The Stone stopped as suddenly as she had begun. She hoped that she had succeeded in making Sweet Grass believe that the little captive was as bad as she had said.
“Why do you talk? I do not care to listen to you,” said the young girl, looking up into the ugly face bending over her. Then she went on with her weaving as though she were alone. There was nothing left for The Stone but to go on her way, muttering.
“After this,” she promised herself, “Timid Hare shall go little from my sight. I need her to do my bidding and save my steps. She must not be taken from me through any foolish fancy that Sweet Grass may have taken for her.”
THE HAPPY DAY
That evening the chief, Bent Horn, sat by his fireside, smoking with his friends. Close beside him was his handsome son. On the women’s side of the lodge Sweet Grass and her mother squatted, listening to the stories of the men. As the hours passed by, the visitors rose one by one and went home for the night’s sleep. When the last one had gone Sweet Grass got up from her place and held out to her father the mat she had been making for him. A pretty picture had been woven into the rushes; it had taken all the young girl’s skill to do it.
“For you, my father,” said Sweet Grass.
The chief smiled. He was proud of his young son who gave promise of becoming a fine hunter. But he was also proud of this one daughter. He loved her so dearly that he could not bear to say, No, to anything she might ask of him.
“My father,” now said Sweet Grass, “I wish to speak to you of the child Timid Hare whom you gave into the keeping of The Stone.”
The chief scowled. “That pale-faced daughter of the cowardly Mandans? She may thank you that she still lives,” he said sternly.
“But I have seen her and talked with her, my father, and she has won my heart. I want her to live with me and serve me. Will you let it be so?”
There was no answer.
“And she no longer makes one think of the pale-faced Mandans. Her skin is now dark with paint so that she looks even as we do.” The voice of Sweet Grass was tender with pleading.
“I saw her at the spring one day,” broke in young Antelope. “The hump-back, Black Bull, had just left her. Her eyes spoke fright, but also a good temper. Let my sister have her wish.”
The chief turned to his wife. In matters of the household the Indian woman generally has her will.
“Let the child come and serve Sweet Grass,” said the squaw who had a noble face and must once have been as beautiful as her daughter.
“You shall have your wish.” Bent Horn spoke as though not wholly pleased; but when he saw the delight his words gave Sweet Grass, his face showed more kindness than his voice.
Two days afterwards a messenger from Bent Horn appeared in The Stone’s doorway.