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Fifty-Five Years Ago in the Wilderness - Page 4
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veteran.  I am not used to writing; therefore, my friends, my diction and spelling may be bad.  But I will give you as near the truth of the wilderness, as I can.  I can look back through the mists of fifty-two years with pleasure, and see the hand of Providence that shielded the breast of the Ringtail Panther in that unequal combat.  The child must be taken was prophecy enough.  The Great Spirit of the wilderness willed it so, and it was done!

The appearance and customs of the Osage are peculiar.  They are all (that are grown), about six feet three inches in highth, look as much alike as if they had been moulded in the same mold -- a dirty red, dull color -- long, coarse, coal black hair, and eyes, high cheek-bones, large nose and eyes -- eyes dull, without expression -- large mouth, no decayed teeth, (stand erect and all alike), gaudy-colored feathers in their hair, lead rings in their nose and ears.  They say the cause of this wearing  lead in their nose and ears, was an order from a great Chief.  While on the war-path, he got out of bullets and came near starving, and, on his return to his tribe, he gave orders that the Osage should always wear lead in their nose and ears, so they would never be outo of lead.  They talk almost entirely by gestures, using  mostly their upper lip.  They could twist it to the right or left, or straight out, as they pleased, using their hands and shoulders with a guzzling grunt.  They have but little to talk about -- war, something to eat, and their hunting-ground, generally winds up their conversation.  They are all of one mind.  They appear to be rather serious, and scarcely ever laugh.  They say their squaws and papposes may laugh, but it is unbecoming a great brave to indulge in so low an amusement, -- especially when they are dancing the green-corn dance -- their great annual worship -- or walk the war-path, or tread the path of death, you can't get a smile, or jest, out of one of them.  These were laws given to them by the great chief, Plenty-to-eat, a thousand moons ago, which they have kept ever since.  They believe there is a life after death that excels this in pleasure, and they can't imagine how any one could be happy without hunting; therefore, they call it the happy hunting-ground of the Great Spirit -- when the buck will be gentle, and fire keep in their flints, the pappoose no cry, the lodge of the squaw mighty warm.  That would seem to be the greatest desire of these strange, wild, red men.  If one dies, they were all equally interested -- the Osage had lost a 

Compilation and transcription by Kameron Searle.  Copyright 2005 by Kameron Searle.

Page 5 - Fifty-five Years Ago in the Wilderness

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