Finally he looked up
and said with a pleasant smile:
"True, friend; it is
the old custom to retrace one's trail before leaving it forever! I
know that I am at the door of the spirit home.
"I was born near the
forks of the Cheyenne River, about seventy years ago. My father was
not a chief; my grandfather was not a chief, but a good hunter and a
feast-maker. On my mother's side I had some noted ancestors, but they
left me no chieftainship. I had to work for my reputation.
"When I was a boy, I
loved to fight," he continued. "In all our boyish games I had the name
of being hard to handle, and I took much pride in the fact.
"I was about ten
years old when we encountered a band of
were on friendly terms with us, but we boys always indulged in sham
fights on such occasions, and this time I got in an honest fight with
a Cheyenne boy
older than I. I got the best of the boy, but he hit me hard in the
face several times, and my face was all spattered with blood and
streaked where the paint had been washed away. The
boys whooped and yelled:
"'His enemy is down,
and his face is spattered as if with rain! Rain-in-the-Face! His name
shall be Rain-in-the-Face!'
"Afterwards, when I was a young man, we
went on a warpath against the Gros
stole some of their horses, but were overtaken and had to abandon the
horses and fight for our lives. I had wished my face to represent the
sun when partly covered with darkness, so I painted it half black,
half red. We fought all day in the rain, and my face was partly washed
and streaked with red and black: so again I was christened
Rain-in-the-Face. We considered it an honorable name.
"I had been on many
warpaths, but was not especially successful until about the time the
began to fight with the white man. One of the most daring attacks that we
ever made was at Fort Totten,
in the summer of 1866.