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When nearing the Sioux village, the people paused beside a stream to wash off the dust of travel, to put on their gayest attire, and to newly paint their hair and faces. The prairie was their vast dressing-room, and friendly eyes were their mirrors. Young men decked each other, and girls slyly put on touches of finery. Every one was mov­ing about and busy, from the oldest man to the youngster captured from play to be washed and painted. At last the transformation was complete, from the dun, every-day colour to the brilliant hues of a gala time. Now messengers were despatched with small bunches of tobacco, tied up in bits of bladder skin (in lieu of visiting cards), to give notice of the visiting party's approach.
Suddenly some one asked, "What if the Sioux do not believe we are coming in peace, and should capture our messengers and attack us as we come near with our women and children ? "
Such a reception had not before been thought of; and silence fell upon the people as they halted, under the gloom of the apprehension. At length the Leader stood up and said,— "We have made peace, we have come in good faith, we will go forward, and Wa-kon'-da shall decide the issue."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III