Fools Crow

Fools Crow

by

James Welch

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Fools Crow can help.

Fools Crow: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At dawn, the Pikunis attack the village of Bull Shield. As he rides through the village, White Man’s Dog fires his many-shots gun, killing a man standing in the entrance of a lodge. Suddenly, White Man’s Dog sees a strong and beautiful black horse tied to a lodgepole. He takes it, firing a shot into the tipi nearby. A man comes out with a hand gun, and he knows that it is Bull Shield. White Man’s Dog sees Fox Eyes appear just as he hears a loud bang and a pain in his side. 
Bull Shield has outgunned White Man’s Dog and shot him. It is only Fox Eyes appearance that distracts Bull Shield long enough for White Man’s Dog to recover and kill and Bull Shield.
Themes
War Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog falls, and he sees Fox Eyes ride down on Bull Shield so that he can kill him close. Bull Shield fires the gun and Fox Eyes falls dead at his feet. Bull Shield advances and White Man’s Dog shoots him three times. He falls dead. As White Man’s Dog assesses his own injury, Rides-at-the-door appears. “Take his hair, son,” he says. 
Rides-at-the-door tells White Man’s Dog to take Bull Shield’s hair not only as evidence of White Man’s Dog’s courage and bravery, but to disrupt Bull Shield’s exiting spirit and his journey to the afterlife, further punishing him for Yellow Kidney’s torture. 
Themes
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
After taking his enemy’s scalp, White Man’s Dog climbs up onto the black horse (his own horse is nowhere to be found) and rides next to Rides-at-the-door, who smiles at his proudly. White Man’s Dog looks at the scalp in his hand and vomits.
White Man’s Dog vomits because, like Fox Eyes, he can’t tolerate the violence of war. He has no desire to avenge and kill—he would rather go home to Red Paint.
Themes
War Theme Icon
The next day, far away from the Crow camp, White Man’s Dog and Rides-at-the-door ride behind the covered bodies of Fox Eyes and Lone Medicine Person, another Pikuni chief. There are six others dead, thirteen unaccounted for, and seven badly wounded. As they ride, a few of the men light fire to the valley behind them. “Now we make the Crows cry twice,” one warrior says. “Their blackhorns will leave them and become someone else’s meat.” 
Because of the band’s need to avenge Yellow Kidney’s torture, the lives and families of nearly thirty men have been irreversibly affected. White Man’s Dog has already admitted that Yellow Kidney’s life was not worth the horses they stole, yet they continue to war. In this way, Welch implies that the Pikuni way of life cannot be sustained through constant warring.
Themes
War Theme Icon
Get the entire Fools Crow LitChart as a printable PDF.
Fools Crow PDF
The warriors bury the bodies and place Fox Eyes beneath a ledge on a tan rock high up a cliff. As White Man’s Dog watches, he thinks about Sun Chief hiding his face and Fox Eyes riding to Bull Shield when he had a clear shot from a distance. Fox Eyes could have easily killed Bull Shield. White Man’s Dog believes that Fox Eyes wanted to die. After all, “only great chiefs die when Sun hides his face.”
When Fox Eyes rides up on Bull Shield to kill him up close, he gives White Man’s Dog the much-needed time to recover from being knocked to the ground. Fox Eyes would rather die than continue to war and kill when he has no desire to, and this way, his act ensures that White Man’s Dog will survive as well.
Themes
War Theme Icon
Related Quotes