Squaw Man

He was just under forty. Five five tall, but broad shouldered with banty legs. From all the years on Indian ponies. His mother was Pawnee. His father, French Canadian. He was trailing some Cheyenne who had stolen his string of pack animals with an entire seasons’ pelts on them. His Shoshone wife along with them. His name. Jaque Lebec. Coming down past the Canadian border had been a huge risk. He wasn’t that familiar with the local dialects, plus, he didn’t know the lay out of the land. But that’s why he had come. To see new mountains and breathe new air. Now, he was in a real fix. He was on foot, in enemy lands. An enemy that was no one to be captured by. He never gave it a thought. He could get more pelts and plenty of horses. He couldn’t get another Two Crows. She got that name because of her hair. It was said to be blacker then black. Two times black. She was small, but tough…Her face was horribly pock marked from a white mans’ disease. That, along with her odd hobble from a broken leg that never healed right, might keep the Cheyenne off of her. Indians had odd beliefs. Seeing as the great spirit had already touched her, and she was still alive, made many shy of her. As he followed the easy to follow trail, that worried him. They seemed not to care who came across them. Jaque trailed them for six days. All the way to the Platte River. That’s where his luck ran out. It had rained the night before and his powder was damp in his flashpan. In 1835, dry powder was a real big deal. No easy reload bullets then. It was shot and powder. A brave with a good bow, could put six or seven arrows into you by the time you could reload a black powder rifle. Sad, but true. On top of that, a knife to his squaw’s neck, was the kicker. He tossed down his rifle, tomahawk and knife, and awaited what was to come…Stripping Jaque naked, three of the Cheyenne dragged him over to a slab outcropping of granite. Winter hadn’t hit yet. But it was on its way. The cold wind was the least of Jaques problems. Holding his arms, one brave forced Jaques left hand onto the black slab of rock. Suddenly lurching free, Jaque threw them off. Before an arrow could hit him, Jaque stepped forward, and put his hand back onto the rock, all on his own. He then looked the one who seemed to be the leader in the eye and signed with his right hand, ‘Dirt’. The Cheyenne all smiled and nodded at each other. He was a squaw man, but he was very brave. They would soon see just how brave. As the leader, ‘Runs his horses’, placed his knife on Lebec’s pinky, he smiled, then cut it off with a quick chop of the sharp skinning blade. Lebec said nothing. He kept his hand on the rock. Nodding his head in respect, ‘Runs his horses’, then pulled Lebec’s left ear away from his head, and slashed that off too, just to see Lebec’s response to upping the ante. Lebec spit in his face. The Cheyenne were impressed. As a couple of braves watched him, the rest had a pow wow. Lebec’s wife tried to help him but was beaten away with horse quirts. Lebec gave her a look. Two Crows sat down and began a low death song. The Cheyenne ignored her and went back to Lebec. They had made up their minds. One such as this would, ‘Run the Arrow’. Dragging Lebec out onto the plains away from the river. Some of the braves mounted their ponies. Lebec knew what he was to do. Provide sport, then die. Shivering from the wind, its only blessing was to deaden the sting of his injuries, Lebec watched as an arrow arched off a fully frawn bow, off into the rolling plains, then, over a small hill. ‘Runs his horses’, let out a loud, “WHOOP!” Lebec took off like a shot. As he went out of their view, a brave gave heels to his mount and was after him. First to count coup. To hit an enemy had for more honor then even killing him. Lebec, stopping as soon as he was out of their sight, crawled as fast as he could through the tall grass, then grabbed a stone. As the brave rode over the crest, Lebec leaped behind him, rocked his head, then heeled the horse to the right as the brave fell off, unconcious. All the braves now came for him. The fox headed his pony for the foothills, about five miles away. The Cheyenne spread out in a wide line. He wasn’t going to escape. They knew for sure as they let him stay ahead of them, hanging back just far enough to make him think he had a chance. He was going up into a dead end canyon. As his horse gave out, Lebec started to climb. He ended up on a ledge, just as the Cheyenne figured he would. It was a straight drop into a forest canopy. An easy two hundred feet. Now grinning, the Cheyenne came at him in a half circle. Lebec shouted a curse at them, then sprang off the cliff. His enemies heard him hit the tree branches, then, sprinted to the cliff edge, to see what had become of him. Just a canopy of green. Lebec dislocated his shoulder, but he reset that himself with the fork of a tree. Cuts, and scrapes from the branchs that broke his fall, but, all in all, he was lucky to be alive…Two years go by. Lebec has a new squaw. He’s leading four pack mules into a Mountain Man/Indian festival. All tribes. No fighting. For ten days, trade and music. Maybe some drinking. Break the peace, you die. As Lebec rides into the many tepees and camps spread out around the traders fort, shouts and whoops come from his left. It was the Cheyenne camp. Lebec was soon surounded by crazed braves, shouting his name. Lebec was stunned as reins were being pressed into his hands. All were giving him their best pony. He was now a legend, and had no idea. Adopted by the Cheyenne, he traded his new wife for ‘Two Crows’, plus, ten ponies. Hell, he had fifty now, he could afford it…This is a true story. Cornell Wilde made it into, ‘The Naked Prey,’ and put the story in Africa so he could star himself. Did a good job. I like the original a lot better…

1 thought on “Squaw Man

  1. I watched your movies Kim. Unbelievable. Build another!! You have more character and integrety at the end of your hammer then any of those idiots running the county! I wish I could have taken my daughter up in your treehouse before the demo. She would have loved it so much.

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