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This is "The Story of My Captivity by Savages," or "How I Learned to Fight"
by Eliza Elizabeth Cook, age 13
Written in my own hand on this, the 23rd day of August, 1829.
"Fine Day for a Flaying," or "The Brutal Massacre of All I Held Dear."
The valley that runs down the trail over the west bank of the glorious
state of Natchez-Pierce was the site of my own hideous undoing. My entire
family was lain waste, no careb being taken by the natives that even baby
Coolidge was to be spared an ounce of pain.
How I came to be spared, by the grace of God, I shall never know.
I had been smashed in the head with a boulder over fourteen times by a
young Indian brave. When I awoke, through eyes still stinging from the
smouldering decimation, my large blue eyes looked up into the burning sun
of the late summer sky. No sooner had I stirred when four horsemen
approached my wilted carcasse. In their stilted English, they told me in
great detail how they had massacred mine own Ma and Pa, how my elder
brother Ham had given no resistance to his own flogging, and how easy it
had been to make my sickly sister, Sarah Susanna, wail and sob like a sea
creature. (Boo hoo!)
I clenched my long, graceful fingers into tight fists at my sides, and
turning my head away, laughed quietly to myself. (Ha ha ha!) If these human
animals believed that they had captured a nubile and willing young white
slave girl, they were sorely mistaken.
I felt about my waist for a weapon. Oftentimes, I kept sewing tools hanging
from ribbons pinned to my dress. "Looking for this?" the handsomest warrior
asked, holding my sterling pinking shears up between two red fingers as he
looked down from his steed at my writhing confusion.
Brushing a strand of pale yellow hair from my brow, I pretended to reach
for a stray silken slipper that I had spied nearby, but swiftly darted up
and in between the flanks of the wild mustangs that stood majestically
The silent commander had only to reach down to capture me by the hair.
Yanking hard, he pulled me upright, and twisted my fair face up to meet his
cold, cold gaze. I shall never forget my realization upon that moment that
my freedom had thus been robbed. And that although my pleasing mortal shell
was intact, I, Eliza Elizabeth Jane Cook, was to become a handmaiden to a
number of verile, half-naked nomads, and that this ordeal would continue
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