Snakes with forked tongues at Niagara

The attention of the Chiefs being directed to Grey Eagle, the youthful Chief stepped lightly but proudly in front of them. His manner plainly indicated him a brave warrior and hunter. As he spoke of his people, now nearly exterminated, he pointed out to the council the necessity, and expressed his willingness, of merging their existence in that of another tribe. Many looked upon him with sympathy and regard. Speaking of the foes of his people, his dark eyes lighted up with contemplated revenge-- his mouth curled with contempt. He called them snakes with forked tongues; he wished to drive them from the ever green and pleasant valley of his fathers; he wished to share the land with his brothers of the snowy hills. He proved his skill as an orator by swaying the minds of his hearers, and amidst great rejoicing stepped back to the side of his own braves.

The old Sachem looked at him encouragingly, while the shy Fawn, gathering up her no longer neglected wampum, bounded away to mingle with the Indian maidens, followed by the devoted wolf, and the affectionate eyes of her father and of many admiring braves.

The feast and dance continued long into the night; but sunrise found the warriors and braves straightening their arrows and sharpening their stony points and newly cording with sinews their idle bows, withing the heads of their tomahawks, war-clubs and spears. Great and earnest preparations were made to follow the river in its noisy course past its dark whirling basin, down the stony mountain to where it mingles its wild dancing waves with the calm and beautiful lake, bringing only the faintest murmurs of the great falling waters to their favorite hunting grounds.

Within that valley, before the sun drops beneath the bright waves of Ontario, will be decided by individual skill, unassisted by friendly influence, the right between Black Snake and his adopted brother, Grey Eagle, to fill the place made vacant by the death of War Eagle.

This was the decision of the women. Among the Indians genealogy is reckoned on the mother's side alone; and, therefore, the important business of selecting a candidate to fill the place of War Eagle, who left no near relative, devolved upon the women, who decided the successful combatant was to be the future War Chief of the tribe and claim the wampum with the old Sachem's dark-eyed daughter.

Sympathy was pictured in most of the faces of those dark warriors, when passing the Great Oak's wigwam they beheld the moist eyes and tender leave-taking of that heroic old Chief and his motherless child, whose future depended so much on the coming contest, as following one after another they disappeared in the forest.

"The Gentle Fawn will stay in the shadow of her wigwam and work on her wampum." And the old Chief, whose words were law, also disappeared, following the narrow winding path, watched by the Fawn till the dense foliage hid him from her view. Without hearing the slightest noise the Fawn felt a hand upon her shoulder. Turning quickly, she beheld the pleasant face of Grey Eagle. Turning his hand in formal recognition, he addressed her:

"The Grey Eagle's eyes are very true, and his arms are very strong; shall he shut his eyes when he draws his bow?"

"May Grey Eagle's aim never be truer or his arm stronger than to-day." And love-light flashed from the soft eyes of the pretty Seneca maid.

"The Fawn has spoken well; Grey Eagle hears. When the wish-ton-wish sings his evening song Grey Eagle will be here again. The Fawn will welcome him."

The last of the warriors disappeared, followed by the old women and children, the latter with shouts and songs, going far towards the brow of the mountain, where evening would still find most of them gathering sticks and pine cones to light the evening fires.