"Do not follow the devil into the night!" Paw bellows. "I am frightened that I will lose more of my precious family."
Two Moons stops at the edge of the forest and holds his position. They remain like this, hearing the heavy breathing of Black Bear for what seems an eternity.
"He hides in the shadows. He won't give up the fight."
Paw looks up at the sky and realizes why. "He's waiting for nightfall."
"Retrieve my father and I will guard you," Two Moons insists.
Paw wraps the golden lance in a buffalo hide. He ties a leather strap to it and slings it across his chest. He and Two Moons secure Lone Wolf's remains and mount two of the straggling horses, returning Lone Wolf's mangled remains to the village.
As they leave, Black Bear emerges from of the forest and stands erect on his hind legs. He lifts one paw up and down, waving good-bye.
"Why did they take his body?" John asks.
"Kiowa custom. They don't leave no man behind," Charlie answers.
"Did they go back for any of the other Kiowa?" Zack asks.
"Of course!" Charlie proudly proclaims.
"I wish were Chief Black Bear." Luther snickers, thinking about the power he could have.
"I wish I were Lone Wolf," Kevin says with a heavy sigh.
"None of that matters, boys. All that matters is that Injuns is real particular about how they prepare their dead."
The boys listen intently, completely focused on their scoutmaster.
"Paw and Two Moons weren't about to let wolves or coyotes dig up Lone Wolf. That would be disrespectful and against Indian law. Now, the way Indians bury their dead is different from how we do it. First, they make a cot out of tree branches and hoist their loved one up on top of a stretched-out buffalo blanket. Next, they use tall polls to hoist the body up in the air so nothing can get to it. Then they leave behind weapons, shields, magic pouches, and even a little food for the journey ahead. Finally they kill his horse, so he will have something to ride to the happy hunting grounds."
"They killed his horse?" Zack gasps in shock.
Charlie nods and then continues. "After the attack, the Kiowa traveled far from their southern lands for many weeks, until they finally reached the northern part of where Washington is today. Except it wasn't the Olympic peninsula then. It was just called the north land, where three rivers fork and feed into the 'everywhere waters.'"
"Which rivers?" Zack wonders.
"Let's see here...I believe it was the Sol Duc, the Calawah, and Bogachiel Rivers. I could be wrong though."
"What is 'everywhere water'?" Luther asks.
John slams his limp wrist into his chest. "That's the ocean, duh!"
Luther makes a sour face and sticks his tongue out.
"This was part of the Kiowa annual journey. During the rainy Washington winters, they would migrate down south, sometimes as far as Texas. When summer would get too hot, they'd move on back up to Washington. Year after year they would do this circuit." Charlie draws a large circle with his finger.
The Kiowa gather beneath a cloudy gray sky. Though the sky is dark, and the wind howls, Water Boy holds back his mighty tears. The tribe doesn't. Women release their death wails. The terrible shrieks and cries spread from one squaw to the next. They thrash their clothes and tear their hair out.
YOU ARE READING
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