The Eagle

ittle Deer had lived with them for just a little over two years.  Cornsilk was growing, walking, mischievous and the typical little twenty-seven month old.  Cornsilks hair, for which she was named, certainly did not look like corn silk any longer.  Instead she had jet black hair and carried a very life like little doll made for her by Golden Eagle.  She carried it around everywhere she went.

Both were considered part of the family, but Little Deer was longing for something more than just a place to live.

She had been a marvelous help with the children, with the birthing, cooking, hunting, tanning of hides, and she even had her own quite large collection of pelts that she would sell in the coming trip to Los Angeles.  She was extremely torn about leaving Tobe and Golden Eagle.

Golden Eagle was sad about the prospect of losing Little Deer, and had talked about it extensively with Tobe.  In the Native Indian customs it was proper and favored strong males to have more than one wife.  It rewarded the hard-working, wealthy male because they could afford to have many wives and many children.  It allowed them to father many more children in a shorter time thus insuring the blood line and the name lines to continue.

The male with a large number of children had special status in the community.  But Polygyny also affected the status of women in the community by making them, undeniably, the property of males and subject to their control.  However, senior wives had control over the younger wives.  Another aspect of polygyny was that wars reduced the male population and having multiple wives helped to replenish the tribe and the supplying of braves.

All the needs and reasons were met in this situation.  And so it was in the Viking way.  Neither Tobe nor Golden Eagle had ever considered an addition to the family in this manner until just before their planned trip.  Little Deer was also a very lovely woman, and her desire was to have a husband and more children.  That is the way of a mother no matter what ethnic background.

One day while Golden Eagle and Little Deer were out in the garden Golden Eagle worked the conversation around to asking Little Deer what she thought about the situation without actually saying it.  Little Deer had dreamed of it for many months now, but being insecure in her status, she never mentioned it and stated it and the reason for same.

Nor would she ever have had ideas of same simply out of respect for Tobe, Golden Eagle and the three children.  To have a tryst with Tobe on the sly never crossed her mind.  Nor did it cross Tobe's mind.  While I'm not saying he hadn't noticed her, he had.  And it bothered him.  So badly, that he decided it was time for her to go.

But he certainly thought too much of her and Cornsilk to simply turn them out.  That was something he could never do, but if during the planned trip to Los Angels and she happened to find her a mate . . . .

So while Golden Eagle and Little Deer had come to an agreement, Tobe had not as of yet talked about it with Little Deer present.  He didn't want to make that commitment, nor did he want Little Deer to feel rejected.  He had warned Golden Eagle to let it rest, and under no circumstances bring it up to him with her present.

His parting statement on the subject was "let's all go to Los Angeles and see what comes up there.  Period."

Then, another subject arose which chopped at his root system.  What if Little Deer finds someone in Los Angeles and wants to come back here to live?  Tobe winced at the prospect of sharing his mountain with outsiders.  Little Deer was not considered an outsider.  She was absolutely a part of the family, and neither Tobe nor Golden Eagle could relish the thought of her departing.

Not only was she a part of the family, she was an important part of the family.  She had her regular duties and responsibilities around the house and out of doors as well.  Tobe had enlarged their little grotto.  I say grotto because they'd begun calling it that after finding a cave while clearing away the thick hedge like shrubs that lined the wall in two or three places.

Tobe explored the cave which was a natural water worn cave.  He figured it had been the original outlet of the spring from which they took their water supply.  The entrance to the cave was about three feet wide at the top and about four feet at the bottom, and just a tad over five feet tall.

It went back into the mountain only about fourteen feet, and at it's highest, it was a little over fourteen feet tall, and its widest point was about twelve feet.  Tobe built the house long enough to take that area in, and then built bunk beds for the children and the women.  He kept himself out close to the fire pit with the idea of steering clear of Little Deer at rest.

But the thought about sharing Eagle Mountain with others was really bothering him.  He wanted no other families up here bringing their family members who would bring their family members and friends and God knows who else.  Soon there would be the common problems of offenses, and hurt feelings, and crime that he did not want.

Nor did he want to move away and leave his home that he and Golden Eagle . . . well, and Little Deer too, had made so comfortable.  Golden Eagle did raise that question over meat one night.  She stated "I do think we should start planning some kind of arrangement for the children?"

Having no idea as to what in the world she was referring to he responded as to what she meant.  Then she just said it.  "If we're still here when the kids get bigger, we'll have to have a place for them to come back here with their own mates.  We have three right now, and if they bring their mates here, how will we keep the place from expanding to the point of being out of control?"

Three kids growing up here?  Was she pregnant again?  No, he decided.  She's talking about Corn Silk.  And if she's going to grow up here, where is Little Deer gonna be?  Tobe suddenly decided he had to go out, grabbed his pipe and a firebrand, lit it and walked out into the dim sunlight.

Within the hour Golden Eagle had found him and joined him as he was studying some animal tracks.  "Is that bear?" she asked.

"Sure looks like it.  Tomorrow I'm going to locate it and if it has no cubs I'll bring it in.  We could use the meat and especially the hide.  Bring good money in Los Angeles."

Golden Eagle did not mention any more of the taboo subject that evening, nor did she mention it again in front of Little Deer.  That was the first and only time she had seen him quite upset, and at her.  She did not want to upset the happy marriage they had enjoyed for nigh on to three years now.

Two days later she heard a shot and a shout.  Tobe had knocked the young bear down, but before he could get to it to bleed it, it had stumbled to its feet.  Golden Eagle looked up to see what was going on and instantly knew an extremely dangerous situation was at hand and could prove fatal to any of them, even several of them.

Golden Eagle sprinted to the house to get the other musket and quickly poured in a primer.  Tobe had no chance of reloading his gun, and the bear who was nosing around the path and walking toward the house, was now injured and many times more dangerous than it had been prior to being shot.

Golden Eagle sprinted toward where she had seen Tobe and the bear last, and they were not there.  Tobe's musket was laying on the ground and was pointed in the opposite direction of the house.  He had purposely led the bear away from the house in its pursuit of him.  Even injured it could run him down quickly.  He had sprinted for the rock shelf just above where they bathed and had bounded upon it.

He was safe, then he saw something that made his blood run cold.  Little Deer was in the water bathing.  More trouble: the bear had also spied Little Deer and headed in her direction.

Instantly Tobe jumped down and intercepted the bear about fifteen feet away from her.  He had his sax in one hand and his okse in the other, attacking the bear from the side.  The bear turned afway from the direction of Little Deer after Tobe made a deep slash in its neck with the okse.

The bear spun around and with one swipe knocked him down and was on top of him.  It was not a full grown bear, but it outweighed him by a hundred pounds.  His axe had cut into its shoulder deeply and now it was bleeding heavily.  Tobe was on his back with his right leg mangled by the bear as it bit into his flesh breaking the lower leg bone.

By this time Tobe had sliced the bear several times with his sax, but being young, it was able to keep up the fight long enough to kill him.  He heard Golden Eagle yell and the bear looked right at her.  Instantly the bullet found its mark and the bear fell right on top of Tobe.  Tobe was badly hurt and suffocating under the weight of the huge animal, and could not free himself.

Between Little Deer and Golden Eagle, they pulled it off Tobe, and started him toward the house one under each arm.  When he was at the door, he said, "don't take me inside until we get the bleeding stopped."  After laying him on a hide just outside the door, Little Deer had sprinted off to get the guns and her clothes.

She quickly dressed then went into the woods to get some herbs, quickly making a poultice and some dressings.  Golden Eagle was quickly sewing up the worst parts of his wounds, while Little Deer was wrapping them, eventually slowing the blood.  They both feared he would lose his leg.

By this time he had lost an immense amount of blood and had already gone unconscious twice and as of yet had not awakened as of the second time.  He had been raked down his side and his left arm had some deep cuts.  The most dangerous thing about these kinds of injuries is infection.  Little Deer said "I know where some herbs are that fights against infection.  I'll take the horse so I can get back quickly.

Within a minute she was gone out of sight, barely taking the time to throw a halter on the horse then swinging up in true Indian fashion, the horse already at a full gallop.  She was deeply wounded in her heart seeing one that she loved so much hurt like this.  This was the second time he had saved her life and this time he might lose his own because of it.

After gathering the herbs, she was soon galloping full out back toward the scene.  She removed the halter and put the horse back into the corral then running full out toward the house.

She started applying the different herbs and had some boiling in a birch-bark cup.  Now they half dragged, half carried him to his bed inside close to the fire pit.  Little Deer set his leg and wrapped it up with a splint on each side.

Golden Eagle loaded both guns and had them setting by the door.  If there was one bear, there was a good chance that another was around.  The one they had killed was a young male so he was searching for a mate.  And with them having horses around, and cured meat as well, it was quite a draw to any meat eating animal.  They would move the meat well away from the house and secure it.

Just yesterday after sighting the bear tracks Tobe said he was going to move the meat away from the house even though it was smoked and cured, it still had a scent that would carry on the wind even though it was in the rock hole.

At any rate, Golden Eagle and Little Deer wanted to be ready for anything.  Little Deer took a horse and one of the ropes Tobe had braided along with some knives.  She quickly butchered the brute, saving the shoulder and some choice cuts of meat wrapping it in the bear skin.  Then using the horse, dragged the rest of the carcass off several miles away.

Coming back, she was able to get the skin up on the rock shelf where they usually did their tanning away from the house.  The bear skin was quite lean but would still be a job to scrape.  It had some serious cuts in it which would knock the value immensely.  It may not be worth the time and salt to tan it.

In the piece of leather she brought, she re-wrapped the meat, and took it to the outside fire pit to begin the chore of cutting it in strips for jerky.

After putting the horse back in the corral she stepped back into the house inquiring of Tobe.  He was ashen and barely breathing.  "Have you made any plans about what we'll do if he dies?" she asked.

"No, but I figure I will take Fighting Eagle and White Eagle (Wambleeska) back down to Los Angeles.  You?" replied Golden Eagle

"I'll go with you if you don't mind.  We'll still be family even if something were to happen to him."

"That's true Little Deer.  That's what I want as well, but I understand if you find a mate and move away.  I don't ever want you to feel obligated to me."

"I owe you my life, and, I owe Tobe my life.  He was safe, and then he saw me.  He ran into that bear slashing with his okse and his sax, attacking it.  Had he not done that, the bear would have mauled and killed me in seconds.  That is twice he has save my life.  I feel I own him everything about me; my life, my service . . . my self."

"If he dies, I will have no heir of his.  It is such a deep desire of mine to bear his child.  Do you not hate me for that?" she spoke inquisitively.

"Not only do I not hate you for that, but I as well want the same thing for you.  You are a part of our family, and I feel I will make it a point of him taking you as his wife when he is able."

"I must go and see if I can get the meat sliced and jerked.  Plus, I want to save the skin if I can.  I will be close."  She then picked up Tobes sax and a skinning knife and walked out to the fire pit where the meat was just beginning to firm up to be sliced.  She didn't want to cook the meat as much as she wanted to just dehydrate it.

Tobe was in the most desperate fight for his life he had ever faced.  And it would not be a short fight.  But fight he would.

Golden Eagle went into the cave and retrieved a little bag in which she had some treasures.  She carefully laid it on the stoop in front of the fire pit, and pulled them out.  Finally she lifted out the item that was carefully wrapped and in the bottom.  She unwrapped it and pulled the cork, poured some on the little cloth in her hand and began to wash him down with it.

It was nigh onto dark when Little Deer came in and instantly said "where did you get that?" she asked pointing at the medicine bag.

Golden Eagle explained the whole ordeal about how it came to be in possession of it.  She then asked "Little Deer, what do you know about the medicine bag?"

"It belonged to my grandfather, the medicine man of our tribe.  He always kept a little roll of his special medicine in a slit close to the back.  Did you look in there?" she asked?

"No, but I will" answered Golden Eagle.  She picked up the bag and dumped the arrowheads on the hearth then began inspecting the inside of the bag looking for the pouch.  Upon finding it, she pulled it open, and retrieved the little rolled up leaf.

"What is it?" Golden Eagle asked.

"It is an extremely powerful and valuable drug made from herbs that he swore by.  He needs to get some of this in his stomach" she finished.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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Chapter XII