"Yes those were bad times, the worst... and not only for our people. A few of our people (999 people so the legend has it) had managed to hide yet again in the bosom of the earth. They took to the earth in these mountains sharing food with the bears, the birds, and the deer. Some also hid with friendly whites, my great grandmother was amongst those. Eventually legal loopholes were found so that they could stay and eventually they formed the Qualla reservation. Those people were the great great grandparent's of most of the people on our reservation nowadays. That's how they got the opportunity live through one civil war and two world wars. We had little cause to meddle in the white man's wars but we were forced to take a side in the civil war, and we chose to get involved in the world wars. As is our way, we distinguished ourselves greatly in any battle we fought and many of our brothers returned from wars greatly honored."
Not adding another word as was his wont, he concluded by blowing a smoke ring that vanished in the night breezes. He then extinguished his pipe and proceeded to roll up in his sleeping bag and fell fast asleep. Billy and I on the other hand had a hard time doing so that night. This had been a hard history lesson, but one that would serve us well.
The fire had died down to embers and dawn was just a few hours away when the two kids finally fell asleep.