Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

The Pawnee Village

The man looked at me uncertainly an instant, as if questioning whether we had the pluck, as the Easterners say, to ride into an Indian encampment. Then he said grimly, almost as if doubting his own judgment:—

"I shall do as you say, boy; but if mischief comes of it, remember that I hold you responsible."

"Mischief will surely come of it if we fail to put on a bold front," I replied hotly, and then wheeling Napoleon around, I sent him ahead under the whip, which he richly deserved because, but for his foolish trick of kicking, all this mischief might have been spared us.

We rode through our encampment, for by this time the lads and the women had set up some of the tents, while one of the men who had remained behind was straightening out the oxen, and from there on a distance of about three miles, when we found that for which we were searching.

It was a Pawnee village, and in it there might have been forty men, women, and children, occupying say, ten tepees, or lodges, while there were so many ponies and dogs that one would hardly have had the patience to count them.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

We could see no signs of our cattle, nor did I expect to find them there; but, riding directly into the center of the village, I brought Napoleon to a standstill, at the same time demanding in the Pawnee language, or such smattering of it as I could command, to be brought to the chief.