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A short story by Charles M. Skinner

Flying Shadow And Track Maker

Title:     Flying Shadow And Track Maker
Author: Charles M. Skinner [More Titles by Skinner]

The Chippewas and Sioux had come together at Fort Snelling to make merry and cement friendships. Flying Shadow was sad when the time came for the tribes to part, for Track Maker had won her heart, and no less strong than her love was the love he felt for her. But a Chippewa girl might not marry among the Sioux, and, if she did, the hand of every one would be against her should ever the tribes wage war upon each other, and war was nearer than either of them had expected. The Chippewas left with feelings of good will, Flying Shadow concealing in her bosom the trinkets that testified to the love of Track Maker and sighing as she thought of the years that might elapse ere they met again.

Two renegade Chippewas, that had lingered behind the band, played the villain after this pleasant parting, for they killed a Sioux. Hardly was the news of this outrage received at the fort ere three hundred warriors were on the trail of their whilom guests and friends, all clamoring for revenge. Among them was Track Maker, for he could not, as a warrior, remain behind after his brother had been shot, and, while his heart sank within him as he thought of the gentle Flying Shadow, he marched in advance, and early in the morning the Chippewas were surprised between St. Anthony's Falls and Rum River, where they had camped without fear, being alike ignorant and innocent of the murder for which so many were to be punished.

The Sioux fell upon them and cut down all alike--men, women, and children. In the midst of the carnage Track Maker comes face to face with Flying Shadow, and with a cry of gladness she throws herself into his arms. But there is no refuge there. Gladly as he would save her, he knows too well that the thirst for blood will not be sated until every member of that band is dead. He folds her to his bosom for an instant, looks into her eyes with tenderness--then bowing his head he passes on and never glances back. It is enough. She falls insensible, and a savage, rushing upon her, tears the scalp from her head.

The Sioux win a hundred scalps and celebrate their victory with dance and song. Track Maker has returned with more scalps than any, and the maidens welcome him as a hero, but he keeps gravely apart from all, and has no share in the feasting and merry-making. Ever the trusting, pleading, wondering face of Flying Shadow comes before him. It looks out at him in the face of the deer he is about to kill. He sees it in the river, the leaves, the clouds. It rises before him in dreams. The elder people say he is bewitched, but he will have none of their curatives. When war breaks out he is the first to go, the first to open battle. Rushing among his enemies he lays about him with his axe until he falls, pierced with a hundred spears and arrows. It is the fate he has courted, and as he falls his face is lighted with a smile.

[The end]
Charles M. Skinner's short story: Flying Shadow And Track Maker