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OONOMOO THE HURON

by

EDWARD S. ELLIS

Author of "The Trail-Hunter," "Hunter's Cabin," etc.







New York
Hurst & Company
Publishers
Copyright, 1911, by Hurst & Company.




CONTENTS.


CHAPTER

I. Hans Vanderbum
II. Other Characters
III. Oonomoo and the Shawnees
IV. The Young Lieutenant and Cato
V. The Home of the Huron
VI. Adventures on the Way
VII. The Plan for the Rescue
VIII. The Exploit of Hans Vanderbum
IX. A New Danger
X. Conclusion




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


"Keewaygooshturkumkankangewock, ain't you got dat cooked?"

A girl, fifteen or sixteen years of age, seated on the ground, beside a
squaw.

Mary Prescott.

"If you don't want to be killed, get up," said the young officer.

"Niniotan, my son, is late."

"You have saved me, and I want to grasp your hand for it."

But Oonomoo and the Miami had whipped out their knives.

So terrible did the exasperated Huron appear, that the entire party of
Shawnees paused out of sheer horror.

Niniotan stood like a statue, his arms folded and his stony gaze fixed
upon the senseless forms of his parents.




OONOMOO, THE HURON.


CHAPTER I.

HANS VANDERBUM.


The mountain's sides
Are flecked with gleams of light and spots of shade;
Here, golden sunshine spreads in mellow rays, and there,
Stretching across its hoary breast, deep shadows lurk.
A stream, with many a turn, now lost to sight,
And then, again revealed, winds through the vale,
Shimmering in the early morning sun.
A few white clouds float in the blue expanse,
Their forms revealed in the clear lake beneath,
Which bears upon its breast a bark canoe,
Cautiously guided by a sinewy arm.
High in the heavens, three eagles proudly poise,
Keeping their mountain eyrie still in view,
Although their flight has borne them far away.
Upon the cliff which beetles o'er the pool,
Two Indians, peering from the brink, appear,
Clad in the gaudy dress their nature craves--
Robes of bright blue and scarlet, but which blend
In happy union with the landscape round.
Near by a wigwam stands--a fire within
Sends out a ruddy glow--and from its roof,
Cone-shaped, a spiral wreath of smoke ascends.
Not far away, though deeper in the woods,
Another hut, with red-men grouped about,
Attracts the eye, and wakens saddened thoughts
Of that brave race who once were masters here,
But now, like autumn leaves, are dying out.--BARRY GRAY.


"Shtop dat noise! shtop dat noise!" vociferated Hans Vanderbum, growing
red in the face with fury, because his repeated commands had received
so little attention.

The scene was deep in the forests of Ohio, a short distance from the
Miami river. An Indian town of twenty-five or thirty lodges here
stood, resembling a giant apiary, with its inhabitants flitting in and
out, darting hither and thither, like so many bees. The time was early
in the morning of a radiant spring, when the atmosphere was still and
charming; the dew lingered upon the grass and undergrowth; birds were
singing in every tree; the sky glowed with the pure blue of Italy; and
the whole wilderness in its bloom looked like a sea of emerald.
Everything was life and exhilaration, one personage alone
excepted--Hans Vanderbum was unhappy!

The Indian lodges differed very little from each other, being of a
rough, substantial character, built with an eye to comfort rather than
beauty. One at the extreme northern edge of the village is that with
which our story deals. A brief description of it will serve as a
general daguerreotype of all those wild abodes.

The wigwam was composed of skins and bark, the latter greatly
predominating. The shape was that of a cone. The framework was of
poles, the lower ends of which were placed in a sort of circle, while
the tops were intersected, leaving a small opening, through which the
smoke reached the clear air above. Unsightly and repulsive as this
might seem from the outside view, the dwelling, nevertheless, was
water-proof and comfortable, and abundantly answered the end for which
it was built.

A thin vapor was ascending in a bluish spiral at the top of the lodge
indicated. A Shawnee squaw was occupied in preparing the morning meal,
while her liege lord still reclined in one corner, in the vain effort
to secure a few minutes more of slumber. This latter personage was
Hans Vanderbum--our friend Hans--a huge, plethoric, stolid, lazy
Dutchman, who had "married" an Indian widow several years before. At
the time of her marriage this squaw had a boy some three or four years
of age, while a second one, the son of the Dutchman, was now just large
enough to be as mischievous as a kitten. They were a couple of greasy,
copper-hued little rascals, with eyes as black as midnight, and long,
wiry hair, like that of a horse's mane. Brimful of animal spirits,
they were just the reverse of Hans Vanderbum, whose laziness and
stupidity were only excelled by his indifference to the dignity and
rights of human nature.

Hans Vanderbum lay fiat upon his back, for the atmosphere of the wigwam
was too warm for covering, his ponderous belly rising and falling like
a wave of the sea, and his throat giving forth that peculiar rattling
of the glottis, which might be mistaken for suffocation. The boys
certainly would have been outside, basking in the genial sunshine, had
not their mother, Keewaygooshturkumkankangewock, positively denied them
that coveted privilege. The commands of the father might be trampled
upon with impunity, but the young half-breeds knew better than to
disobey their mother.

"Shtop dat noise! shtop dat noise!" repeated Hans, raising his head
without stirring his body or limbs.

His broad face seemed all ablaze from its fiery red color, and the
threatening fury throned upon his lowering forehead would almost have
annihilated him who encountered it for the first time. As it was, the
two boys suddenly straightened their faces, and assumed an air of meek
penitence, as if suffering the most harrowing remorse for what they had
done; and the father, after glaring at them a moment, as if to drive in
and clinch the impression he had made, let his head drop back with a
dull thump upon the ground, and again closed his eyes.

The black, snaky orbs of the boys twinkled like stars through their
overhanging hair. Glancing first at their mother, who did not deign to
notice them, the eldest picked up his younger brother, who was grinning
from ear to ear with delight, and, summoning all his strength, he
poised him over the prostrate form of his father for a moment, and then
dropped him! The prolonged snore which was steadily issuing from the
throat of the sleeping parent, terminated in a sharp, explosive grunt.
As his eyes opened, the boys scrambled away like frogs to the opposite
side of the lodge, under the protecting care of their mother.

"Dunder and blixen! You dunderin' Dutch Indians, dishturbin' your poor
old dad dat is wearing his life out for you! I'll pound both of you
till you're dead!"

Hans Vanderbum's system had suffered too great a shock for further
slumber. He rose to the sitting position, and, digging both hands into
his head, glared at his offspring a moment, and then began his regular
lecture.

"Quanonshet, you little Dutchman, and Madokawandock, you little bigger
Dutchman, vot does you t'ink of yourselves? Vot does you t'ink will
become of you, disgracing your parents in this manner? You oughter be
pounded to death to treat your poor old fader in this manner, who is
working of himself away to bring you up in the way you ought for to go.
Eh? vot do you t'ink of yourself, eh? Vot do you t'ink of yourself?"
demanded Hans, furiously shaking his head toward the boys at each word.

Quanonshet and Madokawandock were too confounded for reply.

"Shposing your poor old fader should go crazy!! Here he is working
himself to skin and bone--Keewaygooshturkumkankangewock, ain't you got
dat cooked?"

[Illustration: "Keewaygooshturkumkankangewock, ain't you got dat
cooked?"]

"No!" screamed the wife. "You big, lazy man, get up and stir yourself!
You don't do anything but sleep and smoke, while _I'm_ working all the
flesh off _my_ bones for you!"

These forcible remarks were made in the pure Shawnee tongue, and were
accompanied by gesticulation too pointed and significant for Hans to
mistake the spirit in which they were given. Although it is the
invariable custom among the North American Indians for the husband to
rule the wife, and impose all burdens upon her, except those of the
hunt, and fight, such, by no means, was the case with the present
couple. Hans Vanderbum's body was too unwieldy for him to accompany
the young men (or even the old men) upon their hunting expeditions; in
short, he contributed nothing toward the support of his interesting
family. The first husband of Keewaygooshturkumkankangewock had been an
Indian, with all the characteristics of his race--indolent, selfish and
savage; and her life with him had been that of the usual servitude and
drudgery. Accordingly, when she ventured a second time upon the sea of
matrimony, she naturally fell into the same routine of labor, planting
and cultivating what little corn, beans and vegetables were raised for
the family, and doing all the really hard work. Hans Vanderbum
sometimes gathered firewood, and frequently, when the weather was
pleasant, spent hours in fishing. He was an inveterate smoker and
sleeper; and, beyond doubt, was perfectly content in his situation.
Having been taken a prisoner some years before, and adopted into this
branch of the Shawnee tribe, he was offered the hand of
Keewaygooshturkumkankangewock in marriage, and accepted it at once,
totally forgetful of his first love, which had been the beautiful
inmate of the Hunter's Cabin.

Hans Vanderbum sat and gazed at his wife with an admiring eye, as she
busied herself with the preparations of the morning meal.



Pages: | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | Next |

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