Kit Carson Snow Battle
By Dan Beard
KIT CARSON'S DAY CELEBRATION
Siege of Boonesborough--Sons of Daniel Boone Defend Snow Fort Against Indians-How to Build Snow Fort -The Medicine-Stick: Rules of Game-The Buffalo Hunt and How to Make Animal Tracks
It was more likely Santa Claus than the stork who left the little baby, Kit Carson, in Madison County, Kentucky, for it occurred on December 24, the day before Christmas. Kit was a grandson of Daniel Boone and a man in many respects very much resembling his grand-sire. A quiet, resourceful, brave scout, just the sort to make his granddaddy proud of him, so he is doubly endeared to us and we must give him a rousing day.
Kit Carson is acting captain to-day, for this is his celebration and he calls the members of the Fort together, and if there are not enough boys in the Fort to make two sides, the assembly decides upon a list of names of boys whom they are to invite to attack their snow fort. These outsiders are supposed to be hostile Indians, and they establish a camp somewhere near the snow fort, erect a medicine-stick, and have a war dance around it.
Johnny Appleseed, being a man of peace, is always welcome in camps of friends or foes. He visits the camp of the Indians and discovers them having a war dance. When they bid him good-by, which they do as soon as everything is ready, he hastens to the Fort and reports to the commander that the redskins have dug up the hatchet and are on the war-path. Then the Fort sends out scouts and prepares for the attack.
Hark to the War-Whoop
The Indians attack in their own crafty way. Their war-cry is:
Woo-woo hay-ay hay-ay!
This is a real war-whoop of the Northwest Indians. But the Indians will not give their war-cry until they are discovered by Boone and Davy Crockett.
The Boone boys' answering yell is:
Wow! wow! wow!
This slogan of the Boy Pioneers or Sons of Daniel Boone is composed almost entirely of old Western expressions, and consequently is unique in its line.
While we are on the topic of yells, " Wah! Wah! Wah! " was and is still used alike by backwoodsmen and Indians to express admiration and applause; and " Whoo-ah! " or " Coo- wah!" is the Indian boys' call, and all the white boys on the border formerly used the same call. When I was a lad in Kentucky the boys still signaled to each other with the Indian call, often adding the name of the boy they wanted, as, "Whoo-ah, Frank Woodall! Whoo-ah! " Let the Indians use "Coo-wah!" for a call and the Boone boys adopt "Whoo-ah!" while both may cry "Wah! Wah! Wah! " whenever they are pleased.
The Battle Begins
The Boone flag has been described in a previous chapter.
The Indians can use for their medicine-stick a rod with a feather duster fastened to one end, also a bunch of streaming ribbons and a lot of turkey feathers fastened with strips of red cloth, as in Fig. 368.
When the Indians are discovered creeping up on the fort, Daniel Boone cries, "Every man to his post!" Then
Davy Crockett mounts the breastworks and shouts, " Be sure you're right, then go ahead." To this the Indians reply with their war-whoop, "Woo-woo! hay-ay!" and the battle is on.
Don't Be a Simon Girty
No boy who throws " soakers "--slush or icy balls-- is allowed in the game. That is a trick worthy of Simon Girty, the cruel white renegade who waged war on his own race and lived with the Indians who were far better than he. Plain, every-day snowballs furnish excitement enough and injure no one.
The bloody practice of scalping their foes, formerly customary with both whites and Indians, now belongs toa past age, but it will remain in folklore for hundreds of years, and so we will be the first to place the custom where it now properly belongs, and in place of the horrid trophies of the wild border people, we will try to capture the caps and hats of the boys, each one captured counting a score point in the game.
Scalp-Taking and Scoring
Thus, when time is called, if the fort has seven caps and the red men five, the fort has won. But if the scouts at any time succeed in capturing the medicine-stick and planting it in their fort the battle is theirs, even if they have not a single cap for a score. On the other hand, if the Indians capture the Boone flag and plant it in their camp, the game is theirs.
Boys who lose their caps are out of the game, but they have the privilege of joining the spectators, shouting their war-cries, and encouraging their own side as much as they wish-that is, in place of being dead men they are simply non-combatants. If the Boone boys have no banner they may paint one on a piece of white cloth, like Fig. 369, or they may use a colored handkerchief tied to a stick. All intercourse between the two opposing forces must be conducted under a white handkerchief (flag of truce), otherwise the visiting party may be captured by their foes.
To build a snow fort, let every Boone boy start by rolling a snowball until it grows as big and heavy as he can manage, and then put it in position.
The Boone boys may have occasion to make a charge out of their fort and fight in the open, as in the picture "Fighting in the Open," but they then run the risk of having the redskins occupy the fort and thus turn the tables on them by making them the besiegers of their own stronghold.
The Indians should be allowed more men than the de- fenders of the fort, say fifteen Indians to ten Sons of Daniel Boone. This will make about an even game. It is not considered fair for the foe to injure the fort itself any more than the accidental damage done by their feet when they try to climb over the breastworks. No blows with hands, feet, or elbows are allowed.
Rules of War
Remember, your weapons are simply hastily made, soft snowballs. No one must use his hand to hold on to his hat or cap to prevent its capture by the enemy, but he must depend upon skilful dodging to escape losing his scalp. In case of dispute Johnny Appleseed must shout "Stop!" and every one but the umpire must stand just where he is; the referee then steps forward and makes his decision. When Appleseed shouts "Go it!" the snowball battle begins again.
The Boy Pioneers always play fair and uphold their chosen umpire's decisions, even if they feel sure he is mistaken, for the boys are in for fun and a jolly good time. Of course they want to win, but they would rather win for their Society the reputation of being "on the level" in all their games than win a game on an error or a disputed point. Next comes the game of Big Foot
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Last modified: August 20, 2012.