DANCE IN A BUFFALO SKULL
IT was night upon the prairie. Overhead the stars were
twinkling bright their red and yellow lights. The moon was young.
A silvery thread among the stars, it soon drifted low beneath the
Upon the ground the land was pitchy black. There are night
people on the plain who love the dark. Amid the black level land
they meet to frolic under the stars. Then when their sharp ears
hear any strange footfalls nigh they scamper away into the deep
shadows of night. There they are safely hid from all dangers, they
Thus it was that one very black night, afar off from the edge
of the level land, out of the wooded river bottom glided forth two
balls of fire. They came farther and farther into the level land.
They grew larger and brighter. The dark hid the body of the
creature with those fiery eyes. They came on and on, just over the
tops of the prairie grass. It might have been a wildcat prowling
low on soft, stealthy feet. Slowly but surely the terrible eyes
drew nearer and nearer to the heart of the level land.
There in a huge old buffalo skull was a gay feast and dance!
Tiny little field mice were singing and dancing in a circle to the
boom-boom of a wee, wee drum. They were laughing and talking among
themselves while their chosen singers sang loud a merry tune.
They built a small open fire within the center of their queer
dance house. The light streamed out of the buffalo skull through
all the curious sockets and holes.
A light on the plain in the middle of the night was an unusual
thing. But so merry were the mice they did not hear the "king,
king" of sleepy birds, disturbed by the unaccustomed fire.
A pack of wolves, fearing to come nigh this night fire, stood
together a little distance away, and, turning their pointed noses
to the stars, howled and yelped most dismally. Even the cry of the
wolves was unheeded by the mice within the lighted buffalo skull.
They were feasting and dancing; they were singing and
laughing--those funny little furry fellows.
All the while across the dark from out the low river bottom
came that pair of fiery eyes.
Now closer and more swift, now fiercer and glaring, the eyes
moved toward the buffalo skull. All unconscious of those fearful
eyes, the happy mice nibbled at dried roots and venison. The
singers had started another song. The drummers beat the time,
turning their heads from side to side in rhythm. In a ring around
the fire hopped the mice, each bouncing hard on his two hind feet.
Some carried their tails over their arms, while others trailed them
Ah, very near are those round yellow eyes! Very low to the
ground they seem to creep--creep toward the buffalo skull. All of
a sudden they slide into the eye-sockets of the old skull.
"Spirit of the buffalo!" squeaked a frightened mouse as he
jumped out from a hole in the back part of the skull.
"A cat! a cat!" cried other mice as they scrambled out of
holes both large and snug. Noiseless they ran away into the dark.