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343 > Page 343 of History of the border wars of two centuries, embracing a narrative of the wars with the Indians from 1750 to 1874.

O K, T H E B O R D E R W A R S OF TWO C E N T U R I E S . 343 of life. A t about the age of puberty the Indian boy bethought himself of taking the necessary steps for the preparation of this mysterious amulet or charm. H e retired to some s olitary pot, where he spent several days, l y i n g u pon the ground, taking n othing to eat, and employing himself constantly i n praying to the Great S pirit. B ecoming exhausted, he would fall asleep, and of course dream very important and significant dreams. He would then return home, and after gaining sufficient, strength, start"out i n pursuit of the b ird or animal which appeared most conspicuous i n his dreams, not resting u ntil he had obtained a specimen. This d one, he would return and dress the s kin, s tuff i t w i t h m oss, or some o ther light substance, after which he would ornament i t w ith e very description of savage finery. This medicine-bag was considered i nvaluable, and was carried i n every important undertaking. " These curious appendages," says M r . C atlin, " to the persons or wardrobe of an Indian are sometimes made of the s kin o f an otter, a beaver, a muskrat, a weasel, a raccoon, a pole-cat, a snake, a frog, a toad, a bat, a mouse, a mole, a hawk, an eagle, a magpie, or a sparrow; sometimes of the s kin o f an animal so large as a wolf." The Crows were inferior in numbers to the Blackfeet, but with whom they were for many years at war. Physically they are a fine race, being much taller than the Indians of surrounding tribes, and models of agility and strength. In their primitive state they were an honest, trustworthy set of savages, hut in later days, when corrupted by the evils of c ivilization, they became a l awless, thieving horde. A s w i l l be seen i n the course of our narrative, the Crows and Blackfeet were objects of terror to the pioneer settlers, traders, and trappers of the Far West. M r . B rownell, i n speaking of their personal appearance, says that one distinguishing peculiarity of these Indians was the extraordinary length of their h air, w hich was cherished and cultivated as an ornament, u ntil i t swept the ground after them. T his profusion was to be seen i n no tribe e xcept the Crows, although some o f their neighbors endeavored to imitate it by glueing an additional length to their n atural h air. T he Crows spoke a different language from the Blackfeet. 6