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Black death, or, The curse of the Navajo witch


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Black death, or, The curse of the Navajo witch
Series Title:
American Indian weekly.
Physical Description:
1 online resource (30 p.) 28 cm. : ;
Dair, Spencer
Place of Publication:
Cleveland A. Westbrook, c1910
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Navajo Indians -- Fiction   ( lcsh )
Dime novels   ( lcsh )
Western stories   ( lcsh )
serial   ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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usfldc doi - D14-00502
usfldc handle - d14.502
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Black death, or, The curse of the Navajo witch.
n Vol. 1, no. 3 (1910)
Cleveland : A. Westbrook, c1910.
c 1910
1 online resource (30 p.) ; 28 cm.
American Indian weekly.
v vol. 1, no. 3
Navajo Indians
Dime novels.
Western stories.
t Dime Novel Collection.
4 856

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BY. C OL()NEL SPENCER \ ij -" THE WESTItROtlK OHld U. S : A. I I VOL I NO. 3 / I Copyright 1910 by -the Aithur Westbrook Company Clevel and, Ohio. OR The Curse of the Navajo 'Witch' By COL. SPENCER DAIR / .' PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS. J \ / JOE SANDERs-Owner of the Broken Circle ranch, against Sanders takes his famil y' and the m a n who accompan i es wh o m a Navajo witch utters her curse of the Black D e ath. the o t h e r on h is tracki n g o f the old wit ch. A flood sweeps away the ranchman's home and he has dif-MARI A BLOOMERW ife of F r e d. ., ficulty in rescuing hi s daughter, granddaughter and sonSHEBfAR-Navaj o wi t c h w h ose C\lrs e o f t he Black Death has in-law ; but finally takes th e m to the ranch of terrifie d w o m e n m e n and c hi ldren f o r many y ea r s ; s h e wh o m he induces to join him in hunting the old witch, finally send s her m essag e of deat h t o S a nde r s w h o l a ugb s finally ending her miserable career, after passing through at her pow e r s and hu nts her t o her de ath. many dangers CoYOTE-O n e o f Bl oo m e r 's c o w boys who bet rays h is master's HARRIET EVANs-Daughter of Sanders : plans t o She b ea r bu t i s finally c apture d ) B ETH E VANs-Granddaughter of Sanders, whose powers of RUNNING HORSEArt Indian ebieftain, whom Sheb ea; calls J sensing danger saves the family from being carried away .to her assi s tance. . and dro wned by the flood. BLUE S Ky-A halfb r e ed guide, who is forced to serve the JOHN EVANs-S 6 n-in-law of Sanders. wi t ch-hunters a g ains t h i s w ill \ FRED BLOOMER-Owner of the Three Bar ranch, to whose house OTHER RANCH MEN, COWBOYS and Indians CHA:PTER I. THE SINISTFR SYMBOL'S. But her attention w a s immediately distracted by the" action of the child who ran to h e r m o ther' and buried her head against the breast, tr,emblil}g vio lently as she cast furti v e g lances t oward t he door R a t-a-tap-tap I" Above the howling of the wind, this knocking s ounded faintly on the door of a ranch house standing i n a coulee among the foothills of New Mexico-so faintly, indeed, that the two men, woman and child i nside were not whether the x:apping was fancy of their imaginations or not. . "Did you hear anything?" asked the woman, looking inquiringly a,t the .elder oi the two men. T enderly the mother put her arms about the quivering girl. "There, there, Betl1! she murmured, soothingly. "What makes you shake so? Nothing's g oing to hurt you-Momsy won't let it! . -The terrer of the child, however, had a marked effect upon her elders Must have been some one knocking, asserted the younge r of the two men, rising and starting toward the


THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. do o r Mayb e some poor qevil has l ost his It's It' s all right for you-it isn't your reo a terrible night to be out!" :turned the other man, a s he plac.ed the chl!d .on the S o b a d that no one with good intentions would try bunk beside her m other ang. with hand to tra"Vel i n it," retut:ned the other man. "Don't let poured of the powerful sttmulant mto cup and Beth and Harriet get on your nerves, John. It was mixed it. w1th warm water as he had been pro b a bly a of that a c acia bush b.eating :' It'S my daughter on !he With Beth," the door. If It was anybody, the y'll knock agam." rejomed the elder man, ScaTce had the words left the speaker' s lips, how-John, she' s doubly dear t o me, becaus e she s g1ven me e ver than there came a second summons I a granddaughter! S o have S OlJle sense about you! Rat-a-tap-tap! ", How do you suppo s e a braid of hair a nd an Injun ar T hi s tiule there was no mistaking the sound-so dis-rowhead can cause anyone's death?" tinct, so imperative were the knocks. " Becaus e it's the s ymbol of old Shebear, the Navajo T oge ther bo t h men sprang, to their feet and, witn ':, hands. for their strode to 'the 1 1t Haven t you r of It s fatl door wh1le the w oman and chtld cowered shudder-' mg? I ve seen It more ten ttmes! ing, as t h o u g h :(iner instincts senseeVsome "But it never c a m e t o you befor e d id it? pending .panger. -, c I "Why-no."" "Yo u unbar the door, John, I'll be ready m ca s7 "Exactly. And' y o u reme.mb e r that one of it's--" t hose w h o received it met a vIOlent death, d o n t you?" N -o; popsy, no-o! w ai led the little girl. W h y -yes. But none of them wer e those braids But t he men paid her no heed. o f black hair and arrowheads. There 1sn t o n e I know Q u ic kl y re movi n g the stout i,ro n b a r from the sockets who received 'em but lived for years a f terwards re-w hi c h had ena bled the door to withstand manya bat t urned t h e e lder man, laying an emphasi s upo n the tering by dru n ke n h a lfbr e ed s and greasers-for the words a s thoug h ,he f ound it necessary to fortify his hou se was in a lon e ly v alley which'made it a tempting own fa i t h i n t h e impotence of the s inister symbols. pl a c e t o younger' man threw 'opel). the door Theft you see, the curse worked!" w hil e t he other, si'x s h ooters in hi s hands, stood on "B:lllcombe! Anyone living in this p art'of the <:!n e s id e"re a d y to fire at' whoever should enter, if he or couI:ltr y is liable to get shot down by some s neaking the y p rov ed suspicious ,,' greaser or q rtinken Injun wherever he g oes." But as t he ra y of' li ght fr om the open door flashed Tha t doesn't make any difference! The men h o ou t n o t a so ul was to 'be seen received the notice that the B lack Death had been de-In amaz ement, the two men stared at one another, elared against them died suddenly. There's the point. the moth e r a nd d aughter, their arms encircled, peerOnce you' re u'nder o l d Shebear's c urse it'll get you-it may in g into the ni ght with tense, w hite faces as they be to-morrow or it may be years later!" to and fro. " Well, it won't. get any of us this time! Buck ,up Close t h e doo r qU1ck c o mmand e d the elder man. at;ld put such fool 1deas out of your head! H arr i et and It's so m e trick! Beth need our attentio n." / Insta n t ly his co mp a nion started to obe y The younger qIan however was not to be f reed from J u s.t a s he mo y ed h owever, there out a his' fear of the of the braids and arrowheads so cu rdhng cackle-and dark objects fell ath1s eaJily' and, t .hough he assisted i n adm ini ste ring the stimulants to the woman and child he as k ed' Sto oping over the younge r man picked them up, dis" Why won't it work this time-Just as i t did in the dos in g three bits qf bla c k bra ided hair, ea c h braid t e n times you spoke of?" pi e rc e d by a flint arrowti ead. Because I'm O'oing t o put an end once and for all "The Bl a ck Death-forof us!" gasped the to the old w itch she can't scare any more women a n d el de r man as he behe ld the S101ster tokens. I children o u t of their wits! In p,orror, three gl a nced from one to an".,You mean you're going on Shebear 's t r a il?" ex-othe r then w1th a soul-trylOg moan, t?e woman fell cla1m e d the other, .gazing at the grizzled, stem-faced to the floo r her d a u ghter beneath her, m a. swoon. man bes i de hi m in t error R o u s ed from the ir stupo r of terror, the men hut'" Exactl y 1 s l ammed the door the bar into place and U'n noticed by two men, t h e had opened t o w om a n and he r and, ra1slUg herself t o one elbow, had lisWith hands, they lIfted the former from the t e n e d mtently t o thei r words. B u t a s her father an-, floo r and carne d her to a bl a nke i hunk where n ounc ed his det ermination to tra c k t he old Navajo they placed her, the elder man runnmg to a cupboard witr.h t o h e r death s h e cried for some s}imulants while ,the younger returned to ( No D addy no',,, where the, httle gIrl lay, huddled in a motionless heap, on the floor . Frantically, the man grabbed her to his breast, gazing into her blanched face, and as her skin touched his he uttered a wild exclamation of alarm. Joe she's cold! Beth's cold! You don't suppose it's struck so soon?" Thing$ don t happen in that way! Have some sand! Mix some warm water and brandy in a cup and for.ce it 40wn Beth's throat., I always said there was.nothing to ,this Black -Death but fear and now I'll prove it! CHAPTER II. BETH'S WARNING. At' the sound of the womanl.s v o ice both men tumed toward the bunk. Thank goodness! you're all right!" exclaimed the


THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. --..: 1 3 (, younger man, rushing to her and cla sping her in his 1'11 all go. So be a good girl n ow, a nd go t o b e d with arms. "I was af--" Moms y But his words were interrupted' by hiswife. The child, however, refu s ed to be s o othed by this' "Where's Beth?" she asked, in her f eagernes s to answer Tho ugh the effect o f the stimulant at last hear what her hu$and' and father were' saying not sent ' t o sleep, it was only f o r s h ort inter v al s and. having noticed that her child lay beside her. arou sing with a start, she w oul d g l a n ce a b out her with There on the bunk," returned the elder man. wild fri ghte ned eyes and ren e w h e r p l e a ding s to be Releasing herself from her husband's arms, the taken awa y at once woman bent anxiously over the little girl. Though her elders ascrib('(d her hyst e ria t o the com "What makes her so white? How long has she been bination of the stimulant and h e r fear so insi s t ent were so? : she cried, gazing 'with wild eyes from one to the child's demands to be re mov ed fro m the h 0 use the other of the men standing before her. And then, that they could not but be im p re ss ed cas tin g urieasy seized by the same idea that had rushed to her husglance s and li s tening intently at e very sou nd nand' s mind, she gasped: The fam i l y against whom t h e o l d N'avajo ,witch "The Black Death ha sn't claim e d her -h-a-s it? had hurl e d the blight of her c u rse c o n s i s t e d o f Joe No indeed I" her father with emphasis. Sanders, his daughter Harriet a n d hi s s o n-in-l a w John Look here, Harriet, :you must, get all that 'nonsense Evans wi t h their child Fiftee n years b efor e Sanders eut of your head-and, the sooner the better .. I've and hi s d a u g h ter, with the a ssistance o f E v ans had been telling John no such thing and now I 'll dri v en a herd 9 f c a ttle i n t o the vall e y of the JQa.quin tell you so. 1' -" river a nd, findin g the l a n ds fert i le, had decided to Ye8 I heard what you said Daddy. But we 'll quild a h o me talk about that later. Just now, Beth needs our atte nMa ny wer e the w a rnin gs of t h e other ra n c h men when' tion Tell me how long she has been like this How they l earned of t hi s p lan tal es of the va ll ey being long i s it I have been on the bunk? used b y de sp erad o es of all sorts, from the mail r ob "About fik e minutes," answered the elder man bing Amer ic a ns to rene g a de I ndians and swa r thy But t here s !Jothing to get exci t ed about, Harrie t. grea s ers of v iolent end s that had come to othe r men Yo u call it nothing when my, baby has been white \ who had tried to graze their cattle and hors e s on t he and cold for five minutes?" she c ri e d, clutchin g h e r fertile stretc h and of its being haunted. Bu t t o dau ghte r to her breast. "Beth, dear Beth! Open one and a ll the stur dy San ders, who be l iev ed no t in y o u r eyes. and speak to Momsy!" ghos ts or t h e s upernatural ; turned a deaf e a r declar So p i t iful was the woman' s t o n e that the two men, in g tha t a ma n n ee d hav e n o thing to fea r as l ong 'as I wi t h a g l a nce of understanding, haste ne d to the bunk he h ad p l enty o f g u n s and s he lls and di d n o wron g. that they might take the child from her arms. And, finding i t i mposs i bl e to dissuade the ran chman S he ll be all right-in a few minutes," declar e d t he fr om hi s purpo se, t hey finally des isted in t h e i r efforts, elder man striving to make his voice sound cpnfident. ( t hou g h many were the p rophec i es of d i re mis f ortune "The s hock of the fright has upset her anq, bein g o nly that wp uld come tO' him and h is fami ly. a ch ild, it takes her longer to get ov er it, that'S all. Becau s e of the u n i ve rs a l fear in which the' valley John, ju s t give her a bit more brandy. was held Sanders wa s a b le t o buy the landfor almost Quickly the frantic father obey ed-and to' the de, nothing and he e s tabli sped the B r oken Circle ranch light o f the three anxious watchers the child sQ,on In due c ourse hi s dau g h t er and Eyans had been marri e d op e ned her eyes. and B eth h ad b e en born to them, some seven year s Cla s ping her mother tightly about the neck ; Beth afte r th ey had s ettled in the c oulee. gazed from her father to her grandfather, then toward Thanks to the richne s s o f t he grass, Sander's herds the door and finally to the table. had grow n fat an d alwa ys when he d r ove them to the But as her eyes rested upon this last object she :r:aiIroad yards to sell the y brought t he highest price shuddered and buried her head In her b o som. of any of cattle offered. "Take me away, Momsy, take me away!" she As the years went by and the ran chman 'Wh o d e fied moaned. intangible superstitions prospered, many w ere t he men Hurriedly turning that they might see what it was who regretted that they had allowed themsel v e s to that had caused the child fresh fear, they discovered the be sway ed b y the tales of ind e fin ite dangers an d had black braids with their arrowheads which lay w h e re purchased le s s fertile range s el s e w h e r e But a l ways the younger man had thrown them on the table cl o th. were there s ome who shook their h ea ds know ingly, With a l11uttered exclamation, the gran<1father declaring that Sanders would y e t li v e t Q regret his spran g to the. table, seized the sinister symbols, walked rashnes s and defiance of all traditio n s to the stove, removed one of the covers and threw them His daughter was as fearles s a s himSelf and t h o u g h into the fire. / Evans lacked their indifference t o t he man y sto ri e s of But the action did not appease the child and she condanger, whene er he was afield al w a ys a s sumed the tinued to plead that she be taken away, working' herself com'age he did not possess, out of l o yalty to his wife into such a frenzy that her mother finally e}t'claimed: and father-in-law. "We mt(,St take her away, John."'. But as the three sat and watche d over Beth the All right, we will-in the morning.'" warnings 'and tales recurred to them, though of No! No! to-night, Popsy!" begged Beth, again them mentioned the fact, and added greatly to their toward the with the same terrified un.easiness caused by ;:he persistent begging of the whIch she had before It had been opened to admIt chIld to be taken away. the symbols of the Black Death. ,Toward midnight, lit t le girl had fallen into such "But we can't go to-night," exclaimea her an apparently sound slumber that her had just "It's too dark. We couldn't see where we were gomg, asked her husband to prepareHhe bed whe n Beth' Beth. But in the morning Momsy and Granther and awoke with a terrified wail.


THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. j Take me away! Take away now, Momsy! .It's coming! It's coming!" she cried. In alarm, the womanglanoed from one to the other of'the men. / There, ther-e,. Beth!" she soothed. "You mustn't think that anything's comihg. There's nothing going to--with Popsy and Granther and Momsy here." But, as before, the child refused to' be comforted, suddenly turning her head toward the North and listening intently. I John! Daddy! if you love me, if you love Beth, please go out and see if there's anything around. See if the darkness hasn't let up a little, so we can start and ride over to Bloomer's ranch." Now do'n't get the nerves, Harriet," began her father. It isn't nerves!" insisted the mother, earnestly. You ought to know that, seeing how I came up here with you when everyone said we'd be murdered be fore we'd been here a week. It's because if we don't go, I'm afraid Beth will go crazy with fear." Then, noting that, her father was again about to protest, she .added: H You wouldn't either of you like to think jt was your obstinacy that caused any-harm-to Beth, would you? f Before this appeal and the mute supplication in the child's eyes as it was uttered, the two men arose and, drawing their shooting irons, unbarred the door and went ougide. Mary Ann! but what a night I" excla imed Sanders as he strove to penetrate the inky blackness with his eyes. "Since I've been 0"11' the plains I don't believe ever saw it darker--and I've known some dark Rights! You couldn't see a tribe of Injuns if they were standing right alongside the house! I-Hark I What's that? he suddenly exclaimed, placing his hand to his ear and leaning to the North. A momentary lull in the howlihg of the wind had come, making th, e silence p.ervaded the valley the, more complete. r Intently both men In the distance, 'their strained ears' caught a low rumble, which grew louder almost as soon as they had heard it. -"What can, that be?" inquired the younger man, his voice trembling. But even before the other could reply, the swirl of water beating against the tacks was added to the roar. H The Swanville dam has given way! Quick, get Beth, and Harriet and what shells, food and guns you can-I'll get the ho ses!" gasped Sanders. \. , CHAPTER III. THE HURRIED FLIGHT. , No urging did Evans need to carry out the com mands of his father-in-law and fear for the lives of his 'loved ones lent wing's to his feet as he dashed back the fifty or more feet the two men had/ advanced from the house. ' The Swanville da m had been constructed in a nat-' ural basin among the foothills for the purpose of irri gating the lands to die East, and West. When it had peen com{>leted, the engineers said that the dam was ( stout enough to withstand sudd;n and violent ria, inD's of the Joaquin river, a httle stream whiQ its way among the hIlls, apparently nothing more than -a Providence given water course for the thousands of horses and cattle that along ita bottoms. But those who 'knew the nver feared it. Too often had they seen it turn from a. peaceful riyu. 'let to a raging, tllrbulent torrent, tearing at its rode lined banks as though in mad endeavor to sweep them away,that it might flow out onto the lowlands and devour the herds placidly feeding. Manl' a time, before the dam had been built, had the members of the isolated household seen the water rise to within a foot ef their doot: sill. But it had heel! years since they had received more than enouik water from the overflow to keep their grass sweet and green or to afford drink for their stock. Just as there were wiseacres who had prophesied m 'isfortune would overtake Santlers and his family, so tnere were those who declared that though the dam had withstood the onslaught of the angry waters there never was stone, cement or concrete that could hold back the river' s attack forever. Indeed, Evans remembered that ohly day previous, he and his father-in-law had been speaking of the unusually heavy rains and the possibility of trouble heinl' caused by them, only to dismiss the thought of from the quarter of the dam as needless worry. But as the man recalled this conversation and the fulfillment of the prophecies that the strength of the dam had been overrated, he could not help wondering if it might not mark the beginning of the misfortunes which had been predicted for his family and himself for defying the ghosts of the departed Indian chief tainsand braves who were supposed to haunt the valley whi,ch had been ascribed their" Happy Hunt 'ing 6round" by popular tradition. As he ran, these ideas flashed through his mind, yet he determined not to add to the alarm of his wife and ch'ld by voicing them and, c,onsequently, as he en tered the he thought only of the fact that the Swanville dam was but fifteen miles above their ranch and that quick work alone could save them from a terrible death. But in his haste, he had forgotten to banish the expression of fear from his face and as he dashed in through the door his wife noticed it. "Olr, John! What is it-Indians?" she gasped drawing the child close to her breast. "No. Joe and I have just decided we would get out of here-as Beth and you wish. Put down the pi and gather aIJ the food you can while I get the guns and spells." At a loss to know whether her husband had really to her' desires or was trying to conceal sol1!e danger from her, the woman scanned his face searchingly. "Come, don't sit there, staring. Get up and pack grub. If you don't hurry, Joe may change his mmd when he comes back and sees you haven't beg1lII prepara tions." Tho:ugh the !Dan trie.d to speak calmly, there was a eXCItement m his voice that did not escape hIS wlfe. ': You're, ?ot me the truth, John," she ex claImed, nevertheless, and scurrying about to collect. prOVISIons. "There's something wrong-I Know It. What is it?"


;' THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. s Don't ask questions t Do as I told you l Beth, stop cryini:' and run and help. Momsy." Such words from the usually phlegmatic man alarmed his wife more than the. truth could have done. "John Evans, you tell me what the trouble is qr 1. won't lift my finger to do another thing! she denly exclaimed; determined to end her suspense. Realizing that every second was precious and knowing the woman too well not to understand that she would do nothing until she were apprised oi the facts, the man replied, assuming as matter of fact a tone as he could: "The. Swanville dam has given way, Harriet, and we've got to ride like thewind if we're going; to save ourselves! " Fortunately, the child had gone into their bedroom to get some clothes so that she did not h'ear the awful news contained in the first words, But sFe did hap'pen to hear what'was said abo 'ut riding as she returned to the livini:' room. "WRy must we ride fast, pOpsy?" she demanded. It's too dark." Never mind, Beth," responded her mother. "Just come here. and help me put some food in this bag. There, 'that's it, you it and count-the pieces I put in," she added as ah after thmlght, determined if possible to keep the danger from the child till 'they were on their way, at least. While his family in the house were maki1'lg all possible speed in collecting the most important things which 'Yould be needed on their flight from the raging torrent to safety, Sanders was working frantically to get three ponies saddled. Lighting a torch as he entered the horse c9rral, he found the animals te(rified at the sound of the roaring waters plunging and crashing into one another as they strove to escape from the strongly built enclosure. Even his voice failed to calm them and it was only by resorting to his rope that he finally managed to capture three of them. But this feat did not end his difficulties. Whinnying and leaping, the ponies struggled to free themselves and it was only after using all the tricks he knew that he was at last able to get saddles upon their backs and bits between their teeth. Hard muscle as he was, when the third pony had been conquered, the perspiration was running from Sander's face. \ ; .. 1 the flood had caught us, I don't believe I could have done it," he said to himself. But no time did he have to speculate as to what might have happened. The roar of the waters was. as continuous thunder and mingled with it .were the ter rified bellowings and the thud of hoofbeats as the cattle raced in mad endeavor to get away from the death-bearing flood. And as the ranch man heard these sotHlds, his heart sank within him! \ We've got a double race for life I" he groaned. We've got to outrun the cattle as well -as the water t" Quickly he vaulted ooto the back of his broncho only to dism.ount the next mament to gather up some of the braided grass used for torches, which hung from a: peg in the corral. These he hurriedJly knotted ab01!l

6 THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. d h 'fe heard Sanders' designation of the spot as an IS WI h I their haven from the flood a h' d h "Oh not there Daddy! protes e IS aUi ter. If we' can keep of the flood for distance, I e can ride a bit farther to trall to Bloom. CHAPTER IV. SANDERS' SACRIFICE. h b I I sure y yv h So deafening was the roar of the water,. t e e er's Three Bar ranc . ing of the frenzied cattle and the o.f theIr But it'isn't from the flood al?,ne we are fleemg, hoofs that the three riders who were racmg WIth the child!" returned her father. v;' eve more to fear flood for \ thei i lives and that of the, little girl could f the cattle just the few mmu es necessary to get not hear the footbeats of their own horses and were burying ground, tha, we dfroEm the thus unable to tell whether or not they were headed Then let's, ride faster .. exc vans. er in the right direction. 'the signs we received to-mght, If Ii should, be learned "Reach over to my saddle pommel, Harriet, and lfet we' had taken refuge up on tJ:e plateau, we d have the one of the torch braids," commanded her father. If whole of old Shebear' s after usl You know we are going "to make a safe we've got to that -as well as I do, Joe. see not only wliere we are gomg but 'ho:,-, near the That's true enough, but at the same b!D,e, our first steers are." ... duty is to save Harriet and Beth. When It a Quickly the woman obeye? andtas the .flame flared, of life and' death, I don't care what the InJuns think each checked his pony a bit that he might see the about it! better. But if we do find when we to the trail to the And the scene that the blazing grass disclosed was burying ground t1!at we have .tIme t? make the one to strike terror to the stoutest' heart! to Bloomer's, you'll let us do It, won t you, Daddy! The valley at the point where Sadders had built his implored his daughter. ranch house was some three hundred yards wide ap.d A more stern and stubborn man than Joe Sanders almost through the middle ran the Joaquin river: it have taken to resist the .of the As Harriet held the torch above her head, movmg' voice and, though they had. been ndIDi dunng: the from side to side the lowlands were alive with leap-discussion, the ranchman realIzed that they Jeoping, plunging striving madly to qutrun the b lk ardizing their chances for escap<: y ta .lDi: torrent behind them-and they were All right I'll promise, Harnet-If there IS time, less than the width of the valley away from the little he replied, t,h'ough he under his breath, ,:' There's group of humans. .', little chance of our makmg even the plateau. "Where do you suppose our boys are?" asked John, Their objective point settled, the three in a hushed voted all their attention energy to puShlDg theIr "Either drowned or safe the hills; it

, THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. 7 straightening his legs in front of him, when the horse only code ot ethics was to giv.e his all for those he went down, slid over 'his head, clear of all danger. loved. And: as he spoke, he drew his six shooter and Thanks to the horsemanship of Evans and his wife, placed itslmuzzle against his they were not precipitated into the pile, however. N-o-o 1 Not that, paddy 1 We'll go 1" shrieked When the fall of .Sander's pony had taughtened the his daughter. rope that bound the three animals together, instinct, Then start 1 'Every second you're losing now 'is ively realizing the cause, both the man and woman ,worth hours, later 1 John, don't sit there' like a fool 1 leaned far to the other side, turning their horses' heads Grab Harriefs pony and 11take her go with you 11' 1'1 at the same time. be all right 1 A terrible instant of uncertainty as to or Deeply moved by the noble words and understand-not their mounts would be able to withstand the sud-ing the tremendous self-denial they contained-for he den shock there was and then relief. had a daughter of his own-Evans roused from his in-They had kept their ponies on their feet 1 activity and, clasping Beth the tighter with his left ., Are you hurt? Is Beth safe?" cried the woman arm! struck his wife's horse a stinging blow with his in agonized tones, as she leaned for'l}'ard, holding the quirt, at the same time driving the rowels Of his spurs remnant of the torch, burned so short that its blaze into his own. had singed her hand, that she might dlscover whether ,Startled and maddened, the two animals leaped for-her father and child were under the struggling pony, ward into the darkness, leaving the grizzled old ranch/ or not. man alone with his fallen pony, the frenzied herds and We're safe 1 returned Sanders, coming within the thundering flood at his back. . circle of light cast by the torch, bearing the child un-harmed in l"Iis arms. ." How' s your pony?" asked Evans. More'n I can tell you-yet. Here, John, take Beth and I'll find out." Even as he spoke, the ranchman thrust the trembling child into her father's arms and hurried to ,where his horse was kicking and struggling to get to its feet. In silence, the anxious man and woman awaited his verdict. r Patting the pony reassuringly and speaking ingly to it, Sanders ran his fingers hurriedly over the forelegs of the animal. Nothing worse than a strain," he finally announced. But he did not add that the strain might prove so bad it would be impossible for the horse to make any speed with him on it!; back 1 "Then get him to his feet 1 We're losing time 1 returned Evans. J The ranch man's answer was in actions, not w ords, however. \ Whipping his knife from his belt, he cut the rope that bountl the saddle pommels together with a powerful stroke, then hurriedly unwound a couple of strands of the torch grass and handed them to his daughter. Take these, Harriet, and ride with John and Beth for all you are worth! he commanded. And leave you alone?" she retorted. "Not much, Daddy 1 How could I eVlir live if I thought that I had deserted you for the sake of myself?" But it isn't me alone you must think of, girl," the grizzled rancher replied, a strange huskiness in bis voice. "Y9u must think of John and Beth 1 Your duty is to them more than it is to me 1 Besides, I shall be right after you-as soon as you get away and give me a chance to get my pony to his I won't go 1 I won't ride a step, Daddy, unless .ou go with us 1" declared the woman, vehemently. If we c-can't all be saved, we won't any of us 1 As this tragedy, a tragedy which would have taxed the ethics of many a philosopher and probably caused discussions of long hours to solve the questions in volved, was being enacted in the dark valley where death was close upon them, already the labored breathing of the terrified, plunging cattle could be heard above the sullen roar of the flood. You'll ride on, this minute-or I'll put a bullet through my head!" exclaimed the ranch man, whose CHAPTER V. A MAD RIDE. For a moment, the man who had voluntarily placed his life in the greatest jeopardy that his dear ones might ha,ve at least a fighting chance for theirs stood and gazed after them-for the realization of his posi tion only came to him in its fullest measure as he saw their forms vanish into the inky blackness of the night. But, fortunately for him, the sudden struggle 9f his pony, as with thunderous roa.r the cattle bore down upon them, recalled him to his danger. I'll not give up, that is not without an effort 1 the ranchman, to himself. "Come, boy, get to your feet, if you can. Let's see if you are too badly hurt to stand." As though he understood the words, the pony raised himself on his front feet and, assisred by a pull on the bridle by Sanders, scrambled to all fours. Hastily lighting a torch, the ranchman held it down to the horse's legs that he might see how the animal stood. Finding, to his intense delight, that the sprain was not so severe it caused the pony to hold his foot from the ground, he vaulted lightly into the saddle. We've got to make a hard run for it, boy," Sanders exclaimed as he gathered up his reins and leaped the animal forward. "This time I promis,e you I'll keep your head up." '.. Gamely the pony responded and though Itmpmg slightly, it tore down the trail as if trying to make up for the precious moments that had been lost. But though it ran with the speed of a deer, the cattle were driven by lear 6f the roaring, swirling waters behind them, the. thunder of their hoof-beats and the strident whistling as they drew breath' telling all too ..forcefully that they were close upon the fleeing horseman. ;' How near they were, however, the ranchman did not know. But he determined to find out and, turning in his saddle, he held his torch high above his head. The'sight that met his gaze caused his face to pale and his breath to come in quick gasps 1 Eyes wiid with terror, mouths open and heads low-


, THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY,. 8 \ h' I wI'th such force that it almost threw' erect, the leaclers of the st ers were less than ten yards agamst IS egbehind him. Moreover, as, fascinated, he watched the f dd' to his alarm the action their onrush, he noticed a sudden shifting of direction ,But lllstea 0 gave from those on the s i des of. the toward the center. the Idea: tad s readin th Hurriedly he glanced at the wall of rock on his right -U!lCOIllllg hIS lar.t a p g e noose, in an effort to learn. the cause. But seeing nothing, he SanderS' leaned far from hIS sa e. h d d back, discovering to his dismay that the terri-. Of a sudden, as ,another stee\ t hun ere fie. l'tteral pressure was forcing a few of the steers dropped the noose over 1 .. ahead of the others, and closer to him. )\'lth a snort of terror at the touc 0 t e rope on Its "It's do or die, boy!" he murmured, leaning far heaa, the creature put a burst of speed. over his horse's neck and rising in his stirrups that he But Sander:, ha? anticIpated Just such. a move, might ease the crippled animal all he could. Then, 0 ing fa.r back sa4dle, he .braced h.IS feet a sudden, an idea occurred to him and, straightening, the stIrrups, straIght out It? front of him he stood up in his stirrups, drawing his arm holding: and WIth all hiS stren&th, drawmg the slack the torch as far back as he was able "Why didn't I around saddle pommel as he crept up on the fiee-think of it before! he, cried. It's the light from the ing steer. . torch that is drawing all those poor devils toward it! Easeq by this supP?rt, Just a:, a runner IS when he I hate to do it, but I must! It's their lives or mine! clings t() a saddle g-Irth or the ranchrnan:s As he spoke, the ranch man hurled the fiaming braid pony .ran faster and, to the of the man hiS of grass as far toward the opposite side of the valley back, was soon on even terms WIth the steer. as he could. Saved!" ejaculated Sanders, a tone of thankfulArrd like moths follow the' flame so the cattle fol-ness in his voice. "Five minutes more of this and lowe1 the torch, swerving as and as frantic-we'll be at the trail to the burling g:ound!" aHy away from him as they had toward him. But Yet even as he expressed hIS gratitude. at hiS own though his ruse had saved his life, Sanders did not re-rescue, a fresh cause of alarm Itsel.f to joice. The tho!lght that it would bring death to hunfeared that he mIght crash mto hiS dreds of the dumb animals saddened him, for the daughter and son-in-law and upset them, unable, as he ranch man was tender hearted and many a time had was to distinguish objects ahead partly of the risked desperate dangers to tote in a calf from the darkness and partly because of the terrIfic speed at range that he 'might qlre for it at,the home ranch. which he was travelling. Yet all the cattle had not followed the torch. Fortunately, however, the danger was/not one that he Of a sudden, his pony swerved sharplj to one side, was unable to alleviate and, hurriedly seizing another with a snort of terror, and Sanders wasjust able to piece of grass braid, he lighted it, raising high above distinguish the dark form of a steer as it dashed by. his head that he mig-ht illuminate with its flare as Then anoth-er aJ\d 'another followed great a distance ahead of him as possible. Realizing that he had been overtaken by the terri-A moment .after he had done so, he was again con-fied and' that unless he could keep in the scious from the sound behind him that the cattle were, van of the great mass his doom was sealed, the ranchfor a second time, shaping their course for the light, man belaboured his c,rippled, tiring pony: ;with his but, trusting to the aid of the beast to which he had quirt; -at the same time rowelling its flanks cruelly lashed himself to keep him clear of the others, he gave with his spurs. them do more he.ed, anxious only to prevent a collision But the horse, though it responded to tHe punish-with the members of his family who were I,"iding before ment nobly, was unequal to the task and more and him. more of the steers rushed by them, crowding -the man But suddenly, as his eyes chanced to rest for a mOo and pony dangerQusly close to the rocky side of the ment on the trail in front of him,' the ranchman gave valley. an exclamation of horror To -most men, so situation would have As though in gloating eXUltation, the grey, muddy brought only hopeless despair. But Sanders. had been water of the Joaquin was curling and-leaping as It accust?med to fight against all his life and as swept down the valley. the danger, became greater and, greater, be grew the The cattle have made such a noise I couldn't hear more determined to overcome i .t.. the flood !." groaned Sanders. Then he glanced at the Once he t60qght of abandonmg the ammal he was rocks beSIde him searchinO' for some landmark that riding, and, taking the ?raids from ?is saddle might tell him near htwas to his goal, and as he pommel,. seek safety by up the SIde of the a jutting sentinel like into the air, he ex; canyon-lIke valley. Then hIS knowledge of the pre-clallned: Hooray. The trail to the burying ground! cipitous wall of rock came to him and he realized that Yet even as the ranchman took heart in the thought it would be impossible for him to gain ar:y spot of refthaehe had escaped from the double death of the steers uge when.c";! he be able to work way to any and him, his rejoicing was cut short! 01 the nelghbonng ranches when daylIght came, and Ralsmg hIS torch that he mio-ht make sure he had lle gave up the thought. not been mistaken in the landmark to the burying ." W \{ must he exclaimed t.o ground, his eyes caught sight of the two horses and hiS pony, findmg relIef 111 speakmg aloud to the amthe forms of his daughter and son-in-law racing down mal. "Careful not to make a misstep, though. If we 'the valley. go the. make jeUy out of us in no Fools! Fools! They're riding for the pass to time WIth hoofs! Why c uldn't they ha';e seized the safety Up to thIS tt I? <7, the fleeingcattle Ead kept c!ear of which the plateau -afforded them instead of prolonging the horse, to d?dge It purposely. But Just as the danger for another two miles? Sanders finished speakmg, one of the stears rubbed.. But never did it Occur to the ranch man to make sure


, THE AMERICAN INDIAN' WEEKLY. of his own safety by turning in at the trail to the bury-his wife had lashed themselves came nigh to being ing ground. .' their Rising in his stirrups, swinging his torch and yell.. Crazed and by the constantly rising ing at the top of his lungs, Sanders down. on 'the which surged against its sides, the other beast had lost man and woman in front of him. I its head and instead of following the trail down the Purposely' making his voice. shrill in the hopes that valley, it suddenly swerved and started in the direction i! would carry above th rumble of the steers and of the river. flood, the ranchman watched to learn whether or'not For a few moments, neither the man nor his wife the others heard it. noticed that their course had been changed. Thetl .. After a few anxious moments, he saw Harriet turn, suddenly, as a leap of their ponies brought the water and knew that they could see him. up to their shoulders, Harriet exclaimed: But with this knowledge came the f'ealization of a W e must be off the trail, John! new danger! " 'What makes you think so?" demanded her husSanders was powerless to guide the steer which was b d an affording him such great assistance and there was imI minent danger that the animal would dash into the horseback riders. True, he could sever the rope that .. lashed him to the creature yet, if he did, he realized that he could never hope to keep up the otlJer t wo on his crippled pony. But while he was hesitat' ing what to do, his daughter solved the problem for for him. I Relighting he r torch, she waved it in a signal for him to come o n, while at the same time he saw her, crowd her own and Evans' ponies 'to one side. Like a flash he was upon them. Hook a steer! Hook jl steer-like me! he".shouted as he rushed past.-"For am instant, Sanders beheld "'a look of blank amazement on the faces of the man and woman as they strove to catch the mt:aning of his words, then, they caught sight of the method by which the grizzled ranchman was able to travel at such speed, a loOk of understanding supplanted it and, turning in his saddle, he saw his daughter uncoil her rope, pass it quicJdy around the pommel of her husband's saddle and then peer on both sides of her for some steer over whose head she could drop the noose. Yet 'before he could se"e whether or not she had suc ceeded, Sanders was swept around a bend in the valley. But ha-d he been able to keep them in view a few moments longer, he would have seen the woman ud Glenly give a deft twist to her rope which caused It to settle full over the horns of a big steer. So exciting were these incidents, that none of the fugitives had noticed. that the flood was above the knees of their ponies and it was not until their mounts began to splash water over them that they realized it. On, on the strange group of humans, horses and steers raced, their speed growing less and less the angry waters grew highc!r and higher. Just as he felt the chill of the water 16ver his knees, the r.anchman caught sight of the trail which would carry them to the Three Bar ranch. Shouting encouragement to the others, Sanders cut the rope that bound him to the steer, turned his pony's head into the pass an-d when he was safe above the swirling flood, drew rein, holding his torch aloft as a beacon to the man and woman. CHAPTER VI. A DESPERATE ALTERiNATI\lE. Though the grizzled ranchman had been borne to safety by the aid of a steer, the one to which Evans and there's no place whet:e the water should come as high on us as this. A minute figo, it was not up to our stirrups-now it's almost up to our necks! While they were speaking, the man and woman were intently peering ahead of them, scanning the tur bulent surface of the water for some lan<\mark buj: seeing only plunging, struggling cattle in the glare from their torch, "'Ve must cut loose! 'announced Harriet. But we'll never be able to work our way alone in this flood 1" protested the man. "It's our only hope to follow the steer. H e knows where it is safest! Ere the woman could reply, however, Beth cried: Look, Momsy, look! There's Granthar over to the left! See his torch? " Instantly, both the child s parents gazed in the' di rection and beheld the form of the ranchmall sitting on his horse, frantically waving his braid

, '10 THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. And as she spoke, the woman brought her knife down upon the taut rope, severing it instantly. Relea s ed from their stay, for a monfent the '; plunged helplessly then' found their feet and gUided by the reins of .the riders on their back, struggled to reached the spot whence the encouraging light U r g ed on by quirt and spur, g amely the ammals plunged ahead, slipping and scrambling--as they strove to find a 'Sound footin g against the t e rrific force of wat ers which, as though angry at being baffled by their victims, surg ed and splashed over them. But the grim of despair was in the hearts of the mati and woman and they forced ,the po.nies ahead, j abbing them without mercy. rAt first, it seemed to them that they made no way-then all at once the horses struck surer footmg where the water was' shallower' and they gained the edge of the rocks lining the valley. To their dismay however, they found that they were, full y t wenty yards below the sp o t where Sanders stood with his torch, ) But tho ugh their p o nie s had been able to withstand. the force of the flood when they had gained the shallower water on the edge of the valley they almost powerless to make their way back toward the hght be cause of the rush of the steers, which, finding that the flood was less deep along the wall rC?cks" had as" though with one accord, chanKed their d1rectlOn that they might take advantage of the fact. By swinging their quirts, Evans and hiS Wife had been able to beat aside the van of the horde. But each moment brought ,greater numbers of the frenzied ani I mal s and before th' e irresistible mass, they were gradually being swept back, losing all the headway they had gained. "It's no u s e! wailed the woman. "Nothing can stand' against such a living avalanche! Be merciful John, and put a bullet into Beth and' me! " Are you crazy?" gasped her husbartd. "Do you want to make me a murderer?" But. it would be a mercy John! pleaded his wife. Hadn't you rat;her know that Beth and I were of our misery than to think that we were slowly bemg ground to death beneath the hoofs of these That death for the three of them was inevitable, the man did not doub (, 'and he reasoned that after shoot ing his daughter could send another crashing mto h1s own bram. As at the time when he had ridden on .and left Sanders behind, the higher questions involved. did trouble him. He realized only that by complymg With his wife's request he would be sparing her and his child J from a death of awful agony. Ere he acted however, he cast a despairing glance toward where he had seen his father-in-law standing. But to his dismay, he could see no torch! A re you sure you want me to do it?" he finally I asked, turning toward his wife, his voice disclosing the a gony of his soul. Yes! It is the kindest thing!" returned the w o man; her voice tense and low. Then pray for me! "-gasped the soul-wracked man. And shifting daughter in his arms, 'he reached for his revolver. But just as he was drawing the gun from its holster, Beth uttered a cry of joy! Oh, GraJ.lther! Take I me! Take me! she screamed, h olding out hands toward the w all of rock above the m. . At the same instant there rang out 111 stentonan tones the shout: . h I (( John Evans. d r op that gu,n back m to 0 ster and ta ke tlfis rope!)J CHAPTER VII. SANDERS DECLARES HIS I NTENTION TO RETURN TO. THE BROKEN Raising their faces at the cry, the rna? and woman who, a moment before h a d been for death, beheld the tense features of gnzzled ranchman as, pro n e o n h is s tomach, a 111 one. h and, he l owered his rope di rectly ove.r the1r heads w 1 t h t he o ther. Hav inO' seen the nders struggle desp er ately toward the from hi s lookout on the crag, had rushed al ong the fa c e of the rocks as rap1dly as he cou ld unt il he came abreast <;>f them. Then in his e fforts to w m d one e n d o f the lan a t around a jutting ro ck h e h a d his torch. Quickly he had li ghted .anothe! a n d 1t.S the t errible purpose of IllS son-111-l a w Ju st, 1." hme for him to prevent the d ouble murder and sUlc1de . The reactio n from the few ten s e mom ents wh1ch she thought were to b e her last provedAoo much for the woman a 'nd she began to sway in her s addle. "Steady, Harriet, sh.outed her fa.thef"This is n o time f o r f aintmg! Walt, at least unttl we have you clear of the flo od! ,. Such scorn w a s the r e in the ranch man s V01ce that i t stung the woman {leep ly-producing the desired ef fe c t o f preventi n g her f rom into a s woon, and s h e grabbe d wit h fir m h o ld tfi e p o m m el o f her saddle. WaitinO' only to see tha t his daughter had recovered lier Sande r s o n c e more turned his attentiol4. to the r ope which E v ans had already placed over ,the head and arms o f the little girl. Are you ready ? called the ranchman. "Pull away-and b e q ui ck! r eturned the man Rapidly Sanders hauled up his granddaughter, hft-ing her to where a shelf o f rock projected itself conveniently above his head. "Now sit the r e Beth, and hold the torch. Don't move! Don't even speak! You might fall off and then we wouldn't b e able to get your mother and father up here with us." With an understanding far beyond her the child sat quie t her pale little face peering anXIOusly over the edge o f the r o ck tha.t she mi ght watch the work of rescuing h e r parents H Hadn't I b ette r c ome nex t to h e lp you pull Harnet up? asked Evans as he again seized the precious hide rope in his hands On the p oint of hi s t o n g ue did the r a n c h man have it to g ive his cdosent t o the plan, for his daughte r was no light weight and the f ooting was so uncer tain that he had difficult y in findin g a s p o t where he would be able to'brace himself s uffi c i ently t o draw h e r up, when he saw her again sway in the saddle. Quick!

THE INDIAN WEEKLY. 11 Obediently Evans whirled in his 'just Too.:overcome with their exertions and the shock of' in time! \ the scenes through which they had passed to speak, the Even as he turned, the woman clutched convulsively little band climbesl the rough path in silence. But as for her saddle pommel, then, her hands seeming nervetheY' gained the top of tre hi11, each, as with one ac less and unable to grasp it, she pitched sideways. cord, turned toward the spot where the home from But 'Fate was kind and the side toward wpich she fell which they had been routed !io suddenly stood . was the one where her husband was stretching 'out his In they beheld the fait;J.t glimmer of tIhe ha nds to steady 'her-and into his sttong protecting. where they had left it in their living arms she fell! room. Summoning all his strengtll, Evans swung his wife -Yet even as they gazed at it, too overV/helmed with onto the neck of his pony and with trembling fingers their emotions even to utter exclamations of surprise, slipped the noose of the lariat upder her arms. the: liglJt sputtered once or twice and went out! Haul in, Joe!" he called, at the same time rising "That's the last of the Broken Circle' ejaculated in his stirrups and doing what he could to lessen the ,Evans in a hushed voice. weight that the ranchman might reach her with his ,'. "The last till we get throug h with old Shebear:!" hands as soon as possible. retorted Sanders, grim:ly. But Sanders proved equal to the emergency and in This response filled Evans and his wife with dismay, a few minutes the woman was lying safe at his feet, for they had hoped when the .ranchman select e d another though unconscious. site for his range he would locate in some other part \ Never waiting to remove the noose, Sanders threw of the country. the rope from about the tock with a deft twist of his Surely you don t intend to come b'l:ck here to live, wrist and lowered the end he had been holding to the Daddy? exclaimed his daughter. horseman who was struggling desp-erately to hold his That's just what I do, Harriet." . horse up ai:'ainst the onrush of t4e flood. "Oh, Daddy. Not after to-night," pleaded the Without difficulty he caught the rope and, by dint of woman. "I never feel safe again with the-if di&"ging his boots into the rocks where he occasionally they rebuild the' dam," she has tily added, changing her found a toehold, he was soon beside the others on the original idea as she caught the look of. fie rce defiance narrow ledge. '/ that shone in ranchman's eyes. Too bad we couldn't have saved the ponies," Evans They won't rebuild, don't worry about that, Har-exclaimed when he had recovered his breath, after -an riet," returned her father, at least, not at Swanville. interval of several minutes. Then, as an idea flashed If the Joaquin was able to break the dam once it will into his mind, he cried: We m 'ust' All our food and be again and the men who put up tJ:1e money won't feel shells are 9n their backs! ". like doing so, indefinitely. And y o u needn't have any And as he spoke, the man rose to his feet seizing the fear of the Black Death because when I get through, torch and making as though he would follow along the the caust! of that fool superstition will be removed!" ledge in an effort to gain a spot opposite the animals. ( With a frantic clutch, the ranchman grabbed the tail of his canvas hunting coat and dragged hilP back. "Don't be a fool, John I" he gasped. "It's too bad we can't save the horses and grub. But we were CHAPTER VIII. mighty lucky to save ourselves. We don't know how far this ledge extends and the first thing you know, THE PACT. you'll step off into that that'll De -the end of you I" '. Of necessity compelled to proceed slowly because Realizing, even could he have torn himself loose only two of them were mounted and the darkness still from the vicelike grip of the ranchman, that the words hung with inky blackness over lal.1d, the little band, were only too true, Evans gave up his attempt to whose escape from destruction by the flood and steers food and ammunition and sank down had been fraught with such dangers, toiled patiently beSIde hIS WIfe. up the trail, crossed the top of the foothill and then de"What's to be done now?" he inquired after wait'scended on the other side, arriving at the Three Bar ing in vain for the elder man to express an opinion ranch in due course. upon their cou .rse of action. As the weary fugitives the yard of the home Bring Harriet to and then work our way back to ranch, all was quiet and peaceful, iQ striking contrast the trail to Bloomer's," returned the ranchman. to the. death and destruCtion Sanders and his family But we .can't go on with only one horse among the had left behind them, on the other side of the footnills. three of us! So impressive was the serenity enveloping the region Sure we can. Harriet can take Beth with her and that Harriet you lI:nd I can walk:" ,. you. see, Daddy, how much quieter things ThIS plan meetmg WIth Evans approval, they are m thIS sectIOn than back at the Brok'en Circle ,'" quickly set about restoring the woman to consciOlfaness J It's just your imagination daughter," replied the for the second time that night and, when this had been I;;'rizzled ranchman. "There's no more peaceful nor accomplished, c:autiously picked their way' beauiiful spot than the Joaquin ,valley where the home back to the tratI and "'the waItIng pony. ranch of the Broken Circle stood-and there'll be no 1'he path to. the Three Bars led for sevetal by the time I am rtt.ady to go back'" a defile in the rocky foothill, then crossed This reiteration of his determination not to be driven the top and descended jnto the valley on the other side, from his range either by the, fear of the witch's curse Bloomer's house being at the base of the mountain or by the -elements of nature caused the woman to re' right close to the trail. gret that she had brought the)subject up and she was


I 12 THE AMERICAN IND)AN I and then exchanging significant glances as the story striving to think of something to say that> would dis-of the escape from the flood was unfolded. suade her stern old father' from his purpose when he It! doesn't do any good, of course, to say so now, drew rein :tnd rapped loudly on, the door of the,ranch. bat I a:lways said no good would of your house. r" n that valley Joe Sanders, exclaimed the No response, however, did his d 1 when the was finished. "Though I "They must sleep soundly-over here, exc alme I shouldn't say it, I do believe the breaking ?f Evans. ' the dam and the loss of your.ranch h(;)Use and IS If they are at aome," -supplemented his a sort of punishmeI?-t. for. your defymg all. tra.dltlons don't suppose they have gone away do you, a y. ape d warnin2"s and hvmg 1D that place which IS only I' No-but we'il find' out." And as he spoke, the Id fit for Inj,uns." ranchman beat a -ratatattoo on the door that wou "Nonsense, Maria," retorted her before have roused a deaf person. Sanders could reply. "It isn:t anythlllg that. Joels Anxiously the fugitives the' result of thiS I done that caused the dam to give way. Why, It was for they were begmmng to feel and. only day before I was over to Swansttff and the thought of being 70mpe!Jed to for ville and some engineers had Just completed an exam themselves in the hay of one of the corrals did not ination of the thing. and declared that there wasn't a appeal to):hem., bt;!tter dam New Mexico. Of course',old Shebear's But just as they were beginning to fear that the threat is a different matter. But I can t see as how :Bloomers were away after all, they heard a ,shutter that had anything to do with it, either." open and a voice call: -"You don:.t, eh?" rejoined his wife. I'd. like to Who's there?" know if the breakinoof the dam on the very Dlgbt tIae "Me, Joe Sanders," replied the ranchman.. black braids was isn't about as convincing Immediately there was the sound of feet, evidence that Shebear's curse is working as anything then a light gle amed > followed the next mmute by the couid be." . door of the ranch house being thrown open. Now don' t -go getting Harriet and Beth all stirred "What on earth bi'ings you here at this time ()-f ttp Maria" ,cautioned the owner of the Three Bar. night, Joe?" demanded the' owner of the Three Ba.r, ., They've 'been through enough without appeanng in the doorway with a lamp held hiS scaring them to death about those warmngs. Take em head. into your .room, get 'em some dry clothes and let 'em But as the man 'beheld the other members of Sango to bed: Come on, Joe, I'll find a place for you and ders' party and noted 'their bedraggled condition, he John." cried out, in amazement: Much' ooliged, Fred. You can fix up a bunk. "What has happened, Joe?" And then" manlike, the woman and girl-and thank you. But sleep Isn t without waiting for an explanation, he turned and what J onn and l are after. We want a couple of your called to his wife : Hey, Maria, get up and start the best ponies." ire. Here's the whole Broken Circle outfit-and they This resg,onse filled its hearers with amazement and IGok all peter-ed out. Come right in, Joe and the rest they lost no time in se,eking the ranchman's purpose. ,.f you. I'll have one of my boys attend to your pony." I want to round up a bunch of men to go after She" Oh, he'll be all right o. r a time," returned Sanders. hear," he announced, grimly. ., I don't propose to let Tlte poor brute is so tuckered out there's no danger amyd ,ried up old hag of an Injun scare the life out of .f ltis running off." , my women folks with any Black Death warnings I I'm During this interchange of questions and remark,S.: going to snow the fool people in this part of the COWl Evans had lifted first Beth and then her mother from try that trembles and moans every time Shebear or the back of the weary broncho and together they the Bla

THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. 13 they have evel'ything they need. Joe and John and I want to talk things over withd\tt oeing -interrupted every other word by anyone who doesn't understand how serious matters are. Now run along. Come on, Joe, we'll go out and put your pony in the corral. By the time we get back, I reckon we 'll be able to decide what's best to do, without interference.:. ... Thoroughly familiar wit}{ all her husband's moods, Mrs. Bloomer realized from the tone of his voice and the express ion on that anything she might say would only make her man more determined than ever to accompany Sanders on his mission of revenge and she wisely refrained from speaking, contenting herself with a significant shake of her head as she invited HaHiet and Beth to accompany her to her room. As the woman arose, the men also got up and went outdoors to care for the pony which had served the sorely pressed fugitives so nobly. You really mean that you're going to round up old Shebear?" asked Bloomer soon as the door was sRut behind them . Surest thing you know. I've always said I'd join in a hunt for the old hag. But now that she's singled out my family as marks for her deviltry, I'm going to lead the search! It's high time she was put out of the way, Fred, so she can't scare any more women and men!" "That's true-but the old devil has such a tion for mysterious powers that I'm afraid you' H have a hard time rounding up enough men to carry out your plan. Seems tQ me the best thing to do is to lay low and wait your chance to put a bullet into the hag." And leL Harriet and Beth fret and worry them selves sick in the meanwhile?" snapped the grizzled ranch man. "Suppose it was Y0ltr family, Fred . Would you want to sit round and twiddle your thumbs when you knew Maria was eating her heart out with fear of the old witch? And she's just as likely to send you olle of her braids and arrows as not. You must remember that families she Iaasn't attacked are getting mighty scarce round this region." For several minutes, the owner of the Three Bar ranch contemplated the words of his friend in silence. "I reckon you're right, Joe I" he remarked. "But the trouble will be to get enough men together to carry the thing through. You know every man or wom

THE AMERICAN INPIAN WEEKLY. have quite much as I to because I don't It There isn't' a fifty h miles that 'hasn't got Injun blood tn hIS velDS and, as enter into all thei'r foolhardy amusements where t ey I sal'd, they are all afraid of Shebear, so afraid they needlessly risk life and limb. But I'm not a coward-and I want to show them I'm not." worship her." "Tut, tut, ejaculated Bloomer. "It someThis point being settled,. the times requires mote will power to stay al home than I the various ranchers who lived wlthm a of thirty to go off on a posse. As \foe says, your duty is here miles and finally decided upon N ed of the with Harriet and Beth. Besides, if you are here, I shall Criss Cross ranch; Sam Andrews: of the Ben feel more easy. I don't like to go away and leave Moulton,'of the Anchor; Jim Henry, of the SlDgle Star; Maria without anyone to protect her in Icase the boys Harry Glover, of the Three :rvr:ons; Tom Hunt, of the run amuck." . Bow and Arrow; Al Howe, 'of the Half Moon; Peter .' "If you're going to leave someone here, why can't Judson, of the Square and Cross and Bob Henderson, it be the foreman of the boys instead of me?" per-of the Running Dog. sisted Evans. The Bow and Arrow ranch being the nearest, the Because something may turn up that will require horsemen' turned their ponies in its direction and in more mature judgment than a cowpuncher can give," due 'course arrived: interposed Sanders. . ,To their gratification, Hunt. was at home. And though uttered the words merely for the Apprised of his' purpose, he readily con-purpose oj easing his son-in-law's mind, he was des' sented to join them saying that he would be at the tined to be reminded of Itpem very forcibly later!, Three Bar before nightfall. The answer, how e ver, failed to appease the man and '\ One after another, the ranches selected by Sanders he' renewe d his protests against what he called unfair and Bloomer were visited and in <;>nly one instance treatment. But his words had no effect upon the ,were they unable to enlist the aid of the owner and ranchme n and he was forced to leave the corral as he that was at the Three Moons where they found that had entered it-on foot Glover was away. 'l Tell Maria that I've gone with Joe," said the owner Upon one and all they' had enjoined the of the Three Bar ranch, as they reached the. door of secrecy as to their purpose, suggesting that the men the house. "If she wants to know where, just say to tell their wives they were going out on a hunting exrOlmd up some of the other ranchers and that we'll be pedition--:-that being tne truth l'>ut not the whole truth. back before ,sundown Good luck and watch Harriet Having made frequent changes of ponies, the two carefully." leaders of the avenging party had been able to make And'without giving the disa.ppointed man the oppor-good time and sunset saw them back at the rendeztunity to protest further against being compelled to vous where tqey found Andrews, Moulton and Howe remain behind, the two ranchmen shook out their awaiting them. And in the course of an hour, all the and galloped away. others rode in. Riding at top speed until they had put the base of Thanks to Evans, his wife and Mrs. Bloomer had of the. foothills between them and the ranch-house, becon 'le res:onciled to the thought of the expedition for both men knew the nature of Mrs. Bloomer and and to the relief of the two leaders, they offered no feared she might set out after -should she see objections, busying themselves with preparing food for them, when,they had safely passed the jutting moun-'the members of the posse and making bandages for tain, tlley slackened their pace; that they might formu-. use in case of emergency. late a plan of prbcedure. While they were waiting for supper to be ready, the How many hIen do : think we ought to have, ranch men looked to their pistols, rifles and shells, careJoe?" asked Bloomer, twenty or thirty? fully examining each one of the latter for, being ex" No, inde ed. Fifteep at the most will be a plenty." perienced, they realized that a defective shell might Bu t there's safety in numbers, you know." cost the man in whose weapon it was his life. That's not ilIO true as it might be Fred. In an ex But aside from these grim preparations, not a word pedition like this, there's also danger in numbers." spoket; as to thei' r purpose and they laughed 'and How db you mean?" demanded the man, to whom J?ked as unconcernedly as though they were not set the suggestion that a few men would be of more ser-tmg out upon the most dangerous mission they vice than man y was surprising. undertake, the running down of an Indian witch, whose "It's this way. If we 'have a lot of men, they're body was ,sacred to all the braves and squaws in the more likely 'to be seen. My idea is to make this a still land and whose powers were 'feared by redskin, halfhunt-if we can. I want to strik"e so quick)y that the greaser and white man alike. whole thing will be over before most people know we That Saqders was fully aware of the risk he was have started. The Injuns all swear by Shebear. If however, was by the fl.\,rtive and it gets out that Woe are on her trail, as it's bound to do affectlOnate glances WhICh he bestowed from time to if we take a lot of men. along, some halfbreed cow-time upqn his daughter and granddaughter. puncher will pass the word along of what we are up to Chancing to surprise him'iH one of these looks Harand not only will the old witch hike for some other riet divined the cause and. under pretext of getting place but we'll find a whole bunch, of bucks on our him to help her, called her father from the room. tracks. Consequently, it's my idea we shall beable to Daddy, why won't you give up this hunt for She do better with not mOJ'e than ten men upon whom we she .pleaded, putting her arms lovingly abollt Ci!n place absolute t:eliance." hIS neck. I Reckon you're righ ," 'assented Bloomer, after con"Because it's' necessary for the safety of you and .sidering the matter for several minutes. H 'Such being and the rest of us," he replied, gently but firmly. the case, why woul .dn't it be best not to take any cow':' But we could sell the Broken Circle and move to boys along. at all, just a'few of the men we 1now?" some other part of. the country. The Black


THE AMl}RICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. wouldn't there. Please, Daddy. I don't like to think of your running such danger as you will when' we could avoid it by; going somewhere else to live." "It isn't ourselves alone of whom vye must think, Harriet,' returned the grizzltd ranchman, "The fear of She bear has pervaded all the country' round about: For the' peace of mind of our women, it is necessary that we put an end to it once and for all. So don't say anything more about it, please. It (')!!lv makes it harder for me. There's practically nothin-; to be afraid of. No one knows our purpose you, John and Mrs. Bloomer. We sha\l strike quickly and silently-and be almost before y.ou realize we have Rone! Seeing it was useless to waste more time in trying to dissuade her father from the expedition, the woman gave up the att\!mpt and, after giving him a loving embrace arid a kiss, d -J: returned to the others. But though Sanders, confident the mission of the avengiIW party was setn: : t, it was ordained he should learn to his sorrovv th,;lt he had been mistaken! When supper had been finished, the"ranchmen, went out to the horse corra.! to select the ponies to carry' them and to SI: :; that' all the straps and buckles of their accoutrements were in proper condition. This dO!le, they held a council of war as to the mos t likely place to find the old witch whose death-threate. ning messages inspired so great terror. , Various the opinions expressed but it was fin ally decided they should ride to the borne, of an old haHbreed hunter, called Blue Sky, and under the plea that they wished him toserve as guide whil'e they l:J.unted grizzly bear, get, him to accompany them and later force him, on the pain of death, to lead them to the in which report had it that Sh 'ebear lived. But while they were discussing these matters, the ranch man did notl'see a form crouched low outside the t corral, listening intently to their every word! Had they done so, 'many things which later befell them would have been prevented! Never even suspecting, however, that plans had been overheard, the ranchmen went back to the house to get the food, and guns. "Who's going to be in charge of the Three Bar while you are away, Fred? asked Mrs. Bloomer, just as the men were preparing to leave.. "Why, John, of course." Then hadn't you better tell the boys? his wife re t urned, "You 'know Coyote only came in to-night and he is apt to get up on his high horse." , Have you got that ornery halfbreed on the Three. Bar?" demanded Judson, in surprise. "If you'll take my advic;e, you'll give him his walking papers before you start out. The only safe place for him is dangling from the end of a rope from the limb of a tree'! " Oh, all about him," rejoined Bloomer. "All he needs is the proper kind of handling....:....and there isn't a better cowpuncher ever straddled a pony. Still, it surely won't do any harm for you to keep your eye on him, John. And I reckon I'll call him in and introduce him to you," he added. ,'; Suitinghis action to his words, the jowner ,of the Three Bar went to t ,he do?,r and called to Coyote. But the cowpuncher dio not respond. Several times the ranchman shouted for him but without result.' Surprised, he was just on the point of walking round to the bunkhouse, which was about fifty feet to the SO,uth of the horne house, when one of his men called Coyote isn't here! He came in ab 'out five minutes ag?, got his g uns and went out! " CHAPTER X. I SHEBEAR'S WARNING. I but never for an instant attributing any connection bet w een the of the halfbreed co wpuncher and the departure of the band of avengers, Bloomer called out: .Hey, Sancho, come here a mpment!", And as clIe cowboy came up, his master continued : "You(,know John Evans, don' t you?'" Sure thing." "I thought so. Of cours e, you ve heard that the Circle home ranch was washed out last night?" "Uhuh" Well, this killing so many cattle will prohably Dring out a lot of grizzlies and we're going over to the J oaquin valley to see if W e can't bag a few. On account of Mrs. Evans been upset by the events of last night; John won't RO with us and < while I'm gome, he will be in charge of the Three Bar outfit, understand?" Sure thing," returne4 'the cowpunch e r with a grin:, for .Evans was noted as an ea 'sy going mal) whp never wor\

THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. over which San:ders and his family had travelled the night before! Cou11 or the owner of the Square and Cross ranch have come upon this man riding so des perately, they would ; have recognized him as Coyote and had they' known his destination, they would have been filled with consternation! The skulking form which npne of the ra.'nchmen had hid!ng behind the corni l when they held their all-Important council to de.cide upon their method of procedure to locate old .Shebear was that of the cow boy who had failed to respond to his master's summons. Having realized ,th51t something extra,ordi,tnal'Y must lie afoot when the owners of so many ranches gathered at the Three Bar, Coyote had determined to find out what it was CiLnd a\!cordingly he had followed them when they went to the horse yard, dropping down to the gmund when he had found a place where he could ilear p.ll that was said without being seen. But as tbe plan top_ut an end to the old witch was and the means by which they intended learn her whereaoouts was disclosed the traitorous co'boy alm ost.gave his presence away, so amazed was he. Yet he controlled himself and drank in eacrerly all that was said. b In fear and trembling lest be discovered when the ranchmen left the coiTal, he scarcely breathed. But as as. they. had sQme twenty feet, he began to ghde the stlence and swiftness ofa for the corner of the horse yard that he might get tO'hiS feet and return to the bunkhouse be fore he should be called. For as Bloomer had said, r.evered and the 019 witch and 4ft considered 1t hiS duty to appnse her of the impending dangerif such a thing were possible. Unaccustomed to thinking quickly, or for that matter, to thinking at all, the halfbreed at the door of the bunkhquse before l' occurred to him that the surest way to get the news of the search for her to hebear was t? leave the ranch immediately and trust to luck that hiS absence wouk! not be discover d. Ho'w well he succeeded t.he reader already Exactly w here he would find the witch, the traitor t;>us .cowpuncher did not know. 'But, having had deal ,:ith her he was aware that she usually mhablted a cave which led off from the trail to the Indian burying ground, just about a rod from the plateau. Reasoning that because of the ilood, Shebear would not venture to leave the cave, he, th.erefote" decided to seek her it} Jhat spot first. \yith a born of mingled fear of pursuit and deSire to Wl11 the f.avor of old witch by informing iler of the plot against her hfe, rode with quirt and spur and, in a surprisingly short time, was mount'ing the t r ail to burying ground. Proceeding with great, care as he approached the plateau. when he had reached the spot where he be lieved the path branched off to the cave he gave two low hoots, like an owl. / thefe. came an answering hoot and in a lew mlllutes a vplce demanded from the darkness in the language of the Navajo Indians: ' '"Whoisit?''' ". Being able to talk the dialect; the traitorous cowboy answered: I U Coyote," "What brings you hece?" demanded the voice, in vyhich there was a tinge of suspicion. .' "N ews of importance to you! "Tell me." t Not here. :I'm I've ridden far and I want to rest" A moment '-the questioner consideIed the request then, evidently fear ng treachery, replied: "How can I know you are telling me the truth? Give me some Sanders and eight ranchers are on your trail!" returned the halfbreed. And the g:pp of surprise and dismay that greeted the announcement repaid the traitor for ,all his trouble. "Coyote is' a good animal. Come quickly to the cave. I will. lead the pony," returned the voice. Rapidly the old witch, fOri she it was, guided the horse to her hiding place, drc!w aside a curtain of buffalo skin and disclosed a room, cut from the solid rock, filled wjth all sorts of hideous drawings, t,ripods, kettles ,and a conglomeration of odors that were almost stifling. Now speak-and be quick. / Forget nothing," Commanded. Shebear, her fury at the thought that she should be hunted evident in her eyes. from his saddle and throwing himself on a plie of, skms, halfbreed rolled and lighted a cigarette;Wlth a deltberateness that was maddening to his companion. get out!" snapped Shebear, reaching slgmficantly for a ladle that projectedJ above the edge of one of the caldrons. Fearing that the old witch would s,ast one of her spells him" Coy.ote obeyed. Not a smgle word of what he had overheard did he omit. ' .When he had finished, Shebear chuckled silently, her wl!ened features made more hideous by her diabolical gnn. "So the p alef'lces think to hunt me me Shebear?" she exclaimed. "I'll show them-and o'thers-that Shebtfar is above being harmed: Last night, I sent three messages of the braided hair and arrows to Sanders, and to-morrow night I will send messages to Billings Andrews, Moulton, Henry, Hunt, Henderson, Howe, Judson ani Bloomer!" And the old hag cack.led exultingly, resuming her questions after a few mmutes' gloating. Yoti say the palefaces have gone to get Blue SkY' to lead them to me? Yes." "Then if you. would.' still further-win my favor, do you nde to-Olght and carry this message to fix on Blue Sky's door." But Bloomer and the other ranchers may meet me," the to whom the thought of going forth mto. the lllght again, especially on an errand fraught With such danger as deliverinoa message to the very whither the were bound, was anythmg but welcome. is no danger," returned the old hag. "She bear Will protect you! Such certainty did the witch put into this statement that almost believed her and, that filS hfe would pay for his refusal, he conS' ... ted to bear the message. You won't regret it," commented Shebea going


THE AMERICAN WEEKLY: \ 17 to a rock and taking up three arrowfeads she "Him arrow mean Blue Sky take trail, Shebear quickly bound together in a fan shape.' kill urn As -faced about, holding the symbol aloft the As they heard the interpretation of the symbol, the traitorous cowboy shuddered. 'witch-hunt<:rs gazed at o ne another *n You understand the message?" she chuckled. -......, Do you suppose old hag knows >we re on' her Yes." exclaimed Henderson. "Then deliver it-:-and come back here. I shall need "Evidently," retorted Sanders. "There's been you again treachery somewhere! You fellows couldn't have been And seizing the pony by the bridle, Shebear ted it quite so secret about your destination as you thought," from the cave and out to the trail. he added, facing the rest of the posse. Is it safe to ride down the valley?" asked Coyote, "If there's been treachery:, it's that ornery Coyote as he swung none too eagerly into the saddle. whC(m Fred couldn't find when he wanted him!" as" Yes, the flood has gone down: Ride the trail next serted Judson. "If 1'd known he was on the Three Bar, the rocks, there are few bodies of the cattle in it, the I'd have had hirl) tied up the mii-lUte we got there! water sucked them toward the river.", "To know we were coming for Blue ,Sky the cuss And as though fearing her messenger might repent, 1must hav.e heard all :we said while we w ere in the, cor,of his promise, the old hag struck his pony a sharp ral," declared Bloomer. blow on the flank, causing it to leap forward with a That's what! chiQ'led in several of the others. suddenness that required all the cowpuncher's skill to "Then we have got our work cut lor us!" de, maintain his seat. _' cla r ed Howe-and his companions n ; adily agreed with The distance from the burying ground to the log hut him. \, where Blue Sky lived was not more than eight miles, whereas the route trayelled by the witch-hunters was more than tweJ;1.ty-five, due to the fact that the trail they must follow circled the base of the footliills, Accordingly, Sh.ebear's messenger, by riding hard, was able to arrive before the ranchmen, as he found by dismounting and creeping on his hands and knees when he had approached to within a hundred yards of the hut \ Tnanking his good fo'rtune, the traitorous' cowboy stuck the three arrowheads in the jamb of the door, hurriedly made his way back to his pony and was well on his road back to the cave when the witch-hunters drew r ein in front, of Blue Sky's cabin. Roused by the pounding of hoofbeats, the guide opened a shutter of his window and demanded to know who the horsemen were. Being told, he quic'kly lighted a torch' and opened the door. \ As he did so, the dire message, in the form of the. fanlike arrowheads, fell at his feet. Attracted by the rattle of stone on the floor, Sky looked down-and, as his eyes fell on ,the symbol, he leaped back in terror. "What is it?" demanded several of the horsemen, realizing from the guide'S actions that: something un usual must have occurred to scare him pO. Go way! Go .way!" shouted BLue Sky, instead of answering, and seized th e door with the evident intention of slamming it closed. Ere he could do so, however, Sanders leaped his horse forward, so that its shot;lder prevented the door from shutting; "See here, you old devil, none of this funny busi ness!" he snapped., "Tell us what has scared you so ?" But the guide made no response, 'insthd shaking like a leaf at the -mention of the symbol. Sensing trouble, the other ranch men the!r ponies close to the door-"while Hunt whIpped out hIS six shooters and, pointing them at Blue Sky, shouted: "Cut that out! Tell us what those arrows m e an. If YQU don't, I'll b low your head off! "You go way, m e do?" the guide seekin g relie f in compli an c e with the r e q u e s t. . Su r e returned the owner of t h e Bow and Arrow, adding under his br..eath, when w e get ready." CHAPTER XI. THE WITCH GATHERS HER FORCES. The at1;ention of the witch-hunters was momentarily distracted from consideration of the treachery of Coyote, however, by old Blue Sky. You say you go, we tell 'bout arrows," "Me told why you no go?" Signalling to the others that he had formulated a plan adequate to meet the situation, Sanders replied: W eare going, Blue Sky-we're going hunti'ng for gtizzly bear. The flood must have driven a lot of them out and we want to get at them before they have 3. ch ance to get over onto the Three Bar and the other ranches beyond the foothil1s. That's-" "But Sbebear, you no after her?" interrupted old guide, s canning the faces of the ranch men before him intently. "What should we be after her for?" returned the owner O'f the Broken Circle, .parrying an answer to the halfbreed's question by asking one himself. And as Blue Sky could think of no reason why any white man should so toy with fate as to take up the t rail of the old Navajo witch, he kept silent, while Sanders continued: Somebody's b een playing a joke on you, Blue Sky-or else to satisfy some grudge you have against Shebear you've been plotting against her and she's found you out." As the other ranch man heard these words, they realized that the owner had hit upon a shrewd method of quieting the suspicions of the halfbree guide and, in the fear that they might say somethingjhat would give the situation away, they wisely kept silent, leaving all the talking t o ,their grizzled spokesman. At the accusation that I he had peen conspi ring against the old witch Blue Sky shuddered. Aha! I've str uck it, have I?" e xclaimed S ande rs. "You 're a pretty clever o l d cuss-but no I njun was ever as clever as a 'whi te ma n B l u e Sk y Though his com p ani o n r a n c hers h ea r d t h is statement with a musement, they ne vertheless rea l iz e d the p oint that their leader was making and refraine d from mak


18 THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. ing lI;ny comment. And seeing that his words had pro-direction that of Shebear's cave-caused the old duced a marked effect upon the halfbreed, Sanders proguide' to believe that, after all, they were merely out ceeded to press h,is advantage. '.' to hunt grizzlies, as they said. , "You see, we're 'onto you, Blue Sky," he continued. Me go!'" he exclaimed, after what had seemed to "You don't dare deny you JIacve been plotting against the horsemen an age. Shebear, do you?' I I That's the talk! ejaculated Bloomer, longer But the old guide refused to make any response. ,to control his suspense. "We'll give you a hundred All right, if you w.ant te> admit it," chuckled dollars, Blue Sky, for the trip! the owner of the Broken CIrcle. "I can't say that I And I'll add a hundred if I get the biggest bear," blame you for not wanting to acknowledge the fact. declared the' owner of the Broken Circle, with a sigBut there's one thing you might just as well get into ni"ficance that was only understood by his companions. ,j your head now as any otller time--you, carn't shift the The visions of so much money-for knew that blame for your own actions onto us! We won't stand for the ranchmen were all rich-lent speed to the guide's it! "feet and turning away from the door, he hastily Though the halfbreed would sooner have thought of 'up his rifle, with ?f plo,tting aga 'inst his Satanic majesty himself than and quickly passed from the door, lockmg It WIth a against the old Navajo witch, Sanders had literally padlock. got the ,jump" on lJim -and his brain was too para-, Me get pony, then re

F; \. THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY, 19 curse and the braids and a rrows t o the homes of the men 'who ha d jo ined in the hunt for h er. Moreover this was actually t h e c a u se t o the traitorous cowboy attributed her departure when he fou,nd she was n o t in the cave-alld. as a matte r of fact, he ,was not sorry to finti her gone. Stead i ly the o ld hag rode towar d t h e I n di a n encampment and at daybreak her eyes be h e l d the welcome. sight o f t he tips o f the i r teepees into the au. Making he r arrival known by' three s h ri ll h oo t s, Sheb e ar was soon surrounded by a jabbering' c rowd of reds kin s and greasers Immedia tel y s h e told t hem of t h e band o f ranch m e n who had takel1 the trail to hunt her to her death. Wit h m i ngled emotions, h e r words were heard. S o m e of t he b u cks, in their hearts, hoped t hat s h e m ight be made t o suffer the death she richly -merited, yet a ppea r ed to resent such, a defiance-their des ire to see h e r put out of the way being due to their fear o f her bec a u se of certain deeds of theirs o f which she was' cognizaNt -while others were really sincefe in thei r ind i g n ation. What do you w ish us to do Shebear?" demanded Runnin g Horse, t h e leader of the encampment, in h is native t o n g ue. How many braves have y o u here?" the witch de. manded, intending to formulate her plans according to the strength he could muster. "Thirty and seven greasers," returned the vi llage chiefta in. "Ten I will take b ack with me to the cave. The rest of you will ride to the hut o f Blue Sky and pick up the t r ai l of the palefaces from there," Shebear. "Make has te, now! The quicker Shebear strikes down the fools who hunt her,the greater will be the respect for he' r among the palefaces! Whooping dancing with glee, for the redmen were overjoyed at the prospect of participating in a raid that was not only sanctioned but ordert!d by the old w i t c hl which to. their minds in sure d immunity from dan ge r the bucks and hastened their wigwams to get their rifl es and scalping knives, shouting to th!!ir squaws to blanket and bring up their ponies And i n l ess tuan fifteen minutes after She bear h ad arrived at the encampment, thirty Indians. and seve n halfbreed Mexican desperadoes were in their saddles, all eage r to kill the white men, who had dared t ake t h e trail aga inst t h e old w itch and to spread fear a n d fire among their ranch h o u ses. Gazing at the evil, crafty faces before .her, Shebear e m i t te d her bloodc urdlin g cackle "Sp e cial favo r tp the brave who brings t h e scalp of Sander s Evans and h is wife to me!:' she cried. And, p i ck ing out the ten b u cks she w ished to take back to the cave with her, the hideous o l d witch sent the othe r s on their m urderous miss i o n. CHAPTER XII. THE AMBUSCADE. Among 'the brave s whom S l'lebear sent t o foll o w the ranch men and track them tjll they c o uld kill them were a ll se ve n o f the g r easers an d the most reckless and bl oodthirs t y of the Indians. Pur p ose l y had s he ch ose n the h a lfbreed for the reason that t h ey al w ay s were s upplied with the contraband" fir e water' an d she knew fun well that they would share the liqu o r with the bucks, thereby worki n g the latter u p t o a pitch of e x citement that would lead them to tackle a n y numbe r of whi te men and commit a ll sorts o f atro citie s u po n their bodies s h o ul d t hey s u cc e e d in over powerin g th e m-'-as she hoped they migh t, for the m ultilati o n wo uld add immeasurably to her p r es t ige and the fe a r w hi c h she in-spired in red and whi t e ma n a like. But in ehoosing .the braves w h o were t o go back to the cave with her she h ad exe 'rci s ed the. g r eatest care. Her use f

THE AMERICAN INDIAI)l WEEKLY. where she felt safe as in her cave with all the ], Inju11'./only meet paleface. a.ow, eat urn upl" paraphernalia of her craft' at hand with which she had grinned Running Horse, as he Jomed his braves and been able to strike terror to the hearts of any, noted their who chanced to discover her place of abode. Yet thoJ.lgh they approached to within a hundred But with the memory of the, traitorous yards or so of old guid.e's hut and then stalked .it warnirrg in her mind, she not dare to cross the with all the cunnIng of whIch they were master, they vil-lley in daylight and accorclingly the little band confound their foes had depart,.ed, as the reader al-cealed themselves in the fringe of bushes along the ready knows.. top of the foothills whence they could command a clear "Going f0110w them or wait here?" demanded view of the bottom lands in both dir ections. one of the halfbreed Mexicans as they rode up to the The band with Running Horse qowever, were not little cabin after making sure that no one was about. deterred by any such fear Before answering, however, Running Horse slid As the old witchhad anticipated,' the bucks were from his ;pony ,and examined the tracks left by the scarcely out of sigbt from the teepee village than' one ranchmen as they galloped away toward the South on of the produced a flask from his saddle bag the bear-hunt which they had not iptended to take. and passed it round, the others handing out another "H'm, ten pony. Make nine paleface and Blue and ;;tnother as each was emptied with the result, as Sky," ,he grunted. "Blue Sky no love Me, might have been expected, that the redmen were howlknow. 'Kill urn papoose and squaw. HIm got t'ree ini!' drunk I;>efore they had even begun their mission of ar.row from Shebear, know paleface hunt urn Injun. d,eath. -< Mebbe go Sout' only fool paleface. Come dark, Blue Alone 'Of them all Running Horse ,abstained from Sky eome back. Make wait in teepee, him carry word over-indulgence in the liquor for he realized that Sheto Shebear. We stay here, hide round hut." bear would }told him responsible for the success of After making this announcement, the chieftain the raid and' he simply did not dare to yield to his in-waited to learn whether or not any of his braves had clinations. 'any bpposrtion or suggestion to offer and, finding that Several times he tried to make his braves desist from they had none, he quickly gave the order for them to drinking but in vain. conceal their ponies in the adjacent underbrush, far Knowing full well that untess he sobered them up 'en

" THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. '\ ) accor?ingly .a yote was taken, resulting in six the halfbreed and with his own hand part way to favoring an ImmedIate return and three advocating a pistol butt, which protruded from his belt, he glare.d delay of at least twenty-four hours. wickedly at the man who held him at' his mercy. But and Judson, who had opposed j Well, which is it to be?" demanded the ranch-the change m plans, dId not attempt to dissuade. their man, impatiently. "We can't fool round here with fellows further, only insisting that the day be spent you all day." where they were and the return postponed till dusk. But ev.en in his dire extremity, the guide showed the This sudden change in their plans was not welcome stoicism of his ra:ce! to the halfb,reed, however. You give, Blue Sky two hundred dollar he take you How I get money, you-all no hunt' ? he demanded Shebear cave?'" he asked, literally bargaining with angrily. "You-all say Blue Sky go with you give death, which, in the form of the ranch man' s sixshooter, hundred, two hundred dollars for grizzly. Now say stared him in the face. DO want shoot. By gar! You think fool urn Blue Sky!' Not a sou! Nothing but your good-for-nothing You-all want hunt Shebear not grizzly! life 1" returned "And you'-ve got to make And as this idea su<;l.denly flashed into his mind, the up your mind mighty qUick whether you think it 1s old glanced .from one to another, watching the a fair prjce," he added expressIOns on their faces keenly.' Palefaces think get to cav ,e, Shebear no kill with Regretting that the issue had been forced upon them. Black Death?" instead of being left to an occasio n of their own mak"That old -hag couldn't so much as kill a flea with ing, the ranchmen all looked t

22 AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. An ambush! An ambush,! yelled Bloomer. a dose of their own medicine by ambushing Aim at every puff of smDke you .see The devils them!" are drunk-so we've nothing to fear from theii' shoot-So sound was this advice that none of the ranch-ing! bellowed Sanders. I-Y{en deemed it prudent to contradict ,it a nd And his words seemed tru'e, Jor the/ugh they 'had ingly they turned their attention to rushing their many close calls, not a bullet struck one Qf the witch-ponies over'the trail as fast as (hey could. hunters. 'Smiling at the first crack of the guns which The aim of'the ranchmen" however, though they told

THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. 23 I Sanders. "We give you ,the chance 'to tell, that's all. If you speak the truth, it may save your life. It depen4s on what my companions say." "Give him a chance." him lead us to t):1e cave and we'll spare his 1 1 e. , Such were the cries which answered the own'er of the Broken Circle's appeal to his fellows. "You have heard what .they say-now decide, quickly!" exclaimed Sanders, giving the halfbreed a poke in the ribs with the muzzle of his rifle by way of hastening his clecisioti. "Me tell! Me t.ell! .declared Blue Sky. "Then do! thundered Bloomer. Shebear cave in rock under Injun burying ground! In amazement the ranchmen heard this statement, telling them as it did I that daily, or as often as they had traveled the trail up and down the J oaquin to and fro, m the ranch of the Broken Circle, t4ey had passed within easy rifle shot of the old witch. "Is that truth?" demanded Sanders, incredu ously. As Blue Sky hope to live-yes! ret<>rted the old guide, impressively. Hooray! Come on boys, we'll put an end to the old devil to-night I shouted Sanders, exultingly. Buti:hough the ranch men rode hard, they did not reach the' cave! ) And even if they had gained it they would not have found the old witch for she an'd her picked braves were away, bearing the symbols of the Black Death to the homes of the men who were hunting her! Unfortunately for the ranchmen, as they advanced, toward the hiding place of quarry, the moon rose full and brilliant. Cursing its light, the leaders of the witch-hunters drew rein opposite a clump of thick underbrush, some three miles below the burying ground. "There's no use trying to gain the cave as lonji as the moon is so bright," declared the owner of the ,Broken Circle. "She bear pr8bably has a good-sized' guard with her in the cavern and they could us off as we approached without our even being able to see where they were hidden." This statement was so true that none of the ranchmen ventured to question it. "Then what shall we do?" asked Judson. Lie in the cover of these bushes we have a chance to steal up to the cave when it's dark," returned Bloomer. But it may take days," protested Howe. Then we'll have .to wait," detlared Sanders, grimly. "If any of you fellows want'to leave and go back to your ranches, go ahead. I'm going to stay on the old hag's trail until I get her, whether I stay alone or not!" Whatever their may have been, the members of the witch-hunting party knew full well that should they desert their fellow when the object of their quest was all but in their power, they would be accused of rank cowardice by the people throughout the region and COr1!3equently they signified their intentions of staying with the Qwner of the Broken Circle until the end. / All right," exclaimed Sanders, when this decision had been reached. "Now,. we'll ride into this underbrush, hobble our ponies on the side llext the river and then lie low. Unless I'm mighty, mistaken, we ought to have another chance to pick off a few of the bucks who fired at us from ambush." And though the ianchmen' did, have another run-in with the redmen under Running Horse, it was hot in the way they expected! Taking stock of their losses after the clash near the halfbreed guide's hut, the Indians found that ten of I their number were mo,rtally wounded while seven more bore of the marksmanship of the ranch men in minor flesh injuries. Detailing thre. e the lattef to care' for the bucks it would be .useless to take with them, the chieftain bade the others quickly get their ponies and give chase to the men who had wrought such havoc in their ranks. Of necessity, some time was lost in examining the injuries and the ranchmen had a good lead before the redskins took up the pursuit. But once they did, they carried it out with the rapidity and cunning for which Indians are famous! Like the men whose trail they were following, when the moo'n rose, the bucks proceeded with ex. I tremecautlOn. Ordering all but two of his braves to conceal therp. selves beside the trail, Running Horse took the bucks he had selected and started on foot to locate the ranchmen. Finding, by the simple device of wetting his finger and holding i't in the air that it felt c

) THE, AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY.' / I" dH d more than five hundred yards, with such infinite care steal them from over our heads. snorte en erson was he obliged t6 move that it was an hour before in his he had arrived near enough, to see the r'fnchmen's "Don't be too hard on Bob," smiled ponies cropping the sweet grass contentedly. Bloomer. "70u must remember that we're up against Up to the his. disc0.very of the a, pretty sfiff ptopositio? There's no but that It had been the chleftalll's mtentlOn merely to locate Shebear realizes she's got the fight of her hfe on her the witch-hunters exactly and then return to his bucks, ./' hands and to help her she's probably gathered the bringing them up by such a route that he would be cunningest bunchof braves to be found in this region. able to fall upon the ranchtpen sUddenly"and annihi. So there's no great disgrace in having them run off late them. with our ponies, the is the more serious." But the sight of the ponies put another thought in Still, it does seem as though nine of us out for the his mind. very purpose of hunting the old hag might have been Creeping upon the tired animals with all his cunwise enough not to let anj'body run off with our ning, he worked way round them until he was mounts," persisted. the owner 'Of the Running Dog between them and' their owners. '. And cautious, indeed, did he need be for a sud den movement might the horses the ranch men to learn the of the disturbance, while a,t any time one of them might qppear to see that all was well with the animals. But neveI: dreaming that thy bucks would attempt such a manreuV'er, the witch-hunters were watching the trail running)n front of the bushes. Having at last reached the spot he desired, Running Horse to his two companions that he was ready to act. Leaping to their feet, the three 'i-edmen -cut the hobbles of the porses with quiCk, powedul strokes of their scalping knives and then drove them on the Tun toward the river, waving their arms to them into faster flight. As the sudden pounding of hoofs reached the ears .. of the rancnmen, they seized their rifles and sprang their feet, peering' down the trail. But the frightel1led neigh ,of one of the ponies told them th:;tt the braves were behind and front of them. I "Careful, advance iR line and give them a volley when I say the word'!" whispered Sanders. Yet when they reached a spot whence they could peer through the bushes, they were dumbfounded to find that their horses w.ere missing. "After 'em I After 'em I" yelled An 'drews. But Bloomer and Judson countermanded the order. "Stay undercover!" they shouted. "the bucks are'trying to d raw us out so they can shoot us down I And in consequence of these commands, not a shot was fired after daring redmen who had stolen the ponies irom under the very noses of the ranclunen! CHAPTER XIV. A NIGHT OF TERROR. Deeply humiliated, the ranchrhen within the shelter of the copse. "It's a good thing these trees and bushes are rootect" to the ground or the wDuld probably ranch. I "Oh, well, cry over spilt milk if you want to," re turned Bloomer. "If you get any pleasure out of it, all right, only keep your thoughts to yourself. The rest of us don't want to think any more about it than we"have to." These caustic words had the effect of restraining any of the others from commenting upon the loss of the horses and they immediately to talk about what it was best, to do. .. Let's see, we're only about three miles from the burying ground, aren't we?" asked Hunt. .. H Just abQ.ut," returned Sanders. Then I don't see that we need ponies. We sure can 'Walk that distance. Indeed, it seems to me that we would run less risk of being seen if we went to the cave on foot than if we rode." "True .enough," commented Judson. "But you miss the point, Tom. What we need mounts for is to give chase to and her cronies in case they manage to give us the slip, isn't that your i.dea, Fred?" It .sure is. There's no doubt in my mind, as some of us said berore.,that the old hag has another bunch of bucks at the cav e with her. Consequently, we're between two fires, with her on the North and the cusses who tried to ambush us on th South. And it isn't hard to see that if tile latter got word to .5hebear of our whereabouts and that we were without ponies, they could make it aU-fired oDcomiDrtable for us." thing to do is to keep the two crowds from communicating with one another," exclaimed Moulton. "If we can," interposed Sanders. "But the. first thing to do, as I see it, is to g-et more horses. The Three Bar being_ the nearest ranch, that's the place to get 'em. The question is, who'll go? It ought to be some one who knows the trail well." "You do, don't you? interrupted Howe. "Sure, I travelled over it last nig-ht, wilen it was so dark you couldn't see your hand before your face." "Then why don't you go?" continued the owner of the Half Moon.


THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. 25 "I wilI, of course, only it being Fred's ranch I didn't know but.that he might want to." Why not both of you? suggested Henry. Nothing would suit me better;' declared Bloomer. "Come on, Joe. It will take us a good 'hours, hiking as fast as we can, to get there and about, a third as long to get b'lck, so we'd best be starting." "Hold on, not so swift, there," Judson. It seems to me that one of you ought to stay, here, considering how we're between two bands of redskins. The rest of us aren't so used 'to the Cusses as Joe or you, thank goodness our ranches ar e farther away from them, and we need an older head to direct us, in case we're attacked from both sides at once." The other ranchmen resented this on their ability to cope with any situation that might arise, however, rand they lost no time in say,ing so. "All right, then we'll go. exclaimed Sand&s, getting to his feet. "The only advioe I've got to offer is that you post a man to ke.ep watch at each point of the' compass, to make sure you're not surprised. There are seven of you left which will kt you take turns. H you see .anything suspicious, shoot at it. By being on your guard, you ought to be able to pick off the bucks-if they ride in to make an attack-before they have the chance to get close enough to make their bullets caunt. You saw'to-night that they can't do much damage at a distance." This suggestion being readily accepted, the two ranchmen set out on their long tramp while the ones that left drew lots to see who should the first turn at sentinel .duty and, when the matter was decided, those who had not peen chosen r.cUed up in their blankets, for they had removed their saddles from the ponies before they were stolen, and went to sleep. Working their way along with a skiH that would hav-e done credit to Running Horse, himself, Sanders and Bloomer kept their eyes and ears constantly alert for any sound from in front of them that was in the slightest suspicious-for they believed that Shebear would try to communicate with the .band of murderers she had loosed on their trail at Blue Sky's hut. But their anxiety was needless. The old witch was busy wit.!J. Qther matt(Jrs! No sooner had the shadows. begun to lengthen in the Joaquin valley than she gave the word for the braves with her to ta1re the trail down from the cr-est of the foothill where they had rested throughout the day. Quickly they had the bottom crossed them and mounted path to her cave which they reached in due course, finding Coyote in calm pos. ses-siQn and enjoying himself to the full. .; Without botheTtng to introduce the halfbreed to 'I' die braves, Sbebear busied herself. prepartn&, nme braids of black hair which she tied into as many knots and then thrust an arrowhead through -each. Caninf"l Coyote and eight of the bucks to her, the old hag addressed them: "To each of YOti', I give a symbol of the Black .Death. These you are ,to deliver at the ranches of Billings, Andrews, Moulton, Henry, Hunt, Henderson, Howe, J udsont and Bloomer. Where they are, you all know. For 'special reasons, I want.,Coyote to carry the message of my curse to Bloomer, the rest of you can draw lots to see where you shall go And as she spokej the old hag picked llP a dish containing eight bear teeth, arranged in a row, then continued: "I have named these in the order of the names I Lea,Ping Cat, s1).ut your eyes and draw first." Quickly the brave obey ed, taking the tooth that called for a trip to Moulton's ranch. In rapid succession, the others secured their allotments. I You all know: how to three times on the door, -then 'stand back an' d when it is open hurl ,th<1 sign of the Black Death inside, giving a shrill laugh as you do so, If it pleases any of you, it will not arouse my, anger to have you set 'the torch to the cattle and horse corrals. 'But of this you must be your own judge. It will depend upon whether or not you are I do not want any of you to run any risk for I may need you in the cave with me." And, though the old witch did not know it as sh"e spoke, she' was destined to need not ont'y the nine bucks, but many more! With breathless interest, the redmen and halfbreed had listened to their instructions and as they were concluded, strode from th.e Cave joyfully, of carrying the death messag' es of the' famed. and feared .shebear. > > That is, all but Coyote. The thought of returning to the ranch of the man he had so basely betrayed filled him with terror. Yet he dared not refuse the and it was with anythipg but a light heart that he swung into his saddle and took the trail for the Three Bar home ranch. And his fears were well founded! Without any untoward incident, he gained the ranch .h ouse, delivered the sinister symbol) revelled for one brief moment in the shrieks of "terror that the braid and arrow evoked and then away to the trailjust as routed the cowboys and sent them to scour the plains for the deliverer of the !startling message. But the traito;ous haHbreed was to pay' dearly for his treachery! -Almost at the same time that he raced up the trail from the ranch, Sanders and Bloomer entered it from the valley side. i


26 THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. Of necessity, they advanced more slowly, being on Preferring to take the chance of living, the cowboy foot. But this handicap proved their good fortune. proved a double traitor by telling the ranchman ex-Against th' e rocky trail, their footsteps made actly how to get to the cave; how many bucks the old scarcely any sound, whereas had they De'en horse-hag had with her and how many there had been in the back, the hoofb'eats of their ponies would have pre-. band that had followed Running Horse to the hut of vented their hearing the steps of the animal which Blue Sky. Coyote rode. '" Eagerly the two witch-hunters drank in this infor-After an hour or so of walking, the ownerof the mation, finally asking what had brought him out on Three Bar suddenly seized his comp,anion by the arm his night ride. But when they learned, it was all they and halted' him. could do from venting their fury on him then and "There's some one riding over the trail," he whis-there. pered. 'Indeed, Bloomer e v en s ugg-ested that they send him Instantly, Sanders dropped to his knees and placed t; his richly merited death but Sanders argued against his ear against the Iground. it, declaring that other 'points might arise berore they It's from the of your ranch," he' breathed, could crose in qn Shebear's stronghold concerning after listenipg a few moments. II Whoever it is, isn't whi h he might be able to give information more.than a hundred yards away: Let's hide In the and accordingly' his master spared his life. bushes here and find out who it is." In the light of what they had extracted from the How'll you do it?" demanded Bloomer. double traftor, the two ranchmen discussed various Hold him .up!" returned h s companiQn . If it's a methods of ,capturing the old witch. friend, we can easily explain matters. If it isn't, we'll But of a sudden their attenion was drawn in another have the drop 0n ,the cuss before he has the chance to direction! defend himself." As,they mounted the crest of the foothill, they were Readily acquiescing in the plan, the owner of the startled to se,e fires blazing in differe9t places. Three Bar ranch followed his leader into the bushes "What does that meari, do you know?" thundered where, with sixshooters in each, hand, the Bloomer, giving the rope with whi<;h his prisoner was arrival of the night traveller. tied a vicious j rk. .Never dreaming danger lurk<1d ahead of him, Shebear sent the Black Death to all the men in the cowboy who had betrayed his master drew nearer. your party. Said the bucks couJd burn the corrals-if As the head of the pony was abreast of them, Sanders they wanted to," whimpered Coyote. and Bloomer leaped from their hiding place, yelling: Too angry for words Sanders urged the pony into Halt and hands up! ,,' a run, torcing the traitor to follow them as best he Takeri utterly by surprise, the haIfbreed could do could, now dragging him over the rough ground, now nothing but obey. I stopping that he ,might get to his feet. Light a match, Fred, till we \ see who it is," com-But so great a handicap did he prove, that Bloomer manded the owner of the Broken Circle, as he saw finally suggested that he dismount and walk with the the Mndsof his captive go int,p the air. traitor while ;>anders rode with all speed to the ranch, Quickly Bloomer obeyed. As the match flared up, arous-ed the cowboys and sent them out to endeavor the two ranchmen exclaimed, in unison: to head off the bucks when they sought to regain the Coyote! foothilIs. Cursing him for treachery, Bloomer lost no time In carrying out this plan, however, the owner of in snatching the rope from the pommel of the saddle the Circle almost lost his life! and binding the cowboy tightly about the arms and As he dashed from the trail out onto the plains, a wrists. (' bullet, whistled past his head from the direction of the "Make him dismount' and then we'll get on his ranch house. pony and lead him," commanded Sanders. And when Hey! Don't shQot! It's me, Joe Sanders!" he the had been made, they resumed their way. ',roared at the top of his lungs, r ,epeating his words "This sure is luck!" declared the owner of the over and ove r until he got an answering hail and beThree 'Bar. Now we 'can find out all about what held lanterns bobbing up and dvwn as the inmates of Shebear is Coyote, you treacherous devil, if the house and the cowboys rushed out to meet him. you'll answer my questions, maybe I won't shoot you, ,Waiting only' to kiss his daught-er and grand-as you deserve Will you? daughter, Sanders ordered one of the cowboys to ride If you promise not to shoot me." with h,brses for and his prisoner and then I won: t promise! but if you tell all you know and hIS family to the ranch house where he help us, you need have little to fear,." quickly told them of all 'the exciting incidents that had And if I d,on't?" occurred since the band of witch-hunters had set out "YoJl'1I nev'er see another sunrise!" on their quest. ,


THE AMERICAN 'INDIAN WEEKLY. 27 Ere he had finished, however, one cif;the boys from threat to prohibit them from joining in the the Criss Cross outfit dashed into the yard, heari if tack on the old hag had more effect on the cowthe news that the corrals had been fired, ..the symbol' punchers than anytliing else their master said and, of the Black Death receIved anc\ saying that Mrs. though it was hard for them to do so, they mov ed

J THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. 'r At the statement' both ranchmen looked up In delighted surprise. ( H Are you sure of that? What makes you think so? demanded his father-in-law.. I One of the boys from Btlhngs' ranch .was up there yesterday/ and he told me.'" "Hooray, Joe! That solves our trouMe!" cried Bloomer, excitedly. H Here, you Sancho! Get your pony and ride as though your life depended on it to SwanviHe, find the officer in charge of the Mounted tell him what's going on down hete and ask him to send as many men as he can spare down the Joaquin vaIley so they'll reach the to the burying eround by ten o'clock, sharp. That'll be plenty early enough, won't it, Joe?" .. I should think so. If we make it any before that, all the boys from the ranches may not be here in time ..JI to take up their positions ana it won't do to begin the, attack until we are all in readiness." Sancho, however, <\id not to hear more of San ders' remark than the statement that the ,hour of ten was the proper one for the Scouts to arrive before he was running for the corral to get his pony and start on his mission. All during these discussions and giving of orders, Mrs. Bloomer and Harriet had been busy over the stove, preparing a toothsome breakfast and when it was ready, the elder woman "Now you menfolks just stqp talking about that old hag for a few minutes and eat some food. You'll need a good meal and I venture to say you haven't had much &ince last night Qeore you started." H That's about right, Mother," smi).ed the ownetr of the Three Bar and ravenously he and Sanders ate of the delicious breakfast that was set before them. More refreshed by the food ,than anything else tli'ey could have taken, when the meal ,was finished"they reI surned the discussion of their plans, devoting their a t tention to the manner in whJch Evans eould let them know when he and his cowboys were in position. H How about waving a flag?" sugg' ested Evans. H Better to' fire three shots in quick succession twioe," returned his .father-in-law. 'But won't that frighten old Shebear?" interposed Bloomer. wiII let heL. know there's some one be hind her." H Which is just what we want it to," declared San ders. "She'll I"ealize that she's surrounded and then the rest.will be easy! Accordingly, it was agreed that whett Evans and his cowboys had spre;l d themselves out along the crest of the plateau r effectually cutting off escape in that qnarter, he should the fact by means of the six rifle shots, fired in series of threes. All 'having thus arranged, the two ranchmen bade goodbye to the women, promising to 'I } be back in time for a three o\:lock dinner With them, ,out to the corral, mounted their ponies and wou,\d the"" leading ropes for the others the pommels of their saddles. H Gh, what time ought I to start to get to the bury ing ground by ten?" asked Evans, just as they were riding from the yard. H Start by' eigh:t, you can ride hard," declared the owner of the Three Bar. H Better make it seven, then you'll be sure to have plenty of time," suggested his father-in-law. It won't do harm if you are early. Good luck and keep your eyes open. Those bucks are all-fired cunning." And with this warning, cantered away to ward the trail. The ride back to rejoin their companions was with out incident, though once or twice they were made rather uneasy by seeing Coyote, w)lOm they took with them to serve as guide in case they should need him, turn his head aud listen intentl3r. But nothing alarm ing could they see and in due course they arrived at the copse in which their fellows were hidden. ,And welcome; indeed, was the sight of them to the tired and weary meri who had passed a sleepless night. H Any excitement?" asked Sanders as he swung from his pony. H Nothing but mountain lions and coyotes," returned Judson. H But they kept us busy popping at them. You know you said to shoot at anything suspicious. I don't believe I ever saw so many in my life as there were feeding off (he carcasses of the cattle." H ,WoeI1, your firing probably kept the bucks off," ex claimed Bloomer. "Anyhow, it let the cusses know that you were awake and on the job, so it did some good and as we brought along a lot of fresh shells, there won't be any danger of our running short." The sight of the traitorous cowboy evoked such an avalanche of questions from the witch-hunters who had remained that Sanders held up his hands in protest, laughingly telling them he would attend to one at a time. And accordingly he launched into a detailed account of all that had occurred since he and the owner of the Three Bar left the copse. When they heard that the bucks had set fiFe to their corrals, the ranch owners were beside themselves with fury and declared they would start right away for the trail to the burying that they might wreak their vengeance on the old hag who had inspired the ruthless destruction. But Bloomer and Sander' s finally prevailed on them to wait until nine-thirty that they might q.rrive at the same time as the Mounted Scouts. What had become of the bucks under Horse puzzled them, the most popular ex planation being that they had joined Shebear ,by some I


( THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. roundabout trail were either a\vaiting the coming of the ranchmen In the cave or in a se 'cond ambush. But they were soon to learn that neither of, these opinions was correct. The witch-hunters had just put their saddles on the horses which the two ranch men had brought from the Three Bar and returned to the underbrush, when .they heard the pounding of hoofbeats, from the South. Springing to their feet, they seized their rifles and crept to the edge of the copse, drof>ping to their knees that they might have a steadier aim. Riding like mad, the bucks suddenly appeared around a bend in the trail. But the instant they beheld the ponies standing aU saddled and bridled, they drew rein, held an excited consultation, if their waving artns were any criterion, and then whirled their ponies and disappeared by the same route they had come. Well what do you make of that?" demanded J udson, looking from one to another in surprise. "They evi8ently think we've been reinforced," ex claimed Henderson. "They knew they drove off our ponies last night and when they: see eleven more it's only natural for them to think as many men come to our assistance." And, though the ranchmen could not be certain of it, this is e'xactly what the Indians had thought. In vain the chieftain had urged them to charge the copse but, led by the greasers, they declared that they preferred to live in the village than to lie dead on the bottom-land-and their argument prevailed. At nine o clock Sanders' gave the word to mount and, swinging far out into the valley towafd the riverbed, that they might avoid falling into anoth r or making targets of themselves for som e of the braves in the cave, they finally drew rein where they' not only command a view up and down the valley but keep a close watch on the lair of the old N avajo witch. In the meantime, Sancho had found the officer in command of the Mounted Scouts at Swanville, Cap tain Reid, and after to th, e cowboy's story he had eagerly agreed to take his full command, twentyfive in number-to the rendezvous appointed by' the ranchmen, to which Sancho was only too happy to &"tIide them. At the Three Bar where Evans was awaiting the cowboys, things had not gi>ne so well, however. ., Six o'clock had come and half after without the sign of a cowpuncher from any of the other ranches and thou,gh there was pienty of time, Evans was n:evertheless uneasy for lre had them to arrive Jong before, so keen had the messengers been return. But the cowboys were having their own troubles on the several ranches. When they had delivered the notes from Sanders, they had hastened to carry the tidings of the round-up of the witch to their bunkmates and tpe cowpunchers had danced with glee in anticipation, only to have their hopes dashed by summonses to th' e home houses where they were told they wQuld not be allowed to. go be-cause of the fear of a second visit from the redmet) that the women entertained. To all sorts of excuses and pleadings did the cow boys resort but without avail until they finally among themselves th'at two of them would remain on each ranch. their identity to be decided by drawing lots. Though the methods for selecting the lucky members of the party varied at the different ranches, they all depended upon chance, addini!' still more to the, excitement of the men. Once they were started, however, they made up for as much of the time they had lost as they could by riding their ponies to the very limit and just before the hour appointed to leave the Three Bar ranch, some! forty-five of them dashed into the yard. Quickly welcoming them, Evans explained the part they were to play in the round-up and, bidding his wife and daughter goodbye, vaulted into the saddle : and led the way to the trail. Entirely unconscious of the fact that she was beini surrounded, the old witth sat in her cave, wondering what could have become ofCoy'ote and wlJ.ether or t,lot he had been deceivin!,! her in to t he hunt for her when Leaping Cat came in with the infqr mation that he had discovered soldiers coming from the No,rfh. Hastening to the edge of her cave, the old hag peered forth and as she looked, another brave came in to report that a small body of men, with two prisoners bou / nd hand and foot to horses, were maki;tg their way. up the valley by the riverbed. Little thinking that there was a conce(t of action between the two bo dies of horsemen, Shebear watched the ones by th'e river, that only from them did she have anything to fear. t "Why didn't Running Horse and his braves fall upon them?" she demanded, stamping her foot in anger. "When I have cast my spell upon them, I will go and settle with Running lilorse. I will teach him and his pack of cowards that they cannot trifle witk Shebear! But her wrath against the faithless Indians was quickly forgotten in her amazement at the sol diers suddenly signal to the horsem en by the river and then ride over to them. In alarm, the braves gazed at one another. "Had Shebearbest not leave the cave while there is time?" iuggested Leaping Cat . Cat and bis companidns need have no fear," returned the old witch, with superb impressive ness." She bear w 'i1l hurl her curse upon the palefaces and they will die! But, had the braves not been so engrossed in watch-


. [ 30 THE AMERICAN INDIAN WEEKLY. ing their foeS; they would have noticed that the old hag did not send any against the ranchmen or soldiers. \ After speaking with Sa'nders and Bloomer, the cap, tain of the Mounted Scouts scanned' the {lill wh-ere the cave was located with his field glasses .. "It will be almost impossibl e to charge up--that trail," he announced at the end of a few mintltes. "Three or four men could hold back a hundred, narrow is ir apd so convenient are the rocks behind which the can sit a'pd shoot." Then what shall we lIo? r" d e manded Howe. Resort to strategy," returned the, offcer. We can hold attention and draw their while your men at the top of the hilI crawl over the plateau and shoot them down from aboV:e." . "That would be all right if we had any way of getting word to the we haven't," retorted Sanders. Neither man nor beast can find foothold on those hillsides except at the trail to the burying ground or two miles to the South at the pass to Bloom ers' Bar ranch." "Then why not send some of our men down there and l i t them take word to your cowpunchers," sug gested the captain. You ca,m send yours, if you want, exclaimed Bloomer. "But any man who tries to cross that trail to-day takes his life in his h 'ands! ,Why; man, those cowboys a,e so stirred up that they'd shoot first and ask afterward! " H'm, then I guess I'll have to send back to Swan ville get a piece of artillery," declat;ed the officer. But the ranch men were not in the mood for so long a delay! companions rode to the North and then back down the path close to the wall of rock until they reached the trail to the burying ground. Tying the ponies together in pairs, the ranchmen headed them up the trail and then gave them furious cuts with th'eir' quirts which sent the animals bound ing up the path, commanding Coyote and Blue Sky to follow on pain of being shot as they sat. And just as the dummy figures st,arted up the trail, Evans six shots rang out in signal that he was on the plateau. \Vhen word that horsemen were mounting the trail was brought to her, Shebear leaped to her feet and Jrushed to the/mouth of her cave, shrieking and mutter-ing as she waved her, hands. But her imprecations had no effect upon the dum mies! Seized with fear as they saw that the powers of the old ha g did not work, ih-e 1:haves dash,ed from the cave, shooting as they ran, .in the mad effort to gain the plateau-only to back as they behelP the thin but grim-faced line qf cowboys. between two fires, it was but a few minutes before Shebear's bucks were dead. Apprised of this by the shouts of the soldiers, the ranchmen dashed up the trail, Sanders and Bloomer at their head. Dismounting when they, reached the path leading to the cave, tHe two leaders crept forward cautiously while their. companions stood with their rifles at a ready to. shoot down anyone who appeared. But no living redskin came in sight. Pausing at the edge of the cave, Sanders looked in. Crouched 'gainst the-hack of the cave, in awful fury, I say, why not rig up some dummy riders and send them up the trail to ,the cave?" .suddenly exClaimed Billings. "That would draw the bucks out and we the old witch hurled the curse of the Black Death at him: could get a shot at them." The yery thing'!" chorused the ranchmen. "Thtn come 'on down to the river and we'll fix the dummies up, if we do it up here, Shebear and her braves can s ee us." Quickly the 'witcl;-hunters swarmed o,:,"er 'the bank, stripping off various pieces of clothing as they ran. To collect branches, gr' ass and with which to stuff the clothes was but the work of a few 'minutes and calling for ten horses the ranchmen soon had the dummies securely tied to their backs. We'll keep 'e m in the center, so the bucks won't see 'em wabble," said Bloomer and willingly the cap tain ordered his men to form about the lifeless figures. Halting when they. were just within range of the cav'e, the officer ordered his men to begin firing that their shooting might cover the advance of the ranch-men with the dummy figures. "Purposely making' a wide detour t4at tl).eir. appro,!-ch might not be seen by the Sanders and his The Black Death of Shebear be upon you and your children and your children's children, causing them to die in their boots and to rot in hell! Black Death! Black Death 1 'Strike! ?trike now! In her blind fury, the old hag fairly screamed the bloodcurdling words, But Sanders only laughed! Getting' to his ,feet, just as Bloomer crawle d to where he could see inside the cave, the owner of the Broken Circle hissed: Shebear, never again will your scare inno cent women and babes! Would that the people you have terrorized could see how your Black Death IS to harm even so much as the hair of my head! And as the taunt'rang in the ears of the old Navajo w itch, there sounded the crash of a gun-and Shebear pitched forward, dead! THE END.


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