Last of the Great Scouts
Will's First Indian
MY uncle's home was in Weston, Platte County, Missouri, at that time the large city of
the West. As father desired to get settled again as soon as possible, he left us at Weston,
and crossed the Missouri River on a prospecting tour, accompanied by Will and a guide.
More than one day went by in the quest for a desirable location, and one morning Will,
wearied in the reconnoissance, was left asleep at the night's camping-place, while father
and the guide rode away for the day's exploring.
When Will opened his eyes they fell upon the most interesting object that the world just
then could offer him--an Indian!
The "noble red man," as he has been poetically termed by people who have but known
him from afar, was in the act of mounting Will's horse, while near by stood his own, a
miserable, scrawny beast.
Will's boyish dreams were now a reality; he looked upon his first Indian. Here, too, was a
"buck"--not a graceful, vanishing deer, but a dirty redskin, who seemingly was in some
hurry to be gone. Without a trace of "buck fever," Will jumped up, rifle in hand, and
"Here, what are you doing with my horse?"
The Indian regarded the lad with contemptuous composure.
"Me swap horses with paleface boy," said he.
The red man was fully armed, and Will did not know whether his father and the guide
were within call or not; but to suffer the Indian to ride away with Uncle Elijah's fine
horse was to forfeit his father's confidence and shake his mother's and sisters' belief in the
family hero; so he put a bold face upon the matter, and remarked carelessly, as if
discussing a genuine transaction:
"No; I won't swap."
"Paleface boy fool!" returned the Indian, serenely.
Now this was scarcely the main point at issue, so Will contented himself with replying,
quietly but firmly:
"You cannot take my horse."
The Indian condescended to temporize. "Paleface horse no good," said he.