The Stranger

Yakima Man by Edward S. Curtis 1910


He was the strangest man they had ever seen. No one knew how he got there, or where he had come from. He was just there, sitting on his horse not moving. It was a black and white horse, a stallion filled with spirit, and that is how they noticed him at the western part of the village, in between two lodges. The horse had snorted, and stomped at the ground with his right hoof. The village came to a stop and just stared at the man.

Most of the men were away, on a buffalo hunt, but Whirlwind had been left in charge. No one saw Whirlwind though. Was he with the horses? His son Two Wolves was the only one that moved, silently, towards the man, bow and arrow pointing down. The man did not move. Was he dead?

Cricket in the Meadow looked at the man’s clothing, and she thought how strange, that his clothing was red. Was it from a different animal? Was it dyed? She could not tell. She had seen sea shells though before, once when she was a child. This man’s clothing was decorated with sea shells, which meant he had travelled very far, and he was from a people they did not know. Then she noticed his arm.

Instantly, she motioned to Two Wolves to stop, with a wave of her arm, which he saw clearly. No one moved. She whispered, “His arm is broken”. In fact, his left arm looked badly mangled. The man began to sway, and several people moved closer, expecting him to fall. He did fall to his left, into the arms of Whirlwind, who had come back unnoticed, and several women.

Several hours later he was in a lodge, and still in the capable hands of Cricket in the Meadow, Raven, and several other women. Whirlwind was there too in case the man woke up. It was clear to everyone that the man had fought a pack of wolves. He had several bites to his legs and one on his right arm. They also believed that he had fallen a great distance during the fight, which broke his arm.

Whirlwind mentioned that he thought the man’s horse had saved his life. He was convinced that the horse brought the man here, because of his injuries. Maybe the horse smelled the village fires burning, and headed this way. None of the people could capture the horse today. After the man had fallen, he ran, and was too fast for anyone, even on horseback. The horse not only had a strong spirit, he had strong medicine.

The difficult part of helping the man was his arm. They did the best they could in setting it with rawhide. Cricket in the Meadow mentioned that it may not heal. It was warm in the lodge, and after they finished, she stepped out for some fresh air.

It was night, but there was a full moon, and a light snow was beginning to fall. From looking at the sky she thought there would only be a little this time, and that the heavy snows would come later. Where was this man from and why was he here by himself? She did not know, but she would be glad when the hunting party returned.



Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree