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A short story by Charles M. Skinner

Falls Of St. Anthony

Title:     Falls Of St. Anthony
Author: Charles M. Skinner [More Titles by Skinner]

Several of the Dakotas, who had been in camp near the site of St. Paul, left their families and friends, when the hunting season opened, and went into the north. On their arrival at another village of their tribe, they stayed to rest for a little, and one of the men used the time to ill-advantage, as it fell out, for he conceived an attachment for a girl of this northern family, and on his way southward he wedded her and took her home with him. Proper enough to do, if he had not been married already. The first wife knew that any warrior might take a second, if he could support both; but the woman was stronger than the savage in her nature, and when her husband came back, with a red-cheeked woman walking beside him, she felt that she should never know his love again. The man was all attention to the young wife, whether the tribe tarried or travelled. When they shifted camp the elder walked or rowed behind with her boy, a likely lad of ten or twelve.

It was when they were returning down the river after a successful hunt that the whole company was obliged to make a carry around the quick water near the head of St. Anthony's Falls. While the others were packing the boats and goods for transportation by hand to the foot of the cataract, the forsaken wife chose a moment when none were watching to embark with her boy in one of the canoes. Rowing out to an island, she put on all her ornaments, and dressed the lad in beads and feathers as if he were a warrior. Her husband, finding her absent from the party, looked anxiously about for some time, and was horrified to see her put out from the island into the rapid current. She had placed the child high in the boat, and was rowing with a steady stroke down the stream. He called and beckoned franticly. She did not seem to hear him, nor did she turn her head when the others joined their cries to his. For a moment those who listened heard her death-song, then the yeasty flood hid them from sight, and the husband on the shore fell to the earth with a wail of anguish.

[The end]
Charles M. Skinner's short story: Falls Of St. Anthony