Tuesday, December 20, 2016
An Indian Christmas
(A legend of the camp by the spring)
On Christmas night the encampment was a noisy place. The fires were burning brightly in every tepee and shouts of laughter told of the good time that was being had by everyone as a part of the celebration that the old priest had taught them to have.
Outside the wind was blowing cold, with skiffs of snow. A strange boy wandered into the camp. He stopped at the tent of the Chief and asked that he be admitted and given food and allowed to get warm. The Chief drove him away. He went to the tent of Wolf Bow and tried to be admitted but Wolf Bow grunted and his boys drove him away with whips. He then went to many of the tents including those of Poor Elk and Black Feather but none would receive him, one even set a dog upon him. His feet were bare and tears were frozen on his cheeks.
He was about to leave the camp when he noticed a small tepee made of bearskin off by itself. He walked slowly to it and quietly peeped in. Inside he saw a deformed Indian who was known everywhere by the name of Broken Back. His wife sat near him preparing a scanty meal for them and their children. The children were playing on the ground but were watching their mother closely, for they were hungry. The fire was low and the boy started to turn away but broke a twig that lay on the ground.
Broken Back ran out and stopped him as he was about to turn away.
"What do you want?" he said. The boy commenced to cry.
"I am so cold and hungry," he said, I have been to all the tents and they will not let me in."
Then Broken Back took him by the hand and led him into the tent, they divided the food with him and built up the fire until he became warm and happy. They urged him to stay all night until the storm was over.
So he sat on the ground near the fire and talked and played with the children until it was time to go to sleep. Then he stood up and they all noticed that he was tall and as they looked they saw that he was a man instead of a boy. His clothes were good and over his shoulder hung a beautiful blanket and over his head was a strange feathered bonnet. As they looked, he reached out his hand and said: "Broken Back you have been good to a poor, cold and hungry boy. You and all of yours shall have plenty." Broken Back stood up and he was deformed no more but was large and strong and well and his wife stood by his side. Both were dressed in the best of Indian clothes. The children jumped about with joy as they noticed that they were at once supplied with many things that they had always wanted. "Broken Back" he said you shall be chief of your tribe and all of your people shall love and respect and honor you. Your name shall be Broken Back no longer but shall be Standing Tall."
As they talked, all of the tribe came marching about his tent shouting in gladness, "Great is Standing Tall our Chief forever." As they shouted the man disappeared and they saw him no more. The next day the good priest came to the camp, they told him what had happened and he said, "It was Jesus."