"Is it not a misfortune?" "The most sure- footed of us all!" "Will he die?" "Must his beautiful daughter be sacrificed?"
The man who was the subject of all this com- ment did not speak a word. His head hung down. Finally he raised it and said in a resolute voice:
"We all have our time to go, and when the Great Mystery calls us we must answer as cheer- fully as at the call of one of our own war-chiefs here on earth. I am not sad for myself, but my heart is not willing that my Winona (first-born daughter) should be called."
No one replied. Presently the last tom-tom was heard and the dancers rallied once more. The man who had fallen did not join them, but turned to the council lodge, where the wise old men were leisurely enjoying the calumet. They beheld him enter with some surprise; but he threw himself upon a buffalo robe, and resting his head upon his right hand, related what had hap- pened to him. Thereupon the aged men ex- claimed as with one voice: "It never fails!" After this, he spoke no more.
Meanwhile, we were hilariously engaged in our last dance, and when the bear man finally re- tired, we gathered about the arbor to congratulate the sick bear man. But, to our surprise, his com- panion did not re-enter the den. "He is dead! Redhorn, the bear man, is dead!" We all rushed to the spot. My poor friend, Redhorn, lay dead in the den.
At this instant there was another commotion in the camp. Everybody was running toward the council lodge. A well-known medicine man was loudly summoned thither. But, alas! the man who fell in the dance had suddenly dropped dead.
To the people, another Indian superstition had been verified.
THERE were many peculiar cus- toms among the Indians of an earlier period, some of which tended to strengthen the charac- ter of the people and preserve their purity. Perhaps the most unique of these was the annual "feast of maidens." The casual observer would scarcely understand the full force and meaning of this ceremony.