Short Stories » The Sky Warrior
The Sky Warrior - Page 5 of 5
' Nor is this all. In my journeyings these two have many times come near me. I have a signal-call for them, and they have one for me. They have been my guide to game, and I have shared my game with them." Opagela thus ended his story. Matoska had listened with an attentive ear and a respect that bordered upon reverence.
"It is well, friend," he said, finally, with marked significance.
The two old eagles had busied themselves meanwhile with their game, eating a part and preparing part to take to their children. They now showed signs of age. Their coats were of a brownish color, and their tail-feathers creamy white.
Opagela filled his pipe and held it toward them in token of his good wishes. Then he offered it to his companion.
"We shall smoke," he said, "to their long life and success in hunting." Matoska silently nodded assent.
"And how is it, friend, that you kill so many eagles?" he asked, at last.
"I have never killed one," said Opagela. " I have caught many, but without harm to them. I take several of the tail-feathers and let them go. Because I have always many eagle feathers, the warriors think that I kill them.
"Sinkpay both captures and kills them," he continued. "He makes a fish out of a water-soaked log. He whittles it to the shape of a fish, puts a weight on it, and ties it to a long rope which he holds from the shore of a certain lake. You know the eagle is a good fisherman, and when he sees from a great height the make-believe fish of Sink- pay, he drops down very swiftly and buries his claws deeply in the spongy wood. Then Sinkpay pulls this wooden fish to shore with the eagle clinging to it, because he can- not pull out his long, crooked talons. Always his greed is his destruction," concluded the hunter.
"And how do you catch yours?" quoth Matoska.
'Upon a hill frequented by eagles, I dig a hole and lie in it, covered with brush, and holding up a freshly killed rabbit. The eagle sees the rabbit a great way off, and he will immediately shoot down and seize it. I catch him by the leg and pull him down into the hole. There I tie his feet and pull out several of his tail-feathers.
' You will never catch an eagle twice with the same trick. My old friends know all about it, and delight to play with me by tearing the skin of the bait while hovering out of reach."
"And how do you recognize those two old eagles?" again asked Matoska.
" I know them as well as you know one man from another. You cannot doubt me, for you see their necklaces.
" I have kept this matter sacred and secret for many years. It is not well to talk of the favors of the Great Mystery. But you have seen my friend the sky warrior and his wife, therefore I told it to you. You will not speak of it?" the old hunter asked his friend, who nodded gravely. The two old eagles, laden with their prey, flew heavily away in the direction of the Eagle's Nest.