Dienstag, 10. Februar 2015

The Great Sioux Trail by Joseph Altsheler illustrated by Charles R. Wrenn and Zdenek Burian

The Great Sioux Trail (A Story of Mountain and Plain) by Joseph A. Altsheler was published in 1918. The book contains four illustrations by Charles L. Wrenn.
The Czech edition Za zlatem do země Siouxů appeared 1933 and was illustrated by Zdenek Burian.

Illustrations by Charles L. Wrenn

 This picture was also used for the dustcover

Illustrations by Zdenek Burian

"Who is the Indian chief?" he said to Boyd, the scout and hunter, who stood by his side. "He seems to be a man."
"He is," replied Boyd with emphasis. "He's a man, and a great man, too. That's Red Cloud, the war chief of the Ogalala Sioux, Mahpeyalute, they call him in their language, one of the bravest warriors that ever lived, and a thinker, as well. If he'd been born white he'd be governor of a big state by this time, and later on he might become president of 'em all."
"I've heard of him. He's one of our most dangerous enemies."

The sun had sunk over the dim mountains in the north and the burning red there was fading. All the thin forest was clothed now in dusk, and the figure of the chief himself grew dimmer. Yet the twilight enlarged him and lent to him new aspects of power and menace. As he made his gesture of defiance, young Clarke, despite his courage, felt the blood grow chill in his veins....The young officer seemed nervous and doubtful. He switched the tops of his riding boots with a small whip, and then looked into the fierce eyes of the chief, as if to see that he really meant what he said. Kenyon was fresh from the battlefields of the great civil war, where he had been mentioned specially in orders more than once for courage and intelligence, but here he felt himself in the presence of an alarming puzzle. His mission was to be both diplomat and warrior. He was not sure where the duties of diplomat ceased and those of warrior began.

The silent departure of Boyd and Will by night from the camp of the troops...

The rifle sprang to his shoulder, a jet of flame leaped from the muzzle, and, with the sharp crack, the foremost Sioux rolled to the ground and lay still, his frightened pony galloping off at an angle. The hunter quickly pulled the trigger again and the second Sioux also was smitten by sudden death. The other two turned, but one of them was wounded by the terrible marksman, and the pony of the fourth was slain, his rider hiding behind the body. A dismal wail came from the Sioux far back. The hunter lowered his great weapon, and one hand resumed the bridle rein.

"Old Ephraim!" he said.
A gigantic grizzly bear was upreared on a great rocky outcrop about three hundred yards away, and the opalescent light of the morning magnified him in the boy's eyes, until he was the largest beast in the world. Monstrous and sinister he stood there, unmoving, gazing at the strange creatures in the little camp. He seemed to Will a symbol of this vast and primeval new world into which he had come. Remembering his glasses he took them and brought the great grizzly almost before his eyes.

Will's heart warmed at once to the little man who continued to whistle forth a volume of clear song, and whose face was perhaps the happiest he had ever seen. Boyd stepped suddenly from the shielding brushwood and extended his hand.
"Tom Bent," he said, "put 'er there!"
"Thar she is," said Giant Tom, placing his palm squarely in Boyd's.
"My young friend, Mr. William Clarke," said the hunter, nodding at the lad, "and this is Mr. Thomas Bent, better known to me and others as Giant Tom."

"We ride along by the creek, an' sometimes the ledge is jest wide enough fur the horses an' mules. We go on that way four or five miles, provided we don't fall down the cliff into the creek an' bust ourselves apart. Then, ag'in, purvided we're still livin', we come out into a valley, narrow but steep, the water rushin' down it in rapids like somethin' mad.

The three were lying close together, all behind rocky upthrusts...

"I think I'll call it the White Dome", said Will, examinining it for the hundredth time through his glasses.

He saw one hand steal up over the ledge. The other, holding a revolver, followed in an instant, and then the lad, knowing in his heart that treacherous and black murder was intended, threw up his own rifle and pulled the trigger. He fired practically at random, doubting that the bullet would hit, but there was the sound of an oath, of scraping feet and a thud, while the gorges and ravines of the mountain sent back the crack of the rifle in many echoes.

He had just started the other way when he heard a fierce growling sound behind him and the beat of heavy feet. Whirling about he saw an enormous beast charging down upon him. It would scarcely be correct to say that he saw, instead he had a blurred vision of a huge, shaggy form, red eyes, a vast red mouth, armed with teeth of amazing length and thickness, and claws of glistening steel, huge and formidable. Everything was magnified, exaggerated and infinitely terrible.

Will you let me take another and thorough look at your map, William?" He studied it long and attentively,...

He had, in very truth, seen a man, and as he still looked a rifle was thrust over a ledge, a puff of fire leaping from its muzzle. From a point above him came a cry that he knew to be a death yell, and the body of a warrior shot downward, striking on the ledges until it bounded clear of them and crashed into the valley below.

it took them a long time to find a way by which the horses could descend, and it required their utmost skill to prevent falls.

Hour after hour they marched past, not a single one stopping for the water and deep grass they must have smelled so near. At times, they were half hidden by the vast cloud of dust in which they moved, and which was of their own making, and at other times the wind of the plains blew it away, revealing the lowered heads and huge black forms, pressing on with some sort of instinct to their unknown destination.
Will watched them a long time and the tremendous sight at last laid a spell upon him. Apparently they had no leaders. What power moved them out of a vast and unknown region into another region, alike vast and unknown? Leaderless though they were, they advance

The growth of scrub, watered by seepage from the stream, was rather dense, and he pushed his way in gently, lest a rustling of twigs and leaves reach the Sioux, lurking among the cottonwoods. He did not hear the noise again, and he went a little farther. Then he heard a sound by his side almost as light as that of a leaf that falls, and he whirled about, but it was too late. A war club descended upon his head and he fell unconscious to the ground.

He turned painfully on his side, groaned, shut his eyes, and opened them again to see a tall warrior standing over him, gazing down at him with a cynical look. He was instantly ashamed that he had groaned and said in apology: "It was pain of the spirit and not of the body that caused me to make lament."
"It must be so," replied the warrior in English, "because you have come back to the world much quicker than we believed possible. The vital forces in you are strong."

When the scraping of the skins was finished he was set to work with some of the old men making lances. These were formidable weapons, at least twelve feet long, an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, ending in a two-edged blade made of flint, elk horn or bone, and five or six inches in length. The wood, constituting the body of the lance, had to be scraped down with great care, and the prisoner toiled over them for many days.

Then he heard a woof and a snort, and a sudden lurch of a heavy body. He sprang to his feet in alarm. While he was thinking and inattentive, Rota (the grizzly bear), not yet gone into his winter sleep, vast and hungry, was upon him.
Xingudan was no coward, but he was not so agile as a younger man. He sprang to his feet and hastily leveling the repeating rifle fired once, twice. The Indian is not a good marksman, least of all when in great haste. One of the bullets flew wild, the other struck him in the shoulder, and to Rota that was merely the thrust of a needle, stinging but not dangerous. A stroke of a great paw and the rifle was dashed from the hands of the old chief. Then he upreared himself in his mighty and terrible height, one of the most powerful and ferocious beasts, when wounded, that the world has ever known.

...despite the deep snow, and Will brought down with a lucky arrow a fine elk that made for him a position yet better in the village...

But the bull did not fall. No arrow had yet touched a vital spot. Bellowing with pain and rage, he whirled, and catching sight of Will, who was only a few yards away, charged. Pehansan and Roka uttered warning shouts, and the youth, who in his enthusiasm had gone too near, made a convulsive leap to one side. Had he been on hard ground and in his moccasins he might easily have escaped that maddened rush, but the long and delicate snowshoes caught in a bush, and he fell at full length on his side. Then it was the very completeness of his fall that saved him. The infuriated beast charged directly over him, trampling on the point of one snowshoe and breaking it, but missing the foot. Will was conscious of a huge black shape passing above him and of blood dripping down on his body, but he was not hurt and he remembered to cling to his bow.

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