E. Pauline Johnson
Part 5 out of 5
the Union Jack hung idly against a background of firs, but just before
the Englishman was out of hearing the big grad yelled, "Tell the
Governor-General that the fish were caught and sent by Bobbie."
"All right," came faintly across the distance, with a wave of the smart
little cap, and a bright backward smile from the handsome Englishman.
The Saucy Seven looked at each other, then the big grad simply expressed
things in one explosive "Well!"
"No, I don't think we'll move to-morrow," said one.
"Move from here!" said another.
"Well, I'm a frazzle," added a third.
"The Governor-General of all Canada," gasped another.
"And borrowing milk from us!" chimed in two more.
"No fish for supper," said Bob, "and my fault, too, but I'll get some
for breakfast, or my name'll be Dennis." And he did get fish for
breakfast, which was evidently more than His Excellency did, for about
sunset the following evening a guide came paddling over with a large,
square envelope directed to
Inside was this note, written in a small, firm hand:
"Lord Dunbridge presents his compliments to Mr. 'Bobbie,' and thanks him
for the enjoyable fish dinner tendered him last evening. And would Mr.
Bobbie kindly do him an additional favor? Would he come at six o'clock
to-morrow morning to assist a poor fisherman who has had no luck
That night Bob was a regular hero around the camp fire. The boys sang,
"He's a jolly good fellow," and a dozen other gay choruses, while
Bob looked to his tackle and bait, and gathered all the courage he
could muster to meet the great man in the morning. He need not have
trembled--it was no ordeal--for as he paddled up to the big camp a
quiet-looking gentleman with an iron gray moustache and kindly, genial
eyes, stepped down to the landing and held out his hand, and said,
"Good-morning, Bobbie. I hope we shall be friends. I have been most
unlucky; not a fish yesterday. We'll have to do better than that,
"Yes, sir--Yes, Your Excellency," said Bob, slowly trying to get his
"I'm afraid my guides are very little good," said Lord Dunbridge, as he
carefully settled himself in the canoe. "They both profess to know these
waters, but they don't seem to be able to find any good fishing pools."
"I can do better than that," ventured Bob. "I have been around these
lakes every summer that I can remember. If, Your Excellency, you don't
mind, we'll paddle across to the outletting river. It's full of rapids,
and below them we'll find fish."
"Then we'll go there," replied His Excellency.
For one whole hour the great man and the great fisherman had sport that
a king might envy. Side by side they sat, or stood, baiting or reeling
in the heavy, gleaming bass, chatting, boasting, and eager for game.
It was a great morning's catch. A dozen noble fish testified to their
skill, when the pair, overcome with hunger, were compelled to put up
their rods and make for the camp and breakfast.
"We have had a glorious morning, haven't we, Bob?" said the Governor. "I
feel like a boy again, a boy playing truant, a boy who has ran away from
his big school of politicians at Ottawa, just to get a few days' fishing
and--and--oh, well, get away from it all."
There was a brief silence, then Lord Dunbridge continued, "Bob, you're a
boy; so was I once, but I think you'll understand. You Canadian boys do
seem to grasp things, some way or other. My boyhood was not quite as
jolly as yours is--not so independent. You see, we always had tutors and
things to look after us and keep us shut in, as it were, and I never
knew, as I dare say you do, the pleasure of getting about by myself,
and--" His voice trailed off as if he were thinking of something else.
Suddenly he seemed to awaken, and, removing his cap, let the keen
morning air blow across his long, fine hair--dark hair touched about the
temples with gray. Then he smiled down at the sunburnt boy at his side,
and said, as if he feared to be overheard, "Bob, I'd give five dollars
to be a boy like you to-day, and be able to run those rapids in a canoe.
Would it be safe?"
"I've done it twenty times, Your Excellency," said Bob, eagerly, "and in
this same old canoe here. I know every shoal, every rock, every bar in
the river. Oh, sir, that _is_ sport, the very best sport I know of!"
The spirit of the thing seemed to take hold of Lord Dunbridge, "Perhaps,
Bob," he exclaimed, with a dashing enthusiasm, "perhaps, Bob, some day
you and I will--"
"Yes, sir, I think I know," interrupted Bob, as the other hesitated;
then, in a half whisper, "I'll bring you through safely, sir, any time
you want to go."
"And you quite understand, Bob, you are to say nothing about that canoe
trip we're to have, don't you?" said His Excellency, as they parted at
the Governor's landing.
Bob lifted his cap, saying very quietly, "Very well, sir, no one shall
know." Then he paddled slowly, very slowly, away. His thoughts were
busy. Here was he, Bob Stuart, an obscure boy from an obscure Ontario
town, holding in common a secret with the Governor-General of all
Canada, a secret that not even the Prime Minister at Ottawa knew. Then
came the horror, the fear of an accident. Suppose something happened to
the canoe. Suppose she split her bow on a rock. Suppose His Excellency
"lost his head" and got nervous. Suppose a thousand things. But Bob
put it all resolutely behind him. He felt his strong young muscles,
his vital fingers, his pliant wrists. Yes, it was a great thing to be
a boy--a boy whose great pride had always been to excel in typical
Canadian sports, to be the "crack" canoeist, and to handle a paddle with
the ease of a professional. It was worth everything in the world to
recall the time when someone had tauntingly said, "Oh, Bob Stuart's no
good at cricket and baseball. Why, he can't even play tennis. All he
can do is to potter at his old Canuck sports of paddling a canoe and
swinging a lacrosse stick." And Bob had laughed with satisfaction, and
said, good-naturedly, "You bet! You're right. I'm for our national games
every time." And now had come the reward; he was to run the rapids with
the representative of the throne of Great Britain in the bow of his
Two days later came the summons, and early the next morning Bob was
supposed to set forth again to take His Excellency fishing. The
viceregal staff, aides and guides saw them depart, never dreaming for
a moment that they were really runaways bound for a royal holiday.
Bob hardly realized it himself until, at the head of the rapids, they
unshipped all unnecessary tackle and prepared to make the run. They
hauled a big rock aboard, placing it astern to trim Bob's light weight
to balance Lord Dunbridge's. "Now," said the boy, "when I yell for you
to paddle port or starboard, you had better work for all you're worth,
Your Excellency, or we may grind on the rocks."
"Good," replied the Governor. "You can depend on me, Bob." His
Excellency knelt low on his heels forward of the bow thwart. Bob knelt
high, with the stern thwart just catching his seat. He felt his strong
ashen paddle carefully, stowed an extra blade "handy," said, "Now,
then," and the little canoe shot out into the middle of the placid
river. Far in the distance the rapids frothed and curled, their song
rippling backwards like a beckoning hand. On either side fir forests
crowded to the rocky edges, that broke like cruel granite jaws against
the waters. Immediately ahead the stream twisted into circles, those
smooth, deadly circles that herald the coming tumult. Bob's strong
young arms grew taut, their sinews like thin cords of steel. There was
not a tremor in his entire body. He knelt, steady and calm, his keen,
narrow eyes fixed plumb ahead, alert and shrewd as an animal. He felt
his fingers grip the paddle with a strength that was vise-like, grip,
and cling, and command. The canoe obeyed even his thought, obeyed the
turn of his smallest finger, obeyed, steadied itself, stood motionless
for a second, then lifted its nose and plunged forward. The spray split
in two, showering the gunwales, then roared abaft, and--they were in the
thick of the fight.
"Do you want me to paddle?" shouted back Lord Dunbridge.
"No, I can pilot her all right," came the response through the wind
that almost shrieked Bob's voice away. The rocky ledges of shores were
crowding closer now. The firs, dark and melancholy, were frowning down;
sharp crags arose like ragged teeth; to right, to left, ahead, and
between them the river boiled and lashed itself into fury, pitching
headlong on and on down the throat of the yawning channel. The tiny
canoe flung between the rocks like a shuttle. Twice its keel shivered,
rabbit-wise, in the force of crossing currents; once, far above the
tumult, came a wild, anxious voice from the shore, but neither Bob
nor his passenger gave heed. The dash of that wildcat rapid left no
second of time for replying or turning one's eyelid; it was one long,
breathless, hurling plunge, that got into their blood like a fever. Then
presently the riot seemed all behind them. The savage music of the river
grew fainter and fainter, the canoe slipped through the exhausted waters
silently as a snake. A moment more, and the bow beached on a strip of
yellow sand, secure, steadfast, triumphant. The glorious cruise was
A little group of scared, white-faced men huddled together on shore, the
handsome young aide-de-camp reaching down his eager hands, which shook
with anxiety. "Oh, Your Excellency," he exclaimed, "how _could_ you run
such a risk, and with only this boy to pilot you?"
"Bob and I ran away," said Lord Dunbridge, as, breathless but happy,
he sprang from the canoe. "We ran away for a little holiday just by
ourselves. I would not have missed it for the world." Then, more
seriously, he added, "Gentlemen, if I could think that my Prime Minister
and the Government at Ottawa could steer the Ship of State as splendidly
as Bobbie steered that canoe, I would never have another wrinkle on my
forehead or another grey hair on my head."
Old Beaver-tail hated many things, but most of all he hated the
North-West Mounted Police. Not that they had ever molested or worried
him in his far corner of the Crooked Lakes Indian Reserve, but they
stood for the enforcing of the white man's laws, and old Beaver-Tail
hated the white man. He would sit for hours together in his big
tepee counting his piles of furs, smoking, grumbling and storming at
the inroads of the palefaces on to his lands and hunting grounds.
Consequently it was an amazing surprise to everybody when he consented
to let his eldest son, Little Wolf-Willow, go away to attend the Indian
School in far-off Manitoba. But old Beaver-Tail explained with rare
appreciation his reasons for this consent. He said he wished the boy to
learn English, so that he would grow up to be a keen, sharp trader, like
the men of the Hudson's Bay Company, the white men who were so apt to
outwit the redskins in a fur-trading bargain. Thus we see that poor old
Beaver-Tail had suffered and been cheated at the hands of the cunning
paleface. Little Wolf-Willow was not little, by any means; he was tall,
thin, wiry, and quick, a boy of marked intelligence and much ability. He
was called Little Wolf-Willow to distinguish him from his grandsire, Big
Wolf-Willow by name, whose career as a warrior made him famed throughout
half of the great Canadian North-West. Little Wolf-Willow's one idea
of life was to grow up and be like his grandfather, the hero of fifty
battles against both hostile Indian tribes and invading white settlers;
to have nine scalps at his belt, and scars on his face; to wear a
crimson-tipped eagle feather in his hair, and to give a war-whoop that
would echo from lake to lake and plant fear in the hearts of his
enemies. But instead of all this splendid life the boy was sent away to
the school taught by paleface men and women; to a terrible, far-away,
strange school, where he would have to learn a new language and perhaps
wear clothes like the white men wore. The superintendent of the school,
who had persuaded old Beaver-Tail to let the boy come, brought him out
from the Crooked Lakes with several other boys. Most of them could speak
a few words of English, but not so Little Wolf-Willow, who arrived from
his prairie tepee dressed in buckskin and moccasins, a pretty string of
white elks' teeth about his throat, and his long, straight, black hair
braided in two plaits, interwoven with bits of rabbit skin. A dull green
blanket served as an overcoat, and he wore no hat at all. His face was
small, and beautifully tinted a rich, reddish copper color, and his eyes
were black, alert, and very shining.
The teachers greeted him very kindly, and he shook hands with them
gravely, like a very old man. And from that day onward Little
Wolf-Willow shut his heart within himself, and suffered.
In the first place, the white people all looked sick to him--unhealthy,
bleached. Then, try as he would, he could not accustom his feet to the
stiff leather shoes he was induced to wear. One morning his buckskin
coat was missing, and in its place was a nice blue cloth one with
gleaming golden buttons. He hated it, but he had to wear it. Then his
green blanket disappeared; a warm, heavy overcoat in its place. Then his
fringed buckskin "chaps" went; in their place a pair of dreadful grey
cloth trousers. Little Wolf-Willow made no comment, but he kept his eyes
and ears open, and mastered a few important words of English, which,
however, he kept to himself--as yet. And then, one day, when he had
worn these hated clothes for a whole month, the superintendent who had
brought him away from his father's tepee sent for him to come to his
little office. The boy went. The superintendent was so kind and so
gentle, and his smile was so true, that the boy had grown somewhat
attached to him, so, without fear of anything in the world, the little
Cree scholar slipped noiselessly into the room.
"Ah, Little Wolf-Willow," said the superintendent, kindly, "I notice
that you are beginning to understand a little English already." The boy
smiled, and nodded slightly. "You are very quick and smart, my boy,
quick as a lynx, smart as a fox. Now tell me, are you happy here? Do you
like the school?" continued Mr. Enderby.
There was a brief silence, then a direct, straight look from the small
Cree eyes, and the words, "I like you--me."
Mr. Enderby smiled. "That's good; I like you, too, Little Wolf-Willow.
Now tell me, do you like your new clothes?"
"No good," said the boy.
Mr. Enderby looked grave. "But, my boy, that is what you must wear if
you are to be educated. Do you know what the word 'education' means?
Have you ever heard the teachers or boys here use it?"
"White man, English," came the quick reply.
"That's it; you have described it exactly. To become educated you must
try and wear and do what the white people do--like the English, as you
say," Mr. Enderby went on. "Now what about your hair? White men don't
wear long hair, and you see all the Cree boys in the school have let me
cut their hair. Wouldn't you like to be like them?"
"No; hair good," said the boy.
"Well, how about a 'white' name?" asked Mr. Enderby. "The other boys
have taken them. Wouldn't you like me to call you John? I'd like to."
"Me Wolf-Willow, same grandfather," came in tones of pronounced
"Very well, Little Wolf-Willow, you must do as you like, you know; but
you said when you came in that you liked me, and I like you very much.
Perhaps some day you will do these things to please me." Then Mr.
Enderby added softly to himself, "It will all come in time. It is pretty
hard to ask any boy to give up his language, his clothes, his customs,
his old-time way of living, his name, even the church of his fathers.
I must have patience, patience?"
"You speak?" asked the boy.
"Just to myself," said Mr. Enderby.
"I speak," said the little Indian, standing up and looking fearlessly
into the superintendent's face. "I speak. I keep hair, good. I keep name
Wolf-Willow, good. I keep skin Indian color. I not white man's skin.
English skin no good. My skin best, good."
Mr. Enderby laughed. "No, no, Little Wolf-Willow, we won't try to change
the color of your skin," he said.
"No good try. I keep skin, better skin than white man. I keep skin, me."
And the next instant he was gone.
Miss Watson, the matron, appeared at the door. "What have you done to
Little Wolf-Willow?" she asked in surprise. "Why, he is careering down
the hall at a breakneck speed."
"I believe the child thought I was going to skin him, to make a white
boy out of him," laughed Mr. Enderby.
"Poor little chap! I expect you wanted to cut off his hair," said Miss
Watson, "and perhaps call him Tom, Dick, Harry, or some such name."
"I did," answered the superintendent. "The other boys have all come
"Yes, I know they have," agreed Miss Watson, "but there is something
about that boy that makes me think that you'll never get his hair or
his name away from him."
And she was right. They never did.
It was six years before Little Wolf-Willow again entered the door of
his father's tepee. He returned to the Crooked Lakes speaking English
fluently, and with the excellent appointment of interpreter for the
Government Indian Agent. The instant his father saw him, the alert Cree
eye noted the uncut hair. Nothing could have so pleased old Beaver-Tail.
He had held for years a fear in his heart that the school would utterly
rob him of his boy. Little Wolf-Willow's mother arose from preparing
an antelope stew for supper. She looked up into her son's face. When
he left he had not been as high as her ear tips. With the wonderful
intuition of mothers the world over, she knew at the first glance that
they had not made him into a white man. Years seemed to roll from her
face. She had been so fearful lest he should not come back to their old
"Rest here," she said, in the gentle Cree tongue. "Rest here, Little
Wolf-Willow; it is your home."
The boy himself had been almost afraid to come. He had grown accustomed
to sleeping in a house, in a bed, to wearing shoes, to eating the white
man's food; but the blood of the prairies leaped in his veins at the
sight of the great tepee, with its dry sod floor spread with wolf-skins
and ancient buffalo hides. He flung himself on to the furs and the
grass, his fingers threading themselves through the buckskin fringes
that adorned old Beaver-Tail's leggings.
"Father," he cried out, in the quaint Cree tongue, "father, sire of my
own, I have learned the best the white man had to give, but they have
not changed me, or my heart, any more than they could change the copper
tint of my skin."
Old Beaver-Tail fairly chuckled, then replied, between pipe puffs, "Some
of our Cree boys go to school. They learn the white man's ways, and
they are of no more use to their people. They cannot trap for furs, nor
scout, nor hunt, nor find a prairie trail. You are wiser than that,
Little Wolf-Willow. You are smarter than when you left us, but you
return to us, the old people of your tribe, just the same--just the same
as your father and grandfather."
"Not quite the same," replied the boy, cautiously, "for, father, I do
not now hate the North-West Mounted Police."
For answer, old Beaver-Tail snarled like a husky dog. "You'll hate them
again when you live here long enough!" he muttered. "And if you have any
friends among them, keep those friends distant, beyond the rim of the
horizon. I will not have their scarlet coats showing here."
Wisely, the boy did not reply, and that night, rolled in coyote skins,
he slept like a little child once more on the floor of his father's
For many months after that he travelled about the great prairies,
visiting with the Government Indian Agent many distant camps and Cree
lodges. He always rode astride a sturdy little buckskin-colored cayuse.
Like most Indian boys, he was a splendid horseman, steady in his seat,
swift of eye, and sure of every prairie trail in all Saskatchewan. He
always wore a strange mixture of civilized and savage clothes--fringed
buckskin "chaps," beaded moccasins, a blue flannel shirt, a scarlet silk
handkerchief knotted around his throat, a wide-brimmed cowboy hat with a
rattlesnake skin as a hatband, and two magnificent bracelets of ivory
elks' teeth. His braided hair, his young, clean, thin, dark face, his
fearless riding, began to be known far and wide. The men of the Hudson's
Bay Company trusted him. The North-West Mounted Police loved him. The
white traders admired him. But, most of all, he stood fast in the
affection of his own Indian people. They never forgot the fact that, had
he wished, he could have stayed with the white people altogether, that
he was equal to them in English education, but he did not choose to do
so--he was one of their own for all time.
But one dreadful night Corporal Manan of the North-West Mounted Police
rode into barracks at Regina with a serious, worried face. He reported
immediately to his captain. "A bad business, captain," he said, coming
to attention, "a very bad business, sir. I have reports from old
'Scotty' McIntyre's ranch up north that young Wolf-Willow, that we all
know so well, has been caught rustling cattle--cut out two calves, sir,
and--well, he's stolen them, sir, and old Scotty is after him with a
"Too bad, too bad!" said the captain, with genuine concern. "Young
Wolf-Willow gone wrong! I can hardly believe it. How old is he,
"About sixteen or seventeen, I should say, sir."
"Too bad!" again said the captain. "Well educated; fine boy, too. What
good has it done him? It seems these Indians _will_ cut up. Education
seems to only make them worse, Corporal. He'll feel arrest less from you
than most of us. You'll have to go. Start early, at daylight, and bring
him in to prison when you return."
"_I_?" fairly shouted Corporal Manan. "_I_ arrest young Wolf-Willow?
No, sir! You'll have to get another policeman."
"You'll do as you receive orders," blurted the captain, then added more
graciously, "Why, Manan, don't you see how much better it is to arrest
him? Scotty is after him with a shotgun, and he'll kill the boy on
sight. Wolf-Willow is safest here. You leave at daylight, and bring
him in, if you have to handcuff him to do it."
Corporal Manan spent a miserable night. Never had a task been so odious
to him. He loved the bright, handsome Cree boy, and his heart was sore
that he had gone wrong, after giving such promise of a fine, useful
manhood. But the white settlers' cattle must be protected, and orders
were orders--a soldier must obey his superior officer. So, at daybreak,
the fastest horse in the service was saddled, and Corporal Manan was
hard on the trail of the young Cree thief.
But Little Wolf-Willow knew nothing of all this. Far away up the
northern plains a terrible bit of news had come to him. At the Hudson's
Bay post he had been told that his old grandfather had been caught
stealing cattle, that the North-West Mounted Police were after him,
that they would surely capture him and put him in Regina jail. The
boy was horrified. His own old grandfather a thief! He knew that old
warrior well enough--knew that he was innocent of intentional crime;
knew that, should the scarlet-coated police give chase, the old Indian
would never understand, but would probably fire and kill the man
who attempted to arrest him. The boy knew that with his own perfect
knowledge of English, he could explain everything away if only he could
be at his grandfather's in time, or else intercept the police before
they should arrest him. His grandfather would shoot; the boy knew it.
Then there would be bloodshed added to theft. But Big Wolf-Willow's
lodge was ninety miles distant, and it was the middle of a long, severe
winter. What was to be done? One thing only--he, Little Wolf-Willow,
must ride, ride, ride! He must not waste an hour, or the prison at
Regina would have his grandfather, and perhaps a gallant soldier of
the king would meet his death doing his duty.
Thrusting a pouch of pemmican into his shirt front, and fastening his
buckskin coat tightly across his chest, he flung himself on to his wiry
little cayuse, faced about to the north-east, and struck the trail for
the lodges of his own people. Then began the longest, most terrible ride
of his life. Afterwards, when he became a man, he often felt that he
lived through years and years during that ninety-mile journey. On all
sides of him stretched the blinding white, snow-covered prairie. Not a
tree, not an object to mark the trail. The wind blew straight and level
directly down from the Arctic zone, icy, cutting, numbing. It whistled
past his ears, pricking and stinging his face like a whiplash. The cold,
yellow sunlight on the snow blinded him, like a light flashed from a
mirror. Not a human habitation, not a living thing, lay in his path.
Night came, with countless stars and a joyous crescent of Northern
Lights hanging low in the sky, and the intense, still cold that
haunts the prairie country. He grudged the hours of rest he must give
his horse, pitying the poor beast for its lack of food and water,
but compelled to urge it on and on. After what seemed a lifetime
of hardship, both boy and beast began to weaken. The irresistible
sleepiness that forebodes freezing began to overcome Little Wolf-Willow.
Utter exhaustion was sapping the strength of the cayuse. But they
blundered on, mile after mile, both with the pluck of the prairies in
their red blood; colder, slower, wearier, they became. Little
Wolf-Willow's head was whirling, his brain thickening, his fingers
clutching aimlessly. The bridle reins slipped from his hands. Hunger,
thirst, cold, exhaustion, overpowered both horse and rider. The animal
stumbled once, twice, then fell like a dead weight.
* * * * * * * *
At daybreak, Corporal Manan, hot on the pursuit of the supposed young
cattle thief, rode up the freezing trail, headed for the north-east.
A mile ahead of him he saw what he thought was a dead steer which the
coyotes had probably killed and were eating. As he galloped nearer he
saw it was a horse. An exclamation escaped his lips. Then, slipping from
his own mount, stiff and half frozen himself, he bent pityingly above
the dead animal that lay with the slender body of an Indian hugging up
to it for warmth.
"Poor little chap!" choked the Corporal. "Poor Little Wolf-Willow!
Death's got him now, I'm afraid, and that's worse than the Mounted
Then the soldier knelt down, and for two long hours rubbed with snow and
his own fur cap the thin, frozen face and hands of the almost lifeless
boy. He rolled the lithe young body about, pounding it and beating it,
until consciousness returned, and the boy opened his eyes dully.
"That's better," said the Corporal. "Now, my lad, it's for home!" Then
he stripped himself of his own great-coat, wrapped it snugly about the
young Indian, and, placing the boy on his own horse, he trudged ahead
on foot--five, ten, fifteen miles of it, the boy but half conscious
and freezing, the man tramping ahead, footsore, chilled through, and
troubled, the horse with hanging head and lagging step--a strange trio
to enter the Indian camp.
From far off old Beaver-Tail had seen the approaching bit of hated
scarlet--the tunic worn by the North-West Mounted Police but he made no
comment as Corporal Manan lifted in his strong arms the still figure
from the saddle, and, carrying it into the tepee, laid it beside the
fire on the warm wolf skins and buffalo hides. It took much heat and
nourishment before Little Wolf-Willow was able to interpret the story
from the Cree tongue into English, then back again into Cree, and
so be the go-between for the Corporal and old Beaver-Tail. "Yes, my
grandfather, Big Wolf-Willow, is here," said the boy, his dark eyes
looking fearlessly into the Corporal's blue ones. "He's here, as you
see, and I suppose you will have to arrest him. He acknowledges he took
the cattle. He was poor, hungry, starving. You see, Corporal, he cannot
speak English, and he does not understand the white men or their laws.
He says for me to tell you that the white men came and stole all our
buffaloes, the millions of beautiful animals that supplied us with hides
to make our tepees, furs to dress in, meat to eat, fat to keep us warm;
so he thought it no harm to take two small calves when he was hungry.
He asks if anyone arrested and punished the white men who took all his
buffaloes, and, if not, why should he be arrested and punished for
doing far less wrong than the wrong done by the white man?"
"But--but--" stammered Corporal Manan, "I'm not after _him_. It is
_you_ I was told to arrest."
"Oh, why didn't I know? Why didn't I know it was I you were after?"
cried the boy. "I would have let you take me, handcuff me, anything,
for I understand, but he does not."
Corporal Manan stood up, shaking his shoulders as a big dog shakes after
a plunge. Then he spoke: "Little Wolf-Willow, can you ever forgive
us all for thinking you were a cattle-thief? When I think of your
grandfather's story of the millions of buffaloes he has lost, and those
two paltry calves he took for food, I make no arrests here. My captain
must do what he thinks best."
"And you saved me from freezing to death, and brought me home on your
own horse, when you were sent out to take me to prison!" muttered the
boy, turning to his soldier friend with admiration.
But old Beaver-Tail interrupted. He arose, held out his hand towards the
once hated scarlet-coated figure, and spoke the first words he had ever
voiced in English. They were, "North-West Mounted Police, good man, he.
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