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Kaya's Hero is the third book in the Kaya series.



Only in Kaya's Hero[]

Chapter by Chapter Summary[]

Chapter One: Runaway Horse![]

Kaya cooed over her baby cousin, Light on the Water, and changes the cotton serving as her diaper. As she returned the baby to the buckskin, Kaya's aunt Running Alone asks her ot make the lacing tighter as she wanted her baby very safe while she was collecting wood. As Kaya helps put the baby on the horse, Running Alone smiles that the baby liked Kaya's gentle touch. Kaya says that the baby was so easy to care for, unlike her brothers, who even right now thought that she couldn't see them in the woods. Kaya calls out after them, saying it was time to go riding, and the twins rush out from the woods. Kaya helped the boys onto hers and Brown Deer's horses and as they waited for the rest of the women and children to arrive, Kaya looked at the snow-covered foothills in the North.

Kaya recalls how raiders had stolen Steps High, kidnapped herself and Speaking Rain, and how she and Two Hawks had managed to escape together. While they were now safe, Two Hawks was still recovering from his broken ankle, and he sat alone and homesick all day. Kaya felt two aches in her heart, one in gratitude that she was back, but another in grief that Speaking Rain was still captive out there.

The women began to ride into the canyon where the trees grew thickly, and the children played while the women gathered wood. One girl, Little Fawn, calls Kaya Magpie and invites her to fly into the trees with her. Kaya winced at the nickname and tried to ignored it, and responds that she was going to look for more diaper fluff for the baby. Just as Kaya started after the other women, she suddenly heard a sharp crack. The branch Little Fawn was on had broken, and while the girl jumped safely to the ground, the branch struck the rump of Running Alone's horse. The horse began to panic and bolted down the canyon, the baby still hanging from the saddle in it's tee-kas. Kaya and Running Alone chased after the hose, fearing the baby would fall off and be killed.

The horse ran towards the narrow canyon opening when Swan Circling came rushing from the woods. Swan Circling faced the charging horse head-on, spreading her arms like an eagle in flight. Kaya feared the horse would run her over, but Swan Circling kept her ground. The horse skidded to a halt right in front of her, and Swan Circling seized it's reigns. Running Alone reached the horse and kissed her baby in relief, telling Swan Circling she could never thank her enough for saving her baby.

Kaya reached the two, and helped calm the horse down. Running Alone asked Swan Circling how she got the horse to halt, and Swan Circling admits she didn't think of the possible danger; she just wanted the horse to stop, and it did. She asks if the baby was OK, but Light on the Water was smiling,thinking the bouncy, run away ride was a game. Swan Circling glances at Kaya, who was still stroking the horse's neck, and notes Kaya had a way with horses and asks if she can lead the horse back.

As they headed back to camp, Kaya studied Swan Circling's face; she had been curious about her ever since she married Claw Necklace and joined the band. Kaya recalled the woman who appeared to her when she was lost on the Buffalo Trail had looked like Swan Circling. Kaya wondered and hoped the vision was a sign they would become friends. Kaya wished she could become as strong as this brave young woman who didn't flinch at a horse charging right at her!

Later that day, Kaya and their rest of the tribe were in the winter lodge, making clothes, baskets, and other goods. Brown Deer was making a necklace for a man, and Kaya assumed it was for the boy she danced with last summer, Cut Cheek. They'd soon see each other again when the neighboring villages came to visit for the winter gatherings, and Brown Deer had been grooming herself in preparation. Eetsa was preparing for it too, working on a storage bag to give as a gift for friends and family. Kautsa was weaving a hat for Kaya to wear in the spring for the root digging.

Kaya set aside her basket and picked up Speaking Rain's doll that she used to carry everywhere with her. With her gone, Kaya kept he doll close and tried to take good care of her. Kaya noticed a tear in the doll's back and worked on mending her for Speaking Rain's return. Kaya thinks how if she were as strong as Swan Circling, she would find a way to get her sister back.

Kaya asks Kautsa what made Swan Circling so different, which Kautsa interprets as to how Swan Circling became a warrior woman. Kautsa tells how Swan Circling came to live with them when she married Claw Necklace three winters ago. Right away they all saw she was a strong girl who was eager to help. Swan Circling went with her husband on a hunting trip to Buffalo Country, and one night, enemies began to attack them as a show of courage. The men rushed out to defend themselves, but Claw Necklace in his eagerness had left behind his bow and arrows. Instead of running for cover with the other women, Swan Circling ran into the fight so she could give her husband his weapons. After reaching him, Swan Circling began tending to the wounded, dodging enemy arrows the whole time.

Kaya asks if Swan Circling had told her this, but Kautsa says she would never speak of her bravery, and Claw Necklace had told everyone what happened. When the men won the fight, they gave Swan Circling an eager feather in honor of her bravery. Brown Deer states that Brown Deer goes into battle to bring fresh horses to riders whose horses had been hurt. Kautsa states that Swan Circling was fearless, but the only sad thing about her was that she didn't have any children. Brown Deer agrees it was sad, but Eetsa reminds them that the couple were still young and had plenty of time still. Kautsa agrees, and feels certain her kids would be as strong as her.

Eetsa peeks into the water basket and notices they needed some more water for the cooking. Kaya goes to the stream to collect more water, running into Little Fawn along the way. Little Fawn was limping, and Kaya asks if she had hurt herself when the branch broke. Little Fawn winced at each step, but insisted it was nothing, that she had jumped out of much higher trees. Kaya saw Swan Circling at the stream, tending to a spotted mare. Kaya wet to Swan Circling's Side, eager to see her, but only realizing now as she stood next to her that she had nothing to say.

Kaya stroked the horse, asking if she had gotten sores on her back. Sawn Circling explains that others had noticed this horse rolling in some sage, and so she was making a poultice for it. Kaya begins to says how the horse's spots reminded her of Steps High, but she cuts herself off, afraid her voice would break. Swan Circling glanced at her with concern, saying Kaya must miss her horse, and mentions she saw the boy Kaya escaped with. Kaya fills her basket as she says Two Hawks couldn't put weight on his ankle yet, and had to be patient. Swan Circling states Kaya was right, but he looked so lonesome and grumpy. Kaya states that it was because he didn't like to be patient and Swan Circling laughs. Swan Circling states it was a good thing a dependable girl like Kaya was with him, and the two were very strong to have run away and found their way back. Swan Circling was just sad that Two Hawks wasn't happy with them. The praise made Kaya blush, and she turns her head to try and hide it.

Little Fawn, who was still nearby, looked jealous and yells 'Magpie flew back to her nest!' before limping away. Swan Circling asks if Magpie was Kaya's nickname,and Kaya admits she was called that sometimes. Swan Circling gave Kaya a searching look, saying that some nicknames dug into her like bear claws, but they wouldn't hurt as much as time passed. Kaya bit her lip as Swan Circling lead the horse back to the pack; she had offered good advice, but she didn't know the reason why folks started calling her Magpie in the first place. If Swan Circling knew Kaya was scolded for being selfish, she would certainly regret calling Kaya brave and strong. If she knew it was Kaya's fault she and Speaking Rain were taken captive, Kaya feared Swan Circling would lose all respect for her.

Chapter Two: Lessons From a Basket[]

The next day, Kaya found Two Hawks sitting outside the lodges. Kaya tells him out loud that while she knew he couldn't walk yet, she bet he could ride. Two Hawks frowned, not understanding what Kaya said. Kaya signs to him asking if he wanted to go riding with her. Two Hawks says no, one of the few words he knew in Kaya's language, and signs for her to leave him alone.

Kaya had thought about Swan Circling's comment about Two Hawks looking unhappy; they had promised him they would help him reunite with his tribe, but spring was still a long way off and Two Hawks hadn't smiled once since arriving. Kaya couldn't get him home faster, but she could be a better friend, and Kaya signs that she'll get the horses. Two Hawks says no again, but Kaya took each no as a challenge. As Kaya returned with the horses, Two Hawks insists he couldn't ride with a broken ankle, and Kaya signs he could do it if she helped, though privately she wasn't sure how she could yet.

Two Hawks seemed determined to prove Kaya wrong, and stood up with the help of his crutch. When Kaya brought the horse over, he simply glared at Kaya, as if asking 'what now?'. Kaya signs to him to put his knee in her hands so she could lift him on, but Two Hawks shook his head. Kaya wondered if this stubborn boy thought she wasn't strong enough to lift him, and she puts her hands by his injured leg. After a moment, Two Hawks gingerly put his knee into Kaya's hand, and Kaya helps him mount onto his horse Kaya studied Two Hawk's face, noticing he wasn't grimacing in pain, but looked pleased. Kaya climbed onto her own horse and signs for him to follow her, planning to find him an elderberry stick he could make a flute from.

The following day, the women were working to build the lodge meant to hold all the visitors for the winter celebration. Kaya kept an eye on Swan Circling, hoping to find a chance to walk with her again. After the lodge is built, Kaya follows Swan Circling into the lodge where the food was being prepared. As Swan Circling helped with the food, Kaya spend some time with Light on the Water, who was with Running Alone in the lodge. Kay cooed over the baby, but then glanced at Swan Circling, worried that she would be bothered by Kaya's cooing when she had no children of her own yet.

Swan Circling tells Kaya how seeing her and the other girls in the stream this morning reminded her of when she was Kaya's age. She asks Kaya if she liked to swim, to which Kaya says yes. Swan Circling tells how she came from a place where the Snake River joined the Big River, and she would her friends would swim every chance they got, earning them the nickname 'Fish Girls'. Swan Circling says someday she would like to show Kaya her favorite diving spots, and Eetsa points out that Swan Circling always seemed to be thinking about the future. Swan Circling and Eetsa were good friends, and Swan Circling smiles, saying it was true. She asks Kaya if she often thought of the future. Kaya thought how no one asked her as many questions about herself as Swan Circling did, and it was something she liked about her.

Kaya says she mostly thinks of seeing her horse and Speaking Rain again, but she didn't know how to do that. Swan Circling is confident that when a way opens, Kaya would be ready. She tells Kaya she saw her riding with Two Hawks, something she was really surprised to see, and that he seemed to be in a much better mood. Swan Circling tells Kaya she has a strong will, and she was glad she thought of the needs of others. Kaya stayed silent as she rocked the baby to sleep, wishing to be the girl Swan Circling believed she was, and fearing that she wasn't.

During basket weaving, Kautsa called for everyone's attention for a story. She held up a basket made of cedar bark, explaining that one of their friends from the west had given her this basket, which came with a story of how Cedar Tree taught them basket weaving. Kaya signed with pleasure and glances at Swan Circling, who nodded as if to agree she loved to listen to stories too. Kautsa tells the story of how Cedar Tree taught Grey Squirrel how to make baskets, how be thankful to the earth, and to learn to work for others, not just for herself. As Kautsa finished her story, a little girl asks for another. Kautsa smiles and tells the girl she should make a twine basket like Kaya, and asks Kaya if she would help the girl. Kaya agreed, willing to do anything her grandmother asked her, but also hoping Swan Circling would notice how quickly she agreed and would think well of her.

The next morning Swan Circling beckoned Kaya over. Swan Circling explains that Kautsa's story last night got her thinking, and she wanted to show Kaya something. She asks if Kaya would like to work with her, and Kaya says if she had Kautsa's permission, she'd love to. After getting permission, Kaya met up with Swan Circling in the lodge. Swan Circling explains that the story made her think of her very first basket, and Kaya shares that her basket was awfully lopsided, but she still proudly gave it to Kautsa. Swan Circling pulls out a little twin basket from her parafleche and hands it to Kaya, saying her first basket was lopsided too. Kaya smiled at the basket; she liked to imagine Swan Circling as a girl with small hands and big ideas, like Kaya. She was happy to be at her friend's side.

Kaya asks if Swan Circling gave her basket to her grandmother, and she explains that she received her basket back from her after her death. Swan Circling states she was happy to have the basket back, that she had learnt many lessons from it. Kaya asks if she had learnt to make the twining tighter, but but Swan Circling adds she had learnt other things, such as patience. Swan Circling was a very bold, headstrong girl who thought there was nothing she couldn't do. Kaya states that Swan Circling could do anything, to which she laughs, saying of course she couldn't.

She tells Kaya how she saw her grandmother weave and felt so sure she knew what to do and would be able to make a beautiful basket. She made many mistakes, however, and was only able to give her the pitiful basket Kaya held. Swan Circling's grandmother thanked her, sayig it was a start, but she had expected more praise then that and pouted. wan Circling asked her grandmother why she hadn't corrected her faults, as if the lumps in the basket were her fault. Her grandmother then told her everyone must have their own experiences and learn their own lessons. Little by little, Swan Circling understood that to make a mistake wasn't a bad thing, but she should be wise enough not to repeat them.

Kaya realized that Swan Circling was starting to speak about life, and now would be a good chance for Kaya to tell the truth. Kaya began to speak, saying she had made mistakes too, and Swan Circling wait for Kaya to continue. Kaya then lost her nerve, deciding she couldn't risk losing her friendship. Kaya instead says how she made holes in her basket, but her grandmother showed her how to fix them so she could do a better job. Swan Circling asks if something was troubling Kaya, pointing to the crease between Kaya's eyebrows. Kaya didn't meet her gaze, insisting nothing was troubling her. Swan Circling waited a moment before saying perhaps they have done enough talking, and they get back to work.

Chapter Three: A Sick Baby[]

Kaya was sweeping away the light snow from the lodge when she heard a flute playing a sweet melody. Wondering if Two Hawks had finished the flute she helped him start, Kaya goes to look for him. Kaya finds Two Hawks with an older boy, Runs Home, who was playing his own flute. When Two Hawks sees Kaya, he blows his own flute, which only created a lot of shrill squeaks. Runs Home inspected Two Hawks flute and pointed out where he had made mistakes. Two Hawks shoved his flute into his parfleche and pouted as he stared at Kaya in anger and disappointment. Runs Home asks if Kaya could help him find another elderberry stick, saying he could help him make a good flute if Two Hawks let him help him. Kaya signs for Two Hawks to go with her to find another stick, but Two Hawks shook his head. Kaya tells Two Hawks he couldn't make something perfectly the first time, that it took practice, and she was going to go get the horses. Runs Home asks if Two Hawks would go with her, and Kaya firmly states Two Hawks had done so before, and he would do it again. Runs Home signed to Two Hawks to listen to him, tat he'd teach him something. Two Hawks stares at the two and eventually shrugs. He stood up and hobbled after Kaya, as if relieved she and Runs Home hadn't let him quit on his first try.

Kaya and Brown Deer were helping Kautsa get the Camas Cakes from the storage pit when a crier rode in, announcing their friends and family were arriving. Everyone stopped what they were doing to go greet their guests, and everyone smiled, hugged and exchanged gifts as they went into the lodge. Kaya spotted Cut Cheek and wondered if Brown Deer would hurry to greet him. Kaya then saw her sister standing modestly by the lodge's doorway, blushing. Kaya sees the two make eye contact and smiles to herself, knowing Cut Cheek one day soon would wear the necklace Brown Deer was making.

Kaya's aunt from a nearby village greets Kaya with a hug, relieved to see she was well after hearing about her captivity and escape. Kaya asks if the scouts had any news of her sister, but her aunt frowns, saying that no one had heard anything. As no one could cross the Buffalo Trail in this weather, it wasn't possible to get any more new, and she assumed the raiders had taken her back their country. Kaya bit her lip and turned away, and Swan Circling touched Kaya's arm and asked her if she could help carry the baskets of food.

When night came, everyone dressed in their finest clothes and entered the ceremonial lodge for the New Year Gathering. The chieftain, To Soar Like An Eagle, leads the ceremony where they reflect on the past year and think about the upcoming year. People spoke of the births and deaths int he past year, good deeds and acts of bravery, and gave thanks for successful harvests and hunts. Kaya listened closely to the songs, and saw her family, Swan Circling, and even Two Hawks listening closely. Kaya reflected on the past year, and the mix of good and bad feelings made Kaya tear up.

Kaya glanced at Swan Circling and realized what troubled her most that night was she still hadn't told her friend how she got her nickname, or how she got captured. Until she did, Swan Circling wouldn't really know Kaya. Kaya closed her eyes and prays silently to be honest and strong in character, and to be able to face life with a honorable, truthful and strong will. After prayers, it was time for the feast. As Kaya watched the preparations, she felt a quiet, calm resolution in her heart. Her prayer had given Kaya the courage to tell Swan Circling everything, and she wanted to do it as soon as possible.

Kaya waited for a chance to speak with Swan Circling, but all the visitors made it difficult for the two to get time together. When the visitors left after several days, Kaya thought she would finally get her chance. One morning, Running Alone asks Kaya to look after her baby while she looked for the medicine woman, Bear Blanket. Kaya kept an eye on the baby in the lodge, who coughed and didn't play wit Kaya's finger like she normally did. Bear Blanket soon came through the doorway, Swan Circling and Running Alone close behind her.

The medicine woman examined the baby, then drew Swan Circling aside to speak with her before singing her medicine songs. Swan Circling frowns, saying she was asked to bring Bear Blanket the inner bark of a special tree to make a healing drink with. Swan Circling states she would go get it now, and Running Alone asks if she would be OK in this cold. Swan Circling says it couldn't wait, that the baby needed the medicine right away. Running Alone urges her to hurry, telling Kaya to fetch her horse while Swan Circling prepared her tools.

Kaya brought the horse to Swan Circling, who had her wooden saddle ready. As Kaya helps prepare the horse, Swan Circling tells Kaya to tie the bags on snugly; Bear Blanket had said the baby was very sick and she planned to ride as fast as she could. As Swan Circling boarded her horse, she compliments Kaya's work, tells her she would return before last light, and to watch for her. Swan Circling then rode off across the frozen ground. Kaya calls after her that she would watch for her, but the wind obstructed her words.

Kaya stayed with Running Alone and her baby all day, while Bear Blanket continued to sing. The baby's coughing grew harder and harder, and Kaya feared the baby might have the terrible sickness of blisters the white men had brought to the land, but she was too afraid to ask. As light began to fade, Kaya went to watch for Swan Circling's return. As it became dusk, Kaya began to grow worried until she spotted a horse at the far end of the valley. Kaya recognized Swan Circling's horse and breathed a sign of relief. But as the horse came closer, Kay saw that it was limping, and it had no rider.

Chapter Four: Gifts From Swan Circling[]

Kaya watched Claw Necklace, Toe-ta and two other men run off with their horses to look for Swan Circling. Kaya couldn't believe anything bad could have happened to her young and strong friend. Kaya tells herself that swan Circling must have just fallen off her horse, and was returning by foot. In the meantime, her bag full of medicine was till tied to the horse's saddle, and Kaya bought it back to Bear Blanket. The medicine woman says the medicine was exactly what she was looking for, and Running Alone states he knew Swan Circling wouldn't fail them. Kaya fearfully asks the medicine woman if the baby had the bad sickness that kills, but Bear Blanket quickly explains it was a weakness in the chest, and the drink she'll make will help her breath more easily.

Bear Blanket tells Kaya to go rest as there was nothing more she could do, but Kaya had difficulty falling asleep. She thought of Swan Circling, wondering if she had built herself a shelter to stay in, or would come in at any moment with Claw Necklace. Kaya slept fitfully and woke up before first light due to a stirring outside the lodge. Wondering if Swan Circling had returned, Kaya got up and saw Eetsa leaving the lodge with a torch in hand. Kaya peeked out the ldoge and saw Toe-ta and Eetsa in the group of men and women talking with the elders. Kaya then noticed Claw Necklace walking towards the lodges, carrying something. It took a moment for Kaya to process it was Swan Circling's body he held in his arms.

Unable to believe the news, Kaya hide her face in her robes. Kautsa then approaches Kaya with the news: the men had found Swan Circling's by the stream. It seemed her horse had broken through thin ice and stumbled, throwing Swan Circling off. Her head had struck a boulder, and the blow killed her. Kautsa hugs Kaya as she cries, saying that Swan Circling was full of light and love and while it was hard to let her go, they had to help her spirit journey on.

Kaya walked in a daze after Swan Circling's death; besides her mourning, Kaya felt regret for not telling Swan Circling everything earlier, before it was too late. The whole tribe mourned and tried to comfort one another and Claw Necklace in particular. Runners went to nearby villages to spread the news, and one even volunteered to go the long distance in the cold to bring the news to Swan Circling's family. As Swan Circling's family lived too far way, the women in Claw Necklace's family prepared for the funeral.

Kaya stayed close to running Alone and the baby. Light on the Water was much healthier then before thanks to the medicine, but she was still weak. Kaya sang lullabies to the baby, certain Swan Circling was listening, as until the body was buried, her spirit would stay close by. Kaya rocked the sleeping baby when she suddenly heard a canyon wren singing close to the lodge. Thinking Swan Circling was sending a message through the bird, Kaya went out to look for it. Outside, Kaya saw Two Hawks, who limped over to Kaya to show the flute he made. He played his two-note song that Kaya had mistaken for a bird song, and Kaya asks to take a closer look at his flute. Two Hawks handed the flute over, his eyes lively with pride over what he made.

Kaya compliments his work, and Two Hawks says out loud that Runs Home had helped him, and that they were friends now. Kaya notes Runs Home had also helped him learn their language, and she tells Two Hawks now that he knew how to make a flute he could learn to play it now. Two Hawks insists he knew how to play and stubbornly played his flute, adding a 3rd note to his song. Two Hawks' success lifted Kaya's spirits a little; his leg was healing and he seemed happier now. It also seemed that the baby would recover. There were still things to be grateful for in these dark times, and Kaya knew Swan Circling's spirit would be comforted by this too.

Swan Circlign's funeral took place three days after her death in the early morning. At the grave site, a medicine man spoke of Swan Circling's strength, unwavering courage and her willingness to help her people. He spoke of everyone's sorrow at losing such a good woman, and urged her spirit to travel on. The whole town dropped a handful of dirt into Swan Circling's grave, and on Kaya's turn she silent vows to think of Swan Circling all her life and strive to be like her.

Swan Circling's spirit wouldn't be able to rest until all of her belongings were either given away or burnt. Because Eetsa had been a close friend of Swan Circling, she took charge of the give away. In the lodge, Toe-ta called up people to hand out the belongings to. Running Alone Alone got a motor and pestle, Little Fawn a digging stick, Kautsa a large parafleche and Brown Deer a pair of moccasins. The last item they give away was Swan Circling's saddle. Toe-ta motioned Kaya forward, explaining that Claw Necklace had told him ow his wife admired Kaya's love and care of horses, and was certain she would want Kaya to have her saddle. Kaya kept her eyes downcast as she tanked him.

Toe-ta pauses before telling her Swan Circling wanted Kaya to have something much more important then a saddle. He tells the lodge how Swan Circling had recently came to him and Eetsa, telling them she had dreamed of her death. She wasn't frightened, but she said if she should die, she wanted Kaya to have her name. Swan Circling was fond of Kaya, and she believed she would carry her name well. Toe-ta and Eetsa accepted her gift to Kaya with gratitude. The old woman who's job it was to remember how everyone related to one another confirms that this event took place, having witnessed it herself.

Kaya hugged the saddle Toe-ta handed to her, but she couldn't fully take in the 2nd gift Swan Circling had given her. Giving your name was the greatest gift anyone could give, and Kaya felt both gratitude and honor for the gift, and doubt that she was truly worthy of her name. Kaya wondered if Swan Circling would have still given her name to her if she knew of Kaya's failures, but with her death, there was no way for her to quiet these torn feelings.

Kaya didn't have a chance to talk with her mother until that night, while she was boiling the water for dinner. Kaya tells Eetsa she was troubled by her namesake, taking care not to say the name of the dead out loud. Kaya admits she thinks Swan Circling wouldn't have given Kaya her name if she knew about the mistakes Kaya made. Eetsa's eyes soften as she tells Kaya there was nothing for her to be troubled about. Swan Circling knew about Kaya's nickname, but she had said it didn't matter to her. Swan Circling had also told her it took great strength for Kaya to leave her sister behind, and she was wise to do so.

Kaya is surprised Swan Circling told Eetsa that, and she says Swan Circling often spoke about Kaya. Swan Circling had said she had full confidence that Kaya would grow to be trustworthy and strong, and that she had a generous heart, which Eetsa agrees with. Eetsa tells Kaya it wasn't time for her to use her name yet, but Kaya wouldn't know when the time comes. Eetsa asks if Kaya had any other troubles and Kaya shook her head, afraid if she spoke she would burst into tears of gratitude and relief.

The next morning, the twins watched Kaya make three little horses out of pine needles. Wing Feather asks if one of the horses was for him, and Sparrow demands his own horse if his brother was going to get one. Kaya tells the two they were both going to get their own horse. She puts the finished touches on the two horses and hands them to the boys, saying they could have races now. The twins thank her and run off to where the other children played.

For the 3rd horse, Kaya tied a bit of hide around the horse to make a saddle. Kaya then wrapped herself in her cloak and left the lodge without telling anyone. Since she woke up, she knew what she had to do. Kaya went up to Swan Circling's grave and placed the horse on top of it. Kaya tells Swan Circling that she was going to live up to her expectations and was grateful for her trust and her name. Kaya hoped to get her sister back, and maybe her horse too, before she used her name. Kaya wanted to deserve what she was given, and she wants their people to think of her well when they called her by her name.

Kaya looked back at the village; everything was quiet now, but their friends and family would soon return for the Winter Spirit dances, and the village would be crowded again. Kaya stood a moment longer, squinting into the morning light, before heading back home.

Looking Back: Winter in 1764[]

Discusses how the Nimíipuu survived during the winter season. Topics include:

  • How winter was a time for for the Nez Perce to make and mend their clothes and tools.
  • How Nez Perce clothes were made and addorned
  • How the Nez Perce survived the winter and lived in "longhouses"
  • The winter ceremonies that took place, including the medicine dances that sang songs taught to them by their guardian spirits.
  • The stories and legends that were passed down by elders, including the legend of The Glutton.

Glossary of Nez Perce Words[]

Book Covers[]

Items associated with Kaya's Hero[]