When my great-grandfather,
Ebeneezer Williams was eleven
years old, he was herding a dozen
cattle from one mountain area
to another where there was better
feed, and he was surrounded by
a band of Indians.
I never found out what tribe they
were. Some sources said Apache,
but other of my relatives insist that
they were Utes.
In any case, they bound his hands
with rawhide rope and forced him
to march along with them as they
proceeded to drive their stolen
cattle far away from where they
had taken them.
Young 'Eb', as he was called,
did not understand anything
they said to him, as none
apparently spoke any English,
but he had nothing but bad feelings
about their intentions for him.
Escape seemed impossible, but
Eb decided that perhaps death
would be better than whatever
they had in store for him.
The trail they followed led near
a river, swollen and rushing from
a recent springtime rain. Eb waited
for the right time, and when a
cougar suddenly screamed from
the forest away from the river,
and all his captors looked in
that direction, he leaped into
the rushing river.
He did not expect to survive,
as his hands were still bound,
but as he was swept downstream,
in just a few seconds, the water
loosened the rawhide and he was
able to get his wrists free.
By the time he got his head
above water, the cattle and
his captors were no longer
His knee and his shoulder
had been banged against
some big rocks before his
hands got free, but he was
otherwise all right.
A couple of miles downstream,
he was able to crawl out of the
river and make his way back
to the homestead.
Their cattle were never recovered,
but the family was thrilled that
Eb was back home and safe.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem