white wolf - part 11

Start from the beginning

The next day as he was walking along the street to collect Jewel from the stables, John was approached by the man he’d kicked out of the office the day before. This time the man had two bigger and younger men with him so he made a bee-line directly into John’s path and began to yell and swear once again. John tried to simply ignore the bluster but one of the other men got in his way, blocking John from walking on the footpath. This young man also swore and then took a swing. John ducked then belted the other guy full on his nose, smashing it and sending the guy crashing to the path. The other younger fellow decided to get involved as well but was quickly regretting it when John also knocked him off his feet. The older man backpedalled as fast as he could go. John’s final piece of advice said it all “don’t come near me or my business again.”

John arrived at Secret Valley in time to see the three men cleaning up and packing all the gear away. They were laughing and obviously getting along well, Hans was doing most of the talking as usual but the two Cheyenne were still listening. The house was finished and just needed some furniture; even the stone barn was complete. After thanking Hans and giving him the gifts, John and his friends made their way south back to the summer camp. They were in time to hear the annual buffalo hunt was expected to be very soon. Scouts found large herds heading in their direction so everyone was starting to get organised. The wives painted lucky designs on their husband’s ponies and Morning Light couldn’t wait to start. John and the others were busy making sure their arrows and bows were ready. The general mood in camp was one of excitement as everyone looked forward to the hunt.

The warriors managed another very successful hunt, bringing down over 40 buffalo and then the job of butchering and transporting the meat began. As usual Snowy also got involved in the hunt and they found him sitting astride a calf, tearing great chunks of flesh from the carcass. John was able to account for four buffalo and had a narrow escape. His right leg received minor scratches from the horns of a buffalo and it was only a sudden sharp turn by Jewel that saved them both from serious injury. A young warrior on his first hunt was impaled through the thigh but would survive to tell the tale and another warrior was knocked from his mount but otherwise ok.

The celebrations that night went on for ages and John realised this might be his last hunt, it was a sobering thought. He didn’t let it spoil the night though and was up dancing and singing with his good friends. Much later in the evening, Snowy appeared and from the look of his stomach, he’d gorged himself on fresh buffalo meat. Everywhere John looked people were enjoying themselves, laughing and talking, he was going to miss this lifestyle but he could always return for a visit with his family. Maybe he could even time their visits to coincide with the summer buffalo hunts.

His friend Two Moons sat by his side and brought over a medicine pipe, filled with aromatic tobacco. He said “White Wolf I have a prize for you, it is the tip of a buffalo horn.” John didn’t understand its significance so asked “and why do you give me this prize Two Moons?” “Since you were injured by a buffalo in the hunt today, Little Wolf asked me to present this horn tip to you. It means you were hit by the horns but survived.” John’s reply was “yes that is true but it was only a scratch to my thigh.” “What you say is right but still it the custom for anyone who in hurt by the buffalo in the hunt, to receive this honour,” said his friend. John was going to protest but caught the look from Standing Bear so meekly accepted the honour, allowing the chief to place the horn on its rawhide string around his neck. “Thank you Two Moons I’ll wear it with honour especially since you presented it to me,” said John in a serious tone. With that the friends sat and enjoyed a smoke, watching the younger men silhouetted against the flames as they danced. Once the chief left John and Standing Bear, the big warrior said “it is good you accept the honour White Wolf, to refuse it would be a great insult.” All John said was “thank you my friend for the warning look, I wasn’t meaning to be rude but I thought the injury was too small to be important. Now I understand the honour of receiving it so as I told the chief, I will wear the gift with pride.”

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