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With a satisfied nod, Cora offered no explanation for her actions. For someone who had purposely led her son's enemy to his door, she looked remarkably calm.

"Do not ask me why I am doing this," instructed Cora, seeing the question plainly in Emma's eyes. "It is for the best that you do not know everything."

"I don't know anything," Emma sighed.

The two women stared at each other, as if trying to guess what the other was thinking.

Feeling unequal to the task of understanding this Blackfoot woman, Emma decided there was only one thing left for her to do. "Will you stay for lunch?" she invited Cora. "I don't often have visitors. In fact, you're the first."

"Lunch?" Cora looked puzzled.

Emma pressed on, unsure why Cora looked so confused. "It's nearing the center of the day, and I haven't eaten anything yet. If you'll stay for lunch, I'll make stew."

"I had forgotten this was the white man's custom," Cora nodded in understanding. "I will eat lunch with you."

"Thank you," Emma's smile was sincere. It was a rare thing to enjoy the company of another woman, and it was made even better by the fact that this woman spoke English.

"My people eat when they are hungry, and not at set times of the day," explained Cora.

"I didn't know," smiled Emma, pouring water from her bucket into the kettle. "Mr. Brown eats breakfast, lunch, and supper, just like me."

"My son is a white man in red skin," Cora mused ironically. "He has never spoken of me to you?"

"Not since I've known him," replied Emma. "Until I met his grandpap, I had assumed all his close relations were dead."

Discouraged, Cora shook her head, her two long braids rubbing against the front of her deerskin dress. "I am dead to my son. He will not listen to my words, or to the words of my father." She gazed at Emma with an unspoken hope that made Emma strangely uncomfortable.

Once again, Emma had the nagging feeling this woman wanted something from her.

Preparing as appetizing a lunch as she could, Emma placed tough buffalo jerky in the kettle of water hanging over the fire. Taking some of her precious sage, Emma added it to the kettle to make a savory stew for her guest.

Cora quietly watched on, and then opened a pouch hanging at her side. She offered some of its contents to Emma.

"What is it?" asked Emma.

"You have not had pemmican?" Cora was troubled with Emma's ignorance, for pemmican was a staple of life among the Blackfoot. Not one to waste time, Cora promptly set about instructing her son's wife in the preparation of the food. "Grind dried buffalo meat and mix it with marrow and fat. Put the powdered meat into a skin, and pound it with chokeberries and birch sap that has been made into sugar. When it is dry, it will not spoil and keep you strong when there is little food."
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