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Pocahontas: The Indian Girl Of The Virginia Forest
by [?]

“No! He shall not die!”

The savages stood with upraised weapons; Powhatan sat rigid in the intensity of his emotion. Watching him closely for some sign of relenting, Pocahontas, without moving from her position, began to plead with the stern old Chief,–begged, entreated, prayed–until she had her desire.

“Let the prisoner go free!”

Through the long Council-room echoed Powhatan’s order, and a perfunctory shout rose from the savage throng, who were always quick to echo their Chief’s commands. Captain Smith, bewildered by the sudden turn of affairs, was helped to rise, led to the beaming girl, and told that the condition of his release from death was that he might “make hatchets and trinkets” for Pocahontas, the Werowance’s dearest daughter. So his deliverer was the daughter of the great Chief! With the courtly manner which he had brought from his life in other lands he bent over the warm little hand of the Indian maiden with such sincere appreciation of her brave deed that she flushed with happiness, and she ran away with her playmates, singing as merrily as a forest bird, leaving the pale-faced Caucarouse with her royal father, that they might become better acquainted. Although she ran off so gaily with her comrades after having rescued Captain Smith, yet she was far from heedless of his presence in the village, and soon deserted her young friends to steal shyly back to the side of the wonderful white man whose life had been saved that he might serve her.

During the first days of his captivity–for it was that–the Captain and Powhatan became very friendly, and had many long talks by the camp-fire, by means of a sign language and such words of the Algonquin dialect as Captain Smith had learned since coming to Virginia. And often Pocahontas squatted by her father’s side, her eager eyes intent on the Captain’s face as he matched the old ruler’s marvelous tales of hoarded gold possessed by tribes living to the west of Werewocomoco, with stories of the cities of Europe he had visited, and the strange peoples he had met in his wanderings. Sometimes as he told his thrilling tales he would hear the little Indian maid catch her breath from interest in his narrative, and he would smile responsively into her upturned face, feeling a real affection for the young girl who had saved his life.

From his talks with Powhatan the Englishman found out that the great desire of the savage ruler was to own some of the cannon and grindstones used by the colonists, and with quick diplomacy he promised to satisfy this wish if Powhatan would but let him go back to Jamestown and send with him warriors to carry the coveted articles. This the wily Indian ruler promised to do, and in return offered him a tract of land which he did not own, and from which he intended to push the settlers if they should take possession of it. And Captain Smith had no intention of giving either cannon or grindstones to Powhatan, so the shrewd old savage and the quick-witted Captain were well matched in diplomacy.

Meanwhile, Powhatan’s interest in his white captive became so great that he gave him the freedom he would have accorded one of his own subjects, even allowing Pocahontas to hunt with him, and when evening came she would sit by the great fire and listen to her Captain’s stories of his life told with many a graphic gesture which made them clear to her even though most of his words were unintelligible.

Then came a day when the captive was led to a cabin in the heart of the forest and seated on a mat before a smoldering fire to await he knew not what. Suddenly Powhatan appeared before him, fantastically dressed, followed by two hundred warriors as weirdly decorated as he was. Rushing in, they surrounded the frightened Captain, but quickly dispelled his fears by telling him that they were all his friends and this was only a ceremony to celebrate his speedy return to Jamestown, for the purpose of sending back cannon and grindstones to their Chief.