Northern Lights, Complete

Publisher: DigiLibraries.com
ISBN: N/A
Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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"Hai—Yai, so bright a day, so clear!" said Mitiahwe as she entered the big lodge and laid upon a wide, low couch, covered with soft skins, the fur of a grizzly which had fallen to her man's rifle. "Hai-yai, I wish it would last for ever—so sweet!" she added, smoothing the fur lingeringly, and showing her teeth in a smile.

"There will come a great storm, Mitiahwe. See, the birds go south so soon," responded a deep voice from a corner by the doorway.

The young Indian wife turned quickly, and, in a defiant fantastic mood—or was it the inward cry against an impending fate, the tragic future of those who will not see, because to see is to suffer?—she made some quaint, odd motions of the body which belonged to a mysterious dance of her tribe, and, with flashing eyes, challenged the comely old woman seated on a pile of deer-skins.

"It is morning, and the day will last for ever," she said nonchalantly, but her eyes suddenly took on a faraway look, half apprehensive, half wondering. The birds were indeed going south very soon, yet had there ever been so exquisite an autumn as this, had her man ever had so wonderful a trade—her man with the brown hair, blue eyes, and fair, strong face?

"The birds go south, but the hunters and buffalo still go north," Mitiahwe urged searchingly, looking hard at her mother—Oanita, the Swift Wing.

"My dream said that the winter will be dark and lonely, that the ice will be thick, the snow deep, and that many hearts will be sick because of the black days and the hunger that sickens the heart," answered Swift Wing.

Mitiahwe looked into Swift Wing's dark eyes, and an anger came upon her. "The hearts of cowards will freeze," she rejoined, "and to those that will not see the sun the world will be dark," she added. Then suddenly she remembered to whom she was speaking, and a flood of feeling ran through her; for Swift Wing had cherished her like a fledgeling in the nest till her young white man came from "down East." Her heart had leapt up at sight of him, and she had turned to him from all the young men of her tribe, waiting in a kind of mist till he, at last, had spoken to her mother, and then one evening, her shawl over her head, she had come along to his lodge.

A thousand times as the four years passed by she had thought how good it was that she had become his wife—the young white man's wife, rather than the wife of Breaking Rock, son of White Buffalo, the chief, who had four hundred horses, and a face that would have made winter and sour days for her. Now and then Breaking Rock came and stood before the lodge, a distance off, and stayed there hour after hour, and once or twice he came when her man was with her; but nothing could be done, for earth and air and space were common to them all, and there was no offence in Breaking Rock gazing at the lodge where Mitiahwe lived. Yet it seemed as though Breaking Rock was waiting—waiting and hoping. That was the impression made upon all who saw him, and even old White Buffalo, the chief, shook his head gloomily when he saw Breaking Rock, his son, staring at the big lodge which was so full of happiness, and so full also of many luxuries never before seen at a trading post on the Koonce River. The father of Mitiahwe had been chief, but because his three sons had been killed in battle the chieftainship had come to White Buffalo, who was of the same blood and family....