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"I'm heating some broth to warm your insides," said Emma. "Mary, please take your pa's coat and hang it on the bottom peg to dry."

A small person moved toward Josiah, holding out her arms for the capote. Josiah handed over the garment, and Mary drooped a little under its weight.

"You never answered me, Emma," Josiah turned back to his wife. "Are you sorry I came back, tonight?"

"I suppose not," sighed Emma. "If you don't mind, Josiah, we'll talk about this later... after bedtime."

Glancing at Mary, Josiah nodded in understanding.

Since Emma and Mary had already eaten supper, Josiah hungrily gulped down his broth and then ate a hearty meal of bear meat. Even before he had finished supper, Emma began readying Mary for bed.

During Mary's bedtime prayer, the little girl once again listed off the people in her life, and when she came to Josiah, prayed for his soul with a "Mr. Brown."

"Do I have to sleep?" Mary asked Emma hopefully, after her prayer was over. "If I stay in bed, could I stay awake?"

"You little bargainer," laughed Emma. "I know it's still a little early to expect you to sleep, so I'll allow it. Your pa and I have some private things to discuss, though, so you must keep quiet."

"I will."

"God keep you till morning," Emma said, kissing Mary's cheek as the child hugged her soft Christmas doll. "Where's that Blackfoot doll of yours? I'll fix it tonight."

Mary brought out her mortally wounded doll, and Emma smiled as the child placed its missing appendage in her hand.

"This poor doll has seen a hard life," said Emma, inspecting the break in the neck where the head had come off. Then Emma saw an old sinew cord that someone had bound around the shoulders to keep the head from falling off. Emma discreetly peeked beneath the doll's leather garments and discovered that the wooden body had been badly broken in several places, only to be bound together again by cord. So much violence had happened to the small plaything, Emma had a feeling someone had done it on purpose, for it was too much damage to be accidental.

"Grandmother fixed it," Mary said sadly.

"Who did this?"

Mary shrugged reluctantly. "The other children."

"Blackfoot children? From your tribe?"

Solemnly, Mary nodded, "yes." "Can you fix it?" she asked with a wistful sigh.
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