It is nearly seventy years since an American, named Catlin, set out from his home in Wyoming to travel westwards through the great country which was then only inhabited by Indians and wild animals, but is now full of flourishing towns.
In the course of one of these journeys Catlin fell very ill, and it was many weeks before he was fit to leave his bed. When, however, he got better again, he sent for his horse, Charley, which had grown fat on prairie grass —and looked very unlike his master—and the two prepared to start for the Eiver Missouri, more than five hundred miles away.
Catlin's heavy luggage was sent by steamer to meet him at St. Louis, on the Mississippi, but there was still a good deal left for Charley to carry. A bear-skin and a buffalo robe were spread across his saddle, a coffee-pot and a teacup were tied to it, a small portmanteau was fastened somewhere else, and in the portmanteau was a supply of hard biscuits ; while Catlin sat in any space that was left, with a little compass in his pocket to show him which way to go, and a gun and a pair of pistols in his belt, in case man or beast should attack him.
So day after day Charley and his master rode on toward the north, through plains of grass all covered with flowers. Every night when the sun set Catlin jumped off and unloaded his horse, which he tied up, or ' picketed,' with a long rope, so that Charley should have plenty of room for feeding. Then he lit a fire to keep off