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You’re attending to business, keeping the wagon on the trail, tending the oxen and horses, milking the cow that, bless her heart, is also trudging along tied to the back of your wagon. You’re keeping the children fed, bacon in the morning, beef jerky for lunch, beans and biscuits for dinner. When the hunters bring home a deer you and the entire train have barbecued venison for dinner. You are keeping the children from sunburn by making sure they wear their hats, and at rest-time, pulling thorns from their little hands. At night you are kissing their blistered feet, and telling them stories of the farm awaiting them where they can have a dog and a horse of their own.

I’m the scout. I’m riding ahead looking for the narrowest spot to cross the stream, and bringing back news of where the road has been washed out—the road made by wagons that have passed this way already. We are stealth, my little horse and I, disturbing little, quiet, so we can take back to the wagon train news, if there is game in the vicinity, or hostiles we can either befriend or avoid.

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