Stránka:book 1913.djvu/520

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that you have done for me, the chiefs will listen. I am sure they will be glad to stop this war."

The next night, when Long Elk entered the lodge, he found the man sitting up. By his side lay his weapons and a little sack of food. "I was waiting for you," he said. "I am well now and wish to start for home to-night. Will you take me out beyond the stockade? If any speak you can answer them and they will not suspect that their enemy passes by."

"I will go with you, of course," Long Elk told him. Whereupon he arose, slung on his bow and quiver, the sack of food, and lifted his shield. No-Heart sat quietly on the opposite side of the lodge, looking straight at the fire. Long Elk turned to her: "And you? " he asked. "Are you also ready?"

She did not answer, but covered her face with her robe.

"I go alone," said the Arickaree. "Let us start."

They went out, through the village, through the stockade, and across the bottom to the timber, where they stopped. "You have come far enough," the Arickaree said; "I will go on alone from here. You have been good to me. I shall not forget it. When I arrive home, I shall talk much for peace between our tribes. I hope we may soon meet again in friendship."

"Wait," said the Long Elk, as he turned to go, "I want to ask you something: Why do you not take No-Heart with you?"

"I would if she were willing," he answered, "but she is not for me. I tell you more truly this. She has been a mother to me; no more, no less. And you," he continued, "have you ever asked her to be your woman? No? Then go now, right now, and do so."

"It would be useless," said Long Elk sadly. "Many have asked her, and she has always turned them away."

"I have seen much while I lay sick in her lodge," the Arickaree continued. "I have seen her gaze at you as you sat talking to me, and her eyes were beautiful then. And I have seen her become restless and go out and in, out and in, when you were late. When a woman does that it means that she loves you. Go and ask her."

They parted; Long Elk returned to the village. "It could not be," he thought, "that the young man was right. No, it could not be." Had he not kept near her these many winters and summers? and never once had she looked at him, or smiled. ..text continues