In the Land of Many Enemies
A Novel Excerptby James Welch
Yellow Kidney squatted beneath a cutbank out of the wind and watched Seven Persons turn in the northern sky. He smoked his short-pipe and listened to the mutterings of the four other men. They waited a short distance from camp for Fast Horse and White Man’s Dog. Of them all, only Eagle Ribs was an experienced horse-taker. He was a young man of twenty-four winters and had accompanied Yellow Kidney on a raid against the Parted Hairs two summers ago. He was shorter than most Pikuni men but he was thick in the legs and waist. His strength and balance made him the best wrestler in camp. As a youth he had thrown twelve young men, one after another, on their backs during a Sun Dance contest. He had won many possessions, including the long brass-handled knife he now wore in his belt. But Yellow Kidney had chosen him not for his strength but for his scouting ability. He could see without being seen and he knew what he saw. He would give an accurate accounting of the enemy.