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Forest, Lake and Prairie
Chapter XXV
Measurement of time - Start for Smoking Lake - Ka-Kake - Wonderful hunting feat - Lose horse - Tough meat.


NIGHTS and days, and months and seasons, I found, were the measurements of time out here. Minutes and hours would come by and by with railroads and telegraphs. If you questioned anyone about time or distance, the answer would be, "In so many nights, or days, or moons." The Indian had no year; with him it was summer and winter.

We left White-fish Lake Friday evening, having with us for the first few miles "KaKake," or "the Hawk," and some of his people, who were returning to Saddle Lake. "Ka-Kake" was far more than an ordinary personality. His very appearance denoted this. The elasticity of his step, the flash of his eye, the ring of his voice —you had to notice him. To me he was a new type. He filled my ideal as a hunter and warrior.

From Peter I learned that he was brave and kind, and full of resource, tact, strategy and pluck; these were the striking traits of this man, by whose side I loved to ride, and later on, in whose skin-lodge I delighted to camp.

He had figured in many battles, and been the chief actor in many hunting fields. He had surpassed other famous buffalo hunters, inasmuch as he had ridden one buffalo to kill another.

To do this, it is related that he and others were chasing buffalo on foot, and coming to an ice-covered lake, the surface of which was in spots like glass, some of the buffalo fell, and Ka-Kake, with the impetus of his run, went sliding on to one of them, and catching hold of the long, shaggy hair of its shoulders, seated himself astride of its back. Then the buffalo made an extra effort and got to its feet and dashed after the herd, and Ka-Kake kept his seat. In vain the animal, after reaching the ground, bucked and jumped and rushed about. Ka-Kake was there to stay—for a while, at any rate. Then the buffalo settled down to run and soon overtook the herd, which spurted on afresh, because of this strange-looking thing on the back of one of themselves. Now, thought Ka-Kake, is my chance. So he pulled his bow from his back, and springing it and taking an arrow from his quiver, he picked his animal, and sent the arrow up to the feather in its side, which soon brought his victim to a stop. Then he took his knife and drove it down into his wild steed, just behind his seat, and feeling that the buffalo was going to fall, he jumped off to one side, and thus had accomplished something unique in the hunting-field.

Around at the end of the lake our roads diverged, or rather, our courses did, for we found very little road through the dense woods, as we bore away north and west for Smoking Lake, where we expected to find Rev. Mr. Woolsey. Pathless forests, and bridgeless streams, and bottomless muskegs were some of the features of the scene we now entered. Our progress was slow, and instead of reaching Mr. Woolsey's Saturday night, or early Sunday morning, we lost one of our horses by the way, and did not reach Smoking Lake until Monday afternoon. By this time our provisions were about finished, and had not Mr. Woolsey killed an ox the day we arrived, we, and others also, would have gone supperless to bed that night. As it was, we had the privilege of chewing at some of the toughest beef I ever tackled—and my experience along that line has been a very wide one.


 


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