Yellow Moon
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Yellow Moon, a Lakota maiden, accompanies her family to the Sun Dance and becomes promised to a Santee warrior who’ll soon be chief. While accompanying Thunder Eyes’ clan back to his tribe, she and the other women are stolen by the Crow, and while in Plenty Coup’s camp is told she’ll become his second wife rather than be a slave. She finds friendship and help at the hands of his first wife, a Cherokee captive called Pretty Shield. When Thunder Eye’s comes to rescue his betrothed, she begs him to take her newfound friend along, and the two women eventually become sisters-in-law. When the Crow come to extract their revenge, fate changes their destiny in a big way.



Publié par
Date de parution 09 août 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781773626291
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Yellow Moon
By Ginger Simpson
Digital ISBNs
EPUB 978-1-77362-629-1
Kindle 978-1-77145-355-4
WEB 978-1-77362-630-7
Amazon Print 978-1-77362-631-4

Copyright 2014 by Ginger Simpson
Cover Art by Michelle Lee
All rights reserved. Without limiting therights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publicationmay be reproduced, stores in or introduced into a retrieval system,or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic,mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without theprior writer permission of both the copyright owner and thepublisher of this book.
* * *
To my blog partner and sister of my heart,Rita Karnopp, who inspires me with her informative posts andpositive friendship. You rock!
Chapter One
1861-Nebraska Territory (Ní Btháska, Omahameaning “flat water”)
Yellow Moon traipsed down the dried grasspath leading to the river…a lane trampled flat by many feet beforehers. Halting at the bank, she gazed at the shimmering ribbon ofblue driven southward by a rapid current. In what place did thewater gather when its journey ended? She recalled tales of thisthing called an “ocean” that stretched as far as one could see andtried to envision what such hugeness might look like.
A tap on her shoulder drew her from reverie.She gasped. Turning, and still unable to exhale, she cameface-to-face with the most attractive brave she’d ever seen.Sunlight glistened on his freshly greased braids, and muscled armsextended from a broad, smooth chest exposed beneath his fringedvest. Finding her voice proved impossible.
“Hau,” He greeted her. “I too come forwater.” He extended a pouch identical to the buffalo bladders shecarried.
Releasing her pent up breath, she let go thetension his touch raised. “I was deep in thought, and you...youstartled me.” Her gaze remained locked with his—eyes capable ofcasting fear in an enemy, yet softened by his smile.
“I am sorry I frightened you, but our meetingis not by chance. I followed you here, hoping to learn your name. Iknow I should not have approached you in this way, but I havewatched you helping the other women erect your lodge…and…I justhave to know you. Taku eniciyapi he?” He asked her name.
“ Mitakuyepi …my name is…Yellow Moon. Iam so called for the season when the leaves fall.”
“ Mitakuyepi Thunder Eyes.” He puffedout his chest and stood straighter.
She dipped her chin to her chest and smiled.Thunder Eyes? How befitting his name. His mere gaze made her heartpound like the fiercest storm. She stole a quiet breath and lookedup. “What tribe is yours?”
“The Santee, I am son of Chief BlackBear.”
The mention of his relationship caused afearful tremble to pass through her, but she swallowed hard andfound words that weren’t offensive. “I have often heard yourfather’s name spoken around our tribal campfires.”
Still the facts Father O’Reilly shared withher bounced back and forth in her mind. Black Bear was one of manychiefs who encouraged fighting to drive away the whites. Sadly, thepale face people continued to come in herds larger than thebuffalo, and stopping them most likely meant many deaths on bothsides. Already, she’d heard rumors of young warriors attacking thewhites, burning their homes, and killing their families. The imagesshe conjured caused her another fearful shudder. Retaliation meantthe war the Father feared loomed closer.
“I am to be one of the Sun dancers,” thebrave broke the silence. “Will men from your tribe dance?”
“I do not know.”
“We need the tatanka to be plentiful,and if my dance brings the herds closer to our land, then I ampleased for my sacrifice.” He squared his strong shoulders. “Markmy word, I will be the last to be free of the skewers.”
His confidence impressed her, yet Yellow Moongrimaced. The flawlessness of his chest would soon bear the sameraised scars her father bore since his youth.
Yellow Moon’s braveness suited a dancer, andthe cocky attitude of a warrior hungry for attention left no doubthe would follow his Chief’s wishes. Still, discussion of suchimportant choices never included women, and she knew her place.
Enveloped by a sudden sadness at what mostcertainly lay ahead, she cocked her head and locked gazes with him,steering their conversation back to the dance. “Having you skintorn away must surely be a test of endurance. How will you sufferthe pain? You don’t have to be tethered to the sacred tree if youdon’t request it.”
His furrowed brow showed she’d insulted him.He stepped back and glared at her. “I am ready to honor the GreatSpirit, and with instruction from the holy men, I will be even morementally prepared when the time comes.”
Kneeling at the river, he dipped his handdeep into the current and filled the bladder he brought. Glancingover his shoulder, he gazed up at her. “Will you come and watch medance? My brother will also dance, but he has chosen a lessersacrifice.”
His invitation stole the air from her lungs.“I—I would be pleased to…but, I…I cannot acknowledge you untilyou’ve asked my mother for permission to meet me.”
“I know better than approaching withoutasking first, but. I swear on my honor I will abide by custom andseek out your mother before the sun sets.”
He stood, and shook the water from his handand arm, sending glistening drops into the sunlight. “In themeantime, tell me more, Yellow Moon. Where do you live and withwhich tribe? Has someone already offered many horses to wedyou?”
At his directness, her heart pounded, and inthe midst of her confusion, her father’s face flashed in her mind.She gulped. “I must hurry back. I’m almost certain to earn myfather’s anger for taking so long.”
Easing past Thunder Eyes, she knelt to fillher own containers. Her hand brushed his copper arm, and despitethe heat, she shivered.
Water bubbled into the first bladder she heldbeneath the surface, and she quickly filled the second. Rising, sheheld both containers with one hand and wiped the grass from herfringed skirt with the other. She cast a smile at her bold admirer,amazed that this handsome man affected her as no other ever had.“Perhaps, if my mother agrees, we will speak later and you can askall the questions you need.”
She slung the bladders over her shoulder andscurried back down the path.
“Then, I will see you at the feast tonight,”he called after her.
His confidence bade her look over hershoulder, but she took a deep breath and kept within the troddenboundaries. No one had ever offered anything for her hand, butThunder Eyes didn’t need to know that.
Pausing outside her mother’s tepee, shewaited for the tingling in her cheeks to stop—sure they wereflushed red. A gentle breeze fluttered wisps of hair loosened fromher braids. She peered down the trail but didn’t see Thunder Eyes.She sighed. Would he seek permission to court her? Waiting to findout would surely make the day pass more slowly.
The hot sun beat down upon her head. Althoughsummer, Wipazunkawaštewi , the moon of June berries, fire formeal preparation and providing light still remained her dailychore. She also had parfleches to hang, and beds to prepare.Already her body ached from the long walk to the Sun Dance site andhaving helped erect the tepee, but she resented being left behindwhile her siblings were free to have fun. She scanned thescenery.
The open prairie selected for the gatheringdidn’t provide much wooded shade like her tribe’s camp, but tepeesby the thousands spiked the flat land of the high prairie wheremany Sioux and other plains tribes gathered. Once she finished herchores, she’d join the crowds…but only if her father didn’t findmore for her to do. Sometimes she resented how men consideredwomen’s chores beneath them, but then she recalled how hard heworked, even in the worst weather, to keep them fed and defended.Shame gripped her.
She ducked inside only to find him stillworking on his bow. He obviously hadn’t even noticed her absence.“ Ate , I have fresh, cool water. Are you thirsty?”
Had she turned into a ghost dancer? He didn’teven look up.
“Oh,” she released a loud breath. “This daymakes me long for the winter snow.”
Her attempt to capture her father’s attentionfailed. He sat against his willow backrest, his focus on stringingnew sinew.
“Of course,” she spoke louder, “the heat isbound to worsen once the women prepare the cooking fire and lightthe torches for tonight’s feast.” Perhaps a mention of the eveningfestivities would remind him she was missing out on making newfriends and having fun. If her father heard her, he showed noindication.
Yellow Moon, her shoulders sagging, hung thebladders and turned her attention to making each person’sindividual bed. She lugged a stack of buffalo hides and blanketscloser to the fire ring and dropped them with a loud thud. StillAte didn’t stir.
How she wished she was younger than almostseventeen summers because somewhere, her brother and sister enjoyedthe company of others while she worked. Still, her maturitypromised more exciting things to come—like a husband and babies ofher own. Would Thunder Eyes be their father? The thought made herheart skip a beat.
Kneeling, Yellow Moon began forming beds fromthe pelts. She paused and placed both hands in the small of herback, then pushed hard against them to quell a kink. The family hadarrived hours ago, and she had helped her ina , “mother,” andother women from the tribe erect their tepee in their usualefficient manner and unloaded their belongings inside. Yellow Moonwas left to set up the rest. Of all things the family called theirown, the tepee always belonged to the wife.
She returned to her bed-making chore,allowing her thoughts to wander back to the “ocean” and the manythings she’d learned at the white man’s school—so many wondroustruths and creations she’d never see or learn more about since sheno longer attended. So many things she might teach her own childrenone day.
The school’s closing came too soon andmemories reeled through her mind. Sadness tugged at her heart asthe scene replayed in detail.
“I’m sorry, Yellow Moon, but we will nolonger hold classes for the Indian children.”
“But why, Father,” she’d asked, referring tohim as all others did. “I will miss learning from you, especiallyspeaking your language. Now I will have no one else who understandsme because the elders of our tribe will most certainly forbid usingthe white man’s tongue.”
“I’m so sorry, my child, but there is nothingI can do. Although we came here in peace with the hope of offeringknowledge, there are too many other white men breaking promises ourgovernment made to many tribes. The tension of war grows, and withit comes a threat to our school.” He took a breath and patted hershoulder. “Tomorrow, the sisters and I will pack everything andleave the prairie. We cannot put ourselves and innocent children atrisk of being caught in the middle of a battle between red andwhite.” He’d rested a hand on her shoulder. “I’m so sorry we haveto leave. You have been my brightest student, and I will surelymiss watching you learn.”
Yellow Moon sat back on her moccasin heels,jaw tensed, as thoughts hardened her heart against the evil whitewho caused the problem…those who encroached on the Sioux’s sacredland, seeking yellow ore from the Paha Sapas. Every day more ofthose with pale skin came and dug in the hallowed Black Hills, asthe white man called them. Father O’Brien had white skin and eyesbluer than the sky, but she felt no hatred toward him. He hadbecome a friend…one she would never forget.
“ Cunwitku , there is no water.” Ate’s voice broke through her thoughts. As most Siouxfathers did, Walking Tall called her “daughter” instead of hername.
She rolled her eyes before facing him. “Yes, Ate , there is water. You have been so intent on fixing yourbow, you failed to notice I have already gone to the river andback. She patted the finishing touches on the last bed, rose,grabbed a bulging bladder from where it hung on a lodge pole, andthen approached her father.
Walking Tall, his brow furrowed, and his lipsdrawn into a thin line, followed her movement with a contemplativegaze as crossed to him. He accepted the container from her, andplacing the membrane to his lips, lifted the bladder into the airand gulped down half the contents. He handed the remaining waterback to her. “Thank you. I was very thirsty.”
She hung her head and stared at her feet. Howcould she have thought such negative things about the man whoprovided the very dress she wore. Oh, he didn’t scrape the hide ordo the sewing, but he shot the animal and brought it home. Guiltgnawed at her, even more when she omitted telling him about ThunderEyes. She couldn’t face Ate ’s disappointment. All youngsterswere taught any admirer must approach an older female relative toseek permission before speaking with a young maiden—the custom wasone of traditional respect.
“Oh, Yellow Moon….” Ate stretched andgave a half yawn. Tiredness creased his brow and made him lookolder than his forty-seven summers. “You have always been athoughtful daughter. The heat and my misfortune have turned my moodsour, but now that I have quenched my thirst, and my bow isrepaired, I need to check the security of the sinew one more timeand get back to the reason we are here. You should go join thecelebration, too.”
“Really?” She widened her eyes. “I have doneeverything except ready the wood for the evening fire. Should Ifinish that before I go?”
“No, we may not need a cooking fire tonight.A feast is planned in which we will all share. Go…and enjoyyourself. I will lay the wood to provide light for when we comehome.”
She didn’t wait for him to rethink hisdecision, flashed an appreciative smile, and ducked through theopen flap again.
Yellow Moon twined through many tepees to getto where people gathered. Moving through the crowd, she searchedfor her mother, Two Doves, and her younger sister, Red Feather.Only the first day of the festivities and hundreds of women eagerto make new friends and old men anxious to share tales of theiryouth, mingled and made her search difficult. Young children playeda short distance from the crowd, running, laughing, and happy forthe freedom. She smiled at their antics, certain her brother wasamong them. Like ants that crawled upon the ground, the childrenall looked the same with their dark hair, ebony eyes, and skin thecolor of the earth’s red clay.
Many tribes had traveled much farther thanthe six-day journey her family made to attend. The Lakota, alsoknown as the Teton, lived in the westernmost part of a place thewhite man called South Dakota. She’d learned that from theFather.
Her legs were strong from walking beside thetravois that carried their belongings, and although she’d earlierbeen tired, her heart now pounded with excitement at finallycompleting her chores and being free to enjoy the celebration.
She eyed all the lodges, adults playing gamesand others milling about. From where did they all come? Had someoneother than Thunder Eyes traveled a long distance to meet her? Wouldhe be the only one to approach her mother and ask her daughter’sname? Even so, Yellow Moon shivered with excitement at seeing himagain. So many questions churned in her mind while her gazesearched the sea of faces.
The orange sun sat high over the westernhorizon, and the heat grew. Despite the summer temperature,darkness would bring a large campfire, a vast array of food,singing, dancing, and perhaps a meeting with her future husband.Her face hurt from such a broad smile. Being courted by such ahandsome brave would surely draw admiration and jealousy frommany.
* * *
Yellow Moon grew weary of zigzagging throughbodies, and finally spied her mother sitting outside one of thelargest tepees. Red Feather sat next to her, both engaged inlaughing and talking with several women of all ages. Yellow Moondrew closer before she saw they were not just sharing an idlemoment, but teaching the younger women how to make pemmican. Onewrinkled old woman in an eloquently beaded dress tore dried meat,most likely buffalo, into small chunks, while one with an equallyattractive bejeweled headband next to her pummeled those piecesinto a fine powder between two stones. A third woman, plain andunattractive, sat across the circle. She kept a small fire fueledto melt fat in a pot that rested on the stone ring.
Her mother held a bowl of dried chokecherriesand added them to the meat and fat mixture as it was passed to her,and yet another woman stored the completed pemmican into rawhidepouches. The combined concoction would sustain the hungry duringlong winters when game was scarce, or provide food for huntingparties away from camp.
How many times had Yellow Moon helped hermother hang strips of fresh buffalo meat on drying racks outsidetheir lodge? Red Feather had picked many berries, depending uponthe season, for the very reason chokecherries were being usedtoday. Yellow Moon sat, cross-legged, next to her mother, andlistened as the “grandmother” of the group ended her version of theWhite Buffalo Calf Woman…a story heard many times around the Lakotacampfire.
Two Doves patted Yellow Moon’s knee. “I ampleased you have joined us.”
“Will you teach something other than this?”She chuckled. “I know well how to make pemmican.”
Her mother grinned. “I know, and I am veryproud of you and Red Feather. You are most helpful daughters.” Sheremoved her hand from Yellow Moon’s knee and accepted anotherportion of cooled fat and meat. She patted berries into the mixturethen handed the finished product to the woman next to her. Herattention again turned to Yellow Moon. “Did you finish doingeverything to ready the inside of our tepee?”
“I did, even with Ate grumbling aboutwater.”
“Ate? I thought he had gone to join otherswho will shoot at the Buffalo dance.”
“His bow broke.”
“I am sure that did not make him happy.”
Yellow Moon laughed when her mother did.Walking Tall had a habit of being grumpy, but most of the time hewas a good husband and father.
“He urged me to find you and Red Feather andspend the day doing something other than work. I finishedeverything but laying wood for tonight’s fire, but Ate saidwe had no use for one.”
“He is right. Tonight we will eat a deerfreshly killed and fish from the river.”
“I cannot wait.”
“For deer and fish? You have neverappreciated either. What has changed?
“I simply meant I look forward to the dancingand stories…I gave little thought to food.”
“Little thought to the young men, too?” Hermother’s mouth curled into a smile.
“Does it amuse you I might not always dwellinside your lodge?” Yellow Moon cocked her head and gazed at hermother.
Two Doves touched her daughter’s knee. “Ismile because a young Santee has asked your name and permission tomeet. He is Thunder Eyes, and is most pleasant to look at.”
Yellow Moon’s heart quickened. Ina mustn’tknow she’d already met the young man. She faked surprise bywidening her eyes. “Tell me more.”
“We talked only a short time. I’m sure you’llbe disappointed he knows very little of the white man's language,as you’ve forced our family to learn, so we spoke in our nativetongue. He has dedicated himself to honoring the Great Spirit inthe bravest of ways at the Sun Dance, and he asked if others havebid for your hand in marriage.”
Her mother’s jab about using English cut likea barb on an arrow. “Why would I be disappointed he speaks onlyLakota? I taught our family important words in case….” She couldn’tbear to finish the sentence. Thoughts of being a white man’scaptive were too horrible to imagine. She took a breath. “So,this…this Thunder eyes wishes to meet me? Did you like him?”
All unpleasant thoughts pushed aside, YellowMoon focused only on the fact Thunder Eyes had inquired about heras a wife. Her insides trembled with joy.
“Yes, I did. He seemed nice enough for thetime we spoke, and says he traveled for several days from west ofthe great river in our homeland to get here. I invited him to meetyou tonight, but be cautious, daughter.” She wagged a finger infront of Yellow Moon's face. “The Sun Dance often brings romancethat fades quickly. Many relationships begin at this celebration,but not all have happy endings. Make sure you know well any man whoseeks you out.”
Yellow Moon slanted away from her mother. “Ihave not even seen the man. How can I be wary of him?” The lieburned her tongue. She sought her mother’s gaze. “Besides, first hemust meet Ate . I trust my father would never make a decisionthat wasn’t a good one.” She forced a laugh.
“We shall see tonight.” Her mother uncrossedher legs, stood, and then reached for her daughter’s hand. “Now,let us go and seek the Shaman. I intend to suggest you as avirtuous woman who wants to hunt for the sacred cottonwood to beused for the Sun Dance.”
At the moment, Yellow Moon didn’t feel very“virtuous” and the last thing on her mind was searching for atree.
Chapter Two
A thunder of drums created a steady melody.Male dancers, most dressed only in breechclouts, knee-highmoccasins and wearing a variety of feathered headdresses, stompedin time to the beat around a roaring fire in the middle of thecompound.

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