Shepherd’s Winter – Part 25

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“The men at the council meeting a few months ago are good and honorable men,” Daniel said. “But there are a couple who live in fear.”

“Fear of what?” Shepherd said.

“In their lifetime they will see their ways disappear,” Daniel said. “You represent that fear.”

“All I want to do is live out here and be left alone,” Shepherd said, “and help where I can.”

“Most of the men know that,” Daniel said. “They could see it in your eyes. They all recognized the risk of coming all the way from your place to out here and into Ruby. They know you are a good and brave man for doing that. But there are some, that no matter what you do, it will never be enough.”

“I don’t want to change anything,” Shepherd said.

“We are not afraid of change,” Daniel smiled. “Some change is good. It is our identity, our culture, our ways. But everybody’s ways change. Few cultures live like they did three hundred years ago. Even the ones who don’t want change want to hold on to snow machines, rifles, TV sets, and liquor?”

“They fear the white man,” Shepherd said.

“Yes, my friend,” Daniel said.

“And a friend of the white man is their enemy,” Shepherd said.

Daniel and Nan glanced at each other uncomfortably.

“Is this visit to tell me we can no longer be friends?” Shepherd said.

“That will never happen,” Daniel said, “I only want you to know there are others willing to be your friend also. Don’t be afraid to look beyond our family.”

“We only want you to be cautious, Shepherd,” Nan said. “We want nothing bad to happen to you. We will do what we can.”

“Do you know of specific threats to me?” Shepherd said.

“No,” Daniel said, “there will be a coldness by a few and perhaps someone will sneak out and slip sugar in your tank.”

“How long will it go on?” Shepherd ask.

“Until they know you are not going to move or you shoot one of them,” Daniel said.

“Well,” Shepherd said, “I don’t want to shoot anybody.”

“Sometimes if you just come close that will be enough,” Daniel said.

“Yeah,” Nan said. “Enough to let them know you are serious.”

“Well,” Shepherd smiled, “I’m not leaving. This is still better than where I came from.”

“We are glad,” Nan said. “The boys said if Amoruk cannot scare him…”

“Are we still on for tomorrow?” Shepherd said.

“Nan says it’s okay. I know the boys will want to play with the wolf. I must okay it with my wife, but I think she would like to eat out sometime,” Daniel smiled broadly. “There’s so few places.”

 

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