Study Guide

Last of the Mohicans Chapter 21

By James Fenimore Cooper

Chapter 21

  • Epigraph from The Merry Wives of Windsor: "If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death." That sounds unpleasant, jeez.
  • The group is now in a "sterile and rugged district, which separates the tributaries of Champlain from those of the Hudson, the Mohawk, and of the St. Lawrence." Hawkeye leads the group through the wilderness guided by little more than a star or a waterway.
  • After some hours, they make camp for the night.
  • In the morning, Hawkeye becomes more cautious after they go a few miles. He confers more frequently with Chingachgook.
  • At one point Heyward wonders aloud if Uncas might have something to add to the discussion.
  • Turns out Uncas has spotted a trail and was waiting for someone to ask for his thoughts.
  • They are now able to follow Magua's trail quite easily.
  • By the middle of the afternoon they have found a spot where Magua camped.
  • They examine the area for further clues.
  • Uncas is again the one to uncover a clue—David's footprint.
  • Hawkeye tells them Magua must have made David step first, and the others follow in his footsteps.
  • They follow a regular course of footprints.
  • Uncas finds another trail. They soon come across the women's footprints.
  • The group has a quick meal and then presses on. The sun is setting soon.
  • Hawkeye is conscious of imminent danger. He thinks they are approaching a Huron encampment. He tells Chingachgook to try scouting along the hill, Uncas along the brook, and that he will try the trail. The signal, if any of them finds something, will be three croaks of a crow.
  • Hawkeye proceeds with Munro and Heyward.
  • At one point, Hawkeye tells Heyward to keep to the edge of the wood while he checks out some other signs.
  • Heyward arrives in a clearing next to a little lake with a hundred earthen dwellings. Heyward thinks the area is deserted, but soon sees many Indians coming out on all fours dragging a "formidable engine" and diving into the water.
  • He hears leaves rustling and spots an extremely strange Indian whose appearance is "forlorn and miserable."
  • Hawkeye returns; Heyward reports that they have clearly found the Huron encampment, and one of the Indians is standing right next to them.
  • Hawkeye tells Heyward that the Indian is not a Huron. Heyward reports that the man does not seem to be carrying a weapon, but that it would be bad if he warned his companions in the water.
  • Hawkeye inexplicably laughs, then tells Hawkeye he is going to take care of the Indian.
  • The Indian turns out to be David Gamut.
  • The supposed Indians in the water are actually beavers. Yeah. Beavers.
  • Heyward is officially useless.