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The Visit Of The Turbulent Grandfather
by [?]

It was long remembered in the Cherokee nation. Their grandfather came to the Overhill towns on the banks of the Tennessee River in a most imperious frame of mind.

“Give me a belt!” he cried in irrelevant response to every gracious overture of hospitality. For although presents were heaped upon him, the official belt of the Cherokee nation was not among them, and he cast them all aside as mere baubles.

Even the clever subterfuges of that master of statecraft, the half-king, Atta-Kulla-Kulla, might not avail. “N’tschutti!” (Dear friend) he said once in eager propitiation; “Gooch ili lehelecheu?” (Does your father yet live?) He spoke in a gentle voice and slowly, the Delaware language being unaccustomed to his lips. “Tell the great sakimau I well remember him!” And he laid a string of beads on the arm of the quivering Lenape, for their grandfather was of that nationality.

But what flout of Fate was this? Not the coveted string of wampum, the official token, its significance not to be argued away, or overlooked, or mistaken–but instead a necklace of pearls, the fine freshwater gems of the region, so often mentioned by the elder writers and since held to be mythical or exaggeration of the polish of mere shell beads till the recent discoveries have placed once more the yield of the Unio margaritiferus of the rivers of Tennessee on metropolitan markets.

A personal gift–of the rarest, it is true–but a mere trifle in the estimation of Tscholens, in comparison with that national recognition which he craved and which a tribe of warriors awaited.

The irate grandfather flung the glossy trinket from him down among the ashes of the fire, which glowed in the centre of the floor of the great council-house of the town of Citico, one of the dome-shaped buildings, plastered as usual within and without with richly tinted red clay. The flicker from the coals revealed the rows of posts that like a colonnade upheld the roof; the cane-wrought divan encircling the apartment between these columns and the windowless walls; the astonished faces and feather-crested heads of the conclave of Cherokee chiefs from half a dozen towns as they clustered around the fire and stared at Tscholens.

The grave emotion in his face dignified its expression despite its savagery. Paradoxically the grandfather was young, slender, and, rated by any other standard than that of the Cherokees, an unusually tall people, would have been considered of fine height. His muscular arms were bare except for his heavy silver bracelets; a tuft of feathers quivered high on his head; his leggings were of deerskin, embroidered with parti-colored quills of the porcupine, and his shirt was of fine sable fur. His voice was sonorously insistent.

N’petalogalgun!” (I am sent as a messenger) he declared urgently. “Give me a belt.”

He turned his flaming eyes directly upon Atta-Kulla-Kulla, himself in the prime of life now, in 1745, who it seemed must act definitely under this coercion. He must either refuse to testify to the truth, which he knew, or involve his people, the Cherokees, in a quarrel which did not concern them, of which a century was tired, between the Lenni Lenape and the Mengwe.

So long ago it had begun! The Mengwe, hard pressed by other nations and long at war with the Lenape, besought peace of this foe, and that they would use their influence with the others. Usually women, prompted always by the losing side, protested against the further effusion of blood and went with intercessions from one faction to the other. This, in view of the number and devious interests of the warring forces, was then impracticable, and therefore the Mengwe besought the Lenape to act as mediator for the occasion. Only so noted a race of warriors could afford this magnanimity, the Mengwe argued. It might impair the prestige of a less high-couraged and powerful tribe. And with these specious wiles the cat was duly belled.