“Listen! I thought I heard it again!”
They came to a sudden halt and strained their ears. Sure enough, there was the voice again, apparently coming from no place at all.
“I am dead! He is dead! Go away! Go away!” repeated the voice a dozen times or more, and then it grew fainter and fainter and presently died out altogether.
It would be hard to tell whether the boys were frightened or not. They were much disturbed, but they had a strong curiosity to know what the mysterious voice really was. Had it been night they might have experienced more fear, but it was still daylight, although the sun was well over in the west.
Holding their guns ready to shoot anything on sight, they advanced slowly through the forest, making a circle first to one side and then to the other. As they advanced they stirred up several birds and also two squirrels but did not fire at them. Thus an hour passed, and at last they came back to the spring utterly baffled.
“I can’t understand it at all,” declared Snap. “There must be some reason for this.”
“It’s a trick, that’s what it is, and some day somebody will get to the bottom of it,” added the doctor’s son.
They returned to where they had left Whopper and Giant. As it grew darker they built a good campfire and resolved to keep it burning brightly all night.
“Maybe if this particular spot is haunted, we had better go somewhere else,” suggested Giant.
“I move we stay right here until we find out what that thing means,” said Snap, stubbornly.
“I agree with Snap,” added the doctor’s son. “We all know well enough there are no such things as ghosts. Some day we’ll solve this mystery.”
Both Snap and Shep spoke so positively that Whopper and Giant were reassured. The tent was fixed up for the night, and Whopper was soon fast asleep. The others took turns at standing guard, but nothing came to disturb them.
In the morning it was decided to begin building a cabin without delay. As Whopper could not work he went out to fish, but remained within easy calling distance.
The young hunters worked all of that week and also Monday of the next, and during that time nothing came to disturb them. Once they sighted a deer up the lake shore and went after the game, but without success. Whopper spent most of his time fishing and brought in, besides trout and perch, several good sized maskalonge, although no particular fish as large as the maskalonge Giant had captured the summer previous.
As the days went by and nothing more was heard of the mysterious voice, the young hunters grew more confident and almost forgot about the affair. The building of the cabin interested them very much, and although the structure was foursquare and plain, it was waterproof and fairly comfortable. It had two small windows, and the door opened on the lake side. In the rear a small opening was left near the ground, and here they constructed a rude fireplace and chimney of such rocks as they found handy, smearing the cracks full of clay. Their work on the fireplace and chimney might have caused a regular mason to smile, but the chimney drew well, and that was all they wanted.