The Arctic Prairies By Ernest Thompson Seton


Then in a calm of the storm (which he continued to ignore) Pierre
turned to me and said: Why don't - Page 36
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Then In A Calm Of The Storm (Which He Continued To Ignore) Pierre Turned To Me And Said:

"Why don't you go back and try the canoe route?

You can go down the Great River to Grand Detour, then portage 8 miles over to the Buffalo, go down this to the Nyarling, then up the Nyarling into the heart of the Buffalo country; 21 days will do it, and it will be easy, for there is plenty of water and no rapids," and he drew a fairly exact map which showed that he knew the country thoroughly.

There was nothing to be gained by going half a day farther.

To break up our party did not fit in at all with our plans, so, after another brief stormy debate in which the guide took no part, we turned without crossing the Little Buffalo, and silently, savagely, began the homeward journey; as also did the little Indian dog.

Next morning we crossed the Salt River at a lower place where was a fine, hard bottom. That afternoon we travelled for 6 miles through a beautiful and level country, covered with a forest of large poplars, not very thick; it will some day be an ideal cattle-range, for it had rank grass everywhere, and was varied by occasional belts of jack-pine. In one of these Preble found a nest with six eggs that proved to be those of the Bohemian Chatterer. These he secured, with photograph of the nest and old bird. It was the best find of the journey.

The eggs proved of different incubation - at least a week's difference - showing that the cool nights necessitated immediate setting.

We camped at Salt River mouth, and next afternoon were back at Fort Smith, having been out five days and seen nothing, though there were tracks of Moose and Bear in abundance.

Here our guide said good-bye to us, and so did the Indian dog.



During this journey I had successfully treated two of the men for slight ailments, and Squirrel had made mental note of the fact. A result of it was that in the morning an old, old, black-looking Indian came hobbling on a stick to my tent and, in husky Chipewyan, roughly translated by Billy, told me that he had pains in his head and his shoulder and his body, and his arms and his legs and his feet, and he couldn't hunt, couldn't fish, couldn't walk, couldn't eat, couldn't lie, couldn't sleep, and he wanted me to tackle the case. I hadn't the least idea of what ailed the old chap, but conveyed no hint of my darkness. I put on my very medical look and said: "Exactly so. Now you take these pills and you will find a wonderful difference in the morning." I had some rather fierce rhubarb pills; one was a dose but, recognising the necessity for eclat, I gave him two.

He gladly gulped them down in water.

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