Sunday, October 21, 2007



My Daughters
I Dedicate
these Stories of the Old Indian Life,
and especially of
the Courageous and Womanly Indian Woman
Upon a hanging precipice atop of the
Eagle Scout Butte there appeared a
motionless and solitary figure--almost
eagle-like he perched! The people in the camp
below saw him, but none looked at him long.
They turned their heads quickly away with a
nervous tingling, for the height above the plains
was great. Almost spirit-like among the upper
clouds the young warrior sat immovable.
It was Antelope. He was fasting and seeking
a sign from the "Great Mystery," for such
was the first step of the young and ambitious
Sioux [who wished to be a noted warrior among
his people.
He is a princely youth, among the wild
Sioux, who hunts for his tribe and not for himself!
His voice is soft and low at the campfire
of his nation, but terror-giving in the field
of battle. Such was Antelope's reputation.
The more he sought the "Great Mystery" in
solitude, the more gentle and retiring he became,
and in the same proportion his courage
and manliness grew. None could say that he
was not a kind son and a good hunter, for he
had already passed the "two-arrow-to-kill,"
his buffalo examination.
On a hot midsummer morning a few weeks
later, while most of the inmates of the teepees
were breakfasting in the open air, the powerful
voice of the herald resounded among the pineclad
heights and green valleys.
"Hear ye, hear ye, warriors!" he chanted
loudly. "The council has decreed that four
brave young men must scout the country to
the sunsetward of the camp, for the peace and
protection of our people!"
All listened eagerly for the names of the
chosen warriors, and in another moment there
came the sonorous call: "Antelope, Antelope!
the council has selected you!"
The camp was large--fully four hundred
paces across; but in that country, in the clear
morning air, such an announcement can be
heard a great way, and in the silence that followed
the hills repeated over and over the musical
name of Antelope.
In due time the four chosen youths appeared
before the council fire. The oath of the pipe
was administered, and each took a few whiffs
as reverently as a Churchman would partake
of the sacrament. The chief of the council,
who was old and of a striking appearance, gave
the charge and command to the youthful
There was a score or more of warriors ready
mounted to escort them beyond the precincts
of the camp, and the "fearless heart" song
was sung according to the custom, as the four
ran lightly from the door of the council teepee
and disappeared in the woods.
It was a peculiarly trying and hazardous
moment in which to perform the duties of a
scout. The Sioux were encroaching upon the
territory of hostile tribes, here in the foot-hills
of the Big Horn Mountains, and now and then
one of their hunters was cut off by the enemy.
If continual vigilance could not save them, it
might soon become necessary to retreat to their
own hunting-grounds.
It was a savage fetish that a warrior must
be proof against the alluring ways of pretty
maidens; that he must place his honor far
above the temptations of self-indulgence and
indolence. Cold, hunger, and personal hardship
did not count with Antelope when there
was required of him any special exertion for
the common good. It was cause to him of
secret satisfaction that the council-men had selected
him for a dangerous service in preference
to some of his rivals and comrades.
He had been running for two or three hours
at a good, even gait, and had crossed more
than one of the smaller creeks, yet many deep
gulches and bad lands lay between him and the
furthest peak that melted into the blue dome
"I shall stand upon the Bear's Heart," he
said to himself. "If I can do that, and still
report before the others, I shall do well!"
His keen eyes were constantly sweeping the
country in his front, and suddenly he paused
and shrank back motionless in a crouching attitude,
still steadily keeping an eye upon a
moving object. It was soon evident that some
one was stealthily eying him from behind
cover, and he was outwitted by the enemy!
Still stooping, he glided down a little ravine,
and as he reached the bed of the creek there
emerged from it a large gray wolf.
This was very opportune for Antelope. He
gave the gray wolf's danger-call with all his
might; waited an instant and gave it a second
time; then he turned and ran fleetly down
the stream. At the same moment the wolf appeared
upon the top of the bank, in full view
of the enemy.
"Here he comes!" they whispered, and had
their arrows on the string as the wolf trotted
leisurely along, exposing only his head, for this
was a common disguise among the plains Indians.
But when he came out into the open,
behold! it was only a gray wolf!
"Ugh!" the Utes grunted, as they looked
at each other in much chagrin.
"Surely he was a man, and coming directly
into our trap! We sang and prayed to the
gods of war when our war chief sent us ahead
to scout the Sioux people, to find their camp.
This is a mystery, a magic! Either he
is a Sioux in disguise, or we don't know their
tricks!" exclaimed the leader.
Now they gave the war-whoop, and their
arrows flew through the air. The wolf gave
a yelp of distress, staggered and fell dead. Instantly
they ran to examine the body, and found
it to be truly that of a wolf.
"Either this is a wonderful medicine-man,
or we are shamefully fooled by a Sioux warrior,"
they muttered.
They lost several minutes before they caught
sight of Antelope, who had followed the bed
of the creek as far as it lay in his direction
and then came out of it at full speed. It would
be safer for him to remain in concealment
until dark; but in the meantime the Ute warriors
would reach the camp, and his people
were unprepared! It was necessary to expose
himself to the enemy. He knew that it would
be chiefly a contest of speed and he had an excellent
start; but on the other hand, the Utes
doubtless had their horses.
"The Sioux who played this trick on us must
die to-day!" exclaimed their leader. "Come,
friends, we cannot afford to let him tell this
joke on us at the camp-fires of his people!"
Antelope was headed directly for Eagle
Scout Butte, for the camp was in plain view
from the top of this hill. He had run pretty
much all day, but then, that was nothing!
"I shall reach the summit first, unless the
Ute horses have wings!" he said to himself.
Looking over his shoulder, he saw five horsemen
approaching, so he examined his bow and
arrows as he ran.
"All is well," he muttered. "One of their
spirits at the least must guide mine to the spirit
land!" where, it was believed by them, there
was no fighting.
Now he was within hearing of their whoops,
but he was already at the foot of the butte.
Their horses could not run up the steep ascent,
and they were obliged to dismount. Like a
deer the Sioux leaped from rock to rock, and
almost within arrow-shot came his pursuers,
wildly whooping and yelling.
When he had achieved the summit, he took
his stand between two great rocks, and flashed
his tiny looking-glass for a distress signal into
the distant camp of his people.
For a long time no reply came, and many
arrows flew over his head, as the Utes approached
gradually from rock to rock. He,
too, sent down a swift arrow now and then, to
show them that he was no child or woman in
fight, but brave as a bear when it is brought to
"Ho, ho!" he shouted to the enemy, in
token of a brave man's welcome to danger and
They replied with yells of triumph, as they
pressed more and more closely upon him. One
of their number had been dispatched to notify
the main war-party when they first saw Antelope,
but he did not know this, and his courage
was undiminished. From time to time he continued
to flash his signal, and at last like lightning
the little white flash came in reply.
The sun was low when the besieged warrior
discovered a large body of horsemen approaching
from the northwest. It was the Ute warparty!
He looked earnestly once more
toward the Sioux camp, shading his eyes with
his right palm. There, too, were many moving
specks upon the plain, drawing toward the foot
of the hill!
At the middle of the afternoon they had
caught his distress signal, and the entire camp
was thrown into confusion, for but few of the
men had returned from the daily hunt. As
fast as they came in, the warriors hurried away
upon their best horses, singing and yelling.
When they reached the well-known butte, towering
abruptly in the midst of the plain, they
could distinguish their enemies massed behind
the hanging rocks and scattered cedar-trees,
crawling up closer and closer, for the large warparty
reached the hill just as the scouts who
held Antelope at bay discovered the approach
of his kinsmen.
Antelope had long since exhausted his quiver
of arrows and was gathering up many of
those that fell about him to send them back
among his pursuers. When their attention was
withdrawn from him for an instant by the sudden
onset of the Sioux, he sprang to his feet.
He raised both his hands heavenward in
token of gratitude for his rescue, and his friends
announced with loud shouts the daring of Antelope.
Both sides fought bravely, but the Utes at
last retreated and were fiercely pursued. Antelope
stood at his full height upon the huge
rock that had sheltered him, and gave his yell
of defiance and exultation. Below him the warriors
took it up, and among the gathering
shadows the rocks echoed praises of his name.
In the Sioux camp upon Lost Water there
were dances and praise songs, but there was
wailing and mourning, too, for many lay dead
among the crags. The name of Antelope was
indelibly recorded upon Eagle Scout Butte.
"If he wished for a war-bonnet of eagle
feathers, it is his to wear," declared one of
the young men. "But he is modest, and scarcely
even joins in the scalp dances. lt is said of
him that he has never yet spoken to any young
"True, it is not announced publicly that he
has addressed a maiden. Many parents would
like to have their daughters the first one he
would speak to, but I am told he desires to
go upon one or two more war-paths before
seeking woman's company," replied another.
"Hun, hun, hay!" exclaimed a third youth
ill-naturedly. He is already old enough to
be a father!"
"This is told of him," rejoined the first
speaker. "He wants to hold the record of
being the young man who made the greatest
number of coups before he spoke to a maiden.
I know that there are not only mothers who
would be glad to have him for a son-in-law,
but their young daughters would not refuse to
look upon the brave Antelope as a husband!"
It was true that in the dance his name was
often mentioned, and at every repetition it
seemed that the young women danced with
more spirit, while even grandmothers joined
in the whirl with a show of youthful abandon.
Wezee, the father of Antelope, was receiving
congratulations throughout the afternoon.
Many of the old men came to his lodge to
smoke with him, and the host was more than
gratified, for he was of a common family and
had never before known what it is to bask
in the sunshine of popularity and distinction.
He spoke complacently as he crowded a handful
of tobacco into the bowl of the long red
"Friends, our life here is short, and the life
of a brave youth is apt to be shorter than most!
We crave all the happiness that we can get,
and it is right that we should do so. One who
says that he does not care for reputation or
success, is not likely to be telling the truth. So
you will forgive me if I say too much about
the honorable career of my son." This was the
old man's philosophic apology.
"Ho, ho," his guests graciously responded.
"It is your moon! Every moon has its fullness,
when it lights up the night, while the little
stars dance before it. So to every man there
comes his full moon!"
Somewhat later in the day all the young
people of the great camp were seen to be moving
in one direction. All wore their best attire
and finest ornaments, and even the parti-colored
steeds were decorated to the satisfaction
of their beauty-loving riders.
"Ugh, Taluta is making a maidens' feast!
She, the prettiest of all the Unkpapa maidens!"
exclaimed one of the young braves.
"She, the handsomest of all our young
women!" repeated another.
Taluta was indeed a handsome maid in the
height and bloom of womanhood, with all that
wonderful freshness and magnetism which was
developed and preserved by the life of the wilderness.
She had already given five maidens'
feasts, beginning with her fifteenth year, and
her shy and diffident purity was held sacred by
her people.
The maidens' circle was now complete. Behind
it the outer circle of old women was equally
picturesque and even more dignified. The
grandmother, not the mother, was regarded as
the natural protector of the young maiden, and
the dowagers derived much honor from their
position, especially upon public occasions, taking
to themselves no small amount of credit
for the good reputations of their charges.
Weshawee, whose protege had many suitors
and was a decided coquette, fidgeted nervously
and frequently adjusted her robe or fingered
her necklace to ease her mind, for she dreaded
lest, in spite of watchfulness, some mishap
might have befallen her charge. Her anxiety
was apparently shared by several other chaperons
who stole occasional suspicious glances
in the direction of certain of the young braves.
It had been known to happen that a girl unworthy
to join in the sacred feast was publicly
A special police force was appointed to keep
order on this occasion, each member of which
was gorgeously painted and bedecked with
eagle feathers, and carried in his hand a long
switch with which to threaten the encroaching
throng. Their horses wore head-skins of fierce
animals to add to their awe-inspiring appearance.
The wild youths formed the outer circle of
the gathering, attired like the woods in autumn,
their long locks glossy with oil and perfumed
with scented grass and leaves. Many
pulled their blankets over their heads as if to
avoid recognition, and loitered shyly at a distance.
Among these last were Antelope and his
cousin, Red Eagle. They stood in the angle
formed by the bodies of their steeds, whose
noses were together. The young hero was completely
enveloped in his handsome robe with
a rainbow of bead-work acros the middle, and
his small moccasined feet projected from beneath
the lower border. Red Eagle held up
an eagle-wing fan, partially concealing his face,
and both gazed intently toward the center of
the maidens' circle.
"Woo! woo!" was the sonorous exclamation
of the police, announcing the beginning
of the ceremonies. In the midst of the ring
of girls stood the traditional heart-shaped red
stone, with its bristling hedge of arrows. In
this case there were five arrows, indicating that
Taluta had already made as many maidens'
feasts. Each of the maidens must lay her hand
upon the stone in token of her purity and chastity,
touching also as many arrows as she herself
has attended maidens' feasts.
Taluta advanced first to the center. As she
stood for a moment beside the sacred stone, she
appeared to the gazing bystanders the embodiment
of grace and modesty. Her gown,
adorned with long fringes at the seams, was
beaded in blue and white across the shoulders
and half way to her waist. Her shining black
hair was arranged in two thick plaits which
hung down upon her bosom. There was a native
dignity in her gestures and in her utterance of
the maidens' oath, and as she turned to face the
circle, all the other virgins followed her.
When the feast was ended and the gay concourse
had dispersed, Antelope and his cousin
were among the last to withdraw. The young
man's eyes had followed every movement of
Taluta as long as she remained in sight, and
it was only when she vanished in the gathering
shadows that he was willing to retire.
In savage courtship, it was the custom to
introduce one's self boldly to the young lady,
although sometimes it was convenient to have
a sister introduce her brother. But Antelope
had no sister to perform this office for him,
and if he had had one, he would not have made
the request. He did not choose to admit any
one to his secret, for he had no confidence in
himself or in the outcome of the affair. If
it had been anything like trailing the doe, or
scouting the Ojibway, he would have ridiculed
the very notion of missing the object sought.
But this was a new warfare--an unknown hunting!
Although he was very anxious to meet
Taluta, whenever the idea occurred to him he
trembled like a leaf in the wind, and profuse
perspiration rolled down his stoic visage. It
was not customary to hold any social intercourse
with the members of the opposite sex,
and he had never spoken familiarly to any
woman since he became a man, except his old
grandmother. It was well known that the
counsel of the aged brings luck to the youth
in warfare and love.
Antelope arose early the next morning, and
without speaking to any one he made a ceremonious
toilet. He put on his finest buckskin
shirt and a handsome robe, threw a beaded
quiver over his shoulder, and walked directly
away from the teepees and into the forest--he
did not know why nor whither. The sounds
of the camp grew fainter and fainter, until at
last he found himself alone.
"How is it," mused the young man, "that
I have hoped to become a leader among my
people? My father is not a chief, and none
of my ancestors were distinguished in war. I
know well that, if I desire to be great, I must
deny myself the pleasure of woman's company
until I have made my reputation. I must not
boast nor exhibit myself on my first success.
The spirits do not visit the common haunts of
men! All these rules I have thus far kept,
and I must not now yield to temptation. . . .
Man has much to weaken his ambition after
he is married. A young man may seek opportunities
to prove his worth, but to a married
man the opportunity must come to try him.
He acts only when compelled to act. . . . Ah,
I must flee from the woman!. . . . Besides,
if she should like someone else better, I should
be humiliated. . . . I must go upon a long
war-path. I shall forget her. . . ."
At this point his revery was interrupted by
the joyous laughter of two young women. The
melodious sing-song laughter of the Sioux
maiden stirred the very soul of the young warrior.
All his philosophy deserted him, and he
stood hesitating, looking about him as if for
a chance of escape. A man who had never
before felt the magnetic influence of woman
in her simplicity and childlike purity, he became
for the moment incapable of speech or
Meanwhile the two girls were wholly unconscious
of any disturbing presence in the forest.
They were telling each other the signals that
each had received in the dance. Taluta's companion
had stopped at the first raspberry bushes,
while she herself passed on to the next
thicket. When she emerged from the pines
into an opening, she suddenly beheld Antelope,
in his full-dress suit of courtship. Instantly
she dropped her eyes.
Luckily the customs of courtship among the
Sioux allow the covering of one's head with the
blanket. In this attitude, the young man made
a signal to Taluta with trembling fingers.
The wild red man's wooing was natural and
straightforward; there was no circumspection,
no maneuvering for time or advantage. Hot
words of love burst forth from the young
warrior's lips, with heavy breathing behind
the folds of the robe with which he sought to
shield his embarrassment.
"For once the spirits are guiding my fortunes!
It may seem strange to you, when we
meet thus by accident, that I should speak immediately
of my love for you; but we live in
a world where one must speak when the opportunity
offers. I have thought much of you
since I saw you at the maidens' feast. . . . Is
Taluta willing to become the wife of Tatoka?
The moccasins of her making will cause his
feet to be swift in pursuit of the game, and
on the trail of the enemy. . . . I beg of you,
maiden, let our meeting be known only to the
birds of the air, while you consider my proposal!"
All this while the maiden stood demurely
at his side, playing with the lariat of her pony
in her brown, fine hands. Her doeskin gown
with profuse fringes hung gracefully as the
drooping long leaves of the willow, and her
two heavy braids of black hair, mingled with
strings of deers' hoofs and wampum, fell upon
her bosom. There was a faint glow underneath
her brown skin, and her black eyes were
calm and soft, yet full of native fire.
"You will not press for an answer now,"
she gently replied, without looking at him. "I
expected to see no one here, and your words
have taken me by surprise. . . . I grant your
last request. The birds alone can indulge in
gossip about our meeting,--unless my cousin,
who is in the next ravine, should see us together!"
She sprang lightly upon the back
of her pony, and disappeared among the scattered
Between the first lovers' meeting and the second
was a period of one moon. This was wholly
the fault of Antelope, who had been a prey
to indecision and painful thoughts. Half regretting
his impulsive declaration, and hoping
to forget his pangs in the chances of travel
and war, he had finally enlisted in the number
of those who were to go with the war-leader
Crowhead into the Ute country. As was the
custom of the Sioux warriors upon the eve of
departure, the young men consulted their spiritual
advisers, and were frequently in the purifying
vapor-bath, and fasting in prayer.
The last evening had come, and Antelope
was on the way to the top of the hill behind
the camp for a night of prayer. Suddenly in
the half-light he came full upon Taluta, leading
her pony down the narrow trail. She had
never looked more beautiful to the youth than
at that moment.
"Ho," he greeted her. She simply smiled
"It is long since we met," he ventured.
"I have concluded that you do not care to
hear my reply," retorted the girl.
"I have nothing to say in my defense, but
I hope that you will be generous. I have suffered
much. . . . You will understand why
I stand far from you," he added gently. "I
have been preparing myself to go upon the warpath.
We start at daylight for the Ute country.
Every day for ten days I have been in the
vapor-bath, and ten nights fasting."
As Taluta well knew, a young warrior under
these circumstances dared not approach a woman,
not even his own wife.
"I still urge you to be my wife. Are you
ready to give me your answer?" continued Antelope.
"My answer was sent to you by your grandmother
this very day," she replied softly.
"Ah, tell me, tell me, . . ." pressed the
youth eagerly.
"All is well. Fear nothing," murmured
the maiden.
"I have given my word--I have made my
prayers and undergone purification. I must
not withdraw from this war-path," he said
after a silence. "But I know that I shall be fortunate!
. . . My grandmother will give you
my love token. . . . Ah, kechuwa (dear love)!
watch the big star every night! I will watch
it, too--then we shall both be watching!
Although far apart, our spirits will be together."
The moon had risen above the hill, and the
cold light discovered the two who stood sadly
apart, their hearts hot with longing. Reluctantly,
yet without a backward look or farewell
gesture, the warrior went on up the hill, and the
maiden hurried homeward. Only a few moments
before she had been happy in the anticipation
of making her lover happy. The truth was
she had been building air-castles in the likeness
of a white teepee pitched upon a virgin prairie
all alone, surrounded by mountains. Tatoka's
war-horse and hunting pony were picketed near
by, and there she saw herself preparing the
simple meal for him! But now he has clouded
her dreams by this untimely departure.
"He is too brave. . . . His life will be a
short one," she said to herself with foreboding.
For a few hours all was quiet, and just before
the appearance of day the warriors' departure
was made known by their farewell
songs. Antelope was in the line early, but he
was heavy of heart, for he knew that his sweetheart
was sorely puzzled and disappointed by
his abrupt departure. His only consolation
was the knowledge that he had in his bundle
a pair of moccasins made by her hands. He
had not yet seen them, because it was the custom
not to open any farewell gifts until the
first camp was made, and then they must be
opened before the eyes of all the young men!
It brings luck to the war-party, they said. He
would have preferred to keep his betrothal secret,
but there was no escaping the custom.
All the camp-fires were burning and supper
had been eaten, when the herald approached
every group and announced the programme
for the evening. It fell to Antelope to open
his bundle first. Loud laughter pealed forth
when the reluctant youth brought forth a superb
pair of moccasins--the recognized lovegift!
At such times the warriors' jokes were
unmerciful, for it was considered a last indulgence
in jesting, perhaps for many moons.
The recipient was well known to be a novice
in love, and this token first disclosed the fact
that he had at last succumbed to the allurements
of woman. When he sang his love-song
he was obliged to name the giver of the token,
and many a disappointed suitor was astonished
to hear Taluta's name.
It was a long journey to the Ute country, and
when they reached it there was a stubbornly
contested fight. Both sides claimed the victory,
and both lost several men. Here again
Antelope was signally favored by the gods of
war. He counted many coups or blows, and
exhibited his bravery again and again in the
charges, but he received no wound.
On the return journey Taluta's beautiful
face was constantly before him. He was so
impatient to see her that he hurried on in advance
of his party, when they were still several
days' travel from the Sioux camp.
"This time I shall join in all the dances and
participate in the rejoicings, for she will surely
like to have me do so," he thought to himself.
"She will join also, and I know that none is
a better dancer than Taluta!"
In fancy, Antelope was practicing the songs
of victory as he rode alone over the vast wild
He had now passed Wild Horse Creek and
the Black Hills lay to the southeast, while the
Big Horn range loomed up to the north in
gigantic proportions. He felt himself at home.
"I shall now be a man indeed. I shall have
a wife!" he said aloud.
At last he reached the point from which he
expected to view the distant camp. Alas, there
was no camp there! Only a solitary teepee
gleamed forth upon the green plain, which was
almost surrounded by a quick turn of the River
of Deep Woods. The teepee appeared very
white. A peculiar tingling sensation passed
through his frame, and the pony whinnied
often as he was urged forward at a gallop.
When Antelope beheld the solitary teepee
he knew instantly what it was. It was a grave!
Sometimes a new white lodge was pitched thus
for the dead, who lay in state within upon a
couch of finest skins, and surrounded by his
choicest possessions.
Antelope's excitement increased as he neared
the teepee, which was protected by a barricade
of thick brush. It stood alone and silent in
the midst of the deserted camp. He kicked the
sides of his tired horse to make him go faster.
At last he jumped from the saddle and ran
toward the door. There he paused for a moment,
and at the thought of desecrating a
grave, a cold terror came over him.
"I must see--I must see!" he said aloud,
and desperately he broke through the thorny
fence and drew aside the oval swinging door.
In the stately white teepee, seen from afar, both
grave and monument, there lay the fair body
of Taluta! The bier was undisturbed, and the
maiden looked beautiful as if sleeping, dressed
in her robes of ceremony and surrounded by all
her belongings.
Her lover looked upon her still face and
cried aloud. "Hey, hey, hey! Alas! alas! If
I had known of this while in the Ute country,
you would not be lonely on the spirit path."
He withdrew, and laid the doorflap reverently
back in its place. How long he stood without
the threshold he could not tell. He stood
with head bowed down upon his breast, tearless
and motionless, utterly oblivious to everything
save the bier of his beloved. His charger
grazed about for a long time where he had
left him, but at last he endeavored by a low
whinny to attract his master's attention, and
Antelope awoke from his trance of sorrow.
The sun was now hovering over the western
ridges. The mourner's throat was parched,
and perspiration rolled down his cheeks, yet
he was conscious of nothing but a strong desire
to look upon her calm, sweet face once
He kindled a small fire a little way off, and
burned some cedar berries and sweet-smelling
grass. Then he fumigated himself thoroughly
to dispel the human atmosphere, so that the
spirit might not be offended by his approach,
for he greatly desired to obtain a sign from
her spirit. He had removed his garments and
stood up perfectly nude save for the breechclout.
His long hair was unbraided and hung
upon his shoulders, veiling the upper half of
his splendid body. Thus standing, the lover
sang a dirge of his own making. The words
were something like this:
Ah, spirit, thy flight is mysterious!
While the clouds are stirred by our wailing,
And our tears fall faster in sorrow--
While the cold sweat of night benumbs us,
Thou goest alone on thy journey,
In the midst of the shining star people!
Thou goest alone on thy journey--
Thy memory shall be our portion;
Until death we must watch for the spirit!
The eyes of Antelope were closed while he
chanted the dirge. He sang it over and over,
pausing between the lines, and straining as it
were every sense lest he might not catch the
rapt whisper of her spirit, but only the distant
howls of coyotes answered him. His body became
cold and numb from sheer exhaustion,
and at last his knees bent under him and he
sank down upon the ground, still facing the
teepee. Unconsciousness overtook him, and in
his sleep or trance the voice came:
"Do not mourn for me, my friend! Come
into my teepee, and eat of my food."
It seemed to Antelope that he faltered for
a moment; then he entered the teepee. There
was a cheerful fire burning in the center. A
basin of broiled buffalo meat was placed opposite
the couch of Taluta, on the other side of
the fire. Its odor was delicious to him, yet
he hesitated to eat of it.
"Fear not, kechuwa (my darling)! It will
give you strength," said the voice.
The maid was natural as in life. Beautifully
attired, she sat up on her bed, and her demeanor
was cheerful and kind.
The young man ate of the food in silence
and without looking at the spirit. "Ho, kechuwa!"
he said to her when returning the
dish, according to the custom of his people.
Silently the two sat for some minutes, while
the youth gazed into the burning embers.
"Be of good heart," said Taluta, at last,
"for you shall meet my twin spirit! She will
love you as I do, and you will love her as you
love me. This was our covenant before we
came into this world."
The conception of a "twin spirit" was familiar
to the Sioux. "Ho," responded the warrior,
with dignity and all seriousness. He felt
a great awe for the spirit, and dared not lift
his eyes to her face.
"Weep no more, kechuwa, weep no more,"
she softly added; and the next moment Antelope
found himself outside the mysterious teepee.
His limbs were stiff and cold, but he did
not feel faint nor hungry. Having filled his
pipe, he held it up to the spirits and then partook
of the smoke; and thus revived, he slowly
and reluctantly left the sacred spot.
The main war-party also visited the old
camp and saw the solitary teepee grave, but did
not linger there. They continued on the trail
of the caravan until they reached the new camping
ground. They called themselves successful,
although they had left several of their number
on the field. Their triumph songs indicated
this; therefore the people hurried to receive
the news and to learn who were the unfortunates.
The father of Antelope was foremost among
those who ran to meet the war-party. He
learned that his son had distinguished himself in
the fight, and that his name was not mentioned
among the brave dead.
"And where, then, is he?" he asked, with
unconcealed anxiety.
"He left us three days ago to come in advance,"
they replied.
"But he has not arrived!" exclaimed old
Wezee, in much agitation.
He returned to his teepee, where he consoled
himself as best he could by smoking the pipe
in solitude. He could neither sing praises nor
indulge in the death dirge, and none came in
either to congratulate or mourn with him.
The sun had disappeared behind the hills,
and the old man still sat gazing into the burning
embers, when he heard a horse's footfall
at the door of his lodge.
"Ho, atay (father)!" came the welcome
"Mechinkshe! mechinkshe!" (my son, my
son), he replied in unrestrained joy. Old Wezee
now stood on the threshold and sang the
praise song for his son, ending with a warwhoop
such as he had not indulged in since he
was quite a young man.
The camp was once more alive with the
dances, and the dull thud of the Indian drum
was continually in the air. The council had
agreed that Antelope was entitled to wear a
war-bonnet of eagles' feathers. He was accordingly
summoned before the aboriginal parliament,
and from the wise men of the tribe he
received his degree of war-bonnet.
It was a public ceremony. The great pipe
was held up for him to take the smoke of high
The happiest person present was the father
of Antelope; but he himself remained calm and
unmoved throughout the ceremony.
"He is a strange person," was the whisper
among a group of youths who were watching
the proceedings with envious eyes.
The young man was strangely listless and
depressed in spirit. His old grandmother knew
why, but none of the others understood. He
never joined in the village festivities, while the
rest of his family were untiring in the dances,
and old Wezee was at the height of his happiness.
It was a crisp October morning, and the family
were eating their breakfast of broiled bison
meat, when the large drum at the council lodge
was struck three times. The old man set down
his wooden basin.
"Ah, my son, the war-chiefs will make an
announcement! It may be a call for the enlistment
of warriors! I am sorry," he said,
and paused. "I am sorry, because I would
rather no war-party went out at present. I am
getting old. I have enjoyed your success, my
son. I love to hear the people speak your
name. If you go again upon the war-path, I
shall no longer be able to join in the celebrations.
Something tells me that you will not return!"
Young braves were already on their way to
the council lodge. Tatoka looked, and the
temptation was great.
"Father, it is not becoming for me to remain
at home when others go," he said, at last.
"Ho," was the assent uttered by the father,
with a deep sigh.
"Five hundred braves have enlisted to go
with the great war prophet against the three
confederated tribes," he afterward reported at
home, with an air of elation which he had not
worn for some moons.
Since Antelope had received the degree of
war-bonnet, his father had spared neither time
nor his meager means in his behalf. He had
bartered his most cherished possessions for several
eagles that were brought in by various
hunters of the camp, and with his own hands
had made a handsome war-bonnet for his son.
"You will now wear a war-bonnet for the
first time, and you are the first of our family
who has earned the right to wear one for many
generations. I am proud of you, my son," he
said as he presented it.
But when the youth replied: "Ho, ho,
father! I ought to be a brave man in recognition
of this honor," he again sighed heavily.
"It is that I feared, my son! Many a young
man has lost his life for vanity and love of display!"
The evening serenades began early, for the
party was to leave at once. In groups upon
their favorite ponies the warriors rode around
the inner circle of the great camp, singing their
war-songs. All the people came out of the teepees,
and sitting by twos and threes upon the
ground, bedecked with savage finery, they
watched and listened. The pretty wild maidens
had this last opportunity given them to
look upon the faces of their sweethearts, whom
they might never see again. Here and there
an old man was singing the gratitude song or
thank-offering, while announcing the first warpath
of a novice, for such an announcement
meant the giving of many presents to the poor
and aged. So the camp was filled with songs
of joy and pride in the departing husbands,
brothers, and sons.
As soon as darkness set in the sound of the
rude native flute was added to the celebration.
This is the lover' s farewell. The young braves,
wrapped from head to foot in their finest robes,
each sounded the plaintive strains near the teepee
of the beloved. The playful yodeling of
many voices in chorus was heard at the close
of each song.
At midnight the army of five hundred, the
flower of the Sioux, marched against their ancient
enemy. Antelope was in the best of spirits.
He had his war-bonnet to display before
the enemy! He was now regarded as one of
the foremost warriors of his band, and might
probably be asked to perform some specially
hazardous duty, so that he was fully prepared
to earn further distinction.
In five days the Sioux were encamped within
a day's travel of the permanent village of the
confederated tribes--the Rees, Mandans, and
Gros Ventres. The war-chief selected two
men, Antelope and Eaglechild, to scout at night
in advance of the main force. It was thought
that most of the hunters had already returned
to their winter quarters, and in this case the
Sioux would have no mean enemy to face. On
the other hand, a battle was promised that
would enlarge their important traditions.
The two made their way as rapidly as possible
toward the ancestral home of their enemies.
It was a night perfectly suited to what
they had to do, for the moon was full, the
fleeting clouds hiding it from time to time and
casting deceptive shadows.
When they had come within a short distance
of the lodges unperceived, they lay flat for a
long time, and studied the ways of the young
men in every particular, for it was Antelope's
plan to enter the great village and mingle
boldly with its inhabitants. Even their hoots and
love-calls were carefully noted, so that they
might be able to imitate them. There were
several entertainments in progress in different
parts of the village, yet it was apparent that
the greatest vigilance was observed. The
lodges of poles covered with earth were partly
underground, and at one end the war-horses
were stabled, as a precaution against a possible
At the moment that a large cloud floated
over the moon, casting a shadow large enough
to cover the entire village, the drum in one of
the principal lodges was struck in quick time,
accompanied by boisterous war-whoops and
singing. The two scouts adjusted their robes
about them in the fashion of the strangers, and
walked openly in that direction.
They glanced quickly from side to side as
they approached, but no one paid any attention,
so they came up with other young men and
peeped through the chinks in the earth wigwam.
It was a great gambling party. Among
the guests were several distinguished warriors,
and each at an opportune time would rise and
recount his great deeds in warfare against the
Sioux. The strangers could read their gestures,
and Antelope was once or twice almost on the
point of stringing his bow to send an arrow
through the audacious speaker.
As they moved about the village, taking note
of its numbers and situation, and waiting an
opportunity to withdraw without exciting suspicion,
they observed some of the younger
braves standing near another large wigwam,
and one or two even peeped within. Moved by
sudden curiosity, Antelope followed their example.
He uttered a low exclamation and at
once withdrew.
"What is it?" asked his companion, but
received no answer.
It was evidently the home of a chief. The
family were seated within at their usual occupations,
and the bright light of the central fire
shone full upon the face of a most lovely
Antelope stood apparently motionless, but he
was trembling under his robe like a leaf.
"Come, friend, there is another large cloud
almost over the moon! We must move away
under its concealing shadow," urged Eaglechild.
the other stood still as if undecided, but at
last he approached the lodge and looked in
a second time. There sat his sweetheart in
human form once more! The maiden was attired
in a doeskin gown set with elk's teeth
like ivory. Her eyes were cast down demurely
over her embroidery, but in every feature she
was the living counterpart of Taluta!
At last the two got away unobserved, and
hastened toward the place where they had concealed
their horses. But here Antelope sent
his companion on in advance, making the excuse
that he wished to study further the best
position from which to make the attack.
When he was left alone he stood still for a
moment to decide upon a plan. He could think
of nothing but that he must meet the Ree maiden
before daylight! He realized the extreme
hazard of the attempt, but he also recalled
what he had been told by the spirit of Taluta,
and the supernatural command seemed to justify
him even in going thus upon the eve of
battle to meet the enemy of his people.
He skirted the heavy timber and retraced
his steps to a point from which he could see
the village. The drum of the gambling party
had ceased with the shouts and laughter of
the players. Apparently the village was lost
in slumber. The moon had set, and without
pausing he advanced to the home of the girl.
As he came near some dogs began to bark, but
he silenced them after the manner of the Rees,
and they obeyed him.
When Antelope softly raised the robe that
hung over the entrance to the chief's lodge,
he saw the fire smoldering in the center, and
the members of the household lying in their
respective places, all seemingly in a deep sleep.
The girl lay opposite the entrance, where he
had seen her seated in the early part of the
The heart of the Sioux beat violently, and he
glanced nervously to left and right. There was
neither sound nor movement. Then he pulled
his robe completely over his head, after the
fashion of a Ree lover, and softly entered the
The Ree maiden, having industriously
worked on her embroidery until far into the
night, had retired to rest. In her dreams, the
twin sister came to her of whom she had had
visions ever since she could remember, and especially
when something of importance was
about to happen.
This time she came with a handsome young
man of another tribe, and said: "Sister, I
bring you a Sioux, who will be your husband!"
The dreamer opened her eyes to behold a
youth bending over her and gently pulling her
robe, as a suitor is permitted to do to awaken
his beloved.
When he saw that she was awake, the Sioux
touched his breast, saying in a whisper, "Tatoka,"
and made the sign for Antelope. This
pleased the Ree girl, for her own brother, who
had died the year before, had borne that name.
She immediately sat up and stirred the embers
into a light blaze. Then she took hold of his
blanket and drew it from his face; and there
she seemed to see the very features of the man
of her vision!
He took her hand in his, and she felt the
force of love stream through his long, nervous
fingers, and instinctively knew his thoughts. In
her turn she touched her breast and made the
sign for Shield, pronouncing in her own tongue
the word, Stasu. This seemed to him also a
name of good omen, and in the sign language
which was common to all the people of the
plains, he asked her to be his wife.
Vividly her dream came back to her, and
she could not refuse the stranger. Her soul
already responded to his; and for a few minutes
they sat silently side by side. When he
arose and beckoned, "Come with me," she had
no question to make, and without a word she
followed him from her father's lodge and out
into the forest.
In the midst of his ascending fame, at a moment
when opportunity seemed to favor his ambition,
the brave Antelope had mysteriously
disappeared! His companion scout returned
with a favorable report. He said that the men
of the three confederated tribes were gambling
and feasting, wholly unconscious of danger,
and that Antelope would follow him with a
further report upon the best point of attack.
The red warriors impatiently awaited his return,
until it became apparent that they could
wait no longer without sacrificing their chance
of success. When the attack was made it was
already rather late. The sun had fairly cleared
the eastern hills, and most of the men were outside
their lodges.
It was a great battle! Again and again the
Sioux were repulsed, but as often they rallied
and repeated the charge until sundown, when
they effected their retreat with considerable loss.
Had Antelope returned in due season, the
charge would have been made before dawn,
while the people were yet asleep.
When the battle was over, the Rees, Mandans,
and Gros Ventres gathered their dead and
wounded. The night was filled with mourning.
Soon the sad news was heralded throughout
the camp that the beautiful daughter of the
Ree chief was among the missing. It was supposed
that she must have been captured while
driving her ponies to water in the early morning.
The grief for her loss was mingled with
horror, because of a fear that she might suffer
humiliation at the hands of the Sioux warriors,
and among the young men there were muttered
threats that the Sioux would pay dearly
for this.
Though partially successful, the Sioux had
lost many of their bravest warriors, and none
could tell what had happened to Antelope--he
who had been believed the favorite of the gods
of war. It was suggested by some envious ones
that perhaps he had recognized the strongly
entrenched position of the three tribes, and believing
the battle would be a disastrous one,
had set out for home without making his report.
But this supposition was not deemed
credible. On the other hand, the idea was entertained
that he had reentered the village, was
detected and slain; and therefore the enemy
was on the lookout when the attack was made.
"Hay, hay, hay, mechinkshe (Alas, alas,
my son)!" was the sorrowful cry with which
his old father received the news. His head
fell upon his breast, and all the others groaned
in sympathy.
The sunset sky was a blanket of beautiful
painting. There were camp-fires among the
clouds in orange and scarlet, while some were
black as night. So the camp fairly glowed in
celebration of its heroes; yet there was deep
grief in many families. When the evening meal
had been eaten and the people were sitting outside
their lodges, a tall old man, almost nude,
appeared in the circle, riding a fine horse.
He had blackened his face, his hair was cut
short, and the horse also had been deprived of
his flowing mane and tail. Both were in deep
mourning, after the fashion of the Sioux.
"Ho ho!" exclaimed many warriors as he
passed them, singing in a hoarse, guttural voice.
"Ugh, he sings a war-song!" remarked one.
"Yes, I am told that he will find his son's
bones, or leave his own in the country of the
The rain had fallen incessantly for two days.
The fleeing lovers had reached this lonely
mountain valley of the Big Horn region on the
night that the cold fall rains set in, and Antelope
had hurriedly constructed an arbor house or
rude shelter of pine and cedar boughs.
It was enough. There they sat, man and
wife, in their first home of living green! The
cheerful fire was burning in the center, and the
happy smoke went straight up among the tall
pines. There was no human eye to gaze upon
them to embarrass--not even a common language
in which to express their love for one
Their marriage, they believed, was made by
a spirit, and it was holy in their minds. Each
had cast away his people and his all for the
sake of this emotion which had suddenly overtaken
them both with overwhelming force, and
the warrior's ambition had disappeared before
it like a morning mist before the sun.
To them a new life was just beginning, and
they had all but forgotten the existence of any
world save this. The young bride was enshrined
in a bower of spicy fragrance, and her
face shone whenever her eyes met those of her
"This is as I would have it, kechuwa (darling)!"
exclaimed the Sioux in his own language.
She simply responded with a childlike
smile. Although she did not understand his
words, she read in the tones of his voice only
happy and loving thoughts.
The Ree girl had prepared a broiled bison
steak, and her husband was keeping the fire
well fed with dry fagots. The odor of the
buming fat was delicious, and the gentle patter
of the rain made a weird music outside their
As soon as her husband had left her alone
--for he must go to water the ponies and conceal
them at a distance--Stasu came out to
collect more wood. Instinctively she looked all
about her. Huge mountains towered skyward,
clad in pines. The narrow valley in which she
was wound its way between them, and on every
side there was heavy forest.
She stood silent and awed, scarcely able to
realize that she had begun her new life absolutely
alone, with no other woman to advise
or congratulate her, and visited only by the
birds of the air. Yet all the world to her just
now was Antelope! No other woman could
smile on him. He could not talk to any one
but her. The evening drum at the council
lodge could not summon him away from her,
and she was well content.
When the young wife had done everything
she could think of in preparation for her husband's
return, including the making of several
birch-bark basins and pails for water, the rain
had quite ceased, so she spread her robe just
outside the lodge and took up her work-bag, in
which she had several pairs of moccasin-tops
already beaded.
While she bent over her work, getting up
from time to time to turn the roast which she
had impaled upon a sharp stick above the
glowing coals, the bride had a stream of shy
callers, of the little people of the woods. She
sat very still, so as not to startle them, and
there is much curiosity among these people concerning
a stranger.
Presently she was startled by a footfall not
unlike that of a man. She had not been married
long enough to know the sound of her
husband's step, and she felt a thrill of joy and
fear alternately. It might be he, and it might
be a stranger! She was loath to look up, but
at last gave a furtive glance, and met squarely
the eyes of a large grizzly bear, who was seated
upon his haunches not far away.
Stasu was surprised, but she showed no fear;
and fearlessness is the best shield against wild
animals. In a moment she got up unconcernedly,
and threw a large piece of meat to the
"Take of my wedding feast, O great Bear!"
she addressed him, "and be good to me to bless
my first teepee! O be kind and recognize my
brave act in taking for my husband one of the
warriors of the Sioux, the ancient enemy of my
people! I have accepted a husband of a language
other than mine, and am come to live
among you as your neighbor. I offer you my
The bear's only answer to her prayer was a
low growl, but having eaten the meat, he turned
and clumsily departed.
In the meantime Antelope had set himself
to master the geography of that region, to
study the outlook for game, and ascertain the
best approaches to their secret home. It was
already settled in his mind that he could never
return either to his wife's people or to his own.
His fellow-warriors would not forgive his desertion,
and the Rees could not be expected to
welcome as a kinsman one of the foremost of
their ancient foes. There was nothing to be
done but to remain in seclusion, and let them
say what they would of him!
He had loved the Ree maiden from the first
moment he beheld her by the light of the blazing
embers, and that love must satisfy him. It
was well that he had never cared much for
company, but had spent many of his young days
in solitude and fasting. It did not seem at all
strange to him that he had been forced to retreat
into an unknown and wild country with a
woman whom he saw in the evening for the
first time, and fled with as his own wife before
By the afternoon he had thoroughly informed
himself upon the nature of the surrounding
country. Everything on the face of
the map was surveyed and charted in his mind,
in accordance with his habits and training.
This done, he turned toward his secret dwelling.
As he walked rapidly and noiselessly through
the hidden valleys and along the singing
streams, he noticed fresh signs of the deer, elk,
and other wild tribes among whom he had chosen
to abide. "They shall be my people," he said
to himself.
Behind a group of cedars he paused to reconnoiter,
and saw the pine-bough wigwam like
a giant plant, each row of boughs overlapping
the preceding circular row like the scales of a
fish. Stasu was sitting before it upon a buffalorobe,
attired in her best doeskin gown. Her
delicate oval face was touched with red paint,
and her slender brown hands were occupied
with a moccasin meant for him to wear. He
could scarcely believe that it was a mortal
woman that he saw before him in broad day
--the pride of No Man's Trail, for that is
what the Crow Indians call that valley!
"Ho, ho, kechuwa!" he exclaimed as he
approached her, and her heart leaped in recognition
of the magnetic words of love.
"It is good that we are alone! I shall never
want to go back to my people so long as I have
you. I can dwell here with you forever, unless
you should think otherwise!" she exclaimed
in her own tongue, accompanied by graphic
"Ho, I think of nothing else! I can see in
every creature only friendly ways and good
feeling. We can live alone here, happily, unless
you should feel differently," he replied in
his own language with the signs, so that his
bride understood him.
The environment was just what it should be
when two people are united in marriage. The
wedding music was played by Nature, and trees,
brooks, and the birds of the air contributed their
peculiar strains to a great harmony. All of
the people on No Man's Trail were polite,
and understood the reserves of love. These
two had yielded to a simple and natural impulse;
but its only justification to their minds
was the mysterious leading of the twin spirit!
That was the sum total of their excuse, and it
was enough.
Before the rigor of winter had set in, Tatoka
brought to his bride many buffalo skins. She
was thoroughly schooled in the arts of savage
womanhood; in fact, every Indian maid
was trained with this thought in view--that
she should become a beautiful, strong, skillful
wife and mother--the mother of a noble race
of warriors!
In a short time within that green and pinescented
enclosure there smiled a little wild paradise.
Hard by the pine-bough wigwam there
stood a new white buffalo-skin teepee, tanned,
cut, sewed, and pitched by the hands of Stasu.
Away in the woods, down by the rushing brook,
was her tannery, and not far away, in a sunny,
open spot, she prepared her sun-cured meats for
winter use. Her kitchen was a stone fireplace
in a shady spot, and her parlor was the lodge
of evergreen, overhung on two sides by inaccessible
ledges, and bounded on the other two
by the sparkling stream. It was a secret place,
and yet a citadel; a silent place, and yet not
The winter was cold and long, but the pair
were happy in one another's company, and accepted
their strange lot as one that was chosen
for them by the spirits. Stasu had insisted
upon her husband speaking to her in his own
language, that she might learn it quickly. In
a little while she was able to converse with
him, and when she had acquired his language
she taught him hers.
While Antelope was occupied with hunting
and exploring the country, always keeping in
mind the danger of discovery by some wandering
scout or hunter, his wife grew well acquainted
with the wild inhabitants of No Man's
Trail. These people are as full of curiosity
as man, and as the Sioux never hunted near
his home, they were entirely fearless. Many
came to the door of Stasu's lodge, and she was
not afraid, but offered them food and spoke
to them kindly. All animals judge by signs
and are quick in reading tones and gestures;
so that the Ree girl soon had grandfathers and
grandmothers, after the Indian fashion, among
the wolves and bears that came oftenest for
Her husband in the field had also his fellowhunters
and friends. When he killed the buffalo
he always left enough meat for the wolves,
the eagles, and the ravens to feast upon, and
these watched for the coming of the lonely
wild man. More than once they told him by
their actions of the presence of a distant campfire,
but in each instance it proved to be a small
war-party which had passed below them on the
Again it was summer. Never had the mountains
looked grander or more mysterious to the
eyes of the two. The valley was full of the
music and happiness of the winged summer people;
the trees wore their summer attire, and the
meadow its green blanket. There were many
homes made happy by the coming of little people
everywhere, but no pair was happier than
Stasu and her husband when one morning they
saw their little brave lying wrapped in soft
deerskins, and heard for the first time his
plaintive voice!
That morning, when Antelope set out on the
hunt, he stopped at the stream and looked at
himself seriously to see whether he had changed
since the day before. He must now appear
much graver, he said to himself, because he is
the father of a new man!
In spite of himself, his thoughts were with
his own people, and he wondered what his old
grandmother would have said to his child! He
looked away off toward the Black Hills, to the
Sioux country, and in his heart he said, "I am
a coward!"
The boy grew naturally, and never felt the
lack of playmates and companions, for his
mother was ingenious in devising plays for
him, and in winning for him the confidence and
kindness of the animal friends. He was the
young chief and the hero of No Man's Trail!
The bears and wolves were his warriors; the
buffalo and elk the hostile tribes upon whom he
went to war. Small as he was, he soon preferred
to roam alone in the woods. His parents
were often anxious, but, on the other hand,
they entertained the hope that he would some
day be "wakan," a mysterious or supernatural
man, for he was getting power from his wild
companions and from the silent forces of
One day, when he was about five years old,
he gave a dance for his wild pets upon the
little plateau which was still their home. He
had clothed Mato, the bear, in one of his
father's suits as a great medicine-man. Waho,
the wolf, was painted up as a brave; and the
young buffalo calf was attired in one of his
mother's gowns. The boy acted as chief and
master of ceremonies.
The savage mother watched him with undisguised
pride, mingled with sorrow. Tears
coursed down her dusky cheeks, although at the
same time she could not help laughing heartily
at the strange performance. When the play
was ended, and she had served the feast at its
close, Stasu seemed lost in thought.
"He should not live in this way," she was
saying to herself. "He should know the traditions
and great deeds of my people! Surely
his grandfather would be proud of the boy!"
That evening, while the boy slept, and Mato
lay outside the lodge eagerly listening and sniffing
the night air, the parents sat silent and ill
at ease. After a long time Stasu spoke her
"My husband, you ask me why I am sad.
It is because I think that the Great Mystery
will be displeased if we keep this little boy forever
in the wilderness. It is wrong to allow
him to grow up among wild animals; and if
sickness or accident should deprive him of his
father and mother, our spirits would never rest,
because we had left him alone! I have decided
to ask you to take us back, either to your people
or to my people. We must sacrifice our
pride, or, if needs be, our lives, for his life and
This speech of Stasu's was a surprise to her
husband. His eyes rested upon the ground as
he listened, and his face assumed the proverbial
stoical aspect, yet in it there was not lacking a
certain nobleness. At last he lifted his eyes to
hers, and said:
"You have spoken wise words, and it shall
be as you have said. We shall return to your
people. If I am to die at the hands of the ancient
enemy of the Sioux, I shall die because
of my love for you, and for our child. But I
cannot go back to my own people to be ridiculed
by unworthy young men for yielding to love of
a Ree maiden!"
There was much feeling behind these words
of Antelope. The rigid customs of his people
are almost a religion, and there is one thing
above all else which a Sioux cannot bear--that
is the ridicule of his fellow-warriors. Yes,
he can endure severe punishment or even death
at the hands of the enemy rather than a single
laugh of derision from a Sioux!
In a few days the houshold articles were
packed, and the three sadly turned their backs
upon their home. Stasu and her husband were
very silent as they traveled slowly along. When
they reached the hill called "Born-of-Day,"
and she saw from its summit the country of her
people lying below her, she cried aloud, weeping
happy tears. Antelope sat near by with
bowed head, silently smoking.
Finally on the fifth day they arrived within
sight of the great permanent village of the
three tribes. They saw the earth lodges as of
old, thickly clustered along the flats of the Missouri,
among their rustling maize-fields. Antelope
stopped. "I think you had better give
me something to eat, woman," he said, smiling.
It was the Sioux way of saying, "Let me
have my last meal!"
After they had eaten, Stasu opened her buckskin
bags and gave her husband his finest suit.
He dressed himself carefully in the fashion of
his tribe, putting on all the feathers to which
he was entitled as a warrior. The boy also was
decked out in gala attire, and Stasu, the matron,
had never looked more beautiful in her gown of
ceremony with the decoration of elks' teeth,
the same that she had worn on the evening of
her disappearance.
As she dressed herself, the unwelcome
thought forced itself upon her,--"What if my
love is killed by my own countrymen in their
frenzy? This beautiful gown must then give
place to a poor one, and this hair will be cut
short!" for such is the mourning of the widow
among her people.
The three rode openly down the long slope,
and were instantly discovered by the people of
the village. Soon the plain was black with the
approaching riders. Stasu had begged her husband
to remain behind, while she went on alone
with the boy to obtain forgiveness, but he
sternly refused, and continued in advance.
When the foremost Ree warriors came within
arrow-shot they began to shoot, to which he
paid no attention.
But the child screamed with terror, and
Stasu cried out in her own tongue:
"Do not shoot! I am the daughter of your
One of them returned the reply: "She is
killed by the Sioux!" But when the leaders
saw her plainly they were astounded.
For a time there was great confusion. Some
held that they should all die, for the woman
had been guilty of treason to her people, and
even now she might be playing a trick upon
them. Who could say that behind that hill
there was not a Sioux war-party?
"No, no," replied others. "They are in
our power. Let them tell their story!"
Stasu told it simply, and said in conclusion:
"This man, one of the bravest and most
honorable men of his tribe, deserted on the
night of the attack, and all because he loved
a Ree maiden! He now comes to be your
brother-in-law, who will fight henceforth for
you and with you, even if it be against his own
"He does not beg for mercy--he can dare
anything! But I am a woman--my heart is
soft--I ask for the lives of my husband and
my son, who is the grandson of your chief!"
"He is a coward who touches this man!"
exclaimed the leader, and a thunder of warwhoops
went up in approval of his words.
The warriors formed themselves in two
great columns, riding twenty abreast, behind
and in front of the strangers. The old chief
came out to meet them, and took his son-inlaw's
hand. Thus they entered the village in
battle array, but with hearts touched with wonder
and great gladness, discharging their arrows
upward in clouds and singing peace-songs.
"It was many years ago, when I was only
a child," began White Ghost, the patriarchal
old chief of the Yanktonnais
Sioux, "that our band was engaged in a desperate
battle with the Rees and Mandans. The
cause of the fight was a peculiar one. I will
tell you about it." And he laid aside his longstemmed
pipe and settled himself to the recital.
"At that time the Yanktonnais numbered a
little over forty families. We were nicknamed
by the other bands Shunkikcheka, or Domestic
Dogs, because of our owning large numbers of
these animals. My father was the head chief.
"Our favorite wintering place was a timbered
tract near the mouth of the Grand River,
and it was here that we met the Blackfoot Sioux
in the fall hunt. On the opposite side of the
river from our camp was the permanent village
of the Rees and Mandans, whose houses were
of dirt and partly underground. For a hundred
years before this time they had planted
large gardens, and we were accustomed to buy
of them corn, beans, and pumpkins. From time
to time our people had made treaties of peace
with them. Each family of the Rees had one
or two buffalo boats--not round, as the Sioux
made them, but two or three skins long. In
these boats they brought quantities of dried
beans and other vegetables to trade with us for
jerked buffalo meat.
"It was a great gathering and a time of general
festivity and hospitality. The Sioux young
men were courting the Ree girls, and the Ree
braves were courting our girls, while the old
people bartered their produce. All day the
river was alive with canoes and its banks rang
with the laughter of the youths and maidens.
"My father's younger brother, whose name
was Big Whip, had a close friend, a young man
who ever after the event of which I am about
to tell you was known as Bald Eagle. They
were both daring young men and very ambitious
for distinction. They had been following the
Ree girls to their canoes as they returned to
their homes in the evening.
"Big Whip and his friend stood upon the
river bank at sunset, one with a quiver full of
arrows upon his back while the other carried
a gun under his blanket. Nearly all the people
of the other village had crossed the river,
and the chief of the Rees, whose name was
Bald Eagle, went home with his wife last of
all. It was about dusk as they entered their
bullhide boat, and the two Sioux stood there
looking at them.
"Suddenly Big Whip exclaimed: 'Friend,
let us kill the chief. I dare you to kill and
scalp him!' His friend replied:
"'It shall be as you say. I will stand by
you in all things. I am willing to die with
"Accordingly Bald Eagle pulled out his gun
and shot the Ree dead. From that day he took
his name. The old man fell backward into his
boat, and the old woman screamed and wept as
she rowed him across the river. The other
young man shot an arrow or two at the wife,
but she continued to row until she reached the
other bank.
"There was great excitement on both sides
of the river as soon as the people saw what had
happened. There were two camps of Sioux,
the Blackfoot Sioux and the Yanktonnais, or
our people. Of course the Mandans and Rees
greatly outnumbered us; their camp must have
numbered two or three thousand, which was
more than we had in our combined camps.
"There was a Sioux whose name was Black
Shield, who had intermarried among the Rees.
He came down to the opposite bank of the Missouri
and shouted to us:
"'Of which one of your bands is the man
who killed Bald Eagle?'
"One of the Blackfoot Sioux replied:
"'It is a man of the Yanktonnais Sioux who
killed Bald Eagle.'
"Then he said: 'The Rees wish to do battle
with them; you had better withdraw from their
"Accordingly the Blackfeet retired about a
mile from us upon the bluffs and pitched their
tents, while the Yanktonnais remained on the
flats. The two bands had been great rivals in
courage and the art of war, so we did not ask
for help from our kinsfolk, but during the night
we dug trenches about the camp, the inner one
for the women and children, and the outer one
for the men to stay in and do battle.
"The next morning at daybreak the enemy
landed and approached our camp in great numbers.
Some of their women and old men came
also, and sat upon the bluffs to watch the fight
and to carry off their dead and wounded. The
Blackfeet likewise were watching the battle
from the bluffs, and just before the fight began
one Blackfoot came in with his wife and joined
us. His name was Red Dog's Track, but from
that day he was called He-Came-Back. His
wife was a Yanktonnais, and he had said to
her: 'If I don't join your tribe to-day, my
brothers-in-law will call me a coward.'
"The Sioux were well entrenched and well
armed with guns and arrows, and their aim
was deadly, so that the Rees crawled up gradually
and took every opportunity to pick off any
Sioux who ventured to show his head above the
trenches. In like manner every Ree who exposed
himself was sure to die.
"Up to this time no one had seen the two
men who made all the trouble. There was a
natural hollow in the bank, concealed by buffalo
berry bushes, very near where they stood when
Bald Eagle shot the Ree.
"'Friend,' said Big Whip, 'it is likely that
our own people will punish us for this deed.
They will pursue and kill us wherever they find
us. They have the right to do this. The best
thing is to drop into this washout and remain
there until they cease to look for us.'
"They did so, and remained hidden during
the night. But, after the fight began, Big Whip
said again: 'Friend, we are the cause of the
deaths of many brave men this day. We committed
the act to show our bravery. We dared
each other to do it. It will now become us as
warriors to join our band.'
"They both stripped, and taking their weapons
in hand, ran toward the camp. They had
to pass directly through the enemy's lines, but
they were not recognized till they had fairly
passed them. Then they were between two
fires. When they had almost reached the entrenchment
they faced about and fired at the
Rees, jumping about incessantly to avoid being
hit, as is the Indian fashion. Bullets and arrows
were flying all about them like hail, but
at last they dropped back unhurt into the Sioux
trenches. Thus the two men saved their reputation
for bravery, and their people never
openly reproached them for the events of that
day. Young men are often rash, but it is not
well to reprove one for a brave deed lest he
become a coward.
"Many were killed, but more of the Rees
than of our band. About the middle of the
afternoon there came a cold rain. It was in
the fall of the year. The bow-strings were wet,
and the guns were only flint-locks. You know
when the flint becomes wet it is useless, and it
looked as if the fight must be with knives.
"But the Rees were much disheartened.
They had lost many. The women were all the
time carrying off the wounded, and there were
the Blackfoot Sioux watching them from the
hills. They turned and fled toward the river.
The Sioux followed like crazy wolves, tomahawking
the tired and slow ones. Many were
killed at the boats, and some of the boats were
punctured with shot and sank. Some carried
a load of Sioux arrows back across the river.
That was the greatest battle ever fought by our
band," the old man concluded, with a deep sigh
of mingled satisfaction and regret.
"Ho my steed, we must climb one more
hill! My reputation depends upon
my report!"
Anookasan addressed his pony as if he were
a human companion, urged on like himself by
human need and human ambition. And yet
in his heart he had very little hope of sighting
any buffalo in that region at just that time of
the year.
The Yankton Sioux were ordinarily the most
far-sighted of their people in selecting a winter
camp, but this year the late fall had caught
them rather far east of the Missouri bottoms,
their favorite camping-ground. The upper
Jim River, called by the Sioux the River of
Gray Woods, was usually bare of large game
at that season. Their store of jerked buffalo
meat did not hold out as they had hoped, and
by March it became an urgent necessity to send
out scouts for buffalo.
The old men at the tiyo teepee (council
lodge) held a long council. It was decided to
select ten of their bravest and hardiest young
men to explore the country within three days'
journey of their camp.
"Anookasan, uyeyo-o-o, woo, woo!" Thus
the ten men were summoned to the council lodge
early in the evening to receive their commission.
Anookasan was the first called and first
to cross the circle of the teepees. A young man
of some thirty years, of the original native type,
his massive form was wrapped in a fine buffalo
robe with the hair inside. He wore a stately
eagle feather in his scalp-lock, but no paint
about his face.
As he entered the lodge all the inmates
greeted him with marked respect, and he was
given the place of honor. When all were
seated the great drum was struck and a song
sung by four deep-chested men. This was the
prelude to a peculiar ceremony.
A large red pipe, which had been filled and
laid carefully upon the central hearth, was now
taken up by an old man, whose face was painted
red. First he held it to the ground with the
words: "Great Mother, partake of this!"
Then he held it toward the sky, saying: "Great
Father, smoke this!" Finally he lighted it,
took four puffs, pointing it to the four corners
of the earth in turn, and lastly presented it
to Anookasan. This was the oath of office,
administered by the chief of the council lodge.
The other nine were similarly commissioned,
and all accepted the appointment.
It was no light task that was thus religiously
enjoined upon these ten men. It meant at the
least several days and nights of wandering in
search of signs of the wily buffalo. It was a
public duty, and a personal one as well; one
that must involve untold hardship; and if overtaken
by storm the messengers were in peril of
Anookasan returned to his teepee with some
misgiving. His old charger, which had so
often carried him to victory, was not so strong
as he had been in his prime. As his master
approached the lodge the old horse welcomed
him with a gentle whinny. He was always
tethered near by, ready for any emergency.
"Ah, Wakan! we are once more called upon
to do duty! We shall set out before daybreak."
As he spoke, he pushed nearer a few strips
of the poplar bark, which was oats to the Indian
pony of the olden time.
Anookasan had his extra pair of buffaloskin
moccasins with the hair inside, and his scanty
provision of dried meat neatly done up in a
small packet and fastened to his saddle. With
his companions he started northward, up the
River of the Gray Woods, five on the east side
and a like number on the west.
The party had separated each morning, so
as to cover as much ground as possible, having
agreed to return at night to the river. It was
now the third day; their food was all but gone,
their steeds much worn, and the signs seemed
to indicate a storm. Yet the hunger of their
friends and their own pride impelled them to
persist, for out of many young men they had
been chosen, therefore they must prove themselves
equal to the occasion.
The sun, now well toward the western horizon,
cast over snow-covered plains a purplish
light. No living creature was in sight and the
quest seemed hopeless, but Anookasan was not
one to accept defeat.
"There may be an outlook from yonder hill
which will turn failure into success," he thought,
as he dug his heels into the sides of his faithful
nag. At the same time he started a
"Strong Heart" song to keep his courage up!
At the summit of the ascent he paused and
gazed steadily before him. At the foot of the
next coteau he beheld a strip of black. He
strained his eyes to look, for the sun had already
set behind the hilltops. It was a great
herd of buffaloes, he thought, which was grazing
on the foot-hills.
"Hi hi, uncheedah! Hi, hi, tunkasheedah!"
he was about to exclaim in gratitude, when,
looking more closely, he discovered his mistake.
The dark patch was only timber.
His horse could not carry him any further,
so he got off and ran behind him toward the
river. At dusk he hailed his companions.
"Ho, what success?" one cried.
"Not a sign of even a lone bull," replied another.
"Yet I saw a gray wolf going north this
evening. His direction is propitious," remarked
Anookasan, as he led the others down
the slope and into the heavy timber. The river
just here made a sharp turn, forming a densely
wooded semicircle, in the shelter of a high
The braves were all downhearted because
of their ill-luck, and only the sanguine spirit
of Anookasan kept them from utter discouragement.
Their slight repast had been taken and
each man had provided himself with abundance
of dry grass and twigs for a bed. They had
built a temporary wigwam of the same material,
in the center of which there was a generous
fire. Each man stretched himself out
upon his robe in the glow of it. Anookasan
filled the red pipe, and, having lighted it, he
took one or two hasty puffs and held it up to
the moon, which was scarcely visible behind the
cold clouds.
"Great Mother, partake of this smoke!
May I eat meat to-morrow!" he exclaimed with
solemnity. Having uttered this prayer, he
handed the pipe to the man nearest him.
For a time they all smoked in silence; then
came a distant call.
"Ah, it is Shunkmanito, the wolf! There
is something cheering in his voice to-night,"
declared Anookasan. "Yes, I am sure he is
telling us not to be discouraged. You know
that the wolf is one of our best friends in trouble.
Many a one has been guided back to his
home by him in a blizzard, or led to game when
in desperate need. My friends, let us not turn
back in the morning; let us go north one more
No one answered immediately, and again
silence reigned, while one by one they pulled
the reluctant whiffs of smoke through the long
stem of the calumet.
"What is that?" said one of the men, and
all listened intently to catch the delicate sound.
They were familiar with all the noises of the
night and voices of the forest, but this was not
like any of them.
"It sounds like the song of a mosquito, and
one might forget while he listens that this is
not midsummer," said one.
"I hear also the medicine-man's single drumbeat,"
suggested another.
"There is a tradition," remarked Anookasan,
that many years ago a party of hunters went
up the river on a scout like this of ours. They
never returned. Afterward, in the summer,
their bones were found near the home of a
strange creature, said to be a little man, but
he had hair all over him. The Isantees call
him Chanotedah. Our old men give him the
name Oglugechana. This singular being is
said to be no larger than a new-born babe. He
speaks an unknown tongue.
"The home of Oglugechana is usually a hollow
stump, around which all of the nearest trees
are felled by lightning. There is an open spot
in the deep woods wherever he dwells. His
weapons are the plumes of various birds. Great
numbers of these variegated feathers are to be
found in the deserted lodge of the little man.
"It is told by the old men that Oglugechana
has a weird music by which he sometimes bewitches
lone travelers. He leads them hither and
thither about his place until they have lost their
senses. Then he speaks to them. He may
make of them great war-prophets or medicinemen,
but his commands are hard to fulfill. If
any one sees him and comes away before he is
bewildered, the man dies as soon as he smells
the camp-fire, or when he enters his home his
nearest relative dies suddenly."
The warrior who related this legend assumed
the air of one who narrates authentic history,
and his listeners appeared to be seriously impressed.
What we call the supernatural was as
real to them as any part of their lives.
"This thing does not stop to breathe at all.
His music seems to go on endlessly," said one,
with considerable uneasiness.
"It comes from the heavy timber north of
us, under the high cliff," reported a warrior
who had stepped outside of the rude temporary
structure to inform himself more clearly of the
direction of the sound.
"Anookasan, you are our leader--tell us
what we should do! We will follow you. I
believe we ought to leave this spot immediately.
This is perhaps the spirit of some dead enemy,"
suggested another. Meanwhile, the red pipe
was refilled and sent around the circle to calm
their disturbed spirits.
When the calumet returned at last to the one
addressed, he took it in a preoccupied manner,
and spoke between labored pulls on the stem.
"I am just like yourselves--nothing more
than flesh--with a spirit that is as ready to
leave me as water to run from a punctured
water-bag! When we think thus, we are weak.
Let us rather think upon the brave deeds of
our ancestors! This singing spirit has a gentle
voice; I am ready to follow and learn if it
be an enemy or no. Let us all be found together
next summer if need be!"
"Ho, ho, ho!" was the full-throated response.
"All put on your war-paint," suggested
Anookasan. "Have your knives and arrows
They did so, and all stole silently through the
black forest in the direction of the mysterious
sound. Clearer and clearer it came through the
frosty air; but it was a foreign sound to the
savage ear. Now it seemed to them almost
like a distant water-fall; then it recalled the
low hum of summer insects and the drowsy
drone of the bumblebee. Thump, thump,
thump! was the regular accompaniment.
Nearer and nearer to the cliff they came,
deeper into the wild heart of the woods. At
last out of the gray, formless night a dark shape
appeared! It looked to them like a huge buffalo
bull standing motionless in the forest, and
from his throat there apparently proceeded the
thump of the medicine drum, and the song of
the beguiling spirit!
All of a sudden a spark went up into the air.
As they continued to approach, there became
visible a deep glow about the middle of the
dark object. Whatever it was, they had never
heard of anything like it in all their lives!
Anookasan was a little in advance of his companions,
and it was he who finally discovered a
wall of logs laid one upon another. Half way
up there seemed to be stretched a par-fleche
(raw-hide), from which a dim light emanated.
He still thought of Oglugechana, who dwells
within a hollow tree, and determined to surprise
and if possible to overpower this wonderworking
old man.
All now took their knives in their hands and
advanced with their leader to the attack upon
the log hut. "Wa-wa-wa-wa, woo, woo!"
they cried. Zip, zip! went the par-fleche door
and window, and they all rushed in!
There sat a man upon a roughly hewn stool.
He was attired in wolfskins and wore a foxskin
cap upon his head. The larger portion of
his face was clothed with natural fur. A rudely
made cedar fiddle was tucked under his furred
chin. Supporting it with his left hand, he
sawed it vigorously with a bow that was not
unlike an Indian boy's miniature weapon, while
his moccasined left foot came down upon the
sod floor in time with the music. When the
shrill war-whoop came, and the door and window
were cut in strips by the knives of the Indians,
he did not even cease playing, but instinctively
he closed his eyes, so as not to behold
the horror of his own end.
It was long ago, upon the rolling prairie
south of the Devil's Lake, that a motley
body of hunters gathered near a mighty
herd of the bison, in the Moon of Falling
Leaves. These were the first generation of the
Canadian mixed-bloods, who sprang up in such
numbers as to form almost a new people.
These semi-wild Americans soon became a necessity
to the Hudson Bay Company, as they
were the greatest hunters of the bison, and
made more use of this wonderful animal than
even their aboriginal ancestors.
A curious race of people this, in their make-up
and their customs! Their shaggy black hair
was allowed to grow long, reaching to their
broad shoulders, then cut off abruptly, making
their heads look like a thatched house. Their
dark faces were in most cases well covered with
hair, their teeth large and white, and their eyes
usually liquid black, although occasionally one
had a tiger-brown or cold-gray eye. Their costume
was a buckskin shirt with abundance of
fringes, buckskin pantaloons with short leggins,
a gay sash, and a cap of fox-fur. Their
arms consisted of flint-lock guns, hatchets, and
butcher-knives. Their ponies were small, but
as hardy as themselves.
As these men gathered in the neighborhood
of an immense herd of buffaloes, they busied
themselves in adjusting the girths of their
beautifully beaded pillow-like saddles. Among
them there were exceptional riders and hunters.
It was said that few could equal Antoine Michaud
in feats of riding into and through the
herd. There he stood, all alone, the observed
of many others. It was his habit to give several
Indian yells when the onset began, so as
to insure a successful hunt.
In this instance, Antoine gave his usual
whoops, and when they had almost reached the
herd, he lifted his flint-lock over his head and
plunged into the black moving mass. With
a sound like the distant rumbling of thunder,
those tens of thousands of buffalo hoofs were
pounding the earth in retreat. Thus Antoine
His wild steed dashed into the midst of the
vast herd. Fortunately for him, the animals
kept clear of him; but alas! the gap through
which he had entered instantly closed again.
He yelled frantically to secure an outlet, but
without effect. He had tied a red bandanna
around his head to keep the hair off his face,
and he now took this off and swung it crazily
about him to scatter the buffalo, but it availed
him nothing.
With such a mighty herd in flight, the speed
could not be great; therefore the "Bois Brule"
settled himself to the situation, allowing his
pony to canter along slowly to save his strength.
It required much tact and presence of mind to
keep an open space, for the few paces of obstruction
behind had gradually grown into a
The mighty host moved continually southward,
walking and running alternately. As the
sun neared the western horizon, it fired the sky
above them, and all the distant hills and prairies
were in the glow of it, but immediately about
them was a thick cloud of dust, and the ground
appeared like a fire-swept plain.
Suddenly Antoine was aware of a tremendous
push from behind. The animals smelled the
cool water of a spring which formed a large
bog in the midst of the plain. This solitary
pond or marsh was a watering-place for the
wild animals. All pushed and edged toward
it; it was impossible for any one to withstand
the combined strength of so many.
Antoine and his steed were in imminent danger
of being pushed into the mire and trampled
upon, but a mere chance brought them upon
solid ground. As they were crowded across the
marsh, his pony drank heartily, and he, for the
first time, let go his bridle, put his two palms
together for a dipper, and drank greedily of
the bitter water. He had not eaten since early
morning, so he now pulled up some bulrushes
and ate of the tender bulbs, while the pony
grazed as best he could on the tops of the tall
It was now dark. The night was wellnigh
intolerable for Antoine. The buffalo were
about him in countless numbers, regarding him
with vicious glances. It was only by reason
of the natural offensiveness of man that they
gave him any space. The bellowing of the
bulls became general, and there was a marked
uneasiness on the part of the herd. This was
a sign of approaching storm, therefore the unfortunate
hunter had this additional cause for
anxiety. Upon the western horizon were seen
some flashes of lightning.
The cloud which had been a mere speck upon
the horizon had now increased to large proportions.
Suddenly the wind came, and lightning
flashes became more frequent, showing the ungainly
forms of the animals like strange monsters
in the white light. The colossal herd was
again in violent motion. It was a blind rush
for shelter, and no heed was paid to buffalo
wallows or even deep gulches. All was in the
deepest of darkness. There seemed to be
groaning in heaven and earth--millions of
hoofs and throats roaring in unison!
As a shipwrecked man clings to a mere fragment
of wood, so Antoine, although almost
exhausted with fatigue, still stuck to the back
of his equally plucky pony. Death was imminent
for them both. As the mad rush continued,
every flash displayed heaps of bison in
death struggle under the hoofs of their companions.
From time to time Antoine crossed himself
and whispered a prayer to the Virgin; and
again he spoke to his horse after the fashion
of an Indian:
"Be brave, be strong, my horse! If we survive
this trial, you shall have great honor!"
The stampede continued until they reached
the bottom lands, and, like a rushing stream,
their course was turned aside by the steep bank
of a creek or small river. Then they moved
more slowly in wide sweeps or circles, until the
storm ceased, and the exhausted hunter, still
in his saddle, took some snatches of sleep.
When he awoke and looked about him again
it was morning. The herd had entered the
strip of timber which lay on both sides of the
river, and it was here that Antoine conceived
his first distinct hope of saving himself.
"Waw, waw, waw!" was the hoarse cry
that came to his ears, apparently from a human
being in distress. Antoine strained his eyes
and craned his neck to see who it could be.
Through an opening in the branches ahead he
perceived a large grizzly bear, lying along an
inclined limb and hugging it desperately to
maintain his position. The herd had now thoroughly
pervaded the timber, and the bear was
likewise hemmed in. He had taken to his unaccustomed
refuge after making a brave stand
against several bulls, one of which lay dead
near by, while he himself was bleeding from
many wounds.
Antoine had been assiduously looking for a
friendly tree, by means of which he hoped to
effect his escape from captivity by the army of
bison. His horse, by chance, made his way
directly under the very box-elder that was sustaining
the bear and there was a convenient
branch just within his reach. The Bois Brule
was not then in an aggressive mood, and he saw
at a glance that the occupant of the tree would
not interfere with him. They were, in fact,
companions in distress. Antoine tried to give
a war-whoop as he sprang desperately from the
pony's back and seized the cross limb with both
his hands.
The hunter dangled in the air for a minute
that to him seemed a year. Then he gathered
up all the strength that was in him, and with
one grand effort he pulled himself up on the
If he had failed in this, he would have fallen
to the ground under the hoofs of the buffaloes,
and at their mercy.
After he had adjusted his seat as comfortably
as he could, Antoine surveyed the situation.
He had at least escaped from sudden and certain
death. It grieved him that he had been
forced to abandon his horse, and he had no
idea how far he had come nor any means of
returning to his friends, who had, no doubt,
given him up for lost. His immediate needs
were rest and food.
Accordingly he selected a fat cow and emptied
into her sides one barrel of his gun, which
had been slung across his chest. He went on
shooting until he had killed many fat cows,
greatly to the discomfiture of his neighbor, the
bear, while the bison vainly struggled among
themselves to keep the fatal spot clear.
By the middle of the afternoon the main
body of the herd had passed, and Antoine was
sure that his captivity had at last come to an
end. Then he swung himself from his limb to
the ground, and walked stiffly to the carcass of
the nearest cow, which he dressed and prepared
himself a meal. But first he took a piece of
liver on a long pole to the bear!
Antoine finally decided to settle in the recesses
of the heavy timber for the winter, as he
was on foot and alone, and not able to travel
any great distance. He jerked the meat of all
the animals he had killed, and prepared their
skins for bedding and clothing. The Bois
Brule and Ami, as he called the bear, soon became
necessary to one another. The former
considered the bear very good company, and
the latter had learned that man's business, after
all, is not to kill every animal he meets. He
had been fed and kindly treated, when helpless
from his wounds, and this he could not forget.
Antoine was soon busy erecting a small log
hut, while the other partner kept a sharp lookout,
and, after his hurts were healed, often
brought in some small game. The two had a
perfect understanding without many words; at
least, the speech was all upon one side! In his
leisure moments Antoine had occupied himself
with whittling out a rude fiddle of cedar-wood,
strung with the guts of a wild cat that he had
killed. Every evening that winter he would sit
down after supper and play all the old familiar
pieces, varied with improvisations of his own.
At first, the music and the incessant pounding
time with his foot annoyed the bear. At times,
too, the Canadian would call out the figures for
the dance. All this Ami became accustomed to
in time, and even showed no small interest in
the buzzing of the little cedar box. Not infrequently,
he was out in the evening, and the
human partner was left alone. It chanced,
quite fortunately, that the bear was absent on
the night that the red folk rudely invaded the
lonely hut.
The calmness of the strange being had stayed
their hands. They had never before seen a
man of other race than their own!
"Is this Chanotedah? Is he man, or beast?"
the warriors asked one another.
"Ho, wake up, koda!" exclaimed Anookasan.
"Maybe he is of the porcupine tribe,
ashamed to look at us!"
At this moment they spied the haunch of
venison which swung from a cross-stick over
a fine bed of coals, in front of the rude mud
"Ho, koda has something to eat! Sit down,
sit down!" they shouted to one another.
Now Antoine opened his eyes for the first
time upon his unlooked-for guests. They were
a haggard and hungry-looking set. Anookasan
extended his hand, and Antoine gave it a hearty
shake. He set his fiddle against the wall and
began to cut up the smoking venison into generous
pieces and place it before them. All ate
like famished men, while the firelight intensified
the red paint upon their wild and warlike faces.
When he had satisfied his first hunger,
Anookasan spoke in signs. "Friend, we have
never before heard a song like that of your
little cedar box! We had supposed it to be a
spirit, or some harmful thing, hence our attack
upon it. We never saw any people of your
sort. What is your tribe?"
Antoine explained his plight in the same
manner, and the two soon came to an understanding.
The Canadian told the starving hunters
of a buffalo herd a little way to the north,
and one of their number was dispatched homeward
with the news. In two days the entire
band reached Antoine's place. The Bois Brule
was treated with kindness and honor, and the
tribe gave him a wife. Suffice it to say that
Antoine lived and died among the Yanktons
at a good old age; but Ami could not brook
the invasion upon their hermit life. He was
never seen after that first evening.
On the Assiniboine River in western
Manitoba there stands an old, historic
trading-post, whose crumbling
walls crown a high promontory in the angle
formed by its junction with a tributary stream.
This is Fort Ellis, a mistress of the wilderness
and lodestone of savage tribes between the
years 1830 and 1870.
Hither at that early day the Indians brought
their buffalo robes and beaver skins to exchange
for merchandise, ammunition, and the "spirit
water." Among the others there presently appeared
a band of renegade Sioux--the exiles,
as they called themselves--under White Lodge,
whose father, Little Crow, had been a leader
in the outbreak of 1862. Now the great warchief
was dead, and his people were prisoners
or fugitives. The shrewd Scotch trader, Mc-
Leod, soon discovered that the Sioux were
skilled hunters, and therefore he exerted himself
to befriend them, as well as to encourage a
feeling of good will between them and the Canadian
tribes who were accustomed to make the
old fort their summer rendezvous.
Now the autumn had come, after a long summer
of feasts and dances, and the three tribes
broke up and dispersed as usual in various directions.
White Lodge had twin daughters,
very handsome, whose ears had been kept burning
with the proposals of many suitors, but none
had received any definite encouragement. There
were one or two who would have been quite
willing to forsake their own tribes and follow
the exiles had they not feared too much the
ridicule of the braves. Even Angus McLeod,
the trader's eldest son, had need of all his
patience and caution, for he had never seen
any woman he admired so much as the piquant
Magaskawee, called The Swan, one of these
belles of the forest.
The Sioux journeyed northward, toward the
Mouse River. They had wintered on that
stream before, and it was then the feeding
ground of large herds of buffalo. When it was
discovered that the herds were moving westward,
across the Missouri, there was no little
apprehension. The shrewd medicine-man became
aware of the situation, and hastened to
announce his prophecy:
"The Great Mystery has appeared to me in
a dream! He showed me men with haggard
and thin faces. I interpret this to mean a
scarcity of food during the winter."
The chief called his counselors together and
set before them the dream of the priest, whose
prophecy, he said, was already being fulfilled in
part by the westward movement of the buffalo.
It was agreed that they should lay up all the
dried meat they could obtain; but even for
this they were too late. The storms were already
at hand, and that winter was more severe
than any that the old men could recall in their
traditions. The braves killed all the small
game for a wide circuit around the camp, but
the buffalo had now crossed the river, and that
country was not favorable for deer. The more
enterprising young men organized hunting expeditions
to various parts of the open prairie,
but each time they returned with empty hands.
The "Moon of Sore Eyes," or March, had
come at last, and Wazeah, the God of Storm,
was still angry. Their scant provision of dried
meat had held out wonderfully, but it was now
all but consumed. The Sioux had but little ammunition,
and the snow was still so deep that
it was impossible for them to move away to
any other region in search of game. The worst
was feared; indeed, some of the children and
feeble old people had already succumbed.
White Lodge again called his men together
in council, and it was determined to send a messenger
to Fort Ellis to ask for relief. A young
man called Face-the-Wind was chosen for his
exceptional qualities of speed and endurance
upon long journeys. The old medicine-man,
whose shrewd prophecy had gained for him the
confidence of the people, now came forward.
He had closely observed the appearance of the
messenger selected, and had taken note of the
storm and distance. Accordingly he said:
"My children, the Great Mystery is offended,
and this is the cause of all our suffering!
I see a shadow hanging over our messenger, but
I will pray to the Great Spirit--perhaps he
may yet save him!--Great Mystery, be thou
merciful! Strengthen this young man for his
journey, that he may be able to finish it and to
send us aid! If we see the sun of summer
again, we will offer the choicest of our meats to
thee, and do thee great honor!"
During this invocation, as occasionally happens
in March, a loud peal of thunder was
heard. This coincidence threw the prophet almost
into a frenzy, and the poor people were
all of a tremble. Face-the-Wind believed that
the prayer was directly answered, and though
weakened by fasting and unfit for the task before
him, he was encouraged to make the attempt.
He set out on the following day at dawn,
and on the third day staggered into the fort,
looking like a specter and almost frightening
the people. He was taken to McLeod's house
and given good care. The poor fellow, delirious
with hunger, fancied himself engaged in
mortal combat with Eyah, the god of famine,
who has a mouth extending from ear to ear.
Wherever he goes there is famine, for he swallows
all that he sees, even whole nations!
The legend has it that Eyah fears nothing
but the jingling of metal: so finally the dying
man looked up into McLeod's face and cried:
"Ring your bell in his face, Wahadah!"
The kind-hearted factor could not refuse, and
as the great bell used to mark the hours of work
and of meals pealed out untimely upon the
frosty air, the Indian started up and in that
moment breathed his last. He had given no
news, and McLeod and his sons could only
guess at the state of affairs upon the Mouse
While the men were in council with her
father, Magaskawee had turned over the contents
of her work-bag. She had found a small
roll of birch-bark in which she kept her porcupine
quills for embroidery, and pulled the delicate
layers apart. The White Swan was not
altogether the untutored Indian maiden, for
she had lived in the family of a missionary in
the States, and had learned both to speak and
write some English. There was no ink, no pen
or pencil, but with her bone awl she pressed
upon the white side of the bark the following
We are near the hollow rock on the Mouse River. The
buffalo went away across the Missouri, and our powder and
shot are gone. We are starving. Good-bye, if I don't see
you again.
The girl entrusted this little note to her
grandmother, and she in turn gave it to the
messenger. But he, as we know, was unable
to deliver it.
"Angus, tell the boys to bury the poor fellow
to-morrow. I dare say he brought us some
news from White Lodge, but we have got to
go to the happy hunting-grounds to get it, or
wait till the exile band returns in the spring.
Evidently," continued McLeod, "he fell sick
on the way: or else he was starving!"
This last suggestion horrified Angus. "I
believe, father," he exclaimed, "that we ought
to examine his bundle."
A small oblong packet was brought forth
from the dead man's belt and carefully unrolled.
There were several pairs of moccasins, and
within one of these Angus found something
wrapped up nicely. He proceeded to unwind
the long strings of deerskin with which it was
securely tied, and brought forth a thin sheet
of birch-bark. At first, there seemed to be nothing
more, but a closer scrutiny revealed the impression
of the awl, and the bit of nature's
parchment was brought nearer to his face, and
scanned with a zeal equal to that of any student
of ancient hieroglyphics.
"This tells the whole story, father!" exclaimed
the young man at last. "Magaskawee's
note--just listen!" and he read it aloud.
"I shall start to-morrow. We can take
enough provision and ammunition on two sleds,
with six dogs to each. I shall want three good
men to go with me." Angus spoke with decision.
"Well, we can't afford to lose our best hunters;
and you might also bring home with you
what furs and robes they have on hand," was
his father's prudent reply.
"I don't care particularly for the skins,"
Angus declared; but he at once began hurried
preparations for departure.
In the meantime affairs grew daily more
desperate in the exile village on the far-away
Mouse River, and a sort of Indian hopelessness
and resignation settled down upon the little
community. There were few who really expected
their messenger to reach the fort, or believed
that even if he did so, relief would be
sent in time to save them. White Lodge, the
father of his people, was determined to share
with them the last mouthful of food, and every
morning Winona and Magaskawee went with
scanty portions in their hands to those whose
supply had entirely failed.
On the outskirts of the camp there dwelt an
old woman with an orphan grandchild, who
had been denying herself for some time in order
that the child might live longer. This poor
teepee the girls visited often, and one on each
side they raised the exhausted woman and
poured into her mouth the warm broth they
had brought with them.
It was on the very day Face-the-Wind
reached Fort Ellis that a young hunter who had
ventured further from the camp than any one
else had the luck to bring down a solitary deer
with his bow and arrow. In his weakness he
had reached camp very late, bearing the deer
with the utmost difficulty upon his shoulders.
It was instantly separated into as many pieces
as there were lodges of the famishing Sioux.
These delicious morsels were hastily cooked and
eagerly devoured, but among so many there
was scarcely more than a mouthful to the share
of each, and the brave youth himself did not
receive enough to appease in the least his craving!
On the eve of Angus' departure for the exile
village, Three Stars, a devoted suitor of Winona's,
accompanied by another Assiniboine
brave, appeared unexpectedly at the fort. He
at once asked permission to join the relief party,
and they set out at daybreak.
The lead-dog was the old reliable Mack, who
had been in service for several seasons on winter
trips. All of the white men were clad in
buckskin shirts and pantaloons, with long
fringes down the sides, fur caps and fur-lined
moccasins. Their guns were fastened to the
long, toboggan-like sleds.
The snow had thawed a little and formed an
icy crust, and over this fresh snow had fallen,
which a northwest wind swept over the surface
like ashes after a prairie fire. The sun appeared
for a little time in the morning, but it seemed
as if he were cutting short his course on account
of the bleak day, and had protected himself
with pale rings of fire.
The dogs laid back their ears, drew in their
tails, and struck into their customary trot, but
even old Mack looked back frequently, as if
reluctant to face such a pricking and scarifying
wind. The men felt the cold still more keenly,
although they had taken care to cover every bit
of the face except one eye, and that was completely
blinded at times by the granulated snow.
The sun early retreated behind a wall of cloud,
and the wind moaned and wailed like a living
creature in anguish. At last they approached the
creek where they had planned to camp for the
night. There was nothing to be seen but a few
stunted willows half buried in the drifts, but
the banks of the little stream afforded some protection
from the wind.
"Whoa!" shouted the leader, and the dogs
all stopped, sitting down on their haunches.
"Come, Mack!" (with a wave of the hand),
"lead your fellows down to the creek!"
The old dog started down at the word, and
all the rest followed. A space was quickly
cleared of snow, while one man scoured the
thickets in search of brush for fuel. In a few
minutes the tent was up and a fire kindled in
the center, while the floor was thickly strewn
with twigs of willow, over which buffalo robes
were spread. Three Stars attended to supper,
and soon in the midst of the snapping willow
fire a kettle was boiling. All partook of strong
tea, dried meat of buffalo, and pemmican, a mixture
of pounded dried meat with wild cherries
and melted fat. The dogs, to whom one-half
the tent was assigned, enjoyed a hearty meal
and fell into a deep sleep, lying one against another.
After supper Jerry drove two sticks into the
ground, one on each side of the fire, and connected
the two by a third one over the blaze.
Upon this all hung their socks to dry--most
of them merely square pieces of blanket cut to
serve that purpose. Soon each man rolled himself
in his own buffalo robe and fell asleep.
All night the wind raged. The lonely teepee
now and then shuddered violently, as a
stronger blast than usual almost lifted it from
the ground. No one stirred except from time
to time one of the dogs, who got up snarling
and sniffing the cold air, turned himself round
several times as if on a pivot, and finally lay
down for another nap.
In the morning the travelers one by one
raised their heads and looked through the
smoke-hole, then fell back again with a grunt.
All the world appeared without form and void.
Presently, however, the light of the sun was
seen as if through a painted window, and by
afternoon they were able to go on, the wind
having partially subsided. This was only a
taste of the weather encountered by the party
on their unseasonable trip; but had it been ten
times harder, it would never have occurred to
Angus to turn back.
On the third day the rescuers approached
the camp of the exiles. There was an ominous
quiet; no creature was to be seen; but the smoke
which ascended into the air in perpendicular
columns assured them that some, at least, were
still alive. The party happened to reach first
the teepee of the poor old woman who had been
so faithfully ministered to by the twin sisters.
They had no longer any food to give, but they
had come to build her fire, if she should have
survived the night. At the very door of the
lodge they heard the jingle of dog-bells, but
they had not time to announce the joyful news
before the men were in sight.
In another minute Angus and Three Stars
were beside them, holding their wasted hands.
Just outside of a fine large wigwam of
smoke-tanned buffalo-skins stood Tawasuota,
very early upon an August morning
of the year 1862. Behind the wigwam there
might have been seen a thrifty patch of growing
maize, whose tall, graceful stalks resembled as
many warriors in dancing-dresses and tasseled
"Thanks be to the 'Great Mystery,' I have
been successful in the fortunes of war! None
can say that Tawasuota is a coward. I have
done well; so well that our chief, Little Crow,
has offered me the honored position of his chief
soldier, ta akich-itah!" he said to himself with
The sun was just over the eastem bank of the
Minnesota River, and he could distinctly see
upon the level prairie the dwellings of logs
which had sprung up there during the year,
since Little Crow's last treaty with the whites.
"Ugh! they are taking from us our beautiful
and game-teeming country!" was his thought
as he gazed upon them.
At that moment, out of the conical white
teepee, in shape like a new-born mushroom,
there burst two little frisky boys, leaping and
whooping. They were clad gracefully in garments
of fine deerskin, and each wore a miniature
feather upon his head, marking them as
children of a distinguished warrior.
They danced nimbly around their father,
while he stood with all the dignity of a buck
elk, viewing the landscape reddened by sunrise
and the dwellers therein, the old and the new,
the red and the white. He noticed that they
were still unmingled; the river divided them.
At last he took the dancing little embryo
warriors one in either hand, and lifted them to
his majestic shoulders. There he placed them
in perfect poise. His haughty spirit found a
moment's happiness in fatherhood.
Suddenly Tawasuota set the two boys on the
ground again, and signed to them to enter the
teepee. Apparently all was quiet. The camps
and villages of the Minnesota reservation were
undisturbed, so far as he could see, save by the
awakening of nature; and the early risers
among his people moved about in seeming security,
while the smoke of their morning fires
arose one by one into the blue. Still the warrior
gazed steadily westward, up the river,
whence his quick ear had caught the faint but
ominous sound of a distant war-whoop.
The ridge beyond the Wahpeton village
bounded the view, and between this point and
his own village were the agency buildings and
the traders' stores. The Indian's keen eye
swept the horizon, and finally alighted once
more upon the home of his new neighbor across
the river, the flaxen-haired white man with
many children, who with his white squaw and
his little ones worked from sunrise to sunset,
much like the beaver family.
Ah! the distant war-whoop once more saluted
his ear, but this time nearer and more distinct.
"What! the Rice Creek band is coming in
full war-paint! Can it be another Ojibway attack?
Ugh, ugh! I will show their warriors
again this day what it is to fight!" he exclaimed
The white traders and Government employees,
those of them who were up and about,
heard and saw the advancing column of warriors.
Yet they showed no sign of anxiety or
fear. Most of them thought that there might
be some report of Ojibways coming to attack
the Sioux,--a not uncommon incident,--and
that those warriors were on their way to the
post to replenish their powder-horns. A few
of the younger men were delighted with the
prospect of witnessing an Indian fight.
On swept the armed band, in numbers increasing
at every village.
It was true that there had been a growing
feeling of distrust among the Indians, because
their annuities had been withheld for a long
time, and the money payments had been delayed
again and again. There were many in great
need. The traders had given them credit to
some extent (charging them four times the
value of the article purchased), and had likewise
induced Little Crow to sign over to them
ninety-eight thousand dollars, the purchase-price
of that part of their reservation lying north
of the Minnesota, and already occupied by the
This act had made the chief very unpopular,
and he was ready for a desperate venture
to regain his influence. Certain warriors
among the upper bands of Sioux had even
threatened his life, but no one spoke openly of
a break with the whites.
When, therefore, the news came to Little
Crow that some roving hunters of the Rice
Creek band had killed in a brawl two families
of white settlers, he saw his opportunity to show
once for all to the disaffected that he had no
love for the white man. Immediately he sprang
upon his white horse, and prepared to make
their cause a general one among his people.
Tawasuota had scarcely finished his hasty
preparations for war, by painting his face and
seeing to the loading of his gun, when he heard
the voice of Little Crow outside his lodge.
"You are now my head soldier," said the
chief, "and this is your first duty. Little Six
and his band have inaugurated the war against
the whites. They have already wiped out two
families, and are now on their way to the agency.
Let my chief soldier fire the first shot.
"Those Indians who have cut their hair and
donned the white man's clothing may give the
warning; so make haste! If you fall to-day,
there is no better day on which to die, and the
women of our tribe will weep proud tears for
Tawasuota. I leave it with you to lead my
warriors." With these words the wily chief
galloped away to meet the war-party.
"Here comes Little Crow, the friend of the
white man!" exclaimed a warrior, as he approached.
"Friends and warriors, you will learn to-day
who are the friends of the white man, and none
will dare again to insinuate that I have been
against the interests of my own people," he
After a brief consultation with the chiefs he
advised the traders:
"Do not hesitate to fill the powder-horns of
my warriors; they may be compelled to fight all
Soon loud yells were heard along the road
to the Indian village.
"Ho, ho! Tawasuota u ye do!" (He is
coming; he is coming!") shouted the warriors
in chorus.
The famous war-chief dismounted in silence,
gun in hand, and walked directly toward the
larger store.
"Friend," he exclaimed, "we may both meet
the 'Great Mystery' to-day, but you must go
There was a loud report, and the unsuspecting
white man lay dead. It was James Lynd,
one of the early traders, and a good friend to
the Indians.
No sooner had Tawasuota fired the fatal shot
than every other Indian discharged his piece.
Hither and thither ran the frantic people, seeking
safety, but seeking it in vain. They were
wholly unprepared and at the mercy of the foe.
The friendly Indians, too, were taken entirely
by surprise. They had often heard wild talk
of revolt, but it had never had the indorsement
of intelligent chiefs, or of such a number as to
carry any weight to their minds. Christian Indians
rushed in every direction to save, if possible,
at least the wives and children of the Government
employees. Meanwhile, the new white
settlements along the Minnesota River were
utterly unconscious of any danger. Not a soul
dreamed of the terrible calamity that each passing
moment was bringing nearer and nearer.
Tawasuota stepped aside, and took up his
pipe. He seemed almost oblivious of what he
had done. While the massacre still raged about
him in all its awful cruelty, he sat smoking and
trying to think collectedly, but his mind was
confused, and in his secret thoughts he rebelled
against Little Crow. It was a cowardly deed
that he had been ordered to commit, he
thought; for he had won his reputation solely
by brave deeds in battle, and this was more like
murdering one of his own tribesmen--this killing
of an unarmed white man. Up to this time
the killing of a white man was not counted the
deed of a warrior; it was murder.
The lesser braves might now satisfy their
spite against the traders to their hearts' content,
but Tawasuota had been upon the best of
terms with all of them.
Suddenly a ringing shout was heard. The
chief soldier looked up, and beheld a white man,
nearly nude, leap from the roof of the larger
store and alight upon the ground hard by
He had emptied one barrel of his gun, and,
if he chose to do so, could have killed Myrick
then and there; but he made no move, exclaiming:
"Ho, ho! Nina iyaye!" ("Run, run!")
Away sped the white man in the direction of
the woods and the river.
"Ah, he is swift; he will save himself,"
thought Tawasuota.
All the Indians had now spied the fugitive;
they yelled and fired at him again and again,
as if they were shooting at a running deer; but
he only ran faster. Just as he had reached the
very edge of the sheltering timber a single shot
rang out, and he fell headlong.
A loud war-whoop went up, for many believed
that this was one of the men who had
stolen their trust funds.
Tawasuota continued to sit and smoke in the
shade while the carnage and plunder that he
had set on foot proceeded on all sides of him.
Presently men began to form small parties to
cross the river on their mission of death, but
he refused to join any of them. At last, several
of the older warriors came up to smoke with
"Ho, nephew," said one of them with much
gravity, "you have precipitated a dreadful calamity.
This means the loss of our country,
the destruction of our nation. What were you
thinking of?"
It was the Wahpeton chief who spoke, a
blood-relation to Tawasuota. He did not at
once reply, but filled his pipe in silence, and
handed it to the man who thus reproached him.
It was a just rebuke; for he was a brave man,
and he could have refused the request of his
chief to open the massacre.
At this moment it was announced that a body
of white soldiers were on the march from Fort
Ridgeley. A large body of warriors set out to
meet them.
"Nephew, you have spilled the first blood
of the white man; go, join in battle with the soldiers.
They are armed; they can defend themselves,"
remarked the old chief, and Tawasuota
"Uncle, you speak truth; I have committed
the act of a coward. It was not of my own
will I did it; nevertheless, I have raised my
weapon, and I will fight the whites as long as
I live. If I am ever taken, they will first have
to kill me." He arose, took up his gun, and
joined the war-party.
The dreadful day of massacre was almost
ended. The terrified Sioux women and children
had fled up the river before the approaching
troops. Long shafts of light from the setting
sun painted every hill; one side red as with
blood, the other dark as the shadow of death.
A cloud of smoke from burning homes hung
over the beautiful river. Even the permanent
dwellings of the Indians were empty, and all
the teepees which had dotted with their white
cones the west bank of the Minnesota had disappeared.
Here and there were small groups
of warriors returning from their bloody work,
and among them was Tawasuota.
He looked long at the spot where his home
had stood; but it was gone, and with it his
family. Ah, the beautiful country of his ancestors!
he must depart from it forever, for he
knew now that the white man would occupy
that land. Sadly he sang the spirit-song, and
made his appeal to the "Great Mystery," excusing
himself by the plea that what he had done
had been in the path of duty. There was no
glory in it for him; he could wear no eagle
feather, nor could he ever recount the deed. It
was dreadful to him--the thought that he had
fired upon an unarmed and helpless man.
The chief soldier followed the broad trail
of the fleeing host, and after some hours he
came upon a camp. There were no war-songs
nor dances there, as was their wont after a battle,
but a strange stillness reigned. Even the
dogs scarcely barked at his approach; everything
seemed conscious of the awful carnage
of the day.
He stopped at a tent and inquired after his
beautiful wife and two little sons, whom he had
already trained to uphold their father's reputation,
but was directed to his mother's teepee.
"Ah, my son, my son, what have you done?"
cried his old mother when she saw him.
"Come in, come in; let us eat together once
more ; for I have a foreboding that it is for
the last time. Alas, what have you done?"
Tawasuota silently entered the tent of his
widowed mother, and his three sisters gave him
the place of honor.
"Mother, it is not right to blame our
brother," said the eldest. "He was the chief's
head soldier; and if he had disobeyed his orders,
he would have been called a coward. That he
could not bear."
Food was handed him, and he swallowed a
few mouthfuls, and gave back the dish.
"You have not yet told me where she is,
and the children," he said with a deep sigh.
"My son, my son, I have not, because it will
give you pain. I wanted you to eat first! She
has been taken away by her own mother to Faribault,
among the white people. I could not
persuade them to wait until you came. Her people
are lovers of the whites. They have even
accepted their religion," grieved the good old
Tawasuota's head dropped upon his chest,
and he sat silent for a long time. The mother
and three sisters were also silent, for they knew
how heavy his grief must be. At last he spoke.
"Mother, I am too proud to desert the tribe
now and join my wife among the white people.
My brother-in-law may lie in my behalf, and
say that my hands are not stained with blood;
but the spirits of those who died to-day would
rebuke me, and the rebuke would be just. No,
I must fight the whites until I die; and neither
have I fought without cause; but I must see
my sons once more before I go."
When Tawasuota left his mother's teepee
he walked fast across the circle toward the council
lodge to see Little Crow. He drew his
blanket closely about him, with his gun underneath.
The keen eye of the wily chief detected
the severe expression upon the face of his guest,
and he hastened to speak first.
"There are times in the life of every great
man when he must face hardship and put self
aside for the good of his people. You have
done well to-day!"
"I care little for myself," replied Tawasuota,
"but my heart is heavy to-night. My wife
and two boys have been taken away among the
whites by my mother-in-law. I fear for their
safety, when it is known what we have done."
"Ugh, that old woman is too hasty in accepting
the ways of the stranger people!" exclaimed
the chief.
"I am now on my way to see them," declared
"Ugh, ugh, I shall need you to-morrow!
My plan is to attack the soldiers at Fort Ridgeley
with a strong force. There are not many.
Then we shall attack New Ulm and other
towns. We will drive them all back into Saint
Paul and Fort Snelling." Little Crow spoke
with energy.
"You must stay," he added, "and lead the
attack either at the fort or at New Ulm."
For some minutes the chief soldier sat in
At last he said simply, "I will do it."
On the following day the attack was made,
but it was unsuccessful. The whole State was
now alarmed, and all the frontier settlers left
alive had flocked to the larger and more protected
towns. It had also developed during the
day that there was a large party of Sioux who
were ready to surrender, thereby showing that
they had not been party to the massacre nor indorsed
the hasty action of the tribe.
At evening Tawasuota saw that there would
be a long war with the whites, and that the Indians
must remove their families out of danger.
The feeling against all Indians was great.
Night had brought him no relief of mind, but
it promised to shield him in a hazardous undertaking.
He consulted no one, but set out for
the distant village of Faribault.
He kept to the flats back of the Minnesota,
away from the well-traveled roads, and moved
on at a good gait, for he realized that he had
to cover a hundred miles in as few hours as
possible. Every day that passed would make
it more difficult for him to rejoin his family.
Although he kept as far as he could from the
settlements, he would come now and then upon
a solitary frame house, razed to the ground by
the war-parties of the day before. The members
of the ill-fated family were to be seen scattered
in and about the place; and their white,
upturned faces told him that his race must pay
for the deed.
The dog that howled pitifully over the dead
was often the only survivor of the farmer's
Occasionally Tawasuota heard at a distance
the wagons of the fugitives, loaded with women
and children, while armed men walked before
and behind. These caravans were usually
drawn by oxen and moved slowly toward some
large town.
When the dawn appeared in the east, the
chief soldier was compelled to conceal himself
in a secluded place. He rolled up in his
blanket, lay down in a dry creek-bed among the
red willows and immediately fell asleep.
With the next evening he resumed his journey,
and reached Faribault toward midnight.
Even here every approach was guarded against
the possibility of an Indian attack. But there
was much forest, and he knew the country well.
He reconnoitred, and soon found the Indian
community, but dared not approach and enter,
for these Indians had allied themselves with
the whites; they would be charged with treachery
if it were known that they had received a
hostile Sioux, and none were so hated by the
white people as Little Crow and his war-chief.
He chose a concealed position from which
he might watch the movements of his wife, if
she were indeed there, and had not been waylaid
and slain on the journey hither.
That night was the hardest one that the warrior
had ever known. If he slept, it was only
to dream of the war-whoop and attack; but at
last he found himself broad awake, the sun well
up, and yes! there were his two little sons, playing
outside their teepee as of old. The next
moment he heard the voice of his wife from the
deep woods wailing for her husband!
"Oh, take us, husband, take us with you! let
us all die together!" she pleaded as she clung
to him whom she had regarded as already
dead; for she knew of the price that had been
put upon his head, and that some of the halfbreeds
loved money better than the blood of
their Indian mothers.
Tawasuota stood for a minute without speaking,
while his huge frame trembled like a mighty
pine beneath the thunderbolt.
"No," he said at last. "I shall go, but you
must remain. You are a woman, and the white
people need not know that your little boys are
mine. Bring them here to me this evening that
I may kiss them farewell."
The sun was hovering among the treetops
when they met again.
"Atay! atay!" ("Papa, papa!") the little
fellows cried out in spite of her cautions; but
the mother put her finger to her lips, and they
became silent. Tawasuota took each boy in his
arms, and held him close for a few moments;
he smiled to them, but large tears rolled down
his cheeks. Then he disappeared in the shadows,
and they never saw him again.
The chief soldier lived and died a warrior
and an enemy to the white man; but one of his
two sons became in after-years a minister of the
Christian gospel, under the "Long-Haired
Praying Man," Bishop Whipple, of Minnesota.
Upon the wide tableland that lies at the
back of a certain Indian agency, a camp
of a thousand teepees was pitched in a
circle, according to the ancient usage. In the
center of the circle stood the council lodge, where
there were gathered together of an afternoon all
the men of years and distinction, some in blankets,
some in uniform, and still others clad in
beggarly white man's clothing. But the minds
of all were alike upon the days of their youth
and freedom.
Around the council fire they passed and repassed
the pipe of peace, and when the big drum
was struck they sang the accompaniment with
sad yet pleasant thoughts of the life that is past.
Between the songs stories of brave deeds and
dangerous exploits were related by the actors in
turn, with as much spirit and zest as if they were
still living in those days.
"Tum, tum, tum," the drum was sounded.
"Oow, oow!" they hooted in a joyous chorus
at the close of each refrain.
"Ho!" exclaimed finally the master of ceremonies
for the evening. "It is Zuyamani's story
of his great ride that we should now hear! It
was not far from this place, upon the Missouri
River, and within the recollection of many of
us that this occurred. Ye young men must
"Ho, ho!" was the ready response of all present,
and the drum was struck once according to
custom. The pipe was filled and handed to Zuyamani,
who gravely smoked for a few moments
in silence. Then he related his contribution to
the unwritten history of our frontier in these
"It was during the winter following that summer
in which General Sibley pursued many of our
people across the Muddy River (1863), that we
Hunkpatees, friendly Sioux, were camping at a
place called 'Hunt-the-Deer,' about two miles
from Fort Rice, Dakota Territory.
"The Chief Soldier of the garrison called one
day upon the leading chiefs of our band. To
each one he said: 'Lend me your bravest warrior!'
Each chief called his principal warriors
together and laid the matter before them.
"'The Chief Soldier at this place,' they explained,
'wants to send a message to Fort Berthold,
where the Rees and Mandans live, to another
Chief Soldier there. The soldiers of the
Great Father do not know the way, neither could
any of them get through the lines. He asks for
a brave man to carry his message.'
"The Mandans and the Rees were our hereditary
enemies, but this was not the principal reason
for our hesitation. We had declared allegiance
to the Great Father at Washington; we
had taken our stand against the fighting men
of our own nation, and the hostile Sioux were
worse than enemies to us at this time!
"Each chief had only called on his leading
warriors, and each in turn reported his failure to
secure a volunteer.
"Then the Chief Soldier sent again and said:
'Is there not a young man among you who dares
to face death? If he reaches the fort with my
message, he will need to be quick-witted as well
as brave, and the Great Father will not forget
"Now all the chiefs together called all the
young men in a great council, and submitted to
them the demand of the Great Father's servant.
We knew well that the country between us and
Fort Berthold, about one hundred and fifty miles
distant, was alive with hostile Sioux, and that if
any of us should be caught and recognized by
them, he would surely be put to death. It would
not be easy to deceive them by professing hostility
to the Government, for the record of each
individual Indian is well known. The warriors
were still unwilling to go, for they argued thus:
'This is a white man's errand, and will not be
recorded as a brave deed upon the honor roll
of our people.' I think many would have volunteered
but for that belief. At that time we
had not a high opinion of the white man.
"Since all the rest were silent, it came into
my mind to offer my services. The warriors
looked at me in astonishment, for I was a very
young man and had no experience.
"Our chief, Two Bears, who was my own
uncle, finally presented my name to the commanding
officer. He praised my courage and begged
me to be vigilant. The interpreter told him
that I had never been upon the war-path and
would be knocked over like a rabbit, but as no
one else would go, he was obliged to accept me
as his messenger. He gave me a fine horse and
saddle; also a rifle and soldier's uniform. I
would not take the gun nor wear the blue coat.
I accepted only a revolver, and I took my bow
and quiver full of arrows, and wore my usual
dress. I hid the letter in my moccasin.
"I set out before daybreak the next morning.
The snow was deep. I rode up the river, on
the west bank, keeping a very close watch all the
way, but seeing nothing. I had been provided
with a pair of field glasses, and I surveyed the
country on all sides from the top of every hill.
Having traveled all day and part of the night,
I rested my horse and I took a little sleep.
"After eating a small quantity of pemmican,
I made a very early start in the morning. It was
scarcely light when I headed for a near-by ridge
from which to survey the country beyond. Just
as I ascended the rise I found myself almost surrounded
by loose ponies, evidently belonging to
a winter camp of the hostile Sioux.
"I readjusted my saddle, tightened the girths,
and prepared to ride swiftly around the camp.
I saw some men already out after ponies. No
one appeared to have seen me as yet, but I felt
that as soon as it became lighter they could not
help observing me. I turned to make the circuit
of the camp, which was a very large one, and
as soon as I reached the timbered bottom lands
I began to congratulate myself that I had not
been seen.
"As I entered the woods at the crossing of a
dry creek, I noticed that my horse was nervous.
I knew that horses are quick to discover animals
or men by scent, and I became nervous, too.
"The animal put his four feet together and
almost slid down the steep bank. As he came
out on the opposite side he swerved suddenly and
started to run. Then I saw a man watching me
from behind a tree. Fortunately for me, he
carried no weapon. He was out after ponies,
and had only a lariat wound upon one shoulder.
"He beckoned and made signs for me to stop,
but I spurred my horse and took flight at once.
I could hear him yelling far behind me, no doubt
to arouse the camp and set them on my trail.
"As I fled westward, I came upon another
man, mounted, and driving his ponies before him.
He yelled and hooted in vain; then turned and
rode after me. Two others had started in pursuit,
but my horse was a good one, and I easily
outdistanced them at the start.
"After I had fairly circled the camp, I turned
again toward the river, hoping to regain the bottom
lands. The traveling was bad. Sometimes
we came to deep gulches filled with snow, where
my horse would sink in up to his body and seem
unable to move. When I jumped off his back
and struck him once or twice, he would make
several desperate leaps and recover his footing.
My pursuers were equally hindered, but by this
time the pursuit was general, and in order to
terrify me they yelled continually and fired their
guns into the air. Now and then I came to a
gulch which I had to follow up in search of a
place to cross, and at such times they gained on
me. I began to despair, for I knew that the
white man's horses have not the endurance of
our Indian ponies, and I expected to be chased
most of the day.
"Finally I came to a ravine that seemed impossible
to cross. As I followed it up, it became
evident that some of them had known of this
trap, and had cut in ahead of me. I felt that I
must soon abandon my horse and slide down the
steep sides of the gulch to save myself.
"However, I made one last effort to pass my
enemies. They came within gunshot and several
fired at me, although all our horses were going
at full speed. They missed me, and being at
last clear of them, I came to a place where I
could cross, and the pursuit stopped."
When Zuyamani reached this point in his
recital, the great drum was struck several times,
and all the men cheered him.
"The days are short in winter," he went on
after a short pause, "and just now the sun sank
behind the hills. I did not linger. I continued
my journey by night, and reached Fort Berthold
before midnight. I had been so thoroughly
frightened and was so much exhausted that I
did not want to talk, and as soon as I had delivered
my letters to the post commander, I went
to the interpreter's quarters to sleep.
"The interpreter, however, announced my
arrival, and that same night many Ree, Gros
Ventre, and Mandan warriors came to call upon
me. Among them was a great chief of the Rees,
called Poor Dog.
"'You must be,' said he to me, 'either a very
young man, or a fool! You have not told us
about your close escape, but a runner came in at
dusk and told us of the pursuit. He reported
that you had been killed by the hostiles, for he
heard many guns fired about the middle of the
afternoon. These white men will never give
you any credit for your wonderful ride, nor will
they compensate you for the risks you have
taken in their service. They will not give you
so much as one eagle feather for what you have
"The next day I was sent for to go to headquarters,
and there I related my all-day pursuit
by the hostile Sioux. The commanding officer
advised me to remain at the fort fifteen days
before making the return trip, thinking that by
that time my enemies might cease to look for me.
"At the end of the fortnight he wrote his
letters, and I told him that I was ready to start.
'I will give you,' he said, 'twenty Rees and
Gros Ventres to escort you past the hostile
camp.' We set out very early and rode all day,
so that night overtook us just before we reached
the camp.
"At nightfall we sent two scouts ahead, but
before they left us they took the oath of the
pipe in token of their loyalty. You all know the
ancient war custom. A lighted pipe was held
toward them and each one solemnly touched it,
after which it was passed as usual.
"We followed more slowly, and at about
midnight we came to the place where our scouts
had agreed to meet us. They were to return
from a reconnaissance of the camp and report
on what they had seen. It was a lonely spot,
and the night was very cold and still. We sat
there in the snowy woods near a little creek and
smoked in silence while we waited. I had plenty
of time to reflect upon my position. These
Gros Ventres and Rees have been our enemies
for generations. I was one man to twenty!
They had their orders from the commander of
the fort, and that was my only safeguard.
"Soon we heard the howl of a wolf a little
to the westward. Immediately one of the party
answered in the same manner. I could not have
told it from the howl of a real wolf. Then we
heard a hooting owl down the creek. Another
of our party hooted like an owl.
"Presently the wolf's voice sounded nearer,
while the owl's hoot came nearer in the opposite
direction. Then we heard the footsteps of
ponies on the crisp, frosty air. The scout who
had been imitating the wolf came in first, and
the owl soon followed. The warriors made a
ring and again filled the pipe, and the scouts
took the oath for the second time.
"After smoking, they reported a trail going
up a stream tributary to the Missouri, but
whether going out or coming in it was impossible
to tell in the dark. It was several days
old. This was discussed for some time. The
question was whether some had gone out in
search of meat, or whether some additional men
had come into camp.
"The Bunch of Stars was already a little west
of the middle sky when we set out again. They
agreed to take me a short distance beyond this
creek and there leave me, as they were afraid
to go any further. On the bank of the creek
we took a farewell smoke. There was a faint
glow in the east, showing that it was almost
morning. The warriors sang a 'Strong Heart'
song for me in an undertone as I went on alone.
"I tried to make a wide circuit of the camp,
but I passed their ponies grazing all over the
side hills at a considerable distance, and I went
as quietly as possible, so as not to frighten them.
When I had fairly passed the camp I came down
to the road again, and I let my horse fly!
"I had been cautioned at the post that the
crossings of the creeks on either side of the
camp were the most dangerous places, since they
would be likely to watch for me there. I had
left the second crossing far behind, and I felt
quite safe; but I was tired and chilled by the
long ride. My horse, too, began to show signs
of fatigue. In a deep ravine where there was
plenty of dry wood and shelter, I cleared the
ground of snow and kindled a small fire. Then
I gave the horse his last ration of oats, and I
ate the last of the pemmican that the Ree scouts
had given me.
"Suddenly he pricked up his ears in the direction
of home. He ate a mouthful and listened
again. I began to grow nervous, and I listened,
too. Soon I heard the footsteps of horses in
the snow at a considerable distance.
"Hastily I mounted and took flight along
the ravine until I had to come out upon the
open plain, in full view of a party of about
thirty Sioux in war-paint, coming back from the
direction of Fort Rice. They immediately gave
chase, yelling and flourishing their guns and
tomahawks over their heads. I urged my horse
to his best speed, for I felt that if they should
overtake me, nothing could save me! My
friend, White Elk, here, was one of that warparty.
"I saw that I had a fair lead and the best
horse, and was gaining upon them, when about
two miles out I met some more of the party
who had lingered behind the rest. I was surrounded!
"I turned toward the north, to a deep gulch
that I knew I should find there, and I led my
horse along a narrow and slippery ridge to a
deep hole. Here I took up my position. I
guarded the pass with my bow and arrows, and
they could not reach me unless they should follow
the ridge in single file. I knew that they
would not storm my position, for that is not the
Indian way of fighting, but I supposed that
they would try to tire me out. They yelled and
hooted, and shot many bullets and arrows over
my head to terrify me into surrender, but I remained
motionless and silent.
"Night came, with a full round moon. All
was light as day except the place where I stood,
half frozen and not daring to move. The bottom
of the gulch was as black as a well and
almost as cold. The wolves howled all around
me in the stillness.
At last I heard the footsteps of horses retreating,
and then no other sound. Still I dared
not come out. I must have slept, for it was
dawn when I seemed to hear faintly the yelling
of warriors, and then I heard my own name.
"'Zuyamani, tokiya nunka huwo?' (Where
are you, Zuyamani?) they shouted. A party
of my friends had come out to meet me and had
followed our trail. I was scarcely able to walk
when I came out, but they filled the pipe and
held it up to me, as is done in recognition of
distinguished service. They escorted me into
the post, singing war songs and songs of brave
deeds, and there I delivered up his letters to the
Chief Soldier."
Again the drum was struck and the old men
cheered Zuyamani, who added:
"I think that Poor Dog was right, for the
Great Father never gave me any credit, nor did
he ever reward me for what I had done. Yet
I have not been without honor, for my own
people have not forgotten me, even though I
went upon the white man's errand."
The full moon was just clear of the high
mountain ranges. Surrounded by a
ring of bluish haze, it looked almost
as if it were frozen against the impalpable blueblack
of the reckless midwinter sky.
The game scout moved slowly homeward,
well wrapped in his long buffalo robe, which was
securely belted to his strong loins; his quiver
tightly tied to his shoulders so as not to impede
his progress. It was enough to carry upon his
feet two strong snow-shoes; for the snow was
deep and its crust too thin to bear his weight.
As he emerged from the lowlands into the
upper regions, he loomed up a gigantic figure
against the clear, moonlit horizon. His picturesque
foxskin cap with all its trimmings was
incrusted with frost from the breath of his nostrils,
and his lagging footfall sounded crisply.
The distance he had that day covered was enough
for any human endurance; yet he was neither
faint nor hungry; but his feet were frozen into
the psay, the snow-shoes, so that he could not
run faster than an easy slip and slide.
At last he reached the much-coveted point--
the crown of the last ascent; and when he smelled
fire and the savory odor of the jerked buffalo
meat, it well-nigh caused him to waver! But he
must not fail to follow the custom of untold ages,
and give the game scout's wolf call before entering
Accordingly he paused upon the highest point
of the ridge and uttered a cry to which the
hungry cry of a real wolf would have seemed
but a coyote's yelp in comparison! Then it was
that the rest of the buffalo hunters knew that
their game scout was returning with welcome
news; for the unsuccessful scout enters the camp
A second time he gave the call to assure his
hearers that their ears did not deceive them. The
gray wolves received the news with perfect understanding.
It meant food! "Woo-o-o-o!
woo-o-o-o!" came from all directions, especially
from the opposite ridge. Thus the ghostly, cold,
weird night was enlivened with the music from
many wild throats.
Down the gradual slope the scout hastened;
his footfall was the only sound that broke the
stillness after the answers to his call had ceased.
As he crossed a little ridge an immense wolf
suddenly confronted him, and instead of retreating,
calmly sat up and gazed steadfastly into
his face.
"Welcome, welcome, friend!" the hunter
spoke as he passed.
In the meantime, the hunters at the temporary
camp were aroused to a high pitch of excitement.
Some turned their buffalo robes and put them
on in such a way as to convert themselves into
make-believe bison, and began to tread the snow,
while others were singing the buffalo song, that
their spirits might be charmed and allured within
the circle of the camp-fires. The scout, too, was
singing his buffalo bull song in a guttural, lowing
chant as he neared the hunting camp. Within
arrow-shot he paused again, while the usual ceremonies
were enacted for his reception. This
done, he was seated with the leaders in a chosen
"It was a long run," he said, "but there were
no difficulties. I found the first herd directly
north of here. The second herd, a great one,
is northeast, near Shell Lake. The snow is deep.
The buffalo can only follow their leader in their
"Hi, hi, hi!" the hunters exclaimed solemnly
in token of gratitude, raising their hands heavenward
and then pointing them toward the ground.
"Ho, kola! one more round of the buffalopipe,
then we shall retire, to rise before daybreak
for the hunt," advised one of the leaders. Silently
they partook in turn of the long-stemmed
pipe, and one by one, with a dignified "Ho!"
departed to their teepees.
The scout betook himself to his little old buffalo
teepee, which he used for winter hunting
expeditions. His faithful Shunka, who had been
all this time its only occupant, met him at the
entrance as dogs alone know how to welcome a
lifelong friend. As his master entered he
stretched himself in his old-time way, from the
tip of his tail to that of his tongue, and finished
by curling both ends upward.
"Ho, mita shunka, eat this; for you must
be hungry!" So saying, the scout laid before
his canine friend the last piece of his dried buffalo
meat. It was the sweetest meal ever eaten
by a dog, judging by his long smacking of his
lips after he had swallowed it!
The hunting party was soon lost in heavy
slumber. Not a sound could be heard save the
gnawing of the ponies upon the cottonwood
bark, which was provided for them instead of
hay in the winter time.
All about Shell Lake the bison were gathered
in great herds. The unmistakable signs of the
sky had warned them of approaching bad
weather. The moon's robe was girdled with the
rainbow wampum of heaven. The very music
of the snow under their feet had given them
warning. On the north side of Shell Lake there
were several deep gulches, which were the homes
of every wanderer of the plains at such a time
at this. When there was a change toward severe
weather, all the four-footed people headed for
this lake. Here was a heavy growth of reeds,
rushes, and coarse grass, making good shelters,
and also springs, which afforded water after the
lake was frozen solid. Hence great numbers of
the bison had gathered here.
When Wapashaw, the game scout, had rolled
himself in his warm buffalo robe and was sound
asleep, his faithful companion hunter, the great
Esquimaux wolf dog, silently rose and again
stretched himself, then stood quiet for a moment
as if meditating. It was clear that he knew well
what he had planned to do, but was considering
how he should do it without arousing any suspicion
of his movements. This is a dog's art,
and the night tricks and marauding must always
be the joy and secret of his life!
Softly he emerged from the lodge and gave
a sweeping glance around to assure him that
there were none to spy upon him. Suspiciously
he sniffed the air, as if to ascertain whether
there could be any danger to his sleeping master
while he should be away.
His purpose was still a secret. It may be that
it was not entirely a selfish one, or merely the
satisfying of his inherited traits. Having fully
convinced himself of the safety of the unguarded
camp, he went forth into the biting cold. The
moon was now well up on the prairies of the sky.
There were no cloud hills in the blue field above
to conceal her from view. Her brilliant light
set on fire every snow gem upon the plains and
hillsides about the hunters' camp.
Up the long ascent he trotted in a northerly
direction, yet not following his master's trail.
He was large and formidable in strength, combining
the features of his wild brothers of the
plains with those of the dogs who keep company
with the red men. His jet-black hair and sharp
ears and nose appeared to immense advantage
against the spotless and jeweled snow, until presently
his own warm breath had coated him with
heavy frost.
After a time Shunka struck into his master's
trail and followed it all the way, only taking a
short cut here and there when by dog instinct
he knew that a man must go around such a point
to get to his destination. He met many travelers
during the night, but none had dared to approach
him, though some few followed at a distance,
as if to discover his purpose.
At last he reached Shell Lake, and there beheld
a great gathering of the herds! They stood
in groups, like enormous rocks, no longer black,
but white with frost. Every one of them emitted
a white steam, quickly frozen into a fine snow
in the air.
Shunka sat upon his haunches and gazed.
"Wough, this is it!" he said to himself. He
had kept still when the game scout gave the wolf
call, though the camp was in an uproar, and
from the adjacent hills the wild hunters were
equally joyous, because they understood the
meaning of the unwonted noise. Yet his curiosity
was not fully satisfied, and he had set out to
discover the truth, and it may be to protect or
serve his master in case of danger.
At daybreak the great dog meekly entered his
master's rude teepee, and found him already preparing
for the prospective hunt. He was filling
his inside moccasins full of buffalo hair to serve
as stockings, over which he put on his large buffalo
moccasins with the hair inside, and adjusted
his warm leggings. He then adjusted his snowshoes
and filled his quiver full of good arrows.
The dog quietly lay down in a warm place, making
himself as small as possible, as if to escape
observation, and calmly watched his master.
"Ho, ho, ho, kola! Enakanee, enakanee!"
shouted the game herald. "It is always best
to get the game early; then their spirits can take
flight with the coming of a new day!"
All had now donned their snow-shoes. There
was no food left; therefore no delay to prepare
"It is very propitious for our hunt," one exclaimed;
"everything is in our favor. There is
a good crust on the snow, and the promise of a
good clear day!"
Soon all the hunters were running in single
file upon the trail of the scout, each Indian closely
followed by his trusty hunting dog. In less than
two hours they stood just back of the low ridge
which rounded the south side of Shell Lake.
The narrow strip of land between its twin
divisions was literally filled with the bison. In
the gulches beyond, between the dark lines of
timber, there were also scattered groups; but the
hunters at once saw their advantage over the
herd upon the peninsula.
"Hechetu, kola! This is well, friends!" exclaimed
the first to speak. "These can be forced
to cross the slippery ice and the mire around the
springs. This will help us to get more meat.
Our people are hungry, and we must kill many
in order to feed them!"
"Ho, ho, ho!" agreed all the hunters.
"And it is here that we can use our companion
hunters best, for the shunkas will intimidate and
bewilder the buffalo women," said an old man.
"Ugh, he is always right! Our dogs must
help us here. The meat will be theirs as well
as ours," another added.
"Tosh, kola! The game scout's dog is the
greatest shunka of them all! He has a mind near
like that of a man. Let him lead the attack of
his fellows, while we crawl up on the opposite
side and surround the buffalo upon the slippery
ice and in the deceitful mire," spoke up a third.
So it was agreed that the game scout and his
Shunka should lead the attack of the dogs.
"Woo, woo, woo!" was the hoarse signal
from the throat of the game scout; but his voice
was drowned by the howling and barking of the
savage dogs as they made their charge. In a
moment all was confusion among the buffalo.
Some started this way, others that, and the great
mass swayed to and fro uncertainly. A few were
ready to fight, but the snow was too deep for a
countercharge upon the dogs, save on the ice just
in front of them, where the wind had always full
sweep. There all was slippery and shining! In
their excitement and confusion the bison rushed
upon this uncertain plain.
Their weight and the momentum of their rush
carried them hopelessly far out, where they were
again confused as to which way to go, and many
were stuck in the mire which was concealed by
the snow, except here and there an opening above
a spring from which there issued a steaming
vapor. The game scout and his valiant dog led
on the force of canines with deafening war-cries,
and one could see black heads here and there popping
from behind the embankments. As the
herd finally swept toward the opposite shore,
many dead were left behind. Pierced by the arrows
of the hunters, they lay like black mounds
upon the glassy plain.
It was a great hunt! "Once more the camp
will be fed," they thought, "and this good fortune
will help us to reach the spring alive!"
A chant of rejoicing rang out from the opposite
shore, while the game scout unsheathed
his big knife and began the work which is ever
the sequel of the hunt--to dress the game; although
the survivors of the slaughter had
scarcely disappeared behind the hills. The dogs
had all run back to their respective masters, and
this left the scout and his companion Shunka
alone. Some were appointed to start a camp
in a neighboring gulch among the trees, so that
the hunters might bring their meat there and eat
before setting out for the great camp on the Big
All were busily skinning and cutting up the
meat into pieces convenient for carrying, when
suddenly a hunter called the attention of those
near him to an ominous change in the atmosphere.
"There are signs of a blizzard! We must
hurry into the near woods before it reaches us!"
he shouted.
Some heard him; others did not. Those who
saw or heard passed on the signal and hurried
toward the wood, where others had already arranged
rude shelters and gathered piles of dry
wood for fuel.
Around the several camp-fires the hunters sat
or stood, while slices of savory meat were broiled
and eaten with a relish by the half-starved men.
"Ho, kola! Eat this, friend!" said they to
one another as one finished broiling a steak of
the bison and offered it to his neighbor.
But the storm had now fairly enveloped them
in whirling whiteness. "Woo, woo!" they
called to those who had not yet reached camp.
One after another answered and emerged from
the blinding pall of snow. At last none were
missing save the game scout and his Shunka!
The hunters passed the time in eating and telling
stories until a late hour, occasionally giving
a united shout to guide the lost one should he
chance to pass near their camp.
"Fear not for our scout, friends!" finally exclaimed
a leader among them. "He is a brave
and experienced man. He will find a safe resting-
place, and join us when the wind ceases to
rage." So they all wrapped themselves in their
robes and lay down to sleep.
All that night and the following day it was
impossible to give succor, and the hunters felt
much concern for the absent. Late in the second
night the great storm subsided.
"Ho, ho! Iyotanka! Rise up!" So the
first hunter to awaken aroused all the others.
As after every other storm, it was wonderfully
still; so still that one could hear distinctly the
pounding feet of the jack-rabbits coming down
over the slopes to the willows for food. All dry
vegetation was buried beneath the deep snow,
and everywhere they saw this white-robed creature
of the prairie coming down to the woods.
Now the air was full of the wolf and coyote
game call, and they were seen in great numbers
upon the ice.
"See, see! the hungry wolves are dragging
the carcasses away! Harken to the war cries of
the scout's Shunka! Hurry, hurry!" they urged
one another in chorus.
Away they ran and out upon the lake; now
upon the wind-swept ice, now upon the crusted
snow; running when they could, sliding when
they must. There was certainly a great concourse
of the wolves, whirling in frantic circles, but continually
moving toward the farther end of the
lake. They could hear distinctly the hoarse bark
of the scout's Shunka, and occasionally the muffled
war-whoop of a man, as if it came from
under the ice!
As they approached nearer the scene they
could hear more distinctly the voice of their
friend, but still as it were from underground.
When they reached the spot to which the wolves
had dragged two of the carcasses of the buffalo,
Shunka was seen to stand by one of them, but
at that moment he staggered and fell. The hunters
took out their knives and ripped up the
frozen hide covering the abdominal cavity. It
revealed a warm nest of hay and buffalo hair
in which the scout lay, wrapped in his own
He had placed his dog in one of the carcasses
and himself in another for protection from the
storm; but the dog was wiser than the man, for
he kept his entrance open. The man lapped the
hide over and it froze solidly, shutting him securely
in. When the hungry wolves came
Shunka promptly extricated himself and held
them off as long as he could; meanwhile, sliding
and pulling, the wolves continued to drag over
the slippery ice the body of the buffalo in which
his master had taken refuge. The poor, faithful
dog, with no care for his own safety, stood by
his imprisoned master until the hunters came up.
But it was too late, for he had received more
than one mortal wound.
As soon as the scout got out, with a face more
anxious for another than for himself, he exclaimed:
"Where is Shunka, the bravest of his tribe?"
"Ho, kola, it is so, indeed; and here he lies,"
replied one sadly.
His master knelt by his side, gently stroking
the face of the dog.
"Ah, my friend; you go where all spirits live!
The Great Mystery has a home for every living
creature. May he permit our meeting there!"
At daybreak the scout carried him up to one
of the pretty round hills overlooking the lake,
and built up around him walls of loose stone.
Red paints were scattered over the snow, in accordance
with Indian custom, and the farewell
song was sung.
Since that day the place has been known to
the Sioux as Shunkahanakapi--the Grave of the
Hush, hushaby, little woman!
Be brave and weep not!
The spirits sleep not;
'Tis they who ordain
To woman, pain.
Hush, hushaby, little woman!
Now, all things bearing,
A new gift sharing
From those above--
To woman, love.
--Sioux Lullaby.
"Chinto, weyanna! Yes, indeed; she
is a real little woman," declares the old
grandmother, as she receives and critically
examines the tiny bit of humanity.
There is no remark as to the color of its hair
or eyes, both so black as almost to be blue, but
the old woman scans sharply the delicate profile
of the baby face.
"Ah, she has the nose of her ancestors! Lips
thin as a leaf, and eyes bright as stars in midwinter!"
she exclaims, as she passes on the furry
bundle to the other grandmother for her inspection.
"Tokee! she is pretty enough to win a twinkle
rom the evening star," remarks that smiling
"And what shall her name be?
"Winona, the First-born, of course. That
is hers by right of birth."
"Still, it may not fit her. One must prove
herself worthy in order to retain that honorable
"Ugh," retorts the first grandmother, "she
can at least bear it on probation!"
"Tosh, tosh," the other assents.
Thus the unconscious little Winona has
passed the first stage of the Indian's christening.
Presently she is folded into a soft white doeskin,
well lined with the loose down of cattails,
and snugly laced into an upright oaken cradle,
the front of which is a richly embroidered buckskin
bag, with porcupine quills and deers' hoofs
suspended from its profuse fringes. This gay
cradle is strapped upon the second grandmother's
back, and that dignitary walks off with
the newcomer.
"You must come with me," she says. "We
shall go among the father and mother trees, and
hear them speak with their thousand tongues,
that you may know their language forever. I
will hang the cradle of the woman-child upon
Utuhu, the oak; and she shall hear the love-sighs
of the pine maiden!"
In this fashion Winona is introduced to nature
and becomes at once "nature-born," in accord
with the beliefs and practices of the wild red
"Here she is! Take her," says the old
woman on her return from the woods. She presents
the child to its mother, who is sitting in
the shade of an elm-tree as quietly as if she had
not just passed through woman's severest ordeal
in giving a daughter to the brave Chetonska!
"She has a winsome face, as meek and innocent
as the face of an ermine," graciously adds
the grandmother.
The mother does not speak. Silently and almost
reverently she takes her new and first-born
daughter into her arms. She gazes into its velvety
little face of a dusky red tint, and unconsciously
presses the closely swaddled form to her
breast. She feels the mother-instinct seize upon
her strongly for the first time. Here is a new
life, a new hope, a possible link between herself
and a new race!
Ah, a smile plays upon her lips, as she realizes
that she has kissed her child! In its eyes and
mouth she discerns clearly the features she has
loved in the strong countenance of another,
though in the little woman's face they are softened
and retouched by the hand of the "Great
The baby girl is called Winona for some
months, when the medicine-man is summoned
and requested to name publicly the first-born
daughter of Chetonska, the White Hawk; but
not until he has received a present of a good
pony with a finely painted buffalo-robe. It is
usual to confer another name besides that of
the "First-born," which may be resumed later
if the maiden proves worthy. The name Winona
implies much of honor. It means charitable,
kind, helpful; all that an eldest sister
should be!
The herald goes around the ring of lodges
announcing in singsong fashion the christening,
and inviting everybody to a feast in honor of
the event. A real American christening is always
a gala occasion, when much savage wealth
is distributed among the poor and old people.
Winona has only just walked, and this fact is
also announced with additional gifts. A wellborn
child is ever before the tribal eye and in the
tribal ear, as every little step in its progress
toward manhood or womanhood--the first time
of walking or swimming, first shot with bow and
arrow (if a boy), first pair of moccasins made
(if a girl)--is announced publicly with feasting
and the giving of presents.
So Winona receives her individual name of
Tatiyopa, or Her Door. It is symbolic, like
most Indian names, and implies that the door
of the bearer is hospitable and her home attractive.
The two grandmothers, who have carried the
little maiden upon their backs, now tell and sing
to her by turns all the legends of their most noted
female ancestors, from the twin sisters of the
old story, the maidens who married among the
star people of the sky, down to their own
mothers. All her lullabies are feminine, and
designed to impress upon her tender mind the
life and duties of her sex.
As soon as she is old enough to play with
dolls she plays mother in all seriousness and
gravity. She is dressed like a miniature woman
(and her dolls are clad likewise), in garments
of doeskin to her ankles, adorned with long
fringes, embroidered with porcupine quills, and
dyed with root dyes in various colors. Her little
blanket or robe, with which she shyly drapes
or screens her head and shoulders, is the skin
of a buffalo calf or a deer, soft, white, embroidered
on the smooth side, and often with the
head and hoofs left on.
"You must never forget, my little daughter,
that you are a woman like myself. Do always
those things that you see me do," her mother
often admonishes her.
Even the language of the Sioux has its feminine
dialect, and the tiny girl would be greatly
abashed were it ever needful to correct her for
using a masculine termination.
This mother makes for her little daughter a
miniature copy of every rude tool that she uses
in her taily tasks. There is a little scraper of
elk-horn to scrape rawhides preparatory to tanning
them, another scraper of a different shape
for tanning, bone knives, and stone mallets for
pounding choke-cherries and jerked meat.
While her mother is bending over a large
buffalo-hide stretched and pinned upon the
ground, standing upon it and scraping off the
fleshy portion as nimbly as a carpenter shaves
a board with his plane, Winona, at five years of
age, stands upon a corner of the great hide and
industriously scrapes away with her tiny instrument!
When the mother stops to sharpen her
tool, the little woman always sharpens hers also.
Perhaps there is water to be fetched in bags
made from the dried pericardium of an animal;
the girl brings some in a smaller water-bag.
When her mother goes for wood she carries one
or two sticks on her back. She pitches her play
teepee to form an exact copy of her mother's.
Her little belongings are nearly all practical,
and her very play is real!
Thus, before she is ten years old, Winona begins
to see life honestly and in earnest; to consider
herself a factor in the life of her people--a
link in the genealogy of her race. Yet her effort
is not forced, her work not done from necessity;
it is normal and a development of the play-instinct
of the young creature. This sort of training
leads very early to a genuine desire to serve
and to do for others. The little Winona loves
to give and to please; to be generous and gracious.
There is no thought of trafficking or
economizing in labor and in love.
"Mother, I want to be like the beavers, the
ants, and the spiders, because my grandmother
says those are the people most worthy of imitation
for their industry. She also tells me that
I should watch the bee, the one that has so many
daughters, and allows no young men to come
around her daughters while they are at work
making sweets," exclaims the little maiden.
"Truly their industry helps us much, for we
often take from their hoard," remarks the
"That is not right, is it mother, if they do
not wish to share with us?" asks Winona.
"But I think the bee is stingy if she has so much
and will not share with any one else! When I
grow up, I shall help the poor! I shall have a
big teepee and invite old people often, for when
people get old they seem to be always hungry,
and I think we ought to feed them."
"My little daughter will please me and her
father if she proves to be industrious and skillful
with her needle and in all woman's work. Then
she can have a fine teepee and make it all cheerful
within. The indolent woman has a small
teepee, and it is very smoky. All her children
will have sore eyes, and her husband will soon
become ill-tempered," declares the mother, in all
"And, daughter, there is something more
than this needed to make a cheerful home.
You must have a good heart, be patient, and
speak but little. Every creature that talks too
much is sure to make trouble," she concludes,
One day this careful mother has completed a
beautiful little teepee of the skin of a buffalo
calf, worked with red porcupine quills in a row
of rings just below the smoke-flaps and on each
side of the front opening. In the center of each
ring is a tassel of red and white horse-hair. The
tip of each smoke-flap is decorated with the same
material, and the doorflap also.
Within there are neatly arranged raw-hide
boxes for housekeeping, and square bags of soft
buckskin adorned with blue and white beads.
On either side of the fireplace are spread the
tanned skins of a buffalo calf and a deer; but
there is no bear, wolf, or wildcat skin, for on
these the foot of a woman must never tread!
They are for men, and symbolical of manly virtues.
There are dolls of all sizes, and a play
travois leans against the white wall of the miniature
lodge. Even the pet pup is called in to
complete the fanciful home of the little woman.
"Now, my daughter," says the mother, "you
must keep your lodge in order!"
Here the little woman is allowed to invite
other little women, her playmates. This is
where the grandmothers hold sway, chaperoning
their young charges, who must never be long out
of their sight. The little visitors bring their
work-bags of various skins, artistically made and
trimmed. These contain moccasins and other
garments for their dolls, on which they love to
occupy themselves.
The brightly-painted rawhide boxes are reserved
for food, and in these the girls bring various
prepared meats and other delicacies. This
is perhaps the most agreeable part of the play
to the chaperon, who is treated as an honored
guest at the feast!
Winona seldom plays with boys, even her own
brothers and cousins, and after she reaches
twelve or fourteen years of age she scarcely
speaks to them. Modesty is a virtue which is
deeply impressed upon her from early childhood,
and the bashfully drooping head, the averted
look, the voice low and seldom heard, these are
graces much esteemed in a maiden.
She is taught to pay great attention to the
care of her long, glossy locks, combing, plaiting,
and perfuming them with sweet-scented leaves
steeped in oil. Her personal appearance is well
understood to be a matter of real moment, and
rich dress and ornaments are highly prized.
Fortunately they never go out of fashion, and
once owned are permanent possessions, unless
parted with as ceremonial gifts on some great
occasion of mourning or festivity.
When she reaches a marriageable age her
father allows her to give a feast to all the other
girls of her immediate clan, and this "Feast of
Virgins" may only be attended by those of spotless
reputation. To have given or attended a
number of them is regarded as a choice honor.
Tatiyopa, by the time she is fifteen, has already
a name for skill in needlework, and generosity
in distributing the articles of her own
making. She is now generally called Winona--
the charitable and kind! She believes that it
is woman's work to make and keep a home that
will be worthy of the bravest, and hospitable to
all, and in this simple faith she enters upon the
realities of her womanhood.
Braver than the bravest,
You sought honors at death's door;
Could you not remember
One who weeps at home--
Could you not remember me?
Braver than the bravest,
You sought honors more than love;
Dear, I weep, yet I am not a coward;
My heart weeps for thee--
My heart weeps when I remember thee!
--Sioux Love Song.
The sky is blue overhead, peeping
through window-like openings in a
roof of green leaves. Right between
a great pine and a birch tree their soft doeskin
shawls are spread, and there sit two Sioux maidens
amid their fineries--variously colored porcupine
quills for embroidery laid upon sheets
of thin birch-bark, and moccasin tops worked
in colors like autumn leaves. It is Winona and
her friend Miniyata.
They have arrived at the period during which
the young girl is carefully secluded from her
brothers and cousins and future lovers, and retires,
as it were, into the nunnery of the woods,
behind a veil of thick foliage. Thus she is
expected to develop fully her womanly qualities.
In meditation and solitude, entirely alone or
with a chosen companion of her own sex and
age, she gains a secret strength, as she studies
the art of womanhood from nature herself.
Winona has the robust beauty of the wild
lily of the prairie, pure and strong in her deep
colors of yellow and scarlet against the savage
plain and horizon, basking in the open sun like
a child, yet soft and woman-like, with drooping
head when observed. Both girls are beautifully
robed in loose gowns of soft doeskin,
girded about the waist with the usual very wide
leather belt.
"Come, let us practice our sacred dance,"
says one to the other. Each crowns her glossy
head with a wreath of wild flowers, and they
dance with slow steps around the white birch,
singing meanwhile the sacred songs.
Now upon the lake that stretches blue to the
eastward there appears a distant canoe, a mere
speck, no bigger than a bird far off against the
shining sky.
"See the lifting of the paddles!" exclaims
" Like the leaping of a trout upon the
water!" suggests Miniyata.
"I hope they will not discover us, yet I would
like to know who they are," remarks the other,
The birch canoe approaches swiftly, with two
young men plying the light cedar paddles.
The girls now settle down to their needlework,
quite as if they had never laughed or
danced or woven garlands, bending over their
embroidery in perfect silence. Surely they would
not wish to attract attention, for the two sturdy
young warriors have already landed.
They pick up the canoe and lay it well up on
the bank, out of sight. Then one procures a
strong pole. They lift a buck deer from the
canoe--not a mark upon it, save for the bullet
wound; the deer looks as if it were sleeping!
They tie the hind legs together and the fore
legs also and carry it between them on the pole.
Quickly and cleverly they do all this; and
now they start forward and come unexpectedly
upon the maidens' retreat! They pause for an
instant in mute apology, but the girls smile their
forgiveness, and the youths hurry on toward the
Winona has now attended her first maidens'
feast and is considered eligible to marriage. She
may receive young men, but not in public or in
a social way, for such was not the custom of the
Sioux. When he speaks, she need not answer
him unless she chooses.
The Indian woman in her quiet way preserves
the dignity of the home. From our standpoint
the white man is a law-breaker! The "Great
Mystery," we say, does not adorn the woman
above the man. His law is spreading horns,
or flowing mane, or gorgeous plumage for the
male; the female he made plain, but comely,
modest and gentle. She is the foundation of
man's dignity and honor. Upon her rests the
life of the home and of the family. I have
often thought that there is much in this philosophy
of an untutored people. Had her husband
remained long enough in one place, the Indian
woman, I believe, would have developed no
mean civilization and culture of her own.
It was no disgrace to the chief's daughter in
the old days to work with her hands. Indeed,
their standard of worth was the willingness to
work, but not for the sake of accumulation, only
in order to give. Winona has learned to prepare
skins, to remove the hair and tan the skin
of a deer so that it may be made into moccasins
within three days. She has a bone tool for each
stage of the conversion of the stiff raw-hide into
velvety leather. She has been taught the art
of painting tents and raw-hide cases, and the
manufacture of garments of all kinds.
Generosity is a trait that is highly developed
in the Sioux woman. She makes many moccasins
and other articles of clothing for her male
relatives, or for any who are not well provided.
She loves to see her brother the best dressed
among the young men, and the moccasins especially
of a young brave are the pride of his
Her own person is neatly attired, but ordinarily
with great simplicity. Her doeskin gown
has wide, flowing sleeves; the neck is low,
but not so low as is the evening dress of society.
Her moccasins are plain; her leggins closefitting
and not as high as her brother's. She
parts her smooth, jet-black hair in the middle
and plaits it in two. In the old days she used
to do it in one plait wound around with wampum.
Her ornaments, sparingly worn, are
beads, elks' teeth, and a touch of red paint. No
feathers are worn by the woman, unless in a
sacred dance.
She is supposed to be always occupied with
some feminine pursuit or engaged in some social
affair, which also is strictly feminine as a rule.
Even her language is peculiar to her sex, some
words being used by women only, while others
have a feminine termination.
There is an etiquette of sitting and standing,
which is strictly observed. The woman must
never raise her knees or cross her feet when
seated. She seats herself on the ground sidewise,
with both feet under her.
Notwithstanding her modesty and undemonstrative
ways, there is no lack of mirth and
relaxation for Winona among her girl companions.
In summer, swimming and playing in the
water is a favorite amusement. She even imitates
with the soles of her feet the peculiar,
resonant sound that the beaver makes with her
large, flat tail upon the surface of the water.
She is a graceful swimmer, keeping the feet
together and waving them backward and forward
like the tail of a fish.
Nearly all her games are different from those
of the men. She has a sport of wand-throwing
which develops fine muscles of the shoulder and
back. The wands are about eight feet long,
and taper gradually from an inch and a half to
half an inch in diameter. Some of them are
artistically made, with heads of bone and horn,
so that it is remarkable to what a distance they
may be made to slide over the ground. In the
feminine game of ball, which is something like
"shinny," the ball is driven with curved sticks
between two goals. It is played with from two
or three to a hundred on a side, and a game between
two bands or villages is a picturesque
A common indoor diversion is the "deer's
foot" game, played with six deer hoofs on a
string, ending in a bone or steel awl. The object
is to throw it in such a way as to catch one
or more hoofs on the point of the awl, a feat
which requires no little dexterity. Another is
played with marked plum-stones in a bowl,
which are thrown like dice and count according
to the side that is turned uppermost.
Winona's wooing is a typical one. As with
any other people, love-making is more or less
in vogue at all times of the year, but more especially
at midsummer, during the characteristic
reunions and festivities of that season. The
young men go about usually in pairs, and the
maidens do likewise. They may meet by chance
at any time of day, in the woods or at the
spring, but oftenest seek to do so after dark,
just outside the teepee. The girl has her companion,
and he has his, for the sake of propriety
or protection. The conversation is carried on
in a whisper, so that even these chaperons do
not hear.
At the sound of the drum on summer evenings,
dances are begun within the circular rows
of teepees, but without the circle the young men
promenade in pairs. Each provides himself
with the plaintive flute and plays the simple
cadences of his people, while his person is completely
covered with his fine robe, so that he
cannot be recognized by the passerby. At
every pause in the melody he gives his yodel-like
love-call, to which the girls respond with their
musical, sing-song laughter.
Matosapa has loved Winona since the time
he saw her at the lakeside in her parlor among
the pines. But he has not had much opportunity
to speak until on such a night, after the
dances are over. There is no outside fire; but
a dim light from within the skin teepees sheds
a mellow glow over the camp, mingling with
the light of a young moon. Thus these lovers
go about like ghosts. Matosapa has already
circled the teepees with his inseparable brotherfriend,
Brave Elk.
"Friend, do me an honor to-night!" he exclaims,
at last. "Open this first door for me,
since this will be the first time I shall speak to a
"Ah," suggests Brave Elk, "I hope you have
selected a girl whose grandmother has no cross
"The prize that is won at great risk is usually
valued most," replies Matosapa.
"Ho, kola! I shall touch the door-flap as
softly as the swallow alights upon her nest. But
I warn you, do not let your heart beat too loudly,
for the old woman's ears are still good!"
So, joking and laughing, they proceed toward
a large buffalo tent with a horse's tail suspended
from the highest pole to indicate the rank of
the owner. They have ceased to blow the flute
some paces back, and walk noiselessly as a panther
in quest of a doe.
Brave Elk opens the door. Matosapa enters
the tent. As was the wont of the Sioux, the
well-born maid has a little teepee within a teepee--
a private apartment of her own. He
passes the sleeping family to this inner shrine.
There he gently wakens Winona with proper
apologies. This is not unusual or strange to
her innocence, for it was the custom of the people.
He sits at the door, while his friend waits
outside, and tells his love in a whisper. To this
she does not reply at once; even if she loves
him, it is proper that she should be silent. The
lover does not know whether he is favorably
received or not, upon this his first visit. He
must now seek her outside upon every favorable
occasion. No gifts are offered at this stage
of the affair; the trafficking in ponies and "buying"
a wife is entirely a modern custom.
Matosapa has improved every opportunity,
until Winona has at last shyly admitted her willingness
to listen. For a whole year he has
been compelled at intervals to repeat the story
of his love. Through the autumn hunting of the
buffalo and the long, cold winter he often presents
her kinsfolk with his game.
At the next midsummer the parents on both
sides are made acquainted with the betrothal,
and they at once begin preparations for the coming
wedding. Provisions and delicacies of all
kinds are laid aside for a feast. Matosapa's
sisters and his girl cousins are told of the approaching
event, and they too prepare for it,
since it is their duty to dress or adorn the bride
with garments made by their own hands.
With the Sioux of the old days, the great
natural crises of human life, marriage and birth,
were considered sacred and hedged about with
great privacy. Therefore the union is publicly
celebrated after and not before its consummation.
Suddenly the young couple disappear.
They go out into the wilderness together, and
spend some days or weeks away from the camp.
This is their honeymoon, away from all curious
or prying eyes. In due time they quietly return,
he to his home and she to hers, and now at last
the marriage is announced and invitations are
given to the feast.
The bride is ceremoniously delivered to her
husband's people, together with presents of rich
clothing collected from all her clan, which she
afterward distributes among her new relations.
Winona is carried in a travois handsomely decorated,
and is received with equal ceremony.
For several days following she is dressed and
painted by the female relatives of the groom,
each in her turn, while in both clans the wedding
feast is celebrated.
To illustrate womanly nobility of nature, let
me tell the story of Dowanhotaninwin, Her-
Singing-Heard. The maiden was deprived of
both father and mother when scarcely ten years
old, by an attack of the Sacs and Foxes while
they were on a hunting expedition. Left alone
with her grandmother, she was carefully reared
and trained by this sage of the wild life.
Nature had given her more than her share
of attractiveness, and she was womanly and winning
as she was handsome. Yet she remained
unmarried for nearly thirty years--a most unusual
thing among us; and although she had
worthy suitors in every branch of the Sioux nation,
she quietly refused every offer.
Certain warriors who had distinguished themselves
against the particular tribe who had made
her an orphan, persistently sought her hand in
marriage, but failed utterly.
One summer the Sioux and the Sacs and
Foxes were brought together under a flag of
truce by the Commissioners of the Great White
Father, for the purpose of making a treaty with
them. During the short period of friendly intercourse
and social dance and feast, a noble
warrior of the enemy's tribe courted Dowanhotaninwin.
Several of her old lovers were vying with
one another to win her at the same time, that she
might have inter-tribal celebration of her wedding.
Behold! the maiden accepted the foe of her
childhood--one of those who had cruelly deprived
her of her parents!
By night she fled to the Sac and Fox camp
with her lover. It seemed at first an insult to
the Sioux, and there was almost an outbreak
among the young men of the tribe, who were
barely restrained by their respect for the Commissioners
of the Great Father.
But her aged grandfather explained the matter
publicly in this fashion:
"Young men, hear ye! Your hearts are
strong; let them not be troubled by the act of
a young woman of your tribe! This has been
her secret wish since she became a woman. She
deprecates all tribal warfare. Her young heart
never forgot its early sorrow; yet she has never
blamed the Sacs and Foxes or held them responsible
for the deed. She blames rather the
customs of war among us. She believes in the
formation of a blood brotherhood strong enough
to prevent all this cruel and useless enmity. This
was her high purpose, and to this end she reserved
her hand. Forgive her, forgive her, I
In the morning there was a great commotion.
The herald of the Sacs and Foxes entered the
Sioux camp, attired in ceremonial garb and
bearing in one hand an American flag and in the
other a peace-pipe. He made the rounds singing
a peace song, and delivering to all an invitation
to attend the wedding feast of Dowanhotaninwin
and their chief's son. Thus all was well. The
simplicity, high purpose, and bravery of the girl
won the hearts of the two tribes, and as long
as she lived she was able to keep the peace between
The Little Missouri was in her spring
fullness, and the hills among which
she found her way to the Great Muddy
were profusely adorned with colors, much like
those worn by the wild red man upon a holiday!
Looking toward the sunrise, one saw mysterious,
deep shadows and bright prominences,
while on the opposite side there was really an
extravagant array of variegated hues. Between
the gorgeous buttes and rainbow-tinted ridges
there were narrow plains, broken here and there
by dry creeks or gulches, and these again were
clothed scantily with poplars and sad-colored
bull-berry bushes, while the bare spots were purple
with the wild Dakota crocuses.
Upon the lowest of a series of natural terraces
there stood on this May morning a young
Sioux girl, whose graceful movements were not
unlike those of a doe which chanced to be lurking
in a neighboring gulch. On the upper plains,
not far away, were her young companions, all
busily employed with the wewoptay, as it was
called--the sharp-pointed stick with which the
Sioux women dig wild turnips. They were
gayly gossiping together, or each humming a
love-song as she worked, only Snana stood somewhat
apart from the rest; in fact, concealed
by the crest of the ridge.
She had paused in her digging and stood facing
the sun-kissed buttes. Above them in the
clear blue sky the father sun was traveling upward
as in haste, while to her receptive spirit
there appealed an awful, unknown force, the
silent speech of the Great Mystery, to which it
seemed to her the whole world must be listening!
"O Great Mystery! the father of earthly
things is coming to quicken us into life. Have
pity on me, I pray thee! May I some day become
the mother of a great and brave race of
warriors!" So the maiden prayed silently.
It was now full-born day. The sun shone
hot upon the bare ground, and the drops stood
upon Snana's forehead as she plied her long
pole. There was a cool spring in the dry creek
bed near by, well hidden by a clump of chokecherry
bushes, and she turned thither to cool
her thirsty throat. In the depths of the ravine
her eye caught a familiar footprint--the track
of a doe with the young fawn beside it. The
hunting instinct arose within.
"It will be a great feat if I can find and take
from her the babe. The little tawny skin shall
be beautifully dressed by my mother. The legs
and the nose shall be embossed with porcupine
quills. It will be my work-bag," she said to
As she stole forward on the fresh trail she
scanned every nook, every clump of bushes.
There was a sudden rustle from within a grove
of wild plum trees, thickly festooned with grape
and clematis, and the doe mother bounded away
as carelessly as if she were never to return.
Ah, a mother's ruse! Snana entered the
thorny enclosure, which was almost a rude teepee,
and, tucked away in the furthermost corner,
lay something with a trout-like, speckled, tawny
coat. She bent over it. The fawn was apparently
sleeping. Presently its eyes moved a bit,
and a shiver passed through its subtle body.
"Thou shalt not die; thy skin shall not become
my work-bag!" unconsciously the maiden
spoke. The mother sympathy had taken hold
on her mind. She picked the fawn up tenderly,
bound its legs, and put it on her back to carry
like an Indian babe in the folds of her robe.
"I cannot leave you alone, Tachinchala.
Your mother is not here. Our hunters will soon
return by this road, and your mother has left
behind her two plain tracks leading to this
thicket," she murmured.
The wild creature struggled vigorously for
a minute, and then became quiet. Its graceful
head protruded from the elkskin robe just over
Snana's shoulder. She was slowly climbing the
slope with her burden, when suddenly like an
apparition the doe-mother stood before her.
The fawn called loudly when it was first seized,
and the mother was not too far away to hear.
Now she called frantically for her child, at the
same time stamping with her delicate fore-feet.
"Yes, sister, you are right; she is yours; but
you cannot save her to-day! The hunters will
soon be here. Let me keep her for you; I will
return her to you safely. And hear me, O sister
of the woods, that some day I may become
the mother of a noble race of warriors and of
fine women, as handsome as you are!"
At this moment the quick eyes of the Indian
girl detected something strange in the doe's
actions. She glanced in every direction and behold!
a grizzly bear was cautiously approaching
the group from a considerable distance.
"Run, run, sister! I shall save your child if
I can," she cried, and flew for the nearest scrub
oak on the edge of the bank. Up the tree she
scrambled, with the fawn still securely bound to
her back. The grizzly came on with teeth exposed,
and the doe-mother in her flight came
between him and the tree, giving a series of
indignant snorts as she ran, and so distracted
Mato from his object of attack; but only for a
few seconds--then on he came!
"Desist, O brave Mato! It does not become
a great medicine-man to attack a helpless woman
with a burden upon her back!"
Snana spoke as if the huge brute could understand
her, and indeed the Indians hold that
wild animals understand intuitively when appealed
to by human beings in distress. Yet he
replied only with a hoarse growl, as rising upon
his hind legs he shook the little tree vigorously.
"Ye, ye, heyupi ye!" Snana called loudly
to her companion turnip-diggers. Her cry soon
brought all the women into sight upon a near-by
ridge, and they immediately gave a general
alarm. Mato saw them, but appeared not at
all concerned and was still intent upon dislodging
the girl, who clung frantically to her
Presently there appeared upon the little knoll
several warriors, mounted and uttering the usual
war-whoop, as if they were about to swoop down
upon a human enemy. This touched the dignity
of Mato, and he immediately prepared to accept
the challenge. Every Indian was alive to the
possibilities of the occasion, for it is well known
that Mato, or grizzly bear, alone among animals
is given the rank of a warrior, so that whoever
conquers him may wear an eagle feather.
"Woo! woo!" the warriors shouted, as
they maneuvered to draw him into the open
He answered with hoarse growls, threatening
a rider who had ventured too near. But arrows
were many and well-aimed, and in a few minutes
the great and warlike Mato lay dead at the foot
of the tree.
The men ran forward and counted their coups
on him, just as when an enemy is fallen. Then
they looked at one another and placed their
hands over their mouths as the young girl descended
the tree with a fawn bound upon her
"So that was the bait!" they cried. "And
will you not make a feast with that fawn for
us who came to your rescue? "
"The fawn is young and tender, and we have
not eaten meat for two days. It will be a generous
thing to do," added her father, who was
among them.
"Ye-e-e!" she cried out in distress. "Do
not ask it! I have seen this fawn's mother. I
have promised to keep her child safe. See!
I have saved its life, even when my own was in
"Ho, ho, wakan ye lo! (Yes, yes, 'tis holy
or mysterious)," they exclaimed approvingly.
It was no small trouble for Snana to keep her
trust. As may well be supposed, all the dogs
of the teepee village must be watched and kept
at a distance. Neither was it easy to feed the
little captive; but in gaining its confidence the
girl was an adept. The fawn soon followed her
everywhere, and called to her when hungry
exactly as she had called to her own mother.
After several days, when her fright at the
encounter with the bear had somewhat worn off,
Snana took her pet into the woods and back to
the very spot in which she had found it. In
the furthest corner of the wild plum grove she
laid it down, gently stroked its soft forehead,
and smoothed the leaflike ears. The little
thing closed its eyes. Once more the Sioux
girl bent over and laid her cheek against the
fawn's head; then reluctantly she moved away,
hoping and yet dreading that the mother would
return. She crouched under a clump of bushes
near by, and gave the doe call. It was a reckless
thing for her to do, for such a call might bring
upon her a mountain lion or ever-watchful silvertip;
but Snana did not think of that.
In a few minutes she heard the light patter
of hoofs, and caught a glimpse of a doe running
straight toward the fawn's hiding-place. When
she stole near enough to see, the doe and the
fawn were examining one another carefully, as
if fearing some treachery. At last both were
apparently satisfied. The doe caressed her natural
child, and the little one accepted the milk
she offered.
In the Sioux maiden's mind there was turmoil.
A close attachment to the little wild
creature had already taken root there, contending
with the sense of justice that was strong
within her. Now womanly sympathy for the
mother was in control, and now a desire to
possess and protect her helpless pet.
"I can take care of her against all hunters,
both animal and human. They are ever ready
to seize the helpless fawn for food. Her life
will be often exposed. You cannot save her
from disaster. O, Takcha, my sister, let me
still keep her for you!" she finally appealed to
the poor doe, who was nervously watching the
intruder, and apparently thinking how she might
best escape with the fawn.
Just at this moment there came a low call
from the wood. It was a doe call; but the
wild mother and her new friend both knew that
it was not the call of a real doe.
"It is a Sioux hunter!" whispered the girl.
"You must go, my sister! Be off; I will take
your child to safety!"
While she was yet speaking, the doe seemed
to realize the danger. She stopped only an
instant to lick fondly the tawny coat of the
little one, who had just finished her dinner;
then she bounded away.
As Snana emerged from the bushes with her
charge, a young hunter met her face to face,
and stared at her curiously. He was not of her
father's camp, but a stranger.
"Ugh, you have my game."
"Tosh!" she replied coquettishly.
It was so often said among the Indians that
the doe was wont to put on human form to mislead
the hunter, that it looked strange to see
a woman with a fawn, and the young man could
not forbear to gaze upon Snana.
"You are not the real mother in maiden's
guise? Tell me truly if you are of human
blood," he demanded rudely.
"I am a Sioux maiden! Do you not know
my father?" she replied.
"Ah, but who is your father? What is his
name?" he insisted, nervously fingering his
"Do not be a coward! Surely you should
know a maid of your own race," she replied reproachfully.
"Ah, you know the tricks of the doe! What
is thy name?"
"Hast thou forgotten the etiquette of thy
people, and wouldst compel me to pronounce
my own name? I refuse; thou art jesting!"
she retorted with a smile.
"Thou dost give the tricky answers of a doe.
I cannot wait; I must act before I lose my natural
mind. But already I am yours. Whatever
purpose you may have in thus charming a poor
hunter, be merciful," and, throwing aside his
quiver, he sat down.
The maiden stole a glance at his face, and
then another. He was handsome. Softly she
reentered the thicket and laid down the little
"Promise me never to hunt here again!"
she said earnestly, as she came forth without
her pretty burden, and he exacted another promise
in return. Thus Snana lost her fawn, and
found a lover.
It was a long time ago, nearly two hundred
years ago, that some of our people were
living upon the shores of the Great Lake,
Lake Superior. The chief of this band was
called Tatankaota, Many Buffaloes.
One day the young son of Tatankaota led a
war-party against the Ojibways, who occupied
the country east of us, toward the rising sun.
When they had gone a day's journey in the
direction of Sault Ste. Marie, in our language
Skesketatanka, the warriors took up their position
on the lake shore, at a point which the
Ojibways were accustomed to pass in their
Long they gazed, and scanned the surface of
the water, watching for the coming of the foe.
The sun had risen above the dark pines, over
the great ridge of woodland across the bay. It
was the awakening of all living things. The
birds were singing, and shining fishes leaped
out of the water as if at play. At last, far off,
there came the warning cry of the loon to stir
their expectant ears.
"Warriors, look close to the horizon! This
brother of ours does not lie. The enemy
comes!" exclaimed their leader.
Presently upon the sparkling face of the water
there appeared a moving canoe. There was but
one, and it was coming directly toward them.
"Hahatonwan! Hahatonwan! (The Ojibways!
the Ojibways!)" they exclaimed with one
voice, and, grasping their weapons, they hastily
concealed themselves in the bushes.
"Spare none--take no captives!" ordered
the chief's son.
Nearer and nearer approached the strange
canoe. The glistening blades of its paddles
flashed as it were the signal of good news, or
a welcome challenge. All impatiently waited
until it should come within arrow-shot.
"Surely it is an Ojibway canoe," one murmured.
"Yet look! the stroke is ungainly!"
Now, among all the tribes only the Ojibway's
art is perfect in paddling a birch canoe. This
was a powerful stroke, but harsh and unsteady.
"See! there are no feathers on this man's
head!" exclaimed the son of the chief. "Hold,
warriors, he wears a woman's dress, and I see
no weapon. No courage is needed to take his life,
therefore let it be spared! I command that
only coups (or blows) be counted on him, and
he shall tell us whence he comes, and on what
The signal was given; the warriors sprang
to their feet, and like wolves they sped from
the forest, out upon the white, sandy beach
and straight into the sparkling waters of the
lake, giving the shrill war-cry, the warning of
The solitary oarsman made no outcry--he
offered no defense! Kneeling calmly in the
prow of the little vessel, he merely ceased paddling
and seemed to await with patience the
deadly blow of the tomahawk.
The son of Tatankaota was foremost in the
charge, but suddenly an impulse seized him to
stop his warriors, lest one in the heat of excitement
should do a mischief to the stranger. The
canoe with its occupant was now very near, and
it could be seen that the expression of his face
was very gentle and even benignant. None
could doubt his utter harmlessness; and the
chief's son afterward declared that at this moment
he felt a premonition of some event, but
whether good or evil he could not tell.
No blows were struck--no coups counted.
The young man bade his warriors take up the
canoe and carry it to the shore; and although
they murmured somewhat among themselves,
they did as he commanded them. They seized
the light bark and bore it dripping to a hill
covered with tall pines, and overlooking the
waters of the Great Lake.
Then the warriors lifted their war-clubs over
their heads and sang, standing around the canoe
in which the black-robed stranger was still
kneeling. Looking at him closely, they perceived
that he was of a peculiar complexion,
pale and inclined to red. He wore a necklace
of beads, from which hung a cross bearing the
form of a man. His garments were strange,
and most like the robes of woman. All of these
things perplexed them greatly.
Presently the Black Robe told them by signs,
in response to their inquiries, that he came from
the rising sun, even beyond the Great Salt Water,
and he seemed to say that he formerly came
from the sky. Upon this the warriors believed
that he must be a prophet or mysterious man.
Their leader directed them to take up again the
canoe with the man in it, and appointed the
warriors to carry it by turns until they should
reach his father's village. This was done according
to the ancient custom, as a mark of respect
and honor. They took it up forthwith,
and traveled with all convenient speed along the
lake shore, through forests and across streams
to a place called the Maiden's Retreat, a short
distance from the village.
Thence the chief's son sent a messenger to
announce to his father that he was bringing
home a stranger, and to ask whether or not he
should be allowed to enter the village. "His
appearance," declared the scout, "is unlike that
of any man we have ever seen, and his ways
are mysterious!"
When the chief heard these words, he immediately
called his council-men together to decide
what was to be done, for he feared by admitting
the mysterious stranger to bring some disaster
upon his people. Finally he went out with his
wisest men to meet his son's war-party. They
looked with astonishment upon the Black Robe.
"Dispatch him! Dispatch him! Show him
no mercy!" cried some of the council-men.
"Let him go on his way unharmed. Trouble
him not," advised others.
"It is well known that the evil spirits sometimes
take the form of a man or animal. From
his strange appearance I judge this to be such
a one. He should be put to death, lest some
harm befall our people," an old man urged.
By this time several of the women of the
village had reached the spot. Among them was
She-who-has-a-Soul, the chief's youngest daughter,
who tradition says was a maiden of much
beauty, and of a generous heart. The stranger
was evidently footsore from much travel and
weakened by fasting. When she saw that the
poor man clasped his hands and looked skyward
as he uttered words in an unknown tongue, she
pleaded with her father that a stranger who has
entered their midst unchallenged may claim the
hospitality of the people, according to the ancient
"Father, he is weary and in want of food.
Hold him no longer! Delay your council until
he is refreshed!" These were the words of
She-who-has-a-Soul, and her father could not
refuse her prayer. The Black Robe was released,
and the Sioux maiden led him to her
father's teepee.
Now the warriors had been surprised and indeed
displeased to find him dressed after the
fashion of a woman, and they looked upon him
with suspicion. But from the moment that she
first beheld him, the heart of the maiden had
turned toward this strange and seemingly unfortunate
man. It appeared to her that great
reverence and meekness were in his face, and
with it all she was struck by his utter fearlessness,
his apparent unconsciousness of danger.
The chief's daughter, having gained her
father's permission, invited the Black Robe to
his great buffalo-skin tent, and spreading a fine
robe, she gently asked him to be seated. With
the aid of her mother, she prepared wild rice
sweetened with maple sugar and some broiled
venison for his repast. The youthful warriors
were astonished to observe these attentions, but
the maiden heeded them not. She anointed the
blistered feet of the holy man with perfumed
otter oil, and put upon him a pair of moccasins
beautifully worked by her own hands.
It was only an act of charity on her part, but
the young men were displeased, and again urged
that the stranger should at once be turned away.
Some even suggested harsher measures; but
they were overruled by the chief, softened by
the persuasions of a well-beloved daughter.
During the few days that the Black Robe
remained in the Sioux village he preached earnestly
to the maiden, for she had been permitted
to converse with him by signs, that she might
try to ascertain what manner of man he was.
He told her of the coming of a "Great
Prophet" from the sky, and of his words that
he had left with the people. The cross with
the figure of a man he explained as his totem
which he had told them to carry. He also said
that those who love him are commanded to go
among strange peoples to tell the news, and that
all who believe must be marked with holy water
and accept the totem.
He asked by signs if She-who-has-a-Soul believed
the story. To this she replied:
"It is a sweet story--a likely legend! I do
Then the good father took out a small cross,
and having pressed it to his heart and crossed
his forehead and breast, he gave it to her.
Finally he dipped his finger in water and touched
the forehead of the maiden, repeating meanwhile
some words in an unknown tongue.
The mother was troubled, for she feared that
the stranger was trying to bewitch her daughter,
but the chief decided thus:
"This is a praying-man, and he is not of
our people; his customs are different, but they
are not evil. Warriors, take him back to the
spot where you saw him first! It is my desire,
and the good custom of our tribe requires that
you free him without injury!"
Accordingly they formed a large party, and
carried the Black Robe in his canoe back to
the shore of the Great Lake, to the place where
they had met him, and he was allowed to depart
thence whithersoever he would. He took his
leave with signs of gratitude for their hospitality,
and especially for the kindness of the
beautiful Sioux maiden. She seemed to have
understood his mission better than any one else,
and as long as she lived she kept his queer
trinket--as it seemed to the others--and performed
the strange acts that he had taught her.
Furthermore, it was through the pleadings
of She-who-has-a-Soul that the chief Tatankaota
advised his people in after days to befriend the
white strangers, and though many of the other
chiefs opposed him in this, his counsels prevailed.
Hence it was that both the French and
English received much kindness from our people,
mainly through the influence of this one
Such was the first coming of the white man
among us, as it is told in our traditions. Other
praying-men came later, and many of the Sioux
allowed themselves to be baptized. True, there
have been Indian wars, but not without reason;
and it is pleasant to remember that the Sioux
were hospitable to the first white "prayingman,"
and that it was a tender-hearted maiden
of my people who first took in her hands the
cross of the new religion.
One of the most remarkable women of
her day and nation was Eyatonkawee,
She-whose-Voice-is-heard-afar. It is
matter of history among the Wakpaykootay
band of Sioux, the Dwellers among the Leaves,
that when Eyatonkawee was a very young
woman she was once victorious in a hand-tohand
combat with the enemy in the woods of
Minnesota, where her people were hunting the
deer. At such times they often met with stray
parties of Sacs and Foxes from the prairies of
Iowa and Illinois.
Now, the custom was among our people that
the doer of a notable warlike deed was held in
highest honor, and these deeds were kept constantly
in memory by being recited in public,
before many witnesses. The greatest exploit
was that one involving most personal courage
and physical address, and he whose record was
adjudged best might claim certain privileges,
not the least of which was the right to interfere
in any quarrel and separate the combatants.
The peace-maker might resort to force, if need
be, and no one dared to utter a protest who
could not say that he had himself achieved an
equal fame.
There was a man called Tamahay, known to
Minnesota history as the "One-eyed Sioux,"
who was a notable character on the frontier in
the early part of the nineteenth century. He
was very reckless, and could boast of many a
perilous adventure. He was the only Sioux who,
in the War of 1812, fought for the Americans,
while all the rest of his people sided with the
British, mainly through the influence of the English
traders among them at that time. This
same "One-eyed Sioux" became a warm friend
of Lieutenant Pike, who discovered the sources
of the Mississippi, and for whom Pike's Peak
is named. Some say that the Indian took his
friend's name, for Tamahay in English means
Pike or Pickerel.
Unfortunately, in later life this brave man
became a drunkard, and after the Americans
took possession of his country almost any one
of them would supply him with liquor in recognition
of his notable services as a scout and
soldier. Thus he was at times no less dangerous
in camp than in battle.
Now, Eyatonkawee, being a young widow,
had married the son of a lesser chief in Tamahay's
band, and was living among strangers.
Moreover, she was yet young and modest.
One day this bashful matron heard loud warwhoops
and the screams of women. Looking
forth, she saw the people fleeing hither and
thither, while Tamahay, half intoxicated, rushed
from his teepee painted for war, armed with
tomahawk and scalping-knife, and approached
another warrior as if to slay him. At this sight
her heart became strong, and she quickly sprang
between them with her woman's knife in her
"It was a Sac warrior of like proportions
and bravery with your own, who, having slain
several of the Sioux, thus approached me with
uplifted tomahawk!" she exclaimed in a clear
voice, and went on to recite her victory on that
famous day so that the terrified people paused
to hear.
Tamahay was greatly astonished, but he was
not too drunk to realize that he must give way
at once, or be subject to the humiliation of a
blow from the woman-warrior who challenged
him thus. The whole camp was listening; and
being unable, in spite of his giant frame and
well-known record, to cite a greater deed than
hers, he retreated with as good a grace as possible.
Thus Eyatonkawee recounted her brave
deed for the first time, in order to save a man's
life. From that day her name was great as a
peace-maker--greater even than when she had
first defended so gallantly her babe and home!
Many years afterward, when she had attained
middle age, this woman averted a serious
danger from her people.
Chief Little Crow the elder was dead, and as
he had two wives of two different bands, the
succession was disputed among the half-brothers
and their adherents. Finally the two sons of
the wife belonging to the Wabashaw band
plotted against the son of the woman of the
Kaposia band, His-Red-Nation by name, afterward
called Little Crow--the man who led the
Minnesota massacre.
They obtained a quantity of whisky and made
a great feast to which many were invited, intending
when all were more or less intoxicated
to precipitate a fight in which he should be
killed. It would be easy afterward to excuse
themselves by saying that it was an accident.
Mendota, near what is now the thriving city
of Saint Paul, then a queen of trading-posts
in the Northwest, was the rendezvous of the
Sioux. The event brought many together, for
all warriors of note were bidden from far and
near, and even the great traders of the day
were present, for the succession to the chieftainship
was one which vitally affected their interests.
During the early part of the day all
went well, with speeches and eulogies of the
dead chief, flowing and eloquent, such as only
a native orator can utter. Presently two goodly
kegs of whisky were rolled into the council
Eyatonkawee was among the women, and
heard their expressions of anxiety as the voices
of the men rose louder and more threatening.
Some carried their children away into the woods
for safety, while others sought speech with their
husbands outside the council lodge and besought
them to come away in time. But more than
this was needed to cope with the emergency.
Suddenly a familiar form appeared in the door
of the council lodge.
"Is it becoming in a warrior to spill the blood
of his tribesmen? Are there no longer any
It was the voice of Eyatonkawee, that stronghearted
woman! Advancing at the critical moment
to the middle of the ring of warriors, she
once more recited her "brave deed" with all
the accompaniment of action and gesture, and
to such effect that the disorderly feast broke
up in confusion, and there was peace between
the rival bands of Sioux.
There was seldom a dangerous quarrel among
the Indians in those days that was not precipitated
by the use of strong liquor, and this simple
Indian woman, whose good judgment was
equal to her courage, fully recognized this fact.
All her life, and especially after her favorite
brother had been killed in a drunken brawl in
the early days of the American Fur Company,
she was a determined enemy to strong drink,
and it is said did more to prevent its use among
her immediate band than any other person. Being
a woman, her sole means of recognition was
the "brave deed" which she so wonderfully
described and enacted before the people.
During the lifetime of She-whose-Voice-isheard-
afar--and she died only a few years ago
--it behooved the Sioux men, if they drank at
all, to drink secretly and in moderation. There
are many who remember her brave entrance
upon the scene of carousal, and her dramatic
recital of the immortal deed of her youth.
"Hanta! hanta wo! (Out of the way!)"
exclaim the dismayed warriors, scrambling in
every direction to avoid the upraised arm of
the terrible old woman, who bursts suddenly
upon them with disheveled hair, her gown torn
and streaked here and there with what looks
like fresh blood, her leather leggins loose and
ungartered, as if newly come from the famous
struggle. One of the men has a keg of whisky
for which he has given a pony, and the others
have been invited in for a night of pleasure.
But scarcely has the first round been drunk to
the toast of "great deeds," when Eyatonkawee
is upon them, her great knife held high in her
wrinkled left hand, her tomahawk in the right.
Her black eyes gleam as she declaims in a voice
strong, unterrified:
"Look! look! brothers and husbands--the Sacs and Foxes are upon us!
Behold, our braves are surprised--they are unprepared!
Hear the mothers, the wives and the children screaming in affright!
"Your brave sister, Eyatonkawee, she, the newly made mother,
is serving the smoking venison to her husband,
just returned from the chase!
Ah, he plunges into the thickest of the enemy!
He falls, he falls, in full view of his young wife!
"She desperately presses her babe to her breast,
while on they come yelling and triumphant!
The foremost of them all enters her white buffalo-skin teepee:
Tossing her babe at the warrior's feet, she stands before him, defiant;
But he straightway levels his spear at her bosom.
Quickly she springs aside, and as quickly deals a deadly blow with her ax:
Falls at her feet the mighty warrior!
"Closely following on comes another,
unknowing what fate has met his fellow!
He too enters her teepee, and upon his feather-decked head her ax falls--
Only his death-groan replies!
"Another of heroic size and great prowess,
as witnessed by his war-bonnet of eagle-feathers,
Rushes on, yelling and whooping--for they believe that victory is with them!
The third great warrior who has dared to enter Eyatonkawee's teepee uninvited,
he has already dispatched her husband!
He it is whose terrible war-cry has scattered her sisters
among the trees of the forest!
"On he comes with confidence and a brave heart,
seeking one more bloody deed--
One more feather to win for his head!
Behold, he lifts above her woman's head his battle-ax!
No hope, no chance for her life! . . .
Ah! he strikes beyond her--only the handle of the ax falls
heavily upon her tired shoulder!
Her ready knife finds his wicked heart,--
Down he falls at her feet!
"Now the din of war grows fainter and further.
The Sioux recover heart, and drive the enemy headlong from their lodges:
Your sister stands victorious over three!
"She takes her baby boy, and makes him count with his tiny
hands the first 'coup' on each dead hero;
Hence he wears the 'first feathers' while yet in his oaken cradle.
"The bravest of the whole Sioux nation have given the war-whoop
in your sister's honor, and have said:
'Tis Eyatonkawee who is not satisfied with downing
the mighty oaks with her ax--
She took the mighty Sacs and Foxes for trees,
and she felled them with a will!'"
In such fashion the old woman was wont to
chant her story, and not a warrior there could
tell one to surpass it! The custom was strong,
and there was not one to prevent her when she
struck open with a single blow of her ax the keg
of whisky, and the precious liquor trickled upon
the ground.
"So trickles under the ax of Eyatonkawee the
blood of an enemy to the Sioux!"
Many years ago a large body of the
Sioux were encamped at midsummer
in the valley of the Cheyenne. It
was customary at that period for the Indians
to tie up their ponies over night within the
circle of the teepees, whenever they were in
disputed territory, for they considered it no
wrong to steal the horses of the enemy. Hence
this long procession of young men and maidens,
returning at sunset to the camp with great bundles
of green grass hanging gracefully from their
The "green grass parade" became a regular
custom, and in fact a full-dress affair, since it
was found to afford unusual opportunities for
Blue Sky, the pretty daughter of the Sioux
chief, put on her best doeskin gown trimmed
with elks' teeth, and investing her favorite
spotted pony with his beaded saddle-blanket,
she went forth in company with one of her
maiden friends. Soon two young warriors overtook
the pair; and as they approached they
covered their heads with their robes, exposing
only the upper part of the face disguised with
paint and the single eagle feather standing
upright. One carried a bow and quiver full of
arrows; the other, a war-club suspended from
his right arm.
"Ah, hay, hun, hay!" saluted one of them;
but the modest maidens said never a word! It
was not their way to speak; only the gay calico
ponies pranced about and sportively threw back
their ears to snap at the horses of the two young
"'Tis a brave welcome your horses are giving
us!" he continued, while the two girls merely
looked at one another with perfect understanding.
Presently Matoska urged his pony close to
the Blue Sky's side.
"It may be that I am overbold," he murmured
in her ear, "to repeat so soon my tale
of love! I know well that I risk a reprimand,
if not in words, then by a look or action!"
He paused to note the effect of his speech;
but alas! it is the hard rule of savage courtship
that the maiden may with propriety and dignity
keep silence as long as she wishes, and it is often
exasperatingly long.
"I have spoken to no maiden," he resumed,
because I wished to win the war-bonnet before
doing so. But to you I was forced to yield!"
Again he paused, as if fearing to appear unduly
hasty; but deliberate as were speech and manner,
his eyes betrayed him. They were full of
intense eagerness mingled with anxiety.
"Sometimes I have imagined that I am in the
world with you alone, traveling over the prairie
of life, or sitting in our lonely white teepee,
as the oriole sits with his mate before their
swaying home. Yet I seemed to be never lonely,
because you were there!" He finished his plea,
and with outward calmness awaited her reply.
The maiden had not lost a word, but she was
still thinking. She thought that a man is much
like the wind of the north, only pleasant and
comfortable in midsummer! She feared that
she might some time have to furnish all the fuel
for their love's fires; therefore she held her
peace. Matoska waited for several minutes and
then silently withdrew, bearing his disappointment
with dignity.
Meanwhile the camp was astir with the returning
youths and maidens, their horses' sides
fringed with the long meadow grass, singing
plaintive serenades around the circular rows of
teepees before they broke up for the night.
It was a clear and quiet night; the evening
fires were kindled and every teepee transformed
into an immense Chinese lantern. There was
a glowing ring two miles in circumference, with
the wooded river bottom on one side and the
vast prairie on the other. The Black Hills
loomed up in the distance, and the rapids of the
wild Cheyenne sent forth a varying peal of
music on the wind. The people enjoyed their
evening meal, and in the pauses of their talk
and laughter the ponies could be heard munching
at the bundles of green grass just outside
the teepees.
Suddenly a chorus of yells broke cruelly the
peace of the camp, followed by the dashing
charge of the Crow Indian horsemen! It was
met as bravely and quickly by the Sioux; and
in the clear, pale moonlight the dusky warriors
fought, with the occasional flash of a firearm,
while silent weapons flew thick in the air like
dragon-flies at sunset.
The brave mothers, wives, and sisters gave
their shrill war-cry to inspire their men, and
show the enemy that even the Sioux women cannot
be daunted by such a fearful surprise!
When the morning sun sent its golden shafts
among the teepees, they saw it through glistening
tears--happy tears, they said, because the
brave dead had met their end in gallant fight
--the very end they craved! And among those
who fell that night was Brave Hawk, the handsome
brother of the Blue Sky.
In a few days the camp was moved to a point
further up the Cheyenne and deeper into the
bosom of the hills, leaving behind the decorated
grave lodges belonging to the honored
dead. A great council teepee was pitched, and
here the people met to credit those who had
earned them with the honors of the fight, that
they might thereafter wear the eagle feathers
which they had won.
"The first honor," declared the master of
ceremonies, "belongs to Brave Hawk, who fell
in the battle! He it was who compelled the
Crows to retreat, when he bravely charged upon
them and knocked from his horse the Crow
chief, their war leader."
"Ho, it is true!" exclaimed the warriors in
"The second honor," he resumed, "belongs
to Matoska, the White Bear!"
"Hun, hun, hay!" interposed another, "it
is I, Red Owl, who touched the body of the
Crow chief second to Brave Hawk!"
It was a definite challenge.
"The warriors who witnessed the act give
the coup to Matoska, friend!" persisted the
Red Owl was a brave youth and a close rival
of Matoska, both for war honors and for the
hand of the prettiest maiden in the tribe. He
had hoped to be recognized as one who fought
in defense of their homes by the side of Brave
Hawk; that would please the Blue Sky, he
thought; but the honor was conferred upon his
There was a cloud of suppressed irritation on
his dusky face as he sullenly departed to his
own tent--an action which displeased the council-
men. Matoska had not spoken, and this
caused him to appear to the better advantage.
The worst of it was that Blue Sky herself had
entered the ring with the "orphan steed," as
it was called--the war-horse of her dead
brother, and had therefore seen and heard everything!
Tanagila, or Hummingbird, the beautiful
charger, decorated according to custom
with the honors won by his master, was led away
by the girl amidst resounding war-whoops.
Unable to remain quiet, Red Owl went out
into the hills to fast and pray. It was sunset of
the next day when he again approached the
village, and behind a little ridge came suddenly
upon Matoska and the girl standing together.
It was the first time that they had met since
the "green grass parade," and now only by accident,
as the sister of Brave Hawk was in deep
mourning. However, the lover had embraced
his opportunity, and the maiden had said that
she was willing to think of the matter. No
more words were spoken.
That very night the council drum was struck
three times, followed by the warriors' cheer.
Everybody knew what that meant. It was an
invitation to the young men to go upon the
war-path against the Crows!
Blue Sky was unconsciously startled by this
sudden announcement. For the first time in her
life she felt a fear that she could not explain.
The truth was that she loved, and was not yet
fully aware of it. In spite of her fresh grief,
she had been inexplicably happy since her last
meeting with Matoska, for she had seen in him
that which is so beautiful, so compelling in man
to the eyes of the woman who loves. He, too,
now cherished a real hope, and felt as if he
could rush into the thickest of the battle to
avenge the brother of his beloved!
In a few days the war-party had reached the
Big Horn and sent out advance scouts, who reported
a large Crow encampment. Their hundreds
of horses covered the flats like a great
herd of buffalo, they said. It was immediately
decided to attack at daybreak, and on a given
signal they dashed impetuously upon the formidable
camp. Some stampeded and drove
off a number of horses, while the main body
plunged into the midst of the Crows.
But the enemy were not easily surprised.
They knew well the Sioux tactics, and there was
a desperate struggle for supremacy. War-club
was raised against war-club, and the death-song
of the arrow filled the air! Presently the Sioux
were forced to retreat, with the Crows in hot
pursuit, like wolves after their prey.
Red Owl and Matoska had been among the
foremost in the charge, and now they acted as
a rear-guard, bravely defending the retreat of
their little army, to the admiration of the enemy.
At last a Crow raised his spear against Matoska,
who in a flash dismounted him with a stroke of
his oaken bow; but alas! the blow snapped
the bow-string and left him defenseless. At the
same instant his horse uttered a scream and fell,
throwing its rider headlong!
There was no one near except Red Owl, who
clapped his heels to his pony and joined in the
retreat, leaving Matoska behind. He arose,
threw down his quiver, and advanced alone to
meet the oncoming rush of the Crows!
The Sioux had seen him fall. In a few moments
he was surrounded by the enemy, and
they saw him no more.
The pursuit was stopped, and they paused
upon a hilltop to collect the remnant of their
force. Red Owl was the last to come up, and
it was observed that he did not look like himself.
"Tell us, what were Matoska's last words?"
they asked him.
But he silently dismounted and sent an arrow
through his faithful steed, to the astonishment
of the warriors. Immediately afterward he
took out his knife and stabbed himself to the
"Ah!" they exclaimed, "he could not live
to share our humiliation!"
The war-party returned defeated and cast
down by this unexpected ending to their adventure,
having lost some of their bravest and best
men. The camp was instantly thrown into
mourning. Many were in heavy grief, but none
was more deeply stricken than the maiden called
the Blue Sky, the daughter of their chief.
She remained within her teepee and wept in
secret, for none knew that she had the right to
mourn. Yet she believed that her lover had
met with misfortune, but not death. Although
his name was announced among those warriors
who fell in the field, her own heart assured her
that it was not so. "I must go to him," she
said to herself. "I must know certainly whether
he is still among the living!"
The next evening, while the village was yet
in the confusion of great trouble and sorrow,
Blue Sky rode out upon her favorite pony as
if to take him to water as usual, but none saw
her return! She hastened to the spot where
she had concealed two sacks of provisions and
her extra moccasins and materials for sewing.
She had no weapon, save her knife and a small
hatchet. She knew the country between the
Black Hills and the Big Horn, and knew that
it was full of perils for man and much more for
woman. Yet by traveling only at night and
concealing herself in the daytime she hoped to
avoid these dangers, and she rode bravely forth
on the trail of the returning warriors.
Her dog, Wapayna, had followed the maiden,
and she was not sorry to have so faithful a
companion. She cautioned him not to bark at
or attack strange animals unless they attacked
first, and he seemed to understand the propriety
of remaining on guard whenever his mistress
was asleep.
She reached the Powder River country in
safety, and here she had more than once to
pick her way among the buffaloes. These wily
animals seemed to realize that she was only a
woman and unarmed, so that they scarcely kept
out of her path. She also crossed the trails of
riders, some of them quite fresh, but was fortunate
enough not to meet any of them.
At last the maiden attained the divide between
the Tongue and the Big Horn rivers.
Her heart beat fast, and the sudden sense of her
strange mission almost overwhelmed her. She
remembered the only time in her life that the
Sioux were upon that river, and so had that bit
of friendly welcome from the valley--a recollection
of childhood!
It was near morning; the moon had set and
for a short time darkness prevailed, but the
girl's eyes had by this time become accustomed
to the dark. She knew the day was at hand,
and with its first beams she was safely tucked
into one of those round turns left by the river
long ago in changing its bed, now become a
little grassy hollow sheltered by steep banks,
and hidden by a fringe of trees. Here she
picketed her pony, and took her own rest. Not
until the afternoon shadows were long did she
awake and go forth with determination to seek
for the battlefield and for the Crow encampment.
It was not long before she came upon the
bodies of fallen horses and men. There was
Matoska's white charger, with a Sioux arrow in
his side, and she divined the treachery of Red
Owl! But he was dead, and his death had
atoned for the crime. The body of her lover
was nowhere to be found; yet how should they
have taken the bravest of the Sioux a captive?
"If he had but one arrow left, he would stand
and fight! If his bow-string were broken, he
would still welcome death with a strong heart,"
she thought.
The evening was approaching and the Crow
village in plain sight. Blue Sky arranged her
hair and dress as well as she could like that of
a Crow woman, and with an extra robe she
made for herself a bundle that looked as if it
held a baby in its many wrappings. The community
was still celebrating its recent victory
over the Sioux, and the camp was alive with
songs and dances. In the darkness she approached
unnoticed, and singing in an undertone
a Crow lullaby, walked back and forth
among the lodges, watching eagerly for any
signs of him she sought.
At last she came near to the council lodge.
There she beheld his face like an apparition
through the dusk and the fire-light! He was
sitting within, dressed in the gala costume of a
"O, he is living! he is living!" thought the
brave maiden. "O, what shall I do?" Unconsciously
she crept nearer and nearer, until
the sharp eyes of an Indian detected the slight
difference in her manner and dress, and he at
once gave the alarm.
"Wah, wah! Epsaraka! Epsaraka! A
Sioux! A Sioux!"
In an instant the whole camp had surrounded
the girl, who stood in their midst a prisoner,
yet undaunted, for she had seen her lover, and
the spirit of her ancestors rose within her.
An interpreter was brought, a man who was
half Crow and half Sioux.
"Young and pretty daughter of the Sioux!"
exclaimed the chief, "tell us how you came here
in our midst undetected, and why!"
"Because," replied the Blue Sky, "your
brave warriors have slain my only brother, and
captured my lover, whom you now hold a prisoner.
It is for his sake that I have thus risked
my life and honor!"
"Ho, ho! You are the bravest woman I
have ever seen. Your lover wag betrayed into
our hands by the treachery of one of his own
tribe, who shot his horse from behind. He
faced us without fear, but it was not his courage
that saved his life. He resembles my own son,
who lately fell in battle, and according to the
custom I have adopted him as my son!"
Thus the brave maiden captured the heart
of the wily Crow, and was finally allowed to
return home with her lover, bearing many and
rich presents. Her name is remembered among
the two tribes, for this act of hers resulted in a
treaty of peace between them which was kept
for a generation.
Away beyond the Thin Hills, above the
Big Lone Tree upon the Powder River,
the Uncpapa Sioux had celebrated their
Sun Dance, some forty years ago. It was midsummer
and the red folk were happy. They
lacked for nothing. The yellowish green flat
on either side of the Powder was studded with
wild flowers, and the cottonwood trees were in
full leaf. One large circle of buffalo skin teepees
formed the movable village. The Big
Horn Mountains loomed up against the deep
blue sky to the westward, and the Black Hills
appeared in the far southeast.
The tribal rites had all been observed, and
the usual summer festivities enjoyed to the full.
The camp as it broke up divided itself in three
parts, each of which had determined to seek a
favorite hunting-ground.
One band journeyed west, toward the Tongue
River. One followed a tributary of the Powder
to the south. The third merely changed
camp, on account of the grazing for ponies,
and for four days remained near the old
The party that went west did not fail to realize
the perilous nature of their wanderings, for
they were trespassing upon the country of the
warlike Crows.
On the third day at sunrise, the Sioux crier's
voice resounded in the valley of the Powder,
announcing that the lodges must be razed and
the villagers must take up their march.
Breakfast of jerked buffalo meat had been
served and the women were adjusting their
packs, not without much chatter and apparent
confusion. Weeko (Beautiful Woman), the
young wife of the war-chief Shunkaska, who
had made many presents at the dances in honor
of her twin boys, now gave one of her remaining
ponies to a poor old woman whose only
beast of burden, a large dog, had died during
the night.
This made it necessary to shift the packs of
the others. Nakpa, or Long Ears, her kittenlike
gray mule, which had heretofore been honored
with the precious burden of the twin babies,
was to be given a heavier and more cumbersome
load. Weeko's two-year-old spotted pony was
selected to carry the babies.
Accordingly, the two children, in their gorgeously
beaded buckskin hoods, were suspended
upon either side of the pony's saddle.
As Weeko's first-born, they were beautifully
dressed; even the saddle and bridle were daintily
worked by her own hands.
The caravan was now in motion, and Weeko
started all her ponies after the leader, while
she adjusted the mule's clumsy burden of kettles
and other household gear. In a moment:
"Go on, let us see how you move with your
new load! Go on!" she exclaimed again, with
a light blow of the horse-hair lariat, as the animal
stood perfectly still.
Nakpa simply gave an angry side glance at
her load and shifted her position once or twice.
Then she threw herself headlong into the air
and landed stiff-legged, uttering at the same time
her unearthly protest. First she dove straight
through the crowd, then proceeded in a circle,
her heels describing wonderful curves and
sweeps in the air. Her pack, too, began to
come to pieces and to take forced flights from
her undignified body and heels, in the midst of
the screams of women and children, the barking
of dogs, and the war-whoops of the amused
young braves.
The cowskin tent became detached from her
saddle, and a moment later Nakpa stood free.
Her sides worked like a bellows as she stood
there meekly indignant, apparently considering
herself to be the victim of an uncalled-for misunderstanding.
"I should put an arrow through her at once,
only she is not worth a good arrow," said
Shunkaska, or White Dog, the husband of
Weeko. At his wife's answer, he opened his
eyes in surprised displeasure.
"No, she shall have her own pack again.
She wants her twins. I ought never to have
taken them from her!"
Weeko approached Nakpa as she stood alone
and unfriended in the face of her little world,
all of whom considered that she had committed
the unpardonable sin. As for her, she evidently
felt that her misfortunes had not been of her
own making. She gave a hesitating, sidelong
look at her mistress.
"Nakpa, you should not have acted so. I
knew you were stronger than the others, therefore
I gave you that load," said Weeko in a
conciliatory tone, and patted her on the nose.
"Come, now, you shall have your own pet
pack," and she led her back to where the young
pony stood silently with the babies.
Nakpa threw back her ears and cast savage
looks at him, while Shunkaska, with no small
annoyance, gathered together as much as he
could of their scattered household effects. The
sleeping brown-skinned babies in their chrysalislike
hoods were gently lowered from the pony's
back and attached securely to Nakpa's padded
wooden saddle. The family pots and kettles
were divided among the pack ponies. Order
was restored and the village once more in motion.
"Come now, Nakpa; you have your wish.
You must take good care of my babies. Be
good, because I have trusted you," murmured
the young mother in her softest tones.
"Really, Weeko, you have some common
ground with Nakpa, for you both always want
to have your own way, and stick to it, too! I
tell you, I fear this Long Ears. She is not to
be trusted with babies," remarked Shunkaska,
with a good deal of severity.
But his wife made no reply, for she well
knew that though he might criticise, he would
not actually interfere with her domestic arrangements.
He now started ahead to join the men in advance
of the slow-moving procession, thus leaving
her in undivided charge of her household.
One or two of the pack ponies were not welltrained
and required all her attention. Nakpa
had been a faithful servant until her escapade
of the morning, and she was now obviously satisfied
with her mistress' arrangements. She
walked alongside with her lariat dragging, and
perfectly free to do as she pleased.
Some hours later, the party ascended a slope
from the river bottom to cross over the divide
which lay between the Powder River and a tributary
stream. They had hitherto followed that
river in a westerly direction, but here it took
its course southward, winding in a blue streak
until lost to view among the foot-hills of the
Big Horn Mountains. The ford was deep, with
a swift current. Here and there a bald butte
stood out in full relief against the brilliant blue
sky. The Sioux followed a deep ravine until
they came almost up to the second row of
"Whoo! whoo!" came the blood-curdling
signal of danger from the front. It was no unfamiliar
sound--the rovers knew it only too
well. It meant sudden death--or at best a cruel
struggle and frantic flight.
Terrified, yet self-possessed, the women
turned to fly while yet there was time. Instantly
the mother looked to Nakpa, who carried on
either side of the saddle her precious boys. She
hurriedly examined the fastenings to see that
all was secure, and then caught her swiftest
pony, for, like all Indian women, she knew just
what was happening, and that while her husband
was engaged in front with the enemy, she
must seek safety with her babies.
Hardly was she in the saddle when a heartrending
war-whoop sounded on their flank, and
she knew that they were surrounded! Instinctively
she reached for her husband's second
quiver of arrows, which was carried by one of
the pack ponies. Alas! the Crow warriors were
already upon them! The ponies became unmanageable,
and the wild screams of women
and children pierced the awful confusion.
Quick as a flash, Weeko turned again to her
babies, but Nakpa had already disappeared!
Then, maddened by fright and the loss of her
children, Weeko became forgetful of her sex
and tenderness, for she sternly grasped her husband's
bow in her left hand to do battle.
That charge of the Crows was a disastrous
one, but the Sioux were equally brave and desperate.
Charges and counter-charges were
made, and the slain were many on both sides.
The fight lasted until darkness came. Then
the Crows departed and the Sioux buried their
When the Crows made their flank charge,
Nakpa apparently appreciated the situation. To
save herself and the babies, she took a desperate
chance. She fled straight through the attacking
When the warriors came howling upon
her in great numbers, she at once started
back the way she had come, to the camp left
behind. They had traveled nearly three days.
To be sure, they did not travel more than fifteen
miles a day, but it was full forty miles to cover
before dark.
"Look! look!" exclaimed a warrior, "two
babies hung from the saddle of a mule!"
No one heeded this man's call, and his arrow
did not touch Nakpa or either of the boys, but
it struck the thick part of the saddle over the
mule's back.
"Lasso her! lasso her!" he yelled once
more; but Nakpa was too cunning for them.
She dodged in and out with active heels, and
they could not afford to waste many arrows on
a mule at that stage of the fight. Down the
ravine, then over the expanse of prairie dotted
with gray-green sage-brush, she sped with her
unconscious burden.
"Whoo! whoo!" yelled another Crow to
his comrades, "the Sioux have dispatched a
runner to get reinforcements! There he goes,
down on the flat! Now he has almost reached
the river bottom!"
It was only Nakpa. She laid back her cars
and stretched out more and more to gain the
river, for she realized that when she had crossed
the ford the Crows would not pursue her farther.
Now she had reached the bank. With the
intense heat from her exertions, she was extremely
nervous, and she imagined a warrior
beind every bush. Yet she had enough sense
left to realize that she must not satisfy her
thirst. She tried the bottom with her fore-foot,
then waded carefully into the deep stream.
She kept her big ears well to the front as
she swam to catch the slightest sound. As she
stepped on the opposite shore, she shook herself
and the boys vigorously, then pulled a few
mouthfuls of grass and started on.
Soon one of the babies began to cry, and the
other was not long in joining him. Nakpa did
not know what to do. She gave a gentle whinny
and both babies apparently stopped to listen;
then she took up an easy gait as if to put them
to sleep.
These tactics answered only for a time. As
she fairly flew over the lowlands, the babies'
hunger increased and they screamed so loud that
a passing coyote had to sit upon his haunches
and wonder what in the world the fleeing longeared
horse was carrying on his saddle. Even
magpies and crows flew near as if to ascertain
the meaning of this curious sound.
Nakpa now came to the Little Trail Creek,
a tributary of the Powder, not far from the old
camp. No need of wasting any time here, she
thought. Then she swerved aside so suddenly
as almost to jerk her babies out of their cradles.
Two gray wolves, one on each side, approached
her, growling low--their white teeth showing.
Never in her humble life had Nakpa been
in more desperate straits. The larger of the
wolves came fiercely forward to engage her
attention, while his mate was to attack her behind
and cut her hamstrings. But for once the
pair had made a miscalculation. The mule used
her front hoofs vigorously on the foremost wolf,
while her hind ones were doing even more
effective work. The larger wolf soon went
limping away with a broken hip, and the one
in the rear received a deep cut on the jaw which
proved an effectual discouragement.
A little further on, an Indian hunter drew
near on horseback, but Nakpa did not pause or
slacken her pace. On she fled through the long
dry grass of the river bottoms, while her babies
slept again from sheer exhaustion. Toward
sunset, she entered the Sioux camp amid great
excitement, for some one had spied her afar
off, and the boys and the dogs announced her
"Whoo, whoo! Weeko's Nakpa has come
back with the twins! Whoo, whoo!" exclaimed
the men. "Tokee! tokee!" cried the women.
A sister to Weeko who was in the village
came forward and released the children, as
Nakpa gave a low whinny and stopped. Tenderly
Zeezeewin nursed them at her own motherly
bosom, assisted by another young mother
of the band.
"Ugh, there is a Crow arrow sticking in the
saddle! A fight! a fight!" exclaimed the warriors.
"Sing a Brave-Heart song for the Long-Eared
one! She has escaped alone with her charge.
She is entitled to wear an eagle's feather! Look
at the arrow in her saddle! and more, she has
a knife wound in her jaw and an arrow cut
on her hind leg.--No, those are the marks of
a wolf's teeth! She has passed through many
dangers and saved two chief's sons, who will
some day make the Crows sorry for this day's
The speaker was an old man who thus addressed
the fast gathering throng.
Zeezeewin now came forward again with an
eagle feather and some white paint in her hands.
The young men rubbed Nakpa down, and the
feather, marked with red to indicate her wounds,
was fastened to her mane. Shoulders and hips
were touched with red paint to show her endurance
in running. Then the crier, praising
her brave deed in heroic verse, led her around
the camp, inside of the circle of teepees. All
the people stood outside their lodges and listened
respectfully, for the Dakota loves well to
honor the faithful and the brave.
During the next day, riders came in from the
ill-fated party, bringing the sad news of the
fight and heavy loss. Late in the afternoon
came Weeko, her face swollen with crying, her
beautiful hair cut short in mourning, her garments
torn and covered with dust and blood.
Her husband had fallen in the fight, and her
twin boys she supposed to have been taken captive
by the Crows. Singing in a hoarse voice
the praises of her departed warrior, she entered
the camp. As she approached her sister's teepee,
there stood Nakpa, still wearing her honorable
decorations. At the same moment,
Zeezeewin came out to meet her with both
babies in her arms.
"Mechinkshee! meechinkshee! (my sons,
my sons!)" was all that the poor mother could
say, as she all but fell from her saddle to the
ground. The despised Long Ears had not betrayed
her trust.
The old man, Smoky Day, was for
many years the best-known story-teller
and historian of his tribe. He it was
who told me the story of the War Maiden.
In the old days it was unusual but not unheard
of for a woman to go upon the war-path--perhaps
a young girl, the last of her line, or a
widow whose well-loved husband had fallen on
the field--and there could be no greater incentive
to feats of desperate daring on the part of
the warriors.
"A long time ago," said old Smoky Day,
"the Unkpapa and the Cut-Head bands of
Sioux united their camps upon a vast prairie
east of the Minne Wakan (now called Devil's
Lake). It was midsummer, and the people
shared in the happiness of every living thing.
We had food in abundance, for bison in countless
numbers overspread the plain.
"The teepee village was laid out in two great
rings, and all was in readiness for the midsummer
entertainments. There were ball games,
feasts and dances every day, and late into the
night. You have heard of the festivities of
those days; there are none like them now," said
the old man, and he sighed heavily as he laid
down the red pipe which was to be passed from
hand to hand during the recital.
"The head chief of the Unkpapas then was
Tamakoche (His Country). He was in his
time a notable warrior, a hunter and a feastmaker,
much beloved by his people. He was
the father of three sons, but he was so anxious
to make them warriors of great reputation that
they had all, despising danger, been killed in
"The chief had also a very pretty daughter,
whose name was Makatah. Since all his sons
were slain he had placed his affections solely
upon the girl, and she grew up listening to the
praises of the brave deeds of her brothers, which
her father never tired of chanting when they
were together in the lodge. At times Makatah
was called upon to dance to the 'Strong-Heart'
songs. Thus even as a child she loved the
thought of war, although she was the prettiest
and most modest maiden in the two tribes. As
she grew into womanhood she became the belle
of her father's village, and her beauty and spirit
were talked of even among the neighboring
bands of Sioux. But it appeared that Makatah
did not care to marry. She had only two ambitions.
One was to prove to her father that,
though only a maid, she had the heart of a warrior.
The other was to visit the graves of her
brothers--that is, the country of the enemy.
"At this pleasant reunion of two kindred peoples
one of the principal events was the Feast
of Virgins, given by Makatah. All young
maidens of virtue and good repute were invited
to be present; but woe to her who should dare
to pollute the sacred feast! If her right to be
there were challenged by any it meant a public
disgrace. The two arrows and the red stone
upon which the virgins took their oath of chastity
were especially prepared for the occasion.
Every girl was beautifully dressed, for at that
time the white doeskin gowns, with a profusion
of fringes and colored embroidery, were the
gala attire of the Sioux maidens. Red paint was
added, and ornaments of furs and wampum.
Many youths eagerly surveyed the maiden gathering,
at which the daughter of Tamakoche outshone
all the rest.
"Several eligible warriors now pressed their
suits at the chieftain's lodge, and among them
were one or two whom he would have gladly
called son-in-law; but no! Makatah would not
listen to words of courtship. She had vowed,
she said, to the spirits of her three brothers--
each of whom fell in the country of the Crows
--that she would see that country before she
became a wife.
"Red Horn, who was something of a leader
among the young men, was a persistent and determined
suitor. He had urged every influential
friend of his and hers to persuade her to listen
to him. His presents were more valuable than
those of any one else. He even made use of
his father's position as a leading chief of the
Cut-Head band to force a decision in his favor;
and while the maiden remained indifferent her
father seemed inclined to countenance this
young man's pretensions.
"She had many other lovers, as I have said,"
the old man added, "and among them was one
Little Eagle, an orphan and a poor young man,
unknown and unproved as a warrior. He was so
insignificant that nobody thought much about
him, and if Makatah regarded him with any
favor the matter was her secret, for it is certain
that she did not openly encourage him.
"One day it was reported in the village that
their neighbors, the Cut-Head Sioux, would organize
a great attack upon the Crows at the
mouth of the Redwater, a tributary of the Missouri.
Makatah immediately inquired of her
male cousins whether any of them expected to
join the war-party.
"'Three of us will go,' they replied.
"'Then,' said the girl, 'I beg that you will
allow me to go with you! I have a good horse,
and I shall not handicap you in battle. I only
ask your protection in camp as your kinswoman
and a maid of the war-party.'
"'If our uncle Tamakoche sanctions your
going,' they replied, 'we shall be proud to have
our cousin with us, to inspire us to brave
"The maiden now sought her father and
asked his permission to accompany the warparty.
"'I wish,' said she, 'to visit the graves of my
brothers! I shall carry with me their war-bonnets
and their weapons, to give to certain young
men on the eve of battle, according to the ancient
custom. Long ago I resolved to do this,
and the time is now come.'
"The chief was at this time well advanced
in years, and had been sitting quite alone in his
lodge, thinking upon the days of his youth, when
he was noted for daring and success in battle.
In silence he listened as he filled his pipe, and
seemed to meditate while he smoked the fragrant
tobacco. At last he spoke with tears in
his eyes.
"'Daughter, I am an old man! My heart
beats in my throat, and my old eyes cannot keep
back the tears. My three sons, on whom I had
placed all my hopes, are gone to a far country!
You are the only child left to my old age, and
you, too, are brave--as brave as any of your
brothers. If you go I fear that you may not
return to me; yet I cannot refuse you my permission!"
"The old man began to chant a war-song,
and some of his people, hearing him, came in to
learn what was in his mind. He told them all,
and immediately many young men volunteered
for the war-party, in order to have the honor
of going with the daughter of their chief.
"Several of Makatah's suitors were among
them, and each watched eagerly for an opportunity
to ride at her side. At night she pitched
her little teepee within the circle of her cousins'
campfires, and there she slept without fear.
Courteous youths brought to her every morning
and evening fresh venison for her repast. Yet
there was no courting, for all attentions paid to
a maiden when on the war-path must be those
of a brother to a sister, and all must be equally
received by her.
"Two days later, when the two parties of
Sioux met on the plains, the maiden's presence
was heralded throughout the camp, as an inspiration
to the young and untried warriors of
both bands to distinguish themselves in the field.
It is true that some of the older men considered
it unwise to allow Makatah to accompany the
"'The girl,' said they to one another, 'is
very ambitious as well as brave. She will surely
risk her own life in battle, which will make the
young men desperate, and we shall lose many
of them!'
"Nevertheless they loved her and her father;
therefore they did not protest openly.
"On the third day the Sioux scouts returned
with the word that the Crows were camping,
as had been supposed, at the confluence of the
Redwater and the Missouri Rivers. It was a
great camp. All the Crow tribe were there,
they said, with their thousands of fine horses.
"There was excitement in the Sioux camp,
and all of the head men immediately met in
council. It was determined to make the attack
early on the following morning, just as the sun
came over the hills. The councilors agreed that
in honor of the great chief, her father, as well
as in recognition of her own courage, Makatah
should be permitted to lead the charge at the
outset, but that she must drop behind as they
neared the enemy. The maiden, who had one
of the fleetest ponies in that part of the country,
had no intention of falling back, but she did
not tell any one what was in her mind.
"That evening every warrior sang his warsong,
and announced the particular war-charm
or 'medicine' of his clan, according to the custom.
The youths were vying with one another
in brave tales of what they would do on the
morrow. The voice of Red Horn was loud
among the boasters, for he was known to be a
vain youth, although truly not without reputation.
Little Eagle, who was also of the company,
remained modestly silent, as indeed became
one without experience in the field. In
the midst of the clamor there fell a silence.
"'Hush! hush!' they whispered. 'Look,
look! The War Maiden comes!'
"All eyes were turned upon Makatah, who
rode her fine buckskin steed with a single lariat.
He held his head proudly, and his saddle was
heavy with fringes and gay with colored embroidery.
The maiden was attired in her best
and wore her own father's war-bonnet, while
she carried in her hands two which had belonged
to two of her dead brothers. Singing
in a clear voice the songs of her clan, she completed
the circle, according to custom, before
she singled out one of the young braves for special
honor by giving him the bonnet which she
held in her right hand. She then crossed over
to the Cut-Heads, and presented the other bonnet
to one of their young men. She was very
handsome; even the old men's blood was stirred
by her brave appearance!
"At daybreak the two war-parties of the
Sioux, mounted on their best horses, stood side
by side, ready for the word to charge. All of
the warriors were painted for the battle--prepared
for death--their nearly nude bodies decorated
with their individual war-totems. Their
well-filled quivers were fastened to their sides,
and each tightly grasped his oaken bow.
"The young man with the finest voice had
been chosen to give the signal--a single highpitched
yell. This was an imitation of the one
long howl of the gray wolf before he makes
the attack. It was an ancient custom of our
"'Woo-o-o-o!'--at last it came! As the
sound ceased a shrill war-whoop from five hundred
throats burst forth in chorus, and at the
same instant Makatah, upon her splendid buckskin
pony, shot far out upon the plain, like an
arrow as it leaves the bow. It was a glorious
sight! No man has ever looked upon the like
The eyes of the old man sparkled as he spoke,
and his bent shoulders straightened.
"The white doeskin gown of the War
Maiden," he continued, "was trimmed with
elk's teeth and tails of ermine. Her long black
hair hung loose, bound only with a strip of
otter-skin, and with her eagle-feather war-bonnet
floated far behind. In her hand she held a long
coup-staff decorated with eagle-feathers. Thus
she went forth in advance of them all!
"War cries of men and screams of terrified
women and children were borne upon the clear
morning air as our warriors neared the Crow
camp. The charge was made over a wide plain,
and the Crows came yelling from their lodges,
fully armed, to meet the attacking party. In
spite of the surprise they easily held their own,
and even began to press us hard, as their number
was much greater than that of the Sioux.
"The fight was a long and hard one.
Toward the end of the day the enemy made a
counter-charge. By that time many of our ponies
had fallen or were exhausted. The Sioux
retreated, and the slaughter was great. The
Cut-Heads fled womanlike; but the people
of Tamakoche fought gallantly to the very
"Makatah remained with her father's people.
Many cried out to her, 'Go back! Go
back!' but she paid no attention. She carried
no weapon throughout the day--nothing but
her coup-staff--but by her presence and her cries
of encouragement or praise she urged on the
men to deeds of desperate valor.
"Finally, however, the Sioux braves were
hotly pursued and the retreat became general.
Now at last Makatah tried to follow; but
her pony was tired, and the maiden fell farther
and farther behind. Many of her lovers passed
her silently, intent upon saving their own lives.
Only a few still remained behind, fighting desperately
to cover the retreat, when Red Horn
came up with the girl. His pony was still fresh.
He might have put her up behind him and carried
her to safety, but he did not even look at
her as he galloped by.
"Makatah did not call out, but she could not
help looking after him. He had declared his
love for her more loudly than any of the others,
and she now gave herself up to die.
"Presently another overtook the maiden. It
was Little Eagle, unhurt and smiling.
"'Take my horse!' he said to her. 'I shall
remain here and fight!'
"The maiden looked at him and shook her
head, but he sprang off and lifted her upon his
horse. He struck him a smart blow upon the
flank that sent him at full speed in the direction
of the Sioux encampment. Then he seized the
exhausted buckskin by the lariat, and turned
back to join the rear-guard.
"That little group still withstood in some
fashion the all but irresistible onset of the
Crows. When their comrade came back to
them, leading the War Maiden's pony, they
were inspired to fresh endeavor, and though
few in number they made a counter-charge with
such fury that the Crows in their turn were
forced to retreat!
"The Sioux got fresh mounts and returned
to the field, and by sunset the day was won!
Little Eagle was among the first who rode
straight through the Crow camp, causing terror
and consternation. It was afterward remembered
that he looked unlike his former self and
was scarcely recognized by the warriors for the
modest youth they had so little regarded.
"It was this famous battle which drove that
warlike nation, the Crows, to go away from the
Missouri and to make their home up the Yellowstone
River and in the Bighorn country.
But many of our men fell, and among them the
brave Little Eagle!
"The sun was almost over the hills when the
Sioux gathered about their campfires, recounting
the honors won in battle, and naming the brave
dead. Then came the singing of dirges and
weeping for the slain! The sadness of loss was
mingled with exultation.
"Hush! listen! the singing and wailing have
ceased suddenly at both camps. There is one
voice coming around the circle of campfires. It
is the voice of a woman! Stripped of all her
ornaments, her dress shorn of its fringes, her
ankles bare, her hair cropped close to her neck,
leading a pony with mane and tail cut short, she
is mourning as widows mourn. It is Makatah!
"Publicly, with many tears, she declared herself
the widow of the brave Little Eagle,
although she had never been his wife! He it
was, she said with truth, who had saved her people's
honor and her life at the cost of his own.
He was a true man!
"'Ho, ho!' was the response from many of the older warriors;
but the young men, the lovers of Makatah, were surprised
and sat in silence.
"The War Maiden lived to be a very old woman,
but she remained true to her vow. She never
accepted a husband; and all her lifetime
she was known as the widow of the brave Little Eagle."
A-no-ka-san, white on both sides (Bald Eagle).
A-tay, father.
Cha-ton'-ska, White Hawk.
Chin-o-te-dah, Lives-in-the-Wood.
Chin-to, yes, indeed.
E-na-ka-nee, hurry.
E-ya-tonk-a-wee, She-whose-Voice-is-heard-afar.
E-yo-tank-a, rise up, or sit down.
Ha-ha-ton-wan, Ojibway.
Ha-na-ka-pe, a grave.
Han-ta-wo, Out of the way!
He-che-tu, it is well.
He-yu-pe-ya, come here!
Hi! an exclamation of thanks.
Hunk-pa-tees, a band of Sioux.
Ka-po-sia, Light Lodges, a band of Sioux.
Ke-chu-wa, darling.
Ko-da, friend.
Ma-ga-ska-wee, Swan Maiden.
Ma-ka-tah, Earth Woman.
Ma-to, bear.
Ma-to-ska, White Bear.
Ma-to-sa-pa, Black Bear.
Me-chink-she, my son or sons.
Me-ta, my.
Min-ne-wa-kan, Sacred Water (Devil's Lake.)
Min-ne-ya-ta, By-the-Water.
Nak-pa, Ears or Long Ears.
Ne-na e-ya-ya! run fast!
O-glu-ge-chan-a, Mysterious Wood-Dweller.
Psay, snow-shoes.
Shunk-a, dog.
Shunk-a-ska, White Dog.
Shunk-ik-chek-a, domestic dog.
Ske-ske-ta-tonk-a, Sault Sainte Marie.
Sna-na, Rattle.
Sta-su, Shield (Arickaree).
Ta-ake-che-ta, his soldier.
Ta-chin-cha-la, fawn.
Tak-cha, doe.
Ta-lu-ta, Scarlet.
Ta-ma-hay, Pike.
Ta-ma-ko-che, His Country.
Ta-na-ge-la, Humming-Bird.
Ta-tank-a-o-ta, Many Buffaloes.
Ta-te-yo-pa, Her Door.
Ta-to-ka, Antelope.
Ta-wa-su-o-ta, Many Hailstones.
Tee-pee, tent.
Te-yo-tee-pee, Council lodge.
To-ke-ya nun-ka hu-wo? where are you?
Tunk-a-she-dah, grandfather.
Un-chee-dah, grandmother.
Unk-pa-pa, a band of Sioux.
U-ya-yo! come here!
Wa-ba-shaw, Red Hat (name of a Sioux chief).
Wa-ha-dah, Buyer of Furs.
Wah-pay-ton, a band of Sioux.
Wa-ho, Howler.
Wa-kan, sacred, mysterious.
Wak-pay-ku-tay, a band of Sioux.
Wa-pay-na, Little Barker.
Wee-ko, Beautiful Woman.
We-no-na, Firstborn Daughter.
We-sha-wee, Red Girl.
We-wop-tay, a sharpened pole.
We-yan-na, little woman.
We-zee, Smoky Lodge.
Yank-ton-nais, a band of Sioux.
Zee-zee-win, Yellow Woman.
Zu-ya-ma-ni, Walks-to-War.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?