The young man attempted to get up, but fell back heavily upon the ground. "I cannot stand." he said; "my legs have no strength".
Then No-Heart cried out: "You cannot walk! I had not thought but that you could walk. What shall I do? What shall I do?"
"You will let me carry him for you," said some one standing close behind her. " I will carry him wherever you lead".
No Heart turned with a little cry of surprise. She could not see the speaker's face in the darkness, only his dim form; but she knew the voice. She was not afraid. "Lift him then," she said, "and follow me".
She herself raised the wounded one up and placed him on the newcomer's back, and then led the way out of the timber, across the plain, through the stockade, in which she had loosened a post, and then on to her lodge. No one was about, and they were not discovered. Within a fire was burning, but there was no need of the light to show the girl who had helped her. He was Long Elk. "We will put him here," she said, lifting the skin in front of the couch she had prepared, and they laid the sick man carefully down upon it. Then Long Elk stood for a little, looking at the girl, but she remained silent and would not look at him. "I will go now," he said, "but each night I will come with meat for you and your lover".
Still the girl did not speak, and he went away. But as soon as he had gone No-Heart sat down and cried. The sick man raised up a little and asked, " What troubles you? Why are you crying?"
" Did you not hear? " she replied. " He said that you are my lover".
"I know you," said the man. "They call you No-Heart, but they lie. You have a heart; I wish it were for me".
"Don't!" the girl cried. "Don't say that again! I will lake care of you, feed you. As your mother is to you, so will I be".
Now, when night came again, No-Heart went often out in the passageway, staying there longer and longer each time, returning only to give the sick man water or a little food. At last, as she was sitting out there in the dark, Long Elk came, and, feeling for the right place, hung up a piece of meat beyond the reach of the dogs. " Come in," she said to him. " Come in and talk with the wounded one".
After that Long Elk sat with the Arickaree every night for a time, and they talked of the things which interest men. While he was in the lodge No-Heart never spoke, except to say, "Eat it," when she placed food before them. Day after day the wounded one grew stronger. One night, after Long Elk had gone, he said, "I am able to travel; to-morrow night I will start homeward. I want to know why you have taken pity on me; why you saved me from death?"
"Listen, then," said the girl. "It was because war is bad; because I pitied you. Many women here, and many more in your village, are crying because they have lost the ones they loved in this quarre. Of them all, I alone have talked, begging the chiefs to make peace with you. All the other women were glad of my words, but they are afraid and do not dare speak for themselves. I talked and feared not; because no one could bid me stop. I have helped you, now do you help me; help your women; help us all. When you get home tell what was done for you here, and talk hard for peace".
"So I will," the Arickaree told her. "When they learn all that you have done for me, the chiefs will listen. I am sure they will be glad to stop this war".
The next night, when Long Elk entered the lodge, he found the man sitting up. By his side lay his weapons and a little sack of food. "I was waiting for you," he said. "I am well now and wish to start for home to-night. Will you take me out beyond the stockade? If any speak you can answer them and they will not suspect that their enemy passes by".
" I will go with you, of course," Long Elk told him. Whereupon he arose, slung on his bow and quiver, the sack of food, and lifted his shield. No-Heart sat quietly on the opposite side of the lodge, looking straight at the fire. Long Elk turned to her: "And you?" he asked. "Are you also ready?"
She did not answer, but covered her face with her robe.
"I go alone," said the Arickaree. "Let us start".
They went out, through the village, through the stockade, and across the bottom to the timber, where they stopped. "You have come far enough," the Arickaree said; "I will go on alone from here. You have been good to me. I shall not forget it. When I arrive home, I shall talk much for peace between our tribes. I hope we may soon meet again in friendship".
"Wait," said the Long Elk, as he turned to go, "I want to ask you something: Why do you not take No-Heart with you?"
"I would if she were willing," he answered, "but she is not for me. I tell you more truly this. She has been a mother to me; no more, no less. And you," he continued, "have you ever asked her to be your woman? No? Then go now, right now, and do so".
"It would be useless," said Long Elk sadly. "Many have asked her, and she has always turned them away".
" I have seen much while I lay sick in her lodge," the Arickaree continued. " I have seen her gaze at you as you sat talking to me, and her eyes were beautiful then. And I have seen her become restless and go out and in, out and in, when you were late. When a woman does that it means that she loves you. Go and ask her".
They parted; Long Elk returned to the village. "It could not be," he thought, "that the young man was right. No, it could not be." Had he not kept near her these many winters and summers? and never once had she looked at him, or smiled.
Thinking thus, he wandered on, and on, and found himself standing by the entrance to her lodge. Within he heard, faintly, some one crying. He could not be sure that was it, the sound of it was so low. He stepped noiselessly in and carefully drew aside the door skin. No-Heart was sitting where he had last seen her, sitting before the dying fire, robe over her head, and she was crying. He stole past the doorway and sat down beside her, quite close, but he dared not touch her. "Good-heart," he said, "Big-heart, don't cry".
But she only cried harder when she heard his words, and he was much troubled, not knowing what to do. After a little, he moved closer and put his arm around her; she did not draw away, so then he drew the robe away from her face. "Tell me," he said, " why you are crying? "
"Because I am so lonely".
"Ah! You do love him then. Perhaps it is not too late; I may be able to overtake him. Shall I go and call him back to you?"
"What do you mean?" cried No-Heart, staring at him. "Who are you talking about?"
"He who has just left: the Arickaree," Long Elk answered. But now he had edged up still closer, and his arm was tighter around her, and she leaned heavily against him.
"Was there ever such a blind one?" she said. "Yes, I will let you know my heart; I will not be ashamed, not afraid to say it. I was crying because I thought you would not return. All these summers and winters I have been waiting, hoping that you would love me, and you never spoke".
"How could I?" he asked. "You never looked at me; you made no sign".
" It was your place to speak," she said. " Even yet you have not done so".
" I do now, then. Will you take me for your man? "
She put her arms around his neck and kissed him, and that was answer enough.
In the morning, like any other married man, Long Elk went out and stood by the entrance to the lodge which was now his, and shouted feast invitations to his father and friends. They all came, and all were pleased that he had got such a good woman. Some made jokes about newly married ones, which made the young woman cover her face with her robe. Yet she was so happy that she would soon throw it back and laugh with the others.
In a few days came a party from the Arickarees, and the wounded young man was one of them, asking for peace. The story was told then, how No-Heart had taken in the young man and brought him to life again, and when they heard it many women prayed the gods to be good to her and give her and her man long life. Peace between the two tribes was then declared, and there was much rejoicing.- ("My Life as an Indian"; Schultz; "The Story of No-Heart," pp. 230-238).