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Wa-pee Moos-tooch
Chapter XIV
A Buffalo Hunt Which Ends in Disaster

THIS was a large gathering from distant parts; the Bands had gathered as was their custom. Twice in the year, first in the early summer and again in the autumn, they were wont to assemble and for a season dwell together. Just now there are some two hundred odd lodges who, when convened, become the subjects of one chief, and all minor chiefs are his council. And in accord with the outspoken plan indicated in the address of Papamotao, arrangements were made to move out on to the edge of the plains. If the buffalo were coming in, their point of approach could be learned by advance scouts, and the large camp would move around out of the way of their coming. This would let the herds into the park land country. The further they went, the longer, for the time being, would these semi-forest Crees have them as their prey. This plan having been adopted, the whole camp immediately began to put it into execution. Once again the seer made his forecast, and told the people he saw prosperity, but also he saw trouble. Just how this trouble might come he could not tell. Part of their near day was clear. The sun did shine brightly; but again, the sky is overcast. There are clouds and blackness."

Thus spoke the seer. However, the people answered: "And so it has been forever, and we will take the risk." And on they marched, and being well equipped with provisions and travelling through a land wherein forest game abounded, their day's pilgrimage was never long. But unless the weather forbade, they continually moved. This nomadic life was to these people as second nature, and doubtless for them was full of health and sanitary blessing.

When within a couple of days' march of the Chain of Lakes River, their scouts brought them in word that the advance guards of the big herd were coming north, and already large numbers of them had crossed what is now the Qu'Appelle Valley, and that their course was somewhat westward of the camp.

"Then we will move eastward and around, and give them room," said the Chief.

Accordingly the camp's course was turned down into that big region situate between the Beaver and the Chain of Lakes Rivers. To Nagos and Niska, all this life was very strange and full of constant interest. The great big stretches of prairie, the wonderful grasses that were like thick carpets covering the land everywhere; the antelope and the small deer, such as they had never seen before, were being brought in, and were objects of interest. The method of travel on foot and on horseback, so different from the canoe and the dog train, the travois for both horses and dogs, the costumes of the people, the constant and continuous face painting of both young and old, which Snake Skin prevailed upon Niska to adopt, but which Nagos never adopted, and for which singularity no one ever criticized her. Had not White Buffalo said, "Let her alone"; and had not Snake Skin also said, "Let her be even as the Great Spirit made her," and Snake Skin was a strong friend, and he made his influence felt in this camp, and it would have been woe unto any man who would have dared say a word in criticism of Nagos.

In the lodge of White Buffalo's parents, where he and his wife continued to dwell, there was great happiness. Father and mother were full of satisfaction because of the constant joy of their son. Every day they saw that his life was blessed. Every day they learned more and more of the splendid qualities and strong character of this woman White Buffalo had found and brought out of the north country. Every day they said to themselves: "The seer saw true, for blessings have come into our lodge."

And now the camp turned westward in its detour, and the real hunt of the buffalo began. Sometimes in the movements of the herd they came near the camp, then half of the hunters would go forth. Here such horses as Blackfoot and Moosehair came to the front, and were peerless in the chase. The big grey was also a good buffalo runner, but White Buffalo had said: "Let him stay in camp, he belongs to Nagos; 'tis enough for him to do her bidding." Many a time some one would say, "Why is it that that big fine horse does not run buffalo? We never see him taken out on the hunt." And Snake Skin would reply:

"He belongs to the Little Mother. For her White Buffalo risked his life, and went out alone against an enemy and brought home this magnificent horse. The Black Thigh belongs to the Little Mother; he is sacred to her use."

By this time Nagos was becoming expert as a horsewoman, and it was a great day for her when she rode forth at the side of her lord to watch the big race after buffalo. Blackfoot was being led by his master, and cropped grass as he trotted by the side of the other horses. And now the time came for the hunters to make ready. And White Buffalo had left the pony he had ridden out with Nagos, and he told her how to keep with the company of followers, and to ride on to the hill below which the run would be made, and then after the race had fairly started to come on as fast as she could, and see as much of the hunt as was possible. And he put his pad on Blackfoot's back, and he felt his bowstring, and he picked several arrows out of his quiver. All the while he was looking at Nagos; all the while he was talking to the Little Mother.

You see this arrow, Nagos, now I am straightening it. If I know you are watching, I will feel that I can send this arrow straight where I want it to go. If I am in sight, and close enough, watch for the cow I will pick to drop aside and tumble and die. Look, Nagos, this is the next one I will pull and fire."

"Oh," said Nagos, "but I am afraid you may fall. These buffalo are so big, their multitude is so great. It makes me tremble for fear you may be hurt, my husband."

And he answered: "That is not like you Nagos; you are brave, you are strong. Why, I verily believe that if I was to give you bow and quiver you could run with your own horse and kill buffalo," and they laughed at the thought, but the captain of the hunt shouted, "Make ready," and every man who was going to run mounted his horse, and again cautioning Nagos to be careful, and with a look of love and profound trust, away went Blackfoot and his rider to the charge.

Only those who have been there, who have taken part in this race, whose nostrils have been full of the dust of the great plains as this was raised by the rush and stampede and fierce gallop of the countless herds; only those whose blood has heated and whose nerves have tingled as they swept on over rough country, down hill and across valley, with countless badger holes on every hand, with danger to neck and limb omnipresent, with horse and man becoming as one in the rare excitement of the chase, only such can truly realize the exhilaration of the regular hunt on horseback over the great plains after these wild cattle.

In the autumn the fat cows were the goal of every hunter. To kill fat cows, to kill the fattest cow of that day's hunt, was the ambition of every man who bestrode his horse and dashed forth to slay, to have the staging that stood out from your lodge rich with the yellow fat from the back, and portions of picked animals, was the strong desire of every ambitious hunter. And we think we are safe in saying that there never was more delicious meat than that of the buffalo cow when in good condition. The great plains of the North American continent were their breeding ground. These in their immense extent gave the buffalo tremendous opportunity for constant migration. The great inland country north and south, east of the Rocky Mountains, with its wonderful atmospheres, with its abundant sunshine, with its nutritious grasses, the result of the adaptation of nature to soil and upland climate, and big percentages of sunlight, were full of quality, which with all the rest as a multiple environment, made this animal to possess the sweetest and tastiest meat the world has ever seen.

For these fat cows White Buffalo and his confrères rode forth to seek and kill that day. From the summit of you hill, surrounded as Nagos was with women and boys as companions, heedless of these, she was praying, she was sending her spirit out yonder on to the hunting field to accompany her husband. Down yonder on the plain, our hero, stronger than ever, more manly than ever, feeling the prize of true manhood as never before, was saying to himself, was talking to his horse:

"We must do better than ever today. Thick backfats, nothing but fat cows for you and me today, Blackfoot." And Blackfoot twitched his ears and answered back:

"Rub the dust out of your eyes, White Buffalo, and look and pick the best, then let me know, and we will catch them soon."

Thus the man and the horse understood each other, and White Buffalo did rub the dust from his eyes, and with his sharp, quick glance scanned the seething, crowding, rushing mass of God's cattle, as they fairly flew amid the thousand hills of their pasture.

"There is the first one," said White Buffalo with the point of his knee, as he pressed the side of his horse, and Blackfoot changed his course and sped away, gathering strength with every jump. This race was in full view of yonder hill summit, and Nagos saw her husband grasp his bow, and presently she saw him rise in his saddle. Then she saw him pull the bow; then she watched the buffalo. And sure enough, one dropped behind and began to wobble in her gait, and fell, and she and her companions cantered down the hill to where the dead buffalo lay, for she well knew that in a little while White Buffalo would come back to the spot of his first kill. This day he shot four, and they were all fat, and that evening and the next day the stagings beside his lodge were covered with the evidences of his skill in picking choice buffalo. Thus the camp moved slowly on, making provision, dressing robes, tanning hides, pounding meat, making pemmican, and in the meanwhile visiting and engaging in various games of sport, and thus the good-natured crowd was thoroughly enjoying these days of pleasant intercourse.

Up to this time no signs of humanity outside of themselves had been met with. They were now a considerable way up the north bank of the Chain of Lakes River, and while there was constant vigilence, yet as the autumn passed away, and the days and nights came and went, and there were no signs of humanity other than themselves, some became careless, and even as the seer had foreseen, suddenly their sky was overcast.

The enemy, having woke up to the fact that away down in the eastern country there was some one who for the last two seasons had worried them a whole lot, and who evidently were braver and wiser and more cunning in war than ordinary, had taken council together, and determined to gather up a strong force and scout down into the land from whence their enemy had come, and take dire vengeance upon him and his people if possible. Using extra precaution, this strong war party had come upon the Crees without being felt, and suddenly in the glimmering dawn of the day White Buffalo's camp was charged in its turn by a host of Blackfeet. The long autumn night had made the scouts drowsy. Moreover, on this trip, watch as they would, they had not discovered the presence of either enemy or friend, and in measure had become careless.

But now, their lifelong foes were upon them. Very few outside the circle of lodges had escaped. The most were knocked on head and stabbed and scalped in a twinkling, and on the circle of the lodges dashed the multitude on every side, eager to have revenge, eager to wipe out disgrace and humiliation. For among these warriors were the survivors and friends of those camps our hero and his party had also startled from their morning sleep, and with these was the brave who had ridden the big grey, and who longed to recover his horse as well as meet his wily and brave foe. Fierce was the rush, and many were killed before the Crees were really into the fight. But soon White Buffalo was on Blackfoot, and he sent Snake Skin way and Papamotao another, and himself roused the whole camp to bravery by a few strong, quick sentences, and then with the war whoop of his fathers ringing from his big lungs he led his people to drive back the enemy. In this he and his men were successful, but their loss was heavy. Nagos was at first dumbfounded. She had heard of war from afar. She had listened to Snake Skin as he recounted White Buffalo's brave deeds when out on the warpath. But now, to be brought suddenly into contact with these things was awful. With anguish of heart she had seen her husband mount his horse and dash away as was his duty. She had seen Niska galloping to the front with Snake Skin. And here she stood, almost paralyzed in the presence of the battle. Her whole being was with her husband.

"Nagos, come to where the people are gathering for shelter," said her new mother, but there she stood and gazed into the rush where her loved one had disappeared. Suddenly there came dashing through between the lodges some Blackfoot horsemen, wielding their war clubs, and dealing out death wherever possible, and one of these, a big powerful brave, riding a fine horse, suddenly cast his eye on the face and form of Nagos, and in a moment his thought changed, and flinging his war club down, he pressed his horse up beside the beautiful woman, and clasping her with his arm he swung her into the saddle before him, and then turned his attention to escape from the camp with his captive. He succeeded in leaving the lodges, and was beginning to feel the elation of getting away with this wonderful prize, when presently the prize herself woke up to the situation, and began to think. And with Nagos to think was to act, and as the warrior was urging his horse to his best, and the noble brute was responding, he put his foot into a badger hole, and nearly fell with his double load, and Nagos involuntarily clasped the Blackfoot to save herself from the fall. However, the horse righted himself, and the warrior began to croon out a song of gladness and victory. But when Nagos' hand went around the waist of her captor it touched the hilt of his knife in his belt, and then she came to herself, and said:

"I will kill this man." She thought of White Buffalo, she thought of her wifehood, of her honor, and her whole being was fired to brave all things to save these if possible.

Quietly she released the knife from its place, and rising up a little in her captor's arms, as if she was resigning herself to her fate in his hands, she thought of White Buffalo, and sent the sharp knife home to the man's heart. Almost at once his death came, and she took the lines from his hand, and stopped the horse, as the limp body of her captor fell to the ground and she stood beside it with the lines of the horse in one hand, and the blood-stained knife in the other, and thus she stood, thankful and stunned at the same time with her act of killing a man. She, the Little Mother, whose heart was always warm and kind. Oh, this was awful! And her great human feeling was alternating between joy and sorrow, and thus she stood, when from across the plain there came dashing down upon her two horsemen, who proved to be Snake Skin and Niska. She had not seen them, but they had been running the race of their life, for they had caught sight of the warrior urging his horse away from the camp, and then Niska had said:

"He has caught some one; see, he has some one before him on the horse," and the boy at once thought of his sister, Nagos. Oh, Nagos, surely, it cannot be! And Snake Skin pushed the Moosehair to his best, and Niska came charging after him as his mount permitted. And they had seen the horse stop, and the man fall, and now they saw the figure standing beside the horse, and now they saw it was Nagos. And their hearts leaped into their mouths as they dashed in and beheld the scene of the dead Blackfoot warrior and his horse and trappings, and Nagos standing with the horse held by one hand, and the bloody knife in the other. There she stood like an avenging queen, and sobbing like a woman.

"Oh, Nagos!" said Snake Skin: ''Oh. my sister!" said Niska. And Snake Skin, jumping from his horse, took the bloody knife from her hand and kissed her cheek and said: "Brave woman, worthy wife, great big heart!" And Niska clasped her in his arms and kissed her again and again, exclaiming, "Oh, my sister!"

There was no need for her to tell. They had seen the act, and the story of the tragedy was before them.

Nagos Kills Her Captor

"Go yonder, Nagos, and sit down and rest," was Snake Skin's brief command, and as Nagos did his bidding, he, as was fitting to the time, took the Blackfoot's knife, and scalped the Blackfoot, and he and Niska took his bow and quiver, and ermined and scalp-locked buckskin shirt and leggings, and leading the horse over to where Nagos sat still sobbing as if her heart would break, Snake Skin said:

"Come, my sister, we must look for your husband." "Oh, yes, my husband, where is he?" And Nagos jumped to her feet and wiped her eyes, ready to go and do to find White Buffalo.

In the meanwhile White Buffalo had been in the thick of the battle. He had fought with war club and knife, and then when he had his enemies turned, he took his bow and quiver, and shot man after man from his horse, and capturing the horse and trappings, sent these back with his followers and rushed on, for Blackfoot was now in his element and knew no tiring.

Thus was White Buffalo engaged when his heart seemed to feel the sob of the heart of Nagos, and something seemed to say in his ear, "come," and back he galloped through the lodges to his parents home, and called: "Nagos!" and there came no answer, but his quick eve saw where the earth was freshly stirred, and then he read as in big print what had occurred. His Nagos was captured by the enemy; and jumping on to Blackfoot he came thundering out from the camp on the trail. Blackfoot seemed to feel his master's anguish of soul, and said:

"Let me go!" And both horse and master followed the course the Blackfoot warrior had taken with his great prize. Snake Skin had led up the dead man's horse, and tightened the girth of the saddle, and shortcued the stirrup strings, and now as Nagos was eager to find her husband, she mounted the horse, and the three set out on their way back to camp.

"Where is White Buffalo?" said Nagos in her heart, and then Snake Skin's quick eye saw the horseman coming on the trail like the wind, and he spoke up:

"Here is White Buffalo. Let your heart sing, Nagos, and be glad. Here is your husband and my own true friend!" And Snake Skin broke out in a song of thanksgiving for his heart was full of joy.

Racing up, raising the dust and making the earth ring with the impetuosity of his rush, came the ardent lover, the true husband, and jumping from his horse, he clasped his Nagos in his arms, and held her as if forever. Heart to heart they stood on the plain, these souls whom God had mated. Snake Skin and Niska sat their horses and witnessed this scene of sacred joy. Then Snake Skin spoke:

"Come, mount your horses and let us be going, there is much to be done today." And again he pealed forth in thankful song, and as he sang, he thought of the Little Star, and his heart pulsed stronger and truer, as he let his spirit wander out after her.

Reaching the lodges, they found the people recovering from the shock of the tumult and the onslaught of battle, and all anxious concerning White Buffalo and Nagos. here these were safe and well. Then there was a general stock-taking, and it was found that there was serious loss in their camp, mourning in almost every lodge, and the whole camp was caused to mourn, for the famous traveller Papamotao, had died, valiantly fighting for his lodge and people. This great warrior had given his last warwhoop. He had taken many scalps, but now the enemy had taken his own scalp-lock. White Buffalo's mother and Nagos were busy comforting the bereaved wife and family. Hurriedly these people gave the last rites to the bodies of their kin who had been slain. With ceremony and ritual the lodge of Papainotao was securely fastened, and the dead hero was brought into it, and his hunting and war equipment arranged around him, and food and wood and water left in the lodge, and when all was done, the whole camp moved some distance on to fresh ground. As the march was made, and the scene of the fight left behind, the women and orphan children were continuous in their wailing.

"My son, my son!" "My husband, oh, my husband!" Thus they cried and went on their way, and the men in silence moved in advance and rear and flank, and as the seer had predicted, the clouds were on the camp. Indeed, there was a cloud on the seer's life and lodge, for he was sorely wounded, but not unto death. Relays of young men carried the man of prophetic vision on the march to the next camp.

In our hero's lodge every heart was sorrowful because of Papamotao's death. He had been a wise and true friend, full of the manly quality, and the camp mourned him, but especially his own family and those of White Buffalo. And yet, as the old man, the father, said:

"We must be thankful we have been spared. My son is unhurt, and his wife is saved from captivity, and while we sorrow, we also rejoice greatly."

The story of the capture of Nagos, and her brave deed, and how she had escaped, was told over and over through the camp, and the seer, hearing of it, said:

"Just what you would expect from the wife of White Buffalo. She is a brave, true woman."

When the fine brown horse she had taken was turned in with those belonging to White Buffalos lodge, the big grey and this horse recognized each other, and Snake Skin said:

"Surely the man you have slain, Nagos, is the former owner of your gray horse," and White Buffalo being interested, rode out to look at the warrior, and recognized him as the man he had taken the gray from during the summer trip. And coming back, he said:

"I took his horse, and he attempted to take my wife, but she preferred to stay with me, and so she killed him. Surely I will love her and take care of her while I live."

Thus White Buffalo and Nagos were united more strongly than ever, and both were lifted in the hearts of the people by these thrilling experiences.

On into the north country the camp moved, and fresh scenes and new experiences were as the tonic of these people coming out as they were of profound sorrows. Nomadism had this influence of making men forget the sorrows and miseries of some spot by its continuous change and constant movements. Then the life of hunting and adventure acted as a stimulant, and there was not time to feel blue. Moreover, in those early days there were no newspapers to constantly bring up) death and battle and vice and crime, and rehash these in horrible detail. With these Indians, the dead were seldom spoken of until time had healed the wounded hearts of sorrowing friends. And never in the hearing of the near relatives, unless they brought up the question themselves.

When the large camp reached the timber country on the upper stretches of the Beaver River, it broke up into fractional portions and each went their own way into the wintering grounds which had become theirs by the right of use and occupancy for generations.

Before the separation it was understood by all that White Buffalo would lead out a strong party on the warpath in the early summer of the coming season. Their recent humiliation must be avenged. This was the resolution of the multitude.

The day the large camp broke up to be separate for the winter months, the senior Chief voiced the hearts of his people by addressing Nagos as follows:

"Oh, daughter of the North Wind Maker! We are proud of you. The hearts of my people have gone out to you, and we are glad that you are the wife of our young war chief, White Buffalo. We will importune the spirits to continue to bless you both." And Nagos modestly answered:

"I am glad that I am the chosen wife of White Buffalo, and already I love you all as his people."

White Buffalo's party continued their journey north across the divide into the valley of the Swan. White Buffalo had at once assumed the maintenance of the family of Papamotao. These formed part of his own party. And Nagos and her mother-in-law were their great consolation. The seer with his family came with them also. The prophet was now able to be about, and every little while his voice of thanksgiving was heard in the camp, and his improvisation was as follows:

The arrows of the Blackfeet are sharp,
Hi-he-ya, ho-he-yo-yo-yo.
But the blood of the seer was clean,
Ho-he-yo, ho-he-yo-yo-yo.
The blow of the Blackfoot was heavy,
Hi-he-ya, ho-he-vo-yo-vo.
But the skull of the seer is strong,
Ho-he-yo, ho-he-yo-yo-yo.
Then the spirits said, "No, he shall live!"
Hi-he-ya, ho-he-yo-yo-yo.
The Pawakun said, "Yes, he shall live!"
Ho-he-yo, ho-he-yo-yo-yo.

And soon the camp sang with him, for he was much respected and all were glad that the seer was now becoming strong.

Winter was close, and Snake Skin and his pupil Niska were making preparations for the northern trip. The Little Star was always in the thought of Snake Skin, and he was often asked by Nagos concerning his silence, for his natural volubility seemed to have left him at times. And he would laugh and tell her some story in the life of her husband which would make her blood tingle with pride and joy, and she would answer:

"That is good, my brother: but where were you just now? How far north was your spirit wandering? Where are they camped? Tell me, Snake Skin, how is my little sister?"

And he would blush and say he wished he knew. And Niska was full of his return to his own people. He had so much to tell them. He had seen so very much that was strange. However, in his heart, he felt he was coming back again, for in the lodge of Paparmotao there was a maiden to to him exceedingly fair, and lie had said to himself:

"If it is right and possible for White Buffalo and Snake Skin to come into our lodges and win our girls, then I can surely come south and do likewise."

Thus this youth of the northern Crees did commune with himself, and cast his glance towards the orphan daughter of the famous traveller. In his heart, Niska was resolved to make every effort to take this girl north in due time to the lodges of his people.

White Buffalo and his party avoided the scenes of their early autumn hunt, and the spot where their big cache of meat and hides was. For, into these was written so much of the life and character of their friend killed in the recent battle. For the sake of the immediately bereaved, and for their own sakes, they picked their course aside from these familiar camping grounds, and moved slowly northward in fresh country.

And surely there was plenty of room. Was not this immense area theirs by continuous occupancy? Their vested rights no man could in righteousness disturb. Theirs was a territorial inheritance. No section stake or township post marked the bounds of their earthly franchise. And now, carefully avoiding the routes of the early autumn, White Buffalo led his friends into pastures fresh, and camped them by rippling streams unknown to many in his lodges. Himself and Snake Skin visited the cache to see that all was safe, and then this was left for future use when needed.

White Buffalo was now in his true element. He was a natural man in the real sense of such a condition. He loved the forests and plains. He saw beauty in creation on every side. To him the manifestations of the great forces were direct from God. His spirit was ready to worship at all times. Such had been his life from his youth up. But now, having Nagos to crown all these glorious gifts, his soul was full of a perennial gladness. Then the wonderful deed and wonderful escape of his beloved made him forever grateful, and in this spirit he sang and hunted and trapped, and worked for the community around him.

Directly he had three families to provide for, his father's and his own and that of Papamotao as well, and indirectly and many times it was up to him to help all the rest of his following. Only those who have lived on a continuous game diet, and having nothing else, can understand how much meat a family will go through in a short time. The regular rations of fresh buffalo meat at a Hudson's Bay post in the sixties and seventies of the nineteenth century was eight pounds per diem to a man. The group of hunters or the one hunter who had from five to fifty souls dependent upon their skill must needs be constantly on the move. The whole camp moved frequently, but the hunter moved constantly. Only a small percentage of these men whose lives were given to hunting became great experts therein. White Buffalo was born to it, and loved the life, and gave himself as one consecrated thereunto.

To compass great distances on foot in short time; to note all signs of animal or human life; to be forever sure of locality, so that from the densest thicket after a most exciting race or fight, to at once determine the shortest and best route to camp; to have studied the habits and manner of life of all creatures within the scope of his environment, and to stand at the head in these abilities, and accomplishments, was the position in which nature and strong practice and ardent inclination had placed our hero. Therefore, the provisioning of a camp rested lightly on his shoulders. At this present time, he was well seconded by Snake Skin and Niska, who were ordinarily good hunters, but who in all the real wisdom and cunning of this craft heartily yielded to White Buffalo as a chief.

It was now the waning period of the falling leaf moon. Winter was near at hand. This was the most difficult season of the year for a moose hunter. All things were crisp, mother earth was everywhere re- carpeting. Especially was this the case in the scrub and forest lands. Unless there was a strong wind with its rustle and noise, it was almost impossible for the most cunning hunter to approach. At any rate, this required the greatest amount of patience and extreme caution. Bending, straining, gliding, crawling, listening, peering, watching, now on tip-toe, now on knee, slowly, silently, the hunter made his way towards the spot where his diagnosis of the conditions made him believe his game was. All this was merely deductive reasoning until his keen eye beheld the game. Many men who at other periods of the year were moose hunters altogether failed between the falling of the leaves and the coming of the snows of winter. But not so with White Buffalo. Day after day he went out and was successful.

It was whispered in the camp that his Pawakun the spirit of his dream, "the great wolf," always went with him. His great success was supernatural.

"Even so, let us be thankful," was the hushed rejoinder. Oftentimes Snake Skin and Niska and others in the camp were kept busy bringing in the meat and hides from the kill of the great hunter warrior, who by his modest and ever kind conduct had lived down all envy and jealousy, and now reigned supreme in the faith and affection of his people. White Buffalo had already in his early young manhood become the protector, and to many the provider, in the tents of these people. But to himself, the chief blessing was, he had won Nagos, and that now for life she was his beloved wife, the mistress of his lodge and the queen of his heart. And as for Nagos, her spirit was forever with him. The ranges of the hills might intervene, the long weary distances might separate in body, but in spirit she travelled with her lord and husband. Busy in camp and lodge as she was in making provision, in dressing hides, in sewing garments and moccassins, etc, still her thought was out with White Buffalo. And his mother saw this and rejoiced, and his father coming in from his traps would smile and say:

"My son is truly blessed. The great spirit has given him a noble wife!" And the influence of the lives of these loving hearts was felt in all the camp. Nagos was already mothering the children and youth she was brought into contact with. Such was her nature, as that all humanity appealed to her, and she was always ready to help and cheer.

Papamotao's family felt this keenly. She was as a daughter and sister to the bereaved. The seer took great delight in his protege's happiness, and always had a word of loving kindness for Nagos. These were the conditions in this camp, moving as it was slowly down the valley of the Swan, when like a trumpet blast the north wind came strong and chill, and for three nights and two (lays did blow, an(l surcharged the heavens and the earth in that north country with cold. Then stilling down to an absolute calm the frost king did his work, and in a single night the rivers and creeks and muskegs and lakes were bridged, and the waters of the Beaver and Swan gurgled beneath their frozen surfaces, and the surprised quantities of air in the depths of the lakes were heard on every hand in loud protesting calls and roars, because of their sudden imprisonment.

Winter had come, and the hearts of Snake Skin and Kiska did throb with various emotions. A few more nights, and the big rivers and lakes would be passable, and then for the north country with all speed was their programme. Nagos twitted them on their unusual cheerfulness. Snake Skin when in camp was either singing or talking all the time. In his heart the voice of the Little Star was forever sounding, and he was all impatience to be away. Nagos, coming in, would casually remark:

"Even the little stars are clear and bright tonight.'' and White Buffalo would smile with supreme satisfaction, and say:

"Little Stars, like Little Mothers, are always bright and beautiful.''

Then Nagos would blush and bend to the work she had in hand, and Snake Skin would laugh and strike up a hunting song.

The first winter moon was still small when the two young men took the journey out of White Buffalo's camp, and turned their faces steadily towards the star that never moved. They went with the blessing of the whole camp. The seer bespoke them success, but in the meantime a long, hard trip. Said he:

"The people you seek are now far away in the north country, and you will travel long in loneliness before you come to their lodges." However, this did not dampen their ardor, for they were young and full of hope, and the heart of one at least was already in the north, and the younger was longing to be among his own people once more, and tell them the wonderful experiences of the past few months. Many were the messages of love Nagos sent to her parents, and she told Niska to tell them that she was supremely happy with her husband and in her new environment. White Buffalo said:

"Tell my northern friends that their blessing and gift to me has filled my life with happiness, and all my people are glad for my sake and also for their own. Their daughter has won the hearts of my people. Nagos is the chief woman in the lodges of our camp. We will hope to meet them at the appointed rendezvous when the autumn moon is near." And with long springing steps, the young men disappeared.


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