Napoleon, when he returned from the campaign of Austerlitz; or Wellington, when he entered the House of Commons to receive the thanks of its speaker, on his return from Spain; or the chief of all the battles of the Rio Bravo del Norte; or him of the valley of Mexico, whose exploits fairly rival those of Cortes himself, could scarcely be a subject of greater interest to a body of spectators, assembled to do him honor, than was this well-known Indian, as he drew near to the Pottawattamies, waving his scalps, in significant triumph! Glory, as the homage paid by man to military renown is termed, was the common impulse with them all. It is true, that, measured by the standards of reason and right, the wise and just might find motives for appreciating the victories of those named differently from the manner in which they are usually regarded through the atmosphere of success; but in the common mind it was all glory, alike. The name of “Onoah” passed in murmurs of admiration, from mouth to mouth; for, as it appeared, the person of this renowned Indian was recognized by many on the shore, some time ere he reached it himself.
Crowsfeather, and the other chiefs, advanced to meet the visitor; the young men standing in the background, in respectful admiration. Peter now stepped from the canoe, and greeted each of the principal men with the courteous gravity of a savage. He shook hands with each, calling one or two by name, a proof of the parties having met before; then the following dialogue occurred. All spoke in the tongue of the Pottawattamies, but, as we have had occasion to remark on previous occasions, it is to be presumed that the reader would scarcely be able to understand what was said, were we to record it, word for word, in the language in which it was uttered. In consequence of this difficulty, and for other reasons to which it may not be necessary to allude, we shall endeavor to translate that which passed, as closely as the English idioms will permit us so to do.
“My father is very welcome!” exclaimed Crowsfeather, who, by many degrees, exceeded all his companions in consideration and rank. “I see he has taken many scalps as is his practice, and that the pale-faces are daily getting to be fewer. Will the sun ever rise on that day when their wigwams will look like the branches of the oak in winter? Can my father give us any hope of seeing that hour?”
“It is a long path from the salt-lake out of which the sun rises, to that other salt-lake in which it hides itself at night. The sun sleeps each night beneath water, but it is so hot that it is soon dried when it comes out of its bed in the morning. This is the Great Spirit’s doings, and not ours. The sun is his sun; the Indians can warm themselves by it, but they cannot shorten its journey a single tomahawk handle’s length. The same is true of time; it belongs to the Manitou, who will lengthen or shorten it, as he may see fit. We are his children, and it is our duty to submit. He has not forgotten us. He made us with his own hand, and will no more turn us out of the land than a father will turn his child from the wigwam.”