List Of Contents | Contents of The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail
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foul corners, littered with the accumulated filth of a winter's
occupation, became fertile breeding places for the germs of disease
and death.  Irregularly strewn upon the grassy plain in the valley
bottom some two dozen teepees marked the Piegan summer headquarters.
Above the camp rose the smoke of their camp-fires, for it was still
early and their morning meal was yet in preparation.



Cameron's approach to the Piegan camp was greeted by a discordant
chorus of yelps and howls from a pack of mangy, half-starved curs
of all breeds, shapes and sizes, the invariable and inevitable
concomitants of an Indian encampment.  The squaws, who had been
busy superintending the pots and pans in which simmered the morning
meal of their lords and masters, faded from view at Cameron's
approach, and from the teepees on every side men appeared and stood
awaiting with stolid faces the white man's greeting.  Cameron was
known to them of old.

"Good-day!" he cried briefly, singling out the Chief.

"Huh!" replied the Chief, and awaited further parley.

"No grub yet, eh?  You sleep too long, Chief."

The Chief smiled grimly.

"I say, Chief," continued Cameron, "I have lost a couple of steers--
big fellows, too--any of your fellows seen them?"

Trotting Wolf turned to the group of Indians who had slouched
toward them in the meantime and spoke to them in the singsong
monotone of the Indian.

"No see cow," he replied briefly.

Cameron threw himself from his horse and, striding to a large pot
simmering over a fire, stuck his knife into the mass and lifted up
a large piece of flesh, the bones of which looked uncommonly like
ribs of beef.

"What's this, Trotting Wolf?" he inquired with a stern ring in his

"Deer," promptly and curtly replied the Chief.

"Who shot him?"

The Chief consulted the group of Indians standing near.

"This man," he replied, indicating a young Indian.

"What's your name?" said Cameron sharply.  "I know you."

The young Indian shook his head.

"Oh, come now, you know English all right.  What's your name?"

Still the Indian shook his head, meeting Cameron's look with a
fearless eye.

"He White Cloud," said the Chief.

"White Cloud!  Big Chief, eh?" said Cameron.

"Huh!" replied Trotting Wolf, while a smile appeared on several

"You shot this deer?"

"Huh!" replied the Indian, nodding.

"I thought you could speak English all right."

Again a smile touched the faces of some of the group.

"Where did you shoot him?"

White Cloud pointed vaguely toward the mountains.

"How far?  Two, three, four miles?" inquired Cameron, holding up
his fingers.

"Huh!" grunted the Indian, holding up five fingers.

"Five miles, eh?  Big deer, too," said Cameron, pointing to the


"How did you carry him home?"

The Indian shook his head.

"How did he carry him these five miles?" continued Cameron, turning
to Trotting Wolf.

"Pony," replied Trotting Wolf curtly.

"Good!" said Cameron.  "Now," said he, turning swiftly upon the
young Indian, "where is the skin?"

The Indian's eyes wavered for a fleeting instant.  He spoke a few
words to Trotting Wolf.  Conversation followed.

"Well?" said Cameron.

"He says dogs eat him up."

"And the head?  This big fellow had a big head.  Where is it?"

Again the Indian's eyes wavered and again the conversation followed.

"Left him up in bush," replied the chief.

"We will ride up and see it, then," said Cameron.

The Indians became voluble among themselves.

"No find," said the Chief.  "Wolf eat him up."

Cameron raised the meat to his nose, sniffed its odor and dropped
it back into the pot.  With a single stride he was close to White

"White Cloud," he said sternly, "you speak with a forked tongue.
In plain English, White Cloud, you lie.  Trotting Wolf, you know
that is no deer.  That is cow.  That is my cow."

Trotting Wolf shrugged his shoulders.

"No see cow me," he said sullenly.

"White Cloud," said Cameron, swiftly turning again upon the young
Indian, "where did you shoot my cow?"

The young Indian stared back at Cameron, never blinking an eyelid.
Cameron felt his wrath rising, but kept himself well in hand,
remembering the purpose of his visit.  During this conversation he
had been searching the gathering crowd of Indians for the tall form
of his friend of the previous night, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Cameron felt he must continue the conversation, and, raising his
voice as if in anger--and indeed there was no need of pretense for
he longed to seize White Cloud by the throat and shake the truth
out of him--he said:

"Trotting Wolf, your young men have been killing my cattle for many
days.  You know that this is a serious offense with the Police.
Indians go to jail for this.  And the Police will hold you
responsible.  You are the Chief on this reserve.  The Police will
ask why you cannot keep your young men from stealing cattle."

The number of Indians was increasing every moment and still
Cameron's eyes searched the group, but in vain.  Murmurs arose from
the Indians, which he easily interpreted to mean resentment, but he
paid no heed.

"The Police do not want a Chief," he cried in a still louder voice,
"who cannot control his young men and keep them from breaking the

He paused abruptly.  From behind a teepee some distance away there
appeared the figure of the "Big Chief" whom he so greatly desired
to see.  Giving no sign of his discovery, he continued his
exhortation to Trotting Wolf, to that worthy's mingled rage and
embarrassment.  The suggestion of jail for cattle-thieves the Chief
knew well was no empty threat, for two of his band even at that
moment were in prison for this very crime.  This knowledge rendered
him uneasy.  He had no desire himself to undergo a like experience,
and it irked his tribe and made them restless and impatient of his
control that their Chief could not protect them from these unhappy
consequences of their misdeeds.  They knew that with old Crowfoot,
the Chief of the Blackfeet band, such untoward consequences rarely
befell the members of that tribe.  Already Trotting Wolf could
distinguish the murmurs of his young men, who were resenting the
charge against White Cloud, as well as the tone and manner in which
it was delivered.  Most gladly would he have defied this truculent
rancher to do his worst, but his courage was not equal to the
plunge, and, besides, the circumstances for such a break were not
yet favorable.

At this juncture Cameron, facing about, saw within a few feet of
him the Indian whose capture he was enlisted to secure.

"Hello!" he cried, as if suddenly recognizing him.  "How is the

"Good," said the Indian with grave dignity.  "He sick here,"
touching his head.

"Ah!  Fever, I suppose," replied Cameron.  "Take me to see him."

The Indian led the way to the teepee that stood slightly apart from
the others.

Inside the teepee upon some skins and blankets lay the boy, whose
bright eyes and flushed cheeks proclaimed fever.  An old squaw,
bent in form and wrinkled in face, crouched at the end of the
couch, her eyes gleaming like beads of black glass in her mahogany

"How is the foot to-day?" cried Allan.  "Pain bad?"

"Huh!" grunted the lad, and remained perfectly motionless but for
the restless glittering eyes that followed every movement of his

"You want the doctor here," said Cameron in a serious tone,
kneeling beside the couch.  "That boy is in a high fever.  And you
can't get him too quick.  Better send a boy to the Fort and get the
Police doctor.  How did you sleep last night?" he inquired of the

"No sleep," said his father.  "Go this way--this way," throwing his
arms about his head.  "Talk, talk, talk."

But Cameron was not listening to him.  He was hearing a jingle of
spurs and bridle from down the trail and he knew that the Inspector
had arrived.  The old Indian, too, had caught the sound.  His
piercing eyes swiftly searched the face of the white man beside
him.  But Cameron, glancing quietly at him, continued to discuss
the condition of the boy.

"Yes, you must get the doctor here at once.  There is danger of
blood-poisoning.  The boy may lose his foot."  And he continued to
describe the gruesome possibilities of neglect of that lacerated
wound.  As he rose from the couch the boy caught his arm.

"You' squaw good.  Come see me," he said.  "Good--good."  The eager
look in the fevered eye touched Cameron.

"All right, boy, I shall tell her," he said.  "Good-by!"  He took
the boy's hand in his.  But the boy held it fast in a nervous

"You' squaw come--sure.  Hurt here--bad."  He struck his forehead
with his hand.  "You' squaw come--make good."

"All right," said Cameron.  "I shall bring her myself.  Good-by!"

Together they passed out of the teepee, Cameron keeping close to
the Indian's side and talking to him loudly and earnestly about the
boy's condition, all the while listening to the Inspector's voice
from behind the row of teepees.

"Ah!" he exclaimed aloud as they came in sight of the Inspector
mounted on his horse.  "Here is my friend, Inspector Dickson.
Hello, Inspector!" he called out.  "Come over here.  We have a sick
boy and I want you to help us."

"Hello, Cameron!" cried the Inspector, riding up and dismounting.
"What's up?"

Trotting Wolf and the other Indians slowly drew near.

"There is a sick boy in here," said Cameron, pointing to the teepee
behind him.  "He is the son of this man, Chief--"  He paused.  "I
don't know your name."

Without an instant's hesitation the Indian replied:

"Chief Onawata."

"His boy got his foot in a trap.  My wife dressed the wound last
night," continued Cameron.  "Come in and see him."

But the Indian put up his hand.

"No," he said quietly.  "My boy not like strange man.  Bad head--
here.  Want sleep--sleep."

"Ah!" said the Inspector.  "Quite right.  Let him sleep.  Nothing
better than sleep.  A good long sleep will fix him up."

"He needs the doctor, however," said Cameron.

"Ah, yes, yes.  Well, we shall send the doctor."

"Everything all right, Inspector?" said Cameron, throwing his
friend a significant glance.

"Quite right!" replied the Inspector.  "But I must be going.  Good-
by, Chief!"  As his one hand closed on the Indian's his other slid
down upon his wrist.  "I want you, Chief," he said in a quiet stern
voice.  "I want you to come along with me."

His hand had hardly closed upon the wrist than with a single
motion, swift, snake-like, the Indian wrenched his hand from the
Inspector's iron grasp and, leaping back a space of three paces,
stood with body poised as if to spring.

"Halt there, Chief!  Don't move or you die!"

The Indian turned to see Cameron covering him with two guns.  At
once he relaxed his tense attitude and, drawing himself up, he
demanded in a voice of indignant scorn:

"Why you touch me?  Me Big Chief!  You little dog!"

As he stood, erect, tall, scornful, commanding, with his head
thrown back and his arm outstretched, his eyes glittering and his
face eloquent of haughty pride, he seemed the very incarnation of
the wild unconquered spirit of that once proud race he represented.
For a moment or two a deep silence held the group of Indians, and
even the white men were impressed.  Then the Inspector spoke.

"Trotting Wolf," he said, "I want this man.  He is a horse-thief.
I know him.  I am going to take him to the Fort.  He is a bad man."

"No," said Trotting Wolf, in a loud voice, "he no bad man.  He my
friend.  Come here many days."  He held up both hands.  "No teef--
my friend."

A loud murmur rose from the Indians, who in larger numbers kept
crowding nearer.  At this ominous sound the Inspector swiftly drew
two revolvers, and, backing toward the man he was seeking to
arrest, said in a quiet, clear voice:

"Trotting Wolf, this man goes with me.  If he is no thief he will
be back again very soon.  See these guns?  Six men die," shaking
one of them, "when this goes off.  And six more die," shaking the
other, "when this goes off.  The first man will be you, Trotting
Wolf, and this man second."

Trotting Wolf hesitated.

"Trotting Wolf," said Cameron.  "See these guns?  Twelve men die if
you make any fuss.  You steal my cattle.  You cannot stop your
young men.  The Piegans need a new Chief.  If this man is no thief
he will be back again in a few days.  The Inspector speaks truth.
You know he never lies."

Still Trotting Wolf stood irresolute.  The Indians began to shuffle
and crowd nearer.

"Trotting Wolf," said the Inspector sharply, "tell your men that
the first man that steps beyond that poplar-tree dies.  That is my

The Chief spoke to the crowd.  There was a hoarse guttural murmur
in response, but those nearest to the tree backed away from it.
They knew the Police never showed a gun except when prepared to use
it.  For years they had been accustomed to the administration of
justice and the enforcement of law at the hands of the North West
Mounted Police, and among the traditions of that Force the Indians
had learned to accept two as absolutely settled: the first, that
they never failed to get the man they wanted; the second, that
their administration of law was marked by the most rigid justice.
It was Chief Onawata himself that found the solution.

"Me no thief.  Me no steal horse.  Me Big Chief.  Me go to your
Fort.  My heart clean.  Me see your Big Chief."  He uttered these
words with an air of quiet but impressive dignity.

"That's sensible," said the Inspector, moving toward him.  "You
will get full justice.  Come along!"

"I go see my boy.  My boy sick."  His voice became low, soft,
almost tremulous.

"Certainly," said Cameron.  "Go in and see the lad.  And we will
see that you get fair play."

"Good!" said the Indian, and, turning on his heel, he passed into
the teepee where his boy lay.

Through the teepee wall their voices could be heard in quiet
conversation.  In a few minutes the old squaw passed out on an
errand and then in again, eying the Inspector as she passed with
malevolent hate.  Again she passed out, this time bowed down under
a load of blankets and articles of Indian household furniture, and
returned no more.  Still the conversation within the teepee
continued, the boy's voice now and again rising high, clear, the
other replying in low, even, deep tones.

"I will just get my horse, Inspector," said Cameron, making his way
through the group of Indians to where Ginger was standing with sad
and drooping head.

"Time's up, I should say," said the Inspector to Cameron as he
returned with his horse.  "Just give him a call, will you?"

Cameron stepped to the door of the teepee.

"Come along, Chief, we must be going," he said, putting his head
inside the teepee door.  "Hello!" he cried, "Where the deuce--where
is he gone?"  He sprang quickly out of the teepee.  "Has he passed

"Passed out?" said the Inspector.  "No.  Is he not inside?"

"He's not here."

Both men rushed into the teepee.  On the couch the boy still lay,

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