villagers gave the same scourging to the prisoners when they arrived as they
had given Radisson when he had been brought back as a captive. This time
however, Radisson was welcomed warmly. As he came near the village, a multitude
of people came to meet them with great excitement, most of the rejoicing being
"Dodcon!" they called
him with pride, a word meaning ‘devil,' something of great veneration to the
tribe only earned through valour. He showed great modesty, as warriors of the
tribe do, as his mother greeted him with leaping and singing, accepting the
woman slave he offered her to make sure she was not tortured like the others.
Radisson's brother gave her two heads, which she accepted proudly. His
brother's prisoner was burned and killed that day, and they divided up their
booty, with Radisson getting his share of necklaces, girdles and pendants. Like
a hero he entered a period of feasting after returning from the warpath against
the Hurons, getting particular attention from the women of the tribe.
Having fattened up as much as he
could, feasting and dancing and generally being full of mirth, there was talk
about going to war against the Hollanders that lived in Fort Orange. Regular
trade with them for beaver pelts had existed for some time, being only a day's
journey from their village.
the way to Fort Orange they arrived at a small settlement full of Dutchmen who
looked down their noses at them. Radisson and his Mohawk brethren raided the
village, looting their cupboards of food, and drank the wine they had there.
Some of the Indians quarreled and fought with swords among themselves without
any misdeed to Radisson.
four days traveling they reached Fort Orange, where they were very well
received because of the beavers they had to trade. In return they were given
prunes and raisons and tobacco. When Radisson and his brother went into the
fort, he was still not recognized as a Frenchman. He met a Frenchman who spoke
to him in the Iroquois language. This French trader knew the regular Mohawks
who traded at the fort, and having never seen Radisson's face before, wondered
if he were a stranger.
don't think I've seen you before," said the Frenchman. "Is this your first time
Radisson replied, also speaking in the Iroquois language.
did you fall in with these men?"
Radisson didn't answer him as he thought the Frenchman was being too forward
damn Indians. Never get a straight answer from them. Always savages. Always
dishonest!" The Frenchman spoke in French, to which Radisson replied in French.
wise you say that in French because you would lose your head if you
didn't." When the Frenchman heard the
fluent French coming from his mouth, he could believe it as Radisson was decked
out with red paint and greased hair and the general regalia of an Indian. The
Frenchman rejoiced and embraced him, crying out with such a stir that he
thought him senseless.
a shame," said the Frenchman, "that you have come to this, dressed and living
as a wild man with a company of wolves." This caused Radisson to blush so much
that he thought it matched the deep ochre red of the paint on his face. Both
the French and the Dutch at the fort gathered around him and forced him to
drink from their bottles.
Frenchman, if you need our service just ask," said one of the Dutchmen.
don't need your help," Radisson said. The Dutch and French followed him into
the streets in a great squadron as if he were a monster of nature or a rare
thing to be seen. Flemish women drew him into their houses as by force, giving
him bread and meat and drink and tobacco.
Radisson went to see the
governor of the fort, and told him of the life he led, of which he admired.
"I can buy you from the
Mohawks if you want," he offered.
"No, I don't want to leave
my family. They have been very kind to me. It would be loathsome of me to leave
them." He also thought it wiser to wait for a better opportunity to escape to
his country that was so far away. But he also believed that it was now his
destiny to discover many wild nations, so he remitted himself to fortune and
adventure of time as a thing ordained by God.
with abundant booty, they left the fort to live out the winter with their wives
and sagamite hoping for a peaceful winter without any attacks by Algonquins or
Europeans. Leaving Fort Orange many were sad seeing Radisson depart in a
company of wolves, as the Frenchman had said. The truth was that Radisson felt
sad leaving the fort and the people he had met. He could not stop thinking of
the kindness the French had showed him at the fort, and the generous warmth of
the Flemish women. He wondered why he had chosen to stay with such a barbarous
nation who was the enemy to both God and man.
only took two weeks after returning to the Mohawk village for him to regret his
decision not to escape to the Dutch. In his filthy and cramped quarters he
began to ponder an escape to Fort Orange and wondered how long it would take
him to go alone. He knew now that with the Mohawks showing so much trust in him
that he had a much better chance to get away and not be pursued than before.
Finally he resolved to
returned to the warmth of the Flemish women who had been so nice to him as he
now believed he could never be safe among a nation so full of revenge. He began
to wonder what kind of revenge would happen to him if the Algonquins and French
defeated them in a battle. He bitterly regretted letting a good opportunity
slip through his fingers, which made him even more determined to make it right.
His father was still away fighting the French so he waited for the right time