This story is set in ...well... I'll let you figure that out.
"Daniel Boone, you sit down here and eat your breakfast before you head out that door. And don't forget to...." Becky put down her sewing and winced as the sound of a thick skull striking hewn wood resounded through the cabin "...duck."
Dan's rich green eyes blinked as his hand went to his head. "Now Becky, I might be a 'mite' tall, but that's mighty unkind thinkin' on your part, to think that I might - "
Dan pivoted but kept his eye on the beam as his Cherokee friend's feathers brushed it. "Mingo, what might bring you here?"
Rebecca's blue eyes grew round as the iron pot warming over the cook fire as she watched the dark-haired man enter the cabin. He stepped over the threshold and then paused, rubbing his leg. "Mingo," she asked, "what happened to you?"
"I caught my foot in a trap on the way here. It was nothing," the dark-haired man breathed deeply of the scent of the stew bubbling in the pot. "Nothing, that is, that a taste of that delectable concoction could not cure, Rebecca." He drew another breath and waxed eloquent, " 'And homeless near a thousand homes I stood, and near a thousand tables pined and wanted food.' "
Becky's blue eyes, which were now round as the full moon, blinked. "What?"
" 'My life, my joy, my food; my all the world.' " The Cherokee limped forward, his eyes trained on the fire. "'What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice, of Attic taste?' "
"Whatever are you --? Mingo, look out!"
A moment later the Cherokee was sitting in the middle of the floor, having been bowled over by a small white bolt of lightning named Israel.
"Pa! Pa! In'juns! In'juns!'
Dan turned and stared at his freckled son. He walked to the door and glanced out it, and then turned back. His fingers went to his face and then he slowly drew them across his beardless chin. He stared at his son hard again and dropped to his knees. "Is'rul, come here. I've somethin' mighty important to tell you."
The little boy looked to his Ma and then at Mingo sitting on the floor. They were eyeing each other strangely, and his Ma had a weird glint in her eye. She had retrieved the shears from her sewing basket and held them in her hand. "Cri-mi-netly, Pa. Gosh gol' darn, it. What'd I do now?"
"Nothin' son. Come and sit on my knee and lay your head on my shoulder and look like an angel as I make a mighty powerful and heart-felt attempt to explain just how things are in this wilderness we call Kentucky."
Mingo's feathers followed Rebecca's progression across the room. "That is also known as 'the dark and bloody ground'," he added as he licked the bowl.
The boy scrunched up his nose so the freckles jumped from one side of his face to the other and then looked up at his Pa. He had to tilt his head back so far his neck cracked. "Do I haf'ta?"
Dan paused. He stared at his son. He stood then and walked to the door. A moment later he turned back. His fingers went to his face, and then he slowly drew them across his beardless chin. A moment later he dropped to his knees. "Yes."
"You better go, Is-ray-el," Mingo said as he watched Rebecca approach him, her eyes grown wide as the Cumberland Gap and blue as the highlights in his long silky shining black hair. 'We must do the thing we must before the thing we may; we are unfit for any trust till we can and do obey.' "
The boy's freckles migrated to his nose as he scrunched it up again. "What?"
"Go to your Pa, Israel. Listen to what he says," Becky was snapping the blades together so they sang a little tune. "He is Daniel Boone, you know."
The little boy's head fell to his chest as he headed for his pa. Then, suddenly, he noticed the feathers in Mingo's long hair. He ran out the door and back in again. "Pa! Pa! In'juns! In'juns!"
Dan reached out and caught him. He drew the boy to him and stared into his eyes. "That's Mingo, son. Seems you're a mite forgetful today."
"Now climb up on my knee and lay your head on my shoulder and try to look a mite endearin' while I talk to you."
Israel clambered up onto his lap and threw his arms about the big man's neck. His eyes sought his Ma again. She had retreated to the fire and was holding the stew-pot out with one hand. Mingo was crawling across the floor towards the food quoting something about it being the 'very ecstasy of love.' "
"Sometimes Mingo sure does talk funny, Pa. Is that cause he's an In'jun?"
"Now, son. I'm mighty glad you asked that question. That's just what I wanted to talk to you about. You see," Dan laid his head on the boy's and a few of the freckles rambled from Israel's nose onto his, "life's about respectin' those who are a mite different from us, even if it's mighty hard sometimes. Our red brothers are just like us - except for the fact that they wear paint and feathers in their hair and go around half-neked most of the time, and fire a lot of shot into the fort when they get riled and steal our women-folk when it takes their fancy." Dan paused and ran his hand over his chin again, chasing the freckles which were busy wandering about with a mind of their own. "And of course, they do talk a mite funny - not funny like Mingo - but funny. He uses too many articles, while they don't seem to know they exist." Dan sighed as the little boy frowned, attempting to become even more endearing. "And of course they have been known to put a man on a spit and forget they aren't roasting a pig. But other than that, we are all people and we have to have respect for one another and for the differences between our cultures. Now callin' someone an 'In'jun' son.... Well, that just isn't - "
Dan looked up to find a short-haired stranger leaning against the cabin wall wearing Mingo's clothes and eating his wife's stew. He stood up abruptly, dropping the boy, and cracked his head on the door-frame.
"Becky? What happened to Mingo? Who - "
Israel ran out of the door and back in. "Pa! Pa! In'juns! In - "
Dan's green eyes narrowed and his face got so stern a look on it that the roving freckles promptly ran back to their rightful owner.
Israel sighed. He scuffed his feet and crossed to the fire. A moment later he held up a lock of thick black hair decorated with a blue ribbon. He stared at the door, but decided this time to say it from where he was. "Pa! Pa! In'juns! Injuns! Somebody got scalped!"
Dan looked from his son to the stranger as he rubbed the sizeable knot developing on his head. "I've got a mighty powerful feelin' I've seen you somewhere before, Mister."
The elegant man before him smacked his lips and smiled. " 'Neither make thy friend equal to a brother; but if thou shalt have made him so, be not the first to do him wrong.' Dan'yel, it's me."
"Mingo! You're lookin' mighty suspicious. What happened to your hair?"
The Cherokee glanced at Rebecca. She was smiling. The stew pot was empty and the black locks lay safely tucked in her sewing basket.
" 'An over-payment of delight?' "
Suddenly a shadow fell across the doorway. Mingo and Dan glanced at one another. Rebecca drew a breath and her blue eyes went wide as the planet. Israel held his breath.
So did the freckles.
It was Cincinnatus. He had two mugs of ale in each hand, a hat on his head and a fire in his eyes. "Dan'l..." He glanced at Mingo. "Oh, I didn't know you had company."
The Cherokee approached him and took one of the pints. "It's me, Cincinnatus," he laughed, " 'a fellow that makes no figure in company, and has a mind as narrow as the neck of a vinegar-cruet.' "
"Mingo?" Cincinnatus pale eyes narrowed. "What?"
Mingo smiled as he accepted the last bowl of stew from Rebecca. Her blue eyes gleamed as she eyed his remaining hair.
"What is it, Cincinnatus? You look a mite upset."
The tavern-keeper drew a deep breath as Mingo took another mug from him. "There's In'juns in the woods, Dan'l. And Red-coats. I think Jericho said he saw a few trappers and bounty-hunters as well. It's hard to tell one from the other since none of us in Boonesborough seem to have a sense of smell."
Dan paused. He walked to the door, glanced out it, and then turned back. His fingers went to his face and then he slowly drew them across his beardless chin. He stared at Cincinnatus and then dropped to his knees. "Come and sit here on my lap....."
"There's no time for that, I tell you, Dan'l! The fort is in danger! We're surrounded! There are arrows and lead balls flyin' everywhere! You have to do somethin'!"
Becky caught her husband's arm and made him look into her blue eyes which were now so big he had the passin' thought of strippin' off his shirt and taking a swim in them. "After all," she said, "you are Daniel Boone."
Mingo tucked the empty bowl into his waist-line and reached for another pint. "I assume, Dan'yel, that you have a plan."
The big man kissed his wife and placed the coonskin cap on his head. He winked at his son and slung Tick Licker over his shoulder.
"I just might."
On to Chapter Two....