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Flying Shadow And Track Maker


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

The Chippewas and Sioux had come together at Fort Snelling to make merry
and cement friendships. Flying Shadow was sad when the time came for the
tribes to part, for Track Maker had won her heart, and no less strong
than her love was the love he felt for her. But a Chippewa girl might not
marry among the Sioux, and, if she did, the hand of every one would be
against her should ever the tribes wage war upon each other, and war was
nearer than either of them had expected. The Chippewas left with feelings
of good will, Flying Shadow concealing in her bosom the trinkets that
testified to the love of Track Maker and sighing as she thought of the
years that might elapse ere they met again.

Two renegade Chippewas, that had lingered behind the band, played the
villain after this pleasant parting, for they killed a Sioux. Hardly was
the news of this outrage received at the fort ere three hundred warriors
were on the trail of their whilom guests and friends, all clamoring for
revenge. Among them was Track Maker, for he could not, as a warrior,
remain behind after his brother had been shot, and, while his heart sank
within him as he thought of the gentle Flying Shadow, he marched in
advance, and early in the morning the Chippewas were surprised between
St. Anthony's Falls and Rum River, where they had camped without fear,
being alike ignorant and innocent of the murder for which so many were to
be punished.

The Sioux fell upon them and cut down all alike--men, women, and
children. In the midst of the carnage Track Maker comes face to face with
Flying Shadow, and with a cry of gladness she throws herself into his
arms. But there is no refuge there. Gladly as he would save her, he knows
too well that the thirst for blood will not be sated until every member
of that band is dead. He folds her to his bosom for an instant, looks
into her eyes with tenderness--then bowing his head he passes on and
never glances back. It is enough. She falls insensible, and a savage,
rushing upon her, tears the scalp from her head.

The Sioux win a hundred scalps and celebrate their victory with dance and
song. Track Maker has returned with more scalps than any, and the maidens
welcome him as a hero, but he keeps gravely apart from all, and has no
share in the feasting and merry-making. Ever the trusting, pleading,
wondering face of Flying Shadow comes before him. It looks out at him in
the face of the deer he is about to kill. He sees it in the river, the
leaves, the clouds. It rises before him in dreams. The elder people say
he is bewitched, but he will have none of their curatives. When war
breaks out he is the first to go, the first to open battle. Rushing among
his enemies he lays about him with his axe until he falls, pierced with a
hundred spears and arrows. It is the fate he has courted, and as he falls
his face is lighted with a smile.

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