white wolf - part 8

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Chapter 13

The two riders and their pack horses were spotted a long time before they arrived at the summer camp. A group of three defenders galloped their ponies past the others and raced them straight towards the oncoming visitors. Standing Bear, Two Moons and Rain Bird whooped and yelled when they were certain the riders were their friends. All five dismounted before the horses had stopped and grabbed one another, happy to be together again. All the men forgot about being controlled in their expression of emotion and hugged and grinned like boys. It was almost ten months since they’d last seen each other and they were delighted. On the short ride back to camp the stories flowed and everyone in the group laughed and smiled. Suddenly they heard a shrill scream and were engulfed by a running Smiles-a-lot who appeared from behind the tepee. She jumped and leapt all around them wanting to know all about their trip. Once they dismounted she quickly positioned herself in between the couple and held their hands as they wandered around the camp. She didn’t stop talking the whole time and she kept touching her older sister’s belly, wanting to know if it was a boy or a girl baby.

Little Wolf and his wife were also very pleased to see their daughter and her husband. They were even more delighted when they saw Morning Light was pregnant and a great welcoming feast was arranged. The entire camp celebrated right through the night with dancing, singing and story- telling. Morning Light amazed everyone with her tales of the far away cities, ships and steam trains. Her parents and family were just so glad to have her back with them and everyone was looking forward to the birth of her first child. Little Wolf made a point of telling John, he was proud and honoured that they had returned, so the baby could be born into the tribe. As soon as he and John were alone together he announced “White Wolf it is good you have returned and I see you and Morning Light have been busy.” This comment made John blush ever so lightly and the older man enjoyed a chuckle.

For the rest of the night John found it hard to get away from his friends and they tried to monopolise his time. After saying goodnight to them a number of times, he joked with the trio not to come back to the tepee. “Married as I am you will appreciate a husband needs time alone with his wife,” explained John. The three Indians all laughed and grinned at each other but they did give their newly arrived friend time to be with Morning Light. Before retiring for the night John called over Little Wolf and presented him with a dozen more brand new Winchesters and several cases of ammunition. This gift would mean every warrior could have a rifle and it made the tribe the most well armed Indian tribe in the country. Little Wolf couldn’t stop smiling and his chest swelled with pride. He carefully unwrapped each rifle, marvelling at the beauty and sheer power such weapons gave. He understood how these gifts made his people an extremely strong fighting force, a power to be reckoned with for many years to come. The chief lifted one rifle to the heavens and howled an ancient yell letting the great spirits know the people were strong. The yell reverberated through the camp, echoing back off the far cliffs and making the whole village sit up and take notice.

Snowy the wolf also made the long trip back across the Rocky Mountains and the tribe were as always fascinated by the animal. Snowy liked to sleep at the entrance of his master’s tepee, although at night he often padded quietly around the camp, patrolling the boundary. John often said the wolf was the best sentinel you could hope for as nothing would ever get past him. No man or beast could have snuck into the camp without the wolf knowing. 

After arriving back from their sea voyage a few weeks earlier John noticed how Snowy had been  pleased with his master’s return to the farm. At the time he jumped up on John like a dog and wouldn’t let John out of his sight for days on end. John found out the big wolf had been on his best behaviour while John and Morning Light were away in San Francisco. He slept in the barn and hadn’t attacked any stock, in fact John’s father witnessed Snowy chasing another wolf that came sneaking around the cabin. Snowy inflicted such severe damage to the intruder that John’s father had been able to run it down and shoot it. John had listened proudly as his father told him about the wolf’s nightly patrol.

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