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21. Then they of Benjamin shouted with one accord
and cried aloud saying, this is the land of promise and the
land of payment f or we are laden with the gold of Ophir.

22. And it is moreover of greater value than Loan
Office, and the sound thereof is like unto sounding brass and
a tinkling cymbal.

23. And the music thereof is like the music of running
waters in a great desert when the horse and rider thirsteth
with a parched tongue.

24. It maketh the feeble strong, the lame leap, and the
aged forget their grey hairs, yea it turneth the hair of the
head like the plumage of the raven.


25. It inclineth the maiden to listen unto the word of
him that wooeth, even the old men and the maidens are
made glad thereat.

26. It buildeth up kingdoms and layeth the city and
high palaces low.

27. It breaketh the bolts of the prison door it causeth
disease to flee away.

28. Now therefore all the men of Benjamin rose up and
set their faces toward the land wherein their kin folk dwelt,
every one his saddle upon his own ass.

29. And they rejoiced with exceeding joy that their
sojourning in the land of idolaters was at an end.

30. And when they came out from amongst the taber-
nacles of clay, they shook the dust from their feet.

31. Saying, this people is in the gall of bitterness, and
the region of vermin.

32. Let us therefore cut off everyone his locks, that they
multiply not among us. And they were shorn every one
according to his mode.

33. And they did bathe in the pools by the highway at
the going down of the sun.

34. And as they journeyed homeward in the wilder-
ness, and in the land of the Arapahoes, the Camanchies and
the ungodly Paducas,

35. Certain valiant young men of the tribe of Benja-
min watched all night, neither did they close their eyelids.

36. And when Benjamin and his followers had wan-
dered in the wilderness for the space of forty days,

37. And when their beards had waxed long and their
raiment was like unto sack cloth overspread with dust and

38. They came unto a great river whose waters rolled
one upon another like a mighty whirlwind.

39. And there stood therein great beams upright in the
water like the bowsprits of tall ships.

40. Now therefore when they had gazed on this mighty
sheet of angry waters they all cried out with one voice

41. And they were exceeding glad, and rejoiced with
joy unspeakable.

42. And everyone had many shekels of silver, and
mules and ass colts a great company.

43. And all the old men and maidens, and all their kin
folk dwellers in Boon's Lick were exceedingly rejoiced





Edited by Louis C. BUTSCHER

(Moellhausen has just completed his account of the
adventure in the Platte ; and now Paul Wilhelm takes up the
thread of the story again as we read it from his journal.)

I OFFERED THE courier of the mail-coach a hundred dollars
to halt and pull the wagon across to the other bank. It
was a tremendous undertaking. For after taking his own
wagon across he had to return and hitch the stubborn, lung-
ing, twisting, rearing beasts to our vehicle in the midst of
the icy, rushing current, with the yielding, treacherous sand
for a footing. The powerful beasts were taxed to the utmost
to free the little wagon from the clutches of the sand that had
settled about its wheels and running gears.

Moellhausen had in the meantime prepared more coffee.
This revived my spirits ; for since noon of the preceding day
nothing had passed my lips, and the fast and the cold had
taxed both body and spirit to the utmost. The warmth
within the leather tent quickened my blood. This type of
tent, in contrast to those made of sail-cloth, holds the heat
even in the severest cold weather.

The Indians had appeared quite famished. It seems
that even where the buffaloes are quite plentiful they suffer
quite frequently from the pangs of hunger. These Chey-
ennes, just like the Snakes, do not amount to much in the
matter of endurance despite their splendid figures. Usually
there are only three horses and two bows for every four

The chieftain had such a miserable hunting-knife that
I felt a great pity for him. So I took one of my own of
English make from my trunk in the wagon and handed it to
him. It was of the best English make.

His face lighted up with joy. Quite in contrast with the
sober expression that had marked it up to this time.

He said something to me that I could not understand.
But it must have been in acknowledgment of the gift. For
it sounded like a profession of gratitude.



Then he gave a sign to his followers, and these, with
"hows" and smiles rode off. But the day had advanced so
far that we had to strike camp only 18 miles below the ford.

During the succeeding two days the weather grew con-
stantly colder. The glass showed 18-22 Fahrenheit.
Water froze in our five-gallon cask in a short time, and I
was barely able to protect myself against the weather even
though I was wrapped in a buffalo robe.

During the evening a half-frozen man who had trav-
elled alone and on foot from Salt Lake Town sought shelter
at our fireside.

(Moellhausen Takes up the Story Again.)

We had travelled two days since the crossing of the
Padukah when, about the middle of the afternoon, we struck
a place with fine grass which induced us to call it a day's
drive, and to halt there till the following morning. We
turned the horses loose. The weather had moderated to a
surprising degree. Thus we felt for the first time in several
weeks quite contented and even happy in the solitude of the
immeasurable prairie.

We were reclining on the dense growth of short grass,
soft and yielding as a feather-bed, and we discoursed about
our peculiar situation. Over the events of the past several
days. Then over the near future. A herd of buffaloes drew
near us and we were just rejoicing over the prospect of
singling out one of them in order to revictual our supply of
meat which had become sadly depleted.

Just at the moment when I was ready to pull the trigger
I heard voices. A small troop of horsemen approached
whom we at once recognized as whites. At their appear-
ance the buffalo herd took flight. I can hardly say whether
regret over our loss or the pleasure of seeing people of our
own kind was the stronger emotion.

As soon as they had sighted us they turned off the trail
to greet us most heartily. They told us they were Mormons,
on their way from the Great Salt Lake to Missouri. After
a brief visit they rode several miles farther before settling
down to camp. We could see the gleam of their fire through-
out the evening.

* * *

We broke camp the next morning almost at the same
time as they, but our friends of the evening before held the
lead which increased steadily because of their stronger,
fresher horses. Due to the wavelike character of the coun-
try we were now traversing, we lost sight of them at last.


Alone again on the great plain, we trudged onward as
rapidly as the dwindling strength of our horses permitted
us to go.

Suddenly there was a report of shots in the direction
where we had last seen the Mormon travellers. This, how-
ever, did not disturb us. Rather did we reason quite hope-
fully that our friends had encountered a buffalo herd, and
we were glad over the prospect of replenishing our slender
supply of meat. It is an old custom of the prairie country
that any traveller passing by a freshly-slain buffalo may cut
as much flesh as he likes without bothering himself over
first coming to an understanding with the huntsman who
killed it.

We were gradually nearing the place where the shots
had been fired. At last we could sight from a low ridge and
beyond a slighter one farther on a group of people who to
all appearance were scrutinizing some object that lay on the
ground. We were confirmed in this impression, and the
duke instructed me to ride over and cut out a generous piece
from the dead buffalo. I was to wait for him farther on
along the wagon trail.

I spurred my miserable beast into a weak gallop and in
a few minutes I was on the other ridge from which I was
able to view the scene in front of me. Quite contrary to my
expectations I was not able to distinguish a single white
man, but instead of that some twenty or thirty Indians who,
judging from their savage costumes, were on the warpath.
What was my surprise at beholding such a scene can easily
be guessed ! I turned my horse in haste and ran back to my
companion in order to apprise him of the unwelcome news.

"If this is a detachment from a war party," rejoined
the duke, not in the least perturbed, handed me my double-
barrelled rifle, "we shall get to see them soon enough. Be
prepared to fight for your life. But under no circumstances
must you shoot except when there is no other recourse. Then
be sure that you do not miss your man."

This was surely a piece of well-meant advice. But I
cannot deny that it would have pleased me much more if
there had been no occasion for it.

In the meantime I examined my pistol and placed the
rifle in front of me slung across the horn of my saddle, while
the duke was surrounding himself with a veritable arsenal
of heavily loaded shotguns, rifles, and pistols. 1

1. These were all of the muzzle-loading type. Breach-loading firearms had not
been invented at this period. The Translator.


After these preparations we drove on. But we had
hardly proceeded more than a couple of hundred yards
when on a nearby hill there appeared on horses and afoot a
whole band of savages intent on reaching the wagon trail
ahead of us.

They were Ogallalas, and as fine a lot of warriors as one
can encounter on either side of the Rockies. All were dressed
in attire of the most varicolored stuffs. Faces, chests, and
arms were painted in a truly satanic manner. Their hair
was hanging in long braids down their temples, and the
scalp-lock, fell down over the back.

They were heavily armed. Not only did they carry bows
and arrows, tomahawks and knives, but also carbines and

When they had approached to within fifty paces we
stopped and aimed our rifles at the foremost of our unbidden
guests. At the same time my companion gave them to
understand that we would shoot if they made the slightest

When the Indians saw that we were prepared to fight
to the bitter end, they answered us with the customary sign
of peace, after which the duke permitted them to approach

It is a peculiar characteristic of these savages that they
respect a fearless mien and a show of personal courage. For
in the knowledge that we were indisputably in their power
they did not touch any of our belongings. They asked, to be
sure, if we had any whiskey to which the duke replied with
a negative sign. But they took nothing, even though they
could have done so with impunity and it was easy enough to
satisfy them in the matter of firewater, when the duke
handed them the vinegar bottle. The chief who received it
took a long draught from it. Then, with a show of utter
disgust, he spat the fluid out again.

We waited only until, on the question of the duke as to
whether they had any meat, one of the Indians hastened to
their camp, returning with a good-sized piece from the rump
of a buffalo and depositing it in our wagon.

In return for this the duke offered them a good hunting
knife which was not accepted. Then the Indians went away
and we resumed our journey.

We had no sooner separated than I became aware that
an Ogallala was following me. I turned off to one side, but
he followed all my movements with such a peculiar insistence


that I turned toward him with a questioning look.

He was a fine-looking fellow, of perfect form. His
horse he reigned easily with a single leather strap, and with
it all he sat so firmly on his high saddle that horse and rider
seemed as a single being. His features were almost indis-
tinguishable beneath the thick layer of alternating red and
yellow paint. From beneath the prominent forehead there
shone a pair of eyes with such a dreadful, savage, almost
maniacal expression that it froze the blood in me. I have
never been able to forget that mien.

He was dressed in a hunting- jacket of bright blue cot-
ton stuff fastened with straps of fine leather. Around his
his neck he wore, in addition to strings of white and blue
waist there was a belt from which the scalp-locks, hand-
somely prepared, of his slain enemies were dangling. About
beads, a collar of soft otter-fur, to which a number of bear's
claws were attached. Not a few large brass-rings weighted
down his pierced ear-lobes.

Such was the appearance of the fierce Dakotah. He
now demanded in a raucous voice that I give him my bridle-
bit in return for his lasso. He gave me to understand that
he was about to declare war against the Pawnees and that
he would need a better means for guiding his horse on that

Of course I made a negative sign, whereupon he dropped
back again in my rear, in which position he continued to
follow me in whatever direction I turned. I must confess
that this fellow and his movements were making me feel
exceedingly uncomfortable, so that I decided to call the
duke's attention to his crazy behavior.

"Just ride in advance of the team," directed this man of
iron nerve. "In this way, should he raise his weapon against
you, will I be able to shoot him from his horse before he has
time to draw."

This assurance sounded anything but comforting to me.
Moreover there could not be the least doubt that such a step
would prove our sure undoing. However, to please him I
did as he had bidden. This forced the savage between the
duke's gun and me.

We had not proceeded very far in this position when all
of a sudden the savage ran up to my side, reached out with
his free hand behind me and grasped, before I could fathom
his purpose, my long bowie knife out of its sheath. Although
I instantly turned about he could have shot me down quite
easily. But this was evidently not in his mind. It was noth-


ing but the knife that had roused his robber's instinct, and
once he had that in his possession he raced back to his camp.

"Your hunting knife !" the duke cried out when he had
recovered from his surprise. "How are you hereafter going
to cut up the flesh of the buffaloes without it?" "Ride at
once back to their camp and demand the return of your

"But if he refuses to give it back to me?" I asked,
rather dubiously.

"Well, then just take it away from him; Prompt deci-
sion means everything in such a matter," was his cool reply.

"But if they should scalp me for it?"

"Then I shall avenge you. In that event we are quite
relieved from all further worry about our return to

"That is all very good," was my thought. But despite
the melodramatic notions of the duke with reference to such
an adjustment I felt that my scalp, unkempt and barbaric
though it was to look at, was worth a trifle more than the
knife. In all truth I would gladly have forgotten its loss in
the certainty that the skin of my head was secure. It was
quite flattering, to be sure, that the duke gave me credit for
so much courage. But I was wishing with all my heart that
he himself had possessed less of that martial quality, and
that we might proceed peacefully on our way. However, I
did not dwell long on these philosophical reflections, but
handed the duke my rifle and rode unarmed back over the
nearest hill toward the camp of the Ogallalas.

However interesting the Indian horde appeared in their
warlike costumes, there were yet not a few things that
inspired me with real apprehension. There was a horse, for
instance, which they had just butchered, and for the flesh of
which a number of warriors were quarrelling like famished
dogs. But more especially fear-inspiring was the circum-
stance that five or six of the warriors sprang up at my ap-
proach and pointed their carbines at my head.

I endeavored to pacify them as well as I was able with
signs expressing my peaceful mission. To my immense sat-
isfaction I saw them lay down their rifles, and so I rode with
apparent calmness into the circle about the camp fire.

Among the whole band there was only one warrior who
wore in his scalp-locks an eagle's feather, the signal distinc-
tion of a chieftain. To this fellow I now walked up deferen-
tially. I extended my hand to him with genuine courtesy.
As I had no means by which to make him understand me in


words, I showed him my empty scabbard and pointed to the
thief, telling him in good German English or French he
would not have understood any better that he would oblige
me immensely if he saw to it that the knife was restored to

If the chieftain did not understand my words, he evi-
dently guessed their meaning. For he addressed himself to
one of his horde and this latter quickly grasped a long spear
and walked toward me. Its point consisted of the end of a
sword to which a white badge was fastened. On this were
painted a bloody hand and a bloody severed arm.

Later I found out that this was a magic or "medicine"
talisman, placed against my breast as a guarantee of their
friendship. At the time, however, when I felt its sharp
point against my breast, I expected nothing else than that
this philanthropic savage was going to plunge the sharp
blade between my ribs.

This, however, did not come to pass. I was left un-
harmed. What was more, the purloiner of my knife was
compelled to give me back my property, though this was not
done without considerable protest on the part of the thief.

Once more in possession of my property, I was desirous
of returning to the duke without any further loss of time. I
pressed the chieftain's hand and assured him that I felt
highly honored and very happy in his company, to be sure,
but that I would feel even happier almost anywhere else on
earth just at this time, a compliment which the chieftain
answered with a solemn but discreet "How."

I extended my hand to several other Indians who were
near, but when I approached the fellow who had been forced
to yield me the knife and who was standing there leaning on
his rifle, the features distorted with hate, he vouchsaved no
word of reply to my good-bye, but turned his back to me as
an especial token of his grudge.

Not in the least disturbed by this discourtesy I rode
slowly away. Steadily I kept my eyes on the fellow, for
I did not trust him. I may have gone some thirty paces,
perhaps, when that devil raised his gun, cocked it and drew
on me. I was about to motion to him that he should not carry
the joke too far, for I believed his hostile gesture to be in
jest, when something like a flash of lightning and a little
cloud of smoke issued from the barrel of his weapon. At the
same moment a bullet tore my cap from my head.

"A miss is as good as a mile," I reflected with a wry
grimace as I stopped my poor nag in order to pick up my


badly abused headcovering. Then I mounted once more,
saluted the savages again and rode back to the duke.

I found him standing against the side of our wagon, a
double-barrelled rifle in his hands. The report of the gun-
shot had worried him greatly as to my fate, a feeling that
became intensified because the bullet intended for my head
also whizzed uncomfortably close to his own.

But instead of pursuing our journey without delay this
doughty iron-eater decided on paying the savages a visit. He
was going to demand satisfaction for tis unwarranted out-
rage. In spite of my most urgent entreaties to desist from
this reckless errand he walked over to his camp.

"I went straightway up to the chieftain," so the duke
writes, "and advised him to save his lead for the Pawnees
rather than to waste them on Mr. Moellhausen who was his
friend. This proof of my courage and my knowledge of their
character and sense of justice pleased the young chieftain
exceedingly. He extended his hand to me and shook it
heartily. Then he called all his followers together, had the
pipe of peace passed around, took the medicine bag and the
spear with the warshield and laid them at my feet while
repeating several times : "Lau, lau, Capitana !"

In referring to the bullet aimed at my head the duke
was told that it was fired merely as a parting salute for his
friend. At this we both enjoyed a hearty laugh. The duke
then assured me that from then on I was no longer a green-
horn, but a full-fledged veteran voyageur. But I reserved
my grateful acknowledgment of this compliment to a more
auspicious hour.

I realized at this time the utter hopelessness of our
situation. Our horses were emaciated, worn out dispirited.
There was this enormous distance of many hundred miles to
span, with winter coming on. Our larder was almost empty
and the prospect for replenishing it remote and not to be
depended upon.

We had come out of our difficulties with the Indians far
more successfully than I had expected. Our scalps were still
where they belonged. But was there not constant danger
lurking from similar encounters? The country was full of
roving Indian bands. Would we be able to conciliate others
as we had done those out of whose clutches we had just
escaped by the merest chance. By an exceedingly narrow

The duke had so often spoken of the furious snowstorms
that swept the western prairies. Winter might overtake us


long before we could reach the shelter of the settlements.
For aside from the Catholic Mission in the Putowatomie
Nations there was not the slightest refuge from the raging
gales that could sweep over that immeasurable domain
that is as open as the outstretched palm.

It is an unappreciated blessing of Heaven that man can-
not see into the future. Could we have foreseen what lay
ahead of us, my dark forebodings would have turned to stark


Three days long we had travelled since our encounter
with the Ogallalas (so writes the duke) when we approached
the two forks of the Platte.

It was quite early in the morning when I stepped out of
the tent to survey the neighboring country, as was my cus-
tom at arising. Turning my eyes toward the west I saw a
small herd of buffaloes grazing quietly on the level plain,
perhaps a thousand paces up the wagon trail. I had just
decided to saddle Moellhausen's horse with the intention of
riding slowly toward them, with my body bent down over
its neck, when, at some distance to the right, two dark
objects caught my eyes. These were apparently motionless.
They were too far away to be distinguishable. Being quite
motionless they might have been taken for dead buffaloes.
Moellhausen now appeared in the opening of the tent, and I
pointed out to him what I saw.

The atmosphere was peculiar. Distant objects seemed
to change constantly in appearance. Objects at some dis-
tance from us, although apparently motionless, seemed to
take on new forms even as we were scanning them. We
could not make out what they were for quite a while. At
first we took them to be a couple of buffaloes still lying on
their bed-ground. Now they looked like small ravens.
Again we thought that they might be Indians crouched on
the ground. We even decided that they were wolves.

And so we contended with one another for some time
about the identity of this puzzling spectacle until we recog-
nized what we least desired to find. They were Indians !

As we were walking toward them they rose from the
ground and moved resolutely toward us, while we, keeping
the same pace, returned to our little wagon. When they


reached us we found them to be young fellows so savage and
filthy in appearance that I cannot recall any human beings
that I had ever beheld roaming over the prairies who could
match their repulsive exterior.

Their forms were enveloped in woollen cloths that
might have been white at one time. Now, however, they
were a dusky color between gray and a dun. A sort of
cowl, or hood, of the same material served them for a head-
covering. Their feet and legs were clothed in leggins and
moccasins of tanned deerskin. In their hands they carried

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