“Did you say that the Indians knew all about the Grand Canyon?” asked Grant.
“No, I didn’t say no sech thing,” said Zeke sharply. “What I said was that the Indians were afraid of the place. They had any number of stories about the region.”
“What were they?” asked Fred eagerly.
“Oh, I don’t know,” answered Zeke, “There was one, I understand, about the Indians believin’ or at least reportin’ that the Grand Canyon was the road to heaven. They had a story that one time one of their big chiefs lost his wife. He was very fond of her and when she died it seemed to take the heart right out o’ him. He spent most o’ his time mournin’ for her and pretty soon the life o’ the tribe was beginnin’ to suffer.
“At last, at least so the Indians say, the god, Tavwoats, offered to prove to the big chief that his wife was happier than she had been even when she was livin’ ’long with him. The chief took him at his word and Tavwoats started right away to take the chief where he could look on the happiness of his wife. It seems the trail he made to the Happy Land was what we now call the Grand Canyon. They say that there were more bright colors and pretty places to be seen there then than one can find now.
“When Tavwoats and the big chief came back through the trail among the mountains, the god rolled a wild and roaring river into it to keep out those who did not deserve to go to the Happy Land. That’s the way the Colorado River was formed, at least accordin’ to th’ Indian story. Of course they didn’t know what we know now that the Grand and Green joined forces to make up the big stream.”
“That’s a very pretty story,” said Grant, rising as he spoke. “The Indians must have had a lot of poetry in them to make up so many wonderful legends.”
“You would have thought they had poetry in them,” said Zeke, “if you ever happened to be out here when there was a Navajo or Apache uprising. I tell you the air is full of poetry then, the same as it is full of rows and yells and shouts, and you can see the redskins full of poetry,—some people out here call the stuff they drink by another name,—ridin’ like mad ’round the desert shooting every man, woman and child they can find. Oh, yes,” he added, “it’s a whole lot o’ poetry.”
The hour, however, had arrived when the Go Ahead Boys were ready to retire for the night. Fred was the first to set an example but in a brief time the other Go Ahead Boys had followed, the fire had been extinguished and silence rested over the region.
Early the following morning, while the boys were preparing breakfast, they were startled by the approach of two men.
“Look yonder!” exclaimed Fred, who naturally was the first to discover the approach of the strangers. “Are those the two men that were in the camp the other day?”