[Illustration: Black Bull was helpless.]
“What is this?” shouted Young Antelope. Thunder Cloud, startled, turned suddenly about.
“I would punish this worthless fellow as he deserves,” he answered. “Do you know what he dared to do? He brought his dog to yonder brush and fastened him in the midst. He thought to keep the animal from the sacrifice. Ugh! A wretched creature indeed. His mother bade me follow him.”
“Make him free,” said Young Antelope with the air of a mighty chief. “My father will take care of him. As for you, go from my sight.”
Thunder Cloud, who had already set Black Bull on his feet, though he still clutched him tightly, let go his hold, and skulked away.
“Let your dog loose,” Young Antelope now ordered Black Bull who stood before him, still shivering from fright. “There! Now we will go to my father and let him settle the matter. Follow me.”
Black Bull, with Smoke capering about him in the joy of being set free, followed Young Antelope silently till the two neared the council house where Bent Horn was busy planning for the coming celebration. There, in the autumn sunlight, they waited till the chief should appear and the son whom he loved dearly should have a chance to ask for a certain boon.
That night Black Bull went to sleep as happy as a king, even though his mother had just given him a beating. Smoke was safe! Another, Young Antelope, who had more treasures than he, was willing to make the sacrifice in his place.
The celebration was over and Timid Hare was tired out from excitement. Never before had she seen so many wonders. Why, the chief of chiefs, the chief of all the Dahcotas, had been one of the visitors and had slept in Bent Horn’s tepee. Timid Hare herself had helped to serve him. And when he had gone forth to the council and to the feasts he was the grandest looking person she had ever beheld in her life. He wore a head-dress of war-eagle feathers. Thick and heavy was this head-dress, and beautiful were the feathers beyond compare. The great chief’s face shone with grease, and was made fearful to look upon with much paint. On his robe were pictured the many battles in which he had taken part; it was trimmed with a heavy fringe of scalp-locks. His leggings and moccasins were richly embroidered with porcupine quills. He walked forth like a king. The children of the village trembled as they gazed upon him.
Bent Horn looked grand also in his own robes of state. Many a day had his wife spent embroidering this robe with porcupine quills and trimming it with fringes of his enemies scalp-locks. Heavy chains hung around his neck. His long hair, which he had greased well, had been divided into two parts and crossed on the top of his head, where it was then gathered into a knot.
“Bent Horn’s head-dress is almost as handsome as that of the Great Chief,” Timid Hare said to herself, as she watched the two men walking together towards the council house.