Part 2 out of 7
burly-shouldered, bronze-faced, and grim, proved in his appearance
what a lifetime on the plains could make of a man. Emett was a Mormon,
a massively built grey-bearded son of the desert; he had lived his
life on it; he had conquered it and in his falcon eyes shone all its
fire and freedom. Ranger Jim Owens had the wiry, supple body and
careless, tidy garb of the cowboy, and the watchful gaze, quiet face
and locked lips of the frontiersman. The fourth member was a Navajo
Indian, a copper-skinned, raven-haired, beady-eyed desert savage.
I had told Emett to hire some one who could put the horses on grass in
the evening and then find them the next morning. In northern Arizona
this required more than genius. Emett secured the best trailer of the
desert Navajos. Jones hated an Indian; and Jim, who carried an ounce
of lead somewhere in his person, associated this painful addition to
his weight with an unfriendly Apache, and swore all Indians should
be dead. So between the two, Emett and I had trouble in keeping our
Navajo from illustrating the plainsman idea of a really good Indian--a
While we were pitching camp among magnificent pine trees, and above a
hollow where a heavy bank of snow still lay, a sodden pounding in the
turf attracted our attention.
"Hold the horses!" yelled Emett.
As we all made a dive among our snorting and plunging horses the sound
seemed to be coming right into camp. In a moment I saw a string of
wild horses thundering by. A noble black stallion led them, and as he
ran with beautiful stride he curved his fine head backward to look at
us, and whistled his wild challenge.
Later a herd of large white-tailed deer trooped up the hollow. The
Navajo grew much excited and wanted me to shoot, and when Emett told
him we had not come out to kill, he looked dumbfounded. Even the
Indian felt it a strange departure from the usual mode of hunting to
travel and climb hundreds of miles over hot desert and rock-ribbed
canyons, to camp at last in a spot so wild that deer were tame as
cattle, and then not kill.
Nothing could have pleased me better, incident to the settling into
permanent camp. The wild horses and tame deer added the all-satisfying
touch to the background of forest, flowers and mighty pines and sunlit
patches of grass, the white tents and red blankets, the sleeping
hounds and blazing fire-logs all making a picture like that of a
"Come, saddle up," called the never restful Jones. "Leave the Indian
in camp with the hounds, and we'll get the lay of the land." All
afternoon we spent riding the plateau. What a wonderful place! We were
completely bewildered with its physical properties, and surprised
at the abundance of wild horses and mustangs, deer, coyotes, foxes,
grouse and other birds, and overjoyed to find innumerable lion trails.
When we returned to camp I drew a rough map, which Jones laid flat on
the ground as he called us around him.
"Now, boys, let's get our heads together."
In shape the plateau resembled the ace of clubs. The center and side
wings were high and well wooded with heavy pines; the middle wing
was longest, sloped west, had no pine, but a dense growth of cedar.
Numerous ridges and canyons cut up this central wing. Middle Canyon,
the longest and deepest, bisected the plateau, headed near camp, and
ran parallel with two smaller ones, which we named Right and Left
Canyons. These three were lion runways and hundreds of deer carcasses
lined the thickets. North Hollow was the only depression, as well as
runway, on the northwest rim. West Point formed the extreme western
cape of the plateau. To the left of West Point was a deep cut-in of
the rim wall, called the Bay. The three important canyons opened into
it. From the Bay, the south rim was regular and impassable all the way
round to the narrow Saddle, which connected it to the mainland.
"Now then," said Jones, when we assured him that we were pretty well
informed as to the important features, "you can readily see our
advantage. The plateau is about nine or ten miles long, and six wide
at its widest. We can't get lost, at least for long. We know where
lions can go over the rim and we'll head them off, make short cut
chases, something new in lion hunting. We are positive the lions can
not get over the second wall, except where we came up, at the Saddle.
In regard to lion signs, I'm doubtful of the evidence of my own eyes.
This is virgin ground. No white man or Indian has ever hunted lions
here. We have stumbled on a lion home, the breeding place of hundreds
of lions that infest the north rim of the canyon."
The old plainsman struck a big fist into the palm of his hand, a rare
action with him. Jim lifted his broad hat and ran his fingers through
his white hair. In Emett's clear desert-eagle eyes shown a furtive,
anxious look, which yet could not overshadow the smouldering fire.
"If only we don't kill the horses!" he said.
More than anything else that remark from such a man thrilled me with
its subtle suggestion. He loved those beautiful horses. What wild
rides he saw in his mind's eye! In cold calculation we perceived the
wonderful possibilities never before experienced by hunters, and as
the wild spell clutched us my last bar of restraint let down.
During supper we talked incessantly, and afterward around the
camp-fire. Twilight fell with the dark shadows sweeping under the
silent pines; the night wind rose and began its moan.
"Shore there's some scent on the wind," said Jim, lighting his pipe
with a red ember. "See how uneasy Don is."
The hound raised his fine, dark head and repeatedly sniffed the air,
then walked to and fro as if on guard for his pack. Moze ground his
teeth on a bone and growled at one of the pups. Sounder was sleepy,
but he watched Don with suspicious eyes. The other hounds, mature and
somber, lay stretched before the fire.
"Tie them up, Jim," said Jones, "and let's turn in."
When I awakened next morning the sound of Emett's axe rang out
sharply. Little streaks of light from the camp-fire played between the
flaps of the tent. I saw old Moze get up and stretch himself. A jangle
of cow-bells from the forest told me we would not have to wait for the
horses that morning.
"The Injun's all right," Jones remarked to Emett.
"All rustle for breakfast," called Jim.
We ate in the semi-darkness with the gray shadow ever brightening.
Dawn broke as we saddled our horses. The pups were limber, and ran
to and fro on their chains, scenting the air; the older hounds stood
"Come Navvy--come chase cougie," said Emett.
"Dam! No!" replied the Indian.
"Let him keep camp," suggested Jim.
"All right; but he'll eat us out," Emett declared.
"Climb up you fellows," said Jones, impatiently. "Have I got
everything--rope, chains, collars, wire, nippers? Yes, all right.
Hyar, you lazy dogs--out of this!"
We rode abreast down the ridge. The demeanor of the hounds contrasted
sharply with what it had been at the start of the hunt the year
before. Then they had been eager, uncertain, violent; they did not
know what was in the air; now they filed after Don in an orderly trot.
We struck out of the pines at half past five. Floating mist hid the
lower end of the plateau. The morning had a cool touch but there was
no frost. Crossing Middle Canyon about half way down we jogged on.
Cedar trees began to show bright green against the soft gray sage. We
were nearing the dark line of the cedar forest when Jim, who led, held
up his hand in a warning check. We closed in around him.
"Watch Don," he said.
The hound stood stiff, head well up, nose working, and the hair on his
back bristling. All the other hounds whined and kept close to him.
"Don scents a lion," whispered Jim. "I've never known him to do that
unless there was the scent of a lion on the wind."
"Hunt 'em up Don, old boy," called Jones.
The pack commenced to work back and forth along the ridge. We neared
a hollow when Don barked eagerly. Sounder answered and likewise Jude.
Moze's short angry "bow-wow" showed the old gladiator to be in line.
"Ranger's gone," cried Jim. "He was farthest ahead. I'll bet he's
struck it. We'll know in a minute, for we're close."
The hounds were tearing through the sage, working harder and harder,
calling and answering one another, all the time getting down into the
Don suddenly let out a string of yelps. I saw him, running head up,
pass into the cedars like a yellow dart. Sounder howled his deep, full
bay, and led the rest of the pack up the slope in angry clamor.
"They're off!" yelled Jim, and so were we.
In less than a minute we had lost one another. Crashings among the dry
cedars, thud of hoofs and yells kept me going in one direction. The
fiery burst of the hounds had surprised me. I remembered that Jim had
said Emett and his charger might keep the pack in sight, but that none
of the rest of us could.
It did not take me long to realize what my mustang was made of. His
name was Foxie, which suited him well. He carried me at a fast pace on
the trail of some one; and he seemed to know that by keeping in this
trail part of the work of breaking through the brush was already done
for him. Nevertheless, the sharp dead branches, more numerous in a
cedar forest than elsewhere, struck and stung us as we passed. We
climbed a ridge, and found the cedars thinning out into open patches.
Then we faced a bare slope of sage and I saw Emett below on his big
Foxie bolted down this slope, hurdling the bunches of sage, and
showing the speed of which Emett had boasted. The open ground, with
its brush, rock and gullies, was easy going for the little mustang. I
heard nothing save the wind singing in my ears. Emett's trail, plain
in the yellow ground showed me the way. On entering the cedars again
I pulled Foxie in and stopped twice to yell "waa-hoo!" I heard the
baying of the hounds, but no answer to my signal. Then I attended to
the stern business of catching up. For what seemed a long time, I
threaded the maze of cedar, galloped the open sage flats, always on
A signal cry, sharp to the right, turned me. I answered, and with the
exchange of signal cries found my way into an open glade where Jones
and Jim awaited me.
"Here's one," said Jim. "Emett must be with the hounds. Listen."
With the labored breathing of the horses filling our ears we could
hear no other sound. Dismounting, I went aside and turned my ear to
"I hear Don," I cried instantly.
"Which way?" both men asked.
"Strange," said Jones. "The hound wouldn't split, would he, Jim?"
"Don leave that hot trail? Shore he wouldn't," replied Jim. "But his
runnin' do seem queer this morning."
"The breeze is freshening," I said. "There! Now listen! Don, and
The baying came closer and closer. Our horses threw up long ears. It
was hard to sit still and wait. At a quick cry from Jim we saw Don
cross the lower end of the flat.
No need to spur our mounts! The lifting of bridles served, and away
we raced. Foxie passed the others in short order. Don had long
disappeared, but with blended bays, Jude, Moze, and Sounder broke out
of the cedars hot on the trail. They, too, were out of sight in a
The crash of breaking brush and thunder of hoofs from where the hounds
had come out of the forest, attracted and even frightened me. I saw
the green of a low cedar tree shake, and split, to let out a huge,
gaunt horse with a big man doubled over his saddle. The onslaught
of Emett and his desert charger stirred a fear in me that checked
"Hounds running wild," he yelled, and the dark shadows of the cedars
claimed him again.
A hundred yards within the forest we came again upon Emett,
dismounted, searching the ground. Moze and Sounder were with him,
apparently at fault. Suddenly Moze left the little glade and venting
his sullen, quick bark, disappeared under the trees. Sounder sat on
his haunches and yelped.
"Now what the hell is wrong?" growled Jones tumbling off his saddle.
"Shore something is," said Jim, also dismounting.
"Here's a lion track," interposed Emett.
"Ha! and here's another," cried Jones, in great satisfaction. "That's
the trail we were on, and here's another crossing it at right angles.
Both are fresh: one isn't fifteen minutes old. Don and Jude have split
one way and Moze another. By George! that's great of Sounder to hang
"Put him on the fresh trail," said Jim, vaulting into his saddle.
Jones complied, with the result that we saw Sounder start off on the
trail Moze had taken. All of us got in some pretty hard riding, and
managed to stay within earshot of Sounder. We crossed a canyon, and
presently reached another which, from its depth, must have been Middle
Canyon. Sounder did not climb the opposite slope, so we followed the
rim. From a bare ridge we distinguished the line of pines above us,
and decided that our location was in about the center of the plateau.
Very little time elapsed before we heard Moze. Sounder had caught up
with him. We came to a halt where the canyon widened and was not so
deep, with cliffs and cedars opposite us, and an easy slope leading
down. Sounder bayed incessantly; Moze emitted harsh, eager howls, and
both hounds, in plain sight, began working in circles.
"The lion has gone up somewhere," cried Jim. "Look sharp!"
Repeatedly Moze worked to the edge of a low wall of stone and looked
over; then he barked and ran back to the slope, only to return. When
I saw him slide down a steep place, make for the bottom of the stone
wall, and jump into the low branches of a cedar I knew where to look.
Then I descried the lion a round yellow ball, cunningly curled up in a
mass of dark branches. He had leaped into the tree from the wall.
"There he is! Treed! Treed!" I yelled. "Moze has found him."
"Down boys, down into the canyon," shouted Jones, in sharp voice.
"Make a racket, we don't want him to jump."
How he and Jim and Emett rolled and cracked the stone! For a moment I
could not get off my horse; I was chained to my saddle by a strange
vacillation that could have been no other thing than fear.
"Are you afraid?" called Jones from below.
"Yes, but I am coming," I replied, and dismounted to plunge down the
hill. It may have been shame or anger that dominated me then; whatever
it was I made directly for the cedar, and did not halt until I was
under the snarling lion.
"Not too close!" warned Jones. "He might jump. It's a Tom, a
two-year-old, and full of fight."
It did not matter to me then whether he jumped or not. I knew I had to
be cured of my dread, and the sooner it was done the better.
Old Moze had already climbed a third of the distance up to the lion.
"Hyar Moze! Out of there, you rascal coon chaser!" Jones yelled as he
threw stones and sticks at the hound. Moze, however, replied with his
snarly bark and climbed on steadily.
"I've got to pull him out. Watch close boys and tell me if the lion
When Jones climbed the first few branches of the tree, Tom let out an
"Make ready to jump. Shore he's comin'," called Jim.
The lion, snarling viciously, started to descend. It was a ticklish
moment for all of us, particularly Jones. Warily he backed down.
"Boys, maybe he's bluffing," said Jones, "Try him out. Grab sticks and
run at the tree and yell, as if you were going to kill him."
Not improbably the demonstration we executed under the tree would
have frightened even an African lion. Tom hesitated, showed his white
fangs, returned to his first perch, and from there climbed as far as
he could. The forked branch on which he stood swayed alarmingly.
"Here, punch Moze out," said Jim handing up a long pole.
The old hound hung like a leech to the tree, making it difficult to
dislodge him. At length he fell heavily, and venting his thick battle
cry, attempted to climb again.
Jim seized him, made him fast to the rope with which Sounder had
already been tied.
"Say Emett, I've no chance here," called Jones. "You try to throw at
him from the rock."
Emett ran up the rock, coiled his lasso and cast the noose. It sailed
perfectly in between the branches and circled Tom's head. Before it
could be slipped tight he had thrown it off. Then he hid behind the
"I'm going farther up," said Jones.
"Be quick," yelled Jim.
Jones evidently had that in mind. When he reached the middle fork of
the cedar, he stood erect and extended the noose of his lasso on the
point of his pole. Tom, with a hiss and snap, struck at it savagely.
The second trial tempted the lion to saw the rope with his teeth. In
a flash Jones withdrew the pole, and lifted a loop of the slack rope
over the lion's ears.
"Pull!" he yelled.
Emett, at the other end of the lasso, threw his great strength into
action, pulling the lion out with a crash, and giving the cedar such a
tremendous shaking that Jones lost his footing and fell heavily.
Thrilling as the moment was, I had to laugh, for Jones came up out of
a cloud of dust, as angry as a wet hornet, and made prodigious leaps
to get out of the reach of the whirling lion.
"Look out!" he bawled.
Tom, certainly none the worse for his tumble, made three leaps, two at
Jones, one at Jim, which was checked by the short length of the rope
in Emett's hands. Then for a moment, a thick cloud of dust enveloped
the wrestling lion, during which the quick-witted Jones tied the free
end of the lasso to a sapling.
"Dod gast the luck!" yelled Jones reaching for another lasso. "I
didn't mean for you to pull him out of the tree. Now he'll get loose
or kill himself."
When the dust cleared away, we discovered our prize stretched out at
full length and frothing at the mouth. As Jones approached, the lion
began a series of evolutions so rapid as to be almost indiscernible to
the eye. I saw a wheel of dust and yellow fur. Then came a thud and
the lion lay inert.
Jones pounced upon him and loosed the lasso around his neck.
"I think he's done for, but maybe not. He's breathing yet. Here, help
me tie his paws together. Look out! He's coming to!"
The lion stirred and raised his head. Jones ran the loop of the second
lasso around the two hind paws and stretched the lion out. While in
this helpless position and with no strength and hardly any breath left
in him the lion was easy to handle. With Emett's help Jones quickly
clipped the sharp claws, tied the four paws together, took off the
neck lasso and substituted a collar and chain.
"There, that's one. He'll come to all right," said Jones. "But we are
lucky. Emett, never pull another lion clear out of a tree. Pull him over
a limb and hang him there while some one below ropes his hind paws.
That's the only way, and if we don't stick to it, somebody is going to
get done for. Come, now, we'll leave this fellow here and hunt up Don
and Jude. They've treed another lion by this time."
Remarkable to me was to see how, as soon as the lion lay helpless,
Sounder lost his interest. Moze growled, yet readily left the spot.
Before we reached the level, both hounds had disappeared.
[Illustration: DOWN THE SHINUMO TRAIL OF THE NORTH RIVER]
[Illustration: CAMP AT THE SADDLE]
"Hear that?" yelled Jones, digging spurs into his horse. "Hi! Hi! Hi!"
From the cedars rang the thrilling, blending chorus of bays that told
of a treed lion. The forest was almost impenetrable. We had to pick
our way. Emett forged ahead; we heard him smashing the deadwood; and
soon a yell proclaimed the truth of Jones' assertion.
First I saw the men looking upward; then Moze climbing the cedar, and
the other hounds with noses skyward; and last, in the dead top of the
tree, a dark blot against the blue, a big tawny lion.
"Whoop!" The yell leaped past my lips. Quiet Jim was yelling; and
Emett, silent man of the desert, let from his wide cavernous chest a
booming roar that drowned ours.
Jones' next decisive action turned us from exultation to the grim
business of the thing. He pulled Moze out of the cedar, and while he
climbed up, Emett ran his rope under the collars of all of the hounds.
Quick as the idea flashed over me I leaped into the cedar adjoining
the one Jones was in, and went up hand over hand. A few pulls brought
me to the top, and then my blood ran hot and quick, for I was level
with the lion, too close for comfort, but in excellent position for
The lion, not heeding me, peered down at Jones, between widespread
paws. I could hear nothing except the hounds. Jones' gray hat came
pushing up between the dead snags; then his burly shoulders. The
quivering muscles of the lion gathered tense, and his lithe body
crouched low on the branches. He was about to jump. His open dripping
jaws, his wild eyes, roving in terror for some means of escape, his
tufted tail, swinging against the twigs and breaking them, manifested
his extremity. The eager hounds waited below, howling, leaping.
It bothered me considerably to keep my balance, regulate my camera
and watch the proceedings. Jones climbed on with his rope between his
teeth, and a long stick. The very next instant it seemed to me, I
heard the cracking of branches and saw the lion biting hard at the
noose which circled his neck.
Here I swung down, branch to branch, and dropped to the ground, for
I wanted to see what went on below. Above the howls and yelps, I
distinguished Jones' yell. Emett ran directly under the lion with a
spread noose in his hands. Jones pulled and pulled, but the lion held
on firmly. Throwing the end of the lasso down to Jim, Jones yelled
again, and then they both pulled. The lion was too strong. Suddenly,
however, the branch broke, letting the lion fall, kicking frantically
with all four paws. Emett grasped one of the four whipping paws, and
even as the powerful animal sent him staggering he dexterously left
the noose fast on the paw. Jim and Jones in unison let go of their
lasso, which streaked up through the branches as the lion fell, and
then it dropped to the ground, where Jim made a flying grab for it.
Jones plunging out of the tree fell upon the rope at the same instant.
If the action up to then had been fast, it was slow to what followed.
It seemed impossible for two strong men with one lasso, and a giant
with another, to straighten out that lion. He was all over the little
space under the trees at once. The dust flew, the sticks snapped,
the gravel pattered like shot against the cedars. Jones ploughed the
ground flat on his stomach, holding on with one hand, with the other
trying to fasten the rope to something; Jim went to his knees; and on
the other side of the lion, Emett's huge bulk tipped a sharp angle,
and then fell.
I shouted and ran forward, having no idea what to do, but Emett rolled
backward, at the same instant the other men got a strong haul on
the lion. Short as that moment was in which the lasso slackened, it
sufficed for Jones to make the rope fast to a tree. Whereupon with the
three men pulling on the other side of the leaping lion, somehow I had
flashed into my mind the game that children play, called skipping the
rope, for the lion and lasso shot up and down.
This lasted for only a few seconds. They stretched the beast from tree
to tree, and Jones running with the third lasso, made fast the front
"It's a female," said Jones, as the lion lay helpless, her sides
swelling; "a good-sized female. She's nearly eight feet from tip to
tip, but not very heavy. Hand me another rope."
When all four lassos had been stretched, the lioness could not move.
Jones strapped a collar around her neck and clipped the sharp yellow
"Now to muzzle her," he continued.
Jones' method of performing this most hazardous part of the work was
characteristic of him. He thrust a stick between her open jaws, and
when she crushed it to splinters he tried another, and yet another,
until he found one that she could not break. Then while she bit on it,
he placed a wire loop over her nose, slowly tightening it, leaving the
stick back of her big canines.
The hounds ceased their yelping and when untied, Sounder wagged his
tail as if to say, "Well done," and then lay down; Don walked within
three feet of the lion, as if she were now beneath his dignity; Jude
began to nurse and lick her sore paw; only Moze the incorrigible
retained antipathy for the captive, and he growled, as always, low and
deep. And on the moment, Ranger, dusty and lame from travel, trotted
wearily into the glade and, looking at the lioness, gave one disgusted
bark and flopped down.
Transporting our captives to camp bade fair to make us work. When
Jones, who had gone after the pack horses, hove in sight on the sage
flat, it was plain to us that we were in for trouble. The bay stallion
was on the rampage.
"Why didn't you fetch the Indian?" growled Emett, who lost his temper
when matters concerning his horses went wrong. "Spread out, boys, and
head him off."
We contrived to surround the stallion, and Emett succeeded in getting
a halter on him.
"I didn't want the bay," explained Jones, "but I couldn't drive the
others without him. When I told that redskin that we had two lions, he
ran off into the woods, so I had to come alone."
"I'm going to scalp the Navajo," said Jim, complacently.
These remarks were exchanged on the open ridge at the entrance to the
thick cedar forest. The two lions lay just within its shady precincts.
Emett and I, using a long pole in lieu of a horse, had carried Tom up
from the Canyon to where we had captured the lioness.
Jones had brought a packsaddle and two panniers.
[Illustration: BUCKSKIN FOREST]
[Illustration: BUFFALO JONES WITH SOUNDER AND RANGER]
When Emett essayed to lead the horse which carried these, the animal
stood straight up and began to show some of his primal desert
instincts. It certainly was good luck that we unbuckled the packsaddle
straps before he left the vicinity. In about three jumps he had
separated himself from the panniers, which were then placed upon the
back of another horse. This one, a fine looking beast, and amiable
under surroundings where his life and health were considered even a
little, immediately disclaimed any intention of entering the forest.
"They scent the lions," said Jones. "I was afraid of it; never had but
one nag that would pack lions."
"Maybe we can't pack them at all," replied Emett dubiously. "It's
certainly new to me."
"We've got to," Jones asserted; "try the sorrel."
For the first time in a serviceable and honorable life, according to
Emett, the sorrel broke his halter and kicked like a plantation mule.
"It's a matter of fright. Try the stallion. He doesn't look afraid,"
said Jones, who never knew when he was beaten.
Emett gazed at Jones as if he had not heard right.
"Go ahead, try the stallion. I like the way he looks."
No wonder! The big stallion looked a king of horses--just what he
would have been if Emett had not taken him, when a colt, from his wild
desert brothers. He scented the lions, and he held his proud head up,
his ears erect, and his large, dark eyes shone fiery and expressive.
"I'll try to lead him in and let him see the lions. We can't fool
him," said Emett.
Marc showed no hesitation, nor anything we expected. He stood
stiff-legged, and looked as if he wanted to fight.
"He's all right; he'll pack them," declared Jones.
The packsaddle being strapped on and the panniers hooked to the horns,
Jones and Jim lifted Tom and shoved him down into the left pannier
while Emett held the horse. A madder lion than Tom never lived. It was
cruel enough to be lassoed and disgrace enough to be "hog-tied," as
Jim called it, but to be thrust down into a bag and packed on a horse
was adding insult to injury. Tom frothed at the mouth and seemed like
a fizzing torpedo about to explode. The lioness being considerably
longer and larger, was with difficulty gotten into the other pannier,
and her head and paws hung out. Both lions kept growling and snarling.
"I look to see Marc bolt over the rim," said Emett, resignedly, as
Jones took up the end of the rope halter.
"No siree!" sang out that worthy. "He's helping us out; he's proud to
show up the other nags."
Jones was always asserting strange traits in animals, and giving them
intelligence and reason. As to that, many incidents coming under my
observation while with him, and seen with his eyes, made me incline to
his claims, the fruit of a lifetime with animals.
Marc packed the lions to camp in short order, and, quoting Jones,
"without turning a hair." We saw the Navajo's head protruding from a
tree. Emett yelled for him, and Jones and Jim "hahaed" derisively;
whereupon the black head vanished and did not reappear. Then they
unhooked one of the panniers and dumped out the lioness. Jones
fastened her chain to a small pine tree, and as she lay powerless he
pulled out the stick back of her canines. This allowed the wire muzzle
to fall off. She signalled this freedom with a roar that showed her
health to be still unimpaired. The last action in releasing her from
her painful bonds Jones performed with sleight-of-hand dexterity. He
slipped the loop fastening one paw, which loosened the rope, and in a
twinkling let her work all of her other paws free. Up she sprang, ears
flat, eyes ablaze, mouth wide, once more capable of defense, true to
her instinct and her name.
Before the men lowered Tom from Marc's back I stepped closer and put
my face within six inches of the lion's. He promptly spat on me. I had
to steel my nerve to keep so close. But I wanted to see a wild lion's
eyes at close range. They were exquisitely beautiful, their physical
properties as wonderful as their expression. Great half globes of
tawny amber, streaked with delicate wavy lines of black, surrounding
pupils of intense purple fire. Pictures shone and faded in the amber
light--the shaggy tipped plateau, the dark pines and smoky canyons,
the great dotted downward slopes, the yellow cliffs and crags. Deep in
those live pupils, changing, quickening with a thousand vibrations,
quivered the soul of this savage beast, the wildest of all wild
Nature, unquenchable love of life and freedom, flame of defiance and
Jones disposed of Tom in the same manner as he had the lioness,
chaining him to an adjoining small pine, where he leaped and wrestled.
Presently I saw Emett coming through the woods leading and dragging
the Indian. I felt sorry for the Navvy, for I felt that his fear was
not so much physical as spiritual. And it seemed no wonder to me that
the Navvy should hang back from this sacrilegious treatment of his
god. A natural wisdom, which I had in common with all human beings who
consider self preservation the first law of life, deterred me from
acquainting my august companions with my belief. At least I did not
want to break up the camp.
In the remorseless grasp of Emett, forced along, the Navajo dragged
his feet and held his face sidewise, though his dark eyes gleamed
at the lions. Terror predominated among the expressions of his
countenance. Emett drew him within fifteen feet and held him there,
and with voice, and gesticulating of his free hand, tried to show the
poor fellow that the lions would not hurt him.
Navvy stared and muttered to himself. Here Jim had some deviltry in
mind, for he edged up closer; but what it was never transpired, for
Emett suddenly pointed to the horses and said to the Indian:
It appeared when Navvy swung himself over Marc's broad back, that our
great stallion had laid aside his transiently noble disposition and
was himself again. Marc proceeded to show us how truly Jim had spoken:
"Shore he ain't no use for the redskin." Before the Indian had fairly
gotten astride, Marc dropped his head, humped his shoulders, brought
his feet together and began to buck. Now the Navajo was a famous
breaker of wild mustangs, but Marc was a tougher proposition than the
wildest mustang that ever romped the desert. Not only was he unusually
vigorous; he was robust and heavy, yet exceedingly active. I had seen
him roll over in the dust three times each way, and do it easily--a
feat Emett declared he had never seen performed by another horse.
Navvy began to bounce. He showed his teeth and twisted his sinewy
hands in the horse's mane. Marc began to act like a demon; he plowed
the ground; apparently he bucked five feet straight up. As the Indian
had bounced he now began to shoot into the air. He rose the last time
with his heels over his head, to the full extent of his arms; and on
plunging down his hold broke. He spun around the horse, then went
hurtling to the ground some twenty feet away. He sat up, and seeing
Emett and Jones laughing, and Jim prostrated with joy, he showed his
white teeth in a smile and said:
"No bueno dam."
I think all of us respected Navvy for his good humor, and especially
when he walked up to Marc, and with no show of the mean Indian,
patted the glossy neck and then nimbly remounted. Marc, not being so
difficult to please as Jim in the way of discomfiting the Navajo,
appeared satisfied for the present, and trotted off down the hollow,
with the string of horses ahead, their bells jingling.
Camp-fire tasks were a necessary wage in order to earn the full
enjoyment and benefit of the hunting trip; and looking for some task
with which to turn my hand, I helped Jim feed the hounds. To feed
ordinary dogs is a matter of throwing them a bone; however, our dogs
were not ordinary. It took time to feed them, and a prodigious amount
of meat. We had packed between three and four hundred pounds of
wild-horse meat, which had been cut into small pieces and strung on
the branches of a scrub oak near camp.
Don, as befitted a gentleman and the leader of the greatest pack in
the West, had to be fed by hand. I believe he would rather had starved
than have demeaned himself by fighting. Starved he certainly would
have, if Jim had thrown meat indiscriminately to the ground. Sounder
asserted his rights and preferred large portions at a time. Jude
begged with great solemn eyes but was no slouch at eating for all her
gentleness. Ranger, because of imperfectly developed teeth rendering
mastication difficult, had to have his share cut into very small
pieces. As for Moze--well, great dogs have their faults as do great
men--he never got enough meat; he would fight even poor crippled Jude,
and steal even from the pups; when he had gotten all Jim would give
him, and all he could snatch, he would growl away with bulging sides.
"How about feeding the lions?" asked Emett.
"They'll drink to-night," replied Jones, "but won't eat for days; then
we'll tempt them with fresh rabbits."
We made a hearty meal, succeeding which Jones and I walked through
the woods toward the rim. A yellow promontory, huge and glistening,
invited us westward, and after a detour of half a mile we reached it.
The points of the rim, striking out into the immense void, always drew
me irresistibly. We found the view from this rock one of startling
splendor. The corrugated rim-wall of the middle wing extended to the
west, at this moment apparently running into the setting sun. The gold
glare touching up the millions of facets of chiseled stone, created
color and brilliance too glorious and intense for the gaze of men. And
looking downward was like looking into the placid, blue, bottomless
depths of the Pacific.
"Here, help me push off this stone," I said to Jones. We heaved a huge
round stone, and were encouraged to feel it move. Fortunately we had a
little slope; the boulder groaned, rocked and began to slide. Just as
it toppled over I glanced at the second hand of my watch. Then with
eyes over the rim we waited. The silence was the silence of the
canyon, dead and vast, intensified by our breathless earstrain. Ten
long palpitating seconds and no sound! I gave up. The distance was too
great for sound to reach us. Fifteen seconds--seventeen--eighteen--
With that a puff of air seemed to rise, and on it the most awful
bellow of thunderous roar. It rolled up and widened, deadened to burst
out and roll louder, then slowly, like mountains on wheels, rumbled
under the rim-walls, passing on and on, to roar back in echo from the
cliffs of the mesas. Roar and rumble--roar and rumble! for two long
moments the dull and hollow echoes rolled at us, to die away slowly in
the far-distant canyons.
"That's a darned deep hole," commented Jones.
Twilight stole down on us idling there, silent, content to watch the
red glow pass away from the buttes and peaks, the color deepening
downward to meet the ebon shades of night creeping up like a dark
On turning toward the camp we essayed a short cut, which brought us to
a deep hollow with stony walls, which seemed better to go around. The
hollow, however, was quite long and we decided presently to cross it.
We descended a little way when Jones suddenly barred my progress with
his big arm.
"Listen," he whispered.
It was quiet in the woods; only a faint breeze stirred the pine
needles; and the weird, gray darkness seemed to be approaching under
I heard the patter of light, hard hoofs on the scaly sides of the
"Deer?" I asked my companion in a low voice.
"Yes; see," he replied, pointing ahead, "just right under that broken
wall of rock; right there on this side; they're going down."
I descried gray objects the color of the rocks, moving down like
"Have they scented us?"
"Hardly; the breeze is against us. Maybe they heard us break a twig.
They've stopped, but they are not looking our way. Now I wonder--"
Rattling of stones set into movement by some quick, sharp action, an
indistinct crash, but sudden, as of the impact of soft, heavy bodies,
a strange wild sound preceded in rapid succession violent brushings
and thumpings in the scrub of the hollow.
"Lion jumped a deer," yelled Jones. "Right under our eyes! Come on!
Hi! Hi! Hi!"
He ran down the incline yelling all of the way, and I kept close to
him, adding my yells to his, and gripping my revolver. Toward the
bottom the thicket barred our progress so that we had to smash through
and I came out a little ahead of Jones. And farther up the hollow I
saw a gray swiftly bounding object too long and too low for a deer,
and I hurriedly shot six times at it.
"By George! Come here," called my companion. "How's this for quick
work? It's a yearling doe."
In another moment I leaned over a gray mass huddled at Jones feet. It
was a deer gasping and choking. I plainly heard the wheeze of blood
in its throat, and the sound, like a death-rattle, affected me
powerfully. Bending closer, I saw where one side of the neck, low
down, had been terribly lacerated.
"Waa-hoo!" pealed down the slope.
"That's Emett," cried Jones, answering the signal. "If you have
another shot put this doe out of agony."
But I had not a shot left, nor did either of us have a clasp knife.
We stood there while the doe gasped and quivered. The peculiar sound,
probably made by the intake of air through the laceration of the
throat, on the spur of the moment seemed pitifully human.
I felt that the struggle for life and death in any living thing was
a horrible spectacle. With great interest I had studied natural
selection, the variability of animals under different conditions of
struggling existence, the law whereby one animal struck down and
devoured another. But I had never seen and heard that law enacted on
such a scale; and suddenly I abhorred it.
Emett strode to us through the gathering darkness.
"What's up?" he asked quickly.
He carried my Remington in one hand and his Winchester in the other;
and he moved so assuredly and loomed up so big in the dusk that I
experienced a sudden little rush of feeling as to what his advent
might mean at a time of real peril.
[Illustration: JONES ABOUT TO LASSO A MOUNTAIN LION]
[Illustration: REMAINS OF A DEER KILLED BY LIONS]
"Emett, I've lived to see many things," replied Jones, "but this is
the first time I ever saw a lion jump a deer right under my nose!"
As Emett bent over to seize the long ears of the deer, I noticed the
gasping had ceased.
"Neck broken," he said, lifting the head. "Well, I'm danged. Must have
been an all-fired strong lion. He'll come back, you may be sure of
that. Let's skin out the quarters and hang the carcass up in a tree!"
We returned to camp in a half an hour, the richer for our walk by a
quantity of fresh venison. Upon being acquainted with our adventure,
Jim expressed himself rather more fairly than was his customary way.
"Shore that beats hell! I knowed there was a lion somewheres, because
Don wouldn't lie down. I'd like to get a pop at the brute."
I believed Jim's wish found an echo in all our hearts. At any rate
to hear Emett and Jones express regret over the death of the doe
justified in some degree my own feelings, and I thought it was not
so much the death, but the lingering and terrible manner of it, and
especially how vividly it connoted the wild-life drama of the plateau.
The tragedy we had all but interrupted occurred every night, perhaps
often in the day and likely at different points at the same time.
Emett told how he had found fourteen piles of bleached bones and dried
hair in the thickets of less than a mile of the hollow on which we
"We'll rope the danged cats, boys, or we'll kill them."
"It's blowing cold. Hey, Navvy, _coco! coco!_" called Emett.
The Indian, carefully laying aside his cigarette, kicked up the fire
and threw on more wood.
"_Discass!_ (cold)," he said to me. "_Coco, bueno_ (fire good)."
I replied, "Me savvy--yes."
"Sleep-ie?" he asked.
"Mucha," I returned.
While we carried on a sort of novel conversation full of Navajo,
English, and gestures, darkness settled down black. I saw the stars
disappear; the wind changing to the north grew colder and carried
a breath of snow. I like north wind best--from under the warm
blankets--because of the roar and lull and lull and roar in the pines.
Crawling into the bed presently, I lay there and listened to the
rising storm-wind for a long time. Sometimes it swelled and crashed
like the sound of a breaker on the beach, but mostly, from a low
incessant moan, it rose and filled to a mighty rush, then suddenly
lulled. This lull, despite a wakeful, thronging mind, was conducive to
To be awaked from pleasant dreams is the lot of man. The Navajo
aroused me with his singing, and when I peeped languidly from under
the flap of my sleeping bag, I felt a cold air and saw fleecy flakes
of white drifting through the small window of my tent.
"Snow; by all that's lucky!" I exclaimed, remembering Jones' hopes.
Straightway my langour vanished and getting into my boots and coat I
went outside. Navvy's bed lay in six inches of snow. The forest was
beautifully white. A fine dazzling snow was falling. I walked to the
roaring camp-fire. Jim's biscuits, well-browned and of generous
size, had just been dumped into the middle of our breakfast cloth, a
tarpaulin spread on the ground; the coffee pot steamed fragrantly, and
a Dutch oven sizzled with a great number of slices of venison. "Did
you hear the Indian chanting?" asked Jones, who sat with his horny
hands to the blaze.
"I heard his singing."
"No, it wasn't a song; the Navajo never sings in the morning. What you
heard was his morning prayer, a chant, a religious and solemn ritual
to the break of day. Emett says it is a custom of the desert tribe.
You remember how we saw the Mokis sitting on the roofs of their little
adobe huts in the gray of the morning. They always greet the sun in
that way. The Navajos chant."
It certainly was worth remembering, I thought, and mentally observed
that I would wake up thereafter and listen to the Indian.
"Good luck and bad!" went on Jones. "Snow is what we want, but now we
can't find the scent of our lion of last night."
Low growls and snarls attracted me. Both our captives presented sorry
spectacles; they were wet, dirty, bedraggled. Emett had chopped down a
small pine, the branches of which he was using to make shelter for the
lions. While I looked on Tom tore his to pieces several times, but the
lioness crawled under hers and began licking her chops. At length
Tom, seeing that Emett meant no underhand trick, backed out of the
drizzling snow and lay down.
Emett had already constructed a shack for the hounds. It was a way of
his to think of everything. He had the most extraordinary ability. A
stroke of his axe, a twist of his great hands, a turn of this or that
made camp a more comfortable place. And if something, no matter what,
got out of order or broken, there was Emett to show what it was to be
a man of the desert. It had been my good fortune to see many able
men on the trail and round the camp-fire, but not one of them even
approached Emett's class. When I said a word to him about his knack
with things, his reply was illuminating: "I'm fifty-eight, and four
out of every five nights of my life I have slept away from home on the
"_Chineago!_" called Jim, who had begun with all of us to assimilate a
little of the Navajo's language.
Whereupon we fell to eating with appetite unknown to any save hunters.
Somehow the Indian had gravitated to me at meal times, and now he sat
cross-legged beside me, holding out his plate and looking as hungry as
Moze. At first he had always asked for the same kind of food that
I happened to have on my own plate. When I had finished and had no
desire to eat more, he gave up his faculty of imitation and asked for
anything he could get. The Navajo had a marvelous appetite. He liked
sweet things, sugar best of all. It was a fatal error to let him get
his hands on a can of fruit. Although he inspired Jones with disgust
and Jim with worse, he was a source of unfailing pleasure to me. He
called me "Mista Gay" and he pronounced the words haltingly in low
voice and with unmistakable respect.
"What's on for today?" queried Emett.
"I guess we may as well hang around camp and rest the hounds," replied
Jones. "I did intend to go after the lion that killed the deer, but
this snow has taken away the scent."
"Shore it'll stop snowin' soon," said Jim.
The falling snow had thinned out and looked like flying powder; the
leaden clouds, rolling close to the tree-tops, grew brighter and
brighter; bits of azure sky shone through rifts.
Navvy had tramped off to find the horses, and not long after his
departure he sent out a prolonged yell that echoed through the forest.
"Something's up," said Emett instantly. "An Indian never yells like
that at a horse."
[Illustration: A LION TIED]
[Illustration: FIGHTING WEETAHS (BUFFALO BULLS) ON BUFFALO JONES'S
We waited quietly for a moment, expecting to hear the yell repeated.
It was not, though we soon heard the jangle of bells, which told us he
had the horses coming. He appeared off to the right, riding Foxie and
racing the others toward camp.
"Cougie--mucha big--dam!" he said leaping off the mustang to confront
"Emett, does he mean he saw a cougar or a track?" questioned Jones.
"Me savvy," replied the Indian. "_Butteen, butteen_!"
"He says, trail--trail," put in Emett. "I guess I'd better go and
"I'll go with you," said Jones. "Jim, keep the hounds tight and hurry
with the horses' oats."
We followed the tracks of the horses which lead southwest toward the
rim, and a quarter of a mile from camp we crossed a lion trail running
at right angles with our direction.
"Old Sultan!" I cried, breathlessly, recognizing that the tracks had
been made by a giant lion we had named Sultan. They were huge, round,
and deep, and with my spread hand I could not reach across one of
Without a word, Jones strode off on the trail. It headed east and
after a short distance turned toward camp. I suppose Jones knew what
the lion had been about, but to Emett and me it was mystifying. Two
hundred yards from camp we came to a fallen pine, the body of which
was easily six feet high. On the side of this log, almost on top, were
two enormous lion tracks, imprinted in the mantle of snow. From here
the trail led off northeast.
"Darn me!" ejaculated Jones. "The big critter came right into camp; he
scented our lions, and raised up on this log to look over."
Wheeling, he started for camp on the trot. Emett and I kept even
with him. Words were superfluous. We knew what was coming. A
made--to--order lion trail could not have equalled the one right in
the back yard of our camp.
"Saddle up!" said Jones, with the sharp inflection of words that had
come to thrill me. "Jim, Old Sultan has taken a look at us since break
I got into my chaps, rammed my little automatic into its saddle
holster and mounted. Foxie seemed to want to go. The hounds came out
of their sheds and yawned, looking at us knowingly. Emett spoke a word
to the Navajo, and then we were trotting down through the forest. The
sun had broken out warm, causing water to drip off the snow laden
pines. The three of us rode close behind Jones, who spoke low and
sternly to the hounds.
What an opportunity to watch Don! I wondered how soon he would catch
the scent of the trail. He led the pack as usual and kept to a
leisurely dog--trot. When within twenty yards of the fallen log, he
stopped for an instant and held up his head, though without exhibiting
any suspicion or uneasiness.
The wind blew strong at our backs, a circumstance that probably
kept Don so long in ignorance of the trail. A few yards further on,
however, he stopped and raised his fine head. He lowered it and
trotted on only to stop again. His easy air of satisfaction with
the morning suddenly vanished. His savage hunting instinct awakened
through some channel to raise the short yellow hair on his neck and
shoulders and make it stand stiff. He stood undecided with warily
shifting nose, then jumped forward with a yelp. Another jump brought
another sharp cry from him. Sounder, close behind, echoed the yelp.
Jude began to whine. Then Don, with a wild howl, leaped ten feet to
alight on the lion trail and to break into wonderfully rapid flight.
The seven other hounds, bunched in a black and yellow group, tore
after him filling the forest with their wild uproar.
Emett's horse bounded as I have seen a great racer leave the post, and
his desert brothers, loving wild bursts of speed, needing no spur,
kept their noses even with his flanks. The soft snow, not too deep,
rather facilitated than impeded this wild movement, and the open
forest was like a highway.
So we rode, bending low in the saddle, keen eyes alert for branches,
vaulting the white--blanketed logs, and swerving as we split to pass
the pines. The mist from the melting snow moistened our faces, and the
rushing air cooled them with fresh, soft sensation. There were moments
when we rode abreast and others when we sailed single file, with white
ground receding, vanishing behind us.
My feeling was one of glorious excitation in the swift, smooth flight
and a grim assurance of soon seeing the old lion. But I hoped we would
not rout him too soon from under a windfall, or a thicket where he
had dragged a deer, because the race was too splendid a thing to cut
short. Through my mind whirled with inconceivable rapidity the great
lion chases on which we had ridden the year before. And this was
another chase, only more stirring, more beautiful, because it was the
nature of the thing to grow always with experience.
Don slipped out of sight among the pines. The others strung along the
trail, glinted across the sunlit patches. The black pup was neck and
neck with Ranger. Sounder ran at their heels, leading the other pups.
Moze dashed on doggedly ahead of Jude.
But for us to keep to the open forest, close to the hounds, was not in
the nature of a lion chase. Old Sultan's trail turned due west when he
began to go down the little hollows and their intervening ridges. We
lost ground. The pack left us behind. The slope of the plateau became
decided. We rode out of the pines to find the snow failing in the
open. Water ran in little gullies and glistened on the sagebrush. A
half mile further down the snow had gone. We came upon the hounds
running at fault, except Sounder, and he had given up.
"All over," sang out Jones, turning his horse. "The lion's track and
his scent have gone with the snow. I reckon we'll do as well to wait
until to-morrow. He's down in the middle wing somewhere and it is my
idea we might catch his trail as he comes back."
The sudden dashing aside of our hopes was exasperating. There seemed
no help for it; abrupt ending to exciting chases were but features of
the lion hunt. The warm sun had been hours on the lower end of the
plateau, where the snow never lay long; and even if we found a fresh
morning trail in the sand, the heat would have burned out the scent.
So rapidly did the snow thaw that by the time we reached camp only the
shady patches were left.
It was almost eleven o'clock when I lay down on my bed to rest awhile
and fell asleep. The tramp of a horse awakened me. I heard Jim calling
Jones. Thinking it was time to eat I went out. The snow had all
disappeared and the forest was brown as ever. Jim sat on his horse and
Navvy appeared riding up to the hollow, leading the saddle horses.
"Jones, get out," called Jim.
"Can't you let a fellow sleep? I'm not hungry," replied Jones testily.
"Get out and saddle up," continued Jim.
Jones burst out of his tent, with rumpled hair and sleepy eyes.
"I went over to see the carcass of the deer an' found a lion sittin'
up in the tree, feedin' for all he was worth. Pie jumped out an' ran
up the hollow an' over the rim. So I rustled back for you fellows.
Lively now, we'll get this one sure."
"Was it the big fellow?" I asked
"No, but he ain't no kitten; an' he's a fine color, sort of reddish. I
never seen one just as bright. Where's Emett?"
"I don't know. He was here a little while ago. Shall I signal for
"Don't yell," cried Jones holding up his fingers. "Be quiet now."
Without another word we finished saddling, mounted and, close
together, with the hounds in front, rode through the forest toward the
We rode in different directions toward the hollow, the better to
chance meeting with Emett, but none of us caught a glimpse of him.
It happened that when we headed into the hollow it was at a point just
above where the deer carcass hung in the scrub oak. Don in spite of
Jones' stern yells, let out his eager hunting yelp and darted down the
slope. The pack bolted after him and in less than ten seconds were
racing up the hollow, their thrilling, blending bays a welcome spur to
action. Though I spoke not a word to my mustang nor had time to raise
the bridle, he wheeled to one side and began to run. The other horses
also kept to the ridge, as I could tell by the pounding of hoofs on
the soft turf. The hounds in full cry right under us urged our good
steeds to a terrific pace. It was well that the ridge afforded clear
The speed at which we traveled, however, fast as it was, availed not
to keep up with the pack. In a short half mile, just as the hollow
sloped and merged into level ground, they left us behind and
disappeared so quickly as almost to frighten me. My mustang plunged
out of the forest to the rim and dashed along, apparently unmindful of
the chasm. The red and yellow surface blurred in a blinding glare. I
heard the chorus of hounds, but as its direction baffled me I trusted
to my horse and I did well, for soon he came to a dead halt on the
Then I heard the hounds below me. I had but time to see the character
of the place--long, yellow promontories running out and slopes of
weathered stone reaching up between to a level with the rim--when in a
dwarf pine growing just over the edge I caught sight of a long, red,
I whooped to my followers now close upon me and leaping off hauled out
my Remington and ran to the cliff. The lion's long, slender body, of a
rare golden-red color, bright, clean, black-tipped and white-bellied,
proclaimed it a female of exceeding beauty. I could have touched her
with a fishing rod and saw how easily she could be roped from where I
stood. The tree in which she had taken refuge grew from the head of
a weathered slope and rose close to the wall. At that point it was
merely a parapet of crumbling yellow rock. No doubt she had lain
concealed under the shelving wall and had not had time to get away
before the hounds were right upon her.
"She's going to jump," yelled Jones, in my rear, as he dismounted.
I saw a golden-red streak flash downward, heard a mad medley from the
hounds, a cloud of dust rose, then something bright shone for a second
to the right along the wall. I ran with all my might to a headland of
rock upon which I scrambled and saw with joy that I could command the
The lioness was not in sight, nor were the hounds. The latter,
however, were hot on the trail. I knew the lioness had taken to
another tree or a hole under the wall, and would soon be routed out.
This time I felt sure she would run down and I took a rapid glance
below. The slope inclined at a steep angle and was one long slide of
bits of yellow stone with many bunches of scrub oak and manzanita.
Those latter I saw with satisfaction, because in case I had to go down
they would stop the little avalanches. The slope reached down perhaps
five hundred yards and ended in a thicket and jumble of rocks from
which rose on the right a bare yellow slide. This ran up to a low
cliff. I hoped the lion would not go that way, for it led to great
broken battlements of rim. Left of the slide was a patch of cedars.
Jim's yell pealed out, followed by the familiar penetrating howl of
the pack when it sighted game. With that I saw the lioness leaping
down the slope and close behind her a yellow hound.
"Go it, Don, old boy!" I yelled, wild with delight.
A crushing step on the stones told me Jones had arrived.
"Hi! Hi! Hi!" roared he.
I thought then that if the lioness did not cover thirty feet at every
jump I was not in a condition to judge distance. She ran away from Don
as if he had been tied and reached the thicket below a hundred yards
ahead of him. And when Don leaving his brave pack far up the slide
entered the thicket the lioness came out on the other side and bounded
up the bare slope of yellow shale.
"Shoot ahead of her! Head her off! Turn her back!" cried Jones.
With the word I threw forward the Remington and let drive. Following
the bellow of the rifle, so loud in that thin air, a sharp, harsh
report cracked up from below. A puff of yellow dust rose in front of
the lioness. I was in line, but too far ahead. I fired again. The
steel jacketed bullet hit a stone and spitefully whined away into the
canyon. I tried once more. This time I struck close to the lioness.
Disconcerted by a cloud of dust rising before her very eyes she
wheeled and ran back.
We had forgotten Don and suddenly he darted out of the thicket,
straight up the slide. Always, in every chase, we were afraid the
great hound would run to meet his death. We knew it was coming
sometime. When the lioness saw him and stopped, both Jones and I felt
that this was to be the end of Don.
"Shoot her! Shoot her!" cried Jones. "She'll kill him! She'll kill
As I knelt on the rock I had a hard contraction of my throat, and
then all my muscles set tight and rigid. I pulled the trigger of my
automatic once, twice. It was wonderful how closely the two bullets
followed each other, as we could tell by the almost simultaneous
puffs of dust rising from under the beast's nose. She must have been
showered and stung with gravel, for she bounded off to the left and
disappeared in the cedars. I had missed, but the shots had served to a
better end than if I had killed her.
As Don raced up the ground where a moment before a battle and probably
death had awaited him, the other hounds burst from the thicket. With
that, a golden form seemed to stand out from the green of the cedar,
to move and to rise.
"She's treed! She's treed!" shouted Jones. "Go down and keep her there
while I follow."
From the back of the promontory where I met the main wall, I let
myself down a niche, foot here and there, a hand hard on the soft
stone, braced knee and back until I jumped to the edge of the slope.
The scrub oak and manzanita saved me many a fall. I set some stones
rolling and I beat them to the bottom. Having passed the thicket, I
bent my efforts to the yellow slide and when I had surmounted it my
breath came in labored pants. The howling of the hounds guided me
through the cedars.
First I saw Moze in the branches of cedar and above him the lioness. I
ran out into a little open patch of stony ground at the end of which
the tree stood leaning over a precipice. In truth the lioness was
swaying over a chasm.
Those details I grasped in a glance, then suddenly awoke to the fact
that the lioness was savagely snarling at Moze.
"Moze! Moze! Get down!" I yelled.
He climbed on serenely. He was a most exasperating dog. I screamed at
him and hit him with a rock big enough to break his bones. He kept on
climbing. Here was a predicament. Moze would surely get to the lioness
if I did not stop him, and this seemed impossible. It was out of the
question for me to climb after him. And if the lioness jumped she
would have to pass me or come straight at me. So I slipped down the
safety catch on my automatic and stood ready to save Moze or myself.
The lioness with a show of fury that startled me, descended her branch
a few steps, and reaching below gave Moze a sounding smack with her
big paw. The hound dropped as if he had been shot and hit the ground
with a thud. Whereupon she returned to her perch.
This reassured me and I ran among the dogs and caught Moze already
starting for the tree again and tied him, with a strap I always carried,
to a small bush nearby. I heard the yells of my companions
and looking back over the tops of the cedars I saw Jim riding down and
higher to the left Jones sliding, falling, running at a great rate. I
encouraged them to keep up the good work, and then gave my attention to
She regarded me with a cold, savage stare and showed her teeth. I
repaid this incivility on her part by promptly photographing her from
Jones and Jim were on the spot before I expected them and both were
dusty and dripping with sweat. I found to my surprise that my face was
wet as was also my shirt. Jones carried two lassos, and my canteen,
which I had left on the promontory.
"Ain't she a beauty?" he panted, wiping his face. "Wait--till I get my
When finally he walked toward the cedar the lioness stood up and
growled as if she realized the entrance of the chief actor upon the
scene. Jones cast his lasso apparently to try her out, and the noose
spread out and fell over her head. As he tightened the rope the
lioness backed down behind a branch.
"Tie the dogs!" yelled Jones.
"Quick!" added Jim. "She's goin' to jump."
Jim had only time to aid me in running my lasso under the collar of
Don, Sounder, Jude and one of the pups. I made them fast to a cedar.
I got my hands on Ranger just as Moze broke his strap. I grabbed his
collar and held on.
Right there was where trouble commenced for me. Ranger tussled valiantly
and Moze pulled me all over the place. Behind me I heard Jones' roar and
Jim's yell; the breaking of branches, the howling of the other dogs.
Ranger broke away from me and so enabled me to get my other hand on the
neck of crazy Moze. On more than one occasion I had tried to hold him
and had failed; this time I swore I would do it if he rolled me
over the precipice. As to that, only a bush saved me.
More and louder roars and yells, hoarser howls and sharper
wrestling, snapping sounds told me what was going on while I tried to
subdue Moze. I had a grim thought that I would just as lief have had
hold of the lioness. The hound presently stopped his plunging which gave
me an opportunity to look about. The little space was smoky with a smoke
of dust. I saw the lioness stretched out with one lasso around a bush
and another around a cedar with the end in the hands of Jim. He looked
as if he had dug up the ground. While he tied this lasso securely Jones
proceeded to rope the dangerous front paws.
The hounds quieted down and I took advantage of this absence of tumult
to get rid of Moze.
"Pretty lively," said Jones, spitting gravel as I walked up. Sand and
dust lay thick in his beard and blackened his face. "I tell you she
made us root."
Either the lioness had been much weakened or choked, or Jones had
unusual luck, for we muzzled her and tied up her paws in short order.
"Where's Ranger?" I asked suddenly, missing him from the panting
"I grabbed him by the heels when he tackled the lion, and I gave him a
sling somewheres," replied Jim.
Ranger put in an appearance then under the cedars limping painfully.
"Jim, darn me, if I don't believe you pitched him over the precipice!"
Examination proved this surmise to be correct. We saw where Ranger had
slipped over a twenty-foot wall. If he had gone over just under the
cedar where the depth was much greater he would never have come back.
"The hounds are choking with dust and heat," I said. When I poured
just a little water from my canteen into the crown of my hat, the
hounds began fighting around and over me and spilled the water.
"Behave, you coyotes!" I yelled. Either they were insulted or fully
realized the exigency of the situation, for each one came up and
gratefully lapped every drop of his portion.
"Shore, now comes the hell of it," said Jim appearing with a long
pole. "Packin' the critter out."
An argument arose in regard to the best way up the slope, and by
virtue of a majority we decided to try the direction Jim and I thought
best. My companions led the way, carrying the lioness suspended on the
pole. I brought up the rear, packing my rifle, camera, lasso, canteen
and a chain.
It was killing work. We had to rest every few steps. Often we would
fall. Jim laughed, Jones swore, and I groaned. Sometimes I had to drop
my things to help my companions. So we toiled wearily up the loose,
"What's she shakin' like that for?" asked Jim suddenly.
Jones let down his end of the pole and turned quickly. Little tremors
quivered over the lissome body of the lioness.
"She's dying," cried Jim, jerking out the stick between her teeth and
slipping off the wire muzzle.
Her mouth opened and her frothy tongue lolled out. Jones pointed to
her quivering sides and then raised her eyelids. We saw the eyes
already glazing, solemnly fixed.
"She's gone," he said.
Very soon she lay inert and lifeless. Then we sat beside her without
a word, and we could hardly for the moment have been more stunned and
heartbroken if it had been the tragic death of one of our kind.
In that wild environment, obsessed by the desire to capture those
beautiful cats alive, the fateful ending of the successful chase was
felt out of all proportion.
"Shore she's dead," said Jim. "And wasn't she a beauty? What was
"The heat and lack of water," replied Jones. "She choked. What idiots
we were! Why didn't we think to give her a drink."
So we passionately protested against our want of fore-thought, and
looked again and again with the hope that she might come to. But death
had stilled the wild heart. We gave up presently, still did not move
on. We were exhausted, and all the while the hounds lay panting on the
rocks, the bees hummed, the flies buzzed. The red colors of the upper
walls and the purple shades of the lower darkened silently.
"Shore we can't set here all night," said Jim. "Let's skin the lion
an' feed the hounds."
The most astonishing thing in our eventful day was the amount of meat
stowed away by the dogs. Lion flesh appealed to their appetites. If
hungry Moze had an ounce of meat, he had ten pounds. It seemed a good
opportunity to see how much the old gladiator could eat; and Jim and I
cut chunks of meat as fast as possible. Moze gulped them with absolute
unconcern of such a thing as mastication. At length he reached his
limit, possibly for the first time in his life, and looking longingly
at a juicy red strip Jim held out, he refused it with manifest shame.
Then he wobbled and fell down.
We called to him as we started to climb the slope, but he did not
come. Then the business of conquering that ascent of sliding stone
absorbed all our faculties and strength. Little headway could we have
made had it not been for the brush. We toiled up a few feet only to
slide back and so it went on until we were weary of life.
When one by one we at last gained the rim and sat there to recover
breath, the sun was a half globe of fire burning over the western
ramparts. A red sunset bathed the canyon in crimson, painting the
walls, tinting the shadows to resemble dropping mists of blood. It was
beautiful and enthralling to my eyes, but I turned away because it
wore the mantle of tragedy.
Dispirited and worn out, we trooped into camp to find Emett and a
steaming supper. Between bites the three of us related the story of
the red lioness. Emett whistled long and low and then expressed his
regret in no light terms.
"Roping wild steers and mustangs is play to this work," he said in
I was too tired to tease our captive lions that evening; even the
glowing camp-fire tempted me in vain, and I crawled into my bed with
eyes already glued shut.
A heavy weight on my feet stirred me from oblivion. At first, when
only half awake, I could not realize what had fallen on my bed, then
hearing a deep groan I knew Moze had come back. I was dropping off
again when a strange, low sound caused my eyes to open wide. The black
night had faded to the gray of dawn. The sound I recognized at once
to be the Navajo's morning chant. I lay there and listened. Soft and
monotonous, wild and swelling, but always low and strange, the savage
song to the break of day was exquisitely beautiful and harmonious. I
wondered what the literal meaning of his words could have been. The
significance needed no translation. To the black shadows fading away,
to the brightening of the gray light, to the glow of the east, to the
morning sun, to the Giver of Life--to these the Indian chanted his
Could there have been a better prayer? Pagan or not, the Navajo with
his forefathers felt the spiritual power of the trees, the rocks, the
light and sun, and he prayed to that which was divinely helpful to him
in all the mystery of his unintelligible life.
We did not crawl out that morning as early as usual, for it was to be
a day of rest. When we did, a mooted question arose--whether we or the
hounds were the more crippled. Ranger did not show himself; Don could
just walk and that was all; Moze was either too full or too tired to
move; Sounder nursed a foot and Jude favored her lame leg.
After lunch we brightened up somewhat and set ourselves different
tasks. Jones had misplaced or lost his wire and began to turn the camp
topsy-turvy in his impatient efforts to locate it. The wire, however,
was not to be found. This was a calamity, for, as we asked each other,
how could we muzzle lions without wire? Moreover, a half dozen heavy
leather straps which I had bought in Kanab for use as lion collars had
disappeared. We had only one collar left, the one that Jones had put
on the red lioness.
Whereupon we began to blame each other, to argue, to grow heated and
naturally from that to become angry. It seems a fatality of campers
along a wild trail, like explorers in an unknown land, to be prone to
fight. If there is an explanation of this singular fact, it must be
that men at such time lose their poise and veneer of civilization; in
brief, they go back. At all events we had it hot and heavy, with the
center of attack gradually focusing on Jones, and as he was always
losing something, naturally we united in force against him.
Fortunately, we were interrupted by yells from the Navajo off in the
woods. The brushing of branches and pounding of hoofs preceded his
appearance. In some remarkable manner he had gotten a bridle on Marc,
and from the way the big stallion hurled his huge bulk over logs and
through thickets, it appeared evident he meant to usurp Jim's ambition
and kill the Navajo. Hearing Emett yell, the Indian turned Marc toward
camp. The horse slowed down when he neared the glade and tried to
buck. But Navvy kept his head up. With that Marc seemed to give way to
ungovernable rage and plunged right through camp; he knocked over the
dogs' shelter and thundered down the ridge.
Now the Navajo, with the bridle in his hand was thoroughly at home. He
was getting his revenge on Marc, and he would have kept his seat on a
wild mustang, but Marc swerved suddenly under a low branch of a pine,
sweeping the Indian off.
When Navvy did not rise we began to fear he had been seriously hurt,
perhaps killed, and we ran to where he lay.
Face downward, hands outstretched, with no movement of body or muscle,
he certainly appeared dead.
"Badly hurt," said Emett, "probably back broken. I have seen it before
from just such accidents."
"Oh no!" cried Jones, and I felt so deeply I could not speak. Jim, who
always wanted Navvy to be a dead Indian, looked profoundly sorry.
"He's a dead Indian, all right," replied Emett.
We rose from our stooping postures and stood around, uncertain and
deeply grieved, until a mournful groan from Navvy afforded us much
"That's your dead Indian," exclaimed Jones.
Emett stooped again and felt the Indian's back and got in reward
another mournful groan.
"It's his back," said Emett, and true to his ruling passion, forever
to minister to the needs of horses, men, and things, he began to rub
the Indian and call for the liniment.
[Illustration: TREED LION]
[Illustration: TREED LION]
Jim went to fetch it, while I, still believing the Navvy to be
dangerously hurt, knelt by him and pulled up his shirt, exposing the
hollow of his brown back.
"Here we are," said Jim, returning on the run with the bottle.
"Pour some on," replied Emett.
Jim removed the cork and soused the liniment all over the Indian's
"Don't waste it," remonstrated Emett, starting to rub Navvy's back.
Then occurred a most extraordinary thing. A convulsion seemed to
quiver through the Indian's body; he rose at a single leap, and
uttering a wild, piercing yell broke into a run. I never saw an Indian
or anybody else run so fleetly. Yell after yell pealed back to us.
Absolutely dumfounded we all gazed at each other.
"That's your dead Indian!" ejaculated Jim.
"What the hell!" exclaimed Emett, who seldom used such language.
"Look here!" cried Jones, grabbing the bottle. "See! Don't you see
Jim fell face downward and began to shake.
"What?" shouted Emett and I together.
"Turpentine, you idiots! Turpentine! Jim brought the wrong bottle!"
In another second three more forms lay stretched out on the sward, and
the forest rang with sounds of mirth.
That night the wind switched and blew cold from the north, and so
strong that the camp-fire roared like a furnace. "More snow" was the
verdict of all of us, and in view of this, I invited the Navajo to
share my tent.
"Sleepie-me," I said to him.
"Me savvy," he replied and forthwith proceeded to make his bed with
Much to my surprise all my comrades raised protestations, which
struck me as being singularly selfish considering they would not be
inconvenienced in any way.
"Why not?" I asked. "It's a cold night. There'll be frost if not
"Shore you'll get 'em," said Jim.
"There never was an Indian that didn't have 'em," added Jones.
"What?" I questioned.
They made mysterious signs that rather augmented my ignorance as to
what I might get from the Indian, but in no wise changed my mind. When
I went to bed I had to crawl over Navvy. Moze lay at my feet as usual
and he growled so deep that I could not but think he, too, resented
the addition to my small tent.
"Mista Gay!" came in the Indian's low voice.
"Well Navvy?" I asked.
"Yes, Navvy, sleepy and tired. Are you?"
"Me savvy--mucha sleepie--mucha--no bueno."
I did not wonder at his feeling sleepy, tired and bad. He did not
awaken me in the morning, for when my eyes unclosed the tent was light
and he had gone. I found my companions up and doing.
We had breakfast and got into our saddles by the time the sun, a red
ball low down among the pines, began to brighten and turn to gold. No
snow had fallen but a thick frost encrusted the ground. The hounds,
wearing cloth moccasins, which plainly they detested, trotted in
front. Don showed no effects of his great run down the sliding slope
after the red lioness; it was one of his remarkable qualities that he
recuperated so quickly. Ranger was a little stiff, and Sounder favored
his injured foot. The others were as usual.
Jones led down the big hollow to which he kept after we had passed the
edge of the pines; then marking a herd of deer ahead, he turned his
horse up the bank.
We breasted the ridge and jogged toward the cedar forest, which we
entered without having seen the hounds show interest in anything.
Under the cedars in the soft yellow dust we crossed lion tracks, many
of them, but too old to carry a scent. Even North Hollow with its
regular beaten runway failed to win a murmur from the pack.
"Spread out," said Jones, "and look for tracks. I'll keep the center
and hold in the hounds."
Signalling occasionally to one another we crossed almost the breadth
of the cedar forest to its western end, where the open sage flats
inclined to the rim. In one of those flats I came upon a broken sage
bush, the grass being thick thereabout. I discovered no track but
dismounted and scrutinized the surroundings carefully. A heavy body
had been dragged across the sage, crushing it. The ends of broken
bushes were green, the leaves showed bruises.
I began to feel like Don when he scented game. Leading my mustang I
slowly proceeded across the open, guided by an occasional down-trodden
bush or tuft of grass. As I neared the cedars again Foxie snorted.
Under the first tree I found a ghastly bunch of red bones, a spread of
grayish hairs and a split skull. The bones, were yet wet; two long doe
ears were still warm. Then I saw big lion tracks in the dust and even
a well pressed imprint of a lion's body where he had rolled or lain.
The two yells I sent ringing into the forest were productive of
interesting results. Answers came from near and far. Then, what with
my calling and the replies, the forest rang so steadily with shrill
cries that the echoes had no chance to follow.
An elephant in the jungle could not have caused more crashing and
breaking of brush than did Emett as he made his way to me. He arrived
from the forest just as Jim galloped across the flat. Mutely I held up
the two long ears.
"Get on your horse!" cried Jim after one quick glance at the spread of
bones and hair.
It was well he said that, for I might have been left behind. I ran to
Foxie and vaulted upon him. A flash of yellow appeared among the sage
and a string of yelps split the air.
"It's Don!" yelled Jim.
Well we knew that. What a sight to see him running straight for us! He
passed, a savage yellow wolf in his ferocity, and disappeared like a
gleam under the gloomy cedars.
We spurred after him. The other hounds sped by. Jones closed in on us
from the left, and in a few minutes we were strung out behind Emett,
fighting the branches, dodging and swerving, hugging the saddle, and
always sending out our sharp yells.
The race was furious but short. The three of us coming up together
found Emett dismounted on the extreme end of West Point.
"The hounds have gone down," he said, pointing to the runway.
We all listened to the meaning bays.
"Shore they've got him up!" asserted Jim. "Like as not they found him
under the rim here, sleeping off his gorge. Now fellows, I'll go down.
It might be a good idea for you to spread along the rim."
[Illustration: TREED LION]
With that we turned our horses eastward and rode as close to the rim
as possible. Clumps of cedars and deep fissures often forced us to
circle them. The hounds, traveling under the walls below, kept pace
with us and then forged ahead, which fact caused Jones to dispatch
Emett on the gallop for the next runway at North Hollow.
Soon Jones bade me dismount and make my way out upon one of the
promontories, while he rode a little farther on. As I tied my mustang
I heard the hounds, faint and far beneath. I waded through the sage
and cedar to the rim.
Cape after cape jutted out over the abyss. Some were very sharp and
bare, others covered with cedar; some tottering crags with a crumbling
bridge leading to their rims; and some ran down like giant steps. From
one of these I watched below. The slope here under the wall was like
the side of a rugged mountain. Somewhere down among the dark patches
of cedar and the great blocks of stone the hounds were hunting the
lion, but I could not see one of them.
The promontory I had chosen had a split, and choked as this was with
brush, rock, and shale, it seemed a place where I might climb down.
Once started, I could not turn back, and sliding, clinging to what
afforded, I worked down the crack. A wall of stone hid the sky from
me part of the way. I came out a hundred feet below upon a second
promontory of huge slabs of yellow stone. Over these I clambered, to
sit with my feet swinging over the last one.
Straight before my gaze yawned the awful expanse of the canyon. In the
soft morning light the red mesas, the yellow walls, the black domes
were less harsh than in the full noonday sun, purer than in the tender
shadow of twilight. Below me were slopes and slides divided by ravines
full of stones as large as houses, with here and there a lonesome
leaning crag, giving irresistible proof of the downward trend, of the
rolling, weathering ruins of the rim. Above the wall bulged out full
of fissures, ragged and rotten shelves, toppling columns of yellow
limestone, beaded with quartz and colored by wild flowers wonderfully
growing in crannies.
Wild and rare as was this environment, I gave it but a glance and a
thought. The bay of the hounds caused me to bend sharp and eager eyes
to the open spaces of stone and slide below. Luck was mine as usual;
the hounds were working up toward me. How I strained my sight! Hearing
a single cry I looked eastward to see Jones silhouetted against the
blue on a black promontory. He seemed a giant primeval man overlooking
the ruin of a former world. I signalled him to make for my point.
Black Ranger hove in sight at the top of a yellow slide. He was at
fault but hunting hard. Jude and Sounder bayed off to his left. I
heard Don's clear voice, permeating the thin, cool air, seemingly
to leave a quality of wildness upon it; yet I could not locate him.
Ranger disappeared. Then for a time I only heard Jim. Moze was next to
appear and he, too, was upward bound. A jumble of stone hid him, and
then Ranger again showed. Evidently he wanted to get around the bottom
of a low crag, for he jumped and jumped only to fall back.
Quite naturally my eyes searched that crag. Stretched out upon the top
of it was the long, slender body of a lion.
"Hi! hi! hi! hi! hi!" I yelled till my lungs failed me.
"Where are you?" came from above.
"Here! Here!" I cried seeing Jones on the rim. "Come down. Climb down
the crack. The lion is here; on top of that round crag. He's fooled
the hounds and they can't find him."
"I see him! I see him!" yelled Jones. Then he roared out a single call
for Emett that pealed like a clear clarion along the curved broken rim
wall, opening up echoes which clapped like thunder.
While Jones clattered down I turned again to the lion. He lay with
head hidden under a little shelf and he moved not a muscle. What a
place for him to choose! But for my accidental venturing down the
broken fragments and steps of the rim he could have remained safe from
Suddenly, right under my feet, Don opened his string of yelps. I could
not see him but decided he must be above the lion on the crag. I
leaned over as far as I dared. At that moment among the varied and
thrilling sounds about me I became vaguely aware of hard, panting
breaths, like coughs somewhere in my vicinity. As Jones had set in
motion bushels of stone and had already scraped his feet over the
rocks behind me I thought the forced respiration came from him. When
I turned he was yet far off--too far for me to hear him breathe. I
thought this circumstance strange but straightway forgot it.
On the moment from my right somewhere Don pealed out his bugle blast,
and immediately after Sounder and Jude joining him, sent up the thrice
welcome news of a treed lion.
"There 're two! There 're two!" I yelled to Jones, now working down to
"He's treed down here. I've got him spotted!" replied Jones. "You stay
there and watch your lion. Yell for Emett."
Signal after signal for Emett earned no response, though Jim far below
to the left sent me an answer.
The next few minutes, or more likely half an hour, passed with Jones
and me separated from each other by a wall of broken stone, waiting
impatiently for Jim and Emett, while the hounds bayed one lion and I
watched the other.
Calmness was impossible under such circumstances. No man could have
gazed into that marvel of color and distance, with wild life about
him, with wild sounds ringing in his ears, without yielding to the
throb and race of his wild blood.
Emett did not come. Jim had not answered a yell for minutes. No doubt
he needed his breath. He came into sight just to the left of our
position, and he ran down one side of the ravine to toil up the other.
I hailed him, Jones hailed him and the hounds hailed him.
"Steer to your left Jim!" I called.. "There's a lion on that crag
above you. He might jump. Round the cliff to the left--Jones is
The most painful task it was for me to sit there and listen to the
sound rising from below without being able to see what happened. My
lion had peeped up once, and, seeing me, had crouched closer to his
crag, evidently believing he was unseen, which obviously made it
imperative for me to keep my seat and hold him there as long as
But to hear the various exclamations thrilled me enough.
"Hyar Moze--get out of that. Catch him--hold him! Damn these rotten
limbs. Hand me a pole--Jones, back down--back down! he's comin'--Hi!
Hi! Whoop! Boo--o! There--now you've got him! No, no; it slipped! Now!
Look out, Jim, from under--he's going to jump!"
A smashing and rattling of loose stones and a fiery burst of yelps
with trumpet-like yells followed close upon Jones' last words. Then
two yellow streaks leaped down the ravine. The first was the lion, the
second was Don. The rest of the pack came tumbling helter-skelter in
their wake. Following them raced Jim in long kangaroo leaps, with
Jones in the rear, running for all he was worth. The animated
and musical procession passed up out of the ravine and gradually
lengthened as the lion gained and Jones lost, till it passed
altogether from my jealous sight.
On the other side of the ridge of cedars the hounds treed their quarry
again, as was easy to tell by their change from sharp intermittent
yelping to an unbroken, full, deep chorus. Then presently all quieted
down, and for long moments at a time the still silence enfolded the
slope. Shouts now and then floated up on the wind and an occasional
I sat there for an hour by my watch, though it seemed only a few
minutes, and all that time my lion lay crouched on his crag and never
I looked across the curve of the canyon to the purple breaks of the
Siwash and the shaggy side of Buckskin Mountain and far beyond to
where Kanab Canyon opened its dark mouth, and farther still to the
Pink Cliffs of Utah, weird and dim in the distance.
Something swelled within my breast at the thought that for the time I
was part of that wild scene. The eye of an eagle soaring above would
have placed me as well as my lion among the few living things in the
range of his all-compassing vision. Therefore, all was mine, not
merely the lion--for he was only the means to an end--but the
stupendous, unnameable thing beneath me, this chasm that hid mountains
in the shades of its cliffs, and the granite tombs, some gleaming
pale, passionless, others red and warm, painted by a master hand; and
the wind-caves, dark-portaled under their mist curtains, and all
that was deep and far off, unapproachable, unattainable, of beauty
exceeding, dressed in ever-changing hues, was mine by right of
presence, by right of the eye to see and the mind to keep.
The cry lifted itself out of the depths. I saw Jones on the ridge of
"All right here--have you kept your line there?" he yelled.
"All's well--come along, come along," I replied.
I watched them coming, and all the while my lion never moved. The
hounds reached the base of the cliff under me, but they could not
find the lion, though they scented him, for they kept up a continual
baying. Jim got up to the shelf under me and said they had tied up the
lion and left him below. Jones toiled slowly up the slope.
"Some one ought to stay down there; he might jump," I called in
"That crag is forty feet high on this side," he replied.
I clambered back over the uneven mass, let myself down between the
boulders and crawled under a dark ridge, and finally with Jim catching
my rifle and camera and then lending his shoulders, I reached the
bench below. Jones came puffing around a corner of the cliff, and soon
all three of us with the hounds stood out on the rocky shelf with only
a narrow space between us and the crouching lion.
Before we had a moment to speak, much less form a plan of attack, the
lion rose, spat at us defiantly, and deliberately jumped off the crag.
We heard him strike with a frightful thud.
Surprise held us dumb. To take the leap to the slope below seemed
beyond any beast not endowed with wings. We saw the lion bounding down
the identical trail which the other lion had taken. Jones came out of
his momentary indecision.
"Hold the dogs! Call them back!" he yelled hoarsely. "They'll kill the
lion we tied! They'll kill him!"
The hounds had scattered off the bench here and there, everywhere, to
come together on the trail below. Already they were in full cry with
the matchless Don at the fore. Manifestly to call them back was an
injustice, as well as impossible. In ten seconds they were out of
In silence we waited, each listening, each feeling the tragedy of the
situation, each praying that they would pass by the poor, helpless,
bound lion. Suddenly the regular baying swelled to a burst of savage,
snarling fury, such as the pack made in a vicious fight. This
ceased--short silence ensued; Don's sharp voice woke the echoes, then
the regular baying continued.
As with one thought, we all sat down. Painful as the certainty was it
was not so painful as that listening, hoping suspense.
"Shore they can't be blamed," said Jim finally. "Bumping their nose
into a tied lion that way--how'd they know?"
"Who could guess the second lion would jump off that quick and run
back to our captive?" burst out Jones.
"Shore we might have knowed it," replied Jim. "Well, I'm goin' after
He gathered up his lasso and strode off the bench. Jones said he would
climb back to the rim, and I followed Jim.
Why the lions ran in that particular direction was clear to me when
I saw the trail. It was a runway, smooth and hard packed. I trudged
along it with rather less enjoyment than on any trail I had ever
followed to the canyon. Jim waited for me over the cedar ridge and
showed me where the captive lion lay dead. The hounds had not torn
him. They had killed him and passed on after the other.
"He was a fine fellow, all of seven feet, we'll skin him on our way
Only dogged determination coupled with a sense of duty to the hounds
kept us on that trail. For the time being enthusiasm had been
submerged. But we had to follow the pack.
Jim, less weighted down and perhaps less discouraged, forged ahead up
and down. The sun had burned all the morning coolness out of the air.
I perspired and panted and began to grow weary. Jim's signal called me
to hurry. I took to a trot and came upon him and the hounds under a
small cedar. The lion stood among the dead branches. His sides where
shaking convulsively, and his short breaths could be plainly heard.
He had the most blazing eyes and most untamed expression of any wild
creature I have ever seen; and this amazed me considering I had kept
him on a crag for over an hour, and had come to look upon him as my
"What'll we do, Jim, now that we have him treed?"
"Shore, we'll tie him up," declared Jim.