STORY OF THE TWO YOUNG FRIENDS
There were once in a very large Indian camp two little boys who
were fast friends. One of the boys, "Chaske" (meaning first born),
was the son of a very rich family, and was always dressed in the
finest of clothes of Indian costume. The other boy, "Hake"
(meaning last born), was an orphan and lived with his old
grandmother, who was very destitute, and consequently could not
dress the boy in fine raiment. So poorly was the boy dressed that
the boys who had good clothes always tormented him and would not
play in his company.
Chaske did not look at the clothes of any boy whom he chose as a
friend, but mingled with all boys regardless of how they were clad,
and would study their dispositions. The well dressed he found were
vain and conceited. The fairly well dressed he found
selfish and spiteful. The poorly clad he found to be generous and
truthful, and from all of them he chose "Hake" for his "Koda"
(friend). As Chaske was the son of the leading war chief he was
very much sought after by the rest of the boys, each one trying to
gain the honor of being chosen for the friend and companion of the
great chief's son; but, as I have before said, Chaske carefully
studied them all and finally chose the orphan Hake.
It was a lucky day for Hake when he was chosen for the friend and
companion of Chaske. The orphan boy was taken to the lodge of his
friend's parents and dressed up in fine clothes and moccasins.
(When the Indians' sons claim any one as their friend, the friend
thus chosen is adopted into the family as their own son).
Chaske and Hake were inseparable. Where one was seen the other was
not far distant. They played, hunted, trapped, ate and slept
together. They would spend most of the long summer days hunting in
Time went on and these two fast friends grew up to be fine
specimens of their tribe. When they became the age to select a
sweetheart they would go together and make love to a girl. Each
helping the other to win the affection of the one of his choice.
Chaske loved a girl who was the daughter of an old medicine man.
She was very much courted by the other young men of the tribe, and
many a horse loaded with robes and fine porcupine work was tied at
the medicine man's tepee in offering for the hand of his daughter,
but the horses, laden as when tied there, were turned loose,
signifying that the offer was not accepted.
The girl's choice was Chaske's friend Hake. Although he had never
made love to her for himself, he had always used honeyed words to
her and was always loud in his praises for his friend Chaske. One
night the two friends had been to see the girl, and
on their return Chaske was very quiet, having nothing to say and
seemingly in deep study. Always of a bright, jolly and amiable
disposition, his silence and moody spell grieved his friend very
much, and he finally spoke to Chaske, saying: "Koda, what has come
over you? You who were always so jolly and full of fun? Your
silence makes me grieve for you and I do not know what you are
feeling so downhearted about. Has the girl said anything to you
to make you feel thus?"
"Wait, friend," said Chaske, "until morning, and then I will know
how to answer your inquiry. Don't ask me anything more tonight, as
my heart is having a great battle with my brain."
Hake bothered his friend no more that night, but he could not
sleep. He kept wondering what "Pretty Feather" (the girl whom his
friend loved) could have said to Chaske to bring such a change over
him. Hake never suspected that he himself was the cause of his
friend's sorrow, for never did he have a thought that it was
himself that Pretty Feather loved.
The next morning after they had eaten breakfast, Chaske proposed
that they should go out on the prairies, and see if they would have
the good luck to kill an antelope. Hake went out and got the band
of horses, of which there were over a hundred. They
selected the fleetest two in the herd, and taking their bows and
arrows, mounted and rode away towards the south.
Hake was overjoyed to note the change in his friend. His oldtime
jollity had returned. They rode out about five miles, and scaring
up a drove of antelope they started in hot pursuit, and as their
horses were very fleet of foot soon caught up to the drove,
and each singling out his choice quickly dispatched him with an
arrow. They could easily have killed more of the antelope, but did
not want to kill them just for sport, but for food, and knowing
that they had now all that their horses could pack home, they
dismounted and proceeded to dress their kill.
After each had finished packing the kill on his horse, Chaske said:
"Let us sit down and have a smoke before we start back. Besides,
I have something to tell you which I can tell better sitting still
than I can riding along." Hake came and sat down opposite his
friend, and while they smoked Chaske said:
"My friend, we have been together for the last twenty years and I
have yet the first time to deceive you in any way, and I know I can
truthfully say the same of you. Never have I known you to deceive
me nor tell me an untruth. I have no brothers or sisters. The
only brother's love I know is yours. The only sister's love I will
know will be Pretty Feather's, for brother, last night she told me
she loved none but you and would marry you and you only. So,
brother, I am going to take my antelope to my sister-in-law's tent
and deposit it at her door. Then she will know that her wish will
be fulfilled. I thought at first that you had been playing traitor
to me and had been making love to her for yourself, but when she
explained it all to me and begged me to intercede for her to you,
I then knew that I had judged you wrongfully, and that, together
with my lost love, made me so quiet and sorrowful last night. So
now, brother, take the flower of the nation for your wife, and I
will be content to continue through life a lonely
bachelor, as never again can I give any woman the place which
Pretty Feather had in my heart."
Their pipes being smoked out they mounted their ponies and Chaske
started up in a clear, deep voice the beautiful love song of Pretty
Feather and his friend Hake.
Such is the love between two friends, who claim to be as brothers
among the Indians. Chaske gave up his love of a beautiful woman
for a man who was in fact no relation to him.
Hake said, "I will do as you say, my friend, but before I can marry
the medicine man's daughter, I will have to go on the warpath and
do some brave deed, and will start in ten days." They rode towards
home, planning which direction they would travel, and as it was to
be their first experience on the warpath, they would seek advice
from the old warriors of the tribe.
On their arrival at the village Hake took his kill to their own
tent, while Chaske took his to the tent of the Medicine Man, and
deposited it at the door and rode off towards home.
The mother of Pretty Feather did not know whether to take the
offering or not, but Pretty Feather, seeing by this offering that
her most cherished wish was to be granted, told her mother to take
the meat and cook it and invite the old women of the camp to a
feast in honor of the son-in-law who was soon to keep them
furnished with plenty of meat. Hake and his friend sought out all
of the old warriors and gained all the information they desired.
Every evening Hake visited his intended wife and many happy
evenings they spent together.
The morning of the tenth day the two friends left the village and
turned their faces toward the west where the camps of the enemy are
more numerous than in any other direction. They were not mounted
and therefore traveled slowly, so it took about ten days of walking
before they saw any signs of the enemy. The old warriors had told
them of a thickly wooded creek within the enemies' bounds. The old
men said, "That creek looks the ideal place to camp, but don't camp
there by any means, because there is a ghost who haunts that creek,
and any one who camps there is disturbed all through the night, and
besides they never return, because the ghost is Wakan (holy), and
the enemies conquer the travelers every time."
The friends had extra moccasins with them and one extra blanket, as
it was late in the fall and the nights were very cold.
They broke camp early one morning and walked all day. Along
towards evening, the clouds which had been threatening all day,
hurriedly opened their doors and down came the snowflakes thick and
fast. Just before it started snowing the friends had noticed a
dark line about two miles in advance of them. Chaske spoke to his
friend and said: "If this storm continues we will be obliged to
stay overnight at Ghost Creek, as I noticed it not far ahead of us,
just before the storm set in." "I noticed it also," said Hake.
"We might as well entertain a ghost all night as to lie out on
these open prairies and freeze to death." So they decided to run
the risk and stay in the sheltering woods of Ghost Creek. When
they got to the creek it seemed as if they had stepped inside a big
tepee, so thick was the brush and timber that the wind could not be
felt at all. They hunted and found a place where the brush was
very thick and the grass very tall. They quickly pulled the tops
of the nearest willows together and by intertwining the ends made
them fast, and throwing their tent robe over this, soon had a cosy
tepee in which to sleep. They started their fire and cooked some
dried buffalo meat and buffalo tallow, and were just about to eat
their supper when a figure of a man came slowly in through the door
and sat down near where he had entered. Hake, being the one who
was doing the cooking, poured out some tea into his own cup, and
putting a piece of pounded meat and marrow into a small plate,
placed it before the stranger, saying: "Eat, my friend, we are on
the warpath and do not carry much of a variety of food with us, but
I give you the best we have."
The stranger drew the plate towards him, and commenced eating
ravenously. He soon finished his meal and handed the dish and cup
back. He had not uttered a word so far. Chaske filled the pipe
and handed it to him. He smoked for a few minutes, took one last
draw from the pipe and handed it back to Chaske, and then he said:
"Now, my friends, I am not a living man, but the wandering spirit
of a once great warrior, who was killed in these woods by the enemy
whom you two brave young men are now seeking to make war upon. For
years I have been roaming these woods in hopes that I might find
some one brave enough to stop and listen to me, but all who have
camped here in the past have run away at my approach or fired guns
or shot arrows at me. For such cowards as these I have always
found a grave. They never returned to their homes. Now I have
found two brave men whom I can tell what I want done, and if you
accomplish what I tell you to do, you will return home with many
horses and some scalps dangling from your belts. Just over this
range of hills north of us, a large village is encamped for the
winter. In that camp is the man who laid in ambush and shot me,
killing me before I could get a chance to defend myself. I want
that man's scalp, because he has been the cause of my wanderings
for a great many years. Had he killed me on the battlefield my
spirit would have at once joined my brothers in the happy hunting
grounds, but being killed by a coward, my spirit is doomed to roam
until I can find some brave man who will kill this coward and bring
me his scalp. This is why I have tried every party who have camped
here to listen to me, but as I have said before, they were all
cowards. Now, I ask you two brave young men, will you do this for
"We will," said the friends in one voice. "Thank you, my boys.
Now, I know why you came here, and that one of you came to earn his
feathers by killing an enemy, before he would marry; the girl he is
to marry is my granddaughter, as I am the father of the
great Medicine Man. In the morning there will pass by in plain
sight of here a large party. They will chase the buffalo over on
that flat. After they have passed an old man leading a black horse
and riding a white one will come by on the trail left by the
hunting party. He will be driving about a hundred horses, which he
will leave over in the next ravine. He will then proceed to the
hunting grounds and get meat from the different hunters. After the
hunters have all gone home he will come last, singing the praises
of the ones who gave him the meat. This man you must kill and
scalp, as he is the one I want killed. Then take the white and
black horse and each mount and go to the hunting grounds. There
you will see two of the enemy riding about picking up empty shells.
Kill and scalp these two and each take a scalp and come over to the
high knoll and I will show you where the horses are, and as soon as
you hand me the old man's scalp I will disappear and you will see
me no more. As soon as I disappear, it will start in snowing.
Don't be afraid as the snow will cover your trail, but
nevertheless, don't stop traveling for three days and nights, as
these people will suspect that some of your tribe have done this,
and they will follow you until you cross your own boundary lines."
When morning came, the two friends sat in the thick brush and
watched a large party pass by their hiding place. So near were
they that the friends could hear them laughing and talking. After
the hunting party had passed, as the spirit had told them, along
came the old man, driving a large band of horses and leading a fine
looking coal black horse. The horse the old man was riding was as
white as snow. The friends crawled to a little brush covered hill
and watched the chase after the shooting had ceased. The friends
knew it would not be long before the return of the party, so they
crawled back to their camp and hurriedly ate some pounded meat and
drank some cherry tea. Then they took down their robe and rolled
it up and got everything in readiness for a hurried flight with the
horses. Scarcely had they got everything in readiness when the
party came by, singing their song of the chase. When they had all
gone the friends crawled down to the trail and lay waiting for the
old man. Soon they heard him singing. Nearer and nearer came the
sounds of the song until at last at a bend in the road, the old man
came into view. The two friends arose and advanced to meet him.
On he came still singing. No doubt he mistook them for some of his
own people. When he was very close to them they each stepped to
either side of him and before he could make an outcry they pierced
his cowardly old heart with two arrows. He had hardly touched the
ground when they both struck him with their bows, winning first and
second honors by striking an enemy after he has fallen. Chaske
having won first honors, asked his friend to perform the scalping
deed, which he did. And wanting to be sure that the spirit would
get full revenge, took the whole scalp, ears and all, and tied it
to his belt. The buffalo beef which the old man had packed upon
the black horse, they threw on the top of the old man. Quickly
mounting the two horses, they hastened out across the long flat
towards the hunting grounds. When they came in sight of the
grounds there they saw two men riding about from place to place.
Chaske took after the one on the right, Hake the one on the left.
When the two men saw these two strange men riding like the wind
towards them, they turned their horses to retreat towards the
hills, but the white and the black were the swiftest of the tribe's
horses, and quickly overtook the two fleeing men. When they came
close to the enemy they strung their arrows onto the bowstring and
drove them through the two fleeing hunters. As they were falling
they tried to shoot, but being greatly exhausted, their bullets
whistled harmlessly over the heads of the two friends. They
scalped the two enemies and took their guns and ammunition, also
secured the two horses and started for the high knoll. When they
arrived at the place, there stood the spirit. Hake presented him
with the old man's scalp and then the spirit showed them the large
band of horses, and saying, "Ride hard and long," disappeared and
was seen no more by any war parties, as he was thus enabled to join
his forefathers in the happy hunting grounds.
The friends did as the spirit had told them. For three days and
three nights they rode steadily. On the fourth morning they came
into their own boundary. From there on they rode more slowly, and
let the band of horses rest and crop the tops of long grass. They
would stop occasionally, and while one slept the other kept watch.
Thus they got fairly well rested before they came in sight of where
their camp had stood when they had left. All that they could see
of the once large village was the lone tent of the great Medicine
Man. They rode up on to a high hill and farther on towards the
east they saw smoke from a great many tepees. They then knew that
something had happened and that the village had moved away.
"My friend," said Chaske, "I am afraid something has happened to
the Medicine Man's lodge, and rather than have you go there, I will
go alone and you follow the trail of our party and go on ahead
with the horses. I will take the black and the white horses with
me and I will follow on later, after I have seen what the trouble
"Very well, my friend, I will do as you say, but I am afraid
something has happened to Pretty Feather." Hake started on with
the horses, driving them along the broad trail left by the hundreds
of travois. Chaske made slowly towards the tepee, and stopping
outside, stood and listened. Not a sound could he hear. The only
living thing he saw was Pretty Feather's spotted horse tied to the
side of the tent. Then he knew that she must be dead. He rode off
into the thick brush and tied his two horses securely. Then he came
back and entered the tepee. There on a bed of robes lay some one
apparently dead. The body was wrapped in blankets and robes and
bound around and around with parfleche ropes. These he carefully
untied and unwound. Then he unwrapped the robes and blankets and
when he uncovered the face, he saw, as he had expected to, the face
of his lost love, Pretty Feather. As he sat gazing on her
beautiful young face, his heart ached for his poor friend. He
himself had loved and lost this beautiful maiden, and now his
friend who had won her would have to suffer the untold grief which
he had suffered.
What was that? Could it have been a slight quivering of the
nostrils that he had seen, or was it mad fancy playing a trick on
him? Closer he drew to her face, watching intently for another
sign. There it was again, only this time it was a long, deep drawn
breath. He arose, got some water and taking a small stick slowly
forced open her mouth and poured some into it. Then he took some
sage, dipped it into the water and sprinkled a little on her head
and face. There were many parfleche bags piled around the tepee,
and thinking he might find some kind of medicine roots which he
could use to revive her he started opening them one after the
other. He had opened three and was just opening the fourth, when
a voice behind him asked: "What are you looking for?" Turning
quickly, he saw Pretty Feather looking at him. Overjoyed, he
cried, "What can I do so that you can get up and ride to the
village with me? My friend and I just returned with a large band
of horses and two scalps. We saw this tent and recognized it.
My friend wanted to come, but I would not let him, as I feared if
he found anything had happened to you he would do harm to himself,
but now he will be anxious for my return, so if you will tell me
what you need in order to revive you, I will get it, and we can
then go to my friend in the village." "At the foot of my bed you
will find a piece of eagle fat. Build a fire and melt it for me.
I will drink it and then we can go."
Chaske quickly started a fire, got out the piece of fat and melted
it. She drank it at one draught, and was about to arise when she
suddenly said: "Roll me up quick and take the buffalo hair rope and
tie it about my spotted horse's neck; tie his tail in a knot and
tie him to the door. Then run and hide behind the trees. There
are two of the enemy coming this way."
Chaske hurriedly obeyed her orders, and had barely concealed
himself behind the trees, when there came into view two of the
enemy. They saw the horse tied to the door of the deserted tent,
and knew that some dead person occupied the tepee, so through
respect for the dead, they turned out and started to go through the
brush and trees, so as not to pass the door. (The Indians consider
it a bad omen to pass by the door of a tepee occupied by a dead
body, that is, while in the enemy's country). So by making this
detour they traveled directly towards where Chaske was concealed
behind the tree. Knowing that he would be discovered, and there
being two of them, he knew the only chance he had was for him to
kill one of them before they discovered him, then he stood a better
chance at an even combat. On they came, little thinking that one
of them would in a few minutes be with his forefathers.
Chaske noiselessly slipped a cartridge into the chamber of his gun,
threw it into action and took deliberate aim at the smaller one's
breast. A loud report rang out and the one he had aimed at threw
up his arms and fell heavily forward, shot through the heart.
Reloading quickly Chaske stepped out from behind the tree. He
could easily have killed the other from his concealed position,
but, being a brave young man, he wanted to give his opponent a fair
chance. The other had unslung his gun and a duel was then fought
between the two lone combatants. They would spring from side to
side like two great cats. Then advance one or two steps and fire.
Retreat a few steps, spring to one side and fire again. The
bullets whistled past their heads, tore up the earth beneath their
feet, and occasionally one would hit its mark, only to cause a
Suddenly the enemy aimed his gun and threw it upon the ground. His
ammunition was exhausted, and slowly folding his arms he stood
facing his opponent, with a fearless smile upon his face, expecting
the next moment to fall dead from a bullet from the rifle of
Chaske. Not so. Chaske was too honorable and noble to kill an
unarmed man, and especially one who had put up such a brave fight
as had this man. Chaske advanced and picked up the empty gun. The
Toka (enemy) drew from a scabbard at his belt a long bowie knife,
and taking it by the point handed it, handle first, to Chaske.
This signified surrender. Chaske scalped the dead Toka and
motioned for his prisoner to follow him. In the meantime Pretty
Feather had gotten up and stood looking at the duel. When she
heard the first shot she jumped up and cut a small slit in the tent
from which she saw the whole proceedings. Knowing that one or both
of them must be wounded, she hurriedly got water and medicine
roots, and when they came to the tent she was prepared to dress
Chaske had a bullet through his shoulder and one through his hand.
They were very painful but not dangerous. The prisoner had a
bullet through his leg, also one through the muscle of his left
arm. Pretty Feather washed and dressed their wounds, and Chaske
went and brought the black and white horses and mounting Pretty
Feather upon the white horse, and the prisoner on her spotted one,
the three soon rode into the village, and there was a great cry of
joy when it was known that Pretty Feather had come back to them
Hake, who was in his tent grieving, was told that his friend had
returned and with him Pretty Feather. Hearing this good news he at
once went to the Medicine Man's tent and found the Medicine
Man busily dressing the wounds of his friend and a stranger. The
old Medicine Man turned to Hake and said:
"Son-in-law, take your wife home with you. It was from grief at
your absence that she went into a trance, and we, thinking she was
dead, left her for such. Hadn't it been for your friend here, she
would surely have been a corpse now. So take her and keep her with
you always, and take as a present from me fifty of my best horses."
Hake and his beautiful bride went home, where his adopted mother
had a fine large tent put up for them. Presents of cooking
utensils, horses, robes and finely worked shawls and moccasins came
from every direction, and last of all Chaske gave as a present to
his friend the Toka man whom he had taken as prisoner. On
presenting him with this gift, Chaske spoke thus:
"My friend, I present to you, that you may have him as a servant to
look after your large band of horses, this man with whom I fought
a two hours' duel, and had his ammunition lasted he would probably
have conquered me, and who gave me the second hardest fight of my
The hardest fight of my life was when I gave up Pretty Feather.
You have them both. To the Toka (enemy) be kind, and he will do
all your biddings. To Pretty Feather be a good husband."
So saying, Chaske left them, and true to his word, lived the
remainder of his days a confirmed bachelor.