“Remembered what?” laughed Fred.
“Jump Off Joe Creek,” repeated Zeke. “That was the name of the mountain brook right near where I had my fight with the robbers.”
“But I didn’t see that you had any fight,” persisted Fred.
“Not exactly a fight, but it’s where I would have had a tough fight if it hadn’t been for me havin’ my mother ’long with me. Perhaps I told you she was in the buggy with me when those wheels locked.”
“I believe you did remark something about that,” said Fred so drolly that his companions laughed.
“And you think,” inquired Grant, “that we’re likely to have trouble with these two men the same way?”
“No, I didn’t say ‘the same way,’” replied Zeke. “I’m just tellin’ you what’s going on ’round here so that you’ll be a bit prepared for it when the proper time comes.”
“Do you really think we’ll have any trouble with those two men?” inquired George anxiously.
“I’ve given you my opinion,” replied Zeke. “You won’t have no trouble if you don’t find no claim, and if there ain’t no claim then you won’t have no trouble. So it’s just as broad as it is long, you see, and I’m hopeful we’ll get out again with our lives.”
“Yes, I hope so too,” said George so solemnly that his friends laughed aloud.
Zeke’s stories were as numerous as they were quaint after he had once begun to relate them. To beguile the slowly moving hours the boys insisted upon his recounting many of his adventures, some of which were exceedingly thrilling, so thrilling indeed that none of the boys accepted them as true.
But all things at last come to an end and the waiting of the Go Ahead Boys was drawn to a close late one afternoon when Pete and John entered the valley. They were heavily laden with packs and explained that up on the cliff other possessions which they had secured had been left with the Indian boy who had come with them and was to take back the burros after they had been relieved of their burdens.
Speedily all the Go Ahead Boys were engaged in the task of bringing in the supplies. Twice the difficult climb had to be made and even the return to the camp, although the trail led down the steep incline at times, was even more difficult than the ascent had been.
The same night after all the supplies had been brought to the camp and the boys had begun to make up their packs, for they planned to start on their expedition early the following morning, they were startled by the return of the two Navajos who had visited the camp soon after the departure of Pete and John. It was quickly manifest that both Indians in spite of their quiet manner were keenly excited and when they had related a discovery they had made that very day, the excitement of the Go Ahead Boys was only less than their own.
DOWN THE RUSHING RIVER