Dam Ime Old

The Lives and Adventures of Horse Apple

(With Occasional Outbursts from Two Bear)

 

Chapter 4 - 1 Big Raft

 

I snode 4 2 days. Iz snug enuf in that Shoshony hut septin when I had to go out side to peel cotton wood bark 2 feed my 2 horses.

When I woked the therd day I cood see the sun throo the sno so I climed out to find my horses with sno up 2 thar bellys. The sun war up but I warnt bout 2 waste no time. I peeled 1 more cotton wood bark meel for my horses and saddeld up while theys a eetin.

Best I cood figger, weez rite on the spot in the Rockys whar ifn I pizzed west it wood go to the Pasific See & ifn I pizzed eest it wood go to the Atlantic See. At any rate it war hi cuntry & a nuther erly fall storm cood cum up any minut.

We hedded rite out eest what war the way the Shoshonys sade theyd go. Warnt no way a noin what war belo the sno so wee jez hedded down what looked like mite be a trale. My horse bout tripped a cupla times but we made pert good time. We war outa the deep sno in a cupla Rs.

Theys a reeznabul cleer trale a hedding down the pass wunst we got outa the sno. Problem war they warnt no sine o that Shoshony tribe a passin throo like they sade theys a gonna. They a draggin thar lajs behind thar horses wooda broke sum brush but thar wanrt no sine o that. I war perty dam shure they didnt go eest like they planned. Dam I thot. Ifn thar warnt Shoshonys a hed then the nex peepel Ide meet wood be Rapahoes. That war a problem ifn I wanted 2 keep my scalp. Ifn I hedded back up on the deevide & they war a nuther erly storm Id be ass deep in sno & ifn I hedded north itted be a coin toss wuther I met up with Black Feet er Crow.

They war big mountins 2 the south but I hadnt heerd o no wild Indins a livin thar septin the Yoots who war cuzins o the Shoshonee tho they didnt all ways git a long. What the hell. So I thot mebe I cood find a pass & make it 2 Mexico ifn I didnt find no Yoots. That seemed like the best idee so I did.

I skirted the sno line az best I cood. It war ruggged cuntry with sage brush & pine. Seen a lot o deer sine a cumin down out o the sno. Seen cwite a fyoo deer 2. Thar war enuf grass 4 my horses & plenny o water. The animule trales made 4 sum slo goin til I found a horse trale belo a pass. The sun war hi on that day.

In the after noon I seen fresh mokasin tracks in mud long the trale o 1 man. He warnt a wokkin reglar neether. Heez a staggerin & I notised az I follerd that he went down a cupla times. I pult my pistel outa my belt & kep it cocked az I rid.

Warnt long a4 I spotted considerbal moovment above me. Thar war a Indin a doin best he cood to make cuver in sum brush bout a hunnert feet a hed o him. He spotted me. I goosed my horse & got 2 the feller a 4 he made 50 feet. He turnt a holdin heez nife reddy 2 fite but cood barely stand up.

He looked like a Shoshony septin I never seen him be4. Warnt no Rapaho anyhow. Heez smallern me. I stuck my pistel in my belt & made a peese sine. He didnt make no sine a tall jez stood thar kind o dazed. I grabbed a hunk o jerky out o my pouch & flipped it 2 him. It landed at hiz feet. Soon az he saw what it war he grabbed it up & et like he hadnt et in a munth. I tossed him a nuther peese & got off my horse.

He sheethed hiz nife whilst eh et the sekund chunk. He had him a big ole bluddy knok on heez 4hed. He war in trubel & needed a frend. After a bit I cleened heez woond & shared a smoke with heem.

He war a yung waryer calt Lechat. He sayed heez peepel war the No Och. They war the peepel we call Yoots I larnt later. He didnt tok no Marecan so we yoozed sine langwage. Heez a warin a good elk war shirt & leggins. Didnt have no fancy fethers ner beeds. Dressed perty much like a Shoshony.

Heez war party had all bin kilt in a fite with the Rapahos. He fell off heez horse & down a cliff & bin a tryin 2 make it home on foot ever sinse.

We didnt bild no far that nite.

My truck war gittin a tab lo so it warnt no probum 2 dich my sawbuck & let Lechat ride bare back on my pack horse. We toted what war left o the truck. Heez well enuf that nex day 2 ride & we made it back up in2 sno cuntry that day. It took 2 more days 2 throo sno 2 make it over the rije 2 a hi platoe. We rid cross the platoe 4 a day a4 he spotted heez villij a bout 30 teepees. Theys reel happy 2 see him & treeted me reel warm like but the famlys o them fellers kilt waled all nite long.

The Yoot war gittin long bettern the Shoshony. They had em good lajs desent horses & guns. Theys all set up 4 winner 2 with plenty o food stocked.

Winner hit full forse the nex day. I spent the winner thar in that laj with Lecat & heez 2 wives & baby boy. Both heez wives war with child a agin & 1 gived berth 2 a nuther boy that winner.

Cum spring Lechat & 8 uther Yoots gided me back tord Shoshony cuntry.

We war long the south rije o the valley o the Sweetwater when we seen a buffler stampeed 2 the eest a coming tord us. Soon we cood tell it war a big party o Rapahos what war cozin the ruckus. Theys on thar spring hunt & kilt 15 er so. We desided to set tite til they left what took 2 days. 2 o the Yoot waryers kilt a yung cow the nex day & we all enjoyed fresh meet.

I rid down tord whar the Rapahos had made thar kill. They didnt leeve nuthin o them buffler they kilt. They took bones & ever thang.

That was good.

It war on the way back whar I spotted a skunk what had been run over by the stampeed. It war ded & a fyoo feet away war a nuther. Its mate I spozed. Iz a feelin rite close 2 skunks cunsidern 1 saved my bacon the summer be4 on the Bighorn.

So was I.

We did a ceremony.

I did a ceremony.

Havin a crowd inside o ye can be a pane. We desided to skin em out & keep em with us. That wood be me & Two Bear. So we did.

It war late spring a4 we found Washa Keys band on a rije opver looking the upper Yaller Stone. Thar they wuz with big smiles on thar fases & piles o enuf beever plews 2 sink Mike Finks keel bote 10 times over.

I sade 2 Henry whar in the livin helld yoo git all them pelts yoo ugly coon.

Hole band desided they wanted guns so they cum & helped us trap. They want 2 keep the truck yoo left with Porfiro 4 the plews.

Thats it.

Thats it.

How in the livin hell am I gonna git all them plews to Sante Looie.

Raft.

Do yoo have any idee how big a raft that wood take.

No. Hell. We aint even figgerd how 2 git the plews down the mountin 2 the river.

Me & him laffed.

Be that the Yaller Stone.

That wood be it.

We war on the upper end o a big ole slide what went neerly down 2 the river but that far up in the Rockys the Yaller Stone war a movin reel fast & I cood see plenny o rapids down streem. I needed me 1 hell o a idee. It war morn a thousand feet down 2 the river & thar warnt nuthin what looked like a tale.

Those plews should never have been taken. They will bring a rush of White men to the Rockies. The Indians will loose their land.

Im a thinkin yer rite I sade 2 my own self what in clooded Two Bear. But ifn I donít take em Ill have a tribe o mad Shoshonys on my hand.

Build a giant raft. Slide it down the slide. If they make it to the river it will surely break up there and the plews will sink in the river. Then They will go back to the earth where they belong.

Corse I war jez a tokkin in my mind 2 Two Bear so Henry & them Shoshonys & Yoots a round me didnt no what Iz a figgerin on doin.

Weel bild a giant raft I sade.

How yoo gonna do that Henry sade.

See them 3 ded fers a layin thar on the top end o the slide. Looks like theys kilt by the slide a year er so ago sose theys dry but not rotten. Weel lash em 2 gether ty the plews on top & give em a push. With any luck they go rite in2 the river & Ill jez flote em down to Sante Looie.

Yoo gonna ride it down.

Why wood I ride it down.

Coz wunce that raft gits in the water yoo aint gonna kech up to it.

Ill ride it down then.

Yoo crazy Indin. Yoo & me share the same ass.

Thereíll be plenty of chances to jump off.

The hell yoo say.

We all spent a day a lashin the 3 big trees 2 gether. Took most o the rope the tribe had. The top o the trees war lashed 2 gether 2 from the front o the raft. The bottoms formed the ass. We limmed the bottom o the trees & the out side limms. We yoozed the inside limms 4 the lashin & left sum o the up limms speshly 1 partiklar big 1 neer the front off o the middle tree.

I figgerd the raft war close 2 a hunnert feet long & bout 20 er more feet wide at the ass. It war a long try angel. Them logs war bout 5 footers at the base.

We spent the nex day a lashin the plews on2 the raft. Theys a bout 4 foot o plews all over that raft septin for meby 15 feet in the front & 10 in the back. Theys a hole 2 in the middle casin I needed brest werks to fite my way down river & 2 yooze az a wikiup in case o rane. I stored my truck in the wikiup. Had me enuf food 2 last me bout 2 months.

I took me a hard look at the raft & it looked perty good.

I figure it will completely fall apart about when it hits the river.

Nope. Im a figgern itl make it.

What about the plews going back to the earth?

I figger ifn the creater wants em heel take em.

Looks to me like we need 3 more things on this heer raft.

What wood that be Henry anserd.

We need a sale & a drag & a rudder.

I droo out in the dert how big I needed beaver plews soed 2 gether for the sale & Porfiro got the wimmen rite on it.

They war a good sized fer standin agin the ass o the raft & I needed that cut down a fasin up hill 4 a drag 2 keep the rafts noze down hill & down streem wunst weez in the water. Them Shoshoee waryers took thar hand axes & metal hawks to the tree. I found me sum willer long a streem & cumensed to makin a rudder. I tide plews 2 the finished rudder & that war that. R square sail war bout10 feet wide & 6 feet hi. I clum up & tide it 2 the top o the hi branch neer the front o the raft & lashed the bottom loose 2 the sides. We lashed the bottom o the drag 2 the ass o the raft.

It war the nex mornin when the tribe set out 2 push the raft over the crest o the slide. I sade my good bys to the Shoshonees & the Yoots particlar Henry, Pompy, Lechat, Washa Key, & speshly Porfiro. I tolt her I named the raft after her the Porfiro. She cride. I climed on the raft & made reddy 2 go. Me Iz a settin in my saddle a stride the middle tree neer the front a holdin on 2 ranes I tide to 2 the tree. Everbody pushed but that raft warnt a bujjin.

Didnt want 2 moove the the plews forwerd er the noze o the raft wood sink in the water so we cummensed to caryin rocks up to the front a layin em a stride the trees. I figgerd thade fall off on the way down anyhow.

It took morn a fyoo rocks 2 git that raft 2 tilt & when it cumensed to rockin & a creekin the Indins a helpin me jumped off & it settled bak down. Dam I thot.

They desided 2 start a throwin me up rocks until the raft began a rock & a creekin agin & they all ran 2 the ass 2 push.

Slowly the big raft tilted forwerd a making noyses like it warnt reel happy bout what war a hed. It warnt reel stabel neether but soon enuf er 2 soon it began 2 slide slow down the hill. The drag war a holdin the ass o the raft up which war good & I war a havin a big time on that raft what war a moving down the hill at a bout a wokkin pase.

A big rock bout a hundert feet down a all most stopt us til the raft tilted over its crest & the speed pickt up a tad. The drag war a doin its job cos the noze war still down but that rock had throde me off corse & I warnt heddin 4 the opening 2 the river no more. Ize a veerin rite tord a bunch o trees that stood tween me & the river. I thot bout jumpin off but weez goin way 2 fast & the big raft wood run over me any how.

Nex I new that raft warnt a tuchin the ground a tall & I ducked in the saddel az we hit the first o the trees. Sum pines I recall. We crashed throo them trees like theys sticks. We came 2 a opning & a hed whar thar war a stand o cwakys. & ded a hed in a cwaky war a Neegra feller. A big Neegra feller. In the cwaky. Then I seen what war at the bottom o that cwaky. A griz. He war the reesun that Neegra feller war in the cwaky. & Iz gonna hit em both. We moed down them cwakys like a sickel on otes & nex I new theys a big splash & Ize under ise cold water & nocked outa my saddel. I helt on to the ranes 4 deer life..

The raft serfused soon enuf & a hed o me war a cwarter mile o rapids. Iz a layin nex 2 my saddel so I jumped a bord & got reddy for the ride.

That raft bumped & jumped & dumked me twiste but it kep its noze down streem cleen til we got to still water. Ooooeee I yelt.

I turnt a round to check my lode & it war there. & a standin on it war the griz a lookin down at me. He jumped at me & I went under heez jump & climed over the plews 2 my truck. I found the rite pouch & jest az that griz came over the plews back at me I stuck them skunk skins rite up in heez fase. That griz stopt ded cold & turnt a round & jumped off the raft.

Take that yoo sorry excuse 4 a bear I yelt. Told him.

Then I seen that Neegra feller a layin thar a starin at me.

Loddy. Loddy. He sade.

What the livin hell war a Neegra doin up a tree in Black Foot cuntry a thousin mile from the nex neerest Neegra.

Day was a bear.

I saw the bear. What war you a doin thar in the furst plase.

Ize lost.

Parently.

I took a minut 2 check out the raft & it war all 2 gether include the sale & the drag & the rudder. Weez a startin 2 drift sideways so I tide of the sale tite & the raft rited in no time. Weez a salin 4 Sante Looey. Dam it thot. I looked up on the rij & my frends war a wavin down at me. I waved back. Soon theys out a site.

Thar war lots more rapids that day but only 1 bad 1. We made it well enuf & tide of in a lagoon that nite. I figgerd we made close 2 a hunnert miles. Ize tard. I finely had time 2 tok 2 my passenjer.

Whats yer name.

Jim. Dey calls me Neegra Jim.

Dam. Yer 1 big feller. My names Horse.

Happy 2 be meetin yoo sa.

He smiled & we shook hands.

Iz a lookin fer my fren whoze my biznus pardner. You aint seed a big black Neegra name o Yoke haz ya.

Yoo meen York.

Ya sa.

Im a feered Neegra Jim yer frends ded.

O my. O loddy. Donít tell me that.

Yep. Sorry. He jez went crazy. He stole my horse & rid in2 the ground. Kilt a good horse. He didnt no nuthin what war a happnin 2 him. Me & a feller name o Henry found him ded. We berryd him down streem long this river.

Neegra Jim set cwiet a cride to hiz self. We didnt tok no more that nite.

Personal I thunk bout that skunk. Considerin them grizzes jez pop up when & whar a feller leest x specs I desided I needed them skunk skins az close az my gun er my nife. I desided that furst chanse Iz a gonna make them pelts in2 a hat. Hell they didnt smell nun. Leest no werse than me. I figgerd them grizzes have hellashus nozes & they can smell things men cant. I figgerd a shunk hat mite look rite shinen.

Neegra Jim war a feelin better the nex mornin. He had beens & biskits reddy 2 eet by the time I woke up.

Neegra Jim war 1 handy feller 2 have a long. Heez a fishin fool & war a hell o a cooker. Funny thing war tho. He war the feerfulest fella I ever node. Donít look at the noo moon over yer rite sholder, tossin salt here & thar, donít tuch a snake skin, on & on. Kep me inner taned tho. I figgerd him a being az big az he war mite make sum Indin think twiste bout a tackin us 2 on. We set sale the nex mornin.

Theys fyooer rapids az we went down river that day but thar war 1 what puckerd R buts. Weez a makin hellashus time in that fast water & by after noon weez at the conflux o the Big Horn River whar a hole passel o Crows war camped. They hooped & hollerd when they seen it war me. Sceered the bejesus outa Neegra Jim. Stayed in Big Robbers laj that nite. Tokked most o the nite.

I tolt Big Robber bout my hat idee & he thot it war a good 1. He had 1 o heez wives get to makin me a fine hat. That woman cood soe. Had 2 stay a xtry day fer her 2 finish the hat but bein round that Crow camp war a safe plase. I spent the time a titnin the lashins on the Porivo.

Neggra Jim slep on the raft both nites. Me & him had sum time 2 tok the secund nite.

Mizza Hoss he sade.

Yea Jim.

How fars we a goin.

With this raft.

Ya sa.

Im a hopin 2 get to Sant Looie.

O loddy.

What be the problum.

O I do no.

Yoo a scaped slave.

How yoo no dat.

Weell yer a Neegra & moz Neegas is slaves. And yoo seem 2 be out on this desert by yer own self.

Yoke tolt me Ide be free out here.

That wood be about rite. But the chanse o servivin out here with out a gun er a nife er a horse aint 2 good.

Ima larnin that.

On tuther hand the chanse o us makin it from here 2 Sante Looey past rapids & Black Feet & Soo & Rapahoes & Shy Anns & Ree & Osajes & grizzes & picayoons & fog & what ever else the Creater throes at us is dam slim 2.

Ima larnin that 2.

Yoo wanna stay with these here Crow peepel. Yoo cood do werse. They took in yer frend York.

Yoo need me to cook fer ya & keep yoo out a trubel genral.

Like 2 have yoo a long. Yoo stick with me 2 the furst White settelmunt & Iíll outfit ye with a horse & gun & yoo can be on yer own way.

That be a genrus offer Mizza Hoss.

Then its setteld.

Ya sa. It setteld.

We shook hands.

The Crow offerd 2 send sum waryers with us on the raft but Iz wurryd bout bein top hevvy. Weez a settin lower in the water than we had been. Parently it war coz sum o the plews got wet coz the raft stood up a tad when we stade in com water. But I node a good rane storm cood make us reel soggy & hevvy.

We stade 2 days with R frends the Crow a4 settin sale. We got out in the middle o the river & took vantije o the spring breeze & current. It war a bee yootiful spring mornin septin fer the cashunal ripe smellin ded buffler flotin down river what drowned by tryin 2 cross the froze river in the winner.

Me & Neegra Jim desided 2 take 4 R shifs round the clock. I larnt heem all thar war 2 no bout salin the Porivo which I gess warnt that much. We didnt plan 2 stop til we reeched the Minna Tary villijes 3 er 4 weeks a way I figgerd.

Weez 3 days out o the Crow camp when we cumensed 2 seein war patys north o the river. I figgerd theys probably Black Feet cunsidern thar dress & whar we war. Thar number grode the nex 2 days. Me & Jim didnt git much sleep.

The mornin o the sixth day out we cum up on still water. It seemd 2 be a long nary lake but it war plenny wide enuf fer us to be out o rifel range o the Black Feet. Thar war a stiff mornin breez weeze a movin okay. The banks o the north side o the river cumensed 2 go strate up & we didnt see no more Black Feet. We cood finely drop R gard so I setteld in 2 doze off whilst Jim steerd the Porivo.

Iz a dreemin o sumthin nise when Jim cumensed 2 yell. Loddy loddy. Wake up Mizza Hoss. Loddy loddy. O wake up Mizza Hoss cwick.

I a woke & looked a hed. That war a embara o river debree no morn a haf mile a hed. It war 1 big dam 2. Nuthin beevers cood ever do. & theys Indins a standin on the embara. Black Feet. & we war a hedded strate fer em. Warnt no turnin a rounf ner stoppin neether.

I yelt 2 Jim 2 aim strate for em & ty the keel off & git in whar I war. I had me 5 rifels what ment five shots plus my pistel & I warnt a gonna waste my galena on Indins. I sir veyd the dam & spotted leest 1 lim what seemd 2 be a hold o a bigger 1. My aim war gonna be 2 break that lim. Problem war at bout 2 hunnert yards out them Black Feet started shootin at us. I scweezed a part 2 stacks o plews so I cood git a beed on my targut. Weez a drawin hevvy far but weez snug behind R brest werks out o thar sites. My first shot hit the lim but didnt brake it. My second hit the rong dam lim. My therd shot hit it agin & I thot the embara war a gonna go but it didnt. I hit it agin & it broke of & the embara gave a tad but that war all. Thar warnt nuthin more 2 shoot at septin Black Feet so I figgerd Id shoot the furst Indin a bord with my rifel & the secund with my pistel. Az we proched the embara 4 Black Feet got reddy 2 jump on bord. But the second that pointed nose o the Porivo hit the embara the embara give way. I went ass over tee kettel backward & my flintlock went of & jez missed Jim. 1 Black Foot waryer manajed 2 git on bord & Jim jumped over the pile O plews & kicked the feller in the jaw. He fell in2 the water. The Black Foot feller that war.

The Porivo turnt side ways in the swift currunt & dam neer tipped. Wunst the current sloed it rited its self tho & the sale took wind agin. Weez morn a haf a mile down streem from the Black Feet by then septin 4 1 what war a hangin on2 the drag tree. He started a inchin heez way up the rope tord the raft & when he got bout 5 feet from the ass o the raft I pointed my flintlock pistel at heem. When he sar that he let go o the rope & cumensed 2 swim tord the north shore.

Dam. That war x sitin warnt it Jim.

Yazza. Bout az x sited az I eva wanna git.

Gess Iz rite bout bringin yoo a long.

Jez ernin my muny sa.

We wached til the Black Foot swimmer made shore.

Crow fite them fellers all the time I sade.

Done think Id wanna do that all the time.

Weez lucky.

I thinks mebe yoo beta neva git rid o that hat.

1 shinen hat aint it.

1 lucky hat Mizza Hoss. 1 lucky hat. They mussa bin a hunert Indins back der Mizza Hoss.

Mebe 2 hunert.

Yoo no Mizza Hoss. I neva larn 2 count but Id gess they a good 3 hunert.

Ifn not 4.

Never seen no Indins rest o that day. I got a few Rs o sleep. When I woke Jim sade he figgerd they musta been 5 hunnert Black Feet back thar. I tolt him I figgerd that war rite.

A feller cood look up see & hunnerts o geese & ducks a flyin north. Jim had cot 4 big trout for dinner. Fried em rite thar on the Porivo. Had pone & hot cofy 2 go a long. Ifn peepel warn a shootin at a feller itd be a eezy plase 2 live. Odds war by then tho Soo er Black Feet war wachin us from the north & Shy Anns from the south. Weed stay in the middel o the river & keep R heds down.

The Porivo made rite good time a heddin down that Yaller Stone. When R tale wind wood dy down the drag tree wood keep us a heddin strate but she war hard to steer. Ifn she got 2 close to a shore weed haf 2 pole which warnt 2 eezy considern how hevvy she war. But uthern hitn a cupla rocks we dun fine.

Jez a4 don bout 2 weeks out we cum up on the Mizzura. The riverd been a heddin more er less north 4 bout a week & weed bin a fitin the wind 2 keep off the eestern shore. Iz bout haf a sleep when the current o the Mizzura hit us & sceered the bejesus out o me. Thar war the sun war jez pokin its hed up in the eest & I pert cwik got my bearins.

We made it 2 to Mizzura what the river bote men calt Big Muddy. That war the good nooze. The bad nooze war the fars I cood see on the north shore war a big Soo camp. The river war bigger tho but not cwit as fast. The wind war at R backs tho which war good.

Az we drifted by 2 er 3 waryers started 2 yellin & a razin hell on the shore. 1 torcht off a rifel. I seen 1 feller step out o heez teepee a scrachin heez croch & a nuther scrachin his hed. Uthern that no body woke up. Must o had em a party the nite be4. We jez saled on by.

I woke Neegra Jim & war a tellin heem bout the Soo villij when he spotted a canoo a hed a drift cross ways 2 the current. I got my rifels reddy noin a cupla waryers cood eezy be a layin down out o site 2 am bush us. We floted up on the canoo slo & it war emty septin fer 2 ores. It war a fine bark canoo. We tide it off on the Porivo & toed it a long.

Weez so tard that when I clozed my Is Iz a sleep. Thats what happened rite after the Soo villij. I musta slep 2 long coz when I woke Neegra Jim war a sleep 2 & weez jez a restin long the shore west shore o the Mizzura.

I grabbed my rifel & lookt a round but thar warnt a sole no whar. I shood a yelt at Jim but I didnt have the hart. Sides Iz 2 tard. Warnt 2 much werk 2 git the raft a way from the shore & weez soon back a drift.

We yoozed the canoo 2 fech cleen water fron the streems what fed the Big Muddy Mizzura considern the Mizzura water war a bit chooy. Had 2 be a lert tho. Travlin so far tween seein peepel tho kind o made a feller lazy. Jim didnt seem 2 care bout that like I did. Gess heed pert neer give up bout goin back to the settelments & slavery agin.

I sade say Jim I got me a idee. Donít know why I didnt think o it be4. Ye donít need 2 go off on yer own ferst settelments we meet. Yoo can stick with me. All we godda do iz git yoo to my peepel the Cherokee. Yoo can live with them & not wurry bout bein a slave.

Yood do dat Mizza Hoss.

Hell yes.

Days my wife.

What wife.

My masta sole my wife 4 yeer a go. She war with chile. Made her werth mo.

Yoo didnt tell me bout that.

Ya sa. Me bein so big my masta wanned me 2 be a breedin stud so she cood sell off my chilluns. Big strong slaves werth mo than lil slaves. I woodnt do it cos o my wife. He finly sade eether I breed or he cuts off my biznus. It war then I run a way. Made it 2 Illinoy. Werkt fo Yoke. Yoke cum 2 dreemin. Cep a sayin things wa betta when heez a slave fo Captin Clock. Sade heez gonna fine Captin Clock 1 day. 1 day I took of to hol lumba bout a hunnert mile. Waggin broke down. Got back in 2 weeks. Yoke wa gone. Pert soon peepel Yoke ode muny cum & took the waggin & hosses. Days gonna take me but I run. I wunderd fo a yeer a 4 yoo foun me.

Yoo no who haz yer wife.

I noze whoo bot her.

Jez whar Iz this persun.

He have a farm out side o Sant Looey.

How much yoo think theyd want 4 yer wife.

Done no fo shoe.

Gess.

Mebe 2 o 3 hunert dolla.

How bout yer chile.

Doe no nuthin bout my chile.

Gonna make a lot o muny on these plews. That ull give us sumthin 2 do wunst we dee liver R plunder.

Jim smiled big. Ya sa. Ize wit yoo sa.

Jim cumensed 2 pushin me after that. Kindy reminded me o a saddel sore. Leest wize I didnt haf 2 wurry nun bout him fallin a sleep at the keel.

We cum by a Shy Ann village long the western shore o the river whilst it war a heddin south. Node it war Shy Anns coz o thar long red breech clouts. Musta bin 40 lajes. Looked like they war a gittin reddy 2 pack up 2 move camp. They yelt & whooped it up & sum o the kid throde rocks but weez well out in the middel o the river. They didnt far at us ner nuthin.

In 3 more days we cum up on the ferst o the Minna Tary villijes at the conflux o the Nife River. Then war big pernunt villijes with big round erth houses & akers o corn. Thar war a keel bote tide off by the villijes. It warnt Mike Finks tho. It war a small 1.

It war hard 2 set in coz o the wind out o the west but with the help o the Minna Tarys & thar bull botes we made it.

Sum French trappers & traders war thar in cloodin Sharbuno. He war a mazed at the mount o R plunder.

Horze Oppel he sade. Bone jure.

Bone jure Sharbuno.

Sacry bloo. I have not seen so many ploos in 1 plase.

Thar be a fyoo.

Yoo cath them.

No. No. It war Majer Henry. He got most o em tradin with the Indins.

What Indins.

You haf 2 git that infermashun from him.

Sharbuno tokkef Frenchy with 4 uther White men thar. My best gess war that we war a mung vigaroons the werst bein Sharbuno. Sacajewea didnt tok much but over the time I node her I larnt a lot bout the likes o Sharbuno.

I clum back on the raft & tolt Jim not 2 git morn a fyoo feet from them rifels. Theez war Minna Tarys what made them frends o White fokes but they war bigger frends o Sharbunoe I figgerd. He cood tok thar tung & all.

Sharbuno in vited me 2 the cheefs house 2 do sum serius eetin & drinkin. We ate sum boilt meet. Iz a hopin it warnt dog meet. Them Frenchys had em plenny o whisky 2 drink. I drank out o the jug long with em but kep my lips seeled when I tilted it up. Tuther Frenchy didnt speek no Marecan & Sharbuno only tokked a lil bit but they all smilt at me.

After a cupla Rs I dun me a fake stagger out o the house 2 piss. The 2 soberest & biggest o them Frenchys follerd me out. I acted like I didnt see em.

I a soomed a pissin persishum & they wokked up eech side o me 2 piss thar own selves.

Yoo R a peese ant 1 o em sade.

Yoo tokkin 2 me er him I sade.

Yoo.

Didnt think yoo tokked no Marecan.

I keel all Marecans I meet he sade & the 2 laffed.

Thar war a thump & the 1 tokkin fell 2 the ground. Neegra Jim had hit him over the back o the hed with a good size hunk o R far wood.

Gess yer fren passed out I sade 2 tuther who war pert drunk.

Onree he sade. I think that war the 1 fellers name. He bent over 2 help Onree & Neegra Jim let that 1 have it.

Aint reel smart is they I sade 2 Jim.

Smarter than yoo Sharbuno sade 2 R backs.

We turnt a round.

Sharbuno had a flintlock pistel on us. He war a lone.

Jim a I slowly seperated.

Stand steel Sharbuno sade.

We sorta did.

Yoo donít wanna shoot me Sharbuno.

Why not.

Fer 1 thing yoo only got 1 shot & thar be 2 o us & Neegra Jim got that big hunk o wood what dun in yer frends & I got this nife. I pult out my R Kansas tooth pick what made a Booy nife look like a frog sticker.

I jez call my frends.

Thayer passed out.

My Minna Tary frends R not.

Theyl find a ded man. Killin yooze R best shot. Uncocok yer pistel & throw it 2 me er yoo dy rite now.

He thunk a minut & uncocot it & flipped it 2 me. Porfiro had tolt me he war a cowerd.

Help us push the raft off.

Az the raft floted close 2 that keel boot I cut the moorin. It floted long with us. In 2 minuts we were safe a way. By then we war 30 feet from the keel bote.

I sade Sharbuno yer reely a lilly liverd cowerd.

Ifn yoo want yer keel bote you better jump in after it.

I do not swim 2 good.

The keel bote war driftin pert close 2 shore & bout then it hung up on a bar er a branch. Put in close 2 shore Jim. Jim did & I pushed Sharbuno off when weez bout 30 feet out. He made shore.

I yelt Il see yoo agin Sharbuno. When I do Il kill ye & hang yer scalp on my belt with these uther 2.

Never kilt no body a4 & didnt plan 2 start. Thot mebe tho thatd make the old vigaroon think twist bout challungin me. We didnt stop agin til we got 2 the Mandan villijes.

That war where we war sposed 2 meet Mike Fink but weez 6 weeks erly. Considern Sharbuno & heez vigaroons mite be on R tale we only stayd thar 1 nitea4 heddin down river.

We didnt stop at the Ree villijes down streem & practicully had 2 fite em off 2 keep em from bordin us.

When weez a cumin up river with Mike Fink that keel bote had 2 stay close 2 shore. That set us up fer a Osaje a tack futher down river. That warnt gonna be a problum 4 R raft. We cood stay in the middel o the river & stay out a trubel. Never seen no Soo ner Osajes with botes. It war a warmin up & me & Jim war gettin reel lazy long the river.

A hellashus storm hit bout 10 days later bout 50 mile a buv the town o Franklin. It raned all day & in2 the nite. R raft war gittin hevvyer & hevvyer. She war a leenin 2 the rite side so me & Jim shifted R lode 2 keep er from a goin belly up. We war a fiten wind 2. The noze o the Porfiro war under water. The drag tree war aholdin us strate but we coodnt steer.

The rane let up a fyoo Rs a4 don & the fog set in. I node ifn we hit any thing we war gonners. Everthing war wet & we coodnt lite no far. Bout all wee cood do war shivver & hope. Top it off we war still in Soo cuntry.

We loded the guns & R truck in the canoo in case the raft went. Didnt no it then but we drifted rite past Franklin. Coodnt see 10 feet.

Started heerin a sound far off & but closin in.

What be that soun Mizza Hoss. Be it a goste.

Sounds like a steem bote Jim. We reeched the settelments. From here on in we can sleep nites.

Loddy be. Yoo soon be rich.

Got more munyn I got yoose fer Jim. Jez happy 2 be able 2 relax.

Ya sa. That will be nise.

Steem bote kep gettin louder & louder in the fog. Iz a thinkin it wood be nise ifn we had sumthin 2 lite so they cood see us.

Kep gittin louder.

Git in the canoo Jim. Iz neer the front o the raft. Heez cleer at the ass end. I coodnt see him so I didnt no ifn he got in2 the canoo.

The steem bote war gittin close. I thot I seen a lite.

RAFT A HED I yelt. RAFT A HED.

Gess they didnt heer me coz when they hit us theys a goin full bore. That steem bote went rite over the tope o the raft pokin the steem botes noze dan neer strate up in the air. Then it setteld rite down on the raft. The steem bote nocked me rite off in the water.

Sum idiut yelt Indins & the steem bote crew cumensed 2 farin.

The steem engin war a blowin off steem & thar warnt no yellin a buv that noize. I found my skunk hat a flotin in the water & grabbed it & cumensed 2 swim tord shore.

The steemer finely quit a blowin off its steem & it war cwiet septin for the cussin by its croo.

I made a whoop sound a callin Jim.

He made a whoop sound back but he war far off.

I whooped & he whooped but it warnt no yoose. I jez hoped Iz a swimmin tord shore. Coodnt tell in that fog & Iz gittin reel cold. Got 2 thinkin bout then how smart I war a havin gold soed in2 the shirt & leggins. Gold donít flote wertt a shit. Donít remember makin shore but gess I did. Iz out when Jim found me he sade. He sade Iz bloo culerd. Gess he warmed me up coz Im heer a tellin this tale.

Warnt no sine o nuthin nex mornin. No raft. No plews. No steem bote. No nuthin.

Im reel sorry Mizza Hoss. No sine o nun o them plews.

They warnt reely mine.

Dey warnt. Yoo meen weez a runnin stole plews.

No. Nuthin like that. They belonged 2 the Creater. He jez took em back.

O.

We set long the river that day & dride out & slep.

It war still over a hunert mile to Sante Looie but we didnt haf 2 wurry nun bout Indins. We did more driftin than we did a rowin. Did a lot o fishin. We camped long the shore at nite & enjoyed R last fyoo days on the river.

Weez campin round the bend from Sante Charles when Jim got 2 be sad agin.

Whats matter Jim.

All dem plans. All dem dreems.

Like what.

Byin my wife back.

Why.

Yoo broke. Yoo lost all them plews.

I smiled. Thats what bin a bothern yoo.

Ya sa.

Hell I got enuf gold soed in my leggins & war shirt 2 by her 2 times over. Why the hell yoo think I had so much trubel swimmin. I dam neer drownded.

Ya duz.

Corse.

Den yoo plans 2 by my wife back.

That wood be my plan.

Mizza Hoss. Yoo dun made me 1 happy Neegra.

Yer a man Jim. Yer a man.

Shood we be goin.

Its dark. Weel sleep 2 night & make Sante Charles 2 morry. I have me sum biznus thar.

Ya sa. Weel sleep 2 night.

It war after noon when we drug R canoo up the bank at Sante Charles. I notused ferst thing that thar war sevral noo bildins in town.

The White man cometh.

Steem botes bildins peepel. How long a4 they reech the Rockys.

Might be a while if there are no beaver.

I shure az hell didnt see nun.

Yoo tokkin 2 me sa.

No Jim. To my own self.

Yoo duz that a lot.

Yes. Yes I do. Watch R truck. I be a lil while.

Genral Ashly seen me prochin the bildin & met me on the porch.

Horse. How the hell R ye.

Fine ser. Jez fine.

How much plunder did ye truck home.

Nun.

Nun.

No ser. Had sum plews on a raft but it sunk.

I heerd ye had 1 hellashus lode o plews.

From who.

Henry. He came throo heer 2 days ago.

I thot I made good time.

Probably did. He came cross cuntry & didnt waste no time neether. What cozed yer raft 2 sink.

Got run over by a steem bote in the fog a week back.

The Independense.

Donít know the name o it. Jez no they thot weez Indins & started shootin.

Gess it warnt 2 profitubel a trip.

Sar sum perty cuntry. Thats werth sumthin.

Indins.

Shot at morn wunce.

Have a nuther job 4 yoo.

A doin what.

Back up the Mizzura. Gonna send up a hunert men & 2 keel botes 2 trap all winner.

Mike Fink.

Mike Fink. Majer Henry. Im goin long my own self. How much did Genral Clark pay ye.

Six hunert doller plus what I made of my Daddy.

Six hunert doller. Dam. Thats 1 hell o a lot morn Ima payin tuthers.

I aint gona trap no beever. Donít think much o the idee that many White men heddin 4 the Rockys.

I Need sum 1 whats bin in that cuntry case sumthin happins 2 Henry.

When yoo leevin.

2 weeks.

I reckun yool be a goin whuther I go er not.

Weer a goin.

Ill go fer six hunert doller & cum back cum spring.

Have me a canoo. Donít need it no more. Need a cupla horses 2 ride over 2 Sante Looie.

I can take care o that 4 ye. Il lend ye the horses. Yoo can yooze yer canoo cum spring.

Bout then a older feller in a soot walked out on 2 the porch.

Horse Apple. Like yoo 2 meet Juge Thacher.

Juge. We shook hands but the Juge had heez Is on Neegra Jim.

That Neegra with yoo the Juge asked.

Uh yes ser.

Is that the Neegra yer a lookin 4 Ashley asked.

That wood be him.

Neegra Jim war 50 feet a way down at the river. But he noo who the Juge war & he stared at heem like he seen a goste.