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While Emma wept, Josiah saddled his horse and then prepared his packhorse for the days he would be away trapping beaver. He was about to retrieve a small ax he had left by a tree, when he sensed Emma behind him.

"Did my pa suffer very much?"

"He died soon after I found him," replied Josiah, tightening the packhorse's cinch with a pat to its belly.

"Couldn't we return to bury him properly?" she begged.

"I ain't fighting with bears over bones already picked clean." Josiah made sure of the sinew ropes securing his beaver traps by testing the strength of the knots. "Besides, someone has to stay here and guard the jerky."

"I'll stay!" Emma immediately offered. "Please, Mr. Brown! Bury my father! He was a good man! If you have any decency, you'd go back and do him justice!"

Josiah suddenly stopped what he was doing and turned to face Emma. "I'm as decent as you!" he spat bitterly. "I won't take such talk from my wife!"

"Please!" breathed Emma. "I'll do anything!"

Josiah's face brightened. "Anything?"

"Well," she hesitated, "almost anything."

He was about to name a price, but caught himself. Here he was, bargaining with a grieving woman over burying her father. Josiah hated himself for the picture it painted of his own character. "I'll be back sometime tomorrow," he muttered, mounting his pony. "I'm leaving the other horses here, but if you ride off..." Josiah slapped his knee in frustration. "Don't leave," he finally requested. With that, he reined his horse South and then rode away.

Smiling through her tears, Emma thanked God for causing Josiah to return to her pa.

Since the trapper didn't have Emma and the string of ponies along, he was able to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time. Even so, it was nearly dark when he arrived back at the wagon.

In the fading daylight, Josiah tethered his horse to a wagon wheel to have a look around. The wagon had been hurriedly plundered by the two Blackfoot, and the remainder of its contents shredded by wild animals.

Stepping over an open trunk, Josiah rounded the wagon. He had left Emma's father lying on the other side, but wasn't very surprised when he didn't find him there. Animal tracks were everywhere, and Josiah figured they had dragged the body away to feed on it elsewhere.

The sun was fading fast, so Josiah made camp near the abandoned wagon. As he ate his cold supper of dried buffalo meat, Josiah curiously checked the open trunk laying nearby. To his surprise, a carved wooden box was still inside, having escaped attention from the plunderers. Easily guessing it belonged to Emma, Josiah packed the ornamented box away, intending to surprise her with it later.

After the sun rose in the morning, Josiah examined the tracks around the wagon. By the look of things, several wolves and a grizzly bear had come through here. Holding his Hawken tightly, Josiah followed a few of the tracks into the nearby trees. It was there that he found the first of the immigrant's remains. For a long while Josiah scoured the woods, but was unable to find any more of Emma's father.
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