MY foster father and
mother were real comrades and in the higher sense, I believe, loved each
They two went to visit
the Navajos one summer, leaving us children in the care of a friend.
They were gone so long we thought never to see them again. But at last,
when the leaves—the messages from Those Above—began to flutter down to
us, they came back with a wonderful story to tell:
A company of soldiers
chased them into the mountains. They had a great fight. Father killed a
number of the pursuers before he got away—with four shot-wounds in his
body. He and Mother took refuge among the rocks.
Again and again the enemy
surrounded them. From hiding-place to hiding-place they crept till
Father fell from loss of blood. Then Mother hid him and left him. The
soldiers brushed against his covert But like the doe leading the hounds
from the hiding-place of her young, she lured them away. First here,
then there—always the mountain-gorge between, she showed herself to the
enemy till darkness fell. Then back to her helpless mate she made her
way. Night did not hide from her the trail she meant to follow.
She carried Father on her
back down into a deep canyon to living water. She dressed his wounds
with healing herbs, and cared for him untiring all through the summer.
For food she picked berries and snared rabbits, and once she killed a
As we children sat in the
fireshine of the crackling sticks in the long winter evenings, Mother
often repeated the story. She would tell how Father had sent his bullets
straight and the soldiers had fallen; how after his first wound he had
stoutly declared that in spite of it, he would still defeat the enemy;
how she had begged to help him away and how he had fought on, until he
had counted another and yet another bullet in his breast; how, when he
had fallen back exhausted from loss of blood, and she had thought him
dead, he had opened his eyes and smiled the message he could not
Then Father’s voice would
carry on the story. We would hear of Mother’s ingenuity and heroic
exertions in saving him, until with Father we knew that Mother was the
greatest woman in the world.