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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

And younger than Rube had at first supposed him to be


"Yes,

why?" Kiddie asked. "For my own part, I don't believe that there's a herd of buffalo within a hundred miles of Washakee Peak. I guess the trapper had his instructions to tell that story, just to get your warriors out on the buffalo trail, leaving your village undefended for Broken Feather to make his unopposed attack upon it in your absence."

Simon Sprott stared at Kiddie in amazement.

"That's cute," he said, "very cute indeed of you to hit upon such an idea. It's just the sort of idea that Buckskin Jack himself might have sprung out of that wonderful brain of his. I believe you're right. Broken Feather would do a cunning thing like that. It's quite in his line. Nothing more likely. In any case, the Crows are going to alter their programme. All preparations for the buffalo surround are complete. You and friend Rube there were to have had a great time. But that buffalo hunt isn't going to come off."

When Rube Carter awoke the following morning he found himself alone in the teepee, and might have believed himself to be back in Kiddie's camp on Sweetwater Lake but for the medley of sounds that came to him through the open door-flap.

He heard the neighing of horses, the barking of dogs, and the high-pitched voices of squaws and children.

He listened sleepily for a while. Just outside of the lodge a

party of young braves were quarrelling for possession of a cooking-pot.

"For people who have the reputation of bein' silent, Injuns are capable of makin' a heap of noise," Rube said to himself, "I never heard such a racket in all my days."

He sat up and reached for his moccasins, and was surprised to find his lost fur cap, with the bedraggled eagle's feathers in it, lying beside them. His revolver also had been restored to him.

He was examining the injury done by the fire to his leggings and moccasins when he heard Kiddie's voice from outside raised almost to a shout of command, as if he were drilling a company of soldiers. Rube flung his blankets aside and crept across the floor to look out. What he saw astonished him greatly.

The wide open space in front of the chief's lodge was now crowded with mounted Indians, in full war paint, drawn up in regular ranks. Apart from them, and halted in a group facing them, were Falling Water and his principal warriors, all wearing their feathered war bonnets and armed with rifles, clubs, and tomahawks.

Falling Water, mounted on a fine black mustang, carried his great staff of high office, decorated with coloured beads and fringed with scalp-locks. He looked very magnificent and dignified, and younger than Rube had at first supposed him to be.


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