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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

Kiddie willingly agreed to this arrangement


Kiddie

did not answer. He had got the two long feathered streamers of the head-dress twisted behind his back, and was trying to disentangle without injuring them.

"Get dressed and go outside to watch the ceremony," he ordered. "There's a couch of buffalo robes near the door, and you won't need to limp very far."

When Rube went out, he found the open space in front of the principal lodges crowded with warriors and braves. They were all on foot, but half a dozen of them held as many chosen war horses, which were to be presented to the new chief. The war-chiefs and medicine men were seated by the totem pole in a half-circle, facing the crowd.

Suddenly they rose to their feet, and bowed as Kiddie strode forth from his lodge, looking extremely tall and dignified and handsome in his picturesque Indian dress.

Murmurs of admiration ran through the throng of waiting braves. Drums were beaten and minstrels gang a weird, crooning chant as he advanced.

Rube's gaze was fastened upon Kiddie. He would not have understood, even if he had listened to what Simon Sprott said to the Crows. He supposed that it was merely a public declaration of the election of Little Cayuse as successor to Falling Water. For at the close of Simon's speech there was a prolonged hubbub of acclamation.

Kiddie then

strode forward, with his left hand clasping the staff of office, the morning sunlight shining on his face and on the pure white plumes of his magnificent head-dress. He spoke to the Crows in their own tongue, in a clear, loud voice.

[Illustration: He spoke to the Crows in their own tongue.]

"Warriors, braves," he said, "Little Cayuse is proud that the Crows have asked him to be their war chief. The Crows are a mighty nation, rich in horses and in buffalo robes. They love peace, but they do not fear war. It is a great thing to be their chief, to make their laws, to lead them in battle. Little Cayuse is glad that they think him worthy to take the place of Falling Water. He has searched his heart for his answer. His thoughts have been long; but he has reached the end of them. They have been deep; but he has seen through them as through clear water. He has decided. His medicine has told him that it is not for Little Cayuse to be the chief of the Crow nation. He is not a Crow Indian. He is not of their blood. His medicine is not their medicine, or his totem their totem. He is a stranger among them. As a stranger he came. As a stranger he will go away. I have spoken."

Then slowly he removed his war bonnet, put aside his staff, and began to untie the thongs of his doeskin shirt.

"Ah!" cried Simon Sprott, stepping forward, and speaking in English. "I guessed it would be that way. But hold hard. Don't take off your robes. They're yours, and you're still a chief. There's no going back on it. You've been elected. Naturally you don't feel like living the rest of your days amongst a tribe of Redskins. I don't wonder at it. There's a way out, however. The Crows are disappointed. Their hearts 'll be heavy for many a long day. But they'll understand. And if you don't see your way to doing what they want, you'll at least consent to being what you might call an honorary chief. Eh? How'll that suit?"

Kiddie willingly agreed to this arrangement, and accordingly he again wore the feathered head-dress and duly acted his part in the ceremonies connected with his initiation.


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