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Chapter 5. VACATION (continued)
'What does "Octoo" mean?' asked Rob.
'Lightning; she deserves it, as you'll see. Black Hawk gave her to me for my rifle, and we've had high times together out yonder. She's saved my life more than once. Do you see that scar?'
Dan pointed to a small one, half hidden by the long mane; and standing with his arm about Octoo's neck, he told the story of it.
'Black Hawk and I were after buffalo one time, but didn't find 'em as soon as we expected; so our food gave out, and there we were a hundred miles from Red Deer River, where our camp was. I thought we were done for, but my brave pal says: "Now I'll show you how we can live till we find the herds." We were unsaddling for the night by a little pond; there wasn't a living creature in sight anywhere, not even a bird, and we could see for miles over the prairies. What do you think we did?' And Dan looked into the faces round him.
'Ate worms like the Australian fellows,' said Rob. 'Boiled grass or leaves,' added Mrs Jo.
'Perhaps filled the stomach with clay, as we read of savages doing?' suggested Mr Bhaer.
'Killed one of the horses,' cried Ted, eager for bloodshed of some sort.
'No; but we bled one of them. See, just here; filled a tin cup, put some wild sage leaves in it, with water, and heated it over a fire of sticks. It was good, and we slept well.'
'I guess Octoo didn't.' And Josie patted the animal, with a face full of sympathy.
'Never minded it a bit. Black Hawk said we could live on the horses several days and still travel before they felt it. But by another morning we found the buffalo, and I shot the one whose head is in my box, ready to hang up and scare brats into fits. He's a fierce old fellow, you bet.'
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