Daniel Colton Under Fire*

DanielIllusby Elaine L. Schulte

“Ain’t much of a frontiersman, are you, Daniel? Can’t shoot, can’t hunt. . . . How you gonna make it on the Oregon Trail?” Step-cousin Garth had yelled.

Remembering, Daniel Colton pressed his lips together. How could a twelve-year-old town boy from Georgetown, Virginia, be a frontiersman?

After the wagons stopped for the night, Uncle Karl said, “Let’s shoot turkeys for supper. You up to huntin’, Daniel?”

“Ah . . . we bought meat at the butcher shop.” 

Garth waved a hand toward the woods.

“This ain’t Georgetown, Virginia!”

Father said, “I haven’t hunted in years myself, but Daniel and I will do fine. We’re not shirkers.”

“Countin’ on it,” Uncle Karl replied.

Watching Garth fetch his rifle, Daniel remembered what he had said days ago: I’m gonna shoot me some Indians. Probably because Garth’s mother had been killed by Indians. 

Father handed Daniel a rifle. “Come on.”

They crossed a creek and walked through woods. 

Uncle Karl whispered, “Turkeys! A flock of ‘em!” 

Three shots rang out and the turkeys flapped away, all except three who settled in the dust.

“Three ain’t bad,” Uncle Karl said. “Plenty for supper.” He turned to Daniel. “What happened to you?”

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t ready.”

Garth asked, “What can you expect from a city boy?”

The next evening as they settled the covered wagons at a campsite, Uncle Karl rode back from scouting. “Plenty of turkeys here. We’d best get some. Come on.”

The woods were dark, but Daniel spotted a turkey roosting in a tree. He’d have to prove himself as a hunter whether he liked it or not. He loaded his rifle, aimed, and pulled the trigger. Instead of a turkey, angry hornets burst from their nest.

”Hornets!” he yelled and ran.

“Hornets!” Uncle Karl echoed running the other way. “Run for your lives!”

The others tore out of the woods, swarms of hornets buzzing after them. “Head for the stream!” Uncle Karl shouted.

Garth, Father, and Uncle Karl flung their rifles aside and threw themselves into the stream. The hornets buzzed inches above the water, then circled twice and flew away. 
When Father, Garth, and Uncle Karl climbed out, the other emigrants roared with laughter.

Garth and Uncle Karl glowered.

”Last time I go huntin’ with you, Daniel,” Uncle Karl growled. “A city feller who don’t know a turkey from a hornet’s nest shouldn’t carry no rifle.”

As the wagon train moved westward, they saw more and more Indians, and Daniel noticed that Garth’s anger deepened. 

One evening, Daniel glimpsed his step-cousin disappear into the trees with his rifle.

“Garth! We’re not supposed to hunt alone!” 

His step-cousin didn’t answer and left a careless trail of broken brush as Daniel followed him. After awhile, Daniel saw Garth aim his rifle across the stream at an Indian girl picking berries. 

Racing forward, Daniel shouted and threw himself on Garth. The gunshot boomed through the air. 

Garth thrashed under him.

“Get off me!” 

Getting up, Daniel spotted the girl running away. “You almost killed an Indian girl.”

“They killed my ma!” Garth shouted.


Killing Indians won’t bring her back. You have to forgive them. That’s what Christ says.”

Garth ran off. 

Two days later, a cry rang out. “Halt the wagons!” the captain shouted. “Child missing!”

The mother sobbed, “I heard wolves last night.”

“Maybe Indians took him!” someone said.

 The search party rode out on their horses, leaving Daniel, Garth, and two older men to scout nearby. 

 After a while, Daniel thought he heard a soft voice in the nearby bushes.

 Seconds later, the child toddled out.

“Ma-ma!” he called happily. “Ma-ma!” His homespun jumper was dirty, but his eyes sparkled.

In the woods, Daniel caught a glimpse of the Indian girl in a fringed buckskin dress. She smiled at him, then without rustling the bushes, disappeared.

”Thank you!” Daniel called after her. “Thank you for bringing him back!”

Garth said in shock, “That was the Indian girl I . . . almost . . . shot.”

Daniel nodded.

 Garth grabbed a breath. “You ain’t much of a frontiersman, Daniel Colton, but I gotta admit you’re . . . I reckon the word is . . . godly. I’m thinkin’, too, it’s time to . . . like you said . . . to forgive the Indians killing Ma.”

“Christ says to love one another.”

Garth’s eyes clouded, but he pulled a small smile. “As long as I gotta learn to forgive, I guess I could teach you about huntin’ and such.”

“Yeah,” Daniel answered with hope, “maybe a town fellow and a country fellow could learn from each other. Maybe we could even, after a while, be . . . friends.”

© Elaine L. Schulte

Elaine Schulte is the author of dozens of novels as well as hundreds of articles and short stories. She and her husband live in Tucson, Arizona.

*Adapted from the author’s novel, DANIEL COLTON UNDER FIRE, BJW Press, with permission.




The Oldest “Writing” in the World

by Jeanne Gowen Dennis

Picking flowersYou’ve probably learned in school and on television that everything evolved. But God created everything from nothing, just as He said. (See Genesis chapters 1 and 2.)

Everything that produced the differences in various humans, animals, and plants  was built-in when God first created them. God did it with a secret code that scientists are still trying to solve.

This code, probably the oldest “writing” in the world, is the DNA that God wrote into genes.

Everything in your body—your eye shape and color, skin color, hair curliness, how you look, and so on—is determined by the genes that Blue eyesyou inherited from your parents. You received half of your genes from each parent. It’s really complicated, but here is a simple formula of how it works.

Add: 1/2 of genes from Father

+      1/2 of genes  from Mother

=       Child’s genes

But with each child, the combination of genes will be different, except with identical twins. Their genes will be alike.

We all have the same parents, Adam and Eve. So I’ll use them to show you how our genes work.

Asian girl2In order for us to have so many groups of people who look so different from one another, our first parents had to have all the traits in their genes that anyone ever born afterwards would have. I’m going to show you that it is not evolution – the addition of new information – that gave us these differences. Instead, it is the loss of information in the genes that makes us different.

Adam and Eve probably started with the same set of genes, because God made Eve from Adam’s rib. The Bible tells us that they had other sons and daughters besides Cain, Abel, and Seth, so there were many possible ways that Adam’s and Eve’s traits could have OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbeen passed on to their children.

Let’s take skin color, for example. Science shows us that all people have the same color. It comes from a pigment called melanin. We just have more or less of it, depending on our genes, so there is really only one race, the human race.

So-called “white” people have very little melanin, so the blood shows through the light skin, giving it a pinkish tone. Dark-skinned people have more of the pigment, so the blood doesn’t show through the Baby feetskin. 

 Adam and Eve probably had a medium amount of melanin in their skin. That would allow them to have both dark-skinned and light skinned children and everything in between.

Let me show you a little bit about how it works. 

Let’s say that each colored box in the diagrams below represents a gene for a characteristic or trait that the parent passes down to a child. It could be for skin color, eye color, height, or any of a number of things. 

We will start with a trait that requires four genes to be passed down to produce the trait.

curly hairEach child  would receive two boxes from each parent to make a total of four. The science of genetics, and the mathematics of probability help us see all the possible ways  genes could be inherited. I will show every possible combination of genes in our example that the children could receive from their parents.

For instance, one child might receive a yellow and a blue gene from the father and a red and a yellow gene from the mother. That would give the child 2 yellows, one blue, and one red. There would be no green gene in that child at all. So when that child becomes a parent, he or she could not pass on a green gene to a child, because it is not there.

Here are all the possible combinations of the four colors that can be passed down from Adam and Eve to their children. We will not worry about the order of the colors or which parent the genes came from.  If we did, several combinations would be repeated, but in a different order. For now, let’s just look at the possibilities, not how often they might show up.

Adam Eve ChildrenThere are sixteen possible ways the children can inherit two of the four genes from each parent. The parents can also have more than one child with the same combination of these particular genes.

If two of these children were to marry and have children of their own, the children would only be able to inherit the traits that their parents inherited from Adam and Eve.

Let’s take Child A and Child C, for example. Together, they have only red, blue and green traits. There is no way for their children to inherit the yellow trait, because neither parent inherited the yellow trait.

Now let’s look at all the possibilities for Child A and Child C’s children (Adam and Eve’s grandchildren from those parents):

Adam Eve GrandchildrenAs you can see, some of the grandchildren will not inherit all the genes their parents had. For example, look at Grandchild F and Grandchild G. Grandchild F has only the red genes. Grandchild G has no red genes at all. So in only two generations, much of the original parents’ genetic information can be lost in some of their grandchildren. This loss of information might mean they have more or less melanin in their skin or blue eyes instead of brown or blonde hair instead of another color.

Blonde hairThe science of genetics is much, much more complicated than this little exercise can show. There are so many genes and so many traits that even a computer probably couldn’t find all the combinations.

This example does show us that it is the LOSS of genetic information that brought about so many differences in people, animals, and plants, not the addition of information, as evolution teaches. God placed all the genetic information that was necessary to bring about the diversity in people, animals, and plants into His original Creation.sleeping child

Isn’t God amazing? He made us all in His own image from two parents. And He created the perfect code language to tell our bodies how to grow and how each person should look. He made us all unique – one of a kind. – even identical twins! And He loves every one of us just as we are.

Try putting some of Adam’s and Eve’s imaginary children and grandchildren together and see what combinations of colors you discover. Just remember to take two colors from each parent.

© 2015 Jeanne Gowen Dennis