"Never!" said Peleg positively. "Have you?"
"No. There are some men in the settlement, however, who are fearful that he may try to betray us when trouble comes."
"He never will," said Peleg positively. "If you had been with me and seen him when Sam Oliver shot his foster-father and brother I am sure you would never suspect Henry of not being true."
"That is my feeling, lad," said Boone gently. "Do all in your power to prevent him from doing anything which might arouse the anger or even the suspicions of our men."
"He never talks to Sam Oliver and very seldom to any one else. He stays with me all through the day, except when I am on guard."
"You are welcome to bring him to our home any time."
"To stay there?" inquired Peleg.
"That is what I mean, lad," replied the great scout, his face lighting up with the occasional smile that appeared upon it. "My wife and daughters feel toward him as I do. Do you know that they were the first white women ever to stand on the banks of the Kantuckee River?"
"I had not thought of that," replied Peleg.
"There are many others coming soon. Already I have received word that Mrs. McGary, Mrs. Hogan, and Mrs. Denton are on their way here."
The arrival soon afterward of more than a score of white men to join the settlers aroused great enthusiasm, because now it was confidently believed that, after so many had passed safely over the roadway which Boone and his companions had opened to the beautiful region, many more would surely follow. These expectations were soon fulfilled.
The continued labours of the whites, however, had increased the intense hostility of the Indians, who naturally believed all these lands belonged to them. When they saw the settlers felling the trees and erecting their houses and planting their crops, a spirit of determination to drive the whites from the region spread among the tribes.
There was just now, however, a lull in the direct warfare. Dusky faces occasionally were seen in the forest, but there was no open attack.
Daniel Boone, however, was not to be deceived. He was confident that it was simply the hush which at times precedes the coming of the tempest. In his own mind he was convinced that the Indians simply were reserving their strength until they could rally a sufficient number to make an attack worth while. And Boone in the midst of all his labours—for he was toiling with the men of the settlement—was forming plans by which he hoped to meet the fierce attacks he expected the Shawnees to make.
Frequent sallies upon the men when they were at work in the fields now began to be made. While they were plowing, the stealthy warriors did their utmost to waylay and shoot them. When they were hunting they were chased and sometimes fired upon. Sometimes an Indian would creep up near the fort in the night and fire upon the first of the garrison to appear in the morning. The little settlement soon was in a state of continual and increasing alarm.
Even many of the ordinary duties of life were performed only at great risk. But the determination in the hearts of the hardy people to defend their new homes in the wonderful region strengthened with every passing day.
Many of the settlers every night assembled within the walls of the fort. It was the expressed desire of Boone that all should do this, for in this way only could the safety of every one be assured. For the most part the people responded willingly to his appeal, and after a certain eventful night all were willing to heed his counsel. On that particular night occurred a struggle with the prowling Indians which made the name of one of the heroic women long to be remembered.
As has been stated, the opening by Daniel Boone of the road through the wilderness to the new settlement, and the safety with which the journey thither had been accomplished, were strong inducements now to other families to make similar ventures.
Within a few months the little settlement had increased until it contained at least one hundred and fifty people. Trees had been felled, log houses had been built, and with great energy the new people were preparing to make permanent homes in the fertile valleys. Most of the newcomers were more than willing to follow the suggestion of Boone, who strongly advised all the settlers to seek safety in the shelter of the fort when night fell.
The great scout was convinced that the Shawnees were continually watching the little community, and that their anger at the determination of the settlers to make permanent abodes in the beautiful region was steadily increasing. Every day Boone was watchful. Occasionally the red men were seen, and not infrequently they crept close enough to the fort, or to the men when they were toiling in the forests or fields, to fire upon them; but as yet no concerted attack had been made.
Among the families which had come was one named Merrill. Mr. Merrill was a vigorous, active young man, and his wife was almost as large as he and as strong. So convinced were the two young people of their ability to withstand any attack that might be made upon their home that they had been somewhat unmindful of the request of the leader.
One morning in December Daniel Boone said to Peleg: "I wish you to go to Mr. Merrill's at once, and say to him that I have seen recently some signs of the Indians which greatly disturb me. It will not be necessary for you to say more, except that I strongly urge the Merrills to comply with my suggestion and come nightly to the fort."
Peleg, at the request of the scout, mounted a horse and rode in the direction of the little log cabin which the Merrills had erected on the extreme border beyond the settlement. He and Henry, accompanied by young Israel Boone, who now had become almost a man in size, had been frequent visitors at the friendly home of the Merrills. It was therefore with a feeling of personal interest as well as anxiety that the young hunter hastened to carry out the suggestion of the great scout.
Before he arrived at the little house its appearance suggested to him that something was wrong. It was early in the morning and yet no smoke was rising from the chimney. The silence which rested over the place seemed ominous. So anxious was the young scout that he dismounted before he entered the clearing, tied his horse to one of the trees, and then cautiously crept forward to discover what might be amiss with the household.
When Peleg approached the border of the little clearing he halted and peered anxiously before him. No one was seen about the place. Delaying only a brief time, and holding Singing Susan in his hands ready for instant use if occasion required, Peleg called to the inmates of the house.
"Hello!" he called. As no response was given to his hail, he raised his voice and called again, "Hello! Mr. Merrill!" Not even the dog, which was a great pet of Peleg's, made any response. Several minutes elapsed and the silence was still unbroken.
Troubled by his failure to arouse any one, Peleg darted swiftly across the clearing and, as he approached the door, stopped in astonishment when he beheld near the threshold the bodies of two dead Indians. As he looked about he saw bloody trails leading into the forest, which indicated that others also had been wounded. In the door a large breach had been made which was evidently the work of the Indian tomahawks.
The young scout, his flesh creeping at his discovery, glanced about him in every direction, but no sign of friend or enemy could he see. The door itself was partly open, and as Peleg stepped within the little cabin the odour of burned feathers greeted him.
There were many indications of a struggle which plainly had taken place within the room, but it was not until he had passed out to the rear of the little building and descried Mrs. Merrill approaching that his full courage returned. The resolute woman, her face pale, but otherwise not betraying any emotion, approached the young scout and said quietly: "I have just buried my husband."
The astonishment of Peleg was so great that he was unable to reply to the staggering statement, and then aware that the silent grief of his friend was almost more than she could bear, he assisted her within the house and soon was listening to her story.
"I did not like to bury my husband so soon," began the woman at last, "but I dared not wait to ask any one to come."
"Tell me about it," said Peleg quietly, "unless you think that we had better start for the fort right away."
Mrs. Merrill shook her head as she said: "I do not think there is need of immediate haste. It must have been about midnight when our dog began to growl so savagely that my husband thought something must be wrong. He got up, and when he opened the door to find out what the trouble was he received the fire of six or seven Indians. He sank to the floor, but managed to call me to close the door and let down the bars.
"I don't know that I ever had such a thrilling or awful moment in my life! I could hear the savages on the porch, and I was afraid they would get to the door before I could shut and bar it. Just as I managed to close it and let the bar fall, the Indians began to pound upon it with their tomahawks. If I had been one second later they would have got inside the house and I should now be where my husband is. They kept pounding on the door until they made a large hole in it. They did not know that I stood close by, waiting for them with an axe, and as fast as one after another—four of them—tried to crawl through, I killed or badly wounded every one that made the attempt. They could not force their way into the cabin," she added simply.
"How many Indians did you say there were at the door?" inquired Peleg in astonishment.
"Four, but only two of them were killed. At least there are only two left here, and the others may have got away."
"I saw two," said Peleg. "How many were there altogether?"
"Seven, I think. They kept away from the door after that, but pretty soon I heard them up on the roof. I knew then that they were trying to get into the house by coming down the chimney."
"I think I know how you kept them out," said Peleg, smiling slightly.
"Yes," replied the woman. "I grabbed the only feather bed we had in our cabin and ripped it open, in desperate haste, feeling just as I did when I was trying to close the door. I knew if I was not quick enough the Shawnees would be in the room. It was fortunate that there were coals on the fireplace, and just as soon as I put the feathers on them a blaze sprang up and such smoke as I never saw began to pour up the chimney. In less than one minute two of the redskins fell into the fireplace, and with the same axe with which I had defended the door I quickly put an end to both varmints."
"That made six of the seven, then," suggested Peleg.
"Yes. But the seventh wasn't ready to leave yet. He ran around to the door and tried to crawl through while I was busy at the chimney. It was fortunate that I chanced to see him. He got a gash in the cheek, and you ought to have heard him yell when he ran away from the door. Talk to me about the Indians never making any fuss! This man was yelling so that you might have heard him at the fort. He called me the 'Long Knife Squaw,' but I didn't care so long as he cleared out for good and all! And I don't believe any of them will come again very soon."
"What are you going to do now?" inquired Peleg.
"I haven't any plans."
"You must come with me to the fort."
"But I must not leave my clearing," said the heroic woman. "Now that my husband is dead, I shall have everything to do."
"Come with me, and I will find some one to do what ought to be done here."
Yielding to the persuasion of the young scout, Mrs. Merrill accompanied him to the fort, where at once some of the women offered her the solace of their sympathy.
Peleg at once assembled a little company of men, and led by Daniel Boone himself they returned to the scene of the brave woman's struggles. The dead Indians were buried and the two cows were driven within the stockade.
"It will not be safe," said Daniel Boone to Peleg, "for Mrs. Merrill to come back here alone. If she does insist upon coming, either you or Israel must be with her. She should be persuaded, however, not to expose herself to such dangers as she will meet here."
"She seems to be able to protect herself," said Peleg dryly.
"Indeed she does. I question if there is another woman in our settlement who would have been able to do what she did. Single-handed, to keep off seven Shawnees! I believe that the story of her bravery will be told to your grandchildren, Peleg."
Mrs. Merrill, however, was found to be more reasonable than the great scout's fear had warranted. She was quite willing to make her home for the present where the peril and the loneliness were not so great as in her cabin.
The attacks of the Indians continued, although no party as large as that which had attacked the home of the Merrills was seen. The plowmen in the fields, the men cutting the timber, and those who separated from their fellows while hunting game were continually in danger.
The determination of the whites was as great as that of the Indians, and although every one was anxious, no one thought of withdrawing from the settlement.
To Daniel Boone himself there came a little later an experience almost as thrilling as that which had befallen Mrs. Merrill.
Among the new families was one named Callaway. In this family there was a girl of nearly the same age as Daniel's Boone's daughter Jemima. One morning, early in the summer, the girls, taking the one canoe which was kept near the fort, paddled out upon the river.
"Do not go more than one hundred feet above or below the fort," warned Daniel Boone, who stood on the bank watching the girls. Both promised, and soon in their light-hearted way were paddling the canoe back and forth from shore to shore.
Satisfied that the girls were well within the protection they needed, Daniel Boone returned to his labours and no one was left upon the bank to watch them.
As the sport continued, and before either of the girls was aware of the fact, the light canoe had drifted beyond the points which had been designated by the scout as the limits of safety. Discovering some flowers along the shore, they pushed the little craft in among the tall rushes while they plucked the blossoms they were seeking. The canoe was well within the rushes and concealed, as the girls thought, from the sight of any one on the bank.
Suddenly the younger girl, emitting a piercing shriek, turned to Jemima Boone, and exclaimed: "Look there! Oh, look there!"
As Jemima sharply turned about she saw, creeping through the rushes and concealed from the sight of any one on the shore, a huge Shawnee warrior, who already had seized the painter of the little craft.
Scream followed scream when the Indian began to pull the canoe toward him. In a moment he was joined by several of his dusky comrades. The canoe was drawn to the shore and the girls, prisoners of the savages, were dragged up the bank.
The screams of the terrified girls were plainly heard at the fort. A little company of frightened women and frantic men quickly assembled upon the bank, but in spite of the piteous appeals it was too late to help the unfortunate prisoners. Four additional Indians appeared and, assisting their comrades, seized the girls and with them rushed into the wilderness.
The men from the fort who were standing on the bank of the stream were unable to cross, the only canoe being now on the opposite shore.
Calling to one another, the men endeavoured to find some one who would venture to swim to the other shore. No one volunteered, however, as all were afraid that the Indians might return if such an attempt should be made. Both Daniel Boone and the father of Miss Callaway were absent from the settlement at the time, and it was nearly night when they returned.
Stopping only a moment to comfort his heartbroken wife, Daniel Boone, as soon as he was informed, acted promptly and decisively, as was his habit. He was well aware that no time should be lost, and fortunately he discovered Peleg at that moment returning to the fort.
"The girls have been taken by the Indians," said Boone, suppressing his emotion.
"What girls? What do you mean?" inquired Peleg, aghast.
"Jemima and her friend, the Callaway girl."
"This noon. I have no time to explain. We must get a party to start right away. Find every man you can and I, too, will look about, and we will meet here at the fort just as soon as we can get our party together."
Darting into the house, Peleg secured Singing Susan, and then, finding Israel Boone, who was almost as aroused as his father, the two instantly began their search for men who would join the rescue party.
Soon afterward a band of eight men stood with the scout on the bank of the Kentucky River near the fort. The quiet of the summer evening was unbroken save by the occasional cry of some night-bird. It had been long since the screams of the disappearing girls had been heard, but the direction from which they had come indicated the way in which to start the pursuit.
"How many are here?" inquired Boone, as he glanced about the group.
"Eight," replied Peleg, "including you and Israel."
"We need more, but I shall not wait. We will start at once."
The canoe meanwhile had been secured by one of the boys of the settlement who swam across the river at dusk and returned in the little craft, paddling with his hand, for the blades had been broken by the Indians to delay pursuit.
The men now were ferried across the river, and as soon as every one was standing on the opposite bank Daniel Boone again inquired: "Is every one prepared?"
Every member of the party declared that he was ready to follow wherever the great scout might lead.
Instantly Daniel Boone led the way into the forest. The anxious scout was so quiet and self-controlled that an uninformed spectator would never have suspected that he was labouring under special stress. Even Peleg was astonished at the composed bearing of the man.
Turning to Israel, the young scout remarked: "Your father is saving every ounce of his strength for the work ahead of us. He is not wasting any time crying."
"He never does," responded Israel proudly. "Do you know, Peleg," young Boone said, "there are times when Parson John Lythe preaches to us that he speaks of the Great Father of us all, and somehow I always think of Him as if He looked somewhat as my father does."
Deeply impressed as Peleg was by the reverence in which the son of Daniel Boone held his father, there was no opportunity at the time for further conversation.
In Indian file the pursuers advanced, and all soon were running, following the custom of the Indians. So skilled was the leader in this work that it was well known that he was able for many hours to maintain the pace at which he was now moving.
"One time," said Israel to Peleg, "my father ran like this for eight hours, then rested two hours, and then ran eight more, and after he had taken another rest he made the third stretch of the same number of hours."
The leader had not spoken except when in the dim light of the moon he was compelled to stop to search for the trail. Once when he halted he said to his companions: "The Shawnees are not moving in one body. They have broken up into ten parties and are moving in parallel lines."
"Did they expect to throw us off the trail in that way?" asked Israel scornfully.
"Doubtless they hoped to. Peleg," inquired Boone, turning to the young scout, "how many do you make out were in this band that stole Jemima?"
"About thirty, I should say," replied Peleg.
"It is more nearly thirty-five," declared Boone, as he turned to direct his followers to resume the pursuit.
Somehow the night did not prove to be a serious obstacle to the great leader. Almost as if by instinct Boone found his way, and the parallel trails made by the Indians, instead of throwing the pursuers into confusion, really aided them. If the trail was lost in one place it then became comparatively easy for the men to scatter and in a brief time discover it nearby.
"How far have we come?" Israel inquired of his father when a halt was made in the morning.
"Thirty miles," replied Daniel Boone.
"Do you find anything new?"
"Yes," replied the scout, nodding his head. "The Indians are less careful than they were. The trail is becoming plainer. I hope we shall overtake them before noon."
It was not long before the pursuit was resumed, and the pace of the entire party was increased when it was discovered that the Indians had entered a buffalo road and were following that clearly defined path.
The expression upon the face of Boone, who, with Peleg and Israel, was in advance of the little band, made every one aware that he expected soon to overtake the savages. The time of anxiety as well as peril was surely approaching.
"Peleg," whispered Israel, "what do you think will be done to the girls if the Indians see us before we get within rifle shot?"
Peleg shook his head and did not reply, although both he and his friend were aware that the Indians would doubtless tomahawk their captives and then flee if they should discover their pursuers close upon them.
Nearly ten more miles were covered before the escaping band was overtaken. Each party discovered the other almost at the same moment. The Indians were in the act of kindling a fire and preparing camp for the night. Almost as if it was one sound, the rifles of Daniel Boone, Peleg, and Israel rang out together.
Two of the Indians fell to the ground. All the other braves, as if driven by one impulse, instantly turned and fled from the spot, leaving the terrified girls behind them. So sudden had been the flight of the savages that when they darted into the adjacent forest they had been unable to don their moccasins. Not a man in the pursuing party had been injured.
The cry of Jemima Boone when in the dim light she beheld her father approaching at the head of the rescuing party was one that those who heard her never were able to forget. She sprang from the ground where she had been seated and threw herself into her father's arms. For a time not a word was spoken by any one, while the well-nigh exhausted girl clung to Daniel Boone sobbing as if her heart would break.
The pursuit which had been led by the great scout had been so swift and unrelenting that scarcely any time for rest had been given the band since its departure from the fort the preceding evening; and only a short time for recuperation could be allowed even now. This was some hardship for the men, but for the girls, who, in addition to the terror and despair which had possessed them, had been compelled to travel through the forests at a speed which exhausted their strength, it was doubly hard.
Jemima explained to her father that they had arrived at the place where they had been discovered only a few moments before the coming of the hunter and his friends. The girl shuddered as she said: "If the Shawnees had had two minutes more they would have killed both of us before they ran; and I do not understand why they ran, anyway."
"How many warriors were in the band?" inquired her father.
"We cannot stay here long. The varmints will be coming back, and they outnumber us so greatly that we may have serious trouble."
It was accordingly decided that the party should begin their return at once. For a time Daniel Boone carried his daughter in his arms, while her companion, almost exhausted, was also carried by one of the men.
When several miles had been covered word for rest was given, and then, after a hasty meal was made from the loin of a deer which Peleg shot, the flight toward the fort was resumed.
It was soon discovered, however, that the Indians were not pursuing, and when Boone became convinced that this was so, his anxiety was relieved, and he decided not to maintain the swift pace at which they had been moving.
Two days later the party arrived at the fort on the bank of the Kentucky, and the relief of the distracted mothers as well as the general rejoicing over the safe return of the rescuers was great. After a rest of a day, the scout and all the party resumed their accustomed summer tasks.
It was a few days afterward, while Peleg and Israel were engaged in hoeing a field of corn that belonged to Peleg, that the scout approached his friend.
"Peleg," he said, as he halted in front of the boy, "we are to have a meeting in the fort to-morrow at noon and I hope you surely will be present."
"What is the meeting for?"
"We are to pass some laws. We now have more than one hundred and fifty souls in this little settlement, and up to the present time every one has been a law unto himself. We now must pass some laws which shall govern us as a community."
"Is Sam Oliver here again?" inquired Peleg with a laugh.
"Not as yet," answered Boone quizzically, smiling as he appreciated the discovery his young friend had made as to one of the causes for his desire to pass some laws by which all should be regulated.
"Colonel Henderson will preside," said Boone. "He, as you know, was the original purchaser of this tract of land from the Cherokees, and he kindly consented to permit us to make a settlement here."
"I shall try to be there," promised Peleg, as the scout passed on to make further arrangements for the meeting, and the two boys resumed their task.
It was a serious assemblage of men that met the following noon. After accepting the chair, Colonel Henderson said: "I shall ask the Reverend John Lythe, our pioneer preacher, to address the Throne of Grace."
At the conclusion of the old minister's prayer, Colonel Henderson solemnly said: "This legislature is now opened in the name of his Majesty the King of Great Britain." In his address he reminded his hearers of the importance of laying a broad and strong foundation for the future. He declared that the secret of future success depended largely upon the carefulness of their present preparation. He also explained how good and wholesome laws, such as would command the respect and support of the people, would benefit not merely the settlement as a whole, but also every individual member.
Various laws then were proposed, discussed, and adopted by vote of the assembly.
In the midst of the meeting, which both Peleg and Israel were enjoying keenly, Daniel Boone arose and asked for recognition from the chairman.
"My father is going to make a speech!" whispered Israel in amazement, as he leaned toward Peleg. Never had either heard the scout speak under such circumstances. He was so self-contained in his manner and spoke so seldom that no one had thought of him as a man to make a public address. It was therefore with intense interest that every one present turned to listen to what Daniel Boone might say.
A BAND OF SCOUTS
"He would rather face three live painters," whispered Israel gleefully. "I never saw my father scared before."
In a moment, however, the boys were listening intently to what the great scout was saying.
"I am no speechmaker," began Daniel Boone, his voice trembling slightly as he spoke. "I know a little of the language of the deer and of the songs of the birds. The cry of the nighthawk has its meaning for me, to which it almost would be possible for me to reply. Even the scream of the painter is in a language which I understand, but when I look into the faces of my friends, who are much better fitted than I am to say what is best for this little community, I am at a loss how to proceed." The hunter paused a moment and the sympathetic interest of his hearers plainly encouraged him to go on. "It is true," he continued quietly, "I have a name for being somewhat successful as a scout and a hunter. I think you will all bear me witness, however, that never yet willingly have I inflicted pain upon even the weakest of God's creatures. Whenever I draw a bead on a deer I do so with the thought in my mind that here is the provision of the Almighty for food for His children. With all my might, mind, and strength I am opposed to any cruelty to dumb creatures, and also to any wanton waste of the game in our forests. I am sure I am giving voice to your convictions also when I say that we want no man within our settlement who does not have some such feeling as I have just described. Sometimes our boys are thoughtless and shoot perhaps more for the sake of killing than to secure provisions for our homes. We must be patient with them and strive to show them how mistaken they are. What I desire greatly just now is that a law shall be adopted to protect the game in our forests." The hunter took his seat and a murmur of applause at once came from the little assembly.
"Do you make that as a motion?" inquired Colonel Henderson.
"I do," responded the scout, rising and gravely bowing as he spoke.
The motion was seconded, and without one opposing vote the assembly agreed to the suggestion of Daniel Boone.
As soon as this motion was adopted the great scout once more arose and in his quiet and dignified manner again began to speak: "There is another matter in which I am deeply interested. I have never been able to understand how any man made in the image of his Creator could take his Creator's name in vain. In my experience I have noticed that profanity is limited to men who are either weak or vicious. I think, my friends, that you will agree with me that we want neither class in our little settlement on the banks of the Kentucky. I therefore move that we adopt a law prohibiting profanity."
It was manifest that not every one in the assembly agreed with these sentiments of the hunter, and there was a moment of hesitation. Peleg, however, always ready to further the efforts of his friend, whom he admired more than he did any living man, promptly arose and seconded the motion, which then was passed without any opposition, though not with the enthusiasm which had greeted the preceding motion.
Once more the tall scout arose and said: "I have still one other desire in my heart. As you all know, our little settlement has been unusually free from the brawls which occur in so many of the hamlets on the border. I am confident it is the desire of every one here that the same things shall continue to be true. If we must fight, then let us fight hard; but all petty quarrellings and brawls, let them not henceforth even be mentioned among us. With this peaceful desire in our minds, I greatly desire that a law shall be adopted to express the wish of this settlement that the Sabbath shall not be like other days. We surely toil so hard throughout six days of the week that if there were no other purpose in our minds we ought to rest on the Lord's Day. In order that this may be clearly understood, I move that a law be adopted which shall voice the sentiment of this community against the profanation of the Sabbath Day."
There was no openly expressed opposition to the desire of the scout, and Peleg having promptly seconded this motion, his third suggestion also was adopted.
Soon afterward, Colonel Henderson called upon the pioneer preacher to close the meeting with prayer, and the assembly dispersed.
Peleg, Israel Boone, and Henry departed together from the fort. The last named was now able to express himself in English and, though he was still reserved in his bearings toward the people in general, his friendship for Peleg and Israel had strengthened with every passing day.
"I never know such man like your father," said Henry to Israel.
"He is the best man that ever lived!" broke in Peleg enthusiastically. "He has been just like a father to me, and if he was my real father I should be the proudest man in all Kentucky."
"That would mean a great many people," suggested Israel with a smile. "I understand there are new settlers arriving every day. I have heard that Logan's Fort and Harrodsburgh are filling in very fast."
"So I have heard," responded Peleg.
"If the Indians would only leave us free!"
"But they will not," broke in Henry. "They say white people not make any more settlements, and it not long before they drive out those that are here."
"Let them try!" said Israel dryly.
"They have been trying," remarked Peleg. "There is not a day that we have not seen some signs of the Shawnees or Delawares prowling around the forts."
"They have not made any open attack for some time now," suggested Israel Boone.
Henry shook his head as he said: "That means they only wait. Pretty soon you see. They feel for white men like wolf feel for bear."
"And that is about the same love that a dog has for a cat," suggested Peleg with a laugh.
"That is it," acknowledged Henry soberly. "I never know why bear and wolf no like each other. They kill many other things, but when wolf find trail of bear he call to all his friends and they begin to chase Mr. Bear. One day I saw a pack of wolves chasing big bear."
"Was the bear running from them?" inquired Israel.
"Yes, he run much fast. By and by he come to place where he can go no more, then he stand up with his back to tree, and the way he cuff those wolves first one side, then on other, make me laugh."
"Yes," said Peleg, "I have seen the same thing myself. It is like the feeling that Sam Oliver says the otter has for the beaver."
"Or the mink for the ermine," suggested Israel.
"Both mink and ermine bad as they can be," said Henry, shaking his head. "They kill all things not so strong as they."
"Yes," suggested Peleg, "I think the mink and ermine are about the worst animals alive. The mink is three or four times as big as the ermine is and has a good deal more strength——"
"But the ermine so quick," interrupted Henry. "He so quick," he repeated, "and he most bloodthirsty little animal in the forest. When he begin to fight he always fight on until either he is killed or mink is killed."
"Sam Oliver was telling me the last time he was in the settlement," said Peleg, "that last winter he was trailing a fox that was chasing a rabbit, and when Sam came to his trap-line he heard, away off to one side, a mink scream. He says you can hear a mink scream almost a quarter of a mile away. He was trapping minks and he thought he had one caught, so he turned and started for his trap. When he got there he saw, so he said, the biggest fight he ever saw in the woods. A mink was caught in his trap and an ermine was fighting him.
"Pretty quick he saw that instead of there being only one there were two of the ermine. They kept walking around the mink in a circle and kept going faster and faster until by and by one of them, quick as lightning, right in front of the mink, jumped for him, and almost at the same time the other ermine jumped in, too, and tried to get a grip on the mink's neck. They must have tried that same thing before, because this time he heard the mink scream, too, though he was doing something besides. For about half a minute Sam said he couldn't hear or see much of anything except the fracas. Then just about as swiftly as the two ermine had jumped into the fight, they jumped out and began to circle around the mink again. The next time they tried to get the neck hold only one of them slipped back. The other got his teeth fastened right where he wanted them, and you know they are like needles. Then the other ermine came back and he, too, got a throat hold. In just a few minutes the whole affair was ended and the ermine came out ahead. Sam said he could have walked up to them and picked them up, they were so excited, squeaking like mice, and trying to tear the dead mink all to pieces."
"Sam got the two ermine then, didn't he?" inquired Israel.
"Yes. I told him, though, I thought they had earned their right to live, but Sam never feels that way about such things."
The reference to Sam Oliver had brought a scowl to the face of Henry and caused him to become silent as long as the hunter was a topic of conversation.
In the succeeding days reports of the presence of Indians steadily increased. Several men toiling in the fields were fired upon by Shawnees who had crept up to the border of the forest.
Steadily the Indians showed their determination to do their utmost to prevent the settlers from making homes in their hunting grounds. The hostilities of the Shawnees became more marked with every passing month. Indeed, so many were the manifestations of their plan to attack the settlements that finally Colonel Clark, who at this time had been given the command of all military forces in Kentucky, became so convinced that there was a plan in the minds of the Indians to assemble a great body of their warriors to destroy the border forts and their inhabitants that he begged the pioneer scout to act as a spy and to assume charge of other spies that were to be sent among the tribes to learn their numbers as well as their designs.
Daniel Boone, fully aware of the danger, and in spite of his desire to remain at home, responded to this new call because he looked upon himself as in a measure answerable for the safety of the people whom he had induced to come into Kentucky. At this time the region was known as the "dark and bloody ground," so many had been the attacks and conflicts between the incoming whites and their Indian foes.
Daniel Boone ordered his spies to start out in different directions, and after they had scoured the country for miles around, they were to meet at a time and place agreed upon and report what they had discovered and form their plans for the future.
Convinced at last that there was no immediate danger of a concerted attack by the Indians, the scout returned to Boonesborough and resumed his labours.
"Peleg," said Boone one day not long after his return, "we must have some salt. I shall take a party to Blue Licks. Will you come?"
"Yes, sir," replied Peleg promptly.
"I shall leave Israel at home to protect the family, but I shall want you and Henry to go with me. We ought to have a party of twenty-five or thirty men not only to make the salt, but to keep back the Shawnees, who are likely to make trouble for us if we are not strong enough to defend ourselves."
The following day Daniel Boone, together with Peleg and twenty-six other men, departed for the salt springs, or Blue Licks, as they were called by the settlers. Neither of the scouts, however, was aware that he was there to meet with the most thrilling adventure of his life.
Several days of hard work followed the arrival of the party at the salt springs. Fireplaces had to be made, boilers arranged, and the water evaporated, leaving its deposit of salt, so necessary in the life of the people of Boonesborough.
The process, however, was exceedingly slow, although the men toiled day and night because of their desire to return to their homes, and their fear of the prowling Indians. On the third day, when the supplies of food were low, Daniel Boone suggested that he should for a time leave his companions at their task while he secured some game which might be prepared for their dinner that night.
Taking his rifle and shaking his head when Peleg offered to accompany him, the hunter departed. No one expected him to be gone more than an hour. When, however, three hours had elapsed his friends became increasingly uneasy. They had relied on their numbers as being a sufficient protection against the prowling Indians. The savages were known to be near, and occasionally they had been seen skulking from tree to tree. Because of this condition, the decision of Daniel Boone to go alone had been opposed by his companions, and as his absence continued there was increasing anxiety for his safety.
Meanwhile, if Peleg and his companions had known what had befallen the scout, they would have had even stronger grounds for their fears.
For some reason Boone was unable to discover any game in the immediate proximity of the camp, so he proceeded several miles through the forest in his search. When he halted at last and looked about him he concluded that he must be at least four miles from the Blue Lick Springs. He was aware of the peril which might beset a lonely hunter at such times, and as the afternoon sun was steadily declining, decided to retrace his way toward camp.
As he turned abruptly he was startled to behold five young Indians swiftly approaching.
Without hesitating a moment Boone whirled about and ran. Exerting himself to the utmost, he sped through the forest, closely followed by his pursuers, who, for some reason which he did not understand, had not fired upon him.
Capable as Boone was of a long-continued race, speed could not be his main reliance. He was no longer a young man, and his pursuers were in the prime of their young manhood.
Glancing behind him, Boone was aware that his enemies were gaining upon him. Wheeling suddenly he darted into the brush, then leaped into a swiftly running stream and ran with the current for one hundred feet or more before he jumped to the bank on the opposite side and once more resumed his flight.
Apparently, however, it was impossible for him to shake off his pursuers. Doggedly they held to the chase, and the conviction was strengthening in Boone's mind that not only were the young warriors gaining steadily upon him, but also that they were maintaining a pace which would soon be too great for him to keep up. Indeed it was only a few minutes later when by an unusual burst of speed his enemies overtook and surrounded him.
Boone smiled in spite of his peril when he saw that their first demand was for his rifle. It was plain that they knew who he was and were proud of their success in capturing the great scout. One of the young Indians was able to speak a few words of English, and advancing to Boone he extended his hand as a token of friendship and shook hands after the manner of the white people.
"Big scout broder," said the young warrior, "No shoot. No kill."
Boone smilingly nodded his head in token of comprehension and without demur followed his captors as they led him rapidly through the forest. If he was chagrined or cast down his feeling was not betrayed by his countenance.
The Indians seldom spoke as they proceeded, and Boone's surprise was great when after an advance of an hour he was taken into the midst of a group of one hundred and fifty Shawnee warriors.
Here, too, the hunter was recognized, and there were many expressions of delight over the capture of the man whom all the Indians of the region knew and feared. Boone soon was to learn that they also entertained for him a feeling close to affection.
Apparently unmoved by the peril in which he now found himself, Boone looked quietly into the faces of the braves and awaited their action.
In a brief time, in the midst of the band, he was conducted back toward Blue Lick Springs. Surprised at first by the direction in which they were moving, his fears for his friends increased with every passing mile. They were outnumbered by the Indians in the approaching party, and were without his leadership. How would they be able to defend themselves from an attack?
This question was unanswered when the band arrived within a half mile of the place they were seeking. Then one of the younger chiefs approached Boone and said in his broken English: "Big hunter. No hurt. Broders of big hunter no hurt. No shoot."
"Do you mean," inquired Boone, "that my friends will be taken prisoners and not shot?"
The Indian laughed, for his pleasure at the apparent success of their undertaking was manifest, and he said: "No shoot. No kill white broder."
"Do you mean," asked Boone once more, "that if they do not shoot, you will not?"
"No shoot. No hurt," answered the Indian.
"Which means that you will take us all to your village?"
The Indian nodded in assent.
"And if they do not shoot and you make captives of them, do you promise that you will not harm them when you take them to your village?"
"No shoot. No hurt," repeated the Indian, nodding his head several times to add emphasis to his words. "Big scout go with Owaneeyo—tell broders."
"You want me to tell them that you are here, and that if they do not shoot then you will not shoot, either, and that you give your word that they will not be harmed if they go with you to your village?"
The Indian smiled broadly as he said: "Big scout go with Injun—tell broder. Shawnee no shoot. No hurt white broder. White broder shoot, Shawnee shoot. No take white broder to village, take white broder scalp."
For a few moments Boone silently considered. He well knew that it would be impossible for his friends to escape the united attack of the Shawnees. Every warrior was armed with a gun, and, as the band outnumbered the whites nearly five to one, it would be worse than useless for them to attempt to defend themselves. On the other hand, if they submitted quietly it might be possible partly to disarm the captors of their watchfulness, and as there were so many of the whites some opportunity might arise that would provide an avenue for escape. In the latter event the chances that more of the men would escape alive were much better than they would be if they attempted to defend themselves at the present time.
Accordingly, Boone said to the young chief: "I will go with you to tell my brothers what the chiefs say if you will come with me unarmed."
For a moment there was an expression of anger or suspicion in the eyes of the stalwart young Indian, but it quickly passed, and he said: "Big scout no lie. Owaneeyo go without gun. Tell broders what Owaneeyo say to scout."
Turning to his companions the young chief gave his command for them to encircle the springs where the white men were at work. As soon as his orders had been obeyed he stepped up to Boone and bowed low to indicate his readiness to accompany the scout.
Without a word both advanced, with Boone moving directly before his companion. They soon came to the spot where the whites were engaged in their task, all unaware of the peril that was threatening them.
Many curious glances were given the companion of the scout when Boone and the chief first appeared. In compliance with Boone's suggestion, the men gave up their labours and assembled to hear what the chief had to say.
The speech of Owaneeyo was not long, but every word held a meaning which strongly impressed the listening settlers.
When the chief ceased speaking Boone himself stepped forward and said: "My friends, there is nothing else to do. I am sure you would not credit me with being a coward. I am speaking that which I know. There are at least one hundred and fifty of the Shawnees here and they are in a circle all about us right now. We have no defences behind which to fight, and they are able to pick us off without exposing themselves. If we run we should find in whatever direction we went that we were going straight into their arms. They promise us that if we do not fire upon them they will not shoot any of us. The chief also has agreed to see that we have good treatment not only here and on our way to their village, but also after we arrive there."
There were some murmurs of disapproval, but the word and the example of the scout were both so influential that assent was soon given, and the chief was told that the white men would make no protest.
At his bidding their rifles were all deposited in one place. A moment later he emitted a loud call, and almost as if they had sprung from the ground itself the Shawnees came running to the place where the settlers were awaiting them.
The entire party soon left the springs, the white prisoners being scattered among the warriors in such a manner that no two were able to converse. In spite of the fierce glances of some of the braves, there was slight fear on Boone's part that the word of Owaneeyo would be broken. Cruel the Indian might be in his own way, and treacherous according to the standards of the whites, but his promise, once having been given, was binding.
The band moved rapidly, stopping only occasionally by night. Not one of the prisoners was aware what Indian village was to be their destination, although the scout, from his familiarity with the region through which they were conducted, was convinced that they were being taken to the place called Chillicothe.
His surmise proved to be correct, and on the fifth day the returning party with their prisoners arrived at the capital of the Shawnees. Their coming was greeted with cries and shouts and many expressions of delight by the Indians of Chillicothe. To these, however, the warriors gave slight heed, and the prisoners endeavoured to follow their example, though it was difficult for some of them completely to assume an air of indifference. What the fate of the captives was to be was not to be known until the following day.
AN OFFER OF RELEASE
There had been slight opportunity for Peleg to have any conversation with his friend throughout the march.
The Indians, rejoiced over their success in making a prisoner of the great scout, nevertheless appeared to be fearful lest the man whom they valued so highly should escape. Throughout the journey the prisoners were treated with consideration, although when night came and the halts were made for rest the white men were compelled to sleep within a circle formed by their captors. In this way they were deprived of every possibility of escape. When, however, they had arrived at the old village of Chillicothe, there were a few minutes when Daniel Boone and Peleg and several of their comrades were left together in the wigwam into which they had been thrust.
"Peleg," said Daniel Boone in a low voice, "what a mistake our enemies have made."
"What do you mean?" inquired Peleg quickly.
"If they had taken us to Boonesborough or to Logan's Fort and there had shown us to the settlers they could have demanded almost any price they might choose for our ransom."
"Will they not do it yet?" inquired Peleg.
"I hardly think so," replied the scout, shaking his head. "The Indians are like children in many ways. When they have been successful, either on the warpath or in the chase, they immediately return to their friends to celebrate their good fortune with them. They are easily elated, and are almost childish in seeking the praise of those whose opinions they value. That is the reason why they have come back to the village with their twenty-eight prisoners."
"What will happen to us?" inquired Peleg anxiously.
"That no man can say. All that I am sure of is that we must bear whatever comes in the spirit of those who know that it is the best thing that could happen for every one of us."
"If they burn us at the stake?" inquired Peleg bitterly.
"Yes, even if they burn us at the stake. It will be hard to bear if they do that, but I am not without hope that they will adopt some other course."
"They may make us run the gauntlet."
"Yes, they may," admitted Boone, "but there is one thing, Peleg, we do not have to do."
"What is that, sir?"
"We do not have to bear anything before it comes. All that any man can do is to prepare for what may befall him, and then, whatever comes, bear it like a man. But he who worries over his troubles before they arrive is in no condition to bear them after they come."
"I know that is your way of thinking," said Peleg, "but I have not learned it yet."
"That's the correct word, Peleg."
"What word?" inquired the younger scout quickly.
"The word 'learned,' No one has it at the beginning of his life. Even Preacher Lythe told us one time that he, like Paul, 'learned' in whatsoever state he was, therewith to be content."
"So have you!" said Peleg cordially.
Boone smiled and shook his head as he replied: "I have learned not to reveal all my feelings. Beyond that I cannot say. But I am so fully convinced that whatever befalls me in this life is part of a great plan, that it would be foolish for me to complain or whine. Whatever happens, no one shall ever be able to say that he heard a whimper from Daniel Boone. Whate'er may come to us, lad, do not let any of these Shawnees see that you are in the least cast down."
"I shall do my best."
"I am hopeful," said Boone, "that we shall not be treated severely. Chief Owaneeyo gave us his promise when we surrendered that we should be treated with kindness both on our journey and after we arrived at the Indian village. I believe he spoke truly."
"What I am afraid of," said Peleg, "is that some of these braves will not listen to him. I think Owaneeyo will live up to his promise as far as he is able."
"There, Peleg, you are borrowing trouble again. What shall I do with you?" said Boone gently. "For myself, I shall look for the better side, and if the hard times come I shall bear them as I may be able, but I am expecting that things will not be as bad as you fear, and I shall keep myself ready if Providence reveals any opening for our release. I believe firmly that such an opening will come and that we shall yet go back to our friends."
"I hope so," said Peleg fervently.
"But whatever comes, Peleg, you must be cheerful, at least in your appearance. If the Indians see that you are cast down or afraid, they will immediately lose their respect for you, and no one can tell what may happen."
In a measure the words of the scout proved to be true. The prisoners were treated with kindness and were assigned to various members of the tribe in such a manner that they seldom had an opportunity of conversing with one another.
Mindful of the directions of the great scout, Peleg did his utmost to maintain a cheerful manner. He was confident, too, as the days passed, that however heavy his own heart might be the Shawnees were sure that he was adapting himself to the life of their tribe and was not unhappy in their midst.
A few days after the captives had been brought into the village, Owaneeyo came to Boone one morning and said: "Big scout shoot. No shoot brave, shoot——"
The word which he wished to use failed the young chief, but laughing heartily he conducted the hunter to a place where Daniel Boone saw that a target had been erected. He concluded that the plan of the Indian was for him to enter into a contest with some of the best shots among the Shawnees.
With apparent eagerness he accepted the invitation, and soon many of the warriors were assembled, keenly watching the contest between Boone and three of the braves.
Daniel Boone wisely was shooting well, but not too well. Two of his competitors he easily outdid, but the third, who was Owaneeyo himself, and no mean shot, he permitted to beat him. The glee of the Indian when the match was ended was so marked and childish that Boone instantly decided that if future contests of a similar character were held he knew what his own course of action must be.
The following day a second contest was arranged, and at Boone's suggestion Peleg also was summoned to share in it.
"Lad," whispered Boone, while he was apparently bending over his rifle and looking to its priming, "I am sure if we are careful we shall soon be permitted to have our own rifles. Perhaps you can get yours now for the match, if you want it, but my advice to you in any event is to let the Indians beat you, but not too easily."
The delight of the Indians was even greater than on the preceding day, when Owaneeyo and one of his warriors succeeded in making a better record than Peleg and were tied with the work which the scout did.
At frequent intervals throughout the autumn these contests were held. In every event the white scouts were careful to shoot well, but not too well. So manifest was the feeling of affection and confidence among the Shawnees, especially for Daniel Boone, that it was not long before the white men, one or two at a time, were permitted to accompany the Indians whenever they went on the hunting path.
In this manner the winter passed and already there were promises of the return of spring. March had come and the snows were beginning to disappear from the depths of the forest. It was in this month that Owaneeyo came to Daniel Boone one day, saying eagerly: "Broder go with Shawnees."
"Go where?" inquired Boone. His anxiety for his family in their faraway home by the Kentucky by this time had become almost unbearable. As they were unaware of the fate which had befallen him and his companions, and yet were fully aware of the cruelty of the Indians and the hatred which they had manifested for the settlers at Boonesborough, the scout was continually thinking of the anxiety which must possess his own family at this time. Not a word had come to them concerning his safety or his whereabouts, and there was no means by which such word might be sent. It was therefore with a feeling of consternation which it was difficult for him to conceal that he heard the statement of the young chief.
"Broder see where go," laughed the Indian, as if he was preserving some great pleasure for his friend.
Aware that protests were vain, Boone, with apparent cordiality, expressed his desire to accompany the Indians, although he was ignorant of the destination of the proposed journey.
To his surprise, the following day when the party set forth from the village, he found Peleg and nine other whites in the company.
There was no opportunity, however, for conversation among the captives, who, in spite of the freedom which of late had been granted them by the Shawnees, now were watched more carefully as the warriors sped through the forest.
When the band at last arrived at Detroit, Boone was not surprised at the destination. Here several days elapsed before Owaneeyo expressed his purpose to return. Just why Boone had been compelled to accompany the Indians the scout did not yet understand.
However, on the day before their departure, Governor Hamilton summoned Owaneeyo and Daniel Boone to his quarters.
After a few preliminary words the Governor said to the Indian: "I will give you L100 for the ransom of this man."
A scowl instantly appeared upon the face of the chief and he turned as if about to depart from the presence of the Governor.
Wheeling abruptly about, however, his eyes shining and an expression upon his face which showed how deep his feeling was, he said: "No sell broder. He my broder." As he spoke, Owaneeyo looked steadily into the eyes of the scout, and there was no question in the mind of Daniel Boone as to the sincerity of the young chief's feelings.
"But he is a white man," protested the Governor.
"He my broder," declared Owaneeyo, as if no further explanation need be made.
"Ask him if he would rather go with you or stay here."
"I would rather go," said Daniel Boone, "than have you pay so much gold for my release. The Shawnees have been good to me, and though I am a white man, my own friends and country could not deal more kindly with me than have Owaneeyo and his tribe."
"No take gold," said Owaneeyo, and strode from the Governor's quarters as he spoke.
Boone delayed a few minutes, explaining to the Governor that it would be impossible for him to accept such a ransom, saying in his simple way: "I am in the hands of a greater Governor than even you, Governor Hamilton, and I am sure that the right in the end will be done."
Apparently the commander was not yet fully persuaded, for on the following morning, before the Shawnees departed from Detroit, several of the Englishmen at the post, deeply touched with sympathy for the scout in his captivity, came to Boone himself with offerings of money for his release. The sturdy scout smiled, however, and shook his head, explaining that it would be impossible for him to accept such benefits which would forever be beyond his power to return or repay.
"But you need never return the money to us. It may be our turn to be prisoners of the Indians soon, and then some one will have to do for us what we now are trying to do for you," protested one of the men.
"I cannot take your gifts," said the hunter shortly. It was manifest that all efforts to induce him to change his decision would be fruitless.
In a few hours the entire band of Shawnees and their captives set forth on their return to Chillicothe. No reference was made by Owaneeyo to the offer which had been made by the Governor and his friends, but it was plain to Daniel Boone throughout their long march that the chief's feeling of affection for him had been greatly strengthened by what had occurred at Detroit.
However, when the party at last arrived at the Indian town, even Daniel Boone was startled by the proposition which was made by one of the Shawnee chiefs.
"What do you think, Peleg?" inquired Boone a few days after the return from Detroit. "Blackfish wishes to adopt me into his family."
"What!" exclaimed Peleg in amazement.
"Yes. One of his sons was killed not long ago and he wishes me to take his place. I do not know how much older my foster-father will be than I am. As a rule I think it is wise for a father to be a little older than his son," added Boone quizzically. "But it won't make any great difference in this case."
"You are not going to allow it, are you?" repeated Peleg.
"I must. Blackfish seems to be very fond of me, and since we came back from Detroit, Owaneeyo has spread many reports of my devotion to the tribe. He little realizes what restraint I have had to put upon myself, and how there are times when it seems to me that I would almost give my life for the privilege of looking upon the faces of my family once more. It will never do for me to refuse."
Peleg said no more, but in spite of the scout's information he was scarcely prepared for the "adoption" which followed in a short time.
In the presence of the family of Blackfish and of some of the leading warriors of the tribe, a good deal of hair was pulled from the head of Boone, leaving his scalp-lock not unlike that of the Indians. His body then was bathed in several waters, the medicine-men who performed the act claiming that in this way his white blood was washed away, and he became essentially a Shawnee in nature as well as in name. A feast followed the formality of adoption, and then Daniel Boone was given a name—"The Man with the Long Rifle"—and formally declared to be a son of the great Chief Blackfish.
There was a slight change in the treatment which Boone and his companions received after this event. The increasing confidence of the Indians was manifest, and found its most complete expression when a few days afterward they sent Boone, together with two or three white men and a score of warriors, to the springs of the Sciota to make salt.
Upon their return from this expedition Boone was alarmed as well as astonished by the appearance of the Shawnee braves. Many of them were daubed in their war paint, and it was apparent on every side that the warriors were preparing for battle.
It was not difficult for the great scout to learn that the object of the campaign was to take the little settlement on the Kentucky, where his home was located.
Familiar as he was with the Indian customs, Boone was aware that more extensive preparations than he had yet seen would be made before the warriors started on the warpath. Meanwhile, he was determined to escape from the Indian village, and return with his warning to his friends on the Kentucky.
In spite of the freedom he enjoyed, he knew that it would be extremely difficult for him to escape. At least one hundred and sixty miles of forest and wilderness intervened between the village and Boonesborough. To obtain supplies of food, or weapons by which he might defend himself from beasts and warriors, was well-nigh impossible.
Nevertheless the determined man decided to try to escape from the Shawnees at the first favourable opportunity. He was fully aware that he must not do anything to arouse the suspicions of the tribe. Yet the time of the departure of the warriors could not be far distant.
Meanwhile, he talked over these matters in the occasional interviews he was permitted to have with Peleg. Almost all the younger scout knew, however, was that his friend had determined, when the proper time arrived, to flee from the village and warn the settlers of their peril. It was also understood that, after the departure of the scout, if Peleg should see the least opportunity, he, too, would attempt to leave the Indian village.
When June came the great scout saw that the men were preparing for a march within a few days. Whatever he was to do must be done quickly. No opportunity had been granted for a further word with his young friend, when early one morning Boone fled from Chillicothe.
A small piece of jerked venison was all the food he had been able to take with him on his long journey. He was without rifle or knife and before him stretched a pathless forest through which he must flee one hundred and sixty miles before he again would be among his friends! No one knew better than Boone himself that it was to be a race for life, for pursuit on the morrow was as certain as the rising of the sun.
Nevertheless with the same quiet courage which had ever been the great scout's strong reliance, he struck out for the Ohio River. Through the deep forests, over the high crags and rocks, across the creeks and following the courses of the river, by day and by night, he forced his tireless way.
Success crowned his efforts at last, and he gained the shores of the Ohio. But when he arrived upon the bank he found the river full and at least a mile in width.
Unable to swim, for a time the scout was uncertain what his next move should be. Fortunately, he found, on the bank near the place where he was standing, an old canoe which had been driven against the shore. Although the little craft was untrustworthy, one end having been badly broken, the intrepid man succeeded in paddling his way in it to the opposite bank.
Four days and four nights the scout had been running with only an occasional brief respite. Throughout that time he had eaten but one meal. His strength was failing, but his hope was strong, for Daniel Boone was aware now that he was near to his home. At last the quaint fort was seen before him and the end of the journey had been gained.
The return of the scout was almost like that of one who had come back from the dead. Every man in the little settlement had believed that Daniel Boone was to be seen no more. No tidings had come from faraway Chillicothe, and no one in Boonesborough had any means of knowing what had befallen the party in their labours at Blue Licks.
"Where is my wife? Where are my children?" demanded Boone as soon as he entered the fort.
"Gone," answered Sam Oliver, who at the time was making one of his occasional visits at the settlement.
"'Gone!'" repeated Boone in astonishment. "'Gone!' Where?"
"Your wife and all your children except Jemima have gone back to North Carolina. They all believed you to be dead and your wife felt that she could no longer remain here. Jemima is the only one that stayed."
It was not long before the scout found his intrepid daughter, who in spite of the departure of the other members of the family had been strong in her conviction that either her father would return or some definite word concerning his fate would be received. For that reason she had remained in the fort.
Not a moment was to be lost. Weary, indeed almost exhausted by his long flight, as soon as food and a brief rest had been obtained Boone at once helped the little garrison to work day and night upon their fortifications. New gates were made and double bastions were speedily completed. The horses and cattle were driven in from the fields, and powder and balls prepared. Before ten days had elapsed the fort was in readiness for the coming of the enemy.
Early in the morning of the final day, while Daniel Boone was himself on guard, he discovered a man approaching from the forest. Keenly watching the indistinct figure and prepared for instant action, although as yet he had not summoned any of his companions, Boone soon was aware that the returning man was none other than his friend Peleg.
The young scout was admitted by Boone, and in response to his queries he was soon describing what had befallen him.
In the midst of the excitement which had followed the escape of Boone, Peleg found the opportunity for which he himself had been waiting, and he, too, fled from the little village. In some ways, however, he had been more successful than his friend, inasmuch as he had been able to secure both Singing Susan and some ammunition, together with a hunting-knife.
"Have they followed you, lad?" inquired Boone eagerly.
"I do not know. They were filled with the plan of attacking the fort and I do not know whether anything has been done to turn them aside from it. I have had many trials," continued the young scout. "If I had not found the circles of stones which you left I could not have followed your trail. I do not know how you crossed the Ohio."
"I found an old canoe," explained Boone.
"That makes everything plain, then," laughed Peleg, "for I used the same canoe. Some one must have brought it back or it had floated down stream; at any rate it saved me from getting Singing Susan wet. The first place I found your stones was about two miles from the river, at the spring where there is a little waterfall. I can't tell you what it meant to me, for I was not sure of my way. I tried to think of everything you had told me about the stars, the course of the streams, and the changes in the trees, and then every little while I climbed to the top of a hill when I came near one and got my bearings from there."
"You are here, lad," said Boone. "You were led as I was. That is enough. Now tell me about the Shawnees. Are they coming?"
"I think so, but the attack will be delayed several weeks."
"Why is that?"
"Because you escaped. They tried their best to overtake you, but when Owaneeyo and some of the other warriors of the tribe came back and said they had not found you, then Blackfish declared that you would come to the fort here to warn the settlers. They then decided, I think, to put off their march about three weeks."
Boone nodded his head several times as if the explanation Peleg had given was one that commended itself to his judgment. There was no alteration, however, in the plans of the scout for strengthening the defences of the little fort. By this time the alarm had spread throughout the little settlement and every man was alert.
The delay in the coming of the Shawnees, however, continued so long that Boone concluded that they might have become discouraged by the report of their spies concerning the condition of the fort.
Prowling Indians had been seen frequently in the vicinity of Boonesborough after the arrival of Peleg, and the scout now decided that it would be a good plan for him to turn the tables and with a party invade the country of the Shawnees themselves.
Choosing nineteen men from the little garrison, he led them swiftly and silently as far as Paint Creek on the Sciota. He had come within four miles of the little Indian village, when unexpectedly the band met a party of thirty warriors, who were marching to join the expedition against Boonesborough.
There was no opportunity for retreat or deliberation. Instantly Boone called upon his companions to follow his example and fired upon the astonished warriors.
The Shawnees without attempting to respond, and doubtless unaware of the numbers of their enemies, immediately turned and fled.
The scout now halted his forces and sent two spies to discover what was taking place in the village. The men returned with the information that it had been abandoned.
As soon as this information had been received, Boone summoned his followers and said to them: "I am convinced from the reports of our friends that a great army of the Indians is now marching against Boonesborough. Our friends are in almost as great danger as are we. There is nothing left for us except to return and make the best possible time in our march."
Every one assented to the suggestion and the return was begun, the men marching day and night, hoping to elude the Indians, who, the scout now believed, were between them and Boonesborough.
It was not long before the returning band discovered the trail of the advancing warriors. Thereupon the leader decided to make a detour and avoid his enemies. All unknown to the Indians, on the sixth day of the returning march the intrepid band passed the red men, and on the seventh arrived safely at Boonesborough.
The following day five hundred hideously painted, thoroughly armed Indians appeared at the fort.
The alarm of the little garrison would have been still greater had they known that Duquesne, for whom Fort Pitt was first named, was in command of the entire band. Even Blackfish for the time had resigned his position as leader, preferring to have the skilful Frenchman assume the command in the attack on the fort. Nor was Captain Duquesne alone, for twelve of his countrymen also were with him to assist in leading the savages in their attack.
THE COMING OF BLACKFISH
"Peleg," said Daniel Boone after the appearance of the enemy in front of the fort, "I understand now why it was that I was so long a prisoner of the Shawnees."
Peleg expressed his question without replying in words and the hunter continued: "If I had not been a captive I never should have known how strong they are nor what their plans might be. And I think, too, that I never should have known what the relation is between the Shawnees and the French."
"Do you think we can hold this place?" inquired Peleg anxiously.
"We shall do our best, lad, and the result is not altogether in our hands. I have sent messengers all through the settlements asking for reinforcements."
The conversation was interrupted by the appearance of a messenger from the attacking army—a white man. Before he arrived at the stockade he was hailed by Daniel Boone, who, with Peleg, was standing on one of the bastions.
After a few preliminary words the man said: "I am instructed by Captain Duquesne to state to you that he has received orders from Governor Hamilton at Detroit to take this fort, but to save the lives of the people, if it is possible so to do."
Boone gazed down into the face of the speaker, but did not reply.
"I am further instructed by Captain Duquesne," resumed the messenger, "to ask you to send nine men from the fort to arrange for a treaty. You can meet the men from our army wherever you desire."
"I shall report to you as soon as I have consulted my friends," said Daniel Boone as he and his companion retired to the fort.
When the defenders were assembled Sam Oliver declared hotly: "I should never send nine men out to meet the redskins! It is one of their tricks, and not one of the nine will ever come back."
"I do not feel that way about it," said Boone. "I suspect that it may be a trick, as you suggest, but it may help us to put off the beginning of the fight until some of the other settlers for whom we have sent can come to our aid. I favour sending a delegation of nine men to meet a delegation from the Indians, but the place must be within fire from the fort. I do not know how you feel, but for myself I am willing to say that we shall never surrender this place while there is one man left alive to defend it."
"That's the way we all feel," said Sam Oliver, who still opposed the proposed meeting.
Daniel Boone returned to the bastions and announced to the messenger that nine men would meet a party from the Indians in accordance with the proposition which had been made for the conference.
Selecting eight of his followers, the scout led the way to the appointed place of meeting, which was sixty yards from the fort. There the little band met Captain Duquesne and eighteen or twenty Indians. The red warriors were silent, but their flashing eyes impressed the scout more than any words could have done.
"What we propose," began Captain Duquesne, "is that every man in the fort shall swear allegiance to King George the Third and submit to our rule. If this can be done we can assure you that you may live in peace and retain all your property."
Boone, who was the spokesman of the settlers, arose to reply. He knew little of the great struggle which at that time was going on for the independence of the colonies. His life on the border was too remote from the battlefields of the north and east, and only occasional rumours of the long contest came to the pioneers.
Boone's speech, conditionally agreeing to Duquesne's proposal, was followed by one from Blackfish. The old chief, looking only once upon his adopted son, and by the gleam in his eyes expressing his hatred, asserted that when two great armies entered into a treaty it was customary for the men to shake hands, and in doing so for two Indians to shake the hands of each white man. There were smiles among the men from the fort as they heard the smooth words of the crafty old chief, but as all the warriors and white men were unarmed they were not unduly alarmed.
At that moment a gun was fired as a signal from the forest, and the Indian members of the council, advancing with open hands, grasped the hands of the white men. Instantly the warriors endeavoured to drag their white enemies toward the woods where many of the Shawnees were concealed. A desperate conflict followed, and the Indians from the main body begun to rush quickly toward the spot.
At the same time the watching men at the fort began to pour a fire upon the approaching enemy, and in a few minutes, under stress of the excitement, the scout and his friends tore themselves from the grasp of the Indians and fled back to the fort. The heavy gate was closed and bolted as soon as they were behind the defences. Fortunately only one man had been wounded by the fire of the savages.
Captain Duquesne and Blackfish now ordered an attack upon the fort. As the place was almost surrounded by woods except on the side toward the river, the attacking party was well protected. The advance was made from three sides at once.
Amid the wild yells of the Indians a volley of bullets was poured into the fort, and as soon as the guns were discharged they were again loaded and a steady fire maintained.
The defenders of the fort, however, were not wasting their scanty ammunition. Every man from his porthole, or the place which he was occupying on the bastions, was selecting his own special mark and every shot was telling in the work of death. The fight continued throughout the day, and when night fell, contrary to their custom, the Indians still maintained their attack.
Another day and another night followed, without any break in the struggle. Daniel Boone was aware that the Indians were now being guided by Captain Duquesne and were not following their usual custom of abandoning an attack when darkness fell. Meanwhile Boone was moving from place to place encouraging his men and making sure that all things were well.
Jemima Boone, by the direction of her father, was firing through one of the portholes. In the second day of the fight a negro, who had fled from the fort, climbed into a tree near by, fired at the girl and wounded her.
Daniel Boone, who at the moment was standing near his daughter, instantly peered through the porthole, discovered the deserter, and the report of his rifle was followed by the fall of the man from the tree in which he had hidden.
Day followed day and still the attack was maintained. The Indians were unable to force an entrance into the place, but they were unwilling to abandon the attack.
One afternoon Peleg came to Daniel Boone and, greatly excited, said: "Come with me!"
Leading the way to the side of the fort which faced the river, he called the attention of the scout to the colour of the water.
"What does that mean?" inquired Peleg.
"It means that the varmints are trying to dig a trench from the bank of the river to the fort," said Boone. "The earth they have thrown out has coloured the water. If they once get inside the fort they may compel us to surrender."
"What can we do?" inquired Peleg. "We must do something!"
"Come, I will show you," replied Boone quietly.
Selecting several men to aid Peleg in his task, he soon arranged for a counter trench to be dug which would cross that which the Indians were digging. Nor was it long before the discovery of the work of the defenders caused the red men to abandon their scheme.
More furiously than before, the siege was continued. A new device was tried by the Indians on the fifth day.
Arrows with burning brands attached to them were shot in such a manner that they struck the roofs of the houses within the fort. It was impossible for any one to prevent this work.
At last a cry was raised that the fort itself was on fire. The cry, terrifying as it was, instantly brought Henry to the front, who said calmly: "I put out flame."
For a moment every gun and voice within the fort was silent while the anxious inmates watched Henry as he made his way to the roof where the fire already was kindled. A wild yell from the Indians greeted the appearance of the young man and a shower of bullets fell all about him.
Undismayed by his peril, Henry succeeded in making his way to the blazing arrow, flung it to the ground, and succeeded in putting out the fire. As he turned to make his way back to his friends another shower of bullets fell about him, and a groan escaped the watching defenders when they saw the young hero suddenly lose his grasp upon the roof, and after a brief struggle roll to the ground outside the walls.
The numbers of those who had fallen within the fort had not been great, protected as they were by its wall and also by their own continued vigilance. The ranks of the assailants, however, steadily had been thinned, and on the ninth day, without any warning to the defenders, the attacking Shawnees withdrew from the place.
Peleg was engaged in his duties in the fort on the morning following the siege when the scout approached him and, in response to the enthusiastic words of the boy, smiled as he said: "Well, we did pretty well, lad. We lost only two and had only four wounded."
"And Henry was one of the killed," suggested Peleg.
"I do not know. He has not been found," replied Boone. "If one had to die I think Henry was the best one to go." In response to a look of inquiry from the boy, the scout continued: "He had no family; his white blood prevented him from being entirely at home among the Indians, while his Indian bringing-up would have prevented him forever from feeling that he was one of us. There were times when I was afraid for the life of Sam Oliver, so bitter was Henry's hatred of him."
"Do you know how many of the Indians were killed?"
"It is reported that thirty-seven were killed and a great many wounded. It is difficult to say just what the losses were, because the Indians always carry away their dead and wounded."
"Do you think they will come back again?"
The scout shook his head as he said: "The country hereabouts is increasing so rapidly in its population, and there are so many other stations now between Boonesborough and the Ohio, that I hardly think they will attack us again. Certainly not in the near future."
"How is Jemima this morning?" asked Peleg.
"She will be all right in a few days," replied Boone. "It was only a flesh wound in the shoulder that she received."
"What are you planning to do next?"
"If you agree," replied Daniel Boone, "I shall leave you in charge of my farm and start as soon as I can for North Carolina, to bring back my family."
It was not long before the scout set forth alone on his journey to the Yadkin, whither his wife had gone with all her children except Jemima, to find a refuge in her father's house, after she had become convinced that Daniel Boone had been killed by the Indians.
The journey was successfully made and the coming of Boone was to his wife almost like the return of one from the dead. There were some matters on the Yadkin, however, which prevented their immediate departure, and it was not until several weeks had elapsed that the scout with his family returned to Boonesborough.
Meanwhile Peleg had looked carefully after the farm which his friend owned, and he received warm words of praise for his efforts when Boone came back.
As soon as the scout saw that his family once more was established in the settlement, and the attacks of the Indians, for a time at least, had ceased, with his brother, who also now had joined the settlers, he once more started for Blue Licks to make salt, of which the settlers and their cattle were greatly in need.
"Are you not afraid to go to the Blue Licks?" inquired his brother when Boone was ready to set forth on his expedition.
"Why should I be?" inquired Boone.
"It was there that you were taken by the Indians."
"They say," replied the scout with a smile, "that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. I am not afraid. I think the Shawnees have been taught a good lesson. Colonel Bowman and his one hundred and sixty men, though he was not very successful in his attack upon old Chillicothe, nevertheless showed the Indians that we were not unmindful of their plans. And Colonel Harrod at all events, when he made his attack with the horsemen, certainly scattered the Indians on every side. I think they will remember both men, although I wish that we might have inflicted greater damage upon their village. The report is that only two scalps were taken, but that may mean very little. The attacks which Colonel Bird, with his five hundred Indians and Canadians, made upon Riddle's Station and the little station upon the Licking River, seem to me to show that the Indians are not ready to give up yet."
Boone's assurance overcame the objections of his brother and persuaded him that there was no special danger attending their labours at Blue Licks.
The confidence of the scout seemed warranted when several days had passed, the necessary salt had been made, and the two men were preparing to return to the fort. Not an Indian had been seen, nor had there been any signs of their presence.
Hardly had the two men, however, set forth on their return when, without warning, they were attacked by a band of Indians. Boone's brother was killed and scalped. But the scout instantly darted into the thickest part of the forest. Owing to his superior knowledge of the country he was not overtaken at once; and running steadily and as swiftly as he was able, he at last sought refuge in a ravine, followed by a dog which the Indians were using to trail him. Boone waited quietly until the savage animal approached and then calmly shot it. Aware that the report of his rifle would reveal his presence to his enemies, the intrepid man, as the woods about him were dense and darkness was approaching, resolutely made his way into the forest again and resumed his flight toward Boonesborough.
FOUR WARRIORS AND MORE
With his usual coolness and fortitude, the great scout continued on his way, and without further trouble arrived at the fort.
"Peleg," he said the following day, when the two were labouring in the field together, "Blue Licks somehow seems to be destined to be a place of trouble and sorrow for me. Only a few days ago my brother was calling my attention to that fact and now his death has confirmed his words. It grieves me that I could not even bring away his body. That, however, is a part of the fortune of pioneers, and as no man ever yet has heard me whine, I do not intend to begin now. But my brother's death is a source of very heavy sorrow to me."
"Do you think the Indians are planning another attack?"
"Not right away. I suspect that they are trying to attack or capture me. Their anger against the settlement doubtless is as keen as ever, but they look upon me as one who has deserted their tribe. Some day they will find me. But I have one consolation, and that is that they will not find me unprepared."
The words of the scout concerning the further attacks by the Indians were confirmed during the year that followed. The little settlement at Boonesborough steadily increased in numbers and prosperity. For a time, free from the attacks of the Indians, the families toiled in their fields. More extensive clearings were made and in the marvellously fertile soil the crops were bountiful. There were many new homes established in the community, too, for among the continually arriving settlers were many young women.
In the quiet labours on his clearing Boone found peace and comfort such as he seldom had enjoyed. Peleg, who had secured some land adjoining the farm of his friend, worked with the scout and Israel, and as they assisted one another both places steadily improved.
The feeling of Boone, however, that he was still an object of hatred among the Shawnees was confirmed repeatedly. His most critical experience came one day when, all unknown to the scout, four athletic Shawnees were detailed by Blackfish to approach the settlement without arousing any suspicions of their presence, watch the movements of the scout, and either bring him back to the tribe or bring his scalp.
On his farm the scout had erected, not far from his cabin, a little house in which he dried the tobacco he cultivated. The little building stood in the midst of his tobacco patch. Within the house there were three tiers of timber from which the tobacco leaves were hanging to dry.
Boone and Peleg were busily engaged here one autumn day, almost unmindful of peril, the younger scout believing that the fears of his friend were without foundation.
"The tobacco on this lower tier," said Boone after he had made a careful investigation, "seems to be entirely dry."
"Then we had better change the sticks to the tier above," responded Peleg. "That will leave plenty of room for the leaves we have not brought in as yet."
"That's a good suggestion," answered Boone, and together the two scouts began to transfer the sticks from the lower to the second tier.
Peleg departed from the building to bring in more of the tobacco leaves and left Boone standing on the poles that separated the upper tiers.
Suddenly as the scout glanced below him he saw four Shawnee warriors stealthily enter through the door and laugh as they looked up to him.
"You no get away some more," said one of them whom Boone recognized as Owaneeyo, "We take you to Chillicothe this time. You no cheat us some more."
Every one of the savages was armed and looking up into Boone's face, while the direction in which the guns were aimed added force to this declaration.
Not for a moment losing his self-control, and aware that he was in the greatest peril of his life, Boone's careful preparation now showed its value. "Ah!" said he quietly. "Glad to see you, my friends. How have you been this long time?"
"Been heap mad," said Owaneeyo, frowning in a manner which betrayed his rising anger. "You come down."
"I shall be very glad to go with you, my friends. Tell me, how is Blackfish these days?"
"You come down!" repeated Owaneeyo.
"I just told you," said Boone, "that I shall be glad to come down. I prefer, however, to have you wait until I finish with my tobacco." In the hunter's heart there was hope that Peleg would discover his predicament and bring him aid before he should be seized by the angry warriors.
"Make yourselves comfortable," continued Boone pleasantly. "You see I cannot get down from here and I cannot get away from you." The scout paused a moment and glanced at his would-be captors.
"You like tobacco?" he resumed. "When I have this cured I will give some of it to you and we will smoke together."
The Indians were becoming impatient, and plainly were unaware of what the scout was doing. Continuing his conversation and making more inquiries concerning his friends in the Indian town, he did his utmost to hold the attention of his dangerous visitors while he gathered together some armfuls of tobacco.
Carefully arranging the bundles of the dry tobacco between the poles and standing where he was able to look directly down into the faces of his enemies, Boone suddenly cut the strings by which the sticks of tobacco were held. At the same moment, with his arms full of the dried leaves, he leaped down upon the Indians, and instantly filled their mouths and eyes with dry tobacco dust. The Shawnees were blinded and well-nigh suffocated in the little tobacco house. There were sneezes and shouts and cries from the startled warriors, who now were unable to see even the direction in which the door was located.
Darting from the little house, the scout made his escape and ran swiftly to his cabin. In a moment he seized his trusty rifle, but as he returned to the tobacco house he saw the Indians running blindly and staggering toward the woods.
Boone restrained his impulse to fire upon the fleeing warriors, and called to Peleg and Israel, who with several of the younger members of the settlement were now hurriedly approaching, all of them prepared to pursue the departing Shawnees.
"Do not go after them!" called Boone.
Reluctantly the young men halted, and Peleg said: "Why do you not want us to chase them? We might have had every one of them."
"If the Shawnees do not go on the warpath, why should we?"
"They were on the warpath for you!" said Israel. "It was lucky you got away."
Boone laughed silently as he recalled the appearance of the Indians when he had thrown the tobacco dust into their faces. "I am sure," he said, "the Shawnees will remember what I said to them and how they were treated by me. Perhaps it will do more good than it will to shoot them."
The months passed and the peace of the settlement remained unbroken. Few even suspected the terrible struggle which was awaiting them.
The game in the forest was becoming somewhat scarce. The settlers, increasing steadily in numbers, now were scattered from the Kentucky River to the Ohio. It was commonly believed that the Indians had finally accepted the coming of the whites as inevitable, and no longer were ready to dispute their occupation of the western forests.
The one marked exception was Daniel Boone. To all the assertions of his friends he replied by expressing his own conviction that the red men were simply biding their time. No one was more familiar with the Indian ways and thoughts than the scout and he was positive that they had not forgotten the injuries which they had sustained at the hands of the whites. Sooner or later they would strive to obtain vengeance and at the same time unite in a supreme endeavour to drive the hated people from the lands which they believed to be their own.
"I am more convinced than ever that trouble is brewing," said Boone one day to Peleg and Israel, who now were his frequent companions. "I know Simon Girty, and a worse man never lived. He is a renegade and a traitor. He has given up living among the whites, and in everything but colour and in their better qualities he has become an Indian. I am sure that we shall hear from him before many months have passed."
Little the great scout dreamed that even while he was expressing his opinion to the boys, runners at that very time had been sent by Simon Girty to many of the northwestern tribes, urging them all to lay aside the jealousy they felt for one another and unite in one common cause against the white invaders.
The following spring the storm burst. As the pattering raindrops sometimes fall at the beginning of a downpour, so among the scattered settlements a renewal of attacks by prowling bands of Indians indicated what was to follow.
One day when Daniel Boone returned to his home he was unusually cast down. He explained that he had just learned of an attack which a party of twenty-five Wyandottes had made upon Estill's Station. The warriors had stolen into a little cabin which was apart from the others in the settlement. They had seized the occupants—a woman and her two daughters—and tomahawked and scalped all three. The bodies were still warm when they were discovered upon the floor of the cabin by neighbours. The scout told what followed.
"Immediately Captain Estill collected a band of twenty-five daring men and followed the Indians more swiftly than I followed the band which took Jemima prisoner. The Wyandottes at first seemed to be frightened and began to run, but at last they made a stand on one side of a creek, while the whites were on the other. They were not more than fifty yards apart and every man was sheltered behind a tree or rock and firing at any enemy that could be seen. Captain Estill had lost one third of his men and had shot about as many of the Indians, but the braves were still returning his fire, and showed no signs of leaving. He thought if he should keep up that kind of a fight, every one at last would be killed, unless perhaps it should be the very last white or Indian.
"Mindful of this, Captain Estill sent out a party of six men, led by Lieutenant Miller, telling them to creep around and attack the Indians on their flank. But the chief was as shrewd as the captain, and as soon as he saw that the fire of the whites was slowing up in front of him, he instantly made a stronger attack upon the men that were left. Jumping into the water, they fell upon the captain and his men, driving them before them and killing a good many. Those who escaped finally got back to the Station, and you can readily see how alarmed the people are."
"What happened to Captain Estill?" inquired Israel, greatly shocked by the story of his father.
"He and eight more of his men were killed, and, besides, four were wounded."
"That's more than half that went out, isn't it?" inquired Peleg.
"Yes," answered Daniel Boone.
The report of the misfortune which had overtaken the men of Estill's Station was speedily succeeded by another report no less alarming. A band of Indians had crept up to Hoy's Station and there had stolen two little boys.