Old Indian Days
Charles Eastman [#3 in our Eastman series]
Part 1 out of 4
OLD INDIAN DAYS
CHARLES A. EASTMAN
DORA, IRENE, VIRGINIA, ELEANOR, AND FLORENCE
these Stories of the Old Indian Life,
and especially of
the Courageous and Womanly Indian Woman
PART I. THE WARRIOR
I. THE LOVE OF ANTELOPE
II. THE MADNESS OF BALD EAGLE
III. THE SINGING SPIRIT
IV. THE FAMINE
V. THE CHIEF SOLDIER
VI. THE WHITE MAN'S ERRAND
VII. THE GRAVE OF THE DOG
PART II. THE WOMAN
I. WINONA, THE WOMAN-CHILD
II. WINONA, THE CHILD-WOMAN
III. SNANA'S FAWN
V. THE PEACE-MAKER
VI. BLUE SKY
VII. THE FAITHFULNESS OF LONG EARS
VIII. THE WAR MAIDEN
THE LOVE OF ANTELOPE
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 seek-
ing 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
He is a princely youth, among the wild
Sioux, who hunts for his tribe and not for him-
self! His voice is soft and low at the camp-
fire 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 be-
came, 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 pine-
clad 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, Ante-
lope! 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 fol-
lowed the hills repeated over and over the mu-
sical 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
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 hard-
ship 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 se-
lected him for a dangerous service in prefer-
ence 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 at-
titude, 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 sec-
ond time; then he turned and ran fleetly down
the stream. At the same moment the wolf ap-
peared 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 In-
dians. 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. In-
stantly 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 war-
rior," 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 war-
riors 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 ex-
cellent 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 him-
Looking over his shoulder, he saw five horse-
men 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 ap-
proached 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 Ante-
lope, but he did not know this, and his courage
was undiminished. From time to time he con-
tinued to flash his signal, and at last like light-
ning the little white flash came in reply.
The sun was low when the besieged warrior
discovered a large body of horsemen approach-
ing from the northwest. It was the Ute war-
party! 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, tow-
ering 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 war-
party 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 sud-
den 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 Ante-
Both sides fought bravely, but the Utes at
last retreated and were fiercely pursued. An-
telope stood at his full height upon the huge
rock that had sheltered him, and gave his yell
of defiance and exultation. Below him the war-
riors 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 receiv-
ing 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 hand-
ful 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 full-
ness, 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 mov-
ing in one direction. All wore their best attire
and finest ornaments, and even the parti-col-
ored 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 maid-
ens!" 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 wil-
derness. She had already given five maidens'
feasts, beginning with her fifteenth year, and
her shy and diffident purity was held sacred by
The maidens' circle was now complete. Be-
hind 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, tak-
ing 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 chap-
erons who stole occasional suspicious glances
in the direction of certain of the young braves.
It had been known to happen that a girl un-
worthy 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 appear-
The wild youths formed the outer circle of
the gathering, attired like the woods in au-
tumn, their long locks glossy with oil and per-
fumed with scented grass and leaves. Many
pulled their blankets over their heads as if to
avoid recognition, and loitered shyly at a dis-
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 com-
pletely enveloped in his handsome robe with
a rainbow of bead-work acros the middle, and
his small moccasined feet projected from be-
neath 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 exclama-
tion 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 chas-
tity, touching also as many arrows as she her-
self 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 embodi-
ment 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 con-
course 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 hunt-
ing! 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 inter-
course 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 cere-
monious 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 oppor-
tunities 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 war-
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 be-
came for the moment incapable of speech or
Meanwhile the two girls were wholly uncon-
scious of any disturbing presence in the forest.
They were telling each other the signals that
each had received in the dance. Taluta's com-
panion 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 for-
tunes! It may seem strange to you, when we
meet thus by accident, that I should speak im-
mediately of my love for you; but we live in
a world where one must speak when the oppor-
tunity 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 pro-
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 under-
neath 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 to-
gether!" She sprang lightly upon the back
of her pony, and disappeared among the scat-
Between the first lovers' meeting and the sec-
ond was a period of one moon. This was wholly
the fault of Antelope, who had been a prey
to indecision and painful thoughts. Half re-
gretting 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 spirit-
ual advisers, and were frequently in the purify-
ing 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, lead-
ing 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 suf-
fered much. . . . You will understand why
I stand far from you," he added gently. "I
have been preparing myself to go upon the war-
path. We start at daylight for the Ute coun-
try. 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 wo-
man, not even his own wife.
"I still urge you to be my wife. Are you
ready to give me your answer?" continued An-
"My answer was sent to you by your grand-
mother this very day," she replied softly.
"Ah, tell me, tell me, . . ." pressed the
"All is well. Fear nothing," murmured
"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 for-
tunate! . . . 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 to-
The moon had risen above the hill, and the
cold light discovered the two who stood sadly
apart, their hearts hot with longing. Reluc-
tantly, 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 fore-
For a few hours all was quiet, and just be-
fore the appearance of day the warriors' de-
parture was made known by their farewell
songs. Antelope was in the line early, but he
was heavy of heart, for he knew that his sweet-
heart 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 cus-
tom 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 se-
cret, 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 su-
perb pair of moccasins--the recognized love-
gift! At such times the warriors' jokes were
unmerciful, for it was considered a last indul-
gence 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 allure-
ments 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 vic-
tory, 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 ad-
vance 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
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 mo-
ment, 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 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 rever-
ently back in its place. How long he stood with-
out the threshold he could not tell. He stood
with head bowed down upon his breast, tear-
less and motionless, utterly oblivious to every-
thing 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 de-
sire 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 breech-
clout. 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 be-
came 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 oppo-
site 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 de-
meanor was cheerful and kind.
The young man ate of the food in silence
and without looking at the spirit. "Ho, ke-
chuwa!" 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 famil-
iar to the Sioux. "Ho," responded the war-
rior, 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 Ante-
lope found himself outside the mysterious tee-
pee. 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 par-
took 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 camp-
ing 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 unfor-
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
"He left us three days ago to come in ad-
vance," 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 burn-
ing 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 We-
zee now stood on the threshold and sang the
praise song for his son, ending with a war-
whoop 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 ac-
cordingly summoned before the aboriginal par-
liament, 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 hap-
It was a crisp October morning, and the fam-
ily 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 en-
listment 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 celebra-
tions. Something tells me that you will not re-
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 re-
main 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 sev-
eral 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 recog-
nition 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 dis-
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 tee-
pees, and sitting by twos and threes upon the
ground, bedecked with savage finery, they
watched and listened. The pretty wild maid-
ens 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 war-
path 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 tee-
pee 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 an-
cient enemy. Antelope was in the best of spir-
its. 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 pos-
sible toward the ancestral home of their ene-
mies. 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 wig-
wam. 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 sus-
picion, 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 ex-
ample. He uttered a low exclamation and at
"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 occu-
pations, 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 Eagle-
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 at-
tired 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 con-
cealed their horses. But here Antelope sent
his companion on in advance, making the ex-
cuse 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 jus-
tify 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 es-
pecially 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
When he saw that she was awake, the Sioux
touched his breast, saying in a whisper, "Ta-
toka," 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 min-
utes 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 mo-
ment when opportunity seemed to favor his am-
bition, 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 re-
turn, 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 out-
side 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, Man-
dans, 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 sup-
posed that she must have been captured while
driving her ponies to water in the early morn-
ing. The grief for her loss was mingled with
horror, because of a fear that she might suf-
fer humiliation at the hands of the Sioux war-
riors, and among the young men there were mut-
tered threats that the Sioux would pay dearly
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 be-
lieving the battle would be a disastrous one,
had set out for home without making his re-
port. But this supposition was not deemed
credible. On the other hand, the idea was en-
tertained 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
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 out-
side 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 Ante-
lope 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 lan-
guage 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 over-
taken 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 en-
shrined 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 (dar-
ling)!" exclaimed the Sioux in his own lan-
guage. 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 con-
ceal 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 abso-
lutely 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 hus-
band'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
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 con-
cerning a stranger.
Presently she was startled by a footfall not
unlike that of a man. She had not been mar-
ried 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 unconcern-
edly, 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 lan-
guage 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 de-
sertion, 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 blaz-
ing 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 re-
treat 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 in-
formed himself upon the nature of the sur-
rounding 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
Behind a group of cedars he paused to rec-
onnoiter, 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 buffalo-
robe, 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 recog-
nition 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, un-
less 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, un-
less 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 im-
pulse; 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
Before the rigor of winter had set in, Tatoka
brought to his bride many buffalo skins. She
was thoroughly schooled in the arts of sav-
age 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
In a short time within that green and pine-
scented enclosure there smiled a little wild para-
dise. 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 inac-
cessible 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 ac-
cepted 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 wander-
ing scout or hunter, his wife grew well ac-
quainted 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 fellow-
hunters and friends. When he killed the buf-
falo 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 camp-
fire, 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 moun-
tains looked grander or more mysterious to the
eyes of the two. The valley was full of the
music and happiness of the winged summer peo-
ple; the trees wore their summer attire, and the
meadow its green blanket. There were many
homes made happy by the coming of little peo-
ple 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
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
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 pre-
ferred to roam alone in the woods. His par-
ents 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 un-
disguised 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 tra-
ditions 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 snif-
fing 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 for-
ever 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 peo-
ple 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 an-
cient 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, weep-
ing 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 Mis-
souri, among their rustling maize-fields. Ante-
lope stopped. "I think you had better give
me something to eat, woman," he said, smil-
ing. It was the Sioux way of saying, "Let me
have my last meal!"
After they had eaten, Stasu opened her buck-
skin 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
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 hus-
band 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 war-
whoops 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-in-
law's hand. Thus they entered the village in
battle array, but with hearts touched with won-
der and great gladness, discharging their ar-
rows upward in clouds and singing peace-songs.
THE MADNESS OF BALD EAGLE
"It was many years ago, when I was only
a child," began White Ghost, the patri-
archal old chief of the Yanktonnais
Sioux, "that our band was engaged in a des-
perate 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 long-
stemmed 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 tim-
bered 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 hun-
dred 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 gen-
eral 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 peo-
ple 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
"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 Mis-
souri 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 num-
bers. 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 gradu-
ally and took every opportunity to pick off any
Sioux who ventured to show his head above the
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