New National Fourth Reader eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 203 pages of information about New National Fourth Reader.

pre pared’, made ready for use.

de part’ed, went away.

hence forth’, from this time forward.

part’ner, one who shares with another, as a partner in business.

ar riv’ing, coming to; reaching a point.

con vince’, make one believe.

* * * * *

THE TRADER’S TRICK.

Out in the West, where many Indians live, there are white men who go among them to trade for furs and skins of animals.

These furs and skins are collected and prepared by the Indians, and serve the purpose of money when the traders visit them to dispose of various kinds of goods.

In old times, before the white men came to this country, the Indians had only bows and arrows, and spears with which to hunt.

But the white men soon taught them to use guns, and to-day, nearly all the tribes in America are well supplied with rifles or shotguns.

They are very expert with these fire-arms, and as they use them a great deal, must have a large and constant supply of gunpowder.

A story is told of how, at one time, a tribe of Indians tried to raise gunpowder by planting seed.  This shows how little they knew of civilized life and habits.

A trader went to a certain Indian nation to dispose of a stock of goods.  Among other things he had a quantity of gunpowder.

The Indians traded for his cloths, hats, axes, beads, and other things, but would not take the powder, saying:  “We do not wish for the powder; we have plenty.”

The trader did not like to carry all the powder back to his camp; so thought he would play a trick on the Indians, and induce them to buy it.

Going to an open piece of ground near the Indian camp, he dug some little holes in the soft, rich soil; then mixing a quantity of onion seed with his powder, he began to plant it.

The Indians were curious to know what he was doing, and stood by greatly interested.

“What are you doing?” said one.  “Planting gunpowder,” replied the trader.

“Why do you plant it?” inquired another.

“To raise a crop of powder.  How could I raise it without planting?” said the trader.  “Do you not plant corn in the ground?”

“And will gunpowder grow like corn?” exclaimed half a dozen at once.

“Certainly it will,” said the trader.  “Did you not know it?  As you do not want my powder, I thought I would plant it, and raise a crop which I could gather and sell to the Crows.”

Now the Crows were another tribe of Indians, which was always at war with this tribe.  The idea of their enemies having a large supply of powder increased the excitement, and one of the Indians said: 

“Well, well, if we can raise powder like corn, we will buy your stock and plant it.”

But some of the Indians thought best to wait, and see if the seed would grow.  So the trader agreed to wait a few days.

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New National Fourth Reader from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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