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"A Bible!" she cried in hushed ecstasy.

"Oh." Josiah went about his business, but he had difficulty ignoring Emma as she sat there, quietly pining for the Bible. She was helpless to get the one thing she wanted more than anything else in the world, and Josiah knew it.

After Josiah was done trading, and the women had had enough cloth to their liking, he turned his attention to the thick book still lying on the blanket before them. Several handfuls of coffee beans and four strands of colored beads later, Josiah picked up the Bible, grinning as he placed it into Emma's hands.

"For me?" she gasped in wonderment.

"It's all yers," nodded Josiah. "It would've cost me less, except them women saw you hankering after it, and knew they could ask fer more."

"Oh, thank you, Mr. Brown!" Emma glowed with gratitude. "I'll never forget this kindness!"

Josiah grinned broadly, but quickly went sober when the two Crow men began laughing at him.

"Woman must treat you well, for you to pay so much to make happy," one of the men concluded approvingly.

Awkwardly, Josiah rubbed the back of his neck. Emma wasn't exactly treating him well, but he was working on it.

The trading put away, one of the women began telling old stories of their ancestors and their ways. Josiah was too tired to translate what was being said, so Emma quietly sat beside her dozing husband. She clutched the prized Bible, happy to just sit there, knowing she was holding God's Word in her hands.

As the evening grew late, the children began nodding off, until even the Crow men yawned and reclined on the skins for some sleep.

"Lay back," Josiah whispered to Emma, as he adjusted some of the buffalo skins they were sitting on.

"We're staying?" she whispered in surprise.

Josiah yawned. "We'll go back in the morning." He put an arm about Emma, until she finally cozied beside him on the warm furs.

The lodge had a close, intimate feel, so that Emma wasn't surprised when she peeked over Josiah's strong arm to find one of the couples nuzzling each other. Their children lay beside them, and elsewhere in the dwelling, wherever they happened to fall asleep during the storytelling.

Josiah pulled Emma even closer. She hoped he wasn't going to nuzzle her like the other couple were doing, for she found such intimacies a little horrifying, when so many could open their eyes and watch. When Josiah's snores told her he was asleep, Emma felt she could relax. The warm atmosphere gradually lulled her to sleep, until even the howls of distant wolves were not able to awaken her.

The next morning, Emma felt something heavy sitting on her chest, making it difficult to breath. When she opened her eyes, the small boy from yesterday peered down at her until their noses nearly touched. Emma tickled the boy until he climbed off her chest and ran back to his mother with giggles and playful childish banter.

With a sleepy groan, Josiah stretched out on the warm animal skins as the smell of food stirred the lodge. "I'm so hungry," he yawned, "I could eat a four legged animal, and not bother to take off its hide."
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