(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Deerfoot on the prairies"

DEERFOOT ON 
THE PRAIRIES 

EDWRD S. ELLIS 








.a 








Deerfoot and Whirlwind. 



NEW DEERFOOT SERIES 

Deerfoot on the 
Prairies 



BY 

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. 



Jllttfttatrt 

with Eight Engravings by J. Steeple Davis 

PHILADELPHIA: 

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO. 
1905 



THE J*EW DEERFOOT JERIEJ 

BY 

EDWARD S. ELLIS 

Illustrated by 
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 



COPYRIGHT BY 
THE JOHN C. WINSTON Co., 1905 



CONTENTS 



PAOB 

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 

(7) 



CONTENTS 

PACK 

CHAP. XIII. A STARTLING AWAKENING ... 178 
CHAP. XIV. SHOSHONE CALLERS 190 

CHAP. XV. A QUESTION OF SKILL AND 

COURAGE 202 

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- 
TUDES 299 

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 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGB 

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. 



CHAPTER I. 

VESTWARD BOUND. 

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 
to mind. 

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 

9 



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 
"Simon." 

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 
westward. 

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 
him "Zigzag." 

" '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 
shape. 



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. 

"Ant Dine. 

"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 
embarras sment. 

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 
voice : 

"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 
to Deerfoot" 

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. 



CHAPTEE II. 

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 
interested. 

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 
animal. 

20 



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 
use. 

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 
relate. 

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 
the eastward. 

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 
for silence. 

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 
overflowing spirits. 

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 
to fall. 

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 
himself properly. 

"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 
gone?" 

"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 
plan!? 1 

"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 
earth. 



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. 



I 



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 
protested. 

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- 
tion. 



CHAPTER HI. 

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 

38 



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 
from them. 

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 
like this?" 

"Me Par-o-wan friend of paleface me 
brudder." 

"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 
his own. 



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 
shoot!" 

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 
alarmed." 

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 
and boy. 

"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 
posture. 

"I'm ready," he said softly, coming to his 
feet, gun in hand. "Have you seen anything, 
George ?" 

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. 



CHAPTER IV. 

AN ACQUAINTANCE. 

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 
covering. 

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 
the Shawanoe. 

"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- 
borhood. 

"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 
good-natured fellow. 

"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 
the Shawanoe. 

"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 
night. 



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 
mishap. 

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 
acquaintances. 

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- 
siderable difficulty. 

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 
overheard. 

"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 
horses. 

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 
Boone. 

' ' 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, 
Boone said: 

" 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 
be here." 

"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 
rode away. 

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. 



CHAPTER V. 

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 
an improvement. 

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 
speak. 

"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: 

"Buffaloes!" 



74 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES. 

"So they are! You might have known that, 
George." 

"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 
minutes. 

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. 



CHAPTER VI. 
A MISHAP. 

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 

81 



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 
quality. 

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 
companions. 

"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 
such trifles. 

"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- 
tion. 

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 
staring. 

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 
mishap. 

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 
the horse. 

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 
peace. 

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- 
able: 

"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. 



CHAPTER VH. 

JACK HALLOWAY. 

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 
comrade. 

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- 
ward. " 

To show that the question was settled he 
strode off across the prairie, carrying his rifle 

05 



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- 
turbance. 

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 
immense numbers. 

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 : 

"Helical" 

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 
back: 

' 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 
hand. 

"Why, you're an Injin!" he exclaimed. "I 
didn't think that, but I'm powerful glad to see 
you." 

"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, 
in Ohio." 

"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 
newcomer. 

"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 
doesn't know." 



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 
runs agin." 

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 
forgotten something. 

"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 
from it. 

"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 
Deerfoot. 



CHAPTEE 

GOOD SEED. 

/T\HE young Shawanoe smiled, shook his 
head and looked into the keen eyes 
before him. 

"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 

no 



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 
think?" 

"He has a good many," remarked Deerfoot, 
glancing at the piles on the ground near at 
hand. 

"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 



more." 



112 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES. 

"My brother lias much money saved from 
his labor." 

"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' 
son." 

"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 
himself : 

"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 
youth. 

"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." 

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 
himself." 

"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 



me.' ; 



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 
new friend. 

"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 
out again. 

"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 
with Deerfoot." 

"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 
said: 

"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, 
damp earth. 

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 
then rose. 

"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- 
foot. 

"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. 



CHAPTER IX. 

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 
distant home. 

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- 

124 



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 
Jack. 

"Let my brother tell me what he sees," he 
quietly remarked. 

The boy leveled the instrument and a moment 
later exclaimed: 

"Horses! There are ten hundred thousand 
of them!" 

"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 
many." 

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 
them. 

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 
necessary. 

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 
impregnable. 

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 
unhesitating. 

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 
to open. 

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 
spectator dizzy. 

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 
king!" 

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 
the limb. 



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- 
som. 

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. 



CHAPTER X. 

WHIRLWIND. 

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 

141 



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 



VHIRLVIND. 143 

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 



WHIRLWIND. J45 

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 

10 



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 
outwitted him! 

Deerfoot kept up his caresses and gentle 



VHIRLVIND. J47 

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 
stallion. 

"I see them!" suddenly called George. 
"They are coming this way!" 



WHIRLWIND. H9 

"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 
acquaintance. 

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 



VHIRLVIND. J5* 

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 
his confusion." 

"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 
Ms horse?" 

"Yes," George hastened to answer; "call him 
Dewdrop." 

The Shawanoe shook his head. The inappro- 
priateness of the name was apparent, even to 
the Blackfoot. Indeed, the proposer was in 
jest. 

"I have it," said Victor. "Make it Whirl- 
wind." 

"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. ' ' 



CHAPTER XI. 

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 
victory won. 

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: 

153 



J54 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES. 

"You will have to bridle him, and he will 
fight that." 

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 
inferiors. 

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 
to himself. 

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 
to remark: 

"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 
that/ 9 

11 



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 
for food." 

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 
limp. 

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. 



CHAPTER XII. 

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 

167 



)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 
was intolerable. 

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- 
thing edible. 



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 
them. 

" 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 
manage it!" 

"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- 
formance. 

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 
waited. 

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 
failed him. 

" 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 
quick!" 

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 
time. 

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. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

A STARTLING AWAKENING. 

/TT\HAT night, after a bountiful meal, 
George Shelton quietly said to his 
brother : 

"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 
the prize?" 

"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." 

178 



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- 
less. 

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 
direction. 

' ' 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 
greater speed. 

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 
many corks. 

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 
first. " 

"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 
here." 

"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 
moment. 

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." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

SHOSHONE CALLERS. 

/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 

190 



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 
waters. 

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 
Blackfoot. 

"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- 
tain?" 

"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 

18 



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 
frame. 

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 
were right. 

"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 
resentful Victor. 

"He took it before I had any idea of what 
he was after. Maybe he only wants to look 
over it." 

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 
both hands. 



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 
threateningly. 

"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 
before. 

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 
him. 

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 
others. 

"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 
the north." 

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 
threateningly. 

"I'd like to have a set-to with that imp," said 
Victor to his brother. "Did you ever see a 
meaner-looking thing?" 

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 
a row." 

"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 
Victor. 

"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 
will do." 

"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 
outset. 

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. 



CHAPTER XV. 

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 
property. 

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 
first. 

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 

202 



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 
George. 

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 
else." 

"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 
advantage. 

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- 
tal-la, said: 

"Tell him, if he wants it, I'll give him another 
chance." 

"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 
fairly. 

" 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 
mine." 

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 
COOL!" 

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 

14 



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 
foe. 



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 
down. 

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 
his wrath. 

"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 
same. 

"Come, Victor," he said, "you have done 
enough ; you have won your gun, and now don 't 
spoil everything by your foolishness." 



CHAPTER XVI. 

WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY. 

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 

214 



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 
warriors. 

" 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 
serious one. 

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 
distance. 

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 
palefaces. 

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 
George. 

"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 
west. 

"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- 



ness." 



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- 
picious. 

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 
mean size. 

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 



CHAPTER XVII. 

IN THE MOUNTAINS. 

"\/f UL-TAL-LA, the Blackfoot, performed 
J^ j^ some mental calculations that would 
have been creditable to Deerfoot, the 
Shawanoe. 

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 

226 



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 
fair. 

"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 
began. 



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 
weeks before. 

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- 
ing grin. 

"You have seen nothing of the answer to his 
signal?" asked George. 

" No ; the sky in front and over the mountains 
is clear" 



234 DEERFOOT ON THE PRAIRIES. 

"How about that?" broke in Victor, pointing 
to the westward, in which direction the pass 
extended. 

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 
to follow. 

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- 
ger: 

"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 
upon him. 

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. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

INDIAN CHIVALRY. 

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 

239 



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 
fight." 

"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 
him. 



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 
therefor. 

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- 
sage?" 

"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 
step!" 



INDIAN CHIVALRY. 245 

"Let my brothers bring their horses to the 
path." 

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 
us?" 

"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 
help?" 



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- 
ments. 

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 
boys : 

"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 
singular scene. 

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 
Shelton. 

"Whatever it is, the decision has been made." 

Mul-tal-la came up, cool and collected, but 
clearly agitated. 

"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 
go on." 

And so it proved that chivalry is not dead 
even among the American Indians. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

A CALAMITY. 

IT seemed too good to be true, and yet all 
doubt vanished with the words spoken by 
the Blackfoot. 

"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. ' ' 

"Why not?" 

"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 
doubts left?" 

"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." 

251 



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 
much farther." 



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 
called out: 

"It's snowing!" 

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 
was simpler. 

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 
same. 

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 
forest creatures. 

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 
no more. 

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 

17 



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!" 



CHAPTER XX. 

OLD FRIENDS. 

"~ T can't be, ' ' gasped the mystified George ; 



I 



'you're mistaken." 
"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 
object named. 

"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 

262 



OLD FRIENDS. 263 

quest of the wretch who had done this "low 
down" thing. "You don't suppose it was Mul- 
tal-la?" 

"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 
kind." 

Victor shook his head. The thought was 
preposterous. 

"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 
rogue. 

"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 
back." 

"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- 
lar, Deerfoot." 

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 
obeisance. 

"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 
too far." 

"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 
him." 

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 
George. 



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 
he said: 

"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 
disappear. 

" 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 

18 



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. 



CHAPTER XXI. 
PRESSING NORTHVARD. 

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 

275 



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 
of day. 

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 



us." 



"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 
mulberries. 

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- 
chandise. 



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 
beginning. 

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 
them. 

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 
torturing insects. 



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. 



CHAPTER XXIL 

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 
the Yellowstone. 

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- 

287 



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 
time. 

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 
for them. 

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. 

19 



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- 
tal-la. 

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 
Blackfoot." 

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 
God. 

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- 
like minds. 

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 
those hypocrites. 

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 
appear. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

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 
before sunset. 

The boys soon found themselves in a region 
where progress was difficult. They were not 

209 



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 
get tired." 

"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 
better." 

"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 
mile off." 

"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 
him?" 



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 
then" 

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 
looked back. 

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, 

20 



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 
and unharmed. 

"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, 
George?" 



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. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

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 
was! 

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 

311 



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- 
ness. 

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 
first. 

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 
maws. 

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 
wrath. 

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 
the rails. 



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 
preceded it. 

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 
his ground. 

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 
ever. 

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 
ever heard. 

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 
moment. 

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. 

21 



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 
all over. 

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 
much longer." 

"Perhaps my brother is right," replied the 
Shawanoe. Then he looked sternly at the lads 
and added: 

"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. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

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 
winter there. 

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 
be found. 

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 
could possess. 

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 
back. 

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 
opportunity remained. 

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 
acquaintances. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

PARTING COMPANY. 

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 

[335 



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 
his." 

"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- 
tinent. 

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 
stallion." 

"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 
a horse?" 

"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 
westward. 

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 
friends : 

"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 
Victor. 

"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- 
tions. 

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 
purposes. 

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 
attractive mustache. 

" 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. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

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 

347 



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 
enjoyment. 

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 
the visitor. 

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 
does that." 

"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 
no more. 

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 
about it." 

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 
a mile. 

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 
numbers. 

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 
same wheel. 

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 
and Blackfoot. 

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 
the night. 

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- 
ground. 

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. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

AT LAST. 

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 

359 



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 
world. 

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- 
tators. 

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- 
claimed : 

* ' 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 
him." 

"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 
agreed. 



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 
Pacific itself. 

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 END.] 



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 
level and appeals to the universal heart, and all that he sug- 
gests or achieves is on the plane and in the line of march of 
the great body of humanity. 

The Jack Hazard series of stories, published in the late 
Our Young Folks, and continued in the first volume of St. 
Nicholas, under the title of "Fast Friends," is no doubt 
destined to hold a high place in this class of literature. The 
delight of the boys in them (and of their seniors, too) is 
well founded. They go to the right spot every time. Trow- 
bridge knows the heart of a boy like a book, and the heart 
of a man, too, and he has laid them both open in these books 
in a most successful manner. Apart from the qualities that 
render the series so attractive to all young readers, they 
have great value on account of their portraitures of American, 
country life and character. The drawing is wonderfully 
accurate, and as spirited as it is true. The constable, Sel- 
lick, is an original character, and as minor figures where will 
we find anything better than Miss Wansey, and Mr. P. Pip- 
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. 

Fast Friends. Lawrence's Adventures. 

CHARLES ASBURY STEPHENS. 

"This author wrote his "Camping Out Series" at the very 
height of his mental and physical powers. 

"We do not wonder at the popularity of these books ; there 
Is a freshness and variety about them, and an enthusiasm in 
the description of sport and adventure, which even the older 
folk can hardly fail to share." Worcester Spy. 

"The author of the Camping Out Series is entitled to rank 
as decidedly at the head of what may be called boys' litera- 
ture." Buffalo Courier. 

CAMPING OUT SERIES. 

By C. A. STEPHENS. 

AH books in this series are 12mo. with eight full page illustra- 
tions. Cloth, extra, 75 cents. 

CAMPING OUT. As Recorded by " Kit." 

"This book is bright, breezy, wholesome, instructive, and 
stands above the ordinary boys' books of the day by a whole 
head and shoulders." The Christian Register, Boston. 

LEFT ON LABRADOR; OR, THE CRUISE OF THE SCHOONER YACHT 

"CURLEW." As Recorded by "Wash." 
"The perils of the voyagers, the narrow escapes, their 
strange expedients, and the fun and jollity when danger had 
passed, will make boys even unconscious of hunger." Neic 
Bedford Mercury. 
OFF TO THE GEYSERS; OR THE YOUNG YACHTERS IN ICELAND. A 

Recorded by "Wade." 

"It is difficult to believe that Wade and Read and Kit and 
"Wash were not live boys, sailng up Hudson Straits, and 
reigning temporarily over an Esquimaux tribe." The Inde- 
pendent, New York. 

LYNX HUNTING: From Notes by the Author of "Camping Out." 
"Of first quality as a boys' book, and fit to take its place 
beside the best." Richmond Enguirer. 

Fox HUNTING. As Recorded by "Raed." 

"The most spirited and entertaining book that has as yet 
appeared. It overflows with incident, and is characterized 
by dash and brilliancy throughout." Boston Gazette. 
OK THE AMAZON; OR, THE CRUISE OP THE "RAMBLER." A 

Recorded by "Wash." 

"Gives vivid pictures of Brazilian adventure and scenery." 
Buffalo Courier.