The Little Woman knelt and picked out half a dozen small nuggets and stood up, holding them out to Casey, her eyes shining. “Casey Ryan, here’s the end of your rainbow! And you’re luckier than most of us; you’ve got your pot o’ gold.”
Casey looked down at her oddly. “It’s mebby the end of one,” he said. “But they’s another one, now, ’t I can see plainer than this one. I dunno’s I’ll ever git to where that one points.”
“A man’s never satisfied,” scoffed the Little Woman, turning the precious little yellow fragments over thoughtfully in her palm. “I should think this ought to be enough for you, man alive.”
“Mebby it had. But it ain’t.” He looked at her, hesitating,—and I think the Little Woman waited and held her breath for what he might say next. But Casey was scarcely himself in her presence. He turned away without another glance at the nuggets.
“You’n the kid can gopher around there whilst I go step off the lines of a claim an’ put up the location notice,” he said, and left her standing there with the gold in her palm.
That night it was the Little Woman who planned great things for Casey, and it was Casey who smoked and said little about it. But once he shook his head when she described the gilded future she saw for him.
“Money in great gobs like that ain’t much use to me,” he demurred. “Once I blew into Lund, over here, with twenty-five thousand dollars in my pocket that I got outa silver claims. All I ever saved outa that chunk was two pairs of socks. No need of you makin’ plans on my being a millionaire. It ain’t in me. I guess I’m nothin’ but a rough-neck stagedriver an’ prospector, clear into the middle of my bones. If I had the sense of a rabbit I never’d gone hellin’ through life the way I’ve done. I’d amount to somethin’ by now. As it is I ain’t nothin’ and I ain’t nobody—”
“You’re Casey Wyan! You make me sad when you say that!” Babe protested sleepily, lifting her head from his shoulder and spatting him reprovingly on the cheek. “You’re my bes’ friend and you’ve got a lots more sense than a wabbit!”
“And your rainbow, Casey Ryan?” the Little Woman asked softly. “What about this other, new rainbow?”
“It’s there,” said Casey gloomily. “It’ll always be there—jest over the ridge ahead uh me. I c’n see it, plain enough, but I got more sense ’n to think I’ll ever git m’hands on it.”
“I’ll go catch your wainbow, Casey Wyan. I’ll run fas’ as I can, an’ I’ll catch it for you!”
“Will yuh, Babe?” Casey bent his head until his lips touched her curls. And neither Casey nor the Little Woman spoke of it again.
Oddly enough, it was Lucy Lily who unconsciously brought Casey to his rainbow. Lucy Lily did not mean to do Casey any favor, I can assure you, but Fate just took her and used her for the moment, and Lucy Lily had nothing to say about it.