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As Josiah finished staking out the last of his beaver traps along the banks of the creek, he heard the laughter of a small child echo against the mountains. At once, Josiah waded out of the frigid water to get his Hawken and pull on the blanket leggings to his trapping pants.

The sound echoed once more, and this time Josiah heard the unmistakable voice of a man as it called to the laughter of the child.

"That ain't Blackfoot," muttered Josiah, hastily following the direction the sounds were coming from. Cautiously keeping his presence hidden, Josiah stalked to a nearby tree and then carefully peered around its trunk. An Indian man was staking beaver traps in the creek downstream, the traps most likely appropriated from some inattentive mountain man. The Indian's work was periodically interrupted by a small boy, who kept wandering too far from where his father was standing in the creek.

"Them's Crows," Josiah breathed with a grin. Straightening himself, he stepped around the tree, calling to the man in his native tongue.

Startled, the man went for his rifle, quickly bringing it to bear on the approaching stranger.

"I am friend," Josiah called to him in Crow. He held up his rifle harmlessly, but saw the man was still distrustful.

"You Blackfoot," the man cocked his rifle. Josiah's features were prominently Blackfoot, and the Crow had no difficulty identifying his origins.

"I am white," Josiah slowed his pace. "Mother was Blackfoot, but I am white." He spat at the ground to show he held no affection for his mother's people. "Want to trade," Josiah motioned with his hand. "You have beaver?"

The rifle lowered, showing the man was interested. "What you have to trade?" he asked curiously.

"I have Blackfoot pony," Josiah grinned.

The man nodded, beckoning over his shoulder at the valley below. "Meet there," he pointed to a clearing where a small spiral of smoke ascended into the clouded sky.

Emma had just finished reciting the last of her Bible memory verses when she heard Josiah pounding on the cabin to door to be let in. She hurried to obey, for he didn't sound in the mood to be kept waiting.

"Get yerself into my capote," ordered Josiah, hurriedly going to the corner where his things were kept.

"Why?" asked Emma, as he thrust the heavy coat into her arms.

"I've got some trading to do, 'an yer coming with me," huffed Josiah. He rolled up two buffalo robes and two blankets, and then bound them to one of his leather wrapped packages.

Emma was about to pick up her shotgun, when Josiah stopped her.

"There's no need," he assured her. "My Hawken is enough."

She wanted to ask who Josiah was going to trade with, for surely he didn't intend to approach the Blackfoot. There was no time for questions though, for Josiah hurried her out of the cabin and then tossed her onto the back of one of his ponies. Taking its bridle in hand, Josiah led the animal down the mountain.
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