The Trail BookMary Hunter Austin / History & Fiction
THE TRAIL BOOK
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY MILO WINTER
'Arr-rr-ump!' I said]
TO MARY, MY NIECE
IN THE HOPE THAT SHE MAY FIND THROUGH THE TRAILS OF HER OWN COUNTRY THEROAD TO WONDERLAND CONTENTS
I HOW OLIVER AND DORCAS JANE FOUND THE TRAIL
II WHAT THE BUFFALO CHIEF TOLD
III HOW THE MASTODON HAPPENED FIRST TO BELONG TO A MAN, AS TOLD BY ARRUMPA
IV THE SECOND PART OF THE MASTODON STORY, CONCERNING THE TRAIL TO THE SEA AND THE TALKING STICK OF TAKU-WAKIN
V HOW HOWKAWANDA AND FRIEND-AT-THE-BACK FOUND THE TRAIL TO THE BUFFALO COUNTRY; TOLD BY THE COYOTE
VI DORCAS JANE HEARS HOW THE CORN CAME TO THE VALLEY OF THE MISSI-SIPPU; TOLD BY THE CORN WOMAN
VII A TELLING OF THE SALT TRAIL, OF TSE-TSE-YOTE AND THE DELIGHT-MAKERS; TOLD BY MOKE-ICHA
VIII YOUNG-MAN-WHO-NEVER-TURNS-BACK: A TELLING OF THE TALLEGEWI, BY ONE OF THEM
IX HOW THE LENNI-LENAPE CAME FROM SHINAKI AND THE TALLEGEWI FOUGHT THEM: THE SECOND PART OF THE MOUND-BUILDER'S STORY
X THE MAKING OF A SHAMAN: A TELLING OF THE IROQUOIS TRAIL, BY THE ONONDAGA
XI THE PEARLS OF COFACHIQUE: HOW LUCAS DE AYLLON CAME TO LOOK FOR THEM AND WHAT THE CACICA FAR-LOOKING DID TO HIM; TOLD BY THE PELICAN.
XII HOW THE IRON SHIRTS CAME TO TUSCALOOSA: A TELLING OF THE TRIBUTE ROAD BY THE LADY OF COFACHIQUE.
XIII HOW THE IRON SHIRTS CAME LOOKING FOR THE SEVEN CITIES OF CIBOLA; TOLD BY THE ROAD-RUNNER.
XIV HOW THE MAN OF TWO HEARTS KEPT THE SECRET OF THE HOLY PLACES; TOLD BY THE CONDOR.
XV HOW THE MEDICINE OF THE ARROWS WAS BROKEN AT REPUBLICAN RIVER; TOLD BY THE CHIEF OFFICER OF THE DOG SOLDIERS
'ARR-RR-UMP!' I SAID
THE BUFFALO CHIEF
TAKU AND ARRUMPA
THE TRAIL TO THE SEA
THE TRAIL TO THE BUFFALO COUNTRY
SHOT DOWNWARD TO THE LEDGE WHERE HOWKAWANDA AND YOUNGER BROTHER HUGGEDTHEMSELVES (in color)
THE CORN WOMEN
SIGN OF THE SUN AND THE FOUR QUARTERS
TSE-TSE-YOTE AND MOKE-ICHA (in Color)
TSE-TSE-YOTE AND MOKE-ICHA
THE IROQUOIS TRAIL
SHE COULD SEE THE THOUGHTS OF A MAN WHILE THEY WERE STILL IN HIS HEART(in Color)
THE CACICA FAR-LOOKING MEETS THE IRON SHIRTS
THE CONDOR THAT HAS HIS NEST ON EL MORRO
THE DOG SOLDIERS
LINE ART OF BUFFALO
THE TRAIL BOOK
HOW OLIVER AND DORCAS JANE FOUND THE TRAIL
From the time that he had first found, himself alone with them, Oliverhad felt sure that the animals could come alive again if they wished.That was one blowy afternoon about a week after his father had been madenight engineer and nobody had come into the Museum for several hours.
Oliver had been sitting for some time in front of the Buffalo case,wondering what might be at the other end of the trail. The cows thatstood midway in it had such a _going_ look. He was sure it must lead,past the hummock where the old bull flourished his tail, to one of thoseplaces where he had always wished to be. All at once, as the boy satthere thinking about it, the glass case disappeared and the trail shotout like a dark snake over a great stretch of rolling, grass-coveredprairie.
He could see the tops of the grasses stirring like the hair on the oldBuffalo's coat, and the ripple of water on the beaver pool which wasjust opposite and yet somehow only to be reached after long travelthrough the Buffalo Country. The wind moved on the grass, on the surfaceof the water and the young leaves of the alders, and over all theanimals came the start and stir of life.
And then the slow, shuffling steps of the Museum attendant startled itall into stillness again.
The attendant spoke to Oliver as he passed, for even a small boy isworth talking to when you have been all day in a Museum where nothing isnew to you and nobody comes.
You want to look out, son, said the attendant, who really liked theboy and hadn't a notion what sort of ideas he was putting into Oliver'shead. If you ain't careful, some of them things will come downstairssome night and go off with ye.
And why should MacShea have said that if he hadn't known for certainthat the animals _did_ come alive at night? That was the way Oliver putit when he was trying to describe this extraordinary experience tohis sister.
Dorcas Jane, who was eleven and a half and not at all imaginative, eyedhim suspiciously. Oliver had such a way of stating things that were notat all believable, in a way that made them seem the likeliest things inthe world. He was even capable of acting for days as if things were so,which you knew from the beginning were only the most delightful ofmake-believes. Life on this basis was immensely more exciting, but thenyou never knew whether or not he might be what some of his boy friendscalled stringing you, so when Oliver began to hint darkly at hisbelief that the stuffed animals in the Mammal room of the Museum camealive at night and had larks of their own, Dorcas Jane offered the mostnoncommittal objection that occurred to her.
They couldn't, she said; the night watchman wouldn't let them. Therewere watchmen, she knew, who went the rounds of every floor.
But, insisted Oliver, why should they have watchmen at all, if not toprevent people from breaking in and disturbing the animals when theywere busy with affairs of their own? He meant to stay up there himselfsome night and see what it was all about; and as he went on to explainhow it would be possible to slip up the great stair while the watchmenwere at the far end of the long hall, and of the places one could hideif the watchman came along when he wasn't wanted, he said we and us.For, of course, he meant to take Dorcas Jane with him. Where would bethe fun of such an adventure if you had it alone? And besides, Oliverhad discovered that it was not at all difficult to scare himself with thethings he had merely imagined. There were times when Dorcas Jane's frankdisbelief was a great comfort to him. Still, he wasn't the sort of boyto be scared before anything has really happened, so when Dorcas Janesuggested that they didn't know what the animals might do to any one whowent among them uninvited, he threw it off stoutly.
Pshaw! They can't do anything to us! They're stuffed, Silly!
And to Dorcas Jane, who was by this time completely under the spell ofthe adventure, it seemed quite likely that the animals should be stuffedso that they couldn't hurt you, and yet not stuffed so much that theycouldn't come alive again.
It was all of a week before they could begin. There is a kind of feelingyou have to have about an adventure without which the affair doesn'tcome off properly. Anybody who has been much by himself in the woods hashad it; or sometime, when you are all alone in the house, all at oncethere comes a kind of pricking of your skin and a tightness in yourchest, not at all unpleasant, and a kind of feeling that the furniturehas its eye on you, or that some one behind your shoulder is about tospeak, and immediately after that something happens. Or you feel sure itwould have happened if somebody hadn't interrupted.
Dorcas Jane _never_ had feelings like that. But about a week afterOliver had proposed to her that they spend a part of the night in thelong gallery, he was standing in front of the Buffalo case, wonderingwhat actually did happen when a buffalo caught you. Quite unexpectedly,deep behind the big bull's glassy eye, he caught a gleam as of anothereye looking at him, meaningly, and with a great deal of friendliness.Oliver felt prickles come out suddenly all over his body, and withoutquite knowing why, he began to move away from that place, tip-toe andslippingly, like a wild creature in the woods when it does not know whomay be about. He told himself it would never do to have the animals comealive without Dorcas Jane, and before all those stupid, staring folk whomight come in at any minute and spoil everything.
That night, after their father had gone off clanking to his furnaces,Dorcas heard her brother tapping on the partition between their rooms,as he did sometimes when they played prisoner. She knew exactly whathe meant by it and tapped back that she was ready.
Everything worked out just as they had planned. They heard the strange,hollow-sounding echoes of the watchman's voice dying down the halls, asstair by stair they dropped the street lamps below them, and saw strangeshadows start out of things that were perfectly harmless and familiarby day.
There was no light in the gallery except faint up-and-down glimmers fromthe glass of the cases, and here and there the little spark of an eye.Outside there was a whole world of light, the milky way of the streetwith the meteor roar of the Elevated going by, processions of smallmoons marching below them across the park, and blazing constellations inthe high windows opposite. Tucked into one of the window benches betweenthe cases, the children seemed to swing into another world where almostanything might happen. And yet for at least a quarter of an hournothing did.
I don't believe nothing ever does, said Dorcas Jane, who was not atall careful of her grammar.
Sh-sh! said Oliver. They had sat down directly in front of the BuffaloTrail, though Dorcas would have preferred to be farther away from thePolar Bear. For suppose it hadn't been properly stuffed! But Oliver hadeyes only for the trail.
I want to see where it begins and where it goes, he insisted.
So they sat and waited, and though the great building was never allowedto grow quite cold, it was cool enough to make it pleasant for them tosit close together and for Dorcas to tuck her hand into the crook ofhis arm....
All at once the Bull Buffalo shook himself.
Line Art of Mastadons]