Not so very long ago there was to be found living in the far West a quaint old man. He had seen many moons. His head was almost white from the frosts of some seventy winters. He was a Wyandot Indian, and he lived with his own people.
His house stood among the trees by a clear, swift river in the beautiful hills. At a great city far from his home he had some land. This land was worth much money. Some mean white men were about to take the land away from him. But a kind white man made them pay the Indian what the land was worth.
This white man had been a friend of the Indians all his life. When he helped this good Wyandot, all the Indians were pleased. They said he must visit them at their homes among the hills.
When he went there to see them, they told him beautiful stories, which he wrote down. They had him attend their secret feasts, which they did not let any other white man see. They taught him to speak like an Indian. He wrote down all they told him.
Then they said he must be an Indian, too. He said that would be fine. And they made him a Wyandot Indian. This is how they did it.
A great feast was made. All the Indians were told to come to the feast to welcome the white man. Much food was made ready, for the Indians were very fond of good things to eat. They were the first people to grow corn.
They had it in their fields for ages before the white people ever saw any of it. They knew how to cook it in many ways.
At this feast all these dishes of corn were there in great plenty. And the Indians cook well all the food used by white people. They had bread, pies, cakes, beef, pork, ham, chicken, turkey, eggs, milk, coffee, and tea made from the sweet-smelling spice wood.
The men ate first, and the white man ate with them. Indian men do not talk much. They said little while eating at this feast. When they were done, the women sat down to eat. They were merry and gay. They talked and laughed as they ate.
Then the Indians cried out all in one voice, “Quah! Quah! Quah!” which means, “Hail! Hail! Hail!” This was their way of saying they were willing to receive the white man into their tribe.
With the Wyandots the woman is the head of the house. The Chief turned to the Head Woman and said, “Will you make a place by your fire for this white man? Will you take him to be one of your family?”
The Head Woman took the white man by the hand and said, “He will live by my fire. He shall be a Wyandot of the Deer Clan. He shall be one of my family. A Wyandot of my house was a great chief. He was the Head Master of all the Wyandots.
He lived many years ago. Since that time no man has held his high office. I wish this white man raised up to his place. Give him the name and the office of the Half-King.”
The Chief then gave the white man the name and the office of the Great Chief of the Wyandot of the old times.1 Then all the Indians came and spoke to the white man. They made him welcome. They said he was their brother.
They gave him presents. Some gave him wampum or Indian money. One gave a cannon ball which he found on a field of battle where he was a soldier. One woman gave him a horn of a buffalo. A very poor Indian gave him some feathers from the tail of a rooster.
The white man gave each Indian a present, and the meeting was ended.