The fire had gone down somewhat, so I pushed the embers together and wrapped my robe more closely about me. Now and then the ice on the lake would burst with a loud report like thunder. Uncheedah was busy re-stringing one of uncle's old snow-shoes. There were two different kinds that he wore; one with a straight toe and long; the other shorter and with an upturned toe. She had one of the shoes fastened toe down, between sticks driven into the ground, while she put in some new strings and tightened the others. Aunt Four Stars was beading a new pair of moccasins.
Wabeda, the dog, the companion of my boy- hood days, was in trouble because he insisted upon bringing his extra bone into the teepee, while Uncheedah was determined that he should not. I sympathized with him, because I saw the matter as he did. If he should bury it in the snow out- side, I knew Shunktokecha (the coyote) would surely steal it. I knew just how anxious Wabeda was about his bone. It was a fat bone--I mean a bone of a fat deer; and all Indians know how much better they are than the other kind.
Wabeda always hated to see a good thing go to waste. His eyes spoke words to me, for he and I had been friends for a long time. When I was afraid of anything in the woods, he would get in front of me at once and gently wag his tail. He always made it a point to look directly in my face. His kind, large eyes gave me a thousand assur- ances. When I was perplexed, he would hang about me until he understood the situation. Many times I believed he saved my life by utter- ing the dog word in time.
Most animals, even the dangerous grizzly, do not care to be seen when the two-legged kind and his dog are about. When I feared a surprise by a bear or a grey wolf, I would say to Wabeda: "Now, my dog, give your war-whoop:" and immediately he would sit up on his haunches and bark "to beat the band" as you white boys say. When a bear or wolf heard the noise, he would be apt to retreat.
Sometimes I helped Wabeda and gave a war- whoop of my own. This drove the deer away as well, but it relieved my mind.
When he appealed to me on this occasion, there- fore, I said: "Come, my dog, let us bury your bone so that no Shunktokecha will take it."
He appeared satisfied with my suggestion, so we went out together.
We dug in the snow and buried our bone wrapped up in a piece of old blanket, partly burned; then we covered it up again with snow. We knew that the coyote would not touch any- thing burnt. I did not put it up a tree because Wabeda always objected to that, and I made it a point to consult his wishes whenever I could.