It was the year 1757. The place was the dangerous and
wild land, west of the Hudson River. It was the third
year of the war in North America. The war was
between England and France. Each country wanted the
land for itself.
Indian tribes had always lived in that land. In the
war, some tribes were fighting for the French. Other
tribes were fighting for the English.
Fort Edward was on the Hudson River. General Webb
was the commander of the English army at Fort
Edward. He was waiting for news of General
Montcalm. Montcalm was the commander of the
The news came one morning. An Indian called
'Montcalm and the French army are coming
towards Fort William Henry,' Magua told General
Fort William Henry was fifteen miles away. It was at
the south end of Lake Horican.
'How many men has Montcalm got?' asked Webb.
'As many as the leaves on the trees,' said Magua.
'General Munro wants more soldiers at Fort William
'I will send fifteen hundred men,' said General
General Munro was the commander of the English
army at Fort William Henry. He had two daughters --
Cora and Alice. Cora was about twenty-three years old
and Alice was eighteen. Cora had dark hair and a
beautiful face. Alice had fair hair and blue eyes.
These two young women were at Fort Edward. But
they were going to travel to Fort William Henry. They
were going to meet their father.
General Webb spoke to Cora and Alice.
'Magua knows a secret path through the forest,' said
General Webb. 'He will be your guide. Magua and
Major Duncan Heyward will take you to Fort William
Major Duncan Heyward was a young English officer.
He and the two young women left Fort Edward. They
rode on horses. Magua walked in front of them. Alice
'I don't like him, Cora,' she said. 'What do you
think? Will we be safe in the forest with Magua?'
'We must trust Magua,' said Cora,
The French know our soldiers' paths,' said Duncan,
'But Magua's path is secret.' He smiled at Alice, and
she smiled at him. Duncan Heyward was in love with
'Magua is a Huron,' said Duncan. 'But he lived with
the Mohawks. The Mohawks are friends of the English.
Magua came to us. Your father--' Duncan stopped.
Then he said, 'But I don't remember all the story.'
Duncan knew more about Magua. But he did not
tell Cora and Alice. He did not say, 'A few years ago,
your father's men beat Magua. Now Magua hates your
father.' Duncan did not want to frighten the young
So they followed Magua through the forest.