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 French army.
The news came one morning. An Indian called Magua arrived.
'Montcalm and the French army are coming towards Fort William
Henry,' Magua told General Webb.
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 Henry.'
'I will send fifteen hundred men,' said General Webb.
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 Henry.'
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 watched Magua.
'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 Alice.
'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 women. So they followed Magua through