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Re:UPDATE - New Story - Miscl Poems, Stories, etc
Posted: Oct 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Part Two
He heard a hawk scream and looked up to see a large red-tailed hawk floating on the air currents of a large bluff in the distance. He marveled at the freedom he enjoyed here in the Lakota Nation, although he still had to be careful for the most part the Lakota left him alone. He admired them, and wished he could have found them earlier. They reminded him of the Highland Clans in many ways and hoped that they would live in peace in the new nation they found themselves a part of now.

The hunter remounted his horse swinging up into the saddle with some effort. His smooth bore musket was much lighter than the Kings Musket he carried so long ago. It served him well, capable of killing a buffalo or man at seventy five yards or more. He had no wish to fight anymore but sometimes the fight was unavoidable, and he was ready for anything that came his way, however regrettable that might be.

He dropped down into the Grand River bottom - the great cottonwoods swayed and creaked in the high wind. He knew he must keep a sharp lookout, for it would be almost impossible to hear the approach of an enemy in the high wind. He decided to camp for the night and made a small campfire for cooking the small grouse he had killed earlier. He planned to follow the Grand to its headwaters, and then overland for a time to the Yellowstone . He figured that this would take the better part of a week and from there he planned to follow the Yellowstone to the Big Horn and on to Lisas Fort near the Three Forks of the Missouri.

He had not made the journey before so he was unsure of the route or how long it might take, he just knew if he headed west he was likely to find what he was looking for. He was looking forward to the grand adventure.

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Re: Update: New Story - Miscl Poems & Stories
Posted: Oct 11, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Longhunter,,,,Love the story, and the memories of places back home...Thank you for sharing! :)

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Into the Badlands
Posted: Oct 12, 2012 at 10:59 AM
It was the Moon of Falling Leaves, it had been almost a month since he had left the Missouri near the Arikara villages and following the Grand River up from its confluence with the Missouri.

Those had been plentiful times, deer and buffalo abounded along the meandering river, amongst the towering and majestic cottonwoods and tall prairie grass. Grouse had been plentiful feeding on the ripe plums and chokecherries along the river. He had lived good and easy the past month. Grouse, and red deer had fallen to his long fowler, as he made his way up the Grand to it's forks on the vast buffalo prairies.

He did take a fat cow, that he traded the meat for two buffalo robes from a wandering village of Lakota, and met a beautiful white captive that he was told was called Stands Alone Woman.

He gave her some blue beads and a couple butcher knives in return for some extra pairs of moccasins and made a mental note to find her on his way back home and perhaps trade for her freedom. The beautiful blonde hair, strong and supple body and deepest blue eyes of Stands Alone Woman filled his dreams each night.

Shortly after leaving Stands Alone Woman and the Lakota he came upon the forks of the Grand River. His french was rudimentary and his sign language was even more so. But he learned from the Lakota that the south fork would take him a few days west of another river that he thought might be the Little Missouri or Yellowstone.

Along the way he had seen the great white bear of the north, it's grizzled appearance was fearful. He had no wish to tangle with one of the many sows with cubs he had seen along the river. Although, he was relatively certain his long fowler shooting 20 balls to a pound would be potent medicine against them, he was in no hurry to find out.

Along the way he set traps and had a nice bundle of beaver and otter pelts that he carried on his pack horse, he marveled at the abundance of game along the course of the Grand River. Numerous times he came across huge trails where buffalo had crossed the river some of these several hundred yards wide.

He was struck by how beautiful the prairie was in fall, the clear blue sky and the eagles soaring on the air currents high above the buttes and bluffs. Farther below the rich prairie grass, willows, maples, beech and other trees leaves were turning brilliant, reds, orange and yellows and they in turn gave way to the pines and other evergreens nearer the top of the buttes.

These in turn gave way to brilliant red, grays and multicolored soft stone, of the buttes and bluffs. Sculpted by the hand of the Creator, by wind and rain for the enjoyment of his children.

He was mindful of his back trail, and consciously made sure that if possible he traveled along the deep ravines and gullies and tried not to skyline himself for he knew that not all indians in this area were as friendly as the village that Stands Alone Woman belonged.

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Into the Badlands (Part 2)
Posted: Oct 12, 2012 at 11:00 AM
He had been travelling towards the sunset for three days, since he left the headwaters of the south fork of the Grand River. He was beginning to wonder if he had misunderstood the Lakota, because he thought they said that it was only one or two days ride across the prairie.

As he topped a ridge, his breath caught in his chest. He was looking directly down on a beautiful bend of a river. A vast herd of buffalo was spread out throughout the bottom, wolves stalked the herd through the ravines and buttes. The valley was unlike anything he had seen - the river flowed through the valley, it's silt laden and muddy colored water gave way to prairie grass that swayed in the wind, and bordering that were vast stands of cottonwoods, willows, maples and other types of trees, the buttes were unique from anything he had seen, bands of white, grey and red rock were clearly visible, evidently the soil was worn away by wind and rain and it was a beautiful contrast to the fall colors of the trees and low brush.

He spied elk, deer and antelope feeding along the shores and broad bottom of the river, as well as otter and beaver swimming leisurely along the backwater sloughs formed by dams and eddys in the river. He eased his sure footed mountain horse and pack horse down into the valley. He explored the base of the buttes and found a sheltered area that was formed by a rock overhang.

He felt that this would be a good area to hunt, trap for a while, and unsaddled and hobbled his horses. He took his half axe off the pack of his dark colored horse and fell some of the smaller cottonwoods around the camp, and built a sturdy half faced camp with a roof of peeled bark and tree branches. A large boulder partially concealed the front of his camp and provided a reflective surface to direct the heat of his campfire into his dwelling. It also gave him some cover should he have to fight for his life.

He settled into his camp and felt secure that it would serve him well for a while as the fall deepened. It had turned cold and there was skiff of ice on some of the backwaters of the rivers on a daily basis and he had awakened to a skiff of snow more than once. He had added another bundle of beaver to his first bundle in the month that he had stayed in this beautiful valley. He had killed 5 elk had tanned them into a couple of robes for his bed and had tanned the others for use to make moccasins and other assorted stuff. He lit his pipe and listened to the wolves howl on the ridges above his camp, in the distance he heard a panther scream and hooting of owls. He banked his fire, knocked the tobacco out of his pipe. He checked the prime in his pistol and fowler and made sure his knife and hawk were close by. He slept with his moccasins and clothes on and in a pouch around his neck he carried flint and steel and char, just in case he had to run for his life. He snuggled under the robes and went to sleep, his wolf dog curled up against his neck, and the old trapper felt safer with his newfound friend and companion.

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Call of the Prairies
Posted: Oct 13, 2012 at 1:08 AM
The old trainer awoke to some unknown Call, the eastern sky was ligtening, but the sun had still not risen. His irish setter puppy bounded down the stairs in front of his old master. The man walked to the ancient frigidaire and poured himself a glass of orange juice and took pills and capsules from the bottles that sat on top of the mantle. He couldn't believe that it would have ever come to this in his youth, but the assorted vitamins and pain killers made it more comfortable to do his job, so he resigned himself to this new reality.

He sat down in the worn recliner and pulled on the nearly knee high boots he wore everyday when he was training. Ample protection against the cactus, rocks, briars and hopefully the nastier denizens of the prairie. As he stepped outside on the porch he was greeted by the pleasantly cool morning air, coyotes howled in the distance and horses knickered close by. He felt the paws of the newest generation of puppies at camp on his legs and sat down to scratch, pet and play with the descendents of the Great One. He groaned as he rose to get up, his arthritic knees popping with the effort. Once they were strong, powerful carrying him across the grid iron. Sacrificed, in hopes of catching the eye of a certain doe eyed, and well endowed girl in his home room class.

He walked over to his old reliable horse, and was greeted by the horse coming over and nudging his hand until he produced the apple that was hidden in the pocket of his worn training jacket. As the old horse crunched happily at the apple with worn yellowing teeth, the old trainer petted his neck in a semi-hug and reflected on how the still strong, sure footed horse was getting a little more gray in the muzzle and a bit more sway backed. The sands of time were catching them both. He took the well worn and oiled saddle from Down Under off the rack in the trailer, a gift from his old friend, teacher and mentor. He put the saddle pad on, then lifted the saddle on to the back of his horse and cinched it down. He looked at the old blank pistol, hanging on the hook. Also, a gift from his friend, his friend had once carried it in the National Championship at Ames, it had been given to him in turn, by a friend of his that had passed on, that had won the National Championship. The trainer decided to leave that priceless keepsake in the holster hanging in the trailer and strapped on his new blank gun, after all it was only a training work out.

He took a rein off the old horse, standing dutifully nearby and walked over to the kennel. He picked a beautiful red and white, male derby aged dog, to work first. He thought, Is he a grandson? Or a great grandson of the Great One? His memory was not what it used to be, but that it didn't matter anyway. He led the young dog, pulling anxiously, against the restraint, back to the trailer. He strapped on a tracking collar and wondered. How he ever got along without one before?

He walked the young dog, and old horse to the starting line. A gentle, "Whoa" to both horse and dog, and he put his foot in the stirrup, and hoisted himself up on the back of the powerful, old horse. His knees ached with the strain, but remembering the evening with the doe eyed girl after homecoming, figured it was a small price to pay. A long blast with his whistle and the dog was off, fading into the distance as his old horse settled in to the fast, ground eating walk as he had done thousands of times before. The horse, followed the dog without urging, knowing what was required of him from years of practice. As the trainer, steered his horse to the top of a small butte, in an effort to keep track of the young dog, he was reassured, seeing his charge take a nice line along a small hedgerow. He looked down an saw a small fossil in a rock.

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Call of the Prairies (Part 2)
Posted: Oct 13, 2012 at 1:11 AM
In doing so, he was reminded that once, these
prairies that he loved, were the bottom of a great ocean teaming with life. Fish, giant crocodiles, mollusks, and sea going dinosaurs, while the shores were home to plant and flesh eating giant reptiles. Off in the distance, he spied a great herd of buffalo. Fenced in, where they once roamed free.

He spurred his horse off the bluff. Short loping to his charge that was now standing motionless, with the feathers of tail swaying gently in the breeze, mezmerized by the intoxicating scent of game. The old trainer quickly dismounted and flushed a covey of birds, the little dog had them well located and fired a blank as the enthusiastic, young dog happily chased the quickly departing birds. The dog came bounding back at the call of the trainer, and he was given a big drink of water, and an affectionate pet before the old trainer remounted and sent him on his way with a long blast of the whistle.

Across a buffalo wallow and to the top of another bluff the old man rode, the pungent and aromatic scents of alfalfa, sweet grass, and sweet clover assaulted his senses. The young derby was making a big cast down into a flat that often was abundant with birds. The man marveled that the young dog remembered where he had found lots of birds in the previous work out. He watched as the young dog hit scent and stopped in a whirl of dust.

Without urging the old, experienced horse short loped to within a short distance of the motionless dog, as he dismounted the old trainer saw a least a dozen birds lift from all around the young dog. The dog oblivious to the commotion still stood without motion, almost without breathing, as the man walked in front and kicked a big bunch of sweet clover and a old rooster pheasant exploded cackling from the brush. The unnerved dog broke and chased as the trainer fired his blank gun yet again. When the young derby returned for water, he was put into a harness - it had been a great workout.

With a slight groan the old man lifted himself into the saddle once again,
turning for home, the young derby pulling hard against the horse, not wanting the work out to end.

The old horse settled into a pace that was gentle and rocking, and the old man, found himself musing of the dogs before, the horses, and the spills, the triumphs and defeats. He had been lucky, he had not been seriously injured, as some of the other trainers, he knew had been on falls from horses.

He had known the disappointment of a fine performance that went unrewarded, and had accepted rewards that were undeserved. He had accepted ridicule along with compliments that came with running a minority breed in field trials.

He had felt hurt at some undeserved criticism and felt exhiliration at deserved compliments with a little humility or embarrassment. He had sacrificed much, but perhaps no more than any other trainer he admired. When added up, the time, the money, the aches, and the pain, both physical and emotional. He sometimes wonders if the Call of the Prairie is worth it all. How many times had he wanted to quit?
Contemplating it seriously, only be be lured back by her Call. How many others felt the same? And will others feel what he feels in the future?

The Call of the Prairies, to those that hear the Call, like the Siren song of old luring sailors to the rocks, is irresistable. An addiction, it continues to bring them back, year after year. Through the pain, the hurt, it is always constant. The Call of the Prairies can not be ignored for long.

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Winter in the Sheltered Valley
Posted: Oct 13, 2012 at 5:19 PM
Winter had come early to the sheltered valley along the Little Missouri. The trapper had awakened to about half of a foot of fluffy white snow outside his little half faced camp, the morning had cleared and the sun was shining brightly and the reflection of the stark white snow had hurt his eyes. It had not been a surprise for the trapper, he had recognized the smell of snow in the air the previous nightfall.

The signs of a hard winter coming were unmistakeable. His fine mountain horse had grown an exceptionally heavy winter coat in the past weeks. Beaver were busy falling trees and sinking the succulent branches under the water near their lodge for consumption when the ponds iced over.

This was a welcome and pleasant surprise for the trapper. For he had trapped another bail of prime fur the past few weeks. The dark and silky smooth fur was shining and soft to the touch. He knew he had enough fur now to trade for goods from the brigade to trade to the Lakota for Stands Alone Woman. That thought sustained him, he longed for a companion to share the wonderous beauty all around him and to feel the comfort and companionship of another person.

A cold wind whistling from the North chilled him to the bone and brought him back to reality from his reverie. Although, his little half faced camp was snug and adequate for a fall hunt. With the coming of winter he knew he must find a more permanent and sheltered home to winter over in the little valley. He tied on his heavy elkhide winter moccasins with sheepskin lining. To these he strapped on his short and wide snow shoes, put on his blanket coat and sheepskin gloves and grabbed his fowler.

He turned up the collar of his blanket coat to ward off the chill, and stepped out of the relative shelter of his camp and warmth of the fire. It was fruitless as the cold made his eyes water and turned his checks and lips numb. He turned down his wide brimmed hat and used his weak hand in an effort to keep the strong gusts of wind from blowing his hat away.

He then set out to find a new home. He remembered seeing a few caves on a south facing bluff a couple miles walk from his camp, and decided to start there in hopes of finding a cave suitable for the long winter ahead.

As he walked across the new fallen snow he was acutely aware of the peaceful valley. The cedar, aspen, and cottonwoods stood silently, dressed in a covering of pure white snow. He peered to his left and saw two otters playing in the snow,. They were sliding down a small slope plunging into the cold dark water of the river, only to pop out and scamper to another hill and slide down through the fresh white snow, back into the river. Their sleek, and streamlined bodies slipping almost effortlessly through the dark water, before disappearing into their den in the high bank of the river.

He continued to the bluffs and found a rather large cave it was perhaps fifteen to twenty feet deep, the roof was about seven feet high and the entry was narrow and partly concealed by a large cedar tree. There was a small area that he could hobble his horses and they could graze on the remnants of the tall prairie grass in the valley.

It took him the better part of a day to get all his goods and equipment moved to his new camp. As the temperature dropped to well below zero, he was snug and dry in his new rock house. It would be a long winter but come spring he would set out for the Yellowstone with hopes of finding Lisa's Brigade.

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Posted: Oct 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM
Dawn was breaking, the lad pulled the scarlet capote, tighter around himself and cinched the wide leather belt around his waist. It was going to be a blue bird spring day. The Lakota called this the "Moon of the greening grass," but this far north and west, snow and frost were common even in the middle of spring. He had chosen to scout an area near the confluence of the great river of the northwest called the Columbia, and one of it's tributaries called the Spokan. He had been told of a large creek that flowed into the Spokan near the Columbia that was abundant with fish and game. He slipped through the forest easily on mocassined feet making little noise, picking his way carefully up the creek that matched the description he had been given. He came to a series of small ponds that had been dammed by beavers, exactly like the old hunter had described at rendezvous two weeks earlier.

Slipping up to the pond edge he saw many large trout cruising the depths of the pond. Resting his iron mounted southern rifle against a nearby tree, he slipped his knapsack of his shoulders and took his fishing kit from the inside pocket of his knapsack. He looked around quickly and found a old, rotten log and using the handle of his tomahawk was able to turn the rich soil underneath and find about a dozen earthworms. Opening his fishing kit he took out a length of linen line about twice the length of his arm span, and tied a forged iron hook on the line, he also attached a small cork about 2 feet from the hook and splitting a small buck shot from his pouch with his knife he attached a weight to the line, squeezing it shut with his teeth. He cut a willow pole with his tomahawk and attached the free end of the linen line to it.

As he fished, he watched young beavers swimming in one of the lower ponds, as well as sleek, shiney furred otter sliding into the water as they frolicked and played with one another. He heard an eagle cry and looked up to see a bald eagle floating on the air currents against the deep, blue sky. Across the pond in a tall, dead snag was an osprey nest with a pair of the fish eagles tending their nest. He had numerous bites but in the end he managed to land four pan sized trout.

He dried his linen line as he used his knife to clean the fish. When the line was dry he carefully rolled it into the fishing kit discarded his pole and cut a small willow with a fork at the end and threaded the other through the gills of the fish. He replaced the fishing kit in his knapsack. Inside the knapsack, rested another pair of breeches, wool leggings, as well as his capote that he had taken off early in the day as the sun warmed the forest. His favorite a cotton checked shirt an an extra pair of sideseam moccassins that were made from braintanned elk and sewn for him by a pretty indian girl who lived not far from the post, rested on top of his gear. He made a mental note to ask her to the post dining in, next time he saw her.

He hoisted the knapsack on to his back and adjusted the fit, picked up his rifle resting against a tree and checked to ensure the cap was in place. And continued on to find a suitable camp site for the night.

He found beautiful spot to camp for the night on the top of a small hillock with creek on his left and a wooded draw on his right. He took out his tinder and flint and steel and shortly had a nice fire going with which to roast his fish on. As the trout roasted on a green willow skewer he untied his bedroll from the bottom of his knapsack, took out his capote and laid it out to serve as a pillow and took out his brass kettle, added water from the creek. Bringing it to a rolling boil. To this he added some rice and onions.

He placed two roasted fish in a trencher along with the rice and onions, and thoroughly enjoyed his meal as the sun was setting over the mountains to the West.

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Hunted (Part 2)
Posted: Oct 13, 2012 at 5:46 PM
He felt very pleased with himself figuring he covered close to 10 miles this day as well as catching his supper and he enjoyed the delicate flesh of the trout immensely because of this. As the fire crackled nearby he read his Psalms reader by the soft light of the camp fire and coyotes howled in the distance. He stoked the fire one last time to ward of the chill of the early spring night, and crawled beneath the heavy wool blanket close to the fire resting his head on his bundled up capote.

The sounds of the crickets cripping, frogs singing, and coyotes howling lulled him to sleep. Around midnight, he was awakened by a feeling he was being watched, perhaps it was a primevil sense of danger. His eyes scanned the dim light, as his fire had died down and his ears strained for some hint of noise or something amiss. Instinctively, he reached for his rifle laying next to him inside his bedrooll as his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he saw two glowing eyes at the edge of the illumination provided by the dying fire, and the accompanying low growl - made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. He rolled out of bed suddenly, yelling and bringing his rifle to his shoulder. The beast startled apparantely, by the sudden movement and yelling turned tail and disaapeared into the night. The light had been too dim for the lad to make out the type of animal it was, he suspected a coyote or perhaps a bobcat.

Nevertheless, he found a large pitch filled log nearby and stoked the fire with it and other wood lying about. He took the extra precaution of resting his rifle well loaded with a stout charge of blackpowder and ball outside his blanket and within easy reach. He laid back down but was only to able to sleep fitfully. Once again, he was roused out of a light sleep by an innate sense of danger. The fire was still giving off light and as he scanned the edge of the fire light he was greeted by a blood chilling sight.

Standing not 30 feet from the campfire and his bedroll. Lightly illuminated by the glow of the fire was - a large cat, small ears and light colored fur - he had only heard about such creatures from his Pa - it was a cougar! He felt that this cat was making ready to make a meal of him, he slowly brought his rifle up, depressing the trigger as he cocked the hammer to alleviate the noise of the sear engaging the tumbler. The cat was partially visible and he could only make out a small portion of the chest - he sighted down the barrel as the cat crouched, perhaps making ready to spring on him and fired. Before the smoke had cleared he had rolled and moved to put the fire between he and the cat as he poured a charge from his horn and rammed a bare ball down the barrel.

He heard some thrashing below in the forested draw and some unbelieveably frightening growls, hisses and screams, for a time then all was quiet, not even the crickets chirpped. The lad stoked the fire and waited out the rest of the night with his back against a large pine tree. The next morning he investigated the draw and prayed he would not meet a wounded cat. His rifle was at his shoulder and ready as he slowly made his way down into the gully. He found a large blood trail and was encouraged by the sight of the bright colored blood. Moving past a deadfall he was startled by the sight of of the cat lying dead 10 feet in front of him. The cat had glazed over eyes and had been dead for a while. Relieved, the lad lowered his hammer to halfcock, and cradled his rifle as he went over to examine the cat.

He was not large perhaps 60 lbs, and he looked thin. He didn't know why the cat was stalking him because overall he looked healthy.

Back at post, when he related the story to an experienced hunter . He was told that the cat was probably a young, tom cat that had just been pushed out by his mother and was probably hungry and drawn to the smell of the cooked fish. The lad regretted having to shoot the young cat, but truly fe

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Storm in her Heart
Posted: Oct 15, 2012 at 8:23 AM

It had been one turning of the moon by her reckoning. Stands Alone Woman was pleasantly surprised when the trapper had appeared at her village on the Missouri and spoke to her adopted father for her hand. The trapper had given a bale of prime beaver and his short gun as a gift to win her hand. He would be her second husband. She had been alone for 7 winters and both her daughters were grown women with friends and families of their own.

As she waved goodbye to her family of over 30 winters she had mixed feelings about the prospect of being the companion of the white trapper. He had been kind to her and he was a strong and good man she felt in her heart, when he visited the village a few times.

She believed that the Creator had blessed her once again, for she developed strong feelings for the trapper on the nearly week long journey through the snows to the sheltered valley. As the days and weeks passed she grew to love the trapper and worried greatly, when he was away tending the trap line or hunting.

As the days passed she slowly re-learned the language she had thought she had forgotten since she was a girl in the country east of the Big River, what the trapper called the Mississippi.
He was a man well acquainted with the woods and prairies, experienced, and one not to take chances. But, she still felt uneasy. As the storm clouds gathered, so did the Storm in Her Heart.

The storm had moved in fast as they often do on the prairie, a slight overcast sky had turned quickly into a tumultous storm, the howling wind and the blowing snow made it impossible to see but scant few feet in front of you, and the temperature dropped dangerously very quickly.

She paced nervously, jumping at every crack the snapping branches and trees made as the wind blew harder and it grew colder. She had been through many such prairie storms - she was a was a woman born and bred to the hard life on the prairie after all. Why her heart raced so, wasn't because she was frightened it was because her lover from the East was out in it.

He had come to the prairies as he always had embraced adventure in his past. With his traps and gear eagerly anticipating the riches of the rivers and streams that were his for the taking.

He was a natural man, born and bred to the wilderness and prairies, strong of chest and leg and with an unyielding spirit - a spirit that called him further and deeper into the wilderness, it was his first love. She knew that but she had seen in his eyes that same kind of feeling was now starting to burn for her in his heart. She knew the prairies and the hunt were part of his essence but she felt she was becoming an essential part of his life also. She knew in her mind that he had faced similiar dangers and more, but in her heart she just wanted him safe in her arms.

As the storm intensified the trapper found himself wishing he had listened to Stands Alone Woman, and not gone out.

He had thought, that the storm would go to the north, and time was getting short before all the water would be locked in ice and the beaver safe in their houses. The storm intensified and the howling wind drove the cold, wet snow through is leather leggings and wool coat, His wide brim hat was frozen stiff from the snow and ice. It was bone chilling, the cold and wet snow as it often is in early Winter.

The sky had darkened with the storm and setting sun, and he was drawn to the glow of the firelight in the rock house across the valley. His faithful mountain horse, kept trugding along faithfully carrying his old master back to the safety of camp and the paddock.

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