“These sights,” says Crockett, “awakened the ruling passion strong within me, and I longed to have a hunt on a large scale. For though I had killed many bears and deer in my time, I had never brought down a buffalo, and so I told my friends. But they tried to dissuade me from it, telling me that I would certainly lose my way, and perhaps perish; for though it appeared a garden to the eye, it was still a wilderness. I said little more upon the subject until we crossed the Trinidad River. But every mile we travelled, I found the temptation grew stronger and stronger.”
The night after crossing the Trinidad River they were so fortunate as to come across the hut of a poor woman, where they took shelter until the next morning. They were here joined by two other chance travellers, who must indeed have been rough specimens of humanity. Crockett says that though he had often seen men who had not advanced far over the line of civilization, these were the coarsest samples he had ever met.
One proved to be an old pirate, about fifty years of age. He was tall, bony, and in aspect seemed scarcely human. The shaggy hair of his whiskers and beard covered nearly his whole face. He had on a sailor’s round jacket and tarpaulin hat. The deep scar, apparently of a sword cut, deformed his forehead, and another similar scar was on the back of one of his hands. His companion was a young Indian, wild as the wolves, bareheaded, and with scanty deerskin dress.
Early the next morning they all resumed their journey, the two strangers following on foot. Their path led over the smooth and treeless prairie, as beautiful in its verdure and its flowers as the most cultivated park could possibly be. About noon they stopped to refresh their horses and dine beneath a cluster of trees in the open prairie. They had built their fire, were cooking their game, and were all seated upon the grass, chatting very sociably, when the bee-hunter saw a bee, which indicated that a hive of honey might be found not far distant. He leaped upon his mustang, and without saying a word, “started off like mad,” and scoured along the prairie. “We watched him,” says Crockett, “until he seemed no larger than a rat, and finally disappeared in the distance.”
Adventures on the Prairie.
Disappearance of the Bee Hunter.—The Herd of Buffalo Crockett lost.—The Fight with the Cougar.—Approach of Savages.—Their Friendliness.—Picnic on the Prairie.—Picturesque Scene.—The Lost Mustang recovered.—Unexpected Reunion.—Departure of the Savages.—Skirmish with the Mexicans.—Arrival at the Alamo.
Soon after the bee-hunter had disappeared, all were startled by a strange sound, as of distant thunder. It was one of the most beautiful of summer days. There was not a cloud to be seen. The undulating prairie, waving with flowers, lay spread out before them, more beautiful under nature’s bountiful adornings than the most artistic parterre, park or lawn which the hand of man ever reared. A gentle, cool breeze swept through the grove, fragrant and refreshing as if from Araby the blest. It was just one of those scenes and one of those hours in which all vestiges of the Fall seemed to have been obliterated, and Eden itself again appeared blooming in its pristine beauty.