Zeke Rattray, the guide, was a tall, bronzed, powerful young fellow about twenty-five years of age. For several years he had dwelt in the region, serving as guide for various exploring parties or prospectors. The Go Ahead Boys had smiled incredulously when Zeke had informed them that when he came originally to the state because he was expected to die “back east,” (in Iowa) of tuberculosis. “I weighed just one hundred and nineteen pounds when I landed out here,” he explained, and then as he stood erect and threw back his powerful shoulders his young companions laughed. It did not seem possible that the strapping young giant, who now weighed at least two hundred pounds, ever had been reduced to such a condition as he described.
The immense strength of Zeke had never impressed the Go Ahead Boys more than when he finished his simple task of interring the bones which had been discovered by Fred and John.
“If I should meet him on the street alone,” whispered Fred to John, “I should kindly give him the whole sidewalk. I believe that he could do what Grant says he can. Just look at those hands.”
“What does Grant say he can do?”
“Why he declares that Zeke can bend the barrel of a rifle.”
The thoughts of the two boys speedily were withdrawn from the physical prowess of their guide. At that moment he had again taken the little book he had found in the pocket of the coat of the dead man, and, opening it, said, “I’m not sure, boys, whether this man was Simon Moultrie or not. It sounds just like him, but there’s so little writing that I can’t tell.”
“What does it say?” inquired John eagerly.
“Why, it’s a diary. Some days he didn’t write anything and other days when he did write, the pages are torn and the writing is so blurred that no one can make out what he means.”
“Let me see it,” said Fred, extending his hand as he spoke.
Taking the little book Fred saw that it apparently was a diary as Zeke had suggested. It was for the year 1914. One entry was quite distinct wherein the unfortunate man had recorded the story of his journey to Tombstone for fresh supplies.
When he commented upon this fact, Zeke said, “That’s what makes me think it might have been Simon. As I said to you he only came in twice each year and then stayed just long enough to get supplies to last him for the next six months. Of course he may have come in when I didn’t know anything about it.”
“When did be make his trips?” inquired Fred.
“Usually about October and. April He didn’t like to lose much time from his prospecting so he would come in just about the time the snow was gone and get fitted out for his work that summer.”
“If he wont in last April,” suggested John, “he must have lost some of his supplies.”
“Nobody knows just where he made his head quarters. It’s more’n likely though that the coyotes, if they could talk, might be able to tell you more about what became of old Simon’s bacon than any living man could.”