Gateway to the Classics: Davy Crockett by Frank Lee beals
Davy Crockett by  Frank Lee beals

Five Strange Friends

B EXAR, the destination of the three men, was almost three hundred miles southwest. They pushed steadily on. Travel on the open prairie was a new experience for Davy.

Thimblerig was a different person. He now sat erect in his saddle. He wore his tall, white hat at a jaunty angle. He carried his rifle as though he had always carried one.

"He has found himself," said Bee Hunter to Davy.

"There is hope for a man who fights for a good cause," said Davy.

"You have a motto," said Thimblerig. "It is `Go ahead.' "

"Yes," answered Davy. "My motto is, 'Be sure you are right, then go ahead.' Sometimes I may not make up my mind quickly, but when I do, I go ahead."

"I am taking it for my motto, too," said Thimblerig.

"You'll never find a better one," answered Davy.

The problem of food and shelter did not bother the three companions. From time to time they killed wild game. At night, they camped on the open prairie. Whenever they could, they stopped at a settler's cabin along the way.

One day near sunset they came to a cabin.

"Hello!" Davy called.

An old woman came to the door. She looked at the three men.

"May we spend the night in your cabin?" Davy asked.

"I have very little," she answered, "but I will share whatever I have with you."

"Do you need food?" Davy asked.

The old woman nodded.

"My friends," and Davy pointed toward his two companions, "will go out and bring in some game."

Bee Hunter and Thimblerig were gone for a short time. They returned with some game.

Thimblerig went out to hobble the horses. He called to Davy who was in the cabin. "Two strange men are coming this way. I wonder who they are?"

Davy stepped outside the door of the cabin.

"They are rough looking men," said Davy.

One of the men wore a sailor's round jacket. His face was almost covered with whiskers. His long, black hair hung to his shoulders. A deep scar showed on one of his cheeks. There was another scar on the back of his right hand.

The other man was a young Indian. He was dressed in a deerskin suit much like that worn by Davy.

Both men carried hunting knives and rifles. The sailor walked with a short, rolling gait. The young Indian moved quietly with cat-like steps.

Bee Hunter stepped out of the cabin and stood beside Davy.

"Well, if it isn't Pirate and Red Fox," said Bee Hunter.

"Do you know these men?" questioned Davy.

"Know them? They are friends of mine."

"Hello, Bee Hunter," called the sailor.

"Where are you going?" asked Bee Hunter.

"We are on our way to Bexar," said Pirate.

"Do you intend to walk all the way?" asked Davy after he and Thimblerig had been introduced to the two men.

"We will have to walk unless we can pick up some horses on the way," answered Pirate.

The old woman prepared the game and the five men sat down to eat it. As they ate they talked about Texas.

"What is everyone waiting for?" asked Pirate. "They should be fighting now. They are wasting time. The Mexicans will not wait."

"You are right," said Davy. "But before they can win this fight the people must be united. To be strong, people must work together."

At dawn next day the five men were on their way. The old lady watched them as they moved off across the prairie.

"Independence! Liberty! Freedom! Bee Hunter told me about all of you," she said aloud to herself. "A pirate of Lafitte's crew, a young Indian, a gambler, and a bee hunter—all ready to give their lives that others may be free!"

With her wrinkled old hands she pushed the strands of hair from her face and added, "And Davy Crockett of Tennessee is leading you. Fight! Fight! Honor and glory will be yours!"

When the men stopped to prepare the noonday meal, Pirate said, "We cannot keep up with you. You go on. We will meet you at the Alamo in Bexar."

"We may beat you there," said Red Fox, "because we are going to leave right now. See you at the Alamo."

Without another word Pirate and Red Fox left.

"I hope we will see some buffalo today," said Davy, after Pirate and Red Fox were gone. "I am anxious to shoot a buffalo."

"Do not wander away by yourself," protested Bee Hunter. "You might get lost. This is a strange country to you. You do not know the landmarks."

Suddenly, without a word, Bee Hunter sprang to his feet. He looked this way and that for a moment. He jumped on the back of his horse and raced away. He rode in the direction from which they had come.

"What in the world is the matter with him?" Davy asked.

"Burn my shoes if I know," said Thimblerig. "Do you suppose he is deserting us?"

"No, he is not deserting us," said Davy. "He may not come back to us, but I feel sure that we shall meet at the Alamo."

They were preparing to mount their horses when Davy stopped and listened.

"Was that thunder?" he asked.

"It doesn't look like rain," said Thimblerig glancing at the clear sky.

"There is a cloud of dust over to the west," said Davy.

"I can see the dust but what causes the rumble and roar?" asked Thimblerig.

"It must be a tornado," said Davy. "Let's mount our horses and ride away from here as fast as we can."

The two men mounted and rode on, but the cloud of dust came nearer and nearer. The rumble grew louder and louder. The two men halted their horses and waited.

"Buffalo!" suddenly shouted Davy. "Buffalo! Hear the pounding of their hoofs!"

1. On a map of the United States trace the Mississippi River south to where it joins the Arkansas River. Then trace the Arkansas River to Little Rock. Now trace the several routes that you think Davy Crockett may have followed to San Antonio.

2. Tell something about each of Davy's new friends.

3. What did they have in common?

4. What did Davy do to make friends?

5. What must you do to make friends and keep them?

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