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Lost in the Wilds

Wilfred dared not even call back Yula


The

grave, stern, savage aspect of the men, the ugly, anxious, careworn faces of the toiling women, filled Wilfred with alarm. Maxica in his semi-blindness might well fear to be the one against so many. Wilfred dared not even call back Yula, for fear of attracting their attention. They were passing on to encamp by the pool he had just quitted. Friendly or unfriendly, Yula was barking and snarling in the midst of the new-comers.

"Was his Yula, his Yula chummie, going to leave him?" asked Wilfred in his dismay. "What if he had belonged originally to this roving tribe, and they should take him away!" This thought cut deeper into Wilfred's heart than anything else at that moment. He crept out of his badger hole, and crawled along the ditch-like path, afraid to show his head above the snow, and still more afraid to remain where he was, for fear of the owl's return.

He kept up a hope that Yula might come back of his own accord. He was soon at the birch-bark hut, but no Yula had turned up.

He tumbled in, breathless and panting. Pe-na-Koam was sure he had been frightened, but thought only of the owl. She had run a stick through the tail of the fish, and was broiling it in the front of the fire. The cheery light flickered and danced along the misshapen walls, which seemed to lean more and more each day from the pressure of the snow outside them.

"The

blessed snow!" exclaimed Wilfred. "It hides us so completely no one can see there is a hut at all, unless the smoke betrays us."

How was he to make the squaw understand the dreaded Blackfeet were here? He snatched up their drawing stick, as he called it, and began to sketch in a rough and rapid fashion the moving Indian camp which he had seen. A man with a bow in his hand, with a succession of strokes behind him to denote his following, and a horse's head with the poles of the travoy, were quite sufficient to enlighten the aged woman. She grasped Wilfred's hand and shook it. Then she raised her other arm, as if to strike, and looked inquiringly in his face. Friend or foe? That was the all-important question neither could answer.

Before he returned his moccasins to their rightful owner, Wilfred limped out of the hut and hung up the contents of his blanket game-bag in the nearest pine. They were already frozen.

Not knowing what might happen if their refuge were discovered, they seated themselves before the fire to enjoy the supper Wilfred had secured. The fish was nearly the size of a salmon trout. The squaw removed the sticks from which it depended a little further from the scorch of the fire, and fell to--pulling off the fish in flakes from one side of the backbone, and signing to Wilfred to help himself in similar fashion from the other.


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