Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
In 1728, Conrad Weiser, white clan brother of the Mohawks, saw Owkwari-owira—Young Bear—for the first time, a naked small boy daubed with clay and running wild in Chief Quagnant’s village. Weiser, his quick eye seeing pale skin under the dirt and grease, bartered for the child and took him back to the German settlement at Schoharie. Young Bear was baptized Johann Sebastian and found in Anna Eve, Conrad’s wife, a second mother. The Weisers believed that Bastian was the grandson of Anna Sabilla Schantz, whose daughter Margaretta had followed an English trader into the forest.
Many of the Schoharie community were preparing to move to Pennsylvania, where there was rich land for thrifty, industrious German settlers. Anna Sabilla had already gone to her own cabin in a clearing beside the Blue Mountains. Sturdy and resolute, she cared for Nicholas, her paralyzed brother, tended her garden, called all Indians thieves and rascals, but fed them when they begged at her door. For trader Israel Fitch, she carved wooden puppets in exchange for salt, cloth, and tools. Weiser took Bastian to her when he went to claim his own lands along the Tulpehocken.
Growing up, Bastian helped his grandmother with plantings and harvests. From Skelet, a sickly, humpbacked Indian whom Anna Sabilla had nursed back to health, he learned the ways of animals and the deep woods. When old Nicholas died, Bastian moved into his room. Tall and strong for his age, he was the...
(The entire section is 1210 words.)
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