact as at the
Matters were not pleasant that night. No
food had been eaten since morning, for Deer-
foot and Mul-tal-la had come to look upon the
noonday halt as solely for the horses. It was
PRESSING NORTHVARD. 283
a waste of time to hunt and prepare a dinner,
and it had not been done since Deerfoot last
joined the party. The expectation, however,
was that of having an evening meal, which was
welcome after the long day's ride.
Although passing through a country abound-
ing with game, our friends could not catch sight
during the afternoon of elk, deer, bison or even
a wild turkey. It was as if those creatures
knew of the coming of the strangers and kept
out of their way. It was not a good season
to fish, though it was_ not so long since several
meals had been made upon them. Still, more
for the sake of the boys than himself and Mul-
tal-la, the Shawanoe brought out the lines with 1
a view to trying his luck in the Great Horn, but
he was unable to find any bait. Both he and
the Blackfoot searched until the growing dark-
ness stopped them, without finding so much as
an angleworm or any insect that could serve
them to help woo the inhabitants of the river to
shore. Still more, the ground was so rough,
broken and overgrown that the horses were
unable to do any better than their masters in
the way of food.
And this was not the worst. They had been
284 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
pestered by mosquitoes through the day, and
at night the insects swarmed about the camp by
the millions, tormenting animals as well as men.
The poor beasts stamped the ground, switched
their tails, bit and kicked, and at times were
on the point of breaking off and dashing into
the solitude. It was the turn of George Shel-
ton to stand guard throughout the first portion
of the night, and of Victor to act for the remain-
der of the hours of darkness. Deerfoot told
them that inasmuch as none could sleep with
comfort he would mount guard and divide the
watch with Mul-tal-la. The boys did not sus-
pect what was the truth that the kind-hearted
Shawanoe did this out of consideration for
Only partial relief was obtained by the
recourse of travelers caught in such a trying
situation. By enveloping themselves in the
smoke of the fire until it was hard to breathe,
they managed to fight off the pests for a part
of the time. When the boys lay down each left
only the point of his nose obtruding from the
folds of the blanket. Even then that organ was
punctured as by innumerable needle points, and
most of the time was spent in slapping at the
PRESSING NORTHWARD. 2*5
There must have been a score of porcupines
which busied themselves nosing about the camp
in search of food. They were so familiar that
in moving around one had to be careful to avoid
stepping on the prickly things. They did not
molest our friends, but their society was any-
thing but agreeable. Victor expressed himself
as envious of the protection nature had given
these things against the mosquitoes.
Amid these trials Deerfoot and George Shel-
ton felt grateful over a fact that had become
apparent long before. It has been shown that
from the very hour when it was agreed that
Victor should form one of the little party to
cross the continent, he began rallying from the
decline into which he was rapidly settling, and
which threatened his life. Except for some
such radical change he must have been crushed
by the incubus that was bearing him to earth.
But the rough out-door days and nights had
wrought their beneficent work. He had
regained his former vigor and rugged health,
and even before they crossed the Mississippi
was his old self again. True, moments of sad
depression came to him during the lonely
watches, when his grief over the loss of his
Z86 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
parent brought tears to his eyes and made him
sigh for the sweet companionship that could
never again be his in this world.
It is a blessed provision that, if time cannot
fully heal all wounds, it can soften the pangs
that otherwise would make existence one long
misery and sorrow.
A CHANGE OF PLAN.
THE summer was well advanced when
Mul-tal-la, Deerfoot and the Shelton
boys drew rein in the Eocky Mountains,
south of the stream known as Medicine River,
and far to the northward of the headwaters of
They had had a hard time in reaching this
point on their long journey. Numerous
streams had been crossed, deep and dangerous
defiles threaded, treacherous paths followed,
and several accidents encountered. Once in
following a narrow, winding path leading
around a vast mountain wall, Zigzag lost his
footing and rolled over several times in his
descent to the bottom, fully fifty feet below.
Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la hurriedly scrambled
after him in order to recover the goods and to
put the animal out of his misery. When they
reached Zigzag they found him standing on his
feet, with his pack somewhat askew, but seem-
288 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
ingly suffering from only a few trifling bruises.
He was extricated with much labor from his
position, and resumed his plodding task. One
fact was evident; he knew more than he did
before, and nothing in the nature of a similar
mishap occurred again.
The mosquitoes still pestered our friends at
times, but not to the degree that they suffered
on the shore of the Great Horn. Once or twice
they were pinched with hunger, but to no serious
extent. They were now comparatively close to
the Blackfoot country, and, if all went well,
ought to reach it within a week. In fact, as
Mul-tal-la declared, they were liable to meet
some of the hunting parties of his people at any
On the night succeeding this statement two
mounted Blackfeet, from the principal village,
rode into camp and greeted the travelers. The
couple were old acquaintances of Mul-tal-la,
and, as may be supposed, the meeting was pleas-
ant indeed. Deerfoot's friend had an absorb-
ing story to tell of his experiences during the
year that he had been as far removed from his
own people as if out of the world. They lis-
tened like a couple of children enthralled by a
A CHANGE OF PLAN. 289
marvelous fairy tale, and would have sat in
delighted attention the night through had their
old comrade been willing to keep up the thread
of his narrative, whose charm could never pall
They were astonished to find the young
Shawanoe able to speak their own tongue like
one of themselves, and when Mul-tal-la dwelt
upon the prowess, wisdom, chivalry and daring
of the youth, they stared at him as if he
belonged to another order of beings. Mul-
tal-la would have told much more of his friend
had not the youth checked him with a sternness
that the Blackf oot dared not disregard.
The visitors were very friendly and George
and Victor Shelton were much pleased with
them. They got on quite well through the lan-
guage of signs, and the warriors were again
amazed when they heard their countryman
speak to the lads in their own language. It
must have been a marvelous country and people
that sent the youths forth, and which had been
visited by Mul-tal-la. It was plain that the
couple, when they sighed and looked into each
other's face, longed for the same experience
that had befallen their countryman.
290 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
But with all this Mul-tal-la had also a sad
story to tell. He had left home with a com-
panion, but returned without him. It was
a strange accident that overtook that comrade
after he had surmounted so many perils, but
his body rested many hundreds of miles away
in a wondrous country, and his friends must
wait to see him until he and they met in the
happy hunting grounds that are the final home
of all true and brave red men.
This visit caused an important change in the
plans of Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la. As you
know, the party had been steadily following a
general northwest course, with the Blackfoot
country as their chief destination. The inten-
tion was to remain there for a few days or
weeks, and then press westward to the Pacific.
When in the Blackfoot region a fourth of their
journey would still be before them, and it led
through a section the most difficult of all to
travel. The understanding was that Mul-tal-la
would accompany Deerfoot and the boys until
all were given to look upon the mightiest body
of water on the globe. By the time they
reached the Blackfoot country again winter
would be so near (if not already upon them)
A CHANGE OF PLAN. 29*
that our friends purposed to remain among that
tribe until the opening of spring, when they
would set out on the return to their own home.
But Mul-tal-la, after a long conversation with
his countrymen, told Deerfoot that when he
joined his people he would not he allowed to
leave them again. An unprecedented favor
had been granted him and his companion. The
one who had received such an indulgence could
not receive it a second time. Moreover, the
death of the comrade increased the difficulty,
if that were possible, for the head chief of the
Blackf eet, who was an autocrat among his tribe,
would be offended with Mul-tal-la when he
learned all that had taken place. Many Indian
tribes follow the custom of the Chinese and
punish an unfortunate leader, no matter how
blameless he may have been for his misfortune.
Had Mul-tal-la returned with his former com-
panion it is not unlikely that the chieftain would
have permitted him to accompany Deerfoot and
the boys to the Pacific, but, coming back without
the other, such permission was impossible.
Long after the brothers had stretched out by
the fire the Shawanoe and the Blackfeet talked
together. Convinced that the life of Mul-tal-la
292 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
was in danger from the chieftain, Deerfoot was
determined that his friend should not run the
risk that awaited him if he went back with the
couple or followed them after a brief interval.
He proposed, therefore, that the party with
Mul-tal-la should turn off from the route they
were following, force their way through the
Eocky Mountains to the headwaters of the
Columbia, and pass down that to the Pacific,
after which the four would visit the Blackfeet
and stay with them till spring.
Meanwhile the two Blackfeet would return to
their countrymen and report what they had
seen and learned. An outburst against Mul-
tal-la was certain, but it would be given timo
in which to spend its force. The visitors would
do all they could to placate and show their
chieftain that Mul-tal-la would have been glad
to hasten home had he not been under pledge to
guide the Shawanoe and his friends to the
Pacific. The Shawanoe would give his life at
any time rather than break his promise, and he
had taught the same high principles to Mul-
Deerfoot was unwilling to admit that any
credit in the matter was due to his teachings,
A CHANGE OF PLAN. 293
but he was forced to hold his peace when his
friend unhesitatingly told him that among his
people the violation of a pledge was not
regarded as wrong when the interests of the
one making the pledge called for such a course.
"And," added the grinning Mul-tal-la, "I am a
Deerfoot with all his sagacity failed to note
one phase of the situation that was apparent
to Mul-tal-la. The latter, despite the protest
of the Shawanoe, managed secretly to tell his
countrymen a good deal about the remarkable
youth who had proved so unselfish a friend to
him when such a friend was needed. He gave
the story of his conquest of the wild stallion,
of Deerfoot ? s incredible fleetness of foot, of his
skill with the bow and rifle, of his courage and
readiness of resource, which surpassed that of
any of his race, and of his admirable character,
which Mul-tal-la had never seen equaled by
any white or red man.
There was one subject upon which the four
red men talked freely, for it was always a wel-
come one to Deerfoot the Shawanoe. Unto the
visitors had come vague, shadowy rumors of a
religion different from that which they had
294 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
been taught, and which had been followed by
their people from time immemorial. In some
cases these reports were definite enough to
awaken curiosity and inquiry. Stories were
told of self-sacrificing missionaries who had
spent years in teaching the new faith, and who
had given their lives for its sake. It was a
strange doctrine, indeed, which taught the sin
of revenge, of deceit, of cruelty, of wrong-
doing, and replaced them with love, forgiveness,
mercy and the Golden Rule, and the assurance
that a reward of eternal life awaited those who
lived according to the will of the one and true
Immortality is not capable of scientific proof,
but one of the strongest evidences of its truth
is that yearning which is implanted, to a greater
or less degree, in every human heart, and in
every race, no matter how low or degraded its
order in the rank of civilization. All religions,
whether true or false, are based on the idea of
a life beyond the grave. It accords with reason
and with the self-evident fact that no man can
feel that his life's work is rounded out and
completed on earth, and that consequently
there must be another existence in which that
work shall be carried on.
A CHANGE OF PLAN. 295
That these longings, these yearnings, this
instinctive reaching out for the things beyond
mortal grasp, are an inherent part of our being
show that they have been divinely planted there
by One who is capable of satisfying them all,
and who, in his own good time, will satisfy
them. So reasonable and so well founded is
this belief that the burden of proof is thrown
upon those who dispute it. Let them demon-
strate, if they can, that that which we call death
ends all. But it is beyond their power, and
from the nature of things always will be beyond
their power, to do this impossible thing.
At the opening of this century we stand on
the threshold of the most marvelous discoveries
and achievements made since the world began.
Some of these discoveries fill us with awe, and
clearly presage the greater that are close at
hand. Among them may be the scientific proof
of a future existence, though such proof is not
necessary with the most exalted intellects, any
more than it is with the simpler and more child-
We must not wander, however, from the
thread of our narrative, though the subject is
the most momentous that can engage our mental
296 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
powers. When Mul-tal-la put into more defi-
nite form the dim glimpses that his country-
men had caught of the true light, he appealed
to Deerfoot, who in his modest, convincing
manner told the story of his conversion and
of the sweet communion he held every day with
the Father of All Good. It was a faith which
no trial, no suffering, no torture could change
or modify, and he impressed upon his absorbed
listeners the ineffable beauties of the religion
which made a man a new being and fitted him
for the life to come.
Deerfoot had that rare tact of not pressing an
important question too far. He knew he had
said enough, and when his hearers ceased to
question him he ceased to exhort. He, like all
true Christians before and since, had to meet
that most troublesome of questions: the evil-
doing of those who profess the white man's
religion. The Blackfeet had met Caucasians
who prayed and bellowed their faith, yet whose
lives belied every word of their profession.
They wronged and cheated the Indians; they
broke their promises; they maltreated them,
and in short did everything that was evil. If
the Christian religion made such men, the
A CHANGE OF PLAN. 297
pagans might well declare they wanted none
of it, for they were unquestionably better than
Deerfoot ranked such men far below those
who were called heathens. He despised them
utterly, and was sure their punishment
would be greater than that meted out to
those who live in open sin. He strove to
impress upon his listeners and it is fair to
believe he succeeded the distinction between
true and false Christians, and assured the
Blackfeet that they were justified at all times
in rating a person, not by what he professed,
but by his daily life, for it is thus that at the
last day the great Arbiter will judge us all.
And so, without fully realizing it, the young
Shawanoe sowed the good seed as the soil pre-
sented itself. It was he who had brought
George and Victor Shelton to see the truth;
under whom Mul-tal-la had become a believer;
hundreds of miles away he had planted the
germ in the ground offered by the trapper Jack
Hallo way, of whom he was to hear further ; and
now he had given the first glimmerings of light
to these benighted Blackfeet, and it was a light
that was not to be extinguished, but would
298 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
grow and become luminous to a degree that only
the Judgment Day would make clear.
Thus it is with all of us. We have only to use
the opportunities as they present themselves;
to do the kind deed; to utter the encouraging
word; to help the fallen; to relieve the suffer-
ing; to purify our own actions, words and
thoughts, and, all in good time, the harvest shall
THE MONARCH OF THE SOLITUDES.
DEERFOOT, Mul-tal-la and the Shelton
boys were encamped in the heart of the
Rockies. The Blackfeet visitors had
departed two days before and were well on their
way to their own villages. The air was keen
and bracing, and the sun that had been obscured
now shone from a brilliant sky.
The halt was made at noon to give the horses
a needed rest, for they had done considerable
hard climbing. Even the peerless Whirlwind
showed the effects of the unusual task. It
being understood that the pause was to be for
several hours, a general break-up of the com-
pany followed. The Blackfoot and the Shaw-
anoe strolled off by themselves, and George
and Victor Shelton took another direction, with
a caution not to wander too far and to return
The boys soon found themselves in a region
where progress was difficult. They were not
300 DEEKFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
following any trail, and were forced at times
to clamber over boulders and other obstruc-
tions, or to flank them; to descend into deep
depressions and to climb ridges at whose sum-
mits they were obliged to sit down for a breath-
ing spell. Such hard work made them thirsty,
and when they came to one of the numerous
tumbling brooks, whose waters were as clear
as crystal and as cold as the snow and ice from
which they sprang, they refreshed themselves
with a deep draught and sat down for a rest.
"Whew!" sighed Victor, removing his cap
and mopping his moist forehead; "there isn't
as much fun in this as I thought. I wouldn't
mind the walking and climbing if a fellow didn't
"And if you didn't get tired you wouldn't
enjoy a rest like this.
"Do you remember," he continued, "how
Simon Kenton used to say at our house that no
man could know what a good night's sleep is
unless he sat up one or two nights beforehand.
I suppose there's something in that, though we
don't have to try it on ourselves. I know that
water doesn't taste one-half so good unless you
are as thirsty as you can be. It seems to me,
Victor, that it's time we bagged some game.
THE MONARCH OF THE SOLITUDES. 30*
"We haven't bagged much," George added;
"Mul-tal-la got an elk yesterday; Deerfoot
brought down an antelope ; I shot a turkey, and
you came pretty near hitting a buffalo that was
several yards off."
"Came pretty near hitting him!" repeated
Victor, with fine scorn. * ' I hit him fairly, and
you know it, but these buffaloes have hard
heads, like some persons I know."
"Then you shouldn't aim at their heads.
Other people don't, and it's time you learned
"I don't know any relative of mine that is
too old to learn a good many things," replied
Victor, without a spark of ill-nature.
"That sounds as if you mean me. I'll own
up that Deerfoot and I are liable to make mis-
takes now and then, but I don't quite think
either of us would run from a wounded antelope
and keep up a yelling that could be heard a
"It is sometimes a wise thing to run; you
see it tempts your game to follow and brings
him within range."
"Where is the need of that when he must
have been in range at the time you wounded
302 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"But couldn't he turn and make off in
another direction and get beyond reach before
you could load again? I tell you, George, there
was science in what I did. I advise you to try
the same trick when you have a chance, and
A peculiar hog-like grunt caused both to look
behind them. The sight that met their gaze
was enough to terrify a veteran hunter. Hardly
a hundred feet away stood the most gigantic
grizzly bear of which they had ever dreamed.
They had listened spellbound to the story of
Mul-tal-la, but believed that the panic he under-
went at the time of his encounter with one of
those western terrors caused him to exaggerate
his account, though it must have been a fearful
brute that could have wrought the havoc he did.
This bear had his hind feet on the ground
and his front ones on a boulder, so that his
massive back sloped downward from his head,
and he was looking at the boys as if speculating
as to what species they belonged. His size was
tremendous. To the lads he seemed to be three
or four times the bulk of any of his kind they
had met in the forests of Ohio or Kentucky. It
is not improbable that the estimate of the
A Western Monarch.
THE MONARCH OF THE SOLITUDES. 303
brothers was right. You know that the grizzly
bear (which the early explorers referred to as
a white bear) is now, as he has been from time
immemorial, the monarch of the western wilds.
So prodigious are his size and strength that he is
absolutely without fear.
And he is justified in this self-confidence.
One stroke of that mighty paw, whose claws
are often six inches in length, will break the
back of a horse or tear a man to shreds, and
enveloping his victim in those beam-like front
legs, he will crush him to pulp without putting
forth more than a tithe of his power. A score
of bullets have been pumped into that immense
carcass without causing any apparent harm.
The Rocky Mountain grizzly saves the hunter
the trouble of attacking him. It is the bear
himself who starts things moving and keeps
them going at a lively rate. The advice of the
most experienced ranger of the wilds is that
if a man is alone and without an inaccessible
perch from which to shoot, he should not disturb
the grizzly. This advice is equally good for
two persons, and would not be inappropriate
for three in most circumstances.
It may be doubted whether the entire West
304 DEEKFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
at the time of which I am writing contained
a more colossal grizzly bear than the one npon
which George and Victor Shelton gazed when
they turned their heads. His bulk was so
immense that they recognized him on the instant
as the dreaded brute of which they had heard
more than one terrifying story.
Why he did not advance upon the lads at
once is not easy to explain. It probably was
because the whim did not come to him, or he
may have looked upon the couple as too insig-
nificant for notice. It is not unlikely that
curiosity had something to do with it, for no
doubt they were the first examples of the Cau-
casian race that he had seen, though he must
have met Indians and may have crushed an
indefinite number to death.
The strange spectacle was presented for the
next few minutes of the boys staring at the
monster, while he stared back at them, no one
moving or making any sound. George arid Vic-
tor were literally paralyzed for the time and
unable to stir or speak.
Victor was the first to rally. Forgetting the
warnings of Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la, he sprang
to his feet, faced wholly around, and brought
his gun to his shoulder.
THE MONARCH OF THE SOLITUDES. 305
"What a splendid shot!" he exclaimed.
' ' See me tumble him over ! ' '
But George remembered the words of their
dusky friends, and, knowing the fatal folly of
what Victor was about to do, protested.
1 ' Don 't you do it ! He '11 kill us both ! ' '
In his fright Victor was cool. He took delib-
erate aim, and while the words were in the
mouth of his brother pressed the trigger. The
report and act threw George into an irrestrain-
able panic, and bounding to his feet he dashed
off at the utmost speed. Across gullies, over
and around rocks, threshing through under-
growth, he sped, not daring to look around and
hardly conscious of what he was doing. He
forgot the peril of Victor in his panic until he
had run several hundred yards, when, realizing
what he was doing, he abruptly stopped and
He had gone so far that he saw neither the
bear nor Victor, and he began picking his way
to the spot, shivering with dread, and expecting
each moment to come upon the mangled remains
of his brother.
Meanwhile Victor had a remarkable experi-
ence. Had he not been so impulsive by nature,
306 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
and had he been given a few moments for
reflection, he would have let the brute alone;
but, as I have shown, he fired straight at him.
More than that, he hit him. In accordance with
the almost invariable rule in such circumstances
the grizzly should have swept down upon him
like a cyclone. Instead of that he slowly swung
his front around, dropped to his natural posture
on the ground, and began lumbering away.
Incredible as it may seem, he probably was
not aware that he had served as a target for an
American youth. He must have been conscious
of the landing of the bullet somewhere about
his anatomy, but the matter was too trifling to
disturb him. The annoyance from mosquitoes
was more serious, especially when they attacked
his eyes. In Alaska these pests often blind the
bears by their persistent assaults, and the mis-
erable brutes wander aimlessly around until
they starve to death.
Even Victor Shelton was puzzled by the
action of the grizzly. It would not have been
so strange to him had the quadruped rolled over
and died, for that would have indicated that
a lucky shot had been made ; but that he should
turn and make off was more than the youth
THE MONARCH OF THE SOLITUDES. 307
could understand. He would have believed the
bear had been frightened had he not recalled
the accounts of Mul-tal-la, which showed the
impossibility of such a thing.
In one respect Victor displayed wisdom.
Without stirring from the spot he carefully
reloaded his gun, keeping a lookout all the
time for the return of the monster. He had
caught sight of the mountainous, shaggy bulk
as it swung through the undergrowth, which
was trampled down as if it were so much grass,
and then disappeared. - Would he come back ?
While the lad was debating the question he
heard the sound of some one approaching from
the other direction. Turning, his eyes met
those of his white-faced brother, who seemed
to find it hard to believe that he saw Victor alive
"Where's the bear?" gasped George, when
he could master his emotions.
"Why didn't you wait and see me shoot
him?" asked Victor loftily.
"It can't be you killed him."
"He may live a few minutes longer, but I
guess he's gone off to die by himself. You
know wild animals don't like to have spectators
when they give their last kick."
306 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"It can't be," said George as if to himself;
"you couldn't have hit him."
" Then what made him leave so suddenly?
Tell me that."
"I don't know; I never saw one of them
hef ore ; but why didn 't he attack us ? This bear
is a bigger one than Mul-tal-la ever met, and it
couldn't be he was afraid of us."
"Not of us of course not, for only one of
us held his ground, and I don't think his name
is George Shelton, but he saw / was here; he
took one good sauint at me, and things looked
so squally he decided to leave."
The complacency and self-pride of Victor
were warranted, provided they rested upon a
sure basis; that would soon be known. Few
living woodmen have ever driven off a grizzly
bear by a single shot, and it seems beyond the
range of possibility for the feat to be performed
by a boy.
Victor peered in all directions, and seeing
nothing of the monster, turned and proceeded
to "rub it in" with his brother.
"Let me see, George, you were saying some-
thing a little while ago about a fellow that you
saw run away from the charge of an antelope. ' '
THE MONARCH OF THE SOLITUDES. 309
George knew what was coming and rallied
to " repel boarders."
"Yes; I saw a great hulking youngster do
that very thing. You will find it hard to believe
anyone could show such cowardice, but Mul-
tal-la was with me, and he'll tell you it is true."
"Do you think that the chap, who no doubt
was trying to lure the antelope to his destruc-
tion, made better time than you did when you
deserted me at sight of this big bear f ' '
"There may not have been much difference
in the speed of the two, but you see the case is
different. One boy ran from an animal that is
as harmless as a rabbit, while the other fled
from a beast that would have sent a half-dozen
veterans flying, even though they had loaded
rifles in their hands."
"But I stood my ground."
"Because you didn't know any better. You
were too scared to run."
"But not too scared to shoot and hit the
game. Folks generally say that the fellow who
runs away is frightened and not the one who
keeps his place and sends a bullet right into the
face of the danger. What do you think of it,
3JO DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"I have already told you what I think. Let
us leave the question to Mul-tal-la and Deer-
foot to settle when we go back to camp. ' '
But Victor, unaware that the Shawanoe had
heard the story long before from the Blackfoot,
was unwilling to have it brought to his knowl-
edge. He knew he cut a sorry figure when flee-
ing from the frantic antelope, and he did not like
to hear references to it. He would prefer to
appear ridiculous in the eyes of any person in
the world rather than in those of the young
Shawanoe. He saw his chance and used it.
"I'll agree to say nothing about this if you
don't talk about antelopes when Deerfoot is
around. Are you willing? "
Before George Shelton could refuse or give
assent the conversation was broken in upon in
the most startling manner.
A MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER.
THE sound was like that of a score of
bison charging through the under-
growth. The affrighted lads glanced
around and saw the grizzly crashing down upon
them. Possibly he had awakened to the fancy
that they were enemies, and one of them had
sought to do him harm. At any rate, here he
George and Victor instinctively did what any
two persons with loaded guns in their hands
will do when assailed by a furious wild beast.
They brought their weapons to a level and
blazed away straight into his face, but they
might as well have sent their bullets against a
solid rock for all the good it accomplished in
the way of checking the rush of the monster,
who emitted his hog-like grunts and swept down
upon them like a whirlwind.
Without any thought of the wisdom of what
they were doing, the brothers separated, their
312 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
line of flight being almost at right angles from
the beginning. Since it was impossible for the
beast to pursue both at the same time, he had
to select his victim. His choice fell upon Vic-
tor, but it is not to be supposed that he recog-
nized him as the original offender in this busi-
The gait of a grizzly bear, or for that matter
of any of his species, is awkward when he is
running at full speed. He has a grotesque way
of doubling and humping his body, which seems
fatal to high speed. Nevertheless, he can get
forward at an astonishing rate, faster than a
man can run at his best. If it should ever fall
to your lot to meet a grizzly in his western
haunts, don't fancy you can escape him simply
by running. Keep out of his way from the
George Shelton ran and tumbled and scram-
bled over the rough ground for a consider-
able distance before he glanced behind him.
Then he discovered he was not pursued. Pant-
ing from his exertions, he halted and began
reloading his gun with a haste which made the
work doubly as long as it would have lasted on
any other occasion. As soon as his weapon
A MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER, 313
was ready he hurried back to the help of his
brother, who was having a perilous time indeed.
As he ran he called as loud as he could for
Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la, for the crisis could
not have been more serious.
Less than fifty feet separated Victor Shelton
from the grizzly when the race for life opened.
For a little way the ground was favorable, and
the lad ran fully as fast as when fleeing from
the wounded antelope. A glance over his
shoulder showed the vast hulk doubling and
lumbering along and" gaining rapidly. In a
straightaway race the fugitive was sure to be
overtaken within a few minutes.
Something must be done without an instant 's
delay. There was no time to reload his old-
fashioned gun, nor could he descry any refuge.
A sapling appeared a little to his right, but he
dared not resort to that. He believed the bear
would jerk it up by the roots to get at him, and
he was probably right in his supposition. So
he kept on.
The situation was so critical that Victor
Shelton did a desperate thing. Throwing away
the rifle which impeded his flight, he turned to
the left and headed, still on a dead run, for
3U DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
the edge of a cliff. Of the depth of the ravine
beyond he had not the faintest idea. It might
be a few feet or it might be a hundred. He
had no time to find out. Over he must go, and
without checking his flight in the least, he dashed
to the edge and made the leap.
Providentially the distance was barely a
score of feet, and instead of alighting upon a
rock almost in his line of flight, he landed on
the comparatively soft earth. He was severely
shaken, but in his fright he heeded it not. He
fell forward on his hands and knees, scrambled
up instantly, and was off again. He had
dropped into a gorge only a few yards in width,
which wound indefinitely to the right and left.
There was no way of knowing the better line of
flight, and he turned to the right.
He had gone only a few paces when he looked
back to see what had become of the grizzly.
He had stopped on the margin of the bluff and
was looking down at the terrified youngster, who
was striving so frantically to get beyond his
reach. For a moment Victor believed the
brute was about to follow him; but instead of
doing that he lumbered, growling and grunt-
ing, along the side of the ravine, easily keeping
A MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER. 3J5
pace with the fugitive, despite the fact that
the surface was more broken than in the bottom
of the gorge.
Still, so long as the relative positions of the
grizzly and fugitive remained the same, no
harm could come to the latter. But a change
speedily took place.
Victor had not gone far when to his dismay
he noticed that the ground over which he was
running began to slope upward. If this con-
tinued he must soon rise to the level of the
bear, who acted as if he saw how the situation
favored him. The plum which for the moment
was out of his reach must soon pass into his
The fugitive slackened his speed, wondering
what he could do. He glanced at the opposite
side of the ravine in search of a way of climb-
ing out and thus interposing the chasm between
him and his enemy. But the wall was perpen-
dicular and comparatively smooth. If he kept
on he would soon be brought face to face with
the beast. He must turn back, with no certainty
that the same hopeless condition would not con-
front him in that direction.
Just then a shout fell upon his ear. George
3*6 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Shelton appeared on the edge of the cliff
within a hundred feet of the bear. A flash and
report followed. He had fired at their terrible
enemy and the bullet could not miss; but the
grizzly seemed as unaware of it as of the former
pin pricks. Giving no heed to the shouts, the
report and the slight sting, he saw only the lad
below him, upon whom he had centered his
Victor had halted, glanced up, and was in the
act of turning back over his own trail when
the brute took advantage of the decreased depth
of the gorge, leaped the short distance neces-
sary to land him on the bottom, not more than
eight or ten feet below, and tumbling, rolling,
grunting, scrambling and flinging the pebbles
and dirt in every direction, renewed his direct
pursuit of the fugitive, with less distance than
before separating them.
All that Victor could do was to run, and if
ever a youngster did that it was he. Unques-
tionably he must have exceeded the pace he
showed when fleeing from the wounded ante-
lope. And yet it did not equal that of the
grizzly, who lumbered forward like a locomo-
tive running down a panic-stricken dog between
A MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER. 317
Suddenly another form dropped lightly into
the gorge, landing on his feet a few paces behind
the fugitive, who, as he sped past, recognized
Deerfoot the Shawanoe. Neither spoke, for it
was not necessary. The lad did not slacken his
speed, which was at the highest tension, and
the lithe young Indian, standing motionless,
raised his rifle and fired at the grizzly when the
space separating the two was barely a rod.
Deerfoot aimed at one of the eyes. He must
have brought down the terrific brute had not
the latter at the very instant of the discharge
started to rise on his hind legs, as his species
do when about to seize their victim. Despite
the brief distance separating the two there was
just enough deflection in the aim to save the
eye. The bullet struck below that organ and
did no more harm than the missiles that had
But Deerfoot had interposed between his
friend and the grizzly, and the fight was now
between him and the furious Goliath. Never
was a more thrilling sight witnessed than that
upon which George Shelton gazed from the
top of the ravine, and which his brother viewed
from a safe point within the gorge.
3J8 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
The Shawanoe saw on the instant the cause
of his failure to kill the bear. His gun was of
no further use for the time, and, like Victor
Shelton, he flung it aside. He did not doubt
that he could outrun the grizzly in a fair race,
and he would have fled had he thought Victor
was beyond reach, but there was no saying
whether the gorge was not in the nature of a
blind alley or cage, from which the lad could
not escape. To save him the Shawanoe held
At the instant of flinging aside his rifle Deer-
foot drew his knife from his girdle and gripped
it in his good left hand. The grizzly, as I have
said, had risen on his haunches and reached out
for his victim, but the space was too great. He
sagged down on all fours, plunged a few paces
forward, and reared again.
As he went up he must have caught the flash
of flying black hair, of a fringed hunting shirt
and a gleaming face. And as he saw all this
like a phantom of his dull brain, he awoke to
the fact that a dagger was driven with merciless
force into his chest and withdrawn again, both
movements being of lightning-like quickness.
He had seen that face almost against his nose,
A MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER. 3J9
and the ponderous fore legs circled outward
and swept together in a clasp that seemingly
would have crushed a stone statue had it been
caught by those mighty legs. But Deerfoot
ducked with inimitable agility and leaped back
a dozen feet.
If the grizzly had not felt the bullets he now
felt that knife thrust, and all the tempestuous
fury of his nature was roused. He dropped
on all fours, charged forward, rose again and
grasped at the audacious individual that had
seriously wounded him and dared still to keep
his place an arm's length away.
Precisely that which took place before
occurred again. As the shaggy monster reared,
his head towering far above that of the Shawa-
noe, the latter bounded forward past the guard,
as it may be called, and drove his dripping
knife with fierce power into the massive hulk,
dropping and slipping beyond grasp before the
brute could touch him.
Deerfoot knew where to thrust to reach the
seat of life, but the enormous size of the grizzly
actually seemed to hold it beyond reach of
an ordinary weapon, for after several blows
the bear showed no evidence of harm beyond
320 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
that caused by the crimson staining of his great
hairy coat. Apparently he was as strong as
George and Victor Shelton held their breath
at times when viewing this remarkable combat.
They knew that if the bear once seized the
Shawanoe he would not live a minute. Eepeat-
edly it looked as if the youth had been caught.
Once when the huge fore leg showed outside the
shoulder of Deerfoot and seemingly against it,
and his head almost touched the snout of the
bear, both lads uttered a wail of agony, and
George, from his place at the top of the gorge,
called to his brother below:
"Poor Deerfoot! He is gone!"
"So he is!" chuckled Victor; "gone from
the claws of the grizzly. ' '
Just then Mul-tal-la hurried forward to the
side of George Shelton. The youth suspected
the truth. The Blackfoot, although ordinarily a
brave man, had no wish for a close acquaintance
with so overwhelming a specimen of "Old
Ephraim, " as he is now often called. He knew
too well the tremendous prowess of the mon-
arch of the western solitudes.
But Mul-tal-la could not stay in the back
ground when his friend was in danger. Stand-
A MEMORABLE NCOUNTER. 32J
ing beside George Shelton, it took but a glance
for him to understand the situation. Deerfoot
was engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with the
most formidable grizzly bear upon which the
Blackfoot had ever looked or of which he had
A minute told the Blackfoot further that the
youth was certain to win, for, while he was con-
tinually thrusting and wounding his antagonist,
who must soon succumb, the latter had not
harmed a hair of the other 's head.
To such a struggle there could be but one
issue, provided no accident intervened. But
a mishap is always possible in the case of the
bravest and most skilful combatant. Deerfoot
might slip at a critical moment and be caught.
Amazing as was his prowess, he was not infal-
lible, and death was likely to seize him at any
The action of the Blackfoot, therefore, was
to be commended, when he knelt on one knee
and aimed with the utmost care at the brute.
While he and the youth were interlocked there
was danger of injuring Deerfoot. Mul-tal-la,
therefore, waited until a brief space separated
the two and just before the Shawanoe made
another bound forward.
322 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Mul-tal-la held his aim for several minutes,
for he was resolved not to make any mistake.
He aimed just behind the ear, and when he
pressed the trigger the little sphere of lead
bored its way into a vital part, and then it was
Deerfoot had struck again and leaped back
when he heard the report of the rifle, saw the
outreaching paws droop, the snout dip, and
the mountainous mass sag downwards and side-
ways, tumble over, and that was the end.
"Mul-tal-la only hastened the death of the
bear," remarked the Blackfoot when he and
the boys clambered down into the ravine and
stood beside the victor; "my brother had done
the work, and the bear could not have lasted
"Perhaps my brother is right," replied the
Shawanoe. Then he looked sternly at the lads
"If my brothers do not heed the words of
Deerfoot he will not be their friend."
The boys succeeded after much talking in put-
ting matters in such a light that Deerfoot finally
agreed to soften his rebuke, though they felt it
hardly the less keenly.
THROUGH THE GREAT DIVIDE.
THE month of August was well advanced
when our friends reached the junction
of two streams where to-day stands
Salmon City, Idaho. They were well received
at an Indian village, whose people showed a
wish to do all they could to help the travelers
on their way to the headwaters of the Colum-
bia. When Mul-tal-la made known their des-
tination several of the red men, including the
chief, shook their heads and said it was too late
in the season to make the journey; but the
party were resolute, for it was not only their
intention to traverse the long distance, but they
meant, if possible, to return to the Blackfoot
country in time to spend the remainder of the
The Indians were right in declaring the way
difficult, for the road led over a path so strewn
with broken and sharp bits of rocks that in the
course of time had fallen down the mountains,
324 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
that all feared the unshod horses would be too
injured to travel. But, to the pleased surprise
of everyone, no trouble of the kind appeared.
Men and boys walked most of the time, and the
animals kept pace with them.
Had the little company failed to provide
themselves with fishing tackle they would have
suffered for food, for day after day passed
without gaining a shot at any kind of game.
The streams, however, abounded with salmon,
which were easily caught and much, relished.
It was oppressively warm during the middle of
the day, but as the sun went down a rapid low-
ering of temperature followed, and in the morn-
ing frost whitened the vegetation and needles
of ice put out from the shores of the streams.
You have heard something of the Shoshone or
Snake Indians with whom our friends had had
an interesting experience. This tribe a hun-
dred years ago embraced the Indians of the
southern ranges of the Rocky Mountains and
of the plains on both sides. A village of Sho-
shones, where the explorers halted, contained
hardly a hundred warriors and two or three
times as many women and children. Regard-
ing tnese people some noteworthy facts wera
THROUGH THE GREAT DIVIDE. 325
learned. They formerly lived on the prairies,
but were driven to take refuge in the moun-
tains from a band of roving Pahkees, who came
down from the Saskatchewan country and
attacked them with great ferocity. From the
middle of spring until the beginning of autumn
these Shoshones lived around the headwaters
of the Columbia, where they were not molested
by the Pahkees. Through these monfhs the
Indians depended mainly upon salmon, but the
fish disappeared with the approach of cold
weather, and other means of subsistence had to
This little fraternity of Shoshones then made
their way over the ridge to the waters of the
Missouri, down which they cautiously moved
until they were joined by other bands, either
of their own people or of Flatheads. Thus
strengthened, they had little fear of the Pah-
kees, and were not afraid to hunt the bison to
the eastward of the mountains. They remained
till the salmon returned to the Columbia, when
they migrated to that section. Nevertheless,
the dread of their enemies was so great that
the Shoshones never left the mountains till
impending starvation drove them out.
326 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
These people displayed some excellent quali-
ties. Lewis and Clark reported them frank,
fair and honest, and he and his men received
generous hospitality at their hands. As with
most of their race, war was the most exalted
occupation, and no warrior could look for pre-
ferment until he earned it by some daring
exploit. The triumph of killing an adversary
was not complete if the victor failed to wrench
the scalp from his head. If he neglected to do
this and some other warrior secured the scalp,
all the honor went to him, since he had brought
away the trophy of victory.
After parting with the Shoshones, who
showed regret at losing the company of the
explorers, the latter began their final journey
across the mountains. The first camp was on
the southern bank of Lemhi Eiver. Here
Zigzag showed signs of slight lameness. He
could be ill-spared, and it was deemed best to
run no risk with him. His load was therefore
distributed among Jack, Bug and Prince. It
was not thought well to make Whirlwind a beast
of burden. His proud spirit was likely to rebel
and there was no necessity for offending him.
Early the next day Zigzag was better, but
THROUGH THE GREAT DIVIDE. 327
the other three horses retained his load, while
he plodded to the rear of them. Men and boys
remained afoot. The Blackfoot took the lead,
for though he had never been through this coun-
try, he had met some of its inhabitants, and
their accounts gave him a more extended knowl-
edge than any other member of the company
Victor declared that Zigzag was shamming,
for though he limped slightly most of the time,
now and then he seemed to forget it, but then
Victor never had much respect for that par-
ticular horse. It was deemed best to humor
him, however, and perhaps because he was
ashamed to keep up the deception he was soon
so far recovered that he walked without trouble
after the burden had been replaced upon his
Beaver dams were often passed, but, singular
as it may seem, nothing was seen of the animals
themselves. Their rounded, cone-like dwellings
extended long distances, and many proofs
of their skill in cutting down and preparing
wood were observed. These sagacious crea-
tures will cut up the limbs and trunk of a large
tree as smoothly and evenly as a professional
328 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
woodchopper could do the work, and in con-
structing their dams, some of which are of great
extent, they display astonishing skill. No
freshet is strong enough to break down these
dams, and the architects provide for the over-
flow as men provide sluiceways and gates to
set free the surplus of ponds and lakes. The
doors of their houses are generally under water,
and the structures themselves are often two or
three stories high. They generally have sen-
tinels on duty, and the slaps of their tails on the
surface of the water never fail to warn their
comrades in time to seek shelter.
These tails, it may be said, are quite a deli-
cacy. When boiled or prepared by cooking
they suggest buffalo or beef tongue, and are
nourishing and palatable. A meal on beaver
tails is always welcome to the traveler through
any region where the animals make their home.
There is one accomplishment possessed by
beavers not generally known, and of which I
have never heard the explanation. Sometimes
after cutting a large limb into the right length
to be used in the construction of a dam, the ani-
mal, finding he does not need it immediately,
floats it out into the middle of a stream and
THROUGH THE GREAT DIVIDE, 329
sinks it to the bottom. If the water is clear
you may see a number of such sticks lying here
and there ten or fifteen feet below the surface.
When the material is needed the sticks are
released, rise to the top, and are transported
whither they may be wanted.
Now, how is it the beaver sinks the buoyant
wood? How he makes it stay on the bottom
is, so far as I have ever been able to learn,
beyond explanation. The most experienced
trapper will tell you he doesn't understand it.
More than once one of these men has pushed
the pieces of wood loose. The moment he did
so they would come to the surface and stay
there. By no trick or device could he make
them sink again, unless by attaching a heavy
weight. That, however, does not solve the dif-
ficulty, for any substance can be sunk by such
means, which is not the one the beaver employs.
As the party advanced deer began to show
themselves again. It was no trouble to bring
them down, and when the chance did not offer
the fish always remained, so it will be seen that
the food question gave the explorers no con-
cern. The grass at times was not as plentiful
as they wished, but take it altogether the
330 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
horses had no reason to be dissatisfied and the
journey went promisingly forward.
The next important stopping place of the
explorers was in the country of the Chopunnish
Indians, who lived along the Clearwater and
Lewis or Snake Kivers, which you will remem-
ber were both tributaries of the Columbia. The
Chopunnish Indians were known as Pierced
Noses, though it is difficult to understand why
this name was given, since, so far as known,
they never pierced their noses. The name
was changed to Nez Perces by the French
voyaguers, and has so remained ever since.
You may have heard of Chief Joseph, who
some years ago made his remarkable retreat
northward to Canada, and repeatedly outwitted
the United States regulars sent against him.
Joseph was one of the most remarkable Indians
that ever lived. He was the friend of the white
people, and was held in great respect as the
head of the Nez Perce tribe.
Our friends were impressed by these red men,
who were large, fine-looking and of dark com-
plexion, and whose women had attractive
features. All were fond of ornaments. They
wore buffalo or elk-skin robes, decorated with
THROUGH THE GREAT DIVIDE. 33J
beads, and the hair, which was plaited in two
queues, hung in front. Seashells fastened to
an otter-skin collar were displayed as belonging
to the coarse black hair, and feathers, green,
blue and white, were plentifully seen. In cold
weather each man wore a short skirt of dressed
skins, long painted leggings and moccasins, and
a braid of twisted grass around the neck. The
women used a long shirt of bighorn skin, with-
out a girdle, and reaching to the ankles. Bits
of brass, shells and small ornaments were tied
to this shirt, but the head showed nothing except
what nature had furnished.
The Nez Perces had a hard time of it. They
were forced to toil during the summer and
autumn to gather salmon and their winter sup-
ply of roots. In winter they hunted deer on
snowshoes, and at the approach of spring
crossed the mountains to the headwaters of the
Missouri to traffic in buffalo robes. Added to
this unceasing labor they had many fights with
enemies from the west, who often killed mem-
bers of the tribe, stole horses and drove the
owners over the mountains.
The Nez Perces showed a very friendly dis-
position to our friends, who visited their vil-
332 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
lage and were invited to partake of their hos-
pitality for a long time. Although the Indians
had a scant supply of food, they offered the
visitors all they wished. Deerfoot and Mul-
tal-la, out of courtesy, partook of salmon, but
would not consent to deprive them of anything
further when the travelers felt fully able to pro-
vide for themselves.
The visit to the Nez Perces solved a problem
that had given the Blackfoot and Shawanoe
no little concern. The party had progressed
so far that the remainder of the journey could
be made much more readily by water than by
land. All they had to do was to descend the
river in canoes to its mouth, or tidewater, or
at least far enough to gain the coveted view of
the Pacific Ocean. They would have to make
a few portages and exercise skill and care in
shooting some of the rapids, but the road was
open and they could not go astray.
The question was as to what should be done
with their horses. These could continue toil-
ing forward as before, but the way was rough
and tortuous, and would occupy a much longer
time than the water route. It would wear upon
the animals, all of which, with the exception of
THROUGH THE GREAT DIVIDE. 333
Whirlwind, showed signs of the draught already
made on their strength and endurance. If they
could be left behind, the rest would do them a
world of good, and they ought to be in prime
condition when their masters returned to them.
Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la discussed the plan
of leaving their animals with the Nez Perces.
These Indians, like all their race, are exceed-
ingly fond of horses, and the fear of our friends
was that when they came back their property
would be gone beyond recovery. While the
warriors might not openly steal them, they could
frame ingenious excuses for their absence.
The loss of the four ordinary horses might not
be so serious, for Mul-tal-la was sure he could
replace them from among his own people, but
the real problem was the black stallion. He
was such a superb steed, so superior in beauty,
strength and speed to any of his kind in that
region, that wherever he appeared he attracted
admiration and envy. But for the watchful-
ness of his owner he would have been stolen
long before crossing the Divide. To part com-
pany with Whirlwind in what may be called a
hostile country looked like voluntarily giving
him over to the spoiler. No sum conceivable
334 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
would have induced the Shawanoe to sell Whirl-
wind. He was ready at any moment to risk his
life for the animal who was equally ready to die
for his master.
This was the situation when, as the party
were ahout to resume their journey, they were
approached by a tall, handsome warrior, whose
dress, more gaudily ornamented than the
others, showed that he was one with authority.
He was absent while the visitors were receiving
the hospitality of the Nez Perces, and now has-
tened forward to pay his respects while the
The moment he drew near, Deerfoot and the
boys saw from the expression of his face and
on that of Mul-tal-la that the two were old
IN fact, Mul-tal-la had made inquiries for his
friend, and was told that he was absent on
a hunt, and there was no saying when he
would return. He was Amokeat, or the Man-
who-never-Sleeps, and one of the leading chiefs
of the Nez Perces.
Two years before, when a party of the latter
were hunting on the Missouri, they were,
attacked by their enemies from the west, and
all would have been cut off had not some Black-
feet hunters arrived at the critical moment.
The tables were speedily turned and the assail-
ants routed. During the fight Mul-tal-la saved
the life of Amokeat, when he was hurled to the
ground and a savage warrior was bending over
to deliver the final stroke. Not only that, but
Mul-tal-la scalped the enemy with his own hand
and presented the trophy to the Nez Perce
leader. No greater honor could be done by one
336 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
warrior to another, and the gratitude of Amo-
keat was deep.
You will undertsand, therefore, how cordially
this chief and the Blackfoot greeted each other.
Mul-tal-la slipped off his horse and, as the
grinning Victor said, seemed about to eat tip
the other, while Deerfoot looked on and was
pleased with the effusive meeting.
Mul-tal-la and his people often mingled with
the Nez Perces, and he understood their tongue
well enough to make his meaning clear. He
told Amokeat of the question he and the Shaw-
anoe (to whom the Nez Perce was introduced)
had been debating, and that they had about
decided to make the rest of the journey on
horseback. Amokeat instantly volunteered to
take care of the animals until the owners
returned. Mul-tal-la frankly told him that
Deerfoot could not feel certain of finding Whirl-
wind when he came back. Amokeat reminded
Mul-tal-la that he was a chief, and pledged his
life to hand over the black stallion and the rest
of the horses to the right parties.
"And he will do it," added the Blackfoot,
when he made known the pledge of the Nez
Perce leader. "He is true and honest and
PARTING COMPANY. 337
loves Mul-tal-la too well to harm a friend of
"Deerfoot does not doubt what his brother
tells him; he does not doubt that Amokeat
speaks with a single tongue, but" added the
Shawanoe significantly, " there are other
Indians who are not as true as Amokeat."
"My brother is wise; he is always so; he
must not forget that Amokeat is a chief and not
a common warrior. He will do as he says."
Deerfoot allowed himself to be persuaded,
though no means convinced that he was doing
a wise thing in leaving Whirlwind behind. He
assented to the proposal, but his friends saw
that he did so with misgiving.
The decision having been made, there wa&
no unnecessary delay in carrying it out. From
the scant supply of trinkets a number were
presented to Amokeat, with the promise of
more upon the return of the explorers, pro-
vided they found the horses awaiting them.
The pleased chief secured a large canoe, capa-
ble of carrying the four persons and the indis-
pensable portions of their luggage. The trans-
fer was soon made, and the horses turned over
to the care of the Nez Perce leader.
333 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Mul-tal-la and the boys felt a little sentiment
in parting for a time from their animals.
There was something saddening in the thought
that the quadrupeds, who had been their com-
panions through so many hardships, trials and
dangers, might never be met again. No person
can fail to feel an attachment for the dumb
creature that has served him faithfully. The
brothers patted the necks of their beasts and
expressed the hope of having them again as
comrades on their journey back across the con-
Deerfoot could be stoical if he chose, but
he made little attempt to hide his feelings when
the moment came for him to say good-bye to
Whirlwind. He explained to him as well as
he could the necessity of their parting com-
pany for awhile, and there is no saying to what
extent he succeeded in conveying the truth to
the noble creature.
"Whirlwind," he said, as he gently stroked
the silken nose and looked into the dark lumin-
ous eyes, "Deerfoot must leave you for a time,
but he hopes soon to come back, and then you
and he shall be comrades for the rest of their
lives. If when Deerfoot asks for Whirlwind
PARTING COMPANY. 339
he sees him not, and they tell him he is gone,
then Deerfoot will not go to his home beyond
the Mississippi till he meets Whirlwind. He
will hunt everywhere for him; he will find him
if he is alive. If any harm has come to Whirl-
wind he who has harmed him shall give an
account to Deerfoot!"
Victor was standing beside his brother and
now spoke in a low voice :
" Those words mean a good deal, George.
Deerfoot doesn't feel easy over leaving Whirl-
wind behind. I believe" trouble will come from
it. I pity the Indian that tries to steal the
"I believe he will be stolen. I don't know
why I believe it, but Deerfoot thinks the same,
and I don't understand why he consents."
"Do you suspect Amokeat?"
"No; but even if he is chief he can't help
some of his people getting the best of him.
Can you blame anyone for trying to steal such
"I blame him, of course; but I don't wonder
at it. Look at Deerfoot and Whirlwind."
Almost a hundred Nez Perce warriors,
women and children were grouped about watch-
340 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
ing the departure of the visitors. Some whis-
pered among themselves, but the majority
silently looked upon the little group that was
leaving them. The river lay a few rods away,
and the goods had been placed in the large
canoe, which was to bear the owners on their
voyage to the ocean, still many miles to the
When the young Shawanoe finished the words
quoted Whirlwind laid his nose over his
shoulder. Deerfoot placed his arms about the
satin neck, fondled the forelock, patted the nose,
kissed it, and then turned abruptly to his
"Let us wait no longer. The sun is high in
the sky and we have many miles before us."
He led the way to the side of the rapid cur-
rent, where the canoe with the luggage awaited
them. George and Victor Shelton carefully
seated themselves in the stern. Deerfoot, first
laying his rifle in the bottom of the boat,
stepped after it and caught up the long paddle,
placing himself well to the front. Mul-tal-la
sat just far enough back of him to allow the
arms of both free play. Deerfoot rested the
end of his paddle against the bank, gave a vig-
PARTING COMPANY. 34*
orous shove, the boat swung into the current^
and the long, arduous voyage began.
The boys, who were watching their dusky
friend, saw that he studiously avoided looking
back, but kept his attention upon the manage-
ment of the boat. He did this until they
reached a bend in the stream, when apparently
he could stand it no longer. Eesting his paddle
across the gunwales, while Mul-tal-la attended
to the craft, Deerfoot turned his head and cast
a long, lingering look behind him. George and
Victor did the same.
The group of Nez Perces were still there,
gazing after the canoe and its occupants^
Amokeat could be recognized at the front, but
in advance of him stood Whirlwind, with head
high in air, his perfect outlines stamped as if
with ink against the gaudy background of color,
the slight wind blowing his luxuriant mane and
tail aside, while he watched his master rapidly
fading from view.
When he saw the face of Deerfoot he whin-
nied in recognition. The Shawanoe waved his
hand, and those who looked at him observed
the tears in his eyes. The next minute the bend
in the river shut horse and master from sight
of each other.
342 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
Facing down stream Deerfoot plied his pad-
dle with a power that sent the boat swiftly with
the current. He had taken less than a dozen
strokes when he abruptly ceased and sat as
motionless as a statue.
' ' Do you know what that means ? ' ' whispered
"I suppose it is because he feels bad."
"No; he felt worse when he was paddling
so hard. He is asking himself whether he
ought not to turn back and bring Whirlwind
with him. It won't take much to make him
change his mind.' 7
Victor was right. That was the question the
Shawanoe was debating with himself, and more
than once he was on the point of acting upon
the impulse to undo what had just been done.
Mul-tal-la suspected the truth. He believed the
return would take place. So he also stopped
paddling and waited for the word.
The cessation turned the question the other
way. Deerfoot did not look around again, but
dipped the paddle deep in the roiled current,
making his sweeping strokes on one side and
leaving to the Blackfoot to preserve the poise
by doing the same on the other side of the boat.
PARTING COMPANY. 343
It was fortunate, perhaps, that Deerfoot and
Mul-tal-la were compelled to give attention to
the management of the craft, for the river
abounded with rapids, most of which were dan-
gerous. Often a single false stroke would have
sent the boat against the rocks which reared
their heads in every part of the stream. Some
protruded several feet above the surface, some
only a few inches, while others were located by
the peculiar eddying of the current as it whirled
over and past them. These were the most to
be feared, for they would rip out the bottom of
the canoe like the sweep of a broadaxe. But
you know the consummate skill of the young
Shawanoe in handling a canoe. His quick eye,
his unerring stroke, his great power, his instant
decision and faultless judgment had been
trained from early boyhood on the streams of
the East, and, though he was now passing down
a river he had never seen before, he read all
its * ' signs ' ' as you would read a printed page.
And the Blackfoot was hardly inferior, for
he had passed through long and severe train-
ing, and he handled his paddle like an expert.
Where both were so skilful they worked
smoothly together. Sometimes the Blackfoot
344 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES,
called out a warning to Deerfoot, but soon
found it was unnecessary, for the youth was as
quick, if not quicker than he, to detect the snags,
rocks, eddies, bars and all manner of obstruc-
The shores were wooded and rocky at times,
and now and then the explorers saw one or more
Indians, who paused on the banks and surveyed
them as they sped past. Generally one or both
of the red men in the canoe saluted the others,
and the same friendly spirit was shown by the
strangers. George and Victor commented upon
the experience which impressed them as sin-
gular, since it was so different from what they
were accustomed to at home.
The explanation was the old one. These
Indians knew too little about white civilization
to fear the palefaces ; that fear would come with
greater knowledge. At intervals piles of
planks were observed, these 'being the timber
from which houses were built by the natives
who came thither during the fishing season to
catch salmon for the winter and for trading
Fuel was so scarce that it was often hard
for our friends to find enough for a fire when
PARTING COMPANY. 345
they went ashore to camp for the night. Victor
and George proposed to supply themselves
from the piles that had been left by the fisher-
men, with the understanding that the owners
should be repaid if they could be found; but
Deerfoot would not permit it. He said they
had no reason to believe they would ever meet
the owners, and it was wrong to use their prop-
erty without permission. So all had to shiver
in their blankets and go to bed hungry.
Watchfulness generally prevented much suf-
fering on account of this deprivation. Bits of
driftwood were picked up at several points, so
that at dusk the party had enough for cooking
purposes, but on the fifth evening they found
themselves without a stick of fuel, though
encamped within a few rods of a pile of lumber.
Deerfoot was inexorable, and all had settled
themselves for the night when three Indians
came down the bank for a social call. They
had seen the canoe put into shore, but were
timid at first, though they recognized two of
the occupants as belonging to their race. One
of the visitors had never seen a white man
before. Their wondering scrutiny of the
brothers made the latter laugh. Victor rolled
346 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
up his sleeve to show the whiteness of the skin.
The three grunted and seemed filled with
amazement. He who met a Caucasian for the
first time kept up a series of grunts, passed his
hand gently over the faces of the lad, looked
into his eyes, and then made Deerfoot, Mul-
tal-la and George laugh by his attempts to pluck
out the tiny, feathery hairs that were beginning
to show on the boy's upper lip, and which, if left
to themselves, would in due time grow into an
" A-o-uah ! what are you trying to do?" called
Victor, recoiling, the involuntary tears coming
into his eyes because of the smarts made by the
nails of the Indian's thumb and forefinger.
"He never saw anything like that before,"
said George. "I don't wonder he is puzzled."
"He wishes to shave my brother," gravely
explained Deerfoot. "When the hairs come on
his own face he plucks them out. He would do
the same with my brother."
"I'll do my own shaving when the time
comes; let him understand that," said Victor,
showing his displeasure so plainly that the
visitor gravely desisted.
DOWN THE COLUMBIA.
THE Blackfoot was gratified to find him-
self able to understand the jargon
spoken by the visitors, although he did
not know to what tribe they belonged. A
marked similarity showed between many words
in the two tongues, and conversation progressed
better than would have been supposed, Deer-
foot being able to comprehend almost as much
as his friend.
Night was closing in, and the fact that the
explorers did not start a fire when such an
abundance of fuel was at hand clearly surprised
the strangers. They looked at the ground and
then pointed to the lumber. He who was appar-
ently the leader began talking earnestly to Mul-
tal-la. His meaning soon became clear. He
was urging him and his friends to make use of
the timber. The Blackfoot shook his head and
replied they could not take it without the
348 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
sent of the owner. The leader grinned and said
it belonged to him and the two men with him.
That put another face on the matter. Deer-
foot told the boys to go to work and bring all
the wood they needed. He sympathized with
them, but he would not yield on a question of
principle. It need not be said that the brothers
did not let the grass grow under their feet. It
was almost cold enough for ice, but, more than
all, they needed the fire for cooking the salmon
that had been taken from the stream.
The visitors became very friendly. They
were armed with bows and arrows, and showed
a willingness to help in gathering fuel, but their
offer was declined, and the steel and tinder
another source of astonishment to them soon
set a vigorous blaze going, and the broiling fish
sent out a fragrant and appetizing odor. There
was an abundance for all, and the visitors
accepted the invitation to join in the meal.
They ate sparingly, as if afraid of depriving
their hosts of what they needed, and when
through, each produced a long-stemmed pipe,
filled it with tobacco, and smoked with apparent
The strangers remained for an hour after
DOVN THE COLUMBIA. 349
the meal. Then, having smoked all that was in
the bowls, they gravely shook out the ashes,
carefully stowed the pipes under their blankets,
and rose to go. The leader beckoned to Mul-
tal-la to accompany him for a few paces, so as
to be beyond hearing of his friends. The Black-
foot complied, and the conversation between the
two may be thus liberally interpreted :
"A bad Indian lives down the river," said
Mul-tal-la agreed to the statement by a nod
of his head.
"He catches a great many salmon."
"I observe that he isn't the only Indian who
"I do not like him."
' i I am sure my friend has good reason not to
like him. He must be very bad."
"I owe him much ill-will. He will be mad
when he comes to build him a home to use while
he gathers salmon."
"Why will he bemad!"
" Because the lumber you have used belonged
to him, and he is gone so far away that you and
your friends cannot pay him for the wood;
therefore he will be mad when he comes here
again. ' '
350 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
"I should think he would boil over. Who
can blame him?"
Having delivered himself of this interesting
information, the visitor signed to his com-
panions, and the three strode off and were seen
The humor of the thing struck Mul-tal-la, and
he grinned while telling his story to Deerfoot
and the boys. The Shawanoe was displeased,
but had sufficient philosophy to see that there
was no help for it. The wood had been burned,
the food prepared and eaten, and though they
might refrain from consuming more fuel as
they did the mischief could not be undone.
"I'm trying my best to feel bad over it,"
chuckled Victor to his brother; "but somehow
or other I can't."
"That's because you don't feel as conscien-
tious as Deerfoot."
"How is it with you?"
"I feel exactly like you; so let's say no more
There is no end to the salmon in the Columbia
Biver. At numerous islands mat houses were
seen where the people were as busy as beavers
in splitting and drying the fish. Looking down
DOWN THE COLUMBIA. 351
in the clear water they could be seen twenty feet
below the surface, sometimes moving slowly
and then darting hither and thither so swiftly
that they looked like flitting patches of shadow.
They floated down stream at this season in such
enormous quantities that winrows drifted
ashore and the Indians had only to gather, split
and dry them on the scaffolds. Some of the
people explained by signs that, owing to the
scarcity of wood, they often used the dried fish
for fuel. The material for the scaffolds must
have been brought from a considerable dis-
tance, for no suitable wood was seen for many
As our friends descended the Columbia they
were compelled at times to make portages
around the more difficult passages. The canoe
with its contents was carried on the shoulders
of the four, who thus lightened what otherwise
would have been a heavy burden. Landing on
a small island the explorers came upon an inter-
esting vault which was used by the Pishquit-
pahs for the burial of their dead.
Large forked sticks had been driven into the
ground at about a man's height, and a ridge-
pole, fifty feet long, rested upon them. Over
352 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
this were placed pieces of canoes and boards,
which slanted down to the eaves, and thus
formed a shed that was open at both ends.
Impressed by the sight, the visitors peeped into
the interior. Bodies wrapped in skin robes
were arranged in rows, over which a mat was
spread. Farther on skeletons were seen, and
in the middle of the building was a large pile
of bones thrown together without regard to
order. On a mat at one end of the structure
were a score of skulls placed in the form of a
circle. The method of these people was first
to wrap a body in robes and, after it had
decayed, to throw the bones in a heap and put
the skulls together.
That the friends of the departed kept them
in remembrance was shown by the numerous
fishing nets, wooden bowls, blankets, robes,
skins and trinkets suspended from under the
roof. The sight of numerous skeletons of
horses near at hand indicated that the Pishquit-
pahs sacrificed them to their dead.
The manner in which the Indian tribes of the
Columbia formerly dried and packed their sal-
mon may be thus described:
The fish were first opened and exposed to
DOWN THE COLUMBIA. 353
the sun on the scaffolds. There they remained
until perfectly dry, when they were pulverized
by pounding between stones, and then were
placed in a large basket, made of grass and
rushes and lined with the skin of a salmon
that had been stretched and dried for the pur-
pose. The fish were pressed down as hard as
possible and the top covered with fish skins,
which were tied by cords passing over the top.
Thus prepared the baskets were placed in a
dry place, wrapped up with mats, secured again
by cords, and once more covered with mats.
Salmon thus preserved will keep sweet for sev-
eral years. Immense quantities were bartered
to the Indians below the falls, whence they
found their way to the mouth of the Columbia,
where they were sold to white visitors.
George and Victor Shelton heard so many
reports of the Falls of the Columbia that their
expectations were at a high point, but the
reality was less than they anticipated. Their
height is less than fifty feet in a distance of
nearly three-fourths of a mile. The first fall
was passed by means of a portage a quarter
of a mile in extent, for this fall has a perpen-
dicular height of twenty feet. During the
354 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
floods in early spring the waters below the falls
rise nearly to a level with those above, and the
salmon pass up the river in inconceivable
Deerfoot and Mul-tal-la watched with some
anxiety their approach to the second fall, of
which their Indian friends had warned them.
They first observed a smooth basin, at whose
extremity on the right bank rose an enormous
black rock which seemed to extend wholly across
the river. Since, however, the stream must
have a channel, this, of course, was impossible.
A loud roaring came from the left, where the
current ran more swiftly. Climbing to the top
of the rock it was seen that the river was com-
pressed into a channel a little more than a
hundred feet wide, in which the water swirled
and eddied so furiously that the boys were sure
it was impossible to steer the canoe through the
wild battle of whirlpool and rapids.
But the choice lay between that and the labor
of carrying the boat over the towering rock at
the expense of great time and labor. Neither
Deerfoot nor Mul-tal-la hesitated, and George
and Victor braced themselves for the struggle.
It proved to be hair-raising. Gripping the
in the Rapids.
DOWN THE COLUMBIA. 355
sides of the canoe, the boys often held their
breath and crouched ready for a leap and swim
for life, but the coolness and skill of the two
Indians never faltered. Without speaking a
word, each understood on the instant the right
thing to do, and did it. Eepeatedly the craft
touched some of the jagged dripping points of
rock, and an inch or two more to the right or
left would have brought quick destruction to
the frail craft, but that slight distance was
never passed and they sped onward like a race
horse. A vicious wave -would fling the boat
almost out of the water, and then a foaming
breaker seemed about to seize it in its remorse-
less grasp. A moment later a whirlpool or
eddy would have spun the canoe around like a
top but for the powerful sweep of those two
paddles, which worked like the spokes of the
When the lads began to breathe more freely
they would gasp and make ready to spring into
the water, for disaster seemed rushing upon
them, but the swarthy, muscular forms never
wavered nor lost control. George and Victor
had been with Deerfoot in many situations of
peril, but they were sure he never displayed
356 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
such skill as when guiding the craft through
these rapids. Being at the front, his hand was
the master one, but, as I have said, it was as if
the same impulse guided the arms of Shawanoe
This wild charge lasted for half a mile, when
the river expanded to a width of two hundred
yards ; but before the brothers could find much
comfort in the fact the situation suddenly
became more trying than ever. The channel
was divided by two rocky islands, the lower
and larger being in the middle of the river.
Few Indians dared risk a passage past these
obstructions, but the Shawanoe and Blackfoot
took it without a moment's hesitation, and,
shipping a little water, sped through without
mishap. Turning into a deep bend of the river
on the right the explorers went into camp for
A short distance below was a village of some
twenty houses, in which lived a tribe of Indians
called Echeloots, who belong to the Upper
Chinooks. They were hospitable to the visitors,
who noted several interesting peculiarities in
them, of whom only a very few survivors now
exist. For the first time in their travels among
DOWN THE COLUMBIA. 357
the Indians our friends saw wooden houses.
They were rude structures, whose chimneys
consisted of a single hole each, with a small door
at the gable end, which was partly Bunder-
You have heard of the Flathead Indians, also
called Salish or Selish, who used to live in a
part of the present State of Washington.
To-day they number about a thousand. They
are short of stature, badly formed, with large
nostrils and thick lips and nose. It was for-
merly their practice to flatten the heads of their
children during infancy, when the bones are
soft and yielding, and from which fact came
their popular name.
At the time of the visit of our friends the
strange practice prevailed among the Echeloots,
as it did with nearly all the tribes of the Chinook
family on the Columbia. The flattening of the
skull was not done by pressure upon the crown,
as you might suppose, but by binding a flat
board on the forehead of an infant. A little
way above the crown this board joined the
upper end of the plank upon which the child
was stretched on its back, but the two boards
diverged as they extended in the direction of
358 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
the feet. You will understand the process bet-
ter if you will think of the letter V lying on one
side, with the head of the infant thrust as far
as possible into the narrow end. This brought
the pressure over the upper part of the fore-
head, which was gradually forced down until
from the eyebrows to the extreme rear of the
crown was a single slope like that of the roof
of a house. The skull rose into a peak behind
and sloped away, as I have said, to the ridge
of the eyebrows.
An Indian who had been subjected to this
senseless treatment was shockingly deformed,
and no one could look upon such creatures with-
out a feeling of repulsion. Nevertheless, the
process did not injure the brain nor diminish its
volume. A warrior who had been made a "flat
head" knew just as much as if his brain had
been left to grow as nature intended.
For centuries the Chinese have compressed
the feet of their females; the Flatheads have
forced the heads of their infants out of shape,
and the Caucasian women have squeezed their
waists into the narrowest possible limits. A
careful comparison of the three crimes must
lead us to think that the last-named is the most
injurious and, therefore, the most criminal.
INTERESTING and thrilling as was the
descent of the Columbia, a detailed descrip-
tion of the voyage of the little party of
explorers would become monotonous. They
were hardly ever out of sight of Indians, all of
whom were friendly, although precautions had
to be taken against many of them that were
thieves and eager to steal anything upon which
they could lay hands.
You need not be told that the Columbia is one
of the most important rivers on our continent.
The scenery in many places is picturesque,
grand and inspiring. The boys felt that the
sight was well worth the journey across the
country. Their enjoyment increased day after
day as they drew near the sea. Game was so
abundant that they never lacked for food, and
the Indians were always ready to share with
them. At different times they saw natives who
gave evidence of having met white men at the
360 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
mouth of the Columbia. The*e were numbers
of guns, civilized coats and trousers, brass but-
tons and various ornaments which could have
been obtained from no one else, and, now and
then, some intelligent Indian showed himself
able to speak a few words of English.
One of the counties in the present State of
Washington is Wahkiacum, which received its
name from a tribe of Indians that have been
extinct for years. Our friends paid a visit to
a Wahkiacum village on the right bank of the
river. After procuring some food and a beaver
skin, the explorers climbed to the crest of an
adjoining hill and with feelings of expectant
wonder gazed to the westward.
At last ! As the vision ranged over plain and
wood and elevation they saw stretching away
to the horizon the mightiest expanse of water
on the globe. North, west, south, rolled the
Pacific Ocean, extending at its widest part to
more than one-third of the distance around the
No one spoke, but, grouped together, the spy-
glass was silently passed from one to the other,
and each gazed in rapt admiration and awe.
George first offered the instrument to Deerfoot.
AT LAST. 36*
but he shook his head. He then handed it to
Mul-tal-la, but he also declined, as did Victor,
and then George leveled the instrument and
held it for several minutes, while the others
made the best use they could of their eyes.
Finally George sighed and passed the glass to
his brother. When he had finished he proffered
it to the Shawanoe, but he indicated by a
gesture that Mul-tal-la 's was the next turn.
At last Deerf oot, standing erect, with his gun
leaning against a near boulder, where his com-
panions had placed -their weapons, slowly
directed the instrument westward, while all
looked at him instead of at the ocean.
The Shawanoe 's eye roved over the immense
expanse, as he gradually shifted his gaze from
point to point. Over hundreds of square miles
nothing was to be seen but the limitless waste
of waters. Eidges of foam and a faint roar
showed where the long swells broke upon the
beach. From the tops of cone-like lodges
climbed little twisting wreaths of smoke,
indicating the villages of the dusky inhabitants
of the region between the ocean and the spec-
Deerfoot now descried something which the
362 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
others had not seen. In a direct line to the
westward and almost on the rim of the horizon
was a tiny white object, like a peculiarly shaped
cloud that would soon dissolve into thin air.
It was a ship, and the snowy spread was its
sails that caught the favoring breeze.
The vessel was many miles distant and head-
ing for the mouth of the Columbia. It was the
only vessel visible in that vast sweep of ocean.
The Indian watched it as it gradually grew
more distinct. He wondered as to the people
on board, and speculated as to what part of
the world they had come from. He finally low-
ered the instrument and peered in the direction
without the artificial help. Yes; he could now
see the vessel with the eye alone.
Pointing toward the right point he handed
the glass to George Shelton and said :
"Let my brother look."
The lad did so and the next moment ex-
* ' It is a ship ! Victor, you must see it ! "
"I do," replied the other, who nevertheless
took the spyglass, which was next passed to
Mul-tal-la. Then it went around in turn again,
and the feast of vision was enjoyed to the full.
AT LAST. 363
For an hour the party held their place on the
elevation, studying the sea and the grand and
varied panorama spread before them. They
could have stayed all day and been content, for
there was much that was impressive in the
thought that they had reached the end of their
long journey over mountain, through tangled
wilderness and across prairie and river. Vic-
tor Shelton suggested that they should keep on
down the Columbia to the mouth and take a bath
in the chilling waters of the Pacific, but Deer-
foot shook his head. -It had been the under-
standing from the first that they were to press
westward until they saw the ocean, but to go no
farther. They had touched tidewater some
time before, and could feel that at times they
were really paddling through the waters of the
Pacific. It would take several days to reach
the mouth of the river and time had become
valuable. The season was so far advanced that
winter would be upon them by the time or before
they arrived in the Blackfoot country, for a
good deal of the return journey must, from its
nature, prove much more laborious than the one
just completed had been.
Deerfoot unexpectedly revealed one cause of
364 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
anxiety. He was disquieted over Whirlwind,
whom he had left with Amokeat, the Nez Perce
chieftain. He could not free himself of the
belief that trouble was to come from what he
declared was a wrong act on his part. Had
the stallion been only an ordinary " every day"
animal, the owner would have felt no concern,
but the steed was sure to be coveted by more
than one warrior, and Amokeat could not have
understood the worth of the treasure lie had
undertaken to guard and keep for the return
of the owner.
1 i Deerf oot did not use Whirlwind right, ' ' said
the Shawanoe, shaking his head. "The heart
of Whirlwind was grieved when he saw Deer-
foot leave him."
"But," said Victor, sympathizing with the
depression of his friend, "he is so wise a
creature he surely understood why you left
"Yes; he understood, and that is why his
heart was sad, for he knew that Deerfoot had
no right to treat him so."
The Blackfoot now summed up the question
by a remark with which the brothers ardently
AT LAST. 365
"They will not kill Whirlwind, for they have
no reason to do so. He will be alive somewhere;
he will seek Deerfoot and Deerfoot will hunt
for Whirlwind, and he will find him!"
The boys noted the flash in the eyes of the
Shawanoe as he said :
"Yes; Deerfoot will find him if he has to
hunt many moons and follow Whirlwind among
tribes that are hundreds of miles away and who
seek the life of Deerfoot. ' '
All understood the feelings of the youth who
thus condemned himself for an act whose wis-
dom at the most was an open question.
Having uttered the words, the Shawanoe
showed an indisposition to say anything further
about the matter. He took the spyglass from the
hands of George and once more pointed it at the
incoming ship. He could make out the sails
more plainly, and even caught the white rim of
foam curling from the bow. He noted too that
the wind was blowing briskly enough to make
the vessel careen considerably under the impulse
of the bellying canvas.
As it was still early in the day, it was evident
the ship would be at the mouth of the river by
nightfall. It would have been an interesting
366 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES.
visit if the little party had pressed on and met
the captain and his crew. It is not impossible,
too, that had it not been for Deerfoot's anxiety
over his horse he would have modified the
original plan to the extent of rounding out the
journey across the continent by touching the
But after all, what did it matter? The con-
tinent had already been crossed and, as the
leader had said, the days and nights had become
of the utmost value. Mul-tal-la believed it was
safe to return to his people, and in point of fact
he had grown homesick. Moreover, there was
something in the fact that they were so many
hundred miles from home that made George and
Victor Shelton quite ready to give up the plan
of going any farther.
And so our friends now turned their backs
upon the Pacific and once more faced eastward.
"Now for home !" was the thought in the minds
of all four.
And here we must pause for the time. The
incidents through which our friends passed and
their adventures will be told in the final volume
of the NEW DEEEFOOT SERIES, under the title of
"DEEBFOOT IN THE MOUNTAINS."
THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO/S POPULAR JUVENILES,
J. T. TROWBRIDGE.
NEITHER as a writer does he stand apart from the great
currents of life and select some exceptional phase or odd
combination of circumstances. He stands on the common
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The Jack Hazard series of stories, published in the late
Our Young Folks, and continued in the first volume of St.
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lick, is an original character, and as minor figures where will
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kin, Esq. The picture of Mr. Dink's school, too, is capital,
and where else in fiction is there a better nick-name than
that the boys gave to poor little Stephen Treadwell, " Step
Hen," as he himself pronounced his name in an unfortunate
moment when he saw it in print for the first time in his les-
son in school.
On the whole, these books are very satisfactory, and
afford the critical reader the rare pleasure of the works that
are just adequate, that easily fulfill themselves and accom-
plish all they set out to dQ.Scribner's Monthly.
THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.'S POPULAR JUVENILES.
JACK HAZARD SERIES.
6 Tola. By J. T. TROWBR1DGE $7.25
lack Hazard and His Fortunes Doing His Best.
The Young Surveyor. A Chance for Himself.
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