Part 3 out of 7
The lion stayed in the cedar long enough for me to photograph him
twice, then he leaped down again and took to his back trail. We
followed as fast as we could, soon to find that the hounds had put him
up another cedar. From this he jumped down among the dogs, scattered
them as if they had been so many leaves, and bounded up the slope out
I laid aside my rifle and camera and tried to keep up with Jim. The
lion ran straight up the slope and treed again under the wall. Before
we covered half the distance he was on the go once more, flying down
in clouds of dust.
"Don is makin' him hump," said Jim.
And that alone was enough to spur us on. We would reward the noble
hound if we had the staying power. Don and his pack ran westward this
time, and along a mile of the beaten trail put him up two more trees.
But these we could not see and judged only by the sound.
[Illustration: A DRINK OF COLD GRANITE WATER UNDER THE RIM]
[Illustration: WHICH IS THE PIUTE?]
"Look there!" cried Jim. "Darn me if he ain't comin' right at us."
It was true. Ahead of us the lion appeared, loping wearily. We stopped
in our tracks undecided. Jim drew his revolver. Once or twice the lion
disappeared behind stones and cedars. When he sighted us he stopped,
looked back, then again turning toward us, he left the trail to plunge
down. He had barely got out of sight when old Don came pattering along
the trail; then Ranger leading the others. Don did not even put his
nose to the ground where the lion had switched, but leaped aside and
went down. Here the long section of slope between the lion's runway
and the second wall had been weathered and worn, racked and convulsed
into deep ravines, with ridges between. We climbed and fell and toiled
on, always with the bay of the hounds in our ears. We leaped fissures,
we loosened avalanches, rolling them to crash and roar below, and send
long, rumbling echoes out into the canyon.
A gorge in the yellow rock opened suddenly before us. We stood at the
constricted neck of one of the great splits in the second wall. The
side opposite was almost perpendicular, and formed of mass on mass of
broken stones. This was a weathered slope on a gigantic scale. Points
of cliffs jutted out; caves and cracks lined the wall.
"This is a rough place," said Jim; "but a lion could get over the
second wall here, an' I believe a man could too. The hounds seemed to
be back further toward where the split narrows."
Through densely massed cedars and thickets of prickly thorns we wormed
our way to come out at the neck of the gorge.
"There ye are!" sang out Jim. The hounds were all on a flat shelf some
few feet below us, and on a sharp point of rock close by, but too far
for the dogs to reach, crouched the lion. He was gasping and frothing
at the mouth.
"Shore if he'd only stay there--" said Jim.
He loosened his lasso, and stationing himself just above the tired
beast he prepared to cast down the loop. The first throw failed of its
purpose, but the rope hit the lion. He got up painfully it seemed,
and faced the dogs. That way barred he turned to the cliff. Almost
opposite him a shelf leaned out. He looked at it, then paced to and
fro like a beast in a cage.
He looked again at the hounds, then up at us, all around, and finally
concentrated his attention on the shelf; his long length sagged in
the middle, he stretched low, his muscles gathered and strung, and he
sprang like a tawny streak.
His aim was true, the whole forepart of his body landed on the shelf
and he hung there. Then he slipped. We distinctly heard his claws
scrape the hard, smooth rock. He fell, turning a somersault, struck
twenty feet below on the rough slant, bounded from that to fall down,
striking suddenly and then to roll, a yellow wheel that lodged behind
a rock and stretched out to move no more.
The hounds were silent; Jim and I were silent; a few little stones
rattled, then were still. The dead silence of the canyon seemed to pay
tribute to the lion's unquenchable spirit and to the freedom he had
earned to the last.
How long Jim and I sat there we never knew. The second tragedy, not so
pitiful but as heart sickening as the first, crushed our spirits.
"Shore he was a game lion," said Jim. "An' I'll have to get his skin."
"I'm all in, Jim. I couldn't climb out of that hole." I said.
"You needn't. Rest a little, take a good drink an' leave your canteen
here for me; then get your things back there on the trail an' climb
out. We're not far from West Point. I'll go back after the first
lion's skin an' then climb straight up. You lead my horse to the point
where you came off the rim."
He clattered along the gorge knocking the stones and started down. I
watched him letting himself over the end of the huge slabs until he
passed out of my sight. A good, long drink revived me and I began the
From that moment on time did not matter to me. I forgot all about it.
I felt only my leaden feet and my laboring chest and dripping skin.
I did not even notice the additional weight of my rifle and camera
though they must have overburdened me. I kept my eyes on the lion
runway and plunged away with short steps. To look at these towering
walls would have been to surrender.
At last, stumbling, bursting, sick, I gained the rim and had to rest
before I could mount. When I did get into the saddle I almost fell
Jones and Emett were waiting for me at the promontory where I had
tied my horse, and were soon acquainted with the particulars of my
adventure, and that Jim would probably not get out for hours. We made
tracks for camp, and never did a place rouse in me such a sense of
gratefulness. Emett got dinner and left on the fire a kettle of potato
stew for Jim. It was almost dark when that worthy came riding into
camp. We never said a word as he threw the two lion skins on the
"Fellows, you shore have missed the wind-up!" he exclaimed.
We all looked at him and he looked at us.
"Was there any more?" I asked weakly.
"Shore! An' it beats hell! When I got the skin of the lion the dogs
killed I started to work up to the place I knowed you'd leave my
horse. It's bad climbing where you came down. I got on the side of
that cliff an' saw where I could work out, if I could climb a smooth
place. So I tried. There was little cracks an' ridges for my feet and
hands. All to once, just above where I helped you down, I heard a
growl. Looking up I saw a big lion, bigger'n any we chased except
Sultan, an' he was pokin' his head out of a hole, an' shore telling
me to come no further. I couldn't let go with either hand to reach my
gun, because I'd have fallen, so I yelled at him with all my might. He
spit at me an' then walked out of the hole over the bench as proud as
a lord an' jumped down where I couldn't see him any more. I climbed
out all right but he'd gone. An' I'll tell you for a minute, he shore
made me sweat."
"By George!" I yelled, greatly excited. "I heard that lion breathing.
Don chased him up there. I heard hard, wheezing breaths somewhere
behind me, but in the excitement I didn't pay any attention to them. I
thought it was Jones panting, but now I know what it meant."
"Shore. He was there all the time, lookin' at you an' maybe he could
have reached you."
We were all too exhausted for more discussion and putting that off
until the next day we sought our beds. It was hardly any wonder that I
felt myself jumping even in my sleep, and started up wildly more than
once in the dead of night.
[Illustration: WILD HORSES DRINKING ON A PROMONTORY IN THE GRAND
Morning found us all rather subdued, yet more inclined to a
philosophical resignation as regarded the difficulties of our special
kind of hunting. Capturing the lions on the level of the plateau was
easy compared to following them down into canyons and bringing them up
alone. We all agreed that that was next to impossible. Another feature,
which before we had not considered, added to our perplexity and it was a
dawning consciousness that we would be perhaps less cruel if we killed
the lions outright. Jones and Emett arrayed themselves on the side that
life even in captivity was preferable; while Jim and I, no doubt still
under the poignant influence of the last lion's heroic race and end,
inclined to freedom or death. We compromised on the reasonable fact that
as yet we had shown only a jackass kind of intelligence.
[Illustration: JONES AND EMETT PACKING LION ON HORSE]
[Illustration: JONES CLIMBING UP TO LASSO LION]
About eleven o'clock while the others had deserted camp temporarily
for some reason or other, I was lounging upon an odorous bed of pine
needles. The sun shone warmly, the sky gleamed bright azure through
the openings of the great trees, a dry west breeze murmured through
the forest. I was lying on my bed musing idly and watching a yellow
woodpecker when suddenly I felt a severe bite on my shoulder. I
imagined an ant had bitten me through my shirt. In a moment or so
afterward I received, this time on my breast, another bite that left
no room for imagination. There was some kind of an animal inside my
shirt, and one that made a mosquito, black-fly, or flea seem tame.
Suddenly a thought swept on the heels of my indolent and rather
annoying realization. Could I have gotten from the Navajo what Jim and
Jones so characteristically called "'em"? I turned cold all over. And
on the very instant I received another bite that burned like fire.
The return of my companions prevented any open demonstration of my
fears and condition of mind, but I certainly swore inwardly. During
the dinner hour I felt all the time as if I had on a horsehair shirt
with the ends protruding toward my skin, and, in the exaggerated
sensitiveness of the moment, made sure "'em" were chasing up and down
After dinner I sneaked off into the woods. I remembered that Emett
had said there was only one way to get rid of "'em," and that was to
disrobe and make a microscopical search of garments and person. With
serious mind and murderous intent I undressed. In the middle of the
back of my jersey I discovered several long, uncanny, gray things.
"I guess I got 'em," I said gravely.
Then I sat on a pine log in a state of unadorned nature, oblivious
to all around, intent only on the massacre of the things that had
violated me. How much time flew I could not guess. Great loud
"Haw-haws!" roused me to consternation. There behind me stood Jones
and Emett shaking as if with the ague.
"It's not funny!" I shouted in a rage. I had the unreasonable
suspicion that they had followed me to see my humiliation. Jones, who
cracked a smile about as often as the equinoxes came, and Emett the
sober Mormon, laughed until they cried.
"I was--just wondering--what your folks would--think--if they--saw
you--now," gurgled Jones.
That brought to me the humor of the thing, and I joined in their
"All I hope is that you fellows will get 'em' too," I said.
"The Good Lord preserve me from that particular breed of Navvy's,"
Jones wriggled all over at the mere suggestion. Now so much from the
old plainsman, who had confessed to intimate relations with every
creeping, crawling thing in the West, attested powerfully to the
unforgettable singularity of what I got from Navvy.
I returned to camp determined to make the best of the situation,
which owing to my failure to catch all of the gray devils, remained
practically unchanged. Jim had been acquainted with my dilemma, as was
manifest in his wet eyes and broad grin with which he greeted me.
"I think I'd scalp the Navvy," he said.
"You make the Indian sleep outside after this, snow or no snow," was
"No I won't; I won't show a yellow streak like that. Besides, I want
to give 'em to you fellows."
A blank silence followed my statement, to which Jim replied:
"Shore that'll be easy; Jones'll have 'em, so'll Emett, an' by thunder
I'm scratchin' now."
"Navvy, look here," I said severely, "mucha no bueno! heap bad!
You--me!" here I scratched myself and made signs that a wooden Indian
would have understood.
"Me savvy," he replied, sullenly, then flared up. "Heap big lie."
He turned on his heel, erect, dignified, and walked away amid the
roars of my gleeful comrades.
One by one my companions sought their blankets, leaving the shadows,
the dying embers, the slow-rising moan of the night wind to me. Old
Moze got up from among the other hounds and limped into my tent, where
I heard him groan as he lay down. Don, Sounder, and Ranger were
fast asleep in well-earned rest. Shep, one of the pups, whined and
impatiently tossed his short chain. Remembering that he had not been
loose all day, I unbuckled his collar and let him go.
He licked my hand, stretched and shook himself, lifted his shapely,
sleek head and sniffed the wind. He trotted around the circle cast by
the fire and looked out into the darkening shadows. It was plain that
Shep's instincts were developing fast; he was ambitious to hunt. But
sure in my belief that he was afraid of the black night and would stay
in camp, I went to bed.
The Navajo who slept with me snored serenely and Moze growled in his
dreams; the wind swept through the pines with an intermittent rush.
Some time in the after part of the night I heard a distant sound.
Remote, mournful, wild, it sent a chill creeping over me. Borne
faintly to my ears, it was a fit accompaniment to the moan of the wind
in the pines. It was not the cry of a trailing wolf, nor the lonesome
howl of a prowling coyote, nor the strange, low sound, like a cough,
of a hunting cougar, though it had a semblance of all three. It was
the bay of a hound, thinned out by distance, and it served to keep me
wide awake. But for a while, what with the roar and swell of the wind
and Navvy's snores, I could hear it only at long intervals.
Still, in the course of an hour, I followed the sound, or imagined so,
from a point straight in line with my feet to one at right angles
with my head. Finally deciding it came from Shep, and fancying he was
trailing a deer or coyote, I tried to go to sleep again.
In this I would have succeeded had not, all at once, our captive lions
begun to growl. That ominous, low murmuring awoke me with a vengeance,
for it was unusual for them to growl in the middle of the night.
I wondered if they, as well as the pup, had gotten the scent of a
I reached down to my feet and groped in the dark for Moze. Finding
him, I gave him a shake. The old gladiator groaned, stirred, and came
out of what must have been dreams of hunting meat. He slapped his tail
against my bed. As luck would have it, just then the wind abated to a
soft moan, and clear and sharp came the bay of a hound. Moze heard it,
for he stopped wagging his tail, his body grew tense under my hand,
and he vented his low, deep grumble.
I lay there undecided. To wake my companions was hardly to be
considered, and to venture off into the forest alone, where old Sultan
might be scouting, was not exactly to my taste. And trying to think
what to do, and listening for the bay of the pup, and hearing mostly
the lions growling and the wind roaring, I fell asleep.
"Hey! are you ever going to get up?" some one yelled into my drowsy
brain. I roused and opened my eyes. The yellow, flickering shadows on
the wall of my tent told me that the sun had long risen. I found my
companions finishing breakfast. The first thing I did was to look over
the dogs. Shep, the black-and-white pup, was missing.
"Where's Shep?" I asked.
"Shore, I ain't seen him this mornin'," replied Jim.
Thereupon I told what I had heard during the night.
"Everybody listen," said Jones.
We quieted down and sat like statues. A gentle, cool breeze, barely
moving the pine tips, had succeeded the night wind. The sound of
horses munching their oats, and an occasional clink, rattle, and growl
from the lions did not drown the faint but unmistakable yelps of a
"South, toward the canyon," said Jim, as Jones got up.
"Now, it'd be funny if that little Shep, just to get even with me for
tying him up so often, has treed a lion all by himself," commented
Jones. "And I'll bet that's just what he's done."
He called the hounds about him and hurried westward through the
"Shore, it might be." Jim shook his head knowingly. "I reckon it's
only a rabbit, but anythin' might happen in this place."
I finished breakfast and went into my tent for something--I forget
what, for wild yells from Emett and Jim brought me flying out again.
"Listen to that!" cried Jim, pointing west.
The hounds had opened up; their full, wild chorus floated clearly on
the breeze, and above it Jones' stentorian yell signaled us.
"Shore, the old man can yell," continued Jim. "Grab your lassos an'
hump yourselves. I've got the collar an' chain."
"Come on, Navvy," shouted Emett. He grasped the Indian's wrist and
started to run, jerking Navvy into the air at every jump. I caught up
my camera and followed. We crossed two shallow hollows, and then saw
the hounds and Jones among the pines not far ahead.
In my excitement I outran my companions and dashed into an open glade.
First I saw Jones waving his long arms; next the dogs, noses upward,
and Don actually standing on his hind legs; then a dead pine with a
well-known tawny shape outlined against the blue sky.
"Hurrah for Shep!" I yelled, and right vigorously did my comrades join
"It's another female," said Jones, when we calmed down, "and fair
sized. That's the best tree for our purpose that I ever saw a lion in.
So spread out, boys; surround her and keep noisy."
Navvy broke from Emett at this juncture and ran away. But evidently
overcome by curiosity, he stopped to hide behind a bush, from which I
saw his black head protruding.
When Jones swung himself on the first stubby branch of the pine, the
lioness, some fifteen feet above, leaped to another limb, and the one
she had left cracked, swayed and broke. It fell directly upon Jones,
the blunt end striking his head and knocking him out of the tree.
Fortunately, he landed on his feet; otherwise there would surely have
been bones broken. He appeared stunned, and reeled so that Emett
caught him. The blood poured from a wound in his head.
This sudden shock sobered us instantly. On examination we found a
long, jagged cut in Jones' scalp. We bathed it with water from my
canteen and with snow Jim procured from a nearby hollow, eventually
stopping the bleeding. I insisted on Jones coming to camp to have the
wound properly dressed, and he insisted on having it bound with a
bandana; after which he informed us that he was going to climb the
We objected to this. Each of us declared his willingness to go up and
rope the lion; but Jones would not hear of it.
"I'm not doubting your courage," he said. "It's only that you cannot
tell what move the lion would make next, and that's the danger."
We could not gainsay this, and as not one of us wanted to kill the
animal or let her go, Jones had his way. So he went up the tree,
passed the first branch and then another. The lioness changed her
position, growled, spat, clawed the twigs, tried to keep the tree
trunk between her and Jones, and at length got out on a branch in a
most favorable position for roping.
The first cast of the lasso did the business, and Jim and Emett with
nimble fingers tied up the hounds.
"Coming," shouted Jones. He slid down, hand over hand, on the rope,
the lioness holding his weight with apparent ease.
"Make your noose ready," he yelled to Emett.
I had to drop my camera to help Jones and Jim pull the animal from
her perch. The branches broke in a shower; then the lioness, hissing,
snarling, whirling, plunged down. She nearly jerked the rope out of
our hands, but we lowered her to Emett, who noosed her hind paws in a
"Make fast your rope," shouted Jones. "There, that's good! Now let her
As soon as the lioness touched ground we let go the lasso, which
whipped up and over the branch. She became a round, yellow, rapidly
moving ball. Emett was the first to catch the loose lasso, and he
checked the rolling cougar. Jones leaped to assist him and the two of
them straightened out the struggling animal, while Jim swung another
noose at her. On the second throw he caught a front paw.
"Pull hard! Stretch her out!" yelled Jones. He grasped a stout piece
of wood and pushed it at the lioness. She caught it in her mouth,
making the splinters fly. Jones shoved her head back on the ground and
pressed his brawny knee on the bar of wood.
"The collar! The collar! Quick!" he called.
I threw chain and collar to him, which in a moment he had buckled
round her neck.
"There, we've got her!" he said. "It's only a short way over to camp,
so we'll drag her without muzzling."
As he rose the lioness lurched, and reaching him, fastened her
fangs in his leg. Jones roared. Emett and Jim yelled. And I, though
frightened, was so obsessed with the idea of getting a picture that I
began to fumble with the shutter of my camera.
"Grab the chain! Pull her off!" bawled Jones.
I ran in, took up the chain with both hands, and tugged with all my
might. Emett, too, had all his weight on the lasso round her neck.
Between the two of us we choked her hold loose, but she brought Jones'
leather leggin in her teeth. Then I dropped the chain and jumped.
"**-- **--!" exploded Jones to me. "Do you think more of a picture
than of saving my life?" Having expressed this not unreasonable
protest, he untied the lasso that Emett had made fast to a small
Then the three men, forming points of a triangle around an animated
center, began a march through the forest that for variety of action
and splendid vociferation beat any show I ever beheld.
So rare was it that the Navajo came out of his retreat and,
straightway forgetting his reverence and fear, began to execute a
ghost-dance, or war-dance, or at any rate some kind of an Indian
dance, along the side lines.
There were moments when the lioness had Jim and Jones on the ground
and Emett wobbling; others when she ran on her bound legs and chased
the two in front and dragged the one behind; others when she came
within an ace of getting her teeth in somebody.
They had caught a Tartar. They dared not let her go, and though Jones
evidently ordered it, no one made fast his rope to a tree. There was
no opportunity. She was in the air three parts of the time and the
fourth she was invisible for dust. The lassos were each thirty feet
long, but even with that the men could just barely keep out of her
Then came the climax, as it always comes in a lion hunt, unerringly,
unexpectedly, and with lightning swiftness. The three men were nearing
the bottom of the second hollow, well spread out, lassos taut, facing
one another. Jones stumbled and the lioness leaped his way. The
weight of both brought Jim over, sliding and slipping, with his rope
slackening. The leap of the lioness carried her within reach of Jones;
and as he raised himself, back toward her, she reached a big paw for
him just as Emett threw all his bull strength and bulk on his lasso.
The seat of Jones' trousers came away with the lioness' claws. Then
she fell backward, overcome by Emett's desperate lunge. Jones sprang
up with the velocity of an Arab tumbler, and his scarlet face, working
spasmodically, and his moving lips, showed how utterly unable he was
to give expression to his rage. I had a stitch in my side that nearly
killed me, but laugh I had to though I should die for it.
No laughing matter was it for them. They volleyed and thundered
back and forth meaningless words of which "hell" was the only one
distinguishable, and probably the word that best described their
All the while, however, they had been running from the lioness, which
brought them before they realized it right into camp. Our captive
lions cut up fearfully at the hubbub, and the horses stampeded in
"Whoa!" yelled Jones, whether to his companions or to the struggling
cougar, no one knew. But Navvy thought Jones addressed the cougar.
"Whoa!" repeated Navvy. "No savvy whoa! No savvy whoa!" which proved
conclusively that the Navajo had understanding as well as wit.
Soon we had another captive safely chained and growling away in tune
with the others. I went back to untie the hounds, to find them sulky
and out of sorts from being so unceremoniously treated. They noisily
trailed the lioness into camp, where, finding her chained, they formed
a ring around her.
Thereafter the day passed in round-the-camp-fire chat and task. For
once Jim looked at Navvy with toleration. We dressed the wound in
Jones' head and laughed at the condition of his trousers and at his
awkward attempts to piece them.
"Mucha dam cougie," remarked Navvy. "No savvy whoa!"
The lions growled all day. And Jones kept repeating: "To think how
Shep fooled me!"
Next morning Jones was out bright and early, yelling at Navvy to hurry
with the horses, calling to the hounds and lions, just as usual.
Navvy had finally come to his full share of praise from all of us.
Even Jim acknowledged that the Indian was invaluable to a hunting
party in a country where grass and water were hard to find and wild
horses haunted the trails.
"_Tohodena! Tohodena!_ (hurry! hurry!)" said Navvy, mimicking Jones
As we sat down to breakfast he loped off into the forest and before we
got up the bells of the horses were jingling in the hollow.
"I believe it's going to be cloudy," said Jones, "and if so we can
hunt all day."
We rode down the ridge to the left of Middle Canyon, and had trouble
with the hounds all the way. First they ran foul of a coyote, which
was the one and only beast they could not resist. Spreading out to
head them off, we separated. I cut into a hollow and rode to its head,
where I went up. I heard the hounds and presently saw a big, white
coyote making fast time through the forest glades. It looked as if he
would cross close in front of me, so I pulled Foxie to a standstill,
jumped off and knelt with my rifle ready. But the sharp-eyed coyote
saw my horse and shied off. I had not much hope to hit him so far
away, and the five bullets I sent after him, singing and zipping,
served only to make him run faster. I mounted Foxie and intercepted
the hounds coming up sharply on the trail, and turned them toward my
companions, now hallooing from the ridge below.
Then the pack lost a good hour on several lion tracks that were a day
old, and for such trails we had no time. We reached the cedars however
at seven o'clock, and as the sky was overcast with low dun-colored
clouds and the air cool, we were sure it was not too late.
One of the capes of the plateau between Middle and Left Canyon was a
narrow strip of rock, covered with a dense cedar growth and cut up
into smaller canyons, all running down inevitably toward the great
canyon. With but a single bark to warn us, Don got out of our sight
and hearing; and while we split to look and call for him the remainder
of the pack found the lion trail that he had gone on, and they left
us trying to find a way out as well as to find each other. I kept the
hounds in hearing for some time and meanwhile I signalled to Emett who
was on my right flank. Jones and Jim might as well have vanished off
the globe for all I could see or hear of them. A deep, narrow gully
into which I had to lead Foxie and carefully coax him out took so much
time that when I once more reached a level I could not hear the hounds
or get an answer to my signal cry.
"Waa-hoo!" I called again.
Away on the dry rarified air pealed the cry, piercing the cedar
forest, splitting sharp in the vaulted canyons, rolling loud and long,
to lose power, to die away in muffling echo. But the silence returned
I rode on under the cedars, through a dark, gloomy forest, silent,
almost spectral, which brought irresistibly to my mind the words
"I found me in a gloomy wood astray." I was lost though I knew the
direction of the camp. This section of cedar forest was all but
impenetrable. Dead cedars were massed in gray tangles, live cedars,
branches touching the ground, grew close together. In this labyrinth
I lost my bearings. I turned and turned, crossed my own back trail,
which in desperation I followed, coming out of the cedars at the deep
and narrow canyon.
Here I fired my revolver. The echo boomed out like the report of heavy
artillery, but no answering shot rewarded me. There was no alternative
save to wander along the canyon and through the cedars until I found
my companions. This I began to do, disgusted with my awkwardness in
losing them. Turning Foxie westward I had scarcely gotten under way
when Don came trotting toward me.
"Hello, old boy!" I called. Don appeared as happy to see me as I was
to see him. He flopped down on the ground; his dripping tongue rolled
as he panted; covered with dust and flecked with light froth he surely
looked to be a tired hound.
"All in, eh Don!" I said dismounting. "Well, we'll rest awhile." Then
I discovered blood on his nose, which I found to have come from a deep
scratch. "A--ah! been pushing a lion too hard this morning? Got your
nose scratched, didn't you? You great, crazy hound, don't you know
some day you'll chase your last lion?"
Don wagged his tail as if to say he knew it all very well. I wet my
handkerchief from my canteen and started to wash the blood and dust
from his nose, when he whined and licked my fingers.
"Thirsty?" I asked, sitting down beside him. Denting the top of my hat
I poured in as much water as it would hold and gave him to drink. Four
times he emptied my improvised cup before he was satisfied. Then with
a sigh of relief he lay down again.
The three of us rested there for perhaps half an hour, Don and I
sitting quietly on the wall of the canyon, while Foxie browsed on
occasional tufts of grass. During that time the hound never raised his
sleek, dark head, which showed conclusively the nature of the silence.
And now that I had company--as good company as any hunter ever had--I
was once more contented.
Don got up, at length of his own volition and with a wag of his tail
set off westward along the rim. Remounting my mustang I kept as close
to Don's heels as the rough going permitted. The hound, however,
showed no disposition to hurry, and I let him have his way without a
We came out in the notch of the great amphitheater or curve we had
named the Bay, and I saw again the downward slope, the bold steps, the
color and depth below.
I was just about to yell a signal cry when I saw Don, with hair rising
stiff, run forward. He took a dozen jumps, then yelping broke down the
steep, yellow and green gorge. He disappeared before I knew what had
Shortly I found a lion track, freshly made, leading down. I believed
I could follow wherever Don led, so I decided to go after him. I tied
Foxie securely, removed my coat, kicked off spurs and chaps, and
remembering past unnecessary toil, fastened a red bandana to the top
of a dead snag to show me where to come up on my way out. Then I
carefully strapped my canteen and camera on my back, made doubly
secure my revolver, put on my heavy gloves, and started down. And I
realized at once that only so lightly encumbered should I have ever
ventured down the slope.
Little benches of rock, grassy on top, with here and there cedar
trees, led steeply down for perhaps five hundred feet. A precipice
stopped me. From it I heard Don baying below, and almost instantly saw
the yellow gleam of a lion in a tree-top.
"Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!" I yelled in wild encouragement.
I felt it would be wise to look before I leaped. The Bay lay under me,
a mile wide where it opened into the great slumbering smoky canyon.
All below was chaos of splintered stone and slope, green jumble of
cedar, ruined, detached, sliding, standing cliff walls, leaning yellow
crags--an awful hole. But I could get down, and that was all I cared
for. I ran along to the left, jumping cracks, bounding over the uneven
stones with sure, swift feet, and came to where the cliff ended in
weathered slope and scaly bench.
It was like a game, going down that canyon. My heavy nailed boots
struck fire from the rocks. My heavy gloves protected my hands as I
slid and hung on and let go. I outfooted the avalanches and wherever I
came to a scaly slope or bank or decayed rock, I leaped down in sheer
But all too soon my progress was barred; once under the cliff I found
only a gradual slope and many obstacles to go round or surmount. Luck
favored me, for I ran across a runway and keeping to it made better
time. I heard Don long before I tried to see him, and yelled at
intervals to let him know I was coming. A white bank of weathered
stones led down to a clump of cedars from where Don's bay came
spurring me to greater efforts. I flew down this bank, and through an
opening saw the hound standing with fore feet against a cedar. The
branches over him swayed, and I saw an indistinct, tawny form move
downward in the air. Then succeeded the crash and rattle of stones.
Don left the tree and disappeared.
I dashed down, dodged under the cedars, threaded a maze of rocks, to
find myself in a ravine with a bare, water-worn floor. In patches of
sand showed the fresh tracks of Don and the lion. Running down this
dry, clean bed was the easiest going I ever found in the canyon. Every
rod the course jumped in a fall from four to ten feet, often more, and
these I slid down. How I ever kept Don in hearing was a marvel, but
still I did.
The lion evidently had no further intention of taking to a tree. From
the size of his track I concluded he was old and I feared every moment
to hear the sounds of a fight. Jones had said that nearly always in
the case of one hound chasing an old lion, the lion would lie in wait
for him and kill him. And I was afraid for Don.
Down, down, down, we went, till the yellow rim above seemed a thin
band of gold. I saw that we were almost to the canyon proper, and
I wondered what would happen when we reached it. The dark shaded
watercourse suddenly shot out into bright light and ended in a deep
cove, with perpendicular walls fifty feet high. I could see where
a few rods farther on this cove opened into a huge, airy, colored
I called the hound, wondering if he had gone to the right or left of
the cove. His bay answered me coming from the cedars far to the right.
I turned with all the speed left in me, for I felt the chase nearing
an end. Tracks of hound and lion once more showed in the dust. The
slope was steep and stones I sent rolling cracked down below. Soon I
had a cliff above me and had to go slow and cautiously. A misstep or
slide would have precipitated me into the cove.
Almost before I knew what I was about, I stood gasping on the gigantic
second wall of the canyon, with nothing but thin air under me, except,
far below, faint and indistinct purple clefts, red ridges, dotted
slopes, running down to merge in a dark, winding strip of water,
that was the Rio Colorado. A sullen murmur soared out of the abyss.
[Illustration: TWO LIONS IN ONE TREE]
[Illustration: JONES, EMETT, AND THE NAVAJO WITH THE LIONS]
The coloring of my mood changed. Never had the canyon struck me so
terribly with its illimitable space, its dread depth, its unscalable
cliffs, and particularly with the desolate, forbidding quality of its
I heard Don bark. Turning the corner of the cliff wall I saw him on a
narrow shelf. He was coming toward me and when he reached me he faced
again to the wall and barked fiercely. The hair on his neck bristled.
I knew he did not fancy that narrow strip of rock, nor did I. But a
sudden, grim, cold something had taken possession of me, and I stepped
"Come on, Don, old fellow, we've got him corralled."
That was the first instance I ever knew of Don's hesitation in the
chase of a lion. I had to coax him to me. But once started he took the
lead and I closely followed.
The shelf was twenty feet wide and upon it close to the wall, in the
dust, were the deep imprints of the lion. A jutting corner of cliff
wall hid my view. I peeped around it. The shelf narrowed on the other
side to a yard in width, and climbed gradually by broken steps. Don
passed the corner, looked back to see if I was coming and went on. He
did this four times, once even stopping to wait for me.
"I'm with you Don!" I grimly muttered. "We'll see this trail out to a
I had now no eyes for the wonders of the place, though I could not but
see as I bent a piercing gaze ahead the ponderous overhanging wall
above, and sense the bottomless depth below. I felt rather than saw
the canyon swallows, sweeping by in darting flight, with soft
rustle of wings, and I heard the shrill chirp of some strange cliff
Don ceased barking. How strange that seemed to me! We were no longer
man and hound, but companions, brothers, each one relying on the
other. A protruding corner shut us from sight of what was beyond. Don
slipped around. I had to go sidewise and shuddered as my fingers bit
into the wall.
To my surprise I soon found myself on the floor of a shallow wind
cave. The lion trail led straight across it and on. Shelves of rock
stuck out above under which I hurriedly walked. I came upon a shrub
cedar growing in a niche and marveled to see it there. Don went slower
We suddenly rounded a point, to see the lion lying in a box-like space
in the wall. The shelf ended there. I had once before been confronted
with a like situation, and had expected to find it here, so was not
frightened. The lion looked up from his task of licking a bloody paw,
and uttered a fierce growl. His tail began to lash to and fro; it
knocked the little stones off the shelf. I heard them click on the
wall. Again and again he spat, showing great, white fangs. He was a
Tom, heavy and large.
It had been my purpose, of course, to photograph this lion, and now
that we had cornered him I proposed to do it. What would follow had
only hazily formed in my mind, but the nucleus of it was that he
should go free. I got my camera, opened it, and focused from between
twenty and twenty-five feet.
Then a growl from Don and roar from the lion bade me come to my
senses. I did so and my first movement after seeing the lion had risen
threateningly was to whip out my revolver.
The lion's cruel yellow eyes darkened and darkened. In an instant I
saw my error. Jones had always said in case any one of us had to
face a lion, never for a single instant to shift his glance. I had
forgotten that, and in that short interval when I focused my camera
the lion had seen I meant him no harm, or feared him, and he had
risen. Even then in desperate lessening ambition for a great picture I
attempted to take one, still keeping my glance on him.
It was then that the appalling nature of my predicament made itself
plain to me. The lion leaped ten feet and stood snarling horribly
right in my face.
Brave, noble Don, with infinitely more sense and courage than I
possessed, faced the lion and bayed him in his teeth. I raised the
revolver and aimed twice, each time lowering it because I feared to
shoot in such a precarious position. To wound the lion would be the
worst thing I could do, and I knew that only a shot through the brain
would kill him in his tracks.
"Hold him, Don, hold him!" I yelled, and I took a backward step. The
lion put forward one big paw, his eyes now all purple blaze. I backed
again and he came forward. Don gave ground slowly. Once the lion
flashed a yellow paw at him. It was frightful to see the wide-spread
In the consternation of the moment I allowed the lion to back me
across the front of the wind cave, where I saw, the moment it was too
late, I should have taken advantage of more space to shoot him.
Fright succeeded consternation, and I began to tremble. The lion was
master of the situation. What would happen when I came to the narrow
point on the shelf where it would be impossible for me to back around?
I almost fainted. The thought of heroic Don saved me, and the weak
"By God, Don, you've got the nerve, and I must have it too!"
I stopped in my tracks. The lion, appearing huge now, took slow
catlike steps toward me, backing Don almost against my knees. He was
so close I smelt him. His wonderful eyes, clear blue fire circled by
yellow flame, fascinated me. Hugging the wall with my body I brought
the revolver up, short armed, and with clinched teeth, and nerve
strained to the breaking point, I aimed between the eyes and pulled
The left eye seemed to go out blankly, then followed the bellow of the
revolver and the smell of powder. The lion uttered a sound that was a
mingling of snarls, howls and roars and he rose straight up, towering
high over my head, beating the wall heavily with his paws.
In helpless terror I stood there forgetting weapon, fearing only the
beast would fall over on me.
But in death agony he bounded out from the wall to fall into space.
I sank down on the shelf, legs powerless, body in cold sweat. As I
waited, slowly my mind freed itself from a tight iron band and a
sickening relief filled my soul. Tensely I waited and listened. Don
Would the lion never strike? What seemed a long period of time ended
in a low, distant roar of sliding rock, quickly dying into the solemn
stillness of the canyon.
I lay there for some moments slowly recovering, eyes on the far
distant escarpments, now darkly red and repellent to me. When I got up
my legs were still shaky and I had the strange, weak sensation of a
long bed-ridden invalid. Three attempts were necessary before I could
trust myself on the narrow strip of shelf. But once around it with the
peril passed, I braced up and soon reached the turn in the wall.
After that the ascent out of the Bay was only a matter of work, which
I gave with a will. Don did not evince any desire for more hunting
that day. We reached the rim together, and after a short rest, I
mounted my horse, and we turned for camp.
The sun had long slanted toward the western horizon when I saw the
blue smoke of our camp-fire among the pines. The hounds rose up and
barked as Don trotted in to the blaze, and my companions just sitting
to a dinner, gave me a noisy greeting.
"Shore, we'd began to get worried," said Jim. "We all had it comin' to
us to-day, and don't you forget that."
Dinner lasted for a long hour. Besides being half famished we all
took time between bites to talk. I told my story first, expecting my
friends to be overwhelmed, but they were not.
"It's been the greatest day of lion hunting that I ever experienced,"
declared Jones. "We ran bang into a nest of lions and they split. We
all split and the hounds split. That tells the tale. We have nothing
to show for our day's toil. Six lions chased, rounded up, treed,
holed, and one lion killed, and we haven't even his skin to show. I
did not go down but I helped Ranger and two of the pups chase a lion
all over the lower end of the plateau. We treed him twice and I yelled
for you fellows till my voice was gone."
"Well," said Emett, "I fell in with Sounder and Jude. They were hot on
a trail which in a mile or two turned up this way. I came on them just
at the edge of the pines where they had treed their game. I sat under
that pine tree for five hours, fired all my shots to make you fellows
come, yelled myself hoarse and then tried to tie up the lion alone. He
jumped out and ran over the rim, where neither I nor the dogs could
"Shore, I win, three of a kind," drawled Jim, as he got his pipe and
carefully dusted the bowl. "When the stampede came, I got my hands on
Moze and held him. I held Moze because just as the other hounds broke
loose over to my right, I saw down into a little pocket where a
fresh-killed deer lay half eaten. So I went down. I found two other
carcasses layin' there, fresh killed last night, flesh all gone, hide
gone, bones crushed, skull split open. An' damn me fellows, if that
little pocket wasn't all torn to pieces. The sage was crushed flat.
The ground dug up, dead snags broken, and blood and hair everywhere.
Lion tracks like leaves, and old Sultan's was there. I let Moze loose
and he humped the trail of several lions south over the rim. Major got
down first an' came back with his tail between his legs. Moze went
down and I kept close to him. It wasn't far down, but steep and rocky,
full of holes. Moze took the trail to a dark cave. I saw the tracks of
three lions goin' in. Then I collared Moze an' waited for you fellows.
I waited there all day, an' nobody came to my call. Then I made for
"How do you account for the torn-up appearance of the place where you
found the carcasses?" I asked.
"Lion fight sure," replied Jones. "Maybe old Sultan ran across the
three lions feeding, and pitched into them. Such fights were common
among the lions in Yellowstone Park when I was there."
"What chance have we to find those three lions in a cave where Jim
"We stand a good chance," said Jones. "Especially if it storms
"Shore the snow storm is comin'," returned Jim.
Darkness clapped down on us suddenly, and the wind roared in the pines
like a mighty river tearing its way down a rocky pass. As we could not
control the camp-fire, sparks of which blew fiercely, we extinguished
it and went to bed. I had just settled myself comfortably to be sung
to sleep by the concert in the pines, when Jones hailed me.
"Say, what do you think?" he yelled, when I had answered him. "Emett
is mad. He's scratching to beat the band. He's got 'em."
I signalled his information with a loud whoop of victory.
"You next, Jones! They're coming to you!"
I heard him grumble over my happy anticipation. Jim laughed and so
did the Navajo, which made me suspect that he could understand more
English than he wanted us to suppose.
Next morning a merry yell disturbed my slumbers. "Snowed in--snowed
"Mucha snow--discass--no cougie--dam no bueno!" exclaimed Navvy.
When I peeped out to see the forest in the throes of a blinding
blizzard, the great pines only pale, grotesque shadows, everything
white mantled in a foot of snow, I emphasized the Indian words in
"Much snow--cold--no cougar--bad!"
"Stay in bed," yelled Jones.
"All right," I replied. "Say Jones, have you got 'em yet?"
He vouchsafed me no answer. I went to sleep then and dozed off and on
till noon, when the storm abated. We had dinner, or rather breakfast,
round a blazing bonfire.
"It's going to clear up," said Jim.
The forest around us was a somber and gloomy place. The cloud that had
enveloped the plateau lifted and began to move. It hit the tree tops,
sometimes rolling almost to the ground, then rising above the trees.
At first it moved slowly, rolling, forming, expanding, blooming like
a column of whirling gray smoke; then it gathered headway and rolled
onward through the forest. A gray, gloomy curtain, moving and
rippling, split by the trees, seemed to be passing over us. It rose
higher and higher, to split up in great globes, to roll apart, showing
glimpses of blue sky.
Shafts of golden sunshine shot down from these rifts, dispelling the
shadows and gloom, moving in paths of gold through the forest glade,
gleaming with brilliantly colored fire from the snow-wreathed pines.
The cloud rolled away and the sun shone hot. The trees began to drip.
A mist of diamonds filled the air, rainbows curved through every glade
and feathered patches of snow floated down.
A great bank of snow, sliding from the pine overhead almost buried
the Navajo, to our infinite delight. We all sought the shelter of the
tents, and sleep again claimed us.
I awoke about five o'clock. The sun was low, making crimson paths in
the white aisles of the forest. A cold wind promised a frosty morning.
"To-morrow will be the day for lions," exclaimed Jones.
While we hugged the fire, Navvy brought up the horses and gave them
their oats. The hounds sought their shelter and the lions lay hidden
in their beds of pine. The round red sun dropped out of sight beyond
the trees, a pink glow suffused all the ridges; blue shadows gathered
in the hollow, shaded purple and stole upward. A brief twilight
succeeded to a dark, coldly starlit night.
Once again, when I had crawled into the warm hole of my sleeping bag,
was I hailed from the other tent.
Emett called me twice, and as I answered, I heard Jones remonstrating
in a low voice.
"Shore, Jones has got 'em!" yelled Jim. "He can't keep it a secret no
"Hey, Jones," I cried, "do you remember laughing at me?"
"No, I don't," growled Jones.
"Listen to this: Haw-haw! haw! haw! ho-ho! ho-ho! bueno! bueno!" and I
wound up with a string of "hi! hi! hi! hi! hi!"
The hounds rose up in a body and began to yelp.
"Lie down, pups," I called to them. "Nothing doing for you. It's only
Jones has got 'em."
When we trooped out of the pines next morning, the sun, rising
gloriously bright, had already taken off the keen edge of the frosty
air, presaging a warm day. The white ridges glistened; the bunches of
sage scintillated, and the cedars, tipped in snow, resembled trees
with brilliant blossoms.
We lost no time riding for the mouth of Left Canyon, into which Jim
had trailed the three lions. On the way the snow, as we had expected,
began to thin out, and it failed altogether under the cedars, though
there was enough on the branches to give us a drenching.
Jim reined in on the verge of a narrow gorge, and informed us the cave
was below. Jones looked the ground over and said Jim had better
take the hounds down while the rest of us remained above to await
Jim went down on foot, calling the hounds and holding them close. We
listened eagerly for him to yell or the pack to open up, but we were
disappointed. In less than half an hour Jim came climbing out, with
the information that the lions had left the cave, probably the evening
after he had chased them there.
"Well, then," said Jones, "let's split the pack, and hunt round the
rims of these canyons. We can signal to each other if necessary."
So we arranged for Jim to take Ranger and the pups across Left Canyon;
Emett to try Middle Canyon, with Don and Moze, and we were to perform
a like office in Right Canyon with Sounder and Jude. Emett rode back
with us, leaving us where we crossed Middle Canyon.
Jones and I rimmed a mile of our canyon and worked out almost to the
west end of the Bay, without finding so much as a single track, so we
started to retrace our way. The sun was now hot; the snow all gone;
the ground dry as if it had never been damp; and Jones grumbled that
no success would attend our efforts this morning.
We reached the ragged mouth of Right Canyon, where it opened into the
deep, wide Bay, and because we hoped to hear our companions across the
canyon, we rode close to the rim. Sounder and Jude both began to bark
on a cliff; however, as we could find no tracks in the dust we called
them off. Sounder obeyed reluctantly, but Jude wanted to get down over
"They scent a lion," averred Jones. "Let's put them over the wall."
Once permitted to go, the hounds needed no assistance. They ran up
and down the rim till they found a crack. Hardly had they gone out
of sight when we heard them yelping. We rushed to the rim and looked
over. The first step was short, a crumbled section of wall, and from
it led down a long slope, dotted here and there with cedars. Both
hounds were baying furiously.
I spied Jude with her paws up on a cedar, and above her hung a lion,
so close that she could nearly reach him. Sounder was not yet in
"There! There!" I cried, directing Jones' glance. "Are we not lucky?"
"I see. By George! Come, we'll go down. Leave everything that you
don't absolutely need."
Spurs, chaps, gun, coat, hat, I left on the rim, taking only my camera
and lasso. I had forgotten to bring my canteen. We descended a ladder
of shaly cliff, the steps of which broke under our feet. The slope
below us was easy, and soon we stood on a level with the lion. The
cedar was small, and afforded no good place for him. Evidently he
jumped from the slope to the tree, and had hung where he first
"Where's Sounder? Look for him. I hear him below. This lion won't stay
I, too, heard Sounder. The cedar tree obstructed my view, and I moved
aside. A hundred feet farther down the hound bayed under a tall pinon.
High in the branches I saw a great mass of yellow, and at first glance
thought Sounder had treed old Sultan. How I yelled! Then a second
glance showed two lions close together.
"Two more! two more! look! look!" I yelled to Jones.
"Hi! Hi! Hi!" he joined his robust yell to mine, and for a moment we
made the canyon bellow. When we stopped for breath the echoes bayed at
us from the opposite walls.
"Waa-hoo!" Emett's signal, faint, far away, soaring but unmistakable,
floated down to us. Across the jutting capes separating the mouths of
these canyons, high above them on the rim wall of the opposite side of
the Bay, stood a giant white horse silhouetted against the white
sky. They made a brave picture, one most welcome to us. We yelled in
chorus: "Three lions treed! Three lions treed! come down--hurry!"
A crash of rolling stones made us wheel. Jude's lion had jumped. He
ran straight down, drawing Sounder from his guard. Jude went tearing
"I'll follow; you stay here. Keep them up there, if you can!" yelled
Jones. Then in long strides he passed down out of sight among the
trees and crags.
It had all happened so quickly that I could scarcely realize it. The
yelping of the hounds, the clattering of stones, grew fainter, telling
me Jude and Sounder, with Jones, were going to the bottom of the Bay.
Both lions snarling at me brought me to a keen appreciation of the
facts in the case. Two full-grown lions to be kept treed without
hounds, without a companion, without a gun.
"This is fine! This is funny!" I cried, and for a moment I wanted to
run. But the same grim, deadly feeling that had taken me with Don
around the narrow shelf now rose in me stronger and fiercer. I
pronounced one savage malediction upon myself for leaving my gun. I
could not go for it; I would have to make the best of my error, and in
the wildness born of the moment I swore if the lions would stay treed
for the hounds they would stay treed for me.
First I photographed them from different positions; then I took up my
stand about on a level with them in an open place on the slope where
they had me in plain sight. I might have been fifty feet from them.
They showed no inclination to come down.
About this moment I heard hounds below, coming down from the left. I
called and called, but they passed on down the canyon bottom in the
direction Jones had taken.
Presently a chorus of bays, emphasized by Jones' yell, told me his
lion had treed again.
"Waa-hoo!" rolled down from above.
I saw Emett farther to the left from the point where he had just
I surveyed the walls of the Bay. Cliff on cliff, slide on slide,
jumble, crag, and ruin, baffled my gaze. But I finally picked out a
"Farther to the left," I yelled, and waited. He passed on, Don at his
"There," I yelled again, "stop there; let Don go down with your lasso,
and come yourself."
I watched him swing the hound down a wall, and pull the slip noose
free. Don slid to the edge of a slope, trotted to the right and left
of crags, threaded the narrow places, and turned in the direction of
the baying hounds. He passed on the verge of precipices that made me
tremble for him; but sure-footed as a goat, he went on safely down, to
disappear far to my right.
Then I saw Emett sliding, leg wrapped around his lasso, down the first
step of the rim. His lasso, doubled so as to reach round a cedar
above, was too short to extend to the landing below. He dropped,
raising a cloud of dust, and starting the stones. Pulling one end of
his lasso up around the cedar he gathered it in a coil on his arm and
faced forward, following Don's trail.
What strides he took! In the clear light, with that wild red and
yellow background, with the stones and gravel roaring down, streaming
over the walls like waterfalls, he seemed a giant pursuing a foe. From
time to time he sent up a yell of encouragement that wound down the
canyon, to be answered by Jones and the baying hounds and then the
strange echoes. At last he passed out of sight behind the crests of
the trees; I heard him going down, down till the sounds came up faint
I was left absolutely alone with my two lions and never did a hunter
so delight in a situation. I sat there in the sun watching them. For a
long time they were quiet, listening. But as the bays and yells below
diminished in volume and occurrence and then ceased altogether, they
became restless. It was then that I, remembering the lion I had held
on top of the crag, began to bark like a hound. The lions became quiet
I bayed them for an hour. My voice grew from hoarse to hoarser, and
finally failed in my throat. The lions immediately grew restless
again. The lower one hissed, spat and growled at me, and made many
attempts to start down, each one of which I frustrated by throwing
stones under the tree. At length he made one more determined effort,
turned head downward, and stepped from branch to branch.
I dashed down the incline with a stone in one hand and a long club in
the other. Instinctively I knew I must hurt him--make him fear me.
If he got far enough down to jump, he would either escape or have me
helpless. I aimed deliberately at him, and hit him square in the ribs.
He exploded in a spit-roar that raised my hair. Directly under him I
wielded my club, pounded on the tree, thrashed at the branches and,
like the crazy fool that I was, yelled at him:
"Go back! Go back! Don't you dare come down! I'd break your old head
Foolish or not, this means effectually stopped the descent. He climbed
to his first perch. It was then, realizing what I had done, that I
would certainly have made tracks from under the pinon, if I had not
heard the faint yelp of a hound.
I listened. It came again, faint but clearer. I looked up at my lions.
They too heard, for they were very still. I saw how strained they held
their heads. I backed a little way up the slope. Then the faint yelp
floated up again in the silence. Such dead, strange silence, that
seemed never to have been broken! I saw the lions quiver, and if I
ever heard anything in my life I heard their hearts thump. The yelp
wafted up again, closer this time. I recognized it; it belonged to
Don. The great hound on the back trail of the other lion was coming to
"It's Don! It's Don! It's Don!" I cried, shaking my club at the lions.
"It's all up with you now!" What feelings stirred me then! Pity for
those lions dominated me. Big, tawny, cruel fellows as they were, they
shivered with fright. Their sides trembled. But pity did not hold me
long; Don's yelp, now getting clear and sharp, brought back the rush
of savage, grim sensations.
A full-toned bay attracted my attention from the lions to the downward
slope. I saw a yellow form moving under the trees and climbing fast.
It was Don.
"Hi! Hi! old boy!" I yelled.
Then it seemed he moved up like a shot and stood all his long length,
forepaws against the pinon, his deep bay ringing defiance to the
It was a great relief, not to say a probable necessity, for me to sit
down just then.
"Now come down," I said to my lions; "you can't catch that hound, and
you can't get away from him."
Moments passed. I was just on the point of deciding to go down to
hurry up my comrades, when I heard the other hounds coming. Yelp on
yelp, bay on bay, made welcome music to my ears. Then a black and
yellow, swiftly flying string of hounds bore into sight down the
slope, streaked up and circled the pinon.
Jones, who at last showed his tall stooping form on the steep ascent,
seemed as long in coming as the hounds had been swift.
"Did you get the lion? Where's Emett?" I asked in breathless
"Lion tied--all fast," replied the panting Jones. "Left Emett--to
"What are we to do now?"
"Wait--till I get my breath. Think out--a plan. We can't get both
lions--out of one tree."
"All right," I replied, after a moment's thought. "I'll tie Sounder
and Moze. You go up the tree. That first lion will jump, sure; he's
almost ready now. Don and the other hounds will tree him again pretty
soon. If he runs up the canyon, well and good. Then, if you can get
the lasso on the other, I'll yell for Emett to come up to help you,
and I'll follow Don."
Jones began the ascent of the pinon. The branches were not too close,
affording him easy climbing. Before we looked for even a move on the
part of the lions, the lower one began stepping down. I yelled a
warning, but Jones did not have time to take advantage of it. He had
half turned, meaning to swing out and drop, when the lion planted both
forepaws upon his back. Jones went sprawling down with the lion almost
Don had his teeth in the lion before he touched the ground, and when
he did strike the rest of the hounds were on him. A cloud of dust
rolled down the slope. The lion broke loose and with great, springy
bounds ran up the canyon, Don and his followers hot-footing it after
Moze and Sounder broke the dead sapling to which I had tied them, and
dragging it behind them, endeavored in frenzied action to join the
chase. I drew them back, loosening the rope, so in case the other lion
jumped I could free them quickly.
Jones calmly gathered himself up, rearranged his lasso, took his long
stick, and proceeded to mount the pinon again. I waited till I saw him
slip the noose over the lion's head, then I ran down the slope to
yell for Emett. He answered at once. I told him to hurry to Jones'
assistance. With that I headed up the canyon.
I hung close to the broad trail left by the lion and his pursuers. I
passed perilously near the brink of precipices, but fear of them was
not in me that day. I passed out of the Bay into the mouth of Left
Canyon, and began to climb. The baying of the hounds directed me. In
the box of yellow walls the chorus seemed to come from a hundred dogs.
When I found them, close to a low cliff, baying the lion in a thick,
dark pinon, Ranger leaped into my arms and next Don stood up against
me with his paws on my shoulders. These were strange actions, and
though I marked it at the moment, I had ceased to wonder at our
hounds. I took one picture as the lion sat in the dark shade, and then
climbed to the low cliff and sat down. I called Don to me and held
him. In case our quarry leaped upon the cliff I wanted a hound to put
quickly on his trail.
Another hour passed. It must have been a dark hour for the lion--he
looked as if it were--and one of impatience for the baying hounds, but
for me it was a full hour. Alone with the hounds and a lion, far from
the walks of men, walled in by the wild-colored cliffs, with the dry,
sweet smell of cedar and pinon, I asked no more.
Sounder and Moze, vociferously venting their arrival, were forerunners
to Jones. I saw his gray locks waving in the breeze, and yelled for
him to take his time. As he reached me the lion jumped and ran up the
canyon. This suited me, for I knew he would take to a tree soon and
the farther up he went the less distance we would have to pack him.
From the cliff I saw him run up a slope, pass a big cedar, cunningly
turn on his trail, and then climb into the tree and hide in its
thickest part. Don passed him, got off the trail, and ran at fault.
The others, so used to his leadership, were also baffled. But Jude,
crippled and slow, brought up the rear, and she did not go a yard
beyond where the lion turned. She opened up her deep call under the
cedar, and in a moment the howling pack were around her.
Jones and I toiled laboriously upward. He had brought my lasso, and
he handed it to me with the significant remark that I would soon have
need of it.
The cedar was bushy and overhung a yellow, bare slope that made Jones
shake his head. He climbed the tree, lassoed the spitting lion and
then leaped down to my side. By united and determined efforts we
pulled the lion off the limb and let him down. The hounds began to
leap at him. We both roared in a rage at them but to no use.
"Hold him there!" shouted Jones, leaving me with the lasso while he
The weight of the animal dragged me forward and, had I not taken a
half hitch round a dead snag, would have lifted me off my feet or
pulled the lasso from my hands. As it was, the choking lion, now
within reach of the furious, leaping hounds, swung to and fro before
my face. He could not see me, but his frantic lunges narrowly missed
If never before, Jones then showed his genius. Don had hold of the
lion's flank, and Jones, grabbing the hound by the hind legs, threw
him down the slope. Don fell and rolled a hundred feet before he
caught himself. Then Jones threw old Moze rolling, and Ranger, and all
except faithful Jude. Before they could get back he roped the lion
again and made fast to a tree. Then he yelled for me to let go. The
lion fell. Jones grabbed the lasso, at the same time calling for me to
stop the hounds. As they came bounding up the steep slope, I had to
club the noble fellows into submission.
Before the lion recovered wholly from his severe choking, we had his
paws bound fast. Then he could only heave his tawny sides, glare and
spit at us.
"Now what?" asked Jones. "Emett is watching the second lion, which we
fastened by chain and lasso to a swinging branch. I'm all in. My heart
won't stand any more climb."
"You go to camp for the pack horses," I said briefly. "Bring them all,
and all the packs, and Navvy, too. I'll help Emett tie up the second
lion, and then we'll pack them both up here to this one. You take the
hounds with you."
"Can you tie up that lion?" asked Jones. "Mind you, he's loose except
for a collar and chain. His claws haven't been clipped. Besides, it'll
be an awful job to pack those two lions up here."
"We can try," I said. "You hustle to camp. Your horse is right up back
of here, across the point, if I don't mistake my bearings."
Jones, admonishing me again, called the hounds and wearily climbed the
slope. I waited until he was out of hearing; then began to retrace my
trail down into the canyon. I made the descent in quick time, to find
Emett standing guard over the lion. The beast had been tied to an
overhanging branch that swung violently with every move he made.
"When I got here," said Emett, "he was hanging over the side of that
rock, almost choked to death. I drove him into this corner between the
rocks and the tree, where he has been comparatively quiet. Now, what's
up? Where is Jones? Did you get the third lion?"
I related what had occurred, and then said we were to tie this lion
and pack him with the other one up the canyon, to meet Jones and the
"All right," replied Emett, with a grim laugh. "We'd better get at
it. Now I'm some worried about the lion we left below. He ought to be
brought up, but we both can't go. This lion here will kill himself."
"What will the other one weigh?"
"All of one hundred and fifty pounds."
"You can't pack him alone."
"I'll try, and I reckon that's the best plan. Watch this fellow and
keep him in the corner."
Emett left me then, and I began a third long vigil beside a lion. The
rest was more than welcome. An hour and a half passed before I heard
the sliding of stones below, which told me that Emett was coming. He
appeared on the slope almost bent double, carrying the lion, head
downward, before him. He could climb only a few steps without lowering
his burden and resting.
I ran down to meet him. We secured a stout pole, and slipping this
between the lion's paws, below where they were tied, we managed to
carry him fairly well, and after several rests, got him up alongside
"Now to tie that rascal!" exclaimed Emett. "Jones said he was the
meanest one he'd tackled, and I believe it. We'll cut a piece off of
each lasso, and unravel them so as to get strings. I wish Jones hadn't
tied the lasso to that swinging branch."
"I'll go and untie it." Acting on this suggestion I climbed the tree
and started out on the branch. The lion growled fiercely.
"I'm afraid you'd better stop," warned Emett. "That branch is bending,
and the lion can reach you."
But despite this I slipped out a couple of yards farther, and had
almost gotten to the knotted lasso, when the branch swayed and bent
alarmingly. The lion sprang from his corner and crouched under me
snarling and spitting, with every indication of leaping.
"Jump! Jump! Jump!" shouted Emett hoarsely.
[Illustration: BILLY IN CAMP]
[Illustration: LION LICKING SNOWBALL]
I dared not, for I could not jump far enough to get out of the lion's
reach. I raised my legs and began to slide myself back up the branch.
The lion leaped, missing me, but scattering the dead twigs. Then the
beast, beside himself with fury, half leaped, half stood up, and
reached for me. I looked down into his blazing eyes, and open mouth
and saw his white fangs.
Everything grew blurred before my eyes. I desperately fought for
control over mind and muscle. I heard hoarse roars from Emett. Then
I felt a hot, burning pain in my wrist, which stung all my faculties
into keen life again.
I saw the lion's beaked claws fastened in my leather wrist-band. At
the same instant Emett dashed under the branch, and grasped the lion's
tail. One powerful lunge of his broad shoulders tore the lion loose
and flung him down the slope to the full extent of his lasso. Quick
as thought I jumped down, and just in time to prevent Emett from
attacking the lion with the heavy pole we had used.
"I'll kill him! I'll kill him!" roared Emett.
"No you won't," I replied, quietly, for my pain had served to soothe
my excitement as well as to make me more determined. "We'll tie up the
darned tiger, if he cuts us all to pieces. You know how Jones will
give us the laugh if we fail. Here, bind up my wrist."
Mention of Jones' probable ridicule and sight of my injury cooled
"It's a nasty scratch," he said, binding my handkerchief round it.
"The leather saved your hand from being torn off. He's an ugly brute,
but you're right, we'll tie him. Now, let's each take a lasso and
worry him till we get hold of a paw. Then we can stretch him out."
Jones did a fiendish thing when he tied that lion to the swinging
branch. It was almost worse than having him entirely free. He had a
circle almost twenty feet in diameter in which he could run and leap
at will. It seemed he was in the air all the time. First at Emett,
than at me he sprang, mouth agape, eyes wild, claws spread. We whipped
him with our nooses, but not one would hold. He always tore it off
before we could draw it tight. I secured a precarious hold on one hind
paw and straightened my lasso.
"That's far enough," cried Emett. "Now hold him tight; don't lift him
off the ground."
I had backed up the slope. Emett faced the lion, noose ready, waiting
for a favorable chance to rope a front paw. The lion crouched low and
tense, only his long tail lashing back and forth across my lasso.
Emett threw the loop in front of the spread paws, now half sunk into
"Ease up; ease up," said he. "I'll tease him to jump into the noose."
I let my rope sag. Emett poked a stick into the lion's face. All at
once I saw the slack in the lasso which was tied to the lion's chain.
Before I could yell to warn my comrade the beast leaped. My rope
burned as it tore through my hands. The lion sailed into the air, his
paws wide-spread like wings, and one of them struck Emett on the head
and rolled him on the slope. I jerked back on my rope only to find it
had slipped its hold.
"He slugged me one," remarked Emett, calmly rising and picking up his
hat. "Did he break the skin?"
"No, but he tore your hat band off," I replied. "Let's keep at him."
For a few moments or an hour--no one will ever know how long--we ran
round him, raising the dust, scattering the stones, breaking the
branches, dodging his onslaughts. He leaped at us to the full length
of his tether, sailing right into our faces, a fierce, uncowed,
tigerish beast. If it had not been for the collar and swivel he would
have choked himself a hundred times. Quick as a cat, supple, powerful,
tireless, he kept on the go, whirling, bounding, leaping, rolling,
till it seemed we would never catch him.
"If anything breaks, he'll get one of us," cried Emett. "I felt his
breath that time."
"Lord! How I wish we had some of those fellows here who say lions are
rank cowards!" I exclaimed.
In one of his sweeping side swings the lion struck the rock and hung
there on its flat surface with his tail hanging over.
"Attract his attention," shouted Emett, "but don't get too close.
Don't make him jump."
While I slowly manoeuvered in front of the lion, Emett slipped behind
the rock, lunged for the long tail and got a good hold of it. Then
with a whoop he ran around the rock, carrying the kicking, squalling
lion clear of the ground.
"Now's your chance," he yelled. "Rope a hind foot! I can hold him."
In a second I had a noose fast on both hind paws, and then passed my
rope to Emett. While he held the lion I again climbed the tree, untied
the knot that had caused so much trouble, and very shortly we had our
obstinate captive stretched out between two trees. After that we took
a much needed breathing spell.
"Not very scientific," growled Emett, by way of apologizing for our
crude work, "but we had to get him some way."
"Emett, do you know I believe Jones put up a job on us?" I said.
"Well, maybe he did. We had the job all right. But we'll make short
work of him now."
He certainly went at it in a way that alarmed me and would have
electrified Jones. While I held the chain Emett muzzled the lion
with a stick and a strand of lasso. His big blacksmith's hands held,
twisted and tied with remorseless strength.
"Now for the hardest part of it," said he, "packing him up."
We toiled and drudged upward, resting every few yards, wet with sweat,
boiling with heat, parching for water. We slipped and fell, got up to
slip and fall again. The dust choked us. We senselessly risked our
lives on the brinks of precipices. We had no thought save to get the
lion up. One hour of unremitting labor saw our task finished, so far.
Then we wearily went down for the other.
"This one is the heaviest," gloomily said Emett.
We had to climb partly sidewise with the pole in the hollow of our
elbows. The lion dragged head downward, catching in the brush and
on the stones. Our rests became more frequent. Emett, who had the
downward end of the pole, and therefore thrice the weight, whistled
when he drew breath. Half the time I saw red mist before my eyes. How
I hated the sliding stones!
"Wait," panted Emett once. "You're--younger--than me--wait!"
For that Mormon giant--used all his days to strenuous toil, peril and
privation--to ask me to wait for him, was a compliment which I valued
more than any I had ever received.
At last we dropped our burden in the shade of a cedar where the
other lions lay, and we stretched ourselves. A long, sweet rest came
abruptly to end with Emett's next words.
"The lions are choking! They're dying of thirst! We must have water!"
One glance at the poor, gasping, frothing beasts, proved to me the
nature of our extremity.
"Water in this desert! Where will we find it? Oh! why, did I forget my
After all our hopes, our efforts, our tragedies, and finally our
wonderful good fortune, to lose these beautiful lions for lack of a
little water was sickening, maddening.
"Think quick!" cried Emett. "I'm no good; I'm all in. But you must
find water. It snowed yesterday. There's water somewhere."
Into my mind flashed a picture of the many little pockets beaten by
rains into the shelves and promontories of the canyon rim. With the
thought I was on the jump. I ran; I climbed; I seemed to have wings; I
reached the rim, and hurried along it with eager gaze. I swung down on
a cedar branch to a projecting point of rock. Small depressions were
everywhere still damp, but the water had evaporated. But I would not
give up. I jumped from rock to rock, and climbed over scaly ledges,
and set tons of yellow shale into motion. And I found on a ragged
promontory many little, round holes, some a foot deep, all full of
clear water. Using my handkerchief as a sponge I filled my cap.
Then began my journey down. I carried the cap with both hands and
balanced myself like a tight-rope performer. I zigzagged the slopes;
slipped over stones; leaped fissures and traversed yellow slides.
I safely descended places that in an ordinary moment would have
presented insurmountable obstacles, and burst down upon Emett with an
Indian yell of triumph.
"Good!" ejaculated he. If I had not known it already, the way his face
changed would have told me of his love for animals. He grasped a lion
by the ears and held his head up. I saturated my handkerchief and
squeezed the water into his mouth. He wheezed, coughed, choked, but to
our joy he swallowed. He had to swallow. One after the other we served
them so, seeing with unmistakable relief the sure signs of recovery.
Their eyes cleared and brightened; the dry coughing that distressed us
so ceased; the froth came no more. The savage fellow that had fought
us to a standstill, and for which we had named him Spitfire, raised
his head, the gold in his beautiful eyes darkened to fire and he
growled his return to life and defiance.
Emett and I sank back in unutterable relief.
"Waa-hoo!" Jones' yell came, breaking the warm quiet of the slope.
Our comrade appeared riding down. The voice of the Indian, calling to
Marc, mingled with the ringing of iron-shod hoofs on the stones.
Jones surveyed the small level spot in the shade of the cedars. He
gazed from the lions to us, his stern face relaxed, and his dry laugh
"Doggone me, if you didn't do it!"
A strange procession soon emerged from Left Canyon and stranger to us
than the lion heads bobbing out of the alfagoes was the sight of Navvy
riding in front of the lions. I kept well in the rear, for if anything
happened, which I calculated was more than likely, I wanted to see
it. Before we had reached the outskirts of pines, I observed that the
piece of lasso around Spitfire's nose had worked loose.
Just as I was about to make this known to Jones, the lion opened a
corner of his mouth and fastened his teeth in the Navajo's overalls.
He did not catch the flesh, for when Navvy turned around he wore only
an expression of curiosity. But when he saw Spitfire chewing him he
uttered a shrill scream and fell sidewise off his horse.
Then two difficulties presented themselves to us, to catch the
frightened horse and persuade the Indian he had not been bitten. We
failed in the latter. Navvy gave us and the lions a wide berth, and
walked to camp.
Jim was waiting for us, and said he had chased a lion south along the
rim till the hounds got away from him.
Spitfire, having already been chained, was the first lion we
endeavored to introduce to our family of captives. He raised such a
fearful row that we had to remove him some distance from the others.
"We have two dog chains," said Jones, "but not a collar or a swivel
in camp. We can't chain the lions without swivels. They'd choke
themselves in two minutes."
Once more, for the hundredth time, Emett came to our rescue with his
inventive and mechanical skill. He took the largest pair of hobbles we
had, and with an axe, a knife and Jones' wire nippers, fashioned two
collars with swivels that for strength and serviceableness improved
somewhat on those we had bought.
Darkness was enveloping the forest when we finished supper. I fell
into my bed and, despite the throbbing and burning of my wrist,
soon lapsed into slumber. And I crawled out next morning late for
breakfast, stiff, worn out, crippled, but happy. Six lions roaring a
concert for me was quite conducive to contentment.
Emett interestingly engaged himself on a new pair of trousers, which
he had contrived to produce from two of our empty meal-bags. The lower
half of his overalls had gone to decorate the cedar spikes and brush,
and these new bag-leg trousers, while somewhat remarkable for design,
answered the purpose well enough. Jones' coat was somewhere along the
canyon rim, his shoes were full of holes, his shirt in strips, and his
trousers in rags. Jim looked like a scarecrow. My clothes, being of
heavy waterproofed duck, had stood the hard usage in a manner to bring
forth the unanimous admiration of my companions.
"Well, fellows," said Jones, "there's six lions, and that's more than
we can pack out of here. Have you had enough hunting? I have."
"And I," rejoined Emett.
"Shore you can bet I have," drawled Jim.
"One more day, boys, and then I've done," said I. "Only one more day!"
Signs of relief on the faces of my good comrades showed how they took
this evidence of my satisfied ambition.
I spent all the afternoon with the lions, photographing them,
listening to them spit and growl, watching them fight their chains,
and roll up like balls of fire. From different parts of the forest I
tried to creep unsuspected upon them; but always when I peeped out
from behind a tree or log, every pair of ears would be erect, every
pair of eyes gleaming and suspicious.
Spitfire afforded more amusement than all the others. He had indeed
the temper of a king; he had been born for sovereignty, not slavery.
To intimidate me he tried every manner of expression and utterance,
and failing, he always ended with a spring in the air to the length of
his chain. This means was always effective. I simply could not stand
still when he leaped; and in turn I tried every artifice I could think
of to make him back away from me, to take refuge behind his tree. I
ran at him with a club as if I were going to kill him. He waited,
crouching. Finally, in dire extremity, I bethought me of a red flannel
hood that Emett had given me, saying I might use it on cold nights.
This was indeed a weird, flaming headgear, falling like a cloak down
over the shoulders. I put it on, and, camera in hand, started to crawl
on all fours toward Spitfire.
[Illustration: SOME OF OUR MENAGERIE IN BUCKSKIN FOREST]
[Illustration: WHITE MUSTANG STALLION WITH HIS BUNCH OF BLACKS IN
I needed no one to tell me that this proceeding was entirely beyond
his comprehension. In his astonishment he forgot to spit and growl,
and he backed behind the little pine, from which he regarded me with
growing perplexity. Then, having revenged myself on him, and getting a
picture, I left him in peace.
I awoke before dawn, and lay watching the dark shadows change into
gray, and gray into light. The Navajo chanted solemnly and low his
morning song. I got up with the keen eagerness of the hunter who faces
the last day of his hunt.
I warmed my frozen fingers at the fire. A hot breakfast smoked on the
red coals. We ate while Navvy fed and saddled the horses.
"Shore, they'll be somethin' doin' to-day," said Jim, fatalistically.
"We haven't crippled a horse yet," put in Emett hopefully. Don led the
pack and us down the ridge, out of the pines into the sage. The sun, a
red ball, glared out of the eastern mist, shedding a dull glow on
the ramparts of the far canyon walls. A herd of white-tailed deer
scattered before the hounds. Blue grouse whirred from under our
"Spread out," ordered Jones, and though he meant the hounds, we all
followed his suggestion, as the wisest course.
Ranger began to work up the sage ridge to the right. Jones, Emett
and I followed, while Jim rode away to the left. Gradually the space
widened, and as we neared the cedars, a sharply defined, deep canyon
We heard Don open up, then Sounder. Ranger left the trail he was
trying to work out in the thick sage, and bounded in the direction of
the rest of the pack. We reined in to listen.
First Don, then Sounder, then Jude, then one of the pups bayed
eagerly, telling us they were hunting hard. Suddenly the bays blended
in one savage sound.
"Hi! Hi! Hi!" cracked the cool, thin air. We saw Jim wave his hand
from the far side of the canyon, spur his horse into action, and
disappear into the cedars.
"Stick close together," yelled Jones, as we launched forward. We made
the mistake of not going back to cross the canyon, for the hounds soon
went up the opposite side. As we rode on and on, the sounds of the
chase lessened, and finally ceased. To our great chagrin we found it
necessary to retrace our steps, and when we did get over the deep
gully, so much time had elapsed that we despaired of coming up with
Jim. Emett led, keeping close on Jim's trail, which showed plain in
the dust, and we followed.
Up and down ravines, over ridges, through sage flats and cedar
forests, to and fro, around and around, we trailed Jim and the hounds.
From time to time one of us let out a long yell.
"I see a big lion track," called Jones once, and that stirred us on
faster. Fully an hour passed before Jones halted us, saying we had
best try a signal. I dismounted, while Emett rolled his great voice
through the cedars.
A long silence ensued. From the depths of the forest Jim's answer
struck faintly on my ear. With a word to my companions I leaped on my
mustang and led the way. I rode as far as I could mark a straight line
with my eye, then stopped to wait for another cry. In this way, slowly
but surely we closed in on Jim.
We found him on the verge of the Bay, in the small glade where I had
left my horse the day I followed Don alone down the canyon. Jim was
engaged in binding up the leg of his horse. The baying of the hounds
floated up over the rim.
"What's up?" queried Jones.
"Old Sultan. That's what," replied Jim. "We run plumb into him. We've
had him in five trees. It ain't been long since he was in that cedar
there. When he jumped the yellow pup was in the way an' got killed.
My horse just managed to jump clear of the big lion, an' as it was,
nearly broke his leg."
Emett examined the leg and pronounced it badly strained, and advised
Jim to lead the horse back to camp. Jones and I stood a moment over
the remains of the yellow pup, and presently Emett joined us.
"He was the most playful one of the pack," said Emett, and then he
placed the limp, bloody body in a crack, and laid several slabs of
stone over it.
"Hurry after the other hounds," said Jim. "That lion will kill them
one by one. An' look out for him!"
If we needed an incentive, the danger threatening the hounds furnished
one; but I calculated the death of the pup was enough. Emett had a
flare in his eye, Jones looked darker and more grim than ever, and I
had sensations that boded ill to old Sultan.
"Fellows," I said, "I've been down this place, and I know where the
old brute has gone; so come on."
I laid aside my coat, chaps and rifle, feeling that the business ahead
was stern and difficult. Then I faced the canyon. Down slopes, among
rocks, under pinons, around yellow walls, along slides, the two big
men followed me with heavy steps. We reached the white stream-bed,
and sliding, slipping, jumping, always down and down, we came at last
within sound of the hounds. We found them baying wildly under a pinon
on the brink of the deep cove.
Then, at once, we all saw old Sultan close at hand. He was of immense
size; his color was almost gray; his head huge, his paws heavy and
round. He did not spit, nor snarl, nor growl; he did not look at the
hounds, but kept his half-shut eyes upon us.
We had no time to make a move before he left his perch and hit the
ground with a thud. He walked by the baying hounds, looked over the
brink of the cove, and without an instant of hesitation, leaped down.
The rattling crash of sliding stones came up with a cloud of dust.
Then we saw him leisurely picking his way among the rough stones.
Exclamations from the three of us attested to what we thought of that
"Look the place over," called Jones. "I think we've got him."
The cove was a hole hollowed out by running water. At its head, where
the perpendicular wall curved, the height was not less than forty
feet. The walls became higher as the cove deepened toward the canyon.
It had a length of perhaps a hundred yards, and a width of perhaps
half as many. The floor was mass on mass of splintered rock.
"Let the hounds down on a lasso," said Jones.
Easier said than done! Sounder, Ranger, Jude refused. Old Moze
grumbled and broke away. But Don, stern and savage, allowed Jones to
tie him in a slip noose.
"It's a shame to send that grand hound to his death," protested Emett.
"We'll all go down," declared Jones.
"We can't. One will have to stay up here to help the other two out,"
"You're the strongest; you stay up," said Jones. "Better work along
the wall and see if you can locate the lion."
[Illustration: ON THE WAY HOME]
[Illustration: RIDING WITH A NAVAJO]
We let Don down into the hole. He kicked himself loose before reaching
the bottom and then, yelping, he went out of sight among the boulders.
Moze, as if ashamed, came whining to us. We slipped a noose around him
and lowered him, kicking and barking, to the rocky floor. Jones made
the lasso fast to a cedar root, and I slid down, like a flash, burning
my hands. Jones swung himself over, wrapped his leg around the rope,
and came down, to hit the ground with a thump. Then, lassos in hands,
we began clambering over the broken fragments.
For a few moments we were lost to sights and sounds away from our
immediate vicinity. The bottom of the cove afforded hard going. Dead
pinons and cedars blocked our way; the great, jagged stones offered no
passage. We crawled, climbed, and jumped from piece to piece.
A yell from Emett halted us. We saw him above, on the extreme point of
wall. Waving his arms, he yelled unintelligible commands to us. The
fierce baying of Don and Moze added to our desperate energy.
The last jumble of splintered rock cleared, we faced a terrible and
"Look! Look!" I gasped to Jones.
A wide, bare strip of stone lay a few yards beneath us; and in the
center of this last step sat the great lion on his haunches with his
long tail lashing out over the precipice. Back to the canyon, he
confronted the furious hounds; his demeanor had changed to one of
When Jones and I appeared, old Sultan abruptly turned his back to the
hounds and looked down into the canyon. He walked the whole length of
the bare rock with his head stretched over. He was looking for a niche
or a step whereby he might again elude his foes.
Faster lashed his tail; farther and farther stretched his neck. He
stopped, and with head bent so far over the abyss that it seemed he
must fall, he looked and looked.
How grandly he fitted the savage sublimity of that place! The
tremendous purple canyon depths lay beneath him. He stood on the last
step of his mighty throne. The great downward slopes had failed him.
Majestically and slowly he turned from the deep that offered no hope.
As he turned, Jones cast the noose of his lasso perfectly round the
burly neck. Sultan roared and worked his jaws, but he did not leap.
Jones must have expected such a move, for he fastened his rope to a
spur of rock. Standing there, revolver gripped, hearing the baying
hounds, the roaring lion, and Jones' yells mingled with Emett's, I had
no idea what to do. I was in a trance of sensations.
Old Sultan ran rather than leaped at us. Jones evaded the rush by
falling behind a stone, but still did not get out of danger. Don flew
at the lion's neck and Moze buried his teeth in a flank. Then the
three rolled on the rock dangerously near the verge.
Bellowing, Jones grasped the lasso and pulled. Still holding my
revolver, I leaped to his assistance, and together we pulled and
jerked. Don got away from the lion with remarkable quickness. But
Moze, slow and dogged, could not elude the outstretched paws, which
fastened in his side and leg. We pulled so hard we slowly raised the
lion. Moze, never whimpering, clawed and scratched at the rock in his
efforts to escape. The lion's red tongue protruded from his dripping
jaws. We heard the rend of hide as our efforts, combined with those of
Moze, loosed him from the great yellow claws.
The lion, whirling and wrestling, rolled over the precipice. When the
rope straightened with a twang, had it not been fastened to the rock,
Jones and I would have jerked over the wall. The shock threw us to our
For a moment we did not realize the situation. Emett's yells awakened
"Pull! Pull! Pull!" roared he.
Then, knowing that old Sultan would hang himself in a few moments, we
attempted to lift him. Jones pulled till his back cracked; I pulled
till I saw red before my eyes. Again and again we tried. We could lift
him only a few feet. Soon exhausted, we had to desist altogether. How
Emett roared and raged from his vantage-point above! He could see the
lion in death throes.
Suddenly he quieted down with the words: "All over; all over!" Then he
sat still, looking into space. Jones sat mopping his brow. And I, all
my hot resentment vanished, lay on the rock, with eyes on the distant