Fools Crow

Fools Crow

by

James Welch

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White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow Character Analysis

A young Pikuni of the Lone Eaters’ band and the protagonist of Fools Crow. He is also the son of Rides-at-the-door and Double Strike Woman, the brother of Running Fisher, and eventual husband to Red Paint. Fools Crow is first introduced as White Man’s Dog, an “unlucky” and awkward youth on the cusp of manhood. He proves himself during Yellow Kidney’s horse raid on the enemy Crows, and soon grows into a respected and wealthy member of the tribe. White Man’s Dog serves as Mik-api’s apprentice and learns the magic of the many-faces man, later successfully employing his healing magic when Red Paint’s brother, One Spot, is mauled by a rabid wolf. He assists Mik-api in other acts of healing as well, including when the white-scabs disease devastates their camp. White Man’s Dog is renamed Fools Crow at a naming ceremony after he tricks Bull Shield by pretending to be dead before killing him, but Fools Crow knows that his new name is a lie: he’d never intended to trick Bull Shield (he’d simply lost his balance after being shot). As a warrior, Fools Crow grows disillusioned with the violence of war, and he feels that the risks—Yellow Kidney’s capture and torture, his own killing of a young night-rider, and the death of Fox Eyes—outweigh any benefits of war. Fools Crow is also troubled by the invading Napikwans and the growing hostility of the blue-coat seizers, and after Red Paint becomes pregnant with their son, Sleep-bringer, Fools Crow completely loses his taste for war. Instead of fighting, he embarks on a vision quest to discover how to best save his people from the invading Napikwans, and with the help of his spirit animal, Skunk Bear, Fools Crow finds himself in the magical world of Feather Woman, who paints upon a mysterious yellow hide. In this yellow hide, Fools Crow sees the devastation of the Pikuni people; their slaughter at the hands of the seizers, their decimation by the white-scabs disease, and their subsequent assimilation into white, European culture. Feather Woman reminds Fools Crow of the power of storytelling in the preservation of Pikuni culture. By the end of the novel, Fools Crow and his family move north, away from the seizers and disease, determined to live their way of life to the best of their abilities.

White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow Quotes in Fools Crow

The Fools Crow quotes below are all either spoken by White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow or refer to White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Fools Crow published in 1986.
Chapter 1 Quotes

White Man’s Dog raised his eyes to the west and followed the Backbone of the World from south to north until he could pick out Chief Mountain. It stood a little apart from the other mountains, not as tall as some but strong, its square granite face a landmark to all who passed. But it was more than a landmark to the Pikunis, Kainahs, and Siksikas, the three tribes of the Blackfeet, for it was on top of Chief Mountain that the blackhorn skull pillows of the great warriors still lay. On those skulls Eagle Head and Iron Breast had dreamed their visions in the long-ago, and the animal helpers had made them strong in spirit and fortunate in war.

Related Characters: White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

[White Man’s Dog] had never touched the body of a woman. His friends teased him and called him dog-lover. […] [A friend] offered White Man’s dog some of his Liars’ Medicine to make himself attractive but it did no good. Even the bad girls who hung around the forts wanted nothing to do with him. Because he did not own a fine gun and a strong horse they ignored him.

Related Characters: White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

[White Man’s Dog] pulled back the entrance skin and saw several dark shapes around the perimeter of the lodge. As his eyes adjusted, he saw that the shapes weren’t breathing. Then, opposite him, of the shapes lifted its sleeping robe and he saw that it was a young white-faced girl. She beckoned to him, and in fright he turned to leave. But as he turned away he looked back and saw that the girl’s eyes desired him. Then all the dark shapes began to move and he saw that they were all young girls, naked and with the same look in their eyes. The white-faced girl stood and held out her arms and White Man’s Dog moved toward her. It was at this point that he would wake up.

Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

[White Man’s Dog] prayed to Sun Chief, who watched over the Pikunis and all the things of this world. Then he dropped his head and made a vow. He vowed that if he was successful and returned home unharmed, he would sacrifice before the Medicine Pole at the next Sun Dance. Finally, he sang his war song, his voice low and distinct. When he lifted his head he saw that the other men had painted their faces. Yellow Kidney had painted the left half of his face white with a series of small blue dots in a familiar pattern. Seven Persons, thought White Man’s Dog.

Related Symbols: Seven Persons
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

White Man’s Dog had settled down into the routine of the winter camp but there were days when he longed to travel, to experience the excitement of entering enemy country. Sometimes he even thought of looking for Yellow Kidney. In some ways he felt responsible, at least partially so, for the horse-taker’s disappearance. When he slept he tried to will himself to dream about Yellow Kidney. Once he dreamed about Red Old Man’s Butte and the war lodge there, but Yellow Kidney was not in it. The country between the Two Medicine River and the Crow camp on the Bighorn was as vast as the sky, and to try to find one man, without a sign, would be impossible. And so he waited for a sign.

Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

But [White Man’s Dog] killed many animals on his solitary hunts and he left many of them outside the lodge of Heavy Shield Woman. Sometimes he left a whole blackhorn there, for only the blackhorn could provide for all the needs of a family. Although the women possessed kettles and steel knives, they still preferred to make spoons and dippers out of the horns of the blackhorn. They used the hair of the head and heard to make braided halters and bridles and soft-padded saddles. They used the hooves to make rattles or glue, and the tails to swat flies. And they dressed the dehaired skins to make lodge covers and linings and clothes and winding cloths. Without the blackhorn, the Piknuis would be as sad as the little bigmouths who howled all night.

Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

“It surprises you that I speak the language of the two-leggeds. It’s easy, for I have lived among you many times in my travel. I speak many languages. I converse with the blackhorns and the real-bears and the wood-biters. Bigmouth and I discuss many things.” Raven made a face. “I even deign to speak once in a while with the swift silver people who live in the water—but they are dumb and lead lives without interest. I myself am very wise. That is why Mik-api treats me to a smoke now and then.”

Related Characters: Raven (speaker), White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow, Mik-api
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

White Man’s Dog looked into the wrinkled face and tried to read the emotions there. For while the lips were curved into a smile, the eyes had become wet. It was as though Mad Plume remembered Little Dog both fondly and sadly. Yet there was something else there, something in the way the lips trembled, as though he wanted to say something more. White Man’s Dog remember the reason given for the killing of Little Dog, and now he wondered if some part of Mad Plume not only understood that reason but perhaps condoned it. The killers of Little Dog felt the head chief had put the interests of the Napikwans before those of the Pikunis. It was he who betrayed the people.

Page Number: 97-8
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

“It is good to see you again, brother,” [Skunk Bear] said. “I have got myself caught again and there is no one around but you.”

“But why is it so white, Skunk Bear?” White Man’s Dog had to shield his eyes from the glare.

“That’s the way it is now. All the breathing things are gone—except for us. But hurry, brother, for I feel my strength slipping away.”

Related Characters: White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow (speaker), Skunk Bear (speaker)
Related Symbols: The White Stone
Page Number: 119-20
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

In six days White Man’s Dog would ride with the war party against the Crows. As she rubbed her neck and looked off to the Sweet Grass Hills, she felt again the dread that came whenever she allowed herself to think. She had tried to stay busy, but even a momentary lapse in concentration allowed that dreaded thought to steal through her whole body. She knew that war parties were part of a man’s life and she knew that she should be proud that White Man’s Dog had been selected to count coup on behalf of her father, Yellow Kidney. But it was because of Yellow Kidney that she felt so fearful.

Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

White Man’s Dog stood and watched the burial and thought of the afternoon a few days before when Sun Chief hid his face. And he thought of Fox Eyes riding down on Bull Shield instead of taking the simple shot that would have killed the Crow. White Man’s Dog couldn’t shake the feeling that Fox Eyes knew he was going to die, perhaps even wanted to. Only great chiefs died when Sun hid his face.

Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

“You saw our war party attack the camp of Bull Shield!”

“Oh, yes. You killed twenty-three men. Alas, you also killed six women and one child.” Raven sighed. “Such is war.”

“Then you saw me kill the two warriors!” Fools Crow exclaimed. “You saw me trick Bull Shield!”

Raven reached down and picked at the silver bracelet. It jingled on the rock, the tiny sound echoing around the basin. “I don’t think you fooled him, do you? The one you got your name for?”

Fools Crow felt his face grow hot with shame. “I fell,” he said weakly. “I thought I had been shot. I had been shot, but…”

Related Characters: White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow (speaker), Raven (speaker), Bull Shield
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

[Red Paint] sat back on her heels and watched the slippery swimmer that had stationed himself in an eddy behind a yellow rock. […] She had been tempted for three days now to catch him and taste his flesh. Her own people scorned those who ate the underwater swimmers, but she had a cousin who had married into the Fish Eaters band of the Siksikas, and he had become fond of the silver creatures. […] Today she would make a bone hook. She would catch him for Fools Crow. In the solitude of the Backbone they would taste the flesh of this swimmer together.

Page Number: 169-70
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

The thought came into [Fools Crow’s] mind without warning, the sudden understanding of what Fast Horse found so attractive in running with Owl Child. It was this freedom from responsibility, from accountability to the group, that was so alluring. As long as one thought himself as part of the group, he would be responsible to and for that group. If one cut ties, he had the freedom to roam, to think only of himself and not worry about the consequences of his actions. So it was for Owl Child and Fast Horse to roam. And so it was for the Pikunis to suffer.

Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 33 Quotes

“I do not fear for my people now. As you say, we will go to a happier place, far from the Napikwans, this disease and starvation. But I grieve for our children and their children, who will not know the life their people once lived. I see them on the yellow skin and they are dressed like Napikwans, they watch the Napikwans and learn much from them, but they are not happy. They lose their own way.”

“Much will be lost to them,” said Feather Woman. “But they will know the way it was. The stories will be handed down, and they will see that their people were proud and lived in accordance with the Below Ones, the Underwater People—and the Above Ones.”

Related Characters: White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow (speaker), So-at-sa-ki/Feather Woman (speaker)
Page Number: 362-3
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 35 Quotes

“We must think of our children,” [Fools Crow] said. He lowered his eyes to the red puppy and it was quiet all around. The few survivors stared at the red puppy, who had rolled onto his back, his front legs tucked against his chest. They had no children.

Related Characters: White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow (speaker)
Page Number: 388
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Fools Crow LitChart as a printable PDF.
Fools Crow PDF

White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow Character Timeline in Fools Crow

The timeline below shows where the character White Man’s Dog/Fools Crow appears in Fools Crow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog is “restless” as Cold Maker churns the dark clouds in the distant northern sky. In... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
At eighteen winters, White Man’s Dog has little wealth and no tribal respect. Unlike his father, Rides-at-the-door, who has three wives... (full context)
War Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog thinks of his father’s youngest wife, Kills-close-to-the-lake, and the way she looks at him. He... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog looks to the sky and watches as Seven Persons rises high above Chief Mountain. Despite... (full context)
Chapter 2
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
The next day, Fast Horse approaches White Man’s Dog . Despite being one winter younger than White Man’s Dog, Fast Horse teases him tirelessly... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...which his father inherited from the wood-biter. Fast Horse has convinced Yellow Kidney to allow White Man’s Dog to come along to cook and tend to the horses. Yellow Kidney believes that White... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog is hesitant to join the party. He does not have Fast Horse’s medicine (his father’s... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Fast Horse tells White Man’s Dog that Mik-api, a powerful many-faces man, has strong medicine and has agreed to perform a... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Later that night, Rides-at-the-door notes that White Man’s Dog is in better spirits than he has been for some time. Rides-at-the-door fears his elder... (full context)
Chapter 3
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Yellow Kidney looks up to Seven Persons as he waits for Fast Horse and White Man’s Dog . The raid party, consisting of four other men, has gathered and is ready to... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...many-shots gun; the others are armed with only bows and knives. As Fast Horse and White Man’s Dog approach, Yellow Kidney is struck by two main concerns—White Man’s Dog is “unlucky” and Fast... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
...the party reaches the land of many enemies and must switch to travelling at night. White Man’s Dog thinks of the dream that he has had the last three nights in a row.... (full context)
Chapter 4
War Theme Icon
...turn the party back at the first sign of trouble or bad luck. Surprisingly, despite White Man’s Dog ’s reputation for being unlucky, Yellow Kidney is encouraged by his steadiness and calmness. (full context)
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Meanwhile, White Man’s Dog examines a small pouch of yellow pigment given to him by Mik-api. Before setting out... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Meanwhile, White Man’s Dog readies himself for the raid. He dips his fingers into the yellow paint just as... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...their way toward the Crow camp. Yellow Kidney points out the Crow horses and instructs White Man’s Dog to take the other young warriors down to the valley and secure as many horses... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
For the first time, White Man’s Dog feels the responsibility of his charge and he orders the younger men down the valley... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Suddenly, a night-rider comes down the valley and White Man’s Dog fears that they will be discovered stealing the horses. He approaches the rider in the... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...their separate ways, steal a buffalo-runner, and head to Woman Don’t Walk Butte to meet White Man’s Dog and the others with the horses. As Fast Horse an Eagle Ribs head off in... (full context)
Chapter 5
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...secured over one hundred and fifty Crow horses, but Cold Maker has made travel difficult. White Man’s Dog has again dreamt of the white-faced girl, and he is growing concerned because Yellow Kidney... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...divides the horses up between the men, giving Yellow Kidney (or his widow) the most. White Man’s Dog returns home to his family. His mother, Double Strike Woman, is thankful for his return,... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog settles into the routine of winter, but he longs for excitement and adventure. He considers... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
At times, White Man’s Dog hunts alone, and he kills many animals. He has begun to bring Heavy Shield Woman... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog has not spoken to Fast Horse since the raid, and Boss Ribs fears that a... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog offers to help Fast Horse hunt blackhorns so that he can fulfil his vow to... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Meanwhile, White Man’s Dog gives five of his best horses to Mik-api and visits the old man frequently. Mik-api... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
 Later, Mik-api tells White Man’s Dog about a dream he had. In this dream, Raven came down from the Backbone of... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...children. One Spot and Good Young Man have become unruly, and Red Paint worries that White Man’s Dog will grow tired of providing them with meat. (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Up on Chief Mountain, White Man’s Dog sets out searching for the four-legged caught in the trap. He thinks that it is... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog quickly frees the wolverine from trap. Raven instructs him to feed Skunk Bear some of... (full context)
Chapter 7
War Theme Icon
Later, White Man’s Dog visits with Mik-api. Winter is over, and he is excited to go to the trading... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog tells Mik-api about his dreams of the white-faced girl. After a purifying sweat, Mik-api performs... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog asks Mik-api how he became a many-faces man. Mik-api tells him that as a young... (full context)
Chapter 8
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...robes and discovered that she was covered with white-scabs disease. “My dream! My dream!” yells White Man’s Dog . (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
As the crowd disperses, Three Bears approaches Rides-at-the-door. The chief noticed White Man’s Dog leaving in the middle of Yellow Kidney’s story, and he wants to know why. Rides-at-the-door... (full context)
Chapter 9
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
The next day, Rides-at-the-door asks White Man’s Dog about his behavior during Yellow Kidney’s story. White Man’s Dog tells his father that he... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Rides-at-the-door reassures White Man’s Dog . There is no telling what Yellow Kidney would have done; they were close to... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog tells Rides-at-the-door that he initially blamed Fast Horse for Yellow Kidney’s disappearance, but now he... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Meanwhile, White Man’s Dog has been ordered by Three Bears to deliver the news of Yellow Kidney’s return to... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog is not interested in Little Bird Woman, and while Kills-close-to-the-lake frequently looks at him, he... (full context)
War Theme Icon
As White Man’s Dog leaves for his journey, Running Fisher notices how his brother has changed. Now, he envies... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Over the next few days, White Man’s Dog visits three Pikuni bands: the Black Doors, the Small Robes, and Crow Foot’s people. He... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
The next day, White Man’s Dog visits the Black Patched Moccasins near the Bear River. The band had previously been the... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog arrives at the lodge of Mad Plume, who presents the Otter Medicine bundle at the... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog suspects that Mad Plume condones the killing of Little Dog. The people felt that Little... (full context)
Chapter 10
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Back at the Lone Eaters’ camp, White Man’s Dog returns as Sun Chief ends his journey. He has taken longer than expected, but his... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog sees Heavy Shield Woman and Red Paint in the crowd, and he notices Red Paint... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Later, Mik-api tells White Man’s Dog that he has recently been to Yellow Kidney’s lodge and that he has expressed his... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Back at White Man’s Dog ’s lodge, Double Strike Woman is upset that her son does not want to marry... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Four days later White Man’s Dog ’s family and Red Paint’s family gather to exchange gifts. Rides-at-the-door presents his son with... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
During the celebration, White Man’s Dog takes a walk outside and looks up for Seven Persons, but he can’t see it.... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
The next day, White Man’s Dog wakes at dawn with a terrible dread. In the distance he can hear a single... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Later that day, Mik-api and two other men paint White Man’s Dog ’s skin white with double rows of black dots going down his arms and legs.... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
At the pole, White Man’s Dog thanks Sun Chief for assisting him during his raid on the Crows. He asks for... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
That night, White Man’s Dog sleeps by himself beneath the stars. He watches Seven Persons in the night sky and... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Skunk Bear is near the river, again caught in a Napikwan trap. White Man’s Dog asks the animal why it is so white. “That’s the way it is now,” he... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
As White Man’s Dog turns to leave, he sees a figure in white fur by the river. It is... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
The next morning, White Man’s Dog wakes in the grass. As he stands and adjusts his robes, a small white stone... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Later, as Mountain Chief stands to make an announcement, White Man’s Dog sees Owl Child and Fast Horse in the distance. Mountain Chief tells the bands that... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
As White Man’s Dog ’s family prepares to move camp, he sees Kills-close-to-the-lake. He has not seen her at... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Kills-close-to-the-lake tells White Man’s Dog that she had a dream about him. She describes the white river and tells him... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...“lighter.” She found the white stone that had been her finger and placed it where White Man’s Dog slept. As Kills-close-to-the-lake leaves White Man’s Dog, he takes out the stone and rubs it,... (full context)
Chapter 11
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Shortly after the Sun Dance, Red Paint works fleshing blackhorn hides. In six days, White Man’s Dog will ride with the war party against the Crows. She knows that war is a... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...before riding to Crow territory. Rides-at-the-door is worried that Crow Foot will be angry that White Man’s Dog did not want to marry Little Bird Woman, but she has been married to the... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog and Red Paint talk during the celebration. White Man’s Dog admits that he is scared... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...Ones for all his warriors to return home safe, and he tells the warriors that White Man’s Dog will ride in place of Yellow Kidney and draw first blood. Fox Eyes thinks back... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
On the fourth day, just as the party arrives north of the Elk River, White Man’s Dog looks to the Day Star and thinks that it is very bright. The sky then... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...now. A scout rides in from the valley, and Fox Eyes goes to meet him. White Man’s Dog notices that the scout is Eagle Ribs. He looks to Running Fisher, who is obviously... (full context)
Chapter 12
War Theme Icon
...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,... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog falls, and he sees Fox Eyes ride down on Bull Shield so that he can... (full context)
War 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... (full context)
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... (full context)
War Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 13
War Theme Icon
...outline of her husband’s wound with her finger—thankfully, his injury is not serious. “Wake up, Fools Crow ,” she says. He opens his eyes. He had forgotten all about the naming ceremony. (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
At a celebration the night before, White Man’s Dog was renamed Fools Crow—because he had tricked Bull Shield by pretending to be dead before... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Fools Crow notices a group of Napikwans riding toward camp, and then he sees the blue-coat seizers.... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Fools Crow is upset by this news and wonders if Fast Horse is still riding with Owl... (full context)
Chapter 14
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Fools Crow shoots a white bighorn, which falls down the side of the mountain. He and Red... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Fools Crow and Red Paint have been on the Backbone for eighteen sleeps. They wouldn’t be able... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Suddenly, Raven arrives just as a real-bear drags off Fools Crow ’s bighorn. Raven says that he has just flown over the Crows’ camp, and when... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Raven points out that Fools Crow didn’t really trick Bull Shield, and that the Lone Eaters only think he did. Fools... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
...to do this; “her people scorn those who eat the underwater swimmers.” She thinks about Fools Crow —he had tossed and turned most of the night. (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
As Fools Crow watches from a distance he senses that something is wrong. The Napikwan sees Fools Crow... (full context)
Chapter 16
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Fools Crow goes out hunting alone. As he thinks about the Napikwans and the seizers, he wonders... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Fools Crow sits in Boss Ribs’s lodge and stares at the Beaver Medicine bundle. “[It] is the... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Boss Ribs tells Fools Crow about two orphan brothers, Akaiyan and Nopatsis. Akaiyan lived with Nopatsis and his wife, who... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
After Boss Ribs finishes the story, he begs Fools Crow to find Fast Horse. “Find him and bring him back,” Boss Ribs says. “I will... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Fools Crow is tracking Fast Horse. As he rides away from the Lone Eaters’ camp and across... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Fools Crow soon arrives at the camp of the Many Chiefs and heads towards Mountain Chief’s lodge.... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Fools Crow tells Mountain Chief about the seizers who came to the Lone Eaters’ camp looking for... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...Grass Woman is the camp gossip, and she has just told Double Strike Woman that Fools Crow has gone off to look for Fast Horse. She is irritated that her son did... (full context)
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...is shocked when she discovers her near-son with his near-mother. After all, she had suspected Fools Crow of behaving inappropriately with Kills-close-to-the-lake, not Running Fisher. She will tell Rides-at-the-door tonight, she thinks. (full context)
Chapter 20
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Three days after leaving Mountain Chief’s camp, Fools Crow travels cautiously through Napikwan country. Several ranches line the river and the bluffs, and Fools... (full context)
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Fools Crow rides down to the buildings at dusk. He finds a dead dog near the corral;... (full context)
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...useless. He considers leaving, and this thought does not cause him pain. He knows that Fools Crow will look after his sons and make sure that they grow into men, and he... (full context)
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As Fast Horse approaches, Fools Crow grows acutely aware that they are not friends anymore: “They had chosen different lives, and... (full context)
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Fools Crow tells Fast Horse that he has just come from the ranch and that he knows... (full context)
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Fast Horse tells Fools Crow that he has been betrayed by Cold Maker. Cold Maker had promised to make him... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Fools Crow enters the lodge, surprising Mik-api. Raven had told Mik-api that Fools Crow was out looking... (full context)
Chapter 23
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In the meantime, Fools Crow and Good Young Man return from hunting, and Red Paint runs to tell them about... (full context)
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Fools Crow asks One Spot if he remembers the story of Poia, or Scar Face. One Spot... (full context)
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...his eyes have a blank expression. Mik-api is away from camp visiting another tribe, but Fools Crow remembers a ritual that he had taught him. He quickly wraps One Spot in a... (full context)
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Fools Crow stays awake all night beating a small drum and chanting. Hours later, Good Young Man... (full context)
Chapter 28
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That night, Fools Crow is unable to sleep. He thinks about the men’s conversation earlier in the evening, in... (full context)
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...camp or move, and unable to reach a consensus, they are now at an impasse. Fools Crow notes that it is “as though the men had decided, individually and without thinking about... (full context)
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Fools Crow is troubled that they have made no decisions and knows that no matter what, their... (full context)
Chapter 29
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The next morning, Red Paint wakes to find Fools Crow has painted his face, but it is not war paint. He tells his wife that... (full context)
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Fools Crow sets out on horseback. His dreams have instructed him to ride for three days and... (full context)
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Fools Crow sees a small lodge in the valley, which he senses he is supposed to approach.... (full context)
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Later, Fools Crow raises his head from the sleeping platform. There is a dog nearby, and Fools Crow... (full context)
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Suddenly, Fools Crow is in a meadow full of four-leggeds. He walks quietly through the animals, which don’t... (full context)
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Fools Crow senses that he should follow and enters a cold, dark tunnel. He sings the song... (full context)
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A woman in a plain doeskin dress watches as Fools Crow sleeps. She is unadorned and wears no jewelry; even her moccasins are plain. The dog... (full context)
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When Fools Crow s wakes, he is surrounded by nothing but sand. The sun is still high in... (full context)
Chapter 31
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The woman in white approaches Fools Crow . He notices her short hair, like the hair of mourners, and asks if he... (full context)
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...is plain and unadorned just as she is, and her tobacco is good and sweet. Fools Crow notices a digging stick standing in the corner and feels strangely content. As he sits... (full context)
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Fools Crow wakes “to the blue light of false dawn.” The walls of the lodge and all... (full context)
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As Fools Crow exits the lodge, he hears the cries of winter geese. He is convinced that his... (full context)
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Fools Crow sees the woman in a clearing. She is sitting on the ground and her hands... (full context)
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Fools Crow approaches the woman and asks if she is all right. “I was digging turnips,” she... (full context)
Chapter 32
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As Kills-close-to-the-lake listens to her punishment, her thoughts wander to Fools Crow . “She would have gladly committed this offense with him and accepted the punishment,” but... (full context)
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...men, he lingered on the outskirts, alone with his shame. He has grown to resent Fools Crow for his wealth and respect, and it is “with great effort” that he keeps from... (full context)
Chapter 33
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Fools Crow is confused and stares at the woman, and then, suddenly, he understands. “Feather Woman!” he... (full context)
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Feather Woman begins to tell Fools Crow her story. One morning, she went out to dig turnips after her mother-in-law, Red Night... (full context)
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...Now there is sickness, hunger, war, and Napikwans, and the people do not mourn her. Fools Crow tells her that she should be proud of her son, Poia—he has given the people... (full context)
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Fools Crow looks to the yellow hide and again sees nothing. Suddenly, a faint picture begins to... (full context)
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A new scene begins to form on the hide, and Fools Crow sees the shapes of riders and horses. The figures ride through a snowy valley and... (full context)
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Another scene appears. Fools Crow is staring at the land of the Lone Eaters’ camp, only the camp is not... (full context)
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Near the entrance to the building, Fools Crow sees a horse and wagon pulling several wooden boxes. He suspects that the boxes hold... (full context)
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The scene disappears, and Fools Crow thinks that he has seen enough. Once more, a new picture begins to form, and... (full context)
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“You have seen something,” says Feather Woman. Fools Crow confirms and says that his hope is “futile.” There is nothing he can do for... (full context)
Chapter 34
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...Lone Eaters fall ill, several families head in the direction of the Four Horns agency. Fools Crow has since returned from his vision quest, and he helps Mik-api and Boss Ribs tend... (full context)
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On the fifth day of the outbreak, Fools Crow finds Boss Ribs staring at the Beaver Medicine bundle, which has been emptied of most... (full context)
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...to the camp, her mother had appeared emotionless. She feels guilty over her happiness with Fools Crow —she would gladly give it all up to have her life back the way it... (full context)
Chapter 35
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On the thirteenth day of the outbreak, Fools Crow and Rides-at-the-door walked through camp counting the sick and dead. They pass many mourners and... (full context)
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At Heavy Shield Woman’s lodge, Good Young Man quietly dies. Fools Crow had performed a healing ritual the day before, but he could not help the boy.... (full context)
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The next day is clear and cold, and the hunting party finally departs. Fools Crow and the others ride down the valley and soon come across the winter camp of... (full context)
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The men ride for days and see no signs of game. As Fools Crow stares blankly down the valley, he sees movement in the distance. He can tell that... (full context)
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Fools Crow immediately senses that something is wrong. He feels instant guilt; he had told no one... (full context)
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As Fools Crow rides up to Heavy Runner’s camp, he tries to brace himself for what he is... (full context)
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As Fools Crow looks around, a few survivors emerge from the tree line. He suddenly realizes that there... (full context)
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Fools Crow asks if there are any other survivors. There are some, they say, but most of... (full context)
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Fools Crow thinks of the last scene on the yellow skin in which the Napikwan children played... (full context)
Chapter 36
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A procession begins with Mik-api at the front. Fools Crow and Red Paint, with a cradleboard on her back, wait to join. The elders join... (full context)
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...frail to make the journey remain in the camp. As thunder rolls in the distance, Fools Crow thinks of Feather Woman, and he knows that she is watching. As they walk, he... (full context)