Lewis and Clark

Bird Woman and the Great Fish

Bird Woman and the Great Fish
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 4 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.1

     challenging words:    Wee-yam, rifles, trapper, warrior, fond, drizzle, flesh, slung, traveled, journey, monstrous, packed, perhaps, silence, longer, swallow
     content words:    Much Raining, Great Water Falls, Shining Mountains, Otter Woman, Bird Woman, Bird Girl, White Bear, Grumpy One, Who Sits All Day, Captain Red Hair

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Bird Woman and the Great Fish
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     Bird Woman tickled little Pomp as she dressed him. His baby giggle made her laugh. Struggling free of her grasp, he slid to the floor. His little arms and legs pumped as fast as they could, crawling away from her reach. She scooped him up from the packed dirt. She mustn't be late for the trip. She was going to see the great fish!
2     She wrapped the baby snugly against the cold drizzle. It was always drizzly here! The gray sky never changed. Much Raining is what this place should be called, Sacagawea thought. But today she didn't mind the damp. She kissed Pomp and slung him on her back. Today they would walk on the shore of the endless water. The ocean!
3     So many, many miles they'd come. They had to reach the ocean, these men she traveled with. Around the Great Water Falls, through the Shining Mountains, all to reach this ocean. When they'd gotten here, the rain and wind had hit them hard. Like an enemy, the storm had tried to drown them all. It had drenched everything.
4     But she'd not been frightened. She had learned to be strong and to look bravely into the eyes of each day as it came. Fear helped nothing. Long ago, in her tenth year, she had learned this. It was then the warriors had come.
5     The Shoshone had been helpless against the rifles of the enemies. Sacagawea had tried to run with the others. But she was caught. Strangers carried her and the other girls away. As they rode off, her heart was torn by the cries of her people as they died.
6     Beside her, Otter Woman had sobbed. "Sacagawea! We are dead!"
7     "Hush, Cousin," Bird Woman had replied. "We are not dead. Perhaps they are kind to their captives. We must wait and see."
8     Their captors had been stern. "Silence! Or I will cut out your tongue!" a man shouted at Otter Woman. Warriors didn't like crying girls. Sacagawea had comforted her cousin as best she could.
9     The captives had been taken east and north, to the villages of the Hidatsa. The Shoshone girls were made to work. But the work was no harder than it had been at home. The Hidatsa women were kind. There was plenty of food. The Shoshone had been poor and hungry.

Paragraphs 10 to 18:
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