slept, but I know how mightily I hurt when I finally woke up. Every muscle, every joint ached.My backside felt as though it were on fire. I sat up and a great pain pounded in my head. With both hands I felt around my head. I had so many bumps and gashes. I fell back onto the furs andlay there with my eyes closed but now fully awake.What strange situation had I now fallen into?I did not trust these savages. Yes, they were caring for me now, and dressing me, andseeing to my wounds, yet these were the same savages who murdered my Father, brothers, andcousin, and nearly murdered me during the gauntlet. What style of person can do both thosethings, I wondered. Why would they kill part of my family then propose to adopt me as part of their family? And why me?I looked down at myself. I very much liked my handsome new buckskin clothing, withthe beads and the fringe. I was grateful to have my knife and my Hannah doll back, most of all. Isuppose I looked like an Indian, except for my very white skin and my auburn hair. But Icertainly did not feel like an Indian. Mostly I just felt pain.With great effort I sat up and studied my surroundings in the dim light. The longhouseappeared to be made of large sheets of bark, tied over a pole frame. It was about 40 paces long. Iwas sitting on a bearskin fur along one side, one of many beds running down both sides of thestructure. Smoke holes at the top let out the smoke from three small fires inside. A door at eachend and one in the middle let in some daylight. A few Indians were in the longhouse now, butthey paid little attention to me. Two or three were sleeping; others appeared to be mendingclothing. One woman suckled a baby while another fed a few sticks to the fires. Dried foodstuffshung from many rafters, and shelves above the beds held a great number of folded blankets, baskets, rough tools, and clothing. Clearly 20 or 30 people must share this space, I thought as Ilay back down.Soon I heard a movement near me and opened one eye. The English-speaking Indian boysat down next to me, along with one of the maidens who had washed me the day before. Slowly,ever so stiffly, I sat up. She had a large bowl of fruits and nuts which she fed to me. I wasgrateful for the food, and ate enthusiastically. The brave watched me curiously, and I him. Heseemed to me about the size and age of my cousin Balthus. That would make him 16.Finally the brave said something that sounded like “Shay-cone”, and then said “Hel-lo” inEnglish. He pointed to himself and said “
.” He repeated it, so I guessed it was hisname. He said it again, and pointed to himself again. Obviously he wanted me to say it, too, so Idid. Then he said in English, “Water Moon”, and pointed first at the sky then at himself.I realized he was the very first Indian to ever introduce himself to me. For that I wasgrateful.“Benjamin,” I said and pointed to myself. “Benjamin.”Water Moon said my name a few times, tentatively at first. It appeared he had troublewith the ‘J’ sound in my name. It sounded more like “Ben-men.”“Does just one family live in this house?” I asked.He looked puzzled at this. Perhaps he did not speak much English. I tried again. I held upone finger and said “One family?” then pointing around the longhouse.