Recap: Mrs. Blennerhassett and her children had to leave their home and they stop at Ezra’s home. Mrs. Blennerhassett asks Miriam to hold onto their treasure until they return. Days have passed with no sign of Dovid. Yishai replays in his mind the time when Dovid went missing and suddenly, as he touches the three red feathers that were left where Dovid was last seen, he has an idea.
I ran into the store. The pharmacist was behind the counter, mixing medicines. “Excuse me, sir. I’m Yishai Chapman, Ezra’s brother. A while ago, you sent an Indian woman from here to help us when my nephew was bitten by a snake.”
The druggist looked up. “Yes.”
“Is she here now?” I was out of breath. “I need to speak with her.”
“Is your nephew all right?”
“No. I mean he’s missing and––”
“One minute, please.”
I had to wait more than just a minute. It felt like hours as he painstakingly finished grinding a medicine and packaging it.
“Now.” He wiped his hands on his work apron. “Holata will be here in an hour.”
I would have to wait for her.
I paced around the store and then I went outside and paced up and down the block, glancing in store fronts and asking Hashem to help me. I had to find Dovid. I had to.
Finally, I glimpsed Holata stepping into the apothecary. “O’siyo!” I bowed hello to her in the Cherokee language. “Holata, please help. Usdi (little one) missing.”
She stopped and stared at me.
I motioned with my hands. “My nephew. I tried to act out a snake bite. You helped when the snake bit him.”
I acted out a snake coming from the ground and biting Dovid on the arm.
“Dovid. He is missing. Please, can you help me?” I said the word for thank you again, niyaawee.
She motioned me to come closer. “I know usdi. Come.”
I followed her. It was a long walk past snow-covered spruce and evergreens. We passed log houses with smoke pouring from their chimneys. My feet were tired, but my heart was racing with hope.
I kept davening the whole time, and then we stopped at a place with a lot of teepees. “Usdi.” She pointed to a teepee.
I went over and poked my head inside and there was Dovid playing with an Indian boy.
“Yishai!” he screamed and rushed to hug me. “This is Lala, my friend.”
Tears streamed down my cheeks. I couldn’t say anything; I just clung to Dovid. Baruch Hashem. “Come, Dovid. We’re going home.”
Holata walked me and Dovid back to the apothecary. My heart was pounding. I couldn’t wait to return Dovid to his parents. As we hurried along, I asked Dovid, “How did you get to the Indians? Why didn’t you come home?”
“The scary man was coming. I went to the woods to hide. Then it was cold. It was snowing so hard, and I couldn’t find my house. Then Lala came and he took me to his house.”
We left Holata at the apothecary and I said niyaawee, over and over.
She smiled and nodded at me. She handed Dovid a bracelet made of aqua, rose, and golden thread.
“Thank you,” he said.
“Token gift for you. Stay well,” she said.
We started towards home. Dovid was slowing. It was a long walk. I lifted him on my shoulders and I carried him that way the whole way home.
When we stepped into the house, Miriam shrieked and ran over and grabbed her son. She held him close. Ezra came and the three of them were hugging and hugging like they would never ever let go.
“Yishai, I can never thank you enough.” Suddenly, I noticed someone else was in the house.
We hugged and then Father approached Ezra and Ezra hugged him. They were both crying.
“Father came to help,” Ezra said. “I don’t know how he knew to come but he was here. We were praying together and look how Hashem answered our prayer.”
Miriam put Dovid on her lap. “We’ve made a decision, Yishai. It’s clear we were wrong. Dovid showed us in his own way. He was afraid of Mr. Burr and it was with good reason. Father just told us there’s a warrant out for his arrest. He’s accused of treason. Baruch Hashem that we pulled out now. We are going to move back to Pittsburgh to a Jewish community with our families.”
Father turned to me. “Yishai, Mr. Burr is desperate now. We believe he will come here to hide. He’s a wanted man. There are two young men, sons of Colonel Greene, who are going to help capture him and bring him to justice. Are you willing to join them? They need another young person to help watch the boats and wait for him to come. It would be a big mitzvah to stop him from hurting anyone else’s life.”
“But Father, he may be armed.” I thought of what happened to Alexander Hamilton.
“Colonel Greene has plenty of men backing you up.”
So, I would be part of the decoy. I owed Hashem so big.
“Okay,” I heard myself say though I dreaded confronting Mr. Burr…
To be continued…
By Susie Garber