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Prairie's Children, Chapter 10
Submitted by Starla Anne on Sat, 04/19/2008 - 12:49
By Starla Anne Lowry
"I am glad to see you," said Ruth Ann when Josh caught up with the women. "Although I can do some tracking, you are so much better." She smiled and leaned over, kissed him while on horseback and said "Thank you."
"Well, I have such a stubborn wife. If she is so intent on getting killed, I though I might as well get killed with her," replied Josh. "I love her that much."
Ruth Ann thought, 'That is so sweet'.
"One thing that you might ought to do is put that revolver up," suggested Josh, looking at her gun belt. "It could keep us out of trouble."
"Well, I guess you are right," Ruth Ann replied, unbuckling the belt and placing it back in her saddlebag.
Patricia was becoming jealous. Her husband would have ordered her to do what he wanted, but Josh spoke with gentleness and love
-- something that Patricia had never experienced. She wondered what it felt like to love her husband and have a husband that loved her -- one who did not think of her as property. She envied the love that Ruth Ann and and Josh had for each other.
The most important thing for Patricia was that she loved her children and they were gone. She began to shed tears at the thought. She also wondered what could they do when (or if) they found the kidnappers. There were only three of them to face a band of indians.
The afternoon grew long and hot. The trio traveled as fast as they could, but had to slow up often to check the trail. Watchful eyes carefully surveyed the horizon, but nothing could be seen.
Nightfall was an anxious time. Since they could not track very well in the dark, they were forced to make camp and find food the best way they could --hunting small animals to provide meat to be roasted over the camp fire. Determination is what had kept the small group going. They might have given up, but Ruth Ann had promised to get Patricia's children back, so she felt an obligation to do her best to fulfill that promise.
The next day brought some results -- good luck -- or bad luck. (According to a person's opinion).
Shortly after sunrise, the group continued on their journey. Sight distance was limited because of additional rolling hills. It was Josh who first noticed the approaching band of Indians.
"We have visitors," he said.
"Good. Let's try to act normal -- as if we did not expect any trouble," stated Ruth Ann.
Fear gripped Patricia and she could not say anything.
As the Indian band came closer, Josh attempted to welcome the group in what he was hoping to be an acceptable manner.
One of the Indians slid off his pony, walked over to Ruth Ann, looking her over in a strange manner. Evidently he determined she was only a female wearing trousers, so he turned his attention to Josh.
Suddenly, Josh was grabbed by the belt and, with a quick jerk, pulled to the ground. Josh lying there, surprised and stunned at the attack, suddenly saw a knife appear in the Indian's hand, raised to attack and kill.
Ruth Ann, watching the entire event, leaped from her horse to the Indian's back and, with one arm tightly around his neck, began to beat him on the head with her other fist.
The Indian turned around and around, trying to grab the intruder hanging on his back. Ruth Ann held on that much tighter. He attempt to knock her loose by trying to hit her with his elbow. That not working, he fell to the ground and tried to roll with Ruth Ann still beating him on the head. The other Indians, still mounted on their ponies and never having seen such a spectacle, begin to laugh.
Finally the attacher shook her off and turned to face her with extreme anger in his eyes. Quickly she kicked him in the groin causing him to drop the knife. He fell to his knees and then on his back in pain. Ruth Ann retrieved the knife, quickly staddled his chest, and brought the knife as close to the throat as possible without making an incision.
"Well, well, the Ellsworth wildcat wins again," came a voice from behind.
Shocked to hear someone speak English so well, she quickly glanced at the direction of the voice and there stood a tall Indian. She quickly turned her attention back to the throat of the Indian she had brought under control.
"We came in peace, but if it takes killing someone to protect ourselves, I will do it!" exclaimed Ruth Ann.
"You proved your point. Now let him up. You won."
"How do I know I can trust you?" questioned Ruth Ann.
"You will just have to take my word. Besides, if you kill him, you have all the rest of us to contend with."
That made sense to Ruth Ann, so she released her tight grip on the knife and attempted to stand.
"Here, let me help you," as the man stuck out his hand. Ruth accepted his help and stood to her feet.
"Who are you and why do you speak English so well?" inquired Ruth Ann.
"My Indian name is Blue Eyes. My father was a white man and my mother was an Indian. My mother named me Blue Eyes because the color of my eyes I inherited from my father's side of the family.'
"The reason I speak English is because I was a scout for the army and lived much of my life among the white man. It was when I saw how my mother's people were treated that I decided to join Dull Knife. At first, he did not want to accept me, but the tribal chief knew my mother, so I was in. Now, does that answer your questions?"
Ruth Ann remember Wild Bill Hickok mentioning a half-breed that had joined up with a group of Indians that wanted a war between the Indians and the settlers.
"Yes, I guess it does," answered Ruth Ann.
"You have proved your ability to fight and, being a woman, I think you have won your right to be heard. Now, what are you doing out here? We have been watching you and know that you are tracking us," replied Blue Eyes.
"Your people attacked a camp of religious people, killed most of them, and kidnapped this woman's children (Ruth Ann pointed toward Patricia) and we intend to get them back -- one way or another."
"If you came in peace, I think we can talk about it," stated Blue Eyes.
Ruth Ann saddled her horse and Josh, Patricia, and she followed the Indians to their village. Upon entering the community, many curious gazes were fastened upon these palefaces -- not understanding how they could enjoy so such freedom. Surely they were not captives.
"Wait here," said Blue Eyes as he dismounted and marched toward a huge tepee. Shortly, an older Indian appeared, wearing a huge headdress. Ruth Ann discerned that he was the chief of the tribe.
Blue Eyes said a few words in the Indian language. The brave that Ruth Ann had defeated slid off his pony and slowly walked toward a group of women, holding his head down.
"This is our chief. He has just sent the man you defeated to sit with the squaws. He is being shamed for not being man enough to defeat a white woman," Blue Eyes informed Ruth Ann. "But, of course, the hasn't met you -- has he?"
Josh started to dismount. Blue Eyes saw him and said, "You! -- stay put! The chief wants to speak to the woman. He has never met a white woman who would even think about attacking a brave. He is highly impressed."
Ruth Ann, Blue Eyes, and the chief went into the tepee while Josh and Patricia waited outside. It seemed like time stood still, but it had only been about thirty minutes when Josh saw Ruth Ann come from the tepee. As she walked toward Josh, he saw that her wrist had been cut. Anger swelled up inside, thinking that Ruth Ann had been harmed.
Josh started to speak. "Why, those no-good.."
"Hush, I am kind of a blood brother, but really more of a blood sister. The chief thought that I should be designated as a squaw-brave, so I was. My name now is Fighting Wildcat." said Ruth Ann.
Blue Eyes, overhearing the conversation added, "The children are being returned and you all may leave. Fighting Wildcat is wearing a gift -- a necklace from our chief. When an Indians see it, he will leave you alone. She is now part of our tribe.'
"I told the chief about her meeting that gunfighter in the street face to face and killing him. We wanted him dead. He killed many of our people -- one by one, just because he did not like Indians.'
Blue Eyes continued, "Also, my mention of the other men she shot in gun battles and the fact that she defeated one of our strongest braves caused the chief to have respect for the young lady. He wanted to reward her accordingly, so he made her a part of our tribe and has granted her request to release the children."
Patricia heard some familiar sounds and tears filled her eyes when she saw her children running toward her yelling, "Momma, momma!"
After proper saluations, Ruth Ann decided it was time to leave, so with smiles and hearts full of joy and peace, the trio rode off with each of the children riding double with an adult.
Before leaving, she told Blue Eyes that hopefully everyone could live together in peace very soon and to thank the chief in the proper manner for his wisdom and kindness.
There was never a happier group of palefaces than those who left that afternoon. They had gone on a dangerous mission with very little hope of survival and -- mission accomplished.
Never before had it been known of any woman being declared a squaw-brave. To Ruth Ann, it was a gesture of prestige as wonderful as being declared a princess in some magical kingdom.
--To be continued
All characters and places, except historical persons and places, are fictitious and any resemblance to other places or persons, living or dead, are coincidental.
Copyright 2008 by Starla Anne Lowry