“The Chippeways had watched for us, they longed to carry the scalp of a Dahcotah home. They did so—but we were avenged.
“Our young men burst in upon them when they were sleeping; they struck them with their tomahawks, they tore their scalps reeking with blood from their heads.
“We heard our warriors at the village as they returned from their war party; we knew by their joyful cries that they had avenged their friends. One by one they entered the village, bearing twenty scalps of the enemy.
“Only three of the Dahcotahs had fallen. But who were the three? My sons, and he who was as dear as a son to me, the lover of my child. I fled from their cries of triumph—I longed to plunge the knife into my own heart.
“I have lived on. But sorrow and cold and hunger have bowed my spirit; and my limbs are not as strong and active as they were in my youth. Neither can I work with porcupine as I used to—for age and tears have dimmed my sight. I bring you venison and fish, will you not give me clothes to protect me from the winter’s cold?”
Ah! Checkered Cloud—he was a prophet who named you. Though the cloud has varied, now passing away, now returning blacker than before—though the cheering light of the sun has for a moment dispelled the gloom— ’twas but for a moment! for it was sure to break in terrors over your head. Your name is your history, your life has been a checkered cloud! But the storm of the day has yielded to the influence of the setting sun. The thunder has ceased to roll, the wind has died away, and the golden streaks that bound the horizon promise a brighter morning. So with Checkered Cloud, the storm and strife of the earth have ceased; the “battle of life” is fought, and she has conquered. For she hopes to meet the beloved of earth in the heaven of the Dahcotahs.
And who will say that our heaven will not be hers? The God of the Dahcotahs is ours, though they, less happy than we, have not been taught to know him. Christians! are you without blame? Have you thought of the privations, the wants of those who once owned your country, and would own it still but for the strong hand? Have you remembered that their souls are dear in His sight, who suffered for them, as well as for you? Have you given bright gold that their children might be educated and redeemed from their slavery of soul? Checkered Cloud will die as she has lived, a believer in the religion of the Dahcotahs. The traditions of her tribe are written on her heart. She worships a spirit in every forest tree, or every running stream. The features of the favored Israelite are hers; she is perchance a daughter of their lost tribe. When she was young, she would have listened to the missionary as he told her of Gethsemane and Calvary. But age yields not like youth to new impressions; the one looks to the future, the other clings to the past. See! she has put by her pipe and is going, but she is coming oft again to talk to me of her people, that I may tell to my friends the bravery of the Dahcotah warrior, and the beauty of the maiden! the legends of their rivers and sacred isles—the traditions of their rocks and hills!