And Red Earth looked calmly at the angry face of her lover. For Shining Iron did love her, and he had loved her long. He had loaded her with presents, which she always refused; he had related his honors, his brave acts to her, but she turned a deaf ear to his words. He promised her he would always have venison in her teepee, and that he never would take another wife; she was the only woman he could ever love. But he might as well have talked to the winds. And he thought so himself, for, finding he could not gain the heart of the proud girl, he determined she should never be the wife of any other man, and he told her so.
“You may marry Fiery Wind,” said the angry lover, “but if you do, I will kill him.”
Red Earth heard, but did not reply to his threats; she feared not for herself, but she trembled at the prospect of danger to the man she loved. And while she turned the bracelets on her small wrists, the warrior left her to her own thoughts. They were far from being pleasant; she must warn her lover of the threats of his rival. For a while she almost determined she would not marry Fiery Wind, for then his life would be safe; but she would not break her promise. Besides, it was hard for her to destroy all the air-built castles which she had built for her happy future.
She knew Shining Iron’s bravery, and she doubted not he would fulfil his promise; for a moment prudence suggested that she had better marry him to avoid his revenge. But she grasped the handle of her knife, as if she would plunge it into her own bosom for harboring the dark thought. Never should she be unfaithful; when Fiery Wind returned she would tell him all, and then she would become his wife, and she felt that her own heart was true enough to guard him, her own arm strong enough to slay his enemy.
* * * * *
All women are wilful enough, but Dahcotah women are particularly so. Slaves as they are to their husbands, they lord it over each other, and it is only when they become grandmothers that they seem to feel their dependence, and in many instances yield implicit obedience to the wills of their grandchildren.
They take great delight in watching over and instructing their children’s children; giving them lessons in morality, [Footnote: The idea is ridiculed by some, that an Indian mother troubles herself about the morals of her children; but it is nevertheless true, that she talks to them, and, according to her own ideas of right and wrong, tries to instil good principles into their minds. The grandmothers take a great deal of care of their grandchildren.] and worldly wisdom. Thus while Red Earth was making her determination, her old grandmother belonging to the village was acting upon hers.
This old woman was a perfect virago—an “embodied storm.” In her time she had cut off the hands and feet of some little Chippeway children, and strung them, and worn them for a necklace. And she feasted yet at the pleasant recollections this honorable exploit induced.