“Now, everybody be careful,” cautioned Snap. “Some of these rocks are very loose, and it will be the easiest thing in the world to take a tumble and break an ankle or your neck.”
Then the trip down the mountainside began. It was truly hard work, for the drag caught on some rocks and slid altogether too fast over others. Then, at one point, they came close to running into a nest of hornets. One of the wicked creatures stung Whopper on the hand and another stung Shep on the neck, and there followed a wild dancing and yelling, while the boys allowed the drag to tumble over and over down the rocks and ran for safety.
“Look out for the hornets!”
“We’ll be stung to death!
“Did you ever see the match!” groaned Whopper, after the excitement was over. “Just gaze on that hand—–as big as a baseball mitt!
“And look at my neck!” came dolefully from the doctor’s son.
A few of the hornets were buzzing around the fallen carcass of the bear and the young hunters did not dare to approach until the pests had departed. Then the drag was righted and the journey down the mountainside was continued.
“Who ever thought so many things would happen on this trip,” was Snap’s comment. “First we shot the bear, then we tumbled into the hole, then we were buried alive, next the ghost came along, and then followed the wolves and the hornets.”
“Yes, and we are not back to camp yet,” sighed Giant. “I think I’ll rest for a week after this.”
“We ought to send this bear down to town,” said Whopper. “I’d like to put it on exhibition, just to show Ham Spink and some other folks what we can do.”
“Well, we might send it down in some way,” answered Snap. “But come on, I am getting hungry, and we’re a long way still from the lake shore.”
“We are coming to a cliff of some sort,” announced Giant, who was in advance. “Take it easy now, or the drag will drag you where you don’t want to go.”
They advanced with caution, and presently saw the cliff. Below were some thick cedar trees, the tops reaching just above the cliff.
“Listen!” cried Snap, and put up his hand for silence.
For a full minute they heard nothing, and the others were just going to ask the leader what he had heard when there came a shrill laugh from the cedars.
“Ha ha! I am dead! He is dead!” said a ghostly voice. “Who will bury me? See the lights! I am dead! He is dead! Ha ha!”
“The ghost!” gasped Giant, and made a movement as if to retreat.
“Don’t run,” commanded Snap. “It is broad daylight. Let us investigate this matter.”
“I am dead! He is dead! Ha ha!” came the voice again, and then followed a laugh that chilled them to the backbone. By this time all of the young hunters had their firearms around in front of them, ready for use.
“Well, if this isn’t the queerest—–” began Shep, when there was a fluttering in the tops of the cedars and a big bird flew directly over their heads. As quick as a wink, Snap took aim with his rifle and let drive. The bird uttered a shrill cry, almost human, and fluttered down at their feet. Then Shep struck at it with his gun barrel, and it fell over lifeless.