|LIFE AMONG THE SENECAS - PART II|
|IT WAS BECAUSE of his death which had ocurred during the year previous, that the two women had gone up to the Fort Duquesne to recieve there either a live prisoner or an enemy's scalp. After a time their grief subsided and they rejoiced to remember that their brother had gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds above the sky. And so they turned to Molly, to welcome her in his place. In indian words they chanted:
"Our sister has come-
Then let us receive her with joy!
She is handsome and pleasant-
Our sister-gladly we welcome her here.
In the place of our brother she stands in our tribe,
with care, we will guard her from trouble;
Oh, may she be happy
Till here spirit shall leave us!"
Then they touched her skin, stared into her blue eyes, they caressed her soft, silky hair.
|The indian long houses were built on pole frameworks, with sides and roofs covered with great sheets of elm bark. Open platforms for storing hides and meat loomed up close by and piles of firewood lay before the doorways. The whole scene had a bleak and cheerless aspect and Molly's heart grew faint. Over the door hung the carved head of a deer, to show that all within belonted to the Deer clan. Tired, oh so tired, Molly gave on graeful glance, then closed her eyes under the soft, soft deerskins, fell fast asleep.|
|Little Turtle, the Indian boy, heard the faltering words and hurried faster. The new captive girl was singing. She was singing a strange song of the white people. she must be happy today. He had put her sorrow aside at last. Day by day, he talked to her patiently in the Seneca language, pointing out objects and repeating their Indian names over and over. Little Turtle approached the largest lodge in the village. When the answer, "DAJOH, enter!" came, he lifted the flap and want in , pulling Molly along behind him. Chief Standing Pine was the most important man
in the village. His face was turned toward the fire in quiet meditation. Attentively a woman handed him his pipe and a martenskin pouch. Then she stood behind him, ready always to anticipate his needs and serve him. Little Turtle now laid a hot coal on top of the Chief's bowl. After a long period of waiting, the great Chief turned to the little Indian boy and the two began to talk.
|"What is it, my son?" asked Chief STanding Pine. Little turtle knew to lead up to his question by slow, careful steps.
"When a hunter traps a raccon or a fox, O Chief, he uses the dead-fall. Is it not so, Chief?
"Yes, my son," answered the Chief.
"The dead-fall is better," went on Little Turtle, "than a trap or contrivance which allwos the animal to suffer great pain. That is true, Is it not, O Chief?
"Yes, my son, You are indeed wise for a hunter so young, "
"A white girl captive is like an animal in a trap, suffering great pain. Is it not so, O Chief?"
Chief Standing Pine made no answer.
"Can we not help a poor captive go free, go home to her people? If she drowns herself i nher tears, is it well to keep her here, O Chief?"
The old Chief looked hard at him, then at the white girl who cowered against the wall.
"My son," he spoke with great patience, "you do not know the ways of war. War is a cruel master. War is never kind to the enemy. WE take the life of a man only when his tribe is at war with us. We take scalp for scalp, captive for captive. It is the ancient law come down from our fathers, by which we live. These things you will understand and accept as you grow older. YOu are young, my son. I have spoken. Go, my son!"
|When they came out of the woods Little Turtle led the way to a small lodge of logs. An old man was sitting inside the door carving a ladle of wood.
"Grandfather Shagbark!" exclaimed the girl. They looked at each other and smiled. Molly could scarce velieve her eyes, for before her she saw the old Indian who had befriended her on the mountain journey. As Little Turtle explained how he learned to hunt from Grandfather, suddenly, to her great surprise, she realized that she understood every word that he was saying!
He held up the unfinished handle for the children to see. "what will it be?" he asked.
"Well, my son," he continued, "a real hunter's bow and arrows aare not easily made. First, the flint must be quarried, then the blanks bust be made, and the points chipped. But that is not all, oh no. The arrow-shafts must be cut fro mred willow withes and dried under weight to prevent warping. A bow should be split from rough hickory saplings or red cedar. The wood must be buried for many moons to season it. Oh, the making of the bow is no easy task."
The old man held up the ladle he had been working on.
What is it no?" he asked.
"A bird!" cried Molly, clapping her hands.
And the Great Spirit presented a singing bird to Corn Tassel to keep her always happy.
|As molly was growing stronger, she was used to the burden placed upon her, carrying an Indian baby around.She know now that an Indian baby can be as lovable as a white one. Now she had learned one thing more- that the cold look on the face of an Indian was not indifference. She knw now that he suffered as much as others, but he bore his pain without a sign, because he had great courage. Then the women and children stood by and listened while Shining Star talked to the Thunder God:
"Oh He-no, our Grandfather,
Come to us and wash the earth again.
The beans and squashed are dry and withered
Because they are thirsty.
He-no, our Grandfather
Does harm to no man.
He protects his children,
Gives life to the growing corn.
For all thy gifts,
WE thank thee, oh He-no!"