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When Boonesborough was besieged this last time, Daniel Boone's most trusted man (excepting his own brother) did not take part in the defence.  Young Simon Kenton--or at present Simon Butler--was absent, with his friend Montgomery also.

After the gleeful Simon had shot the two Indians at once, near Paint Creek town, and had spied upon the town itself, he and scout Montgomery had stayed while the others hastened back to Boonesborough.  They were not at all satisfied to have come so far and to have taken only one scalp.

Now this Simon Butler or Simon Kenton was a dare-devil pure and simple: a youth of roguish but extremely obstinate spirit.  He had started upon the adventure trail at sixteen, and here at twenty-three he already had many hair-breadth escapes in his memory and many notches in his rifle-stock.

First, when he was sixteen he had fallen in love, at his home in Virginia, and had fought a rough-and-tumble with his man rival, by name William Veach or else Leitchman.  He seemed to be holding Leitchman pretty even, too--until his rival's friends jumped in and pummeled Simon well.

Lad Simon limped away, bruised and bleeding, scarcely able to walk--for such fights were wild-cat fights with claws and teeth.  He bided his time; he grew rapidly, and by April, 1771, being six feet tall at last (the true border height) and strongly muscled, he challenged Leitchman again.

They stepped into the timber, and fought.  It was nip and tuck.  No friends were at hand.  But Simon was still too young; down he went, under the rain of blows, and Leitchman, taunting him with the loss of his sweetheart, proceeded to "give him the boots."

Simon lay and took it, saying no word.  His mind was active.  He noted his enemy's long hair, reaching to the waist--a fashion among the border beaux.  An idea occurred to him.  He grasped one of the piston-like legs and sank his teeth into it.  Yelling, Leitchman dragged him and sought to get free.  Down he tumbled, also, tripped in his efforts.  Simon grabbed at his hair, wound it around the trunk of a small sapling, and had him!

He saw red, did Simon; a moment more, and the man was gasping as if dying.  This was more than bargained for.  Horrified, Simon plunged into the wilderness, just as he was.  He was a poor boy, a hard worker on the Kenton farm, and had not learned even to read or write; now he thought himself a murderer; he changed his name to Butler and the forests swallowed him.

In those days there was always hunting and exploring and Indian-fighting to occupy the wanderer.  Anybody accustomed to a rifle could be of use in opening new country.  He speedily fell in with another wanderer, driving a pack-horse.  They lived like Indians in the Alleghany Mountains region of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Two years passed.  In March, 1773, Simon Butler, aged eighteen, was camped with two other hunters, named Strader and Yager, beside the Great Kanawha River of northwestern West Virginia.  They were trappers as well as hunters: white Indians who traded their furs in at Fort Pitt.

This day Indians attacked the camp; Yager toppled over, dead; and when Simon and his older comrade, Strader, managed to gain the highway of the Ohio River, westward, they were nearly dead, too, from starvation.

Simon soon became a scout.  He achieved fame as a spy against the Indians.  From Fort Pitt he and another Simon--Simon Girty--employed by the military government of Virginia traversed the forests far and near, watching the movements of the Indians.  Simon Girty deserted to the Shawnees, during the Revolution, and was a cruel enemy to all his former fellow-Americans; but Simon Butler remained true blue.

 

Simon Kenton in trouble. (From an Old Print)Simon Kenton in trouble. (From an Old Print)

 

When in the fall of 1774 he entered Kentucky the lovely, he had reached full stature.  Six feet one inch he measured, in his stockinged feet--a real Long Hunter; weighed one hundred and ninety pounds, and could spare not an ounce; was the light-haired, blue-eyed, gentle-mannered, laughing type of fighter, with a great good-nature and a single-track, simple mind; but when he was desperate or angered his blue eyes blazed and his strength was prodigious.

So, at nineteen, Simon Butler had turned out a personage to be reckoned with.

He was at the Lower Blue Licks country, where Daniel Boone was captured later, before the founding of Boonesborough.  He built a cabin at Washington, south of the Ohio River in northeastern Kentucky, and from there prowled about with two comrades.  In September of 1775 another white wanderer told them that American men and women were living on the Kentucky River in the interior to the south.

Rejoicing, they abandoned Washington, and traveled down to new Boonesborough.  It seemed good to see white women again.

Simon still thought that he had killed his rival Leitchman.  He kept his name of Butler.  Daniel Boone was glad to have such reinforcement. Soon he liked the young man.  In the course of the sieges of 1777 Simon rescued him, before the gates; shot his nearest foe and grabbing him carried him, leg broken, into the fort.

Daniel Boone was a man of few words.  But he spoke roundly--for him.

"Well, Simon, you have behaved yourself like a man, today--indeed, you are a fine fellow."

It was a great tribute from Daniel Boone.

However, even the excitement of the daily life at Boonesborough palled on young Simon Kenton-Butler or Butler-Kenton.  He was the restless kind.  When danger did not come to him, he went out to seek it.  He delighted in the daring foray and in spy work.  A narrow squeak was a joke to him.  The greater the risk, the more heartily he laughed about it.

The two Indians whom he had tumbled from their frisky pony at one shot, near Paint Creek, and the whish of the bullet grazing his head, and his dive for a tree, only whetted his appetite for more fun; consequently when the Daniel Boone party turned about, he and his comrade Montgomery lingered, to experiment with Paint Creek town itself.

All the rest of that day they hid in the corn-field on the edge of the town, waiting for Indians to appear and gather roasting-ears.  That was sheer nerve; they were in the heart of the Indian country and more than one hundred miles from any protection except their own wits and their rifles.  But they saw no Indians other than a few little children.  The town certainly was deserted for the war trail.

Therefore at dusk they slipped into the town, stole four horses, led them out, mounted two, drove the others, rode all night, to the Ohio River, swam it, and avoiding the trail of the Indian army to Boonesborough galloped gaily into Logan's Station beyond the Kentucky.

One scalp and four horses!  Simon laughed easily.  The trip had been worth while.

He "loafed" only until the danger to Boonesborough was past.  For that space all the Kentucky forts sat tight.  But Colonel John Bowman of the militia was here, at Logan's.  Boonesborough had come safely through the red tempest; the Indians had retired; he planned a counter blow, and wished to learn just what were the conditions at the Chief Black Fish town of Little Chillicothe on the Little Miami River: whether it was on guard, whether the warriors had left to strike at another point, and so forth.  That called for skillful work.

Who more willing to act the spy than the happy-go-lucky young giant, fair-haired Simon Kenton alias Butler?  With him he took his comrade Montgomery again, and Ranger George Clark.  Alas, it was to be Montgomery's last outward trip.  The Simon Kenton trail was always the danger trail, and he made it doubly dangerous by his recklessness.

They had no difficulty in reaching Little Chillicothe.  It was a large town, of the Shawnee round bark houses, and surrounded by a rude palisade fence.  When all the families seemed to be asleep, and silence reigned, they went inside--gliding here and there and wakening not even the dogs.

Simon sought out his two comrades, and touched them, as a signal.  They followed him.  At the edge of the town he had found the Shawnees' horse-pound, or yard.  It contained more than a dozen horses.  The opportunity was too good to be passed by.  Nothing would do but that they must have each a horse, upon which to ride back.

Even with that all might have been well, had they not waxed greedy. Now they did a very foolish thing--the first of several foolish things. Simon was determined to steal all; the two others agreed to it.  They rapidly fitted the hide halters that they discovered, mounted, and began to lead and drive the loose horses through the opened gateway.

But the horses were wild; did not like the smell of white men.  They snorted alarmingly, and cavorted and reared.  Dogs commenced to bark, voices arose, inquiring and scolding; the three men worked desperately with the stubborn animals.  And suddenly the voices swelled.

"The horses!  The Long Knives are here, stealing our horses!"

The town was in an up-roar.

"To the tall timber and keep goin'," Simon panted.  "Lead all you've got.  I'll follow."

So instead of riding free, out they hustled, Clark and Montgomery each with a fistful of halter thongs, Simon lashing and whooping and laughing behind.

They dashed at top speed through the forest, never minding the branches.  They had seven horses.  Such a mad-cap prank it was!  The village rang with the hue and cry, and the forest aisles echoed. Presently the tumult died away.  The blind course had plunged into a swamp, and the three mischief-makers were forced to halt uncertainly. They listened keenly.  They heard no sound of pursuit.  The town evidently was reconnoitering.

So they side-stepped the swamp and resumed their own noisy route.  They did not stop again that night; they rested at day-break, long enough to eat a few mouthfuls; all that day they rode, and all the night again; with the morning they had arrived upon the bank of the Ohio.

They had left a trail plain enough for a five-year-old child to follow. But here they were, and--

"Across the Ohio and we're safe, boys," quoth Simon.  "Hooray!  Didn't we come it over 'em proper?"

The wind was blowing a gale, up-stream, and the Ohio was whipped into white-caps.  It looked like a stormy passage.

"You fellows tote our fixin's over on a raft; I'll swim with the hosses," bade the nimble Simon.

They worked; made a raft of logs and branches; loaded the guns and blankets and ammunition upon it; herded the horses into the stream, and while his two comrades threw stones and sticks at them from the shore Simon himself forged into the stream, to swim just below them.

He was a strong man, but the high waves choked him, the current carried him down, down in spite of his efforts; pretty soon he and the snorting horses were separated.  They had had enough, and turned back to the shore.  Montgomery and Clark could not head them; out they all scrambled.

Pshaw!  Around turned Simon, and staggered out, too, for another try. The same thing occurred.  He could not keep up with the horses, and they refused to cross without a guide.  In fact, they wanted to go home.

He sank exhausted upon the bank.

"Plague take 'em!  I've got to rest a spell."

"What next?" queried Montgomery.  "Shall we leave 'em and ferry ourselves over on the raft?"

"The Injuns are hot after, you can be sure of that," said Clark.  "But I for one hate to lose a bunch of hosses as fine as these are."

"Lose 'em we sha'n't," Simon asserted.  "I intend to risk my scalp by stayin' with 'em.  We've twenty-four hours the start."

"We can't cross 'em; that's sartin, in the state o' the water; hoss or man either can't swim it," Montgomery declared.  "I vote to stay with 'em, myself.  But we might keep goin' up or down stream, and mebbe throw the beggars off the scent.  It'd give us distance, anyway."

"We've twenty-four hours the start," Simon repeated, "and we're dog tired.  This wind'll fall at sunset; we'll still have time to spar'. Then by crossin' and travelin' all night we'll be beyond reach, for good and all."

They agreed.  They had their rifles and plenty of powder and ball, and each was unwilling to let the others out-brave him.  So they lolled about all that day; dozed, laughed and joked.  At sunset the wind increased.  The water had become so rough that even the raft would be swamped; and to try with the horses was beyond reason.

"Well," proffered Simon, lazily, "we can wait till mornin'.  The pesky wind will have blown itself out by then."

And so it did.  The river was smooth and peaceful in the sunrise.  They hustled to gather their little herd and drive them in--but remembering their fright of yesterday, not an animal would take to the water.  They all balked, and scampered.  Soon they were scattered on the back trail.

"By cracky, it's no go, boys!" Clark gasped.  "Our time's up.  I feel Injuns.  Let's mount and make off--for I tell you, scalpin' knives are near."

"No, sir!  Not a step without those hosses," vowed Simon.  "I'll leave not a one.  We've 'arned 'em and we'll keep 'em."

"All right.  Hosses and all, then.  Hooray!"

Horseback, they started in to round up the loose animals, on the back trail.  They rode in a line, Simon at the middle--and he had gone scarcely one hundred yards when he heard a halloo behind him, asking him to wait.

Somebody was coming from their camping place; the hail had been in good English, but he was suspicious.  Nevertheless--

"Whoever you are, I'm your humble sarvant," Simon laughed, to himself. "And for your politeness I'll give you as little trouble as possible."

Thereupon what did he do but dismount, and with his rifle in the hollow of his arm leisurely stroll back in the direction of the voice!  He had full faith that he could take care of himself, afoot as well as ahorse. In a moment he found himself facing three Shawnees and a white man, riding straight for him.

He threw his rifle to his shoulder, for a scalp, and a signal shot to his comrades.  He drew fine bead upon the heart of the leading warrior, pulled trigger--the dampened powder only flashed in the pan.

At the click and the sputter the four horsemen shouted and charged him. Drat such a gun!  All that he might do was to whirl and run like a deer for the nearest thicket.  He crashed into it, head-first; they could not follow.  He tore through, and was commencing to chuckle at his success--when just out of the farther edge of the fallen trees and tangled underbrush he bolted almost into an Indian, horseback, galloping as if to overhaul him.

"The goose is cooked," thought Simon.  He had had no time in which to freshen his priming.  He stopped short.  He heard the sound of pursuit in the jungle behind him.  No use.

The Indian on horseback acted very good-natured; smiled widely, held out his hand, as he approached, and greeted with: "Brudder.  How-do, brudder?"

"Consarn your yaller hide, I'd 'brudder' you if my gun would fire," thought Simon.  But he did not say so.  He leveled his piece, and called:

"Hey, you!  Wait a minute.  If I surrender, you treat me well?  No hurt?"

"No harm, brudder.  Treat good.  No shoot, no get hurt.  Fine man."

"I'll bet you're lyin'," thought Simon.

The Indian arrived, to shake hands.  Simon watchfully consented.  His hand was grasped, the grip instantly fastened upon it, would not loosen--"Tarnation!  Let go, I tell you!" growled Simon, and with his other arm swung his gun wrathfully.

At the moment the Indian who had followed him through the thicket landed like a panther upon his back and pinioned him tightly.  It all was up with Simon.  He struggled in vain.  The horseback Indian "seized him by the hair of his head and shook him until his teeth rattled." Other Indians rushed joyously in.  They scolded him with shrill tongues and belabored him with their ramrods.

"Hoss tief, hey?  Big rascal, hey?  Steal Injun's hoss, hey?  One rascal white man, hey?"  At every "hey" their ramrods fell; they cuffed him until his ears rang, and he rather believed that they were going to beat him to death then and there.  Plainly enough they were the owners of the horses.

On a sudden they ceased, and stared.  Brave Montgomery had appeared, summoned by the noise.  He was standing yonder, among the thinned trees, trying to freshen the priming of his rifle.  Two Indians darted for him at once.  They pursued him amidst the trees--all vanished--two rifle shots spoke; the Indians came back waving a scalp, which they thrust into Simon's face as promise that his own should soon join it.

Thus Montgomery perished, in a long chance of rescuing his partner. But he could have done nothing.  He only proved himself to be the kind that never leaves a friend.  George Clark did not know what had happened; he heard the rumpus and made off.  Maybe he acted wisely.  It was a hard problem.  If he had killed an Indian in the party, the party would have killed Simon.  Anyway, he arrived at Logan's, by himself.

The angry Shawnees, with their white Indian looking on, had a very good time beating Simon, until they all, including Simon, were tired out. Then they staked him flat on his back, stretched by arms and legs and neck--his ankles drawn taut to two stakes, his elbows and wrists held by a stout pole laid across his chest, and his neck enclosed in a halter.  He could not move an inch!

They cuffed him a little more, for full measure--"Tief!  You big hoss tief!  Hey?  Hey?  How you like tief?  Hey?"

Simon spent an uncomfortable night.  The matter had passed the joking period; he saw only torture ahead of him, at Little Chillicothe.

The Indians were not yet done with him, here.  In the morning they seemed to be more enraged than ever.  The longer they thought about this "tief," the wrathier they grew.  Simon's hunting shirt had been stripped from him, so that he was naked from the waist up.  Now they brought in the wildest of the horses--an unbroken young colt.  They mounted Simon upon him bareback, his hands tied behind him and his feet tied together under the colt's belly.  They turned the frenzied colt loose; away he fled, prancing and rearing through the brush, bearing Simon--they after, whipping and shrieking.

It was a rough ride while it lasted; but the colt simmered down, and much to the Indians' disappointment fell in line with the other horses, to jog soberly by the best trail.

"Thank you," thought Simon.  "If ever I own you I'll see to it that your ribs never show."

In this fashion he rode all that day, and part of the next.  He had not the slightest opportunity to escape.  Chillicothe was in sight.  An Indian galloped before, to carry the word, so that the town might get ready.  The "big hoss tief"--Simon the "big hoss tief"--was being brought in!

Chief Black Fish himself came to meet the procession.  He, also, was in bad humor.  He had not got over the loss of his son, Big Turtle, and of scalps at Boonesborough.  Simon could not have chosen a worse time for seeking trouble.

Black Fish was armed with a heavy hickory switch.  He eyed Simon scowlingly, Simon eyed the switch.

"You been stealing hosses!" Black Fish demanded in English.

"Yes."

"Captain Boone, he tell you to come steal our hosses?"

"No.  I did it of my own accord."

That was the limit of impudence.  This white man actually defied him! Huh!  Chief Black Fish vigorously applied the switch, and Simon took another threshing.  His naked back and shoulders speedily were ribboned by bloody welts.  Whew!  Compared with this, his first beatings had been as nothing.

They proceeded on for the town.  By the manner with which the whole population boiled out, like crazy persons, to hoot and yell and shake fists and clubs, he had a hard row to hoe, yet.  Beyond doubt, he would be burned alive.  His reputation was bad.

They could not wait to get into town with him.  They planted a stake at once--they tore off the remainder of his rags--they stretched his arms to the utmost above his head and tied his hands together to the top of the stake.  There he was.  He heartily wished that he had let horses alone, but resolved to die manfully.

But they did not burn him.  The men, women and children danced around him, and yelled and hooted and screamed and made faces, switched him and slapped him, until midnight.  They wanted to make the most of him, so they untied him and hustled him on into the town, for another day's sport.

The first thing in the morning he saw the scalp of his friend Montgomery, bound upon a hoop and drying in the sun, before a house. That was a reminder.  The next thing, he was led out, to run the gauntlet.

The people were waiting, lined up in two rows facing inward.  The rows bristled with clubs, switches, hoe-handles and tomahawks.  The two persons at this end were warriors, holding butcher-knives!  They would initiate him!  Gosh!  The lines were closed by a man beating a drum. Back of the man was the council-house.

Simon knew that he was to run between the lines, from the butcher-knives through the clubs and hoe-handles and tomahawks past the drum, to the council-house--if he could.

"Not for me," thought Simon.  "I'll fool those yaller varmints."

He stood braced, two warriors grasping him.  The drum suddenly boomed with a new note, the warriors shoved him--"Go!"  The air trembled with the expectant clamor.  But Simon, a bloody white-skinned giant, veered aside.  He avoided the butcher-knives; he struck for the clear, the lines broke in furious pursuit, headed him off, he doubled like a rabbit, doubled again, sighted an open place, felled two Indians with his fists, headed for the opening, was tackled, stumbled under the blows, recovered, lunged on, and gasping clutched the post at the council-house doorway.  It was sanctuary.

He was seized none too kindly, wrenched from the post, and with his arms bound was seated under a guard, outside the council-house, while the council of chiefs, surrounded by squatting warriors, voted upon whether to burn him now or later.

The white man came out to bring him the news.

"You are to be taken to Wakatomica."

That was another Shawnee town, about seventy miles north.

"What will they do with me there?" Simon asked.

"Burn you, by thunder," the white man snarled; and swore at him, and strode away as angrily as any of the red men.

All the Black Fish people, whatever their color, evidently were bent upon the destruction of Simon.  A great pother, this, over the theft of a few horses, taken as the spoil of war!  But it was not the horses alone that counted.  There was the escape of Big Turtle, and the defeat at Boonesborough, and the shooting by Simon of the two Indians on the pony, and to cap the climax, there was his nerve in taking horses from the town pound, under the very noses of the Shawnee warriors.

Simon cogitated.  The council broke up and to his alarm he was treated more kindly.  He was unbound, his clothes were given back to him, and he was left unguarded.  That looked bad; it meant that he was being saved for the stake.  The white Indian, had spoken truly.

A firm resolve surged in his breast.  If he could but plunge into another thicket, on the way to Wakatomica, he might yet escape.  And if they recaptured him, why, the fire could be no hotter for that.  He had a fighting chance.

The Shawnees did not delay.  Within a half hour a large band of the chiefs and warriors started out, he in their midst.  Several times, on the way, he almost darted aside--and each time his heart failed him. He dreaded more beatings--he was very sore and worn.

But after they had marched a distance unknown to him, although it seemed long, they commenced to beat their drum, and raise the scalp halloo.  The next village was near; they were calling for the gauntlet, and the stake.  This made his flesh cringe, and pricked him to action. Now, or never!  With a great spring and a wild whoop he bolted into the brush.

He tore through; his sudden strength was that of a buffalo, his speed that of a stag.  He was running for his life; and he was getting free, too, for they did not catch him.  He left them behind, their pursuit whoops grew muffled and uncertain, he had the wide forest before him, and hope swelled; he had distanced bullet and horse and foot.  Then, full tilt he fairly rammed into the very midst of a party of other Shawnees, who had come out from the village.

It was a sickening disappointment.  He quit, breathless, and they seized him, put a rope around his neck, this time, and led him to the town.

The village was Pickaway or Piqua, just south of present Springfield in west central Ohio, on the road to Wakatomica.  They tied him to a post in front of the council-house here, and held another debate.  After that the village and its visitors danced around him and threatened him and scolded him, until late at night.  Simon really did not care.  He had done his best, they might do their worst.

In the morning he was taken on up to Wakatomica.  It was a larger town. On this trip he had been closely watched; and here he was punished by the gauntlet in earnest.  It about finished him.  Then they painted him black, the death color.  Half clothed, battered and spent, he was sitting upon the dirt floor of the bark council-house, while the Shawnees squatted in a circle and discussed the next event (which probably was to be the burning at the stake), when a new party entered the doorway.

They were three white men in Indian garb, a white woman and seven children as prisoners, and one Indian bearing a bunch of seven fresh scalps!

The woman's name proved to be Mrs. Mark Kennedy.  A pitiable object she was, too.  Simon recognized the three white men: Simon Girty himself (his scout-partner at Fort Pitt), James Girty, a brother, and John Ward--all squaw-men who were aiding the Shawnees against the Americans.

None of them appeared to know him; and before they spoke to him he was put outside, while the council heard their report and decided what to do with the women and children.

Surely, Simon Butler-Kenton realized that he was in a very nest of trouble.  The council-talk continued for a long, long time.  It was late in the afternoon before he was hauled inside again, to hear his fate pronounced.  He had given up hope.  He could expect mercy from the Girtys least of all.  They had deserted the American service in a huff, and were noted as the bitterest enemies of everything and everybody connected with it.  Their hearts were hot and red.

He was greeted with a general, savage scowl.  Simon Girty pointed to a dirty blanket spread upon the floor.

"Sit down."

Simon the victim tottered a moment; the insulting tone angered him. Girty grabbed him by the shoulder and forced him down.

"How many soldiers are there in Kentucky?"

"I don't know.  I'm only a private and it's not my business to know.  I can tell you the number of officers and you can judge for yourself."

"Do you know Captain Stuart?"

Captain Stuart was a leader of the Virginia militia, had tried to save the life of Chief Corn-stalk at the Point Pleasant fort, and had defended settlements against the Shawnees.

"I know him well.  He is an old friend."

"What is your name?"

"Simon Butler."

Girty stared as if paralyzed.  Simon Butler!  This wretched man Simon Butler, the young comrade whom he had loved when they were scouts together, back "home"!

With a strange choked cry he rushed from his seat and hugged him.

"Butler!  You?  I've got to save you."

He turned upon the astonished warriors, who did not understand.  He made an earnest speech, in the Shawnee tongue, with many gestures. Simon caught only the drift of it, but Girty the renegade was arguing for the life of a friend.  He explained that here was a man as dear to him as a brother.  They had traveled the same trail, slept under the same blanket, lived in the same house.  He had never asked a favor before.  He had been with them three years and helped them.  Now he wished only the life of this man, his former brother.

Several of the older chiefs grunted approval.  Simon's heart rose.  But others spoke opposing.  They said that the council already had decided; the Shawnees should not change their minds like squaws.  Here was a very bad man.  He had taken scalps, had stolen their horses, had flashed a gun at them when they tried to get their horses back again. He was too bad to be a Shawnee.  He was from Kentucky, and henceforth all Kentuckians were to be killed.  Even Captain Boone had deceived them.  Besides, people had come to Wakatomica, to see the fun, and ought not to be disappointed!

Simon's heart fell.

Girty leaped up and spoke again, at length.  He was answered.  The debate lasted for an hour and a half.  The council proceeded to a vote. The war-club was passed from hand to hand.  Those who struck the floor with it, voted for death.  Those who merely passed it on, voted for life.  An old man, sitting in the center, kept tally by cutting notches in the two edges of a stick--one series of notches for the yeas, one series for the nays.

Simon watched intently.  He dared not show any sign of joy, but his heart thrilled to bursting when he saw that the nays were winning.  The old man announced the result.  Simon Girty turned to Simon Butler.

"Well, my friend, you are safe.  Come with me."

It was the shortest speech yet, and the best.

He led Simon outside.  No Indian opposed.  He took him to the trader's store and fitted him with moccasins, leggins, shirt, a handkerchief for his neck and another for his head.  Took him home; had his own squaw dress the wounds from club and knife and switch.  Made him one of the family.

For twenty-one days Simon lived in clover.  The Indians all treated him kindly.  He wandered where he pleased, in the neighborhood.  It seemed too good to be true.

At the end of the blissful three weeks, he and Simon his friend were at Solomon's Town, a short distance from Wakatomica.  They heard a shrill whoop; an Indian came running from Wakatomica.  The heart of Simon Butler sank again.  He did not like whoops in that tone of voice, and the Indian was signaling _them_.

"It's the distress halloo.  We are summoned to the council-house," said Simon Girty.  "We must go at once."

They and their friend Red Pole, a Shawnee, went to meet the runner.  He shook hands with Red Pole and Simon Girty, but he refused Simon Butler's hand and scowled upon him.

Matters looked bad once more.  Fortune was playing tricks, still. Matters looked worse in the council-house.  The place was thronged with chiefs and warriors.  There were a number of strange chiefs.  Hands were shaken, but not the hand of Simon.  He received only scowls.

A war party of the Shawnees had been defeated on the border; the spirits of their slain required revenge.  The stranger chiefs gazed upon Simon indignantly.  Why had he not been killed before?  The Shawnee nation were getting childish.  Let him be executed.  The councils had so voted.  Who now wanted him to live?

Simon Girty made another speech.  He was hotly countered, by the stranger chiefs.  They carried the day.  He again turned to Simon Butler.

"My friend, I think you must die.  But I have persuaded them to burn you at Upper Sandusky, where there will be many more Indians than here, receiving their presents from the British.  I will ride ahead and see what I can do for you."

He left.  Simon was immediately hustled out by the collar and arms, and led by a rope around his neck was marched afoot, guarded by horsemen, for the north.

What a sudden change!  First he had been beaten; then he had been painted black, for death.  Then he had been released.  Now he was to be killed.  He had faint hope.  It flickered when Girty passed him, and saying "I have friends in the next village," continued.  It died completely when he arrived at the next village, and no Girty was there. His friend Simon had failed, and had gone back by another trail.

By this time he himself was already in torture.  On the way the march had been interrupted by an old Indian who was sitting on a log, smoking a pipe and watching his squaw chop wood.  The sight of the roped prisoner enraged him.  He had lost a son, by a white man's rifle.  In a twinkling he had sprung up, grabbed the ax from the squaw, and at one blow had cut Simon's arm wellnigh off at the shoulder.

The ax whirled high for a more deadly blow, but another Indian caught at it just in time.

"Shame on you!" he scolded.  "You act like a fool.  This man is for the stake.  Would you cheat us out of him, when the people ahead are expecting great pleasure?"

Half dead from loss of blood, poor Simon arrived at the village.  It was the town where the sullen Logan, once the firm friend of the whites, lived.  Here he was eating his heart, with grief over the wrongs done to him.

Chief Logan the Mingo walked over to Simon, and surveyed him.  Simon did not know who he was; he may have heard of Simon.

"Well, young man," he said, in good English, "these other young men seem very mad at you."

"They certainly do," Simon admitted ruefully.

The dark Logan slightly smiled.

"Don't be discouraged.  I am a great chief.  You are to go to Sandusky. They talk of burning you there.  But I will send two runners to speak good of you."

Simon's heart bounded.  When he learned that this handsome, determined-looking Indian was Chief Logan the celebrated Mingo, he thought himself rescued, sure.

True to promise, the two runners took the Sandusky trail early in the morning.  The Shawnee guard waited, and left Simon to the care of Logan.  Things had brightened wonderfully.  Chief Logan would not say, but he acted as if in hopes of success.  He and Simon spent most of the day together.  In the evening the two runners returned.  They sought out Chief Logan, and talked apart with him, and Simon scarcely slept, so anxious was he to know their report.

The next morning he saw his guards coming, with Logan.  Alas, the chief's face was sober.  He brought a piece of bread.

"You are to be carried to Sandusky at once," he uttered shortly.  That was all.  He walked away without another sound.  Plainly enough his good words had been of no use.

Simon sighed.  Was ever a man so buffeted about, before, from high to low, and low to high, and high to low again!  It was a case of the mouse and the cat, with fortune playing as the cat, and he serving as the mouse.

The five guards from Wakatomica took him in tow, for Upper Sandusky, and he gave over hoping any more.

Upper Sandusky, northern Ohio, was a Wyandot Huron town.  It was a center for the Indians of many tribes.  The Shawnees and Mingos gathered here to receive payment of gifts, from their British father. Simon was roundly welcomed, but was not made to run another gauntlet. Only, for a fourth time a council, and this time a grand council, sat to discuss him.  He was wearied of councils; they usually condemned him.

The council had just opened, when a white man in the gay red uniform of a British captain entered.  He was Pierre Drouillard, a French-Canadian in the British Indian department.  Simon did not know, yet, but Chief Logan's runners had been sent to this same Drouillard, to tell about the prisoner.  Chief Logan was smart.

The British captain looked at Simon sharply, and stood forward to make a speech.

"It is true," he said, with Simon listening hard, trying to understand the words, "that the Americans are a dangerous people.  They are the cause of this bloody war.  There can be no peace until they are either killed or driven out of the country."

"Good, good!" the council grunted.

"But we must meet them with cunning as well as bravery.  To learn their plans, so to defeat them, is worth twenty prisoners.  I think that if we take this man to Detroit, we might learn a great deal.  The governor would find out from him the secrets of the Americans.  I should like to take him.  You would be rewarded, for your British father is good to his red children.  When I bring him back, you may do with him as you choose.  Have I spoken well?"

There were grunts and nods.  It was a wise idea.

"As for you," said the captain, to the five Shawnees, "I can see that you have been put to a great deal of trouble, to carry the prisoner here.  It is not right that you should have no pay.  I will smooth your path by giving you rum and tobacco, or anything else, to the amount of one hundred dollars so that you may be happy while I am in Detroit."

That was indeed a pleasing as well as a crafty speech.  The affair had been settled.  The man in the British uniform grasped Simon by the arm.

"You are reprieved.  Now you will come with me."

Again reprieved?  Thoroughly bewildered, Simon followed him out.  They mounted horses, and rode north, with one chief.

"I am Captain Drouillard," explained the officer.  "This is what I said to the council."  And he repeated.  "You appreciate that I took a great risk by interfering.  You were to have been burned at the stake in the morning.  The Indians do not like to be robbed of their spoil, and I have engaged to return you.  You will certainly be burned, if I do. But that rests with you.  You have information of value.  Reply to my questions, and talk straight, and all will be well.  You shall stay in Detroit.  Now, what is the American force in Kentucky?  And how many men are there in Fort McIntosh?"

Fort McIntosh was an American post erected only last spring at the mouth of the Big Beaver River, beside the Ohio twenty-six miles below Fort Pitt.

"Lor' bless you," laughed Simon.  "I'm nothin' but a private soldier, else a scout, and 'tain't my business to deal in such large matters. So I can't answer your questions, in any way, shape or manner.  Fact is, as you can plainly see, I've enough to do to look out for myself."

Captain Drouillard eyed him, and laughed also.

"I believe you," he said.  "You've made a bad bargain of it, at that. Perhaps so have I."

But they went on, to Detroit.

Simon was saved.  The British did not send him back to the Indians. They sent presents, instead, and kept him as a prisoner of war.  His arm healed, he grew strong, and stayed there from this October until the next June, 1779.  He was by no means the only such prisoner in old Detroit.  A great many others, taken in battle or on the trail, were here; among them, the majority of the ten Daniel Boone men sold by Chief Black Fish a year ago, to the British.

He and two of the Daniel Boone men planned to escape together.  Mrs. Harvey, the wife of an Indian trader, agreed to aid them.  She was particularly fond of Simon, who never complained and who had suffered so much.

It was more than two hundred miles to the nearest post on the Ohio River.  Every mile led through the country of war Indians.  They would be only too glad to catch Simon again.  So he must have guns for himself and his companions.  Mrs. Harvey said that she would get the guns.

On the night of June 3, Simon, in his quarters, heard a rap on his door and a low voice.  He opened.  Mrs. Harvey was there.  She beckoned him into the darkness, and spoke rapidly.  She was out of breath from running.

"Sh!  I have the guns--three.  They are Indians' guns.  I picked the best three while the Indians are on a big drunk.  They stacked their arms near the house.  I've hidden what I took, in the pea patch in my garden.  Come at midnight.  You will find a ladder waiting for you, by which to climb the garden wall.  The guns will be in the pea patch. There are food, ammunition and blankets in the hollow tree you know of, at the edge of town.  Don't fail.  Goodby."  She scurried away.

"God bless you for an angel," murmured Simon, peering after her.  And he hastened back to tell his comrades.

He knew that the Indians would have no thought of their guns before the morrow.  At midnight the three climbed the wall, by the ladder.  The guns were in the garden; so was Mrs. Harvey, waiting anxiously.  In after years he said that her dim figure, sitting there, was the most beautiful thing that he ever saw.  He never forgot Mrs. Harvey.

Outside, in the town, the yells of the drunken Indians were making the night hideous.  There was little time for thanking the good woman.  By daylight the three ought to be far from sight--and the hours seemed all too few.

Trailing the guns, and stooping, using their best scout methods they scuttled through the by-ways.  They safely won the open; then ransacked the hollow tree, and plunged on, to head south, through the forest, for distant Louisville at the Falls of the Ohio.  Upon a great circuit, to throw off the pursuit, they traveled, traveled, traveled by a series of night marches, until after thirty days they arrived at the Colonel George Rogers Clark settlement, to-day the city of Louisville, Kentucky.

Simon had been absent from Kentucky nine months.  In one space of four weeks he had been beaten eight times by the gauntlet or otherwise; had three times been condemned to burning at the stake, had been painted black and was being condemned a fourth time, to certain death, when rescued by the accident of meeting Chief Logan.  But he lived to be over eighty and died peacefully in his bed at last--which proves that the most desperate peril is never hopeless.  Dangers do not surely mean death.

He went right out upon another scout against the Indians.  He continued to be a scout, and a soldier, and was with General "Mad Anthony" Wayne at the decisive battle of the Fallen Timbers, in 1794, when the backs of the Shawnees, Miamis, Wyandots, Delawares, Senecas, and all, joined together by Chief Little Turtle, Chief Blue-jacket and Simon Girty, were broken to fragments.

He fought the Shawnees again in the War of 1812.  He had been living at Urbana, Illinois, and was appointed brigadier general of the Illinois militia; but he enlisted as a private.

When he died, in April, 1836, it was in his cabin on the site of that very Wakatomica, the Black Fish town where he had suffered tortures. Long before this he had become Simon Kenton; he had learned that he was no murderer, after all; he had met his one-time rival, Leitchman, and they had "made up."