The Indian drank some coffee and then carefully took his left arm with his right hand from the bosom of his shirt, where it had been resting, and said, “Broke um.” Boston examined the arm and found that it was badly bruised and broken above the elbow. He heated some water and bathed the arm and then told Tom to brace his breast against a tree and hold on with his right arm. Boston took hold of the left arm on the opposite side of the tree, braced his feet and pulled. Rough splints were soon made and applied, and a big horn of whiskey made Doctor Tom feel more comfortable. While making the splints Boston asked Tom for his knife, having carefully mislaid his own. “Lose um,” said Doctor Tom, but he offered no more explanation. When asked how he broke his arm, he replied, “Fall down.” Evidently he had fallen down, but there were five odd-looking marks on his throat, and Boston thought of that cry in the night and wondered if the whispering firs could tell of another mystery hidden in the forest; of a menacing shadow dogging the footsteps of a man and grappling with him in the dark.
Boston and Doctor Tom broke camp and started back over the mountain on the Hood River trail. Boston was in the lead, and as he walked along he looked closely for the tracks of the stranger’s boots, as he had said he was going to Hood River. There were no tracks. The stranger had not gone over that trail.
A campfire symposium.
“Speaking of bears, Joe,” said one of a party of hunters sitting around a campfire at old Fort Tejon, “Old Ari Hopper has had more queer experiences with bears than anybody. He has given up hunting now, but he used to be the greatest bear-killer in the mountains. Ari has a voice like a steam, fog-horn—the effects of drinking a bottle of lye one night by mistake for something else, and when he speaks in an ordinary tone you can hear him several blocks away. You can always tell when Ari comes to town as soon as he strikes the blacksmith’s shop up at the cross-roads and says, ‘Holloa’ to the smith. Ari was out on the Alamo mountain one day and got treed by a big black bear—”
“A black bear on the Alamo?” interrupted Dad. “There ain’t nothing but Grizzlies and Cinnamons over there. I was over there once—”
“Hold on, Dad, it’s my turn yet. You never heard of a Grizzly climbing a tree, did you?”
“Oh, well, if you’ve got to have your bear go up a tree, all right. We’ll call it a black bear. Besides, if it’s one of Ari’s bear stories, anything goes.”
“The bear treed Ari,” resumed the other, “and just climbed up after him in a hurry. Ari went up as high as he could and then shinned out on a long limb. The bear followed, and Art kept inching out until he got as far as he dared trust his weight. The bear was climbing out after him and the limb was bending too much for safety when Ari yelled at the bear: ’Go back, you d——d fool. You’ll break this limb and kill both of us. Want to break your cussed neck, goldarn ye?’