“Them shoes!” he wailed. “Them damned shoes!” Then he busted out again and blubbered like a kid.
Right then I done some actin’; but, pshaw! anybody can act when he has to. If I’d of overplayed my hand a nickel’s worth he’d of clumb up me like a rat up a rafter and there would of been human reminders all over that neighborhood. Not but what I would have got him eventually, bein’ as I had my side-arms, but I liked Mike and I wouldn’t kill nobody if I was sober.
It happened that he fell right at the feet of the chief’s girl, and when I lifted him up he seen her. But, say, it must have been a shock to him. Her eyes was half shut, her head was throwed back, and she was hissin’ like a rattlesnake. Mike stiffened and sort of pawed at her, but she drawed away just like that other squaw in our dentist office had drawed away from her liege lord and master.
“Waugh! White man heap squaw!” said she, and with that she flirted her braids and turned to the winner of the race. She went up to him and lifted his lip with her thumb like she just had to have another look at his gold tooth, then she smiled up into his face and they walked away together without a glance in our direction.
Mike follered a step or two, then he stopped and stared around at the crowd. It was a big minute for him, and for me, too, and I’ll prob’ly never forget the picture of that pantin’ boy at bay among them grinnin’ barbarians. The curs was yappin’ at his heels, the squaws was gigglin’ and makin’ faces, the bucks was showin’ their teeth and pointin’ at his tears.
Mike never said a word. He just stooped down and peeled off his runnin’-shoes, then he throwed ’em as far as he could, right out into the river. “Who the hell would marry a dame like that?” he sobbed. “She’s stuck on his jewelry.”
“Come on, lad,” said I; and I led him to our tent. Then, while he put on his clothes, I saddled the pinto pony and the cream-colored mare, for it was six days to the railroad.
Should you chance, in crossing a certain mountain pass in southern Catalonia, to find yourself poised above a little valley against the opposite side of which lies a monastery, look to the heights above it. Should you piece out from among the rocks the jagged ruins of a castle, ask its name. Your guide will perhaps inform you that those blackened stones are called “The Teeth of the Moor,” and if he knows the story he will doubtless tell it to you, crossing himself many times during the recital. In all probability, however, he will merely shrug his shoulders and say it is a place of bad repute, nothing more.
Even the monks of the monastery, who are considered well versed in local history, have forgotten the reason for the name, although they recall the legend that once upon a time the castle harbored a haughty Moslem lord. Few of them ever heard the story of Joseph the Anchorite, and how he sought flesh within its portals; those who have will not repeat it. Time was, however, when the tale was fresh, and it runs this wise: