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The Grateful Indian And other Stories   By: (1814-1880)

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The Grateful Indian, by W.H.G. Kingston.

This quite short book contains eight sections, of which the last three are collections of verse written by Kingston, including one collection of verse written when he was still at school. Not bad, either.

Of the other five sections, three are nautical short stories by Kingston, while the other two are excellent stories by lady writers, not all that usual at the date of publication. Of these we would particularly commend "An Adventure on the Black Mountain", by Frances Wilbraham. The Black Mountain is Montenegro, a Balkan country, and this is the first time your reviewer has been offered any insight into that country. Well worth reading a must, in fact, in the light of recent events (Chapter Four, in the book).

The dates of the stories are roughly the end of the eighteenth century, but, though dated, they are nevertheless interesting to read or listen to.




We cannot boast of many fine evenings in old England dear old England for all that! and when they do come they are truly lovely and worthy of being prized the more. It was on one of the finest of a fine summer that Mr Frampton, the owner of a beautiful estate in Devonshire, was seated on a rustic bench in his garden, his son Harry, who stood at his knee, looking up inquiringly into his face.

"Father," said Harry, "I have often heard you speak about the North American Indians the Red men of the deserts. Do tell me how it is that you know so much about them have you ever been in their country?"

"Yes, my boy; I passed several of the earlier years of my life in that part of North America which may truly be said to belong as yet to the Red men, though as there are but some fifty thousand scattered over the whole central portion of it, it must be acknowledged that they do not make the best possible use of the territory they inhabit. A glance at the map of North America will show you where the Red River is, with its settlement founded by Lord Selkirk. I was very young when I went there with my father, my elder brother Malcolm, and John Dawes, a faithful servant who had been brought up in the family from childhood. John was a great sportsman, a most kind hearted fellow, and could turn his hand to anything. We went through Canada to Lake Superior, and from thence it took us, by a chain of lakes and rivers, about twenty five days to reach the banks of the Red River. I need not describe how we selected our ground, built a cottage, ploughed a field, and stocked our farm; we will suppose all these preliminaries over and our party permanently settled in our new home. I must tell you before I proceed a little about the Indians of this region."


There are different tribes. Some are called Crees, others Ojibways or Salteaux, and these are constantly at war with the Sioux to the south, chiefly found across the United States boundary. There are also found on the prairies Assiniboines, Blackfeet, Bloodies, and others with scarcely more attractive names. All these people were at that time sunk in the most abject state of heathenism, and were constantly at war with each other. They were clothed chiefly in skins made into leather, ornamented with feathers and stained grass and beads. The tents of the prairie Indians were of skins, and those of the Indians who inhabit the woods of birch bark. Many had rifles, but others were armed only with bows and spears, and the dreadful scalping knife. Of these people the Sioux bore the worst character, and were the great enemies of the half bred population of the settlements. These halfbreds, as they are called, are descended from white fathers and Indian mothers. There are some thousands of them in the settlements, and they live chiefly by hunting and fishing, and retain many Indian customs and habits of life... Continue reading book >>

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