There is no Scripture story better known than that of Naaman, the Syrian. It is memorable not only because artistically told, but because it is so full of human feeling and rapid incident, and so fertile in significant ideas. The little maid, w... Read more of NAAMAN CURED. at Difficult.caInformational Site Network Informational
   Home - Science Fiction Stories - Western Stories

Black Sage And Juniper

From: The Heritage Of The Desert

AUGUST NAAB appeared on the path leading from his fields.

"Mescal, here you are," he greeted. "How about the sheep?"

"Piute's driving them down to the lower range. There are a thousand
coyotes hanging about the flock."

"That's bad," rejoined August. "Jack, there's evidently some real
shooting in store for you. We'll pack to-day and get an early start
to-morrow. I'll put you on Noddle; he's slow, but the easiest climber
I ever owned. He's like riding... What's the matter with you? What's
happened to make you angry?"

One of his long strides spanned the distance between them.

"Oh, nothing," said Hare, flushing.

"Lad, I know of few circumstances that justify a lie. You've met Snap."

Hare might still have tried to dissimulate; but one glance at August's
stern face showed the uselessness of it. He kept silent.

"Drink makes my son unnatural," said Naab. He breathed heavily as one
in conflict with wrath. "We'll not wait till to-morrow to go up on the
plateau; we'll go at once."

Then quick surprise awakened for Hare in the meaning in Mescal's eyes;
he caught only a fleeting glimpse, a dark flash, and it left him with a
glow of an emotion half pleasure, half pain.

"Mescal," went on August, "go into the house, and keep out of Snap's
way. Jack, watch me pack. You need to learn these things. I could put
all this outfit on two burros, but the trail is narrow, and a wide
pack might bump a burro off. Let's see, I've got all your stuff but
the saddle; that we'll leave till we get a horse for you. Well, all's

Mescal came at his call and, mounting Black Bolly, rode out toward the
cliff wall, with Wolf trotting before her. Hare bestrode Noddle. August,
waving good-bye to his women-folk, started the train of burros after

How they would be able to climb the face of that steep cliff puzzled
Hare. Upon nearer view he discovered the yard-wide trail curving upward
in cork-screw fashion round a projecting corner of cliff. The stone was
a soft red shale, and the trail had been cut in it at a steep angle. It
was so steep that the burros appeared to be climbing straight up. Noddle
pattered into it, dropped his head and his long ears and slackened his
pace to patient plodding. August walked in the rear.

The first thing that struck Hare was the way the burros in front of him
stopped at the curves in the trail, and turned in a space so small that
their four feet were close together; yet as they swung their packs they
scarcely scraped the wall. At every turn they were higher than he was,
going in the opposite direction, yet he could reach out and touch them.
He glanced up to see Mescal right above him, leaning forward with her
brown hands clasping the pommel. Then he looked out and down; already
the green cluster of cottonwoods lay far below. After that sensations
pressed upon him. Round and round, up and up, steadily, surely, the
beautiful mustang led the train; there were sounds of rattling stones,
and click of hoofs, and scrape of pack. On one side towered the
iron-stained cliff, not smooth or glistening at close range, but of
dull, dead, rotting rock. The trail changed to a zigzag along a seamed
and cracked buttress where ledges leaned outward waiting to fall. Then
a steeper incline, where the burros crept upward warily, led to a level
ledge heading to the left.

Mescal halted on a promontory. She, with her windblown hair, the gleam
of white band about her head, and a dash of red along the fringed
leggings, gave inexpressible life and beauty to that wild, jagged point
of rock, sharp against the glaring sky.

"This is Lookout Point," said Naab. "I keep an Indian here all the time
during daylight. He's a peon, a Navajo slave. He can't talk, as he was
born without a tongue, or it was cut out, but he has the best eyes of
any Indian I know. You see this point commands the farm, the crossing,
the Navajo Trail over the river, the Echo Cliffs opposite, where the
Navajos signal to me, and also the White Sage Trail."

The oasis shone under the triangular promontory; the river with its
rising roar wound in bold curve from the split in the cliffs. To the
right white-sloped Coconina breasted the horizon. Forward across the
Canyon line opened the many-hued desert.

"With this peon watching here I'm not likely to be surprised," said
Naab. "That strip of sand protects me at night from approach, and I've
never had anything to fear from across the river."

Naab's peon came from a little cave in the wall; and grinned the
greeting he could not speak. To Hare's uneducated eye all Indians
resembled each other. Yet this one stood apart from the others, not
differing in blanketed leanness, or straggling black hair, or bronze
skin, but in the bird-of-prey cast of his features and the wildness of
his glittering eyes. Naab gave him a bag from one of the packs, spoke a
few words in Navajo, and then slapped the burros into the trail.

The climb thenceforth was more rapid because less steep, and the trail
now led among broken fragments of cliff. The color of the stones had
changed from red to yellow, and small cedars grew in protected places.
Hare's judgment of height had such frequent cause for correction that he
gave up trying to estimate the altitude. The ride had begun to tell on
his strength, and toward the end he thought he could not manage to stay
longer upon Noddle. The air had grown thin and cold, and though the sun
was yet an hour high, his fingers were numb.

"Hang on, Jack," cheered August. "We're almost up."

At last Black Bolly disappeared, likewise the bobbing burros, one by
one, then Noddle, wagging his ears, reached a level. Then Hare saw a
gray-green cedar forest, with yellow crags rising in the background, and
a rush of cold wind smote his face. For a moment he choked; he could not
get his breath. The air was thin and rare, and he inhaled deeply trying
to overcome the suffocation. Presently he realized that the trouble
was not with the rarity of the atmosphere, but with the bitter-sweet
penetrating odor it carried. He was almost stifled. It was not like the
smell of pine, though it made him think of pine-trees.

"Ha! that's good!" said Naab, expanding his great chest. "That's air for
you, my lad. Can you taste it? Well, here's camp, your home for many a
day, Jack. There's Piute--how do? how're the sheep?"

A short, squat Indian, good-humored of face, shook his black head till
the silver rings danced in his ears, and replied: "Bad--damn coyotee!"

"Piute--shake with Jack. Him shoot coyote--got big gun," said Naab.

"How-do-Jack?" replied Piute, extending his hand, and then straightway
began examining the new rifle. "Damn--heap big gun!"

"Jack, you'll find this Indian one you can trust, for all he's a Piute
outcast," went on August. "I've had him with me ever since Mescal found
him on the Coconina Trail five years ago. What Piute doesn't know about
this side of Coconina isn't worth learning."

In a depression sheltered from the wind lay the camp. A fire burned in
the centre; a conical tent, like a tepee in shape, hung suspended from
a cedar branch and was staked at its four points; a leaning slab of rock
furnished shelter for camp supplies and for the Indian, and at one end
a spring gushed out. A gray-sheathed cedar-tree marked the entrance to
this hollow glade, and under it August began preparing Hare's bed.

"Here's the place you're to sleep, rain or shine or snow," he said. "Now
I've spent my life sleeping on the ground, and mother earth makes the
best bed. I'll dig out a little pit in this soft mat of needles; that's
for your hips. Then the tarpaulin so; a blanket so. Now the other
blankets. Your feet must be a little higher than your head; you really
sleep down hill, which breaks the wind. So you never catch cold. All
you need do is to change your position according to the direction of the
wind. Pull up the blankets, and then the long end of the tarpaulin. If
it rains or snows cover your head, and sleep, my lad, sleep to the song
of the wind!"

From where Hare lay, resting a weary body, he could see down into the
depression which his position guarded. Naab built up the fire; Piute
peeled potatoes with deliberate care; Mescal, on her knees, her brown
arms bare, kneaded dough in a basin; Wolf crouched on the ground, and
watched his mistress; Black Bolly tossed her head, elevating the bag on
her nose so as to get all the grain.

Naab called him to supper, and when Hare set to with a will on the bacon
and eggs, and hot biscuits, he nodded approvingly. "That's what I want
to see," he said approvingly. "You must eat. Piute will get deer, or
you may shoot them yourself; eat all the venison you can. Remember what
Scarbreast said. Then rest. That's the secret. If you eat and rest you
will gain strength."

The edge of the wall was not a hundred paces from the camp; and when
Hare strolled out to it after supper, the sun had dipped the under
side of its red disc behind the desert. He watched it sink, while the
golden-red flood of light grew darker and darker. Thought seemed remote
from him then; he watched, and watched, until he saw the last spark of
fire die from the snow-slopes of Coconina. The desert became dimmer and
dimmer; the oasis lost its outline in a bottomless purple pit, except
for a faint light, like a star.

The bleating of sheep aroused him and he returned to camp. The fire was
still bright. Wolf slept close to Mescal's tent; Piute was not in sight;
and Naab had rolled himself in blankets. Crawling into his bed, Hare
stretched aching legs and lay still, as if he would never move again.
Tired as he was, the bleating of the sheep, the clear ring of the bell
on Black Bolly, and the faint tinkle of lighter bells on some of the
rams, drove away sleep for a while. Accompanied by the sough of the wind
through the cedars the music of the bells was sweet, and he listened
till he heard no more.

A thin coating of frost crackled on his bed when he awakened; and out
from under the shelter of the cedar all the ground was hoar-white. As
he slipped from his blankets the same strong smell of black sage
and juniper smote him, almost like a blow. His nostrils seemed glued
together by some rich piny pitch; and when he opened his lips to breathe
a sudden pain, as of a knife-thrust, pierced his lungs. The thought
following was as sharp as the pain. Pneumonia! What he had long
expected! He sank against the cedar, overcome by the shock. But he
rallied presently, for with the reestablishment of the old settled
bitterness, which had been forgotten in the interest of his situation,
he remembered that he had given up hope. Still, he could not get back
at once to his former resignation. He hated to acknowledge that the
wildness of this desert canyon country, and the spirit it sought to
instil in him, had wakened a desire to live. For it meant only more to
give up. And after one short instant of battle he was himself again.
He put his hand under his flannel shirt and felt of the soreness of his
lungs. He found it not at the apex of the right lung, always the one
sensitive spot, but all through his breast. Little panting breaths did
not hurt; but the deep inhalation, which alone satisfied him filled
his whole chest with thousands of pricking needles. In the depth of his
breast was a hollow that burned.

When he had pulled on his boots and coat, and had washed himself in the
runway of the spring, his hands were so numb with cold they refused to
hold his comb and brush; and he presented himself at the roaring fire
half-frozen, dishevelled, trembling, but cheerful. He would not tell
Naab. If he had to die to-day, to-morrow or next week, he would lie down
under a cedar and die; he could not whine about it to this man.

"Up with the sun!" was Naab's greeting. His cheerfulness was as
impelling as his splendid virility. Following the wave of his hand Hare
saw the sun, a pale-pink globe through a misty blue, rising between the
golden crags of the eastern wall.

Mescal had a shy "good-morning" for him, and Piute a broad smile, and
familiar "how-do"; the peon slave, who had finished breakfast and was
about to depart, moved his lips in friendly greeting that had no sound.

"Did you hear the coyotes last night?" inquired August. "No! Well, of
all the choruses I ever heard. There must be a thousand on the bench.
Jack, I wish I could spare the time to stay up here with you and shoot
some. You'll have practice with the rifle, but don't neglect the Colt.
Practice particularly the draw I taught you. Piute has a carbine, and
he shoots at the coyotes, but who ever saw an Indian that could hit

"Damn--gun no good!" growled Piute, who evidently understood English
pretty well. Naab laughed, and while Hare ate breakfast he talked of the
sheep. The flock he had numbered three thousand. They were a goodly part
of them Navajo stock: small, hardy sheep that could live on anything
but cactus, and needed little water. This flock had grown from a small
number to its present size in a few years. Being remarkably free from
the diseases and pests which retard increase in low countries, the sheep
had multiplied almost one for one for every year. But for the ravages of
wild beasts Naab believed he could raise a flock of many thousands and
in a brief time be rich in sheep alone. In the winter he drove them
down into the oasis; the other seasons he herded them on the high ranges
where the cattle could not climb. There was grass enough on this plateau
for a million sheep. After the spring thaw in early March, occasional
snows fell till the end of May, and frost hung on until early summer;
then the July rains made the plateau a garden.

"Get the forty-four," concluded Naab, "and we'll go out and break it

With the long rifle in the hollow of his arm Jack forgot that he was a
sick man. When he came within gunshot of the flock the smell of sheep
effectually smothered the keen, tasty odor of black sage and juniper.
Sheep ranged everywhere under the low cedars. They browsed with noses
in the frost, and from all around came the tinkle of tiny bells on the
curly-horned rams, and an endless variety of bleats.

"They're spread now," said August. "Mescal drives them on every little
while and Piute goes ahead to pick out the best browse. Watch the dog,
Jack; he's all but human. His mother was a big shepherd dog that I got
in Lund. She must have had a strain of wild blood. Once while I was
hunting deer on Coconina she ran off with timber wolves and we thought
she was killed. But she came back, and had a litter of three puppies.
Two were white, the other black. I think she killed the black one. And
she neglected the others. One died, and Mescal raised the other. We
called him Wolf. He loves Mescal, and loves the sheep, and hates a wolf.
Mescal puts a bell on him when she is driving, and the sheep know the
bell. I think it would be a good plan for her to tie something red round
his neck--a scarf, so as to keep you from shooting him for a wolf."

Nimble, alert, the big white dog was not still a moment. His duty was to
keep the flock compact, to head the stragglers and turn them back; and
he knew his part perfectly. There was dash and fire in his work. He
never barked. As he circled the flock the small Navajo sheep, edging
ever toward forbidden ground, bleated their way back to the fold,
the larger ones wheeled reluctantly, and the old belled rams squared
themselves, lowering their massive horns as if to butt him. Never,
however, did they stand their ground when he reached them, for there was
a decision about Wolf which brooked no opposition. At times when he was
working on one side a crafty sheep on the other would steal out into the
thicket. Then Mescal called and Wolf flashed back to her, lifting his
proud head, eager, spirited, ready to take his order. A word, a wave
of her whip sufficed for the dog to rout out the recalcitrant sheep and
send him bleating to his fellows.

"He manages them easily now," said Naab, "but when the lambs come they
can't be kept in. The coyotes and wolves hang out in the thickets and
pick up the stragglers. The worst enemy of sheep, though, is the old
grizzly bear. Usually he is grouchy, and dangerous to hunt. He comes
into the herd, kills the mother sheep, and eats the milk-bag--no more!
He will kill forty sheep in a night. Piute saw the tracks of one up on
the high range, and believes this bear is following the flock. Let's get
off into the woods some little way, into the edge of the thickets--for
Piute always keeps to the glades--and see if we can pick off a few

August cautioned Jack to step stealthily, and slip from cedar to cedar,
to use every bunch of sage and juniper to hide his advance.

"Watch sharp, Jack. I've seen two already. Look for moving things. Don't
try to see one quiet, for you can't till after your eye catches him
moving. They are gray, gray as the cedars, the grass, the ground. Good!
Yes, I see him, but don't shoot. That's too far. Wait. They sneak
away, but they return. You can afford to make sure. Here now, by that
stone--aim low and be quick."

In the course of a mile, without keeping the sheep near at hand, they
saw upward of twenty coyotes, five of which Jack killed in as many

"You've got the hang of it," said Naab, rubbing his hands. "You'll kill
the varmints. Piute will skin and salt the pelts. Now I'm going up on
the high range to look for bear sign. Go ahead, on your own hook."

Hare was regardless of time while he stole under the cedars and through
the thickets, spying out the cunning coyotes. Then Naab's yell pealing
out claimed his attention; he answered and returned. When they met he
recounted his adventures in mingled excitement and disappointment.

"Are you tired?" asked Naab.

"Tired? No," replied Jack.

"Well, you mustn't overdo the very first day. I've news for you. There
are some wild horses on the high range. I didn't see them, but found
tracks everywhere. If they come down here you send Piute to close the
trail at the upper end of the bench, and you close the one where we
came up. There are only two trails where even a deer can get off this
plateau, and both are narrow splits in the wall, which can be barred by
the gates. We made the gates to keep the sheep in, and they'll serve
a turn. If you get the wild horses on the bench send Piute for me at

They passed the Indian herding the sheep into a corral built against
an uprising ridge of stone. Naab dispatched him to look for the dead
coyotes. The three burros were in camp, two wearing empty pack-saddles,
and Noddle, for once not asleep, was eating from Mescal's hand.

"Mescal, hadn't I better take Black Bolly home?" asked August.

"Mayn't I keep her?"

"She's yours. But you run a risk. There are wild horses on the range.
Will you keep her hobbled?"

"Yes," replied Mescal, reluctantly. "Though I don't believe Bolly would
run off from me."

"Look out she doesn't go, hobbles and all. Jack, here's the other bit of
news I have for you. There's a big grizzly camping on the trail of our
sheep. Now what I want to know is--shall I leave him to you, or put off
work and come up here to wait for him myself?"

"Why--" said Jack, slowly, "whatever you say. If you think you can
safely leave him to me--I'm willing."

"A grizzly won't be pleasant to face. I never knew one of those
sheep-killers that wouldn't run at a man, if wounded."

"Tell me what to do."

"If he comes down it's more than likely to be after dark. Don't risk
hunting him then. Wait till morning, and put Wolf on his trail. He'll be
up in the rocks, and by holding in the dog you may find him asleep in a
cave. However, if you happen to meet him by day do this. Don't waste any
shots. Climb a ledge or tree if one be handy. If not, stand your ground.
Get down on your knee and shoot and let him come. Mind you, he'll grunt
when he's hit, and start for you, and keep coming till he's dead. Have
confidence in yourself and your gun, for you can kill him. Aim low, and
shoot steady. If he keeps on coming there's always a fatal shot, and
that is when he rises. You'll see a bare spot on his breast. Put a
forty-four into that, and he'll go down."

August had spoken so easily, quite as if he were explaining how to shear
a yearling sheep, that Jack's feelings fluctuated between amazement and
laughter. Verily this desert man was stripped of all the false fears of

"Now, Jack, I'm off. Good-bye and good luck. Mescal, look out for
him.... So-ho! Noddle! Getup! Biscuit!" And with many a cheery word and
slap he urged the burros into the forest, where they and his tall form
soon disappeared among the trees.

Piute came stooping toward camp so burdened with coyotes that he could
scarcely be seen under the gray pile. With a fervent "damn" he tumbled
them under a cedar, and trotted back into the forest for another load.
Jack insisted on assuming his share of the duties about camp; and Mescal
assigned him to the task of gathering firewood, breaking red-hot sticks
of wood into small pieces, and raking them into piles of live coals.
Then they ate, these two alone. Jack did not do justice to the supper;
excitement had robbed him of appetite. He told Mescal how he had crept
upon the coyotes, how so many had eluded him, how he had missed a gray
wolf. He plied her with questions about the sheep, and wanted to know
if there would be more wolves, and if she thought the "silvertip" would
come. He was quite carried away by the events of the day.

The sunset drew him to the rim. Dark clouds were mantling the desert
like rolling smoke from a prairie-fire. He almost stumbled over Mescal,
who sat with her back to a stone. Wolf lay with his head in her lap, and
he growled.

"There's a storm on the desert," she said. "Those smoky streaks are
flying sand. We may have snow to-night. It's colder, and the wind is
north. See, I've a blanket. You had better get one."

He thanked her and went for it. Piute was eating his supper, and the
peon had just come in. The bright campfire was agreeable, yet Hare
did not feel cold. But he wrapped himself in a blanket and returned to
Mescal and sat beside her. The desert lay indistinct in the foreground,
inscrutable beyond; the canyon lost its line in gloom. The solemnity of
the scene stilled his unrest, the strange freedom of longings unleashed
that day. What had come over him? He shook his head; but with the
consciousness of self returned a feeling of fatigue, the burning pain in
his chest, the bitter-sweet smell of black sage and juniper.

"You love this outlook?" he asked.


"Do you sit here often?"

"Every evening."

"Is it the sunset that you care for, the roar of the river, just being
here high above it all?"

"It's that last, perhaps; I don't know."

"Haven't you been lonely?"


"You'd rather be here with the sheep than be in Lund, or Salt Lake City,
as Esther and Judith want to be?"


Any other reply from her would not have been consistent with the
impression she was making on him. As yet he had hardly regarded her as
a young girl; she had been part of this beautiful desert-land. But he
began to see in her a responsive being, influenced by his presence. If
the situation was wonderful to him what must it be for her? Like a shy,
illusive creature, unused to men, she was troubled by questions, fearful
of the sound of her own voice. Yet in repose, as she watched the lights
and shadows, she was serene, unconscious; her dark, quiet glance was
dreamy and sad, and in it was the sombre, brooding strength of the

Twilight and falling dew sent them back to the camp. Piute and Peon were
skinning coyotes by the blaze of the fire. The night wind had not yet
risen; the sheep were quiet; there was no sound save the crackle of
burning cedar sticks. Jack began to talk; he had to talk, so, addressing
Piute and the dumb peon, he struck at random into speech, and words
flowed with a rush. Piute approved, for he said "damn" whenever his
intelligence grasped a meaning, and the peon twisted his lips and
fixed his diamond eyes upon Hare in rapt gaze. The sound of a voice
was welcome to the sentinels of that lonely sheep-range. Jack talked of
cities, of ships, of people, of simple things in the life he had left,
and he discovered that Mescal listened. Not only did she listen; she
became absorbed; it was romance to her, fulfilment of her vague
dreams. Nor did she seek her tent till he ceased; then with a startled
"good-night" she was gone.

From under the snugness of his warm blankets Jack watched out the last
wakeful moments of that day of days. A star peeped through the fringe
of cedar foliage. The wind sighed, and rose steadily, to sweep over him
with breath of ice, with the fragrance of juniper and black sage and a
tang of cedar.

But that day was only the beginning of eventful days, of increasing
charm, of forgetfulness of self, of time that passed unnoted. Every
succeeding day was like its predecessor, only richer. Every day the
hoar-frost silvered the dawn; the sheep browsed; the coyotes skulked
in the thickets; the rifle spoke truer and truer. Every sunset Mescal's
changing eyes mirrored the desert. Every twilight Jack sat beside her in
the silence; every night, in the camp-fire flare, he talked to Piute and
the peon.

The Indians were appreciative listeners, whether they understood Jack or
not, but his talk with them was only a presence. He wished to reveal
the outside world to Mescal, and he saw with pleasure that every day she
grew more interested.

One evening he was telling of New York City, of the monster buildings
where men worked, and of the elevated railways, for the time was
the late seventies and they were still a novelty. Then something
unprecedented occurred, inasmuch as Piute earnestly and vigorously
interrupted Jack, demanding to have this last strange story made more
clear. Jack did his best in gesture and speech, but he had to appeal
to Mescal to translate his meaning to the Indian. This Mescal did with
surprising fluency. The result, however, was that Piute took exception
to the story of trains carrying people through the air. He lost his grin
and regarded Jack with much disfavor. Evidently he was experiencing the
bitterness of misplaced trust.

"Heap damn lie!" he exclaimed with a growl, and stalked off into the

Piute's expressive doubt discomfited Hare, but only momentarily, for
Mescal's silvery peal of laughter told him that the incident had brought
them closer together. He laughed with her and discovered a well of
joyousness behind her reserve. Thereafter he talked directly to Mescal.
The ice being broken she began to ask questions, shyly at first, yet
more and more eagerly, until she forgot herself in the desire to learn
of cities and people; of women especially, what they wore and how they
lived, and all that life meant to them.

The sweetest thing which had ever come to Hare was the teaching of this
desert girl. How naive in her questions and how quick to grasp she was!
The reaching out of her mind was like the unfolding of a rose. Evidently
the Mormon restrictions had limited her opportunities to learn.

But her thought had striven to escape its narrow confines, and now,
liberated by sympathy and intelligence, it leaped forth.

Lambing-time came late in May, and Mescal, Wolf, Piute and Jack knew
no rest. Night-time was safer for the sheep than the day, though the
howling of a thousand coyotes made it hideous for the shepherds. All
in a day, seemingly, the little fleecy lambs came, as if by magic, and
filled the forest with piping bleats. Then they were tottering after
their mothers, gamboling at a day's growth, wilful as youth--and the
carnage began. Boldly the coyotes darted out of thicket and bush, and
many lambs never returned to their mothers. Gaunt shadows hovered always
near; the great timber-wolves waited in covert for prey. Piute slept not
at all, and the dog's jaws were flecked with blood morning and night.
Jack hung up fifty-four coyotes the second day; the third he let them
lie, seventy in number. Many times the rifle-barrel burned his hands.
His aim grew unerring, so that running brutes in range dropped in their
tracks. Many a gray coyote fell with a lamb in his teeth.

One night when sheep and lambs were in the corral, and the shepherds
rested round the camp-fire, the dog rose quivering, sniffed the cold
wind, and suddenly bristled with every hair standing erect.

"Wolf!" called Mescal.

The sheep began to bleat. A rippling crash, a splintering of wood, told
of an irresistible onslaught on the corral fence.

"Chus--chus!" exclaimed Piute.

Wolf, not heeding Mescal's cry, flashed like lightning under the cedars.
The rush of the sheep, pattering across the corral was succeeded by an

"Bear! Bear!" cried Mescal, with dark eyes on Jack. He seized his rifle.

"Don't go," she implored, her hand on his arm. "Not at night--remember
Father Naab said not."

"Listen! I won't stand that. I'll go. Here, get in the tree--quick!"


"Do as I say!" It was a command. The girl wavered. He dropped the rifle,
and swung her up. "Climb!"

"No--don't go--Jack!"

With Piute at his heels he ran out into the darkness.

Next: The Wind In The Cedars

Previous: The Oasis

Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 469