Short summary - Osceola The Seminole: The Red Fawn of the Flower Land
Thomas Mayne Reid
The action takes place in Florida in the early 1830s, before and during the so-called Second Seminole War. The main character, George Randolph, is the son of an impoverished planter who moved from Virginia to Florida. In his veins there is an admixture of Native American blood, which is considered a pride in America.
At the very beginning of the story, we get acquainted with other heroes. Among them are the slaves Yellow Jack and Black Jack, the mulatto and the Negro, the Mulatto is described as a gloomy, evil, cruel and vengeful creature - qualities that the hero on whose behalf the narrative is conducted considers the psychological peculiarity of mulattos in general: «Mulattos are proud of their yellow skin and put "above" blacks both mentally and physically, and therefore more acutely feel their humiliated position. " It is said about blacks: "They are rarely insensitive savages <...>, everywhere they have to suffer, but in their souls there is no vengeance and cruelty." Therefore, Black Jack has a kind heart and is very attached to the hero and his father.
There is a rivalry between the mulatto and the black man because of the beauty of the Viola quarter. Once a mulatto, wishing to gain her favor, watches her on a forest path, and Viola is saved from violence only by the appearance of the hero’s sister, young Virginia. The mulatto is punished; out of revenge, he kills the beloved doe of Virginia, he is punished again, and then he decides to the extreme - lures the alligator to the pool, where the girl usually bathes.
She is saved from death by an Indian man named Powell, the son of an Indian and a white.
It was decided to execute the encroaching on the life of the white girl mulatto - to burn it alive. The owners of the neighboring plantation, the father and son of Ringhold, take a lively part in preparations for the execution - everyone knows that the young Ringhold wants to marry Virginia. Powell and Arena Ringhold exchange insults, and as a result of a fight between them, Yellow Jack manages to escape. They chase him, but in front of his pursuers he becomes a victim of a crocodile.
Meanwhile, Ringhold with friends Ned Spence and Bill Williams decide to punish the proud Indian, and the hero rescues him from beating him.
This is how friendship develops between the hero and the Indian, to which Virginia and Powell Mayumi's sister subsequently join. This friendship does not last long: the hero’s parents soon find out about her, and he is urgently sent to study at West Point.
When he returns to Florida, a war is brewing there with the Indians, whose lands are claimed by white settlers. However, it is simply impossible to expel the Indians from their land, since there is a special treaty on this subject. The task of the whites is to terminate the existing one and conclude a new agreement providing for the relocation of the Indians to new lands. In case of refusal of the Indians, it was decided to use force. To the places of resettlement of the Seminoles, government troops are drawing together.
Among the Indian leaders there is no unity on the issue of relocation: some are ready to agree to the conditions of the whites, others prefer to fight with the troops. Among the latter is a young leader, famous for his courage, by the name of Osceola.
After a little stay at home, George Randolph goes to Fort King, where the Seminole Office and the General Staff of the Florida Army are located, under the command of General Clinch, to whom the hero is seconded. From a conversation with Black Jack, he learns that the Ringholds tricked the Powell family into taking the estate, and she left somewhere. This news is very upsetting to him, since he has long loved Mayumi. On the way to the fort, someone shoots George, and Black Jack says it was Yellow Jack.
The day after the hero arrives at Fort King, a council of leaders takes place at which government agent Wiley Thompson calls on them to sign a relocation agreement. At a critical moment, Osceola appears, who decides the outcome of the council - under his pressure, the chief leader refuses to put his signature. Angry and annoyed, Thompson turns to him, calling him Powell, and then the hero recognizes him.
Agent Thompson presents the Indians with an ultimatum to which the president authorized him: either relocation or war. But the Indians say they are ready to defend themselves. Then the agent invites them to discuss again in his circle and get together the next day.
Late in the evening, George finds himself in the forest, waiting for the traitorous leaders, who must give him important information. Suddenly, the insane Indian Hajj Eva, familiar to him from childhood, appears and warns him of the danger. He really becomes a witness to the conspiracy: his old foe Arens Ringhold plans to kill him, to marry his sister and take possession of the plantations. The murder must be done by Yellow Jack, who until that time was considered dead.
The next day, near agent King, a new meeting of the agent with the Indians takes place, during which Oceola is arrested, and Hajj-Eve appoints George a date in the forest.
The hero wants to settle accounts with Ringhold. A friend advises him to give Ringgold a reason to be the first to challenge him to a duel. Such is quickly found: Ringhold boasts of the love victories of his friend Scott, the adjutant of the commander in chief, who allegedly made Mayumi his mistress. George slaps Ringgold, after which he wounds in a duel.
Arriving in the forest in the evening, the hero witnesses the meeting of Mayumi with Scott. The girl asks Scott to help free her brother, but he makes her a dirty offer. The hero saves the girl, and she falls into his arms.
On the same evening, George visits Oceola and advises him to sign the contract, since the signature does not oblige him to anything: after all, the agreement on the resettlement must be made by the whole people. So Osceola regains freedom.
Meanwhile, the mobilization of volunteers in the American army begins. To form such a detachment, a hero with a friend, captain Gallagher, goes to his native village of Swaney.
On the way, he becomes aware that his sister is secretly meeting with Osceola. He is very upset, because such meetings can seriously damage her reputation. However, gradually it begins to seem to him that Virginia sympathizes with Gallagher, and he reciprocates it. Suddenly, the hero finds out that the Arena Ringhold often visits his sister. He is afraid that Virginia would not commit a rash act and marry him. But, by chance having witnessed their meeting, he discovers that Virginia is trying to get a gift of an estate that once belonged to the Powell. Later, the girl gives her brother a promise not to have anything in common with Ringhold.
George is urgently summoned to Fort King. Finding himself in the forest at night, he is captured by the Indians and becomes a witness to Oceola’s revenge on the traitor leader Omatla. A little later, during the celebration of Christmas, the Indians kill Agent Thompson - so revenge Osceola.
A real war begins, in which the Indians win one victory after another (the defeat of Major Dade’s detachment, the battle of Whitlacutchi). One commander-in-chief replaces another, but none of them can inflict any serious defeat on the Indians. During the war, the hero miraculously survives.
After a two-month absence, he returns home. He is tormented by severe forebodings. Arriving, he learns that his estate was burned, his mother and uncle, who served as the manager, were killed, and his sister was kidnapped. Eyewitnesses are called the culprits of the Indians, but it later turns out that it was Yellow Jack dressed in Oceola’s costume, and the abduction was organized by Ringhold, in order to then act as a savior and thus force Virginia to marry him.
As always, Osceola comes to the aid of the hero and his sister. Grateful Virginia hands him the documents on the right to own the estate, and George takes Mayumi under his protection, proposing to marry her.
But Oceola was no longer destined to take advantage of the nobility of Virginia: he lost interest in life, as he managed to finish off all those whom he vowed to take revenge. During a night's halt, he easily lets himself be arrested, and after a few weeks dies in captivity from an incurable disease.
At the time of the arrest of Oceola, from the bite of a rattlesnake, which the insane Hajj Eve always carries with him, Yellow Jack dies, who gave the Indian to the authorities.
Virginia marries Captain Gallagher, the hero marries Mayumi, and Black Jack and his wife Viola are sent by the manager to one of Randolph's plantations.