Tales of lonely trails eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 386 pages of information about Tales of lonely trails.

Now the Navajo, with the bridle in his hand was thoroughly at home.  He was getting his revenge on Marc, and he would have kept his seat on a wild mustang, but Marc swerved suddenly under a low branch of a pine, sweeping the Indian off.

When Navvy did not rise we began to fear he had been seriously hurt, perhaps killed, and we ran to where he lay.

Face downward, hands outstretched, with no movement of body or muscle, he certainly appeared dead.

“Badly hurt,” said Emett, “probably back broken.  I have seen it before from just such accidents.”

“Oh no!” cried Jones, and I felt so deeply I could not speak.  Jim, who always wanted Navvy to be a dead Indian, looked profoundly sorry.

“He’s a dead Indian, all right,” replied Emett.

We rose from our stooping postures and stood around, uncertain and deeply grieved, until a mournful groan from Navvy afforded us much relief.

“That’s your dead Indian,” exclaimed Jones.

Emett stooped again and felt the Indian’s back and got in reward another mournful groan.

“It’s his back,” said Emett, and true to his ruling passion, forever to minister to the needs of horses, men, and things, he began to rub the Indian and call for the liniment.

[Illustration:  Treed lion]

[Illustration:  Treed lion]

Jim went to fetch it, while I, still believing the Navvy to be dangerously hurt, knelt by him and pulled up his shirt, exposing the hollow of his brown back.

“Here we are,” said Jim, returning on the run with the bottle.

“Pour some on,” replied Emett.

Jim removed the cork and soused the liniment all over the Indian’s back.

“Don’t waste it,” remonstrated Emett, starting to rub Navvy’s back.

Then occurred a most extraordinary thing.  A convulsion seemed to quiver through the Indian’s body; he rose at a single leap, and uttering a wild, piercing yell broke into a run.  I never saw an Indian or anybody else run so fleetly.  Yell after yell pealed back to us.

Absolutely dumfounded we all gazed at each other.

“That’s your dead Indian!” ejaculated Jim.

“What the hell!” exclaimed Emett, who seldom used such language.

“Look here!” cried Jones, grabbing the bottle.  “See!  Don’t you see it?”

Jim fell face downward and began to shake.

“What?” shouted Emett and I together.

“Turpentine, you idiots!  Turpentine!  Jim brought the wrong bottle!”

In another second three more forms lay stretched out on the sward, and the forest rang with sounds of mirth.

VII

That night the wind switched and blew cold from the north, and so strong that the camp-fire roared like a furnace.  “More snow” was the verdict of all of us, and in view of this, I invited the Navajo to share my tent.

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Tales of lonely trails from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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