Wells Brothers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 278 pages of information about Wells Brothers.
at the rear of the caravan.  One day a boy blindfolded a cripple ox, which took fright and charged among his fellows, bellowing with fear.  It was tinder to powder!  The loose oxen broke from the herders, tore past the column of wagons, frenzied in voice and action.  The drivers lost control of their teams, bedlam reigned, and the entire wagon train joined in the general stampede.  Wagons were overturned and reduced to kindling in a moment of the wildest panic.  The drivers were glad to escape with their lives and were left at the rear.  A cloud of dust merely marked the direction which the oxen had taken.  The teams, six to eight yoke each, wrenched their chains, broke the bows, and joined in the onrush.  Many of the oxen, still under yoke, were found the next day fifteen miles distant from the scene of the incident, and unapproachable except on horseback.  For a month previous to this demonstration of the latent power of cattle, the humane drivers of the wagon train were constantly lamenting that the spirit of their teams was killed.

When within a mile of the Beaver, the herd was turned westward and given its freedom.  While drifting down the slope, Rowdy gradually crept far to the lead, and as the brothers left the cattle and bore off homeward, the horse took up a gentle trot, maintaining his lead until the stable was reached.

“Look at the dear old rascal,” said Joel, beaming with pride.  “That horse knows more than some folks.”

“Yes, and if Dog-toe could talk,” admitted Dell, stroking his horse’s neck, “he could tell a good joke on me.  I may tell it myself some day—­some time when I want to feel perfectly ashamed of myself.”



The heralds of spring bespoke its early approach.  April was ushered in to the songs of birds, the greening valley, and the pollen on the willow.  The frost arose, the earth mellowed underfoot, and the creek purled and sang as it hastened along.  The cattle played, calves were born, while the horses, in shedding their winter coats, matted the saddle blankets and threw off great tufts of hair where they rolled on the ground.

The marketing of the peltry fell to Joel.  Dell met the wagon returning far out on the trail.  “The fur market’s booming,” shouted Joel, on coming within speaking distance.  “We’ll not know the price for a few weeks.  The station agent was only willing to ship them.  The storekeeper was anxious to do the same, and advanced me a hundred dollars on the shipment.  Wolf skins, prime, are quoted from two to two dollars and a half.  And I have a letter from Forrest.  The long winter’s over!  You can shout!  G’long, mules!”

During the evening, Dell read Forrest’s letter again and again.  “Keep busy until the herds arrive,” it read.  “Enlarge your water supply and plan to acquire more cattle.”

“That’s our programme,” said Joel.  “We’ll put in two dams between here and the trail.  Mr. Quince has never advised us wrong, and he’ll explain things when he comes.  Once a week will be often enough to ride around the cattle.”

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Wells Brothers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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