Monday, April 15, 2013

INDIAN STORIES ~~Talula Frandsen Nelson

Bothilda, about 12 years old, was living in Indianola as a hired girl for the Moroni Seeley family. The
family had all gone to Fairview to shop. She was left alone to clean the house and do chores. She had just
finished carrying water up the hill from the spring for the pigs and calves and was busy washing dishes when a knock came to the door. She looked up and saw a large Indian standing in the doorway with a bucket in his hand.

She knew he wanted something, but she was not able to understand his language. She had been told
to give the Indians food when they came begging, but what he wanted in his bucket was a puzzle to her.
Finally, she thought of milk„ Yes, milk was what he wanted, so she led him to the cellar across the big dooryard and down the steps . She turned and looked at his large form. It filled the doorway, the only entrance to the cellar, and she knew she must satisfy him. She must be brave, as Indians respected women who were brave.

She reached into the cupboard and took out a pan of fresh warm milk she had just strained and placed there
to cool. He tasted it and poured it back into her pan. Then she took a pan with thick yellow cream; again he
tasted it and poured it back. She felt herself getting panicky, but knew she must not show it. She looked
Around. He was talking fast in his native tongue. The only thing now she could think of was the Givens' family massacre. She knew the Indian braves were mean if they had liquor„ What would she do?
Finally she saw the churn and as a last resort filled his bucket with fresh buttermilk„ This was it! He
lifted the bucket to his lips and with a satisfied grunt turned and went up the steps. When she finally
composed herself, she ventured up the steps. He was crossing the field, stopped and drank again of the
delicious cool buttermilk. She was relieved as she poured the milk he had refused into a pan for the chickens.
Elizabeth had just finished mixing bread and set it to raise overnight, washed her hands in the tin washbasin
and opened the door and threw the water out. But instead of the water landing on the ground, it went right in
the face of an Indian. She was shocked and nearly overcome with fear, as he was on the farm and Indians
were not always friendly. She grabbed a towel and asked him to come in while she did the best she could to
dry his face, hair and coat. She could see he was very angry blaming her for her rudeness, not listening to her
apology. Johanna, her sister, saw the need for quick action. She grabbed a plate of cookies and offered him
coffee to go with them. This surprised him and he accepted the treat. After a few more cookies and some to
take with him, he left. The women knew it was better to feed than to fight the Indians, but were more careful
where they emptied their wash water.
Ann was home alone with her children on the farm. Her husband had gone to the mountains to get a
load of coal. It took two days for the trip. Their farm home was three miles from town, and times like this she
worried about Indians. Often Indians would walk through the fields to other towns and beg at the farm homes.

They were mostly friendly but occasionally they would steal or even kill. It was hard to trust them. Ann always kept food ready to give them. She didn't mind when the men were home but this night she was alone with small children.

It was well after dark and she was getting the children ready for bed when the door knob rattled and
turned. She stood frozen, but when it stopped and no one came in she relaxed and went on with her work. It
turned again, this time she was sure, so she armed herself with the stove poker and went bravely to the door.
She grabbed the door knob and opened the door. There stood the pet horse. He had become lonesome when the other horses were gone and came to the house for company.

1 comment:

rudi48 said...

Loved these stories - thanks for sharing. jm
Judy Malkiewicz, Mackay, Idaho

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