Dance In A Buffalo Skull

: Old Indian Legends

IT was night upon the prairie. Overhead the stars were twinkling bright

their red and yellow lights. The moon was young. A silvery thread among

the stars, it soon drifted low beneath the horizon.

Upon the ground the land was pitchy black. There are night people on the

plain who love the dark. Amid the black level land they meet to frolic

under the stars. Then when their sharp ears hear any strange footfalls

> nigh they scamper away into the deep shadows of night. There they are

safely hid from all dangers, they think.

Thus it was that one very black night, afar off from the edge of the

level land, out of the wooded river bottom glided forth two balls of

fire. They came farther and farther into the level land. They grew

larger and brighter. The dark hid the body of the creature with those

fiery eyes. They came on and on, just over the tops of the prairie

grass. It might have been a wildcat prowling low on soft, stealthy feet.

Slowly but surely the terrible eyes drew nearer and nearer to the heart

of the level land.

There in a huge old buffalo skull was a gay feast and dance! Tiny little

field mice were singing and dancing in a circle to the boom-boom of a

wee, wee drum. They were laughing and talking among themselves while

their chosen singers sang loud a merry tune.

They built a small open fire within the center of their queer dance

house. The light streamed out of the buffalo skull through all the

curious sockets and holes.

A light on the plain in the middle of the night was an unusual thing.

But so merry were the mice they did not hear the "king, king" of sleepy

birds, disturbed by the unaccustomed fire.

A pack of wolves, fearing to come nigh this night fire, stood together

a little distance away, and, turning their pointed noses to the stars,

howled and yelped most dismally. Even the cry of the wolves was unheeded

by the mice within the lighted buffalo skull.

They were feasting and dancing; they were singing and laughing--those

funny little furry fellows.

All the while across the dark from out the low river bottom came that

pair of fiery eyes.

Now closer and more swift, now fiercer and glaring, the eyes moved

toward the buffalo skull. All unconscious of those fearful eyes, the

happy mice nibbled at dried roots and venison. The singers had started

another song. The drummers beat the time, turning their heads from

side to side in rhythm. In a ring around the fire hopped the mice, each

bouncing hard on his two hind feet. Some carried their tails over their

arms, while others trailed them proudly along.

Ah, very near are those round yellow eyes! Very low to the ground they

seem to creep--creep toward the buffalo skull. All of a sudden they

slide into the eye-sockets of the old skull.

"Spirit of the buffalo!" squeaked a frightened mouse as he jumped out

from a hole in the back part of the skull.

"A cat! a cat!" cried other mice as they scrambled out of holes both

large and snug. Noiseless they ran away into the dark.