Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Chactas is an old, blind, and wise Indian of the tribe of Natchez, whose hunting ground is in the territory of Louisiana. Because of his great age and deep wisdom gained through countless years of tragic misfortune, Chactas is the patriarch of the tribe. Thus it is that when a young Frenchman named René presents himself for membership in the tribe in the year 1725, it is Chactas who questions him to determine his fitness to join the Natchez nation. Finding René fixed in his determination to become one of the tribe, Chactas accepts him. As the Indians prepare for a beaver hunt, Chactas—even though he is blind—is made the leader of the party. One night as they lie in their canoes, Chactas recites the story of his adventures to René.
When Chactas had lived but seventeen summers, his father was killed in battle and he himself was taken prisoner by the enemy and led away by the Spaniards to St. Augustine. There he was befriended by an old Castilian named Lopez and his sister. The two white people cared for the young man and tried to educate him as their son. After thirty moons had passed, however, Chactas tired of this civilized life and begged Lopez to allow him to return to his people. Lopez, knowing the dangers awaiting a lonely youth in the forests, at first tried to dissuade Chactas. At last, seeing that the youth was firm in his resolve, the old man sent him on his way with his blessing.
The warning given by the good Lopez soon proved...
(The entire section is 1253 words.)
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