When we got outside the camp he commenced to turn around to the left, getting back on our trail. I said, “This is all right.” He was now going back toward the grave. We went about a mile on the trail and he said, “Sit down here.” I said, “Don’t we want to go on?” He said, “What for?” I said, “To dig that fellow up and get the money.” He said, “The money be damned; I never saw the bloomin’ grave before,” or something like that. I was disappointed. He said, “Wait a few minutes until after ‘taps,’ and you will see that camp empty itself.”
Presently here they came, scouts, soldiers, and packers by the dozen, sneaking through the brush and hurrying back on the trail. Old Joe laid down behind this bowlder and just rolled with laughter to see them going to dig up the grave.
The next morning the boys told me that they dug up the grave and found some bones; they dug up a quarter of an acre of ground and never got the colour of a piece of gold; then they “tumbled.”
One of the Old American Fur Company’s trappers by the name of Frazier, as often told of him around the camp-fire, was one of those athletic men who could outrun, outjump, and throw down any man among the more than a hundred with whom he associated at the time. He was the best off-hand shot in the whole crowd, and possessed of a remarkably steady nerve. He met with his death in a curious way. Once when away up the Platte he with one of his companions were hunting for game in an aspen grove. Suddenly an immense grizzly bear came ambling along about fifty yards away, evidently unaware of his enemy, man, being near him. Frazier told his comrade to take to a tree, while he would behind one of the others and kill the beast. He raised his rifle, fired, and the bullet lodged just above the bear’s eye. As the ball struck him, the animal seemed intuitively to get the direction from which it came, and started for Frazier. The aspens have a very smooth, slippery bark and are very difficult to climb. Frazier failed to get high enough to be out of reach of the dying and enraged bear, and in a few minutes was a mangled mass at the foot of the tree, both he and the bear dead.
The majority of people, probably, imagine that the white man learned the art of trapping from the Indian; but the converse is the case. The savages, long before their contact with the white man, silently crept along the banks of the creeks and, caching themselves in the brush on their margin, with a patience characteristic of the race, waited for the beaver to show himself in the shallow water, or crawl on the banks, when they killed him with their stone-pointed arrows. The process was a tedious one, and they earnestly desired to know of some other method of capturing the wary little animal, so necessary in their domestic economy. So to their intense satisfaction, when the white man came among them, they saw him walk boldly along the streams and place a curious instrument in the water, which caught the beaver and held him until the trapper was ready to take him out.