From Chapter 16 “Caroline’s Indoctrination”
(For Caroline’s college thesis she is writing a paper on the Native American and is visiting Embrace Lake Reservation in north-central Minnesota. Here she is speaking to Long Bear, a Chippewa elder.)
Long Bear finally turned from the fire and faced her, “I have spoken enough on this subject. My granddaughter tells me you have come to learn of my people’s legends. Please, ask your questions.”
Caroline just stared. Her only question, right then, was what he had just maneuvered around. She wished Aaron could talk to the fanciful old man. They could sit and talk and encourage each other for hours and hours, while sensible people, like herself, kept the real world’s wheels turning.
Laughter and announcements came that the storm was over and the sun was shining.
Caroline stared at the old man for another second, and wondered if the real storm was yet to begin. She also wondered if Long Bear had any true idea of what he was talking about. Deep in her mind she thought he did. But the outward part of her mind that she depended on for day to day decisions and such, she didn’t know, “I think tomorrow will be soon enough for my questions, Long Bear. I promised my daughter a walk along the lakeshore tonight.”
“Is good, Curls of a Red Sun. Your small child is a truly beautiful person. I am sure she will grow to become as lovely as her mother.”
Caroline smiled, then turned to Jennie, and noticed Whooping Crow was still present and looking at Jennie, and Jennie was looking back.
“Take your child along the north shore,” Long Bear suggested, “It is most pleasant there.”
Long Bear watched as the tall pretty woman with the red-auburn hair and her tiny, stiff-legged daughter in the yellow dress with blue markings moved out of the cabin. Then he moved to the door and continued watching as the mother and daughter, holding hands, walked to the edge of Embrace Lake, stood for a moment, then started down the south shore.
He smiled the way he smiled. So, the young teacher does go her own way. It is good.
From Chapter 19 “The Capture”
(Daniel Friskop, a modern day mountain man, has been traveling around the country on foot. In the desert he decides he needs a horse, and makes a plan using a small Appaloosa mare, he has befriended, as bait to capture the horse he really wants, a Pinto stallion.) Aaron has—in a word—worshipped this man since childhood, and soon will have great need of him, to guide his horse-drawn wagontrain 300 miles from southern Minnesota farmland, cross-country, to northern Minnesota wilderness.
From behind one of the strategic trees Friskop came out of his standing doze and blinked at the bright moon, then blinked again at the scene.
Appearing as a dappled double statue gripped in the overpowering realm of love stood two horses. The sides of their faces were touching, nuzzling each other as if two lovers petting, preparing for the joys and thrills to come later.
He loosed one lariat, checked the other and shook out a loop.
The two equines stood quietly, lost in their embrace. As a ghostly part of the night air the first loop settled over the majestic stallion’s head. In an instant of consciousness he tossed as at a fly, then returned to nuzzling the little mare. Friskop secured the first rope then quickly moved to the other strategic tree and sent the second loop snaking.
Instantly he pulled it tight. Instantly the stallion recognized the odiousness of it and made an angry bellow, and lunged.
Confident of the opposite rope’s security Friskop whipped around the tree toward the vicious beast roaring at him. The knots all held. Halfway between the two trees the stallion jerked to a stop, caught in the throes of a trap as strong as steel jaws.
(When Friskop reappears in Chapter 32 “The Wilderness Bowl” he will have both horses with him. The Pinto Stallion’s name is Horsefire; the Appaloosa mare’s name is Applechaser. Plus two more wild animals have joined him, Julian, a wolf-dog, and Satire, a lynx, who rides on the back of Horsefire behind Friskop.)
Since a Native American elder appeared in this post I thought it appropriate that we hear a real elder speak. This elder is Hopi, but he says many of the same things as the elders in “The Bellwether.” Much of “The Bellwether” is based on Native American prophecy. That, in my novel, is fiction. I wasn’t aware of the prophecy this elder speaks of. Maybe we should listen….