Dear Mr. Davis:—

I have your letter of the 8th inst, and am pleased to note that you liked the "Lonesome Trail". I am perfectly willing that you should put the blue brand on the shoulders of the critter.

I think I was more delighted with the "Second Edition" of your letter than with the rest. I am glad to have you back me up, for then I feel certain that you are honest with me. Nothing kills me off quicker than idle flattery. I want to win fair — I'm smart enough for that; yet I do want to win — and I'm sport enough for that too. I have ordered a car load of asafetida, and shall endeavour to kill the scourge. We shall have a more sanitary arrangement hereafter!

I think you will have some fairly good Indian tales within the near future. As to the letter from the respectable Indian, I feel quite certain that Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, sister of the late Inshta Theamba, Mrs. T. H. Tibbles, and daughter of the last chief of the Omahas, will be glad to write you the sort of letter that you desire. Sje ​ is an unusually intellectual woman and a practicing physician here. I will see her in the near future and have her write you direct. No doubt you have heard of Alice C. Fletcher, the ethnologist. Mrs. Picotte has done much toward her success in Indian research, and is, wherever known, recognized as an authority upon the affairs of her tribe.

It is generally conceded about here that I have struck upon the real nature of the Omaha. I have had the best opportunities for getting at the thing. I stand in well with their whole reservation crowd, and never lack a place to stay when at the Agency. I am favored with the friendship of about all the Omahas; they take my hand and call me by name whenever me meet. I have sat in their lodges and tepees, eaten their meat, drunk their soup, smoked their pipes and coddled their babies. O, I go after it just like a politician looking for votes. Lately I spent over a week on a pinto trotting about among the brown hills and extending the glad hand to my brown brothers. I love the poor devils. Commercially, I found them dismal failures; but seen with the eye of an humanitarian they are eminently worth while. I can not bring myself to see fun in them. They have their rude jokes, it is true; but to me their laughter is ghastly- they are passing away. It is just like a consumptive laughing with the rattle in his throat! This explains the fact that I strike the minor chord so often. I say that if one could "set the Omahas to music" (like the dreamer in Castaigne's novel, who wished to set the Louvre to music) that music would abound in minors. Their very songs are minors. There is a pitiful something about them even when they are for a moment majestic, that goes through me like a mournful strain on the G string of a violin. That's the way I look at it. It may be due to my pessimistic German temperament. But, at any rate, I find beauty always written in minors.

You see, I ran a ten months series in the Overland Monthly several years ago. I feel that they were wasted on the desert air, because many of them were as good if not better than these you have seen. I think, however, that you will have some more worth while soon. I have been in a blue funk for several weeks. I dropped down to the city lately and wore that off, so I think I will begin tomorrow on "The War of the Rain Walker". It has been tumbling about in my head for some time.

Enough about Indians. I am sending "A Bundle of Myrrh". You were very kind to write as you did about it. My idea was to see where I "was at". The "Bundle" has been written more to please myself than anyone else — and I sometimes am a queer one. Still, I think that with the exception of a few pieces — the more "suggestive" ones — the thing has a little gold in it. Anyway, it has not been forced; it was lived. (Please forget this; I had no wish to betray myself)

Whatever you may think of my "Bundle" you may feel quite certain that I feel much indebted to you for your kindness in the matter. I hope that I may yet hit my pace. When I di ​, I will certainly remember Davis.

Very sincerely yours,

Jno. G. Neihardt