Wolf Shadow's Promiseby Karen Kay
He had vowed to make her his wife when she was a mere girl. But now that Alys Clayton was a woman grown and ripe for the love of an honorable man, Moon Wolf knew that man could not be him. For she had since been named Wolf Shadow, a warrior pledged to protect his people. A well-born beauty like Alys deserved much more than a revel Indian/p>
He had vowed to make her his wife when she was a mere girl. But now that Alys Clayton was a woman grown and ripe for the love of an honorable man, Moon Wolf knew that man could not be him. For she had since been named Wolf Shadow, a warrior pledged to protect his people. A well-born beauty like Alys deserved much more than a revel Indian could give her. And Moon Wolf loved her too much to deny her anything...
Alys had long waited for the day when she would be reunited with the darkly handsome suitor who had filled her young heart with yearning. And once in Moon Wolf's tender embrace, she longed to fulfill their vow of love. But Moon Wolf struggled against his passion, stubbornly denying her the one thing that would make her truly his. Now Alys was determined to show the noble warrior that he need not walk alone and that theirs was a love meant to be...
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Fort Benton on the Missouri River 1857
"Two and two equals ... ?" The teacher slapped the ruler against the blackboard, the wap of the wooden stick an unspoken threat. The teacher who, by invitation, had only recently arrived here stood frowning, arms crossed at her waist. "Young lady," the teacher said as she took a menacing step forward and unfolded her arms, "answer me."
Still the young Indian girl standing at the head of the class didn't make a sound. Head down, she stared fixedly at her feet.
Looking at the child, who was no older than herself, Alys Clayton felt as if her own heart might break. Personally, she had never understood why the wild Indians had been brought to this school. Her mother said the whole thing was an experiment by their Indian agent, Alfred J. Vaughan, to see if the Indians could be civilized, whatever that meant.
But the project was doomed to failure because Indians didn't learn from this kind of teaching.
At least that's what her mother said: that the Indians of the plains had not been brought up with the same books and stories as the white man; that the Indians had their own stories, their own way of teaching, of doing things. Indians were close to the land, were free, or at least they were supposed to be. Alys's mother had also said, and Alys agreed, that the Indians would be better off if left independent which, Alys decided, must mean "left alone."
So, if all these things were true, why was their teacher making an example of this poor child? What did it matter if the girl could or could not add the two plus two on thechalkboard? Alys knew that if she were to approach the girl and promise her four beads while giving her only three, the young girl would know the difference.
Tears streamed down the young girl's face as she endured not only the silent threat of the teacher but the sneers and scoffings of her "fellow classmates" too.
Something should be done. Such things were not right. Yet Alys felt helpless. She was only eight years old, a child herself. What good was she against a teacher-against the taunts of the others?
Oh, no. Alys caught her breath.
The teacher an overly skinny, sickly-looking woman had raised the ruler as though she might hit the girl, causing the youngster to put a hand over her eyes as though to shield them.
Then the worst happened. Down came the ruler, down across the Indian girl's arm.
The child didn't cry out, didn't even flinch, although she whimpered slightly as tears streamed down her face.
The teacher shouted out a few more unmentionable words. Still the young girl remained silent.
"I'll teach you to sass me, you heathen," the teacher threatened, while Alys tried to make sense of what the teacher had just said. The young girl hadn't uttered a word.
Wap! Another slap across the girl's arms. The teacher raised her arm for another blow.
It never came.
In a blur of buckskin and feathers, a young Indian boy, the same one who had been at their school for about a week, burst into the classroom, putting himself between the youngster and the teacher; in his hand, he wielded a knife.
The class went from a mass of jeers and prankish catcalls to abrupt silence.
Where had the boy come from so suddenly? And the knife? Where had he obtained that? It was well known that the wild Indians, even the children, were relieved of their weapons upon entering the fort.
Yet there was no mistaking that knife or the boy's intent
Good, thought Alys.
Immediately, the teacher backed up, but in doing so, she tripped over a wastebasket, losing her balance and failing into the trash can, bottom first.
Alys couldn't help herself. She laughed.
It was the only sound in an otherwise silent classroom. No one looked at her, however. Everyone appeared ... stunned.
The teacher's face filled with color, her hands clenched over the top of the basket. "You ... you savage. You pushed me "
"this one," the Indian responded, pointing to himself, "has not touched you. But give me good reason to" he waved his knife in front of her "and I will."
The teacher muttered something deep in her throat before she uttered, "I'll have your skin for this, young man."
"Humph." The boy approached the teacher, saying, "And I will have your hair."
It took a moment for his meaning to register, but as the boy swung out his knife, taking hold of the teacher's tight bun, she screamed. Whack! Off came the bun, harmlessly falling into the youngster's hand.
"You savage, why, I'll..." In an almost superhuman effort, the teacher jumped up, out of the basket. The boy quickly grabbed hold of the Indian girl and, pulling her after him, fled toward the classroom's only window.
That was all it took for the other youngsters in the room to come alive. Insults and threats all at once reverberated through the early morning air, while the two fugitives tried to make their escape. Boys, almost all of them of mixed heritage themselves, suddenly sprung up from their chairs leaping after the two runaways, who had by this time cleared the window.
The entire school became a mass exodus as student after student bolted out the door, out the window, chasing after the pair.
Alys, however, arose from her seat at a more leisurely pace, strolling slowly and thoughtfully toward the doorway of the tiny cabin which served as the schoolhouse. Fingering her soft auburn curls as she moved, she trudged home, concluding that school had been let out for the day.
Poor Indian kids, she mused. Wasn't it enough that the children had been taken away from their family to be "educated"? According to her mother, the townspeople weren't making it easy on these wild ones either, scolding them and making fun of them. Who would want to stay, amidst such hatred? Alys asked herself.
Her thoughts troubled, Alys left the schoolhouse and slowly trudged toward her home.
Meet the Author
Karen Kay is praised by reviewers and fans alike for bringing understanding and insight into the everyday facets of the American Indian way of life, she credits that the discovery of her great-great grandmother, who was Choctaw Indian, did much to enhance the richness of her stories.
This is Karen Kay's eight title for Avon Books and the second title in the "Legendary Warriors" series. Her earlier titles include Wolf Shadow's Promise in the Legendary Warriors" series; Gray Hawk's Lady, White Eagle's Touch and Night Thunder's Bride in the "Blackfoot Warrior" series; and Lakota Surrender, Lakota Princess, and Proud Wolf's Woman in the "Lakota" series.Says Kay, "With the power and passion of romance, I strive to bring to the reader an awareness of the vital and noble forces that once helped shape the American Indian culture into the powerful agent that it once was, that it still can be today. I firmly believe that through understanding, anything is possible."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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In 1857 at Fort Benton in the Northwest Territory, an incident occurs at the local school between the white teacher and an Indian student. The child¿s brother Moon Wolf intercedes followed by some assistance from another student, white girl Alys Clayton. Moon Wolf vows to Alys that he will take her as his wife when she grows up. In 1872, Alys returns to Fort Benton after spending years at school in the east. She still dreams of Moon Wolf who stole her heart fifteen years ago. Though he too remembers Alys, he is pledged to stop the whiskey traffic that is destroying his people. Now known as Wolf Shadow, he leads raids on what he considers contraband. When he is hurt, Alys nurses him back to health, which gives them the time for their puppy love to evolve into an adult love. Still, he feels she must stick to her own kind even when she insists on joining his forays to prove they belong together. WOLF SHADOW¿S PROMISE is an exciting Native American romance that highlight the plight of the Indians in the latter half of the nineteenth century in Montana. The lead characters are a warm duo although the hero¿s schizoid tendencies between love and denial seems more appropriate for Two Face than for this intrepid protagonist. Though the author also relies on some doubtful devices to deploy her plot, Karen Kay writes with such strong passion that it hooks her readers and turns WOLF SHADOW¿S PROMISE into a powerful Americana tale. Harriet Klausner
I liked this story. Well told
This is the first book that I have read by Karen Kay. I really enjoyed reading the story. There is so many true things of the Indian's belief, that we should all follow today the world could of been a better place if the white man did not mistreat the Indian's so. I ike the part that say's remember many paths that red man and white man walk were once animal trails, remember this is ever you loose your way on the prarie-follow the path of an elk or buffalo for they will alway's lead you to water and to food also oberserve the small things. I really enjoyed reading about Aly's and Moonwolf and the way he trained and taughter her of a warrior and the love that they felt for each other.