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Bear's Coup

(In the novel, Thirteen Moons, the narrator, Will Cooper, tells this story of his adopted Cherokee father, whose name is Bear...)

But Bear was not some isolate, living within a little narrow circumference of experience. He had seen a lot of what there was to America back then. As a young man, he had taken a blood grudge against a whiteman and sworn to kill him. He pursued the man for a year and a half, all up through Virginia and Kentucky and Tennessee and down into the wastes of Alabama and Georgia. Traveling rough and light, but happy knowing how hard he was pushing the man ahead of him across the land, like desperate game driven by beaters. When they'd finally made a great circle and come back nearly to home, the man quit running and holed up in a barn to make a final stand. Bear went in with nothing but a hawkbill knife.

—I'd a mind to gut him out, Bear said when he told me the tale.

But instead, after he had cornered the man in the hayloft, Bear just touched him with the crook of the blade and walked away. It was an exquisite point of honor.

- Charles Frazier, Thirteen Moons (Random House, 2006), p. 13.