Chapter 5 Summary
Now True Son is alone and will have to “think his own Indian thoughts.” He does not reveal any of his loathing as he marches into Fort Pitt, despite the darkness of the passageways, the drunken soldiers, and the obsequious turncoat Indians he sees inside the fortress.
Not until he leaves Fort Pitt and crosses a mountain range does True Son feel the full weight of his exile. He feels his white enemies surrounding him, and everything he sees is evidence of the white men’s confining, restricted lives, including fences and houses made of heavy brick and stone.
When the group arrives at its destination, small crowds try to “storm the captives,” but the soldiers protect their prisoners. True Son’s guard, Del Hardy, tells him his father will come for him tomorrow.
The morning is cold and people have gathered early. As soon as the captives arrive, people begin groping them, looking for birthmarks, scars, or other identifying features. Colonel Bouquet stops this nonsense and conducts things in an orderly manner. One unwilling former captive at a time is announced, and those who wish to claim a relationship must prove their claim. This prompts much emotion among the whites, but the captives remain dry-eyed and stoic. Their Indian families would be proud.
At the end, only True Son and two teenage girls remain unclaimed; True Son is hopeful he will be allowed to return to his village. Soon, however, he hears a rider approaching. True Son does not want this “insignificant man with black boots, a face colorless as clay and a silly hat on his head” to be his father, but he is.
When the man sees the boy, his eyes get misty and his hand trembles as he reaches out to touch his son. True Son stands unmoving until Hardy orders him to shake the man’s hand. Hardy translates as the man tells True Son he is thankful the boy is safe and welcomes him home. Again True Son is unmoved as he compares this insipid man with his Indian father Cuyloga; he tells Hardy this man is not his father.
Colonel Bouquet has been watching this exchange and orders Hardy to go with the boy and his father and act as their translator. True Son is not fooled. Hardy is being sent with them to protect the father from his son. True Son is bitterly disappointed, as this will undoubtedly delay his plan to escape.