The Oregon Trail: sketches of prairie and Rocky-Mountain life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 384 pages of information about The Oregon Trail.
through a hole in the back of the lodge to see the next steps of the process.  The squaw, holding the puppy by the legs, was swinging him to and fro through the blaze of a fire, until the hair was singed off.  This done, she unsheathed her knife and cut him into small pieces, which she dropped into a kettle to boil.  In a few moments a large wooden dish was set before us, filled with this delicate preparation.  We felt conscious of the honor.  A dog-feast is the greatest compliment a Dakota can offer to his guest; and knowing that to refuse eating would be an affront, we attacked the little dog and devoured him before the eyes of his unconscious parent.  Smoke in the meantime was preparing his great pipe.  It was lighted when we had finished our repast, and we passed it from one to another till the bowl was empty.  This done, we took our leave without further ceremony, knocked at the gate of the fort, and after making ourselves known were admitted.

One morning, about a week after reaching Fort Laramie, we were holding our customary Indian levee, when a bustle in the area below announced a new arrival; and looking down from our balcony, I saw a familiar red beard and mustache in the gateway.  They belonged to the captain, who with his party had just crossed the stream.  We met him on the stairs as he came up, and congratulated him on the safe arrival of himself and his devoted companions.  But he remembered our treachery, and was grave and dignified accordingly; a tendency which increased as he observed on our part a disposition to laugh at him.  After remaining an hour or two at the fort he rode away with his friends, and we have heard nothing of him since.  As for R., he kept carefully aloof.  It was but too evident that we had the unhappiness to have forfeited the kind regards of our London fellow-traveler.

CHAPTER X

THE WAR PARTIES

The summer of 1846 was a season of much warlike excitement among all the western bands of the Dakota.  In 1845 they encountered great reverses.  Many war parties had been sent out; some of them had been totally cut off, and others had returned broken and disheartened, so that the whole nation was in mourning.  Among the rest, ten warriors had gone to the Snake country, led by the son of a prominent Ogallalla chief, called The Whirlwind.  In passing over Laramie Plains they encountered a superior number of their enemies, were surrounded, and killed to a man.  Having performed this exploit the Snakes became alarmed, dreading the resentment of the Dakota, and they hastened therefore to signify their wish for peace by sending the scalp of the slain partisan, together with a small parcel of tobacco attached, to his tribesmen and relations.  They had employed old Vaskiss, the trader, as their messenger, and the scalp was the same that hung in our room at the fort.  But The Whirlwind proved inexorable.  Though his character hardly corresponds

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The Oregon Trail: sketches of prairie and Rocky-Mountain life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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