Infomotions, Inc.Being the adventures of two boys who lived as Indians and what they learned / Seton, Ernest Thompson, 1860-1946



Author: Seton, Ernest Thompson, 1860-1946
Title: Being the adventures of two boys who lived as Indians and what they learned
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): yan; raften; caleb; sam; guy; little beaver
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Title: Two Little Savages

Author: Ernest Thompson Seton

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TWO LITTLE SAVAGES

Being the ADVENTURES of Two BOYS Who Lived as INDIANS and What They
LEARNED

With Over Three Hundred Drawings

Written & Illustrated by

ERNEST THOMPSON SETON

Author of _Wild Animals I have Known_, _Lives of the Hunted_,
_Biography of a Grizzly_, _Trail of the Sandhill Stag_, etcetera,
& Naturalist to the Government of Manitoba.

1917







Preface


Because I have known the torment of thirst I would
dig a well where others may drink.

E.T.S.



In this Book the designs for Title-page, Jackets, and general make-up
were done by Grace Gallatin Seton.




The Chapters

Part I

Glenyan & Yan


I.     Glimmerings
II.    Spring
III.   His Adjoining Brothers
IV.    The Book
V.     The Collarless Stranger
VI.    Glenyan
VII    The Shanty
VIII   The Beginnings of Woodlore
IX     Tracks
X.     Biddy's Contribution
XI.    Lung Balm
XII.   A Crisis
XIII.  The Lynx
XIV.   Froth




The Chapters

Part II

Sanger & Sam


I.      The New Home
II.     Sam
III.    The Wigwam
IV.     The Sanger Witch
V.      Caleb
VI.     The Making of the Teepee
VII.    The Calm Evening
VIII.   The Sacred Fire
IX.     The Bows and Arrows
X.      The Dam
XI.     Yan and the Witch
XII.    Dinner with the Witch
XIII.   The Hostile Spy
XIV.    The Quarrel
XV.     The Peace of Minnie




The Chapters

Part III

In the Woods


I.      Really in the Woods
II.     The First Night and Morning
III.    A Crippled Warrior and the Mud-Albums
IV.     A "Massacree" of Palefaces
V.      The Deer Hunt
VI.     War Bonnet, Teepee and Coups
VII.    Campercraft
VIII.   The Indian Drum
IX.     The Cat and the Skunk
X.      The Adventures of a Squirrel family
XI.     How to See the Woodfolk
XII.    Indian Signs and Getting Lost
XIII.   Tanning Skins and Making Moccasins
XIV.    Caleb's Philosophy
XV.     A Visit from Raften
XVI.    How Yan Knew the Ducks Afar
XVII.   Sam's Woodcraft Exploit
XVIII.  The Owls and the Night-School
XIX.    The Trial of Grit
XX.     The White Revolver
XXI.    The Triumph of Guy
XXII.   The Coon Hunt
XXIII.  The Banshee's Wail and the Huge Night Prowler
XXIV.   Hawkeye Claims Another Grand Coup
XXV.    The Three-fingered Tramp
XXVI.   Winning Back the farm
XXVII.  The Rival Tribe
XXVIII. White Man's Woodcraft
XXIX.   The Long Swamp
XXX.    A New Kind of Coon
XXXI.   On the Old Camp Ground
XXXII.  The New War Chief



List of Full Pages

Part I


 1. "Gazing spellbound in that window"
 2. "He already knew the Downy Woodpecker"
 3. "Yan's Toilet"
 4. "The Coon Track"
 5. "There in his dear cabin were three tramps"
 6. "It surely was a Lynx"

Part II

 7. "The wigwam was a failure"
 8. "Get out o' this now, or I'll boot ye"
 9. "Pattern for Teepee"

10. "Pattern of Thunder Bull's Teepee and of Black
       Bull's Teepee"
11. "'Clicker-a-clicker!' he shrieked ... and down like
       a dart"
12. "Rubbing-sticks for fire-making"
13. "The Archery Outfit"
14. "The dam was a great success"
15. "Ugh! Heap sassy"
16. "There stood Raften, spectator of the whole affair"




Part III


17. "If ye kill any Song-birds, I'll use the rawhoide
     on ye"
18. "Where's the axe?"
19. "He soon appeared, waving a branch"
20. "The War Bonnet"
21. "The old Cat raged and tore"
22. "Indian Signs"
23. "The Two Smokes"
24. "The Fish and River Ducks"
25. "The Sea Ducks"
26. "Owl-stuffing plate"
27. "Guy gave a leap of terror and fell"
28. "Well, sonny, cookin' dinner?"
29. "He nervously fired and missed"




I

Glimmerings


Yan was much like other twelve-year-old boys in having a keen interest
in Indians and in wild life, but he differed from most in this, that
he never got over it. Indeed, as he grew older, he found a yet keener
pleasure in storing up the little bits of woodcraft and Indian lore
that pleased him as a boy.

His father was in poor circumstances. He was an upright man of refined
tastes, but indolent--a failure in business, easy with the world and
stern with his family. He had never taken an interest in his son's
wildwood pursuits; and when he got the idea that they might interfere
with the boy's education, he forbade them altogether.

There was certainly no reason to accuse Yan of neglecting school. He
was the head boy of his class, although there were many in it older
than himself. He was fond of books in general, but those that dealt
with Natural Science and Indian craft were very close to his heart.
Not that he had many--there were very few in those days, and the
Public Library had but a poor representation of these. "Lloyd's
Scandinavian Sports," "Gray's Botany" and one or two Fenimore Cooper
novels, these were all, and Yan was devoted to them. He was a timid,
obedient boy in most things, but the unwise command to give up what
was his nature merely made him a disobedient boy--turned a good boy
into a bad one. He was too much in terror of his father to disobey
openly, but he used to sneak away at all opportunities to the fields
and woods, and at each new bird or plant he found he had an exquisite
thrill of mingled pleasure and pain--the pain because he had no name
for it or means of learning its nature.

The intense interest in animals was his master passion, and thanks to
this, his course to and from school was a very crooked one, involving
many crossings of the street, because thereby he could pass first a
saloon in whose window was a champagne advertising chromo that
portrayed two Terriers chasing a Rat; next, directly opposite this,
was a tobacconist's, in the window of which was a beautiful effigy of
an Elephant, laden with tobacco. By going a little farther out of his
way, there was a game store where he might see some Ducks, and was
sure, at least, of a stuffed Deer's head; and beyond that was a
furrier shop, with an astonishing stuffed Bear. At another point he
could see a livery stable Dog that was said to have killed a Coon, and
at yet another place on Jervie Street was a cottage with a high
veranda, under which, he was told, a chained Bear had once been kept.
He never saw the Bear. It had been gone for years, but he found
pleasure in passing the place. At the corner of Pemberton and Grand
streets, according to a schoolboy tradition, a Skunk had been killed
years ago and could still be smelled on damp nights. He always
stopped, if passing near on a wet night, and sniffed and enjoyed that
Skunk smell. The fact that it ultimately turned out to be a leakage of
sewer gas could never rob him of the pleasure he originally found in
it.

[Illustration: "Gazing spellbound in that window"]

Yan had no good excuse for these weaknesses, and he blushed for shame
when his elder brother talked "common sense" to him about his follies.
He only knew that such things fascinated him.

But the crowning glory was a taxidermist's shop kept on Main Street by
a man named Sander. Yan spent, all told, many weeks gazing spellbound,
with his nose flat white against that window. It contained some Fox
and Cat heads grinning ferociously, and about fifty birds beautifully
displayed. Nature might have got some valuable hints in that window
on showing plumage to the very best advantage. Each bird seemed more
wonderful than the last.

There were perhaps fifty of them on view, and of these, twelve had
labels, as they had formed part of an exhibit at the Annual County
Fair. These labels were precious truths to him, and the birds:

Osprey                    Partridge or Ruffed Grouse
Kingfisher                Bittern
Bluejay                   Highholder
Rosebreasted Grosbeak     Sawwhet Owl
Woodthrush                Oriole
Scarlet Tanager           * * * * * * *

were, with their names, deeply impressed on his memory and added to
his woodlore, though not altogether without a mixture of error. For
the alleged Woodthrush was not a Woodthrush at all, but turned out
to be a Hermit Thrush. The last bird of the list was a long-tailed,
brownish bird with white breast. The label was placed so that Yan
could not read it from outside, and one of his daily occupations was
to see if the label had been turned so that he could read it. But it
never was, so he never learned the bird's name.

After passing this for a year or more, he formed a desperate plan. It
was nothing less than to _go inside_. It took him some months to
screw up courage, for he was shy and timid, but oh! he was so hungry
for it. Most likely if he had gone in openly and asked leave, he
would have been allowed to see everything; but he dared not. His home
training was all of the crushing kind. He picked on the most curious
of the small birds in the window--a Sawwhet Owl then grit his teeth
and walked in. How frightfully the cowbell on the door did clang! Then
there succeeded a still more appalling silence, then a step and the
great man himself came.

"How--how--how much is that Owl?"

"Two dollars."

Yan's courage broke down now. He fled. If he had been told ten cents,
it would have been utterly beyond reach. He scarcely heard what the
man said. He hurried out with a vague feeling that he had been in
heaven but was not good enough to stay there. He saw nothing of the
wonderful things around him.




II

Spring


Yan, though not strong, revelled in deeds of brawn. He would rather
have been Samson than Moses--Hercules than Apollo. All his tastes
inclined him to wild life. Each year when the spring came, he felt the
inborn impulse to up and away. He was stirred through and through when
the first Crow, in early March, came barking over-head. But it fairly
boiled in his blood when the Wild Geese, in long, double, arrow-headed
procession, went clanging northward. He longed to go with them.
Whenever a new bird or beast appeared, he had a singular prickling
feeling up his spine and his back as though he had a mane that was
standing up. This feeling strengthened with his strength.

All of his schoolmates used to say that they "liked" the spring, some
of the girls would even say that they "dearly loved" the spring, but
they could not understand the madness that blazed in Yan's eyes when
springtime really came--the flush of cheek--the shortening breath--the
restless craving for action--the chafing with flashes of rebellion at
school restraints--the overflow of nervous energy--the bloodthirst
in his blood--the hankering to run--to run to the north, when the
springtime tokens bugled to his every sense.

Then the wind and sky and ground were full of thrill. There was
clamour everywhere, but never a word. There was stirring within and
without. There was incentive in the yelping of the Wild Geese; but it
was only tumult, for he could not understand why he was so stirred.
There were voices that he could not hear--messages that he could not
read; all was confusion of tongues. He longed only to get away.

"If only I could get away. If--if--Oh, God!" he stammered in torment
of inexpression, and then would gasp and fling himself down on some
bank, and bite the twigs that chanced within reach and tremble and
wonder at himself.

Only one thing kept him from some mad and suicidal move--from joining
some roving Indian band up north, or gypsies nearer--and that was the
strong hand at home.




III

His Adjoining Brothers


Yan had many brothers, but only those next him in age were important
in his life. Rad was two years older--a strong boy, who prided himself
on his "common sense." Though so much older, he was Yan's inferior
at school. He resented this, and delighted in showing his muscular
superiority at all opportunities. He was inclined to be religious,
and was strictly proper in his life and speech. He never was known to
smoke a cigarette, tell a lie, or say "gosh" or "darn." He was plucky
and persevering, but he was cold and hard, without a human fiber or a
drop of red blood in his make-up. Even as a boy he bragged that he had
no enthusiasms, that he believed in common sense, that he called a
spade a spade, and would not use two words where one would do. His
intelligence was above the average, but he was so anxious to be
thought a person of rare sagacity and smartness, unswayed by emotion,
that nothing was too heartless for him to do if it seemed in line
with his assumed character. He was not especially selfish, and yet he
pretended to be so, simply that people should say of him significantly
and admiringly: "Isn't he keen? Doesn't he know how to take care of
himself?" What little human warmth there was in him died early, and he
succeeded only in making himself increasingly detested as he grew up.

His relations to Yan may be seen in one incident.

Yan had been crawling about under the house in the low wide cobwebby
space between the floor beams and the ground. The delightful sensation
of being on an exploring expedition led him farther (and ultimately to
a paternal thrashing for soiling his clothes), till he discovered a
hollow place near one side, where he could nearly stand upright. He
at once formed one of his schemes--to make a secret, or at least a
private, workroom here. He knew that if he were to ask permission
he would be refused, but if he and Rad together were to go it might
receive favourable consideration on account of Rad's self-asserted
reputation for common sense. For a wonder, Rad was impressed with the
scheme, but was quite sure that they had "better not go together to
ask Father." He "could manage that part better alone," and he did.

Then they set to work. The first thing was to deepen the hole from
three feet to six feet everywhere, and get rid of the earth by working
it back under the floor of the house. There were many days of labour
in this, and Yan stuck to it each day after returning from school.
There were always numerous reasons why Rad could not share in the
labour. When the ten by fourteen-foot hole was made, boards to line
and floor it were needed. Lumber was very cheap--inferior, second-hand
stuff was to be had for the asking--and Yan found and carried boards
enough to make the workroom. Rad was an able carpenter and now took
charge of the construction. They worked together evening after
evening, Yan discussing all manner of plans with warmth and
enthusiasm--what they would do in their workshop when finished--how
they might get a jig-saw in time and saw picture frames, so as to
make some money. Rad assented with grunts or an occasional Scripture
text--that was his way. Each day he told Yan what to go on with while
he was absent.

The walls were finished at length; a window placed in one side; a door
made and fitted with lock and key. What joy! Yan glowed with pleasure
and pride at the triumphant completion of his scheme. He swept up the
floor for the finishing ceremony and sat down on the bench for a grand
gloat, when Rad said abruptly:

"Going to lock up now." That sounded gratifyingly important. Yan
stepped outside. Rad locked the door, put the key in his pocket, then
turning, he said with cold, brutal emphasis:

"Now you keep out of my workshop from this on. _You_ have nothing
to do with it. It's mine. I got the permission to make it." All of
which he could prove, and did.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alner, the youngest, was eighteen months younger than Yan, and about
the same size, but the resemblance stopped there. His chief aim in
life was to be stylish. He once startled his mother by inserting into
his childish prayers the perfectly sincere request: "Please, God,
make me an awful swell, for Jesus sake." Vanity was his foible, and
laziness his sin.

He could be flattered into anything that did not involve effort. He
fairly ached to be famous. He was consuming with desire to be pointed
out for admiration as the great this, that or the other thing--it did
not matter to him what, as long as he could be pointed out. But he
never had the least idea of working for it. At school he was a sad
dunce. He was three grades below Yan and at the bottom of his grade.
They set out for school each day together, because that was a paternal
ruling; but they rarely reached there together. They had nothing in
common. Yan was full of warmth, enthusiasm, earnestness and energy,
but had a most passionate and ungovernable temper. Little put him in a
rage, but it was soon over, and then an equally violent reaction set
in, and he was always anxious to beg forgiveness and make friends
again. Alner was of lazy good temper and had a large sense of humour.
His interests were wholly in the playground. He had no sympathy with
Yan's Indian tastes--"Indians in nasty, shabby clothes. Bah! Horrid!"
he would scornfully say.

These, then, were his adjoining brothers.

What wonder that Yan was daily further from them.




IV

The Book


But the greatest event of Yan's then early life now took place. His
school readers told him about Wilson and Audubon, the first and last
American naturalists. Yan wondered why no other great prophet had
arisen. But one day the papers announced that at length he had
appeared. A work on the Birds of Canada, by ..., had come at last,
price one dollar.

Money never before seemed so precious, necessary and noble a thing.
"Oh! if I only had a dollar." He set to work to save and scrape. He
won marbles in game, swopped marbles for tops, tops for jack-knives as
the various games came around with strange and rigid periodicity. The
jack-knives in turn were converted into rabbits, the rabbits into cash
of small denominations. He carried wood for strange householders;
he scraped and scraped and saved the scrapings; and got, after some
months, as high as ninety cents. But there was a dread fatality
about that last dime. No one seemed to have any more odd jobs; his
commercial luck deserted him. He was burnt up with craving for that
book. None of his people took interest enough in him to advance the
cash even at the ruinous interest (two or three times cent per cent)
that he was willing to bind himself for. Six weeks passed before he
achieved that last dime, and he never felt conscience-clear about it
afterward.

He and Alner had to cut the kitchen wood. Each had his daily
allotment, as well as other chores. Yan's was always done faithfully,
but the other evaded his work in every way. He was a notorious little
fop. The paternal poverty did not permit his toilet extravagance to
soar above one paper collar per week, but in his pocket he carried a
piece of ink eraser with which he was careful to keep the paper collar
up to standard. Yan cared nothing about dress--indeed, was inclined to
be slovenly. So the eldest brother, meaning to turn Alner's weakness
to account, offered a prize of a twenty-five-cent necktie of the
winner's own choice to the one who did his chores best for a month.
For the first week Alner and Yan kept even, then Alner wearied, in
spite of the dazzling prize. The pace was too hot. Yan kept on his
usual way and was duly awarded the twenty-five cents to be spent on a
necktie. But in the store a bright thought came tempting him. Fifteen
cents was as much as any one should spend on a necktie--that's sure;
the other ten would get the book. And thus the last dime was added to
the pile. Then, bursting with joy and with the pride of a capitalist,
he went to the book-shop and asked for the coveted volume.

He was tense with long-pent feeling. He expected to have the
bookseller say that the price had gone up to one thousand dollars, and
that all were sold. But he did not. He turned silently, drew the book
out of a pile of them, hesitated and said, "Green or red cover?"

"Green," said Yan, not yet believing. The book-man looked inside, then
laid it down, saying in a cold, business tone, "Ninety cents."

"Ninety cents," gasped Yan. Oh! if only he had known the ways of
booksellers or the workings of cash discounts. For six weeks had
he been barred this happy land--had suffered starvation; he had
misappropriated funds, he had fractured his conscience and all to
raise that ten cents--that unnecessary dime.

He read that book reverentially all the way home. It did not give him
what he wanted, but that doubtless was his own fault. He pored over
it, studied it, loved it, never doubting that now he had the key to
all the wonders and mysteries of Nature. It was five years before
he fully found out that the text was the most worthless trash ever
foisted on a torpid public. Nevertheless, the book held some useful
things; first, a list of the bird names; second, some thirty vile
travesties of Audubon and Wilson's bird portraits.

These were the birds thus maligned:

Duck Hawk                     Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Sparrow Hawk                  Bobolink
White-headed Eagle            Meadow Lark
Great Horned Owl              Bluejay
Snowy Owl                     Ruffed Grouse
Red-headed Woodpecker         Great Blue Heron
Golden-winged Woodpecker      Bittern
Barn-swallow                  Wilson's Snipe
Whip-poor-will                Long-biller Curlew
Night Hawk                    Purple Gallinule
Belted Kingfisher             Canada Goose
Kingbird                      Wood Duck
Woodthrush                    Hooded Merganser
Catbird                       Double-crested Cormorant
White-bellied Nuthatch        Arctic Tern
Brown Creeper                 Great Northern Diver
Bohemian Chatterer            Stormy Petrel
Great Northern Shrike         Arctic Puffin
Shore Lark                    Black Guillemot

[Illustration: "He already knew the Downy Woodpecker"]


But badly as they were presented, the pictures were yet information,
and were entered in his memory as lasting accessions to his store of
truth about the Wild Things.

Of course, he already knew some few birds whose names are familiar
to every schoolboy: the Robin, Bluebird, Kingbird, Wild Canary,
Woodpecker, Barn-swallow, Wren, Chickadee, Wild Pigeon, Humming-bird,
Pewee, so that his list was steadily increased.




V

The Collarless Stranger


  Oh, sympathy! the noblest gift of God to man.
  The greatest bond there is twixt man and man.
  The strongest link in any friendship chain.
  The single lasting hold in kinship's claim.
  The only incorrosive strand in marriage bonds.
  The blazing torch where genius lights her lamp.
  The ten times noble base of noblest love.
  More deep than love--more strong than hate--the biggest thing
  in all the universe--the law of laws.
  Grant but this greatest gift of God to man--this single link
  concatenating grant, and all the rest are worthless or comprised.

Each year the ancient springtime madness came more strongly on Yan.
Each year he was less inclined to resist it, and one glorious day of
late April in its twelfth return he had wandered northward along to a
little wood a couple of miles from the town. It was full of unnamed
flowers and voices and mysteries. Every tree and thicket had a
voice--a long ditch full of water had many that called to him.
"_Peep-peep-peep_," they seemed to say in invitation for him to
come and see. He crawled again and again to the ditch and watched
and waited. The loud whistle would sound only a few rods away,
"_Peep-peep-peep_," but ceased at each spot when he came
near--sometimes before him, sometimes behind, but never where he was.
He searched through a small pool with his hands, sifted out sticks and
leaves, but found nothing else. A farmer going by told him it was only
a "spring Peeper," whatever that was, "some kind of a critter in the
water."

Under a log not far away Yan found a little Lizard that tumbled out of
sight into a hole. It was the only living thing there, so he decided
that the "Peeper" must be a "Whistling Lizard." But he was determined
to see them when they were calling. How was it that the ponds all
around should be full of them calling to him and playing hide and seek
and yet defying his most careful search? The voices ceased as soon as
he came near, to be gradually renewed in the pools he had left. His
presence was a husher. He lay for a long time watching a pool, but
none of the voices began again in range of his eye. At length, after
realizing that they were avoiding him, he crawled to a very noisy pond
without showing himself, and nearer and yet nearer until he was within
three feet of a loud peeper in the floating grass. He located the spot
within a few inches and yet could see nothing. He was utterly baffled,
and lay there puzzling over it, when suddenly all the near Peepers
stopped, and Yan was startled by a footfall; and looking around, he
saw a man within a few feet, watching him.

Yan reddened--a stranger was always an enemy; he had a natural
aversion to all such, and stared awkwardly as though caught in crime.

The man, a curious looking middle-aged person, was in shabby clothes
and wore no collar. He had a tin box strapped on his bent shoulders,
and in his hands was a long-handled net. His features, smothered in a
grizzly beard, were very prominent and rugged. They gave evidence of
intellectual force, with some severity, but his gray-blue eyes had a
kindly look.

He had on a common, unbecoming, hard felt hat, and when he raised it
to admit the pleasant breeze Yan saw that the wearer had hair like his
own--a coarse, paleolithic mane, piled on his rugged brow, like a mass
of seaweed lodged on some storm-beaten rock.

"F'what are ye fynding, my lad?" said he in tones whose gentleness was
in no way obscured by a strong Scottish tang.

Still resenting somewhat the stranger's presence, Yan said:

"I'm not finding anything; I am only trying to see what that Whistling
Lizard is like."

The stranger's eyes twinkled. "Forty years ago Ah was laying by a pool
just as Ah seen ye this morning, looking and trying hard to read the
riddle of the spring Peeper. Ah lay there all day, aye, and mony
anither day, yes, it was nigh onto three years before Ah found it oot.
Ah'll be glad to save ye seeking as long as Ah did, if that's yer
mind. Ah'll show ye the Peeper."

Then he raked carefully among the leaves near the ditch, and soon
captured a tiny Frog, less than an inch long.

"Ther's your Whistling Lizard: he no a Lizard at all, but a Froggie.
Book men call him _Hyla pickeringii_, an' a gude Scotchman he'd
make, for ye see the St. Andrew's cross on his wee back. Ye see the
whistling ones in the water put on'y their beaks oot an' is hard to
see. Then they sinks to the bottom when ye come near. But you tak
this'n home and treat him well and ye'll see him blow out his throat
as big as himsel' an' whistle like a steam engine."

Yan thawed out now. He told about the Lizard he had seen.

"That wasna a Lizard; Ah niver see thim aboot here. It must a been
a two-striped _Spelerpes_. A _Spelerpes_ is nigh kin to a
Frog--a kind of dry-land tadpole, while a Lizard is only a Snake with
legs."

This was light from heaven. All Yan's distrust was gone. He warmed to
the stranger. He plied him with questions; he told of his getting the
Bird Book. Oh, how the stranger did snort at "that driveling trash."
Yan talked of his perplexities. He got a full hearing and intelligent
answers. His mystery of the black ground-bird with a brown mate was
resolved into the Common Towhee. The unknown wonderful voice in the
spring morning, sending out its "_cluck, cluck, cluck, clucker_,"
in the distant woods, the large gray Woodpecker that bored in some
high stub and flew in a blaze of gold, and the wonderful spotted bird
with red head and yellow wings and tail in the taxidermist's window,
were all resolved into one and the same--the Flicker or Golden-winged
Woodpecker. The Hang-nest and the Oriole became one. The unknown
poisonous-looking blue Hornet, that sat on the mud with palpitating
body, and the strange, invisible thing that made the mud-nests inside
old outbuildings and crammed them with crippled Spiders, were both
identified as the Mud-wasp or _Pelopaeus_.

A black Butterfly flew over, and Yan learned that it was a Camberwell
Beauty, or, scientifically, a _Vanessa antiopa_, and that this
one must have hibernated to be seen so early in the spring, and yet
more, that this beautiful creature was the glorified spirit of the
common brown and black spiney Caterpillar.

The Wild Pigeons were flying high above them in great flocks as they
sat there, and Yan learned of their great nesting places in the far
South, and of their wonderful but exact migrations without regard to
anything but food; their northward migration to gather the winged nuts
of the Slippery Elm in Canada; their August flight to the rice-fields
of Carolina; their Mississippi Valley pilgrimage when the acorns and
beech-mast were falling ripe.

What a rich, full morning that was. Everything seemed to turn up for
them. As they walked over a piney hill, two large birds sprang from
the ground and whirred through the trees.

"Ruffed Grouse or 'patridge', as the farmers call them. There's a pair
lives nigh aboots here. They come on this bank for the Wintergreen
berries."

And Yan was quick to pull and taste them. He filled his pockets with
the aromatic plant--berries and all--and chewed it as he went. While
they walked, a faint, far drum-thump fell on their ears. "What's
that?" he exclaimed, ever on the alert. The stranger listened and
said:

"That's the bird ye ha' just seen; that's the Cock Partridge drumming
for his mate."

The Pewee of his early memories became the Phoebe of books. That day
his brookside singer became the Song-sparrow; the brown triller, the
Veery Thrush. The Trilliums, white and red, the Dogtooth Violet, the
Spring-beauty, the Trailing Arbutus--all for the first time got
names and became real friends, instead of elusive and beautiful, but
depressing mysteries.

The stranger warmed, too, and his rugged features glowed; he saw in
Yan one minded like himself, tormented with the knowledge-hunger, as
in youth he himself had been; and now it was a priceless privilege to
save the boy some of what he had suffered. His gratitude to Yan grew
fervid, and Yan--he took in every word; nothing that he heard was
forgotten. He was in a dream, for he had found at last the greatest
thing on earth--sympathy--broad, intelligent, comprehensive sympathy.

That spring morning was ever after like a new epoch in Yan's mind--not
his memory, that was a thing of the past--but in his mind, his living
present.

And the strongest, realest thing in it all was, not the rugged
stranger with his kind ways, not the new birds and plants, but the
smell of the Wintergreen.

Smell's appeal to the memory is far better, stronger, more real than
that of any other sense. The Indians know this; many of them, in time,
find out the smell that conjures up their happiest hours, and keep it
by them in the medicine bag. It is very real and dear to them--that
handful of Pine needles, that lump of Rat-musk, or that piece of
Spruce gum. It adds the crown of happy memory to their reveries.

And yet this belief is one of the first attacked by silly White-men,
who profess to enlighten the Red-man's darkness. They, in their
ignorance, denounce it as absurd, while men of science know its simple
truth.

Yan did not know that he had stumbled on a secret of the Indian
medicine bag. But ever afterward that wonderful day was called back to
him, conjured up by his "medicine," this simple, natural magic, the
smell of the Wintergreen.

He appreciated that morning more than he could tell, and yet he did a
characteristic foolish thing, that put him in a wrong light and left
him so in the stranger's mind.

It was past noon. They had long lingered; the Stranger spoke of the
many things he had at home; then at length said he must be going.
"Weel, good-by, laddie; Ah hope Ah'll see you again." He held out his
hand. Yan shook it warmly; but he was dazed with thinking and with
reaction; his diffidence and timidity were strong; he never rose to
the stranger's veiled offer. He let him go without even learning his
name or address.

When it was too late, Yan awoke to his blunder. He haunted all those
woods in hopes of chancing on him there again, but he never did.




VI

Glenyan


Oh! what a song the Wild Geese sang that year! How their trumpet clang
went thrilling in his heart, to smite there new and hidden chords that
stirred and sang response. Was there ever a nobler bird than that
great black-necked Swan, that sings not at his death, but in his flood
of life, a song of home and of peace--of stirring deeds and hunting
in far-off climes--of hungerings and food, and raging thirsts to meet
with cooling drink. A song of wind and marching, a song of bursting
green and grinding ice--of Arctic secrets and of hidden ways. A song
of a long black marsh, a low red sky, and a sun that never sets.

An Indian jailed for theft bore bravely through the winter, but when
the springtime brought the Gander-clang in the black night sky, he
started, fell, and had gone to his last, long, hunting home.

Who can tell why Jericho should fall at the trumpet blast?

Who can read or measure the power of the Honker-song?

Oh, what a song the Wild Geese sang that year! And yet, was it a new
song? No, the old, old song, but Yan heard it with new ears. He was
learning to read its message. He wandered on their trailless track, as
often as he could, northward, ever northward, up the river from the
town, and up, seeking the loneliest ways and days. The river turned to
the east, but a small stream ran into it from the north: up that Yan
went through thickening woods and walls that neared each other, on and
up until the walls closed to a crack, then widened out into a little
dale that was still full of original forest trees. Hemlock, Pine,
Birch and Elm of the largest size abounded and spread over the clear
brook a continuous shade. Fox vines trailed in the open places, the
rarest wild-flowers flourished, Red-squirrels chattered from the
trees. In the mud along the brook-side were tracks of Coon and Mink
and other strange fourfoots. And in the trees overhead, the Veery, the
Hermit-thrush, or even a Woodthrush sang his sweetly solemn strain, in
that golden twilight of the midday forest. Yan did not know them all
by name as yet, but he felt their vague charm and mystery. It seemed
such a far and lonely place, so unspoiled by man, that Yan persuaded
himself that surely he was the first human being to stand there, that
it was his by right of discovery, and so he claimed it and named it
after its discoverer--Glenyan.

This place became the central thought in his life. He went there at
all opportunities, but never dared to tell any one of his discovery.
He longed for a confidant sometimes, he hankered to meet the stranger
and take him there, and still he feared that the secret would get out.
This was his little kingdom; the Wild Geese had brought him here, as
the Seagulls had brought Columbus to a new world--where he could lead,
for brief spells, the woodland life that was his ideal. He was tender
enough to weep over the downfall of a lot of fine Elm trees in town,
when their field was sold for building purposes, and he used to suffer
a sort of hungry regret when old settlers told how plentiful the Deer
used to be. But now he had a relief from these sorrows, for surely
there was one place where the great trees should stand and grow as in
the bright bygone; where the Coon, the Mink and the Partridge should
live and flourish forever. No, indeed, no one else should know of it,
for if the secret got out, at least hosts of visitors would come and
Glenyan be defiled. No, better that the secret should "die with him,"
he said. What that meant he did not really know, but he had read the
phrase somewhere and he liked the sound of it. Possibly he would
reveal it on his deathbed.

Yes, that was the proper thing, and he pictured a harrowing scene of
weeping relatives around, himself as central figure, all ceasing their
wailing and gasping with wonder as he made known the mighty secret of
his life--delicious! it was almost worth dying for.

So he kept the place to himself and loved it more and more. He would
look out through the thick Hemlock tops, the blots of Basswood green
or the criss-cross Butternut leafage and say: "My own, my own." Or
down by some pool in the limpid stream he would sit and watch the
arrowy Shiners and say: "You are mine, all; you are mine. You shall
never be harmed or driven away."

A spring came from the hillside by a green lawn, and here Yan would
eat his sandwiches varied with nuts and berries that he did not like,
but ate only because he was a wildman, and would look lovingly up the
shady brookland stretches and down to the narrow entrance of the glen,
and say and think and feel. "This is mine, my own, my very own."




VII

The Shanty


He had none but the poorest of tools, but he set about building a
shanty. He was not a resourceful boy. His effort to win the book
had been an unusual one for him, as his instincts were not at all
commercial. When that matter came to the knowledge of the Home
Government, he was rebuked for doing "work unworthy of a gentleman's
son" and forbidden under frightful penalties "ever again to resort to
such degrading ways of raising money."

They gave him no money, so he was penniless. Most boys would have
possessed themselves somehow of a good axe and spade. He had neither.
An old plane blade, fastened to a stick with nails, was all the axe
and spade he had, yet with this he set to work and offset its poorness
as a tool by dogged persistency. First, he selected the quietest
spot near the spring--a bank hidden by a mass of foliage. He knew no
special reason for hiding it, beyond the love of secrecy. He had
read in some of his books "how the wily scouts led the way through a
pathless jungle, pulled aside a bough and there revealed a comfortable
dwelling that none without the secret could possibly have discovered,"
so it seemed very proper to make it a complete mystery--a sort of
secret panel in the enchanted castle--and so picture himself as the
wily scout leading his wondering companions to the shanty, though, of
course, he had not made up his mind to reveal his secret to any one.
He often wished he could have the advantage of Rad's strong arms and
efficacious tools; but the workshop incident was only one of many that
taught him to leave his brother out of all calculation.

Mother Earth is the best guardian of a secret, and Yan with his crude
spade began by digging a hole in the bank. The hard blue clay made the
work slow, but two holidays spent in steady labour resulted in a hole
seven feet wide and about four feet into the bank.

In this he set about building the shanty. Logs seven or eight feet
long must be got to the place--at least twenty-five or thirty would
be needed, and how to cut and handle them with his poor axe was a
question. Somehow, he never looked for a better axe. The half-formed
notion that the Indians had no better was sufficient support, and he
struggled away bravely, using whatever ready sized material he could
find. Each piece as he brought it was put into place. Some boys would
have gathered the logs first and built it all at once, but that
was not Yan's way; he was too eager to see the walls rise. He had
painfully and slowly gathered logs enough to raise the walls three
rounds, when the question of a door occurred to him. This, of course,
could not be cut through the logs in the ordinary way; that required
the best of tools. So he lifted out all the front logs except the
lowest, replacing them at the ends with stones and blocks to sustain
the sides. This gave him the sudden gain of two logs, and helped the
rest of the walls that much. The shanty was now about three feet high,
and no two logs in it were alike: some were much too long, most were
crooked and some were half rotten, for the simple reason that these
were the only ones he could cut. He had exhausted the logs in the
neighbourhood and was forced to go farther. Now he remembered seeing
one that might do, half a mile away on the home trail (they were
always "trails"; he never called them "roads" or "paths"). He went
after this, and to his great surprise and delight found that it was
one of a dozen old cedar posts that had been cut long before and
thrown aside as culls, or worthless. He could carry only one at a
time, so that to bring each one meant a journey of a mile, and the
post got woefully heavy each time before that mile was over. To
get those twelve logs he had twelve miles to walk. It took several
Saturdays, but he stuck doggedly to it. Twelve good logs completed
his shanty, making it five feet high and leaving three logs over for
rafters. These he laid flat across, dividing the spaces equally. Over
them he laid plenty of small sticks and branches till it was thickly
covered. Then he went down to a rank, grassy meadow and, with his
knife, cut hay for a couple of hours. This was spread thickly on the
roof, to be covered with strips of Elm bark then on top of all he
threw the clay dug from the bank, piling it well back, stamping on it,
and working it down at the edges. Finally, he threw rubbish and leaves
over it, so that it was confused with the general tangle.

Thus the roof was finished, but the whole of the front was open. He
dreaded the search for more logs, so tried a new plan. He found,
first, some sticks about six feet long and two or three inches
through. Not having an axe to sharpen and drive them, he dug pairs of
holes a foot deep, one at each end and another pair near the middle of
the front ground log.

Into each of these he put a pair of upright sticks, leading up to the
eave log, one inside and one outside of it, then packed the earth
around them in the holes. Next, he went to the brook-side and cut a
number of long green willow switches about half an inch thick at the
butt. These switches he twisted around the top of each pair of stakes
in a figure 8, placing them to hold the stake tight against the bottom
and top logs at the front.

Down by the spring he now dug a hole and worked water and clay
together into mortar, then with a trowel cut out of a shingle, and
mortar carried in an old bucket, he built a wall within the stakes,
using sticks laid along the outside and stones set in mud till the
front was closed up, except a small hole for a window and a large hole
for a door.

Now he set about finishing the inside. He gathered moss in the woods
and stuffed all the chinks in the upper parts, and those next the
ground he filled with stones and earth. Thus the shanty was finished;
but it lacked a door.

The opening was four feet high and two feet wide, so in the woodshed
at home he cut three boards, each eight inches wide and four feet
high, but he left at each end of one a long point. Doing this at home
gave him the advantage of a saw. Then with these and two shorter
boards, each two feet long and six inches wide, he sneaked out to
Glenyan, and there, with some nails and a stone for a hammer, he
fastened them together into a door. In the ground log he pecked a hole
big enough to receive one of the points and made a corresponding hole
in the under side of the top log. Then, prying up the eave log, he put
the door in place, let the eave log down again, and the door was hung.
A string to it made an outside fastening when it was twisted around a
projecting snag in the wall, and a peg thrust into a hole within made
an inside fastener. Some logs, with fir boughs and dried grass, formed
a bunk within. This left only the window, and for lack of better cover
he fastened over it a piece of muslin brought from home. But finding
its dull white a jarring note, he gathered a quart of butternuts, and
watching his chance at home, he boiled the cotton in water with the
nuts and so reduced it to a satisfactory yellowish brown.

His final task was to remove all appearance of disturbance and to
fully hide the shanty in brush and trailing vines. Thus, after weeks
of labour, his woodland home was finished. It was only five feet high
inside, six feet long and six feet wide--dirty and uncomfortable--but
what a happiness it was to have it.

Here for the first time in his life he began to realize something
of the pleasure of single-handed achievement in the line of a great
ambition.




VIII

Beginnings of Woodlore


During this time Yan had so concentrated all his powers on the shanty
that he had scarcely noticed the birds and wild things. Such was his
temperament--one idea only, and that with all his strength.

His heart was more and more in his kingdom now he longed to come
and live here. But he only dared to dream that some day he might be
allowed to pass a night in the shanty. This was where he would lead
his ideal life--the life of an Indian with all that is bad and cruel
left out. Here he would show men how to live without cutting down all
the trees, spoiling all the streams, and killing every living thing.
He would learn how to get the fullest pleasure out of the woods
himself and then teach others how to do the same. Though the birds and
Fourfoots fascinated him, he would not have hesitated to shoot one
had he been able, but to see a tree cut down always caused him
great distress. Possibly he realized that the bird might be quickly
replaced, but the tree, never.

To carry out his plan he must work hard at school, for books had
much that he needed. Perhaps some day he might get a chance to see
Audubon's drawings, and so have all his bird worries settled by a
single book.

That summer a new boy at school added to Yan's savage equipment. This
boy was neither good nor bright; he was a dunce, and had been expelled
from a boarding school for misconduct, but he had a number of
schoolboy accomplishments that gave him a tinge of passing glory.
He could tie a lot of curious knots in a string. He could make a
wonderful birdy warble, and he spoke a language that he called Tutnee.
Yan was interested in all, but especially the last. He teased and
bribed till he was admitted to the secret. It consisted in spelling
every word, leaving the five vowels as they are, but doubling each
consonant and putting a "u" between. Thus "b" became "bub," "d" "dud,"
"m" "mum," and so forth, except that "c" was "suk," "h" "hash," "x"
"zux," and "w" "wak."

The sample given by the new boy, "sus-hash-u-tut u-pup yak-o-u-rur
mum-o-u-tut-hash," was said to be a mode of enjoining silence.

This language was "awful useful," the new boy said, to keep the other
fellows from knowing what you were saying, which it certainly did. Yan
practised hard at it and within a few weeks was an adept. He could
handle the uncouth sentences better than his teacher, and he was
singularly successful in throwing in accents and guttural tones that
imparted a delightfully savage flavour, and he rejoiced in jabbering
away to the new boy in the presence of others so that he might bask in
the mystified look on the faces of those who were not skilled in the
tongue of the Tutnees.

He made himself a bow and arrows. They were badly made and he could
hit nothing with them, but he felt so like an Indian when he drew the
arrow to its head, that it was another pleasure.

He made a number of arrows with hoop-iron heads, these he could
file at home in the woodshed. The heads were jagged and barbed and
double-barbed. These arrows were frightful-looking things. They seemed
positively devilish in their ferocity, and were proportionately
gratifying. These he called his "war arrows," and would send one into
a tree and watch it shiver, then grunt "Ugh, heap good," and rejoice
in the squirming of the imaginary foe he had pierced.

He found a piece of sheepskin and made of it a pair of very poor
moccasins. He ground an old castaway putty knife into a scalping
knife; the notch in it for breaking glass was an annoying defect until
he remembered that some Indians decorate their weapons with a notch
for each enemy it has killed, and this, therefore, might do duty as a
kill-tally. He made a sheath for the knife out of scraps of leather
left off the moccasins. Some water-colours, acquired by a school swap,
and a bit of broken mirror held in a split stick, were necessary parts
of his Indian toilet. His face during the process of make-up was
always a battle-ground between the horriblest Indian scowl
and a grin of delight at his success in diabolizing his visage with
the paints. Then with painted face and a feather in his hair he would
proudly range the woods in his little kingdom and store up every scrap
of woodlore he could find, invent or learn from his schoolmates.

[Illustration: Yan's toilet]

Odd things that he found in the woods he would bring to his shanty:
curled sticks, feathers, bones, skulls, fungus, shells, an old
cowhorn--things that interested him, he did not know why. He made
Indian necklaces of the shells, strung together alternately with
the backbone of a fish. He let his hair grow as long as possible,
employing various stratagems, even the unpalatable one of combing it
to avoid the monthly trim of the maternal scissors. He lay for hours
with the sun beating on his face to correct his colour to standard,
and the only semblance of personal vanity that he ever had was
pleasure in hearing disparaging remarks about the darkness of his
complexion. He tried to do everything as an Indian would do it,
striking Indian poses, walking carefully with his toes turned in,
breaking off twigs to mark a place, guessing at the time by the sun,
and grunting "Ugh" or "Wagh" when anything surprised him. Disparaging
remarks about White-men, delivered in supposed Indian dialect, were
an important part of his pastime. "Ugh, White-men heap no good" and
"Wagh, paleface--pale fool in woods," were among his favourites.

He was much influenced by phrases that caught his ear. "The brown
sinewy arm of the Indian," was one of them. It discovered to him that
his own arms were white as milk. There was, however, a simple remedy.
He rolled up his sleeves to the shoulder and exposed them to the full
glare of the sun. Then later, under the spell of the familiar phrase,
"The warrior was naked to the waist," he went a step further--he
determined to be brown to the waist--so discarded his shirt during the
whole of one holiday. He always went to extremes. He remembered now
that certain Indians put their young warriors through an initiation
called the Sun-dance, so he danced naked round the fire in the blazing
sun and sat around naked all one day.

He noticed a general warmness before evening, but it was at night that
he really felt the punishment of his indiscretion. He was in a burning
heat. He scarcely slept all night. Next day he was worse, and his arm
and shoulder were blistered. He bore it bravely, fearing only that the
Home Government might find it out, in which case he would have fared
worse. He had read that the Indians grease the skin for sunburn, so he
went to the bathroom and there used goose grease for lack of Buffalo
fat. This did give some relief, and in a few days he was better and
had the satisfaction of peeling the dead skin from his shoulders and
arms.

Yan made a number of vessels out of Birch bark, stitching the edges
with root fibers, filling the bottom with a round wooden disc, and
cementing the joints with pine gum so that they would hold water.

In the distant river he caught some Catfish and brought them
home--that, is, to his shanty. There he made a fire and broiled
them--very badly--but he ate them as a great delicacy. The sharp bone
in each of their side fins he saved, bored a hole through its thick
end, smoothed it, and so had needles to stitch his Birch bark. He kept
them in a bark box with some lumps of resin, along with some bark
fiber, an Indian flint arrow-head given him by a schoolmate, and
the claws of a large Owl, found in the garbage heap back of the
taxidermist's shop.

One day on the ash heap in their own yard in town he saw a new,
strange bird. He was always seeing new birds, but this was of unusual
interest. He drew its picture as it tamely fed near him. A dull, ashy
gray, with bronzy yellow spots on crown and rump, and white bars on
its wings. His "Birds of Canada" gave no light; he searched through
all the books he could find, but found no clew to its name. It was
years afterward before he learned that this was the young male Pine
Grosbeak.

Another day, under the bushes not far from his shanty, he found a
small Hawk lying dead. He clutched it as a wonderful prize, spent an
hour in looking at its toes, its beak, its wings, its every feather;
then he set to work to make a drawing of it. A very bad drawing it
proved, although it was the labour of days, and the bird was crawling
with maggots before he had finished. But every feather and every spot
was faithfully copied, was duly set down on paper. One of his
friends said it was a Chicken-hawk. That name stuck in Yan's memory.
Thenceforth the Chicken-hawk and its every marking were familiar to
him. Even in after years, when he had learned that this must have been
a young "Sharp-shin," the name "Chicken-hawk" was always readier on
his lips.

But he met with another and a different Hawk soon afterward. This one
was alive and flitting about in the branches of a tree over his head.
It was very small--less than a foot in length. Its beak was very
short, its legs, wings and tail long; its head was bluish and its back
coppery red; on the tail was a broad, black crossbar. As the bird flew
about and balanced on the boughs, it pumped its tail. This told him
it was a Hawk, and the colours he remembered were those of the male
Sparrow-hawk, for here his bird book helped with its rude travesty of
"Wilson's" drawing of this bird. Yet two other birds he saw close at
hand and drew partly from memory. The drawings were like this, and
from the picture on a calendar he learned that one was a Rail; from
a drawing in the bird book that the other was a Bobolink. And these
names he never forgot. He had his doubts about the sketching at
first--it seemed an un-Indian thing to do, until he remembered that
the Indians painted pictures on their shields and on their teepees. It
was really the best of all ways for him to make reliable observation.

The bookseller of the town had some new books in his window about this
time. One, a marvellous work called "Poisonous Plants," Yan was eager
to see. It was exposed in the window for a time. Two of the large
plates were visible from the street; one was Henbane, the other
Stramonium. Yan gazed at them as often as he could. In a week they
were gone; but the names and looks were forever engraved on his
memory. Had he made bold to go in and ask permission to see the work,
his memory would have seized most of it in an hour.




IX

Tracks


In the wet sand down by the edge of the brook he one day found some
curious markings--evidently tracks. Yan pored over them, then made a
life-size drawing of one. He shrewdly suspected it to be the track of
a Coon--nothing was too good or wild or rare for his valley. As soon
as he could, he showed the track to the stableman whose dog was said
to have killed a Coon once, and hence the man must be an authority on
the subject.

"Is that a Coon track?" asked Yan timidly.

"How do I know?" said the man roughly, and went on with his work. But
a stranger standing near, a curious person with shabby clothes, and
a new silk hat on the back of his head, said, "Let me see it." Yan
showed it.

"Is it natural size?"

"Yes, sir."

"Yep, that's a Coon track, all right. You look at all the big trees
near about whar you saw that; then when you find one with a hole in
it, you look on the bark and you will find some Coon hars. Then you
will know you've got a Coon tree."

[Illustration: The Coon track]

Yan took the earliest chance. He sought and found a great Basswood
with some gray hairs caught in the bark. He took them home with him,
not sure what kind they were. He sought the stranger, but he was gone,
and no one knew him.

How to identify the hairs was a question; but he remembered a friend
who had a Coon-skin carriage robe. A few hairs of these were compared
with those from the tree and left no doubt that the climber was a
Coon. Thus Yan got the beginning of the idea that the very hairs of
each, as well as its tracks, are different. He learned, also, how wise
it is to draw everything that he wished to observe or describe. It
was accident, or instinct on his part, but he had fallen on a sound
principle; there is nothing like a sketch to collect and convey
accurate information of form--there is no better developer of true
observation.

One day he noticed a common plant like an umbrella. He dug it up by
the root, and at the lower end he found a long white bulb. He tasted
this. It was much like a cucumber. He looked up "Gray's School
Botany," and in the index saw the name, Indian Cucumber. The
description seemed to tally, as far as he could follow its technical
terms, though like all such, without a drawing it was far from
satisfactory. So he added the Indian Cucumber to his woodlore.

On another occasion he chewed the leaves of a strange plant because he
had heard that that was the first test applied by the Indians. He soon
began to have awful pains in his stomach. He hurried home in agony.
His mother gave him mustard and water till he vomited, then she boxed
his ears. His father came in during the process and ably supplemented
the punishment. He was then and there ordered to abstain forever from
the woods. Of course, he did not. He merely became more cautious about
it all, and enjoyed his shanty with the added zest of secret sin.




X

Biddy's Contribution


An Irish-Canadian servant girl from Sanger now became a member of
their household. Her grandmother was an herb-doctor in great repute.
She had frequently been denounced as a witch, although in good
standing as a Catholic. This girl had picked up some herb-lore, and
one day when all the family were visiting the cemetery she darted into
various copses and produced plants which she named, together with the
complaint that her grandmother used them for.

"Sassafras, that makes tea for skin disease; Ginseng, that's good to
sell; Bloodroot for the blood in springtime; Goldthread, that cures
sore mouths; Pipsissewa for chills and fever; White-man's Foot, that
springs up wherever a White-man treads; Indian cup, that grows where
an Indian dies; Dandelion roots for coffee; Catnip tea for a cold;
Lavender tea for drinking at meals; Injun Tobacco to mix with boughten
tobacco; Hemlock bark to dye pink; Goldthread to dye yellow, and
Butternut rinds for greenish."

All of these were passing trifles to the others, but to Yan they were
the very breath of life, and he treasured up all of these things
in his memory. Biddy's information was not unmixed with error and
superstition:

"Hold Daddy Longlegs by one leg and say, 'tell me where the cows are,'
and he will point just right under another leg, and onct he told me
where to find my necklace when I lost it.

"Shoot the Swallows and the cows give bloody milk. That's the way old
Sam White ruined his milk business--shooting Swallows.

"Lightning never strikes a barn where Swallows nest. Paw never rested
easy after the new barn was built till the Swallows nested in it. He
had it insured for a hundred dollars till the Swallows got round to
look after it.

"When a Measuring-worm crawls on you, you are going to get a new suit
of clothes. My brother-in-law says they walk over him every year in
summer and sure enough, he gets a new suit. But they never does it in
winter, cause he don't get new clothes then.

"Split a Crow's tongue and he will talk like a girl. Granny knowed a
man that had a brother back of Mara that got a young Crow and
split his tongue an' he told Granny it was _just_ like a girl
talking--an' Granny told me!

"Soak a Horse-hair in rainwater and it will turn into a Snake. Ain't
there lots uv Snakes around ponds where Horses drink? Well!

"Kill a Spider an' it will rain to-morrow. Now, that's worth knowin'.
I mind one year when the Orangeman's picnic was comin', 12th of July,
Maw made us catch twenty Spiders and we killed them all the day
before, and law, how it did rain on the picnic! Mebbe we didn't laugh.
Most of them hed to go home in boats, that's what our paper said. But
next year they done the same thing on us for St. Patrick's Day, but
Spiders is scarce on the 16th of March, an' it didn't rain so much as
snow, so it was about a stand-off.

"Toads gives warts. You seen them McKenna twins--their hands is a
sight with warts. Well, I seen them two boys playing with Toads like
they was marbles. So! An' they might a-knowed what was comin'. Ain't
every Toad just covered with warts as thick as he can stick?

"That there's Injun tobacco. The Injuns always use it, and Granny
does, too, sometimes." (Yan made special note of this--he must get
some and smoke it, if it was _Indian_.)

"A Witch-hazel wand will bob over a hidden spring and show where to
dig. Denny Scully is awful good at it. He gets a dollar for showing
where to sink a well, an' if they don't strike water it's because they
didn't dig where he said, or spiled the charm some way or nuther, and
hez to try over.

"Now, that's Dandelion. Its roots makes awful good coffee. Granny
allers uses it. She says that it is healthier than store coffee, but
Maw says she likes boughten things best, and the more they cost the
better she likes them.

"Now, that's Ginseng. It has a terrible pretty flower in spring.
There's tons and tons of it sent to China. Granny says the Chinese
eats it, to make them cheerful, but they don't seem to eat enough.

"There's Slippery Elm. It's awfully good for loosening up a cold, if
you drink the juice the bark's bin biled in. One spring Granny made a
bucketful. She set it outside to cool, an' the pig he drunk it all up,
an' he must a had a cold, for it loosened him up so he dropped his
back teeth. I seen them myself lying out there in the yard. Yes, I
did.

"That's Wintergreen. Lots of boys I know chew that to make the girls
like them. Lots of them gits a beau that way, too. I done it myself
many's a time.

"Now, that is what some folks calls Injun Turnip, an' the children
calls it Jack-in-a-Pulpit, but Granny calls it 'Sorry-plant,' cos she
says when any one eats it it makes them feel sorry for the last fool
thing they done. I'll put some in your Paw's coffee next time he licks
yer and mebbe that'll make him quit. It just makes me sick to see ye
gettin' licked fur every little thing ye can't help.

"A Snake's tongue is its sting. You put your foot on a Snake and see
how he tries to sting you. An' his tail don't die till sundown. I seen
that myself, onct, an' Granny says so, too, an' what Granny don't know
ain't knowledge--it's only book-larnin'."

These were her superstitions, most of them more or less obviously
absurd to Yan; but she had also a smattering of backwoods lore and Yan
gleaned all he could.

She had so much of what he wanted to know that he had almost made up
his mind to tell her where he went each Saturday when he had finished
his work.

A week or two longer and she would have shared the great secret, but
something took place to end their comradeship.




XI

Lung Balm


One day as this girl went with him through a little grove on the edge
of the town, she stopped at a certain tree and said:

"If that ain't Black-cherry!"

"You mean Choke-cherry."

"No, Black-cherry. Choke-cherry ain't no good; but Black-cherry bark's
awful good for lung complaint. Grandma always keeps it. I've been
feeling a bit queer meself" [she was really as strong as an ox].
"Guess I'll git some." So she and Yan planned an expedition together.
The boldness of it scared the boy. The girl helped herself to a
hatchet in the tool box--the sacred tool box of his father.

Yan's mother saw her with it and demanded why she had it. With ready
effrontery she said it was to hammer in the hook that held the
clothesline, and proceeded to carry out the lie with a smiling face.
That gave Yan a new lesson and not a good one. The hatchet was at once
put back in the box, to be stolen more carefully later on.

Biddy announced that she was going to the grocery shop. She met Yan
around the corner and they made for the lot. Utterly regardless of
property rights, she showed Yan how to chip off the bark of the
Black-cherry. "Don't chip off all around; that's bad luck--take it
on'y from the sunny side." She filled a basket with the pieces and
they returned home.

Here she filled a jar with bits of the inner layer, then, pouring
water over it, let it stand for a week. The water was then changed to
a dark brown stuff with a bitter taste and a sweet, aromatic smell.

"It's terrible good," she said. "Granny always keeps it handy. It
cures lots of people. Now there was Bud Ellis--the doctors just guv
him up. They said he didn't have a single lung left, and he come
around to Granny. He used to make fun of Granny; but now he wuz plumb
scairt. At first Granny chased him away; then when she seen that he
was awful sick, she got sorry and told him how to make Lung Balm. He
was to make two gallons each time and bring it to her. Then she took
and fixed it so it was one-half as much and give it back to him. Well,
in six months if he wasn't all right."

Biddy now complained nightly of "feelin's" in her chest. These
feelings could be controlled only by a glass or two of Lung Balm.
Her condition must have been critical, for one night after several
necessary doses of Balm her head seemed affected. She became
abusive to the lady of the house and at the end of the month a less
interesting help was in her place.

There were many lessons good and bad that Yan might have drawn from
this; but the only one that he took in was that the Black-cherry bark
is a wonderful remedy. The family doctor said that it really was so,
and Yan treasured up this as a new and precious fragment of woodcraft.

Having once identified the tree, he was surprised to see that it was
rather common, and was delighted to find it flourishing in his own
Glenyan.

This made him set down on paper all the trees he knew, and he was
surprised to find how few they were and how uncertain he was about
them.

  Maple--hard and soft.
  Beach.
  Elm--swamp and slippery.
  Ironwood.
  Birch--white and black.
  Ash--white and black.
  Pine.
  Cedar.
  Balsam.
  Hemlock and Cherry.

He had heard that the Indians knew the name and properties of every
tree and plant in the woods, and that was what he wished to be able to
say of himself.

One day by the bank of the river he noticed a pile of empty shells of
the fresh-water Mussel, or Clam. The shells were common enough, but
why all together and marked in the same way? Around the pile on the
mud were curious tracks and marks. There were so many that it was hard
to find a perfect one, but when he did, remembering the Coon track,
he drew a picture of it. It was too small to be the mark of his old
acquaintance. He did not find any one to tell him what it was, but one
day he saw a round, brown animal hunched up on the bank eating a clam.
It dived into the water at his approach, but it reappeared swimming
farther on. Then, when it dived again, Yan saw by its long thin
tail that it was a Muskrat, like the stuffed one he had seen in the
taxidermist's window.

He soon learned that the more he studied those tracks the more
different kinds he found. Many were rather mysterious, so he could
only draw them and put them aside, hoping some day for light. One
of the strangest and most puzzling turned out to be the trail of a
Snapper, and another proved to be merely the track of a Common Crow
that came to the water's edge to drink.

The curios that he gathered and stored in his shanty increased in
number and in interest. The place became more and more part of
himself. Its concealment bettered as the foliage grew around it again,
and he gloried in its wild seclusion and mystery, and wandered through
the woods with his bow and arrows, aiming harmless, deadly blows at
snickering Red-squirrels--though doubtless he would have been as sorry
as they had he really hit one.

Yan soon found out that he was not the only resident of the shanty.
One day as he sat inside wondering why he had not made a fireplace, so
that he could sit at an indoor fire, he saw a silent little creature
flit along between two logs in the back wall. He remained still. A
beautiful little Woodmouse, for such it was, soon came out in plain
view and sat up to look at Yan and wash its face. Yan reached out for
his bow and arrow, but the Mouse was gone in a flash. He fitted a
blunt arrow to the string, then waited, and when the Mouse returned he
shot the arrow. It missed the Mouse, struck the log and bounded back
into Yan's face, giving him a stinging blow on the cheek. And as Yan
rolled around grunting and rubbing his cheek, he thought, "This is
what I tried to do to the Woodmouse." Thenceforth, Yan made no attempt
to harm the Mouse; indeed, he was willing to share his meals with it.
In time they became well acquainted, and Yan found that not one, but a
whole family, were sharing with him his shanty in the woods.

Biddy's remark about the Indian tobacco bore fruit. Yan was not a
smoker, but now he felt he must learn. He gathered a lot of this
tobacco, put it to dry, and set about making a pipe--a real Indian
peace pipe. He had no red sandstone to make it of, but a soft red
brick did very well. He first roughed out the general shape with his
knife, and was trying to bore the bowl out with the same tool, when
he remembered that in one of the school-readers was an account of the
Indian method of drilling into stone with a bow-drill and wet sand.
One of his schoolmates, the son of a woodworker, had seen his father
use a bow-drill. This knowledge gave him new importance in Yan's eyes.
Under his guidance a bow-drill was made, and used much and on many
things till it was understood, and now it did real Indian service by
drilling the bowl and stem holes of the pipe.

He made a stem of an Elderberry shoot, punching out the pith at home
with a long knitting-needle. Some white pigeon wing feathers trimmed
small, and each tipped with a bit of pitch, were strung on a stout
thread and fastened to the stem for a finishing touch; and he would
sit by his camp fire solemnly smoking--a few draws only, for he did
not like it--then say, "Ugh, heap hungry," knock the ashes out, and
proceed with whatever work he had on hand.

Thus he spent the bright Saturdays, hiding his accouterments each
day in his shanty, washing the paint from his face in the brook, and
replacing the hated paper collar that the pride and poverty of his
family made a daily necessity, before returning home. He was a little
dreamer, but oh! what happy dreams. Whatever childish sorrow he found
at home he knew he could always come out here and forget and be happy
as a king--be a real King in a Kingdom wholly after his heart, and all
his very own.




XII

A Crisis


At school he was a model boy except in one respect--he had strange,
uncertain outbreaks of disrespect for his teachers. One day he amused
himself by covering the blackboard with ridiculous caricatures of the
principal, whose favourite he undoubtedly was. They were rather clever
and proportionately galling. The principal set about an elaborate plan
to discover who had done them. He assembled the whole school and began
cross-examining one wretched dunce, thinking him the culprit. The lad
denied it in a confused and guilty way; the principal was convinced of
his guilt, and reached for his rawhide, while the condemned set up a
howl. To the surprise of the assembly, Yan now spoke up, and in a tone
of weary impatience said:

"Oh, let him alone. I did it."

His manner and the circumstances were such that every one laughed. The
principal was nettled to fury. He forgot his manhood; he seized Yan
by the collar. He was considered a timid boy; his face was white; his
lips set. The principal beat him with the rawhide till the school
cried "Shame," but he got no cry from Yan.

That night, on undressing for bed, his brother Rad saw the long black
wales from head to foot, and an explanation was necessary. He was
incapable of lying; his parents learned of his wickedness, and new and
harsh punishments were added. Next day was Saturday. He cut his usual
double or Saturday's share of wood for the house, and, bruised and
smarting, set out for the one happy spot he knew. The shadow lifted
from his spirit as he drew near. He was already forming a plan for
adding a fireplace and chimney to his house. He followed the secret
path he had made with aim to magnify its secrets. He crossed the open
glade, was, nearly at the shanty, when he heard voices--loud, coarse
voices--_coming from his shanty_. He crawled up close. The door
was open. There in his dear cabin were three tramps playing cards and
drinking out of a bottle. On the ground beside them were his shell
necklaces broken up to furnish poker chips. In a smouldering fire
outside were the remains of his bow and arrows.

Poor Yan! His determination to be like an Indian under torture
had sustained him in the teacher's cruel beating and in his home
punishments, but this was too much. He fled to a far and quiet corner
and there flung himself down and sobbed in grief and rage--he would
have killed them if he could. After an hour or two he came trembling
back to see the tramps finish their game and their liquor; then they
defiled the shanty and left it in ruins.

The brightest thing in his life was gone--a King discrowned,
dethroned. Feeling now every wale on his back and legs, he sullenly
went home.

This was late in the summer. Autumn followed last, with shortening
days and chilly winds. Yan had no chance to see his glen, even had he
greatly wished it. He became more studious; books were his pleasure
now. He worked harder than ever, winning honour at school, but
attracting no notice at the home, where piety reigned.

The teachers and some of the boys remarked that Yan was getting very
thin and pale. Never very robust, he now looked like an invalid; but
at home no note was taken of the change. His mother's thoughts were
all concentrated on his scapegrace younger brother. For two years she
had rarely spoken to Yan peaceably. There was a hungry place in
his heart as he left the house unnoticed each morning and saw his
graceless brother kissed and darlinged. At school their positions
were reversed. Yan was the principal's pride. He had drawn no more
caricatures, and the teacher flattered himself that that beating was
what had saved the pale-faced head boy.

He grew thinner and heart-hungrier till near Christmas, when the
breakdown came.

       *       *       *       *       *

"He is far gone in consumption," said the physician. "He cannot live
over a month or two"

[Illustration: "There in his dear cabin were three tramps"]

"He _must_ live," sobbed the conscience-stricken mother. "He must
live--O God, he must live."

All that suddenly awakened mother's love could do was done. The
skilful physician did his best, but it was the mother that saved him.
She watched over him night and day; she studied his wishes and comfort
in every way. She prayed by his bedside, and often asked God to
forgive her for her long neglect. It was Yan's first taste of
mother-love. Why she had ignored him so long was unknown. She was
simply erratic, but now she awoke to his brilliant gifts, his steady,
earnest life, already purposeful.




XIII

The Lynx


As winter waned, Yan's strength returned. He was wise enough to use
his new ascendency to get books. The public librarian, a man of broad
culture who had fought his own fight, became interested in him, and
helped him to many works that otherwise he would have missed.

"Wilson's Ornithology" and "Schoolcraft's Indians" were the most
important. And they were sparkling streams in the thirst-parched land.

In March he was fast recovering. He could now take long walks; and one
bright day of snow he set off with his brother's Dog. His steps bent
hillward. The air was bright and bracing, he stepped with unexpected
vigour, and he made for far Glenyan, without at first meaning to go
there. But, drawn by the ancient attraction, he kept on. The secret
path looked not so secret, now the leaves were off; but the Glen
looked dearly familiar as he reached the wider stretch.

His eye fell on a large, peculiar track quite fresh in the snow. It
was five inches across, big enough for a Bear track, but there were no
signs of claws or toe pads. The steps were short and the tracks had
not sunken as they would for an animal as heavy as a Bear.

As one end of each showed the indications of toes, he could see what
way it went, and followed up the Glen. The dog sniffed at it uneasily,
but showed no disposition to go ahead. Yan tramped up past the ruins
of his shanty, now painfully visible since the leaves had fallen, and
his heart ached at the sight. The trail led up the valley, and crossed
the brook on a log, and Yan became convinced that he was on the track
of a large Lynx. Though a splendid barker, Grip, the dog, was known to
be a coward, and now he slunk behind the boy, sniffing at the great
track and absolutely refusing to go ahead.

Yan was fascinated by the long rows of footprints, and when he came
to a place where the creature had leaped ten or twelve feet without
visible cause, he felt satisfied that he had found a Lynx, and the
love of adventure prompted him to go on, although he had not even a
stick in his hand or a knife in his pocket. He picked up the best club
he could find--a dry branch two feet long and two inches through, and
followed. The dog was now unwilling to go at all; he hung back, and
had to be called at each hundred yards.

They were at last in the dense Hemlock woods at the upper end of the
valley, when a peculiar sound like the call of a deep-voiced cat was
heard.

_Yow! Yow! Yowl!_

Yan stood still. The dog, although a large and powerful retriever,
whimpered, trembled and crawled up close.

The sound increased in volume. The yowling _meouw_ came louder,
louder and nearer, then suddenly clear and close, as though the
creature had rounded a point and entered an opening. It was positively
blood-curdling now. The dog could stand it no more; he turned and went
as fast as he could for home, leaving Yan to his fate. There was no
longer any question that it was a Lynx. Yan had felt nervous before
and the abject flight of the dog reacted on him. He realized how
defenseless he was, still weak from his illness, and he turned and
went after the dog. At first he walked. But having given in to his
fears, they increased; and as the yowling continued he finally ran his
fastest. The sounds were left behind, but Yan never stopped until he
had left the Glen and was once more in the open valley of the river.
Here he found the valiant retriever trembling all over. Yan received
him with a contemptuous kick, and, boylike, as soon as he could find
some stones, he used them till Grip was driven home.

       *       *       *       *       *

Most lads have some sporting instinct, and his elder brother, though
not of Yan's tastes, was not averse to going gunning when there was a
prospect of sport.

Yan decided to reveal to Rad the secret of his glen. He had never been
allowed to use a gun, but Rad had one, and Yan's vivid account of his
adventure had the desired effect. His method was characteristic.

[Illustration: "It surely was a Lynx."]

"Rad, would you go huntin' if there was lots to hunt?"

"Course I would."

"Well, I know a place not ten miles away where there are all kinds of
wild animals--hundreds of them."

"Yes, you do, I don't think. Humph!"

"Yes, I do; and I'll tell you, if you will promise never to tell a
soul."

"Ba-ah!"

"Well, I just had an adventure with a Lynx up there now, and if you
will come with your gun we can get him."

Then Yan related all that had passed, and it lost nothing in his
telling. His brother was impressed enough to set out under Yan's
guidance on the following Saturday.

Yan hated to reveal to his sneering, earthy-minded brother all the
joys and sorrows he had found in the Glen, but now that it seemed
compulsory he found keen pleasure in playing the part of the crafty
guide. With unnecessary caution he first led in a wrong direction,
then trying, but failing, to extort another promise of secrecy, he
turned at an angle, pointed to a distant tree, saying with all the
meaning he could put into it: "Ten paces beyond that tree is a trail
that shall lead us into the secret valley." After sundry other
ceremonies of the sort, they were near the inway, when a man came
walking through the bushes. On his shoulders he carried something.
When he came close, Yan saw to his deep disgust that that something
was the Lynx--yes, it surely was _his_ Lynx.

They eagerly plied the man with questions. He told them that he had
killed it the day before, really. It had been prowling for the last
week or more about Kernore's bush; probably it was a straggler from up
north.

This was all intensely fascinating to Yan, but in it was a jarring
note. Evidently this man considered the Glen--his Glen--as an
ordinary, well-known bit of bush, possibly part of his farm--not by
any means the profound mystery that Yan would have had it.

The Lynx was a fine large one. The stripes on its face and the wide
open yellow eyes gave a peculiarly wild, tiger-like expression that
was deeply gratifying to Yan's romantic soul.

It was not so much of an adventure as a might-have-been adventure;
but it left a deep impress on the boy, and it also illustrated the
accuracy of his instincts in identifying creatures that he had never
before seen, but knew only through the slight descriptions of very
unsatisfactory books.




XIV

Froth


From now on to the spring Yan was daily gaining in strength, and he
and his mother came closer together. She tried to take an interest in
the pursuits that were his whole nature. But she also strove hard to
make him take an interest in her world. She was a morbidly religious
woman. Her conversation was bristling with Scripture texts. She had
a vast store of them--indeed, she had them all; and she used them on
every occasion possible and impossible, with bewildering efficiency.

If ever she saw a group of young people dancing, romping, playing any
game, or even laughing heartily, she would interrupt them to say,
"Children, are you sure you can ask God's blessing on all this? Do you
think that beings with immortal souls to save should give rein to such
frivolity! I fear you are sinning, and be sure your sin will find
you out. Remember, that for every idle word and deed we must give an
account to the Great Judge of Heaven and earth."

She was perfectly sincere in all this, but she never ceased, except
during the time of her son's illness, when, under orders from the
doctor, she avoided the painful topic of eternal happiness and tried
to simulate an interest in his pursuits. This was the blessed truce
that brought them together.

He found a confidante for the first time since he met the collarless
stranger, and used to tell all his loves and fears among the woodfolk
and things. He would talk about this or that bird or flower, and hoped
to find out its name, till the mother would suddenly feel shocked that
any being with an immortal soul to save could talk so seriously
about anything outside of the Bible; then gently reprove her son and
herself, too, with a number of texts.

He might reply with others, for he was well equipped. But her
unanswerable answer would be: "There is but one thing needful. What
profiteth it a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

These fencing bouts grew more frequent as Yan grew stronger and the
doctor's inhibition was removed.

After one of unusual warmth, Yan realized with a chill that all her
interest in his pursuits had been an affected one. He was silent a
long time, then said: "Mother! you like to talk about your Bible. It
tells you the things that you long to know, that you love to learn.
You would be unhappy if you went a day without reading a chapter or
two. That is your nature; God made you so.

"I have been obliged to read the Bible all my life. Every day I read a
chapter; but I do not love it. I read it because I am forced to do it.
It tells me nothing I want to know. It does not teach me to love God,
which you say is the one thing needful. But I go out into the woods,
and every bird and flower I see stirs me to the heart with something,
I do not know what it is; only I love them: I love them with all my
strength, and they make me feel like praying when your Bible does not.
They are my Bible. This is my nature. God made me so."

The mother was silent after this, but Yan could see that she was
praying for him as for a lost soul.

A few days later they were out walking in the early spring morning.
A Shore-lark on a clod whistled prettily as it felt the growing
sunshine.

Yan strained his eyes and attention to take it in. He crept up near
it. It took wing, and as it went he threw after it a short stick he
was carrying. The stick whirled over and struck the bird. It fell
fluttering. Yan rushed wildly after it and caught it in spite of his
mother's calling him back.

He came with the bird in his hand, but it did not live many minutes.
His mother was grieved and disgusted. She said. "So this is the great
love you have for the wild things; the very first spring bird to sing
you must club to death. I do not understand your affections. Are not
two sparrows sold for one farthing, and yet not one of them falls to
the ground without the knowledge of your heavenly Father."

Yan was crushed. He held the dead bird in his hand and said,
contradictorily, as the tears stood in his eyes, "I wish I hadn't; but
oh, it was so beautiful."

He could not explain, because he did not understand, and yet was no
hypocrite.

Weeks later a cheap trip gave him the chance for the first time in his
life to see Niagara. As he stood with his mother watching the racing
flood, in the gorge below the cataract, he noticed straws, bubbles and
froth, that seemed to be actually moving upstream. He said:

"Mother, you see the froth how it seems to go up-stream."

"Well!"

"Yet we know it is a trifle and means nothing. We know that just below
the froth is the deep, wide, terrible, irresistible, arrowy flood,
surging all the other way."

"Yes, my son."

"Well, Mother, when I killed the Shore-lark, that was froth going the
wrong way, I did love the little bird. I know now why I killed it.
Because it was going away from me. If I could have seen it near and
could have touched it, or even have heard it every day, I should never
have wished to harm it. I didn't mean _to kill it_, only _to
get it_. You gather flowers because you love to keep them near you,
not because you want to destroy them. They die and you are sorry. I
only tried to gather the Shore-lark as you would a flower. It died,
and I was very, very sorry."

"Nevertheless," the mother replied, "the merciful man is merciful unto
his beast. He who hearkens when the young Ravens cry, surely took note
of it, and in His great Book of Remembrance it is written down against
you."

And from that time they surely drifted apart.






PART II

SANGER & SAM




I

The New Home


Yan was now fourteen years old long-legged, thin, and growing fast The
doctor marked this combination and said: "Send him on a farm for a
year."

Thus it was that an arrangement was made for Yan to work for his board
at the farmhouse of William Raften of Sanger.

Sanger was a settlement just emerging from the early or backwoods
period.

The recognized steps are, first, the frontier or woods where all
is unbroken forest and Deer abound; next the backwoods where small
clearings appear; then a settlement where the forest and clearings are
about equal and the Deer gone; last, an agricultural district, with
mere shreds of forest remaining.

Thirty years before, Sanger had been "taken up" by a population
chiefly from Ireland, sturdy peasantry for the most part, who brought
with them the ancient feud that has so long divided Ireland--the
bitter quarrel between the Catholics or "Dogans" (why so called none
knew) and Protestants, more usually styled "Prattisons." The colours
of the Catholics were green and white; of the Protestants orange
and blue; and hence another distinctive name of the latter was
"Orangemen."

These two factions split the social structure in two vertically. There
were, in addition, several horizontal lines of cleavage which, like
geological seams, ran across both segments.

In those days, the early part of the nineteenth century, the British
Government used to assist desirable persons who wished to emigrate to
Canada from Ireland. This aid consisted of a free ocean passage. Many
who could not convince the Government of their desirability and yet
could raise the money, came with them, paying their regular steerage
rate of $15. These were alike to the outside world, but not to
themselves. Those who paid their way were "passengers," and were, in
their own opinion, many social worlds above the assisted ones, who
were called "Emmy Grants." This distinction was never forgotten among
the residents of Sanger.

Yet two other social grades existed. Every man and boy in Sanger was
an expert with the axe; was wonderfully adroit. The familiar phrase,
"He's a good man," had two accepted meanings: If obviously applied to
a settler during the regular Saturday night Irish row in the little
town of Downey's Dump, it meant he was an able man with his fists;
but if to his home life on the farm, it implied that he was unusually
dexterous with the axe. A man who fell below standard was despised.
Since the houses of hewn logs were made by their owners, they
reflected the axemen's skill. There were two styles of log
architecture; the shanty with corners criss-cross, called hog-pen
finish, and the other, the house with the corners neatly finished,
called dovetail finish. In Sanger it was a social black eye to live in
a house of the first kind. The residents were considered "scrubs" or
"riff-raff" by those whose superior axemanship had provided the
more neatly finished dwelling. A later division crept in among the
"dovetailers" themselves when a brickyard was opened. The more
prosperous settlers put up neat little brick houses. To the surprise
of all, one Phil O'Leary, a poor but prolific Dogan, leaped at once
from a hog-pen log to a fine brick, and caused no end of perplexity
to the ruling society queens, simply paralyzing the social register,
since his nine fat daughters now had claims with the best. Many,
however, whose brick houses were but five years old, denounced the
O'Learys as upstarts and for long witheld all social recognition.
William Raften, as the most prosperous man in the community, was
first to appear in red bricks. His implacable enemy, Char-less (two
syllables) Boyle, egged on by his wife, now also took the red brick
plunge, though he dispensed with masons and laid the bricks himself,
with the help of his seventeen sons. These two men, though Orangemen
both, were deadly enemies, as the wives were social rivals. Raften was
the stronger and richer man, but Boyle, whose father had paid his own
steerage rate, knew all about Raften's father, and always wound up
any discussion by hurling in Raften's teeth: "Don't talk to me, ye
upstart. Everybody knows ye are nothing but a Emmy Grant." This was
the one fly in the Raften ointment. No use denying it. His father
had accepted a free passage, true, and Boyle had received a free
homestead, but what of that--that counted for nothing. Old Boyle had
been a "PASSENGER," old Raften an "EMMY GRANT."

This was the new community that Yan had entered, and the words Dogan
and Prattison, "green" and "orange and blue," began to loom large,
along with the ideas and animosities they stood for.

The accent of the Sangerite was mixed. First, there was a rich Irish
brogue with many Irish words; this belonged chiefly to the old folks.
The Irish of such men as Raften was quite evident in their speech, but
not strong enough to warrant the accepted Irish spelling of books,
except when the speaker was greatly excited. The young generation
had almost no Irish accent, but all had sifted down to the peculiar
burring nasal whine of the backwoods Canadian.

Mr. and Mrs. Raften met Yan at the station. They had supper together
at the tavern and drove him to their home, where they showed him into
the big dining-room--living-room--kitchen. Over behind the stove was
a tall, awkward boy with carroty hair and small, dark eyes set much
aslant in the saddest of faces. Mrs. Raften said, "Come, Sam, and
shake hands with Yan." Sam came sheepishly forward, shook hands in a
flabby way, and said, in drawling tones, "How-do," then retired behind
the stove to gaze with melancholy soberness at Yan, whenever he could
do so without being caught at it. Mr. and Mrs. Raften were attending
to various matters elsewhere, and Yan was left alone and miserable.
The idea of giving up college to go on a farm had been a hard one for
him to accept, but he had sullenly bowed to his father's command and
then at length learned to like the prospect of getting away from
Bonnerton into the country. After all, it was but for a year, and it
promised so much of joy. Sunday-school left behind. Church reduced to
a minimum. All his life outdoors, among fields and woods--surely this
spelled happiness; but now that he was really there, the abomination
of desolation seemed sitting on all things and the evening was one
of unalloyed misery. He had nothing to tell of, but a cloud of black
despair seemed to have settled for good on the world. His mouth was
pinching very hard and his eyes blinking to keep back the tears when
Mrs. Raften came into the room. She saw at a glance what was wrong.
"He's homesick," she said to her husband. "He'll be all right
to-morrow," and she took Yan by the hand and led him upstairs to bed.

Twenty minutes later she came to see if he was comfortable. She tucked
the clothes in around him, then, stooping down for a good-night kiss,
she found his face wet with tears. She put her arms about him for a
moment, kissed him several times, and said, "Never mind, you will feel
all right to-morrow," then wisely left him alone.

Whence came that load of misery and horror, or whither it went, Yan
never knew. He saw it no more, and the next morning he began to
interest himself in his new world.

William Raften had a number of farms all in fine order and clear
of mortgages; and each year he added to his estates. He was sober,
shrewd, even cunning, hated by most of his neighbours because he was
too clever for them and kept on getting richer. His hard side was for
the world and his soft side for his family. Not that he was really
soft in any respect. He had had to fight his life-battle alone,
beginning with nothing, and the many hard knocks had hardened him, but
the few who knew him best could testify to the warm Irish heart that
continued unchanged within him, albeit it was each year farther
from the surface. His manners, even in the house, were abrupt and
masterful. There was no mistaking his orders, and no excuse for not
complying with them. To his children when infants, and to his wife
only, he was always tender, and those who saw him cold and grasping,
overreaching the sharpers of the grain market, would scarcely have
recognized the big, warm-hearted happy-looking father at home an hour
later when he was playing horse with his baby daughter or awkwardly
paying post-graduate court to his smiling wife.

He had little "eddication," could hardly read, and was therefore
greatly impressed with the value of "book larnin'," and determined
that his own children should have the "best that money could git in
that line," which probably meant that they should read fluently. His
own reading was done on Sunday mornings, when he painfully spelled out
the important items in a weekly paper; "important" meant referring
to the produce market or the prize ring, for he had been known and
respected as a boxer, and dearly loved the exquisite details of the
latest bouts. He used to go to church with his wife once a month to
please her, and thought it very unfair therefore that she should take
no interest in his favourite hobby--the manly art.

Although hard and even brutal in his dealings with men, he could not
bear to see an animal ill used. "The men can holler when they're hurt,
but the poor dumb baste has no protection." He was the only farmer in
the country that would not sell or shoot a worn-out horse. "The poor
brute has wurruked hard an' hez airned his kape for the rest av his
days." So Duncan, Jerry and several others were "retired" and lived
their latter days in idleness, in one case for more than ten years.

Raften had thrashed more than one neighbour for beating a horse, and
once, on interfering, was himself thrashed, for he had the ill-luck to
happen on a prizefighter. But that had no lasting effect on him. He
continued to champion the dumb brute in his own brutal way.

Among the neighbours the perquisites of the boys were the calfskins.
The cows' milk was needed and the calves of little value, so usually
they were killed when too young for food. The boys did the killing,
making more or less sport of it, and the skins, worth fifty cents
apiece green and twenty-five cents dry, at the tannery, were their
proper pay. Raften never allowed his son to kill the calves. "Oi can't
kill a poor innocent calf mesilf an' I won't hev me boy doin' it," he
said. Thus Sam was done out of a perquisite, and did not forget the
grievance.

Mrs. Raften was a fine woman, a splendid manager, loving her home and
her family, her husband's loyal and ablest supporter, although she
thought that William was sometimes a "leetle hard" on the boys. They
had had a large family, but most of the children had died. Those
remaining were Sam, aged fifteen, and Minnie, aged three.

Yan's duties were fixed at once. The poultry and half the pigs and
cows were to be his charge. He must also help Sam with various other
chores.

There was plenty to do and clear rules about doing it. But there was
also time nearly every day for other things more in the line of his
tastes; for even if he were hard on the boys in work hours, Raften
saw to it that when they did play they should have a good time. His
roughness and force made Yan afraid of him, and as it was Raften's
way to say nothing until his mind was fully made up, and then say it
"strong," Yan was left in doubt as to whether or not he was giving
satisfaction.




II

Sam


Sam Raften turned out to be more congenial than he looked. His slow,
drawling speech had given a wrong impression of stupidity, and, after
a formal showing of the house under Mr. Raften, a real investigation
was headed by Sam. "This yer's the paaar-le-r," said he, unlocking a
sort of dark cellar aboveground and groping to open what afterward
proved to be a dead, buried and almost forgotten window. In Sanger
settlement the farmhouse parlour is not a room; it is an institution.
It is kept closed all the week except when the minister calls, and
the one at Raften's was the pure type. Its furniture consisted of six
painted chairs (fifty cents each), two rockers ($1.49), one melodeon
(thirty-two bushels of wheat--the agent asked forty), a sideboard made
at home of the case the melodeon came in, one rag carpet woofed at
home and warped and woven in exchange for wool, one center-table
varnished (!) ($9.00 cash, $11.00 catalogue). On the center-table was
one tintype album, a Bible, and some large books for company use.
Though dusted once a week, they were never moved, and it was years
later before they were found to have settled permanently into the
varnish of the table. In extremely uncostly frames on the wall were
the coffin-plates of the departed members of the family. It was the
custom at Sanger to honour the dead by bringing back from the funeral
the name-plate and framing it on a black background with some supposed
appropriate scripture text.

The general atmosphere of the room was dusty and religious as it
was never opened except on Sundays or when the parson called, which
instituted a sort of temporary Sunday, and the two small windows were
kept shut and plugged as well as muffled always, with green paper
blinds and cotton hangings. It was a thing apart from the rest of the
house--a sort of family ghost-room: a chamber of horrors, seen but
once a week.

But it contained one thing at least of interest--something that at
once brought Sam and Yan together. This was a collection of a score
of birds' eggs. They were all mixed together in an old glass-topped
cravat box, half full of bran. None of them were labelled or properly
blown. A collector would not have given it a second glance, but it
proved an important matter. It was as though two New Yorkers, one
disguised as a Chinaman and the other as a Negro, had accidently
met in Greenland and by chance one had made the sign of the secret
brotherhood to which they both belonged.

"Do you like these things?" said Yan, with sudden interest and warmth,
in spite of the depressing surroundings.

"You bet," said Sam. "And I'd a-had twice as many only Da said it was
doing no good and birds was good for the farm."

"Well, do you know their names?"

"Wall, I should say so. I know every Bird that flies and all about it,
or putty near it," drawled Sam, with an unusual stretch for him, as he
was not given to bragging.

"I wish I did. Can't I get some eggs to take home?"

"No; Da said if I wouldn't take any more he'd lend me his Injun Chief
gun to shoot Rabbits with."

"What? Are there Rabbits here?"

"Wall, I should say so. I got three last winter."

"But I mean _now_," said Yan, with evident disappointment.

"They ain't so easy to get at _now_, but we can try. Some day
when all the work's done I'll ask Da for his gun."

"When all the work's done," was a favourite expression of the Raftens
for indefinitely shelving a project, it sounded so reasonable and was
really so final.

Sam opened up the lower door of the sideboard and got out some flint
arrow-heads picked up in the ploughing, the teeth of a Beaver dating
from the early days of the settlement, and an Owl very badly stuffed.
The sight of these precious things set Yan all ablaze. "Oh!" was all
he could say. Sam was gratified to see such effect produced by the
family possessions and explained, "Da shot that off'n the barn an' the
hired man stuffed it."

The boys were getting on well together now. They exchanged
confidences all day as they met in doing chores. In spite of the long
interruptions, they got on so well that Sam said after supper, "Say,
Yan, I'm going to show you something, but you must promise never
to tell--Swelpye!" Of course Yan promised and added the absolutely
binding and ununderstandable word--"Swelpme."

"Le's both go to the barn," said Sam.

When they were half way he said: "Now I'll let on I went back
for something. You go on an' round an' I'll meet you under the
'rusty-coat' in the orchard." When they met under the big russet apple
tree, Sam closed one of his melancholy eyes and said in a voice of
unnecessary hush, "Follow me." He led to the other end of the orchard
where stood the old log house that had been the home before the
building of the brick one. It was now used as a tool house. Sam led up
a ladder to the loft (this was all wholly delightful). There at the
far end, and next the little gable pane, he again cautioned secrecy,
then when on invitation Yan had once more "swelped" himself, he
rummaged in a dirty old box and drew out a bow, some arrows, a rusty
steel trap, an old butcher knife, some fish-hooks, a flint and steel,
a box full of matches, and some dirty, greasy-looking stuff that he
said-was dried meat. "You see," he explained, "I always wanted to be a
hunter, and Da was bound I'd be a dentist. Da said there was no money
in hunting, but one day he had to go to the dentist an' it cost four
dollars, an' the man wasn't half a day at the job, so he wanted me to
be a dentist, but I wanted to be a hunter, an' one day he licked me
and Bud (Bud, that's my brother that died a year ago. If you hear Ma
talk you'll think he was an angel, but I always reckoned he was a
crazy galoot, an' he was the worst boy in school by odds). Wall, Da
licked us awful for not feeding the hogs, so Bud got ready to clear
out, an' at first I felt just like he did an' said I'd go too, an'
we'd j'ine the Injuns. Anyhow, I'd sure go if ever I was licked again,
an' this was the outfit we got together. Bud wanted to steal Da's gun
an' I wouldn't. I tell you I was hoppin' mad that time, an' Bud was
wuss--but I cooled off an' talked to Bud. I says, 'Say now, Bud, it
would take about a month of travel to get out West, an' if the Injuns
didn't want nothin' but our scalps that wouldn't be no fun, an' Da
ain't really so bad, coz we sho'ly did starve them pigs so one of
'em died.' I reckon we deserved all we got--anyhow, it was all dumb
foolishness about skinnin' out, though I'd like mighty well to be a
hunter. Well, Bud died that winter. You seen the biggest coffin plate
on the wall? Well, that's him. I see Ma lookin' at it an' cryin' the
other day. Da says he'll send me to college if I'll be a dentist or a
lawyer--lawyers make lots of money: Da had a lawsuit once--an' if I
don't, he says I kin go to--you know."

Here was Yan's own kind of mind, and he opened his heart. He told all
about his shanty in the woods and how he had laboured at and loved it.
He was full of enthusiasm as of old, boiling over with purpose and
energy, and Sam, he realized, had at least two things that he had
not--ability with tools and cool judgment. It was like having the best
parts of his brother Rad put into a real human being. And remembering
the joy of his Glen, Yan said:

"Let's build a shanty in the woods by the creek; your father won't
care, will he?"

"Not he, so long as the work's done."




III

The Wigwam


The very next day they must begin. As soon as every chore was done
they went to the woods to select a spot.

The brook, or "creek," as they called it, ran through a meadow, then
through a fence into the woods. This was at first open and grassy, but
farther down the creek it was joined by a dense cedar swamp. Through
this there was no path, but Sam said that there was a nice high place
beyond. The high ground seemed a long way off in the woods, though
only a hundred yards through the swamp, but it was the very place for
a camp--high, dry and open hard woods, with the creek in front and the
cedar swamp all around. Yan was delighted. Sam caught no little of the
enthusiasm, and having brought an axe, was ready to begin the shanty.
But Yan had been thinking hard all morning, and now he said: "Sam, we
don't want to be _White_ hunters. They're no good; we want to be
Indians."

"Now, that's just where you fool yourself," said Sam. "Da says there
ain't nothin' an Injun can do that a White-man can't do better."

"Oh, what are you talking about?" said Yan warmly. "A White hunter
can't trail a moccasined foot across a hard granite rock. A White
hunter can't go into the woods with nothing but a knife and make
everything he needs. A White hunter can't hunt with bows and arrows,
and catch game with snares, can he? And there never yet was a White
man could make a Birch canoe." Then, changing his tone, Yan went on:
"Say, now, Sam, we want to be the best kind of hunters, don't we, so
as to be ready for going out West. Let's be Injuns and do everything
like Injuns."

After all, this had the advantage of romance and picturesqueness, and
Sam consented to "try it for awhile, anyhow." And now came the point
of Yan's argument. "Injuns don't live in shanties; they live in
teepees. Why not make a teepee instead?"

"That would be just bully," said Sam, who had seen pictures enough to
need no description, "but what are we to make it of?"

"Well," answered Yan, promptly assuming the leadership and rejoicing
in his ability to speak as an authority, "the Plains Injuns make their
teepees of skins, but the wood Injuns generally use Birch bark."

"Well, I bet you can't find skins or Birch bark enough in this woods
to make a teepee big enough for a Chipmunk to chaw nuts in."

"We can use Elm bark."

"That's a heap easier," replied Sam, "if it'll answer, coz we cut a
lot o' Elm logs last winter and the bark'll be about willin' to peel
now. But first let's plan it out."

This was a good move, one Yan would have overlooked. He would probably
have got a lot of material together and made the plan afterward, but
Sam had been taught to go about his work with method.

So Yan sketched on a smooth log his remembrance of an Indian teepee.
"It seems to me it was about this shape, with the poles sticking up
like that, a hole for the smoke here and another for the door there."

"Sounds like you hain't never seen one," remarked Sam, with more point
than politeness, "but we kin try it. Now 'bout how big?"

Eight feet high and eight feet across was decided to be about right.
Four poles, each ten feet long, were cut in a few minutes, Yan
carrying them to a smooth place above the creek as fast as Sam cut
them.

"Now, what shall we tie them with?" said Yan.

"You mean for rope?"

"Yes, only we must get everything in the woods; real rope ain't
allowed."

"I kin fix that," said Sam; "when Da double-staked the orchard fence,
he lashed every pair of stakes at the top with Willow withes."

"That's so--I quite forgot," said Yan. In a few minutes they were
at work trying to tie the four poles together with slippery stiff
Willows, but it was no easy matter. They had to be perfectly tight or
they would slip and fall in a heap each time they were raised, and it
seemed at length that the boys would be forced to the impropriety of
using hay wire, when they heard a low grunt, and turning, saw William
Raften standing with his hands behind him as though he had watched
them for hours.

The boys were no little startled. Raften had a knack of turning up at
any point when something was going on, taking in the situation fully,
and then, if he disapproved, of expressing himself in a few words of
blistering mockery delivered in a rich Irish brogue. Just what view
he would take of their pastime the boys had no idea, but awaited with
uneasiness. If they had been wasting time when they should have been
working there is no question but that they would have been sent with
contumely to more profitable pursuits, but this was within their
rightful play hours, and Raften, after regarding them with a searching
look, said slowly: "Bhoys!" (Sam felt easier; his father would have
said "_Bhise_" if really angry.) "Fhat's the good o' wastin' yer
time" (Yan's heart sank) "wid Willow withes fur a job like that? They
can't be made to howld. Whoi don't ye git some hay woire or coord at
the barrun?"

The boys were greatly relieved, but still this friendly overture might
be merely a feint to open the way for a home thrust. Sam was silent.
So Yan said, presently, "We ain't allowed to use anything but what the
Indians had or could get in the woods."

"An' who don't allow yez?"

"The rules."

"Oh," said William, with some amusement. "Oi see! Hyar."

He went into the woods looking this way and that, and presently
stopped at a lot of low shrubs.

"Do ye know what this is, Yan?"

"No, sir."

"Le's see if yer man enough to break it aff."

Yan tried. The wood was brittle enough, but the bark, thin, smooth and
pliant, was as tough as leather, and even a narrow strip defied his
strength.

"That's Litherwood," said Raften. "That's what the Injuns used; that's
what we used ourselves in the airly days of this yer settlement."

The boys had looked for a rebuke, and here was a helping hand. It all
turned on the fact that this was "play hours," Raften left with a
parting word: "In wan hour an' a half the pigs is fed."

"You see Da's all right when the work ain't forgot," said Sam, with
a patronizing air. "I wonder why I didn't think o' that there
Leatherwood meself. I've often heard that that's what was used fur
tying bags in the old days when cord was scarce, an' the Injuns used
it for tying their prisoners, too. Ain't it the real stuff?"

Several strips were now used for tying four poles together at the top,
then these four were raised on end and spread out at the bottom to
serve as the frame of the teepee, or more properly wigwam, since it
was to be made of bark.

After consulting, they now got a long, limber Willow rod an inch
thick, and bending it around like a hoop, they tied it with
Leatherwood to each pole at a point four feet from the ground. Next
they cut four short poles to reach from the ground to this. These were
lashed at their upper ends to the Willow rod, and now they were ready
for the bark slabs. The boys went to the Elm logs and again Sam's able
use of the axe came in. He cut the bark open along the top of one log,
and by using the edge of the axe and some wooden wedges they pried off
a great roll eight feet long and four feet across. It was a pleasant
surprise to see what a wide piece of bark the small log gave them.

Three logs yielded three fine large slabs and others yielded pieces of
various sizes. The large ones were set up against the frame so as to
make the most of them. Of course they were much too big for the top,
and much too narrow for the bottom; but the little pieces would do to
patch if some way could be found to make them stick.

Sam suggested nailing them to the posts, and Yan was horrified at the
idea of using nails. "No Indian has any nails."

"Well, what _would_ they use?" said Sam.

"They used thongs, an'--an'--maybe wooden pegs. I don't know, but
seems to me that would be all right."

"But them poles is hard wood," objected the practical Sam. "You can
drive Oak pegs into Pine, but you can't drive wooden pegs into hard
wood without you make some sort of a hole first. Maybe I'd better
bring a gimlet."

"Now, Sam, you might just as well hire a carpenter--_that_
wouldn't be Indian at all. Let's play it right. We'll find some way. I
believe we can tie them up with Leatherwood."

So Sam made a sharp Oak pick with his axe, and Yan used it to pick
holes in each piece of bark and then did a sort of rude sewing till
the wigwam seemed beautifully covered in. But when they went inside
to look they were unpleasantly surprised to find how many holes
there were. It was impossible to close them all because the bark was
cracking in so many places, but the boys plugged the worst of them and
then prepared for the great sacred ceremony--the lighting of the fire
in the middle.

They gathered a lot of dry fuel, then Yan produced a match.

"That don't look to me very Injun," drawled Sam critically. "I don't
think Injuns has matches."

"Well, they don't," admitted Yan, humbly. "But I haven't a flint and
steel, and don't know how to work rubbing-sticks, so we just got to
use matches, _if_ we _want_ a fire."

"Why, of course we want a fire. I ain't kicking," said Sam. "Go ahead
with your old leg-fire sulphur stick. A camp without a fire would be
'bout like last year's bird's nest or a house with the roof off."

Yan struck a match and put it to the wood. It went out. He struck
another--same result. Yet another went out.

Sam remarked:

"Pears to me you don't know much about lightin' a fire. Lemme show
you. Let the White hunter learn the Injun somethin' about the woods,"
said he with a leer.

Sam took the axe and cut some sticks of a dry Pine root. Then with his
knife he cut long curling shavings, which he left sticking in a fuzz
at the end of each stick.

"Oh, I've seen a picture of an Indian making them. They call them
'prayer-sticks,'" said Yan.

"Well, prayer-sticks is mighty good kindlin'" replied the other. He
struck a match, and in a minute he had a blazing fire in the middle of
the wigwam.

"Old Granny de Neuville, she's a witch--she knows all about the woods,
and cracked Jimmy turns everything into poetry what she says. He says
she says when you want to make a fire in the woods you take--

  "First a curl of Birch bark as dry as it kin be,
  Then some twigs of soft-wood, dead, but on the tree,
  Last o' all some Pine knots to make the kittle foam,
  An' thar's a fire to make you think you're settin' right at home."

"Who's Granny de Neuville?"

"Oh, she's the old witch that lives down at the bend o' the creek."

"What? Has she got a granddaughter named Biddy?" said Yan, suddenly
remembering that his ancient ally came from this part of Sanger.

"Oh, my! Hain't she? Ain't Biddy a peach--drinks like a fish, talks
everybody to death about the time she resided in Bonnerton. Gits a
letter every mail begging her to come back and 'reside' with them some
more."

"Ain't this fine," said Yan, as he sat on a pile of Fir boughs in the
wigwam.

"Looks like the real thing," replied Sam from his seat on the other
side. "But say, Yan, don't make any more fire; it's kind o' warm here,
an' there seems to be something wrong with that flue--wants sweepin',
prob'ly--hain't been swep' since I kin remember."

The fire blazed up and the smoke increased. Just a little of it
wandered out of the smoke-hole at the top, then it decided that this
was a mistake and thereafter positively declined to use the vent. Some
of it went out by chinks, and a large stream issued from the door, but
by far the best part of it seemed satisfied with the interior of the
wigwam, so that in a minute or less both boys scrambled out. Their
eyes were streaming with smoke-tears and their discomfiture was
complete.

"'Pears to me," observed Sam, "like we got them holes mixed. The dooer
should 'a 'been at the top, sence the smoke has a fancy for usin' it,
an' then _we'd_ had a chance."

"The Indians make it work," said Yan; "a White hunter ought to know
how."

"Now's the Injun's chance," said Sam. "Maybe it wants a dooer to
close, then the smoke would have to go out."

They tried this, and of course some of the smoke was crowded out, but
not till long after the boys were.

"Seems like what does get out by the chinks is sucked back agin by
that there double-action flue," said Sam.

It was very disappointing. The romance of sitting by the fire in one's
teepee appealed to both of the boys, but the physical torture of
the smoke made it unbearable. Their dream was dispelled, and Sam
suggested, "Maybe we'd better try a shanty."

"No," said Yan, with his usual doggedness. "I know it can be done,
because the Indians do it. We'll find out in time."

But all their efforts were in vain. The wigwam was a failure, as far
as fire was concerned. It was very small and uncomfortable, too; the
wind blew through a hundred crevices, which grew larger as the Elm
bark dried and cracked. A heavy shower caught them once, and they were
rather glad to be driven into their cheerless lodge, but the rain came
abundantly into the smoke-hole as well as through the walls, and they
found it but little protection.

[Illustration: "The wigwam was a failure."]

"Seems to me, if anything, a _leetle_ wetter in here than
outside," said Sam, as he led in a dash for home.

That night a heavy storm set in, and next day the boys found their
flimsy wigwam blown down--nothing but a heap of ruins.

Some time after, Raften asked at the table in characteristic stern
style, "Bhoys, what's doin' down to yer camp? Is yer wigwam finished?"

"No good," said Sam. "All blowed down."

"How's that?"

"I dunno'. It smoked like everything. We couldn't stay in it."

"Couldn't a-been right made," said Raften; then with a sudden
interest, which showed how eagerly he would have joined in this forty
years ago, he said, "Why don't ye make a rale taypay?"

"Dunno' how, an' ain't got no stuff."

"Wall, now, yez have been pretty good an' ain't slacked on the wurruk,
yez kin have the ould wagon kiver. Cousin Bert could tache ye how to
make it, if he wuz here. Maybe Caleb Clark knows," he added, with a
significant twinkle of his eye. "Better ask him." Then he turned to
give orders to the hired men, who, of course, ate at the family table.

"Da, do you care if we go to Caleb?"

"I don't care fwhat ye do wid him," was the reply.

Raften was no idle talker and Sam knew that, so as soon as "the law
was off" he and Yan got out the old wagon cover. It seemed like an
acre of canvas when they spread it out. Having thus taken possession,
they put it away again in the cow-house, their own domain, and Sam
said: "I've a great notion to go right to Caleb; he sho'ly knows more
about a teepee than any one else here, which ain't sayin' much."

"Who's Caleb?"

"Oh, he's the old Billy Goat that shot at Da oncet, just after Da beat
him at a horse trade. Let on it was a mistake: 'twas, too, as he
found out, coz Da bought up some old notes of his, got 'em cheap, and
squeezed him hard to meet them. He's had hard luck ever since.

"He's a mortal queer old duck, that Caleb. He knows heaps about the
woods, coz he was a hunter an' trapper oncet. My! wouldn't he be down
on me if he knowed who was my Da, but he don't have to know."




IV

The Sanger Witch

  The Sanger Witch dwelt in the bend of the creek,
  And neither could read nor write;
  But she knew in a day what few knew in a week,
  For hers was the second sight.
  "Read?" said she, "I am double read;
  You fools of the ink and pen
  Count never the eggs, but the sticks of the nest,
  See the clothes, not the souls of men."

  --Cracked Jimmy's Ballad of Sanger.


The boys set out for Caleb's. It was up the creek away from the camp
ground. As they neared the bend they saw a small log shanty, with some
poultry and a pig at the door.

"That's where the witch lives," said Sam.

"Who--old Granny de Neuville?"

"Yep, and she just loves me. Oh, yes; about the same way an old hen
loves a Chicken-hawk. 'Pears to me she sets up nights to love me."

"Why?"

"Oh, I guess it started with the pigs. No, let's see: first about the
trees. Da chopped off a lot of Elm trees that looked terrible nice
from her windy. She's awful queer about a tree. She hates to see 'em
cut down, an' that soured her same as if she owned 'em. Then there
wuz the pigs. You see, one winter she was awful hard up, an' she had
two pigs worth, maybe, $5.00 each--anyway, she said they was, an' she
ought to know, for they lived right in the shanty with her--an' she
come to Da (I guess she had tried every one else first) an' Da he
squeezed her down an' got the two pigs for $7.00. He al'ays does that.
Then he comes home an' says to Ma, 'Seems to me the old lady is
pretty hard put. 'Bout next Saturday you take two sacks of flour and
some pork an' potatoes around an' see that she is fixed up right.'
Da's al'ays doin' them things, too, on the quiet. So Ma goes with
about $15.00 worth o' truck. The old witch was kinder 'stand off.'
She didn't say much. Ma was goin' slow, not knowin' just whether to
give the stuff out an' out, or say it could be worked for next year,
or some other year, when there was two moons, or some time when the
work was all done. Well, the old witch said mighty little until the
stuff was all put in the cellar, then she grabs up a big stick an'
breaks out at Ma:

"'Now you git out o' my house, you dhirty, sthuck-up thing. I ain't
takin' no charity from the likes o' you. That thing you call your
husband robbed me o' my pigs, an' we ain't any more'n square now, so
git out an' don't you dar set fut in my house agin'.

"Well, she was sore on us when Da bought her pigs, but she was five
times wuss after she clinched the groceries. 'Pears like they soured
on her stummick."

"What a shame, the old wretch," said Yan, with ready sympathy for the
Raftens.

"No," replied Sam; "she's only queer. There's lots o' folk takes her
side. But she's awful queer. She won't have a tree cut if she can help
it, an' when the flowers come in the spring she goes out in the woods
and sets down beside 'em for hours an' calls 'em 'Me beauty--me little
beauty,' an' she just loves the birds. When the boys want to rile her
they get a sling-shot an' shoot the birds in her garden an' she just
goes crazy. She pretty near starves herself every winter trying to
feed all the birds that come around. She has lots of 'em to feed right
out o' her hand. Da says they think its an old pine root, but she has
a way o' coaxin' 'em that's awful nice. There she'll stand in freezin'
weather calling them 'Me beauties'.

"You see that little windy in the end?" he continued, as they came
close to the witch's hut. "Well, that's the loft, an' it's full o' all
sorts o' plants an' roots."

"What for?"

"Oh, for medicine. She's great on hairbs."

"Oh, yes, I remember now Biddy did say that her Granny was a herb
doctor."

"Doctor? She ain't much of a doctor, but I bet she knows every plant
that grows in the woods, an' they're sure strong after they've been up
there for a year, with the cat sleepin' on them."

"I wish I could go and see her."

"Guess we can," was the reply.

"Doesn't she know you?"

"Yes, but watch me fix her," drawled Sam. "There ain't nothin' she
likes better'n a sick pusson."

Sam stopped now, rolled up his sleeves and examined both arms,
apparently without success, for he then loosed his suspenders, dropped
his pants, and proceeded to examine his legs. Of course, all boys
have more or less cuts and bruises in various stages of healing. Sam
selected his best, just below the knee, a scratch from a nail in the
fence. He had never given it a thought before, but now he "reckoned
it would do." With a lead pencil borrowed from Yan he spread a hue
of mortification all around it, a green butternut rind added the
unpleasant yellowish-brown of human decomposition, and the result
was a frightful looking plague spot. By chewing some grass he made a
yellowish-green dye and expectorated this on the handkerchief which he
bound on the sore. He then got a stick and proceeded to limp painfully
toward the witch's abode. As they drew near, the partly open door was
slammed with ominous force. Sam, quite unabashed, looked at Yan and
winked, then knocked. The bark of a small dog answered. He knocked
again. A sound now of some one moving within, but no answer. A third
time he knocked, then a shrill voice: "Get out o' that. Get aff my
place, you dirthy young riff-raff."

Sam grinned at Yan. Then drawling a little more than usual, he said:

"It's a poor boy, Granny. The doctors can't do nothin' for him," which
last, at least, was quite true.

There was no reply, so Sam made bold to open the door. There sat the
old woman glowering with angry red eyes across the stove, a cat in her
lap, a pipe in her mouth, and a dog growling toward the strangers.

"Ain't you Sam Raften?" she asked fiercely.

"Yes, marm. I get hurt on a nail in the fence. They say you kin git
blood-p'isinin' that way," said Sam, groaning a little and trying to
look interesting. The order to "get out" died on the witch's lips. Her
good old Irish heart warmed to the sufferer. After all, it was rather
pleasant to have the enemy thus humbly seek her aid, so she muttered:

"Le's see it."

Sam was trying amid many groans to expose the disgusting mess he had
made around his knee, when a step was heard outside. The door opened
and in walked Biddy.

She and Yan recognized each other at once. The one had grown much
longer, the other much broader since the last meeting, but the
greeting was that of two warm-hearted people glad to see each other
once more.

"An' how's yer father an' yer mother an' how is all the fambily? Law,
do ye mind the Cherry Lung-balm we uster make? My, but we wuz greenies
then! Ye mind, I uster tell ye about Granny? Well, here she is.
Granny, this is Yan. Me an' him hed lots o' fun together when I
'resided' with his mamma, didn't we, Yan? Now, Granny's the one to
tell ye all about the plants."

A long groan from Sam now called all attention his way.

"Well, if it ain't Sam Raften," said Biddy coldly.

"Yes, an' he's deathly sick," added Granny. "Their own docther guv him
up an said mortal man couldn't save him nohow, so he jest hed to come
to me."

Another long groan was ample indorsement.

"Le's see. Gimme my scissors, Biddy; I'll hev to cut the pant leg
aff."

"No, no," Sam blurted out with sudden vigour, dreading the
consequences at home. "I kin roll it up."

"Thayer, thot'll do. Now I say," said the witch. "Yes, sure enough,
thayer _is_ proud flesh. I moight cut it out," said she, fumbling
in her pocket (Sam supposed for a knife, and made ready to dash for
the door), "but le's see, no--that would be a fool docther trick. I
kin git on without."

"Yes, sure," said Sam, clutching at the idea, "that's just what a fool
doctor would do, but you kin give me something to take that's far
better."

"Well, sure an' I kin," and Yan and Sam breathed more freely.
"Shwaller this, now," and she offered him a tin cup of water into
which she spilled some powder of dry leaves. Sam did so. "An' you
take this yer bundle and bile it in two gallons of wather and drink a
glassful ivery hour, an' hev a loive chicken sphlit with an axe an'
laid hot on the place twicet ivery day, till the proud flesh goes, an'
it'll be all right wid ye--a fresh chicken ivery toime, moind ye."

"Wouldn't--turkeys--do--better?" groaned Sam, feebly. "I'm me mother's
pet, Granny, an' expense ain't any objek"--a snort that may have meant
mortal agony escaped him.

"Niver moind, now. Sure we won't talk of yer father an' mother;
they're punished pretty bad already. Hiven forbid they don't lose
the rest o' ye fur their sins. It ain't meself that 'ud bear ony
ill-will."

A long groan cut short what looked like a young sermon.

"What's the plant, Granny?" asked Yan, carefully avoiding Sam's gaze.

"Shure, an' it grows in the woods."

"Yes, but I want to know what it's like and what it's called."

"Shure, 'tain't like nothin' else. It's just like itself, an' it's
called Witch-hazel.

  "'Witch-hazel blossoms in the faal,
  To cure the chills and Fayvers aall,'

"as cracked Jimmy says."

"I'll show you some av it sometime," said Biddy.

"Can it be made into Lung-balm?" asked Yan, mischievously.

"I guess we'll have to go now," Sam feebly put in. "I'm feeling much
better. Where's my stick? Here, Yan, you kin carry my medicine, an'
be _very_ keerful of it."

Yan took the bundle, not daring to look Sam in the face.

Granny bade them both come back again, and followed to the door with a
hearty farewell. At the same moment she said:

"Howld on!" Then she went to the one bed in the room, which also was
the house, turned down the clothes, and in the middle exposed a lot of
rosy apples. She picked out two of the best and gave one to each of
the boys.

"Shure, Oi hev to hoide them thayer fram the pig, for they're the
foinest iver grew."

"I know they are," whispered Sam, as he limped out of hearing, "for
her son Larry stole them out of our orchard last fall. They're the
only kind that keeps over. They're the best that grow, but a trifle
too warm just now."

"Good-by, and thank you much," said Yan.

"I-feel-better-already," drawled Sam. "That tired feeling has left me,
an' sense tryin' your remedy I have took no other," but added aside,
"I wish I could throw up the stuff before it pisens me," and then,
with a keen eye to the picturesque effect, he wanted to fling his
stick away and bound into the woods.

It was all Yan could do to make him observe some of the decencies
and limp a little till out of sight. As it was, the change was quite
marked and the genial old witch called loudly on Biddy to see with
her own eyes how quickly she had helped young Raften "afther all the
dochters in the country hed giv him up."

"Now for Caleb Clark, Esq., Q.C.," said Sam.

"Q.C.?" inquired his friend.

"Some consider it means Queen's Counsel, an' some claims as it stands
for Queer Cuss. One or other maybe is right."

"You're stepping wonderfully for a crippled boy the doctors have given
up," remarked Yan.

"Yes; that's the proud flesh in me right leg that's doin' the high
steppin'. The left one is jest plain laig."

"Let's hide this somewhere till we get back," and Yan held up the
bundle of Witch-hazel.

"I'll hide that," said Sam, and he hurled the bundle afar into the
creek.

"Oh, Sam, that's mean. Maybe she wants it herself."

"Pooh, that's all the old brush is good for. I done more'n me duty
when I drank that swill. I could fairly taste the cat in it."

"What'll you tell her next time?"

"Well, I'll tell her I put the sticks in the right place an' where
they done the most good. I soaked 'em in water an' took as much as I
wanted of the flooid.

"She'll see for herself I really did pull through, and will be a
blamed sight happier than if I drank her old pisen brushwood an' had
to send for a really truly doctor."

Yan was silenced, but not satisfied. It seemed discourteous to throw
the sticks away--so soon, anyway; besides, he had curiosity to know
just what they were and how they acted.




V

Caleb


A mile farther was the shanty of Caleb Clark, a mere squatter now on a
farm once his own. As the boys drew near, a tall, round-shouldered man
with a long white beard was seen carrying in an armful of wood.

"Ye see the Billy Goat?" said Sam.

Yan sniffed as he gasped the "why" of the nickname.

"I guess you better do the talking; Caleb ain't so easy handled as the
witch, and he's just as sour on Da."

So Yan went forward rather cautiously and knocked at the open door of
the shanty. A deep-voiced Dog broke into a loud bay, the long beard
appeared, and its owner said, "Wall?"

"Are you Mr. Clark?"

"Yep." Then, "Lie down, Turk," to a black-and-tan Hound that came
growling out.

"I came--I--we wanted to ask some questions--if you don't mind."

"What might yer name be?"

"Yan."

"An' who is this?"

"He's my chum, Sam."

"I'm Sam Horn," said Sam, with some truth, for he was Samuel
Horn Raften, but with sufficient deception to make Yan feel very
uncomfortable.

"And where are ye from?"

"Bonnerton," said Yan.

"To-day?" was the rejoinder, with a tone of doubt.

"Well, no," Yan began; but Sam, who had tried to keep out of notice
for fear of recognition, saw that his ingenuous companion was being
quickly pumped and placed, and now interposed: "You see, Mr. Clark, we
are camped in the woods and we want to make a teepee to live in. We
have the stuff an' was told that you knew all about the making."

"Who told ye?"

"The old witch at the bend of the creek."

"Where are ye livin' now?"

"Well," said Sam, hastening again to forestall Yan, whose simple
directness he feared, "to tell the truth, we made a wigwam of bark in
the woods below here, but it wasn't a success."

"Whose woods?"

"Oh, about a mile below on the creek."

"Hm! That must be Raften's or Burns's woods."

"I guess it is," said Sam.

"_An' you look uncommon like Sam Raften_. You consarned young
whelp, to come here lyin' an' tryin' to pull the wool over my eyes.
Get out o' this now, or I'll boot ye."

[Illustration: "Get out o' this now, or I'll boot ye."]

Yan turned very red. He thought of the scripture text, "Be sure your
sin will find you out," and he stepped back. Sam stuck his tongue in
his cheek and followed. But he was his father's son. He turned and
said:

"Now see here, Mr. Clark, fair and square; we come here to ask a
simple question about the woods. You are the only man that knows or we
wouldn't 'a' bothered you. I knowed you had it in for Da, so I tried
to fool you, and it didn't go. I wish now I had just come out square
and said, 'I'm Sam Raften; will you tell me somethin' I want to know,
or won't you?' I didn't know you hed anything agin me or me friend
that's camping with me."

There is a strong bond of sympathy between all Woodcrafters. The mere
fact that a man wants to go his way is a claim on a Woodcrafter's
notice. Old Caleb, though soured by trouble and hot-tempered, had a
kind heart; he resisted for a moment the first impulse to slam the
door in their faces; then as he listened he fell into the tempter's
snare, for it was baited with the subtlest of flatteries. He said to
Yan:

"Is your name Raften?"

"No, sir."

"Air ye owt o' kin?"

"No, sir."

"I don't want no truck with a Raften, but what do ye want to know?"

"We built a wigwam of bark, but it's no good, but now we have a big
canvas cover an' want to know how to make a teepee."

"A teepee. H-m--" said the old man reflectively.

"They say you've lived in them," ventured Yan.

"Hm--'bout forty year; but it's one thing to wear a suit of clothes
and another thing to make one. Seems to me it was about like this,"
and he took up a burnt stick and a piece of grocer's paper. "No--now
hold on. Yes, I remember now; I seen a bunch of squaws make one oncet.

"First they sewed the skins together. No, first thar was a lot o'
prayin'; ye kin suit yerselves 'bout that--then they sewed the skins
together an" pegged it down flat on the prairie (B D H I, Cut No. 1).
Then put in a peg at the middle of one side (A). Then with a burnt
stick an' a coord--yes, there must 'a' been a coord--they drawed a
half circle--so (B C D). Then they cut that off, an' out o' the pieces
they make two flaps like that (H L M J and K N O I), an' sews 'em on
to P E and G Q. Them's smoke-flaps to make the smoke draw. Thar's a
upside down pocket in the top side corner o' each smoke-flap--so--for
the top of each pole, and there is rows o' holes down--so (M B and N
D, Cut No. 2)--on each side fur the lacin' pins. Then at the top of
that pint (A, Cut 1) ye fasten a short lash-rope.

[Illustration: CUT I.--PATTERN FOR A SIMPLE 10-FOOT TEEPEE]

[Illustration: CUT II.--THE COMPLETE TEEPEE COVER--UNORNAMENTED]

"Le's see, now. I reckon thar's about ten poles for a ten-foot lodge,
with two more for the smoke-flaps. Now, when ye set her up ye tie
three poles together--so--an' set 'em up first, then lean the other
poles around, except one, an' lash them by carrying the rope around a
few times. Now tie the top o' the cover to the top o' the last pole by
the short lash-rope, hist the pole into place--that hists the cover,
too, ye see--an' ye swing it round with the smoke-poles an' fasten the
two edges together with the wooden pins. The two long poles put in the
smoke-flap pockets works the vent to suit the wind."

[Illustration: 1st set up tripod]

In his conversation Caleb had ignored Sam and talked to Yan, but
the son of his father was not so easily abashed. He foresaw several
practical difficulties and did not hesitate to ask for light.

"What keeps it from blowin' down?" he asked.

"Wall," said Caleb, still addressing Yan, "the long rope that binds
the poles is carried down under, and fastened tight to a stake that
serves for anchor, 'sides the edge of the cover is pegged to the
ground all around."

"How do you make the smoke draw?" was his next.

[Illustration: 2nd set up and bind other six poles]

"Ye swing the flaps by changing the poles till they is quartering down
the wind. That draws best."

"How do you close the door?"

"Wall, some jest lets the edges sag together, but the best teepees has
a door made of the same stuff as the cover put tight on a saplin'
frame an' swung from a lacin' pin."

[Illustration: 3rd set up tenth pole with teepee cover fastened to it
by lash rope]

[Illustration: SIOUX TEEPEE]

This seemed to cover the ground, so carefully folding the dirty paper
with the plan, Yan put it in his pocket, said "Thank you" and went
off. To the "Good-day" of the boys Caleb made no reply, but turned as
they left and asked, "Whar ye camped?"

"On the knoll by the creek in Raften's swamp."

"H-m, maybe I'll come an' see ye."

"All right," Sam called out; "follow the blazed trail from the brush
fence."

"Why, Sam," said Yan, as soon as they were out of hearing, "there
isn't any blazed trail; why did you say that?"

"Oh, I thought it sounded well," was the calm answer, "an' it's easy
to have the blazes there as soon as we want to, an' a blame sight
sooner than he's likely to use them."




VI

The Making of the Teepee


Raften sniffed in amusement when he heard that the boys had really
gone to Caleb and got what they wanted. Nothing pleased him more than
to find his son a successful schemer.

"Old Caleb wasn't so dead sure about the teepee, as near as I sized
him up," observed Sam.

"I guess we've got enough to go ahead on," said Yan, "an' tain't a
hanging matter if we do make a mistake."

The cover was spread out again flat and smooth on the barn floor, and
stones and a few nails put in the sides to hold it.

The first thing that struck them was that it was a rough and tattered
old rag.

And Sam remarked: "I see now why Da said we could have it. I reckon
we'll have to patch it before we cut out the teepee."

"No," said Yan, assuming control, as he was apt to do in matters
pertaining to the woods; "we better draw our plans first so as not to
patch any part that's going to be cut off afterward."

"Great head! But I'm afraid them patches won't be awful ornamental."

"They're all right," was the reply. "Indians' teepees are often
patched where bullets and arrows have gone through."

"Well, I'm glad I wa'n't living inside during them hostilities," and
Sam exposed a dozen or more holes.

"Oh, get off there and give me that cord."

"Look out," said Sam; "that's my festered knee. It's near as bad
to-day as it was when we called on the witch."

Yan was measuring. "Let's see. We can cut off all those rags and still
make a twelve-foot teepee. Twelve foot high--that will be twenty-four
feet across the bottom of the stuff. Fine! That's just the thing. Now
I'll mark her off."

"Hold on, there," protested his friend; "you can't do that with chalk.
Caleb said the Injuns used a burnt stick. You hain't got no right to
use chalk. 'You might as well hire a carpenter.'"

"Oh, you go on. You hunt for a burnt stick, and if you don't find one
bring me the shears instead."

Thus, with many consultations of Caleb's draft, the cutting-out
was done--really a very simple matter. Then the patching was to be
considered.

Pack-thread, needles and _very l-o-n-g_ stitches were used, but
the work went slowly on. All the spare time of one day was given to
patching. Sam, of course, kept up a patter of characteristic remarks
to the piece he was sewing. Yan sewed in serious silence. At first
Sam's were put on better, but Yan learned fast and at length did by
far the better sewing.

[Illustration: Decoration of Black Bull's Teepee: (Two Examples of
Doors)]

[Illustration: THUNDER BULL'S TEEPEE]


  Notes on Making Teepee:

  The slimmer the poles are at the top where they cross the smaller
  the opening in the canvas and the less danger of rain coming in.

  In regions where there is much rain it is well to cut the projecting
  poles very short and put over them a "storm cap," "bull boat" or
  "shield" made of canvas on a rod bent in a three-foot circle. This
  device was used by the Mandans over the smoke-hole of their lodges
  during the heavy rains.

That night the boys were showing their handiwork to the hired hands.
Si Lee, a middle-aged man with a vast waistband, after looking on
with ill-concealed but good-natured scorn, said:

"Why didn't ye put the patches inside?"

"Didn't think of it," was Yan's answer.

"Coz we're goin' to live inside, an' need the room," said Sam.

"Why did ye make ten stitches in going round that hole; ye could just
as easy have done it in four," and Si sniffed as he pointed to great,
ungainly stitches an inch long. "I call that waste labour."

"Now see here," blurted Sam, "if you don't like our work let's see you
do it better. There's lots to do yet."

"Where?"

"Oh, ask Yan. He's bossin' the job. Old Caleb wouldn't let me in. It
just broke my heart. I sobbed all the way home, didn't I, Yan?

"There's the smoke-flaps to stitch on and hem, and the pocket at
the top of the flaps--and--I--suppose," Yan added, as a feeler,
"it--would--be--better--if--hemmed--all--around."

"Now, I tell ye what I'll do. If you boys'll go to the 'Corner'
to-night and get my boots that the cobbler's fixing, I'll sew on the
smoke-flaps."

"I'll take that offer," said Yan; "and say, Si, it doesn't really
matter which is the outside. You can turn the cover so the patches
will be in."

The boys got the money to pay for the boots, and after supper they set
out on foot for the "Corner," two miles away.

"He's a queer duck," and Sam jerked his thumb back to show that he
meant Si Lee; "sounds like a Chinese laundry. I guess that's the only
thing he isn't. He can do any mortal thing but get on in life. He's
been a soldier an' a undertaker an' a cook He plays a fiddle he made
himself; it's a rotten bad one, but it's away ahead of his playing. He
stuffs birds--that Owl in the parlour is his doin'; he tempers razors,
kin doctor a horse or fix up a watch, an' he does it in about the same
way, too; bleeds a horse no matter what ails it, an' takes another
wheel out o' the watch every times he cleans it. He took Larry de
Neuville's old clock apart to clean once--said he knew all about
it--an' when he put it together again he had wheels enough left over
for a new clock.

"He's too smart an' not smart enough. There ain't anything on earth
he can't do a little, an' there ain't a blessed thing that he can do
right up first-class, but thank goodness sewing canvas is his long
suit. You see he was a sailor for three years--longest time he ever
kept a job, fur which he really ain't to blame, since it was a whaler
on a three-years' cruise."




VII

The Calm Evening


It was a calm June evening, the time of the second daily outburst of
bird song, the day's aftermath. The singers seemed to be in unusual
numbers as well. Nearly every good perch had some little bird that
seemed near bursting with joy and yet trying to avert that dire
catastrophe.

As the boys went down the road by the outer fence of their own orchard
a Hawk came sailing over, silencing as he came the singing within a
given radius. Many of the singers hid, but a Meadow Lark that had been
whistling on a stake in the open was now vainly seeking shelter in the
broad field. The Hawk was speeding his way. The Lark dodged and put on
all power to reach the orchard, but the Hawk was after him now--was
gaining--in another moment would, have clutched the terrified
musician, but out of the Apple trees there dashed a small
black-and-white bird--the Kingbird. With a loud harsh twitter--his
war-cry--repeated again and again, with his little gray head-feathers
raised to show the blood-and-flame-coloured undercrest--his war
colours--he darted straight at the great robber.

"Clicker-a-clicker," he fairly screamed, and made for the huge Hawk,
ten times his size.

"Clicker-a-clicker!" he shrieked, like a cateran shouting the
"slogan," and down like a black-and-white dart--to strike the Hawk
fairly between the shoulders just as the Meadow Lark dropped in
despair to the bare ground and hid its head from the approaching
stroke of death.

"Clicker-a-clicker"--and the Hawk wheeled in sudden consternation.
"Clicker-a-clicker"--and the dauntless little warrior dropped between
his wings, stabbing and tearing.

The Hawk bucked like a mustang, the Kingbird was thrown, but sprung on
agile pinions above again.

"Clicker-a-clicker," and he struck as before. Large brown feathers
were floating away on the breeze now. The Meadow Lark was forgotten.
The Hawk thought only of escape.

"Clicker-a-clicker," the slogan still was heard. The Hawk was putting
on all speed to get away, but the Kingbird was riding him most of the
time. Several brown feathers floated down, the Hawk dwindled in the
distance to a Sparrow and the Kingbird to a fly dancing on his back.
The Hawk made a final plunge into a thicket, and the king came home
again, uttering the shrill war-cry once or twice, probably to let the
queen know that he was coming back, for she flew to a high branch of
the Apple tree where she could greet the returning hero. He came with
an occasional "clicker-a-clicker"--then, when near her, he sprung
fifty feet in the air and dashed down, screaming his slogan without
interruption, darting zigzag with the most surprising evolutions and
turns--this way, that way, sideways and downward, dealing the
deadliest blows right and left at an imaginary foe, then soared, and
did it all over again two or three times, just to show how far he was
from being tired, and how much better he could have done it had it
been necessary. Then with a final swoop and a volley of "clickers" he
dashed into the bush to receive the congratulations of the one for
whom it all was meant and the only spectator for whose opinion he
cared in the least.

[Illustration: "Clicker-a-clicker!' he shrieked ... and down like a
dart."]

"Now, ain't that great," said Sam, with evident sincerity and
pleasure. His voice startled Yan and brought him back. He had been
wholly lost in silent admiring wonder of the dauntless little
Kingbird.

A Vesper Sparrow ran along the road before them, flitting a few
feet ahead each time they overtook it and showing the white outer
tail-feathers as it flew.

"A little Graybird," remarked Sam.

"No, that isn't a Graybird; that's a Vesper Sparrow," exclaimed Yan,
in surprise, for he knew he was right.

"Well, _I_ dunno," said Sam, yielding the point.

"I thought you said you knew every bird that flies and all about it"
replied his companion, for the memory of this first day was strong
with him yet.

Sam snorted: "I didn't know you then. I was just loadin' you up so
you'd think I was a wonderful feller, an' you did, too--for awhile."

A Red-headed Woodpecker, carrying a yellow butterfly, flew on a fence
stake ahead of them and peeped around as they drew near. The setting
sun on his bright plumage, the lilac stake and the yellow butterfly,
completed a most gorgeous bit of colour and gave Yan a thrill of joy.
A Meadow Lark on a farther stake, a Bluebird on another, and a Vesper
Bird on a stone, each added his appeal to eye and ear, till Sam
exclaimed:

"Oh, ain't that awful nice?" and Yan was dumb with a sort of saddened
joy.

Birds hate the wind, and this was one of those birdy days that come
only with a dead calm.

They passed a barn with two hundred pairs of Swallows flying and
twittering around, a cut bank of the road had a colony of 1,000 Sand
Martins, a stream had its rattling Kingfishers, and a marsh was the
playground of a multitude of Red-winged Blackbirds.

Yan was lifted up with the joy of the naturalist at seeing so many
beautiful living things. Sam felt it, too; he grew very silent, and
the last half-mile to the "Corner" was passed without a word. The
boots were got. Sam swung them around his neck and the boys set out
for home. The sun was gone, but not the birds, and the spell of the
evening was on them still. A Song Sparrow by the brook and a Robin
high in the Elm were yet pouring out their liquid notes in the
gloaming.

"I wish I could be always here," said Yan, but he started a little
when he remembered how unwilling he had been to come.

There was a long silence as they lingered on the darkening road. Each
was thinking hard.

A loud, startling but soft "Ohoo--O-hoo--O-hoooooo," like the coo of a
giant dove, now sounded about their heads in a tree. They stopped and
Sam whispered, "Owl; big Hoot Owl." Yan's heart leaped with pleasure.
He had read all his life of Owls, and even had seen them alive in
cages, but this was the first time he had ever heard the famous
hooting of the real live wild Owl, and it was a delicious experience.

The night was quite dark now, but there were plenty of sounds that
told of life. A Whippoorwill was chanting in the woods, a hundred
Toads and Frogs creaked and trilled, a strange rolling, laughing cry
on a marshy pond puzzled them both, then a Song Sparrow in the black
night of a dense thicket poured forth its sweet little sunshine song
with all the vigour and joy of its best daytime doing.

They listened attentively for a repetition of the serenade, when a
high-pitched but not loud "_Wa--wa--wa--wa--wa--wa--wa--wa_!"
reached their ears from a grove of heavy timbers.

"Hear that?" exclaimed Sam.

Again it came, a quavering squall, apparently much nearer. It was a
rather shrill sound, quite unbirdy, and Sam whispered:

"Coon--that's the whicker of a Coon. We can come down here some time
when corn's 'in roastin'' an' have a Coon hunt."

"Oh, Sam, wouldn't that be glorious!" said Yan. "How I wish it was
now. I never saw a Coon hunt or any kind of a hunt. Do we have to wait
till 'roasting-ear' time?"

"Oh, yes; it's easier to find them then. You say to your Coons, 'Me
an' me dogs will meet you to-night at the nearest roastin'-ear patch,'
an' sure nuff _they'll_ keep the appointment."

"But they're around now, for we just heard one, _and there's
another_."

A long faint "_Lil--lil--lil--lil--lil--li-looo!_" now sounded
from the trees. It was like the other, but much softer and sweeter.

"There's where you fool yerself," replied Sam, "an' there's where many
a hunter is fooled. That last one's the call of a Screech Owl. You see
it's softer and whistlier than the Coon whicker."

They heard it again and again from the trees. It was a sweet musical
sound, and Yan remembered how squally the Coon call was in comparison,
and yet many hunters never learn the difference.

As they came near the tree whence the Owl called at intervals, a gray
blot went over their heads, shutting out a handful of stars for a
moment as it passed over them, but making no noise. "There he goes,"
whispered Sam. "That's the Screech Owl. Not much of a screech, was
it?" Not long afterward Yan came across a line of Lowell's which says,
"The song of the Screech Owl is the sweetest sound in nature," and
appreciated the absurdity of the name.

"I want to go on a Coon hunt," continued Yan, and the sentence was
just tinged with the deep-laid doggedness that was usually lost in his
courteous manner.

"That settles it," answered the other, for he was learning what that
tone meant. "We'll surely go when you talk that way, for, of coorse,
it _kin_ be done. You see, I know more about animals than birds,"
he continued. "I'm just as likely to be a dentist as a hunter so far
as serious business is concerned, but I'd sure love to be a hunter for
awhile, an' I made Da promise to go with me some time. Maybe we kin
get a Deer by going back ten miles to the Long Swamp. I only wish Da
and Old Caleb hadn't fought, 'cause Caleb sure knows the woods, an'
that old Hound of his has treed more Coons than ye could shake a stick
at in a month o' Sundays."

"Well, if that's the only Coon dog around, I'm going to get him.
You'll see," was the reply.

"I believe you will," answered Sam, in a tone of mixed admiration and
amusement.

It was ten o'clock when they got home, and every one was in bed but
Mr. Raften. The boys turned in at once, but next morning, on going
to the barn, they found that Si had not only sewed on and hemmed the
smoke-flaps, but had resewn the worst of the patches and hemmed the
whole bottom of the teepee cover with a small rope in the hem, so that
they were ready now for the pins and poles.

The cover was taken at once to the camp ground. Yan carried the axe.
When they came to the brush fence over the creek at the edge of the
swamp, he said:

"Sam, I want to blaze that trail for old Caleb. How do you do it?"

"Spot the trees with the axe every few yards."

"This way?" and Yan cut a tree in three places, so as to show three
white spots or blazes.

"No; that's a trapper's blaze for a trap or a 'special blaze', but
a 'road blaze' is one on the front of the tree and one on the
back--so--then ye can run the trail both ways, an' you put them
thicker if it's to be followed at night."




VIII

The Sacred Fire


"Ten strong poles and two long thin ones," said Yan, reading off. These
were soon cut and brought to the camp ground.

"Tie them together the same height as the teepee cover----"

"Tie them? With what?"

"'Rawhide rope,' he said, but he also said 'Make the cover of skins.'
I'm afraid we shall have to use common rope for the present," and Yan
looked a little ashamed of the admission.

"I reckoned so," drawled Sam, "and so I put a coil of quarter-inch in
the cover, but I didn't dare to tell you that up at the barn."

The tripod was firmly lashed with the rope and set up. Nine poles were
duly leaned around in a twelve-foot circle, for a teepee twelve feet
high usually has a twelve-foot base. A final lashing of the ropes held
these, and the last pole was then put up opposite to the door, with
the teepee cover tied to it at the point between the flaps. The ends
of the two smoke-poles carried the cover round. Then the lacing-pins
were needed. Yan tried to make them of Hickory shoots, but the large,
soft pith came just where the point was needed. So Sam said, "You
can't beat White Oak for pins." He cut a block of White Oak, split it
down the middle, then split half of it in the middle again, and so on
till it was small enough to trim and finish with his knife. Meanwhile
Yan took the axe to split another, but found that it ran off to one
side instead of going straight down the grain.

"No good," was Sam's comment. "You must keep _halving_ each time
or it will run out toward the thin pieces. You want to split shingles
all winter to larn that."

Ten pins were made eight inches long and a quarter of an inch thick.
They were used just like dressmakers' stickpins, only the holes had to
be made first, and, of course, they looked better for being regular.
Thus the cover was laced on. The lack of ground-pegs was then seen.

"You make ten Oak pins a foot long and an inch square, Sam. I've a
notion how to fix them." Then Yan cut ten pieces of the rope, each two
feet long, and made a hole about every three feet around the base of
the cover above the rope in the outer seam. He passed one end of each
short rope through this and knotted it to the other end. Thus he had
ten peg-loops, and the teepee was fastened down and looked like a
glorious success.

Now came the grand ceremony of all, the lighting of the first fire.
The boys felt it to be a supreme and almost a religious moment. It is
curious to note that they felt very much as savages do under the same
circumstances--that the setting up of the new teepee and lighting its
first fire is an act of deep significance, and to be done only with
proper regard for its future good luck.

"Better go slow and sure about that fire. It'd be awfully unlucky to
have it fizzle for the first time."

"That's so," replied Yan, with the same sort of superstitious dread.
"Say, Sam, if we could really light it with rubbing-sticks, wouldn't
it be great?"

"Hallo!"

The boys turned, and there was Caleb close to them. He came over and
nodded. "Got yer teepee, I see? Not bad, but what did ye face her to
the west fur?"

"Fronting the creek," explained Yan.

"I forgot to tell ye," said Caleb, "an Injun teepee always fronts the
east; first, that gives the morning sun inside; next, the most wind is
from the west, so the smoke is bound to draw."

"And what if the wind is right due east?" asked Sam, "which it surely
will be when it rains?"

"And when the wind's east," continued Caleb, addressing no one in
particular, and not as though in answer to a question, "ye lap the
flaps across each other tight in front, so," and he crossed his hands
over his chest. "That leaves the east side high and shuts out the
rain; if it don't draw then, ye raise the bottom of the cover under
the door just a little--that always fetches her. An' when you change
her round don't put her in under them trees. Trees is dangerous; in a
storm they draw lightning, an' branches fall from them, an' after rain
they keep on dripping for an hour. Ye need all the sun ye kin get on a
teepee.

"Did you ever see Indians bring fire out of two sticks by rubbing, Mr.
Clark?"

"Oh, yes. Most of the Injuns now carry matches, but in the early days
I seen it done often enough."

"Does it take long? Is it hard?"

"Not so long, and it's easy enough, when ye know how."

"My! I'd rather bring fire out of two sticks than have a ten dollar
bill," said Yan, with enthusiasm that meant much, for one dollar was
his high-water mark of affluence, and this he had reached but once in
his life.

"Oh, I dunno'; that depends," was Sam's more guarded response.

"Can _you_ do it?" asked Yan.

"Wall, yes, if I kin get the right stuff. Ye see, it ain't every wood
that will do it. It's got to be jest right. The Plains Injuns use
Cottonwood root, an' the Mountain Injuns use Sage-brush root. I've
seen the Canadian Injuns use Basswood, Cedar and dry White Pine,
but the Chippewas mostly use Balsam Fir. The easiest way is with a
bow-drill. Have ye any buckskin?"

"No."

"Or a strip o' soft leather?"

"I've got a leather shoe-lace," said Yan.

"Rather slim; but we'll double it an' make it do. A cord will answer,
but it frays out so soon." Caleb took the lace and the axe, then said,
"Find me a stone 'bout the size of an egg, with a little hole into
it--like a socket hole--'bout a quarter inch deep."

The boys went to the creek to seek a stone and Caleb went into the
woods.

They heard him chopping, and presently he came back with a flat piece
of very dry Balsam Fir, a fifteen-inch pin of the same, a stick about
three feet long, slightly bent, some dry Pine punk and some dry Cedar.

The pin was three-quarters of an inch thick and was roughly
eight-sided, "so the lace would grip." It was pointed at both ends. He
fastened the lace to the bent stick like a bow-string, but loosely, so
that when it had one turn around the pin it was quite tight. The flat
piece of Balsam he trimmed down to about half an inch thick. In the
edge of this he now cut a notch one-quarter inch wide and half an inch
deep, then on the top of this fire-board or block, just beyond the
notch, he made with the point of his knife a little pit.

He next scraped and shredded a lot of dry Cedar wood like lint. Then
making a hole half an inch deep in the ground, he laid in that a flat
piece of Pine punk, and across this he set the fire-board. The point
of the pin or drill was put in the pit of the fire-board, which he
held down with one foot; the lace was given one turn on the pin, and
its top went into the hole of the stone the boys brought. The stone
was held firmly in Caleb's left hand.

"Sometimes," he remarked, "when ye can't find a stone, a Pine knot
will do--ye kin make the socket-hole with a knife-point."

Now holding the bow in his right hand, he began to draw it back and
forth with long, steady strokes, causing the pin to whirl round in the
socket. Within a few seconds a brown powder began to run out of the
notch of the fire-board onto the punk. The pit increased in size and
blackened, the powder darkened, and a slight smoke arose from the pit.
Caleb increased the pressure of his left hand a little, and sawed
faster with the right. The smoke steadily increased and the black
powder began to fill the notch. The smoke was rolling in little clouds
from under the pin, and it even seemed to come from the heap of
powder. As soon as he saw that, Caleb dropped the bow and gently
fanned the powder heap. It still smoked. He removed the fire-board,
and lifting the punk, showed the interior of the powder to be one
glowing coal. On this he laid the Cedar tinder and over that a second
piece of punk. Then raising it, he waved it in the air and blew gently
for awhile. It smouldered and then burst into a flame. The other
material was handy, and in a very short time they had a blazing fire
in the middle of the new teepee.

[Illustration: THE RUBBING-STICKS FOR FIRE-MAKING]

All three were pictures of childish delight. The old man's face fairly
beamed with triumph. Had he failed in his experiment he would have
gone off hating those boys, but having made a brilliant success he was
ready to love every one concerned, though they had been nothing more
than interested spectators of his exploit.

[Illustration: RUBBING-STICKS--FOR FIRE-MAKING (See Description Below)]

Two tools and two sticks are needed. The tools are bow and
drill-socket; the sticks are drill and fire-board.

1. The simplest kind of bow--a bent stick with a stout leather thong
fastened at each end. The stick must not spring. It is about 27 inches
long and 5/8 inch thick.

2. A more elaborate bow with a hole at each end for the thong. At the
handle end it goes through a disc of wood. This is to tighten the
thong by pressure of the hand against the disc while using.

3. Simplest kind of drill-socket--a pine or hemlock knot with a
shallow hole or pit in it. _3a_ is under view of same. It is
about 4-1/2 inches long.

4. A more elaborate drill-socket--a pebble cemented with gum in a
wooden holder. _4a_ is under view of same.

5. A very elaborate drill-socket; it is made of tulip wood, carved to
represent the Thunderbird. It has eyes of green felspar cemented in
with resin. On the under side (_5a_) is seen, in the middle, a
soapstone socket let into the wood and fastened with pine gum, and
on the head a hole kept filled with grease, to grease the top of the
drill before use.

6. The drill, 12 to 18 inches long and about 3/4 of an inch thick; it
is roughly 8-sided so the thong will not slip, pointed at each end.
The best wood for the drill is old, dry, brash, but not punky balsam
fir or cotton-wood roots; but basswood, white cedar, red cedar,
tamarack, and sometimes even white pine, will do.

7. Fire-board or block, about 3/4 of an inch thick and any length
handy; _a_ is notch with pit just below shows the pit after once
using and in good trim for a second time; _c_ shows the pit bored
through and useless; the notch is 1/2 inch wide and 3/4 inch deep.

8. Shows the way of using the sticks. The block (_a_) is held
down with one foot, the end of the drill in the pit, the drill-socket
(_c_) is held on top in left hand, one end of the bow (_d_)
is held in the right hand the bow is drawn back and forth.

9. Is a little wooden fire-pan, not essential but convenient; its thin
edge is put under the notch to catch the powder that falls.




IX

The Bows and Arrows


"I don't think much of your artillery," said Yan one day as they were
shooting in the orchard with Sam's "Western outfit." "It's about like
the first one I made when I was young."

"Well, grandpa, let's see your up-to-date make?"

"It'd be about five times as strong, for one thing."

"You couldn't pull it."

"Not the way you hold the arrow! But last winter I got a book about
archery from the library and learned something worth while. You pinch
the arrow that way and you can draw six or eight pounds, maybe, but
you hook your fingers in the string--so--and you can draw five times
as much, and that's the right way to shoot."

"Feels mighty clumsy," said Sam, trying it.

"Of course it does at first, and you have to have a deep notch in the
arrow or you can't do it at all."

"You don't seem to manage any better than I do."

"First time I ever had a chance to try since I read about it. But I
want to make a first-class bow and a lot of arrows. It's not much good
going with _one_."

[Illustration: The Archer's Grip]


"Well, go ahead an' make an outfit if you know how. What's the best
wood? Did the book tell you that?"

"The best wood is Spanish Yew."

"Don't know it."

"An' the next is Oregon Yew."

"Nope."

"Then Lancewood and Osage Orange."

'Try again."

"Well, Red Cedar, Apple tree, Hickory and Elm seem to be the only ones
that grow around here."

"Hain't seen any _Red_ Cedar, but the rest is easy."

"It has to be thoroughly seasoned winter-cut wood, and cut so as to
have heart on one side and sap wood on the other."

"How's that?" and Sam pointed to a lot of half-round Hickory sticks
on the rafters of the log house. "Those have been there a couple of
years."

A good one of five feet long was selected and split and hewn with the
axe till the boys had the two bow staves, five and one-half feet long
and two inches square, with the line of the heart and sap wood down
the middle of each.

Guided by his memory of that precious book and some English long bows
that he had seen in a shop in town, Yan superintended the manufacture.
Sam was apt with tools, and in time they finished two bows, five feet
long and drawing possibly twenty-five pounds each. In the middle they
were one and one-half inches wide and an inch thick (see page 183).
This size they kept for nine inches each way, making an eighteen-inch
middle part that did not bend, but their two limbs were shaved down
and scraped with glass till they bent evenly and were well within the
boys' strength.

The string was the next difficulty. All the ordinary string they could
get around the house proved too weak, never lasting more than two
or three shots, till Si Lee, seeing their trouble, sent them to the
cobbler's for a hank of unbleached linen thread and some shoemaker's
wax. Of this thread he reeled enough for a strong cord tight around
two pegs seven feet apart, then cutting it loose at one end he divided
it equally in three parts, and, after slight waxing, he loosely
plaited them together. At Yan's suggestion he then spliced a loop at
one end, and with a fine waxed thread lashed six inches of the middle
where the arrow fitted, as well as the splice of the loop. This last
enabled them to unstring the bow when not in use (see page 183).
"There," said he, "you won't break that." The finishing touch was
thinly coating the bows with some varnish found among the paint
supplies.

"Makes my old bow look purty sick," remarked Sam, as he held up the
really fine new weapon in contrast with the wretched little hoop that
had embodied his early ideas. "Now what do you know about arrers,
mister?" as he tried his old arrow in the new bow.

"I know that that's no good," was the reply; "an' I can tell you that
it's a deal harder to make an arrow than a bow--that is, a good one."

"That's encouraging, considering the trouble we've had already."

"'Tisn't meant to be, but we ought to have a dozen arrows each."

"How do the Injuns make them?"

"Mostly they get straight sticks of the Arrow-wood; but I haven't seen
any Arrow-wood here, and they're not so awfully straight. You see, an
arrow must be straight or it'll fly crooked. 'Straight as an arrow'
means the thing itself. We can do better than the Indians 'cause we
have better tools. We can split them out of the solid wood."

"What wood? Some bloomin' foreign kind that no White-man never saw nor
heard of before?"

"No sir-ree. There ain't anything better 'n White Pine for target and
Ash or Hickory for hunting arrows. Which are we making?"

"I'm a hunter. Give me huntin' arrows every time. What's needed next?"

"Seasoned Ash twenty-five inches long, split to three-eighths of an
inch thick, hot glue, and turkey-wing feathers."

"I'll get the feathers and let you do the rest," said Sam, producing
a bundle of turkey-wings, laid away as stove-dusters, and then belied
his own statement by getting a block of Ash and splitting it up,
halving it each time till he had a pile of two dozen straight sticks
about three-quarters of an inch thick.

Yan took one and began with his knife to whittle it down to proper
size and shape, but Sam said, "I can do better than that," then took
the lot to the workbench and set to work with a smoothing plane. Yan
looked worried and finally said:

"Injuns didn't have planes."

"Nor jack-knives neither," was the retort.

That was true, and yet somehow Yan's ideal that he hankered after
was the pre-Columbian Indian, the one who had no White-man's help or
tools.

"It seems to me it'd be more Injun to make these with just what we get
in the woods. The Injuns didn't have jack-knives, but they had sharp
flints in the old days."

"Yan, you go ahead with a sharp stone. You'll find lots on the road if
you take off your shoes and walk barefoot--awful sharp; an' I'll go
ahead with the smoothing plane an' see who wins."

Yan was not satisfied, but he contented himself with promising that he
would some day make some arrows of Arrow-wood shoots and now he
would finish at least one with his knife. He did so, but Sam, in the
meantime, made six much better ones with the smoothing plane.

"What about heads?" said he.

"I've been thinking," was the reply. "Of course the Indians used stone
heads fastened on with sinew, but we haven't got the stuff to do that.
Bought heads of iron with a ferrule for the end of the arrow are best,
but we can't get them. Bone heads and horn heads will do. I made some
fine ones once filing bones into the shape, but they were awfully
brittle; and I made some more of big nails cut off and set in with a
lashing of fine wire around the end to stop the wood splitting. Some
Indian arrows have no point but the stick sharpened after it's
scorched to harden it."

[Illustration: SIX SAMPLE ARROWS, SHOWING DIFFERENT FEATHERS]

"That sounds easy enough for me," said Sam; "let's make some of them
that way."

So the arrows were made, six each with nail points filed sharp and
lashed with broom wire. These were called "War arrows," and six each
with fire-hardened wood points for hunting arrows.

"Now for the feathering," and Yan showed Sam how to split the midrib
of a turkey feather and separate the vane.

"Le's see, you want twice twenty-four--that's forty-eight feathers."

"No," said Yan, "that's a poor feathering, two on each. We want three
on each arrow--seventy-two strips in all, and mind you, we want all
three that are on one arrow from the same side of the bird."

"I know. I'll bet it's bad luck to mix sides; arrows doesn't know
which way to turn."

At this moment Si Lee came in. "How are ye gettin' on with the bows?"

"Waitin' for arrows now."

"How do ye put on the feathers?"

    DESCRIPTION OF SIX SAMPLE ARROWS SHOWING DIFFERENT FEATHERS

    _A_ is a far-flying steel-pointed bobtail, very good in wind.
    _B_ is another very good arrow, with a horn point. This went
    even better than _A_ if there were no wind. _C_ is an
    Omaha war and deer arrow. Both heads and feathers are lashed on
    with sinew. The long tufts of down left on the feathers are to
    help in finding it again, as they are snow-white and wave in the
    breeze. The grooves on the shaft are to make the victim bleed more
    freely and be more easily tracked. _D_ is another Omaha
    arrow with a peculiar owner's mark of lines carved in the middle,
    _E_ is a bone-headed bird shaft made by the Indians of the
    Mackenzie River. _F_ is a war arrow made by Geronimo, the
    famous Apache chief. Its shaft is three joints of a straight cane.
    The tip is of hard wood, and on that is a fine quartz point; all
    being lashed together with sinew.

"White-men glue them on, and Injuns lash them on," replied Yan,
quoting from memory from "that book."

"Which is best?"

"Glued on flies better, but lashed on stands the weather better."

"Why not both?"

"Have no sinew."

"Let me show ye a trick. Where's yer glue an' linen thread?"

These were brought, whereupon Si added: "'Pears to me ye oughter put
the feathers on last. Better cut the notch first."

"That's so; we nearly forgot."

"_You_ nearly forgot, you mean. Don't drag _me_ in the mud,"
said Sam, with owlish dignity. A small saw cut, cleaned up and widened
with a penknife, proved the best; a notch one-fourth inch deep was
quickly made in each arrow, and Si set about _both_ glueing
_and_ lashing on the feathers, but using wax-end instead of
sinew.

Yan had marked the place for each feather so that none would strike
the bow in passing (see Cut page 183). He first glued them on,
then made a lashing for half an inch on the projecting ends of the
feather-rib, and another behind, carrying this second lashing back to
the beginning of the notch to guard against the wood splitting. When
he had trimmed all loose ends and rolled the waxed thread well on the
bench with a flat stick, the threads seemed to disappear and leave
simply a smooth black ring.


  THE ARCHERY OUTFIT (Not all on scale)

  I. The five-foot bow as finished, with sections at the points shown.

  II. The bow "braced" or strung.

  III. The bow unstrung, showing the loop slipped down.

  IV. The loop that is used on the upper end of the bow.

  V. The timber hitch always used on the lower end or notch of the bow.

  VI. A turkey feather with split midrib, all ready to lash on.

  VII. End view of arrow, showing notch and arrangement of three
  feathers.

  VIII. Part of arrow, showing feathering and lashing.

  IX. Sanger hunting arrow with wooden point; 25 inches long.

  X. Sanger war arrow with nail point and extra long feathers; it also
  is 25 inches long.

  XI. Quiver with Indian design; 20 inches long.

  XII. The "bracer" or arm guard of heavy leather for left arm, with two
  laces to tie it on. It is six inches long.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus the arrows were made and set away for the glue to dry.

Next day Yan painted Sam's red and blue, his own red and white, to
distinguish them as well as guard them from the damp. There was now
one more thing, and that was a quiver.

"Do the Injuns have them?" asked Sam, with a keen eye to orthodoxy
when it promised to cut short the hard work.

"Well, I should say so; couldn't live without them."

"All right; hurry up. I'm spoiling for a hunt. What are they made of?"

"Oh, 'most anything."

"Haven't got it."

"You're too fast. But some use Birch bark, some use the skin of an
animal, and some use canvas now when other stuff is scarce."

"That's us. You mind the stuff left off the teepee?"

"Do till we get better." So each made a sort of canvas bag shorter
than the arrows. Yan painted an Indian device on each, and they were
ready.

"Now bring on your Bears," said the older boy, and feeling a sense of
complete armament, they went out.

"See who can hit that tree." Both fired together and missed, but Sam's
arrow struck another tree and split open.

"Guess we'd better get a soft target," he remarked. Then after
discussion they got a large old corn sack full of hay, painted on it
some rings around a bull's eye (a Buffalo's eye, Sam called it) and
set it up at twenty yards.

They were woefully disappointed at first in their shooting. It did
seem a very easy mark, and it was disappointing to have the arrows fly
some feet away to the left.

"Le's get in the barn and shoot at that," suggested Sam.

"We might hit it if we shut the door tight," was the optimistic reply.
As well as needing practice, the boys had to learn several little
rules about Archery. But Yan had some pencil notes from "that book"
and some more in his brain that with much practice gradually taught
him: To stand with his heel centres in line with the target; his right
elbow in line with the arrow; his left hand fixed till the arrow
struck; his right thumb always on the same place on his cheek when he
fired, and the bow plumb.

They soon found that they needed guards for the left arm where the bow
strings struck, and these they made out of the leg of an old boot (see
Cut page 183), and an old glove to protect the fingers of the right
hand when they practised very much. After they learned to obey the
rules without thinking about them, the boys improved quickly and soon
they were able to put all the arrows into the hay sack at twenty
yards, increasing the distance later till they could make fair
shooting at forty yards.

They were not a little surprised to find how much individuality the
arrows had, although meant to be exactly alike.

Sam had one that continued to warp until it was much bent, and the
result was some of the most surprising curves in its flight. This he
called the "Boomerang." Another, with a very small feather, travelled
farther than any of the rest. This was the "Far-killer." His best
arrow, one that he called "Sure-death," was a long-feathered Turkey
shaft with a light head. It was very reliable on a calm day, but
apt to swerve in the wind. Yet another, with a small feather, was
correspondingly reliable on a windy day. This was "Wind-splitter."

The one Yan whittled with the knife was called the "Whittler," and
sometimes the "Joker." It was a perpetual mystery, they never knew
just what it would do next. His particular pet was one with a hollow
around the point, which made a whistling sound when it flew, and was
sometimes called the "Whistler" and sometimes the "Jabberwock,"
"which whiffled through the tulgy wood and burbled as it came."

[Illustration: CORRECT FORM IN SHOOTING The diagram at bottom is to
show the centres of heels in line with target.]




X

The Dam


One hot day early in July they were enjoying themselves in the shallow
bathing-hole of the creek, when Sam observed: "It's getting low. It
goes dry every summer."

This was not pleasing to foresee, and Yan said, "Why can't we make a
dam?"

"A little too much like work."

"Oh, pshaw! That'd be fun and we'd have a swimming-place for all
summer, then. Come on; let's start now."

"Never heard of Injuns doing so much work."

"Well, we'll play Beaver while we do it. Come on, now; here's for
a starter," and Yan carried a big stone to what seemed to him the
narrowest place. Then he brought more, and worked with enthusiasm till
he had a line of stones right across the creek bed.

Sam still sat naked on the bank, his knees to his chin and his arms
around them. The war-paint was running down his chest in blue and red
streaks.

"Come on, here, you lazy freak, and work," cried Yan, and flung a
handful of mud to emphasize the invite.

"My festered knee's broke out again," was the reply.

At length Yan said, "I'm not going to do it all alone," and
straightened up his back.

"Look a-here," was the answer. "I've been thinking. The cattle water
here. The creek runs dry in summer, then the cattle has to go to the
barnyard and drink at the trough--has to be pumped for, and hang round
for hours after hoping some one will give them some oats, instead of
hustling back to the woods to get fat. Now, two big logs across there
would be more'n half the work. I guess we'll ask Da to lend us the
team to put them logs across to make a drinking-pond for the cattle.
Them cattle is awful on my mind. Didn't sleep all night thinking o'
them. I just hate like pizen to see them walking all the way to the
barn in hot weather for a drink--'tain't right." So Sam waited for a
proper chance to "tackle" his father. It did not come that day, but at
breakfast next morning Raften looked straight at Yan across the table,
and evidently thinking hard about something, said:

"Yahn, this yer room is twenty foot by fifteen, how much ilecloth
three foot wide will it call fur?"

"Thirty-three and one-third yards," Yan said at once.

Raften was staggered. Yan's manner was convincing, but to do all that
in his head was the miracle. Various rude tests were applied and the
general opinion prevailed that Yan was right.

The farmer's face beamed with admiration for the first time. "Luk at
that," he said to the table, "luk at that fur eddication. When'll you
be able to do the like?" he said to Sam.

"Never," returned his son, with slow promptness. "Dentists don't have
to figger on ilecloth."

"Say, Yan," said Sam aside, "guess _you_ better tackle Da about
the dam. Kind o' sot up about ye this mornin'; your eddication has
softened him some, an' it'll last till about noon, I jedge. Strike
while the iron is hot."

So after breakfast Yan commenced:

"Mr. Raften, the creek's running dry. We want to make a pond for the
cattle to drink, but we can't make a dam without two big logs across.
Will you let us have the team a few minutes to place the logs?"

"It ain't fur a swimmin'-pond, is it, ye mean?" said Raften, with a
twinkle in his eye.

"It would do for that as well," and Yan blushed.

"Sounds to me like Sam talking through Yan's face," added Raften,
shrewdly taking in the situation. "I'll see fur meself."

Arrived at the camp, he asked: "Now, whayer's yer dam to be? Thar?
That's no good. It's narrer but it'd be runnin' round both ends afore
ye had any water to speak of. Thayer's a better place, a bit wider,
but givin' a good pond. Whayer's yer logs? Thayer? What--my seasoning
timber? Ye can't hev that. That's the sill fur the new barrn; nor
that--it's seasonin' fur gate posts. Thayer's two ye kin hev. I'll
send the team, but don't let me ketch ye stealin' any o' my seasonin'
timber or the fur'll fly."

With true Raften promptness the heavy team came, the two great logs
were duly dragged across and left as Yan requested (four feet apart
for the top of the dam).

The boys now drove in a row of stakes against each log on the inner
side, to form a crib, and were beginning to fill in the space with mud
and stones. They were digging and filling it up level as they went.
Clay was scarce and the work went slowly; the water, of course, rising
as the wall arose, added to the difficulty. But presently Yan said:

"Hold on. New scheme. Let's open her and dig a deep trench on one
side so all the water will go by, then leave a clay wall to it" [the
trench] "and dig a deep hole on the other side of it. That will give
us plenty of stuff for the dam and help to deepen the pond."

Thus they worked. In a week the crib was full of packed clay and
stone. Then came the grand finish--the closing of this sluiceway
through the dam. It was not easy with the full head of water running,
but they worked like beavers and finally got it stopped.

That night there was a heavy shower. Next day when they came near they
heard a dull roar in the woods. They stopped and listened in doubt,
then Yan exclaimed gleefully: "The dam! That's the water running over
the dam."

They both set off with a yell and ran their fastest. As soon as they
came near they saw a great sheet of smooth water where the stony creek
bottom had been and a steady current over the low place left as an
overflow in the middle of the dam.

What a thrill of pleasure that was!

"Last in's a dirty sucker."

"Look out for my bad knee," was the response.

The rest of the race was a mixture of stripping and sprinting and the
boys splashed in together.

Five feet deep in the deep hole, a hundred yards long, and all their
own doing.

"Now, wasn't it worth it?" asked Yan, who had had much difficulty in
keeping Sam steadily at play that looked so very much like work.

"Wonder how that got here? I thought I left that in the teepee?" and
Sam pointed to a log that he used for a seat in the teepee, but now it
was lodged in the overflow.

Yan was a good swimmer, and as they played and splashed, Sam said:
"Now I know who you are. You can't hide it from me no longer. I
suspicioned it when you were working on the dam. You're that tarnal
Redskin they call 'Little Beaver.'"

"I've been watching you," retorted Yan, "and it seems to me I've run up
against that copper-coloured scallawag--'Young-Man-Afraid-of-a-Shovel.'"

[Illustration: The dam was a great success]

"No, you don't," said Sam. "Nor I ain't
'_Bald-Eagle-Settin'-on-a-Rock-with-his-Tail-Hangin'-over-the-Edge,'_
nuther. In fact, I don't keer to be recognized just now. Ain't it a
relief to think the cattle don't have to take that walk any more?"

Sam was evidently trying to turn the subject, but Yan would not be
balked. "I heard Si call you 'Woodpecker' the other day."

"Yep. I got that at school. When I was a kid to hum I heerd Ma talk
about me be-a-u-tiful _golden_ hair, but when I got big enough
to go to school I learned that it was only _red_, an' they called
me the 'Red-headed Woodpecker.' I tried to lick them, but lots of them
could lick me an' rubbed it in wuss. When I seen fightin' didn't
work, I let on to like it, but it was too late then. Mostly it's just
'Woodpecker' for short. I don't know as it ever lost me any sleep."

Half an hour later, as they sat by the fire that Yan made with
rubbing-sticks, he said, "Say, Woodpecker, I want to tell you a
story." Sam grimaced, pulled his ears forward, and made ostentatious
preparations to listen.

"There was once an Indian squaw taken prisoner by some other tribe way
up north. They marched her 500 miles away, but one night she escaped
and set out, not on the home trail, for she knew they would follow
that way and kill her, but to one side. She didn't know the country
and got lost. She had no weapons but a knife, and no food but berries.
Well, she travelled fast for several days till a rainstorm came, then
she felt safe, for she knew her enemies could not trail her now. But
winter was near and she could not get home before it came. So she set
to work right where she was.

"She made a wigwam of Birch bark and a fire with rubbing-sticks, using
the lace of her moccasin for a bow-string. She made snares of the
inner bark of the Willow and of Spruce roots, and deadfalls, too, for
Rabbits. She was starving sometimes, at first, but she ate the buds
and inner bark of Birch trees till she found a place where there were
lots of Rabbits. And when she caught some she used every scrap of
them. She made a fishing-line of the sinews, and a hook of the bones
and teeth lashed together with sinew and Spruce gum.

"She made a cloak of Rabbit skins, sewed with needles of Rabbit bone
and thread of Rabbit sinew, and a lot of dishes of Birch bark sewed
with Spruce roots.

"She put in the whole winter there alone, and when the spring came she
was found by Samuel Hearne, the great traveller. Her precious knife
was worn down, but she was fat and happy and ready to set out for her
own people."

"Well, I say that's mighty inter-est-in'," said Sam--he had listened
attentively--"an' I'd like nothin' better than to try it myself if I
had a gun an' there was lots of game."

"Pooh, who wouldn't?"

"Mighty few--an' there's mighty few who _could_."
"I could."

"What, make everything with just a knife? I'd like to see you make
a teepee," then adding earnestly, "Sam, we've been kind o' playing
Injuns; now let's do it properly. Let's make everything out of what we
find in the woods."

"Guess we'll have to visit the Sanger Witch again. She knows all about
plants."

"We'll be the Sanger Indians. We can both be Chiefs," said Yan, not
wishing to propose himself as Chief or caring to accept Sam as his
superior. "I'm Little Beaver. Now what are you?"

"Bloody-Thundercloud-in-the-Afternoon."

"No, try again. Make it something you can draw, so you can make your
totem, and make it short."

"What's the smartest animal there is?"

"I--I--suppose the Wolverine."

"What! Smarter'n a Fox?"

"The books say so."

"Kin he lick a Beaver?"

"Well, I should say so."

"Well, that's me."

"No, you don't. I'm not going around with a fellow that licks me. It
don't fit you as well as 'Woodpecker,' anyhow. I always get _you_
when I want a nice tree spoiled or pecked into holes," retorted Yan,
magnanimously ignoring the personal reason for the name.

"Tain t as bad as _beavering_," answered Sam

"Beavering" was a word with a history. Axes and timber were the
biggest things in the lives of the Sangerites. Skill with the axe was
the highest accomplishment. The old settlers used to make everything
in the house out of wood, and with the axe for the only tool. It was
even said that some of them used to "edge her up a bit" and shave with
her on Sundays. When a father was setting his son up in life he gave
him simply a good axe. The axe was the grand essential of life and
work, and was supposed to be a whole outfit. Skill with the axe was
general. Every man and boy was more or less expert, and did not know
how expert he was till a real "greeny" came among them. There is a
right way to cut for each kind of grain, and a certain proper way of
felling a tree to throw it in any given direction with the minimum of
labour. All these things are second nature to the Sangerite. A Beaver
is credited with a haphazard way of gnawing round and round a tree
till somehow it tumbles, and when a chopper deviates in the least from
the correct form, the exact right cut in the exact right place, he is
said to be "beavering"; therefore, while "working like a Beaver" is
high praise, "beavering" a tree is a term of unmeasured reproach, and
Sam's final gibe had point and force that none but a Sangerite could
possibly have appreciated.




XI

Yan and the Witch


  The Sanger Witch hated the Shanty-man's axe
  And wildfire, too, they tell,
  But the hate that she had for the Sporting man
  Was wuss nor her hate of Hell!

  --Cracked Jimmie's Ballad of Sanger.


Yan took his earliest opportunity to revisit the Sanger Witch.

"Better leave me out," advised Sam, when he heard of it. "She'd never
look at you if I went. You look too blame healthy."

So Yan went alone, and he was glad of it. Fond as he was of Sam, his
voluble tongue and ready wit left Yan more or less in the shade, made
him look sober and dull, and what was worse, continually turned the
conversation just as it was approaching some subject that was of
deepest interest to him.

As he was leaving, Sam called out, "Say, Yan, if you want to stay
there to dinner it'll be all right--we'll know why you hain't turned
up." Then he stuck his tongue in his cheek, closed one eye and went to
the barn with his usual expression of inscrutable melancholy.

Yan carried his note-book--he used it more and more, also his
sketching materials. On the road he gathered a handful of flowers and
herbs. His reception by the old woman was very different this time.

"Come in, come in, God bless ye, an' hoo air ye, an' how is yer father
an' mother--come in an' set down, an' how is that spalpeen, Sam
Raften?"

"Sam's all right now," said Yan with a blush.

"All right! Av coorse he's all right. I knowed I'd fix him all right,
an' he knowed it, an' his Ma knowed it when she let him come. Did she
say onything about it?"

"No, Granny, not a word."

"The dhirty hussy! Saved the boy's life in sphite of their robbin' me
an' she ain't human enough to say 'thank ye'--the dhirty hussy!
May God forgive her as I do," said the old woman with evident and
implacable enmity.

"Fwhat hev ye got thayer? Hivin be praised, they can't kill them all
off. They kin cut down the trees, but the flowers comes ivery year, me
little beauties--me little beauties!" Yan spread them out. She picked
up an Arum and went on. "Now, that's Sorry-plant, only some calls it
Injun Turnip, an' I hear the childer call it Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Don't
ye never put the root o' that near yer tongue. It'll sure burn ye like
fire. First thing whin they gits howld av a greeny the bhise throis to
make him boite that same. Shure he niver does it twicet. The Injuns
b'ile the pizen out o' the root an' ates it; shure it's better'n
starvin'."

Golden Seal (_Hydrastis canadensis_), the plant she had used for
Sam's knee, was duly recognized and praised, its wonderful golden
root, "the best goold iver came out av the ground," was described with
its impression of the seal of the Wise King.

"Thim's Mandrakes, an' they're moighty late, an' ye shure got
_thim_ in the woods. Some calls it May Apples, an' more calls it
Kingroot. The Injuns use it fur their bowels, an' it has cured many a
horse of pole evil that I seen meself.

"An' Blue Cohosh, only I call that Spazzum-root. Thayer ain't nothin'
like it fur spazzums--took like tay; only fur that the Injun women
wouldn't live in all their thrubles, but that's something that don't
consarn ye. Luk now, how the laves is all spread out like wan wid
spazzums. Glory be to the Saints and the Blessed Virgin, everything is
done fur us on airth an' plain marked, if we'd only take the thruble
to luk.

"Now luk at thot," said she, clawing over the bundle and picking out a
yellow Cypripedium, "that's Moccasin-plant wid the Injuns, but mercy
on 'em fur bloind, miserable haythens. They don't know nothin' an'
don't want to larn it. That's Umbil, or Sterrick-root. It's powerful
good fur sterricks. Luk at it! See the face av a woman in sterricks
wid her hayer flyin' an' her jaw a-droppin'. I moind the toime Larry's
little gurrl didn't want to go to her 'place' an' hed sterricks. They
jest sent fur me an' I brung along a Sterrick-root. First, I sez, sez
I, 'Get me some b'ilin' wather,' an' I made tay an' give it to her
b'ilin' hot. As share as Oi'm a livin' corpse, the very first spoonful
fetched her all right. Oh, but it's God's own gift, an' it's be His
blessin' we know how to use it. An' it don't do to just go an' dig it
when ye want it. It has to be grubbed when the flower ain't thayer. Ye
see, the strength ain't in both places to oncet. It's ayther in the
flower or in the root, so when the flower is thayer the root's no more
good than an ould straw. Ye hes to Hunt fur it in spring or in fall,
just when the divil himself wouldn't know whayer to find it.

"An' fwhat hev ye thayer? Good land! if it ain't Skunk's Cabbage! Ye
sure come up by the Bend. That's the on'y place whayer that grows."

"Yes," replied Yan; "that's just where I got it. But hold on, Granny,
I want to sketch all those and note down their names and what you say
about them."

"Shure, you'd hev a big book when I wuz through," said the old woman
with pride, as she lit her pipe, striking the match on what would have
been the leg of her pants had she been a man.

"An' shure ye don't need to write down what they're good fur, fur the
good Lord done that Himself long ago. Luk here, now. That's Cohosh,
fur spazzums, an' luks like it; that's Moccasin, fur Highsterricks,
an' luks like it; wall, thar's Skunk-root fur both, an' don't it luk
like the two o' thim thigither?"

Yan feebly agreed, but had much difficulty in seeing what the plant
had in common with the others.

"An' luk here! Thayer ye got Lowbelier, that some calls Injun
tobaccer. Ye found this by the crick, an' it's a little airly--ahead
o' toime. That's the shtuff to make ye throw up when ye want to. Luk,
ain't that lafe the livin' shape of a shtummick?

"Thayer's the Highbelier; it's a high hairb, an' it's moighty foine
fur the bowels when ye drink the dry root.

"Spicewood" [Spicebush, _Lindera benzoin_], "or Fayverbush, them
twigs is great fur tay--that cures shakes and fayver. Shure an' it
shakes ivery toime the wind blows.

"That's Clayvers," she said, picking up a Galium. "Now fwhat wud ye
think that wuz fur to cure?"

"I don't know. What is it?"

"Luk now, an' see how it's wrote in it plain as prent--yes, an' a
sight plainer, fur I can read them an' I can't read a wurrud in a
book. Now fwhat is that loike?" said she, holding up the double
seed-pod.

"A brain and spinal column," said Yan.

"Och, choild, I hev better eyes than ye. Shure them's two kidneys, an'
that's fwhat Clayver tay will cure better'n all the docthers in the
wurruld, an' ye hev to know just how. Ye see, kidney thruble is
a koind o' fayver; it's hatin', so ye make yer Clayver tay in
_cold_ wather; if ye make it o' warrum wather it just makes ye
wuss an' acts loike didly pizen. Thayer's Sweatplant, or Boneset"
[_Eupatorium perfoliatum_], "that's the thing to sweat ye. Wanst
Oi sane a feller jest dyin' o' dry hoide, wuz all hoidebound, an' the
docthers throid an' throid an' couldn't help wan bit, till I guv his
mother some Boneset leaves to make tay, an' he sweat buckets before
he'd more'n smelt av it, an' the docthers thought they done it
theirsilves!" and she cackled gleefully.

"Thayer's Goldthread fur cankermouth, an' Pipsissewa that cures fayver
an' rheumatiz, too. It always grows where folks gits them disayses.
Luk at the flower just blotched red an' white loike fayver
blotches--an' Spearmint, that saves ye if ya pizen yerself with
Spaszum-root, an' shure it grows right next it in the woods!

"Thayer's Wormseed fur wurrums--see the 'ittle wurrum on the leaves"
_[Chenopodium]_ "an' that thayer is Pleurisy root, an' thayer!
well, thayer's the foinest hairb that iver God made to grow--that's
Cure all. Some things cures wan thing and some cures another, but when
ye don't know just what to take, ye make tay o' that root an' ye can't
go wrong. It was an Injun larned me that. The poor miserable baste of
a haythen hed some larnin', an' the minit he showed me I knowed it was
so, fur ivery lafe wuz three in wan an' wan in three, an' had the sign
o' the blessed crass in the middle as plain as that biler settin' on
the stove."

Thus she chattered away, smoking her short pipe, expectorating on the
top of the hot stove, but with true feminine delicacy she was careful
each time to wipe her mouth on the back of her skinny arm.

"An' that's what's called Catnip; sure Oi moind well the day Oi furst
larned about that. It warn't a Injun nor a docther nor a man at all,
at all, that larned me that. It was that ould black Cat, an' may the
saints stand bechuxt me an' his grane eyes! Bejabers, sometimes he
scares me wid his knowin' ways, but I hev nothin' agin him except that
he kills the wee burruds. He koind o' measled all wan winter an' lay
around the stove. Whiniver the dooer was open he'd go an' luk out an'
then come back an' meow an' wheen an' lay down--an' so he kep' on,
gittin' waker an' worser, till the snow wuz gone an' grass come up,
an' still he'd go a-lukin' toward the ayst, especially nights. Then
thayer come up a plant I had never sane, right thayer, an' he'd luk at
it an' luk at it loike he wanted it but didn't dar to. Thar was some
foine trays out thayer in thim days afore the ould baste cut thim
down, an' wan av thim hed a big limb, so--an' another so--an' when the
moon come up full at jest the right time the shaddy made the sign av
the crass an' loighted on me dooer, an' after it was past it didn't
make no crass. Well, bejabers, the full moon come up at last an' she
made the sign of the shaddy crass, an' the ould Cat goes out an'
watches an' watches loike he wanted to an' didn't dar to, till that
crass drapped fayer onto the hairbs, an' Tom he jumped then an' ate
an' ate, an' from that day he was a well Cat; an' that's how Oi larned
Catnip, an' it set me moind aisy, too, fur no Cat that's possesst 'll
iver ate inunder the shaddy av the crass."

Yan was scribbling away, but had given up any attempt to make sketches
or even notes beyond the names of the plants.

"Shure, choild, put them papers wid the names on the hairbs an' save
_them_; that wuz fwhat Docther Carmartin done whin Oi was larnin'
him. Thayer, now, that's it," she added, as Yan took the hint and
began slipping on each stalk a paper label with its name.

"That's a curious broom," said Yan, as his eye fell on the symbol of
order and cleanliness, making strange reflections on itself.

"Yes; sure, that's a Baitche broom. Larry makes 'em."

"Larry?"

"Yes, me bhoy." [Larry was nearly sixty.] "He makes thim of Blue
Baitche."

"How?" asked Yan, picking it up and examining it with intense
interest.

"Whoi, shure, by whittlin'. Larry's a howly terror to whittle, an'
he gets a Blue Baitche sapling 'bout three inches thick an' starts
a-whittlin" long slivers, but laves them on the sthick at wan end till
thayer all round loike that."

"What, like a fire-lighter?"

"Yis, yis, that's it, only bigger, an Blue Baitche is terrible tough.
Then whin he has the sthick down to 'bout an inch thick, he ties all
the slivers the wrong way wid a sthrand o' Litherwood, an' thrims down
the han'el to suit, an' evens up the ind av the broom wid the axe an'
lets it dhry out, an' thayer yer is. Better broom was niver made, an'
there niver wus ony other in th' famb'ly till he married that Kitty
Connor, the lowest av the low, an' it's meself was all agin her, wid
her proide an' her dirthy sthuck-up ways' nothin' but boughten things
wuz good enough fur her, _her_ that niver had a dacint male till
she thrapped moi Larry. Yis, low be it sphoken, but 'thrapped' 's the
wurrud," said the old woman, raising her voice to give emphasis that
told a lurid tale.

At this moment the door opened and in came Biddy, and as she was the
daughter of the unspeakable Kitty the conversation turned.

"An' sure it's glad to see ye I am, an' when are ye comin' down to
reside at our place?" was her greeting to Yan, and while they talked
Granny took advantage of the chance to take a long pull at a bottle
that looked and smelled like Lung-balm.

"Moi, Biddy, yer airly," said Granny.

"Shure, an' now it was late whin I left home, an' the schulmaster says
it's always so walking from ayst to west."

"An' shure it's glad Oi am to say ye, fur Yan will shtop an ate wid
us. It ain't duck an' grane pase, but, thank God, we hev enough an' a
hearty welcome wid ivery boite. Ye say, Biddy makes me dinner ivery
foine day an' Oi get a boite an' a sup for meself other toimes, an'
slapes be me lone furby me Dog an' Cat an' the apples, which thayer
ain't but a handful left, but fwhat thar is is yourn. Help yerself,
choild, an' ate hearty," and she turned down the gray-looking
bedclothes to show the last half-dozen of the same rosy apples.

"Aint you afraid to sleep here alone nights, Granny?"

"Shure fwhat hev Oi to fayre? Thayer niver wuz robbers come but wanst,
an' shure I got theyer last cint aff av them. They come one night an'
broke in, an' settin' up, Oi sez, 'Now fwhat _are_ yez lukin'
fur?'

"'Money,' sez they, fur thayer was talk all round thin that Oi had
sold me cow fur $25.

"'Sure, thin, Oi'll get up an' help ye,' sez Oi, fur divil a cint hev
Oi been able to set me eyes on sense apple harvest.'"

'"We want $25, or we'll kill ye.'

"'Faith, an' if it wuz twenty-five cints Oi couldn't help it,' sez Oi,
'an' it's ready to die Oi am,' sez Oi, 'fur Oi was confessed last wake
an' Oi'm a-sayin' me prayers _this_ minit.'

"Sez the littlest wan, an' he wa'n't so little, nigh as br'ad as that
dooer, 'Hevn't ye sold yer cow?'

"'Ye'll foind her in the barrun,' sez Oi, 'though Oi hate to hev yez
disturb her slapin'. It makes her drame an' that's bad fur the milk.'

"An' next thing them two robbers wuz laffin' at each other fur fools.
Then the little wan sez:

"'Now, Granny, we'll lave ye in pace, if ye'll niver say a wurrud o'
this'--but the other wan seemed kind o' sulky.

"'Sorra a wurrud,' sez Oi, 'an' good frinds we'll be yit,' an' they
wuz makin' fur the dooer to clayer out whin I sez:

"'Howld on! Me friends can't lave me house an' naither boite nor sup;
turn yer backs an' ye plaze, till Oi get on me skirt.' An' whin Oi wuz
up an' dacint an' tould them they could luk, Oi sez, 'It's the foinest
Lung balm in the land ye shall taste,' an' the littlest feller he
starts a-coughin', oh, a turrible cough--it fair scairt me, like a
hoopin' croup--an' the other seemed just mad, and the littlest wan
made fun av him. Oi seen the mean wan wuz left-handed or let on he
wuz, but when he reached out fur the bottle he had on'y three fingers
on his right, an' they both av them had the biggest, blackest,
awfulest lukin' bairds--I'd know them two bairds agin ony place--an'
the littlest had a rag round his head, said he had a toothache, but
shure yer teeth don't ache in the roots o' yer haiyer. Then when they
wuz goin' the littlest wan put a dollar in me hand an' sez, 'It's all
we got bechuxst us, Granny.' 'Godbless ye,' sez Oi, 'an' Oi take it
kindly. It's the first Oi seen sense apple harvest, an' it's a friend
ye hev in me whin ye nade wan,'" and the old woman chuckled over her
victory.

"Granny, do you know what the Indians use for dyeing colours?" asked
Yan, harking back to his main purpose.

"Shure, Yahn, they jest goes to the store an' gets boughten dyes in
packages like we do."

"But before there were boughten dyes, didn't they use things in the
woods?"

"That they did, for shure. Iverything man iver naded the good Lord
made grow fur him in the woods."

"Yes, but what plants?"

"Faix, an' they differ fur different things."

"Yes, but what are they?" Then seeing how general questions failed, he
went at it in detail.

"What do they use for yellow dye on the Porcupine quills--I mean
before the boughten dyes came?"

"Well, shure an' that's a purty yellow flower that grows in the fall
out in the field an' along the fences. The Yaller Weed, I call it,
an' some calls it Goldenrod. They bile the quills in wather with the
flower. Luk! Thar's some wool dyed that way."

"An' the red?" said Yan, scribbling away.

"Faix, an' they had no rale good red. They made a koind o' red o'
berry juice b'iled, an' wanst I seen a turrible nice red an ol' squaw
made b'ilin' the quills fust in yaller awhile an' next awhile in red."

"What berries make the best red, Granny?"

"Well, 'tain't the red wans, as ye moight think. Ye kin make it of
Rosberries or Sumac or Huckleberries an' lots more, but Black Currants
is redder than Red Currants, an' Squaw berries is best av them all."

"What are they like?"

"Shure, an' Oi'll show ye that same hairb," and they wandered around
outside the shanty in vain search. "It's too airly," said Granny, "but
it's round thayer in heaps in August an' is the purtiest red iver
grew. 'An Pokeweed, too, it ain't har'ly flowerin' yit, but in the
fall it hez berries that's so red they're nigh black, an' dyes the
purtiest kind o' a purple."

"What makes blue?"

"Oi niver sane none in the quills. Thayer may be some. The good Lord
made iverything grow in the woods, but I ain't found it an' niver seen
none. Ye kin make a grane av the young shoots av Elder, but it ain't
purty like that," and she pointed to a frightful emerald ribbon that
Biddy wore, "an' a brown of Butternut bark, an' a black av White Oak
chips an' bark. Ye kin make a kind o' grane av two dips, wan of yaller
an wan av black. Ye kin dye black wid Hickory bark, an' orange (bad
scran to it) wid the inner bark of Birch, an' yaller wid the roots
av Hoop Ash, an' a foine scarlet from the bark av the little root av
Dogwood, but there ain't no rale blue in the woods, an' that's what I
tell them orange-an'-blue Prattisons on the 12th o' July, fur what the
Lord didn't make the divil did.

"Ye kin make a koind of blue out o' the Indigo hairb, but 'tain't like
this," pointing to some screaming cobalt, "an' if it ain't in the
woods the good Lord niver meant us to have it. Yis! I tell ye it's
the divil's own colour, that blue-orange an' blue is the divil's own
colours, shure enough, fur brimstone's yaller; an' its blue whin it's
burnin', that I hed from his riv'rince himself--bless him!"




XII.

Dinner with the Witch


Biddy meanwhile had waddled around the room slapping the boards with
her broad bare feet as she prepared their dinner. She was evidently
trying to put on style, for she turned out her toes excessively.
She spoke several times about "the toime when she resoided with yer
mamma," then at length, "Whayer's the tablecloth, Granny?"

"Now, wud ye listen to thot, an' she knowin' that divil a clath hev we
in the wurruld, an' glad enough to hev vittles on the table, let
alone a clath," said Granny, oblivious of the wreck she was making of
Biddy's pride.

"Will ye hay tay or coffee, Yahn?" said Biddy.

"Tea," was Yan's choice.

"Faix, an' Oi'm glad ye said tay, fur Oi ain' seen a pick o' coffee
sense Christmas, an' the tay Oi kin git in the woods, but thayer is
somethin' Oi kin set afore ye that don't grow in the woods," and the
old woman hobbled to a corner shelf, lifted down an old cigar box and
from among matches, tobacco, feathers, tacks, pins, thread and dust
she picked six lumps of cube sugar, formerly white.

"Thayer, shure, an' Oi wuz kapin' this fur whin his riv'rence comes;
wanst a year he's here, God bless him! but that's fower wakes ahid,
an' dear knows fwhat may happen afore thin. Here, an' a hearty
welcome," said she, dropping three of the lumps in Yan's tea. "We'll
kape the rest fur yer second cup. Hev some crame?" and she pushed over
a sticky-handled shaving-mug full of excellent cream. "Biddy, give
Yahn some bread."

The loaf, evidently the only one, was cut up and two or three slices
forced into Yan's plate.

"Mebbe the butther is a little hoigh," exclaimed the hostess, noting
that Yan was sparing of it. "Howld on." She went again to the corner
shelf and got down an old glass jar with scalloped edge and a flat tin
cover. It evidently contained jam. She lifted the cover and exclaimed:

"Well, Oi niver!" Then going to the door she fished out with her
fingers a dead mouse and threw it out, remarking placidly, "Oi've
wondered whayer the little divil wuz. Oi ain't sane him this two
wakes, an' me a-thinkin' it wuz Tom ate him. May Oi be furgiven the
onjustice av it. Consarn them flies! That cover niver did fit." And
again her finger was employed, this time to scrape off an incrustation
of unhappy flies that had died, like Clarence, in their favourite
beverage.

"Thayer, Yan, now ate hearty, all av it, an' welcome. It does me good
to see ye ate--thayer's lots more whayer that come from," though it
was obvious that she had put her all upon the table.

Poor Yan was in trouble. He felt instinctively that the good old soul
was wrecking her week's resources in this lavish hospitality, but he
also felt that she would be deeply hurt if he did not appear to enjoy
everything. The one possibly clean thing was the bread. He devoted
himself to that; it was of poorest quality; one or two hairs looping
in his teeth had been discouraging, but when he bit at a piece of
linen rag with a button on it he was fairly upset. He managed to hide
the rag, but could not conceal his sudden loss of appetite.

"Hev some more av this an' this," and in spite of himself his
plate was piled up with things for him to eat, including a lot of
beautifully boiled potatoes, but unfortunately the hostess carried
them from the pot on the stove in a corner of her ancient and somber
apron, and served him with her skinny paw.

Yan's appetite was wholly gone now, to the grief of his kind
entertainer, "Shure an' she'd fix him up something to stringthen him,"
and Yan had hard work to beg off.

"Would ye like an aig," ventured Biddy.

"Why, yes! oh, yes, please," exclaimed Yan, with almost too much
enthusiasm. He thought, "Well, hens are pure-minded creatures, anyway.
An egg's sure to be clean."

Biddy waddled away to the 'barrun' and soon reappeared with three
eggs.

"B'iled or fried?"

"Boiled," said Yan, aiming to keep to the safe side.

Biddy looked around for a pot.

"Shure, _that's_ b'ilin' now," said Granny, pointing to the great
mass of her undergarments seething in the boiler, and accordingly the
eggs were dropped in there.

Yan fervently prayed that they might not break. As it was, two did
crack open, but he got the other one, and that was virtually his
dinner.

A Purple Blackbird came hopping in the door now.

"Will, now, thayer's Jack. Whayer hev ye been? I thought ye wuz gone
fur good. Shure Oi saved him from a murtherin' gunner," she explained.
"(Bad scran to the baste! I belave he was an Or'ngeman.) But he's all
right now an' comes an' goes like he owned the place. Now, Jack, you
git out av that wather pail," as the beautiful bird leaped into the
half-filled drinking bucket and began to take a bath.

"Now luk at that," she shouted, "ye little rascal, come out o' that
oven," for now the Blackbird had taken advantage of the open door to
scramble into the dark warm oven.

"Thayer he goes to warrum his futs. Oh, ye little rascal! Next thing
ye know some one'll slam the dooer, not knowin' a thing, and fire up,
an' it's roastin' aloive ye'll be. Shure an' it's tempted Oi am to
wring yer purty neck to save yer loife," and she drove him out with
the harshest of words and the gentlest of hands.

Then Yan, with his arms full of labelled plants, set out for home.

"Good-boi, choild, come back agin and say me soon. Bring some more
hairbs. Good-boi, an' bless ye. Oi hope it's no sin to say so, fur Oi
know yer a Prattison an' ye are all on yez goin' to hell, but yer a
foine bhoy. Oi'm tumble sorry yer a Prattison."

When Yan got back to the Raftens' he found the dinner table set for
one, though it was now three in the afternoon.

"Come and get your dinner," said Mrs. Raften in her quiet motherly
way. "I'll put on the steak. It will be ready in five minutes."

"But I've had my dinner with Granny de Neuville."

"Yes, I know!"

"Did she stir yer tea with one front claw an' put jam on yer bread
with the other?" asked Raften, rather coarsely.

"Did she b'ile her pet Blackbird fur yer soup?" said Sam.

Yan turned very red. Evidently all had a good idea of what he had
experienced, but it jarred on him to hear their mockery of the good
old soul.

He replied warmly, "She was just as kind and nice as she could be."

"You had better have a steak now," said Mrs. Raften, in solicitous
doubt.

How tempting was the thought of that juicy brown steak! How his empty
stomach did crave it! But the continued mockery had stirred him. He
would stand up for the warm-hearted old woman who had ungrudgingly
given him the best she had--had given her all--to make a hearty
welcome for a stranger. They should never know how gladly he would
have eaten now, and in loyalty to his recent hostess he added the
first lie of his life:

"No, thank you very much, but really I am not in the least hungry. I
had a fine dinner at Granny de Neuville's."

Then, defying the inner pangs of emptiness, he went about his evening
chores.




XIII

The Hostile Spy


"Wonder where Caleb got that big piece of Birch bark," said Yan; "I'd
like some for dishes."

"Guess I know. He was over to Burns's bush. There's none in ours. We
kin git some."

"Will you ask him?"

"Naw, who cares for an old Birch tree. We'll go an' borrow it when he
ain't lookin'."

Yan hesitated.

Sam took the axe. "We'll call this a war party into the enemy's
country. There's sure 'nuff war that-a-way. He's one of Da's
'_friends.'_"

Yan followed, in doubt still as to the strict honesty of the
proceeding.

Over the line they soon found a good-sized canoe Birch, and were busy
whacking away to get off a long roll, when a tall man and a small boy,
apparently attracted by the chopping, came in sight and made toward
them. Sam called under his breath: "It's old Burns. Let's git."

There was no time to save anything but themselves and the axe. They
ran for the boundary fence, while Burns contented himself with
shouting out threats and denunciations. Not that he cared a straw for
the Birch tree--timber had no value in that country--but unfortunately
Raften had quarrelled with all his immediate neighbours, therefore
Burns did his best to make a fearful crime of the petty depredation.

His valiant son, a somewhat smaller boy than either Yan or Sam, came
near enough to the boundary to hurl opprobrious epithets.

"Red-head--red-head! You red-headed thief! Hol' on till my paw gits
hol' o' you--Raften, the Baften, the rick-strick Straften," and others
equally galling and even more exquisitely refined.

"War party escaped and saved their scalps," and Sam placidly laid the
axe in its usual place.

"Nothing lost but honour," added Yan. "Who's the kid?"

"Oh, that's Guy Burns. I know him. He's a mean little cuss, always
sneaking and peeking. Lies like sixty. Got the prize--a big
scrubbing-brush--for being the dirtiest boy in school. We all voted,
and the teacher gave it to him."

Next day the boys made another war party for Birch bark, but had
hardly begun operations when there was an uproar not far away, and a
voice, evidently of a small boy, mouthing it largely, trying to pass
itself off as a man's voice: "Hi, yer the ---- ----. Yer git off my
---- ---- place ---- ----"

"Le's capture the little cuss, Yan."

"An' burn him at the stake with horrid torture," was the rejoinder.

They set out in his direction, but again the appearance of Burns
changed their war-party onslaught into a rapid retreat.

(More opprobrium.)

During the days that followed the boys were often close to the
boundary, but it happened that Burns was working near and Guy had the
quickest of eyes and ears. The little rat seemed ever on the alert. He
soon showed by his long-distance remarks that he knew all about the
boys' pursuits--had doubtless visited the camp in their absence.
Several times they saw him watching them with intense interest when
they were practising with bow and arrow, but he always retreated to a
safe distance when discovered, and then enjoyed himself breathing out
fire and slaughter.

One day the boys came to the camp at an unusual hour. On going into a
near thicket Yan saw a bare foot under some foliage. "Hallo, what's
this?" He stooped down and found a leg to it and at the end of that
Guy Burns.

Up Guy jumped, yelling "Paw--Paw--PAW!" He ran for his life, the
Indians uttering blood-curdlers on his track. But Yan was a runner,
and Guy's podgy legs, even winged by fear, had no chance. He was
seized and dragged howling back to the camp.

"You let me alone, you Sam Raften--now you let me alone!" There was,
however, a striking lack of opprobrium in his remarks now. (Such
delicacy is highly commendable in the very young.)

"First thing is to secure the prisoner, Yan."

Sam produced a cord.

"Pooh," said Yan. "You've got no style about you. Bring me some
Leatherwood."

This was at hand, and in spite of howls and scuffles, Guy was solemnly
tied to a tree--a green one--because, as Yan pointed out, that would
resist the fire better.

The two Warriors now squatted cross-legged by the fire. The older one
lighted a peace-pipe, and they proceeded to discuss the fate of the
unhappy captive.

"Brother," said Yan, with stately gestures, "it is very pleasant to
hear the howls of this miserable paleface." (It was really getting to
be more than they could endure.)

"Ugh--heap good," said the Woodpecker.

"Ye better let me alone. My Paw'll fix you for this, you dirty
cowards," wailed the prisoner, fast losing control of his tongue.

"Ugh! Take um scalp first, burn him after," and Little Beaver made
some expressive signs.

"Wah--bully--me heap wicked," rejoined the Woodpecker, expectorating
on a stone and beginning to whet his jack-knife.

The keen and suggestive "_weet, weet, weet_" of the knife on the
stone smote on Guy's ears and nerves with appalling effect.

"Brother Woodpecker, the spirit of our tribe calls out for the blood
of the victim--all of it."

"Great Chief Woodpecker, you mean," said Sam, aside. "If you don't
call me Chief, I won't call you Chief, that's all."

The Great Woodpecker and Little Beaver now entered the teepee,
repainted each other's faces, adjusted their head-dresses and stepped
out to the execution.

The Woodpecker re-whetted his knife. It did not need it, but he liked
the sound.

Little Beaver now carried a lot of light firewood and arranged it in
front of the prisoner, but Guy's legs were free and he gave it a kick
which sent it all flying. The two War-chiefs leaped aside. "Ugh! Heap
sassy," said the ferocious Woodpecker. "Tie him legs, oh, Brother
Great Chief Little Beaver!"

A new bark strip tied his legs securely to the tree. Then Chief
Woodpecker approached with his knife and said:

"Great Brother Chief Little Beaver, if we scalp him there is only one
scalp, and _you_ will have nothing to show, except you're content
with the wishbone."

Here was a difficulty, artificial yet real, but Yan suggested:

"Great Brother Chief
Red-headed-Woodpecker-Settin'-on-a-Stump-with-his-Tail-Waggling-over-the
Edge, no scalp him; skin his hull head, then each take half skin."

"Wah! Very good, oh Brother Big-Injun-Chief Great-Little-Beaver-
Chaw-a-Tree-Down."

Then the Woodpecker got a piece of charcoal and proceeded in horrid
gravity to mark out on the tow hair of the prisoner just what he
considered a fair division. Little Beaver objected that he was
entitled to an ear and half of the crown, which is the essential part
of the scalp. The Woodpecker pointed out that fortunately the prisoner
had a cow-lick that was practically a second crown. This ought to do
perfectly well for the younger Chief's share. The charcoal lines were
dusted off for a try-over. Both Chiefs got charcoal now and a new
sketch plan was made on Guy's tow top and corrected till it was
accepted by both.

[Illustration: "Ugh! Heap sassy!"]

The victim had really never lost heart till now. His flow of threats
and epithets had been continuous and somewhat tedious. He had
threatened to tell his "paw" and "the teacher," and all the world, but
finally he threatened to tell Mr. Raften. This was the nearest to a
home thrust of any yet, and in some uneasiness the Woodpecker turned
to Little Beaver and said:

"Brother Chief, do you comprehend the language of the blithering
Paleface? What does he say?"

"Ugh, I know not," was the reply. "Maybe he now singeth a death song
in his own tongue."

Guy was not without pluck. He had kept up heart so far believing that
the boys were "foolin'," but when he felt the awful charcoal line
drawn to divide his scalp satisfactorily between these two inhuman,
painted monsters, and when with a final "_weet, weet, weet_"
of the knife on the stone the implacable Woodpecker approached and
grabbed his tow locks in one hand, then he broke down and wept
bitterly.

"Oh, please don't----Oh, Paw! Oh, Maw! Let me go this time an' I'll
never do it again." What he would not do was not specified, but the
evidence of surrender was complete.

"Hold on, Great Brother Chief," said Little Beaver. "It is the custom
of the tribes to release or even to adopt such prisoners as have shown
notable fortitude."

"Showed fortitude enough for six if it's the same thing as yellin',"
said the Woodpecker, dropping into his own vernacular.

"Let us cut his bonds so that he may escape to his own people."

"Thar'd be more style to it if we left him thar overnight an' found
next mornin' he had escaped somehow by himself," said the older Chief.
The victim noted the improvement in his situation and now promised
amid sobs to get them all the Birch bark they wanted--to do anything,
if they would let him go. He would even steal for them the choicest
products of his father's orchard.

Little Beaver drew his knife and cut bond after bond.

Woodpecker got his bow and arrow, remarking "Ugh, heap fun shoot him
runnin'."

The last bark strip was cut. Guy needed no urging. He ran for the
boundary fence in silence till he got over; then finding himself safe
and unpursued, he rilled the air with threats and execrations. No part
of his statement would do to print here.

After such a harrowing experience most boys would have avoided that
swamp, but Guy knew Sam at school as a good-natured fellow. He began
to think he had been unduly scared. He was impelled by several
motives, a burning curiosity being, perhaps the most important. The
result was that one day when the boys came to camp they saw Guy
sneaking off. It was fun to capture him and drag him back. He was very
sullen, and not so noisy as the other time, evidently less scared.
The Chiefs talked of fire and torture and of ducking him in the pond
without getting much response. Then they began to cross-examine the
prisoner. He gave no answer. Why did he come to the camp? What was he
doing--stealing? etc. He only looked sullen.

"Let's blindfold him and drive a Gyascutus down his back," said Yan in
a hollow voice.

"Good idee," agreed Sam, not knowing any more than the prisoner what a
Gyascutus was. Then he added, "just as well be merciful. It'll put him
out o' pain."

It is the unknown that terrifies. The prisoner's soul was touched
again. His mouth was trembling at the corners. He was breaking down
when Yan followed it up: "Then why don't you tell us what you are
doing here?"

He blubbered out, "I want to play Injun, too."

The boys broke down in another way. They had not had time to paint
their faces, so that their expressions were very clear on this
occasion.

Then Little Beaver arose and addressed the Council.

"Great Chiefs of the Sanger Nation: The last time we tortured and
burned to death this prisoner, he created quite an impression. Never
before has one of our prisoners shown so many different kinds of
gifts. I vote to receive him into the Tribe."

The Woodpecker now arose and spoke:

"O wisest Chief but one in this Tribe, that's all right enough, but
you know that no warrior can join us without first showing that he's
good stuff and clear grit, all wool, and a cut above the average
somehow. It hain't never been so. Now he's got to lick some Warrior of
the Tribe. Kin you do that?"

"Nope."

"Or outrun one or outshoot him or something--or give us all a present.
What kin you do?"

"I kin steal watermillyons, an' I kin see farder 'n any boy in school,
an' I kin sneak to beat all creation. I watched you fellers lots of
times from them bushes. I watched you buildin' that thar dam. _I
swum in it 'fore you did_, an' I uster set an' smoke in your teepee
when you wasn't thar, an' I heerd you talk the time you was fixin' up
to steal our Birch bark."

"Don't seem to me like it all proves much _fortitude_. Have you
got any presents for the oldest head Chief of the tribe?"

"I'll get you all the Birch bark you want. I can't git what you cut,
coz me an' Paw burned that so you couldn't git it, but I'll git you
lots more, an' maybe--I'll steal you a chicken once in awhile."

"His intentions are evidently honourable Let's take him in on
sufferance," said Yan.

"All right," replied the head Chief, "he kin come in, but that don't
spile my claim to that left half of his scalp down to that tuft of
yellow moss on the scruff of his neck where the collar has wore off
the dirt. I'm liable to call for it any time, an' the ear goes with
it."

Guy wanted to treat this as a joke, but Sam's glittering eyes and
inscrutable face were centered hungrily on that "yaller tuft" in a way
that gave him the "creeps" again.

"Say, Yan--I mean Great Little Beaver--you know all about it, what
kind o' stunts did they have to do to get into an Injun tribe,
anyhow?"

"Different tribes do different ways, but the Sun Dance and the Fire
Test are the most respectable and both _terribly hard_."

"Well, what did _you_ do?" queried the Great Woodpecker.

"Both," said Yan grinning, as he remembered his sunburnt arms and
shoulders.

"Quite sure?" said the older Chief in a tone of doubt.

"Yes, sir; and I bore it so well that every one there agreed that
I was the best one in the Tribe," said Little Beaver, omitting to
mention the fact that he was the only one in it. "I was unanimously
named 'Howling Sunrise.'"

"Well, I want to be 'Howling Sunrise,'" piped Guy in his shrill voice.

"You? You don't know whether you can pass at all, you Yaller
Mossback."

"Come, Mossy, which will you do?"

Guy's choice was to be sunburnt to the waist. He was burnt and
freckled already to the shoulders, on arms as well as on neck, and his
miserable cotton shirt so barely turned the sun's rays that he was
elsewhere of a deep yellow tinge with an occasional constellation of
freckles. Accordingly he danced about camp all one day with nothing on
but his pants, and, of course, being so seasoned, he did not burn.

As the sun swung low the Chiefs assembled in Council.

The head Chief looked over the new Warrior, shook his head gravely and
said emphatically: "Too green to burn. Your name is Sapwood."

Protest was in vain. "Sappy," he was and had to be until he won a
better name. The peace pipe was smoked all round and he was proclaimed
third War Chief of the Sanger Indians (the word _War_ inserted by
special request).

He was quite the most harmless member of the band and therefore took
unusual pleasure in posing as the possessor of a perennial thirst for
human heart-blood. War-paint was his delight, and with its aid he was
singularly successful in correcting his round and smiling face into
a savage visage of revolting ferocity. Paint was his hobby and his
pride, but alas! how often it happens one's deepest sorrow is in the
midst of one's greatest joy--the deepest lake is the old crater on top
of the highest mountain. Sappy's eyes were _not_ the sinister
black beads of the wily Red-man, but a washed-out blue. His ragged,
tow-coloured locks he could hide under wisps of horsehair, the paint
itself redeemed his freckled skin, but there was no remedy for the
white eyelashes and the pale, piggy, blue eyes. He kept his sorrow to
himself, however, for he knew that if the others got an inkling of his
feelings on the subject his name would have been promptly changed
to "Dolly" or "Birdy," or some other equally horrible and un-Indian
appellation.




XIV

The Quarrel


"Say, Yan, I saw a Blood-Robin this morning."

"That's a new one," said Yan, in a tone of doubt.

"Well, it's the purtiest bird in the country."

"What? A Humming-bird?"

"Na-aw-w-w. They ain't purty, only small."

"Well, that shows what you know," retorted Yan, "'for these exquisite
winged gems are at once the most diminutive and brilliantly coloured
of the whole feathered race.'" This phrase Yan had read some where and
his overapt memory had seized on it.

"Pshaw!" said Sam. "Sounds like a book, but I'll bet I seen hundreds
of Hummin'-birds round the Trumpet-vine and Bee-balm in the garden,
an' they weren't a millionth part as purty as this. Why, it's just as
red as blood, shines like fire and has black wings. The old Witch says
the Indians call it a War-bird 'cause when it flew along the trail
there was sure going to be war, which is like enough, fur they wuz at
it all the hull time."

"Oh, I know," said Yan. "A Scarlet Tanager. Where did you see it?"

"Why, it came from the trees, then alighted on the highest pole of the
teepee."

"Hope there isn't going to be any war there, Sam. I wish I had one to
stuff."

"Tried to get him for you, sonny, spite of the Rules. Could 'a' done
it, too, with a gun. Had a shy at him with an arrow an' I hain't been
bird or arrow since. 'Twas my best arrow, too--old Sure-Death."

"Will ye give me the arrow if I kin find it?" said Guy.

"Now you bet I won't. What good'd that be to me?"

"Will you give me your chewin' gum?"

"No."

"Will you lend it to me?"

"Yep."

"Well, there's your old arrow," said Guy, pulling it from between the
logs where it had fallen. "I seen it go there an' reckoned I'd lay low
an' watch the progress of events, as Yan says," and Guy whinnied.

Early in the morning the Indians in war-paint went off on a prowl.
They carried their bows and arrows, of course, and were fully alert,
studying the trail at intervals and listening for "signs of the
enemy."

Their moccasined feet gave forth no sound, and their keen eyes took in
every leaf that stirred as their sinewy forms glided among the huge
trunks of the primeval vegetation--at least, Yan's note-book said they
did. They certainly went with very little noise, but they disturbed a
small Hawk that flew from a Balsam-fir--a "Fire tree" they now called
it, since they had discovered the wonderful properties of the wood.

Three arrows were shot after it and no harm done. Yan then looked into
the tree and exclaimed:

"A nest."

"Looks to me like a fuzz-ball," said Guy.

"Guess not," replied Yan. "Didn't we scare the Hawk off?"

He was a good climber, quite the best of the three, and dropping his
head-dress, coat, leggings and weapon, she shinned up the Balsam
trunk, utterly regardless of the gum which hung in crystalline drops
or easily burst bark-bladders on every part.

He was no sooner out of sight in the lower branches than Satan entered
into Guy's small heart and prompted him thus:

"Le's play a joke on him an' clear out."

Sam's sense of humour beguiled him. They stuffed Yan's coat and
pants with leaves and rubbish, put them properly together with the
head-dress, then stuck one of his own arrows through the breast of the
coat into the ground and ran away.

Meanwhile Yan reached the top of the tree and found that the nest was
only one of the fuzz-balls so common on Fir trees. He called out to
his comrades but got no reply, so came down. At first the ridiculous
dummy seemed funny, then he found that his coat had been injured and
the arrow broken. He called for his companions, but got no answer;
again and again, without reply. He went to where they all had intended
going, but if they were there they hid from him, and feeling himself
scurvily deserted he went back to camp in no very pleasant humour.
They were not there. He sat by the fire awhile, then, yielding to his
habit of industry, he took off his coat and began to work at the dam.

He became engrossed in his work and did not notice the return of the
runaways till he heard a voice saying "What's this?"

On turning he saw Sam poring over his private note-book and then
beginning to read aloud:

  "Kingbird, fearless crested Kingbird
  Thou art----"

But Yan snatched it out of his hands.

"I'll bet the rest was something about 'Singbird,'" said Sam.

Yan's face was burning with shame and anger. He had a poetic streak,
and was morbidly sensitive about any one seeing its product. The
Kingbird episode of their long evening walk was but one of many
similar. He had learned to delight in these daring attacks of the
intrepid little bird on the Hawks and Crows, and so magnified them
into high heroics until he must try to record them in rhyme. It was
very serious to him, and to have his sentiments afford sport to
the others was more than he could bear. Of course Guy came out and
grinned, taking his cue from Sam. Then he remarked in colourless
tones, as though announcing an item of general news, "They say there
was a fearless-crested Injun shot in the woods to-day."

The morning's desertion left Yan in no mood for chaffing. He rightly
attributed the discourtesy to Guy. Turning savagely toward him he
said, meaningly:

"Now, no more of your sass, you dirty little sneak."

"I ain't talkin' to you," Guy snickered, and followed Sam into the
teepee. There were low voices within for a time. Yan went over toward
the dam and began to plug mud into some possible holes. Presently
there was more snickering in the teepee, then Guy came out alone,
struck a theatrical attitude and began to recite to a tree above Yan's
head:

    "Kingbird, fearless crested Kingbird,
    Thou art but a blooming sing bird--"

But the mud was very handy and Yan hurled a mass that spattered Guy
thoroughly and sent him giggling into the teepee.

"Them's the bow-kays," Sam was heard to say. "Go out an' git some
more; dead sure you deserve 'em. Let _me_ know when the calls for
'author' begin?" Then there was more giggling. Yan was fast losing all
control of himself. He seized a big stick and strode into the teepee,
but Sam lifted the cover of the far side and slipped out. Guy tried to
do the same, but Yan caught him.

"Here, I ain't doin' nothin'."

The answer was a sounding whack which made him wriggle.

"You let me alone, you big coward. I ain't doin' nothin' to you. You
better let me alone. Sam! S-A-M! S-A-A-A-M!!!" as the stick came down
again and again.

"Don't bother me," shouted Sam outside. "I'm writin' poethry--terrible
partic'lar job, poethry. He only means it in kindness, anyhow."

Guy was screaming now and weeping copiously.

"You'll get some more if you give me any more of your lip," said Yan,
and stepped out to meet Sam with the note-book again, apparently
scribbling away. As soon as he saw Yan he stood up, cleared his throat
and began:

    "Kingbird, fearless crested--"

But he did not finish it. Yan struck him a savage blow on the mouth.
Sam sprang back a few steps. Yan seized a large stone.

"Don't you throw that at me," said Sam seriously. Yan sent it with his
deadliest force and aim. Sam dodged it and then in self-defense ran at
Yan and they grappled and fought, while Guy, eager for revenge, rushed
to help Sam, and got in a few trifling blows.

Sam was heavier and stronger than Yan, but Yan had gained wonderfully
since coming to Sanger. He was thin, but wiry, and at school he had
learned the familiar hip-throw that is as old as Cain and Abel. It was
all he did know of wrestling, but now it stood him in good stead. He
was strong with rage, too--and almost as soon as they grappled he
found his chance. Sam's heels flew up and he went sprawling in the
dust. One straight blow on the nose sent Guy off howling, and seeing
Sam once more on his feet, Yan rushed at him again like a wild beast.
A moment later the big boy went tumbling over the bank into the pond.

"_You_ see if I don't get you sent about your business from
here," spluttered Sam, now thoroughly angry. "I'll tell Da you hender
the wurruk." His eyes were full of water and Guy's were full of stars
and of tears. Neither saw the fourth party near; but Yan did. There,
not twenty yards away, stood William Raften, spectator of the whole
affair--an expression not of anger but of infinite sorrow and
disappointment on his face--not because they had quarrelled--no--he
knew boy nature well enough not to give that a thought--but that
_his_ son, older and stronger than the other and backed by
another boy, should be licked in fair fight by a thin, half-invalid.

It was as bitter a pill as he had ever had to swallow. He turned in
silence and disappeared, and never afterward alluded to the matter.


[Illustration: "There stood Raften, spectator of the whole affair."]




XV

The Peace of Minnie


That night the two avoided each other. Yan ate but little, and to Mrs.
Raften's kindly solicitous questions he said he was not feeling well.

After supper they were sitting around the table, the men sleepily
silent, Yan and Sam moodily so. Yan had it all laid out in his mind
now. Sam would make a one-sided report of the affair; Guy would
sustain him. Raften himself was witness of Yan's violence.

The merry days at Sanger were over. He was doomed, and felt like a
condemned felon awaiting the carrying out of the sentence. There was
only one lively member of the group. That was little Minnie. She was
barely three, but a great chatterbox. Like all children, she dearly
loved a "secret," and one of her favourite tricks was to beckon to
some one, laying her pinky finger on her pinker lips, and then when
they stooped she would whisper in their ear, "Don't tell." That was
all. It was her Idea of a "seek-it."

She was playing at her brother's knee. He picked her up and they
whispered to each other, then she scrambled down and went to Yan. He
lifted her with a tenderness that was born of the thought that she
alone loved him now. She beckoned his head down, put her chubby arms
around his neck and whispered, "_Don't tell_," then slid down,
holding her dear innocent little finger warningly before her mouth.

What did it mean? Had Sam told her to do that, or was it a mere
repetition of her old trick? No matter, it brought a rush of warm
feeling into Yan's heart. He coaxed the little cherub back and
whispered, "No, Minnie, I'll never tell." He began to see how crazy he
had been. Sam was such a good fellow, he was very fond of him, and he
wanted to make up; but no--with Sam holding threats of banishment over
him, he could not ask for forgiveness. No, he would do nothing but
wait and see.

He met Mr. Raften again and again that evening and nothing was said.
He slept little that night and was up early. He met Mr. Raften
alone--rather tried to meet him alone. He wanted to have it over with.
He was one of the kind not prayed for in the Litany that crave "sudden
death." But Raften was unchanged. At breakfast Sam was as usual,
except to Yan, and not very different to him. He had a swelling on his
lip that he said he got "tusslin' with the boys somehow or nuther."

After breakfast Raften said:

"Yahn, I want you to come with me to the schoolhouse."

"It's come at last," thought Yan, for the schoolhouse was on the road
to the railroad station. But why did not Raften say "the station"?
He was not a man to mince words. Nothing was said about his handbag
either, and there was no room for it in the buggy anyway.

Raften drove in silence. There was nothing unusual in that. At length
he said:

"Yahn, what's yer father goin' to make of ye?"

"An artist," said Yan, wondering what this had to do with his
dismissal.

"Does an artist hev to be bang-up eddicated?"

"They're all the better for it."

"Av coorse, av coorse, that's what I tell Sam. It's eddication that
counts. Does artists make much money?"

"Yes, some of them. The successful ones sometimes make millions."

"Millions? I guess not. Ain't you stretchin' it just a leetle?"

"No, sir. Turner made a million. Titian lived in a palace, and so did
Raphael."

"Hm. Don't know 'em, but maybe so--maybe so. It's wonderful what
eddication does--that's what I tell Sam."

They now drew near the schoolhouse. It was holiday time, but the door
was open and on the steps were two graybearded men. They nodded to
Raften. These men were the school trustees. One of them was Char-less
Boyle; the other was old Moore, poor as a church mouse, but a genial
soul, and really put on the Board as a lubricant between Boyle and
Raften. Boyle was much the more popular. But Raften was always made
trustee, for the people knew that he would take extremely good care of
funds and school as well as of scholars.

This was a special meeting called to arrange for a new schoolhouse.
Raften got out a lot of papers, including letters from the Department
of Education. The School District had to find half the money; the
Department would supply the other half if all conditions were complied
with. Chief of these, the schoolhouse had to have a given number of
cubic feet of air for each pupil. This was very important, but how
were they to know in advance if they had the minimum and were not
greatly over. It would not do to ask the Department that. They could
not consult the teacher, for he was away now and probably would cheat
them with more air than was needed. It was Raften who brilliantly
solved this frightful mathematical problem and discovered a doughty
champion in the thin, bright-eyed child.

"Yahn," he said, offering him a two-foot rule, "can ye tell me how
many foot of air is in this room for every scholar when the seats is
full?"

"You mean cubic feet?"

"Le's see," and Raften and Moore, after stabbing at the plans with
huge forefingers and fumbling cumberously at the much-pawed documents,
said together: "Yes, it says cubic feet." Yan quickly measured the
length of the room and took the height with the map-lifter. The three
graybeards gazed with awe and admiration as they saw how _sure_
he seemed. He then counted the seats and said, "Do you count the
teacher?" The men discussed this point, then decided, "Maybe ye
better; he uses more wind than any of them. Ha, ha!"

Yan made a few figures on paper, then said, "Twenty feet, rather
better."

"Luk at thot," said Raften in a voice of bullying and triumph; "jest
agrees with the Gover'ment Inspector. I _towld_ ye he could. Now
let's put the new buildin' to test."

More papers were pawed over.

"Yahn, how's this--double as many children, one teacher an' the
buildin' so an' so."

Yan figured a minute and said, "Twenty-five feet each."

"Thar, didn't I tell ye," thundered Raften; "didn't I say that that
dhirty swindler of an architect was playing us into the conthractor's
hands--thought we wuz simple--a put-up job, the hull durn thing. Luk
at it! They're nothing but a gang of thieves."

Yan glanced at the plan that was being flourished in the air.

"Hold on," he said, with an air of authority that he certainly never
before had used to Raften, "there's the lobby and cloak-room to come
off." He subtracted their bulk and found the plan all right--the
Government minimum of air.

Boyle's eye had now just a little gleam of triumphant malice. Raften
seemed actually disappointed not to have found some roguery.

"Well, they're a shcaly lot, anyhow. They'll bear watchin'," he added,
in tones of self-justification.

"Now, Yahn, last year the township was assessed at $265,000 an' we
raised $265 with a school-tax of wan mill on the dollar. This year the
new assessment gives $291,400; how much will the same tax raise if
cost of collecting is same?"

"Two hundred and ninety-one dollars and forty cents," said Yan,
without hesitation--and the three men sat back in their chairs and
gasped.

It was the triumph of his life. Even old Boyle beamed in admiration,
and Raften glowed, feeling that not a little of it belonged to him.

There was something positively pathetic in the simplicity of the three
shrewd men and their abject reverence for the wonderful scholarship of
this raw boy, and not less touching was their absolute faith in his
infallibility as a mathematician.

Raften grinned at him in a peculiar, almost a weak way. Yan had never
seen that expression on his face before, excepting once, and that
was as he shook hands with a noted pugilist just after he had won a
memorable fight. Yan did not know whether he liked it or not.

On the road home Raften talked with unusual freeness about his plans
for his son. (Yan began to realize that the storm had blown over.) He
harped on his favourite theme, "eddication." If Yan had only known,
that was the one word of comfort that Raften found when he saw his big
boy go down: "It's eddication done it. Oh, but he's fine eddicated."
Yan never knew until years afterward, when a grown man and he and
Raften were talking of the old days, that he had been for some time
winning respect from the rough-and-ready farmer, but what finally
raised him to glorious eminence was the hip-throw that he served that
day on Sam.

       *       *       *       *       *

Raften was all right, Yan believed, but what of Sam? They had not
spoken yet. Yan wished to make up, but it grew harder. Sam had got
over his wrath and wanted a chance, but did not know how.

He had just set down his two buckets after feeding the pigs when
Minnie came toddling out.

"Sam! Sam! Take Minnie to 'ide," then seeing Yan she added, "Yan, you
mate a tair, tate hold Sam's hand."

The queen must be obeyed. Sam and Yan sheepishly grasped hands to make
a queen's chair for the little lady. She clutched them both around
the neck and brought their heads close together. They both loved the
pink-and-white baby between them, and both could talk to her though
not to each other. But there is something in touch that begets
comprehension. The situation was becoming ludicrous when Sam suddenly
burst out laughing, then:

"Say, Yan, let's be friends."

"I--I want--to--be," stammered Yan, with tears standing in his eyes.
"I'm awfully sorry. I'll never do it again,"

"Oh, shucks! I don't care," said Sam. "It was all that dirty little
sneak that made the trouble; but never mind, it's all right. The
only thing that worries me is how you sent me flying. I'm bigger an'
stronger an' older, I can heft more an' work harder, but you throwed
me like a bag o' shavings, I only wish I knowed how you done it."






PART III

IN THE WOODS




I

Really in the Woods


"Ye seem to waste a powerful lot o' time goin' up an' down to yer camp;
why don't ye stay thayer altogether?" said Raften one day, in the
colourless style that always worried every one, for they did not know
whether it was really meant or was mere sarcasm.

"Suits me. 'Tain't our choice to come home," replied his son.

"We'd like nothing better than to sleep there, too," said Yan.

"Well, why don't ye? That's what I'd do if I was a boy playin' Injun;
I'd go right in an' play."

"_All right now_," drawled Sam (he always drawled in proportion
to his emphasis), "that suits us; now we're a-going sure."

"All right, bhoys," said Raften; "but mind ye the pigs an' cattle's to
be 'tended to every day."

"Is that what ye call lettin' us camp out--come home to work jest the
same?"

"No, no, William," interposed Mrs. Raften; "that's not fair. That's no
way to give them a holiday. Either do it or don't. Surely one of the
men can do the chores for a month."

"Month--I didn't say nothin' about a month."

"Well, why don't you now?"

"Whoi, a month would land us into harvest," and William had the air of
a man at bay, finding them all against him.

"I'll do Yahn's chores for a fortnight if he'll give me that thayer
pictur he drawed of the place," now came in Michel's voice from
the far end of the table--"except Sunday," he added, remembering a
standing engagement, which promised to result in something of vast
importance to him.

"Wall, I'll take care o' them Sundays," said Si Lee.

"Yer all agin me," grumbled William with comical perplexity. "But
bhoys ought to be bhoys. Ye kin go."

"Whoop!" yelled Sam.

"Hooray!" joined in Yan, with even more interest though with less
unrestraint.

"But howld on, I ain't through--"

"I say, Da, we want your gun. We can't go camping without a gun."

"Howld on, now. Give me a chance to finish. Ye can go fur two weeks,
but ye got to _go_; no snakin' home nights to sleep. Ye can't hev
no matches an' no gun. I won't hev a lot o' children foolin' wid a
didn't-know-it-was-loaded, an' shootin' all the birds and squirrels
an' each other, too. Ye kin hev yer bows an' arrows an' ye ain't
likely to do no harrum. Ye kin hev all the mate an' bread an' stuff
ye want, but ye must cook it yerselves, an' if I see any signs of
settin' the Woods afire I'll be down wid the rawhoide an' cut the
very livers out o' ye."

The rest of the morning was devoted to preparation, Mrs. Raften taking
the leading hand.

"Now, who's to be cook?" she asked.

"Sam"--"Yan"--said the boys in the same breath.

"Hm! You seem in one mind about it. Suppose you take it turn and turn
about--Sam first day."

Then followed instructions for making coffee in the morning, boiling
potatoes, frying bacon. Bread and butter enough they were to take with
them--eggs, too.

"You better come home for milk every day or every other day, at
least," remarked the mother.

"We'd ruther steal it from the cows in the pasture," ventured Sam,
"seems naturaler to me Injun blood."

"If I ketch ye foolin' round the cows or sp'ilin' them the fur'll
fly," growled Raften.

"Well, kin we hook apples and cherries?" and Sam added in explanation;
"they're no good to us unless they're hooked."

"Take all the fruit ye want."

"An' potatoes?"

"Yes."

"An' aigs?"

"Well, if ye don't take more'n ye need."

"An' cakes out of the pantry? Indians do that."

"No; howld on now. That is a good place to draw the line. How are ye
goin' to get yer staff down thayer? It's purty heavy. Ye see thayer
are yer beds an' pots an' pans, as well as food."

"We'll have to take a wagon to the swamp and then carry them on our
backs on the blazed trail," said Sam, and explained "our backs" by
pointing to Michel and Si at work in the yard.

"The road goes as far as the creek," suggested Yan; "let's make a raft
there an' take the lot in it down to the swimming-pond; that'd be real
Injun."

"What'll ye make the raft of?" asked Raften.

"Cedar rails nailed together," answered Sam.

"No nails in mine," objected Yan; "that isn't Injun."

"An' none o' my cedar rails fur that. 'Pears to me it'd be less work
an' more Injun to pack the stuff on yer backs an' no risk o' wettin'
the beds."

So the raft was given up, and the stuff was duly carted to the creek's
side. Raften himself went with it. He was a good deal of a boy at
heart and he was much in sympathy with the plan. His remarks showed
a mixture of interest, and doubt as to the wisdom of letting himself
take so much interest.

"Hayre, load me up," he said, much to the surprise of the boys, as
they came to the creek's edge. His broad shoulders carried half of the
load. The blazed trail was only two hundred yards long, and in two
trips the stuff was all dumped down in front of the teepee.

Sam noted with amusement the unexpected enthusiasm of his father.
"Say, Da, you're just as bad as we are. I believe you'd like to join
us."

"'Moinds me o' airly days here," was the reply, with a wistful note in
his voice. "Many a night me an' Caleb Clark slep' out this way on this
very crick when them fields was solid bush. Do ye know how to make a
bed?"

"Don't know a thing," and Sam winked at Yan. "Show us."

"I'll show ye the rale thing. Where's the axe?"

"Haven't any," said Yan. "There's a big tomahawk and a little
tomahawk."

Raften grinned, took the big "tomahawk" and pointed to a small Balsam
Fir. "Now there's a foine bed-tree."

"Why, that's a fire-tree, too," said Yan, as with two mighty strokes
Raften sent it toppling down, then rapidly trimmed it of its flat
green boughs. A few more strokes brought down a smooth young Ash and
cut it into four pieces, two of them seven feet long and two of them
five feet. Next he cut a White Oak sapling and made four sharp pegs
each two feet long.

"Now, boys, whayer do you want yer bed?" then stopping at a thought
he added, "Maybe ye didn't want me to help--want to do everything
yerselves?"

"Ugh, bully good squaw. Keep it up--wagh!" said his son and heir, as
he calmly sat on a log and wore his most "Injun brave" expression of
haughty approval.

The father turned with an inquiring glance to Yan, who replied:

"We're mighty glad of your help. You see, we don't know how. It seems
to me that I read once the best place in the teepee is opposite the
door and a little to one side. Let's make it here." So Raften placed
the four logs for the sides and ends of the bed and drove in the
ground the four stakes to hold them. Yan brought in several armfuls of
branches, and Raften proceeded to lay them like shingles, beginning at
the head-log of the bed and lapping them very much. It took all the
fir boughs, but when all was done there was a solid mass of soft green
tips a foot thick, all the butts being at the ground.

"Thayer," said Raften, "that's an _Injun feather bed_ an' safe
an' warrum. Slapin' on the ground's terrible dangerous, but that's all
right. Now make your bed on that." Sam and Yan did so, and when it was
finished Raften said: "Now, fetch that little canvas I told yer ma to
put in; that's to fasten to the poles for an inner tent over the bed."

Yan stood still and looked uncomfortable.

"Say, Da, look at Yan. He's got that tired look that he wears when the
rules is broke."

"What's wrong," asked Raften.

"Indians don't have them that I ever heard of," said Little Beaver.

"Yan, did ye iver hear of a teepee linin' or a dew-cloth?"

"Yes," was the answer, in surprise at the unexpected knowledge of the
farmer.

"Do ye know what they're like?"

"No--at least--no--"

"Well, _I do_; that's what it's like. That's something I do know,
fur I seen old Caleb use wan."

"Oh, I remember reading about it now, and they are like that, and it's
on them that the Indians paint their records. Isn't that bully," as he
saw Raften add two long inner stakes which held the dew-cloth like a
canopy.

"Say, Da, I never knew you and Caleb were hunting together. Thought ye
were jest natural born enemies."

"Humph!" grunted Raften. "We wuz chums oncet. Never had no fault to
find till we swapped horses."

"Sorry you ain't now, 'cause he's sure sharp in the woods."

"He shouldn't a-tried to make an orphan out o' you."

"Are you sure he done it?"

"If 'twasn't him I dunno who 'twas. Yan, fetch some of them pine knots
thayer."

Yan went after the knots; it was some yards into the woods, and out
there he was surprised to see a tall man behind a tree. A second's
glance showed it to be Caleb. The Trapper laid one finger on his lips
and shook his head. Yan nodded assent, gathered the knots, and went
back to the camp, where Sam continued:

"You skinned him out of his last cent, old Boyle says."

"An' whoi not, when he throid to shkin me? Before that I was helpin'
him, an' fwhat must he do but be ahfter swappin' horses. He might as
well ast me to play poker and then squeal when I scooped the pile.
Naybours is wan thing an' swappin' horses is another. All's fair in
a horse trade, an' friends didn't orter swap horses widout they kin
stand the shkinnin'. That's a game by itself. Oi would 'a' helped him
jest the same afther that swap an' moore, fur he wuz good stuff, but
he must nades shoot at me that noight as I come home wit the wad, so
av coorse--"

"I wish ye had a Dog now," said the farmer in the new tone of a new
subject; "tramps is a nuisance at all toimes, an' a Dog is the best
med'cine for them. I don't believe old Cap'd stay here; but maybe yer
near enough to the house so they won't bother ye. An' now I guess the
Paleface will go back to the settlement. I promised ma that I'd see
that yer bed wuz all right, an' if ye sleep warrum an' dry an' hev
plenty to ate ye'll take no harrum."

So he turned away, but as he was quitting the clearing he
stopped,--the curious boyish interest was gone from his face, the
geniality from his voice--then in his usual stern tones of command:

[Illustration: "If ye kill any Song-birds, I'll use the rawhoide on
ye."]

"Now, bhoys, ye kin shoot all the Woodchucks yer a mind ter, fur they
are a nuisance in the field. Yer kin kill Hawks an' Crows an' Jays,
fur they kill other birds, an' Rabbits an' Coons, fur they are fair
game; but I don't want to hear of yer killin' any Squirrels or
Chipmunks or Song-birds, an' if ye do I'll stop the hull thing an'
bring ye back to wurruk, an' use the rawhoide on tap o' that."




II

The First Night and Morning


It was a strange new feeling that took possession of the boys as they
saw Mr. Raften go, and when his step actually died away on the blazed
trail they felt that they were really and truly alone in the woods and
camping out. To Yan it was the realization of many dreams, and the
weirdness of it was helped by the remembrance of the tall old man he
had seen watching them from behind the trees. He made an excuse to
wander out there, but of course Caleb was gone.

"Fire up," Sam presently called out. Yan was the chief expert with the
rubbing-sticks, and within a minute or two he had the fire going in
the middle of the teepee and Sam set about preparing the evening meal.
This was supposed to be Buffalo meat and Prairie roots (beef and
potatoes). It was eaten rather quietly, and then the boys sat down on
the opposite sides of the fire. The conversation dragged, then died
a natural death; each was busy with his thoughts, and there was,
moreover, an impressive and repressive something or other all around
them. Not a stillness, for there were many sounds, but beyond those
a sort of voiceless background that showed up all the myriad voices.
Some of these were evidently Bird, some Insect, and a few were
recognized as Tree-frog notes. In the near stream were sounds of
splashing or a little plunge.

"Must be Mushrat," whispered Sam to the unspoken query of his friend.

A loud, far "Oho-oho-oho" was familiar to both as the cry of the
Horned Owl, but a strange long wail rang out from the trees overhead.

"What's that?"

"Don't know," was all they whispered, and both felt very
uncomfortable. The solemnity and mystery of the night was on them
and weighing more heavily with the waning light. The feeling was
oppressive. Neither had courage enough to propose going to the house
or their camping would have ended. Sam arose and stirred the fire,
looked around for more wood, and, seeing none, he grumbled (to
himself) and stepped outside in the darkness to find some. It was not
till long afterward that he admitted having had to _dare_ himself
to step out into the darkness. He brought in some sticks and fastened
the door as tightly as possible. The blazing fire in the teepee was
cheering again. The boys perhaps did not realize that there was
actually a tinge of homesickness in their mood, yet both were thinking
of the comfortable circle at the house. The blazing fire smoked a
little, and Sam said:

"Kin you fix that to draw? You know more about it 'an me."

Yan now forced himself to step outside. The wind was rising and had
changed. He swung the smoke poles till the vent was quartering down,
then hoarsely whispered, "How's that?"

"That's better," was the reply in a similar tone, though there was no
obvious difference yet.

He went inside with nervous haste and fastened up the entrance.

"Let's make a good fire and go to bed."

So they turned in after partly undressing, but not to sleep for hours.
Yan in particular was in a state of nervous excitement. His heart had
beaten violently when he went out that time, and even now that mysterious
dread was on him. The fire was the one comfortable thing. He dozed off,
but started up several times at some slight sound. Once it was a peculiar
"_Tick, tick, scr-a-a-a-a-pe, lick-scra-a-a-a-a-a-pe,_" down the teepee
over his head. "_A Bear_" was his first notion, but on second thoughts
he decided it was only a leaf sliding down the canvas. Later he was
roused by a "_Scratch, scratch, scratch_" close to him. He listened
silently for some time. This was no leaf; it was an _animal!_ Yes,
surely--it was a Mouse. He slapped the canvas violently and "hissed"
till it went away, but as he listened he heard again that peculiar
wail in the tree-tops. It almost made his hair sit up. He reached out
and poked the fire together into a blaze. All was still and in time he
dozed off. Once more he was wide awake in a flash and saw Sam sitting
up in bed listening.

[Illustration: "Where's the axe?"]

"What is it, Sam?" he whispered.

"I dunno. Where's the axe?"

"Right here."

"Let me have it on my side. You kin have the hatchet."

But they dropped off at last and slept soundly till the sun was strong
on the canvas and filling the teepee with a blaze of transmitted
light.

"Woodpecker! Woodpecker! Get up! Get up! Hi-e-yo! Hi-e-yo!
Double-u-double-o-d-bang-fizz-whackety-whack-y-r-chuck-
brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-Woodpecker," shouted Yan to his sleepy chum, quoting
a phrase that Sam when a child had been taught as the true spelling of
his nickname.

Sam woke slowly, but knowing perfectly where he was, and drawled:

"Get up yourself. You're cook to-day, an' I'll take my breakfast in
bed. Seems like my knee is broke out again."

"Oh, get up, and let's have a swim before breakfast."

"No, thank you, I'm too busy just now; 'sides, it's both cold and wet
in that pond, this time o' day."

The morning was fresh and bright; many birds were singing, although it
was July, a Red-eyed Vireo and a Robin were in full song; and as Yan
rose to get the breakfast he wondered why he had been haunted by such
strange feelings the night before. It was incomprehensible now. He
wished that appalling wail in the tree-tops would sound again, so he
might trace it home.

There still were some live coals in the ashes, and in a few minutes he
had a blazing fire, with the pot boiling for coffee, and the bacon in
the fryer singing sweetest music for the hungry.

Sam lay on his back watching his companion and making critical
remarks.

"You may be an A1 cook--at least, I hope you are, but you don't know
much about fire-wood," said he. "Now look at that," as one huge spark
after another exploded from the fire and dropped on the bed and the
teepee cover.

"How can I help it?"

"I'll bet Da's best cow against your jack-knife you got some Ellum or
Hemlock in that fire."

"Well, I have," Yan admitted, with an air of surrender.

"My son," said the Great Chief Woodpecker, "no sparking allowed in the
teepee. Beech, Maple, Hickory or Ash never spark. Pine knots an' roots
don't, but they make smoke like--like--oh--you know. Hemlock, Ellum,
Chestnut, Spruce and Cedar is public sparkers, an' not fit for dacint
teepee sassiety. Big Injun heap hate noisy, crackling fire. Enemy hear
that, an'--an'--it burns his bedclothes."

"All right, Grandpa," and the cook made a mental note, then added in
tones of deadly menace, "You get up now, do you understand!" and he
picked up a bucket of water.

"That might scare the Great Chief Woodpecker if the Great Chief Cook
had a separate bed, but now he smiles kind o' scornful," was all the
satisfaction he got. Then seeing that breakfast really was ready,
Sam scrambled out a few minutes later. The coffee acted like an
elixir--their spirits rose, and before the meal was ended it would
have been hard to find two more hilarious and enthusiastic campers.
Even the vague terrors of the night were now sources of amusement.




III

A Crippled Warrior and the Mud Albums


"Say, Sam; what about Guy? Do we want him?"

"Well, it's just like this. If it was at school or any other place I
wouldn't be bothered with the dirty little cuss, but out in the woods
like this one feels kind o' friendly, an' three's better than two.
Besides, he has been admitted to the Tribe already."

"Yes, that's what I say. Let's give him a _yell_."

So the boys uttered a long yell, produced by alternating the voice
between a high falsetto and a natural tone. This was the "yell," and
had never failed to call Guy forth to join them unless he had some
chore on hand and his "Paw" was too near to prevent his renegading to
the Indians. He soon appeared waving a branch, the established signal
that he came as a friend.

He came very slowly, however, and the boys saw that he limped
frightfully, helping himself along with a stick. He was barefoot, as
usual, but his left foot was swaddled in a bundle of rags.

"Hello, Sappy; what happened? Out to Wounded Knee River?"

"Nope. Struck luck. Paw was bound I'd ride the Horse with the scuffler
all day, but he gee'd too short an' I arranged to tumble off'n him,
an' Paw cuffled me foot some. Law! how I did holler! You should 'a'
heard me."

[Illustration: "He soon appeared, waving a branch."]

"Bet we did," said Sam. "When was it?"

"Yesterday about four."

"Exactly. We heard an awful screech and Yan says, says he, 'There's
the afternoon train at Kelly's Crossing, but ain't she late?'

"'Train!' says I. 'Pooh. I'll bet that's Guy Burns getting a new
licking.'"

"Guess I'll well up now," said War Chief Sapwood, so stripped his
foot, revealing a scratch that would not have cost a thought had he
got it playing ball. He laid the rags away carefully and with them
every trace of the limp, then entered heartily into camp life.

The vast advantage of being astir early now was seen. There were
Squirrels in every other tree, there were birds on every side, and
when they ran to the pond a wild Duck spattered over the surface and
whistled out of sight.

"What you got?" called Sam, as he saw Yan bending eagerly over
something down by the pond.

Yan did not answer, and so Sam went over and saw him studying out a
mark in the mud. He was trying to draw it in his note-book.

"What is it?" repeated Sam.

"Don't know. Too stubby for a Muskrat, too much claw for a Cat, too
small for a Coon, too many toes for a Mink."

"I'll bet it's a Whangerdoodle."

Yan merely chuckled in answer to this.

"Don't you laugh," said the Woodpecker, solemnly, "You'd be more apt
to cry if you seen one walk into the teepee blowing the whistle at the
end of his tail. Then it'd be, 'Oh, Sam, where's the axe?'"

"Tell you what I do believe it is," said Yan, not noticing this
terrifying description; "it's a Skunk."

"Little Beaver, my son! I thought I would tell you, then I sez to
meself, 'No; it's better for him to find out by his lone. Nothing like
a struggle in early life to develop the stuff in a man. It don't do to
help him too much,' sez I, an' so I didn't."

Here Sam condescendingly patted the Second War Chief on the head and
nodded approvingly. Of course he did not know as much about the track
as Yan did, but he prattled on:

"Little Beaver! you're a heap struck on tracks--Ugh--good! You kin
tell by them everything that passes in the night. Wagh! Bully! You're
likely to be the naturalist of our Tribe. But you ain't got gumption.
Now, in this yer hunting-ground of our Tribe there is only one place
where you can see a track, an' that is that same mud-bank; all the
rest is hard or grassy. Now, what I'd do if I was a Track-a-mist, I'd
give the critters lots o' chance to leave tracks. I'd fix it all
round with places so nothing could come or go 'thout givin' us his
impressions of the trip. I'd have one on each end of the trail coming
in, an' one on each side of the creek where it comes in an' goes out."

"Well, Sam, you have a pretty level head. I wonder I didn't think of
that myself."

"My son, the Great Chief does the thinking. It's the rabble--that's
you and Sappy--that does the work."

But all the same he set about it at once with Yan, Sappy following
with a _slight limp now_. They removed the sticks and rubbish for
twenty feet of the trail at each end and sprinkled this with three
or four inches of fine black loam. They cleared off the bank of the
stream at four places, one at each side where it entered the woods,
and one at each side where it went into the Burns's Bush.

"Now," said Sam, "there's what I call visitors' albums like the one
that Phil Leary's nine fatties started when they got their brick house
and their swelled heads, so every one that came in could write their
names an' something about 'this happy, happy, ne'er-to-be-forgotten
visit'--them as could write. Reckon that's where our visitors get the
start, for all of ours kin write that has feet."

"Wonder why I didn't think o' that," said Yan, again and again. "But
there's one thing you forget," he said. "We want one around the
teepee."

This was easily made, as the ground was smooth and bare there, and
Sappy forgot his limp and helped to carry ashes and sand from the
fire-hole. Then planting his broad feet down in the dust, with many
snickers, he left some very interesting tracks.

"I call that a bare track" said Sam.

"Go ahead and draw it," giggled Sappy

"Why not?" and Yan got out his book.

"Bet you can't make it life-size," and Sam glanced from the little
note-book to the vast imprint.

After it was drawn, Sam said, "Guess I'll peel off and show you a
human track." He soon gave an impression of his foot for the artist,
and later Yan added his own; the three were wholly different.

"Seems to me it would be about right, if you had the ways the toes
pointed and the distance apart to show how long the legs wuz."

Again Sam had given Yan a good idea. From that time he noted these two
points and made his records much better.

"Air you fellers roostin' here now?" said Sappy in surprise, as he
noted the bed as well as the pots and pans.

"Yep."

"Well, I wanter, too. If I kin git hol' o' Maw 'thout Paw, it'll be
O.K."

"You let on we don't want you and Paw'll let you come. Tell him
Ole Man Raften ordered you off the place an' he'll fetch you here
himself."

"I guess there's room enough in that bed fur three," remarked the
Third War Chief.

"Well, I guess there ain't," said Woodpecker. "Not when the third one
won first prize for being the dirtiest boy in school. You can get
stuff an' make your own bed, across there on the other side the fire."

"Don't know how."

"We'll show you, only you'll have to go home for blankets an' grub."

The boys soon cut a Fir-bough bed, but Guy put off going home for the
blankets as long as he could. He knew and they suspected that there
was no chance of his rejoining them again that day. So after sundown
he replaced his foot-rags and limped down the trail homeward, saying,
"I'll be back in a few minutes," and the boys knew perfectly well that
he would not.

The evening meal was over; they had sat around wondering if the night
would repeat its terrors. An Owl "Hoo-hoo-ed" in the trees. There was
a pleasing romance in the sound. The boys kept up the fire till about
ten, then retired, determined that they would not be scared this time.
They were barely off to sleep when the most awful outcry arose in the
near woods, like "a Wolf with a sore throat," then the yells of a
human being in distress. Again the boys sat up in fright. There was a
scuffling outside--a loud and terrified "Hi--hi--hi--Sam!" Then an
attack was made on the door. It was torn open, and in tumbled Guy. He
was badly frightened; but when the fire was lighted and he calmed down
a little he confessed that Paw had sent him to bed, but when all was
still he had slipped out the window, carrying the bedclothes. He was
nearly back to the camp when he decided to scare the boys by letting
off a few wolfish howls, but he made himself very scary by doing it,
and when a wild answer came from the tree-tops--a hideous, blaring
screech--he lost all courage, dropped the bedding, and ran toward the
teepee yelling for help.

The boys took torches presently and went nervously in search of the
missing blankets. Guy's bed was made and in an hour they were once
more asleep.

In the morning Sam was up and out first. From the home trail he
suddenly called:

"Yan, come here."

"Do you mean me?" said Little Beaver, with haughty dignity.

"Yep, Great Chief; git a move on you. Hustle out here. Made a find. Do
you see who was visiting us last night while we slept?" and he pointed
to the "album" on the inway. "I hain't shined them shoes every week
with soot off the bottom of the pot without knowin' that one pair of
'em was wore by Ma an' one of 'em by Da. But let's see how far they
come. Why, I orter looked round the teepee before tramplin' round."
They went back, and though the trails were much hidden by their own,
they found enough around the doorway to show that during the night, or
more likely late in the evening, the father and mother had paid them a
visit in secret--had inspected the camp as they slept, but finding no
one stirring and the boys breathing the deep breath of healthy sleep,
they had left them undisturbed.

"Say, boys--I mean Great Chiefs--what we want in camp is a Dog, or one
of these nights some one will steal our teeth out o' our heads an' we
won't know a thing till they come back for the gums. All Injun camps
have Dogs, anyway."

The next morning the Third War Chief was ordered out by the Council,
first to wash himself clean, then to act as cook for the day. He
grumbled as he washed, that "'Twan't no good--he'd be all dirty again
in two minutes," which was not far from the truth. But he went at the
cooking with enthusiasm, which lasted nearly an hour. After this he
did not see any fun in it, and for once he, as well as the others,
began to realize how much was done for them at home. At noon Sappy set
out nothing but dirty dishes, and explained that so long as each got
his own it was all right. His foot was very troublesome at meal time
also. He said it was the moving round when he was hurrying that made
it so hard to bear, but in their expedition with bows and arrows later
on he found complete relief.

"Say, look at the Red-bird," he shouted, as a Tanager flitted onto a
low branch and blazed in the sun. "Bet I hit him first shot!" and he
drew an arrow.

"Here you, Saphead," said Sam, "quit that shooting at little birds.
It's bad medicine. It's against the rules; it brings bad luck--it
brings awful bad luck. I tell you there ain't no worse luck than Da's
raw-hide--that I know."

"Why, what's the good o' playin' Injun if we can't shoot a blame
thing?" protested Sappy.

"You kin shoot Crows an' Jays if you like, an' Woodchucks, too."

"I know where there's a Woodchuck as big as a Bear."

"Ah! What size Bear?"

"Well, it is. You kin laugh all you want to. He has a den in our
clover field, an' he made it so big that the mower dropped in an'
throwed Paw as far as from here to the crick."

"An' the horses, how did they get out?"

"Well! It broke the machine, an' you should have heard Paw swear. My!
but he was a socker. Paw offered me a quarter if I'd kill the old
whaler. I borrowed a steel trap an' set it in the hole, but he'd dig
out under it an' round it every time. I'll bet there ain't anything
smarter'n an old Woodchuck."

"Is he there yet?" asked War Chief No. 2.

"You just bet he is. Why, he has half an acre of clover all eat up."

"Let's try to get him," said Yan. "Can we find him?"

"Well, I should say so. I never come by but I see the old feller. He's
so big he looks like a calf, an' so old an' wicked he's gray-headed."

"Let's have a shot at him," suggested the Woodpecker. "He's fair game.
Maybe your Paw'll give us a quarter each if we kill him."

Guy snickered. "Guess you don't know my Paw," then he giggled
bubblously through his nose again.

Arrived at the edge of the clover, Sam asked, "Where's your
Woodchuck?"

"Right in there."

"I don't see him."

"Well, he's always here."

"Not now, you bet."

"Well, this is the very first time I ever came here and didn't see
him. Oh, I tell you, he's a fright. I'll bet he's a blame sight
bigger'n that stump."

"Well, here's his track, anyway," said Woodpecker, pointing to some
tracks he had just made unseen with his own broad palm.

"Now," said Sappy, in triumph. "Ain't he an old socker?"

"Sure enough. You ain't missed any cows lately, have you? Wonder you
ain't scared to live anyways near!"




IV

A "Massacree" of Palefaces


"Say, fellers, I know where there's a stavin' Birch tree--do you want
any bark?"

"Yes, I want some," said Little Beaver.

"But hold on; I guess we better not, coz it's right on the edge o' our
bush, an' Paw's still at the turnips."

"Now if you want a real war party," said the Head Chief, "let's
massacree the Paleface settlement up the crick and get some milk.
We're just out, and I'd like to see if the place has changed any."

So the boys hid their bows and arrows and headdresses, and, forgetting
to take a pail, they followed in Indian file the blazed trail,
carefully turning in their toes as they went and pointing silently to
the track, making signs of great danger. First they crawled up, under
cover of one of the fences, to the barn. The doors were open and men
working at something. A pig wandered in from the barnyard. Then the
boys heard a sudden scuffle, and a squeal from the pig as it scrambled
out again, and Raften's voice: "Consarn them pigs! Them boys ought to
be here to herd them." This was sufficiently alarming to scare the
Warriors off in great haste. They hid in the huge root-cellar and
there held a council of war.

"Here, Great Chiefs of Sanger," said Yan, "behold I take three straws.
That long one is for the Great Woodpecker, the middle size is for
Little Beaver, and the short thick one with the bump on the end and
a crack on top is Sappy. Now I will stack them up in a bunch and let
them fall, then whichever way they point we must go, for this is Big
Medicine."

So the straws fell. Sam's straw pointed nearly to the house, Yan's a
little to the south of the house, and Guy's right back home.

"Aha, Sappy, you got to go home; the straw says so."

"I ain't goin' to believe no such foolishness."

"It's awful unlucky to go against it."

"I don't care, I ain't goin' back," said Guy doggedly.

"Well, my straw says go to the house; that means go scouting for milk,
I reckon."

Yan's straw pointed toward the garden, and Guy's to the residence and
grounds of "J.G. Burns, Esq."

"I don't care," said Sappy, "I ain't goin'. I am goin' after some
of them cherries in your orchard, an' 'twon't be the first time,
neither."

"We kin meet by the Basswood at the foot of the lane with whatever
we get," said the First War Chief, as he sneaked into the bushes and
crawled through the snake fence and among the nettles and manure
heaps on the north side of the barnyard till he reached the woodshed
adjoining the house. He knew where the men were, and he could guess
where his mother was, but he was worried about the Dog. Old Cap might
be on the front doorstep, or he might be prowling at just the wrong
place for the Injun plan. The woodshed butted on the end of the
kitchen. The milk was kept in the cellar, and one window of the cellar
opened into a dark corner of the woodshed. This was easily raised, and
Sam scrambled down into the cool damp cellar. Long rows of milk pans
were in sight on the shelves. He lifted the cover of the one he knew
to be the last put there and drank a deep, long draught with his mouth
down to it, then licked the cream from his lips and remembered that he
had come without a pail. But he knew where to get one. He went
gently up the stairs, avoiding steps Nos. 1 and 7 because they were
"creakers," as he found out long ago, when he used to 'hook' maple
sugar from the other side of the house. The door at the top was closed
and buttoned, but he put his jack-knife blade through the crack and
turned the button. After listening awhile and hearing no sound in the
kitchen, he gently opened the squeaky old door. There was no one to
be seen but the baby, sound asleep in her cradle. The outer door was
open, but no Dog lying on the step as usual. Over the kitchen was a
garret entered by a trap-door and a ladder. The ladder was up and the
trap-door open, but all was still. Sam stood over the baby, grunted,
"Ugh, Paleface papoose," raised his hand as if wielding a war club,
aimed a deadly blow at the sleeping cherub, then stooped and kissed
her rosy mouth so lightly that her pink fists went up to rub it at
once. He now went to the pantry, took a large pie and a tin pail,
then down into the cellar again. He, at first, merely closed the door
behind him and was leaving it so, but remembered that Minnie might
awaken and toddle around till she might toddle into the cellar,
therefore he turned the button so that just a corner showed over the
crack, closed the door and worked with his knife blade on that corner
till the cellar was made as safe as before. He now escaped with his
pie and pail.

Meanwhile his mother's smiling face beamed out of the dark loft. Then
she came down the ladder. She had seen him come and enter the cellar,
by chance she was in the loft when he reached the kitchen, but she had
kept quiet to enjoy the joke.

Next time the Woodpecker went to the cellar he found a paper with this
on it: "_Notice_ to hostile Injuns--Next time you massacree this
settlement, bring back the pail, and don't leave the covers off the
milk pans."

Yan had followed the fence that ran south of the house. There was
plenty of cover, but he crawled on hands and knees, going right down
on his breast when he came to places more open than the rest. In this
way he had nearly reached the garden when he heard a noise behind and,
turning, he saw Sappy.

"Here, what are you following me for? Your straw pointed the other
way. You ain't playing fair."

"Well, I don't care, I ain't going home. _You_ fixed it up so my
straw would point that way. It ain't fair, an' I won't do it."

"You got no right following me."

"I ain't following you, but you keep going just the place I want to
go. It's you following me, on'y keepin' ahead. I told you I was after
cherries."

"Well, the cherries are that way and I'm going this way, and I don't
want you along."

"You couldn't get me if you wanted me."

"Erh----"

"Erh----"

So Sappy went cherryward and Yan waited awhile, then crawled toward
the fruit garden. After twenty or thirty yards more, he saw a gleam of
red, then under it a bright yellow eye glaring at him. He had chanced
on a hen sitting on her nest. He came nearer, she took alarm and ran
away, not clucking, but cackling loudly. There were a dozen eggs of
two different styles, all bright and clean, and the hen's comb was
bright red. Yan knew hens. This was easy to read: Two stray hens
laying in one nest, and neither of them sitting yet.

"So ho! Straws show which way the hens go."

He gathered up the eggs into his hat and crawled back toward the tree
where all had to meet.

But before he had gone far he heard a loud barking, then yells for
help, and turned in time to see Guy scramble up a tree while Cap, the
old Collie, barked savagely at him from below. Now that he was in no
danger Sappy had the sense to keep quiet. Yan came back as quickly
as possible. The Dog at once recognized and obeyed _him_, but
doubtless was much puzzled to make out why he should be pelted back to
the house when he had so nobly done his duty by the orchard.

"Now, you see, maybe next time you'll do what the medicine straw tells
you. Only for me you'd been caught and fed to the pigs, sure."

"Only for you I wouldn't have come. I wasn't scared of your old Dog,
anyway. Just in about two minutes more I was comin' down to kick the
stuffin' out o' him myself."

"Perhaps you'd like to go back and do it now. I'll soon call him."

"Oh, I hain't got time now, but some other time--Let's find Sam."

So they foregathered at the tree, and laden with their spoils, they
returned gloriously to camp.




V

The Deer Hunt


That evening they had a feast and turned in to sleep at the usual
hour. The night passed without special alarm. Once about daylight
Sappy called them, saying he believed there was a Bear outside, but
he had a trick of grinding his teeth in his sleep, and the other boys
told him that was the Bear he heard.

Yan went around to the mud albums and got some things he could
not make out and a new mark that gave him a sensation. He drew it
carefully. It was evidently the print of a small sharp hoof. This was
what he had hungered for so long. He shouted, "Sam--Sam--Sapwood, come
here; here's a _Deer track_."

The boys shouted back, "Ah, what you givin' us now!" "Call off your
Dog!" and so forth.

But Yan persisted. The boys were so sure it was a trick that they
would not go for some time, then the sun had risen high, shining
straight down on the track instead of across, so it became very dim.
Soon the winds, the birds and the boys themselves helped to wipe it
out. But Yan had his drawing, and persisted in spite of the teasing
that it was true.

At length Guy said aside to Sam: "Seems to me a feller that hunts
tracks so terrible serious ought to see the critter _some time_.
'Tain't right to let him go on sufferin'. _I_ think he ought to
see that Deer. We ought to help him." Here he winked a volley or two
and made signs for Sam to take Yan away.

This was easily done.

"Let's see if your Deer went out by the lower mud album." So they
walked down that way, while Guy got an old piece of sacking, stuffed
it with grass, and, hastily tying it in the form of a Deer's head,
stuck it on a stick. He put in two flat pieces of wood for ears, took
charcoal and made two black spots for eyes and one for a nose, then
around each he drew a ring of blue clay from the bed of the brook.
This soon dried and became white. Guy now set up this head in the
bushes, and when all was ready he ran swiftly and silently through the
wood to find Sam and Yan. He beckoned vigorously and called under
his voice: "Sam--Yan--a Deer! Here's that there Deer that made them
tracks, I believe."

Guy would have failed to convince Yan if Sam had not looked so much
interested. They ran back to the teepee, got their bows and arrows,
then, guided by Guy, who, however, kept back, they crawled to where he
had seen the Deer.

"There--there, now, ain't he a Deer? There--see him move!"

Yan's first feeling was a most exquisite thrill of pleasure. It was
like the uplift of joy he had had the time he got his book, but was
stronger. The savage impulse to kill came quickly, and his bow was in
his hand, but he hesitated.

"Shoot! Shoot!" said Sam and Guy.

Yan wondered why _they_ did not shoot. He turned, and in spite of
his agitation he saw that they were making fun of him. He glanced at
the Deer again, moved up a little closer and saw the trick.

Then they hooted aloud. Yan was a little crestfallen. Oh, it had been
such an exquisite feeling! The drop was long and hard, but he rallied
quickly.

"I'll shoot your Deer for you," he said, and sent an arrow close under
it.

"Well, I kin beat that," and Sam and Guy both fired. Sam's arrow stuck
in the Deer's nose. At that he gave a yell; then all shot till the
head was stuck full of arrows, and they returned to the teepee to
get dinner. They were still chaffing Yan about the Deer when he said
slowly to Guy:

"Generally you are not so smart as you think you are, but this time
you're smarter. You've given me a notion."

So after dinner he got a sack about three feet long and stuffed it
full of dry grass; then he made a small sack about two and a half feet
long and six inches thick, but with an elbow in it and pointed at one
end. This he also stuffed with hay and sewed with a bone needle to the
big sack. Next he cut four sticks of soft pine for legs and put them
into the four corners of the big sack, wrapping them with bits of
sacking to be like the rest. Then he cut two ears out of flat sticks;
painted black eyes and nose with a ring of white around each, just as
Sappy had done, but finally added a black spot on each side of the
body, and around that a broad gray hand. Now he had completed what
every one could see was meant for a Deer.

The other boys helped a little, but not did cease to chaff him.

"Who's to be fooled this time?" asked Guy.

"You," was the answer.

"I'll bet you'll get buck fever the first time you come across it,"
chuckled the Head Chief.

"Maybe I will, but you'll all have a chance. Now you fellers stay here
and I'll hide the Deer. Wait till I come back."

So Yan ran off northward with the dummy, then swung around to the east
and hid it at a place quite out of the line that he first took. He
returned nearly to where he came out, shouting "Ready!"

Then the hunters sallied forth fully armed, and Yan explained: "First
to find it counts ten and has first shot. If he misses, next one can
walk up five steps and shoot; if he misses, next walks five steps
more, and so on until the Deer is hit. Then all the shooting must be
done from the place where that arrow was fired. A shot in the heart
counts ten; in the gray counts five; that's a body wound--and a hit
outside of that counts one--that's a scratch. If the Deer gets away
without a shot in the heart, then I count twenty-five, and the first
one to find it is Deer for next hunt--twelve shots each is the limit."

The two hunters searched about for a long time. Sam made disparaging
remarks about the trail this Deer _did not_ leave, and Guy
sneaked and peaked in every thicket.

Sappy was not an athlete nor an intellectual giant, but his little
piggy eyes were wonderfully sharp and clear.

"I see him," he yelled presently, and pointed out the place
seventy-five yards away where he saw one ear and part of the head.

"Tally ten for Sappy," and Yan marked it down.

Guy was filled with pride at his success. He made elaborate
preparation to shoot, remarking, "I could 'a' seen it twicet as
far--if--if--if--it was--if I had a fair chance."

He drew his bow and left fly. The arrow went little more than half
way. So Sam remarked, "Five steps up I kin go. It don't say nothing
about how long the steps?"

"No."

"Well, here goes," and he began the most wonderful Kangaroo hops that
he could do. He covered about thirty feet in those five steps, and by
swerving a little aside he got a good view of the Deer. He was now
less than sixty-five yards away. He fired and missed. Now Guy had the
right to walk up five steps. He also missed. Finally at thirty yards
Sam sent an arrow close past a tree, deep in the Deer's gray flank.

"Bully shot! Body wound! Count five for the Great War Chief. All
shooting from this spot now," said Yan, "and I don't know why I
shouldn't shoot as well as the others."

"Coz you're the Deer and that'd be suicide," was Sam's objection. "But
it's all right. You won't hit."

The objection was not sustained, and Yan tried his luck also. Two or
three shots in the brown of the Deer's haunch, three or four into the
tree that stood half way between, but nearly in line, a shot or two
into the nose, then "Hooray!" a shot from Guy right into the Deer's
heart put an end to the chase. Now they went up to draw and count the
arrows.

Guy was ahead with a heart shot, ten, a body wound, five, and a
scratch, one, that's sixteen, with ten more for finding it--twenty-six
points. Sam followed with two body wounds and two scratches--twelve
points, and Yan one body wound and five scratches--ten points. The
Deer looked like an old Porcupine when they came up to it, and Guy,
bursting with triumph, looked like a young Emperor.

"I tell you it takes me to larn you fellers to Deer hunt. I'll bet
I'll hit him in the heart first thing next time."

"I'll bet you won't, coz you'll be Deer and can't shoot till we both
have."

Guy thought this the finest game he had ever played. He pranced away
with the dummy on his back, scheming as he went to make a puzzle for
the others. He hid the Deer in a dense thicket east of the camp, then
sneaked around to the west of the camp and yelled "Ready!" They had a
long, tedious search and had to give it up.

"Now what to do? Who counts?" asked the Woodpecker.

"When Deer escapes it counts twenty-five," replied the inventer of the
game; and again Guy was ahead.

"This is the bulliest game I ever seen" was his ecstatic remark.

"Seems to me there's something wrong; that Deer ought to have a
trail."

"That's so," assented Yan. "Wonder if he couldn't drag an old root!"

"If there was snow it'd be easy."

"I'll tell you, Sam; we'll tear up paper and leave a paper trail."

"Now you're talking." So all ran to camp. Every available scrap of
wrapping paper was torn up small and put in a "scent bag."

Since no one found the Deer last time, Guy had the right to hide it
again.

He made a very crooked trail and a very careful hide, so that the boys
nearly walked onto the Deer before they saw it about fifteen yards
away. Sam scored ten for the find. He fired and missed. Yan now
stepped up his five paces and fired so hastily that he also missed.
Guy now had a shot at it at five yards, and, of course, hit the Deer
in the heart. This succession of triumphs swelled his head nearly to
the bursting point, and his boasting passed all bounds. But it now
became clear that there must be a limit to the stepping up. So the new
rule was made, "No stepping up nearer than fifteen paces."

The game grew as they followed it. Its resemblance to real hunting was
very marked. The boys found that they could follow the trail, or sweep
the woods with their eyes as they pleased, and find the game, but the
wisest way was a combination. Yan was too much for the trail, Sam
too much for the general lookout, but Guy seemed always in luck. His
little piglike eyes took in everything, and here at length he found a
department in which he could lead. It looked as though little pig-eyed
Guy was really cut out for a hunter. He made a number of very clever
hidings of the Deer. Once he led the trail to the pond, then, across,
and right opposite he put the Deer in full view, so that they saw it
at once in the open; they were obliged either to shoot across the
pond, or step farther away round the edge, or step into the deep
water, and again Guy scored. It was found necessary to bar hiding the
Deer on a ridge and among stones, because in one case arrows which
missed were lost in the bushes and in the other they were broken.

They played this game so much that they soon found a new difficulty.
The woods were full of paper trails, and there was no means of
deciding which was the old and which the new. This threatened to end
the fun altogether. But Yan hit on the device of a different colour
of paper. This gave them a fresh start, but their supply was limited.
There was paper everywhere in the woods now, and it looked as though
the game was going to kill itself, when old Caleb came to pay them a
visit. He always happened round as though it was an accident, but the
boys were glad to see him, as he usually gave some help.

"Ye got some game, I see," and the old man's eye twinkled as he noted
the dummy, now doing target duty on the forty-yard range. "Looks like
the real thing. Purty good--purty good." He chuckled as he learned
about the Deer hunt, and a sharp observer might have discerned a
slight increase of interest when he found that it was not Sam Raften
that was the "crack" hunter.

"Good fur you, Guy Burns. Me an' your Paw hev hunted Deer together on
this very crik many a time."

When he learned the difficulty about the scent, he said "Hm," and
puffed at his pipe for awhile in silence. Then at length:

"Say, Yan, why don't you and Guy get a bag o' wheat or Injun corn for
scent: that's better than paper, an' what ye lay to-day is all clared
up by the birds and Squirrels by to-morrow."

"Bully!" shouted Sam. (He had not been addressed at all, but he was
not thin-skinned.) Within ten minutes he had organized another "White
massacree"--that is, a raid on the home barn, and in half an hour he
returned with a peck of corn.

"Now, lemme be Deer," said Caleb. "Give me five minutes' start, then
follow as fast as ye like. I'll show ye what a real Deer does."

He strode away bearing the dummy, and in five minutes as they set out
on the trail he came striding back again. Oh, but that seemed a long
run. The boys followed the golden corn trail--a grain every ten feet
was about all they needed now, they were so expert. It was a straight
run for a time, then it circled back till it nearly cut itself again
(at X, page 298). The boys thought it did so, and claimed the right to
know, as on a real Deer trail you could tell. So Caleb said, "No, it
don't cut the old trail." Where, then, did it go? After beating about,
Sam said that the trail looked powerful heavy, like it might be
double.

"Bet I know," said Guy. "He's doubled back," which was exactly what he
did do, though Caleb gave no sign. Yan looked back on the trail and
found where the new one had forked. Guy gave no heed to the ground
once he knew the general directions. He ran ahead (toward Y), so did
Sam, but Guy glanced back to Yan on the trail to make sure of the
line.

They had not gone far beyond the nearest bushes before Yan found
another quirk in the trail. It doubled back at Z. He unravelled the
double, glanced around, and at O he plainly saw the Deer lying on
its side in the grass. He let off a triumphant yell, "Yi, yi, yi,
_Deer_!" and the others came running back just in time to see Yan
send an arrow straight into its heart.




VI

WAR BONNET, TEEPEE AND COUPS


Forty yards and first shot. Well, that's what the Injuns would call a
'_grand coup_,' and Caleb's face wore the same pleasant look as
when he made the fire with rubbing-sticks.

"What's a _grand coup?_" asked Little Beaver.

"Oh, I suppose it's a big deed. The Injuns call a great feat a
'_coup_,' an' an extra big one a '_grand coup_.' Sounds like
French, an' maybe 'tis, but the Injuns says it. They had a regular way
of counting their _coup_, and for each they had the right to an
Eagle feather in their bonnet, with a red tuft of hair on the end for
the extra good ones. At least, they used to. I reckon now they're
forgetting it all, and any buck Injun wears just any feather he can
steal and stick in his head."

"What do you think of our head-dresses?" Yan ventured.

'Hm! You ain't never seen a real one or you wouldn't go at them that
way at all. First place, the feathers should all be white with black
tips, an' fastened not solid like that, but loose on a cap of soft
leather. Each feather, you see, has a leather loop lashed on the quill
end for a lace to run through and hold it to the cap, an' then a
string running through the middle of each feather to hold it--just so.
Then there are ways of marking each feather to show how it was got.
I mind once I was out on a war party with a lot of Santees--that's a
brand of Sioux--an' we done a lot o' sneaking an' stealing an' scalped
some of the enemy. Then we set out for home, and when we was still
about thirty miles away we sent on an Injun telegram of good luck. The
leader of our crowd set fire to the grass after he had sent two men
half a mile away on each side to do the same thing, an' up went three
big smokes. There is always some one watching round an Injun village,
an' you bet when they seen them three smokes they knowed that we wuz
a-coming back with scalps.

"The hull Council come out to meet us, but not too reckless, coz this
might have been the trick of enemies to surprise them.

"Well, when we got there, maybe there wasn't a racket. You see, we
didn't lose a man, and we brung in a hundred horses and seven scalps.
Our leader never said a word to the crowd, but went right up to the
Council teepee. He walked in--we followed. There was the Head Chief
an' all the Council settin' smoking. Our leader give the '_How_,
an' then we all '_Howed_.' Then we sat an' smoked, an' the Chief
called on our leader for an account of the little trip. He stood up
an' made a speech.

"'Great Chief and Council of my Tribe,' says he. 'After we left the
village and the men had purified themselves, we travelled seven days
and came to the Little Muddy River. There we found the track of a
travelling band of Arapaho. In two days we found their camp, but
they were too strong for us, so we hid till night; then I went alone
into their camp and found that some of them were going off on a hunt
next day. As I left I met a lone warrior coming in. I killed him
with my knife. For that I claim a _coup_; and I scalped him--for
that I claim another _coup_; an' before I killed him I slapped his
face with my hand--for this I claim a _grand coup_; and I brought
his horse away with me--for that I claim another _coup_. Is it not
so,' sez he, turning to us, and we all yelled '_How! How! How!_'
For this fellow, 'Whooping Crane,' was awful good stuff. Then the
Council agreed that he should wear three Eagle feathers, the first
for killing and scalping the enemy in his own camp--that was a _grand
coup_, and the feather had a tuft of red hair on it an' a red spot on
the web. The next feather was for slapping the feller's face first,
which, of course, made it more risky. This Eagle feather had a red
tuft on top an' a red hand on the web; the one for stealing the horse
had a horseshoe, but no tuft, coz it wasn't counted A1.

"Then the other Injuns made their claims, an' we all got some kind of
honours. I mind one feller was allowed to drag a Fox tail at each
heel when he danced, an' another had ten horseshoe marks on an Eagle
feather for stealing ten horses, an' I tell you them Injuns were
prouder of them feathers than a general would be of his medals."


[Illustration: The War Bonnet (See description below)]

    THE INDIAN WAR BONNET--HOW TO MAKE IT

    1. The plain white Goose or Turkey feather.

    2. The same, with tip dyed black or painted with indelible ink.

    3. The same, showing ruff of white down lashed on with wax end.

    4. The same, showing leather loop lashed on for the holding lace.

    5. The same, viewed edge on.

    6. The same, with a red flannel cover sewn and lashed on the
    quill. This is a '_coup_ feather.'

    7. The same, with a tuft of red horsehair lashed on the top to
    mark a '_grand coup_' and (_a_) a thread through the
    middle of the rib to hold feather in proper place. This feather is
    marked with the symbol of a _grand coup_ in target shooting.
    This symbol may be drawn on an oval piece of paper gummed on the
    top of the feather.

    8. The tip of a feather showing how the red horsehair tuft is
    lashed on with fine waxed thread.

    9. The groundwork of the war bonnet made of any soft leather,
    (_a_) a broad band to go round the head, laced at the joint
    or seam behind; (_b_) a broad tail behind as long as needed
    to hold all the wearer's feathers; (_c_) two leather thongs
    or straps over the top; (_d_) leather string to tie under the
    chin; (_e_) the buttons, conchas or side ornaments of shells,
    silver, horn or wooden discs, even small mirrors and circles
    of beadwork were used, and sometimes the conchas were left out
    altogether; they may have the owner's totem on them, usually a
    bunch of ermine tails hung from each side of the bonnet just below
    the concha. A bunch of horsehair will answer as well; (_hh_)
    the holes in the leather for holding the lace of the feather; 24
    feathers are needed for the full bonnet, without the tail, so they
    are put less than an inch apart; (_iii_) the lacing holes on
    the tail: this is as long as the wearer's feathers call for; some
    never have any tail.

    10. Side view of the leather framework, showing a pattern
    sometimes used to decorate the front.

    11, 12 and 13. Beadwork designs for front band of bonnet; all have
    white grounds. No. 11 (Arapaho) has green band at top and bottom
    with red zigzag. No. 12 (Ogallala) has blue band at top and
    bottom, red triangles; the concha is blue with three white bars
    and is cut off from the band by a red bar. No. 13 (Sioux) has
    narrow band above and broad band below blue, the triangle red, and
    the two little stars blue with yellow centre.

    14. The bases of three feathers, showing how the lace comes out
    of the cap leather, through the eye or loop on the bottom of the
    quill, and in again.

    15. The completed bonnet, showing how the feathers of the crown
    should spread out, also showing the thread that passes through the
    middle of each feather on inner side to hold it in place; another
    thread passes from the point where the two straps (_c_ in 9)
    join, then down through each feather in the tail.

    The Indians now often use the crown of a soft felt hat for the
    basis of a war bonnet.

    N.B. A much easier way to mark the feather is to stick on it near
    the top an oval of white paper and on this draw the symbol with
    waterproof ink.


[Illustration: Grand Coup for taking Scalp in Enemy's Camp G.C. for
slapping his face Coup for stealing his Horse]

"My, I wish I could go out there and be with those fellows," and Yan
sighed as he compared his commonplace lot with all this romantic
splendour.

"Guess you'd soon get sick of it. I know _I_ did," was the
answer; "forever shooting and killing, never at peace, never more than
three meals ahead of starvation and just as often three meals behind.
No, siree, no more for me."

"I'd just like to see you start in horse-stealing for honours round
here," observed Sam, "though I know who'd get the feathers if it was
chicken stealing."

"Say, Caleb," said Guy, who, being friendly and of the country, never
thought of calling the old man "Mr. Clark," "didn't they give feathers
for good Deer-hunting? I'll bet I could lick any of them at it if I
had a gun."

"Didn't you hear me say first thing that that there shot o' Yan's
should score a '_grand coup_'?"

"Oh, shucks! I kin lick Yan any time; that was just a chance shot.
I'll bet if you give feathers for Deer-hunting I'll get them all."

"We'll take you up on that," said the oldest Chief, but the next
interrupted:

"Say, boys, we want to play Injun properly. Let's get Mr. Clark to
show us how to make a real war bonnet. Then we'll wear only what
feathers we win."

"Ye mean by scalping the Whites an' horse-stealing?"

"Oh, no; there's lots of things we can do--best runner, best Deer
hunter, best swimmer, best shot with bow and arrows."

"All right." So they set about questioning Caleb. He soon showed them
how to put a war bonnet together, using, in spite of Yan's misgivings,
the crown of an old felt hat for the ground work and white goose
quills trimmed and dyed black at the tips for Eagle feathers. But when
it came to the deeds that were to be rewarded, each one had his own
ideas.

"If Sappy will go to the orchard and pick a peck of cherries without
old Cap gettin' _him_, I'll give him a feather with all sorts of
fixin's on it," suggested Sam.

"Well, I'll bet you can't get a chicken out of our barn 'thout our Dog
gettin' _you_, Mr. Smarty."

"Pooh! I ain't stealing chickens. Do you take me for a nigger? I'm a
noble Red-man and Head Chief at that, I want you to know, an' I've a
notion to collect that scalp you're wearin' now. You know it belongs
to me and Yan," and he sidled over, rolling his eye and working his
fingers in a way that upset Guy's composure. "And I tell you a feller
with one foot in the grave should have his thoughts on seriouser
things than chicken-stealing. This yere morbid cravin' for excitement
is rooinin' all the young fellers nowadays."

Yan happened to glance at Caleb. He was gazing off at nothing, but
there was a twinkle in his eye that Yan never before saw there.

"Let's go to the teepee. It's too hot out here. Come in, won't you,
Mr. Clark?"

"Hm. 'Tain't much cooler in here, even if it is shady," remarked the
old Trapper. "Ye ought to lift one side of the canvas and get some
air."

"Why, did the real Injuns do that?"

"I should say they did. There ain't any way they didn't turn and twist
the teepee for comfort. That's what makes it so good. Ye kin live in
it forty below zero an' fifty 'bove suffocation an' still be happy.
It's the changeablest kind of a layout for livin' in. Real hot weather
the thing looks like a spider with skirts on and held high, an' I tell
you ye got to know the weather for a teepee. Many a hot night on the
plains I've been woke up by hearing 'Tap-tap-tap' all around me in the
still black night and wondered why all the squaws was working, but
they was up to drop the cover and drive all the pegs deeper, an'
within a half hour there never failed to come up a big storm. How they
knew it was a-comin' I never could tell. One old woman said a Coyote
told her, an' maybe that's true, for they do change their song for
trouble ahead; another said it was the flowers lookin' queer at
sundown, an' another had a bad dream. Maybe they're all true; it comes
o' watchin' little things."

"Do they never get fooled?" asked Little Beaver

'Oncet in awhile, but not near as often as a White-man would.

"I mind once seeing an artist chap, one of them there portygraf
takers. He come out to the village with a machine an' took some of the
little teepees. Then I said, 'Why don't you get Bull-calf's squaw to
put up their big teepee? I tell you that's a howler.' So off he goes,
and after dickering awhile he got the squaw to put it up for three
dollars. You bet it was a stunner, sure--all painted red, with green
an' yaller--animals an' birds an' scalps galore. It made that
feller's eyes bug out to see it. He started in to make some
portygrafs, then was taking another by hand, so as to get the colours,
an' I bet it would have crowded him to do it, but jest when he got
a-going the old squaw yelled to the other--the Chief hed two of
them--an' lighted out to take down that there teepee. That artist he
hollered to stop, said he had hired it to stay up an' a bargain was a
bargain. But the old squaw she jest kept on a-jabberin' an' pintin' at
the west. Pretty soon they had the hull thing down and rolled up an'
that artist a-cussin' like a cow-puncher. Well, I mind it was a fine
day, but awful hot, an' before five minutes there come a little dark
cloud in the west, then in ten minutes come a-whoopin' a regular small
cyclone, an' it went through that village and wrecked all the teepees
of any size. That red one would surely have gone only for that smart
old squaw."

[Illustration: Bull-Calf's Teepee.]

Under Caleb's directions the breezy side of the cover was now raised a
little, and the shady side much more. This changed the teepee from a
stifling hothouse into a cool, breezy shade.

"An' when ye want to know which way is the wind, if it's light, ye wet
your finger so, an' hold it up. The windy side feels cool at once, and
by that ye can set your smoke-flaps."

"I want to know about war bonnets," Yan now put in. "I mean about
things to do to wear feathers--that is, things _we_ can do."

"Ye kin have races, an' swimmin' an bownarrer shootin'. I should say
if you kin send one o' them arrers two hundred yards that would kill a
Buffalo at twenty feet. I'd think that was pretty good. Yes, I'd call
that way up."

"What--a _grand coup?_"

"Yes, I reckon; an' if you fell short on'y fifty yards that'd still
kill a Deer, an' we could call that a _coup_. If," continued
Caleb, "you kin hit that old gunny-sack buck plunk in the heart at
fifty yards first shot I'd call that away up; an' if you hit it at
seventy-five yards in the heart no matter how many tries, I'd call
you a shot. If you kin hit a nine-inch bull's-eye two out of three at
forty yards every time an' no fluke, you'd hold your own among Injuns
though I must say they don't go in much for shooting at a target. They
shoot at 'most anything they see in the woods. I've seen the little
copper-coloured kids shooting away at butterflies. Then they have
matches--they try who can have most arrers in the air at one time. To
have five in the air at once is considered good. It means powerful
fast work and far shooting. You got to hold a bunch handy in the left
hand fur that. The most I ever seen one man have up at once was eight.
That was reckoned 'big medicine,' an' any one that can keep up seven
is considered swell."

"Do you know any other things besides bows and arrows that would do?"

"I think that a rubbing-stick fire ought to count," interrupted Sam.
"I want that in coz Guy can't do it. Any one who kin do it at all gets
a feather, an' any one who kin do it in one minute gets a swagger
feather, or whatever you call it; that takes care of Yan and me an'
leaves Guy out in the cold."

"I'll bet I kin hunt Deer all round you both, I kin."

"Oh, shut up, Sappy; we're tired a-hearing about your Deer hunting.
We're going to abolish that game." Then Sam continued, apparently
addressing Caleb, "Do you know any Injun games?"

But Caleb took no notice.

Presently Yan said, "Don't the Injuns play games, Mr. Clark?

"Well, yes, I kin show you two Injun games that will test your
eyesight."

"I bet I kin beat any one at it," Guy made haste to tell. "Why, I seen
that Deer before Yan could--"

"Oh, shut up, Guy," Yan now exclaimed. A peculiar
sound--"_Wheet--wheet--wheet_"--made Sappy turn. He saw Sam with
an immense knife, whetting it most vigorously and casting a hungry,
fishy glance from time to time to the "yaller moss-tuft" on Guy's neck.

[Illustration: Archery Coup Feathers Their Special Marks Target Coup
Feather Long-distance Five-in-air-at once]

"Time has came," he said to nobody in particular.

"You better let me alone," whined Guy, for that horrible
"_wheet--wheet_" jarred his nerves somehow. He looked toward Yan,
and seeing, as he thought, the suggestion of a smile, he felt
more comfortable, but a glance at Sam dispelled his comfort; the
Woodpecker's face was absolutely inscrutable and perfectly demoniac
with paint.

"Why don't you whet up, Little Beaver? Don't you want your share?"
asked the Head Chief through his teeth.

"I vote we let him wear it till he brags again about his Deer-hunting.
Then off she comes to the bone," was the reply. "Tell us about the
Injun game, Mr. Clark."

"I pretty near forget it now, but le's see. They make two squares on
the ground or on two skins; each one is cut up in twenty-five smaller
squares with lines like that. Then they have, say, ten rings an' ten
nuts or pebbles. One player takes five rings an' five nuts an' sets
them around on the squares of one set, an' don't let the other see
till all is ready; then the other turns an' looks at it while some one
else sings a little song that one of the boys turned into:

  "'Ki yi ya--ki yi yee,
  You think yer smart as ye kin be,
  You think yer awful quick to see
  But yer not too quick for me,
  Ki yi ya--ki yi yee.'

"Then the first square is covered with a basket or anything and the
second player must cover the other skin with counters just the same
from memory. For every counter he gets on the right square he counts
one, and loses one for each on the wrong square."

"I'll bet I kin----" Guy began, but Sam's hand gripped his moss-tuft.

"Here, you let me alone. I ain't bragging. I'm only telling the simple
truth."

"Ugh! Better tell some simple lies, then--much safer," said the Great
Woodpecker, with horrid calm and meaning. "If ever I lift that scalp
you'll catch cold and die, do ye know it?"

Again Yan could see that Caleb had to look far away to avoid taking an
apparent interest.

"There's another game. I don't know as it's Injun, but it's the kind
o' game where an Injun _could_ win. They first made two six-inch
squares of white wood or card, then on each they made rings like a
target or squares like the quicksight game, or else two Rabbits the
same on each. One feller takes six spots of black, half an inch
across, an' sticks them on one, scattering anyhow, an' sets it up a
hundred yards off; another feller takes same number of spots an' the
other Rabbit an' walks up till he can see to fix his Rabbit the same.
If he kin do it at seventy-five yards he's a swell; if he kin do it at
sixty yards he's away up, but less than fifty yards is no good. I seen
the boys have lots o' fun out o' it. They try to fool each other every
way, putting one spot right on another or leaving some off. It's a
sure 'nough test of good eyes."

"I'll bet--" began Sappy again, but a loud savage "Grrrr" from
Sam, who knew perfectly well what was coming, put a stop to the bet,
whatever it was.

"There was two other Injun tests of eyes that I mind now. Some old
Buck would show the youngsters the Pleiades--them's the little stars
that the Injuns call the Bunch--an' ask 'How many kin you see?' Some
could sho'ly see five or six an' some could make out seven. Them as
sees seven is mighty well off for eyes. Ye can't see the Pleiades
now--they belong to the winter nights; but you kin see the Dipper the
hull year round, turning about the North Star. The Injuns call this
the 'Broken Back,' an' I've heard the old fellers ask the boys: 'You
see the Old Squaw--that's the star, second from the end, the one at
the bend of the handle--well, she has a papoose on her back. Kin you
see the papoose?' an' sure enough, when my eyes was real good I could
see the little baby star tucked in by the big un. It's a mighty good
test of eyes if you kin see that."

"Eh--" began Guy.

But "Grrrrrrrrr" from Sam stopped him in time. Again Caleb's eyes
wandered afar. Then he stepped out of the teepee and Yan heard him
mutter, "Consarn that whelp, he makes me laugh spite o' myself."
He went off a little way into the woods and presently called "Yan!
Guy! Come here." All three ran out. "Talking about eyes, what's
that?" An opening in the foliage gave a glimpse of the distant
Burns's clover field. "Looks like a small Bear."

"Woodchuck! That's our Woodchuck! That's the ole sinner that throwed
Paw off'n the mower. Where's my bone-arrer?" and Guy went for his
weapons.

The boys ran for the fence of the clover field, going more cautiously
as they came near. Still the old Woodchuck heard something and sat up
erect on his haunches. He was a monster, and out on the smooth clover
field he did look like a very small Bear. His chestnut breast was
curiously relieved by his unusually gray back and head.

"Paw says it's his sins as turned his head gray. He's a hoary headed
sinner, an' he ain't repented o' none o' them so far, but _I'm_
after him now."

"Hold on! Start even!" said Sam, seeing that Guy was prepared to
shoot.

So all drew together, standing in a row like an old picture of the
battle of Crecy. The arrows scattered about the Woodchuck. Most went
much too far, none went near because he was closer than they had
supposed, but he scuttled away into his hole, there, no doubt, to plan
a new trap for the man with the mower.




VII

Campercraft


"How'd you sleep, Sam?"

"Didn't sleep a durn bit."

"Neither did I. I was shivering all night. I got up an' put the spare
blanket on, but it didn't do any good."

"Wonder if there was a chills-and-fever fog or something?"

"How'd you find it, Sappy?"

"All right."

"Didn't smell any fog?"

"Nope."

The next night it was even worse. Guy slept placidly, if noisily, but
Sam and Yan tumbled about and shivered for hours. In the morning at
dawn Sam sat up.

"Well, I tell you this is no joke. Fun's fun, but if I am going to
have the shivers every night I'm going home while I'm able."

Yan said nothing. He was very glum. He felt much as Sam did, but was
less ready to give up the outing.

Their blues were nearly dispelled when the warm sun came up, but still
they dreaded the coming night.

"Wonder what it is," said Little Beaver.

"'Pears to me powerful like chills and fever and then again it don't.
Maybe we drink too much swamp water. I believe we're p'isoned with
Guy's cooking."

"More like getting scurvy from too much meat. Let's ask Caleb."

Caleb came around that afternoon or they would have gone after him.
He heard Yan's story in silence, then, "Have ye sunned your blankets
sense ye came?"

"No."

Caleb went into the teepee, felt the blankets, then grunted: "H-m!
Jest so. They're nigh soppin'. You turn in night after night an' sweat
an' sweat in them blankets an' wonder why they're damp. Hain't you
seen your ma air the blankets every day at home? Every Injun squaw
knows that much, an' every other day at least she gives the blankets a
sun roast for three hours in the middle of the day, or, failing that,
dries them at the fire. Dry out your blankets and you won't have no
more chills."

The boys set about it at once, and that night they experienced again
the sweet, warm sleep of healthy youth.

There was another lesson they had to learn in campercraft. The
Mosquitoes were always more or less of a plague. At night they forced
the boys into the teepee, but they soon learned to smudge the insects
with a wad of green grass on the hot fire. This they would throw on
at sundown, then go outside, closing the teepee tight and eat supper
around the cooking fire. After that was over they would cautiously
open the teepee to find the grass all gone and the fire low, a dense
cloud of smoke still in the upper part, but below it clear air.
They would then brush off the Mosquitoes that had alighted on their
clothes, crawl into the lodge and close the door tight. Not a Mosquito
was left alive in it, and the smoke hanging about the smoke-vent was
enough to keep them from coming in, and so they slept in peace. Thus
they could baffle the worst pest of the woods. But there was yet
another destroyer of comfort by day, and this was the Blue-bottle
flies. There seemed more of them as time went on, and they laid masses
of yellowish eggs on anything that smelled like meat or corruption.
They buzzed about the table and got into the dishes; their dead,
drowned and mangled bodies were polluting all the food, till Caleb
remarked during one of his ever-increasing visits: "It's your own
fault. Look at all the filth ye leave scattered about."

There was no blinking the fact; for fifty feet around the teepee the
ground was strewn with scraps of paper, tins and food. To one side
was a mass of potato peelings, bones, fish-scales and filth, and
everywhere were the buzzing flies, to be plagues all day, till at
sundown the Mosquitoes relieved them and took the night shift of the
office of torment.

"I want to learn, especially if it's Injun," said Little Beaver. "What
had we best do?"

"Wall, first ye could move camp; second, ye could clean this."

As there was no other available camp ground they had no choice, and
Yan said with energy: "Boys, we got to clean this and keep it clean,
too. We'll dig a hole for everything that won't burn."

So Yan seized the spade and began to dig in the bushes not far from
the teepee. Sam and Guy were gradually drawn in. They began gathering
all the rubbish and threw it into the hole. As they tumbled in bones,
tins and scraps of bread Yan said: "I just hate to see that bread go
in. It doesn't seem right when there's so many living things would be
glad to get it."

At this, Caleb, who was sitting on a log placidly smoking, said:

"Now, if ye want to be real Injun, ye gather all the eatables ye don't
want--meat, bread and anything, an' every day put it on some
high place. Most generally the Injuns has a rock--they call it
_Wakan_; that means sacred medicine--an' there they leave scraps
of food to please the good spirits. Av coorse it's the birds and
Squirrels gets it all; but the Injun is content as long as it's gone,
an' if ye argy with them that 'tain't the spirits gets it, but the
birds, they say: 'That doesn't matter. The birds couldn't get it if
the spirits didn't want them to have it,' or maybe the birds took it
to carry to the spirits!"

Then the Grand Council went out in a body to seek the _Wakan
Rock_. They found a good one in the open part of the woods, and it
became a daily duty of one to carry the remnants of food to the rock.
They were probably less acceptable to the wood creatures than they
would have been half a year later, but they soon found that there were
many birds glad to eat at the _Wakan_; and moreover, that before
long there was a trail from the brook, only twenty-five yards away,
that told of four-foots also enjoying the bounty of the good spirits.

Within three days of this the plague of Bluebottles was over, and the
boys realized that, judging by its effects, the keeping of a dirty
camp is a crime.

One other thing old Caleb insisted on: "Yan," said he, "you didn't
ought to drink that creek water now; it ain't hardly runnin'. The sun
hez it het up, an' it's gettin' too crawly to be healthy."

"Well, what are we going to do?" said Sam, though he might as well
have addressed the brook itself.

"What can we do, Mr. Clark?"

"Dig a well!"

"Phew! We're out here for fun!" was Sam's reply.

"Dig an Injun well," Caleb said. "Half an hour will do it. Here, I'll
show you."

He took the spade and, seeking a dry spot, about twenty feet from the
upper end of the pond he dug a hole some two feet square. By the time
he was down three feet the water was oozing in fast. He got it down
about four feet and then had to stop, on account of inflow. He took a
bucket and bailed the muddy stuff out right to the bottom, and let it
fill up to be again bailed out. After three bailings the water came in
cold, sweet, and pure as crystal.

"There," said he, "that water is from your pond, but it is filtered
through twenty feet of earth and sand. That's the way to get cool,
pure water out of the dirtiest of swamps. That's an Injun well."




VIII

The Indian Drum

  "Oh, that hair of horse and skin of sheep should
  Have such power to move the souls of men."


"If you were real Injun you'd make a drum of that," said Caleb to
Yan, as they came to a Basswood blown over by a recent storm and now
showing its weakness, for it was quite hollow--a mere shell.

"How do they do it? I want to know how."

"Get me the axe."

Yan ran for the axe. Caleb cut out a straight unbroken section about
two feet long. This they carried to camp.

"Coorse ye know," said Caleb, "ye can't have a drum without skins for
heads."

"What kind of skins?"

"Oh, Horse, Dog, Cow, Calf--'most any kind that's strong enough."

"I got a Calfskin in our barn, an' I know where there's another in the
shed, but it's all chawed up with Rats. Them's mine. I killed them
Calves. Paw give me the skins for killin' an' skinnin' them. Oh, you
jest ought to see me kill a Calf--"

Guy was going off into one of his autopanegyrics when Sam who was now
being rubbed on a sore place, gave a "Whoop!" and grabbed the tow-tuft
with a jerk that sent the Third War Chief sprawling and ended the
panegyric in the usual volley of "you-let-me-'lones."

"Oh, quit, Sam," objected Little Beaver. "You can't stop a Dog
barking. It's his nature." Then to Guy: "Never mind, Guy; you are not
hurt. I'll bet you can beat him hunting Deer, and you can see twice as
far as he can."

"Yes, I kin; that's what makes him so mad. I'll bet I kin see three
times as far--maybe five times," was the answer in injured tones.

"Go on now, Guy, and get the skins--that is, if you want a drum for
the war dance. You're the only one in the crowd that's man enough to
make the raise of a hide," and fired by this flattery, Guy sped away.

Meanwhile Caleb worked on the hollow log. He trimmed off the bark,
then with the hatchet he cleared out all the punk and splinters
inside. He made a fire on the ground in the middle of the drum-log as
it stood on end, and watching carefully, he lifted it off from time to
time and chopped away all the charred parts, smoothing and trimming
till he had the log down thin and smooth within and without. They
heard Guy shouting soon after he left. They thought him near at hand,
but he did not come. Trimming the drum-log took a couple of hours, and
still Guy did not return. The remark from Caleb, "'Bout ready for the
skins now!" called from Sam the explanation, "Guess Old Man Burns
snapped him up and put him to weeding the garden. Probably that was
him we heard gettin' licked."

"Old Man Burns" was a poor and shiftless character, a thin,
stoop-shouldered man. He was only thirty-five years of age, but, being
married, that was enough to secure for him the title "Old Man." In
Sanger, if Tom Nolan was a bachelor at eighty years of age he would
still be Tom Nolan, "wan of the bhoys," but if he married at twenty he
at once became "Old Man Nolan."

Mrs. Burns had produced the usual string of tow-tops, but several had
died, the charitable neighbours said of starvation, leaving Guy, the
eldest, his mother's darling, then a gap and four little girls, four,
three, two and one years of age. She was a fat, fair, easy-going
person, with a general sense of antagonism to her husband, who was,
of course, the natural enemy of the children. Jim Burns cherished the
ideal of bringing "that boy" up right--that is, getting all the work
he could out of him--and Guy clung to his own ideal of doing as little
work as possible. In this clash of ideals Guy's mother was his firm,
though more or less secret, ally. He was without fault in her eyes:
all that he did was right. His freckled visage and pudgy face were
types of noble beauty, standards of comeliness and human excellence;
his ways were ways of pleasantness and all his paths were peace;
Margat Burns was sure of it.

Burns had a good deal of natural affection, but he was erratic;
sometimes he would flog Guy mercilessly for nothing, and again laugh
at some serious misdeed, so that the boy never knew just what to
expect, and kept on the safe side by avoiding his "Paw" as much as
possible. His visits to the camp had been thoroughly disapproved,
partly because it was on Old Man Raften's land and partly because it
enabled Guy to dodge the chores. Burns had been quite violent about it
once or twice, but Mrs. Burns had the great advantage of persistence,
and like the steady strain of the skilful angler on the slender line,
it wins in the end against the erratic violence of the strongest
trout. She had managed then that Guy should join the Injun camp, and
gloried in his outrageously exaggerated accounts of how he could lick
them all at anything, "though they wuz so much older'n bigger'n he
wuz."

But on this day he was fallen in hard luck. His father saw him coming,
met him with a "gad" and lashed him furiously. Knowing perfectly well
that the flogging would not stop till the proper effect was produced,
and that was to be gauged by the racket, Guy yelled his loudest. This
was the uproar the boys had heard.

"Now, ye idle young scut! I'll larn ye to go round leaving bars down.
You go an' tend to your work." So instead of hiking back gloriously
laden with Calfskins, Guy was sent to ignominious and un-Injun toil in
the garden.

Soon he heard his mother: "Guysie, Guysie." He dropped his hoe and
walked to the kitchen.

"Where you goin'?" roared his father from afar. "Go back and mind your
work."

"Maw wants me. She called me."

"You mind your work. Don't you dar' on your life to go thayer."

But Guy took no notice and walked on to his mother. He knew that at
this post-thrashing stage of wrath his father was mouthy and harmless,
and soon he was happy eating a huge piece of bread and jam.

"Poor dear, you must be hungry, an' your Paw was so mean to
you. There, now, don't cry," for Guy began to weep again at the
recollection of his wrongs. Then she whispered confidentially: "Paw's
going to Downey's this afternoon, an' you can slip away as soon as
he's gone, an' if you work well before that he won't be so awful mad
after you come back. But be sure you don't let down the bars, coz if
the pig was to get in Raften's woods dear knows what."

This was the reason of Guy's delay. He did not return to camp with the
skins till late that day. As soon as he was gone, his foolish, doting
mother, already crushed with the burden of the house, left everything
and hoed two or three extra rows of cabbages, so "Paw" should find a
great showing of work when he came back.

The Calfskins were hard as tin and, of course, had the hair on.

Caleb remarked, "It'll take two or three days to get them right," and
buried them in a marshy, muddy pool in the full sunlight. "The warmer
the better."

Three days later he took them out. Instead of being thin, hard,
yellow, semi-transparent, they now were much thicker, densely white,
and soft as silk. The hair was easily scraped off and the two pieces
were pronounced all right for drumheads.

Caleb washed them thoroughly in warm water, with soap to clear off
the grease, scraping them on both sides with a blunt knife; then he
straightened the outer edge of the largest, and cut a thin strip
round and round it till he had some sixty feet of rawhide line, about
three-quarters of an inch wide. This he twisted, rolled and stretched
until it was nearly round, then he cut from the remainder a circular
piece thirty inches across, and a second from the "unchawed" part of
the other skin. He laid these one on the other, and with the sharp
point of a knife he made a row of holes in both, one inch from the
edge and two inches apart. Then he set one skin on the ground, the
drum-log on that and the other skin on the top, and bound them
together with the long lace, running it from hole No. 1 on the top
to No. 2 on the bottom, then to No. 3 on the top, and No. 4 on the
bottom, and so on twice around, till every hole had a lace through it
and the crossing laces made a diamond pattern all around. At first
this was done loosely, but tightened up when once around, and
finally both the drum-heads were drawn tense. To the surprise of all,
Guy promptly took possession of the finished drum. "Them's my
Calfskins," which, of course, was true.

And Caleb said, with a twinkle in his eye, "The wood _seems_ to
go with the skins."

A drumstick of wood, with a piece of sacking lashed on to soften it,
was made, and Guy was disgusted to find how little sound the drum gave
out.

"'Bout like pounding a fur cap with a lamb's tail," Sam thought.

"You hang that up in the shade to dry and you'll find a change," said
the Trapper.

It was quite curious to note the effect of the drying as the hours
went by. The drum seemed to be wracking and straining itself in
the agony of effort, and slight noises came from it at times. When
perfectly dry the semi-transparency of the rawhide came back, and the
sound now was one to thrill the Red-man's heart.

Caleb taught them a little Indian war chant, and they danced round
to it as he drummed and sang, till their savage instincts seemed to
revive. But above all it worked on Yan. As he pranced around in step
his whole nature seemed to respond; he felt himself a part of that
dance. It was in himself; it thrilled him through and through and sent
his blood exulting. He would gladly have given up all the White-man's
"glorious gains" to live with the feeling called up by that Indian
drum.




IX

The Cat And The Skunk


Sam was away on a "massacree" to get some bread. Guy had been trapped
by his natural enemy and was serving a term of hard labour in the
garden; so Yan was alone in camp. He went around the various mud
albums, but discovered nothing new, except the fact that tracks were
getting more numerous. There were small Skunk and Mink tracks with the
large ones now. As he came by the brush fence at the end of the blazed
trail he saw a dainty little Yellow Warbler feeding a great lubberly
young Cow-bird that, evidently, it had brought up. He had often heard
that the Cow-bird habitually "plays Cuckoo" and leaves its egg in the
nest of another bird, but this was the first time he had actually
seen anything of it with his own eyes. As he watched the awkward
mud-coloured Cow-bird flutter its ungrown wings and beg help from the
brilliant little Warbler, less than half its size, he wondered whether
the fond mother really was fooled into thinking it her own young, or
whether she did it simply out of compassion for the foundling. He now
turned down creek to the lower mud album, and was puzzled by a new
track like this.

[Illustration: Track of small mud turtle]

He sketched it, but before the drawing was done it dawned on him that
this must be the track of a young Mud-turtle. He also saw a lot of
very familiar tracks, not a few being those of the common Cat, and he
wondered why they should be about so much and yet so rarely seen. Of
course the animals were chiefly nocturnal, but the boys were partly
so, and always on the ground now, so that explanation was not
satisfactory. He lay down on his breast at the edge of the brook,
which had here cut in a channel with steep clay walls six feet high
and twenty feet apart. The stream was very small now--a mere thread
of water zigzagging over the level muddy floor of the "canon," as Yan
loved to call it. A broad, muddy margin at each side of the water made
a fine place of record for the travelling Four-foots, and tracks new
and old were there in abundance.

The herbage on the bank was very rank and full of noisy Grasshoppers
and Crickets. Great masses of orange Jewelweed on one side were
variegated with some wonderful Cardinal flowers. Yan viewed all this
with placid content. He knew their names now, and thus they were
transferred from the list of tantalizing mysteries to that of engaging
and wonderful friends. As he lay there on his breast his thoughts
wandered back to the days when he did not know the names of any
flowers or birds--when all was strange and he alone in his hunger to
know them, and Bonnerton came back to him with new, strange force of
reminder. His father and mother, his brother and schoolmates were
there. It seemed like a bygone existence, though only two months ago.
He had written his mother to tell of his arrival, and once since to
say that he was well. He had received a kind letter from his mother,
with a scripture text or two, and a postscript from his father with
some sound advice and more scripture texts. Since then he had not
written. He could not comprehend how he could so completely drift
away, and yet clearly it was because he had found here in Sanger the
well for which he had thirsted.

As he lay there thinking, a slight movement nearer the creek caught
his eye. A large Basswood had been blown down. Like most of its kind,
it was hollow. Its trunk was buried in the tangle of rank summer
growth, but a branch had been broken off and left a hole in the main
stem. In the black cavern of the hole there appeared a head with
shining green eyes, then out there glided onto the log a common gray
Cat. She sat there in the sunshine, licked her paws, dressed her fur
generally, stretched her claws and legs after the manner of her kind,
walked to the end of the log, then down the easy slope to the bottom
of the canon. Here she took a drink, daintily shook the water from
her paws, and set the hair just right with a stroke. Then to Yan's
amusement she examined all the tracks much as he had done, though it
seemed clear that her nose, not her eyes, was judge. She walked down
stream, leaving some very fine impressions that Yan mentally resolved
to have in his note-book, very soon suddenly stopped, looked upward
and around, a living picture of elegance, sleekness and grace, with
eyes of green fire then deliberately leaped from the creek bed to the
tangle of the bank and disappeared.

This seemed a very commonplace happening, but the fact of a house Cat
taking to the woods lent her unusual interest, and Yan felt much of
the thrill that a truly wild animal would have given him, and had gone
far enough in art to find exquisite pleasure in the series of pictures
the Cat had presented to his eyes.

He lay there for some minutes expecting her to reappear; then far up
the creek he heard slight rattling of the gravel. He turned and saw,
not the Cat, but a very different and somewhat larger animal. Low,
thick-set, jet black, with white marks and an immense bushy tail--Yan
recognized the Skunk at once, although he had never before met a wild
one in daylight. It came at a deliberate waddle, nosing this way and
that. It rounded the bend and was nearly opposite Yan, when three
little Skunks of this year's brood came toddling after the mother.

The old one examined the tracks much as the Cat had done, and Yan got
a singular sense of brotherhood in seeing the wild things at his own
study.

Then the old Skunk came to the fresh tracks of the Cat and paused so
long to smell them that the three young ones came up and joined in.
One of the young ones went to the bank where the Cat came down. As it
blew its little nose over the fresh scent, the old Skunk waddled to
the place, became quite interested, then climbed the bank. The little
ones followed in a disjointed procession, varied by one of them
tumbling backward from the steep trail.

The old Skunk reached the top of the bank, then mounted the log and
followed unerringly the Cat's back trail to the hole in the trunk.
Down this she peered a minute, then, sniffing, walked in, till nothing
could be seen but her tail. Now Yan heard loud, shrill mewing from the
log, "_Mew, mew, m-e-u-w, m-e-e-u-w,"_ and the old Skunk came
backing out, holding a small gray Kitten.

The little thing mewed and spit energetically, holding on to the
inside of the log. But the old Skunk was too strong--she dragged it
out. Then holding it down with both paws, she got a good firm grip
of its neck and turned to carry it down to the bed of the brook.
The Kitten struggled vigorously, and at last got its claws into the
Skunk's eye and gave such a wrench that the ill-smelling villain
loosened its hold a little and so gave the Kitten another chance to
squeal, which it did with a will, putting all its strength into a
succession of heartrending _mee-ow--mee-ows._ Yan's heart
was touched. He was about to dash to the rescue when there was a
scrambling in the far grass, a rush of gray, and the Cat--the old
mother Cat was on the scene, a picture of demon rage, eyes ablaze, fur
erect, ears back. With the spring of a Deer and the courage of a Lion
she made for the black murderer. Eye could not follow the flashings
of her paws. The Skunk recoiled and stared stupidly, but not long;
nothing was "long" about it. Her every superb muscle was tingling with
force and mad with hate as the mother Cat closed like a swooping
Falcon. The Skunk had no time to aim that dreadful gun, and in the
excitement fired a volley of the deadly musky spray backward,
drenching her own young as they huddled in the trail.

[Illustration: "The Cat and the Skunk"]

Tooth and claw and deadly grip--the old Cat raged and tore, the black
fur flew in every direction, and the Skunk for once lost her head and
fired random shots of choking spray that drenched herself as well as
the Cat. The Skunk's head and neck were terribly torn. The air was
suffocating with the poisonous musk. The Skunk was desperately wounded
and threw herself backward into the water. Blinded and choking, though
scarcely bleeding, the old Cat would have followed even there, but the
Kitten, wedged under the log, mewed piteously and stayed the mother's
fury. She dragged it out unharmed but drenched with musk and carried
it quickly to the den in the hollow log, then came out again and stood
erect, blinking her blazing eyes--for they were burning with the
spray--lashing her tail, the image of a Tigress eager to fight either
part or all the world for the little ones she nursed. But the old
Skunk had had more than enough. She scrambled off down the canon. Her
three young ones had tumbled over each other to get out of the way
when they got that first accidental charge of their mother's battery.
She waddled away, leaving a trail of blood and smell, and they waddled
after, leaving an odour just as strong.

[Illustration: "The old Cat raged and tore"]

Yan was thrilled by the desperate fight of the heroic old Cat. Her
whole race went up higher in his esteem that day; and the fact that
the house Cat really could take to the woods and there maintain
herself by hunting was all that was needed to give her a place in his
list of animal heroes.

Pussy walked uneasily up and down the log, from the hole where the
Kittens were to the end overlooking the canon. She blinked very hard
and was evidently suffering severely, but Yan knew quite well that
there was no animal on earth big enough or strong enough to frighten
that Cat from her post at the door of her home. There is no courage
more indomitable than that of a mother Cat who is guarding her young.

At length all danger of attack seemed over, and Pussy, shaking her
paws and wiping her eyes, glided into her hole. Oh, what a shock it
must have been to the poor Kittens, though partly prepared by their
brother's unsavoury coming back. There was the mother, whose return
had always been heralded by a delicious odour of fresh Mouse or bird,
interwoven with a loving and friendly odour of Cat, that was in itself
a promise of happiness. Scent is the main thing in Cat life, and now
the hole was darkened by a creature that was rank with every nasal
guarantee of deadly enmity. Little wonder that they all fled puffing
and spitting to the dark corners. It was a hard case; all the little
stomachs were upset for a long time. They could do nothing but make
the best of it and get used to it. The den never smelt any better
while they were there, and even after they grew up and lived elsewhere
many storms passed overhead before the last of the Skunk smell left
them.




X

THE ADVENTURES OF A SQUIRREL FAMILY


"I'll bet I kin make a Woodpecker come out of that hole," said
Sapwood, one day as the three Red-men proceeded, bow in hand, through
a far corner of Burns's Bush. He pointed to a hole in the top of a
tall dead stub, then going near he struck the stub a couple of heavy
blows with a pole. To the surprise of all there flew out, not a
Woodpecker, but a Flying Squirrel. It scrambled to the top of the
stub, looked this way and that, then spread its legs, wings and tail
and sailed downward, to rise slightly at the end of its flight against
a tree some twenty feet away. Yan bounded to catch it. His fingers
clutched on its furry back, but he got such a cut from its sharp teeth
that he was glad to let it go. It scrambled up the far side of the
trunk and soon was lost in the branches.

Guy was quite satisfied that he had carried out his promise of
bringing a Woodpecker out of the hole, "For ain't a Flying Squirrel a
kind of Woodpecker?" he argued. He was, in consequence, very "cocky"
the rest of the day, proposing to produce a Squirrel whenever they
came to a stub with a hole in it, and at length, after many failures,
had the satisfaction of driving a belated Woodpecker out of its nest.

The plan was evidently a good one for discovering living creatures.
Yan promptly adopted it, and picking up a big stick as they drew near
another stub with holes, he gave three or four heavy thumps. A Red
Squirrel scrambled out of a lower hole and hid in an upper one;
another sharp blow made it pop out and jump to the top of the stub,
but eventually back into the lower hole.

The boys became much excited. They hammered the stub now without
making the Squirrel reappear.

"Let's cut it down," said Little Beaver.

"Show you a better trick than that," replied the Woodpecker. He looked
about and got a pole some twenty feet long. This he placed against a
rough place high up on the stub and gave it a violent push, watching
carefully the head of the stub. Yes! It swayed just a little. Sam
repeated the push, careful to keep time with the stub and push always
just as it began to swing away from him. The other boys took hold of
the pole and all pushed together, as Sam called, "Now--now--now--"

A single push of 300 or 400 pounds would scarcely have moved the stub,
but these little fifty-pound pushes at just the right time made it
give more and more, and after three or four minutes the roots, that
had begun to crack, gave way with a craunching sound, and down crashed
the great stub. Its hollow top struck across a fallen log and burst
open in a shower of dust, splinters and rotten wood. The boys rushed
to the spot to catch the Squirrel, if possible. It did not scramble
out as they expected it would, even when they turned over the
fragments. They found the front of the stub with the old Woodpecker
hole in it, and under that was a mass of finely shredded cedar bark,
evidently a nest. Yan eagerly turned it over, and there lay the Red
Squirrel, quite still and unharmed apparently, but at the end of her
nose was a single drop of blood. Close beside her were five little
Squirrels, evidently a very late brood, for they were naked, blind and
helpless. One of them had at its nose a drop of blood and it lay as
still as the mother. At first the hunters thought the old one was
playing 'Possum, but the stiffness of death soon set in.

Now the boys felt very guilty and sorry. By thoughtlessly giving way
to their hunting instincts they had killed a harmless mother Squirrel
in the act of protecting her young, and the surviving little ones had
no prospect but starvation.

Yan had been the most active in the chase, and now was far more
conscience-stricken than either of the others.

"What are we going to do with them?" asked the Woodpecker. "They are
too young to be raised for pets."

"Better drown them and be done with them," suggested Sappy, recalling
the last honours of several broods of Kittens at home.

"I wish we could find another Squirrel's nest to put them into,"
said Little Beaver remorsefully, and then as he looked at the four
squirming, helpless things in his hand the tears of repentance filled
his eyes. "We might as well kill them and end their misery. We can't
find another Squirrel's nest so late as this." But after a little
silence he added, "I know some one who will put them out of pain. She
may as well have them. She'd get them anyway, and that's the old gray
wild Cat. Let's put them in her nest when she's away."

This seemed a reasonable, simple and merciful way of getting rid of
the orphans. So the boys made for the "canon" part of the brook. At
one time of the afternoon the sun shone so as to show plainly all that
was in the hole. The boys went very quietly to Yan's lookout bank, and
seeing that only the Kittens were there, Yan crept across and dropped
the young Squirrels into the nest, then went back to his friends to
watch, like Miriam, the fate of the foundlings.

They had a full hour to wait for the old Cat, and as they were very
still all that time they were rewarded with a sight of many pretty
wild things.

A Humming-bird "boomed" into view and hung in a misty globe of wings
before one Jewel-flower after another.

"Say, Beaver, you said Humming-birds was something or other awful
beautiful," said Woodpecker, pointing to the dull grayish-green bird
before them.

"And I say so yet. Look at that," as, with a turn in the air, the
hanging Hummer changed its jet-black throat to flame and scarlet that
silenced the critic.

After the Humming-bird went away a Field-mouse was seen for a moment
dodging about in the grass, and shortly afterward a Shrew-mole, not so
big as the Mouse, was seen in hot pursuit on its trail.

Later a short-legged brown animal, as big as a Rabbit, came nosing up
the dry but shady bed of the brook, and as it went beneath them Yan
recognized by its little Beaver-like head and scaly oar-shaped tail
that it was a Muskrat, apparently seeking for water.

There was plenty in the swimming-pond yet, and the boys realized that
this had become a gathering place for those wild things that were
"drowned out by the drought," as Sam put it.

The Muskrat had not gone more than twenty minutes before another
deep-brown animal appeared. "Another Muskrat; must be a meeting,"
whispered the Woodpecker. But this one, coming close, proved a very
different creature. As long as a Cat, but lower, with broad, flat head
and white chin and throat, short legs, in shape a huge Weasel, there
was no mistaking it; this was a Mink, the deadly enemy of the Muskrat,
and now on the track of its prey. It rapidly turned the corner, nosing
the trail like a Hound. If it overtook the Muskrat before it got to
the pond there would be a tragedy. If the Muskrat reached the deep
water it might possibly escape. But just as sure as the pond became a
gathering place for Muskrats it would also become a gathering place
for Mink.

Not five minutes had gone since the Mink went by before a silent gray
form flashed upon the log opposite. Oh, how sleek and elegant it
looked! What perfection of grace she seemed after the waddling, hunchy
Muskrat and the quick but lumbering Mink. There is nothing more supple
and elegant than a fine Cat, and men of science the world over have
taken the Cat as the standard of perfection in animal make-up. Pussy
glanced about for danger. She had brought no bird or Mouse, for the
Kittens were yet too young for such training. The boys watched her
with intensest interest. She glided along the log to the hole--the
Skunk-smelling hole--uttered her low "_purrow, purrow_," that
always sets the hungry Kittens agog, and was curling in around them,
when she discovered the pink Squirrel-babies among her own. She
stopped licking the nearest Kitten, stared at a young Squirrel, and
smelled it. Yan wondered what help that could be when everything
smelled of Skunk. But it did seem to decide her, for she licked it
a moment, then lying down she gathered them all in her four-legged
embrace, turned her chin up in the air and Sappy announced gleefully
that "The little Squirrels were feeding with the little Cats."

The boys waited a while longer, then having made sure that the little
Squirrels had been lovingly adopted by their natural enemy, they went
quietly back to camp. Now they found a daily pleasure in watching the
mixed family.

And here it may be as well to give the rest of the story. The old gray
Cat faithfully and lovingly nursed those foundlings. They seemed
to prosper, and Yan, recalling that he had heard of a Cat actually
raising a brood of Rabbits, looked forward to the day when Kittens
and Squirrelets should romp together in the sun. After a week Sappy
maintained that only one Squirrel appeared at the breakfast table, and
in ten days none. Yan stole over to the log and learned the truth. All
four were dead in the bottom of the nest. There was nothing to tell
why. The old Cat had done her best--had been all love and tenderness,
but evidently had not been able to carry out her motherly intentions.

[Illustration: Four tiny headstones]




XI

HOW TO SEE THE WOODFOLK


The days went merrily now, beginning each morning with a hunting of
the Woodchuck. The boys were on terms of friendship with the woods
that contrasted strongly with the feelings of that first night.

This was the thought in Sam's mind when he one day remarked, "Say,
Yan, do you remember the night I slep' with the axe an' you with the
hatchet?"

The Indians had learned to meet and conquer all the petty annoyances
of camp life, and so forgot them. Their daily routine was simplified.
Their acquaintance with woodfolk and wood-ways had grown so fast
that now they were truly at home. The ringing "_Kow_--_Kow_--_Kow_"
in the tree-tops was no longer a mere wandering voice, but the
summer song of the Black-billed Cuckoo. The loud, rattling, birdy
whistle in the low trees during dull weather Yan had traced to the
Tree-frog.

The long-drawn "_Pee--re-e-e-e"_ of hot afternoons was the call
of the Wood-peewee, and a vast number of mysterious squeaks and
warbles had been traced home to the ever-bright and mischievous Blue
Jay.

The nesting season was now over, as well as the song season; the birds,
therefore, were less to be seen, but the drying of the streams had
concentrated much life in the swimming-pond. The fence had been
arranged so that the cattle could reach one end of it to drink, but
the lower parts were safe from their clumsy feet, and wild life of
many kinds were there in abundance.

The Muskrats were to be seen every evening in the calm pool, and fish
in great numbers were in the deeper parts. Though they were small,
the boys found them so numerous and so ready to bite that fishing was
great sport, and more than one good meal they had from that pond.
There were things of interest discovered daily. In a neighbour's field
Sam had found another Woodchuck with a "price on his head." Rabbits
began to come about the camp at night, especially when the moon was
bright, and frequently of late they had heard a querulous, yelping
bark that Caleb said was made by a Fox "probably that old rascal that
lives in Callahan's woods."

The gray Cat in the log was always interesting. The boys went very
regularly to watch from a distance, but for good reasons did not go
near. First, they did not wish to scare her; second, they knew that if
they went too close she would not hesitate to attack them.

One of the important lessons that Yan learned was this. In the woods
_the silent watcher sees the most_. The great difficulty in
watching was how to pass the time, and the solution was to sit and
_sketch._ Reading would have done had books been at hand, but
not so well as sketching, because then the eyes are fixed on the book
instead of the woods, and the turning of the white pages is apt to
alarm the shy woodfolk.

Thus Yan put in many hours making drawings of things about the edge of
the pond.

[Illustration: Kingfisher]

As he sat one day in stillness a Minnow leaped from the water and
caught a Fly. Almost immediately a Kingfisher that had been shooting
past stopped in air, hovered, and darting downward, came up with a
Minnow in his beak, flew to a branch to swallow its prey, but no
sooner got there when a Chicken-hawk flashed out of a thick tree,
struck the Kingfisher with both feet and bore him downward to the
bank--in a moment would have killed him, but a long, brown creature
rushed from a hole in the bank and sprang on the struggling pair, to
change the scene in a twinkling. The three stragglers separated, the
Hawk to the left, the Kingfisher to the right, the Minnow flopped back
into the pool, and the Mink was left on the shore with a mouthful of
feathers and looking very foolish. As it stood shaking the down from
its nose another animal came gliding down through the shrubbery to the
shore--the old gray Cat. The Mink wrinkled up his nose, showed two
rows of sharp teeth and snarled in a furious manner, but backed off
under a lot of roots. The Cat laid down her ears; the fur on her back
and tail stood up; she crouched a little, her eyes blazing and the end
of her tail twitching, and she answered the snarling of the Mink with
a low growl. The Mink was evidently threatening "sudden death" to the
Cat, and Pussy evidently was not much impressed. The Mink retreated
farther under the roots till nothing but the green glowing of his eyes
was to be seen, and the Cat, coming forward, walked calmly by his
hiding-place and went about her business. The snarling under the root
died away, and as soon as his enemy was gone the Mink dived into the
water and was lost to view.

These two animals had a second meeting, as Yan had the luck to witness
from his watching-place. He had heard the "plop" of a deft plunge, and
looked in time only to see the spreading rings near the shore. Then
the water was ruffled far up in the pond. A brown spot showed and was
gone. A second appeared, to vanish as the first had done. Later, a
Muskrat crawled out on the shore, waddled along for twenty feet, then,
plunging in, swam below, came up at the other bank, and crawled under
a lot of overhanging roots. A minute later the Mink appeared, his hair
all plastered close till he looked like a four-legged Snake. He landed
where the Muskrat had come out, followed the trail so that it was
lost, then galloped up and down the shore, plunged in, swam across,
and beat about the other shore. At last he struck the trail and
followed. Under the root there were sounds of a struggle, the snarling
of the mink, and in two or three minutes he appeared dragging out the
body of the Muskrat. He sucked its blood and was eating the brains
when again the gray Cat came prowling up the edge of the pond and,
not ten feet off, stood face to face with the Mink, as she had done
before.

The Water Weasel saw his enemy but made no attempt to escape from
her. He stood with forepaws on his victim and snarling a warning and
defiance to the Cat. Pussy, after glaring for a few seconds, leaped
lightly to the high bank, passed above the Mink, then farther on
leaped down, and resumed her journey up the shore.

Why should the Mink fear the Cat the first time, and the Cat the Mink
the second? Yan believed that ordinarily the Cat could "lick,"
but that now the Mink had right on his side; he was defending his
property, and the Cat, knowing that, avoided a quarrel; whereas the
same Cat would have faced a thousand Mink in defense of her Kittens.

These two scenes did not happen the same day, but are told together
because Yan always told them together afterward to show that the
animals understand something of right and wrong.

But later Yan had another experience with the Muskrats. He and Sam
were smoothing out the lower album for the night, when a long stream
of water came briskly down the middle of the creek bed, which had been
dry for more than a week.

"Hallo," said Woodpecker, "where's that from?"

"A leak in the dam," said Little Beaver, with fear in his voice.

The boys ran up to the dam and learned that the guess was right.
The water had found an escape round the end of the dam, and a close
examination showed that it had been made by a burrowing Muskrat.

It was no little job to get it tightly closed up. But the spade was
handy, and a close-driven row of stakes with plenty of stiff clay
packed behind not only stopped the leak but gave a guarantee that in
future that corner at least would be safe.

When Caleb heard of the Muskrat mischief he said:

"Now ye know why the Beavers are always so dead sore on the Muskrats.
They know the Rats are liable to spoil their dams any time, so they
kill them whenever they get the chance."

Little Beaver rarely watched an hour without seeing something of
interest in the swamp. The other warriors had not the patience to wait
so long and they were not able to make a pastime of sketching.

Yan made several hiding-places where he found that living things were
most likely to be seen. Just below the dam was a little pool where
various Crawfish and thread-like Eels abounding proved very attractive
to Kingfisher and Crow, while little Tip-ups or Teetering Snipe would
wiggle their latter end on the level dam, or late in the day the
never-failing Muskrat would crawl out on a flat stone and sit like
a fur cap. The canon part of the creek was another successful
hiding-place, but the very best was at the upper end of the pond, for
the simple reason that it gave a view of more different kinds of land.
First the water with Muskrats and occasionally a Mink, next the little
marsh, always there, but greatly increased now by the back-up of the
water. Here one or two Field-mice and a pair of Sora Rails were at
home. Close at hand was the thick woods, where Partridges and Black
Squirrels were sometimes seen.

Yan was here one day sketching the trunk of a Hemlock to pass the
watching time, but also because he had learned to love that old tree.
He never sketched because he loved sketching; he did not; the motive
always was love of the thing he was drawing.

A Black-and-white Creeper had crawled like a Lizard over all the
trunks in sight. A Downy Woodpecker had digged a worm out of a log by
labour that most birds would have thought ill-paid by a dozen such
worms. A Chipmunk had come nearer and nearer till it had actually run
over his foot and then scurried away chattering in dismay at its
own rashness; finally, a preposterous little Cock Chickadee sang
"_Spring soon_--_spring soon_," as though any one were interested in
the gratuitous and unconvincing fib, when a brown, furry form hopped
noiselessly from the green leaves by the pond, skipped over a narrow
bay without wetting its feet, paused once or twice, then in the middle
of the open glade it sat up in plain view--a Rabbit. It sat so long
and so still that Yan first made a sketch that took three of four
minutes, then got out his watch and timed it for three minutes longer
before it moved in the least. Then it fed for some time, and Yan
tried to make a list of the things it ate and the things it shunned,
but could not do so with certainty.

A noisy Flicker came out and alighted close by on a dried branch. The
Rabbit, or really a Northern Hare, "froze"--that is, became perfectly
still for a moment--but the Flicker marks were easy to read and had
long ago been learned as the uniform of a friend, so the Rabbit
resumed his meal, and when the Flicker flew again he paid no heed.
A Crow passed over, and yet another. "No; no danger from them." A
Red-shouldered Hawk wailed in the woods; the Rabbit heard that and
every other sound, but the Red-shoulder is not dangerous, and he knew
it. A large Hawk with _red tail_ circled silently over the glade,
and the Rabbit froze on the instant. That same red tail was the mark
of a dreaded foe. How well Bunny had learned to know them all!

A bunch of clover tempted him to a full repast, after which he hopped
into a tussock in the midst of the glade and there turned himself into
a moss-bump, his legs swallowed up in his fur, and his ears laid over
his back like a pair of empty gloves or a couple of rounded shingles;
his nose-wabblings reduced in number, and he seemed to be sleeping in
the last warm rays of the sun. Yan was very anxious to see whether his
eyes were open or not; he had been told that Rabbits sleep with
open eyes, but at this distance he could not be sure. He had no
field-glass and Guy was not at hand, so the point remained in doubt.

The last sun-blots had gone from the trail and the pond was all
shadowed by the trees on the western side. A Robin began its evening
hymn on a tall tree, where it could see the red sun going down, and a
Veery was trilling his _weary, weary, weary_ in the Elder thicket
along the brook, when another, a larger animal, loomed up in the
distant trail and glided silently toward Yan. Its head was low and he
could not make out what it was. As it stood there for a few seconds
Yan wet his finger in his mouth and held it up. A slight coolness on
the side next the coming creature told Yan that the breeze was from it
to him and would not betray him. It came on, seeming to grow larger,
turned a little to one side, and then Yan saw plainly by the sharp
nose and ears and the bushy tail that it was nothing less than a Fox,
probably the one that often barked near camp at night.

It was trotting away at an angle, knowing nothing of the watching boy
nor of the crouching Rabbit, when Yan, merely to get a better look at
the cunning one, put the back of his hand to his mouth and by sucking
made a slight Mouse-like squeak, sweetest music, potent spellbinder,
to a hungry Fox, and he turned like a flash. For a moment he stood,
head erect, full of poise and force in curb; a second squeak--he came
slowly back toward the sound and in so doing passed between Yan and
the Rabbit. He had crossed its old trail without feeling much
interest, but now the breeze brought its _body scent_. Instantly the
Fox gave up the Mouse hunt--no hunter goes after Mice when big game is
at hand--and began an elaborate and beautiful stalk of the Rabbit--the
Rabbit that he had not seen. But his nose was his best guide. He
cautiously zigzagged up the wind, picking his steps with the greatest
care, and pointing with his nose like a Pointer Dog. Each step was
bringing him nearer to Bunny as it slept or seemed asleep in the
tussock. Yan wondered whether he ought not to shout out and end the
stalk before the Rabbit was caught, but as a naturalist he was eager
to see the whole thing out and learn how the Fox would make the
capture. The red-furred gentleman was now within fifteen feet of the
tussock and still the gray one moved not. Now he was within twelve
feet--and no move; ten feet--and Bunny seemed in tranquil sleep; eight
feet--and now the Fox for the first time seemed to actually see his
victim. Yan had hard work to keep from shouting a warning; six
feet--and now the Fox was plainly preparing for a final spring.

"Is it right to let him?" and Yan's heart beat with excitement.

The Fox brought his feet well under him, tried the footing till it
was perfect, gathered all his force, then with silent, vicious energy
sprung straight for the sleeper. Sleeping? Oh, no! Not at all. Bunny
was playing his own game. The moment the Fox leaped, he leaped with
equal vigour the opposite way and out under his enemy, so Reynard
landed on the empty bunch of grass. Again he sprang, but the Rabbit
had rebounded like a ball in the other direction, and continued this
bewildering succession of marvellous erratic hops. The Fox in vain
tried to keep up, for these wonderful side jumps are the Rabbit's
strength and the Fox's weakness; and Bunny went zigzag--hop--skip--
into the thicket and was gone before the Fox could get his heavier
body under speed at all.

Had the Rabbit bounded out as soon as he saw the Fox coming he might
have betrayed himself unnecessarily; had he gone straight away when
the Fox leaped for him he might have been caught in three or four
leaps, for the enemy was under full speed, but by biding his time he
had courted no danger, and when it did come he had played the only
possible offset, and "lives in the greenwood still."

The Fox had to seek his supper somewhere else, and Yan went to camp
happy in having learned another of the secrets of the woods.




XII

Indian Signs And Getting Lost


"What do you mean when you say Indian signs, Mr. Clark?"

"Pretty near anything that shows there's Injuns round: a moccasin
track, a smell of smoke, a twig bent, a village, one stone a-top of
another or a white settlement scalped and burned--they all are Injun
signs. They all mean something, and the Injuns read them an' make
them, too, jest as you would writing."

"You remember the other day you told us three smokes meant you were
coming back with scalps."

"Well, no; it don't har'ly mean that. It means 'Good news'--that is,
with some tribes. Different tribes uses 'em different."

"Well, what does one smoke mean?"

"As a rule just simply '_Camp is here_'"

"And two smokes?"

"Two smokes means '_Trouble_'--may mean, _'I am lost.'_"

"I'll remember that; _double for trouble_."

"Three means good news. _There's luck in odd numbers_."

"And what is four?"

"Well, it ain't har'ly ever used. If I seen four smokes in camp I'd
know _something big_ was on--maybe a Grand Council."

"Well, if you saw five smokes what would you think?"

"I'd think some blame fool was settin' the hull place a-blaze," Caleb
replied with the sniff end of a laugh.

"Just now you said one stone on another was a sign. What does it
mean?"

"Course I can't speak for all Injuns. Some has it for one thing an'
some for another, but usually in the West two stones or 'Buffalo
chips' settin' one on the other means 'This is the trail'; and a
little stone at the left of the two would mean 'Here we turned off to
the left'; and at the other side, 'Here we turned to the right.' Three
stones settin' one on top of another means, 'This is sure enough the
trail,' 'Special' or 'Particular' or 'Look out'; an' a pile of stones
just throwed together means 'We camped here 'cause some one was sick.'
They'd be the stones used for giving the sick one a steam bath."

"Well, what would they do if there were no stones?"

"Ye mean in the woods?"

"Yes, or smooth prairie."

"Well, I pretty near forget, it's so long ago, but le's see now," and
Yan worried Caleb and Caleb threshed his memory till they got out a
general scheme, or Indian code, though Caleb was careful to say that
"some Injuns done it differently."

[Illustration: INDIAN SIGNS]

Yan must needs set about making a signal fire at once, and was
disappointed to find that a hundred yards away the smoke could not be
seen above the tree-tops, till Caleb showed him the difference between
a clear fire and a smoke or smudge fire.

"Begin with a clear fire to get the heat, then smother it with green
grass and rotten wood. There, now you see the difference," and a great
crooked, angling pillar of smoke rolled upward as soon as the grass
and punk began to sizzle in the glow of embers.

"I bet ye kin see that ten miles away if ye'r on a high place to look
for it."

"I bet I could see it twenty miles," chirped in Guy.

"Mr. Clark, were you ever lost?" continued the tireless asker.

"Why, course I was, an' more than once. Every one that goes in the
woods is bound to get lost once in awhile."

"What--do the Indians?"

"Of course! Why not? They're human, an' I tell you when you hear a man
brag that he never was lost, I know he never was far from his mother's
apron string. Every one is bound to get lost, but the real woodsman
gets out all right; that's the difference."

"Well, what would you do if you got lost?"

"Depends on where. If it was a country that I didn't know, and I had
friends in camp, after I'd tried my best I'd jest set right down and
make two smoke fires. 'Course, if I was alone I'd try to make a bee
line in the likeliest direction, an' this is easy to make if ye kin
see the sun and stars, but stormy weather 'tain't possible. No man kin
do it, an' if ye don't know the country ye have to follow some stream;
but I'm sorry for ye if ever ye have to do that, for it's the worst
walking on earth. It will surely bring ye out some place--that is, it
will keep ye from walking in a circle--but ye can't make more than
four or five miles a day on it."

[Illustration: "The Two Smokes"]

"Can't you get your direction from moss on the tree trunks?"

"_Naw!_ Jest try it an' see; moss on the north side of a tree
and rock; biggest branches on the south of a trunk; top of a Hemlock
pointing to east; the biggest rings of growth on the south side of
a stump, an' so on. It fits a tree standin' out by itself in the
open--the biggest ring is in the south, but it don't fit a tree on the
south side of an opening; then the biggest rings is on the north. If
ye have a compass in hand it's all kind o' half true--that is, just
a little bit true; but it ain't true; it's on'y a big lie, when ye'r
scared out o' your wits an' needin' to know. I never seen but one good
compass plant, an' that was the prairie Golden Rod. Get a bunch of
them in the open and the most of them point north, but under cover of
taller truck they jest point every which way for Sunday.

"If ye find a beaten game trail, ye follow that an it'll bring ye to
water--that is, if ye go the right way, an' that ye know by its gettin'
stronger. If it's peterin' out, ye'r goin' in the wrong direction. A
flock of Ducks or a Loon going over is sure to be pointing for water.
Y're safe to follow.

"If ye have a Dog or a Horse with ye he kin bring ye home all right.
Never knew them to fail but oncet, an' that was a fool Horse; there is
sech oncet in awhile, though there's more fool Dogs.

"But come right down to it, the compass is the safest thing. The sun
and stars is next, an' if ye know your friends will come ye'r best
plan is to set right down and make two smoke fires, keep them a-going,
holler every little while, and keep calm. Ye won't come to no harm
unless ye'r a blame fool, an' such ought to stay to hum, where they'll
be nursed."




XIII

Tanning Skins and Making Moccasins


Sam had made a find. A Calf had been killed and its skin hung limp on
a beam in the barn. His father allowed him to carry this off, and now
he appeared with a "fresh Buffalo hide to make a robe."

"I don't know how the Injuns dress their robes," he explained,
"but Caleb does, and he'll tell you, and, of course, I'll pay no
attention."

The old Trapper had nothing to do, and the only bright spots in his
lonely life, since his own door was shut in his face, were visits
to the camp. These had become daily, so it was taken as a matter of
course when, within an hour after Sam's return, he "happened round."

"How do the Indians tan furs and robes?" Yan asked at once.

"Wall, different ways--"

But before he could say more Hawkeye reappeared and shouted:

"Say, boys, Paw's old Horse died!" and he grinned joyfully, merely
because he was the bearer of news.

"Sappy, you grin so much your back teeth is gettin' sunburned," and
the Head Chief eyed him sadly.

"Well, it's so, an' I'm going to skin out his tail for a scalp. I bet
I'll be the Injunest one of the crowd."

"Why don't you skin the hull thing, an' I'll show you how to make lots
of Injun things of the hide," Caleb added, as he lighted his pipe.

"Will you help me?

"It's same as skinnin a Calf. I'll show you where to get the sewing
sinew after the hide's off."

So the whole camp went to Burns's field. Guy hung back and hid when he
saw his father there drawing the dead Horse away with the plough team.

"Good-day, Jim," was Caleb's greeting, for they were good friends.
"Struck hard luck with the Horse?"

"No! Not much. Didn't cost nothing; got him for boot in a swap. Glad
he's dead, for he was foundered."

"We want his skin, if you don't."

"You're welcome to the hull thing."

"Well, just draw it over by the line fence we'll bury what's left when
we're through."

"All right. You hain't seen that durn boy o' mine, have you?"

"Why, yes; I seen him not long ago," said Sam. "He was p'inting right
for home then."

"H-m. Maybe I'll find him at the house."

"Maybe you will." Then Sam added under his breath, "I don't think."

So Burns left them, and a few minutes later Guy sneaked out of the
woods to take a secondary part in the proceedings.

Caleb showed them how to split the skin along the under side of each
leg and up the belly. It was slow work skinning, but not so unpleasant
as Yan feared, since the animal was fresh.

Caleb did the most of the work; Sam and Yan helped. Guy assisted with
reminiscences of his own Calf-skinning and with suggestions drawn from
his vast experiences.

When the upper half of the skin was off, Caleb remarked: "Don't
believe we can turn him over, and when the Injuns didn't have a Horse
at hand to turn over the Buffalo they used to cut the skin in two down
the line of the back. I guess we better do that. We've got all the
rawhide we need, anyhow."

So they cut off the half they had skinned, took the tail and the mane
for "scalps," and then Caleb sent Yan for the axe and a pail.

He cut out a lump of liver and the brains of the Horse. "That," said
he, "is for tanning, an' here is where the Injun woman gits her sewing
thread."

He made a deep cut alongside the back bone from the middle of the back
to the loin, then forcing his fingers under a broad band of whitish
fibrous tissue, he raised it up, working and cutting till it ran down
to the hip bone and forward to the ribs. This sewing sinew was about
four inches wide, very thin, and could easily be split again and again
till it was like fine thread.

"There," he said, "is a hank o' thread. Keep that. It'll dry up, but
can be split at any time, and soaking in warm water for twenty minutes
makes it soft and ready for use. Usually, when she's sewing, the squaw
keeps a thread soaking in her mouth to be ready. Now we've got a Horse
skin and a Calfskin I guess we better set up a tan-yard."

"Well, how do you tan furs, Mr. Clark?"

"Good many different ways. Sometimes just scrape and scrape till I get
all the grease and meat off the inside, then coat it with alum and
salt and leave it rolled up for a couple of days till the alum has
struck through and made the skin white at the roots of the hair, then
when this is half dry pull and work it till it is all soft.

"But the Injuns don't have alum and salt, and they make a fine tan out
of the liver and brains, like I'm going to do with this."

"Well, I want to do it the Indian way."

"All right, you take the brains and liver of your Calf."

"Why not some of the Horse brains and liver?"

"Oh, I dunno. They never do it that way that I've seen. Seems like it
went best with its own brains."

"Now," remarked the philosophical Woodpecker, "I call that a wonderful
provision of nature, always to put Calf brains and liver into a
Calfskin, and just enough to tan it."

"First thing always is to clean your pelt, and while you do that I'll
put the Horsehide in the mud to soak off the hair." He put it in the
warm mud to soak there a couple of days, just as he had done the
Calfskin for the drum-heads, then came to superintend the dressing of
the Buffalo "robe."

Sam first went home for the Calf brains and liver, then he and Yan
scraped the skin till they got out a vast quantity of grease, leaving
the flesh side bluish-white and clammy, but not greasy to the touch.
The liver of the Calf was boiled for an hour and then mashed up with
the raw brains into a tanning "dope" or mash and spread on the flesh
side of the hide, which was doubled, rolled up and put in a cool place
for two days. It was then opened out, washed clean in the brook and
hung till nearly dry. Then Caleb cut a hardwood stake to a sharp edge
and showed Yan how to pull and work the hide over the edge till it was
all soft and leathery.

The treatment of the Horsehide was the same, once the hair was
removed, but the greater thickness needed a longer soaking in the "tan
dope."

After two days the Trapper scraped it clean and worked it on the
sharp-edged stake. It soon began to look like leather, except in one
or two spots. On examining these he said:

"H-m, Tanning didn't strike right through every place. So he buttered
it again with the mash and gave it a day more; then worked it as
before over the angle of the pole till it was soft and fibrous.

"There," said he, "that's Injun tan leather. I have seen it done by
soaking the hide for a few days in liquor made by boiling Hemlock or
Balsam bark in water till it's like brown ink, but it ain't any better
than that. Now it needs one thing more to keep it from hardening after
being wet. It has to be smoked."

So he made a smoke fire by smothering a clear fire with rotten wood;
then fastening the Horsehide into a cone with a few wooden pins, he
hung it in the dense smoke for a couple of hours, first one side out,
then the other till it was all of a rich smoky-tan colour and had the
smell so well known to those who handle Indian leather.

"There it is; that's Injun tan, an' I hope you see that elbow grease
is the main thing in tannin'."

"Now, will you show us how to make moccasins and war-shirts?" asked
Little Beaver, with his usual enthusiasm.

"Well, the moccasins is easy, but I won't promise about the
war-shirts. That's pretty much a case of following the pattern of your
own coat, with the front in one piece, but cut down just far enough
for your head to go through, instead of all the way, and fixed with
tie-strings at the throat and fringes at the seams and at the bottom;
it hain't easy to do. But any one kin larn to make moccasins. There is
two styles of them--that is, two main styles. Every Tribe has its own
make, and an Injun can tell what language another speaks as soon as
he sees his footgear. The two best known are the Ojibwa, with soft
sole--sole and upper all in one, an' a puckered instep--that's what
Ojibwa means--'puckered moccasin.' The other style is the one most
used in the Plains. You see, they have to wear a hard sole, 'cause the
country is full of cactus and thorns as well as sharp stones."

"I want the Sioux style. We have copied their teepee and war
bonnet--and the Sioux are the best Indians, anyway."

"Or the worst, according to what side you're on," was Caleb's reply.
But he went on: "Sioux Injuns are Plains Injuns and wear a hard sole.
Let's see, now. I'll cut you a pair."

"No, make them for _me_. It's my Horse," said Guy.

"No, you don't. Your Paw give that to me." Caleb's tone said plainly
that Guy's laziness had made a bad impression, so he had to stand
aside while Yan was measured. Caleb had saved a part of the hide
untanned though thoroughly cleaned. This was soaked in warm water till
soft. Yan's foot was placed on it and a line drawn around the foot
for a guide; this when cut out made the sole of one moccasin (A, cut
below), and by turning it underside up it served as pattern to cut the
other.

Now Caleb measured the length of the foot and added one inch, and
the width across the instep, adding half an inch, and with these as
greatest length and breadth cut out a piece of soft leather (B). Then
in this he made the cut _a b_ on the middle line one way and _c
d_ on the middle line the other way. A second piece the reverse of
this was cut, and next a piece of soft leather for inside tongue (C)
was sewn to the large piece (B), so that the edge _a b_ of C was
fast to _a b_ of B. A second piece was sewn to the other leather
(B reversed).

"Them's your vamps for uppers. Now's the time to bead 'em if you want
to."

"Don't know how."

"Well, I can't larn you that; that's a woman's work. But I kin show
you the pattern of the first pair I ever wore; I ain't likely to
forget 'em, for I killed the Buffalo myself and seen the hull making."
He might have added that he subsequently married the squaw, but he did
not.

"There's about the style" [D]. "Them three-cornered red and white
things all round is the hills where the moccasins was to carry me
safely; on the heel is a little blue pathway with nothing in it: that
is behind--it's past. On the instep is three red, white and blue
pathways where the moccasin was to take me: they're ahead--in the
future. Each path has lots of things in it, mostly changes and trails,
an' all three ends in an Eagle feather--that stands for an honour. Ye
kin paint them that way after they're made. Well, now, we'll sew on
the upper with a good thick strand of sinew in the needle--or if you
have an awl you kin do without a needle on a pinch--and be sure to
bring the stitches out the edge of the sole instead of right through,
then they don't wear off. That's the way." [E.]

So they worked away, clumsily, while Guy snickered and sizzled, and
Sam suggested that Si Lee would make a better squaw than both of them.

The sole as well as the upper being quite soft allowed them to turn
the moccasin inside out as often as they liked--and they did like; it
seemed necessary to reverse it every few minutes. But at length the
two pieces were fastened together all around, the seam gap at the heel
was quickly sewn up, four pairs of lace holes were made (_a, b, c,
d_, in D), and an eighteen-inch strip of soft leather run through
them for a lace.

Now Yan painted the uppers with his Indian paints in the pattern that
Caleb had suggested, and the moccasins were done.

A squaw would have made half a dozen good pairs while Yan and Caleb
made the one poor pair, but she would not have felt so happy about it.




XIV

Caleb's Philosophy


The tracks of Mink appeared from time to time on Yan's creekside mud
albums, and at length another of these tireless watchers, placed at
the Wakan Rock, reported to him that Mink as well as Skunks came there
now for a nightly feast.

The Mink was a large one, judging by the marks, and Caleb was asked to
help in trapping it.

"How do you trap Mink, Mr. Clark?" was the question.

"Don't trap 'em at all this time o' year, for they're no good till
October," was the answer.

"Well, how do you trap them when they are in season?"

"Oh, different ways."

It was slow work, but Yan kept on and at length got the old man going.

"Airly days we always used a deadfall for Mink. That's made like this,
with a bird or a Partridge head for bait. That kills him sure, sudden
and merciful. Then if it's cold weather he freezes and keeps O.K.
till you come around to get him; but in warm weather lots o' pelts are
spoiled by being kept too long, so ye have to go round pretty often
to save all you kill. Then some one brought in them new-fangled steel
traps that catches them by the foot and holds them for days and days,
some times, till they jest starve to death or chaw their foot off to
get free. I mind once I ketched a Mink with only two legs left. He had
been in a steel trap twice before and chawed off his leg to get
away. Them traps save the trapper going round so often, but they're
expensive, and heavy to carry, and you have got to be awful
hard-hearted before ye kin use 'em. I tell ye, when I thought of all
the sufferin' that Mink went through it settled me for steel traps.
Since then, says I, if ye must trap, use a deadfall or a ketchalive,
one or other; no manglin' an' tormentin' for days. I tell ye that thar
new Otter trap that grabs them in iron claws ought to be forbid by
law; it ain't human.

"Same way about huntin'. Huntin's great sport, an' it can't be bad,
'cause I can't for the life of me see that it makes men bad. 'Pears
to me men as hunt is humaner than them as is above it; as for the
cruelty--wall, we know that no wild animal dies easy abed. They all
get killed soon or late, an' if it's any help to man to kill them I
reckon he has as good a right to do it as Wolves an' Wildcats. It
don't hurt any more--yes, a blame sight less--to be killed by a rifle
ball than to be chawed by Wolves. The on'y thing I says is don't do
it cruel--an' don't wipe out the hull bunch. If ye never kill a thing
that's no harm to ye 'live an' no good to ye dead nor more than the
country kin stand, 'pears to me ye won't do much harm, an' ye'll have
a lot o' real fun to think about afterward.

"But I mind a feller from Europe, some kind o' swell, that I was
guidin' out West. He had crippled a Deer so it couldn't get away. Then
he sat down to eat lunch right by, and every few moments he'd fire a
shot into some part or another, experimentin' an' aimin' not to kill
it for awhile. I heard the shootin' an' blattin', an when I come up I
tell ye it set my blood a-boilin'. I called him some names men don't
like, an' put that Deer out o' pain quick as I could pull trigger.
That bu'st up our party--I didn't want no more o' him. He come pretty
near lyin' by the Deer that day. It makes me hot yet when I think of
it.

"If he'd shot that Deer down runnin' an' killed it as quick as he
could it wouldn't 'a' suffered more than if it had been snagged a
little, 'cause bullets of right weight numb when they hit. The Deer
wouldn't have suffered more than he naturally would at his finish,
maybe less, an' he'd 'a' suffered it at a time when he could be some
good to them as hunted him. An' these yer new repeatin' guns is a
curse. A feller knows he has lots of shot and so blazes away into a
band o' Deer as long as he can see, an lots gets away crippled, to
suffer an' die; but when a feller has only one shot he's going to
place it mighty keerful. Ef it's sport ye want, get a single-shot
rifle, ef it's destruction, get a Gatling-gun.

"Sport's good, but I'm agin this yer wholesale killin' an' cruelty.
Steel traps, light-weight bullets an' repeatin' guns ain't human. I
tell ye it's them as makes all the sufferin'."

This was a long speech for Caleb, but it was really less connected
than here given. Yan had to keep him going with occasional questions.
This he followed up.

"What do you think about bows and arrows, Mr. Clark?"

"I wouldn't like to use them on big game like Bear and Deer, but I'd
be glad if shotguns was done away with and small game could be killed
only with arrows. They are either sure death or clear miss. There's no
cripples to get away and die. You can't fire an arrow into a flock of
birds and wipe out one hundred, like you can with one of them blame
scatterguns. It's them things that is killing off all the small game.
Some day they'll invent a scattergun that is a pump repeater like them
new rifles, and when every fool has one they'll wonder where all the
small game has gone to.

"No, sir, I'm agin them. Bows and arrows is less destructful an' calls
for more Woodcraft an' give more sport--that is, for small game.
Besides, they don't make that awful racket, an' you know who is the
party that owns the shot, for every arrow is marked."

Yan was sorry that Caleb did not indorse the arrow for big game, too.

The Trapper was well started now; he seemed ready enough with
information to-day, and Yan knew enough to "run the rapids on the
freshet."

"How do you make a ketchalive?"

"What for?"

"Oh, Mink."

"They ain't fit to catch now, and the young ones need the mothers."

"I wouldn't keep it. I only want to make a drawing."

"Guess that won't harm it if you don't keep it too long. Have ye any
boards? We used to chop the whole thing out of a piece of Balsam wood
or White Pine, but the more stuff ye find ready-made the easier it is.
Now I'll show you how to make a ketchalive if ye'll promise me never
to miss a day going to it while it is set."

The boys did not understand how any one could miss a day in visiting a
place of so much interest, and readily promised.

So they made a ketchalive, or box-trap, two feet long, using hay wire
to make a strong netting at one end.

"Now," said the trapper, "that will catch Mink, Muskrat, Skunk,
Rabbit--'most anything, 'cording to where you put it and how you bait
it."

"Seems to me the Wakan Rock will be a good place to try."

So the trap was baited with a fish head firmly lashed on the wire
trigger.

In the morning, as Yan approached, he saw that it was sprung. A
peculiar whining and scratching came from it and he shouted in great
excitement: "Boys, boys, I've got him! I've got the Mink!"

They seized the trap and held it cautiously up for the sunlight to
shine through the bars, and there saw to their disgust that they had
captured only the old gray Cat. As soon as the lid was raised she
bounded away, spitting and hissing, no doubt to hurry home to tell the
Kittens that it was all right, although she had been away so long.




XV

A Visit from Raften


"Sam, I must have another note-book. It's no good getting up a new
'massacree' of Whites, 'cause there ain't any note-books there, but
maybe your father would get one the next time he drove to Downey's
Dump. I suppose I'll have to go on a peace party to ask him."

Sam made no answer, but looked and listened out toward the trail, then
said: "Talk of the er--Angels, here comes Da."

When the big man strode up Yan and Guy became very shy and held back.
Sam, in full war-paint, prattled on in his usual style.

"Morning, Da; I'm yer kid. Bet ye'r in trouble an' want advice or
something."

Raften rolled up his pendulous lips and displayed his huge front tusks
in a vast purple-and-yellow grin that set the boys' hearts at ease.

"Kind o' thought you'd be sick av it before now."

"Will you let us stay here till we are?" chimed in Sam, then without
awaiting the reply that he did not want, "Say, Da, how long is it
since there was any Deer around here?"

"Pretty near twenty years, I should say."

"Well, look at that now," whispered the Woodpecker.

Raften looked and got quite a thrill for the dummy, half hidden in the
thicket, looked much like a real deer.

"Don't you want to try a shot?" ventured Yan.

Raften took the bow and arrow and made such a poor showing that he
returned them with the remark. "Sure a gun's good enough for me,"
then, "Ole Caleb been around since?"

"Old Caleb? I should say so; why, he's our stiddy company."

"'Pears fonder o'you than he is of me."

"Say, Da, tell us about that. How do you know it was Caleb shot at
you?"

"Oh, I don't know it to prove it in a coort o' law, but we quarr'led
that day in town after the Horse trade an' he swore he'd fix me an'
left town. His own stepson, Dick Pogue, stood right by and heard him
say it; then at night when I came along the road by the green bush I
was fired at, an' next day we found Caleb's tobacco pouch and some
letters not far away. That's about all I know, an' all I want to know.
Pogue served him a mean trick about the farm, but that's none o' my
business. I 'spect the old fellow will have to get out an' scratch for
himself pretty soon."

"He seems kind-hearted," said Yan.

"Ah, he's got an awful temper, an' when he gets drunk he'd do
anything. Other times he's all right."

"Well, how is it about the farm?" Sam asked. "Doesn't he own it?"

"No, I guess not now. I don't r'aly know. I only hear them say. Av
coorse, Saryann ain't his own daughter. She's nowt o' kin, but he has
no one else, and Dick was my hired man--a purty slick feller with his
tongue; he could talk a bird off a bush; but he was a good worker. He
married Sary and persuaded the old man to deed them the place, him to
live in comfort with them to the end of his days. But once they got
the place, 'twas aisy to see that Dick meant to get rid o' Caleb, an'
the capsheaf was put last year, about his Dog, old Turk. They wouldn't
have him 'round. They said he was scaring the hens and chasing sheep,
which is like enough, for I believe he killed wan ov my lambs, an' I'd
give ten dollars to have him killed--making sure 'twas him, av coorse.
Rather than give up the Dog, Caleb moved out into the shanty on the
creek at the other end of the place. Things was better then, for Dick
and Saryann let up for awhile an' sent him lots o' flour an' stuff,
but folks say they're fixin' it to put the old man out o' that and get
shet of him for good. But I dunno; it's none o' my business, though he
does blame me for putting Dick up to it."

"How's the note-book?" as Raften's eye caught sight of the open
sketch-book still in Yan's hand.

"Oh, that reminds me," was the reply. "But what is this?" He showed
the hoof-mark be had sketched. Raften examined it curiously.

"H-m, I dunno'; 'pears to me moighty loike a big Buck. But I guess
not; there ain't any left."

"Say, Da," Sam persisted, "wouldn't you be sore if you was an old man
robbed and turned out?"

"Av coorse; but I wouldn't lose in a game of swap-horse, an' then go
gunnin' after the feller. If I had owt agin him I'd go an' lick him or
be licked, an' take it all good-natured. Now that's enough. We'll talk
about something else."

"Will you buy me another note-book next time you go to Downey's Dump?
I don't know how much it will cost or I'd give you the money," said
Yan, praying mentally that it be not more than the five or ten cents
which was all his capital.

"Shure; I'll charge it up. But ye needn't wait till next week.
Thayer's one back at the White settlement ye can have for nothin'."

"Say, Mr. Raften," Guy broke in, "I kin lick them all at
Deer-hunting."

Sam looked at Yan and Yan looked at Sam, then glanced at Guy, made
some perfectly diabolical signs, seized each a long knife and sprung
toward the Third War Chief, but he dodged behind Raften and commenced
his usual "Now you let me 'lone--"

Raften's eye twinkled. "Shure, I thought ye was all wan Tribe an'
paceable."

"We've got to suppress crime," retorted his son.

"Make him let me 'lone," whimpered Sapwood.

"We'll let ye off this time if ye find that Woodchuck. It's near two
days since we've had a skirmish."

"All right," and he went. Within five minutes he came running back,
beckoning. The boys got their bows and arrows, but fearing a trick
they held back. Guy dashed for his own weapons with unmistakable and
reassuring zest; then all set out for the field. Raften followed,
after asking if it would be safe for him to come along.

The grizzly old Woodchuck was there feeding in a bunch of clover. The
boys sneaked under the fence, crawling through the grass in true Injun
fashion, till the Woodchuck stood up to look around, then they lay
still; when he went down they crawled again, and all got within forty
yards. Now the old fellow seemed suspicious, so Sam said, "Next time
he feeds we all fire together." As soon, then, as the Woodchuck's
breast was replaced by the gray back, the boys got partly up and
fired. The arrows whizzed around Old Grizzly, but all missed, and he
had scrambled to his hole before they could send a second volley.

"Hallo, why didn't you hit him, Sappy?"

"I'll bet I do next time."

When they returned to Raften he received them with ridicule.

"But ye'r a poor lot o' hunters. Ye'd all starve if it wasn't for the
White settlement nearby. Faith, if ye was rale Injun ye'd sit up all
night at that hole till he come out in the morning: then ye'd get him;
an' when ye get through with that one I've got another in the high
pasture ye kin work on."

So saying, he left them, and Sam called after him:

"Say, Da; where's that note-book for Yan? He's the Chief of the
'coup-tally,' and I reckon he'll soon have a job an' need his book. I
feel it in my bones."

"I'll lave it on yer bed." Which he did, and Yan and Sam had the
pleasure of lifting it out of the window with a split stick.




XVI

How Yan Knew the Ducks Afar


One day as the great Woodpecker lay on his back in the shade he said
in a tone of lofty command:

"Little Beaver, I want to be amused. Come hyar. Tell me a story."

"How would you like a lesson in Tutnee?" was the Second Chief's
reply, but he had tried this before, and he found neither Sam nor Guy
inclined to take any interest in the very dead language.

"Tell me a story, I said," was the savage answer of the scowling and
ferocious Woodpecker.

"All right," said Little Beaver. "I'll tell you a story of such a fine
boy--oh, he was the noblest little hero that ever wore pantaloons or
got spanked in school. Well, this boy went to live in the woods, and
he wanted to get acquainted with all the living wild things. He found
lots of difficulties and no one to help him, but he kept on and
on--oh! he was so noble and brave--and made notes, and when he learned
anything new he froze on to it like grim death. By and by he got a
book that was some help, but not much. It told about some of the birds
as if you had them _in your hand_. But this heroic youth only saw
them at a distance and he was stuck. One day he saw a wild Duck on a
pond so far away he could only see some spots of colour, but he made
a sketch of it, and later he found out from that rough sketch that it
was a Whistler, and then this wonderful boy had an idea. All the
Ducks are different; all have little blots and streaks that are their
labels, or like the uniforms of soldiers. 'Now, if I can put their
uniforms down on paper I'll know the Ducks as soon as I see them on a
pond a long way off.' So he set to work and drew what he could
find. One of his friends had a stuffed Wood-duck, so the
'Boy-that-wanted-to-know' drew that from a long way off. He got
another from an engraving and two more from the window of a
taxidermist shop. But he knew perfectly well that there are twenty or
thirty different kinds of Ducks, for he often saw others at a distance
and made far-sketches, hoping some day he'd find out what they were.
Well, one day the 'Boy-that-wanted-to-know' sketched a new Duck on a
pond, and he saw it again and again, but couldn't find out what it
was, and there was his b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l sketch, but no one to tell
him its name, so when he saw that he just had to go into the teepee
and steal the First War Chief's last apple and eat it to hide his
emotion."

Here Yan produced an apple and began to eat it with an air of sadness.

Without changing a muscle, the Great Woodpecker continued the tale:

"Then when the First War Chief heard the harrowing tale of a blighted
life, he said: 'Shucks, I didn't want that old apple. It was fished
out of the swill-barrel anyway, but 'pears to me when a feller sets
out to do a thing an' don't he's a 'dumb failure,' which ain't much
difference from a 'durn fool.'

"Now, if this heroic youth had had gumption enough to come out
flat-footed, an' instead of stealing rotten apples that the pigs has
walked on, had told his trouble to the Great Head War Chief, that
native-born noble Red-man would 'a' said: 'Sonny, quite right. When in
doubt come to Grandpa. You want to get sharp on Duck. Ugh! Good'--then
he'd 'a' took that simple youth to Downey's Hotel at Downey's Dump an'
there showed him every kind o' Duck that ever was born, an' all tagged
an' labelled. Wah! I have spoken."

And the Great Woodpecker scowled ferociously at Guy, who was vainly
searching his face for a clue, not sure but what this whole thing was
some subtle mockery. But Yan had been on the lookout for this. Sam's
face throughout had shown nothing but real and growing interest. The
good sense of this last suggestion was evident, and the result was an
expedition was formed at once for Downey's Dump, a little town five
miles away, where the railroad crossed a long bog on the Skagbog
River. Here Downey, the contractor, had carried the railroad dump
across a supposed bottomless morass and by good luck had soon made
a bottom and in consequence a small fortune, with which he built a
hotel, and was now the great man of the town for which he had done so
much.

"Guess we'll leave the Third War Chief in charge of camp," said Sam,
"an' I think we ought to go disguised as Whites."

"You mean to go back to the Settlement and join the Whites?"

"Yep, an' take a Horse an' buggy, too. It's five miles."

That was a jarring note. Yan's imagination had pictured a foot
expedition through the woods, but this was more sensible, so he
yielded.

They went to the house to report and had a loving reception from
the mother and little Minnie. The men were away. The boys quickly
harnessed a Horse and, charged also with some commissions from the
mother, they drove to Downey's Dump.

On arriving they went first to the livery-stable to put up the horse,
then to the store, where Sam delivered his mother's orders, and having
made sure that Yan had pencil, paper and rubber, they went into
Downey's. Yan's feelings were much like those of a country boy going
for the first time to a circus--now he is really to see the things he
has dreamed of so long; now all heaven is his.

And, curiously enough, he was not disappointed. Downey was a rough,
vigorous business man. He took no notice of the boys beyond a brief
"Morning, Sam," till he saw that Yan was making very fair sketches.
All the world loves an artist, and now there was danger of too much
assistance.

The cases could not be opened, but were swung around and shades
raised to give the best light. Yan went at once to the bird he
had "far-sketched" on the pond. To his surprise, it was a female
Wood-duck. He put in the whole afternoon drawing those Ducks, male
and female, and as Downey had more than fifty specimens Yan felt like
Aladdin in the Fairy Garden--overpowered with abundance of treasure.
The birds were fairly well labelled with the popular names, and Yan
brought away a lot of sketches, which made him very happy. These he
afterward carefully finished and put together in a Duck Chart that
solved many of his riddles about the Common Duck.


       *       *       *       *       *

    [Illustration: The Fish-Ducks, Sawbills, or Mergansers]

    [Illustration: The River Ducks]

    (See description below.)


    Far-sketches showing common Ducks as seen on the water at about 50
    yards distance. The pair is shown in each square, the male above.

    N.B. The wings are rarely seen when the bird is swimming.


    THE FISH-DUCK, SAWBILLS OR MERGANSERS

    Largely white and all are crested, wings with large white areas in
    flight.

    1. The Shelldrake or Goosander (_Merganser americanus_).
    Bill, feet and eye red.

    2. The Sawbill or Red-breasted Merganser (_Merganser
    serrator_). Bill and feet red.

    3. Hooded Merganser (_Lophodytes cucullatus_). Bill and feet
    dark, paddle-box buff.


    THE RIVER DUCKS

    The males usually with shining green and black on head and wings,
    the females streaky gray-brown.

    4. Mallard _(Anas boschas_). Red feet; male has pale,
    greenish bill. Known in flight by white tail feathers and thin
    white bar on wing.

    5. Black Duck or Dusky Duck (_Anas obscura_). Dark bill, red
    feet, no white except in flight, then shows white lining of wings.

    6. Gadwall or Gray Duck (_Anas strepera_). Beak
    flesh-coloured on edges, feet reddish, a white spot on wing
    showing in flight.

    7. Widgeon or Baldpate (_A. americana_). Bill and feet dull
    blue; a large white spot on wing in flight; female has sides
    reddish.

    8. Green-winged Teal (_A. carolinensis_). Bill and feet dark.

    9. Blue-winged Teal (_A. discors_). Bill and feet dark.

    10. Shoveller (_Spatula clypeata_). Bill dark, feet red, eye
    yellow-orange; a white patch on wings showing in flight

    11. Pintail or Sprigtail (_Dafila acuta_). Bill and feet dull
    blue.

    12. Wood Duck or Summer Duck (_Aix sponsa_). Bill of male
    red, paddle-box buff, bill of female and feet of both dark.


[Illustration: The Sea Ducks]


THE SEA DUCKS

    Chiefly black and white in colour; the female brownish instead of
    black; most have yellow or orange eye, and more or less white on
    wings which does not show as they swim.

    13. Red-head (_Aythya americana_). Head and neck bright red;
    eye of male yellow, bill and feet blue.

    14. Canvasback (_A. vallisneria_). Head and neck dark-red,
    eye of male red, bill and feet of both dark or bluish.

    15. Ring-necked Bluebill (_A. collaria_). Bill and feet
    bluish.

    16. Big Bluebill (_A. marila_). Bill and feet bluish.

    17. Little Bluebill (_A. affinis_). Same colour as the
    preceding.

    18. Whistler or Goldeneye (_Clangula clangula americana_).
    Feet orange.

    19. Bufflehead or Butterball (_Charitonetta albeola_).

    20. Old-Squaw or Longtail (_Harelda hyemalis_). This is its
    winter plumage, in which it is mostly seen.

    21. Black Scoter (_Oidemia americana_). A jet-black Duck with
    orange bill; no white on it anywhere.

    22. White-winged Scoter (_O. deglandi_). A black Duck with
    white on cheek and wing; feet and bill orange; much white on wing
    shows as they fly, sometimes none as they swim.

    23. Surf Duck or Sea Coot (_O. perspicillata_). A black Duck
    with white on head, but none on wings: bill and feet orange.

    24. Ruddy Duck or Stiff-tailed Duck (_Erismatura
    jamaicensis_). Bill and feet bluish; male is in general a dull
    red with white face.

       *       *       *       *       *

When they got back to camp at dusk they found a surprise. On the
trail was a white thing, which on investigation proved to be a ghost,
evidently made by Guy. The head was a large puff-ball carved like a
skull, and the body a newspaper.

But the teepee was empty. Guy probably felt too much reaction after
the setting up of the ghost to sit there alone in the still night.




XVII

Sam's Woodcraft Exploit


Sam's "long suit," as he put it, was axemanship. He was remarkable
even in this land of the axe, and, of course, among the "Injuns" he
was a marvel. Yan might pound away for half an hour at some block that
he was trying to split and make no headway, till Sam would say, "Yan,
hit it right there," or perhaps take the axe and do it for him; then
at one tap the block would fly apart. There was no rule for this happy
hit. Sometimes it was above the binding knot, sometimes beside it,
sometimes right in the middle of it, and sometimes in the end of the
wood away from the binder altogether--often at the unlikeliest places.
Sometimes it was done by a simple stroke, sometimes a glancing stroke,
sometimes with the grain or again angling, and sometimes a compound of
one or more of each kind of blow; but whatever was the right stroke,
Sam seemed to know it instinctively and applied it to exactly the
right spot, the only spot where the hard, tough log was open to
attack, and rarely failed to make it tumble apart as though it were a
trick got ready beforehand. He did not brag about it. He simply took
it for granted that he was the master of the art, and as such the
others accepted him.

On one occasion Yan, who began to think he now had some skill, was
whacking away at a big, tough stick till he had tried, as he thought,
every possible combination and still could make no sign of a crack.
Then Guy insisted on "showing him how," without any better result.

"Here, Sam," cried Yan, "I'll bet this is a baffler for you."

Sam turned the stick over, selected a hopeless-looking spot, one as
yet not touched by the axe, set the stick on end, poured a cup of
water on the place, then, when that had soaked in, he struck with all
his force a single straight blow at the line where the grain spread to
embrace the knot. The aim was true to a hair and the block flew open.

"Hooray!" shouted Little Beaver in admiration.

"Pooh!" said Sapwood. "That was just chance. He couldn't do that
again."

"Not to the same stick!" retorted Yan. He recognized the consummate
skill and the cleverness of knowing that the cup of water was just
what was needed to rob the wood of its spring and turn the balance.

But Guy continued contemptuously, "I had it started for him."

"_I_ think that should count a _coup_," said Little Beaver.

"Coup nothin'," snorted the Third War Chief, in scorn. "I'll give you
something to do that'll try if you can chop. Kin you chop a six-inch
tree down in three minutes an' throw it up the wind ?"

"What kind o' tree?" asked the Woodpecker.

"Oh, any kind."

"I'll bet you five dollars I kin cut down a six-inch White Pine in two
minutes an' throw it any way I want to. You pick out the spot for me
to lay it. Mark it with a stake an' I'll drive the stake."

"I don't think any of the Tribe has five dollars to bet. If you can do
it we'll give you a grand coup feather," answered Little Beaver.

"No spring pole," said Guy, eager to make it impossible.

"All right," replied the Woodpecker; "I'll do it without using a
spring pole."

So he whetted up his axe, tried the lower margin of the head, found it
was a trifle out of the true--that is, its under curve centred, not on
the handle one span down, but half an inch out from the handle. A nail
driven into the point of the axe-eye corrected this and the chiefs
went forth to select a tree. A White Pine that measured roughly six
inches through was soon found, and Sam was allowed to clear away the
brush around it. Yan and Guy now took a stout stake and, standing
close to the tree, looked up the trunk. Of course, every tree in the
woods leans one way or another, and it was easy to see that this
leaned slightly southward. What wind there was came from the north, so
Yan decided to set the stake due north.

Sam's little Japanese eyes twinkled. But Guy who, of course, knew
something of chopping, fairly exploded with scorn. "Pooh! What do you
know? That's easy; any one can throw it straight up the wind. Give him
a cornering shot and let him try. There, now," and Guy set the stake
off to the north-west. "Now, smarty. Let's see you do that."

"All right. You'll see me. Just let me look at it a minute."

Sam walked round the tree, studied its lean and the force of the wind
on its top, rolled up his sleeves, slipped his suspenders, spat on his
palms, and, standing to west of the tree, said _"Ready_."

Yan had his watch out and shouted "_Go_."

Two firm, unhasty strokes up on the south side of the tree left a
clean nick across and two inches deep in the middle. The chopper then
stepped forward one pace and on the north-northwesterly side, eighteen
inches lower down than the first cut, after reversing his hands--which
is what few can do--he rapidly chopped a butt-kerf. Not a stroke
was hasty; not a blow went wrong. The first chips that flew were
ten inches long, but they quickly dwindled as the kerf sank in. The
butt-kerf was two-thirds through the tree when Yan called "One minute
up." Sam stopped work, apparently without cause, leaned one hand
against the south side of the tree and gazed unconcernedly up at its
top.

"Hurry up, Sam. You're losing time!" called his friend. Sam made no
reply. He was watching the wind pushes and waiting for a strong one.
It came--it struck the tree-top. There was an ominous crack, but Sam
had left enough and pushed hard to make sure; as soon as the recoil
began he struck in very rapid succession three heavy strokes, cutting
away all the remaining wood on the west side and leaving only a
three-inch triangle of uncut fibre. All the weight was now northwest
of this. The tree toppled that way, but swung around on the uncut
part; another puff of wind gave help, the swing was lost, the tree
crashed down to the northwest and drove the stake right out of sight
in the ground.

"Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! One minute and forty-five seconds!" How Yan
did cheer. Sam was silent, but his eyes looked a little less dull and
stupid than usual, and Guy said "Pooh? That's nothin'."

Yan took out his pocket rule and went to the stump. As soon as he laid
it on, he exclaimed "Seven and one-half inches through where you cut,"
and again he had to swing his hat and cheer.

"Well, old man, you surely did it that time. That's a grand coup if
ever I saw one," and so, notwithstanding Guy's proposal to "leave it
to Caleb," Sam got his grand Eagle feather as Axeman A1 of the Sanger
Indians.




XVIII

The Owls and The Night School


One night Sam was taking a last look at the stars before turning in. A
Horned Owl had been hooting not far away.

"_Hoo--hohoo-hoho--hoooooo_."

And as he looked, what should silently sail to the top of the medicine
pole stuck in the ground twenty yards away but the Owl.

"Yan! Yan! Give me my bow and arrow, quick. Here's a Cat-Owl--a
chicken stealer, he's fair game."

"He's only codding you, Yan," said Guy sleepily from his blanket. "I
wouldn't go."

But Yan rushed out with his own and Sam's weapons.

Sam fired at the great feathery creature, but evidently missed, for
the Owl spread its wings and sailed away.

"There goes my best arrow. That was my 'Sure-death.'"

"Pshaw!" growled Yan, as he noted the miss. "You can't shoot a little
bit."

But as they stood, there was a fluttering of broad wings, and there,
alighting as before on the medicine pole, was the Owl again.

"My turn now!" exclaimed Yan in a gaspy whisper.

He drew his bow, the arrow flew, and the Owl slipped off unharmed as
it had the first time.

"Yan, you're no good. An easy shot like that. Why, any idiot could hit
that. Why didn't you fetch her?"

"'Cause I'm not an idiot, I suppose. I hit the same place as you did,
anyway, and drew just as much blood."

"Ef he comes back again you call me," piped Guy in his shrill voice.
"I'll show you fellers how to shoot. You're no good at all 'thout me.
Why, I mind the time I was Deer-shooting----" but a fierce dash of the
whole Tribe for Sappy's bed put a stop to the reminiscent flow and
replaced it with whines of "Now you let me alone. I ain't doin'
nothin' to you."

During the night they were again awakened by the screech in the
tree-tops, and Yan, sitting up, said, "Say, boys, that's nothing but
that big Cat Owl."

"So it is," was Sam's answer; "wonder I didn't think of that before."

"I did," said Guy; "I knew it all the time."

In the morning they went out to find their arrows. The medicine pole
was a tall pole bearing a feathered shield, with the tribal totem, a
white Buffalo, which Yan had set up to be in Indian fashion. Sighting
in line from the teepee over this, they walked on, looking far beyond,
for they had learned always to draw the arrow to the head. They
had not gone twenty-five feet before Yan burst out in unutterable
astonishment: "Look! Look at that--and _that_------"

There on the ground not ten feet apart were two enormous Horned Owls,
both shot fairly through the heart, one with Sam's "Sure-death" arrow,
the other with Yan's "Whistler"; both shots had been true, and the
boys could only say, "Well, if you saw that in print you would say it
was a big lie!" It was indeed one of those amazing things which happen
only in real life, and the whole of the Tribe with one exception voted
a _grand coup_ to each of the hunters.

Guy was utterly contemptuous. "They got so close they hit by chance
an' didn't know they done it. If he had been shooting," etc., etc.,
etc.

"How about that screech in the tree-tops, Guy?"

"Errrrh."

What a fascination the naturalist always finds in a fine Bird. Yan
revelled in these two. He measured their extent of wing and the length
from beak to tail of each. He studied the pattern on their quills;
he was thrilled by their great yellow eyes and their long, powerful
claws, and he loved their every part. He hated to think that in a few
days these wonderful things would be disgusting and fit only to be
buried.

"I wish I knew hew to stuff them," he said.

"Why don't you get Si Lee to show you," was Sam's suggestion. "Seems
to me I often seen pictures of Injun medicine men with stuffed birds,"
he added shrewdly and happily.

"Well, that's just what I will do."

Then arose a knotty question. Should he go to Si Lee and thereby turn
"White" and break the charm of the Indian life, or should he attempt
the task of persuading Si to come down there to work without proper
conveniences. They voted to bring Si to camp. "Da might think we was
backing out." After all, the things needed were easily carried, and
Si, having been ambushed by a scout, consented to come and open a
night-school in taxidermy.

The tools and things that he brought were a bundle of tow made by
unravelling a piece of rope, some cotton wool, strong linen thread,
two long darning needles, arsenical soap worked up like cream,
corn-meal, some soft iron wire about size sixteen and some of
stovepipe size, a file, a pair of pliers, wire cutters, a sharp knife,
a pair of stout scissors, a gimlet, two ready-made wooden stands, and
last of all a good lamp. The boys hitherto had been content with the
firelight.

Thus in the forest teepee Yan had his first lesson in the art that was
to give him so much joy and some sorrow in the future.

Guy was interested, though scornful; Sam was much interested; Yan was
simply rapt, and Si Lee was in his glory. His rosy red cheeks and his
round figure swelled with pride; even his semi-nude head and fat,
fumbling fingers seemed to partake of his general elation and
importance.

First he stuffed the Owls' throats and wounds with cotton wool.

Then he took one, cut a slit from the back of the breast-bone nearly
to the tail (_A_ to _B_, Fig. 1), while Yan took the other and tried
faithfully to follow his example.

He worked the skin from the body chiefly by the use of his finger
nails, till he could reach the knee of each leg and cut this through
at the joint with the knife (_Kn,_ Fig. 1). The flesh was removed from
each leg-bone down to the heel-joint (_Hl, Hl_, Fig. 1), leaving the
leg and skin as in _Lg_, Figure 2. Then working back on each side of
the tail, he cut the "pope's nose" from the body and left it as part
of the skin, with the tail feathers in it, and this, Si explained, was
a hard place to get around. Sam called it "rounding Cape Horn." As the
flesh was exposed Si kept it powdered thickly with corn-meal, and this
saved the feathers from soiling.

Once around Cape Horn it was easy sailing. The skin was rapidly pushed
off till the wings were reached. These were cut off at the joint deep
in the breast (under _J J_, Fig. 1, or seen on the back, _W J_, Fig. 2),
the first bone of each wing was cleared of meat, and the skin, now
inside out and well mealed, was pushed off the neck up to the head.

Here Si explained that in most birds it would slip easily over the head,
but in Owls, Woodpeckers, Ducks and some others one had sometimes to
help it by a lengthwise slit on the nape (_Sn_, Fig. 2). "Owls is hard,
anyway," he went on, "though not so bad as Water-fowl. If ye want a real
easy bird for a starter, take a Robin or a Blackbird, or any land Bird
about that size except Woodpeckers."

When the ears were reached they were skinned and pulled out of the skull
without cutting, then, after the eyes were passed, the skin and body
looked as in Figure 2. Now the back of the head with the neck and body
was cut off (_Ct_, Fig. 2), and the first operation of the skinning was
done.

Yan got along fairly well, tearing and cutting the skin once or twice,
but learning very quickly to manage it.

Now began the cleaning of the skin.

The eyes were cut clean out and the brains and flesh carefully scraped
away from the skull.

The wing bones were already cleaned of meat down to the elbow joint,
where the big quill feathers began, and the rest of the wing had to
be cleared of flesh by cutting open the under side of the next joint
(_H_ to _El_, Fig. 1). The "pope's nose" and the skin generally was
freed from meat and grease by scraping with a knife and rubbing with
the meal.

Then came the poisoning. Every part of the bones and flesh had to be
painted with the creamy arsenical soap, then the head was worked back
into its place and the skin turned right side out.

When this was done it was quite late. Guy was asleep, Sam was nearly
so, and Yan was thoroughly tired out.

"Guess I'll go now," said Si. "Them skins is in good shape to keep,
only don't let them dry," so they were wrapped up in a damp sack and
put away in a tin till next night, when Si promised to return and
finish the course in one more lesson.

[Illustration: Owl-stuffing plate]


    OWL-STUFFING PLATE

    Fig. 1. The dead Owl, showing the cuts made in skinning it: A to
    B, for the body; El to H, on each wing, to remove the meat of the
    second joint.

    Fig. 2. After the skinning is done the skull remains attached to
    the skin, which is now inside out, the neck and body are cut off
    at Ct. Sn to Sn shows the slit in the nape needed for Owls and
    several other kinds.

    Fig. 3. Top view of the tow body, neck end up, and neck wire
    projecting.

    Fig. 4. Side view of the tow body, with the neck wire put through
    it; the tail end is downward.

    Fig. 5. The heavy iron wire for neck.

    Fig. 6. The Owl after the body is put in; it is now ready to close
    up, by stitching up the slit on the nape, the body slit B to C and
    the two wing slits El to H, on each wing.

    Fig. 7. A dummy as it _would look_ if all the feathers were
    off; this shows the proper position for legs and wings on the
    body. At W is a glimpse of the leg wire entering the body at the
    middle of the side.

    Fig. 8. Another view of the body without feathers; the dotted
    lines show the wires of the legs through the hard body, and the
    neck wire.

    Fig. 9. Two views of one of the wooden eyes; these are on a much
    larger scale than the rest of the figures in this plate.

    Fig. 10. The finished Owl, with the thread wrappings on and
    the wires still projecting; Nw is end of the neck wire; Bp is
    back-pin--that is, the wire in the center of the back; Ww and Ww
    are the wing wires; Tl are the cards pinned on the tail to hold it
    flat while it dries. The last operation is to remove the threads
    and cut all the wires off close so that the feathers hide what
    remains.


While they were so working Sam had busied himself opening the Owls'
stomachs--"looking up their records," as he called it. He now reported
that one had lynched a young Partridge and the other had killed a
Rabbit for its latest meal.

Next night Si Lee came as promised, but brought bad news. He had
failed to find the glass Owl eyes he had hoped were in his trunk. His
ingenuity, however, was of the kind that is never balked in a small
matter. He produced some black and yellow oil paints, explaining,
"Guess we'll make wooden eyes do for the present, an' when you get to
town you can put glass ones in their place." So Sam was set to work
whittling four wooden eyes the shape of well-raised buns and about
three-quarters of an inch across. When whittled, scraped and smooth,
Si painted them brilliant yellow with a central black spot and put
them away to dry (shown on a large scale on Owl Stuffing Plate, Fig. 9,
_a_ and _b_).

Meanwhile, he and Yan got out the two skins. The bloody feathers on
the breasts were washed clean in a cup of warm water, then dried with
cotton and dusted all over with meal to soak up any moisture left. The
leg and wing bones were now wrapped with as much tow as would take the
place of the removed meat. The eye sockets were partly filled with
cotton, then a long soft roll of tow about the length and thickness of
the original neck was worked up into the neck skin and into the skull
and left hanging. The ends of the two wing bones were fastened two
inches apart with a shackle of strong string (_X_, Fig. 2 and
Fig. 7). Now the body was needed.

For this Si rolled and lashed a wad of tow with strong thread until
he made a dummy of the same size and shape as the body taken out,
squeezing and sewing it into a hard solid mass. Next he cut about two
and a half feet of the large wire, filed both ends sharp, doubled
about four inches of one end back in a hook (Fig. 5), then drove the
long end through the tow body from the tail end out where the neck
should join on (Figs. 3 and 4). This was driven well in so that the
short end of the hook was buried out of sight. Now Si passed the
projecting ends of the long wire up the neck in the middle of the tow
roll or neck already there, worked it through the skull and out at the
top of the Owl's head, and got the tow body properly placed in the
skin with the string that bound the wing bones across the back
(_X_, Fig. 7).

Two heavy wires each eighteen inches long and sharp at one end were
needed for the legs. These were worked up one through the sole of
each foot under the skin of the leg behind (_Lw_, Fig. 6), then
through the tow body at the middle of the side (_W_, Fig. 7),
after which the sharp end was bent with pliers into a hook and driven
back into the hard body (after the manner of the neck wire, Fig. 4).

Another wire was sharpened and driven through the bones of the tail,
fastening that also to the tow body (_Tw_, Fig. 7).

Now a little soft tow was packed into places where it seemed needed
to fit the skin on, and it remained to sew up the opening below
(_Bc_ in Fig. 6), the wing slits (_El, H_, Fig. 6 and Fig.
1), and the slit in the nape (_Sn Sn_, Fig. 2) with half a dozen
stitches, always putting the needle into the skin from the flesh side.

The projecting wires of the feet were put through gimlet holes in the
perch and made firm, and Si's Owls were ready for their positions.
They were now the most ridiculous looking things imaginable, wings
floppy, heads hanging.

"Here is where the artist comes in," said Si proudly, conscious that
this was himself. He straightened up the main line of the body by
bending the leg wires and set the head right by hunching the neck into
the shoulders. "An Owl always looks over its shoulder," he explained,
but took no notice of Sam's query as to "whose shoulder he expected it
to look over." He set two toes of each foot forward on the perch and
two back to please Yan, who insisted that that was Owly, though Si
had his doubts. He spread the tail a little by pinning it between two
pieces of card (_Tl_, Fig. 10), gave it the proper slant, and now
had the wings to arrange.

They were drooping like those of a clucking hen. A sharp wire of the
small size was driven into the bend of each wing (_0_, Fig. 7),
nailing it in effect to the body (_Ww_ and _Ww_, Fig. 10). A long pin
was set in the middle of the back (_Bp_, Fig. 10), then using these
with the wing wires and head wire as lashing points, Si wrapped the
whole bird with the thread (Fig. 10), putting a wad of cotton here or
a bit of stick there under the wrapping till he had the position and
"feathering" perfect, as he put it.

"We can put in the eyes now," said he, "or later, if we soften
the skin around the eye-sockets by putting wet cotton in them for
twenty-four hours."

Yan had carefully copied Si's method with the second Owl, and
developed unusual quickness at it.

His teacher remarked, "Wall, I larned lots o' fellows to stuff birds,
but you ketch on the quickest I ever seen."

Si's ideas of perfection might differ from those of a trained
taxidermist; indeed, these same Owls afforded Yan no little amusement
in later years, but for the present they were an unmitigated joy.

They were just the same in position. Si knew only one; all his birds
had that. But when they had dried fully, had their wrappings removed,
the wires cut off flush and received the finishing glory of their
wooden eyes, they were a source of joy and wonder to the whole Tribe
of Indians.




XIX

The Trial of Grit


The boys had made war bonnets after the "really truly" Indian style
learned from Caleb. White Turkey tail-feathers and white Goose
wing-feathers dyed black at the tips made good Eagle feathers. Some
wisps of red-dyed horsehair from an old harness tassel; strips of red
flannel from an old shirt, and some scraps of sheepskin supplied the
remaining raw material. Caleb took an increasing interest, and helped
them not only to make the bonnet, but also to decide on what things
should count _coup_ and what _grand coup_. Sam had a number
of feathers for shooting, diving, "massacreeing the Whites," and his
grand tufted feathers for felling the pine and shooting the Cat-Owl.

Among other things, Yan had counted coup for trailing. The Deer hunt
had been made still more real by having the "Deer-boy" wear a pair of
sandals made from old boots; on the sole of each they put two lines
of hobnails in V shape, pointing forward. These made hooflike marks
wherever the Deer went. One of the difficulties with the corn was that
it gave no clue to the direction or doubling of the trail, but the
sandals met the trouble, and with a very little corn to help they had
an ideal trail. All became very expert, and could follow fast a very
slight track, but Yan continued the best, for what he lacked in
eyesight he more than made up in patience and observation. He already
had a _grand coup_ for finding and shooting the Deer in the heart,
that time, at first shot before the others came up even, and had won
six other _grand coups_--one for swimming 200 yards in five minutes,
one for walking four measured miles in one hour, one for running 100
yards in twelve seconds, one for knowing 100 wild plants, one for
knowing 100 birds, and the one for shooting the Horned Owl.

Guy had several good _coups_, chiefly for eyesight. He could see
"the papoose on the squaws back," and in the Deer hunt he had several
times won _coups_ that came near being called _grand coup_,
but so far fate was against him, and even old Caleb, who was partial
to him, could not fairly vote him a _grand coup_.

"What is it that the Injuns most likes in a man: I mean, what would
they druther have, Caleb?" asked Sappy one day, confidently expecting
to have his keen eyesight praised.

"Bravery," was the reply. "They don't care what a man is if he's
brave. That's their greatest thing--that is, if the feller has the
stuff to back it up. An' it ain't confined to Injuns; I tell you there
ain't anything that anybody goes on so much. Some men pretends to
think one thing the best of all, an' some another, but come right down
to it, what every man, woman an' child in the country loves an'
worships is pluck, clear grit, well backed up."

"_Well, I tell you_," said Guy, boiling up with enthusiasm at
this glorification of grit, "_I_ ain't scared o' nothin'."

"Wall, how'd you like to fight Yan there?"

"Oh, that ain't fair. He's older an' bigger'n I am."

"Say, Sappy, I'll give you one. Suppose you go to the orchard alone
an' get a pail of cherries. All the men'll be away at nine o'clock."

"Yes, and have old Cap chaw me up."

"Thought you weren't scared of anything, an' a poor little Dog smaller
than a yearling Heifer scares you."

"Well, I don't like cherries, anyhow."

"Here, now, Guy, I'll give you a real test. You see that stone?" and
Caleb held up a small round stone with a hole in it. "Now, you know
where old Garney is buried?"

Garney was a dissolute soldier who blew his head off, accidentally,
his friends claimed, and he was buried on what was supposed to be his
own land just north of Raften's, but it afterward proved to be part of
the highway where a sidepath joined in, and in spite of its diggers
the grave was at the _crossing of two roads_. Thus by the hand of
fate Bill Garney was stamped as a suicide.

The legend was that every time a wagon went over his head he must
groan, but unwilling to waste those outcries during the rumbling of
the wheels, he waited till midnight and rolled them out all together.
Anyone hearing should make a sympathetic reply or they would surely
suffer some dreadful fate. This was the legend that Caleb called up
to memory and made very impressive by being properly impressed
himself.

"Now," said he, "I am going to hide this stone just behind the rock
that marks the head of Garney's grave, an' I'll send you to git it
some night. Air ye game?"

"Y-e-s, I'll go," said the Third War Chief without visible enthusiasm.

"If he's so keen for it now, there'll be no holding him back when
night comes," remarked the Woodpecker.

"Remember, now," said Caleb, as he left them to return to his own
miserable shanty, "this is the chance to show what you're made of.
I'll tie a cord to the stone to make sure that you get it."

"We're just going to eat. Won't you stay and jine with us," called
Sam, but Caleb strode off without taking notice of the invitation.

In the middle of the night the boys were aroused by a man's voice
outside and the scratching of a stick on the canvas.

"Boys! Guy--Yan! Oh, Guy!"

"Hello! Who is it?"

"Caleb Clark! Say, Guy, it's about half-past eleven now. You have just
about time to go to Garney's grave by midnight an' get that stone,
and if you can't find the exact spot _you listen for the groaning
_--_that'll guide you_."

This cheerful information was given in a hoarse whisper that somehow
conveyed the idea that the old man was as scared as he could be.

"I--I--I--" stammered Guy, "I can't see the way."

"This is the chance of your life, boy. You get that stone and you'll
get a _grand coup_ feather, top honours fur grit. I'll wait here
till you come back."

"I--I--can't find the blamed old thing on such a dark night.
I--I--ain't goin'."

"Errr--you're scared," whispered Caleb.

"I ain't scared, on'y what's the use of goin' when I couldn't find the
place? I'll go when it's moonlight."

"Err--anybody here brave enough to go after that stone?"

"I'll go," said the other two at the same time, though with a certain
air of "But I hope I don't have to, all the same."

"You kin have the honour, Yan," said the Woodpecker, with evident
relief.

"Of course, I'd like the chance--but--but--I don't want to push ahead
of you--you're the oldest; that wouldn't be square," was the reply.

"Guess we'd better draw straws for it."

So Sam sought a long straw while Yan stirred up the coals to a blaze.
The long straw was broken in two unequal pieces and hidden in Sam's
hand. Then after shuffling he held it toward Yan, showing only the
two tips, and said, "Longest straw takes the job." Yan knew from old
experience that a common trick was to let the shortest straw stick out
farthest, so he took the other, drew it slowly out and out--it seemed
endless. Sam opened his hand and showed that the short straw remained,
then added with evident relief: "You got it. You are the luckiest
feller I ever did see. Everything comes your way."

If there had been any loophole Yan would have taken it, but it was
now clearly his duty to go for that stone. It was pride rather than
courage that carried him through. He dressed quietly and nervously;
his hands trembled a little as he laced his shoes. Caleb waited
outside when he heard that it was Yan who was going. He braced him up
by telling him: "You're the stuff. I jest love to see grit. I'll
go with you to the edge of the woods--'twouldn't be fair to go
farther--and wait there till you come back. It's easy to find. Go four
panels of fence past the little Elm, then right across on the other
side of the road is the big stone. Well, on the side next the north
fence you'll find the ring pebble. The coord is lying kind o' cross
the big white stone, so you'll find it easy; and here, take this
chalk; if your grit gives out, you mark on the fence how far you did
get, but don't you worry about that groaning--it's nothing but a
yarn--don't be scairt."

"I am afraid I am scared, but still I'll go."

"That's right," said the Trapper with emphasis. "Bravery ain't so much
not being scairt as going ahead when you are scairt, showing that you
kin boss your fears."

So they talked till they struck out of the gloom of the trees to the
comparative light of the open field.

"It's just fifteen minutes to midnight," said Caleb, looking at his
watch with the light of a match, "You'll make it easy. I'll wait
here."

Then Yan went on alone.

It was a somber night, but he felt his way along the field fence to
the line fence and climbed that into the road that was visible as a
less intense darkness on the black darkness of the grass. Yan walked
on up the middle cautiously. His heart beat violently and his hands
were cold. It was a still night, and once or twice little mousey
sounds in the fence corner made him start, but he pushed on. Suddenly
in the blackness to the right of the road he heard a loud "whisk,"
then he caught sight of a white thing that chilled his blood. It was
the shape of a man wrapped in white, but lacked a head, just as the
story had it. Yan stood frozen to the ground. Then his intellect came
to the rescue of his trembling body. "What nonsense! It must be a
white stone." But no, it moved. Yan had a big stick in his hand. He
shouted: "Sh, sh, sh!" Again the "corpse" moved. Yan groped on the
road for some stones and sent one straight at the "white thing." He
heard a "whooff" and a rush. The "white thing" sprang up and ran past
him with a clatter that told him he had been scared by Granny de
Neuville's white-faced cow. At first the reaction made him weak at the
knees, but that gave way to a better feeling. If a harmless old Cow
could lie out there all night, why should he fear? He went on more
quietly till he neared the rise in the road. He should soon see the
little Elm. He kept to the left of the highway and peered into the
gloom, going more slowly. He was not so near as he had supposed, and
the tension of the early part of the expedition was coming back more
than ever. He wondered if he had not passed the Elm--should he go
back? But no, he could not bear the idea; that would mean retreat.
Anyhow, he would put his chalk mark here to show how far he did get.
He sneaked cautiously toward the fence to make it, then to his relief
made out the Elm not twenty-five feet away. Once at the tree, he
counted off the four panels westward and knew that he was opposite the
grave of the suicide. It must now be nearly midnight. He thought he
heard sounds not far away, and there across the road he saw a whitish
thing--the headstone. He was greatly agitated as he crawled quietly as
possible toward it. Why quietly he did not know. He stumbled through
the mud of the shallow ditch at each side, reached the white stone,
and groped with clammy, cold hands over the surface for the string. If
Caleb had put it there it was gone now. So he took his chalk and wrote
on the stone "Yan."

Oh, what a scraping that chalk made! He searched about with his
fingers around the big boulder. Yes, there it was; the wind, no doubt,
had blown it off. He pulled it toward him. The pebble was drawn across
the boulder with another and louder rasping that sounded fearfully
in the night. Then at once a gasp, a scuffle, a rush, a splash of
something in mud, or water--horrible sounds of a being choking,
strangling or trying to speak. For a moment Yan sank down in terror.
His lips refused to move. But the remembrance of the cow came to help
him. He got up and ran down the road as fast as he could go, a cold
sweat on him. He ran so blindly he almost ran into a man who shouted
"Ho, Yan; is that you?" It was Caleb coming to meet him. Yan could
not speak. He was trembling so violently that he had to cling to the
Trapper's arm.

"What was it, boy? I heard it, but what was it?"

"I--I--don't know," he gasped; "only it was at the g-g-grave."

"Gosh! I heard it, all right," and Caleb showed no little uneasiness,
but added, "We'll be back in camp in ten minutes."

He took Yan's trembling hand and led him for a little while, but he
was all right when he came to the blazed trail. Caleb stepped ahead,
groping in the darkness.

Yan now found voice to say, "I got the stone all right, and I wrote my
name on the grave, too."

"Good boy! You're the stuff!" was the admiring response.

They were very glad to see that there was a fire in the teepee
when they drew near. At the edge of the clearing they gave a loud
"_O-hoo_--_O-hoo_--O-hoo-oo," the Owl cry that they had
adopted because it is commonly used by the Indians as a night signal,
and they got the same in reply from within.

"All right," shouted Caleb; "he done it, an' he's bully good stuff and
gets an uncommon _grand coup_."

"Wish I had gone now," said Guy. "I could 'a' done it just as well as
Yan."

"Well, go on now."

"Oh, there ain't any stone to get now for proof."

"You can write your name on the grave, as I did."

"Ah, that wouldn't prove nothin'," and Guy dropped the subject.

Yan did not mean to tell his adventure that night, but his excitement
was evident, and they soon got it out of him in full. They were
a weird-looking crowd as they sat around the flickering fire,
experiencing as he told it no small measure of the scare he had just
been through.

When he had finished Yan said, "Now, Guy, don't you want to go and try
it?"

"Oh, quit," said Guy; "I never saw such a feller as you for yammering
away on the same subjek."

Caleb looked at his watch now, as though about to leave, when Yan
said:

"Say, Mr. Clark, won't you sleep here? There's lots o' room in Guy's
bed."

"Don't mind if I do, seem' it's late."




XX

The White Revolver


In the morning Caleb had the satisfaction of eating a breakfast
prepared by the son of his enemy, for Sam was cook that day.

The Great Woodpecker expressed the thought of the whole assembly when
after breakfast he said: "Now I want to go and see that grave. I
believe Yan wrote his name on some old cow that was lying down and she
didn't like it and said so out loud!"

They arrived at the spot in a few minutes. Yes, there it was
plainly written on the rude gravestone, rather shaky, but perfectly
legible--"Yan."

"Pretty poor writing," was Guy's remark.

"Well, you sure done it! Good boy!" said Sam warmly. "Don't believe
I'd 'a' had the grit."

"Bet I would," said Guy.

"Here's where I crossed the ditch. See my trail in the mud? Out there
is where I heard the yelling. Let's see if ghosts make tracks. Hallo,
what the--"

There were the tracks in the mud of a big man. He had sprawled,
falling on his hands and knees. Here was the print of his hands
several times, and in the mud, half hidden, something shining--Guy saw
it first and picked it up. It was a white-handled Colt's revolver.

"Let's see that," said Caleb. He wiped off the mud. His eye kindled.
"That's my revolver that was stole from me 'way back, time I lost my
clothes and money." He looked it over and, glancing about, seemed lost
in thought. "This beats me!" He shook his head and muttered from time
to time, "This beats me!" There seemed nothing more of interest to
see, so the boys turned homeward.

On the way back Caleb was evidently thinking hard. He walked in
silence till they got opposite Granny de Neuville's shanty, which was
the nearest one to the grave. At the gate he turned and said: "Guess
I'm going in here. Say, Yan, you didn't do any of that hollering last
night, did you?"

"No, sir; not a word. The only sound I made was dragging the
ring-stone over the boulder."

"Well, I'll see you at camp," he said, and turned in to Granny's.

"The tap o' the marnin' to ye, an' may yer sowl rest in pace," was the
cheery old woman's greeting. "Come in--come in, Caleb, an' set down.
An' how is Saryann an' Dick?"

"They seem happy an' prosperin'," said the old man with bitterness.
"Say, Granny, did you ever hear the story about Garney's grave out
there on the road?"

"For the love av goodness, an' how is it yer after askin' me that now?
Sure an' I heard the story many a time, an' I'm after hearin' the
ghost last night, an' it's a-shiverin' yit Oi am."

"What did you hear, Granny?"

"Och, an' it was the most divilish yells iver let out av a soul in
hell. Shure the Dog and the Cat both av thim was scairt, and the owld
white-faced cow come a-runnin' an' jumped the bars to get aff av the
road."

Here was what Caleb wanted, and he kept her going by his evident
interest. After she tired of providing more realistic details of
the night's uproar, Caleb deliberately tapped another vintage of
tittle-tattle in hope of further information leaking out.

"Granny, did you hear of a robbery last week down this side of
Downey's Dump?"

"Shure an' I did not," she exclaimed, her eyes ablaze with
interest--neither had Caleb, for that matter; but he wanted to start
the subject--"An" who was it was robbed?"

"Don't know, unless it was John Evans's place."

"Shure an' I don't know him, but I warrant he could sthand to lose.
Shure an' it's when the raskils come after me an' Cal Conner the
moment it was talked around that we had sold our Cow; then sez I, it's
gittin' onraisonable, an' them divils shorely seems to know whin a wad
o' money passes."

"That's the gospel truth. But when wuz you robbed, Granny?"

"Robbed? I didn't say I wuz robbed," and she cackled. "But the robbers
had the best av intintions when they came to me," and she related
at length her experience with the two who broke in when her Cow was
reported sold. She laughed over their enjoyment of the Lung Balm, and
briefly told how the big man was sulky and the short, broad one was
funny. Their black beards, the "big wan" with his wounded head, his
left-handedness and his accidental exposure of the three fingers of
the right hand, all were fully talked over.

"When was it, Granny?"

"Och, shure an' it wuz about three years apast."

Then after having had his lungs treated, old Caleb left Granny and set
out to do some very hard thinking.

There had been robberies all around for the last four years; There was
no clue but this: They were all of the same character; nothing but
cash was taken, and the burglars seemed to have inside knowledge of
the neighbourhood, and timed all their visits to happen just after the
householder had come into possession of a roll of bills.

As soon as Caleb turned in at the de Neuville gate, Yan, acting on a
belated thought, said:

"Boys, you go on to camp; I'll be after you in five minutes." He wanted
to draw those tracks in the mud and try to trail that man, so went
back to the grave.

He studied the marks most carefully and by opening out the book he was
able to draw the boot tracks life-size, noting that each had three
rows of small hobnails on the heel, apparently put in at home because
so irregular, while the sole of the left was worn into a hole. Then he
studied the hand tracks, selected the clearest, and was drawing the
right hand when something odd caught his attention.

Yes! It appeared in all the impressions of that hand--the middle
finger was gone.

[Illustration: The three-fingered hand-print]

Yan followed the track on the road a little way, but at the corner it
turned southward and was lost in the grass.

As he was going back to camp he overtook Caleb also returning.

"Mr. Clark," he said. "I went back to sketch those tracks, and do you
know--that man had only three fingers on his right hand?"

"Consarn me!" said Caleb. "Are you sure?"

"Come and see for yourself."

Yes! It surely was true, and Caleb on the road back said, "Yan, don't
say a word of this to the others just now."

The old Trapper went to the Pogue house at once. He found the tracks
repeated in the dust near the door, but they certainly were not made
by Dick. On a line was a pair of muddy trousers drying.

From this night Yan went up and Guy went down in the old man's
opinion, for he spoke his own mind that day when he gave first place
to grit. He invited Yan to come to his shanty to see a pair of
snow-shoes he was making. The invitation was vague and general, so the
whole Tribe accepted. Yan had not been there since his first visit.
The first part of their call was as before. In answer to their knock
there was a loud baying from the Hound, then a voice ordering him
back. Caleb opened the door, but now said "Step in." If he was
displeased with the others coming he kept it to himself. While Yan
was looking at the snow-shoes Guy discovered something much more
interesting on the old man's bunk; that was the white revolver, now
cleaned up and in perfect order. Caleb's delight at its recovery,
though not very apparent, was boundless. He had not been able to buy
himself another, and this was as warmly welcomed back as though a
long-lost only child.

"Say, Caleb, let's try a shot. I bet I kin beat the hull gang,"
exclaimed Sapwood.

Caleb got some cartridges and pointed to a white blaze on a stump
forty yards away. Guy had three or four shots and Yan had the same
without hitting the stump. Then Caleb said, "Lemme show you."

His big rugged hand seemed to swallow up the little gun-stock. His
long knobbed finger fitted around the lock in a strange but familiar
way. Caleb was a bent-arm shot, and the short barrel looked like his
own forefinger pointing at the target as he pumped away six times in
quick succession. All went into the blaze and two into the charcoal
spot that marked the centre.

"By George! Look at that for shooting!" and the boys were loud in
their praise.

"Well, twenty year ago I used to be a pretty good shot," Caleb
proceeded to explain with an air of unnecessary humility and a very
genial expression on his face. "But that's dead easy. I'll show you
some real tricks."

Twenty-five feet away he set up three cartridges in a row, their caps
toward him, and exploded them in succession with three rapid shots.
Then he put the revolver in the side pocket of his coat, and
recklessly firing it without drawing, much less sighting or even
showing it, he peppered a white blaze at twenty yards. Finally he
looked around for an old fruit tin. Then he cocked the revolver,
laid it across his right hand next the thumb and the tin across the
fingers. He then threw them both in the air with a jerk that sent the
revolver up ten feet and the tin twenty. As the revolver came down he
seized it and shot a hole through the tin before it could reach the
ground.

The boys were simply dumbfounded. They had used up all their
exclamations on the first simple target trial.

Caleb stepped into the shanty to get a cleaning-rag for his darling,
and Sam burst out:

"Well, now I know he never shot at Da, for if he did he'd 'a' got him
sure."

It was not meant for Caleb's ears, but it reached him, and the old
Trapper came to the door at once with a long, expressive "H-m-m-mrr."

Thus was broken the dam of silent scorn, for it was the first time
Caleb had addressed himself to Sam. The flood had forced the barrier,
but it still left plenty of stuff in the channel to be washed away by
time and wear, and it was long before he talked to Sam as freely as to
the others, but still in time he learned.

There was an air of geniality on all now, and Yan took advantage of
this to ask for something he had long kept in mind.

"Mr. Clark, will you take us out for a Coon hunt? We know where there
are lots of Coons that feed in a corn patch up the creek."

If Yan had asked this a month ago he would have got a contemptuous
refusal. Before the visit to Carney's grave it might have been, "Oh, I
dunno--I ain't got time," but he was on the right side of Caleb now,
and the answer was:

"Well, yes! Don't mind if I do, first night it's coolish, so the Dog
kin run."

[Illustration: Raccoon in tree]




XXI

The Triumph Of Guy


The boys had hunted the Woodchuck quite regularly since first meeting
it. Their programme was much the same--each morning about nine or ten
they would sneak out to the clover field. It was usually Guy who first
discovered the old Grizzly, then all would fire a harmless shot, the
Woodchuck would scramble into his den and the incident be closed for
the day. This became as much a part of the day's routine as getting
breakfast, and much more so than the washing of the dishes. Once or
twice the old Grizzly had narrow escapes, but so far he was none the
worse, rather the better, being wiser. The boys, on the other
hand, gained nothing, with the possible exception of Guy. Always
quick-sighted, his little washed-out optics developed a marvellous
keenness. At first it was as often Yan or Sam who saw the old Grizzly,
but later it was always Guy.

One morning Sam approached the game from one point, Guy and Yan from
another some yards away. "No Woodchuck!" was the first opinion, but
suddenly Guy called "I see him." There in a little hollow fully sixty
yards from his den, and nearly a hundred from the boys, concealed in a
bunch of clover, Guy saw a patch of gray fur hardly two inches square.
"That's him, sure."

Yan could not see it at all. Sam saw but doubted. An instant later
the Woodchuck (for it was he) stood up on his hind legs, raised his
chestnut breast above the clover, and settled all doubt.

"By George!" exclaimed Yan in admiration. "_That is great_. You
have the most wonderful eyes I ever did see. Your name ought to be
'Hawkeye'--that should be your name."

"All right," shrilled out Guy enthusiastically. "Will you--will
you, Sam, will you call me Hawkeye? I think you ought to," he added
pleadingly.

"I think so, Sam," said the Second Chief. "He's turned out great
stuff, an' it's regular Injun."

"We'll have to call a Council and settle that. Now let's to business."

"Say, Sapwood, you're so smart, couldn't you go round through the
woods to your side and crawl through the clover so as get between the
old Grizzly and his den?" suggested the Head Chief.

"I bet I can, an' I'll bet a dollar--"

"Here, now," said Yan, "Injuns don't have dollars."

"Well, I'll bet my scalp--my black scalp, I mean--against Sam's that I
kill the old Grizzly first."

"Oh, let me do it first--you do it second," said Sam imploringly.

"Errr--yer scared of yer scalp."

"I'll go you," said Sam.

Each of the boys had a piece of black horsehair that he called his
scalp. It was tied with a string to the top of his head--and this was
what Guy wished to wager.

Yan now interfered: "Quit your squabbling, you Great War Chiefs, an'
'tend to business. If Woodpecker kills old Grizzly he takes Sapwood's
scalp; if Sappy kills him he takes the Woodpecker's scalp, an' the
winner gets a grand feather, too."

Sam and Yan waited impatiently in the woods while Guy sneaked around.
The Woodchuck seemed unusually bold this day. He wandered far from his
den and got out of sight in hollows at times. The boys saw Guy crawl
through the fence, though the Woodchuck did not. The fact was, that he
had always had the enemy approach him from the other side, and was not
watching eastward.

Guy, flat on his breast, worked his way through the clover. He crawled
about thirty yards and now was between the Woodchuck and his den.
Still old Grizzly kept on stuffing himself with clover and watching
toward the Raften woods. The boys became intensely excited. Guy could
see them, but not the Woodchuck. They pointed and gesticulated. Guy
thought that meant "Now shoot." He got up cautiously. The Woodchuck
saw him and bounded straight for its den--that is, toward Guy. Guy
fired wildly. The arrow went ten feet over the Grizzly's head, and,
that "huge, shaking mass of fur" bounding straight at him, struck
terror to his soul. He backed up hastily, not knowing where to run. He
was close to the den.

The Woodchuck chattered his teeth and plunged to get by the boy, each
as scared as could be. Guy gave a leap of terror and fell heavily just
as the Woodchuck would have passed under him and home. But the boy
weighed nearly 100 pounds, and all that weight came with crushing
force on old Grizzly, knocking the breath out of his body. Guy
scrambled to his feet to run for his life, but he saw the Woodchuck
lying squirming, and plucked up courage enough to give him a couple
of kicks on the nose that settled him. A loud yell from the other two
boys was the first thing that assured Guy of his victory. They came
running over and found him standing like the hunter in an amateur
photograph, holding his bow in one hand and the big Woodchuck by the
tail in the other.

[Illustration: The hunter]

"Now, I guess you fellers will come to me to larn you how to kill
Woodchucks. Ain't he an old socker? I bet he weighs fifty pounds--yes,
near sixty." (It weighed about ten pounds.)

"Good boy! Bully boy! Hooray for the Third War Chief! Hooray for Chief
Sapwood!" and Guy had no cause to complain of lack of appreciation on
the part of the others.

He swelled out his chest and looked proud and haughty. "Wished I knew
where there was some more Woodchucks," he said. "_I_ know how to
get them, if the rest don't."

"Well, that should count for a _grand coup_, Sappy."

[Illustration: "Guy gave a leap of terror and fell."]

"You tole me you wuz goin' to call me 'Hawkeye' after this morning."

"We'll have to have a Grand Council to fix that up," replied the Head
Chief.

"All right; let's have it this afternoon, will you?"

"All right."

"'Bout four o'clock?"

"Why, yes; any time."

"And you'll fix me up as 'Hawkeye,' and give me a dandy Eagle feather
for killing the Woodchuck, at four o'clock?"

"Yes, sure, only, why do you want it at four o'clock?"

But Guy seemed not to hear, and right away after dinner he
disappeared.

"He's dodging the dishwashing again," suggested the Woodpecker.

"No, he isn't," said the Second Chief. "I believe he's going to bring
his folks to see him in his triumph."

"That's so. Let's chip right in and make it an everlasting old
blowout--kind of a new date in history. You'll hear me lie like sixty
to help him out."

"Good enough. I'm with you. You go and get your folks. I'll go after
old Caleb, and we'll fix it up to call him 'Hawkeye' and give him his
_grand coup_ feather all at once."

"'Feard my folks and Caleb wouldn't mix," replied Sam, "but I believe
for a splurge like this Guy'd ruther have my folks. You see, Da has
the mortgage on their place."

So it was agreed Sam was to go for his mother, while Yan was to
prepare the Eagle feather and skin the Woodchuck.

It was not "as big as a bear," but it was a very large Woodchuck, and
Yan was as much elated over the victory as any of them. He still had
an hour or more before four o'clock, and eager to make Guy's triumph
as Indian as possible, he cut off all the Woodchuck's claws, then
strung them on a string, with a peeled and pithed Elder twig an inch
long between each two. Some of the claws were very, very small, but
the intention was there to make a Grizzly-claw necklace.

Guy made for home as fast as he could go. His father hailed him as he
neared the garden and evidently had plans of servitude, but Guy
darted into the dining-room-living-room-bedroom-kitchen-room, which
constituted nine-tenths of the house.

"Oh, Maw, you just ought to seen me; you just want to come this
afternoon--I'm the Jim Dandy of the hull Tribe, an they're going to
make me Head Chief. I killed that whaling old Woodchuck that pooty
nigh killed Paw. They couldn't do a thing without me--them fellers in
camp. They tried an' tried more'n a thousand times to get that old
Woodchuck--yes, I bet they tried a million times, an' I just waited
till they was tired and give up, then I says, 'Now, I'll show you
how.' First I had to point him out. Them fellers is no good to see
things. Then I says, 'Now, Sam and Yan, you fellers stay here, an'
just to show how easy it is when you know how, I'll leave all my
bosenarrers behind an' go with nothing.' Wall, there they stood an'
watched me, an' I s-n-e-a-k-e-d round the fence an' c-r-a-w-l-e-d in
the clover just like an Injun till I got between him an' his hole, and
then I hollers and he come a-snortin' an' a-chatterin' his teeth at
me to chaw me up, for he seen I had no stick nor nothin', an' I never
turned a hair; I kep' cool an' waited till jest as he was going to
jump for my throat, then I turned and gave him one kick on the snoot
that sent him fifty feet in the air, an' when he come down he was
deader'n Kilsey's hen when she was stuffed with onions. Oh, Maw, I'm
just the bully boy; they can't do nothin' in camp 'thout me. I had to
larn 'em to hunt Deer an' see things--an'--an'--an'--lots o' things,
so they are goin' to make me Head Chief of the hull Tribe, an' call
me 'Hawkeye,' too; that's the way the Injuns does. It's to be at four
o'clock this afternoon, an' you got to come."

Burns scoffed at the whole thing and told Guy to get to work at the
potatoes, and if he left down the bars so that the Pig got out he'd
skin him alive; he would have no such fooling round his place. But Mrs
Burns calmly informed him that _she_ was going. It was to her
much like going to see a university degree conferred on her boy.

Since Burns would not assist, the difficulty of the children now
arose. This, however, was soon settled. They should go along. It was
two hours' toil for the mother to turn the four brown-limbed, nearly
naked, dirty, happy towsle-tops into four little martyrs, befrocked,
beribboned, becombed and be-booted. Then they all straggled across the
field, Mrs. Burns carrying the baby in one arm and a pot of jam in
the other. Guy ran ahead to show the way, and four-year-old,
three-year-old and two-year-old, hand in hand, formed a diagonal line
in the wake of the mother.

They were just a little surprised on getting to camp to find Mrs.
Raften and Minnie there in holiday clothes. Marget's first feeling was
resentment, but her second thought was a pleasant one. That "stuck-up"
woman, the enemy's wife, should see her boy's triumph, and Mrs. Burns
at once seized on the chance to play society cat.

"How do ye do, Mrs. Raften; hope you're well," she said with a tinge
of malicious pleasure and a grand attempt at assuming the leadership.

"Quite well, thank you. We came down to see how the boys were getting
on in camp."

"They've got on very nicely _sense my boy j'ined them_," retorted
Mrs. Burns, still fencing.

"So I understand; the other two have become very fond of him,"
returned Mrs. Raften, seeking to disarm her enemy.

This speech had its effect. Mrs. Burns aimed only to forestall the
foe, but finding to her surprise that the enemy's wife was quite
gentle, a truce was made, and by the time Mrs. Raften had petted and
praised the four tow-tops and lauded Guy to the utmost the air of
latent battle was replaced by one of cordiality.

The boys now had everything ready for the grand ceremony. On the
Calfskin rug at one end was the Council; Guy, seated on the skin of
the Woodchuck and nearly hiding it from view, Sam on his left hand
and Yan with the drum, on his right. In the middle the Council fire
blazed. To give air, the teepee cover was raised on the shady side and
the circle of visitors was partly in the teepee and partly out.

The Great War Chief first lighted the peace pipe, puffed for a minute,
then blew off the four smokes to the four winds and handed it to the
Second and Third War Chiefs, who did the same.

Little Beaver gave three thumps on the drum for silence, and the Great
Woodpecker rose up:

"Big Chiefs, Little Chiefs, Braves, Warriors, Councillors, Squaws,
and Papooses of the Sanger Indians: When our Tribe was at war with
them--them--them--other Injuns--them Birchbarks, we took prisoner one
of their warriors and tortured him to death two or three times, and he
showed such unusual stuff that we took him into our Tribe--"

Loud cries of "How--How--How," led by Yan.

"We gave a sun-dance for his benefit, but he didn't brown--seemed too
green--so we called him Sapwood. From that time he has fought his way
up from the ranks and got to be Third War Chief--"

"How--How--How."

"The other day the hull Tribe j'ined to attack an' capture a big
Grizzly and was licked bad, when the War Chief Sapwood came to the
rescue an' settled the owld baste with one kick on the snoot. Deeds
like this is touching. A feller that kin kick like that didn't orter
be called Sapwood nor Saphead nor Sapanything. No, sirree! It ain't
right. He's the littlest Warrior among the War Chiefs, but he kin see
farder an' do it oftener an' better than his betters. He kin see round
a corner or through a tree. 'Cept maybe at night, he's the swell seer
of the outfit, an' the Council has voted to call him 'Hawkeye.'"

"How--How--How--How--How--"

Here Little Beaver handed the Head War Chief a flat white stick on
which was written in large letters "Sapwood."

"Here's the name he went by before he was great an' famous, an' this
is the last of it." The Chief put the stick in the fire, saying, "Now
let us see if you're too green to burn." Little Beaver then handed
Woodpecker a fine Eagle feather, red-tufted, and bearing in outline
a man with a Hawk's head and an arrow from his eye. "This here's a
swagger Eagle feather for the brave deed he done, and tells about him
being Hawkeye, too" (the feather was stuck in Guy's hair and the claw
necklace put about his neck amid loud cries of "How--How--" and thumps
of the drum), "and after this, any feller that calls him Sapwood has to
double up and give Hawkeye a free kick."

There was a great chorus of "How--How." Guy tried hard to look
dignified and not grin, but it got beyond him. He was smiling right
across and half way round. His mother beamed with pride till her eyes
got moist and overflowed.

Every one thought the ceremony was over, but Yan stood up and began:
"There is something that has been forgotten, Chiefs, Squaws and
Pappooses of the Sanger Nation: When we went out after this Grizzly I
was witness to a bargain between two of the War Chiefs. According to a
custom of our Tribe, they bet their scalps, each that he would be the
one to kill the Grizzly. The Head Chief Woodpecker was one and Hawkeye
was the other. Hawkeye, you can help yourself to Woodpecker's scalp."

Sam had forgotten about this, but he bowed his head. Guy cut the
string, and holding up the scalp, he uttered a loud, horrible
war-whoop which every one helped with some sort of noise. It was the
crowning event. Mrs. Burns actually wept for joy to see her heroic boy
properly recognized at last.

Then she went over to Sam and said, "Did you bring your folks here to
see my boy get praised?"

Sam nodded and twinkled an eye.

"Well, I don't care who ye are, Raften or no Raften, you got a good
heart, an' it's in the right place. I never did hold with them as says
'There ain't no good in a Raften.' I always hold there's some good in
every human. I know your Paw _did_ buy the mortgage on our place,
but I never did believe your Maw stole our Geese, _an' I never
will_, an' next time I hear them runnin' on the Raftens I'll jest
open out an' tell what I know."

[Illustration: The picture on the Teepee Lining, to record Guy's
Exploit.]




XXII

The Coon Hunt


Yan did not forget the proposed Coon hunt--in fact, he was most
impatient for it, and within two days the boys came to Caleb about
sundown and reminded him of his promise. It was a sultry night, but
Yan was sure it was just right for a Coon hunt, and his enthusiasm
carried all before it. Caleb was quietly amused at the "_cool
night_" selected, but reckoned it would be "better later."

"Set down--set down, boys," he said, seeing them standing ready for an
immediate start. "There's no hurry. Coons won't be running for three
or four hours after sundown."

So he sat and smoked, while Sam vainly tried to get acquainted with
old Turk; Yan made notes on some bird wings nailed to the wall,
and Guy got out the latest improved edition of his exploits in
Deer-hunting and Woodchuck killing, as well as enlarged on his plans
for gloriously routing any Coon they might encounter.

By insisting that it would take an hour to get to the place, Yan
got them started at nine o'clock, Caleb, on a suggestion from Guy,
carrying a small axe. Keeping old Turk well in hand, they took the
highway, and for half an hour tramped on toward the "Corners." Led by
Sam, they climbed a fence crossed a potato field, and reached the corn
patch by the stream.

"Go ahead, Turk. Sic him! Sic him! Sic him!" and the company sat in a
row on the fence to await developments.

Turk was somewhat of a character. He hunted what he pleased and when
he pleased. His master could bring him on the Coon grounds, but he
couldn't make him hunt Coon nor anything else unless it suited his own
fancy. Caleb had warned the boys to be still, and they sat along the
fence in dead silence, awaiting the summons from the old Hound. He had
gone off beating and sniffing among the cornstalks. His steps sounded
very loud and his sniffs like puffs of steam. It was a time of tense
attention; but the Hound wandered, farther away, and even his noisy
steps were lost.

They had sat for two long minutes, when a low yelp from a distant part
of the field, then a loud "_bow-wow"_ from the Hound, set Yan's
heart jumping.

"Game afoot," said Sam in a low voice.

"Bet I heered him first," piped Guy.

Yan's first thought was to rush pell-mell after the Dog. He had often
read of the hunt following furiously the baying of the Hounds, but
Caleb restrained him.

"Hold on, boy; plenty of time. Don't know yet what it is."

For Turk, like most frontier Hounds, would run almost any trail--had
even been accused of running on his own--and it rested with those who
knew him best to discover from his peculiar style of tonguing just
what the game might be. But they waited long and patiently without
getting another bay from the Hound. Presently a rustling was heard and
Turk came up to his master and lay down at his feet.

"Go ahead, Turk, put him up," but the Dog stirred not. "Go ahead," and
Caleb gave him a rap with a small stick. The Dog dodged away, but lay
down again, panting.

"What was it, Mr. Clark?" demanded Yan.

"Don't hardly know. Maybe he only spiked himself on a snag. But this
is sure; there's no Coons here to-night. There won't be after this. We
come too early, and it's too hot for the Dog, anyway."

"We could cross the creek and go into Boyle's bush," suggested the
Woodpecker. "We're like to strike anything there. Larry de Neuville
swears he saw a Unicorn there the night he came back from Garney's
wake."

"How can you tell the kind of game by the Dog's barking?" asked Yan.

"H-m!" answered Caleb, as he put a fresh quid in his lantern jaw. "You
surely can if you know the country an' the game an' the Dog. Course,
no two Dogs is alike; you got to study your Dog, an' if he's good
he'll larn you lots about trailing."

The brook was nearly dry now, so they crossed where they would. Then
feeling their way through the dark woods with eyes for the most part
closed, they groped toward Boyle's open field, then across it to the
heavy timber. Turk had left them at the brook, and, following its
course till he came to a pool, had had a bath. As they entered the
timber tract he joined them, dripping wet and ready for business.

"Go ahead, Turk," and again all sat down to await the opinion of the
expert.

It came quickly. The old Hound, after circling about in a way that
seemed to prove him independent of daylight, began to sniff loudly,
and gave a low whine. He followed a little farther, and now his tail
was heard to '_tap, tap, tap_' the brush as he went through a dry
thicket.

"Hear that? He's got something this time," said Caleb in a low voice.
"Wait a little."

The Hound was already working out a puzzle, and when at last he got
far enough to be sure, he gave a short bark. There was another
spell of sniffing, then another bark, then several little barks at
intervals, and at last a short bay; then the baying recommenced, but
was irregular and not full-chested. The sounds told that the Hound was
running in a circle about the forest, but at length ceased moving,
for all the barking was at one place. When the hunters got there
they found the Dog half-way in a hole under a stump, barking and
scratching.

"Humph," said Caleb; "nothing but a Cottontail. Might 'a' knowed that
by the light scent an' the circling without treeing."

So Turk was called off and the company groped through the inky woods
in quest of more adventures.

"There's a kind of swampy pond down the lower end of the bush--a
likely place for Coons on a Frog-hunt," suggested the Woodpecker.

So the Hound was again "turned on" near the pond. The dry woods were
poor for scent, but the damp margin of the marsh proved good, and Turk
became keenly interested and very sniffy. A preliminary "_Woof!_"
was followed by one or two yelps and then a full-chested
"_Boooow!"_ that left no doubt he had struck a hot trail at last.
Oh, what wonderfully thrilling horn-blasts those were! Yan for the
first time realized the power of the "full cry," whose praises are so
often sung.

The hunters sat down to await the result, for, as Caleb pointed out,
there was "no saying where the critter might run."

The Hound bayed his fullest, roundest notes at quick intervals, but
did not circle. The sound of his voice told them that the chase was
straight away, out of the woods, easterly across an open field, and at
a hot pace, with regular, full bellowing, unbroken by turn or doubt.

"I believe he's after the old Callaghan Fox," said the Trapper.
"They've tried it together before now, an' there ain't anything but a
Fox will run so straight and fetch such a tune out of Turk."

The baying finally was lost in the distance, probably a mile away, but
there was nothing for it but to wait. If Turk had been a full-bred and
trained Foxhound he would have stuck to that trail all night, but in
half an hour he returned, puffing and hot, to throw himself into the
shallow pond.

"Everything scared away now," remarked Caleb. "We might try the other
side of the pond." Once or twice the dog became interested, but
decided that there was nothing in it, and returned to pant by his
master's feet.

They had now travelled so far toward home that a very short cut across
fields would bring them into their own woods.

The moon arose as they got there, and after their long groping in the
murky darkness this made the night seem very bright and clear.

They had crossed the brook below Granny de Neuville's, and were
following the old timber trail that went near the stream, when Turk
stopped to sniff, ran back and forth two or three times, then stirred
the echoes with a full-toned bugle blast and led toward the water.

"_Bow--bow--bow--bow_," he bawled for forty yards and came to a
stop. The baying was exactly the same that he gave on the Fox trail,
but the course of the animal was crooked, and now there was a break.

They could hear the dog beating about close at hand and far away, but
silent so far as tongue was concerned.

"What is it, Caleb?" said Sam with calm assurance, forgetting how
recent was their acquaintance.

"Dunno," was the short reply.

"'Tisn't a Fox, is it?" asked Yan.

But a sudden renewal of "_Bow--bow--bow--_" from the Hound one
hundred yards away, at the fence, ended all discussion. The dog had
the hot trail again. The break had been along the line of a fence that
showed, as Caleb said, "It was a Coon, 'cept it might be some old
house Cat maybe; them was the only things that would run along top of
a fence in the night time."

It was easy to follow now; the moonlight was good, and the baying of
the Hound was loud and regular. It led right down the creek, crossing
several pools and swamps.

"That settles it," remarked the Trapper decisively. "Cats don't take
to the water. That's a Coon," and as they hurried they heard a sudden
change in the dog's note, no longer a deep rich '_B-o-o-w-w_.' It
became an outrageous clamour of mingled yelps, growls and barks.

"Ha--heh. That means he's right on it. That is what he does when he
_sees_ the critter."

But the "view halloo" was quickly dropped and the tonguing of the dog
was now in short, high-pitched yelps _at one place_.

"Jest so! He's treed! That's a Coon, all right!" and Caleb led
straight for the place.

The Hound was barking and leaping against a big Basswood, and Caleb's
comment was: "Hm, never knowed a Coon to do any other way--always gets
up the highest and tarnalest tree to climb in the hull bush. Now who's
the best climber here?"

"Yan is," volunteered Sam.

"Kin ye do it, Yan?"

"I'll try."

"Guess we'll make a fire first and see if we can't see him," said the
Woodpecker.

"If it was a Woodchuck I'd soon get him for you," chimed in Hawkeye,
but no one heeded.

Sam and Yan gathered stuff and soon had a flood of flickering red
light on all the surrounding trees. They scanned the big Basswood
without getting sight of their quarry. Caleb took a torch and found on
the bark some fresh mud. By going back on the trail to where it had
crossed the brook they found the footprint--undoubtedly that of a
large Coon.

"Reckon he's in some hollow; he's surely up that tree, and Basswood's
are always hollow."

Yan now looked at the large trunk in doubt as to whether he could
manage it.

Caleb remarked his perplexity and said: "Yes; that's so. You ain't
fifteen foot spread across the wings, are you? But hold on--"

He walked to a tall thin tree near at hand, cut it through with the
axe in a few minutes, and threw it so as to rest against the lowest
branch of the big Basswood. Up this Yan easily swarmed, carrying a
stout Elm stick tied behind. When he got to the great Basswood he felt
lost in the green mass, but the boys below carried torches so as to
shed light on each part in turn. At first Yan found neither hole in
the trunk nor Coon, but after long search in the upper branches he saw
a great ball of fur on a high crotch and in it two glowing eyes that
gave him a thrill. He yelled: "Here he is! Look out below." He climbed
up nearer and tried to push the Coon off, but it braced itself firmly
and defied him until he climbed above it, when it leaped and scrambled
to a lower branch.

Yan followed it, while his companions below got greatly excited, as
they could see nothing, and only judged by the growling and snarling
that Yan and the Coon were fighting. After another passage at arms
the Coon left the second crotch and scrambled down the trunk till it
reached the leaning sapling, and there perched, glaring at the hunters
below. The old Hound raised a howl when he saw the quarry, and Caleb,
stepping to one side, drew his revolver and fired. The Coon fell dead
into their midst. Turk sprang to do battle, but he was not needed, and
Caleb fondly and proudly wiped the old white pistol as though it alone
were to be thanked for the clever shot.

Yan came down quickly, though he found it harder to get down than up.
He hurried excitedly into the ring and stroked the Coon with a mixture
of feelings--admiring its fur--sorry, after all, that it was killed,
and triumphant that he had led the way. _It was his Coon_, and
all admitted that. Sam "hefted" it by one leg and said, "Weighs thirty
pounds, I bet."

Guy said: "Pooh! Tain't half as big as that there big Woodchuck I
killed, an' you never would have got him if I hadn't thought of the
axe."

Yan thought it would weigh thirty-five pounds. Caleb guessed it at
twenty-five (and afterward they found out that it barely weighed
eighteen). While they were thus talking the Dog broke into an angry
barking such as he gave for strangers--his "human voice," Caleb called
it--and at once there stepped into the circle William Raften. He had
seen the lights in the woods, and, dreading a fire at this dry season,
had dressed and come out.

"Hello, Da; why ain't you in bed, where you ought to be?"

Raften took no notice of his son, but said sneeringly to Caleb: "Ye
ain't out trying to get another shot at me, air ye?" 'Tain't worth
your while; I hain't got no cash on me to-night."

"Now see here, Da," said Sam, interrupting before Caleb could answer,
"you don't play fair. I know, an' you ought to know, that's all rot
about Caleb shooting at you. If he had, he'd 'a' got you sure. I've
seen him shoot."

"Not when he was drunk."

"Last time I was drunk we was in it together," said Caleb fiercely,
finding his voice.

"Purty good for a man as swore he had no revolver," and Raften pointed
to Caleb's weapon. "I seen you with that ten years ago. An' sure
I'm not scairt of you an' yer revolver," said Raften, seeing Caleb
fingering his white pet; "an' I tell ye this. I won't have ye and yer
Sheep-killing cur ramatacking through my woods an' making fires this
dry saison."

"D---- you, Raften, I've stood all I'm goin' to stand from you." The
revolver was out in a flash, and doubtless Caleb would have lived up
to his reputation, but Sam, springing to push his father back, came
between, and Yan clung to Caleb's revolver arm, while Guy got safely
behind a tree.

"Get out o' the way, you kids!" snarled Caleb.

"By all manes," said Raften scoffingly; "now that he's got me
unarrumed again. You dhirty coward! Get out av the way, bhoys, an
Oi'll settle him," for Raften was incapable of fear, and the boys
would have been thrust aside and trouble follow, but that Raften as he
left the house had called his two hired men to follow and help fight
the fire, and now they came on the scene. One of them was quite
friendly with Caleb, the other neutral, and they succeeded in stopping
hostilities for a time, while Sam exploded:

"Now see here, Da, 'twould just 'a' served you right if you'd got a
hole through you. You make me sick, running on Caleb. He didn't make
that fire; 'twas me an' Yan, an' we'll put it out safe enough. You
skinned Caleb an' he never done you no harm. You run on him just as
Granny de Neuville done on you after she grabbed your groceries. You
ought to be ashamed of yourself. Tain't square, an' 'tain't being a
man. When you can't prove nothin' you ought to shut up."

Raften was somewhat taken aback by this outburst, especially as he
found all the company against him. He had often laughed at Granny de
Neuville's active hatred against him when he had done her nothing but
good. It never occurred to him that he was acting a similar part. Most
men would have been furious at the disrespectful manner of their son,
but Raften was as insensitive as he was uncowardly. His first shock
of astonishment over, his only thought of Sam was, "Hain't he got a
cheek! My! but he talks like a lawyer, an' he sasses right back like a
fightin' man; belave I'll make him study law instid of tooth-pullin'."

The storm was over, for Caleb's wrath was of the short and fierce
kind, and Raften, turning away in moral defeat, growled: "See that ye
put that fire out safe. Ye ought all to be in yer beds an' aslape,
like dacint folks."

"Well, ain't you dacint?" retorted Sam.

Raften turned away, heeding neither that nor Guy's shrill attempt
to interpolate some details of his own importance in this present
hunt--"Ef it hadn't been for me they wouldn't had no axe along, Mr.
Raften"--but William had disappeared.

The boys put out the fire carefully and made somewhat silently for
camp. Sam and Yan carried the Coon between them on a stick, and before
they reached the teepee they agreed that the carcass weighed at least
eighty pounds.

Caleb left them, and they all turned in at once and slept the sleep of
the tired camper.




XXIII

The Banshee's Wail and the Huge Night Prowler


Next day while working on the Coon-skin Sam and Yan discussed
thoroughly the unpleasant incident of the night before, but they
decided that it would be unwise to speak of it to Caleb unless he
should bring up the subject, and Guy was duly cautioned.

That morning Yan went to the mud albums on one of his regular rounds
and again found, first that curious hoof-mark that had puzzled
him before, and down by the pond album the track of a very large
bird--much like a Turkey track, indeed. He brought Caleb to see them.
The Trapper said that one was probably the track of a Blue Crane
(Heron), and the other, "Well, I don't hardly know; but it looks to me
mighty like the track of a big Buck--only there ain't any short of the
Long Swamp, and that's ten miles at least. Of course, _when there's
only out it ain't a track_; it's an accident."

"Yes; but I've found lots of them--a trail every time, but not quite
enough to follow."

That night after dark, when he was coming to camp with the product of
a "massacree," Yan heard a peculiar squawking, guttural sound that
rose from the edge of the pond and increased in strength, drawing
nearer, till it was a hideous and terrifying uproar. It was exactly
the sound that Guy had provoked on that first night when he came and
tried to frighten the camp. It passed overhead, and Yan saw for a
moment the form of a large slow-flying bird.

Next day it was Yan's turn to cook. At sunrise, as he went for water,
he saw a large Blue Heron rise from the edge of the pond and fly on
heavy pinions away over the tree-tops. It was a thrilling sight. The
boy stood gazing after it, absolutely rapt with delight, and when it
was gone he went to the place where it rose and found plenty of large
tracks just like the one he had sketched. Unquestionably it was the
same bird as on the night before, and the mystery of the Wolf with the
sore throat was solved. This explanation seemed quite satisfactory to
everybody but Guy. He had always maintained stoutly that the woods
were full of Bears right after sundown. Where they went at other times
was a mystery, but he "reckoned he hadn't yet run across the bird that
could scare him--no, nor the beast, nuther."

Caleb agreed that the grating cry must be that of the Blue Crane, but
the screech and wail in the tree-tops at night he could shed no light
on.

There were many other voices of the night that became more or less
familiar. Some of them were evidently birds; one was the familiar
Song-Sparrow, and high over the tree-tops from the gloaming sky they
often heard a prolonged sweet song. It was not till years afterward
that Yan found out this to be the night-song of the Oven-bird, but he
was able to tell them at once the cause of the startling outcry that
happened one evening an hour after sundown.

The Woodpecker was outside, the other two inside the teepee. A
peculiar sound fell on his ear. It kept on--a succession of long
whines, and getting stronger. As it gave no sign of ending, Sam called
the other boys. They stood in a row there and heard this peculiar
"_whine, whine, whine_" develop into a loud, harsh "_whow,
whow, whow_."

"It must be some new Heron cry," Yan whispered.

But the sound kept on increasing till it most resembled the yowling
of a very strong-voiced Cat, and still grew till each separate
"_meow_" might have been the yell of a Panther. Then at its
highest and loudest there was a prolonged "_meow"_ and silence,
followed finally by the sweet chant of the Song-sparrow.

A great light dawned on Little Beaver. Now he remembered that voice in
Glenyan so long ago, and told the others with an air of certainty:

"Boys, that's the yelling of a Lynx," and the next day Caleb said that
Yan was right.

Some days later they learned that another lamb had been taken from the
Raften flock that night.

In the morning Yan took down the tom-tom for a little music and found
it flat and soft.

"Hallo," said he; "going to rain."

Caleb looked up at him with an amused expression. "You're a reg'lar
Injun. It's surely an Injun trick that. When the tom-tom won't sing
without being warmed at the fire they allus says 'rain before night.'"

The Trapper stayed late that evening. It had been cloudy all the
afternoon, and at sundown it began to rain, so he was invited to
supper. The shower grew heavier instead of ending. Caleb went out and
dug a trench all round the teepee to catch the rain, then a leader to
take it away. After supper they sat around the campfire in the teepee;
the wind arose and the rain beat down. Yan had to go out and swing the
smoke poles, and again his ear was greeted with _the screech_. He
brought in an armful of wood and made the inside of the teepee a blaze
of cheerful light. A high wind now came in gusts, so that the canvas
flopped unpleasantly on the poles.

"Where's your anchor rope?" asked the Trapper.

Sam produced the loose end; the other was fastened properly to the
poles above. It had never been used, for so far the weather had been
fine; but now Caleb sunk a heavy stake, lashed the anchor rope to that,
then went out and drove all the pegs a little deeper, and the Tribe
felt safe from any ordinary storm.

There was nothing to attract the old Trapper to his own shanty. His
heirs had begun to forget that he needed food, and what little they
did send was of vilest quality. The old man was as fond of human
society as any one, and was easily persuaded now to stay all night,
"if you can stand Guy for a bedfeller." So Caleb and Turk settled down
for a comfortable evening within, while the storm raged without.

"Say, don't you touch that canvas, Guy; you'll make it leak."

"What, me? Oh, pshaw! How can it leak for a little thing like that?"
and Guy slapped it again in bravado.

"All right, it's on your side of the bed," and sure enough, within two
minutes a little stream of water was trickling from the place he had
rubbed, while elsewhere the canvas turned every drop.

This is well known to all who have camped under canvas during a storm,
and is more easily remembered than explained.

The smoke hung heavy in the top of the teepee and kept crowding down
until it became unpleasant.

"Lift the teepee cover on the windward side, Yan. There, that's
it--but hold on," as a great gust came in, driving the smoke and ashes
around in whirlwinds. "You had ought to have a lining. Give me that
canvas: that'll do." Taking great care not to touch the teepee cover,
Caleb fastened the lining across three pole spaces so that the opening
under the canvas was behind it. This turned the draught from their
backs and, sending it over their heads, quickly cleared the teepee of
smoke as well as kept off what little rain entered by the smoke hole.

"It's on them linings the Injuns paint their records and adventures.
They mostly puts their totems on the outside an' their records on the
lining."

"Bully," said Sam; "now there's a job for you. Little Beaver; by the
time you get our adventures on the inside and our totems on the out I
tell you we'll be living in splendour."

"I think," answered Yan indirectly, "we ought to take Mr. Clark into
the Tribe. Will you be our Medicine Man?" Caleb chuckled in a quiet
way, apparently consenting. "Now I have four totems to paint on the
outside," and this was the beginning of the teepee painting that Yan
carried out with yellow clay, blue clay dried to a white, yellow clay
burned to red, and charcoal, all ground in Coon grease and Pine gum,
to be properly Indian. He could easily have gotten bright colours
in oil paint, but scorned such White-man's truck, and doubtless the
general effect was all the better for it.

"Say, Caleb," piped Guy, "tell us about the Injuns--about their
bravery. Bravery is what _I_ like," he added with emphasis,
conscious of being now on his own special ground. "Why, I mind the
time that old Woodchuck was coming roaring at me--I bet some fellers
would just 'a' been so scared--"

"_Hssh!_" said Sam.

Caleb smoked in silence. The rain pattered on the teepee without; the
wind heaved the cover. They all sat silently. Then sounded loud
and clear a terrifying "_scrrrrrr--oouwurr_." The boys were
startled--would have been terrified had they been outside or alone.

"That's it--that's the Banshee," whispered Sam.

Caleb looked up sharply.

"What is it?" queried Yan. "We've heard it a dozen times, at least."

Caleb shook his head, made no reply, but turned to his Dog. Turk was
lying on his side by the fire, and at this piercing screech he had
merely lifted his head, looked backward over his shoulder, turned his
big sad eyes on his master, then laid down again.

"Turk don't take no stock in it."

"Dogs never hear a Banshee," objected Sam, "no more than they can see
a ghost; anyway, that's what Granny de Neuville says." So the Dog's
negative testimony was the reverse of comforting.

"Hawkeye," said the Woodpecker, "you're the bravest one of the crowd.
Don't you want to go out and try a shot at the Banshee? I'll lend you
my Witch-hazel arrow. We'll give you a _grand coup_ feather if
you hit him. Go ahead, now--you know bravery is what _you_ like."

"Yer nothin' but a passel o' blame dumb fools," was the answer, "an' I
wouldn't be bothered talking to ye. Caleb, tell us something about the
Indians."

"What the Injuns love is bravery," said the Medicine Man with a
twinkle in his eye, and everybody but Guy laughed, not very loudly,
for each was restrained by the thought that _he_ would rather not
be called upon to show his bravery to-night.

"I'm going to bed," said Hawkeye with unnecessary energy.

"Don't forget to roost under the waterspout you started when you got
funny," remarked the Woodpecker.

Yan soon followed Guy's example, and Sam, who had already learned to
smoke, sat up with Caleb. Not a word passed between them until after
Guy's snore and Yan's regular puffs told of sound sleep, when Sam,
taking advantage of a long-awaited chance, opened out rather abruptly:

"Say, Caleb, I ain't going to side with no man against Da, but I know
him just about as well as he knows me. Da's all right; he's plumb and
square, and way down deep he's got an awful kind heart; it's pretty
deep, I grant you, but it's there, O.K. The things he does on the
quiet to help folks is done on the quiet and ain't noticed. The things
he does to beat folks--an' he does do plenty--is talked all over
creation. But I know he has a wrong notion of you, just as you have of
him, and it's got to be set right."

Sam's good sense was always evident, and now, when he laid aside his
buffoonery, his voice and manner were very impressive--more like those
of a grown man than of a fifteen-year-old boy.

Caleb simply grunted and went on smoking, so Sam continued, "I want to
hear your story, then Ma an' me'll soon fix Da."

The mention of "Ma" was a happy stroke. Caleb had known her from youth
as a kind-hearted girl. She was all gentleness and obedience to her
husband except in matters of what she considered right and wrong, and
here she was immovable. She had always believed in Caleb, even after
the row, and had not hesitated to make known her belief.

"There ain't much to tell," replied Caleb bitterly. "He done me on
that Horse-trade, an' crowded me on my note so I had to pay it off
with oats at sixty cents, then he turned round and sold them within
half an hour for seventy-five cents. We had words right there, an' I
believe I did say I'd fix him for it. I left Downey's Dump early that
day. He had about $300 in his pocket--$300 of my money--the last I had
in the world. He was too late to bank it, so was taking it home, when
he was fired at in going through the 'green bush'. My tobacco pouch
and some letters addressed to me was found there in the morning.
Course he blamed me, but I didn't have any shootin'-iron then; my
revolver, the white one, was stole from me a week before--along with
them same letters, I expect. I consider they was put there to lay the
blame on me, an' it was a little overdone, most folks would think.
Well, then your Da set Dick Pogue on me, an' I lost my farm--that's
all."

Sam smoked gravely for awhile, then continued:

"That's true about the note an' the oats an' the Horse-trade--just
what Da would do; that's all in the game: but you're all wrong about
Dick Pogue--that's too dirty for Da."

"_You_ may think so, but _I don't_."

Sam made no answer, but after a minute laid his hand on Turk, who
responded with a low growl. This made Caleb continue: "Down on me,
down on my Dog. Pogue says he kills Sheep 'an' every one is ready to
believe it. I never knowed a Hound turn Sheep-killer, an' I never
knowed a Sheep-killer kill at home, an' I never knowed a Sheep-killer
content with one each night, an' I never knowed a Sheep-killer leave
no tracks, an' Sheep was killed again and again when Turk was locked
up in the shanty with me."

"Well, whose Dog is it does it?"

"I don't know as it's any Dog, for part of the Sheep was eat each
time, they say, though I never seen one o' them that was killed or I
could tell. It's more likely a Fox or a Lynx than a Dog."

There was a long silence, then outside again the hair-lifting screech
to which the Dog paid no heed, although the Trapper and the boy were
evidently startled and scared.

They made up a blazing fire and turned in silently for the night.

The rain came down steadily, and the wind swept by in gusts. It was
the Banshee's hour, and two or three times, as they were dropping off,
that fearful, quavering human wail, "like a woman in distress," came
from the woods to set their hearts a-jumping, not Caleb and Sam only,
but all four.

In the diary which Yan kept of those times each day was named after
its event; there was Deer day, Skunk-and-Cat day, Blue Crane day, and
this was noted down as the night of the Banshee's wailing.

Caleb was up and had breakfast ready before the others were fully
awake. They had carefully kept and cleaned the Coon meat, and Caleb
made of it a "prairie pie," in which bacon, potatoes, bread, one small
onion and various scraps of food were made important. This, warmed
up for breakfast and washed down with coffee, made a royal meal, and
feasting they forgot the fears of the night.

The rain was over, but the wind kept on. Great blockish clouds were
tumbling across the upper sky Yan went out to look for tracks. He
found none but those of raindrops.

The day was spent chiefly about camp, making arrows and painting the
teepee.

Again Caleb was satisfied to sleep in the camp. The Banshee called
once that night, and again Turk seemed not to hear, but half an hour
later there was a different and much lower sound outside, a light,
nasal "_wow_." The boys scarcely heard it, but Turk sprang up
with bristling hair, growling, and forcing his way out under the door,
he ran, loudly barking, into the woods.

"He's after something now, all right," said his master; "and now he's
treed it," as the Dog began his high-pitched yelps.

"Good old Dog; he's treed the Banshee," and Yan rushed out into
the darkness. The others followed, and they found Turk barking and
scratching at a big leaning Beech, but could get no hint of what the
creature up it might be like.

"How does he usually bark for a Banshee?" asked the Woodpecker, but
got no satisfaction, and wondering why Turk should bother himself so
mightily over a little squeal and never hear that awful scream, they
retired to camp.

Next morning in the mud not far from the teepee Yan found the track of
a common Cat, and shrewdly guessed that this was the prowler that had
been heard and treed by the Dog; probably it was his old friend of the
Skunk fight. The wind was still high, and as Yan pored over the tracks
he heard for the first time in broad daylight the appalling screech.
It certainly was _loud_, though less dreadful than at night, and
peering up Yan saw _two large limbs that crossed and rubbed each
other, when the right puff of wind came_. This was the Banshee that
did the wailing that had scared them all--_all but the Dog_. His
keener senses, unspoiled by superstition, had rightly judged the awful
sound as the harmless scraping of two limbs in the high wind, but the
lower, softer noise made by the prowling Cat he had just as truly
placed and keenly followed up.

Guy was the only one not convinced. He clung to his theory of Bears.

Late in the night the two Chiefs were awakened by Guy. "Say, Sam--Sam.
Yan--Yan--Yan--Yan, get up; that big Bear is 'round again. I told you
there was a Bear, an' you wouldn't believe me."

There was a loud champing sound outside, and occasionally growls or
grumbling.

"There's surely something there, Sam. I wish Turk and Caleb were here
now."

The boys opened the door a little and peered out. There, looming up in
the dim starlight, was a huge black animal, picking up scraps of meat
and digging up the tins that were buried in the garbage hole. All
doubts were dispelled. Guy had another triumph, and he would have
expressed his feelings to the full but for fear of the monster
outside.

"What had we better do?"

"Better not shoot him with arrows. That'll only rile him. Guy, you
blow up the coals and get a blaze."

All was intense excitement now, "Oh, why haven't we got a gun!"

"Say, Sam, while Sap--I mean Hawkeye--makes a blaze, let's you and me
shoot with blunt arrows, if the Bear comes toward the teepee." So they
arranged themselves, Guy puttering in terror at the fire and begging
them not to shoot.

"What's the good o' riling him? It--it--it's croo-oo-el."

Sam and Yan stood with bows ready and arrows nocked.

Guy was making a failure of the fire, and the Bear began nosing
nearer, champing his teeth and grunting. Now the boys could see the
great ears as the monster threw up its head.

"Let's shoot before he gets any nearer." At this Guy promptly
abandoned further attempts to make a fire and scrambled up on a cross
stick that was high in the teepee for hanging the pot. He broke out
into tears when he saw Sam and Yan actually drawing their bows.

"He'll come in and eat us, he will."

But the Bear was coming anyway, and having the two tomahawks ready,
the boys let fly. At once the Bear wheeled and ran off, uttering the
loud, unmistakable squeal of an old Pig--Burns's own Pig--for young
Burns had again forgotten to put up the bars that crossed his trail
from the homestead to the camp.

Guy came down quickly to join in the laugh. "I tole you fellers not to
shoot. I just believed it was our old Hog, an' I couldn't help crying
when I thought how mad Paw'd be when he found out."

"I s'pose you got up on that cross pole to see if Paw was coming,
didn't you?"

"No; he got up there to show how brave he was."

This was the huge night prowler that Guy had seen, and in the morning
one more mystery was explained, for careful examination of Yan's diary
of the big Buck's track showed that it was nothing more than the track
of Burns's old Hog. Why had Caleb and Raften both been mistaken?
First, because it was a long time since they had seen a Buck track,
and second, because this Pig happened to have a very unpiggy foot--one
as much like that of a Buck as of a Hog.




XXIV

Hawkeye Claims Another Grand Coup


"_Wa wa wa wa wa! Wa wa wa wa wa! Wa wa wa wa wa!_" Three times it
echoed through the woods--a loud, triumphant cry.

"That's Hawkeye with a big story of bravery; let's hide."

So Sam and Yan scrambled quickly into the teepee, hid behind the
lining and watched through an "arrow hole." Guy came proudly stepping,
chin in air, uttering his war-whoop at intervals as he drew near, and
carrying his coat bundled up under one arm.

"_Coup! Grand coup! Wa wa wa wa!_" he yelled again and again, but
looked simple and foolish when he found the camp apparently deserted.

So he ceased his yells and, walking deliberately into the teepee,
pulled out the sugar box and was stuffing a handful into his mouth
when the other two Chiefs let off their wildest howls and, leaping
from their concealment, chased him into the woods--not far, for Yan
laughed too much, and Sam had on but one boot.

This was their re-gathering after a new search for adventures. Early
in the morning, as he wiped off the breakfast knives by sticking them
into the sod, the Second War Chief had suggested: "Say, boys, in old
days Warriors would sometimes set out in different directions in
search of adventure, then agree to meet at a given time. Let's do that
to-day and see what we run across."

"Get your straws," was Woodpecker's reply, as he returned from putting
the scraps on the Wakan Rock.

"No you don't," put in Hawkeye hastily; "at least, not unless you let
me hold the straws. I know you'll fix it so I'll have to go home."

"All right. You can hold the three straws; long one is
Woodpecker--that's his head with a bit of red flannel to prevent
mistakes; the middle-sized thin one is me; and the short fat one is
you. Now let them drop. Sudden death and no try over."

The straws fell, and the two boys gave a yell as Hawkeye's fate
pointed straight to the Burns homestead.

"Oh, get out; that's no good. We'll take the other end," he said
angrily, and persisted in going the opposite way.

"Now we all got to go straight till we find something, and meet here
again when that streak of sunlight gets around in the teepee to that
pole."

As the sunstreak, which was their Indian clock, travelled just about
one pole for two hours, this gave about four hours for adventures.

Sam and Yan had been back some minutes, and now Guy, having recovered
his composure, bothered not to wipe the stolen sugar from his lips,
but broke out eagerly:

"Say, fellers, I bet I'm the bully boy. I bet you I--"

"Silence!" roared Woodpecker. "You come last."

"All right; I don't care. I bet I win over all of you. I bet a million
dollars I do."

"Go ahead, Chief Woodpecker-settin'-on-the-edge."

So Sam began:

"I pulls on my boots" [he went barefooted half the time]. "Oh, I tell
you I know when to wear my boots--an' I set out following my straw
line straight out. I don't take no back track. _I'm_ not scared
of the front trail," and he turned his little slit eyes sadly on Guy,
"and I kep' right on, and when I came to the dry bed of the creek it
didn't turn _me_; no, not a dozen rods; and I kept right till I
came to a Wasp's nest, and I turned and went round that coz it's
cruel to go blundering into a nest of a lot of poor innocent little
Wasps--and I kep' on, till I heard a low growl, and I looked up and
didn't see a thing. Then the growling got louder, and I seen it was a
hungry Chipmunk roaring at me and jest getting ready to spring. Then
when I got out my bonearrer he says to me, he says, as bold as brass
'Is your name Woodpecker?' Now that scared me, and so I told a lie--my
very first. I says, says I. 'No,' says I. 'I'm Hawkeye.' Well, you
should 'a seen him. He just turned pale; every stripe on his back
faded _when I said that name_, and he made for a hollow log and
got in. Now I was mad, and tried to get him out, but when I'd run to
one end he'd run to the other, so we ran up and down till I had a
deep-worn trail alongside the log, an' he had a deep-worn trail inside
the log, an' I was figgerin' to have him wear it right through at the
bottom so the log'd open, but all of a sudden I says, 'I know what to
do for you.' I took off my boot and stuffs the leg into one end of the
log. Then I rattles a stick at the other end and I heard him run into
the boot. Then I squeezes in the leg and ties a string around it an'
brings him home, me wearing one boot and the Chipmunk the other, and
there he is in it now," and Sam curled up his free bunch of toes in
graphic comment and added: "Humph! I s'pose you fellers thought I
didn't know what I was about when I drawed on my long boots this
morning."

"Well, I just want to see that Chipmunk an' maybe I'll believe you."

"In there hunting for a loose patch," and Sam held up the boot.

"Let's turn him out," suggested the Second Chief.

So the string was cut and the Chipmunk scrambled out and away to a
safer refuge.

"Now, sonny," said Sam, as it disappeared, "don't tell your folks what
happened you or they'll swat you for a liar."

"Oh, shucks! That's no adventure. Why, I--"

"Hold on, Hawkeye; Little Beaver next."

"Well, I don't care. I bet I--"

Sam grabbed his knife and interrupted: "Do you know what Callahan's
spring lamb did when it saw the old man gathering mint? Go ahead,
Little Beaver."

"I hadn't much of an adventure, but I went straight through the woods
where my straw pointed and ran into a big dead stub. It was too old
and rotten for Birds to use now, as well as too late in the season, so
I got a pole and pushed it over, and I found the whole history of a
tenement in that stub. First of all, a Flicker had come years ago
and dug put a fine big nesting-place, and used it maybe two or three
times. When he was through, or maybe between seasons, the Chickadees
made a winter den of it, for there were some Chickadee tail-feathers
in the bottom. Next a Purple Blackbird came and used the hole, piling
up a lot of roots with mud on them. Next year it seems it came again
and made another nest on top of the last; then that winter the
Chickadees again used it for a cubby-hole, for there were some more
Chickadee feathers. Next year a Blue Jay found it out and nested
there. I found some of her egg-shells among the soft stuff of the
nest. Then I suppose a year after a pair of Sparrow-hawks happened on
the place, found it suited them, and made their nest in it and hatched
a brood of little Sparrow-hawks. Well, one day this bold robber
brought home to his little ones a Shrew."

"What's that?"

"Oh, a little thing like a Mouse, only it isn't a Mouse at all; it is
second cousin to a Mole."

"I allus thought a Mole _was_ a Mouse specie," remarked Hawkeye,
not satisfied with Yan's distinction.

"Oh, you!" interrupted Sam. "You'll try to make out the Burnses is
some kin to the Raftens next."

"I bet I won't!" and for once Guy got even.

"Well," Yan continued, "it so happened--about the first time in about
a million years--the little Hawks were not hungry just then. The Shrew
wasn't gobbled up at once, and though wounded, it set to work to
escape as soon as it was free of the old one's claws. First it hid
under the little ones, then it began to burrow down through the
feather-bed of the Sparrow-hawk's nest, then through the Blue Jay's
nest, then through the soft stuff of the Blackbird's nest and among
the old truck left by the Chickadees till it struck the hard mud
floor of the Blackbird's nest, and through that it could not dig. Its
strength gave out now, and it died there and lay hidden in the lowest
nest of the house, till years after I came by and broke open the old
stub and made it tell me a sad and mournful story--that--maybe--never
happened at all. But there's the drawing I made of it at the place,
showing all the nests just as I found them, and there's the dried up
body of the little Shrew."

Sam listened with intense interest, but Guy was at no pains to conceal
his contempt. "Oh, pshaw! That's no adventure--just a whole lot of
's'posens' without a blame thing doing. Now I'll tell you what I done.
I--"

"Now, Hawkeye," Sam put in, "please don't be rough about it. Leave out
the awful things: I ain't well to-day. You keep back the scary parts
till to-morrow."

"I tell you I left here and went straight as a die, an' I seen a
Woodchuck, but he wasn't in line, so I says: 'No, some other day. I
kin get you _easy_ any time.' Then I seen a Hawk going off with
a Chicken, but that was off my beat, an' I found lots o' old stumps
an' hundreds o' Chipmunks an' wouldn't be bothered with them. Then I
come to a farmhouse an'--an' I went around that so's not to scare the
Dog, an' I went pretty near as far as Downey's Dump--yes, a little
a-past it--only to one side--when up jumps a Partridge as big as a
Turkey, an' a hull gang of young ones--about thirty or forty. I bet I
seen them forty rod away, an' they all flew, but one that lighted on
a tree as far as--oh, 'cross that field, anyway. I bet you fellers
wouldn't 'a' seen it at all. Well, I jest hauled off as ca'm as ca'm
an' let him have it. I aimed straight for his eye--an' that's where I
hit him. _Now who gets a grand coup, for there he is_!" Hawkeye
unrolled his coat and turned out a bobtailed young Robin in the
speckled plumage, shot through the body.

"So that's your Partridge. I call that a young Robin," said the First
Chief with slow emphasis. "Rules is broke. Killed a Song-bird. Little
Beaver, arrest the criminal."

But Hawkeye struggled with all the ferocity born of his recent
exploit, and had to be bound hand and foot while a full Council was
called to try the case. The angry protests weakened when he found how
serious the Councillors were. Finally he pleaded "guilty" and was
condemned to wear a black feather of disgrace and a white feather for
cowardice for three days, as well as wash the dishes for a week. They
would also have made him cook for that term, but that they had had
some unhappy experiences with some dishes of Guy's make.

"Well, I won't do it, that's all," was the prisoner's defiant retort.
"I'll go home first."

"And hoe the garden? Oh, yes; I think I see you."

"Well, I won't do it. You better let me 'lone."

"Little Beaver, what do they do when an Injun won't obey the Council?"

"Strip him of his honours. Do you remember that stick we burned with
'Sapwood' on it?"

"Good idee. We'll burn Hawkeye for a name and dig up the old one"

"No, you won't, you dirty mean Skunks! Ye promised me you'd never call
me that again. I _am_ Hawkeye. I kin see farder'n--n--" and he
began to weep.

"Well, will you obey the Council?"

"Yes; but I won't wear no white feather--I'm _brave_, boohoo!"

"All right. We'll leave that off; but you must do the other
punishments.

"Will I still be Hawkeye?"

"Yes."

"All right. I'll do it."




XXV

The Three-Fingered Tramp.


Broad-shouldered, beetle-browed, brutal and lazy was Bill Hennard, son
of a prosperous settler. He had inherited a fine farm, but he was
as lazy as he was strong, and had soon run through his property and
followed the usual course from laziness to crime. Bill had seen the
inside of more than one jail. He was widely known in the adjoining
township of Emolan; many petty thefts were traced to him, and it was
openly stated that but for the help of a rich and clever confederate
he would certainly be in the penitentiary. It was darkly hinted,
further, that this confederate was a well-to-do Sangerite who had many
farms and a wife and son and a little daughter, and his first name was
William, and his second name Ra---- "But never mind; and don't for the
world say I told you." Oh, it's easy to get rich--if you know how. Of
course, these rumours never reached the parties chiefly concerned.

Hennard had left Downey's Dump the evening before, and avoiding the
roads, had struck through the woods, to visit his partner, with
important matters to arrange--very important for Hennard. He was much
fuddled when he left Downey's, the night was cloudy, and consequently
he had wandered round and round till he was completely lost. He slept
under a tree (a cold, miserable sleep it was), and in the sunless
morning he set out with little certainty to find his "pal." After
some time he stumbled on the trail that led him to the boys' camp. He
was now savage with hunger and annoyance, and reckless with bottle
assistance, for he carried a flask. No longer avoiding being seen, he
walked up to the teepee just as Little Beaver was frying meat for the
noonday meal he expected to eat alone. At the sound of footsteps Yan
turned, supposing that one of his companions had come back, but there
instead was a big, rough-looking tramp.

[Illustration: "Well, sonny, cookin' dinner?"]

"Well, sonny, cookin' dinner? I'll be glad to j'ine ye," he said with
an unpleasant and fawning smile.

His manner was as repulsive as it could be, though he kept the form of
politeness.

"Where's your folks, sonny?"

"Haven't any--here," replied Yan, in some fear, remembering now the
tramps of Glenyan.

"H-m--all alone--camped all alone, are ye?"

"The other fellers are away till the afternoon."

"Wall, how nice. Glad to know it. I'll trouble you to hand me that
stick," and now the tramp's manner changed from fawning to command, as
he pointed to Yan's bow hanging unstrung.

"That's my bow!" replied Yan, in fear and indignation.

"I won't tell ye a second time--hand me that stick, or I'll
spifflicate ye."

Yan stood still. The desperado strode forward, seized the bow, and
gave him two or three blows on the back and legs.

"Now, you young Pup, get me my dinner, and be quick about it, or I'll
break yer useless neck."

Yan now realized that he had fallen into the power of the worst enemy
of the harmless camper, and saw too late the folly of neglecting
Raften's advice to have a big Dog in camp. He glanced around and would
have run, but the tramp was too quick for him and grabbed him by the
collar. "Oh, no you don't; hold on, sonny. I'll fix you so you'll do
as you're told." He cut the bowstring from its place, and violently
throwing Yan down, he tied his feet so that they had about eighteen
inches' play.

"Now rush around and get my dinner; I'm hungry. An' don't you spile it
in the cooking or I'll use the gad on you; an' if you holler or cut
that cord I'll kill ye. See that?" and he got out an ugly-looking
knife.

Tears of fear and pain ran down Yan's face as he limped about to obey
the brute's orders.

"Here, you move a little faster!" and the tramp turned from poking the
fire with the bow to give another sounding blow. If he had looked down
the trail he would have seen a small tow-topped figure that turned and
scurried away at the sound.

Yan was trained to bear punishment, but the tyrant seemed careless of
even his life.

"Are you going to kill me?" he burst out, after another attack for
stumbling in his shackles.

"Don't know but I will when I've got through with ye," replied the
desperado with brutal coolness. "I'll take some more o' that meat--an'
don't you let it burn, neither. Where's the sugar for the coffee? I'll
get a bigger club if ye don't look spry," and so the tramp was served
with his meal. "Now bring me some tobaccer."

Yan hobbled into the teepee and reached down Sam's tobacco bag.

"Here, what's that box? Bring that out here," and the tramp pointed to
the box in which they kept some spare clothes. Yan obeyed in fear and
trembling. "Open it."

"I can't. It's locked, and Sam has the key."

"He has, has he? Well, I have a key that will open it," and so he
smashed the lid with the axe; then he went through the pockets, got
Yan's old silver watch and chain, and in Sam's trousers pocket he got
two dollars.

"Ha! That's just what I want, sonny," and the tramp put them in his
own pockets. "'Pears to me the fire needs a little wood," he remarked,
as his eye fell on Yan's quiverful of arrows, and he gave that a kick
that sent many of them into the blaze.

"Now, sonny, don't look at me quite so hard, like you was taking
notes, or I may have to cut your throat and put you in the swamp hole
to keep ye from telling tales."

Yan was truly in terror of his life now.

"Bring me the whetstone," the tyrant growled, "an' some more coffee."
Yan did so. The tramp began whetting his long knife, and Yan saw
two things that stuck in his memory: first, the knife, which was of
hunting pattern, had a brass Deer on the handle; second, the hand that
grasped it had only three fingers.

"What's that other box in there?"

"That's--that's--only our food box."

"You lie to me, will ye?" and again the stick descended. "Haul it
out."

"I can't."

"Haul it out or I'll choke ye."

Yan tried, but it was too heavy.

"Get out, you useless Pup!" and the tramp walked into the teepee and
gave Yan a push that sent him headlong out on the ground.

The boy was badly bruised, but saw his only chance. The big knife was
there. He seized it, cut the cord on his legs, flung the knife afar
in the swamp and ran like a Deer. The tramp rushed out of the teepee
yelling and cursing. Yan might have gotten away had he been in good
shape, but the tramp's cruelty really had crippled him, and the brute
was rapidly overtaking him. As he sped down the handiest, the south
trail, he sighted in the trees ahead a familiar figure, and yelling
with all his remaining strength, "Caleb! Caleb!! Caleb Clark!!!" he
fell swooning in the grass.

There is no mistaking the voice of dire distress. Caleb hurried up,
and with one impulse he and the tramp grappled in deadly struggle.
Turk was not with his master, and the tramp had lost his knife, so it
was a hand-to-hand conflict. A few clinches, a few heavy blows, and
it was easy to see who must win. Caleb was old and slight. The tramp,
strong, heavy-built, and just drunk enough to be dangerous, was too
much for him, and after a couple of rounds the Trapper fell writhing
with a foul blow. The tramp felt again for his knife, swore savagely,
looked around for a club, found only a big stone, and would have done
no one knows what, when there was a yell from behind, another big man
crashed down the trail, and the tramp faced William Raften, puffing
and panting, with Guy close behind. The stone meant for Caleb he
hurled at William, who dodged it, and now there was an even fight. Had
the tramp had his knife it might have gone hard with Raften, but fist
to fist the farmer had the odds. His old-time science turned the
day, and the desperado went down with a crusher "straight from the
shoulder."

It seemed a veritable battle-field--three on the ground and Raften,
red-faced and puffing, but sturdy and fearless, standing in utter
perplexity.

"Phwhat the divil does it all mane?"

"I'll tell you, Mr. Raften," chirped in Guy, as he stole from his safe
shelter.

"Oh, ye're here, are ye, Guy? Go and git a rope at camp--quick now,"
as the tramp began to move.

As soon as the rope came Raften tied the fellow's arms safely.

"'Pears to me Oi've sane that hand befoore," remarked Raften, as the
three fingers caught his eye.

Yan was now sitting up, gazing about in a dazed way. Raften went over
to his old partner and said: "Caleb, air ye hurrt? It's me--it's Bill
Raften. Air ye hurrt?"

Caleb rolled his eyes and looked around.

Yan came over now and knelt down. "Are you hurt, Mr. Clark?"

He shook his head and pointed to his chest.

"He's got his wind knocked out," Raften explained; "he'll be all right
in a minute or two. Guy, bring some wather."

Yan told his story and Guy supplied an important chapter. He had
returned earlier than expected, and was near to camp, when he heard
the tramp beating Yan. His first impulse to run home to his puny
father was replaced with the wiser one to go for brawny Mr. Raften.

The tramp was now sitting up and grumbling savagely.

"Now, me foine feller," said William. "We'll take ye back to camp for
a little visit before we take ye to the 'Pen.' A year in the cooler
will do ye moore good, Oi'm thinkin', than anny other tratement. Here,
Guy, you take the end av the rope and fetch the feller to camp, while
I help Caleb."

Guy was in his glory. The tramp was forced to go ahead; Guy followed,
jerking the rope and playing Horse, shouting, "Ch'--ch'--ch'--get
up, Horsey," while William helped old Caleb with a gentleness that
recalled a time long ago when Caleb had so helped him after a falling
tree had nearly killed him in the woods.

At camp they found Sam. He was greatly astonished at the procession,
for he knew nothing of the day's events, and fearfully disappointed he
was on learning what he had missed.

Caleb still looked white and sick when they got him to the fire, and
Raften said, "Sam, go home and get your mother to give you a little
brandy."

"You don't need to go so far," said Yan, "for that fellow has a bottle
in his pocket."

"I wouldn't touch a dhrap of annything he has, let alone give it to a
_sick friend_," was William's reply.

So Sam went for the brandy and was back with it in half an hour.

"Here now, Caleb," said William, "drink that now an' ye'll feel
better," and as he offered the cup he felt a little reviving glow of
sympathy for his former comrade.

When Sam went home that morning it was with a very clear purpose.
He had gone straight to his mother and told all he knew about the
revolver and the misunderstanding with Caleb, and they two had had a
long, unsatisfactory interview with the father. Raften was brutal and
outspoken as usual. Mrs. Raften was calm and clear-witted. Sam was
shrewd. The result was a complete defeat for William--a defeat that he
would not acknowledge; and Sam came back to camp disappointed for the
time being, but now to witness the very thing he had been striving
for--his father and the Trapper reconciled; deadly enemies two hours
ago, but now made friends through a fight. Though overpowered in
argument, Raften's rancour was not abated, but rather increased toward
the man he had evidently misused, until the balance was turned by the
chance of his helping that man in a time of direst straits.




XXVI

WINNING BACK THE FARM


Oh, the magic of the campfire! No unkind feeling long withstands its
glow. For men to meet at the same campfire is to come closer, to have
better understanding of each other, and to lay the foundations of
lasting friendship. "He and I camped together once!" is enough to
explain all cordiality between the men most wide apart, and Woodcraft
days are days of memories happy, bright and lifelong.

To sit at the same camp fireside has always been a sacred bond, and
the scene of twenty years before was now renewed in the Raften woods,
thanks to that campfire lit a month before--the sacred fire. How well
it had been named! William and Caleb were camped together in good
fellowship again, marred though it was with awkwardness as yet, but
still good fellowship.

Raften was a magistrate. He sent Sam with an order to the constable
to come for the prisoner. Yan went to the house for provisions and to
bring Mrs. Raften, and Guy went home with an astonishing account of
his latest glorious doings. The tramp desperado was securely fastened
to a tree; Caleb was in the teepee lying down. Raften went in for a
few minutes, and when he came out the tramp was gone. His bonds were
cut, not slipped. How could he nave gotten away without help?

"Never mind," said Raften. "That three-fingered hand is aisy to
follow. Caleb, ain't that Bill Hennard?"

"I reckon."

The men had a long talk. Caleb told of the loss of his revolver--he
was still living in the house with the Pogues then--and of its
recovery. They both remembered that Hennard was close by at the time
of the quarrel over the Horse-trade. There was much that explained
itself and much of mystery that remained.

But one thing was clear. Caleb had been tricked out of everything he
had in the world, for it was just a question of days now before Pogue
would, in spite of Saryann, throw off all pretense and order Caleb
from the place to shift for himself.

Raften sat a long time thinking, then said:

"Caleb, you do exactly as Oi tell ye and ye'll get yer farrum back.
First, Oi'll lend ye wan thousand dollars for wan week."

_A thousand dollars!!!_ Caleb's eyes opened, and what was next he
did not then learn, for the boys came back and interrupted, but later
the old Trapper was fully instructed.

When Mrs. Raften heard of it she was thunderstruck. A thousand dollars
in Sanger was like one hundred thousand dollars in a big city. It was
untold wealth, and Mrs. Raften fairly gasped.

"A thousand dollars, William! Why! isn't that a heavy strain to put on
the honesty of a man who thinks still that he has some claim on you?
Is it safe to risk it?"

"Pooh!" said William. "Oi'm no money-lender, nor spring gosling
nayther. Thayer's the money Oi'll lend him," and Raften produced a
roll of counterfeit bills that he as magistrate had happened to have
in temporary custody. "Thayer's maybe five hundred or six hundred
dollars, but it's near enough."

Caleb, however, was allowed to think it real money, and fully
prepared, he called at his own--the Pogue house--the next day,
knocked, and walked in.

"Good morning, father," said Saryann, for she had some decency and
kindness.

"What do you want here?" said Dick savagely; "bad enough to have you
on the place, without forcing yerself on us day and night."

"Hush now, Dick; you forget--"

"Forget--I don't forget nothin'," retorted Dick, interrupting his
wife. "He had to help with the chores an' work, an' he don't do a
thing and expects to live on me."

"Oh, well, you won't have me long to bother you," said Caleb sadly,
as he tottered to a chair. His face was white and he looked sick and
shaky.

"What's the matter, father?"

"Oh, I'm pretty bad. I won't last much longer You'll be quit o' me
before many days."

"Big loss!" grumbled Dick.

"I--I give you my farm an' everything I had--"

"Oh, shut up. I'm sick of hearing about it."

"At least--'most--everything. I--I--I--didn't say nothing about a
little wad o'--o'--bills I had stored away. I--I--" and the old man
trembled violently--"I'm so cold."

"Dick, do make a fire," said his wife.

"I won't do no sich fool trick. It's roastin' hot now."

"'Tain't much," went on the trembling old man, "only fif--fif--teen
hundred--dollars. I got it here now," and he drew out the roll of
greenbacks.

_FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!_ Twice as much as the whole farm and
stock were worth! Dick's eyes fairly popped out, and Caleb was careful
to show also the handle of the white revolver.

"Why, father," exclaimed Saryann, "you are ill: Let me go get you some
brandy. Dick, make a fire. Father is cold as ice."

"Yes--please--fire--I'm all of--a--tremble--with--cold."

Dick rushed around now and soon the big fire place was filled with
blaze and the room unpleasantly warm.

"Here, father, have some brandy and water," said Dick, in a very
different tone. "Would you like a little quinine?"

"No, no--I'm better now; but I was saying--I only got a few days to
live, an' having no legal kin--this here wad'd go to the gover'ment,
but I spoke to the lawyer, an' all I need do--is--add--a word to the
deed o' gift--for the farm--to include this--an' it's very right you
should have it, too." Old Caleb shook from head to foot and coughed
terribly.

"Oh, father, let me send for the doctor," pleaded Saryann, and Dick
added feebly, "Yes, father, let me go for the doctor."

"No, no; never mind. It don't matter. I'll be better off soon. Have
you the deed o' gift here?"

"Oh, yes, Dick has it in his chest." Dick ran to get the deed, for
these were the days before registration in Canada; possession of the
deed was possession of the farm, and to lose the deed was to lose the
land.

The old man tremblingly fumbled over the money, seeming to count
it--"Yes--just--fif-teen hun'erd," as Dick came clumping down the
ladder with the deed.

"Have you got a--pen--and ink--"

Dick went for the dried-up ink bottle while Saryann hunted for
_the_ pen. Caleb's hand trembled violently as he took the
parchment, glanced carefully over it--yes, this was it--the thing that
had made him a despised pauper. He glanced around quickly. Dick and
Saryann were at the other end of the room. He rose, took one step
forward and stuffed the deed into the blazing fire. Holding his
revolver in his right hand and the poker in the left, he stood erect
and firm, all sign of weakness gone; his eyes were ablaze, and with
voice of stern command he hissed "_Stand back!_" And pointed the
pistol as he saw Dick rushing to rescue the deed. In a few seconds it
was wholly consumed, and with that, as all knew, the last claim of the
Pogues on the property, for Caleb's own possessory was safe in a vault
at Downey's.

"Now," thundered Caleb, "you dirty paupers, get out of my house! Get
off my land, and don't you dare touch a thing belonging to me."

He raised his voice in a long "halloo" and rapped three times on the
table. Steps were heard outside. Then in came Raften with two men.

"Magistrate Raften, clear my house of them interlopers, if ye please."

Caleb gave them a few minutes to gather up their own clothes, then
they set out on foot for Downey's, wild with helpless rage, penniless
wanderers in the world, as they had meant to leave old Caleb.

Now he was in possession of his own again, once more comfortably
"fixed." After the men had had their rough congratulations and
uproarious laughter over the success of the trick, Raften led up to
the question of money, then left a blank, wondering what Caleb would
do. The good old soul pulled out the wad.

"There it is, Bill. I hain't even counted it, and a thousand times
obliged. If ever you need a friend, call on me."

Raften chuckled, counted the greenbacks and said "All right!" and to
this day Caleb doesn't know that the fortune he held in his hand that
day was nothing but a lot of worthless paper.

A week later, as the old Trapper sat alone getting his evening meal,
there was a light rap at the door.

"Come in."

A woman entered. Turk had sprung up growling, but now wagged his tail,
and when she lifted a veil Caleb recognized Saryann.

"What do you want?" he demanded savagely.

"'Twasn't my doing, father; you know it wasn't; and now he's left me
for good." She told him her sorrowful story briefly. Dick had not
courted Saryann, but the farm, and now that that was gone he had no
further use for her. He had been leading a bad life, "far worse than
any one knew," and now he had plainly told her he was done with her.

Caleb's hot anger never lasted more than five minutes. He must have
felt that her story was true, for the order of former days was
reestablished, and with Saryann for housekeeper the old man had a
comfortable home to the end of his days.

Pogue disappeared; folks say he went to the States. The three-fingered
tramp never turned up again, and about this time the serious robberies
in the region ceased. Three years afterward they learned that two
burglars had been shot while escaping from an American penitentiary.
One of them was undoubtedly Dick Pogue, and the other was described as
a big dark man with three fingers on the right hand.




XXVII

THE RIVAL TRIBE


The winning back of the farm, according to Sanger custom must be
celebrated in a "sociable" that took the particular form of a grand
house-warming, in which the Raftens, Burnses and Boyles were fully
represented, as Char-less was Caleb's fast friend. The Injun band
was very prominent, for Caleb saw that it was entirely owing to the
meetings at the camp that the glad event had come about.

Caleb acted as go-between for Char-less Boyle and William Raften,
and their feud was forgotten--for the time at least--as they related
stories of their early hunting days, to the delight of Yan and the
Tribe. There were four other boys there whom Little Beaver met for the
first time. They were Wesley Boyle, a dark-skinned, low-browed, active
boy of Sam's age; his brother Peter, about twelve, fair, fat and
freckled, and with a marvellous squint; and their cousin Char-less
Boyle, Jr., good-natured, giggly, and of spongy character; also Cyrus
Digby, a smart city boy, who was visiting "the folks," and who usually
appeared in white cuffs and very high stand-up collar. These boys were
greatly interested in the Sanger Indian camp, and one outcome of the
meeting at Caleb's was the formation of another Tribe of Indians,
composed of the three Boyle boys and their town friend.

Since most of these were Boyles and the hunting-ground was the Boyles
woods about that marshy pond, and especially because they had read of
a band of Indians named Boilers or Stoneboilers (Assineboines), they
called themselves the "Boilers." Wesley was the natural leader. He was
alert as well as strong, and eager to do things, so made a fine Chief.
His hooked nose and black hair and eyes won for him the appropriate
name of "Blackhawk." The city boy being a noisy "show-off," who did
little work, was called "Bluejay" Peter Boyle was "Peetweet," and
Char-less, from his peculiar snickering and showing two large front
teeth, was called "Red-squirrel."

They made their camp as much as possible like that of the Sangers, and
adopted their customs; but a deadly rivalry sprang up between them
from the first. The Sangers felt that they were old and experienced
Woodcrafters. The Boilers thought they knew as much and more, and they
outnumbered the Sangers. Active rivalry led to open hostilities. There
was a general battle with fists and mud; that proved a draw. Then a
duel between leaders was arranged, and Blackhawk won the fight and
the Woodpecker's scalp. The Boilers were wild with enthusiasm. They
proposed to take the whole Sanger camp, but in a hand-to-hand fight
of both tribes it was another draw. Guy, however, scored a glorious
triumph over Char-less and secured his scalp at the moment of victory.

Now Little Beaver sent a challenge to Blackhawk. It was scornfully
accepted. Again the Boiler Chief was victor and won another scalp,
while Little Beaver got a black eye and a bad licking, but the enemy
retired.

Yan had always been considered a timid boy at Bonnerton, but that was
largely the result of his repressive home training. Sanger was working
great changes. To be treated with respect by the head of the house was
a new and delightful experience. It developed his self-respect. His
wood life was making him wonderfully self-reliant, and improved health
helped his courage, so next day, when the enemy appeared in full
force, every one was surprised when Yan again challenged Blackhawk. It
really cost him a desperate and mighty effort to do so, for it is one
thing to challenge a boy that you think you can "lick" and another to
challenge one the very day after he has licked you. Indeed, if the
truth were known, Yan did it in fear and trembling, and therein lay
the courage--in going ahead when fear said "Go back."

It is quite certain that a year before he would not have ventured in
such a fight, and he only did it now because he had realized that
Blackhawk was left-handed, and a plan to turn this to account had
suggested itself. Every one was much surprised at the challenge,
but much more so when, to the joy of his tribe, Little Beaver won a
brilliant victory.

Inspired by this, they drove the Boilers from the field, scored a
grand triumph, and Sam and Yan each captured a scalp.

The Sangers held a Council and scalp-dance in celebration that night
around an outdoor fire. The Medicine Man was sent for to be in it.

After the dance, Chief Beaver, his face painted to hide his black
eye, made a speech. He claimed that the Boilers would surely look for
reinforcements and attempt a new attack, and that, therefore, the
Sangers should try to add to their number, too.

"I kin lick Char-less any time," piped in Guy proudly, and swung the
scalp he had won.

But the Medicine Man said: "If I were you boys I'd fix up a peace. Now
you've won you ought to ask them to a big pow-wow."

These were the events that led to the friendly meeting of the two
Tribes in full war-paint.

Chief Woodpecker first addressed them: "Say, fellers--Brother Chiefs,
I mean--this yere quar'lin' don't pay. We kin have more fun working
together. Let's be friends an' join in one Tribe. There's more fun
when there's a crowd."

"All right," said Blackhawk; "but we'll call the tribe the 'Boilers,'
coz we have the majority, and leave me Head Chief."

"You are wrong about that. Our Medicine Men makes us even number
and more than even weight. We've got the best camp--have the
swimming-pond, and we are the oldest Tribe, not to speak of the
success we had in a certain leetle business not long ago which the
youngest of us kin remember," and Guy grinned in appreciation of this
evident reference to his exploit.

As a matter of fact, it was the swimming-pond that turned the day. The
Boilers voted to join the Sangers. Their holiday was only ten days,
the Sangers had got a week's extension, and all knew that they could
get most out of their time by going to the pond camp. The question of
a name was decided by Little Beaver.

"Boiler Warriors," said he, "it is the custom of the Indians to have
the Tribes divided in clans. We are the Sanger clan. You are the
Boiler clan. But as we all live in Sanger we are all Sanger Indians."

"Who's to be Head Chief?"

Blackhawk had no notion of submitting to Woodpecker, whom he had
licked, nor would Woodpecker accept a Chief of the inferior tribe.
One suggested that Little Beaver be Chief, but out of loyalty to his
friend, the Woodpecker, Yan declined.

"Better leave that for a few days till you get acquainted," was the
Medicine Man's wise suggestion.

That day and the next were spent in camp. The Boilers had their teepee
to make and beds to prepare. The Sangers merrily helped, making a
"bee" of it.

Bow and arrow making were next to do. Little Beaver had not fully
replaced his own destroyed by the robber. A hunt of the Burlap Deer
was a pleasant variation of the second day, though there were but two
bows for all, and the Boilers began to realize that they were really
far behind the Sangers in knowledge of Woodcraft.

At swimming Blackhawk was easily first. Of course, this greatly
increased his general interest in the swimming-pond, and he chiefly
was responsible for the making of a canoe later on.

The days went on right merrily--oh, so fast! Little Beaver showed all
the things of interest in his kingdom. How happy he was in showing
them--playing experienced guide as he used to dream it! Peetweet took
a keen interest; so did the city boy. Char-less took a little interest
in it all, helped a little, was generally a little in everything, and
giggled a good deal. Hawkeye was disposed to bully Char-less, since he
found him quite lickable. His tone was high and haughty when he spoke
to him--not at all like his whining when addressing the others. He
volunteered to discipline Char-less if he should ill-treat any of the
others, and was about to administer grievous personal punishment for
some trifling offense, when Blackhawk gave him a warning that had good
effect.

Yan's note-book was fully discussed and his drawings greatly admired.
He set to work at once with friendly enthusiasm to paint the Boilers'
teepee. Not having any adventures that seemed important, except,
perhaps, Blackhawk's defeat of Woodpecker and Little Beaver, subjects
that did not interest the artist, the outside decorations were the
totem of the clan and its members.




XXVIII

White-Man's Woodcraft


Blackhawk was the introducer of a new game which he called "judging."

"How far is it from here to that tree?" he would ask, and when each
had written down his guess they would measure, and usually it was
Woodpecker or Blackhawk that came nearest to the truth. Guy still held
the leadership "for far sight," for which reason he suggested that
game whenever a change of amusement was wanted.

Yan, following up Blackhawk's suggestion, brought in the new game of
"White-man's Woodcraft."

"Can you," asked he, "tell a Dog's height by its track?"

"No; nor you nor any one else," was the somewhat scornful reply.

"Oh, yes, I can. Take the length in inches of his forefoot track,
multiply it by 8, and that gives his height at the shoulder. You try
it and you'll see. A little Dog has a 2-1/4-inch foot and stands about
18 inches, a Sheep Dog with a 3-inch track stands 24 inches, and a
Mastiff or any big Dog with a 4-inch track gives 30 to 32 inches."

"You mean every Dog is 8 feet high?" drawled Sam, doubtfully, but Yan
went on. "And you can tell his weight, too, by the track. You multiply
the width of his forefoot in inches by the length, and multiply that
by 5, and that gives pretty near his weight in pounds. I tried old
Cap. His foot is 3-1/2 by 3; that equals 10-1/2, multiplied by 5
equals 52-1/2 pounds: just about right."

"I'll bet I seen a Dog at the show that that wouldn't work on,"
drawled Sam. "He was as long as my two arms, he had feet as big as a
young Bear, an' he wasn't any higher than a brick. He was jest about
the build of a Caterpiller, only he didn't have but four legs at the
far ends. They was so far apart he couldn't keep step. He looked like
he was raised under a bureau. I think when they was cutting down so on
his legs they might have give him more of them; a row in the middle
would 'a' been 'bout right."

"Yes, I know him. That's a Dachshund. But you can't reckon on freaks;
nothing but straight Dog. It works on wild animals, too--that is, on
Wolves and Foxes and maybe other things," then changing the subject
Beaver continued:

"Can you tell the height of a tree by its shadow?"

"Never thought of that. How do you do it?"

"Wait till your own shadow is the same length as yourself--that is,
about eight in the morning or four in the afternoon--then measure the
tree's shadow. That gives its length."

"You'd have to wait all day to work that, and you can't do it at all
in the woods or on a dull day," objected Blackhawk. "I'd rather do it
by guess."

"I'll bet my scalp against yours I can tell the height of that
tree right now without climbing it, and get closer than you can by
guessing," said Little Beaver.

"No, I won't bet scalps on that--but I'll bet who's to wash the
dishes."

"All right. To the top of that tree, how much is it?"

"Better not take the top, 'cause we can't get there to measure it, but
say that knot," was the rejoinder. "Here, Woodpecker, you be judge."

"No, I want to be in this guessing. The loser takes the next turn of
dishwashing for each of the others."

So Blackhawk studied the knot carefully and wrote down his
guess--Thirty-eight feet.

Sam said, "Blackhawk! Ground's kind of uneven. I'd like to know the
exact spot under the tree that you'd measure to. Will you mark it with
a peg?"

So Blackhawk went over and put in a white peg, at the same time
unwittingly giving Woodpecker what he wanted--a gauge, for he knew
Blackhawk was something more than five feet high; judging then as he
stood there Sam wrote down Thirty-five feet.

Now it was Yan's turn to do it by "White-man's Woodcraft," as he
called it. He cut a pole exactly ten feet long, and choosing the
smoothest ground, he walked about twenty yards from the tree, propped
the pole upright, then lay down so that his eye was level with the
tree base and in line with the top of the pole and the knot on the
tree. A peg marked the spot.

Now he measured from this "eye peg" to the foot of the pole; it was 31
feet. Then from the eye peg to the peg under the tree; it was 87 feet.
Since the 10-foot pole met the line at 31 feet, then 31 is to 10 as 87
is to the tree--or 28 feet. Now one of the boys climbed and measured
the height of the knot. It was 29 feet, and Yan had an easy victory.

"Here, you close guessers, do you want another try, and I'll give you
odds this time, if you come within ten feet you'll win. I want only
two feet to come and go on."

"All right. Pick your trees."

"'Tisn't a tree this time, but the distance across that pond, from
this peg (H, in diagram) to that little Hemlock (D). You put down your
guesses and I'll show you another trick."

Sam studied it carefully and wrote Forty feet. Wes put down
Forty-five.

"Here, I want to be in this. I'll show you fellers how," exclaimed Guy
in his usual scornful manner, and wrote down Fifty feet.

"Let's all try it for scalps," said Char-less, but this was ruled
too unimportant for scalps, and again the penalty of failure was
dishwashing, so the other boys came and put down their guesses close
to that of their Chief--Forty-four, Forty-six and Forty-nine feet.

"Now we'll find out exactly," and Little Beaver, with an air of calm
superiority, took three straight poles of exactly the same length and
pegged them together in a triangle, leaving the pegs sticking up. He
placed this triangle on the bank at _A B C_, sighting the line
_A B_ for the little Hemlock _D_, and put three pegs in the
ground exactly under the three pegs where the triangle was; moved the
triangle to _E F G_ and placed it so that _F G_ should line
with _A C_ and _E G_ with _D_. Now _A G D_ also must be an equilateral
triangle; therefore, according to arithmetic, the line _D H_ must be
seven-eighths of _A G. A G_ was easily measured--70 feet. Seven-eighths
of 70 equals 61-1/4 feet. The width of the pond--they measured it with
tape line--was found to be 60 feet, so Yan was nearest, but Guy claimed
that 50 feet was within 10 feet of it, which was allowed. Thus there
were two winners--two who escaped dishwashing; and Hawkeye's bragging
became insufferable. He never again got so close in a guess, but no
number of failures could daunt him after such a success.

Sam was interested in the White-man's Woodcraft chiefly on Yan's
account, but Blackhawk was evidently impressed with the study itself,
and said:

"Little Beaver, I'll give you one more to do. Can you measure how far
apart those two trees are on that bank, without crossing?"

"Yes," said Yan; "easily." So he cut three poles 6, 8 and 10 feet long
and pegged them together in a triangle (in diagram). "Now," said he,
"_A B C_ is a right angle; it must be, when the legs of the
triangle are 6, 8 and 10; that's a law."

He placed this on the shore, the side _A B_ pointing to the inner
side of the first tree, and the side _B C_ as nearly as possible
parallel with the line between the two trees. Then he put in a stake
at _B_, another at _C_, and continued this line toward _K_. Now he
slid his triangle along this till the side _G F_ pointed to _E_, and
the side _H G_ in line with _C B_. The distance from _D_ to _E_, of
course, is equal to _B G_, which can be measured, and again the tape
line showed Yan to be nearly right.

This White-man's Woodcraft was easy for him, and he volunteered to
teach the other Indians, but they thought it looked "too much like
school." They voted him a _coup_ on finding how well he could do
it. But when Raften heard of it he exclaimed in wonder and admiration,
"My, but that's mightiful!" and would not be satisfied till the
_coup_ was made a _grand coup_.

"Say, Beaver," said Woodpecker sadly, harking back, "if a Dog's front
foot is 3-1/2 inches long and 3 inches wide, what colour is the end of
his tail?"

"White," was the prompt reply; "'cause a Dog with feet that size and
shape is most likely to be a yaller Dog, and a yaller Dog always has
some white hairs in the end of his tail."

"Well, this 'un hadn't, 'cause his tail was cut off in the days of his
youth!"




XXIX

The Long Swamp


The union of the tribes, however, was far from complete. Blackhawk was
inclined to be turbulent. He was heavier than Beaver. He could not
understand how that slighter, younger boy could throw him, and he
wished to try again. Now Yan was growing stronger every day. He was
quick and of very wiry build. In the first battle, which was entirely
fisty, he was worsted; on the try-over, which cost him such an effort,
he had arranged "a rough-and-tumble," as they called it, and had
won chiefly by working his only trick. But now Blackhawk was not
satisfied, and while he did not care to offer another deadly
challenge, by way of a feeler he offered, some days after the peace,
to try a friendly throw for scalps.

"Fists left out!" Just what Beaver wanted, and the biggest boy was
sent flying. "If any other Boiler would like to try I'd be pleased
to oblige him," said Yan, just a little puffed up, as he held up the
second scalp he had won from Blackhawk.

Much to his surprise, Bluejay, the city boy, accepted, and he was
still more surprised when the city boy sent _him_ down in the
dust.

"Best out of three!" shouted Woodpecker quickly, in the interest of
his friend, taking advantage of an unwritten law that when it is not
stated to be in one try, usually called "sudden death," it is "best
two out of three" that counts.

Yan knew now that he had found a worthy foe. He dodged, waiting for an
opening--gripped--locked--and had him on the hip, he thought, but the
city boy squirmed in time, yielding instead of resisting, and both
went down tight-gripped. For a minute it was doubtful.

"Go it, Yan."

"Give it to him, Bluejay."

But Yan quickly threw out one leg, got a little purchase, and turned
the city boy on his back.

"Hooray for Little Beaver!"

"One try more! So far even!" cried Blackhawk.

They closed again, but Yan was more than ever careful. The city boy
was puffing hard. The real trial was over and Cy went down quite
easily.

"Three cheers for Little Beaver!" A fourth scalp was added to his
collection, and Sam patted him on the back, while Bluejay got out a
pocket mirror and comb and put his hair straight.

But this did not help out in the matter of leadership, and when the
Medicine Man heard of the continued deadlock he said:

"Boys, you know when there is a doubt about who is to lead the only
way is for all Chiefs to resign and have a new election." The boys
acted on this suggestion but found another deadlock. Little Beaver
refused to be put up. Woodpecker got three votes, Blackhawk four, and
Guy one (his own), and the Sangers refused to stand by the decision.

"Let's wait till after the 'hard trip'--that will show who is the real
Chief--then have a new election," suggested Little Beaver, with an eye
to Woodpecker's interest, for this hard trip was one that had been
promised them by Caleb--a three-days' expedition in the Long Swamp.

This swamp was a wild tract, ten miles by thirty, that lay a dozen
miles north of Sanger. It was swampy only in parts, but the dry places
were mere rocky ridges, like islands in the bogs. The land on these
was worthless and the timber had been ruined by fire, so Long Swamp
continued an uninhabited wilderness.

There was said to be a few Deer on the hardwood ridges. Bears and Lynx
were occasionally seen, and Wolves had been heard in recent winters.
Of course there were Foxes, Grouse and Northern Hare. The streams were
more or less choked with logs, but were known to harbour a few Beavers
and an occasional Otter. There were no roads for summer use, only
long, dim openings across the bogs, known as winter trails and timber
roads. This was the region that the boys proposed to visit under
Caleb's guidance.

Thus at last they were really going on an "Indian trip"--to explore
the great unknown, with every probability of adventure.

At dawn Yan tapped the tom-tom. It sang a high and vibrant note, in
guarantee of a sunny day.

They left camp at seven in the morning, and after three hours' tramp
they got to the first part of the wilderness, a great tract of rocky
land, disfigured with blackened trees and stumps, but green in places
with groves of young Poplars or quaking Aspen.

The Indians were very ready to camp now, but the Medicine Man said,
"No; better keep on till we find water." In another mile they reached
the first stretch of level Tamarack bog and a welcome halt for lunch
was called. "Camp!" shouted the leader, and the Indians ran each to do
his part. Sam got wood for the fire and Blackhawk went to seek water,
and with him was Blue jay, conspicuous in a high linen collar and
broad cuffs, for Caleb unfortunately had admitted that he once saw an
Indian Chief in high hat and stand-up collar.

Beaver was just a little disappointed to see the Medicine Man light
the fire with a match. He wanted it all in truly Indian style, but the
Trapper remarked, "Jest as well to have some tinder and a thong along
when you're in the woods, but matches is handier than rubbing-sticks."

Blackhawk and Bluejay returned with two pails of dirty, tepid, swampy
water.

"Why, that's all there is!" was their defense.

"Yan, you go and show them how to get good water," said Caleb, so
the Second Sanger Chief, remembering his training, took the axe and
quickly made a wooden digger, then went to the edge of the swamp, and
on the land twenty feet from the bog he began to dig a hole in the
sandy loam. He made it two feet across and sunk it down three feet.
The roily water kept oozing in all around, and Bluejay was scornful.
"Well, I'd rather have what we got." Beaver dug on till there was a
foot of dirty water in the hole. Then he took a pail and bailed it all
out as fast as possible, left it to fill, bailed it out a second time,
and ten minutes later cautiously dipped out with a cup a full pail of
crystal-clear cold water, and thus the Boilers learned how to make an
Indian well and get clear water out of a dirty puddle.

After their simple meal of tea, bread and meat Caleb told his plan.
"You never get the same good of a trip if you jest wander off; better
have a plan--something to do; and do it without a guide if ye want
adventures. Now eight is too many to travel together; you'd scare
everything with racket and never see a livin' thing. Better divide in
parties. I'll stay in camp and get things ready for the night."

Thus the leaders, Sam and Yan, soon found themselves paired with
Guy and Peetweet. Wes felt bound to take care of his little cousin
Char-less.

Bluejay, finding himself the odd man, decided to stay with Caleb,
especially as the swamp evidently was without proper footpaths.

"Now," said Caleb, "northwest of here there is a river called the
Beaver, that runs into Black River. I want one of you to locate that.
It's thirty or forty feet wide and easy to know, for it's the only big
stream in the swamp. Right north there is an open stretch of plain,
with a little spring creek, where there's a band of Injuns camped.
Somewhere northeast they say there's a tract of Pine bush not burned
off, and there is some Deer there. None of the places is ten miles
away except, maybe, the Injuns' camp. I want ye to go scoutin' and
report. You kin draw straws to say who goes where."

So the straws were marked and drawn. Yan drew the timber hunt. He
would rather have had the one after the Indians. Sam had to seek the
river, and Wesley the Indian camp. Caleb gave each of them a few
matches and this parting word:

"I'll stay here till you come back. I'll keep up a fire, and toward
sundown I'll make a smoke with rotten wood and grass so you kin find
your way back. Remember, steer by the sun; keep your main lines of
travel; don't try to remember trees and mudholes; and if you get lost,
you make _two smokes_ well apart and stay right there and holler
every once in awhile; some one will be sure to come."

So about eleven o'clock the boys set out eagerly. As they were going
Blackhawk called to the others, "First to carry out his job wins a
_grand coup_!"

"Let the three leaders stake their scalps," said the Woodpecker.

"All right. First winner home gets a scalp from each of the others and
saves his own."

"Say, boys, you better take along; your hull outfit, some grub an'
your blankets," was the Medicine Man's last suggestion. "You may have
to stay out all night."

Yan would rather have had Sam along, but that couldn't be, and
Peetweet proved a good fellow, though rather slow. They soon left the
high ground and came to the bog--flat and seemingly endless and with a
few tall Tamaracks. There were some Cedar-birds catching Flies on
the tall tree-tops, and a single Flycatcher was calling out:
"_Whoit--whoit--whoit!_" Yan did not know until long after that
it was the Olive-side. A Sparrow-hawk sailed over, and later a Bald
Eagle with a Sparrow-hawk in hot and noisy pursuit. But the most
curious thing was the surface of the bog. The spongy stretch of moss
among the scattering Tamaracks was dotted with great masses of Pitcher
Plant, and half concealed by the curious leaves were thousands of
Droserae, or fly-eating plants, with their traps set to secure their
prey.

The bog was wonderful, but very bad walking. The boys sank knee-deep
in the soft moss, and as they went farther, steering only by the sun,
they found the moss sank till their feet reached the water below and
they were speedily wet to the knees. Yan cut for each a long pole to
carry in the hand; in case the bog gave way this would save them from
sinking. After two miles of this Peetweet wanted to go back, but was
scornfully suppressed by Little Beaver.

Shortly afterward they came to a sluggish little stream in the bog
with a peculiar red-and-yellow scum along its banks. It was deep and
soft-bottomed. Yan tried it with the pole--did not dare to wade, so
they walked along its course till they found a small tree lying from
bank to bank, then crossed on this. Half a mile farther on the bog got
dryer, and a mass of green ahead marked one of the islands of high
land. Over this they passed quickly, keeping the northwest course.
They now had a succession of small bogs and large islands. The sun was
hot here and Peetweet was getting tired. He was thirsty, too, and
persisted in drinking the swamp water whenever he found a hole.

"Say, Peetweet, you'll suffer for that if you don't quit; that water
isn't fit to drink unless you boil it."

But Peetweet complained of burning thirst and drank recklessly. After
two hours' tramp he was very tired and wanted to turn back. Yan sought
a dry island and then gathered sticks for a fire, but found all
the matches they had were soaking wet with wading through the bog.
Peetweet was much upset by this, not on account of fire now, but in
case they should be out all night.

"You wait and see what an Indian does," said Little Beaver. He sought
for a dried Balsam Fir, cut the rubbing-sticks, made a bow of a
slightly bent branch, and soon had a blazing fire, to Peter's utter
amazement, for he had never seen the trick of making a fire by
rubbing-sticks.

After drinking some tea and eating a little, Pete felt more
encouraged.

"We have travelled more than six miles now, I reckon," said the Chief;
"an hour longer and we shall be in sight of the forest if there is
one," and Yan led off across swamps more or less open and islands of
burned timber.

Pete began to be appalled by the distance they were putting between
them and their friends. "What if we should get lost? They never could
find us."

"We won't get lost," said Yan in some impatience; "and if we did, what
of it? We have only to keep on straight north or south for four or
five hours and we reach some kind of a settlement."

After an hour's tramp northeast they came to an island with a tall
tree that had branches right to the ground. Yan climbed up. A vast
extent of country lay all about him--open flat bogs and timber
islands, and on far ahead was a long, dark mass of solid
ever-green--surely the forest he sought. Between him and it he saw
water sparkling.

"Oh, Pete, you ought to be up here," he shouted joyfully; "it's worth
the climb to see this view."

"I'd rather see our own back-yard," grumbled Pete.

Yan came down, his face aglow with pleasure, and exclaimed: "It's
close to, now! I saw the Pine woods. Just off there."

"How far?"

"Oh, a couple of miles, at most."

"That's what you have been saying all along."

"Well, I saw it this time; and there is water out there. I saw that,
too."

He tramped on, and in half an hour they came to the water, a deep,
clear, slow stream, fringed with scrub willows, covered with
lily-pads, and following the middle of a broad, boggy flat. Yan had
looked for a pond, and was puzzled by the stream. Then it struck him.
"Caleb said there was only one big stream through this swamp. This
must be it. This is Beaver River."

The stream was barely forty feet across, but it was clearly out of the
question to find a pole for a bridge, so Yan stripped off, put all his
things in a bundle, and throwing them over, swam after them. Pete had
to come now or be left.

As they were dressing on the northern side there was a sudden loud
"_Bang--swish_!" A torrent of water was thrown in the air, with
lily-pads broken from their mooring, the water pattered down, the
wavelets settled, and the boys stood in astonishment to see what
strange animal had made this disturbance; but nothing more of it was
seen, and the mystery remained unsolved.

Then Yan heard a familiar "_Quack!_" down the stream. He took his
bow and arrow, while Pete sat gloomily on a hummock. As soon as he
peered through the rushes in a little bay he saw three Mallard close
at hand. He waited till two were in line, then fired, killing one
instantly, and the others flew away. The breeze wafted it within reach
of a stick, and he seized it and returned in triumph to Pete, but
found him ready to cry. "I want to go home!" he said miserably. The
sight of the Mallard cheered him a little, and Yan said: "Come now,
Pete, don't spoil everything, there's a good fellow. Brace up, and if
I don't show you the Pine woods in twenty minutes I'll turn and take
you home."

As soon as they got to the next island they saw the Pine wood--a solid
green bank not half a mile away, and the boys gave a little cheer, and
felt, no doubt, as Mungo Park did when first he sighted the Niger. In
fifteen minutes they were walking in its dry and delightful aisles.

"Now we've won," said Yan, "whatever the others do, and all that
remains is to get back."

"I'm awfully tired," said Pete; "let's rest awhile."

Yan looked at his watch. "It's four o'clock. I think we'd better camp
for the night."

"Oh, no; I want to go home. It looks like rain."

It certainly did, but Yan replied, "Well, let's eat first." He delayed
as much as possible so as to compel the making of a camp, and the rain
came unexpectedly, before he even had a fire. Yet to his own delight
and Peter's astonishment he quickly made a rubbing-stick fire, and
they hung up their wet clothes about it. Then he dug an Indian well
and took lots of time in the preparation, so it was six o'clock before
they began to eat, and seven when finished--evidently too late to move
out even though the rain seemed to be over. So Yan collected firewood,
made a bed of Fir boughs and a windbreak of bushes and bark. The
weather was warm, and with the fire and two blankets they passed a
comfortable night. They heard their old friend the Horned Owl, a Fox
barked his querulous "_Yap-yurr!_" close at hand, and once or
twice they were awakened by rustling footsteps in the leaves, but
slept fairly well.

At dawn Yan was up. He made a fire and heated some water for tea. They
had very little bread left, but the Mallard was untouched.

Yan cleaned it, rolled it in wet clay, hid it in the ashes and covered
it with glowing coals. This is an Indian method of cooking, but Yan
had not fully mastered it. In half an hour he opened his clay pie and
found the Duck burned on one side and very raw on the other. Part of
it was good, however, so he called his companion to breakfast. Pete
sat up white-faced and miserable, evidently a sick boy. Not only had
he caught cold, but he was upset by the swamp water he had taken. He
was paying the penalty of his indiscretion. He ate a little and drank
some tea, then felt better, but clearly was unable to travel that day.
Now for the first time Yan felt a qualm of fear. Separated by a dozen
miles of swamp from all help, what could he do with a sick boy? He
barked a small dead tree with a knife, then on the smooth surface
wrote with a pencil, "Yan Yeoman and Pete Boyle camped here August 10,
18--"

He made Pete comfortable by the fire, and, looking for tracks, he
found that during the night two Deer had come nearly into the camp;
then he climbed a high tree and scanned the southern horizon for a
smoke sign. He saw none there, but to the northwest, beyond some
shining yellow hills, he discovered a level plain dotted over with
black Fir clumps; from one of these smoke went up, and near it were
two or three white things like teepees.

Yan hurried down to tell Pete the good news, but when he confessed
that it was two miles farther from home Pete had no notion of going
to the Indian camp; so Yan made a smoke fire, and knife-blazing the
saplings on two sides as he went, he set out alone for the Indian
camp. Getting there in half an hour, he found two log shanties and
three teepees. As he came near he had to use a stick to keep off the
numerous Dogs. The Indians proved shy, as usual, to White visitors.
Yan made some signs that he had learned from Caleb. Pointing to
himself, he held up two fingers--meaning that he was two. Then he
pointed to the Pine woods and made sign of the other lying down, and
added the hungry sign by pressing in his stomach with the edges of the
hands, meaning "I am cut in two here." The Chief Indian offered him
a Deer-tongue, but did not take further interest. Yan received it
thankfully, made a hasty sketch of the camp, and returned to find Pete
much better, but thoroughly alarmed at being so long alone. He was
able and anxious now to go back. Yan led off, carrying all the things
of the outfit, and his comrade followed slowly and peevishly. When
they came to the river, Pete held back in fear, believing that the
loud noise they had heard was made by some monster of the deep, who
would seize them.

Yan was certain it could be only an explosion of swamp gas, and forced
Pete to swim across by setting the example. What the cause really was
they never learned.

They travelled very fast now for a time. Pete was helped by the
knowledge that he was really going home. A hasty lunch of Deer-tongue
delayed them but little. At three they sighted Caleb's smoke signal,
and at four they burst into camp with yells of triumph.

Caleb fired off his revolver, and Turk bayed his basso profundo
full-cry Fox salute. All the others had come back the night before.

Sam said he had "gone ten mile and never got a sight of that blamed
river." Guy swore they had gone forty miles, and didn't believe there
was any such river.

"What kind o' country did you see?"

"Nothin' but burned land and rocks."

"H-m, you went too far west--was runnin' parallel with Beaver River."

"Now, Blackhawk, give an account of yourself to Little Beaver," said
Woodpecker. "Did you two win out?"

"Well," replied the Boiler Chief, "if Hawkeye travelled forty miles,
we must have gone sixty. We pointed straight north for three hours and
never saw a thing but bogs and islands of burned timber--never a sign
of a plain or of Indians. I don't believe there are any."

"Did you see any sandhills?" asked Little Beaver.

"No."

"Then you didn't get within miles of it."

Now he told his own story, backed by Pete, and he was kind enough to
leave out all about Peetweet's whimpering. His comrade responded
to this by giving a glowing account of Yan's Woodcraft, especially
dwelling on the feat of the rubbing-stick fire in the rain, and when
they finished Caleb said:

"Yan, you won, and you more than won, for you found the green timber
you went after, you found the river Sam went after, an' the Injuns
Wesley went after. Sam and Wesley, hand over your scalps."




XXX

A New Kind of Coon


A merry meal now followed, chaffing and jokes passed several hours
away, but the boys were rested and restless by nine o'clock and eager
for more adventures.

"Aren't there any Coons 'round here, Mr. Clark?"

"Oh, I reckon so. Y-e-s! Down a piece in the hardwood bush near Widdy
Biddy Baggs's place there's lots o' likely Cooning ground."

That was enough to stir them all, for the place was near at hand.
Peetweet alone was for staying in camp, but when told that he might
stay and keep house by himself he made up his mind to get all the fun
he could. The night was hot and moonless, Mosquitoes abundant, and
in trampling and scrambling through the gloomy woods the hunters had
plenty of small troubles, but they did not mind that so long as Turk
was willing to do his part. Once or twice he showed signs of interest
in the trail, but soon decided against it.

Thus they worked toward the Widdy Baggs's till they came to a dry
brook bed. Turk began at once to travel up this, while Caleb tried
to make him go down. But the Dog recognized no superior officer when
hunting. After leading his impatient army a quarter of a mile away
from the really promising heavy timber, Turk discovered what _he_
was after, and that was a little muddy puddle. In this he calmly lay
down, puffing, panting and lapping with energy, and his humble human
followers had nothing to do but sit on a log and impatiently await
his lordship's pleasure. Fifteen minutes went by, and Turk was still
enjoying himself, when Sam ventured at last:

"'Pears to me if I owned a Dog I'd own him."

"There's no use crowdin' him," was the answer. "He's runnin' this
hunt, an' he knows it. A Dog without a mind of his own is no 'count."

So when Turk had puffed like a Porpoise, grunted and wallowed like
a Hog, to his heart's content and to the envy of the eight who sat
sweltering and impatient, he arose, all dribbling ooze, probably to
seek a new wallowing place, when his nose discovered something on the
bank that had far more effect than all the coaxings and threats of the
"waiting line," and he gave a short bark that was a note of joy for
the boys. They were all attention now, as the old Hound sniffed it
out, and in a few moments stirred the echoes with an opening blast of
his deepest strain.

"Turk's struck it rich!" opined Caleb.

The old Dog's bawling was strong now, but not very regular, showing
that the hunted animal's course was crooked. Then there was a long
break in it, showing possibly that the creature had run a fence or
swung from one tree to another.

"That's a Coon," said Yan eagerly, for he had not forgotten any detail
of the other lesson.

Caleb made no reply.

The Hound tongued a long way off, but came back to the pond and had
one or two checks.

"It's a great running for a Coon," Yan remarked, at length in doubt.
Then to Caleb, "What do you think?"

Caleb answered slowly: "I dunno what to think. It runs too far for a
Coon, an' 'tain't treed yet; an' I kin tell by the Dog's voice he's
mad. If you was near him now you'd see all his back hair stannin' up."

Another circle was announced by the Dog's baying, and then the long,
continuous, high-pitched yelping told that the game was treed at last.

"Well, that puts Fox and Skunk out of it," said the Trapper, "but it
certainly don't act like a Coon on the ground."

"First there gets the Coon!" shouted Blackhawk, and the boys skurried
through the dark woods, getting many a scratch and fall. As it was,
Yan and Wesley arrived together and touched the tree at the same
moment. The rest came straggling up, with Char-less last and Guy a
little ahead of him. Guy wanted to relate the full particulars of his
latest glorious victory over Char-less, but all attention was now on
old Turk, who was barking savagely up the tree.

"Don't unnerstan' it at all, at all," said Caleb. "Coony kind o' tree,
but Dog don't act Coony."

"Let's have a fire," said the Woodpecker, and the two crowds of boys
began each a fire and strove hard to get theirs first ablaze.

The firelight reached far up into the night, and once or twice the
hunters thought they saw the shining eyes of the Coon.

"Now who's to climb?" asked the Medicine Man.

"I will, I will," etc., seven times repeated; even Guy and Char-less
chimed in.

"You're mighty keen hunters, but I want you to know I can't tell what
it is that's up that tree. It may be a powerful big Coon, but seems to
me the Dog acts a little like it was a Cat, and 'tain't so long since
there was Painter in this county. The fact of him treeing for Turk
don't prove that he's afraid of a Dog; lots of animals does that
'cause they don't want to be bothered with his noise. If it's a Cat,
him as climbs is liable to get his face scratched. Judging by the
actions of the Dog, _I think it's something dangerous_. Now who
wants the job?"

For awhile no one spoke. Then Yan, "I'll go if you'll lend me the
revolver."

"So would I," said Wesley quickly.

"Well, now, we'll draw straws"--and Yan won. Caleb felled a thin tree
against the big one and Yan climbed as he had done once before.

There was an absence of the joking and chaffing that all had kept
up when on the other occasion Yan went after the Coon. There was a
tension that held them still and reached the climber to thrill him
with a weird sense of venturing into black darkness to face a fearful
and mysterious danger. The feeling increased as he climbed from the
leaning tree to the great trunk of the Basswood, to lose sight of his
comrades in the wilderness of broad leaves and twisted tree-arms.
The dancing firelight sent shadow-blots and light-spots in a dozen
directions with fantastic effect. Some of the feelings of the night at
Garney's grave came back to him, but this time with the knowledge of
real danger. A little higher and he was out of sight of his friends
below. The danger began to appal him; he wanted to go back, and to
justify the retreat he tried to call out, "No Coon here!" but his
voice failed him, and, as he clung to the branch, he remembered
Caleb's words, "There's nothing ahead of grit, an' grit ain't so much
not bein' scairt as it is goin' straight ahead when you _are_
scairt." No; he would go on, come what would.

"Find anything?" drawled a cheery voice below, just at the right time.

Yan did not pause to answer, but continued to climb into the gloom.
Then he thought he heard a Coon snarl above him. He swung to a higher
branch and shouted, "Coon here, all right!" but the moment he did so
a rattling growl sounded close to him, and looking down he saw a huge
grey beast spring to a large branch between him and the ground, then
come climbing savagely toward him. As it leaped to a still nearer
place Yan got a dim view of a curious four-cornered face, shaggy
and striped, like the one he saw so long ago in Glenyan--it was an
enormous _Lynx_.

Yan got such a shock that he nearly lost his hold, but quickly
recovering, he braced himself in a crotch, and got out the revolver
just as the Lynx with a fierce snarl leaped to a side branch that
brought it nearly on a level with him. He nervously cocked the pistol,
and scarcely attempting to sight in the darkness, he fired and missed.
The Lynx recoiled a little and crouched at the report. The boys below
raised a shout and Turk outdid them all in racket.

"A Lynx!" shouted Yan, and his voice betrayed his struggle with fear.

"Look out!" Caleb called. "You better not let him get too close."

The Lynx was growling ferociously. Yan put forth all his will-power to
control his trembling hand, took more deliberate aim, and fired. The
fierce beast was struck, but leaped wildly at the boy. He threw up his
arm and it buried its teeth in his flesh, while Yan clung desperately
to the tree with the other arm. In a moment he knew he would be
dragged off and thrown to the ground, yet felt less fear now than he
had before. He clutched for the revolver with the left hand, but it
found only the fur of the Lynx, and the revolver dropped from his
grasp. Now he was indeed without hope, and dark fear fell on him. But
the beast was severely wounded. Its hind quarters were growing heavy.
It loosed its hold of Yan and struggled to get on the limb. A kick from
his right foot upset its balance; it slipped from the tree and flopped
to the ground below, wounded, but full of fight. Turk rushed at it, but
got a blow from its armed paw that sent him off howling.

[Illustration: "He nervously fired and missed."]

A surge of reaction came over Yan. He might have fainted, but again he
remembered the Trapper's words, "Bravery is keeping on even when you
_are_ skairt." He pulled himself together and very cautiously
worked his way back to the leaning tree. Hearing strange sounds,
yells, growls, sounds of conflict down below, expecting every moment
to hear the Lynx scramble up the trunk again, to finish him, dimly
hearing but not comprehending the shouts, he rested once at the
leaning tree and breathed freely.

"Hurry up, Yan, with that revolver," shouted Blackhawk.

"I dropped it long ago."

"Where is it?"

Yan slid down the sapling without making reply. The Lynx had gone,
but not far. It would have got away, but Turk kept running around and
bothering it so it could not even climb a tree, and the noise they
made in the thicket was easy to follow.

"Where's the revolver?" shouted Caleb, with unusual excitement.

"I dropped it in the fight."

"I know. I heard it fall in the bushes," and Sam soon found it.

Caleb seized it, but Yan said feebly, "Let me! Let me! It's my fight!"

Caleb surrendered the pistol, said "Look out for the Dog!" and Yan
crawled through the bushes till that dark moving form was seen again.
Another shot and another. The sound of combat died away, and the
Indians raised a yell of triumph--all but Little Beaver. A giddiness
came over him; he trembled and reeled, and sank down on a root. Caleb
and Sam came up quickly.

"What's the matter, Yan?"

"I'm sick--I----"

Caleb took his arm. It was wet. A match was struck.

"Hallo, you're bleeding."

"Yes, he had me--he caught me up the tree. I--I--thought I was a
goner."

All interest was now turned from the dead Lynx to the wounded boy.

"Let's get him to the water."

"Guess the camp well is the nearest."

Caleb and Sam took care of Yan, while the others brought the Lynx.
Yan grew better as they moved slowly homeward. He told all about the
attack of the Lynx.

"Gosh! I'd 'a' been scared out o' my wits," said Sam.

"Guess I would, too," added Caleb, to the surprise of the Tribe; "up
there, helpless, with a wounded Lynx--I tell you!"

"Well, I _was_ scared--just as scared as I could be," admitted
Yan.

At camp a blazing fire gave its lurid light. Cold water was handy and
Yan's bleeding arm was laid bare. He was shocked and yet secretly
delighted to see what a mauling he had got, for his shirt sleeve was
soaked with blood, and the wondering words of his friends was sweetest
music to his ears.

Caleb and the city boy dressed his wounds, and when washed they did
not look so very dreadful.

They were too much excited to sleep for an hour at least, and as they
sat about the fire--that they did not need but would not dream of
doing without--Yan found no lack of enthusiasm in the circle, and
blushed with pleasure to be the hero of the camp. Guy didn't see
anything to make so much fuss about, but Caleb said, "I knowed it; I
always knowed you was the stuff, after the night you went to Garney's
grave."




XXXI

On the Old Camp Ground


It was threatening to rain again in the morning and the Indians
expected to tramp home heavy laden in the wet. But their Medicine Man
had a surprise in store. "I found an old friend not far from here and
fixed it up with him to take us all home in his wagon." They walked
out to the edge of the rough land and found a farm wagon with two
horses and a driver. They got in, and in little less than a hour were
safely back to the dear old camp by the pond.

The rain was over now, and as Caleb left for his own home he said:

"Say, boys, how about that election for Head Chief? I reckon it's due
now. Suppose you wait till to-morrow afternoon at four o'clock an'
I'll show you how to do it."

That night Yan and his friend were alone in their teepee. His arm was
bound up, and proud he was of those bandages and delighted with the
trifling red spots that appeared yet on the last layer; but he was not
in pain, nor, indeed, the worse for the adventure, for, thanks to his
thick shirt, there was no poisoning. He slept as usual till long after
midnight, then awoke in bed with a peculiar feeling of well-being and
clearness of mind. He had no bodily sense; he seemed floating alone,
not in the teepee nor in the woods, but in the world--not dreaming,
but wide awake--more awake than ever in his life before, for all his
life came clearly into view as never before: his stern, religious
training; his father, refined and well-meaning, but blind, compelling
him to embark in a profession to which he was little inclined, and to
give up the one thing next his heart--his Woodcraft lore.

Then Raften stepped into view, loud-voiced, externally coarse, but
blessed with a good heart and a sound head. The farmer suffered sadly
in contrast with the father, and yet Yan had to suppress the wish that
Raften were his father. What had they in common? Nothing; and yet
Raften had given him two of the dearest things in life. He, the
head of the house, a man of force and success, had treated Yan with
respect. Yan was enough like his own father to glory in the unwonted
taste; and like that other rugged stranger long ago in Glenyan, Raften
had also given him sympathy. Instead of considering his Woodcraft
pursuits mere trifling, the farmer had furthered them, and even joined
to follow for a time. The thought of Bonnerton came back. Yan knew he
must return in a year at most; he knew that his dearest ambition of a
college course in zoology was never to be realized, for his father
had told him he must go as errand boy at the first opening. Again his
rebellious spirit was stirred, to what purpose he did not know. He
would rather stay here on the farm with the Raftens. But his early
Scriptural training was not without effect. "Honour thy father and
thy mother" was of lasting force. He felt it to be a binding duty. He
could not rebel if he would. No, he would obey; and in that resolution
new light came. In taking him from college and sending him to the farm
his father had apparently cut off his hope of studies next his heart.
Instead of suffering loss by this obedience, he had come to the
largest opportunity of his life.

Yes! He would go back--be errand boy or anything to make a living, but
in his hours of freedom he would keep a little kingdom of his own. The
road to it might lie through the cellar of a grocer's shop, but he
would not flinch. He would strive and struggle as a naturalist. When
he had won the insight he was seeking, the position he sought would
follow, for every event in the woodland life had shown him--had shown
them all, that his was the kingdom of the Birds and Beasts and the
power to comprehend them.

And he seemed to float, happy in the fading of all doubt, glad in
the sense of victory. There was a noise outside. The teepee door was
forced gently; a large animal entered. At another time Yan might
have been alarmed, but the uplift of his vision was on him still. He
watched it with curious unalarm. It gently came to his bed, licked his
hand and laid down beside him. It was old Turk, and this was the first
time he had heeded any of them but Caleb.

[Illustration: Old Turk]




XXXII

The New War Chief


Caleb had been very busy all the day before doing no one knew what,
and Saryann was busy, too. She had been very busy for long, but now
she was bustling. Then, it seems, Caleb had gone to Mrs. Raften, and
she was very busy, and Guy made a flying visit to Mrs. Burns, and
she had become busy. Thus they turned the whole neighbourhood into a
"bee."

For this was Sanger, where small gatherings held the same place as the
club, theatre and newspaper do in the lives of city folk. No matter
what the occasion, a christening, wedding or funeral, a logging, a
threshing, a home-coming or a parting, the finishing of a new house
or the buying of a new harness or fanning-mill, any one of these was
ample grounds for one of their "talking bees"; so it was easy to set
the wheels a-running.

At three o'clock three processions might have been seen wending
through the woods. One was from Burns's, including the whole family;
one from Raften's, comprising the family and the hired men; one from
Caleb's, made up of Saryann and many of the Boyles. All brought
baskets.

They were seated in a circle on the pleasant grassy bank of the
pond. Caleb and Sam took charge of the ceremonies. First, there were
foot-races, in which Yan won in spite of his wounded arm, the city boy
making a good second; then target-shooting and "Deer-hunting," that
Yan could not take part in. It was not in the programme, but Raften
insisted on seeing Yan measure the height of a knot in a tree without
going to it, and grinned with delight when he found it was accurate.

"Luk at that for eddication, Sam!" he roared. "When will ye be able to
do the like? Arrah, but ye're good stuff, Yan, an' I've got something
here'll plase ye."

Raften now pulled out his purse and as magistrate paid over with
evident joy the $5 bounty due for killing the Lynx. Then he added:
"An' if it turns out as ye all claim" [and it did] "that this yer
beast is the Sheep-killer instid av old Turk, I'll add that other
tin."

Thus Yan came into the largest sum be had ever owned in his life.

Then the Indians went into their teepees. Caleb set up a stake in the
ground and on that a new shield of wood covered with rawhide; over the
rawhide was lightly fastened a piece of sacking.

The guests were in a circle around this; at one side were some
skins--Yan's Lynx and Coon--and the two stuffed Owls.

Then the drum was heard, "Tum-tum--tum-tum--tum-tum--tum-tum----"
There was a volley of war-whoops, and out of the teepees dashed the
Sanger Indians in full war paint.

  "Ki ki--ki yi--ki yi yi yi
  Ki yi--ki yi--ki yi yi yi!"

They danced in exact time to the two-measure of the drum that was
pounded by Blackhawk. Three times round the central post with the
shield they danced, then the drum stopped, and they joined in a grand
final war-whoop and squatted in a circle within that of the guests.

The Great Woodpecker now arose--his mother had to be told who it
was--and made a characteristic speech:

"Big Chiefs, Little Chiefs, and Squapooses of the Sanger Indians: A
number of things has happened to rob this yer nation of its noble Head
Chief; they kin never again expect to have his equal, but this yer
assembly is for to pick out a new one. We had a kind of whack at it
the other day, but couldn't agree. Since then we had a hard trip, and
things has cleared up some, same as puttin' Kittens in a pond will
tell which one is the swimmer, an' we're here to-day to settle it."

Loud cries of "How--how--how--how--" while Blackhawk pounded the drum
vigorously.

"O' course different ones has different gifts. Now who in all this
Tribe is the best runner? That's Little Beaver."

("How--how--how--how--how--" and drum.)

"That's my drum, Ma!" said Guy aside, forgetting to applaud.

"Who is the best trailer and climber? Little Beaver, again, I reckon."

("How--how--how--how--" and drum.)

("He can't see worth a cent!" whispered Guy to his mother.)

"Who was it won the trial of grit at Garney's grave? Why, it was
Little Beaver."

("An' got pretty badly scared doin' it!" was Guy's aside.)

"But who was it shot the Cat-Owl plumb in the heart, an' fit the Lynx
hand to hand, not to speak of the Coon? Little Beaver every time."

("He never killed a Woodchuck in his life, Ma!")

"Then, again, which of us can lay all the others on his back? Little
Beaver, I s'pose."

("Well, I can lick Char-less, any time," was Guy's aside.)

"Which of us has most _grand coups_ and scalps?"

"Ye're forgittin' his eddication," put in Raften to be scornfully
ignored; even Little Beaver resented this as un-Indian.

"Which has most scalps?" Sam repeated with sternness. "Here's a scalp
won in battle with the inimy," Woodpecker held it up, and the Medicine
Man fastened it on the edge of the shield that hung from the post.

"Here is one tuk from the Head Chief of the hostiles," and Caleb
fastened that to the shield. "Here is another tuk from the Second
Chief of the hostiles," and Caleb placed it. "Here is one tuk from the
Great Head War Chief of the Sangers, and here is one from the Head
Chief of the Boilers, and another tuk in battle. Six scalps from six
famous warriors. This yere is the record for the whole Tribe, an'
Little Beaver done it; besides which, he draws pictures, writes
poethry and cooks purty good, an' I say Little Beaver is the one for
Chief! What says the rest?" and with one voice they shouted, "Hoorah
for Little Beaver!"

"How--how--how--how--how--_thump, thump, thump, thump_."

"Any feller anything to say agin it?"

"I eh--" Guy began.

--"has got to lick the Chief," Sam continued, and Guy did not complete
his objection, though he whispered to his mother, "If it was Char-less
I bet I'd show him."

[Illustration: The shield]

Caleb now pulled the cover off the shield that he fastened the scalps
to, and it showed the white Buffalo of the Sangers with a Little
Beaver above it. Then he opened a bundle lying near and produced a
gorgeous war-shirt of buff leather, a pair of leggins and moccasins,
all fringed, beaded and painted, made by Saryann under Caleb's
guidance. They were quickly put on the new Chief; his war bonnet,
splendid with the plumes of his recent exploits, was all ready; and
proud and happy in his new-found honours, not least of which were his
wounds, he stepped forward.

[Illustration: Little Beaver, the New War Chief]

Caleb viewed him with paternal pride and said: "I knowed ye was the
stuff the night ye went to Garney's grave, an' I knowed it again when
ye crossed the Big Swamp. Yan, ye could travel anywhere that man could
go," and in that sentence the boy's happiness was complete. He surely
was a Woodcrafter now. He stammered in a vain attempt to say something
appropriate, till Sam relieved him by: "Three cheers for the Head War
Chief!" and when the racket was over the women opened their baskets
and spread the picnic feast. Raften, who had been much gratified by
his son's flow of speech, recorded a new vow to make him study law,
but took advantage of the first gap in the chatter to say:

"Bhise, ye'r two weeks' holiday with wan week extension was up at noon
to-day. In wan hour an' a half the Pigs is fed."

       *       *       *       *       *




INDEX


Arapahoes
Arrows--
  How to make
  Individuality of
Arrow-wood
  Illustration of
Ash--
  White
  Illustration of
  Black

Bagg's, Widdy, place
Bald Eagle
Bald-Eagle-Settin'-on-a-Rock-with-his-Tail-Hangin'-over-the-Edge
Balsam
Balsam-fir
Balsam bark, used for tanning
  Boughs for bed
  Wood for rubbing-sticks
  Illustration of
Banshee
Basswood
  Usually hollow
  Leaf illustration
Beavering
Bear hunt
Beaver River
Beech
  Illustration of
  Blue, illustration of
Biddy
Birch--
  White
  Black
  Canoe
  Dishes
  Mahogany
  Sweet
  Black
Illustration of
Blackbirds, Red-winged
Blackbird, purple (Jack)
Black Cherry
  Lung balm
  As a remedy
Blaze--
  Special
  Road
Blood Robin
Blood Root
Bloody-Thundercloud-in-the-Afternoon
Bluebird
Blue-bottle Flies
  Plague
Blue Cohosh
Blue Crane (Heron)
Blue-jay
Bobolink
Boilers
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
Bow--
  How to make
  Bowstring
Bow-drill Yan makes
  How to light a fire with
Boyle Char-less
Burns, Guy
  Is captured by Yan and Sam
  Becomes a member of the tribe
  His stuffed Deer
  His test of courage
  Kills the Woodchuck
  Name changed to Hawkeye
Butterfly, black
Butternuts--
  Used for dyeing

Caleb Clark
  His description of a teepee
  His Indian adventures
  Makes Indian war bonnet
  His standard of a good shot
  He tells Yan how to find his way in the woods
  Shows the boys how to skin a horse
    and how to tan skin
  How to make moccasins
  His opinion of hunters and hunting
  His marksmanship
  Encounter with Mr. Raften on the coon hunt
  Story of his quarrel with Mr. Raften
  Encounter with Bill Hennard
  Gets possession of his farm
Calfskins, sold by boys
  Used as drum-heads
  Tanning of
Cardinal flowers
Cat
  Fight with Skunk
  Adopts young Squirrels
  Is caught in the ketch-alive
Catnip--
  Tea
  How it cured the Cat
Cedar,
Cedar-birds
Char-less (Red-squirrel)
Chenopodium
Chipmunk
  Sam's Chipmunk capture
Chickadee, cock
Choke-cherry
Clam shells
Cohosh
Connor, Kitty
Coon--
  Hairs
  Hunt
  Tracks
Cottonwood root
  Indians use to light fires
Council, the Grand
Coup, Grand
Cow-bird
Crawfish
Creeper
Crow--
  Split tongue
  Common, tracks of
Cuckoo, black-billed
Cypripedium

Dachshund
Daddy Longlegs and the cows
Dam--
  The boys build
Dandelion roots
  Coffee
Deer--
  Guy's stuffed
  Shooting game
De Neuville, Granny
  Mr. Raften buys her Pigs
  Her love of flowers and birds
  She prescribes for Sam's leg
  Her herb lore
  Her visit from the robbers
Dew-cloth
Digby, Cyrus, (Blue-jay)
Dipper
Dog--
  How to tell height by track
Dogans
Downey's Dump
Droserae (Fly-eating plants)
Ducks, flock of
Dyeing--
  With Butternuts
  With Hemlock
  With Goldthread
  With Goldenrod
  With Berries
  With Pokeweed
  With Elder shoots
  With Oak chips
  With Hickory bark
  With Birch
  With Dogwood
  With Indigo herb

Eagle Feathers
  As worn by Indian Warriors
Elderberry-shoot, used for pipestem
Ellis, Bud, is cured by Lung Balm
Elm--
  Slippery
  Swamp
  Bark for teepees
Emmy Grants
Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset)

Fire--
  How to light without matches
  Right woods to use
  Signal
Flicker
  Illustration of nest
Flying-squirrel
Fox--
  His Rabbit hunt
  Callaghan
Frogs

Galium
Garney, Bill, grave of
Ginseng
Goldenrod--
  Used for dyeing
  Usually points north
Golden Seal (Hydrastis Canadensis)
Goldthread
Graybird
Grip, the Dog
Gyascutus

Hawk--
  Sharpshin
  Fight with King-bird
  Chicken
  Red-shouldered
  Sparrow
Hearne, Samuel
Hemlock, bark
  Tree
  Used for tanning
Henbane
Hennard, Bill
Herb-lore, Biddy's
  Granny's
Heron (Blue Crane)
"Highbelier"
Hornet, blue
Horse, how to skin
Horse-hair--
  Turns to a snake
Humming-bird
Hydrastis Canadensis (Golden Seal)
Hyla pickeringii (Frog)

Indian--
  Sense of smell
  Teepees
  Head-dresses
  Telegram of good luck
  Meaning of Eagle feathers
  War bonnet
  Ability to foretell storms
  Games
  Tests of eyes
  Well
  Drum
  Smoke signs
  Trail signs
  Method of tanning skins
  Paints

Indian cucumber
Indian cup
Indian squaw--
  Yan's story of
Indian turnips
Indigo herb
Injun tobacco
Ironwood

Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Jewel-flower
Jewelweed

Ketchalive, how to make a
Kingbird
  Fight with Hawk
Kingfishers
Kingroot

Lancewood
Larry, how he made brooms
Lavender tea
Leatherwood
Lindera Benzoin (Spicebush)
Little Beaver
Lizard, Whistling
Lobelia
Long Swamp, trip to
Loon
Lung Balm
Lynx--
  Yan meets
  Is killed in Long Swamp

Mallard Duck
Mandrakes
Maple
Martins, Sand
"Massacrees"
May Apple
Mink--
  Kills Muskrat
  How to catch
Minnie, makes peace between Yan and Sam
Minnow
Moccasin--
  How to make
Mosquitoes, how to keep out of teepee
Mouse, Field
Mud albums
Muskrat--
  Killed by Mink
  Burrows hole in dam
Mussel shells

Needles, made of Catfish bones
Niagara, Yan visits
North Star

Oak, pick to make holes for sewing bark
Ojibwa
O'Leary, Phil
Osage orange
Oven bird
Owl, Stuffed
  Hoot
  Screech
  Horned
  Cat
  Horned Owls, killed by Yan and Sam
  How to stuff

Parlour, the Raftens'
Partridge head for Mink bait
Peeper
Pelopaeus, Mud-wasp
Peter (Peetweet)
Pine
Pine Grosbeak
Pipsissewa
Pleiades
Pleurisy root
Pogue, Dick
Pokeweed
Prattisons
Prayer-sticks

Rabbit, how he escaped the Fox
Rad--
  Unkindness to Yan
  Goes Lynx-hunting with Yan
Raften, Bud
Raften, Mrs.,
  kindness to Yan
Raften, Wm.,
  His characteristics
  Helps the boys make their bed in teepee
  Makes friends with Caleb and helps him out of his trouble
Rail
  Sora rails
Red Squirrels
  Nest robbed by boys
Robin--
  Guy kills

Sam--
  His collection of birds' eggs
  He visits Granny de Neuville
  His skill with the axe
Sander--
  Taxidermist's shop
  Exhibit of birds
Sage-brush root, Indians use to light fires
Sandals, worn when Dear-hunting
Sanger--
  Account of settlers
  Custom of framing coffin-plates
Santees (Sioux)
Sassafras
Scarlet Tanager
Sees Yan again at Granny de Neuville's
Sharp-shin
Shells--
  Mussel
  Clam
Shore-lark
Meadow-lark, pursued by Hawk
Shrew, Yan finds body of
Si Lee
  Teaches the boys how to stuff Horned Owls
Skunk, fight with Cat
Skunk Cabbage
Skunk-root
Smoke, signs used by Indians
Snake, dies at sundown
Snipe, Teetering (Tipup)
"Sorry-plant"
Sparrow--
  Vesper
  Song
Sparrow-hawk
Spear-mint
Spicewood (Lindera Benzoin)
Spider, kill a spider to make it rain
Squaw berries
Stramonium
Superstitious sayings, Biddy's
Swallows, shooting
  Keep off lightning

Taxidermy, Si Lee gives a lesson in
Teepee--
  Is begun
  Does not prove satisfactory, smokes
  Is blown down
  Caleb Clark's description
  Second teepee is begun
  Storm-cap
  How to place poles and ropes
  Should face east
  How to secure in a storm
Toads, give warts
Trails--
  Paper
  Corn
  Signs of
Trees, points of compass indicated by
  How to tell height by shadow
  How to measure distance between trees
Tree-frog
Turkey feathers for arrows
Turtle, mud
Tutnee

Umbil, or "Sterrick-root"

Veery
Vireo, Red-eyed

Wakan Rock
War bonnets
Wasp, mud
Wesley (Blackhawk)
Whangerdoodle
Whippoorwill
White-man's Foot
White Oak pins for teepee
Whooping Crane
Willow, withes for tying teepee poles
Wind, how to tell direction of
Wintergreen
Witch-hazel--
  Will find water
  Granny de Neuville's medicine
Woodchuck--
  Sam's story
  Guy kills the old Woodchuck
Wood-duck
Wood-mouse
Wood-peewee
Woodpecker, Red-headed
Worm, measuring
Wormweed

Yan--
  Homelife
  His attempts to buy Owl
  Love for spring
  How he made the last dime for his first nature book
  His meeting with the unknown naturalist
  Discovery of Glenyan
  Building of the shanty
  Imitation of Indians
  Makes a drawing of a Hawk
  Identifies Coon-hairs
  Is made ill by chewing leaves of strange plant
  His list of trees
  Tries to kill Wood-mouse
  Makes a pipe and learns to smoke
  Is punished for caricaturing his teacher
  Finds his shanty destroyed by tramps
  His illness
  Begins to recover and visits Glenyan
  His adventure with a Lynx
  Takes Rad hunting
  Is reproved by his mother for killing the Shore-lark
  He goes to Sanger
  His duties
  He sees Sam's treasures
  He and Sam begin the teepee
  They light a fire in the teepee
  Which smokes them out
  They find the teepee blown down
  Their visit to Granny de Neuville
  Yan sees Biddy again
  They visit Caleb Clark
  They begin their second teepee
  The canvas is sewn by Si Lee
  Caleb teaches them to light a fire without matches
  First fire in new teepee
  They make bows and arrows; practice with them
  They build a dam
  Yan's story of the Indian squaw
  He visits the Sanger Witch again
  Takes dinner with her
  They capture Guy Burns; admit him into the Tribe
  Yan fights Sam and Guy
  Comes to the assistance of the school trustees
  Goes with Sam to live in the teepee for two weeks
  Their first night in the woods
  They are joined by Guy
  Their foraging trip
  Their Deer-shooting game
  Their visit from Caleb
  They sun their blankets
  How they kept off Mosquitoes
  They clean their camp
  Carry their remnants of food to Wakan Rock
  Dig an Indian well
  Make an Indian drum
  Yan sees fight between Cat and Skunk
  They destroy a Red-squirrel's nest
  He learns to build signal fire
  Caleb tells him how to find his way in the woods
  The boys learn how to tan skins
  And how to make moccasins
  Makes a ketchalive
  Their visit from Mr. Raften
  Yan's story of the Boy-that-wanted-to-know
  The trip to Downey's Dump
  They kill two Horned Owls
  Si Lee gives them a lesson in taxidermy
  Yan's test of grit
  He draws the tracks near Bill Garney's grave
  The Grand Council
  The Coon-hunt
  The Bear-hunt
  Yan finds a Shrew
  Is ill-treated by Bill Hennard
  Trouble with the Boilers
  He wins the fight with Blackhawk
  The Boilers join the Sangers
  Yan beats the city boy in wrestling-match
  They start on hard trip
  Yan and Pete make an exploring trip
  Yan finds the Indian village
  His fight with the Lynx
  Receives bounty for killing lynx
  Is made War Chief
Yan's Mother--
  Her morbidly religious nature
  She reproves Yan for killing Shore-lark
Yellow Warbler
Yew--
  Spanish
  Oregon



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