It's time for the Tuesday Teaser! This week, the excerpt is from Songbirds are Free, my most popular book. It is based on the true story of my ancestor, Mary Neely, who was captured by Shawnee warriors in 1780. She was held as a slave for three years until she managed to escape and journey thousands of miles home alone. She was truly a great lady.
"It is your choice," White Messenger said. "You may serve Medicine Woman or become one with Msipessi."
His eyes flashed in conficting emotions as he weighed her words. When he spoke, it was not to her but to Eagle Feathers. His head was high and noble, his words melodious in the quieted room. He waved toward Medicine Woman.
Msipessi's face grew dark. He made his way through the crowd, where he disappeared from view. Medicine Woman nodded approvingly.
Mary turned to White Messenger. "What did you tell them?"
"I told them you chose to serve Medicine Woman. Your name is now Songbird."
A young squaw pulled at Mary's arm. As she was led away, a refrain began in her head: I am a slave. I am a slave.
She stopped as she reached the door of the community building and turned to face White Messenger. She stood tall and felt her square jaw jut forward. "Songbirds," she said in a clear, strong voice, "are free."