Doc Ch. 06bykingkey©
I just stood there gasping like a fish out of water, with Grandpa still laughing his ass off. Spotted Owl was just looking back and forth between us, puzzled as to what was going on and starting to look a little annoyed. Grandpa noticed this and struggling to get his laughter under control, hurried to reassure him that he was not laughing at him and that I wasn't touched in the head.
"Spotted Owl he's just astonished that you would accept such a small amount for your two beautiful daughters."
"Other brave no want. Think too small. Think not able do hard work and too small to bring strong sons." He explained
"I'm sure they're wrong. I've seen those girls work! They may be small but they work as hard as any woman. They are very clean and are good cooks. I think between the two of them they will have enough strong sons and beautiful daughters to make any man proud and keep his lodge happy."
"But...But..." I stammered, not quite grasping the situation.
"Later, Boy!" Grandpa snapped.
"He good man?" asked Spotted Owl.
"I think so. He's family, a brave warrior, a good hunter, and a medicine man – he'll make a good husband and father to many strong sons."
"Is good! Need many strong sons."
Seeing that I was still in a state of shock, Grandpa asked, "How's Running Deer doing? Don't you think you better go check on her?"
Going over to her I saw she was now awake and doing a lot better. The fever seemed to be breaking. Both she and Little Doe had big smiles on their cute pixie faces, making me even more nervous.
"How are you feeling? Still hurting real bad or is it better?" I asked Running Deer while I felt the mud cast to see if it was drying correctly.
"Still hurts but much better. More like bad ache now. Sickness is much better. Not sweat now." She answered.
"That's good. You will be better in no time. You just be real still while you cast dries. Your arm should stop hurting in a couple of days, but the cast must dry hard before you can move it. We will keep a close eye on you for the next day or so."
"When we go to your lodge? Make you good wives." she asked, with both of them smiling even bigger and making me even more nervous.
Grandpa saw us and started laughing at me again. "Come on boy, I think we need to go have a private talk."
By this time, I was starting to get pissed. Grandpa seemed to be having too much of a good time laughing at me. Everyone else was looking at me like I was dropped on my head as a baby or was simple minded. The twins just kept smiling at me all the time like a starving man looks at a big steak dinner.
"OK, what's going on? How did I trade for the girls to be my wives?" I demanded in frustration.
"When you handed Spotted Owl the box of cigars, he didn't have anything worth enough to trade for them. Remember I told you tobacco is a good trading stock, being so rare? When he took you into the lodge and pointed to the girls, and you just nodded, he thought you accepted the trade."
"But... But... I thought we were trading for the horse and he wanted to know if his daughter was OK!" I exclaimed.
"The horse was a gift to you for saving his daughter. He truly loves those two girls of his."
"But I don't want to get married. He can keep the cigars as a gift!" Even to me, I sounded like I was whining.
"YOU DAMN FOOL! Are you trying to get us all kill't, insulting these people like that? You were warned to watch what you were doing. You could've asked what to do, but you just rammed ahead anyway. Besides, he wants them to be married and have lots of grandsons. He thinks it's long past time they found a husband, but they had all the young bucks around here scare't that they were a pair of shrews.
"Maybe they don't want me." I said
"Are you blind as well as stupid? Those two adore you, as anyone with eyes and an ounce of sense can plainly see! I keep tellin' ya – them two have had their sights set on you since you were all kids! How many times do you have to be told somethin' before it sinks in?" Grandpa was clearly frustrated with me, but then he started laughing at me again.
"But it's the other Clay they are in love with – not me!"
"As far as anyone else is concerned, YOU ARE CLAY! And don't you go forget'n I'm your Uncle Henry, or Hank – not Grandpa!'
"So when is this wedding going to take place anyway?" I grumbled, resigning myself to my fate with ill grace.
"Stop sulking like a child! This will be the best thing for you. They will make you very good wives. Actually they are already your property and you can do as you like with them, but it will be much better all around if you wait for White Calf Woman to get here, though."
"White Calf Woman? Who is she – a relative? How does she know about this?"
"Nope. She's a Sioux Holy Woman. She will be performing the marriage ceremony. Red Cloud told me while you were checking on Running Deer that he had sent a fast messenger to her asking her to come. She's with one of the other villages. She moves around among them all.
"Now, although the girls are already yours since you traded for them, it'll be a lot better if they become your true wives in the eyes of the Lakota. That's why Red Cloud sent for the Holy Woman. Which reminds me – you better get back to your trading – you need two buffalo robes to give her for the ceremony. That shows that you will be a good provider."
"But they will know that I didn't kill the buffalo myself."
"That don't matter none. They will know you could get what was needed. But if you want, we could go hunting. They will need meat for the wedding feast and we can get the robes you need. It might even be better to do it that way."
"So how long do we have to get all this done before she gets here; and how much longer are we going to be here anyway?"
"Red Cloud said it will probably take about three days for her to get the message then come here. The ceremony only takes a short while, then the feast, then the wedding night... I figure we'll be here about five more days."
"What about the ranch? Who's going to take care of the stock if we are here for another five days?"
"Your aunts and uncle and the two hired hands, that is, if the damn fools ain't run off looking for gold yet."
When we went back in to check on Running Deer, I explained to them that we were going to hunt for the wedding feast and the buffalo robes for White Calf Woman. Both girls were smiling real big till they heard the holy woman's name then they gasped and looked worried.
Seeing their reaction, I asked, "What're they acting so worried about?"
"White Calf Woman is one of their greatest holy women. It is a great honor for her to be performing the ceremony." Grandpa explained. Then turning to Little Doe, he asked, "Don't you think you should be getting your and Running Deer's wedding dresses made and the marriage lodge put up?"
"That sounds like a lot of work. How will they be able to get all that done in time? " I asked.
"Hell, Boy, they've probably already had them made for a long time, just waiting for the right husband. If not, all the other women will help."
We went out and found Red Cloud. We explained that we were going to hunt. He said, "Other hunters already hunt, but more meat always good."
Our plans made and announced, we each made a travois, one for the pack horse and one for the horse Spotted Owl had given me. Although it was getting late in the day, once we were ready, we set out for where we thought the buffalo might be found.
ould like to thank my great editors Eviltwin and Ice Wolf they make my scribbling worth reading.