One day, soon after Timid Hare’s coming, she was sent to the chief’s tepee on an errand. The Stone and she had been gathering rushes for the chief’s daughter Sweet Grass who wished them for a mat she was weaving. It was to be a surprise for her father; she meant it to be so beautiful that he would wish to sit on it at feasts when entertaining chiefs of other bands.
The Stone and Timid Hare had spent many hours searching for the most beautiful rushes, and the old squaw was pleased at having succeeded at last.
“Sweet Grass’s mother will give me much bear meat for getting the rushes for her daughter,” she thought. But to Timid Hare she only said: “Take these to the home of our chief and place them in the hands of Sweet Grass. Make haste, for she may already be impatient.”
The Stone did not know that Sweet Grass had ever seen Timid Hare, nor that she had begged her father for the child’s life.
The little girl was glad to go. She had thought many times of the chief’s daughter, and of her kind face and gentle voice. Whenever she had gone near Bent Horn’s tepee she had been on the lookout for Sweet Grass, but she had not been able to get a glimpse of her.
As Timid Hare trudged along with her load she thought of that dreadful night after her capture. “I think I would have died of fright but for the sight of the chief’s beautiful daughter,” she said to herself. “But after she spoke, my heart did not beat so hard.”
Now, however, as she neared the chief’s lodge, she began to breathe more quickly. The chief had such power! The Stone said ugly words to her and did not give her enough to eat; sometimes she beat her; but she would not do her terrible harm because the chief had given the order: Care for the child. Suppose he should change his mind!
Trembling, Timid Hare stopped in front of the lodge.
“Come in. I am waiting for you,” called a sweet voice, for Sweet Grass, looking up from her work, had caught a glimpse of the little girl standing outside with her bundle.
Timid Hare’s heart leaped for joy. It was so good to have some one speak kindly to her once more. And the young girl who had spoken was so lovely to look upon! Her eyes shone like stars. Her long hair was bound with a coronet made out of pretty shells. Her robe of deer skin was trimmed with long fringe. Her moccasins, cut differently from those of the Mandans, were bound into shape with ribbons made of rabbit skin. Around her neck were many chains that made pleasant music as they jingled against each other.
While Timid Hare was peeping out of the corners of her eyes at this beautiful sight. Sweet Grass was in her turn examining the little captive.
“You are—changed,” she said slowly. “What has The Stone been doing? Ugh! I see. She has tried to make a Dahcota out of you. Well, it may be well, and yet, I think I liked you better as you were before.”