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The Daughter of the Chieftain : the Story of an Indian Girl   By: (1840-1916)

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THE DAUGHTER OF THE CHIEFTAIN

THE STORY OF AN INDIAN GIRL

By Edward S. Ellis.

CHAPTER ONE: OMAS, ALICE, AND LINNA

I don't suppose there is any use in trying to find out when the game of "Jack Stones" was first played. No one can tell. It certainly is a good many hundred years old.

All boys and girls know how to play it. There is the little rubber ball, which you toss in the air, catch up one of the odd iron prongs, without touching another, and while the ball is aloft; then you do the same with another, and again with another, until none is left. After that you seize a couple at a time, until all have been used; then three, and four, and so on, with other variations, to the end of the game.

Doubtless your fathers and mothers, if they watch you during the progress of the play, will think it easy and simple. If they do, persuade them to try it. You will soon laugh at their failure.

Now, when we older folks were young like you, we did not have the regular, scraggly bits of iron and dainty rubber ball. We played with pieces of stones. I suspect more deftness was needed in handling them than in using the new fashioned pieces. Certainly, in trials than I can remember, I never played the game through without a break; but then I was never half so handy as you are at such things: that, no doubt, accounts for it.

Well, a good many years ago, before any of your fathers or mothers were born, a little girl named Alice Ripley sat near her home playing "Jack Stones." It was the first of July, 1778, and although her house was made of logs, had no carpets or stove, but a big fireplace, where all the food was made ready for eating, yet no sweeter or happier girl can be found today, if you spend weeks in searching for her. Nor can you come upon a more lovely spot in which to build a home, for it was the famed Wyoming Valley, in Western Pennsylvania.

Now, since some of my young friends may not be acquainted with this place, you will allow me to tell you that the Wyoming Valley lies between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghany Mountains, and that the beautiful Susquehanna River runs through it.

The valley runs northeast and southwest, and is twenty one miles long, with an average breadth of three miles. The bottom lands that is, those in the lowest portion are sometimes overflowed when there is an unusual quantity of water in the river. In some places the plains are level, and in others, rolling. The soil is very fertile.

Two mountain ranges hem in the valley. The one on the east has an average height of a thousand feet, and the other two hundred feet less. The eastern range is steep, mostly barren, and abounds with caverns, clefts, ravines, and forests. The western is not nearly so wild, and is mostly cultivated.

The meaning of the Indian word for Wyoming is "Large Plains," which, like most of the Indian names, fits very well indeed.

The first white man who visited Wyoming was a good Moravian missionary, Count Zinzendorf in 1742. He toiled among the Delaware Indians who lived there, and those of his faith who followed him were the means of the conversion of a great many red men.

The fierce warriors became humble Christians, who set the best example to wild brethren, and often to the wicked white men.

More than twenty years before the Revolution settlers began making their way into the Wyoming Valley. You would think their only trouble would be with the Indians, who always look with anger upon intruders of that kind, but really their chief difficulty was with white people.

Most of these pioneers came from Connecticut. The successors of William Penn, who had bought Pennsylvania from his king, and then again from the Indians, did not fancy having settlers from other colonies take possession of one of the garden spots of his grant.

I cannot tell you about the quarrels between the settlers from Connecticut and those that were already living in Pennsylvania... Continue reading book >>




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