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Canadian Theme Unit
Horse-Thief Summer, Part 1



Horse-Thief Summer, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.21

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    buckskin, coloured, daring, fidget, indication, pinto, raiders, shroud, subtle, leadership, warrior, grazed, invisible, rawhide, sentry, signal
     content words:    Big Bear, Running Wolf


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Horse-Thief Summer, Part 1
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     The night was dark. It was perfect for a raid. The moonless sky and the darkness would help shroud the band of Cree creeping up on the Blackfoot village.
 
2     Big Bear lay on his belly at the top of a low hill. He checked the wind again. The small breezes were toward them. Their scent would not be carried to the dogs in the camp.
 
3     The tribe's horses grazed peacefully nearby. The brown and bay animals were almost invisible. Here and there a ghostly pale form or spot showed where buckskin, grey, or pinto ponies ranged.
 
4     The others behind Big Bear began to fidget. He was determined not to be hurried. Patience was the key to any exercise of daring, he knew.
 
5     He was about to signal his band forward when a subtle movement caught his eye. It was a sentry. If they were seen, the man would alert his people. The Blackfoot were no friends of the Cree. Big Bear did not fancy life as a slave, or worse.
 
6     Running Wolf eased up alongside Big Bear. A quick exchange of hand signals told Running Wolf what was happening. They could not risk speaking aloud.
 
7     Big Bear considered changing the raid to another night. After all, there was no sense in taking unnecessary chances. No, he had nearly enough horses, and it was time to go home.
 
8     If this raid was done well, he would have enough. Big Bear smiled at the thought. Horses were wealth and benefited the whole tribe. Raiding well was an indication of leadership skills. He was determined to be chief after his father.

Paragraphs 9 to 17:
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