| Chapter 18
Two weeks had gone by since Ben got his raft, bow, and guitar. He had taken the raft up and down the river for
about a mile just to scout out the area and to get used to the raft. He spent some time familiarizing himself with
playing guitar again. He had once been fairly good at it. He and some friends had tried to form a rock band in high
school, but they didn’t stick with it. Ben played mostly for his own enjoyment.
The archery was the big challenge. Ben took up the bow, gripped the arrow like a slingshot with his right hand,
wrapped his finger around the arrow with his left hand, pulled back and let it fly. Well, at least that's what was
supposed to happen. He snapped the string and the arrow just dangled there in the grip of his finger. The string
vibrated and stung his arm.
He tried again. This time he loosened his grip on the finger wrapped around the arrow. He snapped the string, the
arrow flew – well, kind of flew. Really it spiraled into the bushes about eight feet to his left. The fingers of his left
hand were stinging from the brush of the arrow’s feathers.
He tried a few more times, not really getting much better with practice. He lost one arrow that somehow went
backwards. He never could figure out quite how he did that.
He went into his cabin and put away the bow and the arrows, strummed his guitar a few times, and then unwrapped a
pack of crackers and went outside and sat on a stump. Hearing a noise, he turned and saw a young man
approaching. He had long, straight, black hair, a tanned complexion, and was wearing beige jeans and a black T-
“Hello, Benjamin Wilson,” he called to out in a confident but friendly voice.
“How do you know my name?” Ben asked defensively. He was sizing the stranger up to determine if he could take
him if the guy meant him harm. He looked around for his stick to protect himself.
“Oh, there is not much that goes on in this forest that I do not know about. You have been having a rough time of it.
“I’m doing okay.” Ben tried to sound more confident than he was. “Who are you?”
“I am called ‘Rushing Wind’,” the stranger said.
“Rushing Wind? What kind of name it that?” Ben asked with a hint of hostility. His unease with this surprise visitor
“Catawba,” the young man said.
“Catawba?” Ben replied. “I thought Catawba was a worm.”
“Catawba is a tribe that has been in South Carolina since before your people were here.”
“You’re an Indian?”
“Native American is the politically correct term.” Rushing Wind said politely.
“Humph! You don’t look like an Indian,” Ben said with a slur.
“Oh, I’m sorry!” Rushing Wind reached down and picked up a feather lying on the ground. He stuck it behind his ear,
held up his hand, and said, “How, Paleface!”
He stood there glaring at Ben with a smirk on his face.
Ben laughed, and the Indian laughed.
“I’m sorry. I’ve never met an Indian. You just don’t look like what I expected an Indian to look like. That’s all.”
“Did you expect me to wear a buckskin coat with tassels and war paint?“ He smiled as he spoke. He was obviously
not offended. Just amused.
“Well … you don’t exactly look like Cochise.”
“Ha! You’re no John Wayne yourself,” the Indian laughed.
“No. You got that right. More like Barney Fife.”
They looked at each other and laughed.
“So, with a name like Rushing Wind, what do people call you?”
“Like the radio guy?”
“Not so much!” Rush said. “It’s just short for Rushing. “I guess I could go by Windy, but would you take an Indian
warrior seriously who was named Windy?”
Again they laughed.
“I guess not,” Ben admitted.
“You live around here, Rush?” Ben asked.
“Not far away. I can help you learn how to live out here.”
“Really? Like how?”
“Well, I was watching you with that bow and the arrows …”
“Oh, now that’s humiliating. An Indian watching me play ‘bow and arrow’ like a six year old.”
“No. It was more like a four year old.” The young man said with a mischievous smile.
“Okay,“ Ben admitted. “Yeah, I wasn’t exactly prepared for living in the woods.”
Rush responded knowingly, “No. You were not prepared for many things that have come your way.”
“What do you mean?”
“Like I told you, Benjamin, there is not much that goes on in this forest that I do not know about. Now, let me teach
you how to build a fire.”
“How did you know about th … Never mind. Yeah, I could use some help with that.”
How To Build A Fire
“Okay, Fire Building 101. First, we gather the proper materials for building a fire. And Ben, kerosene is not one of
Ben grinned and blushed. "Uh, yeah, I kind of figured that out."
"Yeah, I kind of figured you had," Rush smiled.
"Now, we’ll need some dry leaves, some small twigs, some sticks, and some logs,” Rush instructed.
They gathered the needed materials and took them into the cabin.
“Now, do you see this grate?”
“Great? What’s great?”
“No!” Rush said. “Not great. Grate. This metal frame here is called a fireplace grate.”
“Just messing with you,” Ben teased.
“Great! So, now you're a comedian. Almost as good as your fire-building." Rush rolled his eyes. "Okay, you pile
everything on top of the grate in a particular order.”
“So your fire will burn,” Rush explained. “One step at a time. Okay”
“Pile some leaves onto the grate. Don’t worry if some fall through.”
Ben piled a hefty portion of leaves on the grate.
“Okay! Enough! Now put some twigs on top of the leaves. Nothing much larger than a matchstick.”
Ben piled on some twigs, looking at Rush to see when he had enough.
“Good!” Rush encouraged him. “Now we want to put some larger sticks on, preferably something really dry and
flammable, like pine. We can even take some larger pieces and splinter them. Just remember, the smaller stuff goes
on the bottom. Gradually increase the size as you stack it. The larger wood goes on top. You'll understand why when
you see it work.”
"Okay," Ben said as he placed some sticks on top of the pile. “Now we put on the logs in a crisscross pattern. This
gives the fire room to breathe. One of the main ingredients of fire is air. Okay, let’s light this thing and watch it burn.”
Ben struck a match and put the flame to the leaves at the bottom of the grate. The leaves caught fire. The flames
reached the kindling which began to burn. Soon, the whole pile was ablaze.
“Now, all you have to do is put more logs on when the fire burns low. Just make sure you do not pack it tightly. It has
to breathe. That’s how you maintain your fire. Got it?”
Ben flashed a big grin. “Yeah, cool!” he said, obviously pleased with himself.
“Great! Tomorrow we’ll work on your archery.”