Hastening at once to the spot, Dane found the Colonel pinned down amidst a tangle of branches and antlers, and unable to help himself. With considerable difficulty the courier at last assisted him to his feet. Apart from several bruises upon the body, the only injury was in the left arm, on which one of the prongs had struck a glancing blow. An instant later this same arm had been caught under the huge body and held as in a vise. The Colonel was weak, and trembled as he endeavoured to stand upright. Blood oozed from several scratches on his forehead and trickled down into his white beard. But he maintained a brave spirit, and smiled as Dane questioned him about his injuries.
“I shall be all right shortly,” he said. “There are no bones broken, for which I am most thankful. I am somewhat weak, that is all.”
“Suppose we go down to the brook and let me bathe your face,” Dane suggested. “It is not far, and you can lean on me.”
Supported by the courier, the Colonel slowly made his way along the border of the meadow to the little brook which flowed sluggishly through a mass of wild grass and alders. Here Dane brought forth a piece of soft cloth from one of his pockets, with which he washed away the blood stains from the Colonel’s forehead and beard. Then from a small wooden tube he produced some salve-like ointment which he applied to the wounds, thus giving immediate relief.
“I see you are well prepared for emergencies,” the Colonel remarked, both interested and pleased at the young man’s skill and attention.
“Experience has taught me to be always ready,” Dane replied. “One never knows what is going to happen in the woods, so a few bandages are very handy. That ointment, too, is useful. It is a simple Indian remedy, but very effective.”
The Colonel made no further comment, but lay upon the ground lost in thought. There was a far-away look in his eyes, which caused Dane to wonder what he was thinking about. At length he aroused and turned toward his companion.
“Young man,” he began, “I am greatly indebted to you for saving my life to-day. But for your prompt action that moose would have crushed me to death in a short time. I now ask your forgiveness for my impatience and anger toward you to-day.”
He held out his hand, but to his surprise Dane stepped quickly to the other side of the narrow brook.
“What is the meaning of this?” the Colonel asked. “Shall we not be friends?”
In reply Dane smiled and stretched out his hand, which the Colonel immediately grasped.
“This is the Indian custom,” Dane explained. “While the grass grows, the sun shines, and the water flows, we will be friends.”
“Amen,” broke fervently from the Colonel’s lips.
And there across that little stream youth and age clasped hands, and a bond of friendship was formed which not even death itself could break.