Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

A Bold Demand

Within a minute he came out from one of the lodges, and it gave me more courage when I noted the fact that he was looking disturbed in mind.

I demanded that he, or some of his tribe, return to us the cows which had been driven away.

If there had ever been such a being as an honest Indian, then I might have believed we had come upon him, for this chief, knowing there were men enough in our company to wipe out his entire hand, declared again and again, with no little show of innocence, that neither he nor his young men had had anything to do with our cattle.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

Straightway I pointed here to one fellow and there to another, as two whom I recognized among those who had ridden over the ridge, and called the attention of the chief to the ponies at the farther end of the village, which were yet covered with perspiration.

Instead of staying there to parley with the fellows, I insisted that the cows be brought to us before another day had passed, and made many threats as to what would happen in case my demands were not complied with.

Then we rode out of the village. When we were some distance away, John Mitchell asked in a bantering tone if I really expected to see the cows again, whereupon I told him we would not move from the present encampment, save to punish the rascally Pawnees, until every head of the three had been brought to us.

Because he laughed I saw that he believed that he never would see his cattle again; but I was better acquainted with the Pawnees than he.