“We won’t get to Firefly Lake until to-night,” said Snap. “But who cares? We have plenty of time.”
All were hungry for a taste of roast duck, and so they stopped off long enough to cook a fine dinner. For dessert they had some blackberries which they chanced to find growing near the watercourse, and they stopped so long over their midday meal that it was after two o’clock before the journey was resumed.
“Do you remember the awful windstorm we once struck up here?” queried Shep, as they rowed along.
“Will we ever forget it,” cried Whopper. “Gosh! I thought I was going to be blown into the next century! Say, did I ever tell you how it blew my socks inside out?” he added, with a grin.
“Hardly,” answered Giant, and laughed.
“Fact, and the next morning I had to turn my shoes inside out to accommodate the socks,” finished Whopper. “Yes, that was a wind to remember.”
“Hurrah, Whopper is coming to his own!” cried Snap. “Whopper, what would you do if you couldn’t tell stories now and then?”
“Why, I’d—–” began Whopper, and then leaped to his feet. “Well, I never! Give me a gun, quick! There’s a bear!”
DELAYED BY A STORM
“Where is he?”
“Let me get my gun!”
Such were some of the exclamations uttered after Whopper made his declaration that he had seen a bear. In the meantime the youth who loved to tell big stories had caught up his shotgun and was aiming it to the right of the watercourse, where there were several big rocks overgrown with brushwood. He took aim and blazed away. A grunt followed, and then came a thrashing in the bushes, growing fainter and fainter in the distance.
“You hit him!” ejaculated Snap.
“Yes, but he is running away for all he’s worth,” answered Whopper, disappointedly.
By this time every one of the young hunters had his firearm. The boat was turned to the bank of the creek, and then each youth looked at the others. Not a trace of the bear was to be seen anywhere.
“No use of going after him,” said the doctor’s son. “More than likely he’s half a mile away by this time and he’ll be so shy he won’t let us get anywhere near him.”
“If only we could have gotten a shot at him!” said Giant, wistfully. “Think of bringing a bear down first lick!” And his eyes glistened.
“We might have crawled up on him, only I thought he saw us,” explained Whopper. “That’s the reason I called for my gun.”
“I guess he kind of scared you,” said Snap.
“Well, I admit I was startled. I didn’t think we’d find a bear along here—–I thought they hung up in the mountains.”
“They may come down to gather some stuff that grows in this water,” answered Snap. “They love to eat certain roots, so Jed Sanborn told me, and sometimes they travel a long distance to get them.”