Ahmik stood apart from the rest of his tribe, in many ways. He was tall, handsome and well-muscled. He was also chaste, a most unusual trait. For days at a time, he would think about Kijik, because he wanted only her for his wife. Since she did not encourage his interest, he was content to wait.
Someday, he thought, she will come to her senses and see that I’m the only man good enough for her.
In the meantime, there were wars to be fought against the Sioux, and alliances to be maintained with the Potawatomi and the Ottawas. His part was to meet the new emissary, when he arrives. Not having seen a man with pale skin before, he was not sure how to greet the stranger.
Maybe I should salute him as a great warrior, or even a god, he pondered to himself, or, maybe he’s just a man as I am a man – no more, no less. Then I shall greet him as a brother, he concluded.
At this point in his deliberations, a few of the children came running up to him and tried to tell him in their breathless way that a single man in a canoe was approaching the shore of the lake.
“Later, Kijik, I’ll think about you later,” he muttered aloud. “Military matters before mating.”
And he went forward to greet his guest.