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Authors: D. Sallen

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BOOK: Grail Quest
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“NO! You put bone-thing in me! Give me baby. NO, NO! I not want baby.”

“You not fear Coyote give you baby?”

“How Coyote give baby? He not use bone-thing. He only give girls pleasure.”

“You keep saying that. What does he do that is so great?”

“I told you he magic. He have magic girls love.”

“I don’t know what you talk about.”

“Humph. You have to learn. You learn his way, maybe you pleasure girls. Maybe not. You not have tongue like Coyote.”

I nearly chocked. Did she mean Coyote gamahuoched her? That’s where her pleasure came from? Stunned by the implication of her words, I felt light headed. “Do you mean he not use his ‘bone-thing,’ as you call it, only his tongue?”

“Yes. Only for girls. Not for wife-mate. Not do it after any man has ‘bone-thing’ in her. Then Coyote use ‘bone-thing’ in squaws.”

So he only pleasured maidens but rogered wives. Then despite the intense sexual pleasure she had enjoyed, does Leahna still have her maidenhead? I sure wanted to find out…for myself.

“Since he can be man or animal, can he pleasure girls when he is animal?”

“He say so. Not with me. Maybe with some girl. He want to with me. Charm stop him. Must do what I say.”

This is so puzzling.
A coyote witch goes around ‘frenching’ young girls, virgins only. But what for? “What pleasure does Coyote get from pleasuring a girl?”

“His ‘bone-thing.’ It squirt hard. He say it feel good. Girl must not let squirt get on her leg.”

“And if it does…does she have baby coyotes?”

“No. You foolish. Girl cannot have puppies.”

“Even if he pleasures a girl when he’s an animal…and his squirt gets on her leg?”

There was a long silence. “No, no, no! You not say that! I not know. You be quiet. I not know. Do not ask.

That seemed like a good idea. Eventually my mind calmed and I slept. In the morning I wondered if I’d been dreaming…having a nightmare. No, pain lingered in my scrotum. If everything else was a dream, her swift knee was not.

Moyock wanted to know what happened in the dark. I told him.

“Huynh. I think you lucky she only knee you. She plenty handy with hatchet you gave her.”

He had a good point. She also had a crude copper knife. Conquering her maidenhead was going to require some finesse. I decided a temporary retreat was in good order. In our society an abject apology was due. How about with a savage maiden? After she got up I stood in front of her at a small distance. Then I bowed and said, “I sorry for what I do. I apologize.”

With an eyebrow raised, she glanced at Moyock. He hand signaled something that must have mollified her. She didn’t say anything. With a smile she just turned and walked outside.

Later that day Moyock and I discussed moving on. He said, “We need to get canoes.”

“Indeed. Perhaps we can walk back to the Cinsy tribe we passed on the way down. Probably take day and a half, two days.”

“I think tribe by falls closer,” Leahna said. “Not far to walk. Maybe only one day.”

“How do you know if you haven’t been there?”

“I don’t go there. Coyote say it not far.”

“Well I hope that rascal turns up soon. We could use some definite information.”

Moyock said, “I don’t think you want see him.”

He was right. The thought of him made my lip curl. Leahna says he can not die. But has anyone ever tried to kill him with a bullet? If he comes after Leahna again, I’ll sure find out.

I made up packs for Moyock and me to carry on our backs. For food we carried some dried deer meat and some hardtack biscuits. I was reluctant to part with any more wool cloth. What we carried for gifts and trading was small knives, tobacco, two hatchets and some beads for the ladies. I carried my flintlock and had Moyock carry my pistol in his belt under his shirt.

Early in the morning we set out walking along the shore of the O-Hi-O. When we could hear the noise of a falls we soon saw signs of habitation. Fortunately the village we approached was on the north side of the water. As we approached, a small party of men came out to meet us. Since they didn’t act surprised or frightened, they must have known we were about. Word must have traveled down river from the Cinsy tribe.

They returned our peace and friendship signs. Then they invited us to sit in front of the largest wikkiup. Using signs, so that he could translate between me and the warriors, Moyock learned a few of their words. These people said they were the Unilah tribe. After I distributed tobacco to the men and some beads to women, we had a smoke. They invited us to eat.

Now I broke out a hatchet, showed how sharp it was, and offered it to Chief Otisco as a gift. Next I invited the Chief’s wife to look at one of the small knives. Moyock explained to her how it could be used for paring, and would last a long time before wearing out. Excited,
She ran off to tell the other women about it.

Chief Otisco said, “Why you carry hard stick. I see no blade. It look heavy. Maybe not strong to be club. What use is it?” Since I didn’t want to show them what it could do, Moyock said, “Among White Men, his stick, you call it, is symbol of White Chief’s authority. His totem. When they see it, other White Men do what he say.”

While we seemed to be on friendly terms, Moyock mentioned that our canoes drifted off and we had to replace them. Our hosts exchanged some looks that told me they already knew. I explained, “We camped by a huge red-haired girl. We think a witch at the ‘fort’ cast a spell on the canoes. If they drifted here, we hope none of our good friends caught the ghost sickness in them. If we return with the canoes, red-haired girl will make witch take curse off.”

This tale caused some consternation and excited talk which Moyock couldn’t follow. Some of the councilmen around me muttered among themselves. Whatever was going on signaled me to be alert. A heated argument broke out between the Shaman and a younger man. Chief Otisco ordered them apart. Turning to me, he wanted to know who the witch was. “Tell him the witch is called Coyote.”

“Hmmmnnn. We see red-haired girl on hill. She make bad noise, wave arms, maybe she witch too.”

That answer caused some more general alarm. Chief Otisco continued, “Why you not fear ghost sickness?”

“We fear ghost sickness. The witch gave us ghost sickness. We nearly died. The red-haired girl made him cure us. Once cured, we can’t catch it again.”

Then the young man who was arguing with the Shaman pushed past him and ran at us.

“Maybe big trouble Squire. Young buck took canoes. He thinks you lie. He not sick.”

I jumped to my feet and demanded, “Who calls White Chief Squire a liar?”

The young man sprang towards me. He dashed his spear into the ground in front of me. Then arms akimbo he taunted, “I, Berserk Beaver say you speak with forked tongue! No ghost fever in my canoes!”

No one had to tell me that I faced a deadly challenge. No hesitating…I grabbed the spear…broke it over my knee. With a contemptuous sneer…I
threw the pieces aside. Matching his stance…I looked him in the eyes…swaggered up close in front of him…He
didn’t flinch…I decked him with a right to his jaw.

Moyock told me that Naturals weren’t familiar with boxing, so my tactic caused a lot of surprise. Young man had guts though. Mouth bleeding, he leaped up to grapple with me. They didn’t know scientific wrestling either. I hip rolled him. When he was on the ground,
I turned him over and pinned his arm behind his back. Despite a lot of chatter, no one intervened. Still holding him prone, I looked up at Moyock. “Now what?”

“They wait to see you kill him.”

“Interpret for me, Berserk Beaver is a brave young man. He just doesn’t know White Man’s fighting medicine. Because he is brave, I not want to kill him, but I do want our canoes back.”

I must have said the right thing because Chief Otisco said indeed, our canoes would be returned to us. After he said that, I released Berserk Beaver and lifted him to his feet. He snarled at me and walked off. I wondered what prompted his actions. Could it be simple greed, or was he intelligent enough to see thru our charade?

Moyock said, “Chief say, now you have bitter enemy. Better you kill him. He want gain honor back. Only by hurting you. Beware!”

“If I killed him, I thought his friends would kill us.”

“No. His challenge was to death. They respected that. You lose some face not killing him. They think maybe you weak.”

I shrugged that aside. “Then I’ll be on guard against all.”

The Chief led us down to the river’s edge to recover our canoes. We got there just in time to see Berserk Beaver punching holes in one of the canoes with his broken spear tip. Chief Otisco shouted “Stop him!” At the Chief’s command, three warriors ran down to pull him away. Beaver had damaged the canoe enough that it wouldn’t float.

Chief Otisco said, “I will see that your canoe is fixed. Berserk Beaver acts like a spoiled child. He brings no honor to the Unilah. You come back for it…” He held up his fingers, “Maybe ten days.” I distributed more tobacco before we left and gave another knife to Chief Otisco.

“That was good move, Squire. Naturals not have metal knife. If you not give another, take first one away from wife”

Rowing back upstream to the fort against the current was not as hard as I thought it would be. We reached home before dark. This time we pulled our canoe well up on the shore, behind the fort walls, and out of sight from anyone on the river.

Leahna seemed glad to see us. “You
back with scalps. That good.”

“Yes and with one of our canoes. We’ll get the other later.”

Moyock explained to her all that happened at the village by the falls. She seemed fascinated by our adventure. “I think Chief right. You have bad enemy now. He try to kill you. You must kill him.”

“We don’t have to worry about him coming here. We told them about Coyote witch. They think there are ghosts here. Think red-haired girl is witch.”

The red-haired girl certainly has bewitched me. Her sensual proximity, her strength and forest skills, had me thinking maybe a wife wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. Back in England, I’d never entertained such a thought with the various maidens and wives with whom I’d enjoyed physical congress. And here I was going goofy over a girl I hadn’t even slept with, yet.

And then there was Coyote. Would I still want her if he had pleasured her with his ‘bone-thing,’ and not just his tongue? Could I cope with that situation if she was my wife? Sure, he hadn’t entered her, and as far as I knew hadn’t broken her maidenhead. But as much as I wanted her, did that really matter? What if she really is a witch?

Where before I was jealous and merely despised Coyote, now my feelings toward her made me hate him. I wished I knew more about defenses against a witch.

We had not fired our weapons since the incident on the mountain with the jumping jacks. To conserve ammunition I didn’t want to shoot if we could avoid it. Moyock and I no longer had any problem getting through the thicket to the outside world. We roamed farther afield for game we could trap or bring down with arrows.

Using the type of fish trap I’d learned from the Powhatan, we caught a number of unknown fish. Leahna said we could eat anything we caught. Moyock’s training as a youth came in handy for setting traps on land. Leahna also gave us advice on the game hereabout. She used her bow and arrows to bring down anything from squirrels to deer.

With saplings, and the thongs Leahna cut out of deer hides, we built racks over the fire pit at the front of the cave to smoke the game and fish we brought in. Not wishing to denude the thicket concealing the cave, from some distance away, we hauled firewood on our shoulders. Out and about Moyock and I ran across signs of other people in the neighborhood.

One afternoon we ranged far to the north of the cave looking for game. Catching sight of a fat looking doe, we crept closer to her. Moyock brought her down with an arrow. He approached the deer and was startled to see two arrows in her. A strange Natural came towards us. I was out of his sight in the woods, but he saw Moyock and yelled at him.

Moyock hollered back at him. To me, “He says he saw the doe first, and I should leave it to him. I said it was my arrow that killed it.”

While haranguing at Moyock, the stranger came closer. I couldn’t understand his words, but I understood his irate tone. When Moyock didn’t back off, the stranger snapped an arrow at him. Moyock dodged and notched his own arrow. Then I stepped out in plain view and glared at the stranger. He stopped and appeared to look bewildered. It wasn’t the first time my strange appearance had brought confusion to natives. Playing a game, Moyock dropped his bow, bowed to me and loudly begged me not to shrivel up the stranger’s soul. I grandly turned to the man, raised my arms and with a deep rumbled yell gestured for him to be gone. He hesitated and then took off like his tail was on fire.

Our roundabout route took us through some new territory to the west of the cave. We spotted some hide bundles tied onto clusters of branches. Nearby, the remains of a mangled bundle lay on the ground. Closer examination revealed sundered skeletal remains of a human being. “Probably graves of Leahna’s people,” said Moyock.

BOOK: Grail Quest
3.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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