Dam Ime Old

The Lives and Adventures of Horse Apple

(With Occasional Outbursts from Two Bear)

 

Chapter 3 - Big Rivers West

 

Iz mebe 5 mile down streem from the beever pond whar Ida been a campin when I came by a com channel in the crik. It war then when I heered horses on my tale a movin reel fast like. I stopped 2 lissen & heered a horse shoo agin a rock. White men I thot. This warnt no cuntry whar onest White men had no biznus save mebe a trapper & sense that war Cherokee owned cuntry not even no White trappers had no biznus thar.

Bout 50 yards up thar war a big rock so I stepped off on2 it & swatted my horse. My horse went on a peese. I moved up 2 a hyer rock what made a pert good brest werk & lade out my 2 flintlock rifels & cocked em. I pult my pistel out o my belt & cocked it & lade it on the rock. I picked up 1 o the flinlocks & droo a beed on 1 o the 3 mounted figgers I cood barely make out throo the thik brush. Theys a movin reel fast rite tord me. I figgerd ifn thar crimnals at best Iz a gonna git 1 shot at eech o em. Id wated 4 a good shot.

The brush long the crik war reel thick & theys bout on me a4 I cood git a look at any o thar fases.

DAM IT SEQUOYA YOO SILLY COON I DAM NAR BLOWD YER ASS CLEEN OFF.

Ol Sequoya grabt holt o heez hart likin it stopped sted o jumpin in the brush like he shooda.

& YOO CALL YERSELF A INDIN. I COODA BLOWD YOO IN 2 & SCALPED YE A4 YE HIT THE GROUN ALL 3 O YA.

Dam it Horse yoo scart the bejesus outa me.

It war Sequoya & John & a soljer what war a talin me. Sequoya war my close frend mungst the Cherokee & John war a yung Neegra feller what came 2 be part o R famly when he married Chaka a slave gerl I bot & freed.

Took em a while 2 2 make sure thar warnt shit in thar breech clouts & we soon cumensed to laffin & a palaverin like normal leest 4 usns.

They war abringin me nooz that my Daddy in Sante Looey needed me up thar toot sweet. Thats Frenchy.

We spent the rest o the day a jawin & camped that nite. Nex day I hedded up 4 Sante Looey with that soljer feller namt Korpral Dimund. He war rijnally from Jermany & had hizzself a axent. He war a rite likable feller. We palaverd whilst we rid. He sayed he war a Joo & things wart 2 good 4 Joos in Jermany so he came 2 Mareca with heez famly. He sayed Joos warnt thot reel hi of even in Mareca neether.

He should try being an Indian.

We camped ferst nite still west o the Mississip. Weez still far enuf from the river we figgerd it war safe enuf 4 a far. We boilt sum salt pork & cooke t sum biskits. Had us cofy 2 drink.

I asked him why he figgerd fokes didnt like Joo peepel.

Plenny reezuns. Gess they figger sense Joos cozd Jesuz 2 be crossifyd that all Joos is gilty.

That war a while back warnt it.

Bout 18 hunnert yeers.

& they still pissed off bout that.

I figger.

I think I recolect a heerin Jesus war a Joo.

Yup. He war.

Warnt them frends o his what follerd him a round Joos 2.

Yup. Hiz o possels.

Why donít yoo jez tell fokes ifn yooda bin bornd when Jesus feller war crossifyd youda bin 1 o heez o possels.

Theyd no better coz that wood meen I beleevs heez Crist & I donít beleeve that.

Hell yoo say.

Nope. Us Joos donít beleeve that.

Ever 1 nos heez Christ. I must a heerd a hunert peeppel call eem Jesus Christ.

Christ warnt heez name.

It warnt. Yoo meen them peeplel war lyin.

No. Christ be a Greek werd 4 masaya.

I donít know what Greek is & I donít know what masaya is.

Greek is a langwij.

A langwij.

Like yoo speek English.

I speek Marecan. Not English. My Daddy speeks English. Heez from England. Who speeks Greek.

Greeks.

O. Duz Joos speek Joo er Jooish.

We speek Heebroo.

Why donít yoo tok Jooish.

We jez call it Heebroo.

English tok English. Greeks tok Greek. Marecans tok Marecan. Frenchys tok French.

Cherokees tok Cherokee.

Rite.

Why 4 yoo all tok sumpin difernt than what yoo is. Yoo aint Heebroos is yoo.

Sumtimes but yoozly war Joos.

Mebe that what fokes donít like about yall. Mebe yer 2 upity bout werds.

Aint that Horse.

Kinda riles my fethers.

Yoo dun got me off the subjik.

Bout Jesuses last name.

Rite. Jesuses name war Jesus o Nazereth.

Wood Nazereth be whar he war from.

Yup.

So I wood be Horace o Ellijay.

Ifn yoo live back then & that war whare yoo war from.

Whats the H for.

What H.

In Jesus H Christ.

Thar aint no H.

So Im rong bout that 2.

Yup.

Yoo sure.

Yup.

Now. Whats a masaya.

A masaya is a savyer. Sum 1 what delivers yoo 2 freedom. Sum 1 what delivers yoo 2 heven.

I no I heerd thats what Jesus duz.

Thats what Crisjuns say he duz.

O. & Joos donít by that.

Rite.

So Crisjun donít like yoo coz yoo donít beleeve Jesus is masaya.

Yup.

Why yoo gotta tell em. Why donít yoo jez keep yer trap shut.

They can tell Im a Joo.

How.

Name. My looks.

What looks differnt bout yoo.

Im circum sized fer 1.

Yoo & me bout the same size. No 1 calt me a Joo.

Bout then he shaked heez hed. Horse. Circum size be sum thin yoo duz 2 yer peenus.

I war lissenin reel close but this Joo feller kep a loozin me. Okay. Whats a peenus.

You donít know what a peenus is.

Ifn I node I woodnt be askin ye wood I.

Bout then he grabbed heez croch. This is my peenus. What I pee with.

O. Yer pizzer. Aint never heerd it calt a peenus a4. Node a feller wunce what calt it a wanger.

ENUF.

Dont git all riled. Mebe we shood water down that cofy.

Cofys fine.

Okay. Jez what is it yoo duz 2 yer pizzer.

Peenus.

Peenus.

We cut off the 4 skin.

Whats that.

The skin in the end o yer peenus is the 4 skin.

Yoo cut off the end o yer pizzer.

No. Jez the skin.

I war a mazed. Why for.

Its R relijum. Besides its cleener.

Let me see.

See what.

Yer pizzer.

Yer teched. I aint gonna show yoo my peenus.

Why for not. Howm I gonna no what yer a tokin bout.

I aint gonna show ye.

Ill look when yoo take a leek.

The hell. Ill go back in the bushes.

Donít it make yer voyse hi.

Corse not.

I node a Cherkee feller wunce what got heez pizzer bit off by a snappin tertel. He had heem a reel hi voyse like wimmin duz.

He must have lost hiz testyculs.

2 mory yer gonna tell me yoo been a shuckin me bout all this shit yoo been a tellin me rite.

Not a werd.

Okay. Whats testyculs.

Balls.

O. Yup. He lost them 2. Yoo no what I think.

I soon will.

Fokes out heer long the Mississip jez plane fokes. We aint got no scoolin. Lot a foke R cherch goin but haf what that preecher says donít meen a fiddlers fart 2 them. But they be good peepel & they think Jesuses last name is Christ. Now me. Im a Cherokee. Cherokees pray direk 2 the Creater jez like yoo Joos only yoo probably got a nuther name 4 heem like yoo do ever thing else. Iím a groin me a beard. Fokes donít think Indins have beards. Fokes R lookin 4 sum thin in yoo thats like them. Then they cumferbul & frenly. Out here pizzers is pizzers & balls is balls & Jesuses last name is Christ. Jez be a Marecan & tok Marecan & cwit bein a Joo jez like my Daddy cwit bein English & I cwit bein a Cherokee lessin Im a mungst Cherokees.

When in Rome do as the Romans do.

Az the Romans duz.

We rid 5 days a4 we got to Sante Looey. Did us a lot o argeein bout relijun & thangs. Heez a nise enuf feller but heez shore bull hedded. Sayed heez a Joo a prowd o it. Nuthin rong with that I sayed septin yoo bring it up when yoo donít need 2. I no plenny o fokes I spent a lot o time with & I donít know what they think bout relijun. I jez tolt heem to keep hiz trap shut & piss in the bushes & heed be fine.

We parted frens.

Shooda figgerd sumpthin war up 2 when my Daddy war happy 2 see me. He started rite off a tokkin bout how ever 1 in Sante Looey noo bout me a leedin the battle agin Tuffy Wilson down by Norlans & me bein a hero & all coz the Norlans nooz paper had made its way up 2 Sante Looey & so had Mike Fink & Genral Ashley. He sayed Willum Clark who war the Indin agent wanted 2 give me & my Daddy a invite 2 supper soon az I comed back 2 Sante Looey coz he a job 4 me.

I sayed well Im back & Im hungry tho goin all the way down 2 the R Kansus 2 give a feller a invite 4 supper seemed cweer. Donít know bout doin no werk tho. Donít know what job I cood do that no body else coodnt do.

The supper war a fyoo days off so I stayed with my Daddy & Matilda in thar extry room. It had a bed. Reel cumferbal. Iz yoost 2 jez sleepin on the groun but I liked that bed.

She sayed she liked a cookin fer me coz I always cleent my plate. Daddy sayed Iz jez a pig. Good 2 see heez back 2 bein heez own self.

I finly figgerd out Daddy war eksited bout R dinner at Kernal Clarks house coz thar war sum expedishuns pland & he figgerd on sooplyin the pervishuns not 2 menshun the guns. My invite war heez in with not only Kernel Clark but the Lootenant Guvner Genral John Ashley what I noo from Norlans & Guvner Mary Wether Loois what I didnt no but soon wood no relashun 2 Captin Loois o the garisun at Norlans. Kind o wunnerd bout any man what went by the name o Mary tho.

Clarks supper war a big shindig. I got 2 war 1 o my fancy Norlans soots what has a gray cote & droors & a silk lace shirt with perl buttuns & my black beever gambler lookin hat. Daddy sayed Id be hansum ifn it warnt fer my long hare. I lookt in Matildas mirra & I thot I looked pleny hansum enuf even with my long hare. So did Matilda. She & my Daddy wore proper fancy outfits they own selves 2 the supper.

Kernel Clark had heem a big house a bit up river with a palisade fense what made it look like a fort. Had heem Neegra slaves a tendin the gates & the horses in side. Looked 2 me like theys treeted well enuf tho.

Sum importent fokes war at the supper incloodin Willum & Milton Sublette & Genral Ashley & Guvner Loois he didnt have no wife & Genral Clark & heez wife & a Frenchy feller calt Sharbono. Sharbono warnt dressed all fancy like the rest o us.

Kernal Clark war a feller bout 40 er 50 & heez wife war jez bout my age ceptin sheez reel peeked lookin. Cum 2 find out sheez a dyin. Dyed in a munth er so after the supper. She jez kinda set thar all evnin & didnt say nuthin ner eet nuthin. Reel sad.

Ever 1 thar war reel nice peepel ceptin maybe 4 the Guvner. He kinda set back & didnt say much 2 no body septin he warnt sick like Missus Clark.

They sayed Iz 2 modest when I tolt my side o the battel agin Tuffy Wilson. They fed us R fill o buffler & beets & taters & we even drank a little cone yak. Dam I liked that cone yak.

Us men war a setin round a smokin seegars after eetin when Genral Clark tolt me he had a bizness propozishun 4 me. He invited me in 2 heez study jez me & him. We set down & smoked a bit be4 we tokked turky.

I have a secret mishum 4 ye he sayed. Yer Daddy sayes yoo can be trusted & yoo can do the job.

Secret like I aint spoze 2 tell no body.

He nodded.

I can be trusted. Donít know ifn I can do the job tho.

Yer Daddy tells me yer the best shot west o the Mississip.

I noo then my Daddy war 4 sure gettin sumthin out o this.

Whats yer secret mishum.

Want yoo 2 deliver a Indin lady back 2 er tribe.

Sure. Whars er tribe at.

Rocky Mountins. Bout at the sorse o the Mizura.

The Mizura.

The Mizura River jez north o heer. Feeds in 2 the Mississip.

O that Mizura. How far up the Mizura iz these mountins.

Thousan er so miles.

Thousan.

Thousan.

A thousan like 10 hunnerts.

He nodded. Due west.

I heered its all desert out west.

Perty much til yoo git 2 the Rocky Mountins ceptin long the river.

Why me.

Gotta have sum 1 from out o town what I can trust that can shoot & git by in the wild cuntry & sine Indin tung.

Whooz this Indin woman.

Wife o that Frenchy feller Sharbuno out thar a gettin drunk on my cone yak a drinkin it like it war cheep river whisky.

Heez the feller yer keepin it secret from.

Keepin it secret from ever body. He thinks sheez ded. I even writ in my ofisul jernal sheez ded. What reely happend tho war she run off with a Comanchee feller name o Jerk Meet coz Sharbono war a beetin her reel reglar & he took a nuther wife any way. The Comanchee feller got hizzelf kilt and got hiz scalp lifted. She made it back heer. Sheed ruther dy than go back 2 Sharbono. Ifn he finds out sheez a live heel clame er coz heez uther wife up & dide on heem. Her sun Baptiste is back with thar peepel a reddy. He grew up in eestern schools. I sent him back home a cupel yars ago. She wants 2 be with heem & I agreed it wood be best.

I heered they wild Indins west o heer.

Wildern yood ever majin.

& howm I spoze 2 find this tribe.

Foller the river. Sheel tell yoo when yoo git thar.

Jez the 2 o us.

Nope. A feller name o Majer Androo Henry ull meet you at the Minna Tary villajes with a party o trappers. Yoo ride up in secret with yer frend Mike Fink on heez keel bote. Keep the woman outa site down in the hold when yer round populated plases. Fink ull pick up plews from them trappers & Henry ull git yoo in the genral area o whar the Shoshonys live. & yer Daddy wants 2 send pervisuns fer yoo 2 trade with the trappers 2.

Whooz the Shoshony.

That wood be her tribe.

How duz I git back.

Cum back with the trappers the next spring.

How much yoo plannin on payin me.

400 doller.

Hell I spent morn that last winner in Norlans in bout a munth.

He laffed. 600 doller. I figger ifn yer smart yool make a perty penny offn yer Daddy a bein heez agent & all.

Clark had hizzself a deel. Kernal. Ifn I take this scwar back 2 her tribe how long til the White men get thar permnant.

I hope never.

I heer White fokes a movin in on Indin land up north o heer.

We sined treetys 2 move most o the Indins west o the Mississip.

I heer a feller name o Black Hok aint a hankerin 2 move. Likes it whar he is.

I think heel move in time.

Like yall moved that Shawnee feller Tecumsay up on the Tams.

I hope not. Weer offerin Black Hoks foke fine land up in Ioway.

Aint thar a reddy Indin foke in Ioway.

I got me no choyse Horse. Im a tryin 2 keep the Whites & the Indins a part az long az I can.

Venchly they gonna make it 2 Shoshony cuntry aint they.

Morn likely. Morn likely.

They can only push us so far til we cum to salt water. Yoo no that bettern any 1.

Clark nodded.

Be theez Neegra fokes werkin round here slaves.

No. I hard em. They werk 4 pay. Last slave I had war a feller name o York. He went long with us 2 the Pasific See. Givd heem heez freedum sum time after we got back. Set eem up in the shippin biznus. Bot heem a teem & a frate waggin.

How he doin in the frate biznus.

Clark shookd heez hed. Donít no. Heerd he giv up the biznus. Possbul he hedded back west sum fokes say.

Bak long the trale 2 the Pasific See.

Possbul. Donít no 4 shore.

Inserstin. Mebe Ill run in2 heem.

Not likely. Fokes tolt me he jez woodnt werk. Plenny o foke needed hollin dun but he jez set a roun.

2 bad.

Colonel Clark is a reasonable man.

Indins got a lot 2 larn bout White fokes. White fokes got them a lot 2 larn bout Indins. Gonna take thotful fellers like yer ownself 2 git that dun.

Iím only 1 man Horse. Im only 1 man.

I horn swageled 3 flintlocks up front out o my Daddy fer a bein heez ajent. He pissed & moned like heez gonna broke over loozin them flintlocks. He sayed heed give me 10 per sent on what I sold 4 him up river. We setteld on 20. Sayed heez only doin it coz Iz kin.

1 day a week er so later Iz a meltin galena in 2 ball out back o my Daddys store when this big shadow comed over me. I looked up & it war Mike Fink. Dam. Yoo gittin bigger & uglier both.

I didnt no thar cood be so much ugly in a runt. Whars the likker.

I got up a have Mike Fink a hug cepting my arms woodnt go cleen round heem. Aint no likker in Sante Looey. Sante Looeys a church town. What yoo tolt me that yer ownself. I figgerd yood bring sum fine cone yak up from Norlans.

Werkin men cant a ford no cone yak. Lets find a saloon whar I can piss on the wall.

That wood be anywhar down by the river.

I no that. My croos gotem a hed start on me. Lets go. Its soon gonna be dark & I got 1 hellashus thirst.

Me & Fink joined heez croo at a shit hole saloon down by the river. Best I can recolek we drank.

I woke up the nex day a sleep in heez keel bote. I went 2 a bath house 2 get cleened up be4 I got within smellin distense o Matilda.

Took a day 2 holl the plunder fer the trappers down 2 the keel bote from Daddys store & weez reddy 2 go the nex nite. Matila invited Fink fer supper that evnin. I tolt her she better fry up a cupel o turkys fer that boy. She baked a big ol turky with stuffin & mashed taters & pees & we pert much et it all. She didnt haf 2 do much plate washin that nite.

Kernal Clark shoed up at the keel bote bout mid nite jez a4 the haf moon riz. We sneeked on 2 the bote. I took a wok with Kernal Clark.

Its reel importent 2 me that yoo take care o Sacajewea.

Sacajewea. That wood be the scwars name.

Yes.

Seemed cweer 2 me yood spend all that muny fer a Indin woman.

Our cuntry owes her morn we can ever pay er.

Is that rite.

She gided the Core o Discovery cleen 2 the Pasific See. Without her weed a never made it.

That wood be that expedishum yoo & the guvner went on a while back.

That wood be the 1.

Sos the Marecan guvmunt a payin fer me 2 take er back.

Yep. But they donít exackly no it.

O.

Heres yer muny.

Mebe yoo can hold it fer me til I git back. Got me sum gold peeses sode in2 my buckskins ifn I need muny. Ifn I donít make it back git it 2 a Cherokee feller named Sequoya. He has a villije down long the R Kansus.

Yool make it. I see yoo nex summer. Gods speed. 1 more thang. Call her Porivo.

Porivo.

Ferget ye ever heard the werd Sacajawea.

Yes ser. So long Kernal.

We shook hands.

We set off under a haf moon. Me & Porivo slep in the hold o the keel bote. I slep on a sof pile o wool blankets. She huddeld up in the bow. Ridin on a bote warnt bad a tall. Polin war a differnt story.

Porivo war rite cwiet. Didnt let out a peep.

Weez on the Mizura by time I woke the nex mornin. Finks men poled that bote all nite a4 settin in2 shore 4 brekfas. Porivo cooked bacun & taters 4 the hole bunch & we chased it with cofy. Porivo did all the wimmens werk on bote. Finks croo war rite happy 2 have her a long.

After brekfas them boys got rite back on the bote & cumensed 2 polin rite after Mike Fink thretend thar lives. I spelt the crew a polin. We didnt stop agin til sunset when we landed at Sante Charles on the north side o the river. Sante Charles war whar Guvner Loois & Lootenent Guvner Ashley lived. I joined the 2 o em at a Frenchy rest rant in the hotel.

We had us stake with baked taters & red sower wine. It war spelt PINOT NOIR on the bottel but they pernownsed it Pee No Nwa. Hee.

How yoo cum 2 be a heddin out west Ashley asked.

Do sum tradin with trappers & mebe sum Indins.

What yoo got 2 trade.

Guns & pervishuns fer the trappers & blankets & pots & foo fraws & such 4 the Indins. Got sugger & salt & cofy 2.

What ye gonna be a tradin 4.

Plews I gess most.

Been a thinkin bout doin that my own self. The Shootoes been tonly 1s making muny on beever up 2 now. I spect the beever trade gonna pick up reel soon. Eest o the Mississip R bout trapped out.

Ruf cuntry out thar Loois sayed.

Yer got any pointers fer me I asked.

Wach out fer griz he sayed. Griz iz the meenest animule in the werld.

Griz.

Griz. A big ol bear. 10 times biggern the bears we got round heer. Cant killem with shot like by a hittin thar hart er lung er nuthin. Ball wont make it 2 no vital orguns. 2 big. Haf 2 wate til they bleed 2 deth. Ball wont brake thar bones neether.

How longs it take em 2 bleed 2 deth.

A few hours. Mebe a day er 2. Longern yoo can run.

Can a horse out run em.

Yoozly.

Dam. What a bout Indins.

Yool have trubel with the Soo ferst thing west o heer.

Be thar a lot o theez heer Soo.

Yep. They run a round in bands. A band mite have 3 er 4 hunert waryers. Then they deevide up in 2 war partys. Theys 20 2 60 in a war party.

My peepel did that.

All the tribes out on the planes live in teepees.

Seen them a4. Osages lived in teepees.

Rite Ashley sayed. Yoo mite run in 2 sum o them fellers 2.

Up whar the Yaller Stone meets the Mizura theys 3 tribes what live in big dirt houses & farm mostly corn.

They frenly.

Depends on when yoo meet em. The ferst bunch the Ree aint 2 be trusted. Then rite whar the Mizura meets the Hart iz whar the Mandan iz. Theyz trustabel fokes. Yer meetin Majer Henry thar aint ye.

Yesser.

The Minna Tarys live north o thar. Theys bout like the Mandan & a kin 2 the Crow what be futher up the Yaller Stone.

O.

West o the Mandan thars the Shy Anns & the Rapahos & more Soo but Henry ull tell yoo all bout them. & werst o all R the Black Feet. Yoo donít want 2 meet no Black Feet.

Be thar any I doo wanna meet.

The Crow be good foke & the Shoshony. Crow ull steel from ye ifn yoo leeve things a layin about. Wach yer truck round them.

Ill member that.

Loois tolt me a story bout a fite he had with the Black Feet when heez a cumin back from the Pasific See. He sayed my scalp wood be a fine prize 4 a Black Foot waryer.

Weez a polin agin the nex day but only made 4 miles. Finks men drunk 2 much the nite be4 in Sante Charles. We made pert good time after that. Therd day out Soo waryers follerd R bote up river on the north side o the river. We jez poled in the shalloes on the south side. Sum times theyd be thar uther times they warnt. Theys all dressed up with fethers & war paint & look like theyz a yellin & a razin hell but we coodnt heer em most o the time reel good coz o the noyze o the big river.

Took a cupla weeks til the river turnt north & we cood begin 2 yooze the sale. Weez all about poled out by that time. We ankerd nites in the middle o the river & posted gard. The river war a runnin perty swift & we never had no trubel. Mike Fink didnt let heez men drink likker when thars danger like thar war. He kep things perty much in order. He sayed thars a time fer drink & a time fer biznus. Probly why he lived so long.

Weez 5 weeks in2 the trip a cumin on a big bend 2 the north in the river a polin long the west shore when weez ambusht by Osajes. Iz a helpin out a polin my ownself & Iz in the back o the line o 8 polers closest the bow when the rukus cumensed. We put out sum good far & drifted in2 deep water fer perteckshum as R bote swang round brod side with R bow a pointin out. 1 croo feller took arras in the ass & leg & a nuther took 1 in the back a4 we cood git behind the cabin 4 cuver. Me & Fink war a polin best we cood a way from shore whilst tuthers war returnin far not hittin nuthin. Thar war sum waves out in the middel o the river & the rockin bote war hard 2 shoot from.

A Osaje waryer grabbed my pole & dam nar pult me in2 the water whar he wuz a4 Fink gut shot heem with a pistel. Weez close enuf 2 the bend we cood hoist sale wunce we got out in the current & we got a way from them Osajes. Them Osajes parently had only 1 rifel & he didnt hit no body with it. He fard a secund time when weez bout outa range. Theys bout 20 arras stuck in the bote. Fine hard wood arras with metal points septin 4 2 flint tips.

The feller with the arras in the back dide later that day. Thuther fellerd been shot with a flint tip. He started 2 git well & then hiz ass got infected a day er 2 later. It took heem a week o suffrin a4 he dide. Porivo did what she cood but heez haf ded a4 heed let her take a look at hiz ass. Had eem 1 hellashus feever when he dide. Baryd em both long the river. Mike Fink sayed sum rite good werds over thar graves. He tolt me he had a lot o practus. 2 much practus.

The river hedded mostly north & we used R sale most o the way. Didnt see no more Osajes but we saw what we thot war Soo long both sides o the river. We kep R gard up but thar warnt no more trubel.

It war cumin well in2 summer when a big party o Soo war a follern us long the eest bank o the river rite when weez a cumin on the ferst o the Ree villijes. Thar villij war palisaded & thar houses looked like mounds o dirt. Big houses. Them Soos & them Rees hadem 1 hellashus fite rite thar in vyew o us. Theys a still a fiten when we passed. By then them Soo war a steelin corn from the Ree feelds.

Soon sum more mounted Ree came from the north & my gess is that the Soo skedatled. We passed the nex Ree villij at nite & ankerd in brod day bout 5 miles up. When bout a hunert Ree got 2 whar we wuz & started 2 roe thar littel lether tub botes what they calt bull botes out 2 us we set R sale & left em. It war a week later when we came on2 the Mandan villages on both sides o the Mizura at the conflux o the Hart River. We landed on the west shore o the Mizura jez south o the Hart. Mandan bull botes war all round us by time we hit shore. Hunerts o Indins war thar 2 greet us cludin Androo Henry & 2 o heez mountin men. Henry war a tall ruff lookin feller.

The croo o the keel bote war morn reddy 2 takle sum o those Indin scwars what war willin fer a few foofraws. I tolt Fink Id stay on the bote 2 proteck the plunder. Not that I war ineersted in beddin down with nun o them wimmen but any fool cood see enuf shankers & croch scrachin 2 let em no this warnt no well fer drinkin outa.

Warnt no time a4 me & Porivo who stayd belo deck war a lone on Mike Finks bote. Howsumever Henry soon borded 2 palaver.

We innerdused R selves.

Ashley send truck.

Sent plenny. Hope yoo got morn 2 men 2 outfit.

Donít even got that. Thar heddin back with Fink. Had enuf o the Rockys.

Why 4.

Had 14 men this time last yar. 8 got thar scalps lifted by Blackfoot 2 by Rapahos 1 got lost best I can figger & 1 got et by a griz. Them 2 figger thar luck run bout far az its gonna.

Dam. Them Rockys donít a ford reel good odds.

Sure perty cuntry tho.

Looks like desert from heer.

Them Rockys aint desert. Pertyest cuntry yoo ever seed. Beever the size o deer. Deer the size o steers.

Bear the size o 10 bear.

Yoo got that rite. But they make up 4 it by being meener.

We both laffed.

Sceer ya off.

No. Made me a deel with Genral Clark 2 deliver a scwar back 2 her peepel.

What scwar 2 what peepel.

A lady named Porivo. When yoo see er donít say her reel name.

Whats her reel name.

Sacajewea.

Sacajewea. Sacajewea is here. With Pompy.

Quiet yoo silly shit. Itís a secret.

Donít know nuthin bout no Pompy but Porivos belo.

Henry let out a howl & dove down in2 the hold. Theys a laffin & a huggin like nuthin yoo ever seed. I went down a set with em wunce they setteld down. I tolt heem bout Sharbono & brung heem up 2 date on the nooz from Sante Looey. Pompy war her name 4 her sun what war a reddy back with thar tribe.

I had me more truck than I cood haul 2 the Rockys so the nex day we set us up a tradin cacus with the cheefs what war thar at the Mandan villij. Az it war the Crow peepel had rid eest with Henry & sum o thar kin the Minna Tarys war thar long with the Mandan. Crow had em sum pelts 2 trade. Mandan had corn meel & beens. A Minna Tary woman made me a set o buckskins & sum mocks. A Minna Tary waryer had a fine Hudsun Bay nife. We dun us sum deelin.

I delt a way most o my blankets & most o my pots & pans & cofy & sugger. I traded 2 fine flintlocks 2 Long Hare & Big Robber what war Crow cheefs 4 12 ponys. Sum Ree fellers shode up bout the end o the day & I traded thar cheef Bloody Hand a flintlock 4 a shinin pinto pony.

We didnt leeve Fink with cwite a lode but that coodunt be helpt. I node my Daddy woodnt be happy with what I traded 4 heez truck but tween the Indins & the mountin men thar warnt enuf pelts & thar war 2 much truck 4 me 2 tote 2 the Rockys. He tolt me not 2 send nuthin back with Mike Fink.

Me & Fink sayed R good bys & we rid west follern the Hart River tord the Yaller Stone the nex mornin with the Crow. Yoo wanna see a site. Yoo wach them Crow when theys a movin camp. Musta been 5 hunnert Crow & a 1000 horses. Them all in regalya like theys at a pow wow er sumthin. Waryers ridin flank. Scouts in & out. Kids & puppys & even a cub bear strapped on horses. 40 miles in 1 day. Wimmen palaverin & yung bucks a flirtin & cheefs with thar chins up a warein war bonnets o eegel fethers that war a draggin on the ground. Sum site. Theys reddy 4 fiten at the drop o a hat. We rid hard 4 days in cloodin crossin the Bad Lands a4 we reeched the Little Mizura. Weez at the Yallerstone in 2 more days. Them Crow then set up thar loges & let thar horses water & graze.

Me & Henry rid out with a huntin party o 4 Crow waryers after buffler. 4 wimmen & 2 berdashs came a long 2 do the cookin & skinnin.

Berdashs is men what becum wimmen. They donít cut nuthin off tho like that Joo feller. They jez dress & act like wimmen. Thar war a passel o them berdashs in all the tribes what lived on the Planes. We had a few fellers like that in the Cherokee but theez war differnt. In the Cherokee thoze fellers seemed 2 be kinda nachral female like. Kind o girl actin. Most o these berdashs war sissys. They desided 2 be wimmen sos they woodnt haf 2 fite & count coo & git theyselves kilt. Waryers wood sum times take em az scwars speshly waryers what had uther wives. Berdashs war reel handy 4 hevvy werk like skinnin & a cuttin up buffler & handlin the hevvy hides. Them Planes fokes didnt seem 2 think nuthin o men cumin 2 be berdashs. Hell sum o them tribes even had a ceremony onnerin thar bedashs & they treeted them like thar wives in ever way.

Most o them Planes fokes warnt reel respectful o thar wimmen. Wimmen war pert much slaves in cloodin berdashs. Waryers did the huntin & fiten & that war it. Bein a berdash warnt no party. It war sum choyse to becum a slave over a bein a waryer. On tuther hand thar warnt many old waryers in the tribe & plenny o old berdashs. In fak waryers kind o lost respect sum times ifn they sir vived 2 long.

A Crow waryer what later came 2 be thar cheef Rotten Belly led R huntin party long with heez bruther Littel White Bear. Only buffler we seen that day war 2 straglers what war a wokkin throo a willer stand by a crik. I popped em both from bout 2 hunert yards. The scwars & the berdashs skinned & bucherd the bufflers whilst us men sat a round & et the tung & smokt & throde nives.

Nex day I joined the Crow waryers in thar mornin swim in the Yallerstone 1 cold river. Theys bout the cleenest Indins I ever did meet. Bout the cleenest peepel I ever node til reel resent. Ever waryer in that tribe took a swim bout ever mornin. They beleeved it made em helthyer & stronger. I joined in 4 the hole time I rid with the Crow but I never did like it.

In a fyoo days we cumensed 2 follern the Yaller Stone south & west. Bout the therd day out sum Crow scouts spotted a party o Shy Anns off 2 the south. From the Mizura 2 the Yaller Stone war Soo cuntry but we never did see nun o them. The Crow war enemys o both tribes but now weez in Shy Ann cuntry. Then on 1 er 2 Shy Anns kep a I on us from long the rijes. Cupla times war partys went after em but they war 2 far a way 2 run down.

1 nite we camped long a crik & parently Long Hare set a trap 4 them Shy Anns not node 2 me. He let bout 40 ponys graze long the crik a mile er so from camp. A cupla Crow waryers what war in sosietys whar they swore 2 dy in battel volunteerd 2 stay with them ponys. 6 Shy Anns snuk in under dark on foot 2 steel the horses. Them Shy Anns kilt the 2 Crows but had they ownselves in a trap. Donít think nun o them Shy Anns got a way. Them Crows chopped em up sumthin terrbull. Them 2 Crows dide with grate onner. I never noo nuthin happened til the waryers came back 2 camp a hootin & a hollerin. Then thar warnt no sleepin.

In a cupla weeks weez 2 the Powder River whar it floes in2 the Yaller Stone. Thar we parted with the River band & rid on R selves me & Henry & Porivo long with Big Robber & 8 o heez Mountin band o the Crow. This war Crow cuntry but Henry sayed the Black Feet came in2 Crow cuntry so we rid at nite & slep by day in hevvy cover long the river with out bildin fars. Took us 4 days to reech the Big Horn River. Then we hedded south long the Big Horn tord them Rocky Mountins we cood see miles in the distense. We rid by day wunst we lef the Yaller Stone. In bout 3 days we reeched the mouth o Big Horn Canyun.

Thar war the mane villij o the Mountin Crow. They had em mebe 50 lodges & like the River Crow a passel o horses. Parently Big Robber war the cheef o the Mountin Crow & Long Hare war the cheef o the River Crow.

Big Robber givd me a invite 2 stay in heez lodge. Henry & Porivo stayd with Danglin Foot a war cheef. Big Robber tokked broke Marecan so heez reel good 2 palaver with. The wether war reel warm so 1 o heez wives brung us sum boilt stoo 2 whar we set under a big ol cottonwood. We ate & palaverd & smoke R pipes. He calt heez peepel the Absaroka.

He sayed Absaroka much riled. Black White man say big medisin cum. Spirits angry.

Well I node Absaroka ment Crow peepel but I didnt no nuthin bout no Black White man but Big Robber seemed to be reel riled hiz ownself. I coodnt figger ifn this Black White man feller ment me er Henry war big medisin.

What kind o big medisin I sayed.

He say spirits angry. He much a frade. They attack him.

Iz a gittin reel nervious bout R palaverin so I tolt Big Robber Id better tok 2 Henry. Big Robber sent 1 o heez yungins to fech Henry & he cum long soon enuf.

Henry didnt no no more bout Black White man than I did so we asked ifn we cood palaver R ownselves with this Black White man.

Out on the west end o the camp war a lone teepee. 2 medicine men war out front o the teepee a dancin & a singin & a drummin & a shaken rattels. They shook thar rattels at us & blode smoke at us when we got close.

They say yoo evil Big Robber sayed.

I didnt no bout Henry but I node I warnt evil.

Henry cumensed 2 spinnin a yarn & a synin Indin tung whilst he tokked. We have grate medisin he sayed. We trade fire sticks to Big Robber. Firesticks kill many buffalo. We trade blankets & cofy & shooger. We frends of Absaroka.

Um. They say yoo still evil.

Dam Henry sayed. Then he yelt Black White man sho me yer medisin.

From inside the teepee a Neegra soundin feller yelt Henry. Henry. That yoo Mista Coulter. Capn Clark. Capn Clark here.

Shit Henry sayed. Thatís York. Git yer ass out here he yelt.

A big black dirty Neegra feller came a crallin out the teepee. He war a site. He cralt out & grabbed holt o Henrys leg. Heez jez a warin a breech clout & heed shit it. Missa Coulter. Missa Coulter. Whar Capn Clark. Whar Capn Clark.

Jesus. What the hell. I aint Coulter he sade. Henry jumped back but York kep a crallin after heem.

Git a way from me yoo dirty shit.

I war ahavin me a good laf. Why donít ye run 2 the river. Mebe heel foller ye in thar I yelt.

Henry did & York did. Dam York had lost heez flint & got heez powder wet. Heez a pullin the trigger but heez gun warnt a farin. York war the feller what Clark had set free. Best we cood figger he lost heez sense from siflis er mebe got hit on the hed. He a majnin all sorts o things a cumin after heem. He thot Henry war a feler named Coulter & didnt no where he war neether. Heez a seein bad thangs.

Henry splaned 2 Big Robber that York warnt a seein no spirits heez a idiot. Heez a seein things what warnt thar. Big Robber warnt so sure & them medisine men didnt by it a tall. After Henry got York cleened off York kep a beggin heem to take heem to Capn Clark. Henry stuck heem back in that teepee & let the 2 medisine men wach heem.

Seemed like I spent all that nite ansern cwesjuns from Big Robber bout White fokes. He seemed 2 ferget bout York. I finly got sum sleep tho.

Henry woke me the nex mornin. York got yer horse.

What horse.

Yer Ree pinto horse.

Whared he go.

Down river. A Crow feller heard heem a sayin the werd Clark.

Duz he no Clarks in Sante Looey.

I aint sure he nose anythin.

Shit. How long agode he leeve.

Cupla ours best I can figger.

I no he didnt git my saddle coz I got it in the teepee with me.

He got mine.

Big Robber sayed heed wach Porivo whilst we chased after York. Henry yoozed Porivos saddle & we hedded north a in a canter. 9 Crow waryers came a long & weez all a leedin a extry horse.

We swiched horses after 2 ours & did that back a forth all day till jez a 4 sunset we came on my Ree horse a layin thar ded with the saddle still on. York rid him in2 the groun. Dam I thot. That war 1 fine horse. Had him a lotta good years in him. That war a crime to run that horse 2 deth like that. Gess that idiot York didnt no no better. We rode on a short peese a 4 we set up camp. York war still a hed o us & we coodnt trak heem in the dark. Leest Henry got heez saddle back.

Weez a reddy dam nere 2 the Yaller Stone River so we camped with out a far. We et us sum jerky & posted gards all nite.

Nex mornin we rid out sloer a follern Yorks tracks. Bout 3 ours out we cood see from the tracks that York war a startin 2 stumbel & then we cood see he fell a cupla times but heed kep a goin. He made it 2 the Yaller Stone & hedded down river. We kep R Is peeled 4 Black Feet & kep a follern York. I war nere nite fall when we spotted him a layin long a beech by the river.

He war a live & burnt reel bad by the sun. He didnt no weez thar & woodnt take no food ner water. He dide that nite. We barryd him under a cotton wood & stuck a cross to mark heez grave & Henry sayed sum werds. Henry felt reel bad bout York a dyin. When we got back 2 the River Crow camp & tolt Porivo she cride.

Iz short o horses so I traded a flintlock 2 Dangling Foot 4 a big bay stallion. Me & Henry & Porivo rid out the nex day up river tord Shoshony cuntry. We were 2 days out when on tuther side o the river we seen the biggest herd o buffler Id ever seed. They a movin slow north. I desided Iz a gonna clime up on2 the rije a buv 2 git a better look see at the herd. Tuthers stayed belo 2 let the horses rest & graze. It war a rite steep clime up that hill & I had 2 leeve my rifel bout haf way up. All I took war my pistol. I war a doin sum pantin a4 I made it 2 the top o that narry table rije. I wokked out to the point o the rije. The herd o buffler I figger must o ben 10 mile long & 3 mile wide. Never seen nuthin like it a4 er sense.

Donít ritly no how long I wached that herd but when I turn a round 2 go back 2 my climin down spot thar a hunert feet a way war a big ole griz jez a starin at me. I spected theyd be big but not that big. Oooeee. Warnt no way Iz a gonna git past that bear 2 my climin down spot & thar warnt no climin down spots whar I war. Nuthin but cliffs hunerts o feet down. I helt reel still but that bear had a reddy seen me & he cumensed 2 wokkin strate tord me. He war a takin heez time but not a takin enuf time 2 soot me. I pult out my flintlock pistel what I noo warnt gonna do much morn make heez mood werse but that war all I had. When he got haf way 2 me that bear stood up on heez hind legs & that jez made him look bigger.

I sayed 2 Bear you got any Indin triks fer this sichuashun.

I think this is when weíre supposed to sing our death song.

Iz a feered yooz gonna say that.

I neelt down on ded log & figgerd me out a plan reel cwik. Iz a gonna let that bear git reel close & then Iz a gonna shoot heem in the I & run like hell. Tonly problem war Iz a shakin like I had a ise cikel up my ass. Twernt no nevermind tho coz the powder blast wood crippel heem a bit. The bear war bout 10 feet a way & Iz reddy 2 far when rite belo me a skunk cralt from under the log. That bear saw that skunk & cwikern yoo cood say yee haw that bear turned tale & hedded back up the hill. That little skunk jez waddeld long behind him. I node I shood a run but I didnt leeve that spot til the bear & skunk war outa site.

We prayed and gave thanks to the creator before we left.

I larnt then & thar that them grizzes had em a enemy that had the upper hand on em. I war a gonna do some thinkin on that considern I figgerd 2 spenf sum time in this heer cuntry.

Henry sayed I looked a tad peeked when I cum back down the hill.

I sayed never seed so many buffler.

The hyer we got the scareser game got. Didnt make no nevermind to Porivo. She cood find food ever whar she looked. I larnt a lot bout sir vivin in the Rockys from her on that trip. Thar war differnt plants in them mountins than thar war long the Mississip but jest az many war good eetin.

Henry shode me a beever pond. Them beever war a mite bigger than R Kansas beever. I tolt Henry I never kilt no beever & never wood. Thot 2 my ownself Id never kill a skunk neether.

Kill only what you need to for food and survival.

Them Rocky mountins war shure perty but theys plenty up & down 2. On 1 day Iz a ridin that horny stallyun a tailin Henry whoze a ridin a mare in heet & 1 bad step & me & my horse had a 3 thousan foot drop a hed o us. My ass war puckerd so tite in that saddle a charj o dinomite woodnt a pryd me loose. Bet I swet a bucket on that trale.

This warnt buffler cuntry. It war gote cuntry. They had em sum big ole big horn sheep in that cuntry 2 but they warnt a bout 2 let a feller git 2 close.

We venchly came cross 2 differnt empty Shoshony camps a4 we spotted 1 o thar huntin partys. It war a nuther days ride 2 the Wind River whar we met with Washa Keys Shoshony band & Bapteest. He war Porivos sun who she calt Pompy. Pompy war shure happy 2 see heez Momma. Iz reel happy 2 git her thar safe like I promised Genral Clark. My muny war ernt.

Them Shoshony warnt as well off az the Crow. Thar teepees war mostly elk & deer & sum o the tribe lived in grass huts. They didnt move a roun like the Crow neether at the drop o a hat. Didnt have no guns neether. Henry tolt me they had a lot o fine horses but theyd parently lost most o em 2 a Black Foot rade. They had em enuf grass in thar valley to last thar fyoo horses til winner. Thar warnt even a horse 4 ever waryer.

They had to stay up in the mountins coz thar enemees the Black Feet & the Rapahos had guns & woodnt let the Shoshonee at the buffler herds. They warnt on reel good terms with the Crow neether. Not good enuf 4 the Crow 2 let them hunt in thar cuntry no ways. So they lived on mountin game what they kilt with thar bows & arras. Theyd foller the deer 2 lower cuntry in the winner whar thar kin the Shoshoko lived. They only mooved a cupla times a year.

Them Shoshonys treeted thar wimmen bout like the Planes peepels did but thar seemed 2 be sumthim speshul bout Porivo. Pompy he toked Marecan tolt me Porivo ment cheef in thar tung. She did wimmens werk but no 1 pushed her round nun. When she had sumthin 2 say even cheef Washa Key pade mind.

Washa Key war a inerstin feller. Heez a hed tallern me & Iz taller all o the Shoshony waryers coz thaze bout my size. Heez a big strong good lookin feller & best I cood tell heez rite smart. Didnt tok no Marecan but Bapteest in terperted 4 us. He tolt me heez peepel yoost 2 be Shoshokos til they got horses. Shoshoko ment peeepel who wok. Shoshonee ment peepel who ride in thar tung best I cood figger. He sayed Shoshokos war diggers. They carry em a diggin stick all the time coz theyr always a diggin for sumtin 2 eet. He tolt me lots o storys bout thar enemys the Black Feet & the Rapahos. Even had em a fyoo run ins with the Crow & thar own kin the Banuks & Yoots.

Them Shoshonys wanted sum o my guns reel bad. Henry had a idee ifn 4 o them wood help heem trap beever theyd make culleck enuf plews 2 by 4 rifels from me. I advanced them the rifels & shot & they set out 4 the trappin grouns. The deel war Id git thar fall & spring seezun o plews 4 a gun eech & Henry wood git a gun & uther pervoshuns.

Henry tolt me bout a valley that Coulter feller tolt him a bout north o the Wind River at the hed waters o the Yaller Stone what had spyooin hot waters & boilin mud. I desided I wanted 2 see that plase so I hedded out north by my ownself. I left most o my truck in the care o Porivo septin 4 5 flintlock rifels & a pistel. I took my best pack horse 2.

Iz a tottin enuf truck I woodnt haf 2 shoot no game. I jez planned 2 enjoy the last fyoo weeks coz winter cums erly in the Rockys. I in tended 2 keep a I out 4 the Black Feet 2. Fact war I woodnt a node a Black Foot ifn I saw him in my gravy sos I jez jenerly kep a I out fer Indins.

Iz only 3 days out when the ferst storm hit & dropped a foot o sno & helt me up 4 a nuther day. I desided I warnt stoopid enuf 2 go no futher sos I turnt back a round & hedded 4 the Shoshony camp.

Things looked differnt cuverd with sno & I had 2 back track a cupla times but I got back 2 the Shoshony camp in 4 days bout when ther nex storm hit. I war at the camp all rite but them Shoshonys war gone.

I peeled cootonwoods o bark 2 feed my horses coz the sno war 2 deep fer em 2 git 2 the grass. Theys a cupla grass huts that the Shoshony bilt, so I cralled in 2 1 o em. Then & I curled up under some blankets 2 ride out the storm.