The Times' Red Cross Story Book/The Veil of Flying Water

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The Veil of Flying Water

By Theodore Goodridge Roberts

1st Canadian Expeditionary Force


I

In those days an active man could not keep on friendly terms with everybody. If he acted honestly by his own clan, or his own village, he was sure to be in bad odour with some other clan or tribe. So it was with Walking Moose, a young chief of that clan of the Maliseets that had a white salmon for its totem.

This Walking Moose was chief of a sub-tribe that had its habitation and hunting-grounds far to the west, within twenty miles of the source of old Woolastook. Here the great river, beloved of Gluskap and his children, which advances seaward so placidly throughout the latter half of its course, dashes between walls of rock and gloomy curtains of spruce-trees that cling with brown, exposed roots that suggest the gripping fingers of giants. Rapids of twisting green and writhing white clang and shout in its narrow valley. Here and there are amber pools and green-black eddies; here and there a length of shallows that flashes silver and gold at noon; and here is that roaring place where the river leaps a sheer fall of thirty feet in one unbroken white curve—the Veil of Flying Water.

This is a rough country, full of shaggy forests and broken hills alive with game, and swift water alive with fish; and in the days of Walking Moose the Mohawks had their black lodges of undressed hides close to its western borders. The Mohawks were the age-old enemies of the Maliseets. Before Walking Moose grew to manhood and power, the peace-loving Maliseets had been content to flee down river and seek the protection of the larger villages whenever word came to them that the Mohawks contemplated a raid. Walking Moose was not content to flee periodically from his good hunting-grounds, however, and so the enmity of the raiders became bitter against him. Walking Moose hemmed three sides of his village with a tangle of fallen trees—the river kept the fourth side—lopped the upper and outer branches of these prostrate trees to within three or four feet of the trunks, and sharpened the ends and hardened them with fire. Also, he dug pits and covered them with brush, and set up many sharp posts in unexpected places. These things were good, but Walking Moose was not satisfied. He brought twenty families from one of the more sheltered villages, built lodges for them within his defences, and gave them equal rights of hunting with the older villagers. During that summer the Mohawks came three times, and three times they went away without so much as a scalp or a back-load of smoked salmon. During the winter Walking Moose's men were busy at making shields and weapons; and late in March, when the depths of snow were covered with a tough crust, a war party of the people of the White Salmon went swiftly to the westward and fell upon and destroyed a village of the Mohawks. But the only men who died at the hands of the victors were those who fell fighting. No prisoners were made on that occasion. The women and children were not harmed, the lodges and storehouses were spared. Only the weapons of the warriors were taken.

"We do not want your food and furs," said Walking Moose, "for we have plenty of our own. We do not want your women, for we have better women of our own."

Then he returned to his own country, with the victorious warriors at his heels. Some of these warriors had to be drawn on toboggans; a few remained behind, their spirits sped to even finer hunting-grounds than those of their nativity.

Walking Moose's first raid into the land of the Mohawks made a deep impression on that warlike people. History contained no record of any previous outrage of the kind. In the old, old days Gluskap had smitten the Mohawks on more than one occasion, so tradition said, but to be smitten with magic by a god and victoriously invaded by Maliseets were misfortunes of a very different nature. The warriors were furious, and the insulting fact that Walking Moose had left their lodges standing, their storehouses full, and their families beside them added to their fury. They bandaged their wounds, put their dead away, and sent the only uninjured man of the village to carry the outrageous news westward and raise a war-party. But worse than this was planned. Hawk-in-the-Tree, the daughter of the chief of the defeated village, brooded darkly over the scornful words of Walking Moose. His gaze had been upon her face when he had said, "We do not want your women, for we have better women of our own." Yes, his gaze had been fair upon the face of Hawk-in-the-Tree, and she was the woman whom three great chiefs wanted in marriage, many warriors had fought for, and Long Tongue had made songs about. She sat in her father's lodge and thought of the words of the young Maliseet and recalled the look in his eyes. Her slim hands were clasped tightly in her lap, her small, sleek head was bowed demurely, and her beautiful eyes were upon the beaded hem of her skirt of dressed moosehide. A tender pink shone in her dusky cheeks, her red lips were parted in a faint smile, but there was no mirth in her vain and angry heart.

Walking Moose was unmarried. All his thoughts were given to the pursuit of power—of power for himself and his tribe. He was great in the chase, and greater on the warpath. His mind and hand were at once subtle and daring. Though he forgot the words he had said about the women of the Mohawk village, he remembered everything else that he had said and done on that expedition; and so he suspected that the enemy would strike back before long, with all their strength and cunning. He sent swift runners down river with word of his raid and victory. These returned after five days with a band of daring young braves from the more sheltered villages of the tribe—adventurous spirits who were attracted by the promise of warfare against the Mohawks under a successful leader. Walking Moose welcomed these reinforcements cordially.

It was not until all the snow was gone from the hills and the ice from the river that the Mohawks returned Walking Moose's call. They had planned their arrival for the dark hours between midnight and dawn, but the sentries brought word of their approach to Walking Moose, and so it happened that instead of their finding him in his own lodge, he found them in a little valley two miles distant from the village. By dawn all the invaders had vanished save those who had lost command of their legs. And the Maliseets had vanished from the little valley also, on the trail of the retreating Mohawks. They followed that trail all day and half the night, and at last overtook and made an end to that war party. One young man escaped, one whose lungs were stronger than his heart. He carried word of the disaster throughout the Mohawk country.

Spring passed and summer came. The village of which Walking Moose was chief enjoyed quiet and security. The warriors of the White Salmon carried on their fishing in all the swift brooks and rivers, but they kept their shields and war clubs beside them, and far-sighted runners were on guard in the hills, day and night.

In the Mohawk country quiet reigned also. But it was a sinister, brooding quiet. Big chiefs met and parted, only to meet again. Rage gnawed them, but they were afraid to strike openly at the strong village of the Maliseets. About this time, Hawk-in-the-Tree spoke to her father, standing modestly before him with her glance cast down at her beaded moccasins.

"The strength of that village is all in the head and heart of Walking Moose," she said.

"It is so," replied the chief.

"Then if death should find him——"

"What death?" returned her father, testily. "The medicine-men have been questioned in this matter. You are but a squaw, my child, and cannot see the truth of these things."

"True, I am but a squaw," returned Hawk-in-the-Tree, modestly. "But will not my father tell me the words of the medicine-men?"

So the chief told her what the wise ones of the nation had said about Walking Moose. He did not know that, as usual, their wise words were nothing more than a clever fiction to mystify the warriors and retain the awe of the laity for the dark arts. To soothe the injured pride of the chiefs they had said that the prowess of Walking Moose was due to magic; that he could not be killed in battle, or by the spilling of blood, or by fire; that starvation only could kill him, and that within bowshot of his own village. It was a clever invention. No wonder the chiefs and warriors were puzzled and impressed.

"To be starved within bowshot of his own village?" repeated Hawk-in-the-Tree, reflectively. "Then he must first be caught and bound—then hidden in a place where his warriors cannot find him."

"It is so," replied the chief.

Hawk-in-the-Tree drew him into the lodge. The scornful words and heedless glance of the Maliseet were hot and clear in her memory. She talked to her father for a long time. He smiled sneeringly at first, but after a while he began to nod his head.


II

Walking Moose did not devote all his time in the summer months to the catching and smoking of salmon and trout. He wandered about the country, in seeming idleness, but in reality his brain was busy with ambitious plans. And always his eyes were open and his ears alert. He did not expect another attack from the Mohawks before the time of the hunter's moon, but he continued to place his outposts far and near, and to visit them at unexpected moments. Though his village had doubled in size within the year, and leapt into fame, he was not satisfied. He wanted to drive the Mohawks far to the westward and break them so that they would never again venture into the fringes of the Maliseet country, and he dreamed of the day when all the scattered clans and villages of the Maliseets would name him for their head chief.

One morning in July he followed the edge of Woolastook's rocky valley for a distance of about five miles above the village, then clambered down the bank and crossed the brawling stream—for at this point old Woolastook, the father of Maliseet rivers, was no more than a lively brook. Beneath the farther bank was a flat rock and an amber pool. He laid aside his shield and bow, and reclined on the rock to dream his ambitious dreams. So he lay for an hour, and the sunlight slanted in upon him and gilded his dreams.

Suddenly Walking Moose sprang to his feet and turned, his shield on his left arm and his bow in his right hand. His glance flashed to the overhanging fringe of spruce branches above his head. He saw a girl's face looking timidly out, and a pair of dark eyes gazing shyly down upon him. He did not know the face. It was not that of any girl of his own village.

"What do you want?" he asked, watchful for some sight or sound to betray the presence of some hidden menace.

Hawk-in-the-Tree answered him in his own tongue, for she had learned it from a prisoner when she was a child. Until recently, the Mohawks had never lacked opportunity of acquiring the Maliseet language.

"I sometimes fish in that pool, chief. But I will go away and fish somewhere else," she replied, modestly.

"Do not go," he said. "Come down and fish here if you want to. The pools of the river are free to all honest Maliseets."

Without more ado, the girl crawled forward, turned, and slid down to the flat rock beside Walking Moose. In her left hand she held a short coil of transparent fish-line made from the intestines of some animal. Her small face was flushed. She stood beside Walking Moose with downcast eyes. The young man gazed at her with frank interest.

"You are a stranger," he said. "You do not belong to my village."

She met his glance for a second.

"Have you ever seen me before, chief?" she asked.

"I am not sure," he replied, puckering his brows in reflection. "But I know that you do not live in my village. You do not look like those young women."

"They are more pleasant of appearance, perhaps?"

He smiled at that.

"Perhaps you say the truth, but I think your cheeks are pinker and your eyes brighter than the young women I know."

The girl turned her face away from him.

"I must fish," she said, "else my poor old grandfather will go hungry."

Walking Moose, feeling an interest that was new to him, and prompted by a little devil that had never troubled him before, dropped his bow and put out his hand and took the coiled fish-line from the girl. Their fingers touched—and he was astonished at the thrill which he felt.

"You must tell me who you are, and where you come from," he said, and his voice had a foolish little break in it. This vocal tremor was not lost on the girl.

"I belong to a small village on the great river, three days' journey from here," she said. "My old grandfather is my only friend. His name is Never Sleep. Because of his sharp tongue he became disliked by the people of the village, and so we journeyed to this place, and built a little hidden lodge. Never Sleep is very old, and spends all his days in brewing healing liquors from roots and barks. It is my work to keep the pot boiling."

Walking Moose was impressed.

"You are a good girl to take such care of your old grandfather," he said. "But why have you not brought him into my village to dwell?"

"The noises of a village disturb him," she replied. "And though his heart is kind, his tongue is bitter. He fears no one when he is angered, and rushes out of his lodge and calls people terrible names. He fears a great chief no more than a giggling papoose."

The young man smiled.

"Then it is well that he should continue to live in quiet," he said. "But you have not told me your name," he added.

She glanced at him swiftly, and as swiftly away again, and the glow deepened in her cheeks.

"My name is poor and unknown," she said. "It is for mighty chieftains such as Walking Moose to give names to their people."

At this Walking Moose, who planned greatness and fought battles without disturbing a line of his thin face, looked delighted and slightly confused.

"Sit down," he said, "while I catch some fish for you and your grandfather; and while I am fishing I may think of a name for you."

The girl sat down, smiling demurely. Walking Moose uncoiled the transparent line, placed a fat grasshopper on the hook, and cast it lightly upon the surface of the pool. He stepped close to the edge of the rock and, with his right hand advanced, flicked the kicking bait artfully. The sun was in front of him, so his shadow did not fall upon the pool. Suddenly there was a movement in the amber depths as swift as light, and next instant the grasshopper vanished in a swirl of bubbling water. The line, held taut, cut the surface of the pool in a half-circle like a hissing knife-blade. The line was strong, and in those days men fished for the pot and gave little thought to the sport. So Walking Moose pulled strongly, to judge the resistance, then took a lower hold with his right hand and gave a quick and mighty jerk on the line. The big trout came up like a bird, described a graceful curve in the sunlight, and descended smack upon the rock. He was dispatched in a moment by a blow at the base of the head.

"There is a fine trout for your cooking-pot," said Walking Moose, boyishly delighted with his success. "Now I'll see if there is another in the pool."

"But you have not made a name for me yet," said the girl.

"True," replied the young man. "Catching fish is easier." He looked shyly at the girl, then very steadily at the gleaming dead trout. "You are like a trout," he said, with hesitation. "You are bright—and slender—and the beads on your skirt are red and blue like the spots along the trout's sides. I might name you Beautiful Trout, or Little Trout—but your eyes——" He paused and glanced at her uncertainly.

She did not return his glance, but sat with her head bent and her hands clasped loosely in her beaded lap. Her hair, in two dusky braids, was drawn in front of her slender shoulders, and hung down her breast.

"They are not like a trout's," he said. "No, they are not at all like the eyes of a fish."

"What are they like?" she asked, her voice small and shy.

Walking Moose fiddled with the line in his fingers and shuffled his feet uneasily. "How should I know? I cannot see them."

"But you have seen them. Can't you remember?"

"I remember. They are like—like things that have never been seen by any man alive, for they are like black stars."

The girl laughed, and the sound was like the music of thin water flittering over small pebbles.

"Is Walking Moose a poet as well as the conqueror of the Mohawks, that he makes a fool of a poor young woman with talk of black stars?" she asked, turning her gaze full upon him for a moment with a look of tender mockery.

His heart expanded, then twitched with a pang of doubt. This mention of the Mohawks was grateful to his vanity, but it was disturbing too. Here he had been talking to a girl and catching a trout, when his mind should have been intent on plans against the enemy. He felt ashamed of himself. What would be the end of his good fighting and great dreams if he spent any more time in such foolishness?

"I am not a poet," he said. "A man who pushes his shield between the lodges of the Mohawks has no time for the making of songs."

Already his air was preoccupied. Hawk-in-the-Tree noticed this.

"Or for the making of names, chief," she said. "I do not wonder that your mind is uneasy and that fear tingles in your heart, for the Mohawks are mighty enemies."

Walking Moose stared at her, then smiled.

"Yes, they are mighty against those who run away," he said. "The hare that jumps from the fern strikes as much terror in my heart as all the Mohawks who stand in moccasins." He laughed softly, gazing down at the amber water of the pool. "But I have a name for you," he added. "Shining Star is your name in my country."

Then he put the line into her hand, took up his bow and shield, and crossed the stream. He climbed the short, steep ascent and forced his way through the tangled branches. So he advanced for about ten yards, making a good deal of stir. Then he halted, turned, and crawled noiselessly back to the edge of the bank. He lay motionless for several minutes, peering out between the drooping spruces. He had no suspicion of the girl, but it was a part of his creed to look twice and carefully at everything that was new to him. He watched her bait the hook and cast it on the pool. She skipped it here and there across the calm surface; and presently a fish rose and took it, and was deftly landed upon the rock for his trouble. Walking Moose was satisfied that the girl had no intentions against anything but the trout. He crawled noiselessly back through the brush, then got to his feet, and returned to the bank without any effort at concealment. She looked up as he appeared above the stream.

"I have come back," he said, "to accompany you to your lodge. I must see your grandfather, Never Sleep. It is my duty as chief to know all my people and the whereabouts of every lodge."

The girl coiled the wet line and took up the two trout. Her head was bowed, so the young man did not see the smile on her red lips. It was in her thoughts that something more than a poor fish had risen to her hook; but Walking Moose really thought that he was but doing his duty as chief of the clan of the White Salmon. As this couple had come to his country from the lower river, it was clearly his place to know something of their position so that he might protect them in time of need.

Walking Moose climbed the steep bank first and then reached down a helping hand to the girl whom he had named Shining Star. This was an unusual attention from a brave to a squaw. On reaching the top the girl took the lead. She walked swiftly and gracefully, and the twigs and branches that sprang into place behind her switched the warrior; but so intent was he in following this Shining Star that he paid no attention to the switchings. She led straight to the south, over hummocks, and across open places and tangled valleys. So for about a mile; and then she halted and turned a glowing face to her follower.

"I must let Never Sleep know that I am bringing a stranger," she said, "or he will be in a terrible rage. He is not agreeable when he is angry. If I whistle twice, he will know that I am not alone."

"He must be an unpleasant old man to live with," said Walking Moose; and because of the foolishness that was brewing in his heart he felt no suspicion. He stood inert, gazing down at Shining Star's glossy head, while she gave vent to two long, shrill whistles.

"That will let him know that a visitor is coming," she said. "It will give him time to get a pleasant smile on his face."

This appeared to Walking Moose as the most excellent wit. Again they advanced, and soon they came to a little lodge of birchbark set in a grove of young firs. A faint haze of smoke crawled up from the hole in the roof. The door-flap of hide was fastened open, showing a shadowy interior and the glow of a fallen fire. The girl laid her fish on the moss beside the door, and peered into the lodge.

"Walking Moose, the mighty chief, has come to see you," she said.

"Walking Moose is welcome to my poor lodge," returned a feeble voice. "Let him enter and speak face to face with old Never Sleep."

The girl drew back and nodded brightly to the chief.

"You go first," said he, his native caution flickering up for a moment. "The lodge is so dark, that I am afraid that I might step upon the old man."

She read the reason for his hesitation, and the blood tingled in her cheeks, but she entered without a word. He paused at the door for long enough to accustom his eyes to the dark within. He could see no one but Shining Star, and a robed, stooped figure seated on the ground. He stepped inside.

"The thong of my moccasin became unfastened," he said, by way of explaining his hesitation at the door.

A dry chuckle came from the robed figure.

"He is a wise man who halts and sets his feet and eyes to rights at the threshold of a strange lodge," said the feeble voice of Never Sleep.

Walking Moose felt absurdly young and transparent. He stood beside the fire and stared over it at the old man. He could see little but the living gleam of the face and a hint of two watchful eyes.

"What do you want of me, great chief?" asked Never Sleep.

"I met your granddaughter at the river, where she was fishing," replied the warrior. "She told me her story, and so I came home with her to mark the position of your lodge. All who dwell in my country are in my care. It is well for me to know where to find every one of my people, in case of need."

"You will find me of small use to you in time of need," returned the other, "for I am old and weak, and my fighting days are over. Only in one way can I serve you, chief. I brew potent liquors for the cure of all bodily ills."

"It is well," said Walking Moose, with a full recovery of his usual manner. "But you twist the truth of my words. I do not ask for your help, old man; but you and your granddaughter may need mine, some time. Brew your liquor in peace—and in danger send word to Walking Moose."

With that he turned on his heel and left the lodge.

Next morning found the chief of the people of the White Salmon again reclined on the flat rock above the amber pool; and again his dreams of ambition and plans of warfare were disturbed by the girl whom he had named Shining Star. Again she slid down to the rock, with the coiled fish-line in her hand. Again he took the line from her and caught a trout for her dinner. So it happened for six days, and by that time the dreams of Walking Moose were all of Shining Star instead of ambition. He even made a song, and it seemed to please Shining Star. But of these strangers he said nothing in the village. It would be time to speak of them when he had won the prize.

On the seventh morning the chief waited on the rock above the amber pool for an hour. After that he spent another hour in walking up and down the bed of the stream for a distance of several hundred yards each way. He flushed hot and cold with anxiety.

"Has something happened to her?" he asked of the lonely stream. "Or have they both gone away as quietly as they came?"

Unable to stand the torment of anxiety any longer, he ascended the bank above the pool, and set off swiftly towards Never Sleep's lodge. He found the old man crouched before the door.

"The girl has a fever," said the old man. "But I have given her a potent liquor that will drive it out of her blood."

Such fear gripped the young chief's heart at these words as he had never felt before. His staring face showed it to the sharp eyes of Never Sleep.

"She rests quietly now," said the old man. "She must not be disturbed. In the morning she will be well, I think. But, in the meantime, the pot is empty."

So Walking Moose went into the forest to hunt for flesh for Never Sleep's cooking-pot. He walked slowly, for his feet felt as heavy as stones when turned away from the lodge where Shining Star lay sick. His eyes were dim, and the sunlight on the trees and the azure sky above looked desolate and terrible to him. He stumbled as he walked. He wandered aimlessly for more than an hour before the thought returned to him that Never Sleep's pot was empty, and that his mission was to fill it. But the thought flashed away again as swiftly as it had returned, and so he continued his aimless wanderings.

"I love that girl—that Shining Star!" he murmured. "I must tell her of it soon, in plain words—to-morrow, when the fever is gone from her."

It was close upon sunset when Walking Moose at last got back to the lodge of Never Sleep. He carried two young ducks at his belt. The old man came to the door of the lodge.

"Has the fever gone?" whispered the chief.

"She still sleeps," replied the other. "The fever is passing. But you are weary, my son. Drink this draught to refresh your sinews and lighten your spirit. Then sleep, and when you awake you will find that the fever has passed away from the girl."

Walking Moose took the stone cup in a trembling hand and swallowed the bitter-sweet liquid it contained. Then he lay down on the warm moss beside the lodge. How light his body felt! What beautiful, faint music breathed in his ears! His lids slid down, but he raised them with an effort.

"I must sleep—for—a—little—" His voice trailed away to silence. Again his lids fluttered down.

Never Sleep stooped above him, but the face was no longer that of a feeble old man, but of the Mohawk chief—the father of Hawk-in-the-Tree.

"The liquor has done its work," he said.

Then the girl to whom Walking Moose had given the name of Shining Star came out of the lodge.


III

Walking Moose slept a deep and dreamless sleep. The Mohawk bound him at ankles and wrists, and then lifted him to his massive shoulders.

"Lead the way!" he commanded.

The girl took up her father's weapons and a long, tough rope of twisted leather, and entered the forest behind the lodge. The big warrior, with his limp burden, followed close upon her heels. They moved silently, through deep coverts and shadowed valleys, by an unmarked, twisting way. The sun slid down behind the western spruces and twilight deepened over the wilderness.

"For such a mighty chief he was wonderfully simple," remarked the Mohawk.

Hawk-in-the-Tree did not reply.

At last they came to the river above the fall that was called the Veil of Flying Water. The twilight had thickened to darkness by now; but these two required only a little light, for they had studied this part of the river and the bellowing fall night after night. The man laid Walking Moose on the ground and drew a small canoe from under a blanket of moss and bushes. He made one end of the raw-hide rope fast to the bars and gunnels of the canoe. He tied the other end strongly to a tree at the edge of the bank. He felt no uncertainty as to the strength and exact length of the rope. Everything had been tested; the whole amazing deed had been done before, as far as that had been possible without the presence of Walking Moose.

Now the Mohawk placed the canoe at the very edge of the water and lifted the drugged chief into it. He fastened one end of a shorter line around his victim's body just below the shoulders and under the arms. Then he cut the thongs that bound wrists and ankles.

"He will die of hunger within bowshot of his own village," he muttered.

With the slack of the long rope in his hand he edged the canoe into the racing current, stepped aboard, and let it ease slowly down towards the top of the sheer, out-leaping fury of white water. At the very brow of the screaming slope the canoe hung for more than a minute. Then it came slowly back to where the girl waited on the shore. The big Mohawk stepped out of it, grinning broadly. Walking Moose had vanished.

The Mohawk unfastened the rope and coiled it over his arm. With the girl's help he returned the canoe to the little hollow and covered it with moss. Hawk-in-the-Tree stood behind him, trembling. This was her father; but the young man who now lay with death above and below and on every side—what of him? She had hated him at one time. But now——

She held the shorter of the two ropes of leather in her hands. She made a noose of it. Her father stooped before, spreading the moss over the canoe. She crouched suddenly, gripped his ankles, and jerked his feet backwards, from under him. He pitched headfirst into the hollow with stunning force.


IV

Cold spray flying over his face aroused Walking Moose at last from his drugged sleep. For a little while he lay still, too shocked and bewildered by the quaking of the wet rock on which he lay and the roar and thunder in his ears, to think or move. He saw something pale, wide, and alive close in front and curving above him. He put out his right hand and felt cold, dripping rock behind him. He put out his left hand. Here was more wet rock—and there the sharp edge of it—and space—within a few inches of his side. He sat upright, and as he gazed he remembered the liquor he had taken from the hands of Never Sleep.

"This is the work of that old man!" he exclaimed. He stood up on the narrow ledge and raised his hand to the dim-lit, flying arc. It was struck down, and his face was dashed with bubbling water. Then horror seized him, and he leaned weakly against the dripping rock—for he realised that he was behind the Veil of Flying Water, hemmed in—in a deathtrap.

Walking Moose soon regained his usual composure. He stood with his back to the dripping rock, his feet firmly set on the quaking ledge, and gazed calmly at the roof and wall of thin, hissing water. He thought of the girl to whom he had given the name of Shining Star; but in a second he put that hateful vision from him. The spray came up from the boiling cauldron under the ledge and drenched him. He stared with dull interest at the arching water, and at last decided that the pale radiance that lit it was that of the moon. So the time must be early night. Suddenly he was aware of something foreign on the luminous front of his prison. It was a slender line of blackness, sharply curved, that struck the veil, vanished, and struck again on a level with his eyes. Spray flew when it touched. He leaned forward and put out his right hand. The thing was of twisted leather.

He shot out his hand and gripped the line firmly. He pulled it towards him. It came half-way, seeming to be slack only at one end; then it began to straighten and draw strongly outward and upward. He advanced to the very edge of the rocky shelf, still gripping the rope with his right hand. He stood on tiptoe. Then he grasped the rope with both hands and sprang through the roof of falling water.

When Walking Moose felt the solid rocks under his feet he loosed the grip of his fingers and fell forward, exhausted. Then the girl whom he had named Shining Star knelt beside him and raised his head against her shoulder.

The Mohawk chief, recovered from his fall, looked out upon them from the bushes. Then he turned and went back to his own country, cursing a magic that had not been foretold by the medicine-men.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.


The author died in 1953, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.