This man decided to join Crockett and the juggler in their journey over the vast prairies of Texas. Small, but very strong and tough Mexican ponies, called mustangs, were very cheap. They were found wild, in droves of thousands, grazing on the prairies. The three adventurers mounted their ponies, and set out on their journey due west, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, to Nacogdoches. Their route was along a mere trail, which was called the old Spanish road. It led over vast prairies, where there was no path, and where the bee-hunter was their guide, and through forests where their course was marked only by blazed trees.
The bee-hunter, speaking of the state of society in Texas, said that at San Felipe he had sat down with a small party at the breakfast-table, where eleven of the company had fled from the States charged with the crime of murder. So accustomed were the inhabitants to the appearance of fugitives from justice, that whenever a stranger came among them, they took it for granted that he had committed some crime which rendered it necessary for him to take refuge beyond the grasp of his country’s laws.
They reached Nacogdoches without any special adventure. It was a flourishing little Mexican town of about one thousand inhabitants, situated in a romantic dell, about sixty miles west of the River Sabine. The Mexicans and the Indians were very nearly on an intellectual and social equality. Groups of Indians, harmless and friendly, were ever sauntering through the streets of the little town.
Colonel Crockett’s horse had become lame on the journey. He obtained another, and, with his feet nearly touching the ground as he bestrode the little animal, the party resumed its long and weary journey, directing their course two or three hundred miles farther southwest through the very heart of Texas to San Antonio. They frequently encountered vast expanses of canebrakes; such canes as Northern boys use for fishing-poles. There is one on the banks of Caney Creek, seventy miles in length, with scarcely a tree to be seen for the whole distance. There was generally a trail cut through these, barely wide enough for a single mustang to pass. The reeds were twenty or thirty feet high, and so slender that, having no support over the path, they drooped a little inward and intermingled their tops. Thus a very singular and beautiful canopy was formed, beneath which the travellers moved along sheltered from the rays of a Texan sun.
As they were emerging from one of these arched avenues, they saw three black wolves jogging along very leisurely in front of them, but at too great a distance to be reached by a rifle-bullet. Wild turkeys were very abundant, and vast droves of wild horses were cropping the herbage of the most beautiful and richest pastures to be found on earth. Immense herds of buffaloes were also seen.