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A LONG JOURNEY
A LONG time ago, when Thomas Jefferson was
President, most of the
people in this country lived in the East. Nobody knew anything about
the Far West. The only people that lived there were Indians. Many of
these Indians had never seen a white man.
The President sent men to travel into this wild part of the country.
He told them to go up to the upper end of the
Missouri River. Then
they were to go across the Rocky Mountains. They were to keep on till
they got to the Pacific Ocean. Then they were to come
 back again.
They were to find out the best way to get through the mountains. And
they were to find out what kind of people the Indians in that country
were. They were also to tell about the animals.
There were two captains of this company. Their names were Lewis and
Clark. There were forty-five men in the party.
They were gone two years and four months. For most of that time they
did not see any white men but their own party. They did not hear a
word from home for more than two years.
They got their food mostly by hunting. They killed a great many
buffaloes and elks and deer. They also shot wild geese and other
large birds. Sometimes they had nothing but fish to eat. Sometimes
they had to eat wolves. When they had no other meat, they were glad to
buy dogs from the Indians and eat them. Sometimes they ate horses.
They became fond of the meat of dogs and horses.
When they were very hungry, they had to live on roots if they could
get them. Some of the Indians made a kind of bread out of roots. The
white men bought this when they could not get meat. But there were
days when they did not have anything to eat.
 They were very friendly with the Indians. One day some of the men went
to make a visit to an Indian village. The Indians gave them
something to eat.
In the Indian wigwam where they were, there was a head of a dead
buffalo. When dinner was over, the Indians filled a bowl full of meat.
They set this down in front of the head. Then they said to the head,
Feeding the Spirit of the Buffalo
The Indians believed, that, if they treated this buffalo head
politely, the live buffaloes would come to their hunting ground. Then
they would have plenty of meat. They think the spirit of the buffalo
is a kind of a god. They are very careful to please this god.