Lodrix the Little Lake Dweller
THE LITTLE LAKE DWELLER
GRACE WILLARD EDICK
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
NEW YORK MCMV
Copyright, 1904, by
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
- CHAPTER PAGE
- I. The people 1
- II. The home 12
- III. Preparation for the enemy 18
- IV. On shore 25
- V. Lodrix lost 36
- VI. The capture 45
- VII. The message 55
- VIII. With the bear people 65
- IX. The return 78
Many years ago, there livedin the high regions of Switzerlandand France a people calledthe Lake-Dwellers.
These people did not live onland, as we do, but on the manylakes hidden among the highmountains.
The mountain-sides were thickwith forests which hid the lake-housesfrom thepeople who livedon the land.
Lodrix was thechief’s son, andhe was a verybrave boy though he was onlytwelve years old.
This little boy had flaxen hairand blue eyes. His fair skin wasvery much tanned, because he wasout of doors much of the time.
His clothing was of deerskinand was thrownloosely about him.
Lodrix looked verymuch like his mother,but her dresswas very different.
Her waistwas of coarsebrown cloth fastened under askirt of deerskin, and her shouldersand arms were bare.
Her thick light hair was coiledon the top of her head and hadmany bone and bronze pins in it.
Around her neck were beadsof amber, bone and glass, and anecklace made from the teeth ofwolves.
On her arms and legs shewore wide bronze bracelets. Shewas very proudof them, becausenot many womenamong the Lake-Dwellershad bracelets made ofbronze.
Lodrix’s father, the chief ofthe Dormorants, was a verybrave man.
His peopleloved him and alwaysobeyed him.
One day, whenthe chief and hisson were on thelake fishing, they heard the soundof a horn.
Lodrix listened, then said,“That is mother’s call; shemust need us.”
In great haste they paddledtoward the sound of the horn,and across the lake they couldsee the mother waving herhands to them.
She stood on a platform whichwas built uponthousands of cedarpiles, driveninto the bottomof the lake.
These pileswere held inplace by stonesand rushes that had been letdown into the water.
As they paddled nearer, theycould see that something hadhappened.
They hurried toclimb the notched ladderwhich led to theplatform.
Then they followedthe mother into theone-room hut which was theirhome.
They sat down on blocks ofwood about the stone fire-place,while the mother told the chiefwhat had happened.
She said that one of theirtribe, who had just returnedfrom hunting, had told her thatthe Bear tribe on the land wasgetting ready to burn down theLake-Dweller homes.
When Lodrix heard this, heran to his father and said, “MayI get ready to fight, father?”
The chief put his hands onhis son’s head, saying, “Mybrave boy.”
Then he told Lodrix to goout and call the people together.
Soon they came, hundreds ofthem, from the many square hutswhich were crowded about thechief’s home.
These houses were built fromcedar poles matted together withtwigs and plastered both insideand out with two or three inchesof clay.
There were one ortwo small windowswithout shutters andone low door.
The roofs were madeof straw or rushesand the floors wereoften plastered withclay and gravel.
In the center of the roof wasa hole through which the smokeescaped, and in the floor was asmall trap-door that opened overthe lake.
The Lake-Dwellers often fishedfrom these doors.
While Lodrix summoned thepeople, the chief rushed out topull back the drawbridge whichconnected their homes with theland.
The lake people were verymuch frightened. They knewthat the people on land weretheir enemies; so they wereready to obey every command oftheir chief.
First he calledfor the messengerwho had broughtthe news.
A youth witha deer hangingfrom his shoulderstepped forward.
Laying the deer at the chief’sfeet, the boy said, “My chief!As I was hunting, I met theboy Tevico, whom you once savedfrom the wolves in the forest.
“He told me that his tribewas getting ready to make warupon us and to burn our dwellings.
“So I hurried here to tellyou, that we, too, might preparefor war.”
Just then Lodrix, running intothe house, shouted, “O father!Come quickly!”
Out rushed the chief, followedby his people.
What they saw made themtremble with fear.
On the shore of the lake stoodhundreds of people waving theirstone axes and shouting in greatanger.
The chief had pulled up thedrawbridge just in time.
When the Bear people foundthey could not reach the Lake-Dwellers,they went away.
The chief of the Dormorantstold his people that they mustkeep close watch, for their enemieswould surely come back.
After choosing men to guardthe village, the people went backto their homes, while the chiefand his son went into the house.
They sat down on the blocksof wood which were the onlyfurniture of their home;then Lodrix watchedhis mother skin thedeer with the sharpstone knife, and his fatherlight the fire in the stonefireplace.
The chief was so hungrythat he ate the deermeat nearly raw.
Lodrix did not care for themeat, but ate some cakes whichhad been made from powderedgrain and cooked on the hotstones. He ate some sour cherriestoo, and plums which hadbeen picked from the trees onthe shore of the lake and dried.
PREPARATION FOR THE ENEMY
When the father had finishedeating, Lodrix fed the horses, thesheep, and the goats that werewaiting outside for their dinner.
The mother threw the bonesof the deer into the lake, throughthe trap-door, and laid the skinin the sun to dry.
When he had made sure thateverything was secure and hadsent Lodrix with a message toone of the Lake-Dwellers, thechief lay down on a skin tosleep.
Lodrix hurried off to do hisfather’s bidding.
He was to say that the drawbridgemust not be put down forseveral days, for they were afraidthe Bear people might enter theirvillage.
As the chief’s son entered thehut where he was to leave hismessage, hesaw a littlebaby.
The babywas tied by along cord to one of the blocks ofwood to keep her from fallingthrough the trap-door.
He told the baby’s father whatthe chief had said and then wenttoward the child, who stretchedout her little hands to him.
Lodrix loved babies and wasglad to play with this littleone.
He took her to the trap-door,keeping tight hold of her hand.Then he took a basket made ofrushes and lowered it, throughthe opening, into the lake.
The baby clapped her handswith glee as she saw the littlefish squirming in the basket whenLodrix drew it up.
Lodrix laughed, too, becausethe little baby was happy.
The baby’s sister, who satgrinding grain in the stone mortar,looked up and smiled at thehappy children.
Even the mother smiled asshe worked busily at the loom,where she was weaving coarsecloth from threads of flax whichthe Lake-Dwellers had raised onthe shore of the lake.
At sunset Lodrix said, “good-by”and started forhome.
On his way thebeautiful clear moonseemed to speak tohim.
Lodrix stopped amoment and prayed to it; prayedthat his people might be safefrom their enemies on the land.
As he walked along, he spoketo many people who were anxiouslywatching the opposite shore.
They were straining their eyesfor the first glimpse of the peopleon the land, because theyfeared that at nightfall these enemiesmight come again.
Lodrix wished to join in thewatch, but he was only a little boyand the chief said that he muststay at home with his mother.
So the little boy went into thehouse and was soon fast asleep.
The motherlay down on abearskin andrested her head on a clay crescent.
The Lake-Dweller womenneeded these head-rests becausethey did not take down theirhair when they slept, and thebronze and bone pins made theirheads very heavy.
And now while the men wereon guard peace rested upon thevillage of the Dormorants.
The next day, the watchersslept while others took theirplaces.
For three days, the Lake-Dwellerslooked for signs of theenemy, but the Bear tribe seemedto have forgotten themand to have returnedto their homes.
If the Lake-Dwellerchief had been on land,he might have seensome of the Bear tribehiding behind the talloak and cedar trees inthe forest.
They were watchingto see what the lakepeople would do, andto report what theysaw to their chief.
On the fourth day, when everythingseemed quiet, the chief ofthe Dormorants ordered the drawbridgeto be put in place, andstationed a man at the end towatch for the enemy. Then hesent a messenger to the chief ofa Lake-Dweller village near by.
The messenger was to ask thechief to be ready at any time tohelp the Dormorants, if the Beartribe should attack them.
Then the chief ordered his mento be prepared for battle at anymoment, because he was afraidthat the enemy would soon tryagain to reach the village.
He ordered them to sharpentheir swords, lances and axes,and get ready their bows andarrows.
Lodrix was so excited that hecould not keep still, and almosthoped that the enemy would comeback, so that he might have achance to fight.
The chief’s son had never beenin a battle, and he was anxiousto take part in one.
He begged his father to lethim take the sword which hungin the bronze scabbard on thewall.
But his father gave him anothersword, because the one inthe scabbard was too large andheavy for a young boy.
Lodrix was veryproud of his sword,and ran about showingit to his friends.
Soon the men wereready to start. Someof them lowered theircedar dugouts, andclimbed down thenotched poles withtheir fishing spears intheir hands.
They paddled to that part ofthe lake where they knew theycould catch some fine fish.
Others crossed the bridge, withtheir bows and arrows hangingfrom their shoulders.
They wished to kill some deerin the forest and cut down somecedar trees for fire-wood.
Lodrix pleaded so hard to gohunting that his father said hemight go, so he started off withthe men.
They stopped to look at thefruit trees growing along the shore.
“Where is the fruit?” askedLodrix.
“The Bear people have takenit!” answered one of the men.
“See! They have taken ourgrain, too!” said another.
This made Lodrix wish morethan ever that he might fightthese people.
He knew his father would beangry, too, when they told himwhat had been done.
They wondered where theywould get food for the winter.
They knew they must workvery hard to get the soil readyfor more grain, and that theymust fish and hunt a great dealor they would have no dried meatto store away.
These thoughts made them verysad, and they did not say muchas they walked on through theforests.
“Look!” said Lodrix, dartingoff toward a deer whose antlershe saw in the distance.
The men smiled at one another,proud to see their chief’sson fond of the hunt.
They did not follow, for theywished to see if Lodrix couldkill the deer alone.
They turned toward a moundwhich held the tomb where theirformer chiefs were buried.
This tomb was a small stoneroom which the Lake-Dwellershad built, and then covered withsoil.
They thought of the time whenthey had carried Lodrix’s grandfatherto this stone room. Themen had stood about with lightedtorches, and the women withtheir hair hanging over theirfaces had