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Title: Young Crow Raider

Author: Francis Lynde Kroll

Release Date: March 15, 2019 [EBook #59069]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Stephen Hutcheson and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at

Young Crow Raider






Copyright 1954 by Lantern Press, Inc.
By arrangement with Lantern Press. Inc.






Bent Arrow raised his head until he could see 24
{Bent Arrow leaned toward the buffalo and fired the arrow} 40
Flying Arrow led the way out of camp 68
He tried to gauge how many warriors were in the party 72
Bent Arrow continually looked up at the eagle 87
Bent Arrow fought to keep his seat 103
{The two Crows crept to the top of the hill} 120
Arrows whistled around his head 148
Bent Arrow edged into the passage 173




Bent Arrow drove himself forward with all his strength. For a few steps he seemed to be closing the gap between himself and the two older boys ahead. The next moment the old pain beat up through his right leg. He had to choke back a gasp as he nearly stumbled.

He forced himself to keep running, although the pain had slowed him so much that the two ahead were rapidly outdistancing him. From the corner of his eye, he saw Sly Fox and Laughing Deer draw even with him and try to pass. In spite of the pain in his leg, Bent Arrow wasn’t going to be last. He lunged forward, barely managing to cross the finish line ahead of the other two.


As soon as he had crossed the line, Bent Arrow turned toward the crowd of warriors surrounding the winner. The warriors were so close to the runner that Bent Arrow couldn’t see who it was. Then he caught sight of Running Elk standing at one side, so he knew that Lone Eagle was the winner.

Bent Arrow saw his uncle, Flying Arrow, at the edge of the circle of warriors. He turned in that direction. He had to grit his teeth to keep from limping, but he was determined that his uncle shouldn’t think he was using his injured leg as an excuse for not winning.

“I’m sorry you have to be ashamed because I can’t win a race,” Bent Arrow said as soon as he was beside his uncle.

“Ashamed!” Flying Arrow exclaimed. “I’m not ashamed. I’m proud that you were able to beat two runners as good as Sly Fox and Laughing Deer. Running Elk and Lone Eagle are a summer older than you. When you are in your fourteenth summer, you will be an even better runner.”


Bent Arrow gulped and bent his head. Only girls cried. Certainly a boy of thirteen summers didn’t, but Flying Arrow’s unexpected praise had brought tears very close to Bent Arrow’s eyes.

“When your leg is completely healed, you’ll be one of the best runners in the whole Crow Nation,” Flying Arrow went on. “You are much improved since your last race.”

“I’ll keep practicing,” Bent Arrow vowed.

“Clawing Bear wants to see you,” Flying Arrow told him.

Bent Arrow glanced at his uncle’s face. He could see nothing there to tell him what the medicine man wanted. Was he to hear bad news about his leg? He would have liked to ask Flying Arrow why the medicine man wanted to see him, but Crow boys were not expected to ask questions.

“I’ll go now,” he agreed.


He turned from his uncle and went past the warriors who were still gathered around Lone Eagle, and on toward the camp. It wasn’t a large camp. There were only about twenty tepees, set up in two irregular lines. This was a hunting party out to lay in a supply of buffalo meat for the winter which was not too far away. The hunters had brought their squaws along. The women would take care of curing and drying the meat that the hunters brought.

The medicine man’s tepee was the last one in the back row and was placed a little apart from the others. Clawing Bear was sitting in front of his tepee.

“Come in, Bent Arrow,” Clawing Bear invited, getting slowly to his feet.

Bent Arrow followed the medicine man into the tepee. Clawing Bear sat near the fire and motioned Bent Arrow to sit beside him. The boy sat quietly while the medicine man selected a pipe, filled it, and lighted it with a brand from the fire. Clawing Bear inhaled deeply, and slowly blew the smoke to the east. After a pause, he took a second puff and blew it to the south. In the same way he blew smoke to the west and to the north. Then he laid the pipe aside.


“You ran a good race today,” he said.

“I didn’t know you were watching,” Bent Arrow answered.

“I don’t miss many races,” Clawing Bear replied with a smile. “I am pleased that you are running better.”

“Your treatment is making my leg better,” Bent Arrow explained. “That is why I am able to run faster.”

“It is about your leg that I wanted to talk with you,” Clawing Bear told him.

Bent Arrow held himself as motionless as possible while the medicine man again filled the pipe and again blew smoke in the directions of the four winds.

“When you were very small, only in your second summer,” Clawing Bear finally began, “your parents took you with a hunting party like this one. One day, when most of the hunters were gone, the Sioux attacked the camp. There were not enough Crow warriors in camp to protect it. When Flying Arrow and the other hunters returned, they found the camp destroyed and, apparently, everyone in it slain.”


The medicine man stared silently at the fire for a long time.

“It was while the hunters were holding the death ceremonies for our people,” Clawing Bear resumed, “that Flying Arrow found you. Your right leg was badly injured. Your uncle set it as carefully as he could. Several Crow warriors looked at you. Each of them shook his head.

“‘It would be better for the small boy to follow his parents to the Happy Hunting Grounds,’ one of the warriors told your uncle.”

Clawing Bear stopped and looked at Bent Arrow.

“The lot of a cripple is bad,” he said gruffly.

Bent Arrow nodded without speaking.

“‘I shall take him to my friend, Clawing Bear, the medicine man,’ your uncle told them.

“He did. I have given you every treatment handed down by Crow medicine men since the Great Spirit walked on earth and taught warriors how to live. Your uncle has seen that you have had every needed exercise. Today you outran two fine racers. The Great Spirit has been kind to you.”


“I am grateful to you and my uncle, too,” Bent Arrow said. “How can I ever repay you?”

“When you are completely cured, we shall be repaid,” Clawing Bear answered.

Apparently the medicine man had completed his story, but he didn’t make the sign of dismissal. Bent Arrow waited.

“I have had a medicine dream about you,” Clawing Bear resumed. “Not all of it was clear. However, there will be trouble with the Sioux. You and Flying Arrow will be in great danger. There was something about an eagle or an eagle feather, it wasn’t clear which. Yet I saw you running swiftly. I saw that your leg was well.”

Bent Arrow’s face glowed. He hardly heard the words about danger. The medicine man’s dream meant that he would be well. Already he could see himself winning a great race and earning a new name much better than Bent Arrow.


“How are you doing with your swimming lessons?” Clawing Bear interrupted his thoughts.

Bent Arrow shivered at the memory of the morning’s icy dip. There hadn’t actually been ice on the water, but there had been frost on the grass along the path to the river. Crow boys were required to swim every day until the ice on the river was too thick to be broken.

“I swim well,” Bent Arrow explained, “but my diving isn’t very good. The other boys ducked me again this morning.”

Clawing Bear nodded understandingly.

“Keep practicing,” he advised. “It won’t be long until you dive well enough so that the boys will have no excuse to duck you.”

“I don’t know why it is so hard for me to learn to do things,” Bent Arrow said, with a touch of complaint in his voice. “My uncle does everything well.”

“Your uncle learned the same way you are learning,” Clawing Bear answered sharply. “Every Crow is expected to do his best. See that you are a good Crow.”


“I’ll do my best,” Bent Arrow promised.

Clawing Bear made the sign of dismissal. Bent Arrow got to his feet and stepped out of the tepee. He looked about the camp to see what the other boys were doing. There were two younger boys playing near one of the tepees, but Bent Arrow could see none of the boys of his own age. He remembered that they had planned to hunt rabbits. He knew where they would be hunting, but it was too late to join them. The sun was so warm that Bent Arrow decided this would be a good time to practice diving. He hurried through the camp and along the path to the river.

Usually, the chief in charge of a hunting party selected a place along the river for a camp. Chief Barking Wolf had chosen a place near a spring and back a short distance from the river. Bent Arrow went to the top of the low hill which was between the camp and the river. As soon as he was at the top of the hill, he began to run. He raced to the riverbank, leaped high, and dived into the water. It was a clean dive, barely making a splash.


“If I dive that well tomorrow, the other boys won’t get to duck me,” he thought, as he rose to the surface.

He climbed out of the river, went up the hill, and again made a running dive. This was a good dive, too. He climbed up onto the bank and rested. The camp swimming teacher had been urging the boys to practice swimming under water. Bent Arrow decided that he would make one more practice dive. If it proved as good as the others, he would see how far he could swim under water.

To make the practice more fun, he pretended that he was escaping from enemies. When he was ready to dive, he bent low and ran as hard as he could. His dive carried him well out into the river. He knifed into the water with no more splash than a jumping fish would have made. He held his breath and swam under water with the current. He stayed under until it seemed his lungs would burst. At last he let his head rise above the surface enough so that he could breathe. While he gulped fresh air, Bent Arrow’s eyes were measuring the distance he had covered. He had swum much farther under water than he had supposed he could. Keeping up his game of escape, he sank below the surface again.


The next time he was forced to raise his head, he found that he was below the first bend. That was almost as well as a warrior could do. He noticed a clump of brush overhanging the river near him. If he really were a warrior trying to escape from enemies, that would be the place to leave the water. He swam toward the shore and managed to grasp one of the low-hanging branches. Carefully he pulled himself out of the water onto the bank. He crept behind the clump of brush and stretched out to rest.

Bent Arrow lay still, letting the sun warm and dry him. As long as he pretended that enemies were following him, it was easy for him to lie quiet. Suddenly he heard a faint splash which sounded as though it might be near the other bank of the river. He was almost certain that the splash had been made by a jumping fish, but an escaping warrior would neglect no precaution. Cautiously Bent Arrow raised his head until he could see between the branches of the sheltering bush. He jerked his head down as suddenly as though he were ducking an arrow. He had seen a Sioux warrior bending down to drink on the other side of the river.


Bent Arrow raised his head until he could see


Bent Arrow knew that he must carry a warning to camp. Sioux warriors this near a Crow camp meant danger. He turned his head enough to look at the wide space of sand which divided his hiding place from the shelter of the trees. If he tried to dart across there, the Sioux warrior was sure to see him.

Carefully he raised his head again to look across the river. Now there were three Sioux drinking at the river, and one standing behind them looking straight at Bent Arrow. Bent Arrow had to fight down the impulse to jump and run for camp. If the Sioux hadn’t already seen him, a sudden movement would reveal him. Evidently the Sioux hadn’t noticed him. The warrior’s glance passed on along the riverbank. A moment later the three Indians got to their feet, and all four of them slipped silently into the brush which lined that side of the river.


Bent Arrow watched until his neck muscles became so cramped that he had to move. Slowly he lowered his head and stretched out flat. When the pain in his neck had stopped, he again raised his head and looked across the river. All of the time that he watched the other shore, he was torn between the fear that he was delaying too long and the fear that if he moved too soon the Sioux would see him. At last he decided it was time for him to start.

Slowly he edged away from the sheltering clump of brush. He kept flat on his stomach and wriggled across the wide stretch of sand. When he reached the trees, he crawled a short distance among them. Then he got to his feet and dashed to the Crow camp. He raced straight to the tepee of his uncle.

The flap of the tepee was pulled shut. Flying Arrow was asleep or he was making medicine. A Crow warrior should not be disturbed, but Bent Arrow knew that his message was too important to be delayed.

“Uncle,” he called urgently, “there are Sioux warriors on the other bank of the river.”


Before Bent Arrow had finished speaking, Flying Arrow stepped out of the tepee.

“How many?” Flying Arrow asked.

Bent Arrow held up his right hand with the thumb doubled under.

“That is all I saw,” he answered. “They were at the first bend of the river.”

“Stay here,” Flying Arrow ordered and trotted off along the line of tepees.

A few moments later, Flying Arrow led a small band of warriors out of camp. Before that band had gone far, a party of mounted warriors, with Chief Barking Wolf at the head, rode out of camp circling toward the land of the setting sun.

Bent Arrow waited impatiently for word of the pursuit. There was some excitement in camp when the two scouts who had been sent out early that morning returned with the report that they had found a large herd of buffaloes. For a while Bent Arrow forgot his worries and spent his time wondering if he would be allowed to go with the hunters. However, as the afternoon wore on, all of his thoughts were on the warriors who were chasing the Sioux.


The sun was almost down when the two parties of warriors returned to camp. Flying Arrow came straight to his own tepee.

“They escaped,” he told Bent Arrow. “They had horses hidden not far from the river. They heard us coming and got too great a start for our warriors to catch them.”

“Will they be back to try to steal our horses?” Bent Arrow asked.

“Possibly not,” Flying Arrow replied. “Sioux like to make winter camp early. That party may start toward their main camp now.”

While Bent Arrow and his uncle were eating their evening meal, a messenger came to the tepee.

“There is to be a buffalo hunt tomorrow,” the messenger announced. “Bent Arrow has been chosen to help tend the horses.”

Bent Arrow was so excited at the messenger’s words that he could scarcely finish his supper. Although the boys who tended the pack horses during a hunt had a difficult time, there was always a chance that they would get to take part in the hunting, too.


“You’d better crawl into your robes and get a good night’s rest,” Flying Arrow suggested. “Tomorrow will be an exciting day.”

Bent Arrow expected to find it hard to fall asleep, but it wasn’t long after he had crawled into his robes before he dozed off. Soon his sleep was disturbed by a dream. In his dream he and another boy were chasing a buffalo. The other boy rode alongside the buffalo and was drawing his bow for a shot when his horse stumbled. The boy was thrown in front of the charging buffalo. Bent Arrow tried to cry out a warning, and, in trying to call out, he awoke. He immediately told his uncle of his dream.

“I’ll talk to the medicine man,” Flying Arrow said, after a thoughtful silence. “It must be a warning of some kind. I’m sure Clawing Bear will understand it.”

Bent Arrow again dropped off to sleep.



Bent Arrow was awake early the next morning. He crawled out of his buffalo robes and dressed quickly. There was a little twinge of pain in his right leg, but he knew that would be gone as soon as he had walked a few paces. He was eager for the swimming teacher to give the call for practice. He was sure that today he would dive as well as any of the boys.

When he stepped out of the tepee, he lost some of his eagerness. There was a light covering of snow on the ground. Before he had a chance really to worry about how cold the water would be, Bent Arrow heard the call of the teacher and saw the boys forming a line. He trotted over and took his place.


When it was Bent Arrow’s turn to dive, he dashed forward, leaped high, and went into the water with scarcely a splash. He came up gasping and sputtering, but smiling. He had made a good dive. He wouldn’t be ducked today.

Sly Fox was the only boy to make a poor dive. Four boys grabbed him and shoved his head under water. Fortunately for Sly Fox, all of the boys were eager to get out of the cold water. They let him up almost at once. As soon as the last boy had dived, the teacher dismissed them. Bent Arrow was glad to get out of the cold water and race back to the tepee.

As soon as they had eaten, Bent Arrow and his uncle went to the corral. Flying Arrow caught his best buffalo horse to ride on the hunt. Bent Arrow hoped that he would be given one of the faster horses, too. Instead, Flying Arrow caught Rock, one of the oldest and slowest of his horses, for Bent Arrow to ride.


“Rock is dependable,” Flying Arrow explained. “He’ll make your work easier and safer.”

Bent Arrow mounted Rock and helped his uncle drive two other horses out of the herd to be used as pack animals. Other boys and warriors were busy at the same task. For a time there was great confusion as the riders worked to drive the horses they wanted and at the same time make sure none of the others got out of the corral. As soon as Flying Arrow’s two horses were out of the corral, Bent Arrow was left to watch them while the warrior went back to help the others.

Even after all of the horses to be used were out of the corral, it was considerable work to hold them together in a herd. At last the pack horses were quiet enough so that the party could start. Chief Barking Wolf ordered the warriors to watch the horses while he gave the boys their instructions. At his signal the boys gathered around him.

“Each of you is to be given one good hunting arrow,” he told them.


The boys exchanged triumphant glances. They had been afraid that they would be given the job of watching the pack horses all of the time and wouldn’t be allowed to hunt. The leader’s next words brought looks of disappointment to the boys’ faces.

“You are to keep the arrows as proof that you have been on a buffalo hunt,” Chief Barking Wolf continued, “but you are to do no hunting. A dream has warned us that the Great Spirit does not want boys to hunt buffaloes today.”

Bent Arrow was given an arrow by one of the warriors, while other warriors handed arrows to each of the other boys. If he hadn’t been so badly disappointed about not being allowed to hunt, Bent Arrow would have been highly elated at receiving the arrow. It was a fine one, probably the best one in the warrior’s quiver. There was a sharp stone head on it, and the arrow had been carefully balanced. Even a poor hunter should be able to kill a buffalo with so fine an arrow.


When each boy had received his arrow, Chief Barking Wolf sent them back to watch the pack horses. The warriors fell into line behind the leader, each one in the place that had been assigned to him. As soon as all were ready, Chief Barking Wolf rode to the head of the party and led toward the rising sun.

It was now that Rock proved Flying Arrow’s wisdom in selecting him for Bent Arrow. The pack horses seemed to want to go anywhere except where the warriors were going. First one horse would try to break out of the herd and then another. Every time one tried to break away, Rock was there to head him off. He acted as though he could guess when a horse was going to try to get away.

“I was feeling sorry for you when Flying Arrow gave you Rock to ride,” Sly Fox admitted. “Now I see that you are lucky he did. Rock is making the work easier for all of us.”

For a time the boys had to give all of their attention to controlling the herd of pack horses. But, by the time the party was well out of sight of the camp, Rock had so discouraged the would-be runaways that the whole herd was moving steadily after the warriors. This gave the boys a chance to ride in pairs and talk together, as the sun climbed steadily in the sky and melted the thin blanket of snow.


“The sun is mad at Old-Man-of-the-North for sending snow so early,” Bent Arrow told Sly Fox.

“Yes,” Sly Fox agreed. “He has taken away all of the snow. The sun is powerful.”

“Old-Man-of-the-North is tricky,” Bent Arrow remarked. “Sometimes he sends snow when we aren’t ready for it. Other times he won’t send it when we want it.”

“I hope that he sends much snow as soon as we have plenty of buffalo meat and are in our winter camp,” Sly Fox exclaimed. “We need snow for our winter games.”

Bent Arrow nodded his agreement. Indian boys always had fun, but winter was the best time for games. It was a good time to learn new things, too. The warriors had leisure to teach the boys how to make bows and arrows. There were always stories to be told of battles and great heroes.

The sun was not yet overhead when Chief Barking Wolf stopped the hunting party in a small valley. He pointed to the low hills ahead.


“The herd of buffaloes is in a large valley across those hills,” he announced. “The hunters will ride across the hills and you boys will stay here with the pack horses. Wild Wind will be the last warrior. He will stay at the top of the hill until the rest of us have started to run the buffaloes. Then he will signal for you boys to bring the pack horses.”

As the warriors rode ahead, the boys were kept busy holding the pack horses in a herd. It was almost as much work keeping the herd from following now as it had been before to get it started. Sometimes, when one of the pack horses broke out of the herd, Bent Arrow was tempted to pretend that he couldn’t turn it back. If he let the horse go to the top of the hill, Bent Arrow would be where he could watch all of the excitement of the hunt. He was ashamed of the thought. A Crow boy who expected to become a warrior should do his best to carry out orders.

Rock seemed to realize that it was up to him to keep his rider from trouble. The horse worked even harder than he had before. It wasn’t long until the pack animals realized that they couldn’t escape as long as Rock was watching them. They quieted and began to graze.


Sly Fox rode over beside Bent Arrow.

“I’m going to ride over there and shoot a buffalo,” Sly Fox told Bent Arrow, speaking low so the other boys couldn’t hear him.

“Don’t do it,” Bent Arrow warned. “Chief Barking Wolf will have you punished. You know how warriors are punished when they disobey orders on a hunting trip. You will be whipped in front of the whole camp.”

“The punishment will be forgotten if I kill a buffalo,” Sly Fox retorted.

“That won’t—,” Bent Arrow began, but at that moment Wild Wind gave the signal for the boys to bring the pack horses.

Bent Arrow and Sly Fox were in front of the herd. They turned their horses and led the way. The horses followed readily. At the top of the low hill, the boys paused to watch the hunt.


From their place, the boys could see far out over the wide valley. Truly the scouts had found a great herd of buffaloes. The attack of the hunters had started the herd running, but even yet a fourth of the valley was covered with buffaloes lumbering in flight ahead of the hunters. Many lay where the hunters’ arrows had slain them.

Bent Arrow noticed that the hunters were riding into the herd, selecting the younger animals. As the boys watched, one old buffalo broke from the herd, turned back, and started running up the hill.

“Here’s my chance to get a buffalo,” Sly Fox shouted excitedly.

“Stay here,” Bent Arrow warned. “We are forbidden to hunt.”

If Sly Fox heard the warning, he was too excited to heed it. He kicked his heels against his horse’s side and started it running to the right so that he could turn and get behind the buffalo. Bent Arrow hesitated. If he rode after Sly Fox, the warriors might think that he, too, was disobeying orders. He remembered his dream of the night before. The next moment he sent Rock racing after the other horse. He had to stop Sly Fox before it was too late. Rock tried his best, but it wasn’t good enough. Sly Fox’s horse had carried its rider alongside the buffalo while Rock and Bent Arrow were still several paces behind.


Sly Fox had his bow ready. He leaned toward the buffalo, taking careful aim. As Sly Fox drew the bow back, the buffalo swung its head wildly. Sly Fox’s startled horse dodged aside, missed his footing, stumbled, and fell. Sly Fox jumped clear of the falling horse, his bow flying out of his hands as he lit. He leaned over to grab the bow. Bent Arrow shouted a warning. The buffalo had hesitated a moment as though it were completely confused. Now it charged at Sly Fox. Sly Fox glanced toward his horse, but the buffalo was between them. The boy turned and ran.

When the buffalo hesitated, it gave Rock a chance to close the gap between them. As the buffalo turned to charge at Sly Fox, Rock whirled to follow. Bent Arrow’s heart stood still as he felt the horse’s hoofs slip on the wet grass. Somehow Rock kept from falling. In two strides the horse was alongside the crazed buffalo. One more jump and the buffalo would be upon Sly Fox. Bent Arrow leaned toward the buffalo, took quick aim, and fired the arrow for the point just back of the buffalo’s foreleg. It was a good shot. The arrow sank in to the shaft, but it seemed to have no effect on the buffalo. The animal leaped forward. Its head struck Sly Fox and sent him flying. The buffalo half turned to charge again and then suddenly slumped to the ground and lay still.


{Bent Arrow leaned toward the buffalo and fired the arrow}


Before Bent Arrow could reach him, Sly Fox jumped to his feet.

“You saved my life, Bent Arrow!” Sly Fox exclaimed.

“Are you all right?” Bent Arrow demanded anxiously.

“I seem to be,” Sly Fox answered.

Two warriors came dashing up to the boys. Bent Arrow’s heart sank when he saw that one of the warriors was Chief Barking Wolf. The chief looked sternly at Bent Arrow.

“I gave orders that no boy was to hunt buffaloes today,” he said sternly.


Bent Arrow hung his head. For a moment he had hoped that he would make his uncle happy by acting bravely; instead, he had brought disgrace because he had disobeyed orders.

“It was my fault,” Sly Fox explained quickly. “I hunted the buffalo. Bent Arrow killed it to save my life.”

“Explain,” Chief Barking Wolf ordered gruffly.

Sly Fox told of how he had chased the buffalo and how his horse had fallen.

“If Bent Arrow and his horse hadn’t acted quickly, the buffalo would have killed me,” Sly Fox finished.

Chief Barking Wolf turned toward Bent Arrow.

“You did well,” he praised, a smile replacing the stern look on his face. “I like an almost-warrior who doesn’t make excuses. A good Crow knows when orders must be disobeyed.”

Bent Arrow felt a lump rising in his throat as it had done when his uncle praised his running. He bent his head so the chief couldn’t see his face.


Chief Barking Wolf jumped from his horse. He and the warrior stepped over to the slain buffalo. Together they rolled the animal over on its other side. The shaft of the arrow had been broken off as the animal fell on it. Barking Wolf studied the broken arrow for a moment.

“That was a very good shot,” he said, turning toward Bent Arrow, “well aimed, and powerfully driven. But you have lost your good arrow. It is broken.”

“He is to have mine,” Sly Fox said, offering it to Bent Arrow.

Bent Arrow hesitated. The arrow had been given to Sly Fox to keep as a token that he had been on a buffalo hunt. Sly Fox would want it to show to younger boys.

“Take it,” Chief Barking Wolf commanded. “If Sly Fox had not offered it to you, I would have ordered him to break it.”

Chief Barking Wolf mounted his horse.

“You are to go back to camp alone,” he told Sly Fox. “You have disobeyed orders. You are not in this hunting party.”


Without a word, Sly Fox mounted his horse and started back to camp. Bent Arrow felt sorry for his friend, yet he knew that Sly Fox was lucky. Chief Barking Wolf might have ordered a far more severe punishment for the boy’s disobedience.

“Bring the pack horses,” the chief ordered. “The men are ready.”

As many buffaloes as could possibly be taken back to camp had been slain. The hunters had turned back and were butchering the animals. As the boys came to a hunter, they would stop the herd of pack horses and leave those belonging to that warrior. When they came to Flying Arrow, Bent Arrow drove his two horses from the herd and dismounted to help his uncle.

Butchering was done swiftly. The hide was removed and the carcass dressed. The meat was cut into large pieces and then wrapped in the hides to make two bundles. The bundles were laid across the pack horses’ backs in such a way that they balanced each other.


The greatest difficulty was in preparing the head. First the tongue was removed. Every Crow knew that the tongue was one of the best parts of the buffalo. Next the head was cut from the carcass and beaten against a rock until the bone shattered. Then the brain was removed. Crow squaws would need the brain to rub on the underside of the hide. Without it, the hide could not be properly tanned.

Bent Arrow and his uncle were the first to have their buffaloes butchered and the meat loaded on pack horses.

“We’ll take the hide from the buffalo you killed,” Flying Arrow said. “Since killing that buffalo saved the life of a Crow, the hide should be good medicine for you.”

Bent Arrow nodded. Every Crow carried a small pouch in which he had his medicine. The medicine wasn’t carried as something to cure sickness; it was to help guard the warrior from danger. Not all warriors had the same things in their medicine bags. Usually a warrior learned in a dream what he should put in his medicine bag to protect him. In Flying Arrow’s medicine bag there were the claw of a bear, a piece of the fur of a wolf, and a hawk’s feather. In a dream a bear had told Flying Arrow to get a hawk’s feather to carry with a bear’s claw and a piece of wolf fur. It must have been powerful medicine. Since he had had it, Flying Arrow had made many successful raids. Bent Arrow hoped his would prove as powerful.


When Flying Arrow saw the buffalo that Bent Arrow had killed, he seemed pleased.

“Besides the skin, we shall take the buffalo’s heart,” he told Bent Arrow. “It was a brave buffalo. By eating its heart, you will become braver.”

It was a triumphant band of hunters that rode back into camp as the sun was sinking in the western sky. Here was a great supply of meat to be added to the tribe’s winter store. In a few days the hunting party could start back toward the big winter camp of all the Crow tribes.

As soon as the pack horses were unloaded and put back into the corral, Flying Arrow cooked fresh buffalo steaks.

“You must take a gift to Clawing Bear,” he told Bent Arrow. “The medicine man will want to know about your hunting. It may be that he will have found another message in the dream you had last night.”


Flying Arrow selected the choicest tongue, wrapped it carefully, and handed it to Bent Arrow. As he made his way toward the medicine man’s tepee with the gift in his hands, Bent Arrow had the feeling that this was to be a very happy visit for him.



While Bent Arrow was still several paces from the medicine man’s tepee, Clawing Bear called out to him.

“Come in, Bent Arrow, and tell me about the buffalo you killed.”

“How did you know that I had killed a buffalo?” Bent Arrow asked. “Did someone report to you so soon?”

“No,” Clawing Bear answered with a smile. “Sometimes we medicine men see things which others cannot see. Now tell me about it.”


As briefly as he could, Bent Arrow told of Sly Fox’s attempt to shoot a buffalo and how his horse had stumbled.

“My horse deserves more credit than I,” Bent Arrow finished. “By the time I would have thought of what to do, it would have been too late.”

“That’s the way I saw it,” Clawing Bear said, nodding. “Yet you have not received too much credit. You did well.”

The medicine man filled his pipe and lit it with an ember from the fire. He blew smoke to the north, the east, the south, and the west. He laid the pipe aside and stared into the fire as though he were watching some interesting happening. When he spoke, his voice was so low that Bent Arrow had to lean forward to catch his words.

“You were in great danger today,” Clawing Bear told him. “You did not have the proper medicine. When I saw you chasing that buffalo, there was a buzzard soaring above you.”


Bent Arrow shivered. Buzzards were the omen of misfortune. They picked the flesh from slain animals and from warriors who had not been given proper burial.

“I could see that the buzzard was watching you,” Clawing Bear continued. “When you leaned toward the buffalo to shoot your arrow, the buzzard started down. Then I caught sight of an eagle above the buzzard. A feather fell from the eagle’s tail. It passed just ahead of the buzzard’s beak. The buzzard turned and flew away. You must have an eagle’s feather. It is your good medicine to protect you from danger.”

“How am I to get an eagle’s feather?” Bent Arrow asked. “The eagles nest far up on the peaks. Already the snow is deep there.”

“You must have an eagle feather,” Clawing Bear insisted.

Bent Arrow asked no more questions. If Clawing Bear knew the way for him to get an eagle feather, the medicine man would have told him. Before Clawing Bear dismissed Bent Arrow, he examined the boy’s leg.


“My medicine has done all it can,” Clawing Bear said. “You must do much walking and running. I believe that when you have found an eagle feather, you will be cured.”

The next day was a busy one for the boys who had been with the hunters. It was their job to build tripods on which the squaws would hang the buffalo meat to dry and smoke. Sly Fox was not allowed to help. As an added punishment for hunting when he was ordered not to, he was given the task of dragging the heavy buffalo hides to the river where the squaws would tan them.

Bent Arrow worked eagerly. It was good to see the supply of meat being prepared for winter use. Best of all, meat hanging on the tripods meant that tomorrow would come the call for a game of wolves.

Twice during the day, Bent Arrow saw the swimming teacher, but the warrior didn’t speak to him. If he had plans for a game of wolves, the teacher was keeping them to himself. The next morning, at the swimming lesson, Bent Arrow stayed near the teacher, hoping there would be word of the game, but again nothing was said. However, when Bent Arrow had returned to the tepee and was eating his meal, a low whistle sounded. That was the signal for the boys to meet.


Bent Arrow hurried out of the tepee, but as soon as he was outside he moved cautiously. He slipped from his tepee to the next one and on down the line to the last. Here he dropped to his hands and knees and crawled until he had crossed the low hill and was out of sight of the camp.

By the time Bent Arrow reached the meeting place, the teacher and several boys were there. Bent Arrow took his place in the circle of boys. All of them waited for the late-comers.

As soon as the last boy arrived, the teacher began to explain the game of wolves. Although Bent Arrow had heard the explanation before, he listened as intently as the two younger boys who were hearing it for the first time. The teacher gave a brief account of the wolves who were the Crow scouts. He told of the time the wolves had disguised themselves and crawled across the prairie and made a successful attack on a large hunting party of Sioux.


“Today you are the wolves,” he told the boys. “The meat on the tripods represents Sioux horses. The boy who captures the first Sioux horse and the boy who captures the largest one will get these prizes.”

Bent Arrow gave a gasp of elation when the teacher held up two eagle feathers. Here was a simple way to get the medicine which Clawing Bear had said he must have. He was so sure he would win one of the prizes that he almost reached out for it.

“Now disguise yourselves as wolves,” the teacher ordered.

Bent Arrow and the other boys trooped to the riverbank. They dug up handfuls of mud and completely covered themselves with it, even rubbing the mud into their hair. As the mud dried, it took on a grayish tinge so that when the boys crawled through the dry grass their coloring blended with it and they could hardly be seen.


At a signal from the teacher, the boys separated and started toward camp. Bent Arrow circled around the camp to approach the tripods of meat from the far side. If the squaws were expecting a raid, they wouldn’t look for the raiders to come from that direction. When he neared the camp, he got to his hands and knees and crawled.

The row of tripods extended beyond the last tepee in camp. Bent Arrow saw two squaws standing in front of that tepee talking together. He heard one of the squaws say that they should be watching for a magpie raid. The squaws always referred to the boys in the wolf game as magpies, because flocks of magpies often swarmed on the drying meat.

One of the women glanced straight at Bent Arrow. He held himself motionless. It didn’t seem possible that she would fail to see him, but she turned toward her own tepee. Bent Arrow breathed a sigh of relief when the other squaw went on with her work.


Bent Arrow crawled to the first tripod. None of the pieces of meat on it was very large. He looked down the line to the next tripod. There was a large piece hanging on it. Before he crawled ahead, Bent Arrow glanced toward the tepees again. None of the squaws was watching. When he reached the second tripod, he found that the piece of meat wasn’t as large as he had thought. He glanced down the line. There was a much larger chunk on a tripod farther along. Again he made sure that no squaw was watching before he crawled on.

This time he had made no mistake. He had found a large piece of meat, so large, in fact, that it was sure to win the prize. He reached out to take it from the tripod. At that instant there was a loud chatter of talk behind him. He jumped to his feet to run, but he was too late. A squaw grabbed him with a grip too powerful for him to twist loose.

“We’ll find out who this thief is,” the squaw stormed.

In spite of Bent Arrow’s twisting and struggling, he was dragged to the near-by spring. The squaw held him with one hand. With the other she dipped water and splashed it on his face until all of the mud was washed off. By the time that she had finished, she was laughing.

“I see that the magpie is Bent Arrow,” she said with a smile. “Well, grab a chunk of meat and run. Boys will be boys.”


Bent Arrow seized the meat and dashed out of the camp. He was the last boy to get back to the meeting place. A fire had been built, and meat already was roasting over it. The teacher took Bent Arrow’s meat and put it over the fire.

“You captured a truly large piece of meat,” he told Bent Arrow.

Bent Arrow made no reply. He took his place in the circle of boys. He was able to give only part of his attention to the words the teacher was speaking. He had brought the largest chunk of meat. That entitled him to the eagle feather. Still, there was an uneasy doubt in his mind. He thought back to the teacher’s instructions. They had been that a prize went to the one who captured the largest one. Captured—His thoughts were interrupted by the call to food.

The meat was good, and the adventure of having helped get it in a raid added to its flavor. Ordinarily Bent Arrow would have enjoyed it greatly. Now he was so busy with his thoughts that he scarcely noticed its taste. When everyone had eaten his fill, the teacher called for the boys’ attention.


“We’ll have an account of your adventures,” he announced. “Running Elk, you were the first to return with a prize. Tell us how you did so well.”

Running Elk stood up. He told that he had thought of the shortest way to camp. He had taken the risk of running to the first tepee and walking from it to the nearest tripod. It had occurred to him that the squaws would pay no attention to one boy. He had been right. He had grabbed a piece of meat and was away from the camp while the other boys were still crawling toward the tripods.

“You did well,” the teacher praised. “Sometimes it is better to take greater risks in order to catch the enemy unprepared. This eagle feather is the reward for your coup. You may wear it as a warrior would who had counted coup.”

“Thank you,” Running Elk responded, proudly accepting the award.

Several other boys who had returned quickly with their captures were called upon. After them the teacher turned to Bent Arrow.


“You brought the largest piece of meat, Bent Arrow,” he said. “Tell us of your adventure.”

Bent Arrow hesitated. Slowly he shook his head.

“I didn’t capture it,” he admitted. “A squaw captured me. She let me take the piece of meat so I wouldn’t have to return empty-handed. I didn’t win the prize.”

A wave of laughter ran around the circle of boys as Bent Arrow hung his head. A stern look from the teacher stopped the laughter.

“Since the meat was a gift, you did not earn the prize,” he agreed. “However, you have shown yourself to be a good Crow by refusing to take an unearned reward. If I had another prize, you should have it.”

The teacher turned to Sly Fox.

“Yours was next in size,” he said. “Tell of your adventure.”

Sly Fox admitted that he had been lucky. He had selected the largest piece of meat on the first tripod that he came to. He had wanted to look farther for a larger piece, but as several squaws were moving about the tepees, he had decided to take that piece and get away. He was glad that he had won the prize.


“You did well,” the teacher said. “This eagle feather is yours to be worn as proudly as a warrior who has counted coup.”

“Thank you,” Sly Fox responded as he accepted the prize.

He turned to face Bent Arrow.

“I want to give this coup feather to you, Bent Arrow,” he said, “not only because you have proved yourself a good Crow, but also because you saved my life.”

Bent Arrow gave a gasp of pleasure. He was to have the eagle feather which Clawing Bear said he needed for his medicine bag. He reached out his hand to accept it but, at the last moment, drew his hand back.

“I can’t accept it,” he pointed out. “People would see it and think that I had won the prize.”

The teacher nodded his approval.

“We’ll rest a while,” the teacher announced. “Then we’ll swim to wash off the mud. That will be the end of our game.”


Bent Arrow was the first to dive into the water, and Sly Fox was not far behind him. The two boys scuffled for a time, each trying to duck the other. Bent Arrow managed to get a lucky hold and was able to shove Sly Fox’s head under the water. When Bent Arrow released him, Sly Fox came sputtering to the surface. He laughingly swam a few strokes away from Bent Arrow, but a moment later he swam close again.

“There are Sioux warriors on the other bank,” he whispered. “One of them moved just as I got my head out of water.”

Bent Arrow just managed to keep from glancing toward the other bank. A look in that direction might have warned the hidden Sioux that they had been seen.

“Let’s swim to the teacher and tell him so that he can call the boys from the water,” Sly Fox suggested.

“We’d better pretend that we are still playing,” Bent Arrow warned. “The Sioux will suspect any strange actions.”

Sly Fox nodded and made a sudden dash at Bent Arrow. Bent Arrow swam away as rapidly as he could. Anyone watching would have thought that it was an accident that Bent Arrow swam so close to the teacher.


“Sly Fox saw Sioux warriors on the other bank,” Bent Arrow whispered, as he swam near the teacher.

“Keep up your game,” the teacher ordered without glancing toward him.

Obediently Bent Arrow turned and swam back out into the stream. Sly Fox guessed his purpose and swam in pursuit. A few minutes later the teacher whistled the signal for the boys to come out of the water. Bent Arrow and Sly Fox were the last to climb up onto the bank.

“As soon as you are behind the willows, start running to camp,” the teacher ordered in a whisper. “The rest of us will follow later.”

Bent Arrow and Sly Fox walked slowly to the clump of willows. As soon as the brush hid them from watchers on the other bank, the two boys broke into a run. Bent Arrow ran straight to his uncle’s tepee, while Sly Fox ran on to take the warning to Chief Barking Wolf.


This time no warriors were sent on foot. All of them went to the corral for horses. The warriors were divided into two parties, one under Flying Arrow went upstream, while the other under Chief Barking Wolf went downstream. As the warriors rode out of camp, the teacher returned with the other boys.

The sun was still high in the western sky when the warriors returned empty-handed. Bent Arrow took his uncle’s horse to the corral and hurried back to the tepee.

“They got away again,” Flying Arrow said. “We ought to send a party of warriors to punish them.”

That evening the warriors were summoned to a council meeting. Bent Arrow was proud that he was summoned too. When he and his uncle reached the council wigwam, Sly Fox was there. The two boys waited until all of the warriors had entered before they went into the tepee. They sat well back from the circle of warriors. Chief Barking Wolf stood up to speak first.

“We are far from other Crow camps,” the chief said. “We have much meat that we want to get to the winter camp. Since Sioux warriors have twice been seen watching us, it would seem wise for us to break camp quickly and get to our winter grounds where we shall have the help of many Crows.”


Chief Barking Wolf sat down. He picked up the ceremonial pipe. Leaning forward, he picked an ember from the fire and lighted the pipe. He took three puffs before he passed the pipe to Flying Arrow sitting on his right. Flying Arrow took three puffs and passed the pipe on to the next warrior. Slowly the pipe went around the circle of warriors and returned to the chief. He laid it aside carefully. Flying Arrow got to his feet to speak next.

“Barking Wolf has spoken wisely,” Flying Arrow agreed. “We are far from other Crow warriors. Yet it is bad to allow the Sioux to spy on our camp, to make plans to steal our horses and take our scalps. They should be punished. I believe we should send a party of warriors to teach those Sioux a lesson.”

Bent Arrow expected to hear shouts of approval come from the circle of warriors. Instead, the warriors sat silently looking into the fire. Again Chief Barking Wolf lit the pipe and started it around the circle. When it came back to him, he carefully put it in its wrappings. This was a sign that any warrior who wished to speak would now be heard.


Some of the warriors did speak. A few thought that the Sioux should be punished, but all of them agreed with Chief Barking Wolf that there should be a larger party of Crows before the attempt was made.

“Then I shall go alone,” Flying Arrow told the warriors. “I’ll take some of their horses. The Sioux must be punished.”

Some of the warriors tried to convince Flying Arrow that he should wait until a large war party could be sent against the Sioux. To all urgings, Flying Arrow shook his head.

“Soon Old-Man-of-the-North will send snow,” he insisted. “Then we’ll have to wait until spring.”

“It would be better if we could spare a warrior to go with you,” Chief Barking Wolf said thoughtfully, “but it will take all of our men to get the meat to winter camp.”



As soon as he and Bent Arrow had returned to their tepee, Flying Arrow began to make preparations for his raid against the Sioux. While Bent Arrow helped his uncle, his mind was busy.

“Chief Barking Wolf thinks that you should not go alone,” Bent Arrow suggested.

“It would be much better if two of us could go together,” Flying Arrow agreed. “However, Barking Wolf is right in saying that he can’t spare another warrior from the hunting party.”


“I could go with you,” Bent Arrow pointed out.

Flying Arrow looked at him with surprise. For a moment Bent Arrow thought that his suggestion was going to rouse his uncle’s anger. Then the warrior smiled.

“I should have known that you don’t make words just to hear the sound of them,” he said. “I am proud that you offered to go, but this raid is too dangerous.”

“I would get the exercise which Clawing Bear says I need,” Bent Arrow urged. “I might find an eagle feather, and I can help you by tending the horses.”

Flying Arrow made no answer. Instead, he gave all of his attention to arranging the things he was to take with him. Bent Arrow began to fear that he had talked too much. Evidently he had made his uncle angry. Flying Arrow emptied the arrows from his quiver. Two of them he tossed into the fire. He selected three of the best and handed them to Bent Arrow.


“You may need these,” he said. “There will be hunting to do and perhaps even a fight with the Sioux.”

“Then I am to go with you?” Bent Arrow exclaimed.

“Yes,” Flying Arrow answered, nodding. “I’ll need help, and you need the training. I know you’ll obey orders. When I tell you to stay back from danger, you will do so.”

When everything else was prepared, Flying Arrow filled two small bags with dried buffalo meat.

“There may be times when we don’t dare build a fire,” he explained, handing one of the bags to Bent Arrow.

The next morning, just as the eastern sky was lighting up, Flying Arrow led the way out of camp. He was mounted on his best horse. When he had given Bent Arrow his choice of the horses, Bent Arrow had selected Rock.

Although the ground was white with frost, when they came to the river, Bent Arrow jumped from his horse and swam across. On the other side of the river, he trotted beside his horse until he was thoroughly warmed.


Flying Arrow led the way out of camp


Instead of continuing north to find the Sioux trail, Flying Arrow turned east and selected the easiest route along the riverbank.

“I’m sure the Sioux circled north and later returned to the river,” he explained. “We’ll find their trail before the day is over.”

Several times during the day, Bent Arrow dismounted and trotted along beside his horse. Clawing Bear had said he needed exercise. Bent Arrow was determined to leave nothing undone that would help cure his leg.

The sun was still hanging in the western sky when Flying Arrow stopped. Bent Arrow was worried because they had not found the Sioux trail. Flying Arrow seemed to read his mind.

“The Sioux traveled farther before returning to the river than I expected them to,” he explained. “We’ll camp here. We’ll find their trail soon when we start on tomorrow.”


Bent Arrow tended the horses while Flying Arrow built a fire and cooked the meat they had brought with them. When Bent Arrow returned to the camping spot, he could see his uncle before he could see the tiny campfire. Flying Arrow was taking no chances of a fire or its smoke attracting the Sioux.

It was scarcely daylight the next morning when the two Crows started. Flying Arrow watched the ground closely as he rode along. They had not gone far when he dismounted. When Bent Arrow dismounted to join his uncle, he saw the hoofmarks of several horses.

“The Sioux went to the river to water their horses,” Flying Arrow explained, pointing to the tracks.

“Did they cross the river?” Bent Arrow asked anxiously, thinking that the Sioux might have circled back and attacked the Crow hunting camp.

“Probably not,” Flying Arrow answered. “I’m sure we’ll find their trail a little farther on.”

Flying Arrow started ahead, leading his horse. Bent Arrow followed him. They had gone only a short distance when they came upon the Sioux trail leading from the river.


“It is as I expected,” Flying Arrow said. “The Sioux camped by the river. It looks as though they have given up their plan to raid our camp.”

“Are they on their way to the Sioux winter camp?” Bent Arrow asked.

“I think they are going farther toward the land of the rising sun,” Flying Arrow answered. “Probably they want to hunt before they go to winter camp.”

He studied the trail carefully. Bent Arrow, too, looked at the many tracks. He tried to judge how many warriors were in the hunting party. From the tracks, he decided there had been about as many Sioux as he and Flying Arrow together had fingers.

“There were about this many warriors,” Flying Arrow said, holding up both hands with his fingers spread.

“I thought there were more,” Bent Arrow admitted.

“Some of the hoofprints were made by horses without riders,” Flying Arrow explained. “See, there is a difference in the prints.”


He tried to gauge how many warriors were in the party


Bent Arrow looked where his uncle pointed. Some of the hoofmarks were deeper and clearer than others.

“I thought that the deeper prints were made by horses that came at the end of the herd,” Bent Arrow told his uncle.

“That is good trailing,” Flying Arrow praised. “Even some warriors wouldn’t have noticed that there was a difference in the tracks. However, the deeper marks are made by horses carrying riders.”

“Will we catch up with the Sioux today?” Bent Arrow asked.

“Not unless they stop to hunt,” Flying Arrow answered. “They are too far ahead of us.”

When Flying Arrow remounted, he did not follow the Sioux trail. Instead, he stayed on the level ground a short distance from the riverbank. He kept his horse going faster than he had the day before. Several times Bent Arrow dismounted and ran beside his horse. He found that he was able to run farther before his leg began to hurt. The sun had sunk to the top of the western hills when the two Crows again crossed the Sioux trail. Flying Arrow dismounted to study it briefly.


“We are getting close to them,” he gloated. “In a day or two we may be able to make a raid.”

They traveled until dark. Again Bent Arrow cared for the horses while his uncle made camp. This time, when Bent Arrow returned to camp, there was no fire.

“We’ll eat some of the dried meat we brought,” Flying Arrow told him. “The Sioux have sharp noses. Even the smallest fire might give off enough smoke to warn them.”

Bent Arrow glanced around quickly as though expecting to find a Sioux watching from the brush near by.

“They aren’t that close,” Flying Arrow said with a smile. “Probably they are half a sun’s ride ahead of us.”


Bent Arrow knew that the Sioux would have little chance to surprise them. Flying Eagle heard every noise, no matter how slight, and he always knew the meaning of the noise. Nevertheless, he had a feeling of uneasiness as he crawled into his blankets to sleep. The moment that he fell asleep, he dreamed that he saw an eagle soaring overhead. In his dream he followed the eagle, hoping it would drop a feather. He followed the eagle over hills and across a small stream. At last a feather fell from the eagle and floated down. As Bent Arrow was running to get the feather, some sound awakened him.

Although it was still dark, Bent Arrow could see his uncle moving about. Silently Bent Arrow crawled out of his blankets.

“I’m going to scout ahead on foot,” Flying Arrow explained. “It may be that I can reach the Sioux camp.”

“Let me go with you,” Bent Arrow urged.

Flying Arrow shook his head.

“As soon as it is light, you water the horses,” he ordered. “If I’m not back by then, you might hunt near the river for game. We’ll need food.”


After Flying Arrow slipped away into the darkness, Bent Arrow sat on his robe and waited until the eastern sky gave enough light so he could see. He took the horses to the river and let them drink. He found a hidden place where there was plenty of grass for the horses. He returned to the camping place, rolled up the blankets, and hid them. He took a small branch from a tree. With this he brushed the ground until there were no signs of the camp left.

Bent Arrow arranged two sticks to tell his uncle where the horses were in case the warrior was the first to get back to the camping place. He went back on the trail he and his uncle had followed the day before. When he thought that he was far enough from the camping place, he went toward the river. He hunted along the river until he found the place he wanted. It was a clump of willows near the river and along a well-worn trail leading to it.

Bent Arrow had been hidden in the clump of willows only a short time when he caught the faint sound of something coming down the trail. He kneeled, waiting tensely as the sound came nearer. His heart was pounding wildly when a fine buck stepped into view. The deer stopped, lifted its head, and sniffed suspiciously. Evidently it failed to catch Bent Arrow’s scent, because it came on toward the river.


Bent Arrow waited until the buck was a step past him before he fired. The arrow struck the deer just back of the foreleg. The animal crumpled beside the path. There was a scurrying farther back. Bent Arrow knew that the sound was made by other deer which had been following the buck. Their sharp ears had caught the sound, warning them of danger. They were fleeing back up the trail.

Although he wanted to jump up and run over to look at the first deer he had ever shot, Bent Arrow remained hidden in the clump of willows. It was possible that a Sioux warrior would be hunting along the river. As Bent Arrow waited patiently, he felt more and more uneasy. There was an unnatural stillness around him. It wasn’t only that there was no movement along the path, but there was nothing stirring on either side of the river.

As he waited, still crouched on one knee, the awkward position began to make his leg hurt. The pain increased rapidly. It hurt below his knee, where the old injury was, and all the way up his leg. Little beads of sweat moistened his brow. He had to move. As he tensed himself to shift his position without touching a twig or making any other sign of movement, he saw a branch move on the other side of the river.


Bent Arrow almost forgot his pain as his eyes searched the other bank. Another branch moved slightly. A Sioux warrior crawled out to the river bank and leaned down to drink. In his excitement, Bent Arrow had forgotten the pain in his leg. Now it swept over him, and he remembered that it was Sioux warriors who had injured him and made him different from other Crow boys. He took careful aim at the unsuspecting warrior across the stream.

Before he let the arrow fly, Bent Arrow knew it would be a mistake to shoot. If he missed, or if he injured the warrior, or even if his shot was successful, the Sioux would be warned. There would be no chance of Flying Arrow’s plan succeeding. Silently Bent Arrow lowered his bow.


When the Sioux warrior had drunk his fill, he raised his head and listened. Slowly he got to his feet, and his sharp glance swept up and down the river. Bent Arrow was thankful that the deer had fallen to one side of the path where it was hidden from the Sioux’s sight. At last the Sioux slipped back from the river. For a few paces Bent Arrow could follow the warrior’s progress by the slight movement of the underbrush. Soon he could no longer see any sign of movement. He had no way of knowing whether the Sioux had stopped or whether he was moving more carefully. There was nothing to do except wait.

The sun had risen and, to Bent Arrow’s anxious eyes, seemed to be racing up the sky. By this time Flying Arrow would have returned to camp. He would wait for a time, but when Bent Arrow failed to return, Flying Arrow would come to look for him.

Finally Bent Arrow decided that he must take the risk. He crept out of his hiding place and slipped away from the river, keeping near the trail. When he was far enough back from the stream so that no watcher on the other side could see him, he crossed the trail and started back toward the river. He moved carefully. Before he took a step, he glanced ahead to make sure he could avoid touching any branches. When he came near the deer, he dropped to his hands and knees. He crawled the remaining distance.


The deer had fallen in such a way that a clump of brush hid it from the other side of the river. However, it was so close to the brush that it seemed impossible for Bent Arrow to move it without stirring the branches. Carefully he inched the deer away from the brush. He got it away from the brush without causing the branches to move noticeably. It was a long, tedious task, dragging the deer and avoiding the brush and shrubs, but at last Bent Arrow got it to a place well enough hidden that he could lift it to his shoulders.

Instead of going straight toward the camping place, Bent Arrow went due north. When he was at a point directly west of the camp, he hung the deer on a low tree branch. Then he went toward camp.

He had covered about half the distance to the camp, when he caught a slight movement directly ahead of him. He stopped and slowly brought his bow into position.

“It’s all right, Bent Arrow,” Flying Arrow called softly, stepping into view.


Bent Arrow quickly ran to his uncle.

“I have a deer,” he said, “and I saw a Sioux warrior.”

“We’ll get our horses and move farther away before we talk more,” Flying Arrow decided.



When they had their horses, the two Crows rode back to the tree where Bent Arrow had left the deer. Flying Arrow took the deer on his horse. He led the way back over the trail they had followed the day before. The sun was starting down the western sky when Flying Arrow turned north off the trail. After a time he stopped in a small valley. There was a small stream running through the valley. There were trees to furnish concealment and fuel.


It wasn’t until the horses had been tended, the deer properly butchered, and steaks frying over the fire that Flying Arrow had Bent Arrow tell his story. At the end of the story, Flying Arrow nodded his head in approval.

“You did well,” he praised.

“Are we going to raid the Sioux camp tonight?” Bent Arrow asked.

“We are,” Flying Arrow assured him. “I was close to their camp before daylight. Their scouts had found a herd of buffalo across the river. They are hunting today. Tonight they will gorge themselves on buffalo meat. They will sleep so soundly that we will be able to take our pick of their horses. Their chief has two fine ones.”

“Why would that warrior have been at the river alone?” Bent Arrow wondered.

“Probably he had been sent out to watch the herd,” Flying Arrow explained. “He was coming back to join the others.”

“I suppose that is the reason,” Bent Arrow agreed.


“Is your leg better?” Flying Arrow asked. “You carried the deer a long way, and I noticed that you weren’t limping when you came to camp.”

“It is better, although it hurt when I was kneeling in that clump of willows,” Bent Arrow told him. “I hope I can find an ea—. Look, Uncle. Look. There’s an eagle soaring above us.”

Flying Arrow’s glance followed Bent Arrow’s pointing finger.

“Yes, that’s an eagle,” he agreed.

“I must follow it,” Bent Arrow exclaimed. “I’m sure that it will drop the feather I need.”

He told Flying Eagle of his dream. Flying Eagle listened and, at the end, thoughtfully considered what Bent Arrow had told him.

“Since your dream wasn’t finished, it is difficult to tell what it means,” Flying Arrow said. “Still, Clawing Bear said that you must have an eagle feather. It would almost seem that the eagle has been sent here to bring you a feather. Go carefully.”

Bent Arrow picked up his bow and arrows.

“I’ll go down the river to the forks,” Flying Arrow said. “When you return, meet me there. We’ll cross the river after dark.”


“I’ll be back before you’re ready to leave,” Bent Arrow answered confidently. “The eagle isn’t far from us.”

“It’s farther than you think,” Flying Arrow told him. “It is so high in the sky that the distance deceives you. We’ll plan to meet at the forks.”

Bent Arrow had not gone far before he realized that his uncle had been right about how far away the eagle was. The bird seemed to be motionless in the sky, yet Bent Arrow could not see that the distance had lessened. Fortunately he did not have to move carefully. If the Sioux were hunting on the other side of the river, there was no immediate danger from them. Bent Arrow had started at a fast run. Now be slowed his pace so that he would not tire so quickly.


As he neared the river, where the trees were close together, Bent Arrow sometimes lost sight of the eagle. The bird seemed still to be hovering in one spot, but that spot was ahead. When he came to the river, Bent Arrow stopped. He was sure that his uncle hadn’t intended for him to cross the stream. He looked up at the eagle again. It was much closer. Bent Arrow glanced back the way he had come as though considering going back to ask permission before he crossed the river. But the afternoon was far spent. It would take too much time for him to make the trip to camp and return. If he was to get the eagle feather, he must go now.

He slipped quietly into the river and swam across. On the other shore he hid himself in a clump of brush. He listened carefully. The only sounds he heard were made by the movements of wild creatures who lived among the trees. That was good. He glanced up into the sky. The eagle was almost straight above his head.

Although he was eager to get directly under the eagle and wait for it to drop a feather, Bent Arrow didn’t forget caution. He walked carefully avoiding low-hanging branches and dry twigs which might snap if he stepped on them.

As he moved ahead, Bent Arrow continually looked up at the eagle. It wasn’t long until he was directly under the bird. He found a good hiding place and settled himself to wait for a feather to drop. It was tiring, waiting and looking up into the sky. Then, to Bent Arrow’s dismay, the eagle soared south.


Bent Arrow continually looked up at the eagle


Bent Arrow left his hiding place and followed. He was soon far enough from the river so that there were few trees. It would be difficult to hide if danger appeared. Suddenly the eagle changed from its easy soaring to swift flight. Hopelessly Bent Arrow watched it. There was no use to try to follow. Even the swiftest horse couldn’t keep up with that fast-flying bird. A moment later, Bent Arrow’s heart gave a great bound. The eagle had turned and was soaring back toward him.

Although the eagle stopped before it had come all the way back, Bent Arrow’s hopes returned. He could go that much farther. He hurried forward. He came to a hill on which no trees were growing. He started up it swiftly. It looked as though the eagle were almost straight above the top of the hill. Near the top, Bent Arrow remembered his training. He dropped to his hands and knees and crawled. At the top he stretched out to look ahead.


On the other side of the hill was a small valley. There were a few trees growing in a clump on the valley floor. Bent Arrow saw a sparkle which he knew was sunshine reflected from a bubbling spring. This valley would be a fine place for the Sioux to make camp, but there was no sign of them.

As he lay there, Bent Arrow’s ear caught a rumbling sound carried by the ground. It took him a moment to realize what caused the noise. It was the rumble made by a great herd of running buffaloes, and he knew the Sioux must be near.

Again Bent Arrow looked up into the sky. His heart sank when there was no sign of the eagle, but the next moment he saw it again. The bird had soared a short distance toward the river. Now it had turned and was coming back. Bent Arrow gave a cry of triumph when he saw a feather floating from the eagle and dropping toward him.


He leaped to his feet. But while the feather was still high in the air, a breeze caught it and wafted it away from him toward the trees in the valley. Bent Arrow raced toward it. It looked as though the feather was going to lodge in the trees, but another gust of air lifted it over them. As Bent Arrow ran up the hill at the far side of the valley, the feather was just out of reach above his head. A few more steps and he would be able to grab it.

Near the top of the hill, the feather was low enough, but it was so far ahead that Bent Arrow could not quite grasp it. He sprinted forward. The feather barely cleared the top of the hill. Bent Arrow tensed himself to dive for it. Instead, he dropped to the ground. In the valley below him were Sioux warriors butchering the buffaloes that they had killed.

At the moment Bent Arrow saw the Sioux, he also saw the feather lodge against a weed a few steps ahead of him. He dared not crawl down to it. At any moment a Sioux warrior might glance up and see him. He had to crawl back off that hilltop before he was discovered.


Bent Arrow pushed himself back. Each inch that he moved back was torture. Every movement had to be painstakingly careful or it would attract attention. A Sioux warrior looked up from his work and glanced directly at Bent Arrow. Bent Arrow held himself motionless. When the warrior went back to his work, Bent Arrow resumed his backward crawling. When he was finally across the hill, he continued to crawl until he could stand without being seen from the other side. He wanted to run for the shelter of the trees. Instead he walked. A Sioux warrior might catch the thud of running feet.

It was all Bent Arrow could do to keep from running. Step by slow step, he went down the hill and came to the trees. In his mind he had been thinking of the trees as a hiding place. When he reached them, he knew he must go on. Undoubtedly the Sioux would select this spot for their camp. He crossed the valley and climbed the hill at that side, constantly looking back. At the top of the hill, he took one last backward glance. The head of a Sioux horse was just coming into sight at the top of the hill on the other side of the valley. Bent Arrow ducked down out of sight.


He crawled until the hill hid him from the Sioux. The river looked a long way ahead, but now he could run. Sioux warriors on their horses wouldn’t be able to hear the thud of his feet. He sprinted to the nearest tree before looking back. When he did, there was no sign of the Sioux. Evidently they were making camp in the small valley on the other side of the hill.

Not until now had Bent Arrow noticed the throbbing pain in his leg. He slowed his pace to try to ease it, but it was still hurting badly when he came to the river.

The sun had gone down before he reached the river, and darkness was beginning to shadow everything. Bent Arrow slipped into the river and swam across. Strangely, when he crawled out on the bank, the pain in his leg was much less. He turned downstream, staying close to the river as it was lighter there.

“You were gone long,” Flying Arrow said when Bent Arrow joined him at the forks.

“The eagle was farther away than I thought,” Bent Arrow explained.

“Did you get an eagle feather?” Flying Arrow asked.

“No,” Bent Arrow answered. “I almost ran into the Sioux trying to get one.”


He gave Flying Arrow an account of his attempts to get the feather and of his narrow escape from the Sioux. He was surprised to see how discouraged Flying Arrow became as he told the story.

“It would seem best to postpone our raid,” Flying Arrow said in a voice of disappointment. “Not getting the feather must be a warning that the raid would be too dangerous.”

“Perhaps we can get the feather as we go on our raid,” Bent Arrow suggested. “I can find the spot where it is lodged.”

Flying Arrow hesitated. It was plain to see that he was anxious to make the raid, yet he didn’t want to take the added risk of going against the medicine man’s advice.

“You are sure that you can find the eagle feather even in the dark?” he asked.

“I’m sure,” Bent Arrow answered positively.

“Then we’ll make the raid,” Flying Arrow decided. “If we don’t, the Sioux will go unpunished.”


Both Bent Arrow and his uncle mounted their horses. They rode across the river, but a short distance on the other side, they dismounted and tied the horses. From here on, they must go on foot.

The air had grown much cooler, and dark clouds were shutting off the little light the stars gave. Yet Flying Arrow walked along as surely as though it were broad daylight. While Bent Arrow was carefully stepping in his uncle’s tracks, he was considering the distance yet to go. He had gone swiftly, and it had taken him a long time to go from the Sioux camping place to the meeting with his uncle. Would they have time to walk to the Sioux camp, take horses, and escape before daybreak?

While Bent Arrow was still worrying about the time that it would take to reach the Sioux camp, Flying Arrow stopped.

“Old-Man-of-the-North is sending his wind at us,” he pointed out. “We would have to circle the Sioux camp and approach it from the south, even if we didn’t want to go there to find the eagle feather.”


“What difference will that make?” Bent Arrow demanded, thinking uneasily of the time they were losing. “The Sioux warriors are not like buffaloes. They can’t catch our scent.”

“Their horses can,” Flying Arrow explained. “With a storm coming, the horses will be restless and uneasy. If they catch a strange scent, they may make enough disturbance to rouse the Sioux camp.”

“I should have thought of that,” Bent Arrow acknowledged.

“It is well to ask questions,” Flying Arrow assured him. “A boy remembers better when he knows why a thing is done.”

Flying Arrow started on. Now they went straight south with the wind at their backs. They were on open ground away from trees, so they could go rapidly. After a time, Flying Arrow turned west. He led the way into a great wide valley. Soon Bent Arrow saw places where buffaloes had been slaughtered, and he knew that they were in the valley where he had seen the Sioux. The Sioux must be camped by the spring across the hills to the north. In the middle of the valley, Flying Arrow turned north and led the way up the dividing hills. Old-Man-of-the-North’s wind was carrying the odor of smoke and cooked meat. There was no doubt but that the Sioux were camped just ahead.


Near the top of the hill, Flying Arrow got to his hands and knees. Bent Arrow followed his example.

“Are we near the eagle feather?” Flying Arrow asked in a whisper.

“It’s nearer the top of the hill and to our right,” Bent Arrow answered.

The two of them crawled forward and then to the right. Carefully they searched every clump of weeds, but they couldn’t find the feather.

“We can delay no longer,” Flying Arrow whispered. “Perhaps we must punish the Sioux to earn such valuable medicine as the eagle feather.”

He stretched out prone and wriggled toward the top of the hill. Bent Arrow followed his uncle’s example. At the top of the hill they could look down into the Sioux camp. There were no Sioux warriors stirring about, although the campfire glowed brightly.


The Sioux camp had been pitched near the trees. The horses were grazing between the top of the hill and the sleeping warriors. The glow of the campfire gave enough light to make it easier for the raiders to pick the horses they wanted. At the same time, the horses would hide Flying Arrow and his nephew from any watchers in the camp.

Bent Arrow waited as patiently as he could while his uncle studied the camp. At last Flying Arrow nodded confidently.

“We’ll crawl to the herd and pick the two horses that I saw this morning,” he said.

“It will be easy,” Bent Arrow answered.

“Often the raid which looks easy is the most dangerous,” Flying Arrow warned. “Follow me. I’ll point out the horse you are to take.”



Bent Arrow smiled happily as he started to crawl behind his uncle toward the Sioux horses. He had been afraid that at the last moment his uncle would think it too dangerous for him. Evidently Flying Arrow was convinced that the Sioux had stuffed themselves with fresh meat and would sleep soundly. The fact that there were no guards near the horses showed that the Sioux were confident that they were safely hidden.


Bent Arrow thought proudly how well his uncle had planned this raid. The Sioux had gorged themselves. They would sleep soundly. Only a clumsy, awkward raider would make enough noise to arouse them. Bent Arrow’s first uneasiness came when Flying Arrow passed the horses farthest from the sleeping warriors and continued to crawl nearer the camp.

The second horse which the two Crows passed snorted loudly and pranced aside. For a moment it looked as though the whole herd would stampede. When the horse had started to move, Flying Arrow had stretched out on the ground. Bent Arrow quickly followed his example. Both of them lay motionless until the horse quieted and again started grazing.

Flying Arrow waited until he was sure that no warrior had been roused by the noise. At last he started ahead.


By the time he and his uncle had passed half the horses in the herd, Bent Arrow’s uneasiness was becoming real alarm. The glow of the campfires had seemed faint when he watched them from the top of the hill. Here, close to the Sioux camp, the light seemed bright. If a Sioux warrior opened his eyes and looked, he could scarcely fail to see the raiders. Flying Arrow continued to crawl toward those fires. At last he halted. He touched Bent Arrow’s arm and pointed to the next horse.

“That is the horse you are to get,” he whispered, so low that his voice was hardly louder than the wind rustling through the dry grass.

Bent Arrow turned and crawled toward the horse. When he had crawled far enough so that the horse was between him and the fire, he slowly got to his feet. The horse took an uneasy step away. Bent Arrow waited patiently until the horse lowered its head to nibble at the grass before he moved toward it. The horse tossed its head and moved ahead several steps.

Bent Arrow stood and helplessly watched the horse. A shower of sparks flew up at one of the campfires as a log burned apart. One end of the log blazed up, throwing light which would have shown Bent Arrow to any warrior awake in the camp. Bent Arrow felt the icy finger of fear along his spine. He wanted to turn and run for the top of the hill. Somehow he managed to fight down his panic.


A new plan occurred to him. As quickly as he dared, he stepped beside another horse. Luckily this horse stood quietly while Bent Arrow walked along its side and reached its head. With the pressure of his hand against the horse’s neck, Bent Arrow guided it toward the horse he wanted. When he had this horse beside the other one, he let it stop. He slowly walked around the horse and went to the side of the one he had been following. This time the horse stood quietly while Bent Arrow put a rope around its neck.

Taking the horse from the herd had to be done slowly and carefully. Any rapid movement might arouse a warrior. Bent Arrow had to hold back his own impatience. By the time that he had worked his horse out of the herd, he was about halfway up the hill out of the valley. Here the shadows were dark, and there was small danger of being seen even if a Sioux warrior chanced to waken. A few steps and he would be across the hill and completely out of sight of the Sioux camp. The horse suddenly swung its head, jerking the rope tight. Desperately Bent Arrow held on. The next moment the horse stepped quietly ahead.


As Bent Arrow crossed the top of the hill, he felt moisture against his cheek. Then he saw flakes of snow dancing in the air. If he and Flying Arrow could move swiftly enough, the snow would hide their trail. Good fortune was on their side this time. Then he saw the mounted rider just ahead of him. There was no chance to escape. At that moment he realized the rider was Flying Arrow.

“Get on your horse,” Flying Arrow whispered. “We can escape easily.”

Bent Arrow jumped on his horse’s back. Flying Arrow led the way, at first going slowly, but soon letting his horse run. Bent Arrow stayed close behind him. So suddenly that Bent Arrow was taken completely by surprise, his horse stopped running and started bucking. Bent Arrow fought to keep his seat. He stayed on for two wild pitches, but the third one sent him flying through the air. He landed with a thud that drove the air from his lungs.

He leaped to his feet, gasping and struggling to draw air into his lungs. When he did manage to draw in a lungful of air, he looked up and saw his horse racing back the way he had come. Flying Arrow had turned and was trying to catch the horse, but it had too great a start. He soon gave up the pursuit and rode back to Bent Arrow.


Bent Arrow fought to keep his seat


“Get up behind me,” he ordered. “We’ll both ride this horse. That one will undoubtedly arouse the Sioux camp.”

Bent Arrow climbed onto the horse behind his uncle. Flying Arrow turned the animal in the direction of the place where they had left their own horses and started it at a gallop. Snow was falling so fast that the ground was already blanketed with it.

“I’m sorry I let the horse get away,” Bent Arrow told his uncle.

“It couldn’t be helped,” Flying Arrow assured him. “No rider would have expected the horse to buck after running so well.”

A load seemed to lift from Bent Arrow’s shoulders. He had been blaming himself bitterly for losing the horse. He had thought his uncle must blame him. Instead, the warrior had seen it as an unavoidable accident.


The wind began to rise, driving the snow stinging against the riders’ faces. Bent Arrow lowered his head close to his uncle’s back to keep the snow from his eyes. Flying Arrow sat erect, giving all of his attention to keeping the horse running in the right direction.

As they rode on, Bent Arrow strained to catch any sounds of pursuits, but none came. The driving snow was piling up so that the horse was leaving a plain trail. However, if the snow continued, it would soon cover the trail again.

It was daylight when the two Crows reached the place where they had left their horses. Bent Arrow leaped down. Without waiting for instructions, he gathered up their few belongings and the remainder of the deer meat. Flying Arrow dismounted, rolled the supplies in two bundles, and tied the bundles on one of the horses. He took the lead rope of that horse and motioned for Bent Arrow to mount the other one.

“We’d better cross the river to find a hiding place,” Flying Arrow decided.


Bent Arrow shivered at the thought of getting in that icy water. However, when they came to the river, he slid from his horse and swam beside it to the other shore.

Across the river, Flying Arrow continued riding straight into the wind. The driving snow stung their faces and pelted their eyes, but Flying Arrow continued to lead the way confidently. Finally he stopped in a sheltered place.

“The horses will be able to get grass here,” he pointed out.

Bent Arrow hobbled the horses while his uncle started making camp. As soon as he had cared for the horses, Bent Arrow helped build a shelter. Flying Arrow showed him how to lean branches against a small tree to form a framework. Smaller branches were woven into the framework, and there was a wall to keep the snow from their blankets. As soon as the shelter was completed, both of them searched for firewood until they had a good supply piled nearby.


Flying Arrow took his and whittled away the part of a stick that had been wet by the snow. Then he whittled dry shavings. Bent Arrow put his robe over his head and took a corner in each hand. He leaned forward over the pile of shavings, using his robe as a roof to protect the kindling from the snow. As soon as he had enough shavings, Flying Arrow struck fire with his flint and steel. In a moment the fire caught. Flying Arrow fed fuel to it until it burned brightly.

“Now we’ll eat,” said Flying Arrow, smiling.

The food tasted so good that for a few minutes Bent Arrow almost forgot his disappointment over losing his captured horse. The snowfall was heavier, and the rising wind was driving it so that it was sifting through the branches of the shelter.

“We’ll sleep now,” Flying Arrow said when they had finished eating. “As soon as Old-Man-of-the-North stops blowing snow at us, we’ll start toward the main camp.”

“I wish I had a captured Sioux horse to lead into camp,” Bent Arrow said.


“There will be other raids,” Flying Arrow assured him. “Perhaps you will find the eagle feather which Clawing Bear said you needed. With it, you’ll be sure to capture a Sioux horse. You almost succeeded without it.”

Bent Arrow rolled up in his robe and stretched out in the protection of the lean-to. He lay on his side and pulled the robe high to protect his face from the snow that sifted through. In a short time he felt warm. If it hadn’t been that pain began to throb in his leg, he would have been comfortable. In spite of the pain, he soon fell asleep.

When Bent Arrow awoke he found himself in complete darkness. He could see nothing at all. He started to raise his head, but it bumped against something soft. He had to choke back a cry of alarm. While he had been asleep, some strange spirit must have dragged him into a deep cave or an animal’s den. The next moment he smiled to himself as he realized that the snow had drifted over him. Slowly he raised himself, holding his robe in a way that kept the snow from sifting down his neck. When he was out of the drift, Bent Arrow found that snow was still falling. He stood up and looked at the sheltering lean-to. Snow had piled to the top of it and was now blowing across it. It was the snow blowing over the lean-to which had covered him.


He glanced toward the mound of snow which covered Flying Arrow. As Bent Arrow watched, his uncle stirred and then quickly crawled out of the drift.

“Old-Man-of-the-North is still sending snow,” Flying Arrow remarked, glancing around.

“I hope the sun becomes angry tomorrow and melts all of his snow,” Bent Arrow said crossly.

“It might be better for us if Old-Man-of-the-North keeps sending snow,” Flying Arrow answered thoughtfully. “The storm will keep the Sioux in that valley. We might have another chance to make a raid.”

“Could we try?” Bent Arrow asked eagerly.

Before he answered, Flying Arrow took a careful look around. He sniffed the wind.

“I think the snow will continue,” he answered. “If our horses can get through the drifts, we have a chance to succeed.”


Bent Arrow glanced about him, trying to decide how much of the day was gone. The dark clouds and driving snow shut off most of the light, yet Bent Arrow felt that there must be a fourth of the day left.

“Is there much daylight left?” he asked.

“If there were no snow, we could ride to the Sioux camp before dark,” Flying Eagle answered. “We’ll start at once. It will be harder traveling after darkness falls.”

Flying Arrow and Bent Arrow went together to get the horses. Flying Arrow mounted his own horse, while Bent Arrow got on Rock. The horse they had captured from the Sioux was left behind. Flying Arrow led the way, with Bent Arrow close behind him. Traveling was difficult. The driving snow made it hard for them to see. It was impossible to judge the depth of the drifts. Twice Flying Arrow started through what looked to be ordinary drifts only to find them so deep that the horse couldn’t get through. Each time he had to back the horse out of the drift and circle around it.


They had gone only a short distance from camp when Flying Arrow’s horse stepped into a drift and plunged out of sight. Rock reared and jumped back. As soon as he had his horse quieted, Bent Arrow dismounted and hurried to the edge of the drift. He could see his uncle still on his horse. The drift had filled and hidden a small ravine. Flying Arrow was trying to quiet his horse so that it wouldn’t injure itself.

“Get on your horse,” Flying Arrow ordered. “Toss me your rope. If you can pull me out, we’ll get the horse out.”

Bent Arrow hurried back to Rock. When he was mounted, he urged the horse forward. Rock stepped carefully, and again Bent Arrow was thankful for this dependable horse. When he was as close to the edge of the ravine as he dared go, Bent Arrow pulled the horse to a stop and tossed one end of the rope down to his uncle. He looped the other end of the rope across Rock’s shoulder as he had seen squaws tie travois poles. When Bent Arrow gave the command, Rock backed slowly away from the ravine. In a moment Flying Arrow was safely on the bank.


The moment Flying Arrow was off its back, his horse started plunging and struggling to get out. It worked its way forward to a place where the banks were lower, but still it couldn’t get out.

“I’ll have to pull it out,” Flying Arrow said.

He took the rope from Bent Arrow and tossed a noose over the horse’s head. After he had fixed the noose so it couldn’t slip and choke the horse, he took Bent Arrow’s place on Rock.

“Make all the noise you can,” Flying Arrow ordered. “Get the horse excited so it will try to get out.”

Bent Arrow yelled and jumped at the horse. It had been quiet. Now it scrambled frenziedly to get out of the ravine. Rock backed away, pulling on the rope. The hoofs of the excited horse caught on the edge of the ravine. It gave a lunge, and at the same time Rock put all of his weight against the rope. The horse’s hoofs slipped, but it got another footing and scrambled out. It stood in the snow blowing and pulling.


“This is too dangerous,” Flying Arrow decided. “We almost lost one of our horses. We’ll return to camp and make a better plan or at least wait until we can travel.”

Bent Arrow tried to hide his disappointment. Anxious as he was to make another attempt to capture a Sioux horse, he knew the wisdom of his uncle’s decision. It would be foolhardy to try to travel in the storm.

“Perhaps the sun will melt most of Old-Man-of-the-North’s snow tomorrow,” he said.

“It could be,” Flying Arrow agreed doubtfully.

Back at camp, they found that the Sioux horse had trampled a place in the snow, but with its feet hobbled, it hadn’t been able to paw any grass free.

“We’ll turn the horses loose tonight,” Flying Arrow said. “Even then they’ll have trouble getting enough to eat.”

As soon as they had cared for the horses, Bent Arrow and his uncle returned to the shelter.



The two Crows cleared most of the snow away that had drifted onto the sheltered side of the lean-to. Flying Arrow managed to blow flame alive on one of the coals still in the fire. Bent Arrow hunted for more wood, while the warrior peeled dry shavings and built the fire up.

While Flying Arrow cooked food over the fire, Bent Arrow found a large log and dragged it to the lean-to. As soon as the cooking was finished, the log could be rolled onto the fire. It would hold fire all night.


“We must return to our hunting camp,” Flying Arrow said. “This storm probably kept them from starting to the winter camp. If so, we can join the party and ride with the others. Next spring, you and I will make another raid against the Sioux.”

Bent Arrow thought of how easy it would be for the Sioux to follow the trail he and his uncle would leave in the snow. Reluctant as he was to give up the raid, he understood the wisdom of Flying Arrow’s decision.

“Perhaps we should scout the Sioux camp before we start back,” Bent Arrow suggested. “We might be able to learn something of their plans.”

Flying Arrow considered the suggestion. Bent Arrow knew that his uncle was thinking how valuable it would be to the Crows to know something of the Sioux plans. And still, the warrior had to remember that scouting the Sioux camp would leave a trail in the snow which might be found. At last Flying Arrow nodded.


“Even a scouting trip will be dangerous,” he said, “however we may learn enough to pay us for taking the risk. If the sun melts some of the snow in the morning, we’ll cross the river before sunset.”

Although he was tired, Bent Arrow had trouble falling asleep after he had crawled into his blankets. When he did fall asleep, he was bothered by a dream. In the dream he saw an eagle feather just out of his reach. It seemed that his uncle was trying to help him, but there was always a Sioux warrior with an arrow aimed at him.

As he and his uncle were eating the next morning, Bent Arrow told of his dream. Flying Arrow seemed greatly disturbed. He sat silently for a long time after Bent Arrow had finished. Finally the warrior got slowly to his feet.

“I must think about your dream,” he told Bent Arrow. “Take care of the horses.”

As Flying Arrow walked away from the camp, Bent Arrow left to tend the horses. The sun was shining brightly, and the snow was beginning to melt. Bent Arrow found the horses near where they had left them the night before. The animals had found a place where most of the snow had been blown off the grass. All three of them were eating hungrily.


Since the horses were all right and he had plenty of time, Bent Arrow decided to make a scouting trip to the river. He picked his way carefully, avoiding the larger drifts. He found a place near the river where he could hide in a clump of brush and watch the other side.

At first there was nothing stirring near him, but after a while two deer came down to the other bank of the river. Bent Arrow could tell from the actions of the deer that no Sioux were near. He thought of crossing the river and scouting farther but decided against it. He waited until the deer left the river before he left this hiding place to return to camp. When he arrived, Flying Arrow was waiting.

“Did you find a meaning in my dream?” Bent Arrow asked anxiously.

“Your dream warns of danger from the Sioux,” Flying Arrow answered. “Yet it may promise that we can find your eagle feather and escape.”

“Then we are to scout the Sioux camp,” Bent Arrow exclaimed.


“We are,” Flying Arrow agreed. “There is nothing in your dream to show that it would cause us greater danger.”

Flying Arrow insisted that they wait until the sun was sliding down the western sky before they started. The sun had melted the snow so rapidly that there were many bare spots. However the ground was soft, and the horses left a plain trail.

They crossed the river at the same place they did on their other raid. Soon after they had crossed, they left the horses and went ahead on foot. As Flying Arrow led the way, he kept to the bare ground as much as possible. They came to a small stream which flowed into the river. They walked along its bank in a direction which took them farther from the Sioux camp. When they had gone many paces, Flying Arrow stepped into the stream and turned back in the direction from which they had come. Bent Arrow followed him.


The two Crows walked in the cold water until the stream made a sharp bend. Here they stepped onto the bank, taking care to hide their tracks. They circled to the south of the Sioux camp as they had done the other time. The sun had sunk in the west, but there was still some light when the two Crows crept to the top of the hill and looked down at the camp.

Bent Arrow gave a little sigh of disappointment as he saw that the horses had been put into a pole corral. He had been hoping that he and his uncle might have a chance to take one or two of the Sioux horses. As he looked more closely at the camp, he noticed bundles hanging in the trees. It was too far for him to be able to see clearly, but he guessed the bundles must be meat.

“They must be planning to camp here for a while,” Bent Arrow whispered to his uncle. “They have their meat hanging on tree limbs.”

“Or they are planning to make a raid before they start to winter camp,” Flying Arrow whispered back. “The meat would be safe from wolves.”

“It would be against our Crow camp.” In his excitement Bent Arrow almost spoke aloud.


Flying Arrow nodded grimly.

“We’ll have to learn their plans,” he said.

{The two Crows crept to the top of the hill}

There was a wide space of open hillside between the two Crows and the Sioux camp. Bent Arrow knew they dared not cross it until the Sioux camp was asleep. He knew that his uncle would learn much about the Sioux plans just from watching the camp. He settled down beside his uncle, determined that he, too, would learn of their plans by watching.


Flying Arrow suddenly reached over and gripped Bent Arrow’s arm. At the same moment Bent Arrow saw a Sioux warrior ride across the hill at the far side of the valley. The warrior was leading three horses. Bent Arrow’s heart sank. Rock was one of those horses. He and his uncle were far from the Crow camp, and now they had no horses.


Losing their mounts was only part of the danger in which Bent Arrow and his uncle found themselves. The Sioux warrior who had taken the horses was sure to have studied the trail left by the Crows. He would know that a warrior and a boy had made the trail. He wouldn’t have had to follow the trail to know that the two Crows would be near the Sioux camp. Unless darkness fell quickly, Sioux warriors would find the two Crows before they had a chance to escape. For a while the danger made Bent Arrow forget the disgrace of having lost their horses to a raider.

With a pressure on Bent Arrow’s arm, Flying Arrow warned that they must leave at once. They crawled back until it was safe for them to stand. Flying Arrow led the way southeast, trying to avoid stepping in snow where their tracks would easily be seen. Bent Arrow came to a sudden stop. He stepped aside to get a closer look at the thing which had attracted his attention. He gave a low exclamation. He had found an eagle feather.

He realized that this was the place where he had watched the Sioux butchering buffaloes. This was the eagle feather which he hadn’t dared try to pick up that afternoon.


Flying Arrow had stopped and was watching Bent Arrow.

“I have my eagle feather,” Bent Arrow exclaimed, holding the feather for his uncle to see.

“It may be too late,” Flying Arrow answered grimly. “We must go fast if we are to escape.”

Although the two Crows went rapidly, they did not seem to be getting any great distance from the Sioux camp. In trying to pick his way where there was no snow, Flying Arrow followed a zigzag course. Bent Arrow gave his attention to planting his feet in his uncle’s tracks. Occasionally he did stop and look back. Each time he expected to see the Sioux riding toward them.

Darkness should have fallen quickly. Now, it seemed to be holding off. When it did come, it wasn’t deep; the sky was clear, and the snowdrifts reflected the starlight. Bent Arrow glanced back. A Sioux warrior was coming across the hill behind them.

“The Sioux are coming,” Bent Arrow warned.


Without wasting time to look back, Flying Arrow threw himself on the ground. Bent Arrow stretched out beside him. There was a ditch to the left. Flying Arrow crawled toward it, with Bent Arrow close behind him. Both of them rolled over the edge and to the bottom of the ditch.

Bent Arrow scarcely noticed the trickle of cold water which thoroughly wet his clothing. When Flying Arrow got to his feet, bent double so that his head was below the edge of the ditch, Bent Arrow followed. They walked carefully until they came to a place where a clump of brush grew at the edge of the bank. Flying Arrow cupped his hands, making a stirrup. Bent Arrow understood what he was to do. He stepped beside his uncle, placed a foot in the cupped hands, and was lifted up until his head was just above the edge of the draw.


When Bent Arrow tried to look around for a sight of the enemy, he found that the brush shut off his view. He moved one foot gently as a warning to his uncle. Then stepped up on Flying Arrow’s shoulder. From there he crawled out onto the bank, keeping hidden under the branches of the shrubs. He wormed himself forward until he could see out over the valley. The Sioux warrior was riding along the bank of the ditch only a few paces away. Bent Arrow tossed a tiny stick into the ditch as a warning to his uncle. Then he crept under the brush and waited.

With one ear pressed against the ground, Bent Arrow could follow the approach of the Sioux warrior almost as well as he could have had he dared watch. Once the warrior stopped his horse, and Bent Arrow’s heart stopped beating. Before Bent Arrow could decide whether or not he should jump to his feet and run, the Sioux moved on. Bent Arrow’s heart began to beat again.

After the warrior had gone on, Bent Arrow lay still, waiting for a signal from his uncle. At last Flying Arrow tapped the wall of the ditch lightly. Bent Arrow crawled to the edge.

“The Sioux will come back on the other side,” Flying Arrow whispered in Bent Arrow’s ear. “We’ll have to stay here until he returns.”


Bent Arrow crawled back to his hiding place. He took another look up the valley. He thought he saw a Sioux warrior far to the other side, but in the darkness he couldn’t be sure. He caught the sound of the first Sioux warrior returning on the other side of the ditch. Bent Arrow crawled under the brush and lay motionless. As soon as the warrior was safely out of sight, Flying Arrow crawled up onto the bank.

“When daylight comes, the Sioux will find our trail,” he explained. “We’ll travel as fast as we can go now. Later we’ll try to hide our trail.”

Flying Arrow led the way. He tried to find the easiest route, but he made little effort to hide their trail. He led the way out of the valley that they were in, across some low hills and into another valley. He continued on until they came to a small, tree-lined stream. He stepped into the stream, and Bent Arrow followed him.

Although the stream was small, it flowed swiftly, making it difficult to walk against the current. In spite of Bent Arrow’s care, he was soon drenched with the water he splashed. Flying Arrow continued to stay in the stream until he came to a large tree with branches spreading across the water.


Flying Arrow leaped up and caught hold of a stout limb. He swung himself up and crawled onto the limb. Bent Arrow had to jump a second time before he managed to grab the limb. When he did get hold of it, he swung himself behind his uncle. Flying Arrow crawled along the limb to the trunk of the tree. He found a large limb extending on the other side of the tree. He crawled as near the end of it as he could and then dropped to the ground. Bent Arrow dropped down beside him.

There was only a little snow under the tree, but it was enough to leave plain footprints. Flying Arrow found a small branch. Using it as a broom, he swept away the tracks which they had made. There was another tree a few paces from the one the Crows were under. Flying Arrow pointed to it.

“We’ll jump from here to the next tree,” Flying Arrow told Bent Arrow. “You go first. I’ll brush out any tracks you make in the snow.”


Bent Arrow stepped back to the trunk of the tree. From there he ran forward and jumped as far as he could. He landed among the low branches of the next tree. A moment later his uncle landed beside him. There were no other trees near, and all around was snow which would plainly show any tracks that were made.

“You ride on my back,” Flying Arrow ordered. “You can carry a branch and brush away my tracks.”

Bent Arrow picked up a small branch. Holding it in one hand, he got on his uncle’s back. Each time that Flying Arrow took a step, Bent Arrow leaned down and brushed the footprints away. This left odd markings in the snow. If the sun shone even a short time before the Sioux found the trail, there would be little they could read in it.

It was slow progress across the valley and to the top of the hill. Here the ground was bare. Bent Arrow jumped from his uncle’s back. Now they were able to go rapidly. As they went on, they did find patches of snow, but they jumped across these.


As he and his uncle hurried along, Bent Arrow noticed that the darkness was deepening. He glanced toward the sky. Clouds were blotting out the stars. A short time later, he felt snowflakes hitting against his face. Flying Arrow turned from the chain of hills and led the way into a valley where there were a few trees.

“We can camp now,” he said. “Old-Man-of-the-North is sending more snow. It will cover our trail. The Sioux won’t be able to find us.”

“If he had sent it earlier, we wouldn’t have had to run from the Sioux,” Bent Arrow exclaimed bitterly.

Flying Arrow laughed.

“Spoken like a good Crow,” he praised. “No Crow likes to run from the Sioux. Some day we shall repay them for this.”

In the darkness Bent Arrow and his uncle groped under a tree until they found a pile of leaves. Carefully they raked the wet leaves from the pile. They bunched the dry leaves together and burrowed into the pile. Although they had no blankets, they soon were dry and comfortable. Bent Arrow had scarcely crawled into the leaves before he fell into a sound sleep.



When Bent Arrow awakened, he brushed the leaves from his face and lifted his head. It was bright daylight. The ground had been covered with a light blanket of snow, but it was no longer storming. The clouds overhead were beginning to break up. At any moment the sun might shine through.

Flying Arrow stirred and sat up beside Bent Arrow.

“I’ll try to find food for us while you start a fire,” Flying Arrow directed.


Bent Arrow searched in piles of leaves until he had gathered an armload of dry sticks. He laid these on the ground. Next he raked together a small pile of dry leaves. He struck a spark on the pile of leaves and blew the sparks to a flame. He added small sticks of dry wood until the fire burned brightly. By the time Flying Arrow returned with a deer which he had killed and dressed, the fire was a mass of glowing coals.

While the food was cooking, Bent Arrow’s mind was puzzling with the question of what plan he and his uncle could follow. Probably Flying Arrow would announce that they would start at once to try to rejoin their own hunting party. Bent Arrow thought it likely that the hunters had already started toward the Crow winter camp. Unless he and his uncle could overtake the party, they would have to travel all the distance on foot.

“I’m afraid that we will have to walk to the winter camp,” Flying Arrow said, as though he were guessing Bent Arrow’s thoughts.


“Everyone will laugh at us,” Bent Arrow replied thoughtfully. “Not only have we failed to capture Sioux horses, but we have lost our own.”

“No one will laugh at us,” Flying Arrow assured him. “Many raids are unsuccessful. It will be an almost-victory if the two of us escape so large a Sioux hunting party.”

Bent Arrow looked at his uncle in surprise.

“The Sioux won’t look for us since the storm, will they?” he asked.

“They’re not likely to hunt for us unless”—, Flying Arrow let his voice fall.

“You were thinking that we might follow them,” Bent Arrow guessed. “You would like to try one more raid.”

A smile briefly touched the corners of Flying Arrow’s mouth. It was quickly replaced by a thoughtful frown.

“Our raids have been unsuccessful,” he said gloomily. “The Sioux have strong medicine. Our medicine is weak.”

Bent Arrow had forgotten the eagle feather inside his shirt. As he shifted to a more comfortable position, the feather rubbed lightly against his skin. He reached his hand inside his shirt and drew out the feather.


“Our medicine was weak,” he agreed, “but it’s strong now. I have the eagle feather.”

Flying Arrow started to shake his head. He stopped abruptly.

“I noticed yesterday that you did not limp even though we walked and ran a great distance,” he admitted. “The eagle feather may be helping us.”

“And Old-Man-of-the-North sent snow to hide our tracks,” Bent Arrow went on. “Our medicine is stronger than the Sioux’s.”

“It does seem to be,” Flying Arrow acknowledged. “I must think more about this.”

Bent Arrow quickly got to his feet and walked away. He must say no more. Already he had spoken more than a boy should. He noticed that the sun had not kept its promise to break through the clouds. The north wind was damp and chilly; every gust seemed sure to bring more snow.

“I hope Old-Man-of-the-North doesn’t send more snow,” Bent Arrow thought to himself.

When Bent Arrow left the camp, he crossed the small valley and climbed to the highest point on the hills that divided the valley from the next one. He saw a few buffaloes grazing there. That was proof enough that the Sioux were not near.


When Bent Arrow returned to camp, he found Flying Arrow busily dividing the best parts of the deer meat into two packs.

“We’ll follow the Sioux two days,” Flying Arrow announced. “If, by that time, we haven’t been able to make a raid, we must turn toward our winter camp.”

Bent Arrow wanted to shout his joy at his uncle’s decision. He could feel the Crow war cry climbing up his throat, and he had to clamp his mouth shut to make sure that he didn’t shout. If Flying Arrow noticed Bent Arrow’s excitement, he gave no sign.

In a very short time they were on their way, each of them carrying a small pack of meat. When he and his uncle had fled from the Sioux, they had gone southeast and then circled west. Now Flying Arrow was swinging toward the north.


Flying Arrow set a fast pace. Several times he cast an anxious look back at Bent Arrow, but the boy was following easily. The weather had changed again. Evidently the sun had remembered its promise. It had chased the clouds away and was busily melting the snow. At midday, when Flying Arrow called a halt, the blanket of snow was gone, with only scattered drifts left.

“We’ll cook all of our meat,” Flying Arrow announced. “This will be the last fire we can have until we complete our raid.”

As the afternoon wore on, Bent Arrow became more and more uneasy. One of the two promised days was rapidly being spent, and still there had been no trace of the Sioux trail. If Flying Arrow had misjudged the route the Sioux would take, the last chance to make a raid would be gone. To add to Bent Arrow’s troubles, his leg began to ache. The ache increased rapidly until the pain was so great that he could hardly walk without limping. It was the first time the leg had pained him since he had found the eagle feather. Perhaps Clawing Bear had been wrong. Perhaps the eagle feather wasn’t the medicine which would bring victory. Resolutely he put the thought away.


Bent Arrow kept his head down and put every effort into walking without a limp. He promised himself that he wouldn’t let Flying Arrow know that his leg was hurting. The warrior would insist on stopping, and that would mean the chance to make the raid was gone. However, Flying Arrow was too intent on finding the best route to glance back. In spite of the pain, Bent Arrow managed to keep going until Flying Arrow stopped beside a small stream.

Both Crows drank their fill of the cold water. They made a meal of the cold meat and prepared for the night.

The eastern sky was just beginning to light up when Flying Arrow touched Bent Arrow on the shoulder. Hesitantly Bent Arrow got to his feet and took a few careful steps. He was elated to find that there was no pain in his leg.

“What has pleased you so much?” Flying Arrow asked, glancing at Bent Arrow’s face.

“My leg was hurting me yesterday when we stopped,” Bent Arrow explained. “I was afraid it wasn’t cured. It’s all right now.”

He danced a few steps of the Crow war dance to show how completely his leg was healed.


“Perhaps we should give up this raid and go directly to the winter camp,” Flying Arrow said thoughtfully. “We could travel slowly. Your leg must not be completely healed or it would not have hurt you yesterday.”

“I’m all right,” Bent Arrow insisted. “We don’t want to return to winter camp empty-handed.”

Flying Arrow smiled.

“You have the determination of a good Crow warrior,” he praised.

They made a quick meal of cold meat and set off again. They had gone only a short distance when they came upon the Sioux trail. The trail was plainly marked, although most of the snow had melted since the Sioux had passed.

“I think they are going directly to their winter camp,” Flying Arrow said. “They are farther ahead than I had expected.”


The Sioux trail led almost due north. For a time it lay in the level valley of the stream. When it left the valley, it followed much rougher ground. There were steep hills surrounding narrow valleys which were little more than canyons. Some of the valleys had wooded streams; others were only a dip in the prairie. In spite of the rough ground, Flying Arrow kept at his swift pace.

It wasn’t until the sun was directly overhead that Flying Arrow halted beside a small stream. Both he and Bent Arrow drank.

“Does your leg hurt?” Flying Arrow asked, as he got to his feet.

“Not at all,” Bent Arrow assured him.

“Then we’ll go on at once,” Flying Arrow decided. “We must lose no time if we are to overtake the Sioux.”

Now the trail led away from the hills and out onto the open prairie. In every direction the dried grass looked like a great brown sea. The low hills were like rolling waves. Occasionally the two Crows came to a valley where a few trees grew beside a stream. The sun was about halfway down the western sky when they came into a valley which had a larger grove of trees than the others. The nearer they came to the trees, the faster Flying Arrow went, so that he was running at full speed when he reached the trees.


“It is as I had hoped,” he called, pointing to the signs of a recent camp. “The Sioux camped here last night.”

Bent Arrow felt a wave of triumph. He and his uncle were getting closer to the Sioux. He was to have another chance to take part in a raid against their enemies.

“If you can keep traveling, we’ll overtake them tonight,” Flying Arrow assured him.

“I can keep traveling,” Bent Arrow answered confidently.

Flying Arrow led on at a rapid pace. There was no need to take time to study the trail. The Sioux had been so sure that no one would follow them that they hadn’t tried to hide their trail. It was not quite dark when Flying Arrow stopped and studied the signs with a puzzled frown.

“The Sioux stopped here,” he pointed out. “I wonder why?”

Bent Arrow crossed to the other side of the trail, carefully studying the marks.

“Look, Uncle,” he exclaimed. “Another Sioux joined them here.”


Flying Arrow came quickly to Bent Arrow’s side. He studied the hoofprints left by one horse.

“It must have been a scout,” Flying Arrow said after he had examined the trail carefully. “He must have been sent out the night before. If we had studied the camping place carefully, we would have seen his trail.”

“He came from the direction where our hunting party was camped,” Bent Arrow answered worriedly.

Flying Arrow studied the trail left by the one rider. Then he turned his attention to the trail left by the Sioux party as they rode on. He pointed out to Bent Arrow that the scout had stayed with the main party.

“He may have brought back news that our hunting party had moved on,” Flying Arrow said. “The Sioux didn’t turn aside. Let’s hurry. We want to follow as far as possible before dark.”

Flying Arrow motioned for Bent Arrow to travel at his side. They had gone only a short distance when both of them stopped as though halted by an invisible fence. The Sioux trail turned sharply to the west.


“They went that way because it’s easier traveling,” Flying Arrow said. “I think I know where they are camped. We’ll take a shorter route.”

Bent Arrow wanted to protest. Perhaps Flying Arrow’s reading of the trail had been wrong. Yet Flying Arrow was following so confidently the diagonal course he had set that Bent Arrow’s doubts began to fade.

The light dimmed rapidly. Even after darkness had blanketed the prairie, Flying Arrow kept up his rapid, sure pace. Several times Bent Arrow reached inside his shirt and felt of the eagle feather. Each time he did, his confidence mounted. In the last two days he had traveled as far as a warrior could have gone, and his leg wasn’t hurting at all. Clawing Bear’s prophecy that an eagle feather would complete the cure had come true. His prophecy that it would protect Bent Arrow from the Sioux would surely be equally true.

At last Flying Arrow called a halt.

“The Sioux were not traveling fast,” he said. “We are near their camp. We’ll rest a while before we try to make a raid.”


Bent Arrow looked at his uncle in surprised wonder. Flying Arrow seemed as sure of the Sioux camping place as if he had seen them there.

“How can you be sure?” Bent Arrow asked.

“I read the signs of the Sioux trail,” Flying Arrow explained. “I know much about the Sioux, and I know the only good camping place for a large party.”

Flying Arrow had already fixed a comfortable place to rest. Bent Arrow found a clump of tall, dry grass. He curled up in that to sleep.

“I’ll waken you when it’s time to start,” Flying Arrow promised.

It seemed to Bent Arrow that he had hardly fallen asleep when he was roused by his uncle.

“We’ll make our plans before we start,” Flying Arrow said.


Flying Arrow carefully described the place where the Sioux were camped. It was a rather small valley. There was a narrow entrance at the south end, but the rest of the valley was ringed in with steep hills. It wasn’t impossible for horses to get up the hills, but it was difficult and dangerous. There were a spring and a few trees near the north side. That was where the Sioux would be camped. Since the Sioux had no idea anyone was pursuing them, they would leave the horses loose to graze over the valley.

“We can slip into the valley, get two horses apiece, and be far from here before the Sioux learn of their loss,” Flying Arrow concluded.

“That is small punishment for the trouble they have caused us,” Bent Arrow pointed out. “We should take all of their horses.”

“It might be possible,” Flying Arrow agreed excitedly. “If you can catch Rock, this is the plan we’ll use. Truly the Sioux will be punished.”

Quickly Flying Arrow outlined his new plan. Bent Arrow nodded from time to time. He could see no flaw. If it worked, the Sioux would be well punished. If it didn’t work, Bent Arrow and his uncle would still get some Sioux horses. He reached inside his shirt and felt of the eagle feather.

“Let’s start,” Flying Arrow said.



Although there was no moon, the stars in the clear sky gave enough light so that Bent Arrow and his uncle could see well enough to travel swiftly. When they reached the rim of the valley where they could look down into the Sioux camp, they saw a grove at the far end. The glowing embers of the campfire marked the place where the Sioux were sleeping. The horses were scattered about the valley.


While Flying Arrow was watching the camp to make sure no Sioux warrior was moving about, Bent Arrow was looking over the horses. Much of the chance of success of their plan depended upon Bent Arrow recapturing Rock. Had it been daylight, the boy would have had no trouble picking Rock out in the herd. In the darkness it was much more difficult. The horses were dark shadows, too faint to be told apart. At last Bent Arrow spotted a horse which was grazing apart from the others. Gently he touched Flying Arrow’s arm.

“I believe that is Rock alone on the far side of the herd,” he whispered.

Flying Arrow turned his head to look in that direction. He watched the horse carefully.

“I believe you’re right,” he agreed. “You crawl to him. By the time you get to him, I will have a horse. We must work swiftly. Everything depends upon being able to surprise the Sioux.”

Bent Arrow reached inside his shirt and touched the eagle feather. He felt a great wave of confidence. This time there would be no failure. His medicine was more powerful than any the Sioux could have.


He crawled down the hill a short distance toward the Sioux camp. It would have been easier to go along the rim to a point directly above Rock, but he would have been shadowed against the sky line. He would have been visible to any Sioux warrior who might have chanced to look up.

While Bent Arrow was still some distance away, Rock raised his head and sniffed suspiciously. For a terrible moment Bent Arrow was sure the horse was going to run. Rock sniffed again and then took a hesitant step toward Bent Arrow. Now was the time. Slowly Bent Arrow got to his feet. Rock stood quietly as Bent Arrow approached. A moment later Bent Arrow was on the horse’s back.

Bent Arrow looked around. He saw his uncle mounting a horse. A moment later the wild Crow battle cry rang out. Bent Arrow sent Rock charging at the nearest horse. When that horse turned and raced toward the campfire, Rock charged another one. It was a wild, blurred time as Bent Arrow kept his horse circling the herd and stampeding it toward the campfire. From the noise at the other side of the herd, he could tell that Flying Arrow was being equally successful. It took only a very few minutes completely to stampede the herd and send it charging straight at the Sioux camp.


The Sioux warriors had been aroused. They had sprung up and were waving their arms and shouting, trying to stop the horses, but they were too late. The wild stampede could not be stopped. For a few moments the Sioux bravely held their ground, but at the last moment they turned and dashed into the grove of trees for protection. The horses swerved around the grove and raced on across the valley.

Bent Arrow kept Rock close on the heels of the last horse on one side of the herd. Flying Arrow was riding close to the last horse on the other side.

The moment the horses veered to go around the trees, the Sioux warriors sprang into action. Arrows whistled around Bent Arrow’s head as he crouched low over Rock’s neck. It took only a moment for the horses to get out of bowshot.


Arrows whistled around his head


The horses continued their wild stampede across the valley and started up the hill at the other side. Here they were slowed. The hill was so steep that the horses plunged and struggled to move forward at all. Again arrows whistled around Bent Arrow’s head. The Sioux had raced across the level valley to the foot of the hills. The slower speed of the horses had given the warriors a chance to get within range again. A horse, a little to the left and just ahead of Bent Arrow, crumpled to the ground. Bent Arrow felt a searing pain along his left shoulder.

The volley of arrows broke off suddenly. At first, Bent Arrow thought they had again got out of range. A quick look over his shoulder showed him this wasn’t true. The Sioux were dangerously close. Then he realized that the warriors were so sure they would recapture their horses that they were taking no chances of arrows hitting any more of them. And then, unexpectedly, Bent Arrow found himself at the top of the hill. The herd of horses was again running at a wild speed. Bent Arrow raised his voice in the triumphant Crow victory cry.


While Bent Arrow’s yell was still ringing out, one of the Sioux horses suddenly swerved and tried to escape. Rock wheeled and headed it off. Another one tried to turn back. Rock got it back into the herd, only to have to chase two others. The herd was scarcely moving forward at all. It was plain to see why the Sioux had quit shooting. They had known that the horses would be hard to drive. As the horses became more and more difficult to manage, Bent Arrow’s heart sank. The Sioux wouldn’t even have to hurry to catch them.

A horse broke out of the herd and was racing back before Rock could swerve to cut it off.

“Let him go,” Flying Arrow shouted.

As though understanding the warrior’s order, Rock swung back behind the herd. Bent Arrow saw two horses escape near his uncle. Another one broke away in front of Rock, but at last the rest of the herd was beginning to run again.


The herd of horses strung out ahead of the two Crows. The speed was slower than it had been in that wild stampede at the Sioux camp, but it was fast enough to run away from warriors on foot. The Sioux would have to recapture the escaped horses in order to have a chance to overtake the herd. At the top of the next hill Flying Arrow stopped his horse to look back, while Bent Arrow kept the herd moving ahead.

“If the Sioux are following, they aren’t close,” Flying Arrow said as he rejoined Bent Arrow.

He noticed the blood on Bent Arrow’s shoulder.

“Let me have a look at that wound,” he ordered.

“It’s nothing. We shouldn’t lose any time,” Bent Arrow protested.

Nevertheless, Flying Arrow cut away the sleeve and examined the wound.

“If it doesn’t stop bleeding soon, we’ll stop and apply a poultice,” he said.

“It’s nothing,” Bent Arrow insisted.

“If it doesn’t stop bleeding soon, you are to tell me,” Flying Arrow ordered.

“The Sioux will lose time trying to catch those horses that got away from us, won’t they?” Bent Arrow asked.


“They will,” Flying Arrow agreed. “But, when they do catch them, they’ll go faster than we can. Driving this herd will slow us.”

It wasn’t long before Flying Arrow’s words were proved true. The herd, which hadn’t been running very fast, slowed to an easy trot. In spite of the efforts of the two Crows, the horses would not increase their speed.

“We must find some way to slow the Sioux,” Flying Arrow said thoughtfully.

Bent Arrow didn’t have an opportunity to answer. Two horses at the head of the herd had slowed to a walk; others were reluctant to pass the leaders, and the whole herd was going at a dangerously slow pace. Bent Arrow crowded his horse against the nearest one in the herd, trying to get it past the leaders. It was while he was failing that he thought of his plan. He reined his horse beside Flying Arrow’s.

“The Sioux will stop to catch every horse we leave, won’t they?” Bent Arrow asked.

“They’re sure to do that,” Flying Arrow agreed. “They’ve probably delayed to catch the horses that escaped from our herd.”


“With Rock I can cut out one of those lead horses,” Bent Arrow pointed out. “Later we can cut out another one and cause another delay.”

“I believe your plan will work,” Flying Arrow exclaimed. “The mounted riders will stop and catch each horse. Very likely they’ll wait while one warrior takes the captured horse back to those on foot so that there’ll be another warrior to join the chase.”

Bent Arrow pulled Rock to one side so that he wouldn’t cause the herd to turn. He urged the horse forward until he was just behind the two leaders. Rock seemed to understand what was wanted. He dashed between the two lead horses and crowded one of them to the side. He kept that horse away from the others, while the herd moved on. As soon as he had the horse far enough away, Bent Arrow turned Rock to rejoin the herd.


The horse that had been driven out of the herd followed for a considerable distance. Bent Arrow was about to give up hope that the plan would work, when the horse stopped to graze. In his mind Bent Arrow could see the four mounted Sioux riding into sight of the horse. The warriors would expect an ambush. They would wait and watch carefully before trying to catch the horse. If the horse ran away, there would be more delay.

Bent Arrow had been so busy that he had scarcely noticed when darkness had given way to daylight. As the sun climbed steadily into the eastern sky, he became more and more confident that he and his uncle would escape. But as Bent Arrow’s confidence grew, Flying Arrow appeared to become more worried. Several times he anxiously examined Bent Arrow’s shoulder. Each time they crossed a small stream, he dismounted and dug in the mud beside the water. About the middle of the morning, he ordered Bent Arrow to cut out another horse.

They came to a small stream at midday. The horses drank and then were allowed to graze. Flying Arrow again dug into the mud along the bank. This time he stood up, holding a handful of odd-colored mud.

“This will help heal your wound,” he told Bent Arrow.


Flying Arrow watched as Bent Arrow washed the blood and dirt away from the wound. As soon as it was clean, he applied the mud over it.

“You have lost much blood,” he said.

“I’ll be all right,” Bent Arrow insisted.

Nevertheless, he was glad to stretch out on the grass. He fell asleep almost at once. It seemed he had scarcely closed his eyes when Flying Arrow called that it was time to start.

All morning the herd had been kept going northwest. When it was started after the midday rest, Flying Arrow turned it directly west. The horses had become much more manageable. They quickly fell into a steady trot. Whenever they crossed high hills, Flying Arrow stopped to see if pursuers came into sight, while Bent Arrow kept the herd moving. Each time Flying Arrow reported that he had seen no sign of the Sioux.

“They may have given up the chase,” Flying Arrow said doubtfully after the third such scouting trip.


While he may have hoped that the Sioux had given up, Flying Arrow did not change his plans. The horses were kept moving steadily forward. While the sun was still high in the western sky, he had Bent Arrow turn another horse away from the herd.

As he and his uncle kept the horses moving, Bent Arrow found himself getting more and more tired. His eyes grew heavy, too, so that it was a struggle to keep them open. To add to his discomfort, the horses began to give trouble again. They no longer tried to turn back, but they continually stopped to graze. Bent Arrow was thankful that he had dependable Rock to do the work.

“Can you keep going?” Flying Arrow asked anxiously. “There is a good place for us to camp not far ahead.”

“I’ll keep going,” Bent Arrow promised.

Keeping the promise proved harder than making it. It took all of Bent Arrow’s determination to keep his eyes open. The sun had dropped behind the western hills, and darkness was closing in. Still Flying Arrow urged them on.


To Bent Arrow it seemed that they kept moving forever. In spite of his best efforts, his eyes would close. Once he caught himself slipping from Rock’s back. He got off and walked, hoping that the exercise would waken him. It did rouse him, but he was too tired to walk far. When he did remount, he had to struggle to get back on his horse.

“Only a little farther,” Flying Arrow encouraged. “We’ll be at Bear Trap Canyon. There I can watch while you rest.”

Bent Arrow had been dimly aware of a darker shadow looming ahead of them. He realized that this was Bear Trap Canyon. Actually the canyon was only a narrow cup, circled by hills which rose up out of the prairie. On both sides the hills rose so steeply that it was almost impossible for a man to get up the sides. Bent Arrow remembered having heard warriors talk about the hills. He knew the only opening into the canyon was a narrow slit which they were approaching.

At the opening the herd of horses balked. Bent Arrow had awakened enough so that he was able to do his share, but all their efforts were not enough to force the horses to enter the opening.


“Ride Rock through,” Flying Arrow ordered. “Maybe the other horses will follow him.”

Bent Arrow guided Rock to the entrance. Rock snorted uneasily but, under Bent Arrow’s urging, carefully picked his way between the steep walls. The passage was narrow and covered with stones. However, in a few paces it widened. Flying Arrow had been able to get the other horses to follow Rock. At last the entire herd was safely in the canyon.

“I’ll watch while you sleep,” Flying Arrow said. “Later, you will watch while I sleep.”

Bent Arrow knew that he should protest. Since sundown his uncle had done most of the work of keeping the herd moving. He should have the first rest. But the words wouldn’t come. Bent Arrow stretched out on the ground and immediately fell asleep.

When Bent Arrow awoke, daylight was beginning to light up the eastern sky. He looked reproachfully at his uncle.

“You were to awaken me,” he protested.


“You were wounded and needed the rest more than I,” Flying Arrow answered. “Let’s take a look at your shoulder.”

He led the way to the spring in the middle of the canyon. Bent Arrow crouched down while his uncle washed away the dried mud. Flying Arrow gave a low grunt of satisfaction.

“It is doing well,” he said.

“I hardly know that the sore is there,” Bent Arrow assured him. “Now you must rest while I watch.”

“First I’ll ride back a way to see if there is any sign of the Sioux,” Flying Arrow replied.

Bent Arrow wanted to protest, but he knew that it would do no good. Flying Arrow would think it his duty to see that every possible precaution was taken. Very likely, when he returned, he would order Bent Arrow to waken him soon so that they could start on. Fortunately they still had small packets of dried meat, and as soon as they had eaten, Flying Arrow mounted one of the horses and rode out of the canyon.


Bent Arrow felt entirely rested. The wound in his shoulder was hardly noticeable. Since the horses were grazing quietly, he decided to explore the canyon while he waited for his uncle to return. The teacher had told the boys much about this canyon. It was a place of good omen for the Crows. Sometimes, when a warrior had been unsuccessful in raids, he would come here. He would climb the wall and lie on the rim. While he slept, he was sure to have a dream that would lead him to better raids.

Bent Arrow started walking around the canyon, looking at the walls in the hope of finding the place where the warriors climbed to the top. He made a complete round of the walls without finding a place. He started around again. At the far side, he noticed a place where the wall appeared rough enough so that he might be able to climb it. He glanced back at the horses. They were grazing quietly. He decided to see how far he could climb.


For several feet, he was able to go easily by stepping from one small ledge to another. Then he came to a place where the wall was smooth. There was a ledge above the one he was on, but it was out of his reach. Determined not to give up, he took his knife and gouged out a place above his head so that he could get a grip with his hands. He made another place just above his knees. He reached up and dug his hands into the place he had made above his head. He put his toes in the other place. Slowly he pulled himself up. He reached one hand up and managed to grasp the rim of the ledge. Carefully he put his weight on that hand. The ledge was solid. He gripped it with the other hand and pulled himself up. Above the ledge the wall was not so steep. Bent Arrow easily made his way to the top. From his vantage point, he could look far out over the prairie. He saw nothing moving until he looked in the direction Flying Arrow had taken. There he saw Flying Arrow racing back toward the canyon. Flying Arrow’s speed meant danger.

Bent Arrow turned back and went down the way he had come up. Getting down was easy, and he was waiting at the entrance when Flying Arrow dashed up.

“The Sioux are less than half a sun’s march from us!” Flying Arrow cried.



Bent Arrow looked at his uncle in dismay. It seemed unbelievable that they had traveled all of that distance the day before without seeing a sign of pursuit and now the Sioux were almost upon them.

“The Sioux are smart,” Flying Arrow said bitterly. “They knew we must stop sometime to rest. This place is on the way to our camping grounds. It is a place where we can leave our horses unwatched. The Sioux thought of those things and the mounted warriors took a short cut to get here.”


“How many Sioux are there?” Bent Arrow asked.

Flying Arrow held up one hand with the thumb doubled under.

“They will come so close that we don’t dare leave,” he explained. “They’ll wait for the others before they attack.”

“We can hold them off,” Bent Arrow exclaimed.

He told his uncle of how he had climbed to the top of the wall. He described the top and how it would be possible to stay up there and fire down on the Sioux. If the Sioux tried to rush the entrance, there were loose rocks which could be rolled down on them.

“We might be able to hold them off,” Flying Arrow agreed, “but we have little food. Soon we shall starve.”

“The Sioux won’t stay long,” Bent Arrow insisted. “Old-Man-of-the-North will send more snow. They will leave for their winter camp.”


“The Sioux will not want to stay,” Flying Arrow admitted, “but the disgrace of losing so fine a herd of horses to one warrior and one boy will shame them into staying.”

“We’ll find a way,” Bent Arrow insisted.

“We will,” Flying Arrow agreed, but there was little hope in his voice.

“You should rest before the Sioux get here,” Bent Arrow urged. “I’ll climb up onto the ridge and watch.”

“Drop a small stone to waken me when the Sioux get near,” Flying Arrow ordered.

As he walked to the place where he could climb the wall, Bent Arrow noticed how small an area of grass there was in the canyon. Not only would he and his uncle be short of food if the Sioux besieged them, but the horses, too, would soon be starving.

When he reached the top of the wall, Bent Arrow looked around. The Sioux were not yet in sight. He made his way along the rim toward the entrance. In most places the rim was wide enough to easily walk on. There were a few narrow places where he had to walk carefully. One short stretch was so narrow that he had to get to his hands and knees and crawl.


Near the break which formed the entrance, the rim was wide. A few shrubs were growing there. These would give him concealment. He found a few large stones and rolled them near the edge so they could be dropped on attackers.

He looked to the east again. He could see four horsemen approaching. He reached over to drop a stone to warn Flying Arrow, but changed his mind. The Sioux were still too far from the canyon to be a danger and Flying Arrow needed all the rest he could get. Bent Arrow stretched out behind a shrub and watched the Sioux. The riders came on until they were almost within bowshot. There they pulled their horses to a stop.

For some reason the Sioux seemed to be puzzled and uncertain. They drew together in a group. Evidently they were debating something concerning the canyon. Several times one of them waved his arm toward the entrance. Suddenly, the one who had been doing most of the talking sent his horse dashing toward the entrance to the canyon. It was too late for Bent Arrow to warn his uncle. Whatever was to be done to stop that Sioux, Bent Arrow had to do it.


Bent Arrow raised his bow and took careful aim. The rider, stretched low over his horse’s neck, was not a good target, but Bent Arrow was confident that he would not miss. He drew the bow taut, but he lowered it without letting the arrow go. It had come to him why the Sioux were acting so strangely. They weren’t sure their quarry was still in the canyon, or if they were in the canyon, whether or not they were alert. The rider was hardly within good bowshot when he wheeled his horse and dashed back to the others.

The Sioux talked together again, often glancing toward the narrow opening. After a time, they divided into two pairs, one pair riding to the left and one to the right. From the way the warriors watched the ground, Bent Arrow knew that they were looking for a trail leading from the canyon.


While the Sioux were searching for a sign that he and his uncle had escaped, Bent Arrow dropped a stone to arouse Flying Arrow. It didn’t take the Sioux long to make sure that the raiders were still in the canyon. The four warriors returned to a place in front of the entrance, making sure they were out of range. They gave the Sioux war cry, but neither Bent Arrow nor his uncle gave any sign that they heard it.

The four warriors talked together again. Two of them left the group, one going to the right and the other to the left. As though at a signal, both turned their horses and dashed toward the entrance. Bent Arrow drew a bead on the warrior nearest to him, but waited for Flying Arrow to take the first shot. The warriors drew together and seemed about to try to dash through the entrance side by side, and still Flying Arrow didn’t shoot. At the last moment the two Sioux wheeled their horses and galloped back to their companions.

All four Sioux dismounted. They turned their horses loose to graze. Evidently they had decided to wait until the other warriors joined them before making an attack on the canyon. Bent Arrow saw that this would be his chance to go down and get instructions from his uncle. He carefully worked his way back to the place where he had come up the wall.


“There’ll be no attack until the other Sioux get here,” Flying Arrow said when Bent Arrow joined him. “I’ll sleep now and you can sleep tonight.”

“Shall I go back up onto the wall?” Bent Arrow asked.

“It is a better place from which to watch,” Flying Arrow agreed.

As soon as Bent Arrow had returned to his post, he dropped a stone as a signal. He settled himself as comfortable as possible. The day dragged slowly by. As the sun was dropping down the western sky, two of the Sioux caught horses and rode away. They soon returned, dragging large bundles of sticks. Before sunset they built a fire and hung meat to roast over it. Occasionally the wind veered and brought the tantalizing odor of cooking meat to Bent Arrow.

There was still some daylight when a stone dropped beside Bent Arrow, signaling that Flying Arrow wanted him to come down.


As Bent Arrow made his way along the rim toward the place where he could go down, he watched the outer wall. He saw one place where rain water had washed out a small rough groove. It would be a dangerous way, but it might be possible to descend there.

Flying Arrow had put out a small piece of meat for each of them when Bent Arrow got there. The warrior appeared very discouraged. He sat with a worried frown creasing his brow and had little to say. The only time he acted more cheerful was when he examined the wound in Bent Arrow’s shoulder.

“A night rest and you will forget you had a wound,” he said.

Bent Arrow told of the place he had found where it might be possible to go down the outer wall.

“We might slip down there and escape before they missed us,” he said.

Flying Arrow shook his head.

“The horses are getting restless,” he explained. “If they aren’t watched, they’ll get out of the canyon. The Sioux would guess at once that we were trying to escape. We’d be caught before we were well started.”

“How soon do you think the other warriors will get here?” Bent Arrow asked.


Flying Arrow didn’t answer. He got to his feet and went to the narrow passage opening out of the canyon. Pressing himself against one wall, he moved ahead and was soon out of sight. A few moments later he came back.

“I wanted to make sure that the Sioux weren’t trying to sneak in here,” he explained. “They’re around their campfire. They won’t attack before the other warriors get here.”

Again Flying Arrow sat with his head bowed. Bent Arrow had felt encouraged by his uncle’s belief that the Sioux would not attack for a while. To him, every moment of delay brought hope that something might happen to prevent any attack. Yet Flying Arrow’s gloom was beginning to affect him too.

“I didn’t answer your question,” Flying Arrow said, looking up. “I believe the other warriors will be here before daylight, although I doubt if much of an attack is made. They’ll wait to starve us out.”

“If we could think of some way to get help,” Bent Arrow thought aloud.

Flying Arrow looked up. He started to speak but changed his mind and shook his head.


“You thought of a plan,” Bent Arrow exclaimed.

“It was too dangerous,” Flying Arrow answered.

“You said we can’t escape from here,” Bent Arrow urged. “Your plan can’t be more dangerous than staying here.”

“I had thought of letting you climb down the wall after dark,” Flying Arrow explained. “It is possible that you could find our hunting party and bring help in time.”

“Let me try it,” Bent Arrow urged.

Flying Arrow remained silent for a long time. When he did speak, it was with reluctance.

“It is a desperate plan and there are many chances that it won’t work,” he said. “Yet there is no chance if we just stay here. After dark you will climb down the wall and go to the hunting party’s camping place. If they have started back to winter camp, you are to follow them until you overtake them.”


Flying Arrow gave Bent Arrow careful instructions as to how he was to get to the camp. He described the landmark which Bent Arrow would reach which marked the place where he would turn toward the river. Flying Arrow ended his instructions by reminding Bent Arrow that he should travel at the warrior’s pace.

“I’ll climb to your lookout place while there is still some light,” Flying Arrow concluded his instructions. “You can watch the entrance until I signal that I am ready for you to leave.”

“How will you keep our horses from getting out of the canyon when you are up there on the rim?” Bent Arrow asked.

“I’ll throw stones to turn them back whenever they get near the passage,” Flying Arrow explained.

Bent Arrow crept into the passage as he had seen his uncle do. He found the niche from which Flying Arrow had watched the Sioux. The warriors were seated around the glowing campfire. Apparently they were waiting for the rest of their party to arrive before they made any move against the canyon. Bent Arrow stayed in his watching place until the signal stone dropped near him.


Bent Arrow edged into the passage


Although he had little difficulty climbing the wall, Bent Arrow lost some time finding the place where he could go down. When he did find it, he went carefully, feeling and testing with each foot before he put any weight on it. When he was about halfway down, one foot slipped and he went plunging down the steep slope. Somehow he managed to get one foot braced and catch hold with his hands. He came to a stop.

For a long time he lay there, afraid to shift his weight lest he go sliding again. At last he moved one foot and slowly put his weight on it. Step by step he inched his way down the slope. At a height greater than a tall man could reach, he came to a ledge. Below the ledge the cliff dropped straight down. Bent Arrow grasped the edge of the ledge, let himself down to arm’s length, and dropped. He landed easily on his feet.


Without losing time to look around, Bent Arrow started walking rapidly. He counted his steps by opening and closing his fingers. When he had gone a hundred paces, he began to run. At the end of a hundred running paces, he felt so fresh and strong that he was tempted to run another hundred paces, but Flying Arrow’s orders had been definite. He slowed to a walk for a hundred paces. He continued the alternate running and walking until he reached the lone tree of which Flying Arrow had told him. Here he turned east.

With every step Bent Arrow’s confidence rose. He had escaped the Sioux. He had traveled at least half of the night, and he felt as strong as when he had started. He could hold this pace all the way to the Crow winter camp if he had to. The thought of having to travel all the way to the Crow winter camp brought the first lessening of his confidence. He had been thinking of the hunting party as still in the camp where he and Flying Arrow had left them. But they might not be there. They might have started to the winter camp. The thought of Flying Arrow trying to hold that canyon alone all of the time it would take to reach the winter camp drained away all of Bent Arrow’s recent confidence.


For the first time since he had left the canyon, Bent Arrow felt fear. He began to increase his speed, and as the fear mounted he ran faster until he was running as hard as he could. It wasn’t until he was gasping for air that he realized his foolishness. He was exhausting himself. Soon he would drop, and there would be no one to try to bring help for Flying Arrow. He slowed to a trot and then to a walk.

He walked twice the usual distance before he tried to run again. When he did run, he found that the hard running he had done had tired him badly. It took all of his will power to keep himself running the full hundred paces. And now he had a new fear. He might not be able to keep on even to the river. Yet, somehow he was still going when dawn broke in the east.

As the prairie became lighter, Bent Arrow kept on the watch for familiar signs. He had been across the river several times with warriors. If he were near it, he should see signs. Nothing looked familiar. Anxiously he checked his route with the rising sun. He was going in the right direction.


He was tiring badly. At the end of each hundred running paces, he was gasping for breath. He would have to stop and rest, but he knew he didn’t dare. If he stopped, he would fall asleep. He kept himself going by thinking of Flying Arrow standing alone against those Sioux. That helped for a few paces, but at last he knew he had done his best and had failed. He was at the foot of some low hills.

“I’ll reach the top before I stop to rest,” he vowed.

He started up the hill. Halfway up he stumbled and fell. He stretched out and his eyes closed. A feeling of peace enveloped him like a warm blanket, but before he fell asleep, he thought of Flying Arrow. He struggled to his feet and reeled toward the top.

He fell again. He stayed on his hands and knees and crawled onward.

Just getting to the top seemed to give him strength. He stood up. He tried to look ahead, but weariness had dimmed his eyes so that he could see only a few paces. He started down the hill.


The horsemen were upon him before he saw or heard them. He attempted to dodge aside, but strong arms caught him. Dimly he realized that one of the men was Clawing Bear.

“Flying Arrow’s at Bear Trap Canyon,” Bent Arrow gasped, and collapsed.



When Bent Arrow opened his eyes, he was lying on a buffalo robe in a tepee. He sat up uncertainly and gave a little gasp when he saw Clawing Bear sitting beside him.

“How did I get here?” Bent Arrow demanded.

“You ran here,” Clawing Bear answered with a smile. “As great a run as a Crow ever made.”

“Flying Arrow?” Bent Arrow asked in a whisper.


“He’s outside, boasting that his nephew is the greatest runner in the Crow Nation,” Clawing Bear replied.

Before Clawing Bear had finished speaking, Flying Arrow entered the tepee.

“How are you, Brother?” Flying Arrow asked.

Bent Arrow stared at his uncle. Brother? That was the formal word of address Flying Arrow would have used if he had been speaking to a warrior. Why should he use that word?

“Can he come to the corral to see our horses?” Flying Arrow asked, turning to Clawing Bear.

“It will do him good,” Clawing Bear agreed.

As he walked along beside his uncle, Bent Arrow asked about the rescue. Flying Arrow told as much of the story as he knew.

He told how he had watched from the rim. The Sioux on foot had arrived before daylight. There had been a short powwow and then all of the Sioux had rolled up in their blankets to sleep. Knowing that he would need the rest, and that any small noise would waken him, Flying Arrow had fallen asleep too. He had wakened at the first hint of daylight.


The Sioux had attacked a few moments later. Flying Arrow’s two shots knocked two Sioux warriors from their horses. The Sioux only took time to pick up their wounded and then retreated out of bowshot to hold another conference. From their motioning to one another, Flying Arrow was able to guess their next move. They would stay out of bowshot and sneak up to the canyon wall at some distance from the entrance. One party would approach from one side and one from the other. Flying Arrow might be able to stop one party, but he couldn’t stop both of them.

“But you did stop them,” Bent Arrow interrupted excitedly.

“By an accident,” Flying Arrow explained. “Two of the horses we had taken wandered near the opening. I threw stones behind them and drove them on out. They kept right on running after they were out of the canyon. The Sioux postponed their attack while they caught the horses.”


“How did you keep the other horses from following the ones which you drove out of the canyon?” Bent Arrow wanted to know.

“I threw stones at them to drive them back,” Flying Arrow answered. “But Rock did most. He soon understood that I didn’t want the others to get out. He stayed near the entrance and kept the other horses back.”

Flying Arrow went on with his story. He told how after the Sioux had captured the two horses they held another council. The warriors had delayed until the sun had passed overhead. At last they had prepared to move to the canyon walls. Before they started, two mounted warriors were sent around the canyon walls to scout. One of them came dashing back, shouting and waving his arms. In a short time the Sioux had mounted, two to a horse, and ridden off. Later, the party of Crows came in sight.

“There were only seven or eight men in the Crow party!” Bent Arrow exclaimed. “Why did the Sioux run?”

“Probably they thought more Crows were coming,” Flying Arrow answered.


By that time Bent Arrow and his uncle had reached the corral. Flying Arrow pointed out the horses which now belonged to Bent Arrow. There were twelve of them. He was a rich boy.

“One horse is enough for me,” Bent Arrow protested. “You were the warrior in charge. You deserve all of the horses.”

“You did a warrior’s work and you deserve a warrior’s share,” Flying Arrow insisted.

“I’ll trade all of them for Rock,” Bent Arrow offered.

The moment he had spoken, Bent Arrow wished that he could recall the words. His uncle had been generous in giving him half of the horses, far more generous than anyone would expect him to be. Bent Arrow knew how ungrateful he must appear. Yet his uncle didn’t seem displeased.

“Come. We must go to our tepee and get ready to go to the Council Fire,” was all that he said.

As soon as he was in the tepee, Bent Arrow went to his pile of halters. He selected eight of the halters and laid them aside. There was still one question bothering him, and while he and his uncle were eating, he asked it.


“I don’t remember reaching the camp,” he said. “How did I find Clawing Bear and his men?”

“Clawing Bear had a dream that you and I needed help,” Flying Arrow explained. “When the hunting party started back to the winter camp, he got permission to come to our aid. The other seven men received permission to go with him.”

When they had finished eating, Bent Arrow added another halter to those he had set aside. He noticed that Flying Arrow, too, was carrying halters when they left the tepee.

Clawing Bear and the seven warriors were seated around the fire. Flying Arrow took his place in the circle next to Clawing Bear. Bent Arrow sat behind him. Clawing Bear took the pipe and lighted it with a brand from the fire. He blew smoke to the north, the east, the south, and the west. Then he passed the pipe to Flying Arrow. Flying Arrow blew smoke in each of the four directions and passed the pipe on. In turn, each of the warriors blew smoke in the four directions. When the pipe came back to Clawing Bear, he carefully wrapped it in its cover. The medicine man got to his feet.


“Seldom do we have the youngest speak first,” he said, “but the youth who made that great run is entitled to be heard.”

As the medicine man sat down, all eyes turned toward Bent Arrow. Slowly he stood up.

“My uncle has taught me that good Crows help each other,” he managed to say. “You proved yourselves good Crows by helping us. I want to give each of you a gift.”

He went around the circle giving each warrior a halter in sign that the warrior now owned one of Bent Arrow’s horses. There were two halters left in Bent Arrow’s hand when he stopped in front of Clawing Bear.

“Two horses to you, Clawing Bear,” he said, “to show you that I am grateful to you for healing my leg and telling me to get an eagle feather.”

There was a murmur of approval as Bent Arrow sat down. Flying Arrow got to his feet. He, too, went around the circle, giving each man a halter. When he had finished, he still had one halter in his hand. He turned to Bent Arrow.


“As a raider,” he smiled, “you have proved yourself a good Crow. You have proved yourself worthy of a good horse. This halter is Rocks’. The horse is yours.”

Bent Arrow tried to thank his uncle, but there was something wrong with his throat, and no words would come out. Flying Arrow turned quickly back to the warriors.

“Clawing Bear will tell you why I made presents of horses to you,” he said.

Clawing Bear stood.

“When a youth does a great deed,” Clawing Bear spoke solemnly, “his nearest relative is entitled to give gifts and to give the youth a new name. Twelve summers ago a party of Sioux injured a Crow boy—injured him so badly that the boy could not walk erect and so was given the name Bent Arrow. Now that boy has been cured. He has raided a Sioux camp. He has run a great distance in as short a time as any Crow has ever run it. When he reached us, he was ready to drop, but he was running erectly. I say that the boy, Bent Arrow, has become the warrior, True Arrow, a true Crow.”


A warrior jumped up and ran around the circle three times, shouting, “Welcome, True Arrow. Welcome, True Arrow. Welcome, True Arrow.”

Bent Arrow, now True Arrow, sat still with his head down. He was too happy to speak.



Transcriber’s Notes

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