Short Stories » Wild Animals from the Indian Stand-Point

Wild Animals from the Indian Stand-Point - Page 6 of 7

The others laughed heartily, but Katola said: "Ugh, you were not fair with him, for you invited him to a feast and then gave him such a fright that he would always hate and fear his brother man."

"That is true; yet at times a hunter can with propriety play a joke upon a fellow-hunter," declared old Hohay.

"It is strange that none of the other animals like the Igmu, the great cat people," remarked Sheyaka, as if he- desired to draw out Hohay, who had loosened the buffalo-robe around his loins and settled down with the evident satisfaction of one who has' spoken his mind upon a disputed question.

" Toh, they are to the others as Utes to the other Red men," he replied at once. " They are unsociable, queer people. Their speech has no charm. They are very bashful and yet dangerous, for no animal can tell what they are up to. If one sees you first, he will not give you a chance to see so much as the tip of his tail. He never makes any noise, for he has the right sort of moccasins.

" Igmu scatters her family in the summer. The old pair go together ; the young go singly until paired. In the winter hunting they often travel within hailing distance, but not like us, the woman following the warrior. One goes up a gulch or creek while the other follows an adjacent creek, and they have a perfect understanding. They feed in common on the game they kill, and unite to op- pose a stranger."

"Tell us something of the customs of the larger four-footed people, as the moose, elk, and bison," urged Sheyaka. ' But it is time to smoke," he added, as he passed to the old man a lighted pipe.

"Ho, ho, kola; you know an old man's weak points, Slicyaka! I was about, to ask for the pipe, l)ii t. you have read my thoughts. Is it not time for a song? Can you not give us a buffalo or elk song? My stories will move with more life and spirit if you bring the animal people into my presence with your songs."

So Kangee sang a buffalo song, a rude yet expressive chant, of which the words went something like this :

"Ye the nation of the west

A-hay-hay-a-hay ! Ye the people of the plains

A-hay-hay-a-hay !

The land is yours to live and roam in; You alone are preservers of life Tis ordained from heaven that you should preserve our lives!"

" Oo-oo-oo-oo !" they all joined in the yelps which are the amen of savage song.

Hohay took one or two heavy pulls on the pipe, forcing a column of smoke through his nostrils, and handed it back to Sheyaka. He tightened the robe about him once more, and his wrinkled face beamed with excitement and delight in his subject.

"It is from these large and noble four-footed tribes that we derive many of our best customs," he said, "especially from the elk and buffalo people. But, boy, you have danced well ! Your father dances like an old bear where did you learn the art?"

These savage jokers were highly personal, but jokes were never resented in their life, so Sheyaka laughed heartily and good-naturedly with the rest.

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