All of a sudden, a brave gave the warning, and we scattered in an instant over the little plain be- tween the den and our village. Everybody seemed to be running for dear life, and I soon found my- self some yards behind the rest. I had gone in boldly, partly because of conversations with cer- tain boys who proposed to participate, and whom I usually outdistanced in foot races. But it seemed that they had not carried out their intentions and I was left alone. I looked back once or twice, al- though I was pretty busy with my legs, and I im- agined that my pursuer, the bear man, looked twice as fearful as a real bear. He was dressed and painted up with a view to terrify the crowd. I did not want the others to guess that I was at all dismayed, so I tried to give the war-whoop; but my throat was so dry at the moment that I am sure I must have given it very poorly.
Just as it seemed that I was about to be over- taken, the dancers who had deserted me suddenly slackened their speed, and entered upon the amusement of tormenting the bear man with gun- powder and switches, with which they touched him far from gently upon his naked body. They now chased him in turn, and he again retreated to his den.
We rested until we heard the tom-tom and the song once more, and then we rushed forth with fresh eagerness to the mimic attack. This time I observed all necessary precautions for my own safety. I started in my flight even before the warning was given, for I saw the bear man gather- ing himself up to spring upon the dancers. Thus I had plenty of leeway to observe what occurred. The bear man again pursued the yelling and re- treating mob, and was dealt with unmercifully by the swift-footed. He became much excited as he desperately chased a middle-aged man, who occasionally turned and fired off his gun, but was suddenly tripped by an ant-hill and fell to the ground, with the other on top of him. The ex- citement was intense. The bear man returned to his companion, and the dancers gathered in little knots to exchange whispers.
"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.