(By permission of Messers. Fleming H. Revell Company, N. Y).
The charming story "Two Wilderness Voyagers," by F. W. Calkins, gives a true picture of the ways and powers of Indian children. Two little Sioux, a boy and a girl, Etapa and Zintkala, were stolen from their people and carried off into the land of the Ojibwa. They escaped and, though but eleven or twelve years old, wandered alone in the woods for months and eventually reached their own people on the plains.
Their ways and the thoughts of their kind toward the wonders of nature are admirably illustrated in the scene before Grandfather Rock:
In one of these short excursions the boy came upon a venerable gray boulder which stood as high as the surrounding trees and was many steps in circumference at its base. Except where the moose had eaten them off, this towering rock was thickly grown with lichens which gave it a hoary appearance of great age.
Etapa stood for some minutes, his eyes cast upward, venerating this aged and eternally enduring one which knows not time, seasons, nor change. Then the boy went softly back to Zintkala. "Come," he said, "I have found Grandfather Inyan - the very aged one. Let us smoke and pray to him! "
So they went together softly among the sand hillocks, until they confronted Grandfather Inyan. While Etapa prepared his pipe and willow bark for smoking, Zintkala stood - as a small devotee before a shrine - looking devoutly up at the everlasting one, the vast sentinel and guide, set so mysteriously among the trees.
"It is taku-wakan" (something wonderful), she said. While Etapa smoked, offering incense to the rock, sky and trees, she prayed thus:
"Behold us small ones, O Grandfather Inyan. You are doubtless very old and wise, therefore you, O Grandfather Inyan, and ye trees, assist us greatly that we may find our way homeward.
Fire is sacred to Inyan; therefore, under the shadow of the great rock they built one of dry sticks and gathered a heap of fagots to keep the blaze going until far into the night. Then alternately they said, "We will make a feast and dance to Grandfather Inyan, and so he shall help us".
"After they had eaten they combed their hair, greasing it with pieces of goose fat which Zintkala had saved, and then braided and tied their tresses becomingly.
After a reasonable time, by the light of the fire they had built to him, they gave a sacred dance to Grandfather Inyan and his protecting pines. Upon a little plat of level ground, facing a broad scrap of the rock, and embowered in dark-topped evergreens, these little brown children danced.
The girl, with close drawn-blanket, with rapt face and serious air, performed her part in measured, dainty movements, dancing with her toes turned inward.
The boy, with less grace, but no less reverent face, sprang lightly from foot to foot, chanting low ejaculations of prayer.
Had the rock and the trees, sheltering their small circle of light and their brown swaying figures, possessed the ears, hearts and powers attributed to them, they must have moved even their roots to respond to the appeals for pity which these lost and revering waifs addressed to them.
When they had danced until they were weary they stretched themselves, tightly rolled in their blankets, upon the sands, and with renewed trust in the future, fell asleep." - (Pp. 112-114).