He followed the chase, but there he could not forget the battle scene. “Save me! save me!” forever whispered every forest leaf, or every flowing wave. Often did he hear her calling him, and he would stay his steps as if he hoped to meet her smile.
The medicine men offered to cure his disease; but he knew that it was beyond their art, and he cared not how soon death came, nor in what form.
He met the fate he sought. A war party was formed among the Dahcotahs to seek more scalps, more revenge. But the Track-maker was weary of glory.
He went with the party, and never returned. Like her, he died in battle; but the death that she sought to avert, was a welcome messenger to him. He felt that in the grave all would be forgotten.
* * * * *
Wenona was the light of her father’s wigwam—the pride of the band of Sissetons, whose village is on the shores of beautiful Lake Travers. However cheerfully the fire might burn in the dwelling of the aged chief, there was darkness, for him when she was away—and the mother’s heart was always filled with anxiety, for she knew that Wenona had drawn upon her the envy of her young companions, and she feared that some one of them would cast a spell [Footnote: The Indians fear that from envy or jealousy some person may cast a fatal spell upon them to produce sickness, or even death. This superstition seems almost identical with the Obi or Obeat of the West India negroes.] upon her child, that her loveliness might be dimmed by sorrow or sickness.
The warriors of the band strove to outdo each other in noble deeds, that they might feel more worthy to claim her hand;—while the hunters tried to win her good will by presents of buffalo and deer. But Wenona thought not yet of love. The clear stream that reflected her form told her she was beautiful; yet her brother was the bravest warrior of the Sissetons; and her aged parents too—was not their love enough to satisfy her heart! Never did brother and sister love each other more; their features were the same, yet man’s sternness in him was changed to woman’s softness in her. The “glance of the falcon” in his eye was the “gaze of the dove” in hers. But at times the expression of his face would make you wonder that you ever could have thought him like his twin sister.
When he heard the Sisseton braves talk of the hunts they had in their youth, before the white man drove them from the hunting-grounds of their forefathers;—when instead of the blanket they wore the buffalo robe;—when happiness and plenty were in their wigwams—and when the voices of weak women and famished children were never heard calling for food in vain—then the longing for vengeance that was written on his countenance, the imprecations that were breathed from his lips, the angry scowl, the lightning from his eye, all made him unlike indeed to his sister, the pride of the Sissetons!