The Pony Rider Boys in the Grand Canyon
Frank Gee Patchin

Part 4 out of 4

More choking, more sneezing and more strangling. The Professor laid
the boy on the grass a little distance from the table, where not a
smile had appeared on a single face. The Indians were grave and
solemn, the Pony Rider Boys likewise, although almost at the
explosive point. The others had merely passed the Pipe of peace
across their lips and handed it on to the next. In this manner it had
gone around the circle.

Then all hands began dipping into the meat with their fingers. This
was too much for the red-faced boy lying on the grass. He sat up,
uttered a volley of sneezes then unsteadily made his way back to the
blanket table and sat down in his place. The Indians paid no
attention to him, though sly glances were cast in his direction by
his companions. For once, Ned Rector was discreet enough not to make
any remarks. He knew that any such would call forth unpleasant words
from Stacy.

The fat boy helped himself liberally to the meat. He tasted of it
gingerly at first, then went at it greedily.

"That is the finest beef I ever ate," he said enthusiastically.

"You shouldn't make remarks about the food," whispered Tad. "They may
not like it."

"I hope they don't like it. There'll be all the more left for me."

"I don't mean the food, I mean your remarks about it."


"How many persons are there in your tribe, chief?" asked the Professor

The chief looked at Dad.

"Two hundred and fifty, Professor," the guide made answer for their host.
"They are a fine lot of Indians, too."

"Including the squaws, two hundred and fifty?"


"Do they not sit down with us?" asked Professor Zepplin, glancing up
at Chi-i-wa and some of her sisters, who were standing muffled in their
blankets, despite the heat of the day, gazing listlessly at the diners.

"Certainly not in the presence of the white man or heads of other
tribes," answered Jim.

"Say, what is this meat?" whispered Chunky again, helping himself to
another slice.

"Don't you know what that is?" answered Ned Rector.

"No. If I did, I shouldn't have asked."

"Why, that's lion meat."

"Li---li---lion meat?" gasped the boy.

"Sure thing."

Stacy appeared to suffer a sudden loss of appetite. He grew pale about
the lips, his head whirled dizzily. Whether it were from the pipe of
peace or the meat, he never knew. He did know that he was a sick boy
almost on the instant. With a moan he toppled over on his back.

"I'm going to die," moaned the fat boy. "Carry me off somewhere. I
don't want to die here," he begged weakly.

They placed him under the shade of a tree but instead of getting better
the boy got worse: The Professor was disturbed.

"Put pale-face boy in to-hol-woh," grunted the chief. "To-hol-woh!"
he exclaimed sharply.

Three squaws ran to a low structure of branches that were stuck into
the ground, bent in and secured at the middle until it resembled an
Esquimo hut in shape. The frame made by the branches was uncovered,
but the women quickly threw some brightly colored blankets over the
frame, the boys watching the proceeding with keen interest. They
then hauled some hot rocks from a fire near by, thrusting these under
the blankets into the enclosure, after which a pail of water also was
put inside.

"Put fat boy in," commanded the Kohot. "Take um clothes off."

Chunky demurred feebly at this. The Professor glanced at Dad inquiringly.
Dad nodded, grinning from ear to ear.

"It's a sort of Russo-Turkish bath. It'll do him good. Wouldn't mind
one myself right now," said Nance.

"All right, boys, fix him up and get him in."

"Dress him down, you mean," chuckled Ned.

At a word from the chief the squaws stumped listlessly to their ha-was
and were seen no more for some time. About this time the Medicine man,
a tall, angular, eagle-eyed Havasu, appeared on the scene, examining
the to-hol-woh critically.

"What shall we do with him now?" called Tad, after they had stripped
off all of Chunky's clothes except his underwear.

"Chuck him in," ordered the guide.

The Pony Rider Boys were filled with unholy glee at the prospect. They
picked up the limp form of their companion, Stacy being too sick to
offer more than faint, feeble protests. They tumbled him into what
Ned called "The Hole In The Wall."

By this time the hot stones in the enclosure had raised the temperature
of the to-hol-woh considerably. Stacy did not realize how hot it was
at first, but he was destined to learn more about it a few minutes later.

Now the Medicine Man began to chant weirdly, calling upon the Havasupai
gods, Hoko-ma-ta and To-cho-pa, which translated by the guide was:

_"Let the heat come and enter within us, reach head, face and lungs,
Go deep down in stomach, through arms, body, thighs. Thus shall we be
purified, made well from all ill, Thus shall we be strengthened to keep
back all that can harm, For heat alone gives life and force."_

_"Let heat enter our heads, Let heat enter our eyes, Let heat
enter our ears, Let heat enter our nostrils---"_

Up to this time no sounds had come from the interior of the to-hol-woh.
But now the fat boy half rolled out, gasping for breath. Ned, having
picked up a paddle that lay near this impromptu Turkish bath,
administered a resounding slap on Stacy's anatomy, while Tad and
Walter threw him back roughly into the to-hol-woh.

Chunky moaned dismally.

"I'm being burned alive," he groaned. "They're torturing me to death."

_"Let heat enter the feet, Let heat enter the knees, Let heat enter
the legs---"_

"Lemme out of here!" yelled the sick boy, thrusting a tousled head
through between the blankets covering the opening.

They pushed him back.

"It's the paddle for yours, and hard, if you come out before we tell
you," cried Ned.

"Stay in as long as you can, Stacy. I am satisfied the treatment will
benefit you," advised the Professor.

"I'm cooking," wailed Chunky.

"That's what you need. You've been underdone all your life," jeered

Throughout all of this the Havasus had sat about apparently taking
no particular interest in the performance. They had all seen it
before so many, many times. But Jim Nance's sides were shaking with
laughter, and the Pony Rider Boys were dancing about in high glee.
They did not get such a chance at Stacy Brown every day in the year,
and were not going to miss a single second of this sort of fun.

"A brave lion tamer ought not to be afraid of a little heat," suggested

"That's so," agreed Ned.

"For heat alone gives life and force," crooned the Medicine Man.

He repeated the words of his chant twice over, naming pretty much every
member in the body. It was a long process, but no one save Stacy
Brown himself wearied of it.

At the conclusion of the second round of the chant, the Medicine Man,
stooping over, sprinkled water upon the hot stones, reaching in under
the blankets to do so.

Instantly the to-hol-woh was filled with a cloud of fierce, biting
steam, that made each breath seem a breath of fire.

The Pony Rider Boys, understanding what this meant to the boy inside,
unable to restrain themselves longer, gave vent to ear-splitting shouts
of glee. Even the Indians turned to gaze at them in mild surprise.

"Take me out! I'm on fire!" yelled the fat boy lustily.

The Medicine Man thrust half a dozen other hot stones in, then sprinkled
more water upon them.

"There's one more steaming for Chunky," sang Tad.

"There's one more roast for him," chanted Ned.

"We'll roast him till he's done," added Walter.

The Medicine Man sprinkled on more water.

"Ow, wow! Yeow, wow-wow!"

Anguished howls burst from the interior of the to-hol-woh. Then
something else burst. The peak of the bath house seemed to rise right
into the air. The sides burst out, flinging the blankets in all
directions. Then a red-faced boy leaped out, and with a yell, fled
on hot feet to the silvery Havasu River, where he plunged into a deep
pool, the water choking down his howls of rage and pain.

The fat boy's Russo-Turkish bath had succeeded beyond the fondest
expectations of his torturers.



Pandemonium reigned in the Havasu village for a few minutes. The
Medicine Man had been bowled over in Stacy's projectile-like flight.
The Medicine Man leaped to his feet, eyes flashing. Some one pointed
toward the creek. The Medicine Man leaped for the river.

Dad spoke sharply to the chief, whereupon the latter fired a volley of
gutturals at the fleeing Medicine Man, who stopped so suddenly that he
nearly lost his balance.

"Is the water deep in there?" cried the Professor.

"About ten feet," answered the guide.

"He'll drown!"

"No he won't drown, Professor," called Tad. "Chunky can swim like a
fish. There he is now."

A head popped up from the water, followed by a face almost as red as
the sandstone rocks on the great cliffs glowing off there in the
afternoon sun.

"Oh, wow!" bellowed Stacy chokingly, as the waters swallowed him up
again. He came up once more and struck out for the bank, up which he
struggled, then began racing up and down the edge of the stream yelling:

"I'm skinned alive! I'm flayed, disfigured! I'm parboiled! Pour a
bottle of oil over me. I tell you I'm-----"

"You're all right. Stop it!" commanded Tad sharply.

"Sprinkle me with flour the way mother used to do."

Tad walked over and laid a firm hand on the arm of the fat boy.

"You go back there and wipe off, then put on your clothes, or I'll skin
you in earnest. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd scalp you if you
continue to carry on in this way."

"Sea---scalp me?" stammered Stacy.

"Yes. You surely have done enough to them to make them want to. Did
you know you knocked over the Medicine Man?"

"Did I?"

"You did."

Stacy grinned.

"I'm glad of it. But that isn't a circumstance to what I'd like, to do
to him if I could do it and get away with it.

"Well, how does it feel to be roasted?" questioned the grinning Ned
Rector, approaching them at this juncture.

"Who put up this job on me?" demanded Stacy angrily.

"Job? Why, it wasn't a job. You were a very sick man. Your case
demanded instant treatment---"

"Say, what was that meat we had for dinner, Tad?" asked Chunky suddenly.

"Deer meat."

"Oh, fiddle! Ned said it was cat meat and I---I got sick. I'll get
even with him for that."

"How do you feel?" asked the smiling Professor, coming up and slapping
the fat boy on the shoulder.

"I---I guess I'm well, but I don't believe I'll be able to sit down or
lie down all the rest of the summer. No, don't ask me to put on my
clothes. I can't wear them. My skin's all grown fast to my underwear.
I'll have to wear these underclothes the rest of the season if I don't
want to lose my skin. Oh, I'm in an awful fix."

"But you're well, so what's the odds?" laughed Tad.

"It does brace a fellow up to have that---that---what do you call it?"

"Hole In The Wall bath," nodded Ned.

"That's just the trouble. There wasn't any hole in the wall to let the
heat out. Oh, it was awful. If you don't think it was, then some of
you fellows get in there for a roast. Oh, I'm sore!"

Stacy limped off by himself, then stood leaning against a rock, still
in his underwear, gazing moodily at the waters of Havasu River. Stacy
was much chastened for the time being.

All at once the lad started. Ned Rector had laid a hand on his shoulder.

"Oh, it's you?"

"Yes. You aren't angry with me, are you, Chunky?"

"Angry with you?"


"Did you ever have a sore lip, Ned?"

"Of course I have," laughed Rector.

"When you couldn't have laughed at the funniest story you ever heard?"

"I guess that about describes it."

"Well, I've got a sore lip all over my body. If I were to be cross with
you I'd crack the one big, sore lip and then you'd hear me yell,"
answered the fat boy solemnly. "No, I'm not angry with you, Ned."

Rector laughed softly.

"I don't want you to be. I'm always having a lot of fun with you and
I expect to have a lot more, for you are the biggest little idiot I
ever saw in my life."

"Yes, I am," agreed Stacy thoughtfully. "But how can you blame me,
with the company I keep?"

"I've got nothing more to say, except that if you'll come back to
what's his name's camp I'll help you put on your clothes. Come along.
Don't miss all the fun."

Stacy decided that he would. By the time he had gotten on his clothes
he felt better. He wandered off to another part of the village, where
his attention was drawn to a game going on between a lot of native
children who had squatted down on the ground.

Stacy asked what the game was. They told him it was "Hui-ta-qui-chi-ka,"
which he translated into "Have-a-chicken."

Most of these children were pupils at a school established by the
United States government in the Canyon, and could speak a little
English. Chunky entered into conversation with them at once, asking
the names of each, but he never remembered the name of any of them
afterwards. There was little Pu-ut, a demure faced savage with a
string of glass beads around her neck; Somaja, round and plump,
because of which she got her name, which, translated meant "watermelon."
Then there was Vesna and many other names not so easy. Chunky decided
that he would like to play "Have-a-chicken," too. The little savages
were willing, so he took a seat in the semicircle with them.

Before the semicircle was a circle of small stones, with an opening
at a certain point. This opening was called, Chunky learned,
"Yam-si-kyalb-yi-ka," though the fat boy didn't attempt to pronounce
it after his instructor. In the centre of the circle was another flat
stone bearing the musical name of "Taa-bi-chi."

Sides were chosen and the game began. The first player begins by
holding three pieces of short stick, black on one side, white on the
other. These sticks are called "Toh-be-ya." The count depends upon
the way the sticks fall. For instance, the following combinations will
give an idea as to how the game is counted:

Three white sides up, 10; three blacks, 5; two blacks and a white up, 3;
two whites and a black up, 2, and so on in many different combinations.

The reader may think this a tame sort of game, but Chunky didn't find
it so. It grew so exciting that the fat boy found himself howling
louder than any of the savages with whom he was playing. He was as
much a savage as any of them, some of whom were of his own age. Every
time he made a large point, Stacy would perform a war dance, howling,
"Have-a-chicken! Have-a-chicken!"

The chief's son, who also had come into the game without being invited,
was playing next to Stacy. Stacy in one of these outbursts trod on the
bare feet of the young buck.

Afraid Of His Face, adopting the methods of his white brethren, rose
in his might and smote the fat boy with his fist. Now, the spot
where the fist of Afraid Of His Face landed had been parboiled in the
"Hole In The Wall." Stacy Brown howled lustily, then he sailed in,
both fists working like windmills. The Indian youngsters set up a
weird chorus of yells and war whoops, while all hands from the chief's
ha-wa started on a run for the scene.



In the meantime there was a lively scrimmage going on near the
"Have-a-chicken" circle. The stones of the circle had been kicked
away, the younger savages forming a human ring about the combatants.

Afraid Of His Face was much the superior of the fat boy in physical
strength, but he knew nothing of the tricks of the boxer. Therefore
Stacy had played a tattoo on the face of the Indian before the latter
woke up to the fact that he was getting the worst of it.

In an unguarded moment the young buck put a smashing blow right on
Stacy's nose, now extremely sensitive from its near boiling in the
"Hole In The Wall."

Not being fast enough in the get away, the young buck received on his
own face some of the blood that spurted from Brown's nose.

"Ow-wow!" wailed Chunky, rendered desperate by the severe pain at this
tender point. But his rage made him cooler. Chunky made a feint.
As Afraid Of His Face dodged the feint Stacy bumped the young
Indian's nose.

"Have another," offered Stacy dryly, as his left drove in a blow that
sent the young Indian to his back on the turf. Frightened screams came
from some of the young Indian girls, who gazed dismayed at the human
whirlwind into which Stacy had been transformed.

"Ugh!" roared Afraid Of His Face, and reached his feet again. "Ugh!
Boy heap die! Plenty soon!"

Again the combatants closed in. There was a rattling give-and-take.

"Here! Stop that!" ordered Professor Zepplin, striding forward. The
chief and his Indians were coming up also. The chief caught at one of
the Professor's waving arms and drew him back.

"Let um fight," grunted the chief. He next spoke a few guttural words
of command to his own people, who fell back, giving the combatants
plenty of room.

"Yes, let 'em have it out!" roared the boys. "Stacy never will learn
to behave, but this ought to help."

Stacy, having it all his own way with his fists, now received a kick
from the buck that nearly ended the fight.

"Wow! That's your style, is it?" groaned Chunky, then he ducked, came
up and planted a smashing blow on the buck's jaw that sent the latter
fairly crashing to earth.

That ended the fight. Afraid Of His Face made a few futile struggles
to get to his feet, then lay back wearily. Chunky puffed out his chest
and strutted back and forth a few times.

"Huh!" grunted Chick-a-pan-a-gi. "Fat boy heap brave warrior."

"You bet I am. But it's nothing. You ought to see me in a real fight."

"Hurrah for Chunky!" shouted Ned Rector. "Hip, hip, hurrah!"

Professor Zepplin now strode forward, laying a heavy hand on the fat
boy's shoulder.

"Ouch!" groaned Chunky. "Don't do that Don't you know I haven't any
skin on my body?"

"You don't deserve to have any. Be good enough to explain how this
trouble arose?"

The chief was asking the same question of the other young savages in
his own language and they were telling him in a series of guttural

"It was this way, I was playing the game with them when I stepped on
Elephant Face's foot. He didn't like it. I guess he has corns on his
feet as well as on his face. He punched me. I punched him back. Then
the show began. We had a little argument, with the result that you
already have observed," answered Stacy pompously.

"You needn't get so chesty about it," rebuked Ned.

"Chief," said the Professor, turning to Chick-a-pan-a-gi, "I don't
know what to say. I am deeply humiliated that one of our party should
engage in a fight with---"

"I didn't engage in any fight," protested Stacy. "It wasn't a fight,
it was just a little argument."

"Silence!" thundered the Professor.

"I trust you will overlook the action of this boy. He was very much
excited and-----"

"Fat boy him not blame. Fat boy him much brave warrior," grunted the
chief. "Afraid Of His Face he go ha-wa. Stay all day, all night. Him
not brave warrior."

The chief accentuated his disgust by prodding his homely son with the
toe of a moccasin. Afraid Of his Face got up painfully, felt gingerly
of his damaged nose, and with a surly grunt limped off toward his own
ha-wa, there to remain in disgrace until the following day.

"Fat boy come smoke pipe of peace," grunted the chief.

"No, thank you. No more pieces of pipe for mine. I've had one
experience. That's enough for a life time," answered Stacy.

"Stacy, if I see any more such unseemly conduct I shall send you home
in disgrace," rebuked the Professor as they walked back to the village.

"The boy wasn't to blame, Professor," interceded Dad. "The buck pitched
into him first. He had to defend himself."

"No, don't be too hard on Chunky," begged Tad. "You must remember that
he wasn't quite himself. First to be boiled alive, then set upon by
an Indian, I should say, would be quite enough to set anyone off his

The Professor nodded. Perhaps they were right, after all. So long as
the chief was not angry, why should he be? The chief, in his
unemotional way, seemed pleased with the result of the encounter.
But Professor Zepplin, of course, could not countenance fighting.
That was a certainty. With a stern admonition to Chunky never to
engage in another row while out with the Pony Rider Boys, the Professor
agreed to let the matter drop.

The day was well spent by that time, and the party was invited to pass
the night in the village, which they decided to do. The chief gave
the Professor a cordial invitation to share his ha-wa with him, but
after a sniff at the opening of the hovel Professor Zepplin decided
that he would much prefer to sleep outside on the ground. The others
concluded that they would do the same. The odors coming from the
ha-was of the tribe were not at all inviting.

After sitting about the camp fire all the evening, the Pony Rider Boys
wrapped themselves in their blankets and lay down to sleep under the
stars with the now gloomy walls of the Canyon towering above them, the
murmur of the silvery Havasu in their ears.



The night was a restful one to most of the party, except as they were
aroused by the barking of the dogs at frequent intervals, perhaps
scenting some prowling animal in search of food.

Chunky was awakened by Tad at an early hour. The fat boy uttered a
familiar "Oh, wow!" when he sought to get up, then lay back groaning.

"Why, what's the matter?" demanded Butler.

"My skin's shrunk," moaned Stacy. "It fits me so tight I---I can't

"His skin's shrunk," chorused the Pony Rider Boys. "His skin is a

"Take it back and demand a new suit if you don't like it," laughed Ned

"It isn't any laughing matter. I tell you it's shrunk," protested Stacy.

"All right, it will do you good. You'll know you've got a skin. Last
night you said it was all roasted off from you."

"It was. This is the new skin, about a billionth of an inch thick,
and oh-h-h-h," moaned the lad, struggling to his feet. "I wish you had
my skin, Ned Rector. No, I don't, either I---I wish yours were drawn
as tightly as mine."

"Come on for a run and you will feel better" cried Tad, grasping the
fat boy by an arm and racing him down to the river and back,
accompanied by a series of howls from Stacy. But the limbering-up
process was a success. Stacy felt better. He was able to do full
justice to the breakfast that was served on the greasy blanket shortly
afterwards. For breakfast the white men shared their bacon with the
chief, which the Indian ate, grunting appreciatively.

Before leaving, the boys bought some of the finer specimens of the
Indian blankets, which they got remarkably cheap. They decided to do
up a bale of these and send them home to their folks when they reached
a place where there was a railroad. At present they were a good many
miles from a railway, with little prospect even of seeing one for a
matter of several weeks.

After breakfast they bade good-bye to the chief. Chunky wanted to
shake hands with Afraid Of His Face, but the chief would not permit
his young buck to leave the ha-wa. Chi-i-wa, the chief's wife, bade
them a grudging good-bye without so much as turning her head, after
which the party rode away, Chunky uttering dismal groans because the
saddle hurt him, for the fat boy was still very tender.

"I know what I'll do when I get home," he said.

"So do I," laughed Tad.

"Well, what'll I do, if you know so much about it?"

"Why, you will puff out your chest and strut up and down Main Street
for the edification of the natives of Chillicothe," answered Tad.

"That's what he'll do, for sure," jeered Ned. "But we'll be on hand
to take him down a peg or two. Don't you forget that, Chunky."

Joking and enjoying themselves to the fullest, these brown-faced,
hardy young travelers continued on, making camp that night by the
roaring river, reaching Camp Butler the following forenoon.

Chow, the half breed pack-train man, met them with a long face. The
party saw at once that something was wrong.

"What's happened?" snapped Nance.

"The dogs."

"What about them? Speak up."

"Him dead," announced the half breed stolidly.

"Dead?" cried Dad and the boys in one voice.

"Him dead."

"What caused their death?"

The half breed shook his head. All he knew was that two mornings before
he had come in for breakfast, and upon going out again found the dogs
stretched out on the ground dead. That there was another mystery
facing them the boys saw clearly. Nance examined the carcasses of the
dead hounds. His face was dark with anger when he had finished.

"It's my opinion that those hounds were poisoned," he declared.

"Poisoned!" exclaimed the boys.

"Yes. There's some mysterious work being done around this camp. I'm
going to find out who is at the bottom of it; then you'll hear something
drop that will be louder than a boulder falling off the rim of the
Grand Canyon."

"This is a most remarkable state of affairs." said the Professor.
"Surely you do not suspect the man Chow?"

"No, I don't suspect him. It's someone else. I had a talk with Chief
Tom. He told me some things that set me thinking."

"What was it?" asked Tad.

"I'm not going to say anything about it just now, but I am going to have
this camp guarded after to-night. We'll see whether folks can come in
here and play tag with us in this fashion without answering to
Jim Nance."

"I'll bet the ghost has been here again," spoke up Stacy.

"Ghost nothing!" exploded Nance.

"That's what you said before, or words to that effect," answered the
fat boy. "You found I was right, though. Yes, sir, there are spirits
around these diggings. One of them carried away my gun."

"We will divide the night into watches after this. I am not going to
be caught napping again," announced Nance.

That night the guide sat up all night. Nothing occurred to arouse
his suspicion. Next day they went out lion hunting without dogs.
Nance got a shot at a cat, but missed him. The next day the Professor
killed a cub that was hiding in a juniper tree. It was his first kill
and put the Professor in high good humor. He explained all about it
that night as they sat around the camp fire. Then the boys made him
tell the story over again.

Nance took the first watch that night, remaining on duty until three
in the morning, when he called Tad. The latter was wide awake on the
instant, the mark of a good woodsman. Taking his rifle, he strolled
out near the mustangs, where he sat down on a rock. Tad was shivering
in the chill morning air, but after a time he overcame that. He grew
drowsy after a half hour of waiting with nothing doing.

All of a sudden the lad sat up wide awake. He knew that he had heard
something. That something was a stealthy footstep. The night was
graying by this time, so that objects might be made out dimly. Tad
stood up, swinging his rifle into position for quick use. For some
moments he heard nothing further, then out of the bushes crept a
shadowy figure.

"Chunky's ghost," was the thought that flashed into the mind of the
young sentry. "No, I declare, if it isn't an Indian!"

It was an Indian, but the light was too dim to make anything out of
the intruder. The Indian was crouched low and as Tad observed was
treading on his toes, choosing a place for each step with infinite
care. The watcher now understood why no moccasin tracks had been
found about the camp, for he had no doubt that this fellow was the
one who was responsible for all the mysterious occurrences in camp
up to that time.

The Pony Rider boy did not move. He wanted to see what the Indian
was going to do. Step by step the red man drew near to the canvas
covered storage place, where they kept their supplies, arms, ammunition
and the like. Into this shack the Indian slipped. Tad edged closer.

"I wonder what he's after this time?" whispered the lad. Tad thrilled
with the thought that it had been left for him to solve the mystery.

His question was answered when, a few moments later, the silent figure
of the Indian appeared creeping from the opening. He had something in
his hands.

"I actually believe the fellow is carrying away our extra rifles,"
muttered the boy.

That was precisely what the redskin was doing. After glancing cautiously
about, he started away in the same careful manner. Tad could have shot
the man, but he would not do it, instead, he raised the rifle.

"Halt!" commanded the Pony Rider boy sharply.

For one startled instant the Indian stood poised as if for a spring.
Then he did spring. Still gripping the rifles, he leaped across the
opening and started away on fleet feet. He was running straight toward
where the ponies were tethered.

Tad fired a shot over the head of the fleeing man, then started in
pursuit. The Indian slashed the tether of Buckey, Stacy Brown's
mustang, and with a yell to startle the animal, leaped on its back and
was off.

"That's a game two can play at," gritted the Pony Rider, freeing his
own pony in the same way and springing to its back.

The shot and the yell had brought the camp out in a twinkling. No one
knew what had occurred, but the quick ears of the guide catching the
pounding hoofs of the running mustangs, he knew that Tad was chasing

"Everybody stay here and watch the camp!" he roared, running for his
own pinto, which he mounted in the same way as had the Indian and Tad

Tad, in getting on Silver Face, had fumbled and dropped his rifle.
There was no time to stop to recover it if he expected to catch the
fleeing Indian. Under ordinary circumstances the boy knew that Silver
Face was considerably faster than Buckey. But pursuit was not so easy,
though the Indian, for the present, could go in but one direction.

The spirited mustang on which Tad Butler was mounted, appearing to
understand what was expected of him, swept on with the speed of the
wind. Small branches cut the face of the Pony Rider like knife-blades
as he split through a clump of junipers, then tore ahead, fairly
sailing over logs, boulders and other obstructions.

The Pony Rider boy uttered a series of earsplitting yells. His object
was to guide Jim Nance, who, he felt sure, would be not far behind
him. The yells brought the guide straight as an arrow. Tad could
plainly hear the foot beats of Buckey as the two riders tore down the
Canyon, each at the imminent risk of his life.

"If he has a loaded gun, I'm a goner," groaned the lad. "But the
ones he stole are empty, thank goodness! There he goes!"

The Indian had made a turn to the left into a smaller canyon. By
this time the light was getting stronger. Tad was able to make out his
man with more distinctness. The boy urged his pony forward with short,
sharp yelps. The Indian was doing the same, but Tad was gaining on him
every second. Now the boy uttered a perfect volley of shouts, hoping
that Nance would understand when he got to the junction of the smaller
canyon, that both pursued and pursuer had gone that way.

Nance not only understood, but he could hear Tad's yells up the canyon
upon arriving at the junction.

"Stop or I'll shoot!" cried the boy.

The Indian turned and looked back. Then he urged Buckey on faster.
That one act convinced Tad that the redskin had no loaded rifle, else
he would have used it at that moment.

With a yell of triumph the boy touched the pony with the rowels of his
spurs. Silver Face shot ahead like a projectile. He was a tough
little pony, and besides, his mettle was up. Now Tad gained foot by
foot. He was almost up to the Indian, yelling like an Indian himself.

The redskin tried dodging tactics, hoping that Tad would shoot past him.
Tad did nothing of the sort. The boy was watching his man with keen
but glowing eyes. The call of the wild was strong in Tad Butler at that

Suddenly the boy drew alongside. Utterly regardless of the danger to
himself, he did a most unexpected thing. Tad threw himself from his
own racing pony, landing with crushing force on top of the Indian.

Of course the two men tumbled to the ground like a flash. Then
followed a battle, the most desperate in which Tad ever had been
engaged. The boy howled lustily and fought like a cornered mountain
lion. Of course his strength was as nothing compared with that of the
Indian. All Tad could hope to do would be to keep the Indian engaged
until help arrived.

Help did arrive within two minutes; help in the shape of Jim Nance, who,
with the thought of his slain hounds rankling in his mind, was little
better than a savage for the time being.

"Here!" shouted Tad. "Take him---hustle!"

Then young Butler drew back, for Nance, seeing things red before his
eyes, was hardly capable of knowing friend from foe.

Whack! bump! buff!

How those big fists descended!

For three or four seconds only did the redskin make any defense. Then
he cowered, stolidly, taking a punishment that he could not prevent.

"Don't kill the poor scoundrel, Dad!" yelled Tad, dancing about the pair.

But still Nance continued to hammer the now unresisting Indian.

"Stop it, Dad---stop it!" Tad called sternly.

Then, as nothing else promised to avail, Tad rushed once more into
the fray.

Dad was weakening from his own enormous expenditure of strength.

"Don't go any farther, Dad," Tad coaxed, catching one of Nance's arm
and holding on.

"I guess I have about given the fellow what he needed," admitted the
guide, rising.

As he stood above the Indian, Dad saw that the man did not move.

"I hope you didn't kill him, Dad," Tad went on swiftly.

"Why?" asked Jim Nance curiously.

"I don't like killings," returned Tad briefly. He bent over the Indian,
finding that the latter had been only knocked out.

"We'd better take the redskin back to camp, hadn't we?" queried Tad, and
Jim silently helped. In camp, the Indian was bound hand and foot. The
camp fire was lighted and Tad went to work to resuscitate the red man.

At last the camp's prisoner was revived.

"Now, let's ask him about the thieveries that have been going on,"
suggested Ned Rector.

"Humph!" grinned Dad. "If you think you can make an Indian talk when
he has been caught red-handed, then you try it."

Not a word would the Indian say. He even refused to look at his
questioners, but lay on the ground, stolidly indifferent.

"He's a prowling Navajo," explained Nance. "You may be sure this is
the fellow, Brown's 'spirit,' behind all our troubles. He's the chap
who stole Brown's rifle, who raided this camp, who set the lion free
and who poisoned my dogs---so they wouldn't give warning."

"But why should he want to turn the lion loose?" Tad wanted to know.

"Because the Navajo Indians hold the mountain lion as sacred. The
Navajo believes that his ancestors' spirits have taken refuge in the
bodies of the mountain lions."

"I believe there must be a strong strain of mountain lion in this
fellow, by the way he fought me," grimaced Tad.

"What shall we do with this redskin?" Chunky asked. "Shall we give
him a big thrashing, or make him run the gauntlet?"

"Neither, I guess," replied Jim Nance, who had cooled down. "The
wisest thing will be for us to take him straight to the Indian Agency.
Uncle Sam pays agents to take care of Indian problems."

It was late that afternoon when the boys and their poisoner arrived
at the Agency.

"I'll talk to him," said the agent, after he had ordered that the
Indian be taken to a room inside.

An hour later the agent came out.

"The Navajo confesses to all the things you charge against him,"
announced the government official. "I thought I could make him talk.
The redskin justifies himself by saying that your party made an effort
to kill Navajo ancestors at wholesale."

"Humph!" grunted Jim Nance.

"What happens to the Navajo?" Walter asked curiously.

"He'll be kept within bounds after this," replied the agent. "For a
starter he will be locked up for three months. Some other Navajos
were out, but we got them all back except this one. Going back into
the Canyon?"

Indeed they were. Late that afternoon the Pony Rider Boys began their
journey of one hundred miles to the lower end of the Canyon.

From that latter point they were to go on into still newer fields of
exploration, in search of new thrills, and were far more certain than
they realized at that time of experiencing other adventures that should
put all past happenings in the shade.

For the time being, however, we have gone as far as possible with the
lads. We shall next meet them in the following volume of this series,
which is published under the title, "_The Pony Rider Boys With The
Texas Rangers; Or, On the Trail of the Border Bandits_."

A rare treat lies just ahead for the reader of this new narrative, in
which acquaintance will also be made with one of the most famous bodies
of police in all the world, the Texas Rangers.



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