Carl Sandburg

The Wooden Indian and the Shaghorn Buffalo

    One night a milk white moon was shining down on Main Street. 
The sidewalks and the stones, the walls and the windows all stood 
out milk white. And there was a thin blue mist drifted and shifted
like a woman’s veil up and down Main Street, up to the moon and 
back again. Yes, all Main Street was a mist blue and a milk white, 
mixed up and soft all over and all through.
    It was past midnight. The Wooden Indian in front of the cigar 
store stepped down off his stand. The Shaghorn Buffalo in front 
of the haberdasher shop lifted his head and shook his whiskers, 
raised his hoofs out of his hoof-tracks.
    Then—this is what happened. They moved straight toward each 
other. In the middle of Main Street they met. The Wooden Indian 
jumped straddle of the Shaghorn Buffalo. And the Shaghorn Buffalo 
put his head down and ran like a prairie wind straight west on Main 
    At the high hill over the big bend of the Clear Green River they 
stopped. They stood looking. Drifting and shifting like a woman’s 
blue veil, the blue mist filled the valley and the milk white moon 
filled the valley. And the mist and the moon touched with a lingering,
 wistful kiss the clear green water of the Clear Green River.
    So they stood looking, the Wooden Indian with his copper face 
and wooden feathers, and the Shaghorn Buffalo with his big head 
and heavy shoulders slumping down close to the ground. 
    And after they had looked a long while, and each of them got an 
eyeful of the high hill, the big bend and the moon mist on the river 
all blue and white and soft, after they had looked a long while, they 
turned around and the Shaghorn Buffalo put his head down and ran
like a prairie wind down Main Street till he was exactly in front of 
the cigar store and the haberdasher shop. Then whisk! both of them 
were right back like they were before, standing still, taking whatever 
    This is the story as it came from the night policeman of the Village 
of Cream Puffs. He told the people the next day, “I was sitting on the 
steps of the cigar store last night watching for burglars. And when I 
saw the Wooden Indian step down and the Shaghorn Buffalo step out, 
and the two of them go down Main Street like the wind, I says to 
myself, marvelish, ’tis marvelish, ’tis marvelish.”