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The Pony Rider Boys in the Grand Canyon by Frank Gee Patchin

Part 3 out of 4

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that he had. Professor Zepplin, however, called a surgeon, who took
five stitches in the scalp wound.

On the following morning camp was struck and the party started out for
Bright Angel Gulch and Cataract Canyon, in both of which places some
interesting as well as exciting experiences awaited them. Nance had
brought three of his hunting dogs with him in case any game were started.

The boys were looking forward to shooting a lion, though, there being
no snow on the ground, it would be difficult for the dogs to strike
and follow a trail. How well they succeeded we shall see.



The man in charge of the pack train having deserted them before the
travelers got back from the rim, Dad picked up a half breed whom the
boys named Chow, because he was always chewing. If not food, Chow was
forever munching on a leaf or a twig or a stick. His jaws were ever
at work until the boys were working their own jaws out of pure sympathy.

The march was taken up to Bass Trail, which they reached about noon of
the second day and started down. No unusual incident occurred during
this journey. They found the trail in good condition, and though steep
and precipitous in places, it gave the Pony Rider Boys no worry. After
having experienced the perils of the other trail, this one seemed tame.

From Bass Trail they worked their way down and across into Bright Angel
Gulch, where they made camp and awaited the arrival of Chow and the
mules with their tents and provisions.

Chow arrived late the same day. Tents were pitched and settled. It was
decided for the present to make this point their base of supplies. When
on short journeys they would travel light, carrying such equipment as
was absolutely necessary, and no more.

This gulch was far from the beaten track of the ordinary explorer, a
vast but attractive gash in the plateau. In spots there was verdure,
and, where the water courses reached in, stretches of grass with here
and there patches of gramma grass, grease wood and creosote plants with
a profusion of flowers, mostly red, in harmony with the prevailing
color of the rocks that towered high above them. At this point the
walls of the Canyon reached nearly seven thousand feet up into the air.

Down there on the levels the sun glared fiercely at midday, but along
toward night refreshing breezes drifted through the Canyon, making the
evenings cool and delightful. But there were drawbacks. There were
snakes and insects in this almost tropical lower land. The boys were
not greatly disturbed over these things. By this time they were pretty
familiar with insects and reptiles, for it will be remembered that they
had spent much time in the wilder places of their native country.

For the first twenty-four hours of their stay in "Camp Butler," as they
had named their base in honor of Tad himself, they did little more than
make short excursions out into the adjoining canyons. The Professor
embraced the opportunity to indulge in some scientific researches into
the geology of the Canyon, on which in the evening he was wont to dwell
at length in language that none of the boys understood. But they
listened patiently, for they were very fond of this grizzled old
traveler who had now been their companion for so long.

The third night the dogs appeared restless. They lay at the end of
their leashes growling and whipping their tails angrily.

"What is the matter with the dogs?" demanded Tad Butler.

"I think they must have fleas," decided Chunky wisely.

"No, it isn't fleas," said Dad, who had been observing them for the
past few minutes. "It's my opinion that there's game hereabouts."

"Deer?" questioned Ned.

"No. More likely it's something that is after the deer."

"Lions?" asked Tad.

"I reckon."

"Have you seen any signs of them?"

"What you might call a sign," Nance nodded. "I found, up in Mystic
Canyon this afternoon, all that was left of a deer. The lions had
killed it and stripped all the best flesh from the deer. So it's plain
enough that the cats are hanging around. I thought we'd come up with
some of them down here."

"Wow for the king of beasts!" shouted Chunky, throwing up his sombrero.

"Nothing like a king," retorted Jim Nance. "The mountain lion isn't
in any class with African lions. The lion hereabouts is only a part
as big. A king---this mountain lion of ours? You'd better call the
beast a dirty savage, and be satisfied with that."

"But we're going to go after some of them, aren't we?" asked Ned.

"Surely," nodded Nance.

"When?" pressed Walter.

"Is it safe?" the more prudent Professor Zepplin wanted to know.

"Safe?" repeated Jim Nance. "Well, when it comes to that, nothing down
in this country can be called exactly safe. All sorts of trouble can
be had around here for the asking. But I reckon that these young
gentlemen will know pretty well how to keep themselves reasonably
safe---all except Mr. Brown, who'll bear some watching."

Even long after they had turned in that night the boys kept on talking
about the coming hunts of the next few days. They fairly dreamed lions.
In the morning the hunt was the first thing they thought of as they ran
to wash up for breakfast. In the near distance could be heard the
baying of hounds, for Dad's dogs were no longer chained up.

"I let the dogs loose," Nance explained, noting the eager, questioning
glances. "The dogs have got track of something. Hustle your breakfasts!
We'll get away with speed."

Breakfast was disposed of in a hurry that morning. Then the boys
hustled to get ready for the day's sport. When, a few minutes later,
they set off on their ponies, with rifles thrust in saddle boots,
revolvers bristling from their belts, ropes looped over the pommels of
their saddles, the Pony Rider Boys presented quite a warlike appearance.

"If you were half as fierce as you look I'd run," declared Dad, with
a grin.

"Which way do we go?" questioned the Professor.

"We'll all hike up into the Mystic Canyon. There we'll spread out, each
man for himself. One of us can't help but fall to the trail of a beast
if he is careful."

After reaching the Mystic they heard the dogs in a canyon some distance
away. Ned and Walter were sent off to the left, Tad to the north, while
the rest remained in the Mystic Canyon to wait there, where the chase
should lead at some time during the day.

"Three shots are a signal to come in, or to come to the fellow who
shoots," announced the guide. "Look out for yourselves."

Silence soon settled down over Mystic Canyon. Chunky was disappointed
that he had not been assigned to go out with one of his companions, he
found time hanging heavily on his hands with Nance and the Professor,
but he uttered no complaint.

The Professor and guide had dismounted from their ponies and were seated
on a rock busily engaged in conversation. Chunky, after glancing at
them narrowly, shouldered his rifle and strolled off, leaving his pony
tethered to a sapling.

He walked further than he had intended, making his way to a rise of
ground about a quarter of a mile away, with the hope that he might
catch a glimpse of some of his companions. Once on the rise, which was
quite heavily wooded, he seemed to hear the hounds much more plainly
than before. It seemed to Stacy that they were approaching from the
other side, opposite to that which the rest were watching. He glanced
down into the canyon, but could see neither of the two older men.

"Most exciting chase I've ever been in," muttered the fat boy in disgust,
throwing himself down on the ground with rifle across his knees.
"Lions! I don't believe there are any lions in the whole country.
Dad's been having dreams. It's my private opinion that Dad's got an
imagination that works over time once in a while. I think-----"

The words died on the fat boy's lips. His eyes grew wide, the pupils
narrowed, the whites giving the appearance of small inverted saucers.

Stacy scarcely breathed.

There, slinking across an open space on the rise, its tail swishing its
ears laid flat on its cruel, cat-like head, was a tawny, lithe creature.

Stacy Brown recognized the object at once. It was a mountain lion, a
large one. It seemed to Chunky that he never had seen a beast as large
in all his life. The lion was alternately listening to the baying of
the hounds and peering about for a suitable tree in which to hide itself.

Stacy acted like a man in a trance. Without any clear idea as to what
he was doing, he rose slowly to his feet. At that instant the lion
discovered him. It crouched down, its eyes like sparks of fire,
scintillating and snapping.

All at once Stacy threw his gun to his shoulder and pulled the trigger.
At least he thought he did. But no report came.

A yellow flash, a swish and the beast had leaped clear of the rise and
disappeared even more suddenly than he had come.

"Wha---wha-----" gasped Chunky. Then he made a discovery.

Chunky was holding the rifle by the barrel with the muzzle against his
shoulder, having aimed the butt at the crouching lion. Chunky had had
a severe attack of "buck fever."

With a wild yell that woke the echoes and sent Jim Nance and Professor
Zepplin tearing through the bushes, Stacy dashed down the steep slope,
forgetting to take his rifle with him in his hurried descent.

He met the two men running toward him.

"What is it? What's happened?" shouted the Professor.

"I saw him! I saw him!" yelled Stacy, almost frantic with excitement.

Nance grabbed the boy by the shoulder, shaking him roughly.

"Speak up. What did you see?"

"I su---su---saw a lu---lu---lion, I di---did."

"Where?" demanded Nance.

"Up there."

Chunky's eyes were full of excitement.

"Why didn't you shoot him?"

"I---I tried to, but the gu---gun wouldn't go off. I---I had it wrong
end to."

Dad relaxed his grip on the fat boy's arm and sat down heavily.

"Of all the tarnal idiots---of all! Professor, if we don't tie that boy
to a tree he'll be killing us all with his fool ways. Why, you baby,
you ain't fit to carry a pop-gun. By the way, where is your gun?"

"I---I guess, I lost it up---up there," stammered Stacy.

Dad started for the top of the rise in long strides, Chunky gazing after
him in a dazed sort of way.

"I---I guess I did make a fool of myself, didn't I, Professor?" he

"I am inclined to think you did---several different varieties of them,"
answered Professor Zepplin in a tone of disgust.



"I can't help it, I saw a lion, anyway," muttered the fat boy.

"Come up here!" It was Dad's voice calling to them. "Where's that

"I---I dropped it, I told you."

"Where did you drop it?"

"Right there."

"Show me."

Stacy climbed to the top of the rise and stepped confidently over to
where he had let go the rifle before rushing down after having tried
to shoot the lion. He actually stooped over to pick up the gun, so
confident was he as to its location. Then a puzzled expression appeared
on Stacy's face.

"Oh, it's there, is it?"

"Why---I---I------- Say, you're trying to play a joke on me."

"I rather think you've played it on yourself," jeered the guide. "Where
did you leave it?"

"Right there, I tell you."

"Sure you didn't throw it over in the bushes down the other side?"

"I guess I know what I did with it," retorted Chunky indignantly.

"Well, it isn't here." Dad was somewhat puzzled by this time. He saw
that Stacy was very confident of having left the gun at that particular
place, but it could not be found.

"Maybe somebody's stolen it," suggested the boy.

"Nonsense! Who is there here to steal it, in the first place? In the
second, how could any one slip in here at the right moment and get
away with your rifle?"

"You have no---no idea what has become of it---no theory?" asked the

"Not the least little bit," replied the guide.

"Most remarkable---most remarkable," muttered Professor Zepplin. "I
cannot understand it."

"We'll look around a bit," announced Dad.

The three men searched everywhere, even going all the way down to the
base of the rise on either side, but nowhere did they find the slightest
trace of the missing rifle. After they had returned to the summit, Dad,
a new idea in mind, went over the rocks and the ground again in search
of footprints. The only footprints observable were those of their own
party. There was more in the mystery than Dad could fathom.

"Well, this gets me," declared the guide, wiping the perspiration from
his forehead. "This certainly does."

"Is---is my rifle lost?" wailed Chunky.

"I reckon you'll never see that pretty bit of firearms again," grinned

"But it must be here," insisted Stacy.

"But it isn't. Fortunately we have plenty of guns with us. You can get
another when we go back to camp."

"Yes, but this one is mine-----"

"Was yours," corrected Nance.

"It is mine, and I'm going to have it before I leave this miserable old
hole," declared the boy.

"I hope you find it. I'd like to know how the thing ever got away in
that mysterious manner."

"Maybe the lion took it."

"Mebby he did. Funny I hadn't thought of that," answered Nance gravely.
Then both he and the Professor burst into a shout of laughter.

They made their way slowly back to the point where they were to meet
the others of the party. Chunky, now being without a rifle, was well
content to remain with the guide and the Professor.

While all this was going on Tad and Walter were picking their way over
the rough ridges, through narrow canyons, riding their ponies where a
novice would hardly have dared to walk. The ponies seemed to take to
the work naturally. Not a single misstep was made by either of them.
They, too, could hear the dogs, but the latter were far away most of
the time, even though, for all the riders knew, they might have been
just the other side of the rocky wall along which the two boys were

They kept on in this way until late in the afternoon, when they stopped
and dismounted, deciding that they would have a bite to eat.

"It doesn't look as if we were going to have any luck, does it, Tad?"
asked Walter in a disappointed tone.

"No, it doesn't. But one never can tell. In hunting game you know it
comes upon one suddenly. You have to be ever on the alert. We know
that the dogs have been on the trail of something."

"Perhaps deer," suggested Walter.

"Yes, it is possible, though I don't know whether those dogs will trail
deer or not. You know they may be trained to hunt lions. I didn't
hear Mr. Nance say."

They were munching biscuit and eating oranges as they rested, which
must have tasted good to them. The temperature was going down with
the day, though the light was strong in the canyon where they were
standing. Above them the jagged, broken cliffs rose tier on tier until
they seemed to disappear far up in the fleecy clouds that were drifting
lazily over the Canyon.

All at once Silver Face, Tad's pony, exhibited signs of restlessness,
which seemed to be quickly communicated to the other animal. The pintos
stamped, shook their heads and snorted.

"Whoa! What's wrong with you fellows?" demanded Tad, eyeing the ponies
keenly. "Smell something, eh?"

"Maybe they smell oats," suggested Walter.

"I guess not. They are a long way from oats at the present moment."

Tad paused abruptly. A pebble had rattled down the rocky wall and
bounded off some yards to the front of them. Silver Face started and
would have bounded away had not a firm hand been at that instant laid
on the bridle rein.

To one unaccustomed to the mountains the incident might have passed
unnoticed. By this time Tad Butler was a pretty keen woodsman as well
as plainsman. He had learned to take notice of everything. Even the
most trivial signs hold a meaning all their own for the man who
habitually lives close to Nature.

The lad glanced sharply at the rocks.

"See anything?" asked Walter.


"What did you think you heard?"

"I didn't hear anything but that pebble. The horses smelled something,

While he was speaking the lad's glances were traveling slowly over the
rocks above. All at once he paused.

"Don't stir, Walt. Look up."


"In line with that cloud that looks like a dragon. Then lower your
glance slowly. I think you will see something worth while."

It was a full moment before Walter Perkins discovered that to which
his attention had been called.

"It's a cat," breathed Walt, almost in awe.

"Yes, that's a lion. He is evidently hiding up there, where he has gone
to get away from the dogs. We will walk away a bit as if we were
leaving. Then we'll tether the horses securely. Don't act as if you
saw the beast. I know now what was the matter with the mustangs. They
scented that beast up there."

The ponies were quickly secured, after which the boys crouched in the
brush and sought out the lion again. He was still in the same place,
but was now standing erect, head toward them, well raised as if in a
listening attitude.

"My, isn't he a fine one!" whispered Walt. Walter Perkins was not
suffering from the same complaint that Chunky had caught when he first
saw his lion over in the other canyon, an offshoot from the Bright
Angel Canyon, and where he had lost his rifle so mysteriously.

"Take careful aim; then, when he turns his side toward us, let him
have it," directed Tad.

"Oh, no, you discovered him. He is your game. You shoot, Tad."

Butler shook his head.

"I want you to shoot. I have already killed a cougar. This is your
chance to distinguish yourself."

Walter's eyes sparkled. He raised his rifle, leveling it through the
crotch of a small tree.

"Wait till he turns," whispered Tad, fingering his own rifle anxiously.
He could hardly resist the temptation to take a shot at the animal
where it stood facing them far up the side of the canyon wall.

"Now!" Tad's tone was calm, steady and low.

Walter's rifle barked.

"You've hit him!" yelled Tad. "Look out! He's up again!" warned the

The beast had not been killed by the shot. He had been bowled over,
dropping down to a lower crag, where he sprang to his feet and with a
roar of rage bounded up the mountainside.

"Shoot! Shoot!" cried Butler.

But Walter did not even raise his rifle. A sudden fit of trembling had
taken possession of him. His was the "buck fever" in another form.


Butler had let go a quick shot.

A roar followed the shot.


"There, I guess that settled him," decided Tad Butler, lowering his

"I---I should say it did," gasped Walter.

The tawny beast was throwing himself this way and that, the boys
meanwhile watching him anxiously.

"I'm afraid he's going to stick up there," cried Walter, dancing about
shouting excitedly.

"No, he isn't. There he comes."



Tad grabbed his companion, jerking the latter back and running with him.
They were just at the spot where the ponies had been tethered, when a
heavy body struck the ground not far from where they had been standing.
Silver Face leaped right up into the air, then settled back on his
haunches in an attempt to break the hitching rope.

Tad struck the animal against the flank with the flat of his hand,
whereat the mustang bounded to his feet.

"Whoa, you silly old animal!" cried Tad. "Look out, Walt, don't get
too near that lion. You may lose some of your clothes if he shouldn't
happen to be dead. I'll be there in a moment, as soon as I can get
these horses quieted down."

In a moment Tad was running toward his companion.

"Is he settled?"

"I don't know. His---his eyes are open," stammered Walter, standing off
a safe distance from the prostrate beast.

Tad poked the animal with the muzzle of his rifle.

"Yes, he's a dead one. One less brute to make war on the deer. Won't
old Dad be surprised when we trail into camp with this big game?"
exulted the Pony Rider boy.

"Yes, but---but how are we going to get the fellow there?" wondered

"Get him there? Well, I guess we'll do it somehow. I'll tell you
what, I'll take him over the saddle in front of me. That's the idea.
You bring out Silver Face and we'll see how he feels about it. I
wouldn't be surprised if he raised a row."

Silver Face did object most emphatically. The instant the pony came
in sight of the dead lion he sat down on his haunches. Tad urged and
threatened, but not another inch would the pinto budge.

"I guess I know how to fix you," gritted the boy.

He was on the back of the sitting mustang, his feet in the stirrups,
before the pony realized what had happened. A reasonably sharp rowel,
pressed into the pinto's side, brought him a good two feet clear of
the ground.

Then began a lively battle between the boy and the horse.

"Don't let him tread on the beast," shouted Walter.

"N-n-no danger of that," stammered Tad. It was a lively battle while
it lasted, but Silver Face realized, as he had never done before, that
he had met his master. After some twenty minutes of fight, in which
the pinto made numerous futile attempts to climb the sheer side of
the canyon at the imminent danger of toppling over backwards and
crushing his master, the brute gave up.

"Now you hold him while I load on the beast," directed Tad, riding up.

This called for more disturbance. Silver Face fought against taking
a lion on his back. He drew the line at that. Just the same, after
another lively scrimmage, Mr. Lion was loaded on, but no sooner had
Tad swung into the saddle than he swung out again. He hadn't even
time to get his toes in the stirrups before he was flying through the
air, head first. Walter had difficulty in determining which was boy
and which was lion. The lion struck the ground first, Tad landing on
top of him.

With rare presence of mind, Walter had seized the pinto and was having
a lively set-to with the beast, with the odds in favor of Silver Face,
when Tad sprang up and ran to his companion's assistance.

Tad's temper was up. The way he grilled Silver Face that animal
perhaps never forgot. Not that Tad abused his mount. He never would
be guilty of abusing a horse. He was too fond of horseflesh to do
such a thing, but he knew how to punish an animal in other and more
effective ways. Silver Face was punished.

"Now, my fine fellow, let's see who's boss here!" laughed Tad. "Hold
him while I put aboard the baggage, Walt."

The pony submitted to the ordeal a second time. This time there was
no bucking, and shortly afterwards the lads started for their
companions bearing the trophy of their hunt with them.



Long before they reached the meeting point they heard the long-drawn
"Woohoo!" of Jim Nance calling them in. They were the only ones
out at that time. Tad set up a series of answering "woos-hoos" that
caused Silver Face to wiggle his ears disapprovingly, as if this were
some new method of torture invented for his special benefit.

As they got in sight of the rest of the party, the boys set up a shout.
Their companions, about that time, discovered that Tad was carrying
something before him on the pony. Chunky and Ned started on a run to
meet Tad and Walter. How Chunky did yell when he discovered what that
something was.

"They've got a cat! They've got a cat!" he howled, dancing about and
swinging his arms. "I tell you, they've got a cat!"

Tad rode into camp smiling, flinging the lion to the ground, which
caused Tad's pony to perform once more.

"Who shot him?" cried the Professor, fully as excited as the boys.

"This is a partnership cat," laughed Tad. "We both have some bullets
in him. How many did you fellows get?"

"Well, I had one, but he got away," answered Stacy, his face sobering
instantly. "And---and he carried off my rifle too."

"What's that?" demanded Tad.

Chunky explained briefly. But he had little opportunity to talk. Dad,
who had been examining the dead lion, straightened up and looked at Tad.

"Good job, boys. It's a dandy. Must weigh nigh onto three hundred
pounds. Have much of a tussle with him?"

"Not any. He was dead when he got down to us."

"Very fine specimen," decided the Professor, examining the dead beast
from a respectable distance. "You lads are to be congratulated."

"Say, I'm going with you to-morrow," cried Stacy. "These folks don't
know how to hunt lions."

"Do you?" demanded Nance witheringly.

Stacy colored violently.

"At least I know how to stalk them," he answered. "If I lose my gun in
the excitement that doesn't mean that I'm not a natural born lion
chaser. Anybody can shoot a lion, but everybody can't sit still and
charm the lion right up to him."

They admitted that the fat boy was right in this assertion. Chunky
had done all of that. Upon their return to camp, Walter and Tad had
asked numerous questions about the loss of the gun. There was little
additional information that either Stacy or the two men could give
them. The gun had most mysteriously disappeared, that was all. Nance
was more puzzled than any of the others and he groped in vain for an
explanation of the mystery, but no satisfactory explanation suggested
itself to his mind.

After supper the guide cut some meat from the cat and fed it to the
weary dogs, who had not succeeded in treeing a single lion, though they
had come near doing so several times. But they had sent the cats
flying for cover, which had given Chunky and the other two boys
opportunity to use their guns, though Stacy Brown, in his excitement,
had failed to take advantage of the opportunity offered to him.

It was decided that the hunt should be taken up again on the following
morning. Nance said Stacy might go with Tad this time, Nance taking
charge of the other three boys. This was satisfactory to Chunky
and Tad.

The morning found the camp awake at an early hour. Chunky and Tad set
off together, the former having been equipped with a rifle from the
extra supply carried by the party, the guide having administered a
sarcastic suggestion that Chunky tie the rifle to his back so that he
would not lose this one.

Chunky made appropriate reply, after which they rode away. The early
part of the day was devoid of success. They did not even hear the
bay of a hound all the forenoon. Tad took their quest coolly,
undisturbed. He had already gotten one lion and could well afford not
to get one this time. It was different with Stacy. He was anxious
to distinguish himself, to make amends for his blunders of the
previous day.

About an hour after they had eaten their lunch they heard the bounds
for the first time. Tad listened intently for a few minutes.

"I think they are coming this way, Chunky."

"If they do, you give me the first shot. I've simply got to meet
another cat."

"You shall have it, providing you are on the job and ready. These cats
don't wait around for a fellow to get ready to shoot, as you have no
doubt observed."

"Don't remind me of disagreeable things, please," growled Stacy. "I've
had my chance and I lost it. Next time I see a cat I'm going to kill
him on the spot. Wait; I'm going to take an observation."

"Don't go far," warned Tad.

"No, I won't. Just want to have a look at the landscape," flung back
Stacy, hurrying away, while Tad stretched out for a little rest, well
satisfied to have Stacy do the moving about until there was something
real to be done, when Tad would be on hand on the jump.

Stacy had not taken his gun. In fact, he wholly forgot to do so, not
thinking for an instant that he would have opportunity to use it. This
was where the fat boy made another serious mistake. A hunter should
never be beyond reaching distance of his gun when out on the trail
for game. It is a mistake that has cost some men their lives, others
the loss of much coveted game.

Choosing a low, bushy pinyon tree as best suited to the purposes of a
lazy climber, Stacy climbed it, grunting and grumbling unintelligibly.
He had hopes that he might discover something worth while, something
that would distinguish him from his fellows on that particular day.

"I feel as if something were going to happen," he confided to the tree,
seating himself in a crotch formed by a limb extending out from the
main body of the tree, then parting the foliage for a better view.
"It's funny how a fellow feels about these things some times. Hello,
there, I actually believe those are deer running yonder. Or maybe
they're cows," added Stacy. "Anyhow I couldn't shoot them, whichever
they are, so I won't get excited over them."

Chunky fixed his eyes on the opposite side of the tree a little above
where he was perched.

"I thought I saw something move there. Hello, I hear the hounds again.
They've surely gotten on track of something. And-----"

Once more the fat boy paused. He saw something yellow lying along a
limb of the tree, something at first sight that he took to be a snake.
But he knew of no snakes that had fur on their bodies. The round, furry
thing that he thought might be a snake at first now began whipping up
and down on the limb, curling at its end, twisting, performing strange

What could it mean? Stacy parted the foliage a little more, then once
again, as had been the case on the previous day, his eyes opened wide.

He saw now what was at the other end of the snake-like appendage. And
seeing he understood that he was in a predicament. But Chunky's voice
failed him.

There on the opposite limb of the tree, less than ten feet away,
crouched the biggest mountain lion Stacy Brown ever had seen. And
it grew larger with the seconds. The beast was working its tail, its
whiskers bristled, its eyes shone like points of steel. It seemed as
if the beast were trying to decide whether to attack the boy within
such easy reach or to leap to the ground and flee. The deep baying of
the dogs in the distance evidently decided the cat against the latter
plan. Then, too, perhaps the howls that Chunky now emitted had
something to do with the former question.

Tad Butler, stretched out on the ground, found himself standing bolt
upright as if he had been propelled to that position by a spring. The
most unearthly howls he had ever heard broke upon the mountain stillness.

"Wow! Ow-wow-wow! Tad! Help, help, help! Quick!"

Tad was off like a shot himself, not even pausing to snatch up his gun
which lay so near at hand. And how he did run!

"Where, Chunky? Where are you? Shout quick!"

"Wow! Ow-wow-wow!" was the only answer Stacy Brown could make, but the
sound of his voice unerringly guided Tad to the location. But Stacy
could not be found.

"In the name of-----"

"Wow! Ow-wow-wow!" howled the agonized voice of the fat boy from the
branches of the pinyon tree.

Tad peered up between the branches. He saw Stacy looking down upon him
with panic stricken gaze.

"For the love of goodness, what's the matter, Stacy? You nearly
frightened me to death."

"Look out!" The words, shouted at the top of the fat boy's voice, were
so thrilling that Tad leaped back instinctively.

"See here, don't make a fool of me, too. What's the matter with you?
Come down out of that."

"I can't. He'll get me."

"What will get you? Nothing will get you, you ninny!"

"The lion will get me."

"Have you gone raving mad on the subject of lions?" jeered Butler.

"Look, if you don't believe me. He's up here. He's trying to get a
bite out of me. Shoot him, as you love me, Tad; shoot and shoot
straight or I'm a dead one."

For the first time since his arrival on the scene Tad began to realize
that Stacy was not having fun with him. Something really was up that
tree---something besides a Pony Rider boy.

"You don't mean to tell me there's a cat up there-----"

"Yes, yes! He's over there on the other side. Shoot, shoot!"

"I haven't my gun with me."

The fat boy groaned helplessly.

"I'm a dead one! Nothing can save me. Tell them I died like a man;
tell them I never uttered a squeal."

Tad had sprung around to the side of the pinyon tree indicated by Chunky.
Up there on a bushy limb, clear of the heavier foliage, lay a sleek,
but ugly looking cat, swishing its tail angrily. First, its glances
would shoot over to Stacy Brown, then down to Tad Butler. The lion,
as Tad decided on the spot, had gone into the tree to hide from the
dogs as had the one that had been shot on the canyon wall the previous
afternoon. This time the proposition was a different one. Both boys
were in dire peril, as Tad well knew. At any second the cat might
spring, either at him or at Stacy. And neither boy had a gun in
his hands.

Tad's mind worked with lightning-like rapidity. It was a time for quick
thinking if one expected to save one's skin from being torn by those
needle-like claws. Butler thought of a plan. He did not know whether
there were one chance in a million of the plan working. He wanted that
lion a great deal more than the lion wanted him. He was going to take
a desperate chance. An older and more experienced man might not have
cared to try what Tad Butler was about to attempt.

The Pony Rider boy's hand slipped down to the lasso hanging from his
belt. He was thankful that he had that. The lasso was always there
except when he was in the saddle, when it was usually looped over the

"Chunky, yell! Make all the noise you can."

"I am. Wow-ow-wow. Y-e-o-w wow!"

"That's right, keep it up. Don't stop. Make faces at him, make believe
you're going to jump at-----"

"Say, anybody would think this were a game of croquet and that I was
trying to make the other fellow miss the wicket. Don't you think-----"

"I'm trying to get you to attract his attention-----"

"I don't want to attract his attention. I want the beast to look the
other way," wailed the fat boy. "I want to get out of here."

"Well, why haven't you?"

"I dassent."

While carrying on this conversation with his chum, Tad was watching the
cat narrowly. The animal was showing signs of greater excitement now.
The boy decided that the beast was preparing to jump one way or
another---which way was a matter of some concern to both boys at that
particular instant.

The cat took two long paces in Stacy's direction. Stacy emitted the
most blood-curdling yell Tad had ever heard. It served Butler's very
purpose. The beast halted with one hind foot poised in the air, glaring
at Stacy, who was howling more lustily than ever.


Tad's lariat shot through the air. His aim was true, his hand steady
and cool.



When the startled cat felt the touch of the raw-hide rope against its
leg it made a tremendous leap straight ahead.

"Too late!" clicked Tad. "That loop is taut on you now!"

"M-m-murder! Look out!" bellowed Stacy.

For the cat's leap had carried it straight at the fat boy. In fact one
sharp set of claws raked the lad from shoulder to waist, though without
more than breaking the skin.

That blow settled Stacy.

"I'm dead---ripped to pieces!" he yelled.

Without waiting to jump from the tree, Stacy simply fell. Over and
over on the ground he rolled until he was a dozen yards away from the

"If you're dead," Tad grinned, "get up and come over here, and tell me
about it."

Stacy slowly rose to his feet. He was badly shaken, covered with dirt
and with some blood showing through the rents in his clothes.

"Nothing but my presence of mind and my speed saved me, anyway,"
Chunky grumbled ruefully.

All in a twinkling that whirling yellow ball shot out of the tree,
striking the ground before Tad Butler could draw the rope taut.
However, the rope still hung over a limb. How the dirt flew! Tad
realized that swift action must come ere the beast should make a leap
at them.

Stacy started away, but Butler's sharp tone halted him.

"Chunky!" Tad panted.


"Get hold of this rope with me. Shake yourself. What ails you? Have
you got a streak of yellow in you?"

"I can thrash the fellow who says I have?" roared the fat boy, springing
to his feet.

"That's the way to talk. Come, hurry---get hold here! He's too much
for me and he's going to get away from me if you don't lend a hand."

"Wh-what do you want me to do?"

"Grab hold of this rope, I tell you."

Chunky did so, but keeping a wary eye on the rolling, tumbling, spitting
yellow ball, which was a full grown mountain lion, and an ugly brute.
The king of the canyons, however, was in a most humiliating position
for a king of any sort. He had been roped by his left hind foot, the
other end of the rope being in the hands of the intrepid Pony Rider boy,
Thaddeus Butler. Tad knew well that he had a good thing and he proposed
to hang on as long as there was an ounce of strength left in his body.
By this time Stacy had gotten a grip on the rope.

"Now pull steadily until I tell you to stop."

Slowly, digging his claws into the dirt, biting at the rope that held
him fast, the cat was drawn toward the pinyon tree despite all his
struggles. Tad's object was to pull the beast off its feet, in which
position it would be unable to do very much damage.

Perhaps the cat realized something of this, for all of a sudden it
sprang to the base of the tree and with a roar landed up among the
lower limbs.

Ere the beast even felt the touch of the tree limb under its feet, the
brave Chunky was several rods away peering from behind a rock, howling
like a Comanche Indian.

Tad, too, had made some lively moves. The instant he saw that the cat
was going to jump he took a quick twist about the tree, shortening the
rope until it was taut. He made a quick knot, then leaped back out of
the way. But none too soon. The cat pounced on the spot where he had
been standing, narrowly missing the boy. But the rope was free of the
limb of the tree over which it had been first drawn. The beast was
free to gambol about as far as the rope would permit.

The boy's mind was still working rapidly.

"Run to the guns, Chunky. Shoot and keep shooting until you attract
the attention of the rest of the party. We've got to have help. We
never shall be able to handle him ourselves, and I want to save him."

Stacy hesitated.

"Run, I tell you!" shouted Butler. "Don't stand there like a statue.

Chunky jumped as if he had been hit, and ran limping toward the place
where they had left their weapons and their mustangs. He found both,
though Chunky was too excited to notice the ponies at all. Already
they were restless, having scented the mountain lion.

Snatching up his own rifle, Stacy fired six shots in rapid succession.
Then grabbing the other gun, he let six more go, but continued snapping
the firing pin on the empty chamber after all the cartridges had been
exploded, before he realized that he was not shooting at all. Stacy
in trying to reload fumbled and made a mess of it, spilling a lot of
shells on the ground, most of which he was unable to find again.

"We got him! We got him!" the fat boy kept chuckling to himself. "We
certainly have done it this time."

Finally he got one gun loaded, and had fired it off six times when he
heard Tad Butler's "Whoo-e-e-e-e."

Chunky hurried back to his companion.

"They've answered," called Tad.

In the meantime the latter had been having a lively time. He knew that
were he to give the least possible chance the beast would bite the
rope off and escape even if he did no worse. It was to prevent this
that the boy exerted all his ingenuity and effort. This consisted of
whoops and howls, throwing rocks at the animal, dodging in now and then
to whack the lion with a piece from a limb that had been broken down
by the cat in its thrashing above.

The dust was flying. At times it seemed as if the lion must have gotten
the hardy Pony Rider boy. At such times the lithe, active form of Tad
Butler could be seen leaping from the cloud of dust while the beast
followed with savage lunges to the end of its rope. It seemed
impossible to tire out either boy or cat.

It was this condition of affairs that Stacy Brown came upon on his
return. He stood gazing at the scene, fascinated.

"Look out, Tad! He'll get you!" shouted the boy.

"Get in here and give him a poke in the ribs," cried Butler.

"Not for a million dollars, badly as I need money," returned the fat
boy. "What do you take me for, an animal trainer?"

"Then I'll have to keep on doing it till Mr. Nance gets here to help
me. This is the greatest thing we've ever done, old boy!"

"Yes, it'll be a great thing when the brute hands you one from those
garden rakes of his. Get away and I'll shoot him," directed Stacy,
swinging his rifle into position.

"Put that gun down!" thundered Tad. "You'll be winging me next thing
you do. Put it down, I say!"

Stacy grumblingly obeyed. Meanwhile the gymnastic exercise continued
with unabated vigor. There was not an instant's pause. The mountain
lion was busier perhaps than it ever had been in its life. It was
battling for its life, too, and it knew it.

Once Tad was raked from head to foot by a vicious claw, but the Pony
Rider boy merely laughed. His endurance, too, was most remark able.
Stacy would hardly get within gun-shot of the beast, always standing
near a tree convenient for climbing. Tad was not saying much now. He
was rather too busy for conversation. At last the report of a rifle
was heard not far away.

"Answer them. It's the gang," called Tad. Chunky fired a shot into
the air, following it with four others. It was only a short time
before Jim Nance with Professor Zepplin and the two other boys came
dashing up, shouting to know where Tad and Chunky were. They saw
Chunky first, on guard with his rifle as if holding off an enemy.

"What's the trouble?" cried Nance.

"We've got him! We've got him!" yelled Stacy.

About that time Nance discovered the swirling cloud of dust, from which
at intervals emerged a yellow ball. The guide caught the significance
of the scene at a single glance.

"It's a cat," howled Ned. "Let me shoot him."

"Put away your guns. I guess we know how to catch lions in a scientific
manner," declared Stacy.

"They've roped the cat," snapped the guide. "Beats anything I ever
heard of." He was off his mustang instantly and running toward Tad.
"Keep him busy, keep him busy, boy. I'll fix him for you in a minute."

"I don't want you to kill him."

"I'm not going to. We've got to stretch him."

Tad did not know what stretching meant in this particular instance, but
he was soon to learn. Nance got off to one side of the busy scene, then
directed Tad to ease up a bit. The boy did so. He saw that Dad, too,
was planning to use his lariat, though the boy had no idea in what way.
The cat instantly sat down and began tearing at its bonds. All at once
Nance's rope shot through the air. It caught the lion fairly around
the neck.

For a few moments the air was full of streaks of yellow. The cat was
now fast at both ends. The neck hold was the worse of the two, for it
choked the beast and soon tired him out.

"Now stretch him," directed the guide.

"How do you mean?"

"Take a single hitch about the tree with your rope, so that we can
straighten him out."

This Tad did, while Nance performed a similar service on his own line,
being careful not to choke the lion to death. During this latter part
of the proceeding the party that had up to that time held off, now

"Will he bite?" asked Walter.

"Stick your finger in his mouth and see?" jeered Chunky. "He can
scratch, too. But we got him, didn't we? We're the original lion
tamers from the wild and woolly West."

"Come, who is going to tie those claws together, Stacy?" demanded the

"Do what?"

"Tie the cat's feet together."

"Let the Professor do it. He hasn't done anything yet on this trip.
Besides, I've got to stand here ready to shoot if the lion gets away.
If it weren't for that I'd tie his feet."

"Here, you tie his feet, then. I'll handle the gun," volunteered Ned,
stepping forward.

Chunky drew back.

"If some one will hold my end of the line I'll attend to that little
matter," said Tad.

"I guess it's time I did something around here," interjected Ned.
"What do you want me to do, Mr. Nance?"

"Take your rope, watch your opportunity and rope the forward legs.
After that is done have somebody hold the rope while you tie the feet
securely together."

Ned roped the feet without further question, then handing the line to
Walter Perkins, he calmly tied together the feet of the snarling,
spitting beast. The same was done with the hind feet, though the
latter proved to be much more dangerous than the forward feet. But
the mouth of the animal was still free. He could bite and he did make
desperate efforts to get at his captors. They took good care that
he did not reach them. Chunky suggested that they pull the cat's
teeth, so he couldn't bite. Tad wanted to know if they couldn't
put a muzzle on.

"The question is what are you going to do with him, now that you have
him?" demanded the Professor.

"That's the first sane word that's been spoken since we arrived here,"
grinned Nance.

"We are going to take him back to camp, of course," declared Tad.

"Of course we are. Don't you understand, we're going to take him back
to camp," affirmed Stacy.

"What's your plan, Butler?" asked Nance.

"If you leave it to me, I'll show you."

"Go ahead."

Tad cut a long, tough sapling. This, after some effort, he managed to
pass through the loop made by the bound legs of the lion. This strung
the beast on the pole.

"Now, we'll fasten the two ends to two ponies," decided the lad.

Silver Face and Walter's pony having been broken in on the previous
day, these two were chosen to carry the prize. They did not object,
and in a short time the procession started off for camp, with the lion,
back down, strung on the pole between two ponies, snarling, spitting,
roaring out his resentment, while Chunky, leading the way, was
singing at the top of his voice:

_"Tad Butler is the man; he goes to all the shows, he sticks his
head in the lion's mouth and tells you all he knows. Who-o-o-pe-e-e!"_



Jim Nance didn't say much, but from the way he looked at Tad Butler,
a quizzical smile playing about the corners of his mouth, it was plain
that he was filled with admiration for the young Pony Rider who could
take a lion practically single-handed.

As yet the story of the capture had not been told. Their prize must
first be taken care of. This part of the affair Nance looked after
personally. He found a few strands of wire in his kit and with these
he made a collar and a wire leader that led out to where the tough
lariat began. To this the lion was fastened, his forefeet left bound,
the hind feet being liberated In this condition he was tied to a tree
in the camp in Bright Angel Gulch.

Chunky was not sure that he liked the arrangement. He was wondering
whether lions were gifted with the proverbial memory of elephants.
If so, and if the big cat should get loose in the night, Chunky knew
what would happen to himself. The boy determined to sleep with one
eye open, his rifle beside his bed. He would die fighting bravely for
his life. He was determined upon that.

Around the camp fire a jolly party of boys gathered that night after
supper, their merry conversation interrupted occasionally by a snarling
and growling from the captive.

"Now, young gentlemen, we are anxious to hear the story of the capture,"
said the Professor.

"Oh, it was nothing," answered Stacy airily. "It was nothing for us.
Shooting cats is too tame for such hunters as Tad and me. We just saw
him up a tree---that is, I saw him, and-----"

"Where were you?" interrupted Nance.

"I was up the same tree," answered Stacy.

"I'll bet the cat treed him," shouted Ned Rector. "How about it, Tad?"

"Chunky's telling the story. Let him tell it in his own way."

"I'll tell you about it, fellows. I was up a tree looking for lions.
I found one. He was sitting in the same tree with me. He was licking
his chops. You see, he wanted a slice of me, I'm so tender and so

"So is a rhinoceros," interjected Ned.

"If the gentleman will wait until I have finished he may have the floor
to himself. Well, that's about all. I yelled for Tad. He came
running, and he roped the cat."

"Then what did you do?" questioned Walter.

"Oh, I fell out of the tree. Look at this!" shouted Stacy as soon as
he was able to make himself heard above the laughter, pointing to his
ripped clothes. "That's where the beast made a pass at me. I'm wounded,
I am; wounded in a hand-to-hand conflict with the king of the canyon.
How would that read in the Chillicothe 'Gazette' I'm going to dash off
something after this fashion to send them: 'Stacy Brown, our
distinguished fellow citizen, globe-trotter, hunter of big game and
nature lover, was seriously wounded last week in the Grand Canyon of

"In what part of your anatomy is the Grand Canyon located?" questioned
Ned Rector. "I rise for information."

"The Grand Canyon is where the Pony Rider Boys store their food,"
returned Stacy quickly. "Where did I leave off?"

"You were lost in the Canyon," reminded Walter.

"Oh, yes. 'Was seriously wounded in the Grand Canyon in a desperate
battle with the largest lion ever caught in the mountains. Assisted
by Thaddeus Butler, also of Chillicothe, Mr. Brown succeeded in
capturing the lion alive, after his bloodstained garments had been
nearly stripped from his person.'"

"The lion's bloodstained garments?" inquired Walter mildly.

"No, mine, of course. 'Mr. Brown, it is said, will recover from his
wounds, though he will bear the scars of the conflict the rest of his
life.' Ahem! I guess that will hold the boys on our block for a
time," finished Chunky, swelling out his chest. "Yes, that'll make
them prisoners for life," agreed Ned Rector.

"I think I shall have to edit that account before it goes to the paper,"
declared Professor Zepplin.

"How can you edit it when you didn't see the affair?" demanded Chunky.

"Editors are not supposed to see beyond the point of the pencil they
are using," answered Ned. "But they know the failings of the fellows
who do the writing."

"What do you know about it? You never were an editor," scoffed Stacy.

"No, but I'd like to be for about an hour after your article reached
the 'Gazette' office."

"How about giving that cat something to eat, Mr. Nance?" asked Tad, thus
changing the subject.

The guide shook his head.

"He wouldn't eat; at least not for a while."

"What do lions eat?" asked Walter.

"That one tried to eat me," replied Stacy. "I don't like the look in
his eye at all. It says, just as plain as if it were printed, 'I'd like
to have you served up _a-la-mode_.'"

At this juncture, Jim Nance walked over; with a burning brand in hand,
to look at the cat's fastenings. The lion jumped at him. Jim poked
the firebrand into the animal's face, which sent the cat back the
full length of his tether. After examining the fastenings carefully,
Nance pronounced them so secure that the beast would not get away.

The ponies had been tethered some distance from where the prize was
tied, the dogs being placed with the ponies so that they might not be
disturbed by the captive during the night and thus keep the camp awake
with their barks and growls.

After a time all hands went to bed, crawling into their blankets,
where they were soon fast asleep. Late in the night Nance sat up.
He thought he had heard the lion growl. Stepping to the door of the
tent he listened. Not a sound could be heard save the mysterious
whisperings of the Canyon. Jim went back to bed, not to awaken until
the sun was up on the following morning.

Tad Butler, hearing the guide rise after daylight, turned out at the
same time. Tad stepped outside, his first thought being for the
captive. The Pony Rider boy's eyes grew large as he gazed at the tree
where the cat had been left the evening before. There was no lion there.

"Hey, Mr. Nance, did you move the cat?"

"No. Why?"

"He isn't where we left him last night."

"What?" Nance was out on the jump. "Sure as you're alive he's gone.
Now doesn't that beat all?"

Tad had hurried over to the place where he stood gloomily surveying
the scene.

"I wonder where the rope and wire are?"

"That's so. He must have carried the whole business with him."

"How could he? How could he have untied the wire from the tree? There
is something peculiar about this affair, Dad."

Whatever Dad's opinion might have been, he did not express it at the
moment. Instead he got down on all fours, examining the ground
carefully, going over every inch of it for several rods about the scene.

"Well this does git me," he declared, standing up, scratching his head

By that time the rest of the party had come out.

"The lion's gone," shouted Tad.

"What, my lion got away?" wailed Chunky. "And he didn't take a chunk
out of me to carry away with him?"

"I had no idea we could hold him. Of course he gnawed the rope in
two," nodded the Professor.

"He didn't get loose of his own accord, sir," replied the guide.

"Then you don't mean to tell me that some person or persons liberated

"I don't mean to tell you anything, because I don't know anything about
it. I never was so befuddled in my life. I'm dead-beat, Professor."

Tad was gloomy. He had hoped to take the lion home with them, having
already planned where he would keep the beast until the town, which he
thought of presenting it to, had prepared a place for the gift. Now his
hopes had been dashed. He had no idea that they would be able to get
another lion. It was not so easy as all that. But how had the beast
gotten away? There was a mystery about it fully as perplexing as had
been the loss of Stacy's rifle. Tad was beginning to think, with Dad,
that mysterious forces were, indeed, at work in the Grand Canyon.

While he was brooding over the problem, Chunky, emulating the movements
of the guide, was down on hands and knees, examining the ground.

"Find any footprints?" called Ned in a jeering voice.

Stacy did not reply. His brow was wrinkled; his face wore a wise

"Look out that you don't get bitten," warned Walter mischievously.

"By what?" demanded Stacy, glancing up.

"Footprints," answered Ned.

"Could any person have gotten in here and let the cat go without our
having heard him, Mr. Nance?" asked Tad Butler.

"I reckon he couldn't."

"Did you hear anything in the night, Nance?" questioned the Professor.

"Come to think of it, I did get up once. I heard the cat growling, or
thought I did, but after I had looked out and seen nothing, nor heard
anything, I went back to bed again and didn't know anything more till
sun-up. I guess I'm pretty slow. I'm getting old for a certainty."

"No; there is something peculiar, something very strange about this
affair, Professor," spoke up Tad.

"Due wholly to natural causes," declared the Professor.

"No, I reckon you're wrong there, Professor," said Nance. "I'd have
understood natural causes. It's the unnatural causes that gets a

"I've spotted it, I've spotted it! I know who freed the lion!"
howled Stacy.

All hands rushed to him.

"Who, what, how, where, when?" demanded five voices at once.

"Yes, sir, I've found it. That lion-----"

"Don't joke," rebuked the Professor.

"I'm not joking. I know what I'm talking about. That cat was let go
by a one-legged Indian. Now maybe you won't say I'm not a natural born
sleuth," exclaimed the fat boy proudly.



"A one-legged Indian?" chorused the lads.

"He's crazy," grumbled Dad. "He has cat on the brain."

"That's better than having nothing but hair on the brain," retorted
Stacy witheringly.

"How do you know a one-legged Indian has been here?" questioned Tad,
seeing that Chunky was in earnest.

"Look here," said the boy, pointing to a moccasin print in the soft
turf at that point. "There's the right foot. Where's the left? Why
there wasn't any left, of course. He had only one foot."

"Then he must have carried a crutch," laughed Ned. "Look for the crutch
mark and then you'll have the mystery solved."

Jim Nance chuckled. Stacy regarded the guide with disapproving eyes.

"Tell me so I can laugh too," begged Chunky soberly.

"Why, you poor little tenderfoot, don't you know how that one track got

Chunky shook his head.

"Well, that cowardly half breed that you call Chow was crossing the
rocks here when the cat made a pass at him. Chow made a long leap.
One foot struck there, the other about ten feet the other side. He
hadn't time to put the second foot down else the cat would have got
him. A one-legged Indian! Oh, help!"

"Haw-haw-haw!" mocked Stacy, striding away disgustedly while the shouts
of his companions were ringing in his burning ears.

But the mystery was unsolved. Tad did not believe it ever would be,
though he never ceased puzzling over it for a moment. That day no one
got a lion, though on the second day following Ned Rector shot a small
cat. Tad did not try to shoot. He wandered with Chunky all over the
peaks and through the Canyon in that vicinity trying to rope more lions.

"You let that job out," ordered the guide finally. "Don't you know
you're monkeying with fire? First thing you know you won't know
anything. One of these times a cat'll put you to sleep for a year of

"I guess you are right. Not that I am afraid, but there is no sense
in taking such long chances. I'll drop it. I ought to be pretty well
satisfied with what I have done."

Tad kept his word. He made no further attempts to rope mountain lions.
In the succeeding few days three more cats were shot. It was on the
night of the fourth day after the escape of the captive that at
something very exciting occurred in Camp Butler.

The camp was silent, all its occupants sound asleep, when suddenly they
were brought bounding from their cots by frightful howls and yells of
fear. The howls came from the tent of Stacy Brown. Stacy himself
followed, leaping out into what they called the company street, dancing
up and down, still howling at the top of his voice. Clad in pajamas,
the fat boy was unconsciously giving a clever imitation of an Indian
ghost dance.

Professor Zepplin was the first to reach the fat boy. He gave Chunky
a violent shaking, while Nance was darting about the camp to see that
all was right. He saw nothing unusual.

"What is the meaning of this, young man?" demanded the Professor.

"I seen it, I seen it," howled Stacy.

"What did you see?"

"A ghost! I seen a ghost!"

"You mean you 'saw' a ghost, not you 'seen'," corrected the Professor.

"I tell you I _seen_ a ghost. I guess if you'd seen a ghost you
wouldn't stop to choose words. You'd just howl like a lunatic in your
own natural language-----"

Dad hastily threw more wood on the dying camp fire.

"I guess you had a nightmare," suggested Tad.

"It wasn't a mare, it was a man," persisted Stacy.

"He's crazy. Pity he doesn't catch sleeping sickness," scoffed Ned.

"Tell us what you did see," urged the Professor in a milder tone.

"I---I was sleeping in---in there when all at once I woke up-----"

"You thought you did, perhaps," nodded Walter.

"I didn't think anything of the sort. I know I did. Maybe I'd heard
something. Well, I woke up and there---and there-----" Chunky's eyes
grew big, he stared wildly across the camp fire as if the terrifying
scene were once more before him. "I woke up."

"You have told us that before," reminded Dad, who had joined the group.

"I woke up-----"

"That makes four times you woke up," laughed Ned. "You must, indeed,
have had a restless night."

"I woke up-----"

"What again?"

"You wouldn't laugh if you'd seen what I saw" retorted the fat boy, with
serious face. "There, right at the entrance of the tent, was a ghost!"

"What kind of a ghost?" asked Dad.

"Just a ghost-ghost. It was all white and shiny and---br-r-r-r!"
shivered the boy. "It grinning. I could see right through it!"

"You must be an X-ray machine," declared Tad, chuckling.

"It didn't need anything of that sort. He was so shimmery that you
could see right through him."

"What became of the spook? Did he fly up?" asked the guide.

"No, the spook just spooked," replied Stacy.

"How do you mean?" questioned Professor Zepplin.

"He thawed out like a snowball, just melted away when I yelled."

"Very thrilling, very thrilling. Most remarkable. A matter for
scientific investigation," muttered the Professor, but whether he
were in earnest or not the boys could not gather from his expressionless

"What did Chunky have for supper?" asked Walter.

"What didn't he have?" scoffed the guide. "We have to eat fast or we
wouldn't get enough to keep up our strength."

"I guess I don't get any more than my share," retorted Stacy. "I have
to work for that, too."

"Well, I'm going to bed," announced Ned Rector. "You fellows may sit
up here and tell ghost stories all the rest of the night if you want
to. It's me for the feathers."

"You're right, Ned," agreed Tad. "We are a lot of silly boys to be
so upset over a fellow who has had a crazy nightmare. Professor, don't
you think you ought to give Stacy some medicine?"

"Yes, give him something to make him sleep," chuckled Walter.

The boy was interrupted by a roar from Ned Rector's tent. Ned was
shouting angrily. He burst out into the circle of light shed by
the camp fire, waving his hands above his head.

"They've got mine, they've got mine!" he yelled, dancing about with
a very good imitation of the ghost dance so recently executed by the
fat boy.

"Got what?" demanded Dad sternly, striding forward.

"Somebody's stolen my rifle. The spook's robbed me. It's gone and
all my cartridges and my revolver and-----"

The camp was in an uproar instantly. Chunky was nodding with

"It wasn't stolen. The spook just spooked it, that's all," he
declared convincingly.

"But you must be in error, Ned," cried the Professor.

"I'm not. It's gone. I left it beside my bed. It isn't there now.
I tell you somebody's been in this camp and robbed me!"

A sudden silence settled over the camp. The boys looked into each
other's faces questioningly. Was this another mystery of the Bright
Angel Gulch? They could not understand.

"Mebby the kid did see a ghost after all," muttered the guide.

"The kid did. And I guess the kid ought to know," returned Stacy



An investigation showed that Ned Rector was right in his assertion.
His rifle had been taken, likewise his revolver and his cartridges.
It lent color to Stacy's statement that he had seen something, but no
one believed that that something had been a ghost, unless perhaps the
guide believed it, for having lived close to Nature so long, he might
be a superstitious person.

There was little sleep in the camp of the Pony Rider Boys for the rest
of the night. They were too fully absorbed in discussing the events
of the evening and the mysteries that seemed to surround them. First,
Stacy had lost his rifle, the captive lion had mysteriously disappeared,
and now another member of their party had lost his rifle and revolver.
Dad directed the boys not to move about at all. He hoped to find a
trail in the morning, a trail that would give him a clue in case
prowlers had been in the camp.

A search in the morning failed to develop anything of the sort. Not
the slightest trace of a stranger having visited the camp was discovered.
They gave up---the mystery was too much for them.

That day Nance decided to move on. Their camp was to remain at the same
place, but the half breed was directed to sleep by day and to stay on
guard during the night. Jim proposed to take his charges into the
wonderful Cataract Canyon, where they would pay a visit to the village
of the Havasupai Indians.

This appealed to the Pony Riders. They had seen no Indians since
coming to the Grand Canyon. They did not know that there were Indians
ranging through that rugged territory, red men who were as familiar
with the movements of the Pony Rider Boys as were the boys themselves.

They arrived at the Cataract Canyon on the morning of the second day,
having visited another part of Bright Angel Gulch for a day en route.

At the entrance to the beautiful canyon the guide paused to tell them
something about it.

"I will tell you," he said, "how the Havasupais came to select this
canyon for their home. When the several bands of red men, who
afterwards became the great tribes of the south-west, left their
sacred Canyon---mat-aw-we'-dit-ta---by direction of their
Moses---Ka-that-ka-na'-ve---to find new homes, the Havasupai family
journeyed eastward on the trail taken by the Navajos and the Hopi.
One night they camped in this canyon. Early the next day they took
up their burdens to continue on their journey. But as they were
starting a little papoose began to cry. The Kohot of the family,
believing this to be a warning from the Great Spirit, decided to
remain in the canyon.

"They found this fertile valley, containing about five hundred acres of
level land. They called the place Ha-va-sua, meaning 'Blue Water,' and
after a time they themselves were known, as Havasupai---'Dwellers By the
Blue water'. They have been here ever since."

"Most interesting, most interesting," breathed the Professor. "But how
comes it that this level stretch of fertile land is found in this rugged,
rocky canyon, Nance?"

"That's easily answered. During hundreds of years the river has
deposited vast quantities of marl at the upper ends of this valley. Thus
four great dams have been built up forming barriers across the canyon.
These dams have quite largely filled up, leaving level stretches of land
of great richness."

"Do they work the land?" asked Tad.

"In a primitive way, they do, probably following the methods they
learned from the cliff dwellers, who occupied the crude dwellings you
have seen all along these walls in the canyons here."

The Cataract Canyon proved to be the most interesting of all that the
boys had seen for variety and beauty. The Havasu River, foaming in
torrents over Supai and Navajos Falls, fifty and seventy-five feet high,
respectively, they found gliding through a narrow canyon for half a
mile, in a valley matted with masses of trees, vines and ferns, the
delicate green of whose foliage contrasted wonderfully with the dead
gray walls of the deep, dark canyon at that point.

For some three miles below this the Pony Riders followed the
smoothly-gliding stream through a canyon whose straight up and down
walls of gray limestone seemed to meet overhead in the blue of the sky.
Below they seemed to be in the tropics. During that first day in the
Cataract they saw another wonder, that of the filmy clouds settling down
and forming a roof over the Canyon. It was a marvelous sight before
which the Pony Rider Boys were lost in wonder.

The Bridal Veil Falls they thought the most beautiful wonder of its
kind they had ever seen. Here they saw the crystal waters dashing in
clouds of spray through masses of ferns, moss and trees, one hundred
and seventy-five feet perpendicularly into a seething pool below.

Their delight was in the innumerable caves found along the Canyon. In
these were to be seen flowers fashioned out of the limestone,
possessing wonderful colors, scintillating in the light of the torches,
reds that glowed like points of fire, stalactites that glistened like
the long, pointed icicles they had seen hanging from the eaves of
their homes in Chillicothe. They discovered lace-work in most delicate
tints, masses and masses of coral and festoons of stone sponges in all
the caves they visited. There were little caves leading from larger
caves, caves within caves, caves below caves, a perfect riot of caves
and labyrinths all filled with these marvelous specimens of limestone.

"I think I would be content to live here always," breathed Tad after
they had finished their explorations of the caves and passed on into a
perfect jungle of tropical growth on their way to Ko-ho-ni-no, the
canyon home of the Havasupais.

"You'd never be lonesome here," smiled Nance.

"Why don't you live down here, then?" asked Ned.

"Perhaps I don't live so far from here, after all," rejoined the guide.

"Do they have ghosts in this canyon?" asked Chunky apprehensively.

"Full of them!"

"Br-r-r!" shivered the fat boy.

"A wonderful place for scientific research," mused the Professor.

"Why don't you stay in Bright Angel for a while and study ghosts?"
suggested Stacy.

"I decline to be drawn into so trivial a discussion," answered Professor
Zepplin severely.

"You wouldn't think it was trivial were you to see one of those things."

"Perhaps the Professor, too, has overloaded his stomach some time before
going to bed," spoke up Tad Butler.

"You are mistaken, young man. I never make a glutton of myself," was
the grim retort.

"Now will you be good, Tad Butler?" chuckled Walter Perkins.

"Yes, I have nothing more to say," answered Tad, with a hearty laugh.

"We are getting down on the level now," the guide informed them.

Halting suddenly, Nance pointed to an overhanging ledge about half a
mile down the valley. The boys gazed, shading their eyes, wondering
what Nance saw.

"I see," said Tad.

"Then you see more than do the rest of us," answered Ned. "What is it?"

"It looks to me like a man."

"You have good eyes," nodded Nance.

"Is it a---a man?" questioned Chunky.

"Yes, it is an Indian lookout. He sees us and is trying to decide
whether or not our mission is a friendly one."

"Indians! Wow!" howled Chunky.

"We are in their home now, so behave yourself," warned Nance.

The Havasu River, which the riders followed, extended right on through
the village, below which were many scattering homes of the red men, but
the majority of them lived in the village itself. Almost the entire
length of the creek, both in the village and below, the river is
bordered with cottonwood, mesquite and other green trees, that furnish
shade for the quaint village nestling in the heart of the great

The boys followed the water course until finally they were approached
by half a dozen men---indians---who had come out to meet them.

Nance made a sign. The Indians halted, gazed, then started forward.
In the advance was the Kohot or native chief.

"Hello, Tom," greeted the guide.

"How!" said the chief.

"Tom is a funny name for an Indian," observed Chunky.

"His name is Chick-a-pan-a-gi, meaning 'the bat'," answered Jim

"He looks the part," muttered the fat boy.

"Tom, I've brought some friends of mine down to see you and your folks.
Have you anything to eat?"

"Plenty eat."


"Plenty meala, meula. Kuku. No ski," answered the chief, meaning that
they were stocked with flour, sugar, but no bacon.

"I know that language," confided Stacy to Tad. "It's Hog Latin."

"Magi back-a-tai-a?" asked the chief.

"Higgety-piggety," muttered Chunky.

"He means, 'have we come from the place of the roaring sound?'"
translated Nance.

"You bet we have. Several of them," spoke up Ned.

"Doesn't he speak English?" asked Walter.

"Yes, he will soon. He likes a confidential chat with me in his own
language first. By 'the place of the roaring sound' he means the big
Canyon. How is Jennie, Tom?"

"Chi-i-wa him good."

"That's fine. We'll be moving along now. We are tired and want to
rest and make peace with Chick-a-pan-gi and his people," said Nance.

The Kohot bowed, waved a hand to his followers, who turned, marching
stolidly back toward the village, followed by the chief, then by
Nance and his party.

"This sounds to me as if it were going to be a chow-chow party,"
grinned Stacy.

"For goodness' sake, behave yourself. Don't stir those Indians up.
They are friendly enough, but Indians are sensitive," advised Tad.

"So am I," replied Chunky.

"You may be sorry that you are if you are not careful. I shall be
uneasy all the time for fear you'll put your foot in it," said Tad.

"Just keep your own house in order. Mine will take care of itself.
There's the village."

"Surely enough," answered Tad, gazing inquiringly toward the scattered
shacks or ha-was, as the native houses were called. These consisted
of posts set up with a slight slant toward the center, over which was
laid in several layers the long grass of the canyon. Ordinarily a
bright, hued Indian blanket covered the opening. A tall man could not
stand upright in a Havasupai ha-wa. They were merely hovels, but they
were all sufficient for these people, who lived most of their lives out
in the open.

The street was full of gaunt, fierce-looking dogs that the boys first
mistook for coyotes. The dogs, ill-fed, were surly, making friends
with no one, making threatening movements toward the newcomers in
several instances. One of them seized the leg of Chunky's trousers.

"Call your dog off, Chief Chickadee!" yelled the fat boy.

The Indian merely grunted, whereupon the fat boy laid a hand on the
butt of his revolver. A hand gripped his arm at the same time. The
hand was Tad Butler's.

"You little idiot, take your hand away from there or I'll put a head
on you right here! The dog won't hurt you." Tad was angry.

"No, you've scared him off, now. Of course he won't bite me, but he
would have done so if he hadn't caught sight of you."

"I must be good dog medicine then," replied Tad grimly. "But, never
mind," he added, with a smile, "just try to behave yourself for a

About that time Chief Tom was leading out his squaw by an ear.

"White man see Chi-i-wa," grinned the chief.

Chi-i-wa gave them a toothless smile. She was the most repulsive-looking
object the boys ever had looked upon. Chi-i-wa's hair came down to the
neck, where it had been barbered off square all the way around. This
was different from her august husband's. His hair lay in straight
strands on his shoulders, while a band of gaudy red cloth, the badge of
his office, was twisted over The forehead, binding the straight, black
locks at the back of the head.

The squaw wore baggy trousers bound at the bottom with leggings, while
over her shoulder was draped a red and white Indian blanket that was
good to look upon. The brilliant reds of the blankets all through the
village lent a touch of color that was very pleasing to the eye.

The chief's son was then brought out to shake hands with the white
men, while Chi-i-wa squatted down and appeared to lose all interest
in life. Dogs and children were by this time gathered about in great
numbers regarding the new comers with no little curiosity.

The chief's son was introduced to the boys by Nance as "Afraid Of His

Stacy surveyed the straight-limbed but ugly faced young buck critically.

"I don't blame him," said the fat boy.

"Don't blame him for what?" snapped Nance.

"For being afraid of his face. So am I."

The boys snickered, but their faces suddenly sobered at a sharp glance
from the piercing eyes of the Kohot.

"Mi-ki-u-la," said Afraid Of His Face, pointing to the much-soiled
trousers of Stacy Brown.

"He likes your trousers, he says," grinned the guide.

"Well, he can't have them, though he certainly does need trousers,"
decided Stacy reflectively, studying the muscular, half-naked limbs of
the young buck. "He couldn't very well appear in polite society in
that rig, could he, Tad?"

"Not unless he were going in swimming," smiled Tad.

It was at this point that Tad Butler himself came near getting into
difficulties. The chief's son, having been ordered in a series of
explosive guttural sounds to do something, had started away when a
yellow, wolfish looking cur got in way. Afraid Of His Face gave the
dog a vicious kick, then as if acting upon second thought he grabbed
up the snarling dog, and twisting its front legs over on its back,
dropped the yelping animal, giving it another kick before it touched
the ground.

Tad's face went fiery red. He could not stand idly and witness the
abuse of an animal. The lad leaped forward and stood confronting the
young buck with flaming face. Tad would have struck the Indian had
Nance not been on the spot. With a powerful hand he thrust Tad behind
him, saying something in the Indian language to Afraid Of His Face,
which caused the buck to smile faintly and proceed on his mission.

"If you had struck him you never would have gotten out of here alive,"
whispered the guide. Stacy had been a witness to the proceeding. He
smiled sarcastically when Tad came back to where the fat boy was

"Folks who live in glass houses, should not shy rocks," observed the
fat boy wisely.

By that time the squaws were setting out corn cakes, dried peaches and
a heap of savory meat that was served on a bark platter. The meal was
spread on a bright blanket regardless of the fact that grease from the
meat was dripping over the beautiful piece of weaving. The boys thought
it a pity to see so wonderful a piece of work ruined so uselessly, but
they made no comment. Then all sat down, the Indians squatting on
their haunches, while the white men seated themselves on the ground.
There were neither knives nor forks. Fingers were good enough for the
noble red man.

First, before beginning the meal, the Kohot lighted a great pipe and
took a single puff. Then he passed it to Professor Zepplin, who, with
a sheepish look at the Pony Rider Boys, also took a puff.

Stacy came next. The chief handed the pipe to the fat boy in person.
Stacy's face flushed.

"Thank you, but I don't smoke," he said politely. The lines of the
chief's face tightened. It was an insult to refuse to smoke the pipe
of peace when offered by the Kohot.



"Put it to your lips. You don't have to smoke it," whispered Dad. "It
won't do to refuse."

Stacy placed the stem to his lips, then, to the amazement of his
fellows, drew heavily twice, forcing the smoke right down into his

Stacy's face grew fiery red, his cheeks puffed out. Smoke seemed to
be coming out all over him. Ned declared afterwards that Stacy must
be porous, for the smoke came out of his pockets. Then all of a
sudden the fat boy coughed violently, and tumbled over backwards,
choking, strangling, howling, while the Professor hammered him between
the shoulders with the flat of his hand.

"You little idiot, why did you draw any of the stuff in?" whispered
Professor Zepplin.

"Da---Da---Dad to---to---told me to! Ackerchew! Oh, wow!"

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