CHAPTER XIV. FOLK-LORE OF BLACKFEET.

The folk-lore of the Blackfeet is very voluminous and full of humour. Of course, as in other tribes, superstition and enchantment make up the basis of their stories; and it will be noticed by the student of their traditions, that there is that same marked similarity to those related in the lodges of widely separated tribes, indicating a common origin for them all. Two of the more interesting of these tales are "The Lost Children" and "The Wolf-Man."

        Once a camp of people stopped on the bank of a river. There were but a few lodges of them. One day the little children in the camp crossed the river to play on the other side. For some time they stayed near the bank, and then they went up over a little hill and found a bed of sand and gravel; and there they played for a long time.

        There were eleven of these children. Two of them were daughters of the chief of the camp, and the smaller of these wanted the best of everything. If any child found a pretty stone she would try to take it for herself. The other children did not like this, and they began to tease the little girl, and to take her things away from her. Then she got angry and began to cry, and the more she cried the more the children teased her; so at last she and her sister left the others and went back to camp.

        When they got there they told their father what the other children had done to them, and this made the chief very angry. He thought for a little while and then got up and went out of the lodge, and called aloud, so that everybody might hear, saying: "Listen! listen! Your children have teased my child and made her cry. Now we will move away and leave them behind. If they come back before we get started they shall be killed. If they follow us and overtake the camp they shall be killed. If the father and mother of any one of them take them into their lodge I will kill that father and mother. Hurry now, hurry and pack up, so that we can go. Everybody tear down the lodges as quickly as you can."

        When the people heard this they felt very sorry, but they had to do as the chief said; so they tore down the lodges and quickly packed the dog travois, and started off. They packed in such a hurry that they left many little things lying in camp - knives and awls, bone needles and moccasins.

        The little children played about in the sand for a long time, but at last they began to get hungry; and one little girl said to the others, "I will go back to the camp and get some dried meat and bring it here, so that we may eat." And she started to go to the camp. When she came to the top of the hill and looked across the river she saw that there were no lodges there, and did not know what to think of it. She called down to the children and said, "The camp is gone"; but they did not believe her, and went on playing. She kept on calling and at last some of them came to her, and then all saw that it was as she had said. They went down to the river and crossed it, and went to where the lodges had stood. When they got there they saw on the ground the things that had been left out in the packing; and as each child saw and knew something that had belonged to its own parents it cried, and sang a little song, saying: "Mother, here is your bone needle; why did you leave your children?" "Father, here is your arrow; why did you leave your children?" It was very mournful, and they all cried.

        There was among them a little girl who had on her back her baby brother, whom she loved dearly. He was very young, a nursing child, and already he was hungry and beginning to fret. This little girl said to the others: "We do not know why they have gone, but we know they have gone. We must follow the trail of the camp and try to catch up with them." So the children started to follow the camp. They travelled on all day; and just at night they saw a little lodge near the trail. They had heard the people talk of a bad old woman who killed and ate people, and some of the children thought that this old woman might live here; and they were afraid to go to the lodge. Others said: "Perhaps some one lives here who has a good heart. We are very tired and very hungry, and have nothing to eat, and no place to keep warm. Let us go to this lodge."

        They went to it; and when they went in they saw an old woman sitting by the fire. She spoke kindly to them, and asked them where they were travelling; and they told her that the camp had moved on and left them, and that they were trying to find their people, that they had nothing to eat, and were tired and hungry. The old woman fed them and told them to sleep there to-night, and to-morrow they could go on and find their people. "The camp," she said, "passed here to-day when the sun was low. They have not gone far. To-morrow you will overtake them." She spread some robes on the ground and said: "Now lie here and sleep. Lie side by side with your heads towards the fire, and when morning comes you can go on your journey." The children lay down and soon slept.

        In the middle of the night the old woman got up and built a big fire, and put on it a big stone kettle full of water. Then she took a big knife, and, commencing at one end of the row, began to cut off the heads of the children, and to throw them into the pot. The little girl with the baby brother lay at the other end of the row, and while the old woman was doing this she awoke and saw what was taking place. When the old woman came near to her she jumped up and began to beg that she would not kill her. "I am strong," she said. "I will work hard for you. I can bring your wood and water, and tan your skins. Do not kill my little brother and me. Take pity on us and save us alive. Everybody has left us, but do you have pity. You shall see how quickly I will work, how you will always have plenty of wood. I can work quickly and well." The old woman thought for a little while, then she said: "Well, I will let you live for a time, anyhow. You shall sleep safely to-night."

        The next day, early, the little girl took her brother on her back, and went out and gathered a big pile of wood, and brought it to the lodge before the old woman was awake. When she got up she called to the girl, "Go to the river and get a bucket of water." The girl put her brother on her back, and took the bucket to go. The old woman said to her: "Why do you carry that child everywhere? Leave him here." The little girl said: "Not so. He is always with me, and if I leave him he will cry and make a great noise, and you will not like that." The old woman grumbled, but the girl went on down to the river.

        When she got there, just as she was going to fill her bucket, she saw a great bull standing by her. It was a mountain buffalo, one of those which live in the timber; and the long hair of its head was all full of pine needles and sticks and branches, and matted together. (It was a Su-ye-stu-mik, a water-bull.) When the girl saw him, she prayed him to take her across the river, and so to save her and her little brother from the bad old woman. The bull said, "I will take you across, but first you must take some of the sticks out of my head." The girl begged him to start at once; but the bull said, "No, first take the sticks out of my head." The girl began to do it, but before she had done much she heard the old woman calling her to bring the water. The girl called back, "I am trying to get the water clear," and went on fixing the buffalo's head. The old woman called again, saying, "Hurry, hurry with that water." The girl answered, "Wait, I am washing my little brother." Pretty soon the old woman called out, "If you don't bring that water, I will kill you and your brother." By this time the girl had most of the sticks out of the bull's head, and he told her to get on his back, and went into the water and swam across the river. As he reached the other bank, the girl could see the old woman coming from her lodge down to the river with a big stick in her hand.

        When the bull reached the bank, the girl jumped off his back and started off on the trail of the camp. The bull swam back again to the other side of the river, and there stood the old woman. This bull was a sort of servant of the old woman. She said to him, "Why did you take those children across the river? Take me on your back now and carry me across quickly, so that I may catch them." But the bull said, "First take these sticks out of my head." "No," said the old woman; "first take me across, then I will take the sticks out." The bull repeated, "First take the sticks out of my head, then I will take you across." This made the old woman very angry, and she hit him with the stick she had in her hand; but when she saw that he would not go, she began to pull the sticks out of his head very roughly, tearing out great handfuls of hair, and every moment ordering him to go, and threatening what she would do to him when she got back. At last the bull took her on his back, and began to swim across with her, but he did not swim fast enough to please her; so she began to pound him with her club to make him go faster. When the bull got to the middle of the river he rolled over on his side, and the old woman slipped off, and was carried down the river and drowned.

        The girl followed the trail of the camp for several days, feeding on berries and roots that she dug; and at last one night after dark she overtook the camp. She went into the lodge of an old woman who was camped off at one side, and the old woman pitied her and gave her some food, and told her where her father's lodge was. The girl went to it, but when she went in her parents would not receive her. She had tried to overtake them for the sake of her little brother who was growing thin and weak because he had not been fed properly; and now her mother was afraid to let her stay with them. She even went and told the chief that her children had come back; he was angry, and he ordered that the next day they should be tied to a post in the camp, and that the people should move on and leave them there. "Then," he said, "they cannot follow us."

        When the old woman who had pitied the children heard what the chief had ordered, she made up a bundle of dried meat, and hid it in the grass near the camp. Then she called her dog to her - a little curly dog. She said to the dog: "Now listen. To-morrow when we are ready to start I will call you to come to me, but you must pay no attention to what I say. Run off and pretend to be chasing squirrels. I will try to catch you, and if I do so I will pretend to whip you; but do not follow me. Stay behind, and when the camp has passed out of sight, chew off the strings that bind those children. When you have done this, show them where I have hidden that food. Then you can follow the camp and overtake us." The dog stood before the old woman and listened to all that she said, turning his head from side to side, as if paying close attention.

        Next morning it was done as the chief had said. The children were tied to the tree with rawhide strings, and the people tore down all the lodges and moved off. The old woman called her dog to follow her, but he was digging at a gopher hole and would not come. Then she went up to him and struck at him hard with her whip, but he dodged and ran away, and then stood looking at her. Then the old woman became very angry and cursed him, but he paid no attention; and finally she left him, and followed the camp. When the people had all passed out of sight, the dog went to the children and gnawed the strings which tied them until he had bitten them through. So the children were free.

        Then the dog was glad, and danced about and barked, and ran round and round. Pretty soon he came up to the little girl and looked up in her face, and then started away, trotting. Every little while he would stop and look back. The girl thought he wanted her to follow him. She did so, and he took her to where the bundle of dried meat was and showed it to her. Then, when he had done this, he jumped upon her and licked the baby's face, and then started off, running as hard as he could along the trail of the camp, never stopping to look back. The girl did not follow him. She now knew it was no use to go to the camp again. Their parents would not receive them, and the chief would perhaps order them to be killed.

        She went on her way, carrying her little brother and the bundle of dried meat. She travelled for many days and at last came to a place where she thought she would stop. Here she built a little lodge of poles and brush, and stayed there. One night she had a dream, and an old woman came to her, in the dream, and said to her, "To-morrow take your little brother and tie him to one of the lodge poles, and the next day tie him to another, and so every day tie him to one of the poles until you have gone all around the lodge and have tied him to each pole. Then you will be helped, and will no longer have bad luck."

        When the girl awoke in the morning she remembered what the dream had told her, and she bound her little brother to one of the lodge poles; and each day after this she tied him to one of the poles. Each day he grew larger, until, when she had gone all around the lodge, he was grown to be a fine young man.

        Now the girl was glad, and proud of her young brother who was so large and noble-looking. He was quiet, not speaking much, and sometimes for days he would not say anything. He seemed to be thinking all the time. One morning he told the girl that he had a dream and that he wished her to help him build a pis-kun. She was afraid to ask him about the dream, for she thought if she asked questions he might not like it. So she just said she was ready to do what he wished. They built the pis-kun, and when it was finished the boy said to his sister, "The buffalo are to come to us, and you are not to see them. When the time comes you are to cover your head and to hold your face close to the ground; and do not lift your head nor look, until I throw a piece of kidney to you." The girl said, "It shall be as you say."

        When the time came, the boy told her where to go; and she went to the place, a little way from the lodge, not far from the corral, and sat down on the ground, and covered her head, holding her face close to the earth. After she had sat there a little while, she heard the sound of animals running, and she was excited and curious, and raised her head to look; but she saw only her brother, standing near, looking at her. Before he could speak, she said to him, "I thought I heard buffalo coming, and because I was anxious for food I forgot my promise and looked. Forgive me this time, and I will try again." Again she bent her face to the ground, and covered her head.

        Soon she heard again the sound of animals running, at first a long way off, and then coming nearer and nearer, until at last they seemed close, and she thought they were going to run over her. She sprang up in fright and looked about, but there was nothing to be seen but her brother, looking sadly at her. She went close to him and said, "Pity me. I was afraid, for I thought the buffalo were going to run over me." He said, "This is the last time. If again you look, we will starve; but if you do not look, we will always have plenty, and will never be without meat." The girl looked at him and said, "I will try hard this time, and even if those animals run right over me, I will not look until you throw the kidney to me." Again she covered her head, pressing her face against the earth and putting her hands against her ears, so that she might not hear. Suddenly, sooner than she thought, she felt the blow from the meat thrown at her, and springing up, she seized the kidney and began to eat it. Not far away was her brother, bending over a fat cow; and, going up to him, she helped him with the butchering. After that was done, she kindled a fire and cooked the best parts of the meat, and they ate and were satisfied.

        The boy became a great hunter. He made fine arrows that went faster than a bird could fly, and when he was hunting he watched all the animals and all the birds, and learned their ways and how to imitate them when they called. While he was hunting, the girl dressed buffalo-hides and the skins of deer and other animals. She made a fine new lodge, and the boy painted it with figures of all the birds and the animals he had killed.

        One day, when the girl was bringing water, she saw a little way off a person coming. When she went in the lodge, she told her brother, and he went out to meet the stranger. He found that he was friendly and was hunting, but had had bad luck and killed nothing. He was starving and in despair, when he saw this lone lodge and made up his mind to go to it. As he came near it, he began to be afraid, and to wonder if the people who lived there were enemies or ghosts; but he thought, "I may as well die here as starve," so he went boldly to it. The strange person was very much surprised to see this handsome young man with the kind face, who could speak his own language. The boy took him into the lodge, and the girl put food before him. After he had eaten, he told his story, saying that the game had left them, and that many of his people were dying of hunger. As he talked, the girl listened; and at last she remembered the man, and knew that he belonged to her camp.

        She asked him some questions, and he talked about all the people in the camp, and even spoke of the old woman who owned the dog. The boy advised the stranger, after he had rested, to return to his camp and tell the people to move up to this place, that here they would find plenty of game. After he had gone, the boy and his sister talked of these things. The girl had often told him what she had suffered, what the chief had said and done, and how their own parents had turned against her, and that the only person whose heart had been good to her was this old woman. As the young man heard all this again, he was angry at his parents and the chief, but he felt great kindness for the old woman and her dog. When he learned that those bad people were living, he made up his mind that they should suffer and die.

        When the strange man reached his own camp, he told the people how well he had been treated by these two persons, and that they wished him to bring the whole camp to them, and that there they should have plenty.

        This made great joy in the camp, and all got ready to move. When they reached the lost children's camp, they found everything as the stranger had said. The brother gave a feast; and to those whom he liked he gave many presents, but to the old woman and the dog he gave the best presents of all. To the chief nothing at all was given, and this made him very much ashamed. To the parents no food was given, but the boy tied a bone to the lodge poles above the fire, and told the parents to eat from it without touching it with their hands. They were very hungry, and tried to eat from this bone; and as they were stretching out their necks to reach it - for it was above them - the boy cut off their heads with his knife. This frightened all the people, the chief most of all; but the boy told them how it all was, and how he and his sister had survived.

        When he had finished speaking, the chief said he was sorry for what he had done, and he proposed to his people that this young man should be made their chief. They were glad to do this. The boy was made the chief, and lived long to rule the people in that camp.

The story of the Wolf-Man runs as follows: -

        There was once a man who had two bad wives. They had no shame. The man thought if he moved away where there were no other people, he might teach these women to become good, so he moved his lodge away off on the prairie. Near where they camped was a high butte, and every evening about sundown the man would go up on top of it, and look all over the country to see where the buffalo were feeding, and if any enemies were approaching. There was a buffalo-skull on the hill, which he used to sit on.

        "This is very lonesome," said one woman to the other, one day. "We have no one to talk with, nor to visit."

        "Let us kill our husband," said the other. "Then we will go back to our relations and have a good time."

        Early in the morning the man went out to hunt, and as soon as he was out of sight, his wives went up on top of the butte. There they dug a deep pit, and covered it over with light sticks, grass, and dirt, and placed the buffalo-skull on top.

        In the afternoon they saw their husband coming home, loaded down with meat he had killed. So they hurried to cook for him. After eating, he went up on the butte and sat down on the skull. The slender sticks gave way, and he fell into the pit. His wives were watching him, and when they saw him disappear, they took down the lodge, packed everything on the dog travois, and moved off, going toward the main camp. When they got near it, so that the people could hear them, they began to cry and mourn.

        "Why is this?" they were asked. "Why are you in mourning? Where is your husband?"

        "He is dead," they replied. "Five days ago he went out on a hunt, and he never came back." And they cried and mourned again.

        When the man fell into the pit, he was hurt. After a while he tried to get out, but he was so badly bruised he could not climb up. A wolf travelling along came to the pit and saw him, and pitied him. "Ah-h-w-o-o-o-o! Ah-h-w-o-o-o-o!" he howled, and when the other wolves heard him they all came running to see what was the matter. There came also many coyotes, badgers, and kit-foxes.

        "In this hole," said the wolf, "is my find. Here is a fallen-in man. Let us dig him out, and we will have him for our brother."

        They all thought the wolf spoke well, and began to dig. In a little while they had a hole close to the man. Then the wolf who found him said, "Hold on; I want to speak a few words to you." All the animals listening, he continued, "We will all have this man for our brother, but I found him, so I think he ought to live with us big wolves." All the others said that this was well; so the wolf went into the hole, and, tearing down the rest of the dirt, dragged out the almost dead man. They gave him a kidney to eat, and when he was able to walk a little, the big wolves took him to their home. Here there was a very old blind wolf, who had powerful medicine. He cured the man, and made his head and hands look like those of a wolf. The rest of his body was not changed.

        In those days the people used to make holes in the pis-kun walls and set snares, and when wolves and other animals came to steal meat, they were caught by the neck. One night the wolves all went down to the pis-kun to steal meat, and when they got close to it, the man-wolf said, "Stand here a little. I will go down and fix the places, so you will not be caught." He went on and sprung all the snares; then he went back and called the wolves and others - the coyotes, badgers, and foxes - and they all went in the pis-kun and feasted, and took meat to carry home.

        In the morning the people were surprised to find the meat gone, and their nooses all drawn out. They wondered how it could have been done. For many nights the nooses were drawn and the meat stolen; but once, when the wolves went there to steal, they found only the meat of a scabby bull, and the man-wolf was angry, and cried out, "Bad-you-give-us-o-o-o! Bad-you-give-us-o-o-o!"

        The people heard him and said, "It is a man-wolf who has done all this. We will catch him." So they put pemmican and nice back fat in the pis-kun, and many hid close by. After dark the wolves came again, and when the man-wolf saw the good food, he ran to it and began eating. Then the people all rushed in and caught him with ropes and took him to a lodge. When they got inside to the light of the fire, they knew at once who it was. They said, "This is the man who was lost."

        "No," said the man, "I was not lost. My wives tried to kill me. They dug a deep hole, and I fell into it, and I was hurt so badly that I could not get out; but the wolves took pity on me and helped me, or I would have died there."

        When the people heard this they were angry, and they told the man to do something.

        "You say well," he replied. "I give those women to the I-kun-uh-kah-tsi; they know what to do."

        After that night the two women were never seen again.[55]

                     * * *

        The Utes are strictly mountain Indians. They were a fierce, warlike tribe, and for years continuously raided the sparse settlements at the base of the Rocky Mountains on both their slopes. They were known to the Spaniards early in the seventeenth century. The Utah Nation is an integral part of the great Shoshone family, of which there are a number of bands, or tribes - the Pah-Utes, or Py-Utes, the Pi-Utes, the Gosh-Utes, or Goshutes, the Pi-Edes, the Uinta-Utes, the Yam-Pah-Utes, besides others not necessary to enumerate.

        The word Utah originated with the people inhabiting the mountain region early in the seventeenth century, when New Mexico was first talked of by the Spanish conquerors. Pah signifies water; Pah-guampe, salt water, or salt lake; Pah-Utes, Indians that live about the water. The word was spelled in various ways, "Yutas" by the early Spaniards. This is perhaps the proper way. Other spellings are "Youta," "Eutaw," "Utaw," and "Utah," which is now the accepted one.[56]

The Utes, unquestionably, were the Indians concerned in the "Mountain Meadows Massacre." The Utes, too, were the tribe that committed the atrocities at their agency, killing the Meeker family and others there, finishing their deeds of murder by the massacre of Major T. T. Thornburgh's command on the White River in 1879. The terrible story is worth recounting: -

        Major T. T. Thornburgh, commanding officer of the Fourth United States Infantry, at Fort Fred Steele on the Union Pacific Railroad in Wyoming, was placed in charge of the expedition which left Rawlins for White River Agency, September 24. The command consisted of two companies, D and F of the Fifth Cavalry, and Company E of the Fourth Infantry, the officers included in the detachment being Captains Payne and Lawson of the Fifth Cavalry, Lieutenant Paddock of the Third Cavalry, and Lieutenants Price and Wooley of the Fourth Infantry, with Dr. Grimes accompanying the command as surgeon. Following the troops was a supply-train of thirty-three wagons.

        When the command reached the place known as Old Fortification Camp, Company E of the Fourth Infantry, with Lieutenant Price in command, was dropped from the command, the design of this step being to afford protection to passing supply-trains, and to act as a reserve in case there was demand for it. Major Thornburgh turned his face toward the Indian country in deep earnest, with the balance of his command consisting of the three cavalry companies numbering about one hundred and sixty men.

        Having been directed to use all despatch in reaching the agency, the major marched forward with as great rapidity as possible. The route selected is not well travelled, and is mountainous, and of course the troops did not proceed so rapidly as they might have done on more familiar highways.

        Nothing was seen of or heard from the Indians until Bear River was reached; this runs north of the reservation and almost parallel with the northern line. At the crossing of this stream, about sixty-five miles from White River Agency, ten Indians, headed by two Ute chiefs, Colorow and Jack, made their appearance. They were closely questioned, but professed great friendliness for the whites and would betray none of the secrets of their tribe. They declared that they were merely out on a hunt, and repeated that they were friends of the white man and of the Great Father's government, and especially of the Great Father's soldiers.

        After this parley, which took place September 26, Thornburgh sent his last telegram from camp: "Have met some of the Ute chiefs here. They seem friendly and promise to go with me to the agency. They say the Utes don't understand why we came here. I have tried to explain satisfactorily; don't now anticipate any trouble." The conclusion is that Thornburgh was one of the most prudent and discreet of officers, but that he was thrown off his guard by the savages.

        The march was continued and nothing more was seen of the Indians though a close watch by keen-eyed scouts was kept up for them, until Williams' Fork, a small tributary of Bear River, was reached, when the same ten Indians first seen again quite suddenly and very mysteriously appeared. They renewed their protestations of friendship, while they covertly and critically eyed the proportions of the command. They made a proposition to the commander that he take an escort of five soldiers and accompany them to the agency. A halt was called and Major Thornburgh summoned his staff to a consultation. After carefully discussing the matter with a due regard for the importance, the advantage, and disadvantage of the step, the officers' council came to the conclusion that it was not wise to accept this proffer on the part of the Indians, as it might lead to another Modoc trap, and to Thornburgh's becoming another Canby. Thornburgh's scout, Mr. Joseph Rankin, was especially strong in opposition to the request of the Indians.

        Major Thornburgh then concluded to march his column within hailing distance of the agency, where he would accept the proposition of the Indians. But he was never allowed to carry out his designs. Here it became apparent how thin the disguise of friendship had been, and Thornburgh was soon convinced how fatal would have been the attempt for him, accompanied by only five men, to treat with them.

        The command had reached the point where the road crosses Milk River, another tributary of the Bear River, inside the reservation and in the limits of Summit County, about twenty-five miles north of the agency, when they were attacked by the hostiles, numbering, it is believed, between two hundred and fifty and three hundred warriors, who had been lying in ambush.

        The scene of the attack was peculiarly fitted for the Indian method of warfare. When Thornburgh's command entered the ravine or canyon they found themselves between two bluffs thirteen hundred yards apart. Those on the north were two hundred feet high, those on the south one hundred feet. The road to the agency ran through the ravine in a southeasterly direction, following the bend of the Milk River, at a distance of five hundred yards. Milk River is a narrow, shallow stream, which here flows in a southwesterly direction, passing through a narrow canyon. Through this canyon, after making a detour to avoid some very difficult ground, the wagon-road passes for three or four miles. Along the stream is a growth of cottonwood trees; but its great advantage as an ambuscade lies in the narrowness of the canyon. On the top of the two ranges of bluffs the Indians had intrenched themselves in a series of pits, so that when the troops halted at the first volley, they stood between two fires at a range of only six hundred and fifty yards from either bluff.

        The battle took place on the morning of September 29. The locality of the ambush had been known as Bad Canyon, but it will hereafter be described as Thornburgh's Pass. Lieutenant Cherry discovered the ambush, and was ordered by Major Thornburgh to hail the Indians. He took fifteen men of E Company for this work. Major Thornburgh's orders were not to make the first fire on the Indians, but to wait an attack from them. After the Indians and Cherry's hailing party had faced each other for about ten minutes, Mr. Rankin, the scout, who was an old Indian fighter, seeing the danger in which the command was placed, hurried direct to Major Thornburgh's side and requested him to open fire on the enemy, saying at the same time that that was their only hope. Major Thornburgh replied: -

        "My God! I dare not; my orders are positive, and if I violate them and survive, a court-martial and ignominious dismissal may follow. I feel as though myself and men were to be murdered."

        Major Thornburgh, with Captain Payne, was riding at the head of the column; Company F, Fifth Cavalry, in advance; Lieutenant Lawson commanding next; and D Company, Fifth Cavalry, Lieutenant Paddock commanding, about a mile and a half to the rear, in charge of the wagon-train.

        Cherry had moved out at a gallop with his men from the right flank, and noticed a like movement of about twenty Indians from the left of the Indians' position. He approached to within two hundred yards of the Indians and took off his hat and waved it, but the response was a shot fired at him, wounding a man of the party and killing his horse. This was the first shot, and was instantly followed by a volley from the Indians. The work had now begun in real earnest, and seeing the advantage of the position he then held, Cherry dismounted his detachment and deployed along the crest of the hill to prevent the Indians flanking his position, or to cover his retreat if found necessary to retire upon the wagon-train, which was then coming up slowly, guarded by Lieutenant Paddock's company, D, Fifth Cavalry.

        Orders were sent to pack the wagons and cover them, with the company guarding them. The two companies in advance were Captain Payne's company, F, Fifth Cavalry, and Lieutenant Lawson's company, E, Third Cavalry, which were dismounted and deployed as skirmishers, Captain Payne on the left and Lieutenant Lawson on the right.

        From Cherry's position he could see that the Indians were trying to cut him off from the wagons, and at once sent word to Major Thornburgh, who then withdrew the line slowly, keeping the Indians in check until opposite the point which his men had, when, seeing that the Indians were concentrating to cut off his retreat, Captain Payne, with Company F, Fifth Cavalry, was ordered to charge the hill, which he did in gallant style, his horse being shot under him and several of his men wounded.

        The Indians being driven from this point, the company was rallied on the wagon-train. Major Thornburgh then gave orders to Cherry to hold his position and cover the retreat of Lieutenant Lawson, who was ordered to fall back slowly with the company horses of his company.

        Cherry called for volunteers of twenty men, who responded promptly and fought with desperation. Nearly every man was wounded before he reached camp, and two men were killed. Cherry brought every wounded man in with him. Lieutenant Lawson displayed the greatest coolness and courage during this retreat, sending up ammunition to Cherry's men when once they were nearly without it.

        Simultaneously with the attack on Thornburgh's advance the Indians swept in between the troops and the wagon-train, which was protected by D Company, Lieutenant Paddock commanding. The desperate situation of the soldiers in the ravine was at once apparent to every officer and man in the ambush. The soldiers fought valiantly, desperately, and the Indians shrank under the terrible counter fire. A more complete trap could not be contrived, for the troops were not only outnumbered, but exposed to a galling fire from the bluffs, over the edge of which it was impossible to reach the foe, as the range of sight would, of course, carry bullets clean over the Indian pits.

        Major Thornburgh was here and there and everywhere, directing the attack, the defence, and later the retreat. He was constantly exposed to fire, and the wonder is that his intrepidity did not win his death ere it did. Captain Payne and his company, under orders from Thornburgh, fell back to a knoll, followed by Lieutenant Lawson and company, the retreat being covered by Lieutenant Cherry's command. Hemmed in at both outlets of the pass and subjected to a steady deathly fire from the heights on either side, the troops were melting down under the savage massacre.

        Major Thornburgh, seeing the terrible danger in which his command was placed from the position of the Indians, at once mounted about twenty men, and at the head of them he dashed forward with a valour unsurpassed by Napoleon at the Bridge of Lodi, and made a charge on the savages between the command and the train.

        It was in this valorous dash that Thornburgh met his fate, thirteen of his bold followers also being killed, the gallant leader falling within four hundred yards of the wagons. The remainder of the command, then in retreat for the train corral, followed the path led by Thornburgh and his men. As Captain Payne's company was about to start, or had started, his saddle-girth broke and he got a fearful fall. One of his men dismounted and assisted him on his horse, the captain's horse having run away. F Company, Fifth, followed by the captain, he being badly bruised, reached the wagon-train to find it being packed, and Lieutenant Paddock wounded, and fighting the Indians. Lieutenants Lawson and Cherry fell back slowly with their companies dismounted and fighting all the way, every man doing his duty.

        The stubborn resistance of Lieutenant Cherry in covering the retreat gave time for the troops at the train to form temporary breastworks of men's bundles, flour, sacks of corn, wagons, and dead horses. When the last detachment had reached the Paddock corral the soldiers fought intrenched, horses being shot down rapidly and the foe settling into position on all the high points about them. Captain Payne, who by Thornburgh's death came into command, drew up eight of the wagons and ranged them as a sort of a breastwork along the northern and eastern sides of an oval, at the same time cutting transverse trenches on the western and southern points of the oval, along the line of which the men posted themselves. Inside the oval eight more wagons were drawn up for the purpose of corralling the animals, and there was also a pit provided for sheltering the wounded. Behind the pits ran a path to the nearest bend of Milk River, which was used for obtaining water. The command held its position until 8:30 o'clock that night, when the Indians withdrew.

        In the engagement there were twelve soldiers killed and forty-two wounded. Every officer in the command was shot with the exception of Lieutenant Cherry, of the Fifth Cavalry. The Indians killed from one hundred and fifty to two hundred mules belonging to the government. Surgeon Grimes was wounded but was able for duty. The troops had about six days' supplies.[57]

One of the greatest chiefs of the Ute Nation was Ouray. His character was marked by its keen perception, and ideas of right and wrong, according to a strictly Christian code. He was bold, and an uncompromising protector of the rights of his tribe, and equally as earnest in his endeavours to impress upon the minds of the Indians that the whites were their friends. He was renowned for his wisdom rather than for his bravery, which is the test of greatness among savages. He was brave, too, but that did not, in his own conception, complete the qualities which a leader should possess. His tribe during the period of his chieftainship had five battles with the Arapahoes and several with the Sioux and Cheyennes. It was a bloody war between the Indians of the plains and the mountains, between highlanders and lowlanders, and in these struggles Ouray became a renowned warrior.

During some of these battles with the Arapahoes, Ouray led as many as seven hundred warriors into the field. At one time he had but thirty braves with him, while the enemy numbered nearly eight hundred. The Arapahoes came upon the Utes one morning just about daylight, surprising them completely. Ouray rallied his small force, however, formed them into a square, and after retreating a short distance, fighting continuously for fourteen hours, succeeded in repulsing his foes.

The story of his life is an interesting one. He says that he was born in Taos Valley in New Mexico, near the Pueblo village of that name, in 1839. The band to which he belonged spent a great deal of its time in the Taos Valley, San Luis Park, and along the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. In that region they were accustomed to meet the Apaches, who came from the south. It was a common thing for a tribe of Indians to marry out of their own. Ouray's father married an Apache woman, hence the epithet so often sneeringly applied to the chief, by those who did not like him, of "He's an Apache pappoose."

His band became so accustomed to association with the Mexicans that some of them began to adopt the customs of that people, and when Ouray's father and mother decided to wed, they were married in the little adobe church on a hill in the village at the Red River Crossing. A priest performed the ceremony according to the Catholic ritual. When Ouray was born, he was taken to the same building and baptized into the Catholic faith.[58]

Ouray was not head chief at first; but his influence increased so fast with the other bands of the tribe, that, in the year of President Lincoln's death, he was declared head chief of the whole Ute Nation.

Ouray resided in a neatly built adobe house erected for him by the government; it was nicely carpeted and furnished in modern style. He owned a farm of three hundred acres, a real garden spot. Of these he cultivated a hundred, owned a large number of horses, cattle, and sheep, and rode in a carriage presented to him by Governor McCook of Colorado. He hired labourers from among the Mexicans and Indians. He was very much attached to the white man's manner of living, and received from the government a thousand dollars a year annuity. From first to last, Ouray had been friendly to the whites, and always an advocate of peace. The moment he heard of the attack on Thornburgh's command, he sent runners to the spot and ordered the Indians to cease at once; so powerful was he that hostilities ended immediately.

The Pi-Utes have a rather poetical conceit in accounting for the movements of the celestial bodies. Their theory is that the sun rules the heavens. He is a big chief; the moon is his squaw, and the stars are his children. The sun devours his children whenever he is able to catch them. They are constantly afraid of him as he is passing through the sky. He gets up very early in the morning; his children, the stars, fly out of sight, and go away into the blue; and they are not seen again until he goes to bed, which is deep down under the ground, in a great hole. When he goes to his hole, he creeps and crawls, and sleeps there all night. The hole is so little that he cannot turn around in it, so he is obliged, when he has had all the sleep he requires, to pass on through, and in the morning he is seen in the east again. When he comes out of his hole, he begins to hunt through the sky to catch and eat any of the stars he can find. All of the sun is not seen; his shape is like a snake or lizard. It is not his head that is seen, but his stomach, which is stuffed with stars he has devoured. His wife, the moon, goes into the same hole as her husband, to sleep also. She has great fear of him, and when he comes into the hole to sleep, she does not remain there long, if he be cross.

The moon has great love for her children, the stars, and is ever happy to be travelling up where they are. Her children feel perfectly safe, and smile as she passes along. But she cannot help one of them being devoured every month. It is ordered by Pah-ah, the Great Spirit, who dwells above all, that the sun must swallow one of his children each month. Then the mother-moon feels very sorry, and she must mourn. She paints her face black, for her child is gone. But the dark will soon wear away from her face a little by little, night after night, and after a time her face becomes all bright again. Soon the sun swallows another child, and the moon puts on her black paint again.

They account for the appearance of a comet by stating that the sun often snaps at one of the stars, his children, and does not get a good hold of it, he only tears a piece out; and the star, getting wild with pain, goes flying across the sky with a great spout of blood flowing from it. It is then very much afraid, and as it flies it always keeps its head turned to watch the sun, its father, and never turns its face away from him until it is far out of his reach.

A few years ago, the Utes sold their lands to the United States government, and the various bands were removed to a reservation.

Among the many legends of the Utes, that accounting for the origin of the hot springs at the mouth of the canyon of the Rio las Gallinas (near Las Vegas, N.M.) is one of the most remarkable. It was related to one of the authors of this volume thirty-two years ago, by an aged warrior, while the party of Indians and white men who had been hunting for black-tail deer in the mountains were sitting around their camp-fire at night.

The wrinkled and paint-bedaubed savage veteran filled his pipe, lighted it, then taking a whiff after saluting the sky, the earth, and the cardinal points of the compass, passed it around, Indian-fashion, and began his weird story; which is here given, divested of the poor English of our interpreter: -

        Thousands of snows have passed, thousands of Indian summers made their delightful round, since the Medicine Waters were formed there by the Great Spirit to prove that the people of the powerful Ute Nation were his special care. Warriors, too, who were wounded in battle with their hereditary enemies, the Pawnees of the plains - if they were brave and had pleased the Great Spirit - had only to repair to the hot waters flowing out of the mountain side, bathe three times a day in their healing flood, and drink of the coldest that sprang from the same rocky ledge. Then, in the course of a few suns, no matter how badly injured, they would certainly recover and become stronger than ever. If, however, any who had behaved cowardly in the heat of action - which to the Great Spirit is a great abomination, never condoned - and went to the Big Medicine to heal his wounds, the water had no effect and he soon died. So these Medicine Waters were not only a panacea for all diseases, and injuries received in honourable warfare, but an infallible test of the courage of every wounded warrior engaged in frequent sanguinary conflicts.

That the action of Las Vegas Hot Springs was believed to be a direct manifestation of the power of the Great Spirit, the legend farther confirms, for after his preliminary observations of their efficacy and purpose, the old warrior continued: The Utes were the first people created. They had thousands of ponies. The mountains were filled with deer, bear, bighorn, and elk, while the plains below were black with herds of buffalo. They were very wealthy. Many hundreds of years they remained the happiest race on earth, always victorious in battle, and never suffering for food. Their head chief at this time was We-lo-lon-nan-nai (the forked lightning), the bravest warrior of all the tribes. His people loved him for his good qualities, and the justice with which he administered the affairs of the nation. One morning he was taken suddenly ill, and called into his lodge the celebrated medicine-men of his band to prescribe for him; but these famous doctors, after exhausting all their art and cunning, were obliged to declare there was no hope for their chief; he would soon be gathered to his fathers unless the Great Spirit, in his love for his chosen people, would interfere. To enlist his offices in behalf of their cherished dying leader, the oldest medicine-man, by virtue of seniority, ordered a sacrifice to be made as an offering of adoration and suppliance.

        A large altar of pine logs was erected near the lodge of We-lo-lon-nan-nai, and a buffalo bull, freshly captured for the purpose, driven to the spot, killed, and his hide taken off. The entire carcass was lifted with much ritualistic observance upon the altar, and then the whole tribe, in obedience to the order of the head medicine-man, prostrated themselves on the ground. Touching a torch to the pile, and wrapping himself in the bloody skin of the animal, the medicine-man took a position about a hundred yards from the altar in an attitude of supplication, to commune with the Great Spirit.

        Absolute silence reigned; not a sound broke the awful solemnity of the occasion, excepting the crackling of the fragrant pine limbs used as fuel, and the seething of the flesh as it melted under the heat.

        When the altar and all its appliances had been burnt to ashes, the medicine-man gave the signal for the people to rise, and then announced the communication he had received from the Great Spirit.

        "We-lo-lon-nan-nai will not die; he shall live long enough to rule over the Ute Nation; but he is very sick. He must be carried to a spot which will be designated by the Great Spirit, where he will cause a Big Medicine to appear out of the ground. It will not only cure the chief of the Utes this time, but it is for the sick and wounded of the nations for all time to come. To-morrow, at sunrise, We-lo-lon-nan-nai must be escorted by a hundred warriors to where the Big Medicine is to appear, guided by the flight of an arrow to be shot from the bow of the youngest medicine-man in the tribe as often as the end of its flight is reached. Day after day shall he shoot, until the arrow stands up in the earth, where is the place the Big Medicine is to be found, when We-lo-lon-nan-nai smokes the red-stone peace-pipe of the tribe."

        Arriving at the great canyon, where the arrow stood upright in the earth, and where only a cold stream of water flowed through its bottom, We-lo-lon-nan-nai sat himself down under the rocky ledge at the entrance to the mighty gap in the range, and, lighting his pipe, directed the smoke of the fragrant kin-nik-i-nik toward the heavens. Suddenly there was a terrible convulsion of the earth, and immediately there burst forth fountains of hot water and mud mounds, where before there was not the sign of a spring.

        Astonished at this manifestation, We-lo-lon-nan-nai offered up a silent prayer, and, divesting himself of his robe, told his followers to bury him in the hot mud up to his head. They complied with his orders, and he remained in the excavation, which was made large enough to receive his entire body, for a whole day; and when taken out at night all his pains were gone, and he seemed to his warriors to have recovered his youth. Many of them who were suffering with different ailments then tried the efficacy of the hot water and the mud, and were from that instant cured.

        The report of the miraculous healing of the Ute chief soon spread among the neighbouring tribes, and the sick from everywhere came flocking to the Big Medicine Springs, which they continued to use until the white man took possession of the country, and the Indians have ever since been lessening gradually in number, until there are now but few left, because deprived of their Big Medicine.

        We-lo-lon-nan-nai ruled over the Utes for many years after his restoration to health; in fact, never died, but was carried on the wings of an immense bird, which was supposed by the wandering warriors to be a messenger of the Great Spirit, right to the abode of the blessed. His name is revered to this day, and the young men are encouraged to emulate his virtues, the story of which has come down through untold aeons.[59]

To the uninitiated reader, it may, perhaps, be interesting to know the meaning of the somewhat strange Indian cognomens.

The majority of savages receive their names from some peculiarity of person, costume, or from bodily deformity. Ba-oo-kish, or Closed Hand, a noted Crow chief, was thus named from the fact that when young his hand was so badly burned as to cause his fingers to close within the palm, and grow fast. White Forehead, because he always wore a white band around his head to conceal the scar of a wound which had been inflicted by a squaw. Mock-pe-lu-tah, Red Cloud or Bloody Hand, one of the most terrible warriors of the Sioux Nation, derived his name from his deeds of blood, and the red blankets which his braves invariably wore. They "never moved on their enemies without appearing as a cloud, so great were their numbers. Sweeping down with his hosts on the border, he covered the hills like a red cloud in the heavens, and never returned to his village until he had almost exterminated the tribe or settlement against which his wrath was directed." Ta-shunk-ah-ko-ke-pah-pe, Man afraid of his Horses, obtained his name from having captured a great many horses at one time, which he was constantly afraid he would lose. Once, when the Shoshones attacked his camp, he left his family in the hands of the enemy, to run off his horses. No Knife, a noted man of the Omahas, was named from an incident that occurred at the time of his birth. He was born on the march, and was ever after known by his singular appellation. Ta-ton-ka-ig-oton-ka, Sitting Bull, the most vindictive and determined enemy the whites ever had, was so named because once, after having shot a buffalo, he leaped from his horse astride of the animal to skin it, when with the Indian upon him the wounded bull sat up on his haunches. The celebrated Sioux chief, Sin-ta-gal-las-ca, Spotted Tail, when young always wore a coon tail in his hair, hence his name. Connected with the history of this famous warrior, there is a pathetic episode, which shows the better side of Indian character.

Spotted Tail had a daughter, who was very beautiful according to the savage idea. She fell in love with an army officer stationed at Fort Laramie. He did not reciprocate her passion, and plainly told the dusky maiden he could never marry her. The poor girl visited the fort every day, and would sit for hours on the porch on her beloved's quarters until he came out, and then she would quietly follow him about with the fidelity of a dog. She seemed to ask no greater pleasure than to look at him, be near him, and was ever miserable when out of his sight.

Spotted Tail, who was cognizant of his daughter's affection for the young army officer, remonstrated with her in vain, and when he found he could not conquer her foolish passion, sent her away to a remote band of his tribe. She obediently went without murmuring, but, arrived at her destination, she refused food, and actually pined away until she became a mere skeleton. Spotted Tail was sent for, to see her die. He hastened to her bed of robes and found her almost gone. With the little strength she had left, she told her father of her great love for the whites, and made him promise that he would ever after her death live at peace with them. Then she appeared to be very happy, and closing her eyes said, "This is my last request, bury me at Fort Laramie," then died. The old chief carried her body to the fort, and interred it with the whites, where she wished to live.

The grave of the unfortunate maiden had been carefully marked, and as long as the fort was garrisoned it continued to be an object of great interest.

Spotted Tail, after the death of his daughter, never spoke in council with the whites without referring to her request, and declared it to be his wish to live at peace with the people she loved so well.