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Title: The Golden Boys Along the River Allagash

Author: L. P. Wyman

Illustrator: Phil Schaeffer

Release date: May 29, 2018 [eBook #57230]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Stephen Hutcheson and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at


The Golden Boys Along the River Allagash

“What do you make of them, Kernertok?” Bob asked.

“Heap big tracks. No seen um before.” (Page 70)


By L. P. WYMAN, Ph.D.
Dean of Pennsylvania Military College

Author of
The Golden Boys and Their New Electric Cell,” “The Golden Boys at the Fortress,” “The Golden Boys in the Maine Woods,” “The Golden Boys with the Lumber Jacks,” “The Golden Boys on the River Drive,” “The Golden Boys Rescued by Radio.”

Series Logo, boys in motorboat

Publishers New York


A Series of Stories for Boys 12 to 16 Years of Age
By L. P. WYMAN, Ph.D.
Dean of the Pennsylvania Military College

The Golden Boys and Their New Electric Cell
The Golden Boys at the Fortress
The Golden Boys in the Maine Woods
The Golden Boys with the Lumber Jacks
The Golden Boys on the River Drive
The Golden Boys Rescued by Radio
The Golden Boys Along the River Allagash

Copyright, 1923
Made in “U. S. A.”


I. Mr. Fixit 3
II. Jack Investigates a Principle 18
III. The Legend of the Umsaskis 30
IV. Rex Learns How to Make a Carry 47
V. A Cry in the Night 67
VI. Rex Disappears 86
VII. Rex Encounters Wild Cats 109
VIII. A Mysterious Message 127
IX. Bob Meets the Enemy 149
X. Kernertok Gets His 175
XI. Stebbins is Found 194
XII. Besieged 214
XIII. Kernertok to the Rescue—Conclusion 233



“What do you suppose can be the matter with the pesky thing?”

The speaker, a freckled faced boy about eighteen years old looked up from where he was kneeling on the bottom of the boat in front of the engine.

“Search me,” his companion, a tall lanky boy of about the same age, who was sitting in the stern, replied. “Gas’s all right, spark’s all right, everything’s all right and still she won’t go. Can you beat it?”

“And I’ll bet I’ve cranked it enough to run her the length of the lake,” the first speaker declared, wiping the sweat from his face. “It’s the queerest thing. An automobile engine can have a dozen things the matter with it and still run but you can get one of these little dinky marine engines all in perfect order and then it’s ten to one she won’t more than give a kick or two.”


“Reckon that’s just because it’s a motor boat engine,” and the boy in the stern laughed.

“It’s all right to laugh, but suppose you come here and give her a few spins. Mebby it won’t seem quite so funny then.”

“Gladly, Sweet Cherub, and you just watch her go.”

The two boys exchanged places and the lanky one, kneeling in front of the refractory engine was soon spinning the fly wheel while the freckled faced boy sat back and grinned.

“There, she coughed six times. That beats your record by one.”

“Keep it up and you may get her up to seven.”

But six seemed to be the limit of the engine’s willingness and soon he gave it up.

“No use to crank your head off,” he panted as he got to his feet. “She just won’t go that’s all, and—”

The freckled faced boy, who happened to be looking toward the shore, interrupted him:

“There’s Jack Golden on the hotel porch. He can fix about anything that’s fixable. Hello, Jack. Come out here a minute, will you?”


Jack Golden, a sturdy well set up boy of about the same age as the others, glanced up from the paper he was reading, and, seeing who was calling him, ran down the steps.

“Hello, Cherub. What seems to be the main difficulty?” he asked as soon as he reached the end of the pier.

“There’s no ‘seems’ about it. It just won’t go that’s all.”

“Where there’s a result there’s always a reason,” Jack declared as he jumped into the boat. “Sure your gas and spark are all right?”

“Yep, and so’s everything else except that she won’t go.”

“This is a make and break engine isn’t it?”

“Yep, but mostly break,” the lanky boy laughed.

Jack was busy removing a brass plate from the top of the engine which covered the timing gear. He then opened the pet cocks and slowly turned the fly wheel.

“She seems to explode all right, but wait a minute till I get this side plate off so I can see when the pistons are up. There, that’s better. Number one is hitting at just the right time but number two is a trifle too soon,” he declared after turning the engine over a few more times. “That timing arm has been bent a little. Guess we’ll have to take it off and straighten it.”


It took but a minute to take the piece out and with a strong pair of pliers Jack carefully bent the arm very slightly.

“There, now let’s see what she’ll do,” he said as soon as he had replaced the lever.

He gave the wheel a couple of turns and the engine began purring as though it had never had the slightest intention of stopping.

“Well, what do you know about that?” the lanky boy gasped.

“It’s no more than I expected,” the Cherub grinned. “Didn’t I tell you he could fix it if it could be fixed. He’s the original Mr. Fixit around these parts.”

Jack Golden laughed.

“I just happened to hit it right that’s all,” he declared modestly.

“Well, mebby so, but I wish I could happen to hit something like that once in a while. Usually the more I tinker with this old tub the worse she runs. But we’re awfully obliged.”

“You’re very welcome, I’m sure. Any time you get stuck again just call out, but I may not be so lucky next time.”

The two boys unfastened the boat and headed it down the lake after bidding Jack good-bye and again thanking him, and Jack walked slowly back toward the hotel. He had reached the porch steps when the front door opened and his brother Bob stepped out.


“Hello, there, sleepy head. Had your breakfast.”

“Breakfast nothing. But what you been doing?”

“Oh, Cherub’s engine balked again and I fixed it for him. Timing lever was bent.”

“Cherub has more trouble with that old two cylinder of his than Mrs. Murphy had with her pig,” Bob Golden laughed.

“I guess that’s about right. But if you’re ready at last we might as well start for the cottage.”

“Just as soon as I get a couple of pounds of sugar. I won’t be but a minute.”

He was back in but little more than the time stated and the two boys walked out to the end of the pier where their boat, The Sprite, was tied. While Jack was unfastening the rope Bob took from his pocket a brass cylinder about eight inches long which he slipped into place beneath one of the side seats.

“Let her go,” Jack cried from his place in the bow.

Bob touched a small lever and the boat began moving through the water. There was no sound save that of the water as it was thrown from the bows, for the Sprite was equipped with an electric motor instead of a gas engine. The brass cylinder which Bob had taken from his pocket was a powerful storage cell which the two boys had invented.


“I’m glad we don’t have an engine to tinker with half the time,” Bob said as the boat gained speed.

“Oh, it’s not so bad at that,” Jack laughed. “That is when you can get them to go.”

The two boys, Bob and Jack Golden had come up to the lake from their home in Skowhegan the night before intending to go at once to their cottage on the other side of the lake. But a heavy thunder storm, which continued far into the night, had caused them to change their plans and so they had spent the night at the little hotel in the grove.

“There’s the Jenkins boys in their new speed boat,” Jack said when they were a little more than half way across the lake.

“And she’s sure coming. Look at the way she throws the water. She must be making twenty-five.”

“Well, we’ll give her a wide berth. Fred ran into me once and while perhaps he didn’t exactly try to do it I never could believe that he tried very hard not to.”

“He can be pretty mean but I hardly think he’d do a thing like that on purpose.”

“Mebby not. Anyhow we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.”

While they were talking the other boat had been coming rapidly toward them and now was only a short distance off.


“Out of the way with that old tub,” a voice called across the intervening space.

“Don’t answer him,” Bob cautioned.

He saw that they intended to cut across their bow so he turned back the switch and the Sprite immediately began to loose headway, and had nearly stopped by the time the other boat was about fifty feet off their port side and as far ahead of them.

Suddenly Jack uttered a cry of surprise for, instead of keeping straight on her course, the speed boat made a turn and the next minute was coming directly for them.

“Back her quick,” he shouted.

Bob at once threw his boat into reverse but too late. The speed boat, still going at high speed, struck the Sprite directly amidships and the light boat went over like an egg shell. Fortunately it was a glancing blow and not a head on collision.

Jack was thrown clear and struck the water sprawling. His first thought was of Bob. Had he gotten clear? As he shook the water from his eyes he saw the Sprite, about ten feet away, settling rapidly and before he could reach her she was gone. But where was Bob? Not a thing was in sight where the boat had gone down. For an instant he trod water and gazed about him. Then, taking a long breath, he dove.


The water was very clear and he had no difficulty in seeing the Sprite as she lay in about twenty feet of water. Then, just as he reached the boat, he saw that for which he was searching. Bob lay just back of the stern and Jack could see that his foot was caught in the tiller rope. He was making no effort to free himself and the thought flashed through the boy’s mind that he must have been stunned.

In a frenzy of fear he tugged at the rope. Would it never yield? If he only had time to get his knife out but he did not dare attempt it. Already his lungs seemed nearly at the point of bursting. With a prayer in his heart he gave a final desperate pull and the foot was free. He had just strength enough left to give a kick against the bottom of the lake as he grabbed his brother in his arms. In spite of his weakness it was a good strong kick and they shot rapidly upward although, as Jack afterward said, it seemed about a week before his head popped out of the water. Eagerly the boy drank the life-giving air into his lungs all the while making a desperate effort to keep his brother’s head above water. He knew that Bob was still unconscious and the thought that he might be dead nearly overcame him. But, as he realized that their safety depended upon his not losing his head, he forced himself to keep calm. But it was hard work supporting that dead weight and he was tiring rapidly.


“We’ll have you in a minute,” he heard the voice as from a great distance but almost instantly he felt the weight taken from him and he was being dragged into a boat.

“Bob,” he gasped.

But Bob had already opened his eyes.

“I—I’m alright,” he said faintly. “Where’s Jack?”

“Right here, old man,” he whispered, the joy at knowing that his brother was alive doing much to restore his strength. It was some minutes, however before he got to his feet. He noticed that both Will and Fred Jenkins seemed very ill-at-ease and the latter was as pale as his tanned skin would permit.

“What was the idea?” he asked as he got slowly to his feet.

For a moment neither boy answered. Then Fred, after a glance at his brother, said:

“Tiller rope caught.”

“That’s the excuse you made the last time,” Jack said sternly. “Can’t you think of a better one?” Then, without waiting for a reply, he turned to Bob.

“Sure you’re all right, old man?”

“Head feels pretty wobbly, but I’m still worth a dozen dead men,” the boy smiled as he looked into his brother’s face.


“Shall we take you up to your cottage or back to the grove?” Will Jenkins asked.

“Cottage,” Jack replied shortly.

No other word was spoken until they reached the little pier in front of the Golden cottage, then Will Jenkins said:

“I don’t suppose it’s any use to say anything but what Fred said was the truth. We intended to cross your bow the tiller rope stuck and before we knew it the boat had struck. If you had backed a bit it wouldn’t have happened.”

“Why didn’t you go straight ahead instead of turning?” Bob asked.

“Why—er we were heading down for the grove and turned a bit too far.”

“I’ll say you did,” Jack said dryly.

“Well, we’re sorry.”

“So are we, but that doesn’t raise our boat.”

“I suppose not.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

For a moment Will and Fred whispered together.

“We think you were as much to blame as we were for not backing up when you saw us coming,” Will finally said.

“Can you beat it?” Jack whispered.

“All right. We’ll let it go at that,” Bob said as he turned toward the cottage closely followed by Jack.


Neither Will or Fred made any further statement, but at once started up their boat and, after making a broad turn, headed down the lake.

“Guess you saved my life for sure that time, son,” Bob said as he threw his arm about his brother’s neck.

“Thank God I had the strength to do it. I tell you it was nip and tuck for a minute,” and he told Bob how he had found him. “But what happened to you?”

“Search me. I remember seeing that boat bearing down on us and thinking that she might hit us and then something hit me on the head and, and that was all.”

“Guess you must have banged your head against the stern of the boat as she went over.”

“More than likely.”

The boys lost no more time in getting off their wet clothes.

“Let’s put on our bathing togs and then after we rest up a bit we’ll take the row boat and see if we can find her,” Bob suggested.

“Think you’re equal to it to-day?”

“Sure. I’m all right except for a slight headache and that’s going away fast.”

“Think they meant to do it?” Jack asked a little later as they lay in a hammock on the porch.

“I’d hate to think so.”


“I too, but that excuse about the tiller rope catching is worn a bit threadbare.”

“Yes, I don’t believe a word of that. I rather think that they intended to see how near they could come to us without hitting and shaved it too close.”

“They shaved it close all right. Suppose we can make them pay for our boat?”

“I doubt it. You see their word will be as good as ours and I don’t think anyone else saw it. No, I guess we’ll have to just take our medicine and let it go at that. We’ve done it before.”

“I’ll say we have, but, believe me, once more will be too many.”

“Well, we’ll hope it won’t happen again.”

“It better hadn’t.”

For an hour the two boys talked about the accident and wondered how badly their boat was injured.

“Wait till I get the water glass and a buoy to mark the place and I’ll be with you,” Jack said as he swung himself out of the hammock.

“Must have been about here don’t you think,” he asked a little later as he rested on his oars.

“I should say so. I happen to remember that we were right out from that clump of cedars before they hit us but I’m rather hazy as to how far out.”

“You take the glass and I’ll row around.”


The water glass was simply a wooden box about two feet long and four inches square, one end being closed water tight with a piece of glass. By putting the glassed end in the water and looking down through the other the bottom of the lake could be easily seen.

It is extremely difficult to locate an exact point on a body of water and it was all of an hour before Bob announced that he had it. They anchored the boat at once.

“I’ll go down and see how she looks,” Jack said as he stood up in the boat.

He disappeared beneath the surface making hardly a ripple. Bob waited until he began to get anxious.

“Thought you’d decided to take up a permanent residence down there,” he said as Jack’s head finally popped above the surface.

“Not yet,” Jack laughed as he climbed over the side of the row boat.

“How’d you find her?”

“Outside of a little paint rubbed off where she was hit I don’t believe she’s hurt a bit.”

“That’s good news.”

“But do you suppose we can get her up?”

“We ought to be able to. She’s not very heavy you know.”

“Not so heavy as she would be if she had a gas engine in her.”


They anchored the buoy with a heavy rock which they had brought with them and then started back for the cottage.

“Let’s get something to eat and then we’ll call a meeting of the committee on ways and means,” Bob suggested as he tied the boat up to the wharf.

“I’m voting yes on both counts,” Jack laughed as he followed his brother up the path to the cottage.

A little less than an hour later, the dishes having been washed and put away, Bob called the meeting to order on the porch and announced that the chair was open to suggestions.

“Suppose the chair makes one,” Jack retorted.

“Well, I’ve been thinking of a way that might work and then again it might not. It’s merely a question of gravity. Archimedes’ Principle, you know.”

“Never mind Archi. and his principle. Just explain what you’ve got in mind.”

“All right. As you said awhile ago that boat is pretty light for one of its size and I believe that if we take a couple or perhaps three of those barrels that are under our pier and fasten them to her she’d come up. What do you think?”

“I guess she’d come up all right but how are you going to get the barrels down to her? It seems to me that part is going to be where the difficulty will lie.”

“I’d thought of that of course.”


“I’m glad of that. I thought perhaps you had an idea that they’d go down on your personal invitation.”

“Hardly. Remember Archimed—”

But that was as far he got.

“All right. I won’t forget him. But how are you going to get ’em down? They’re pretty buoyant you know.”

“I know but if we hang enough stones to them they’ll have to go down sooner or later. Oh, I know it’s going to be some job, and if you can think of a better way I’ll be glad to adopt it,” he hastened to add as he noticed the look of doubt on Jack’s face.

“It isn’t that, but have you any idea how much weight it will take to sink one of those barrels?”

“Around three hundred pounds I should judge.”

“That would be six hundred for the two and nine hundred if we have to use three.”

“Yes, and six thousand if we have to use twenty.” Bob laughed. “Your arithmetic is all right. But honestly, Jack, it isn’t going to be such an awful job as you seem to think. We can easily take three hundred pounds of stone and one of the barrels in the boat at a time and that means only two or at the most three trips. If we start in early in the morning I believe we can have the boat here at the wharf by noon. What do you say?”

“I say yes of course. I only wanted to be sure that you know what you were doing.”



“Now my idea is to take short pieces of rope and to tie as large a rock as we can handle to each of them. Then we can hang them over the barrel until she begins to sink.”

“But won’t they slip off?” Jack asked.

“Not if we put a nail through the rope.”

It was nearly six o’clock the morning after the accident. The boys had already had breakfast and had gotten two of the barrels out from under the floating pier.

“How are you going to hitch the barrels to the boat after you get them down there?” Jack asked.

“A very important question, son. I thought we could find some kind of a hook which we could fasten to the barrel and then we got them down all we’d have to do would be to slip one under the top of the bow and the other the same way at the stern.”

“No good,” Jack shook his head.

“Why not?”


“Son, I’m surprised at your ignorance. You’d better go dig up Archi. and ask him about his principle.

“But I don’t see why—”

“Of course you don’t and that’s the reason I’m so surprised.”

“Well, when you get ready perhaps you will enlighten me.”

“Certainly. But first let me ask you a question.”


“When you stick your finger in the water and pull it out does it leave a hole?”

“Well that’s a question that would admit of considerable argument from a theoretical point of view but I think we can safely agree that the hole, if there was a hole, would not remain for an indefinite period of time.”

“Whew, that never touched me. Did you mean that it wouldn’t leave a hole?”

“I guess that was the main idea.”

“All right then. Now that that is settled perhaps you will tell me how you intend to bail the water out of the Sprite while she is still under water. As you have planned it she will still be a foot or more below the surface after the barrels have brought her up.”


“Well, I am dumb for a fact. Honestly, Jack, I hadn’t thought of that. It’s a case of being up and down at the same time. Well, that means that we will either have to fasten them lower down or else tow the whole shooting match into shore after we get her up. What do you say?”

“Well, of course if we could get the barrels under the boat that would solve the problem but I don’t see how we could do it. No, I guess the best bet is to tow her in.”

“I think so myself. Now suppose you be looking for some stones while I run down to the boat house and see what I can do about a couple of hooks.”

“And don’t forget to bring up the rope.”

Bob was back in the course of half an hour having found two hooks which went with a hoisting tackle and found that Jack had collected a sufficiently large number of rocks most of them being about all he wanted to lift.

“Now we’ll get them aboard and be off,” he said.

Thanks to the buoy they had no trouble in finding the place where the Sprite lay and after an hour’s hard work they had the pleasure of seeing the barrel disappear beneath the surface, directly over the bow of the boat.

“Now we’ll get the other one,” Bob said as he started to row back up the lake.

“That wasn’t so bad,” Jack declared. “If only that barrel landed on the bow.”


“It won’t be hard to lift it if it didn’t,” Bob assured him. “You see we put on just barely enough rocks to sink it so it’ll be light in the water.”

By nine o’clock the other barrel was down at the stern.

“Let’s hook the one on the bow first,” Bob proposed as he stood ready for the dive.

“Right. Got your knife?”

“Sure thing.”

“Then come on.”

They struck the water together and swam swiftly for the bottom. To their great satisfaction they found that the first barrel had settled in exactly the right place on the bow and they had no trouble in slipping the hook into a ring. Then, with their knives they cut the ropes which held the rocks.

“Did you notice whether she lifted any?” Bob asked as he was climbing into the boat. “I didn’t have time to see.”

“I did. She came up a foot or two.”

“Good. Then she’ll come up when we get the other one hooked on.”

“I guess so. But we’re going to have a harder time with that other one.”

“How come?”

“I noticed going down that it was two or three feet behind the stern, that means that we’ll have to lift it on.”

“Well, I guess we can do it.”


They waited until they were thoroughly rested and then again dove for the bottom. As Jack had said the second barrel was resting behind the stern. But, as Bob said, it was not hard to lift in the water and they had little trouble in getting it onto the stern before having to come up for air.

“I told you we could do it,” Bob panted as he stretched out on the bottom of the boat.

“There’s no ring at the stern to hook into,” Jack reminded him.

“That’s so.”

“Suppose we can hook into the tiller post?”

“Don’t see why not?”

But it was harder than they thought as they had considerable trouble in making the hook reach and they were obliged to come to the surface without cutting the ropes.

“One more whack at it and she’ll come up,” Bob declared after he had regained his breath.


“Perhaps nothing. She’s got to.”

“Well, here’s hoping.”

“I’ll go down and cut the ropes. There’s only two of them,” Bob said as soon as he was rested.

“Now watch her come up,” he said a moment later as his head bobbed above the water.


But to their great disappointment nothing appeared. They waited several minutes, expecting to see the barrels emerge but no barrels came.

“Guess Archi. has fallen down on this job,” Jack said after some five minutes had clasped.

“Looks like it.”

“What’s next then?”

“Have to get another barrel, I guess.”

“I’m going down and have a look first,” and Jack disappeared over the side of the boat.

Bob waited until he was beginning to be anxious before Jack reappeared.

“Rudder’s caught between two rocks,” he said as soon as he could speak. “That’s what’s holding her. She must have gone down kinder sideways and then righted a bit. Anyhow the rudder is pinched so that I couldn’t budge it.”

“Are the rocks big?”

“Too big to move, I’m afraid, but we’ll try it together.”

But their united strength was not enough to accomplish the task. The rudder of the Sprite had settled neatly into a crevice between two rocks and was there held fast and, although they pulled with all their might, they were unable to budge it.

“We might do it if we had a crowbar,” Jack suggested as they lay panting.

“I believe we could and there’s one at the boat house.”


“Then we’d better go get it.”

They rested a few minutes and then rowed back to the cottage and got the bar.

Back again Bob tied a strong cord to the bar and fastened the other end to the row boat.

“Afraid that bar’d be too heavy to bring up,” he explained.

Then he jumped in holding the bar in his hands and trusting to its weight to carry him to the bottom. Jack followed and soon they had the end in the crevice and were tugging with all their strength.

To their great satisfaction they felt the big rock give a trifle and after another mighty pull on the bar the rudder slipped out and the boat began to rise. They had hardly gotten into the row boat when first one barrel and then the other came above the surface.

“Hurrah for Archi.,” Jack shouted.

Bob grinned as he panted for breath.

“Science is a wonderful thing,” Jack declared.

“You said it, son.”

The deck of the Sprite was some two feet beneath the surface as she floated supported by the two barrels.

“We’d sure have some job bailing her out as she is,” Jack laughed.


“And it’s going to be some work to tow her in shore. It’s nearly half a mile and she sure’ll pull hard.”

He was correct in his estimate of the work still ahead of them and it took them all of two hours to tow the Sprite to the sandy beach directly opposite, and about a mile below the cottage.

“I’m hungry,” Jack declared as the boat finally scraped on the bottom.


“Then let’s leave her here and go up to the cottage and get dinner.”

“My sentiment exactly.”

They preferred walking in place of rowing, Bob declaring that his arms felt as though they were nearly pulled out of their sockets. They made a hasty meal as they were both anxious to get back to the boat and in a little over an hour they were at work again. It was not difficult to pull the boat up on the gently sloping beach until it was far enough out of water to be bailed out.

This was slow work, but it was finally accomplished and once more the Sprite floated as proudly as ever on the surface. A careful examination disclosed that Jack had been right. Except for a little paint rubbed off the side the hull was uninjured.

“Do you suppose the water has injured the motor?” Jack asked.


“Don’t see why it should. But we’ll have to overhaul it and get it thoroughly dried, before we can be sure.”

“Well, let’s get those barrels aboard and tow her up to the cottage.”

It took them the rest of the afternoon to clean and dry the motor but they were well rewarded for their work when they found that it ran as smoothly as ever.

“Now a little paint and she’ll be as good as new,” Bob declared after they had taken a short run down the lake to make sure that all was right. “But we’ll let that go till to-morrow. Suppose you see if you can get a mess of perch while I mix a batch of biscuit.”

“How’d you guess it?” Jack laughed as he ran up to the cottage for his rod.

Catching fish was, as Jack often said, the best thing he did, and by the time Bob had his biscuits in the oven he had six big perch sizzling in the frying pan.

“These are pretty near as good as trout,” he declared a little later as he reached for his third.

“To say nothing of the biscuits,” Bob grinned.

“They’re always the best ever. Melt in your mouth,” Jack assured him. “I think this is my sixth.”

“Well, we won’t starve so long as you can catch fish and I can bake biscuits.”


“I’ll say we won’t.”

“I do hope that nothing will happen to disturb the rest of the vacation,” Bob said as they were washing the dishes.

“Had enough excitement, eh?”

“Enough for one summer.”

“It sure was pretty strenuous catching those liquor smugglers.”

“You said it. I saw by the paper the other day that they got five years at hard labor.”

“And that’s none too much according to my way of thinking.”

Just then the telephone rang.

“I’ll answer it,” Bob said.

“This you, Bob?”

It was his father’s voice which came over the wire.


“Well a telegram has just come for you from Rex Dale. It says, ‘Meet me Skowhegan, 10.30 to-morrow.’”

“That’s funny. I thought he was going to sail for Europe in a few days. That’s what he said in his last letter.”

“I know, but something must have changed his plans. Everything all right up there?”

“It is now but we had a bit of a mess yesterday.” And he told his father about the accident.


“Good boy,” Mr. Golden almost shouted as Bob told him how Jack had saved his life. “I often wonder what will happen to you boys next.”

“It’s all right so long as we land on our feet,” Bob laughed.

“If only you always do,” Mr. Golden sighed. “Really, Bob, I sometimes think I’d better put you two in a glass case and set a watch over you. Then I’d know that you were safe.”

“Who was it?” Jack asked as his brother joined him down on the wharf where he had gone to replace the barrels.

“It was Father. A telegram just came from Rex saying to meet him to-morrow at 10.30.”

“Wonder what’s up. I thought he was going abroad.”

“So did I but it seems that we were wrong.”

“Well, I’ll be mighty glad to see him again.”

“You bet.”

Rex Dale, the son of a prominent business man of Philadelphia, was a few years older than Bob. The boys had met him while at The Fortress, a military college which they both attended, under circumstances already related in a previous volume, and a strong friendship existed between them.

“Must be something mighty important,” Jack declared as they returned to the cottage, “to make him give up that trip.”


“Mebby he’s only postponed it.”

“Mebby, but I reckon we won’t know till to-morrow.”



The boys were at the station the next morning when the train from Boston pulled in.

“There he is,” Jack shouted as he caught sight of his friend as he stood bag in hand on the car platform.

Another moment and the three were shaking hands heartily together.

“It’s a treat for sore eyes to see you again,” Jack declared.

“And I’m mighty glad to see you.”

“Well, let’s get over to the house and you can tell us all about it,” Bob said.

Their car was waiting at the station platform and it was only a few minutes’ ride to their home, so in less than twenty minutes from the time the train had pulled in they were sitting on the porch listening to Rex’s story.


“As I wrote you a few days ago,” he began, “I expected to sail from New York to-morrow on a business trip to Europe. I had my plans all made and even had my passage engaged and then like a bolt out of a clear sky we found that Father’s cashier had skipped with nearly a quarter of a million dollars. John Stebbins had been with us for over twenty years and we all thought him the very soul of honor. It comes at a very hard time for Father. You see business has been poor lately and he lost a lot of money a few months ago through the failure of one of our biggest customers and the loss of this money will pretty badly cripple him.”

“Now I know that you are wondering what I am doing up here in Maine but I have reason to think that he’s up here. Did you ever hear of a lake by the name Umsaskis?”

The boys thought a moment.

“I’m not sure,” Bob replied slowly. “But I think there’s a lake by that name up some twenty or thirty miles north of Chemquessbamticook. It’s up pretty close to the border if I’m correct. But Father will know and he ought to be home pretty soon.”

“Well just a few days ago I happened to pass Stebbins’ office and heard him talking to some man whom I didn’t know. I didn’t intend to listen but I was getting some papers out of the safe and couldn’t help hearing what he was saying. He mentioned that lake and I heard him say that he had been there some years ago and might be there before long. As it was pretty near to the time he was to leave for his vacation I thought nothing of it. In fact I had forgotten all about it but after we found that he had left with the money I remembered it.


“I told Father about it and I can’t say that he seemed to attach a great deal of importance to it but when we couldn’t find a single clue to his whereabouts he consented to my coming up here to see if I could locate him. You see Father’s business is in such shape that if it was known that he had lost all the money it would be sure to ruin him. So for that reason, he has not let it be known.”

“Will you let us go up there with you?” Jack asked eagerly.

“Will I? I was hoping that you’d propose it. I hated to ask you but I sure do want you.”

“Of course we want to go,” Bob assured him. “You couldn’t keep us at home with a ten-horse team.”

“And he was saying only yesterday that he hoped nothing would happen the rest of the summer.”

“Oh, well this is different you know,” Bob laughed just as his Father came up the steps.

Mr. Golden gave their friend a most hearty greeting; indeed he was nearly as fond of Rex Dale as were the boys.

“Welcome to the old Pine Tree State again,” he said as he grasped him by the hand.


“The Pine Tree State always looks mighty good to me, sir,” he declared as he returned the grasp.

“Father, isn’t Umsaskis Lake up above Chemquessbamticook?” Bob asked as soon as the greeting was over.

“Yes. It’s some ways above if I remember rightly. All of forty miles I should say. I know it’s pretty close to the border.”

“I thought so,” Bob said.

“You aren’t thinking of going up there, are you?”

“Looks as though we might,” and he told his father of Rex’s mission.

“I’m mighty sorry to hear that,” Mr. Golden declared turning to Rex. “And you think he may be up there at Umsaskis?”

“It may be a pretty slim chance but I believe it is a chance and I just had to do something.”

“Of course.”

“Don’t you think yourself, sir, that it would be a good place for a man to hide up there?”

“Don’t believe he could find a better. It’s about as wild as you could wish for up there and I don’t suppose there’s a white man lives within fifty or sixty miles of that lake unless it’s some lone trapper. I was up there once many years ago on a hunting trip and I remember we didn’t see a soul for nearly two weeks.”


“Then I’m more than ever inclined to think that he has gone there. He is just the kind of a man who would go off to a place like that and I know he came from somewhere in the northern part of Maine.”

“There’s an old legend connected with that lake,” Mr. Golden told the boys while they were waiting for dinner. “Many years ago a large tribe of Indians lived on the shore of Umsaskis. Moose and deer and bear were very plentiful and the tribe was wealthy and happy. Big Foot was chief and White Flower, his daughter was the pride of the tribe. Straight as an arrow she was and she could outrun and outshoot, with the bow and arrow, any member of the tribe.

“Many a hopeful young buck came to match his skill with the bow and arrow and his speed both in running and in paddling the canoe against her for it was known that she had vowed that she would wed only her master in these fetes. But one and all they went away sorrowful, for her arrows always struck nearer the mark than theirs and so swift were her feet that although she even gave them considerable start never was the race more than half run before she had passed them. And it is related how she would paddle her light birch canoe many lengths beyond the outer mark set for the race and then beat her dusky wooer in by a long margin.


“Then one day in mid-summer came Spotted Tail from a tribe far to the west with a message for Big Foot. Never was such an Indian as Spotted Tail. Cast in a perfect mold he was as beautiful a man as was White Flower a woman. It was a case of love at first sight when they met. For two days Spotted Tail rested before pitting his strength and skill against her whom he would wed.

“First came the shooting with the bow and arrow. Frowns of disapproval settled on the brows of many when White Flower’s arrow just brushed the thin reed with the tip of the feather which guided its flight and they watched her with hostile eyes when a moment later the arrow of Spotted Tail split the same reed in two. Did her eyes light up with hope? Who can tell?

“Then came the foot race. When she motioned her lover to take the customary fifty feet start loud grunts of disapproval were heard on all sides and, being appealed to, Big Foot ruled that they should start together. Did White Flower run with less than her usual swiftness or was Spotted Tail really her master? Who could tell. But it was evident that many suspected her when Spotted Tail crossed the line a full foot ahead of her and she threw herself panting onto the ground.


“But one trial remained, the race with the canoe. And now White Flower seemed to be putting all her strength into her paddle. Not a foot did she go farther than was necessary to make the turn and her frail craft seemed almost to leap from the water as she bore down toward the finish mark. Suspicions were lulled as it seemed certain that she would win by a good margin. Spotted Tail was doing his best and his canoe, too, was rushing over rather than through the water. But she rounded the turn a full length ahead of him and this lead she had steadily increased on the home stretch. Then with but a few rods to go a gasp of horror was heard as her paddle snapped fairly in the middle. There was no excuse in an Indian race. The first over the line won regardless of what might have happened.

“As Spotted Tail swept his canoe over the line the winner by several lengths Big Foot waded out into the lake and picked up the pieces of the broken paddle. For a moment he examined them and then, without a word he drew his bow and the next instant his arrow was buried in the heart of White Flower. It was so sudden that for a moment Spotted Tail stood motionless then, as if galvanized into action, he snatched a bow from a young brave and quicker than the eye could follow an arrow sped to the heart of Big Foot. Then with but a single glance at his hoped-for bride, he bounded away into the forest and was gone.


“That is the story of White Flower and Spotted Tail. The tribe moved away soon after but tradition tells that often on moonlight nights a pure white canoe paddled by a figure dressed in snow white buckskin can be seen skimming the waters of Umsaskis Lake. No Indian will go near the place and even the half-breeds give it a wide berth.”

“Did you see the ghost?” Bob asked as Mr. Golden brought his story to a close.

“No. I did not see it,” Mr. Golden smiled.

“It’s a pretty story,” Rex declared.

“Perhaps you will have better luck if you go up there,” Mr. Golden said just as the dinner bell rang.

“I would sure like to see it, or rather her,” Bob laughed as he followed the others into the house.

“How would you advise us to go?” Bob asked his father when they were again on the porch.

“If I were you I’d take the car up as far as North East Carry. Then you can get a canoe there and make a short carry to the West Branch of the Penobscot. Follow that for about twenty miles or perhaps a little more and it will bring you to the head of Chesuncook Lake. Wait a minute till I get a map and I’ll make out the rest of the course. Here we are now,” he resumed after Jack had returned with the map. “Now we’re right here,” pointing with his finger, “at the head of Chesuncook. Now you take this little stream up to Umbazooksses Lake. Then you’ll have to carry across to Chamberlain Lake. From there you see it’s clear sailing up through Pomgoewahem Lake and Churchill Lake into the Allagash River. You’ll find some pretty swift water part of the way along the Allagash and you’ll probably have to make a number of carries.”


“How far do we follow the Allagash?” Bob asked.

“Till you come to the big falls about fifty miles where you enter the river from Churchill Lake.”

“But look here, Father, someone has got things balled up a bit. Here’s Umsaskis Lake right here just a few miles above Churchill.” And Jack pointed with his finger.

“I know. That’s the Old or Big Umsaskis as it is often called. The Little Umsaskis is a much smaller Lake far to the north. Of course,” he said turning to Rex, “I don’t suppose you can be sure which one Stebbins referred to, can you?”

“I’m pretty sure that it was the one farthest north,” Rex replied after a short pause. “I remember hearing him say that there was no other lake within twenty or thirty miles of it.”

“Then it must have been Little Umsaskis,” Mr. Golden declared. “You can see that there’s a number of lakes much nearer than that to the lower one.”

“I think so, sir. But we can take a look around when we get that far and see if we can find anything.”


“That would be wise,” Mr. Golden agreed. “But to come back where we were. When you come to the big falls you will have to leave the canoe and strike off due east. The Little Umsaskis is about twenty miles from the falls and it is uphill most of the way. Pick out the highest peak you can see and head straight for it. The lake lies in a depression between that peak and the one nearer the lake which is much lower.”

“I guess we’ll be able to find it all right,” Jack declared.

“Oh, you can’t miss it,” his father assured him.

“How large is the lake?” Rex asked.

“Well, it’s nearly round and perhaps three miles across.”

“Any trout in it?” Jack asked.

“I know he’d want to know that sooner or later,” Bob laughed.

“Plenty when I was there and I suppose there are now. And we got some big fellows too. I wouldn’t dare tell you just how large,” and Mr. Golden smiled.

“You might tell us how big the ones were that got away,” Jack laughed.

“They’re always the largest of course,” Mr. Golden smiled. “But when are you intending to start?”

“The sooner the better I suppose,” Bob replied looking at Rex. “I thought we could put in this afternoon getting the things together and get an early start in the morning.”


“I guess that would be best,” Mr. Golden agreed. “But I must be off to the office. I’ll see you at supper.”

The boys had been on so many trips of a like nature that they knew just what was needed and by four o’clock everything was in readiness for the start on the morrow.

They were to go as far as The North East Carry on Moosehead Lake in the little car which they had equipped with an electric motor run by the new cell which the boys had invented.

“Well, how goes it?” Mr. Golden asked as he came up the steps and found the boys pouring over the map again.

“All set,” Jack replied.

“Sure you got everything?”

“So far’s I know.”

“Better take plenty of food.”

“I should think we had enough to last an army a month,” Rex laughed.

“And you’ll need a lot. The Maine Woods is a great appetizer as you’ll find out before you get back and you can’t tell how long you may be gone. A little too much is a whole lot better than a little too little.”

“I’ll say it is,” Jack laughed.


“I’ll tell you what I’d do,” Mr. Golden said as if struck by a sudden thought. “I’d take Kernertok along. He knows all about that country up there and I always feel safer when I know he’s along with you. And then he’ll be a lot of help on the carries.”

“Just the thing,” Bob said enthusiastically. “We’ll stop for him on the way up. It will only delay us a couple of hours and we’ll more than make up for the time by having him along.”

Kernertok, an old Indian trapper, had long been a friend of the Golden Boys and it was he who had taught them all they knew about woodcraft and the hundred and one things so necessary to life in the vast forest of northern Maine.

The sun had hardly lifted its head over the horizon the next morning when they were off.

“Good-bye, good luck and be careful,” Mr. Golden, who had gotten up to see them off, shouted as they drove out of the yard.

“Sure thing,” Jack called back.

It was a beautiful morning early in August. The night had been almost cold and the early morning air, was, as Rex put it, decidedly snappy.

“I’ll bet this air’s loaded with ozone,” he declared as he drew a deep breath into his lungs.

“It’s the best ever,” Bob agreed.

“Did you ever see any thing prettier than that?” Jack asked a little over two hours later as they reached the top of a high hill.


“I never did,” Rex declared as he gazed down at the broad expanse of Moosehead Lake spread out like a mirror almost at their feet.

“That’s one of the Coburn fleet,” Bob said pointing to a steamer which was making its way up the lake.

“Looks like one of the boats I used to sail in the bath tub from here,” Rex laughed.

“It’s the Kathadin,” Jack declared. “And she’ll carry six hundred people besides a lot of freight.”

“How big is Moosehead?” Rex asked.

“Forty miles long and a little over eighteen miles wide in the widest place,” Bob told him.

“Some lake.”

“Largest in New England,” Jack said proudly.

An hour later, when about half way up the lake Bob brought the car to a stop.

“We turn off here,” he said as he pointed to a narrow trail leading to the right.

“Do you mean to say that you can run the car over that road?” Rex asked anxiously.

“It won’t be the first time,” Bob laughed. “But you want to hang on with both hands.”

“Guess I’d better use my teeth also,” Rex laughed a few minutes later as he struck the seat.

“If you go through the top be sure and come down through the same hole so as not to make two holes,” Jack shouted.

“I’ll do my best.”


At places the trail seemed impassable for a car but Bob kept on much to Rex’s amazement.

“Do you ever climb trees with this car?” he asked a little later, as it hit a particularly large bump.

“Not very often,” Bob laughed.

“I’ll bet she’d do it at that,” Jack added.

“Not a bit of doubt about it in my mind,” Rex declared.

“Here’s where we have to abandon ship,” Bob announced a little later as he brought the car to a stop. “It’s about a mile through the woods to Kernertok’s cabin.”

“I’m surprised that you don’t drive right up to his door,” Rex said with a grin.

“Trouble is, the trees are too thick together to get her through,” Jack explained.

“And you’d stop her for a little thing like that?”

“You might wait here, Rex, while we walk in,” Bob suggested.

“Not on your life. I want to see his cabin.”

“All right then. Come on.”

“And make it snappy,” Jack added.

“I guess you would have some trouble in getting even that car through here,” Rex laughed a few minutes as he squeezed himself between two trees.

“We’re almost there,” Bob announced a little later. “Give him a call, Jack.”


Jack put his fingers to his lips and the clear shrill call of the whip-poor-will rang through the forest. For a moment they listened.

“Afraid he isn’t home,” Bob said.

“I’ll try him again,” and once more Jack sent the call from his lips.

“How in the world would he know that it wasn’t a genuine bird?” Rex asked.

Bob smiled.

“Jack puts a peculiar touch to the last note which is the real signal between us and Kernertok. I doubt if any one else would notice it.”

“I should say not.”

For the third time Jack whistled and this time almost at once the call came back to them.

“He’s home,” Jack shouted.

“Sure’s pop. Come on.”

Before they had taken more than a dozen steps a dog came bounding toward them.

“Here, Sicum. Good old Sicum.”

The dog with a yelp of joy leaped upon them, but uttered a low growl as he saw Rex.

“It’s all right, old fellow. He’s one of us,” Bob said as he took Rex by the hand.

Thus assured the intelligent animal crouched at Rex’s feet and allowed him to place his hand on his head.


“Sicum doesn’t take readily to strangers but if he once accepts you he’s a friend for life,” Jack explained. “You’re in good with him now and he’ll never forget you.”

Old Kernertok was standing in front of his cabin as they approached.

“Hello, there, Kernertok,” Jack shouted.

“How,” the Indian replied.

“Fine as silk, and you?”

“Injun heap well.”

“You look it,” Bob assured him as he shook hands.

The boys then introduced their friend.

“Sicum has accepted him, so you can be sure he’s all right,” Jack laughed.

“Injun heap glad know friend of white boys,” Kernertok assured him.

“And it’s a great pleasure for me to know you,” Rex replied as he took the old Indian’s hand. “I’ve heard so much about you from the boys that I feel as though I had known you for a long time already. Believe me, they never get tired of talking about you.”

“White boys talk heap too much,” the Indian grunted and the boys all laughed.

“What bring white boys up here now?”

“It’s a pretty long story and we’d better sit down,” Bob suggested.


Kernertok motioned to them to come inside the cabin and as soon as they were seated on the floor Bob told him as quickly as possible about their mission.

Kernertok uttered no word until Bob had finished.

“Injun glad to go with white boys. Injun know all that land. It heap big woods.”

“How soon can you be ready?” Bob asked.

“Ten minute.”

And to Rex’s great surprise it was but a very little more than that time when he announced that he was ready to start.

“I was afraid he might balk on account of that ghost story your father told us,” Rex whispered while the Indian was outside.

“Oh, Kernertok’s too civilized to take any stock in that kind of stuff,” Bob told him.

“You got um heap much grub?” Kernertok asked as they were about to make the start.

“I think we’ve got plenty,” Bob assured him.

It took some persuasion to induce Sicum to get into the car, but by the time they had reached the main road he was quite reconciled to the new method of travel and seemed to enjoy it.



Shortly before noon they reached the little settlement at North East Carry.

“Well, well I’m glad to see you boys. How are all your sorrows and joys?”

The storekeeper greeted them as they entered the little general store.

“Fine and dandy. How are you and all the folks?” Bob replied shaking him heartily by the hand.

“If I felt any better I’d be ashamed, but the Misses she’s a trifle lamed.”

“That’s too bad. Hope it’s nothing serious,” Bob said.

“Doctor said she’d be all right, but she’s got a foot that’s sure a sight.”

“How about some dinner?” Jack asked.

“Dinner’ll be ready in half an hour. Plenty ter eat if the milk hain’t sour.”

“Well I sure hope it isn’t,” Jack laughed.


While they were waiting for dinner they arranged for the loan of canoe telling the storekeeper that they were going up the Allagash. By the time dinner was ready they had their supplies all ready for the carry to the West Branch about five miles north through thick woods.

“Jack, if you and Rex will take the stuff Kernertok and I’ll tote the canoe,” Bob suggested as they were ready for the start.

“All right. But I hope Rex won’t get discouraged on the first lap,” Jack laughed.

“We’ve seen the kind of stuff he’s made of before,” Bob replied. “But we’ll take it a bit easy at first.”

Carrying forty pounds or perhaps a trifle more does not sound very hard but unless one is used to it the load gets pretty heavy by the time a couple of miles have been passed and the weight seems to increase, as Jack put it, by the cube of the distance.

Rex was tired before they had covered half the distance but, as Bob had inferred, he was game and would not ask them to stop on his account. But he was very glad when, after they had covered three miles, the Indian lowered his end of the canoe to the ground saying,

“We rest um. White boy heap tired.”

Rex did not deny the accusation as he threw himself on the ground.

“How many hundred pounds of stuff have we got here?” he asked.


“I’ll bet it feels like at least three,” Jack laughed. “But after you get your second wind it won’t seem so hard.”

They rested for about fifteen minutes at the end of which time Rex declared that he was all right.

As they proceeded the going rapidly grew more difficult as the forest became more and more dense and the underbrush was very thick. This really made it easier for Rex as Bob and Kernertok had hard work to manage the canoe and their progress was painfully slow.

“Hope we don’t have many carries like this,” Bob panted as he lowered his end to the ground for another rest.

“Heap more some heap bad,” the Indian declared shaking his head.

“That’s very consoling,” Jack grinned.

But the hardest part of that carry had been passed and as they went on the traveling rapidly became easier as the trees thinned out and the underbrush cleared.

“Here she be,” Jack, who was a few yards ahead of the others, shouted as he caught sight of water through the trees.

It was half past four when they reached the stream.

“Three hours and a half covering five miles,” Rex said as he swung his pack to the ground.


“That’s nothing,” Bob assured him. “Sometimes it takes several hours to carry a single mile. We really made very good time. How about it, Kernertok?”

“Heap good time for white boys,” the old Indian said.

“Carrying a load through the heavy woods is a different matter from carrying that same load through the streets,” Jack declared.

“Don’t I know it?” Rex laughed.

The West Branch of the Penobscot River at this point is a rapid stream of water which tumbles over hidden rocks and sweeps around bends making it dangerous canoing for any but experienced men. About fifty feet wide here it often narrows to twenty-five and a little further on opens up to as much as a hundred feet.

“Had we better launch the canoe and make a few miles or camp here for the night?” Bob asked Kernertok.

“White boy heap hurry, we go on,” the Indian said nodding toward Rex.

“Guess we might as well,” Bob agreed. “It’s several hours before dark.”

So they hastily loaded the supplies into the canoe and carefully pushed it into the water.

“You and Rex get in the middle, Jack, and Kernertok and I’ll handle the paddles.”


The supplies together with the four men and the dog made a good load for the canoe and it seemed to Rex that the water came dangerously near to the rail. But he said nothing having perfect faith in the knowledge and skill of his friends.

“All set?” Bob cried as he pushed and leaped into the bow.

Almost immediately the swift current caught the frail craft and whirled it around until it was headed down stream.

Once out in the middle of the river the canoe needed no urging from the paddles and all Bob and the Indian had to do was to keep her straight and away from the rocks. And it was not long before Rex decided in his own mind that that was quite enough.

Now a big rock would loom up directly in their path and it would seem certain that they were going to hit it when Bob, by a slight movement of his paddle, would deflect their course just in time. And again Rex would shudder in spite of himself as he glanced over the side of the canoe and saw the jagged points of ledges seemingly only a few inches beneath the surface. Even he knew that it would need but a brush against those teeth to rip a large hole in the bottom of the canoe.

“And I sure would hate to have to try to swim ashore here,” he thought more than once.


He could tell by the rapidity with which the banks seemed to fly past that they must be making fully twenty-five miles an hour.

“If we should hit a good sized rock out here, that is big enough to stop the canoe all at once, our momentum might carry us all through the air to the shore and we wouldn’t have to swim,” he thought as they swept around a bend what seemed to him terrific speed.

The course of the stream had been to the east but the bend was nearly at right angles and now they were heading almost due north.

“I thought streams always ran toward the south,” he shouted turning his head.

“Not up here they don’t,” Jack laughed. “They’re apt to run any old way.”

In spite of his determination not to be afraid and his confidence in the Indian and Bob the first leg of the trip down the river was a trying one to Rex and his mind was greatly relieved when he heard Kernertok shout something to Bob and the next moment the canoe headed in toward the shore.

“Nice smooth run,” Bob said to Jack as the latter stepped out of the canoe a few minutes later.

“Sure was,” Jack returned.

“Eh, what?” Rex asked turning to Bob with an incredulous expression on his face.

“I said we’d had a nice smooth run,” Bob repeated.


“Oh, yes. Wasn’t it smooth? And I suppose a little farther on we get to shooting over falls several hundred feet high you’ll remark casually that there must have been a ripple on the water behind us.”

Both boys let out a roar of laughter and even Kernertok’s stoical face lighted up a trifle while Sicum cocked his head to one side as if trying to ask what it was all about.

“You get used to it after a while and it don’t seem so rough,” Jack assured him, still laughing.

“That’s what the Irishman said after he’d had his second leg cut off,” Rex laughed. “But if you say it was a quiet trip I’ll believe it only I hope we won’t strike any rough ones.”

They had landed in a little cove where was a sandy beach and for some distance out from the shore the water was comparatively quiet.

“Jack, do your stuff,” Bob said as he started gathering wood for the fire.

“What does he mean?” Rex asked.


“Got an extra rod?”


“All right. Lead me to it.”

They went a few rods down stream to where a point of land jutted out.


“Now you want to be careful,” Jack told Rex. “They get some pretty big ones in this stream. If you get a strike let him run with it after you’ve hooked him. The only way to land an eight pounder is to tire him out.”

“An eight pounder! Say what are we fishing for, whales?”

“No, trout. But if you get hooked on to a big fellow you’ll think it’s a whale.”

“You go ahead and let me see how you do it,” Rex said and Jack threw a brown hackle far out on to the tossing water.

Splash! Zip! And the line began to run out making the reel whine and sing.

“You got him,” Rex shouted dancing about in his excitement.

“Sure I got him,” Jack replied as he began slowly to reel in his line.

“Is he a big one?”

“Only fair. Mebby three pounds.”

“If that’s only a three pounder what would an eight pound fish do?” he gasped as the line again began to run out.

Jack landed the trout without much difficulty a few minutes later and, as he had guessed, it lacked an ounce of weighing three pounds.

“Now you try it,” he said. “Throw out as far as you can and just let the fly float on the water.”

Rex did as Jack said and the next minute was nearly thrown off his balance as a monster trout seized the fly.


“Got him,” he gasped as he regained his balance.

“And a big one,” Jack shouted. “Let him run. You can’t pull him in yet.”

Rex let the line run out until the reel was three quarters empty.

“Now put on the brake but not too hard.”

“He’s going to take it all,” Rex cried as the brake failed to stop the fish.

“If he does the only thing to do is to cling on and hope the line will hold.”

The reel stopped clicking as the final layer of line ran out and Rex braced his feet for the tug.

“He’s a big one all right,” Jack shouted as the fish broke water far out near the middle of the stream.

“If only this line doesn’t break,” Rex gasped.

“It’s a brand new silk line and ought to hold if he isn’t over eight pounds,” Jack assured him.

“Now quick. Reel in,” he shouted as he saw the line slacken.

And Rex reeled in the line as fast as he could turn the handle. He had recovered nearly half of the line when the trout again broke water and again headed for the opposite shore.

“Let him have it again but keep the drag on,” Jack shouted.


This time, by pressing as hard as he dared on the drag, Rex managed to stop the fish with several layers of line still on the reel. As the fish turned he rapidly reeled in for the second time and had recovered fully three quarters of the line before having to let him run again. Five times the reeling in and running out were repeated. But each time the rush of the trout was weaker than the one before and it was evident to them both that the fish was rapidly losing strength.

“Don’t give him a bit of slack,” Jack cautioned as Rex reeled in for what proved to be the last time. “I’ve had ’em break away after I thought they were all in.”

Slowly, still fighting as foot by foot Rex recovered the line, the big fish came in until Jack, reaching over the bank, scooped him into the landing net and carefully drew him in.

“He’s sure a beauty,” he declared as he held the fish up by the gills.

“How much will he weigh?”

“Not much under eight pounds if any.”

“I didn’t know they grew that big.”

“You don’t often get one as big as this fellow for a fact, but I’ve seen one which tipped the scales at ten pounds,” Jack told him. “But eight was the biggest I ever caught.”

“Well, I guess we’ve got enough for supper,” Rex laughed as they started back.

“And some left over for breakfast.”


“Um heap big fish,” Kernertok grunted as he caught sight of the trout which Rex was proudly carrying.

“He’s a peach all right,” Bob joined in. “Who caught him?”

“I did,” Rex puffed out his chest.

“All by his lonesome,” Jack added.

“He sure was some fighter,” Rex declared as he looked at the fish. “But let’s see how much he weighs.”

The boys always took with them on their trips a small pocket scale and in another moment Jack announced that the fish only lacked a fraction of an ounce of eight pounds.

“And he’s just as good as he is big,” Rex said a little later as he reached for a third helping.

And they all agreed with him, even Sicum who was receiving his full share.

It was nearly dark by the time they had the dishes washed and boughs cut for their beds.

“Do you think that fellow has the money up there with him,” Bob asked as they sat around the fire.

The night air was cool and the heat of the fire was very grateful to them all.


“That’s pretty hard to say. He drew the cash from the bank the day before he disappeared to make a settlement with one of our big customers who is a very peculiar man and always demands cash. It was in thousand dollar bills and so wouldn’t make such a very big bundle and he could easily take it with him. Yes, I rather think he’s got it with him wherever he is unless he’s hid it somewhere. But if we find him you can bet your last dollar I’ll make him give it up.” And the boys, by the light of the fire, saw a look on Rex’s face which was foreign to his usually pleasant countenance.

“We’ll find him if he’s up this way anywhere,” Jack assured him.

Shortly after nine o’clock they were all asleep on their beds of spruce boughs wrapped in their blankets. Once Rex awoke, his sleep disturbed by the cry of some wild animal but he was unable to tell what it was.

“Probably a wild cat,” he thought as he turned over and quickly drifted off again.

The next morning Jack insisted on taking his turn in the bow and somewhat reluctantly Bob gave in to him.

“You want to be mighty careful,” he cautioned him as they pushed off. “There’s some ugly rocks out there.”

“I’ll be on the watch for them,” Jack promised.

They had made only a short distance when, above the noise of the rushing water, they heard the sound of a loud roaring.


“That heap big falls,” Kernertok announced as he turned the canoe toward the shore. “Have to make little carry,” he added as the bow scraped the sand.

“And do you mean to tell me that you’d make a carry for a little thing like that,” Rex asked a little later as he stood on a huge rock and gazed at the rushing water as it leaped high in the air and fell to the whirling pool some twenty feet below. “Just for a little ripple like that?”

“We’ll all wait here while you try it,” Bob laughed.

“Not to-day, thank you. I’ll wait till I get a little more used to some of your dips,” Rex laughed. “But I say, that’s one of the prettiest sights I ever saw. Look at the spray. Niagara Falls is larger of course but when it comes to beauty, believe me, it’s got nothing on this.”

Late that afternoon Kernertok announced that it was only about a mile farther to the head of Chesuncook Lake.

“We stay there to-night,” he said.

He had hardly spoken when the canoe for the first time struck a rock. There was a ripping sound and the next moment the water was pouring in through a rent nearly a foot long.


Almost before he had time to think Rex found himself floundering in the water. Fortunately it was not very deep, not more than four or five feet, but the rapid current made it almost impossible to keep one’s footing. As he shook the water from his eyes, struggling to maintain his balance, he saw Bob and the Indian a few yards below clinging on to either end of the canoe. Jack was nowhere in sight.

“Make for the shore,” he heard Bob shout.

Seeing that they would probably have the canoe in to shore before he could reach them and doubting his ability to be of any assistance even should he arrive in time he bent all his energy to getting himself ashore. A half a dozen times he went completely under as his feet slipped on the rocks but finally sputtering and blowing he drew himself out of the water.

“What’s the first thing a fellow does when he falls in the water?”

Rex looked behind him and saw Jack slowly wading ashore just below him.

“I guess he tries to get out,” Rex panted.

“You’re wrong. The first thing he does is to get wet.”

“Then I did the first thing to perfection.”

“And believe me you weren’t the only one who did it either.”

“I believe you would joke if you were going to be hanged,” Rex tried to force a smile but, as Jack told him afterward, the effort was a dismal failure.


Meanwhile Bob and Kernertok had succeeded in getting the canoe to the shore a little way below and when the two reached them they were busy lifting out the bundles of provisions.

“Lucky we got all our stuff that water will hurt in tight cans,” Bob said.

“Um, heap get wet,” Kernertok declared.

“I’ll say so,” Rex agreed.

As quickly as possible the blankets were wrung out and spread out to dry.

“Too bad it didn’t happen sooner so the blankets would have time to get dry before night,” Bob said. “But, as it happens, you can’t choose the time for such things.”

“Another thing we’re in luck about and that is that our canoe is birch bark instead of canvas,” Jack remarked.

“How come?” Rex asked.

“Because Kernertok’ll have this fixed in two shakes of a dog’s tail, but if it was canvas it would be a different matter.”

“You mean he can mend that big hole up here in the woods?”

“Just watch him,” Bob laughed. “He’s after birch bark now.”

“I’ll keep an eye on him,” Rex promised. “But if he can mend that hole he’s good, that’s all.”

“He’s good all right as you’ll see before long.”


The Indian was back in a little less than a half hour with several long strips of birch bark and a little dipper made of the same material which Rex saw was filled with some kind of pitch.

“Rex, here, thinks you can’t mend that hole,” Jack told him.

“Heap big hole but Injun fix um.”

Rex watched the Indian fascinated as he smeared the edges of the cut both inside and out with the thick pitch. Then he put on a layer of birch bark and smeared the entire patch with more of the pitch. Then came a second layer of the bark followed by more pitch. This was repeated until not less than six layers of the bark had been applied. Then, after smearing the edges of the patch thickly with what remained of the pitch, he grunted:

“Um all fixed.”

“How long will it take it to dry so we can use it?” Rex asked anxiously.

“Be all right in morning,” the Indian assured him.

Fortunately it was a hot day and none of them suffered from their wet clothes which they had not removed. But they knew that the night would be cool and so, as soon as the canoe was finished, they built a big fire close against a ledge of rock which was back some twenty feet from the edge of the stream. There was an abundance of drift wood all about so they did not lack for fuel. They kept the fire going full blast until they were ready for bed and the rock reflected the heat to such an extent that they felt no need of the blankets.


Jack and Rex again caught trout for supper but did not hook what Jack called a big one, the largest weighing but three pounds.

As the blankets and other things were not thoroughly dried out in the morning they were obliged to delay their departure until after nine o’clock.

“It’s too bad, but it can’t be helped.”

“A few hours more or less isn’t going to make any difference,” Rex assured him.

Soon after they started they reached the head of Chesuncook Lake.

“We cross this,” Bob explained, “and then there’s a small stream that runs out of Longley Pond which we can go up if the water’s high enough. Then we’ll have a seven or eight-mile carry across to Chamberlain Lake.”

And now, for the first time, they had to make use of the paddles other than steering. But Bob in the bow and Kernertok in the stern sent the light canoe, heavily laden as it was, at a rapid pace through the water and in a little over half an hour they were at the mouth of the stream which was not much more than a brook.

“Think there’s enough water?” Bob called back as he headed the canoe up the stream.


“No heap much. Mebby she go mebby not. We try it.”

“Always try anything once.” Bob laughed.

The stream was not swift but very crooked and more than once Rex fancied that he could feel the bottom of the canoe scraping. Their pace was very slow but, as Jack said, it was a whole lot better than walking and carrying all the stuff.

The distance from Chamberlain Lake to Longley Pond is not over five miles as the bird flies but Bob was positive in his assertion that they must have gone twenty before they came out on the tiny pond. At any rate it was almost noon and they decided to eat their dinner before starting on the long carry.

“This a hard carry?” Bob asked Kernertok as they were taking the things out of the boat.

“Heap big hill. Heap hard.”

“Sounds encouraging,” Jack laughed.

“Mebby it isn’t so bad as it sounds,” Rex said hopefully.

“If Kernertok says it’s bad you can depend on it that it is worse,” Bob assured them.


Long before three o’clock Rex decided that Bob was not far wrong. It seemed to him that they must have traveled not less than fifteen miles when Kernertok, as they stopped for one of their frequent rests, announced that they were nearly half way across. Pushing through underbrush so thick that it required about all the strength he could muster, climbing over and around rocks nearly the size of a small house and climbing over or crawling under fallen trees had proven a form of exercise wholly new to him.

“I thought we were just going to the next lake and not up to the North Pole,” he panted as he threw himself on the ground and wiped the sweat from his face. “How in the world you ever manage to get that canoe through these woods is a mystery to me.”

“Heap badder places nor this,” Kernertok said solemnly.

“Hope I never see one of them,” Rex laughed.

The second half of the portage proved even worse than the first, though Rex insisted that such a thing was impossible, and even Kernertok was panting when, a little after six o’clock, they suddenly emerged from the thick woods and found themselves on the shore of Chamberlain Lake.

“Talk about the strenuous life,” Rex declared leaning against a big rock. “This has got anything I ever tried beat seven different ways.”

“It was a bit rough for a fact,” Bob agreed.

“Rough! You call that rough? I’d call it absolutely precipitous.”

“You mean all up and down?” Jack laughed.

“Right. But mostly up.” Rex assured him.


“Well, let’s get supper. I believe I can eat a bite,” Bob suggested.

“You said something,” Rex said. “I don’t believe there’s fish enough in this lake to satisfy me let alone the rest of you.”

“Careful,” Bob laughed. “This is a pretty big lake, nearly twenty miles long, and I’ve heard that there are some mighty large fish in it.”

“Well, come along Jack and we’ll get a sample or two.” And the two quickly jointed their poles and started for a point a short distance away.

“I reckon we aren’t out far enough for the big ones,” Jack declared a little later. “But I guess we’ve got enough for supper.”

“I suppose these would make good bait for the big fellows farther out,” Rex laughed as he picked up a string of twelve or fourteen trout averaging about a half a pound.

Sometime during the night Bob awoke suddenly. He sat up on his bed of boughs and listened. He was quite certain that some sound had disturbed him as he seldom wakened in the night except for good cause.



Yes, there it was again. A shrill cry far away sounding like a young child in pain. He listened to see if the cry had disturbed any of the others but everything was perfectly still, save for the murmuring of the spruce boughs as they swayed gently in the light breeze.

“Nothing but a wild cat,” he thought as he sank back and closed his eyes. But the next moment he had sat up again.

“Now that’s mighty funny,” he mused. “If that’s a four legged animal then I’m an alligator.”

Again the strange sound rang through the night seeming to be a little nearer. And now he heard Jack, who was close by his side, move.

“What was that noise?”

“Just what I’ve been wondering,” Bob replied in a low whisper.

“Sounded like a wild cat.”

“Just what I thought at first but you never heard a wild cat make a noise exactly like that. Listen.”


“It’s a bit too shrill and kinder wobbly like for a genuine cat.” Jack was quite positive in his statement.

“Think it’s a signal?”

“Might be, but there doesn’t seem to be any answer.”

For some little time the cry was repeated at frequent intervals but it did not seem to come any nearer and finally each time it sounded farther away until they could barely hear it. Nothing which could be interpreted as an answer, if it indeed were a signal, had reached their ears.

“Mebby it was a cat after all,” Jack whispered.

“Perhaps so. Anyhow I’m going to sleep.”

“I say, any you fellows seen my rifle?”

It was early the following morning. Bob was busy frying flap jacks and the Indian and Rex were rolling the bedding. Jack asked the question after he made a thorough search of the camp.

“Where’d you leave it?” Bob asked.

“I’m not sure but I thought I placed it right beside my bed.”

“Well, you know what thought did. You’ll probably find it right where you left it if you look long enough.”

“It’s mighty funny,” Jack mused as he made another search. “Come to think of it I’m dead certain I put it there.”


Just then Bob called that breakfast was ready and as soon as the meal was over all joined in the search for the rifle. But they failed to locate it.

“Now what do you know about that?” Jack asked after he had looked under his bed of boughs for the fourth time.

“Heap queer. Rifle she gone.”

“You’re right it’s heap queer and then some,” Bob agreed. “But who’s seen Sicum this morning?”

“Sicum heap gone too,” Kernertok said, a look of puzzled amazement on his stoical face.

“Mebby he’s chasing a rabbit,” Rex suggested.

“Sicum no leave camp till Injun up,” Kernertok shook his head.

“Well, that rifle’s gone and Sicum’s gone. Wonder what’ll go next,” and Jack, too, shook his head.

“But that gun never walked away of its own accord,” Bob assured him.

Jack was about to make some reply when an exclamation from Rex, who had gone down by the shore, halted him.

“Come here a minute.”

“Now what?” Bob asked as they hastened to where Rex was gazing at something on the sand.

“What kind of tracks do you call them?” he asked as soon as they had reached his side. He pointed at some marks the likes of which neither of the boys had ever seen.


The tracks, at which the boys looked in amazement, were nearly circular in shape and plainly showed the imprint of six toes. They led from the water’s edge along the shore for a distance of some twenty feet then turned sharply to the left and were lost in the dense woods.

“What do you make of them, Kernertok?” Bob asked.

But the old Indian shook his head.

“Heap big tracks. No seen um before.”

“Nor I,” Bob agreed. “I never heard of an animal in Maine, or anywhere else for that matter, that would make a mark like that.”

“Mebby that’s the bug that swiped my gun,” Jack suggested.

“Mebby um eat up Sicum, one mouthful,” Kernertok joined in.

“I reckon it could do it,” Jack asserted. “Just see how far apart they are: all of five feet, and that means some beast for size.”

For nearly two hours they hunted for the lost dog but not a trace of him could they find. Time and time again the Indian sent through the forest the peculiar whistle with which he was wont to summon him.

“He ought to hear that if he’s within ten miles,” Rex declared.


Finally they were obliged to give over the search and reluctantly began to pack the things in the canoe. There was but little talk each being busy with his own thoughts. All, including the Indian, sensed a mystery in the air which seemed unexplainable. Both Bob and Jack knew that Kernertok was in the depths of despair, not only because of the loss of his beloved dog but because something had happened in the woods for which he could give no accounting. It was a severe blow to the old man’s pride.

“Do you think that those cries we heard in the night had anything to do with it?” Jack whispered to Bob, Rex and Kernertok being a short distance off.

“Don’t see how, do you?”

“Hardly. And yet—” Jack paused, leaving the sentence unfinished.

“And yet what?”

“Bob, do you believe an animal made those tracks?” he asked.

“Frankly no.”

“Neither do I. But if that’s right, what’s the answer?”

“Somebody’s trying to scare us.”

“You said it.”

It was nearly ten o’clock when they finally pushed off and started up the lake.


Chamberlain Lake is nearly twenty miles long but they had hit about half way up and after a little more than ten miles of paddling they reached Eagle Lake.

Eagle Lake is really a part of Chamberlain Lake and is nearly fifteen miles long.

“I wonder why they gave the two parts of this lake different names,” Rex said.

“Oh, I suppose they had more names than lakes, although, goodness knows, there are more lakes around here than there are fleas on a dog,” Jack laughed.

“How many more carries have we got to make?” Rex asked.

“According to the map we haven’t any,” Bob replied. “How about it, Kernertok? Any more carries before we strike Allagash?”

“No more. We paddle um all way now,” the Indian told them.

“That’s certainly good news,” Rex declared. “About one more carry like that last one and I’m afraid you’d have to carry me out on a stretcher.”

“Look ahead there, Rex!” Jack cried a little later. “Isn’t he a beaut?”

“What is it?”

“A bull moose, and a big one.”

The huge animal was perhaps a hundred yards from the canoe when Jack first sighted him and was swimming at right angles to their course.


“Make it snappy, Bob, and let’s see how near we can get to him before he reaches the shore,” Jack cried, and the two paddlers dug their blades deep into the water.

“Are they dangerous?” Rex asked.

“Not at this time of the year,” Jack told him. “But in the late fall, when they are mating, you want to give them a wide berth unless you are well armed and then you want to shoot to kill the first time.”

“I reckon so,” Rex mused. “I wouldn’t like to get tossed with those horns.”

“You wouldn’t,” Jack laughed. “In fact, quite the opposite, as the sea-sick passenger said when one asked him if he had had breakfast.”

“What would he do to you then? Do they bite?”

“Hardly. He’d trample you to death with his sharp hoofs and, believe me, they are some tramplers.”

By this time they had cut down the distance between them and the moose by nearly one half, although the big animal was ploughing his way rapidly through the water.

“I’ll say he’s some swimmer,” Rex declared. “Gee, but I wish I had my camera along. What a picture that would make.”


They had come to within about twenty yards of the moose when he reached the shore. As he waded out onto the rocks he turned for an instant and stood looking at them as much as to say, “Well, I guess I beat you to it all right,” then turned and bounded away into the thick forest.

“I wouldn’t have missed that for a good deal,” Rex declared as soon as the moose had disappeared.

“You’re lucky,” Bob told him. “It isn’t very often that you get to see one of those fellows now days.”

It was late afternoon and they had nearly reached the upper end of the lake. They had made no stop for dinner but had eaten a light lunch in the canoe, as they wished to make up for lost time. Rex and Jack had, for short stretches, relieved Bob and the Indian at the paddles and, although Rex was not very skillful at it, nevertheless he was rapidly catching the knack and they had made excellent progress.

“Look over on the shore opposite here, Bob,” Jack said suddenly. “See, on that big rock just in front of that tall pine.”

“I see. It looks like a dog.”

“It’s either a dog or a wolf. What do you think Kernertok?”

“Injun no see good enough. Mebby um Sicum. You think?”

“It’s too far away to tell,” Bob replied. “But we’ll paddle over that way and see.”

They changed their course and headed toward the opposite shore.


“Upon my soul, I believe it is Sicum,” Jack declared a little later.

The Indian raised his paddle for a moment and a shrill, peculiar whistle floated over the lake.

“Hark,” he warned.

“It’s Sicum,” Bob and Jack spoke in the same breath as a low but distinct bark answered the Indian’s call.

“Now what do you know about that?” Rex asked as soon as all doubt regarding the identity of the animal was settled. “Where do you suppose he’s been and why?”

“Don’t know to both questions,” Bob replied.

Although the Indian gave no outward show of emotion, all three boys knew that the old man was overjoyed at the return of his companion. As for Sicum, he made no concealment of his emotions. As the canoe approached the rock on which he stood he jumped up and down in a perfect frenzy of joy, all the time giving utterance to short, happy barks. When the canoe at last touched the rock he nearly upset it as he leaped aboard.

“You one fool dog,” the Indian grunted as he seized him by his collar. “Where you been, eh?”

“If he could only talk he might clear up some of this mystery,” Rex declared.


“I wish he had brought my rifle back with him,” Jack laughed.

A little later they reached the head of the lake where a small stream entered and there they made camp for the night.

“I think we’d better set a watch to-night,” Bob suggested as they were making their beds. “We don’t want any more of our stuff to disappear and for some reason which I can’t explain, I don’t feel like depending on Sicum,” he added in a low voice so that the Indian could not hear.

“It’s a mighty funny thing,” Jack said. “Before last night I’d have felt perfectly safe with that dog here. How in the world anyone could have gotten into camp without him letting us know about it is a mystery to me.”

“Same here. There’s something positively uncanny about it.”

“Well, I’ll take the first watch till eleven o’clock, and then I’ll call you,” Jack proposed.

But when the matter was mentioned to Kernertok, the Indian shook his head.

“I fix Sicum so he no get away dis time,” he declared.

But later the boys resolved that they would keep watch just the same, without letting Kernertok know of it.


“I’ll call you at three,” Bob said to Rex. “Kernertok hates to give up confidence in Sicum, and I can’t blame him at that. He can’t bear the thought that we’re not perfectly safe with the dog in camp and it would about break his heart to know that we were on guard, so we’ll have to be mighty careful not to disturb him, and it doesn’t take very much, let me tell you.”

“But how about the dog?” Rex asked. “Won’t he hear us and make a rumpus?”

“Oh, he’ll hear us all right, but as he knows us, I guess he won’t make any fuss,” Bob assured him.

“How are you going to fix Sicum so he can’t get away?” Bob asked the Indian a little later.

They were about to retire for the night and the Indian made no reply, but from his pocket took a small chain about four feet in length. One end he fastened to the dog’s collar and the other he tied about his wrist.

“That ought to hold him,” Jack laughed.

“Me think so. Take heap much get him away,” he grunted.


Jack waited until, from his deep breathing, he was certain that the Indian was asleep, and then he crept softly from his bed of boughs. Sicum uttered a low growl once which woke his master, but the latter spoke to him in a low tone and the dog remained quiet. Jack crept on his hands and knees to a big spruce about ten feet from where they were sleeping and toward the shore and sat down with his back against it.

The night was cloudy, not even a star showing in the heavens, and it was intensely dark, so that he was unable to see even his hand when he held it in front of his face.

“Guess I’ll have to trust entirely to my ears,” he thought. “Eyes are no good to-night.”

It was so still that he could plainly hear the beating of his own heart. Not a sound save the gentle lap of the water against the stones on the shore of the lake, some twelve feet from where he sat, reached his ears. There was no wind and even the usual sighing of the branches was absent.

“I believe you could hear a pin drop if there was anyone here to drop it,” he mused.

Several times he caught himself yawning, but he was afraid to get up and move around for fear of disturbing the dog. However, he managed to keep awake with a good deal of difficulty. Along toward eleven o’clock a light breeze sprang up and a little later it began to rain.

“Looks like we were in for a storm,” he told himself.

It started to rain as if it meant it, but soon settled to a thin drizzle.


“Thought you promised to wake me at eleven,” a voice whispered almost in his ear.

“I didn’t promise at all. It was simply proposed.”

“Heard or seen anything?”

“Haven’t heard a thing, and as for seeing, a regular menagerie could pass within a foot of you and you’d never know it.”

“I guess that’s right, but you get to bed now.”

“I don’t believe there’s any use in watching any longer to-night.”

“I’ll bet you wouldn’t say that if it was your turn,” Bob grinned.

“Huh, don’t you fool yourself.”

“Never do.”

“Looks like we were in for a spell o’ weather.”

“Sure does. But this isn’t getting to bed.”

“I’ll bet you go to sleep,” Jack whispered, as he crept off toward his bed.

“And I’ll bet I don’t,” Bob replied, but Jack was too far away to hear him.

It was nearly one o’clock, as he saw by the luminous face of his wrist watch, when he heard the same cry that had awakened him the night before. It was very faint at first, but each time it was repeated it came nearer, till he judged that it was within a half a mile.


“Funny it doesn’t wake any of them,” he thought as he crept softly down toward the lake.

As he approached the water’s edge he felt, rather than saw or heard, that something was near him. He listened intently. Not a sound, save the lap of the water and the gentle sough of the rain as it fell on the trees, came to him. And still that vague feeling of the nearness of some large object persisted.

“Wonder if I’m going bugs,” he thought, as he tried in vain to pierce the darkness.

For several minutes he had not heard the cry, but now it came again, and so near was it that all the sleepers were awakened.

“For goodness sake, what was that?” he heard Rex ask.

“Was that a wild cat, Kernertok?” Jack put the question.

“Listen,” he heard the Indian order.

For a moment all was still and then the cry was repeated, even nearer than before.

“Heap like cat almost, but not quite,” he heard Kernertok reply.

“That’s what I thought when I heard it last night,” Jack told him.

“You hear um las’ night?”

“Yes, but it wasn’t so near then.”


“Injun no hear. Sleep heap too sound,” Bob could distinguish the note of disgust in the Indian’s voice. “Where, Bob?” he heard him ask.

“Guess he’s around somewhere,” Jack replied evasively.

“I’m down here by the lake,” Bob shouted. “Bring a flash light here a minute.”

“See anything?” Jack asked, as he joined him a moment later.


“Hear anything?”

“Not a thing, but I’d take my oath that there was something here just the same.”

“How do you know, when you couldn’t see it or hear it?”

“Guess I felt it.”

“Well, what did it feel like?”

“I didn’t exactly feel it, you know. I guessed it was here perhaps would be nearer the truth?”

“Well, here’s the light. What are you going to do with it?”

“I want to see if there are any of those tracks.”

“They’re here, sure as guns,” Jack cried a moment later as, by the aid of the flash light, he pointed to a row of tracks identical with those they had seen before. They seemed to emerge from the water and led a short distance along the shore, till they disappeared in the woods.


“It’s a cinch that no four-footed native of Maine ever made those tracks,” Jack insisted.

“Guess we’re agreed on that,” Bob assured him.

“Then the big question is, what or who did make them.”

“Suppose you answer it?”

“I will before the summer’s over.”

Kernertok shook his head when he saw the tracks. It was clear that he was thoroughly puzzled.

“Suppose we wait till daylight and then try to track it with Sicum,” Bob suggested. “He ought to be able to follow that trail. How about it Kernertok?”

“Sicum no same dog. Him heap fool now,” and Kernertok shook his head mournfully.

For the first time the boys noticed that the dog was acting strangely. Keeping as close as possible to his master’s feet, he showed every evidence of fear.

“That’s the first time I ever saw Sicum with his tail between his legs,” Jack whispered.

“Well, don’t blame him,” Bob cautioned. “It is plain that something has happened to him which has frightened him about to death, and remember, it would take a good bit to scare that dog.”

“I’ll tell the world it would,” Jack agreed.

As it now lacked but a couple of hours until day break, they decided to stay awake and keep watch.


“I don’t believe we could go to sleep any way,” Rex said.

The rain had stopped, although it had not as yet cleared off. They returned to their beds and rolled themselves in their blankets, which were fairly dry, despite the rain, so thick were the branches overhead. For a time they talked in low tones, but the conversation soon died out, seemingly of its own accord, and, in spite of their determination to stay awake, one after the other they drifted off until only the Indian was awake. Although, as he had said, he slept soundly he needed but little sleep, and it was not difficult for him to keep his eyes open.

Kernertok was deeply troubled. It hurt his pride to be unable to explain anything found in the forest. But he had been obliged to acknowledge that the mysterious tracks were entirely new to him and the disappearance of the rifle and dog the night before was no less puzzling to him. Added to these was the strange behavior of the dog since his return. Never before had he known the dog to show the slightest sign of fear. Always eager to attack anything, no matter what its size. The Indian had more than once saved the life of his companion when the latter was exhausted after making a desperate stand against heavy odds. But now he cringed when spoken to, as though he expected a mortal blow. Sicum’s spirit was broken. Of that the Indian was sure. But what could have happened to so quickly change an animal without fear into a cringing coward? Long the Indian brooded over the question.


The dog lay by his master’s side and mechanically the Indian reached out one hand and ran his fingers through the shaggy coat. Almost immediately he felt the animal shrink from his touch, at the same time giving vent to a low whine as of pain. And suddenly one question was answered in the mind of the Indian, or rather partly answered. He knew why the dog was afraid. As his fingers felt the hide beneath the curley hair they encountered great whelts, which seemed to run nearly around the body. Sicum whined softly as his fingers touched the sore places, and then, creeping closer, he laid his head across his lap as though glad that his master at last understood.

“Heap good dog,” the Indian grunted as he stroked the broad head.

It was broad daylight when the boys awoke. It was not raining, although heavy leaden colored clouds covered the sky and a strong wind was blowing from the northeast.

“We’re a lively bunch, not,” Jack declared as he got slowly to his feet and shook the kinks out of his legs.


“And then some,” Bob agreed sheepishly.

“Count me in on that,” Rex insisted as he, too, jumped about to get the stiffness out of his limbs.

Getting up in the morning in the woods when everything is wet and the temperature hovering around fifty-five is not conducive to high spirits, and, as Jack put it, they were about as cheerful as a wet blanket. But Kernertok already had a good fire going and the odor of boiling coffee did much to banish the blue devils.



As Bob approached the fire, Sicum raised his head and whined softly.

“Good old boy, what’s the matter,” Bob said as he placed his hand gently on the animal’s head.

“Feel um hide,” Kernertok said.

Bob did as directed.

“Great guns! No wonder he’s afraid. Why he’s been licked.”

“Heap big lickin’.”

“I’ll say so. Look here, Jack and Rex.”

“I’ll never blame a dog for being scared again,” Jack declared, after he had run his hand over the whelts.

“It’s a wonder he wasn’t killed,” Rex said. “What or who could have done it?”

“Problem number one,” Jack replied. “But whoever did it did a good job.”

“And if I ever find out who it was, believe me, he’ll appreciate that fact,” Bob promised.


“Will he get over it?” Rex turned to the Indian.

Kernertok shook his head.

“Him get well bimby.”

“But will he get his courage back, I mean?”

“Mebby, mebby not. Take um long time.”

“I suppose so, and it’s no wonder. A licking like that would take the starch out of most men, let alone a dog,” Rex declared.

“I don’t suppose it will be any use trying to get him to follow that trail,” Bob said as they were eating breakfast.

“No heap good now,” Kernertok assured them.

“How about the weather? Is it going to rain?” Jack asked turning to Kernertok.

“Heap much, heap soon. Wind northeast.”

“Then we’d better get off and make as many miles as we can before it comes,” Bob advised.

They made quick work of washing the few dishes they had used and in rolling the packs, and in less than twenty minutes they were ready to push off. Their way led up the little stream which was hardly wide enough to permit the use of the paddles, and in places they were obliged to push the canoe with a long pole against the strong current. But Kernertok encouraged them with the assurance that it was only a little over three miles to Churchill Lake.


Although they did not have to make a regular carry between the two lakes, they were obliged, no less than eight times, to take the canoe from the water and drag it around big rocks or places where the stream was too shallow to allow of its passing.

“This is most as bad as a carry,” Jack panted as, for the eighth time, they were obliged to disembark.

“They do make awful long miles up here,” Rex grinned as he lifted the front of the canoe from the water.

“Well, I reckon we’re holding our own,” Bob laughed.

It was nearly noon when at last they paddled out into Churchill Lake. The rain, which had been threatening all the morning, had began to fall as they were dragging the canoe around the last obstruction nearly an hour before, and was now coming down in big drops.

“Guess we’ll have to look for a good camping place and hang up,” Bob suggested.

“Rain heap cold,” Kernertok shivered as he spoke, and Rex, whose teeth had been chattering for the last hour, heartily agreed with him.

They paddled for a few minutes along the shore until Jack spied a good place to make camp.

“There’s just the place,” he declared, pointing. “Right there in that clump of spruce.”


“See if you can find some dry wood, Jack,” Bob said a moment later, as he sprang to the shore and pulled the canoe up. “The rest of us’ll get the stuff under the trees.”

Jack took the little axe and started off. He was obliged to hunt for some time before finding a dead tree, which, lying beneath a thick spruce, was fairly dry. Fifteen minutes later he returned, carrying a large armful of wood, and soon a cheerful fire was as Rex declared, thawing the frost out of their bones.

“Kernertok and I’ll get dinner if you and Rex’ll get some more of that wood,” Bob suggested.

“Righto. Come on, Rex. We’ll bring in a load big enough to build a house.”

“Better make that house a wood shed,” Rex laughed as he followed him into the forest.

It rained hard all that afternoon, but only a few drops now and then found their way through the thick spruce branches, and they were fairly comfortable.

“It’s too bad to lose all this time,” Bob said late in the afternoon. “But it’s a whole lot better than getting soaked and catching cold. I tell you, Rex, it’s no fun being sick in the woods.”

“Although I never had that experience and never want to for that matter, I can readily believe you,” Rex replied soberly.

“Injun heap sick alone in woods one time. White boys save him,” Kernertok told Rex.


“And Kernertok has more than paid the white boys back,” Jack declared, but the Indian only shook his head.

“We could use a good trout for supper, Jack,” Bob announced a little later.

“All right. Come on, Rex. The rain has about stopped. Guess we’ll take the canoe, though. It’s pretty shallow along the shore here.”

“I believe I’ve got a whale this time,” Rex declared a few minutes later, as his rod bent until the tip was in the water.

“Probably a salmon,” Jack said. “Play him easy, now. That’s it, let him run. Now reel in as fast as you can. Don’t give him any slack if you can help it. Now let him run again. That’s the stuff. He’ll soon tire at that rate.”

For all of a half hour Rex played the big fish. Now getting him almost up to the canoe, only to have to let him have the line again, as he made a frantic rush for freedom. Jack stood up in the canoe with the landing net ready.

“You almost had him that time,” he cried, as the fish turned for what proved to be the final rush. “He’s a dandy, all right. If only you don’t lose him.”

“If I do I’ll go over after him,” Rex panted, as he again began to reel in the line.


It was evident now that the fish was nearly at the end of its strength, although he fought every foot of the way.

“Steady now. Hold him tight. I’ll have him in a minute.”

Suddenly Jack made a dip with the net and the next instant the fish was in the canoe.

“It’s a salmon all right, and the largest I ever saw,” Jack declared.

“Isn’t he a beauty?” Rex said as he gazed proudly down at the silver white fish. “And didn’t he put up a fight? If we didn’t need him for supper I’d put him back and let him live.”

“But, unfortunately for him, we do need him,” Jack said as he picked up the paddle and started for the shore.

“Goodness! I didn’t say we wanted a whale,” Bob declared as Rex came up to the fire carrying the fish by the gills.

“Let’s see how much he weighs,” he said.

“Sixteen pounds and four ounces,” Bob announced a moment later. “Some fish.”

“Heap big un,” Kernertok added.

“I didn’t know they grew as big as that,” Rex said.

“Injun catch one in this pond ten twelve year ago, him weigh nineteen pound. Heap big salmon.”

“I’ll say it was,” Rex laughed.


Soon after supper the rain began again and Kernertok expressed the opinion that it would keep up all night. They decided to risk the night without keeping watch.

“It’s a bad night for ghosts,” Jack declared.

“But the trouble is, we don’t know what species this particular ghost belongs to,” Bob reminded him.

Along about midnight Bob awoke. It was still raining hard and the wind remained in the same direction that it had held all day.

“It’s not apt to quit till the wind changes,” he thought as he turned over.

At that instant, above the sound of the wind, he heard the strange cry which had disturbed him the two nights previous. It was, however, a good ways off, and although it was repeated a number of times, it did not seem to come any nearer. None of the others woke so far as he could tell, and he soon drifted off to sleep again. When he again awoke day was just breaking and, to his great joy, he saw that the weather had cleared.

“Wonder if we’ll have any tracks,” he thought as he rolled out of his blanket.

Early as it was, Kernertok had a fire going and the coffee pot on.

“See any more of those tracks?” he asked, as he joined the Indian.


“Just same last night, heap big ones.”

“Do you have any idea of what it is, Kernertok?” Bob asked in a low tone.

“No know um,” the Indian grunted.

“You can just bet your last dollar that I’m going to camp right down by the lake to-night, wherever we camp, and find out what it is that makes those tracks,” Jack declared as he joined Bob down by the shore a few minutes later.

“You want to look out that it don’t find you first.”

“Not if I see him or it first it won’t.”

“Won’t what?” Rex, who joined them just as Jack spoke, asked.

“Oh, Jack’s going to put some salt on the tail of whatever it is that makes these tracks and catch it to-night,” Bob told him laughingly. “And he said it wouldn’t get him if he saw it first.”

“Well, you’d better shoot that salt with a three hundred kilometer gun, judging by the size of those tracks. I’d sure hate to meet the thing that made ’em in the dark,” Rex advised.

Just then Kernertok announced that breakfast was ready.

Churchill Lake is not large and they reached the upper end shortly after nine o’clock.

“What’s the next lake we strike, and how far is it?” Bob asked Kernertok.


“Him Big Umsaskis. Him ’bout ten mile up um stream.”

“How’s Sicum this morning?” Jack asked, leaning back to pat the shaggy head.

“Him heap better. No well yet. Not so much scared now.”

They found the stream joining Churchill Lake with the Big Umsaskis, a little larger than the one they had traversed the day before, but it was very swift and rocky and their progress was painfully slow. It seemed to the eager boys that they would hardly more than get into the canoe when they would have to clamber out and drag it around some obstruction.

“What time is it?” Jack asked late in the afternoon, as they were resting, after dragging the canoe over a particularly difficult place.

Rex laughed.

“That reminds me of the darkie who was in jail for life. A friend went to see him and as he was leaving the prisoner asked him what time it was. The friend replied, “Wha’ for you wan’ know the time? Youse ain’t going nowhere.”

“And it doesn’t seem as though we were doing much better just at present,” Jack laughed.


They entered the foot of Big Umsaskis just after five o’clock and decided to make camp for the night, as they were all very tired.

“I feel as though we had made about a hundred miles instead of ten to-day,” Jack declared, as he threw himself down on the ground.

As soon as the early supper was over they began to discuss plans for trying to find out what it was that was making the mysterious tracks. They all felt that it had gone far enough and that they were actually in danger and that it was high time to do something.

“Now, how are we going about catching that lalapaloosla?” Jack asked, as they sat around the fire.

“What’s that you said?” Rex gasped.

“I said how are we going to catch the lalapaloosla?”

“And what’s that?”

“That’s a second cousin to a ringed-tailed squeeler,” Jack replied with a perfect sober face.

“Oh, now I understand. I had one of them once,” Rex said equally sober.

“Eh, what?”

“I said I had one once.”

“One what?”

“Why a ringed-tailed squeeler. That’s what we were talking about, wasn’t it?”

Jack burst out laughing.


“I’ll come down as the squirrel said when it saw Davy Crockett. Anybody’s got to get up early in the morning to get ahead of you.”

After some discussion, it was decided that they would divide the night into two watches: Jack and the Indian to watch until twelve o’clock, when Bob and Rex would relieve them. None felt that it would be safe for one to stand watch alone.

“If those tracks are made by some four-footed animal it’s a mighty big one, as I said before, and if it’s a two-legged animal, in other words, a man, he’s going to a whole lot of trouble to scare us, and the chances are that he’d be desperate if he was cornered,” Bob said, and all agreed with him.

“If I only had my rifle,” Jack said. “I’d feel safer.”

“But they had only brought the one rifle and its disappearance left them unarmed, except for their automatics.

“Now, remember, there’s to be no funny business to-night. You are to call us sharp at twelve. That will give us all plenty of sleep and we all need it. Promise,” Bob said, as they were all about to separate.

“All right, I promise,” Jack replied, and Bob knew that he would keep his word.


It was a lonely watch down by the shore of the lake. It was not so dark as on the previous night, although there was no moon. The sky was studded with stars, and by their light they could see dimly for a distance of several feet. Sicum lay curled up close beside his master, and every little while a low growl or a faint whine indicated that his dreams were troubled.

“Guess he’s dreaming about that beating he got,” Jack thought, as he rubbed his eyes.

Slowly the minutes and hours passed, until after what seemed an eternity, his watch told him that it was time to call the others. Nothing had happened and they had not heard the strange cry.

“All quiet along the Potomac,” he announced after he had awakened Bob and Rex. “Hope you have better luck.”

“What day is it?” Rex asked as soon as they had taken their places down by the lake.

“Search me. It’s funny how one loses all track of the time up here in the woods. But it must be Sunday, I think. Wait a minute, till I reckon up.

“Yes,” he said a moment later, “it’s Sunday. We’ll have a good long rest if nothing happens. We never travel on Sunday if it can be helped, you know.”

“And that’s right too. A man needs one day in seven to rest.”

“I think so.”


“About one day in two would be even better,” Rex laughed, “according to the way we’ve been going the past two days.”

“It’s been pretty strenuous, for a fact, especially when you’re not used to it. It’s been a wonder to me that you’ve stood it so well.”

“Oh, I’m fairly tough when I get my second wind.”

“I’ll say you are.”

“It’s a good thing it isn’t so dark as it was last night,” Rex said a little later. “It’s a comfort to know that that lalapaloosla can’t get us without us seeing him.”

“You said something. Believe me it was dark last night.”

“Listen. Did you hear it?” Rex asked about an hour later.

“Sure did. It’s that fake wild cat again.”

“Are you sure it’s a fake?”

“N—o,” Bob replied slowly. “I’m not certain, but I never heard a cat make just that kind of noise. It’s a bit too shrill and drawn out at the end to be genuine. Still, of course, they don’t all sound exactly alike.”

“My experience with wild cats has been pretty limited, so my opinion is no good, but if a cat is making that noise, it must be some cat that’s all.”


“Oh, they can make noise enough so far as that is concerned. If you ever hear one close to you, you’ll never forget it. It’s enough to raise the hair on a bald man’s head.”

“As bad as that?” Rex laughed.

“You’ll think so if you hear one, and you may have the chance, because that fellow, whatever it may be, is coming closer and coming at a pretty good clip, too.”

The cry was now being repeated at close intervals, and each one was distinctly nearer than the one before.

“I don’t know whether there is any connection between those yells and the making of the tracks or not, but we want to keep our eyes peeled pretty sharp, because they seem to happen at about the same time,” Bob cautioned as he looked sharply about him.

“I believe the cat’s going farther away,” Rex said a little later.

“Sounds like it,” Bob agreed.

The cries had for some time been growing fainter and soon they died out altogether.

“Guess the show’s over for to-night,” Bob said, as he got to his feet and stretched his arms. “Let’s take the flash and see if Jack’s lalapaloosla has slipped anything over on us.”

“You bet.”


For some minutes they searched about close to the shore of the lake, but somewhat to their surprise no tracks were to be seen.

“Well, he may come yet,” Rex said as they once more sat down.

“You never can tell,” Bob agreed.

The time dragged slowly on, until Bob’s watch told him that it was nearly three o’clock.

“Goodness, but I’m sleepy,” he said as he got to his feet.

“Same here.”

“I’m going to take a look up back, if you don’t mind,” Bob said. “I’ll only be gone a few minutes.”

“Go ahead. I’ll keep watch here.”

Bob was gone a little longer than he expected. He was very thirsty, and running across the tiny bed of a stream, he followed it up hoping to find a spring. He soon located it and, after drinking his fill, he stopped to cut a strip of birch bark from a tree. With this he fashioned a dipper that he might take some water back to Rex.

“I’ll bet he’s thirsty,” he thought as he started back.

To his surprise Rex was nowhere in sight when he returned. He sat the birch bark dipper down and, with the aid of the flash light, looked about all around the place where they had been sitting.


“Guess he thought he’d take a stroll,” he thought. “But it’s rather strange he didn’t wait till I got back.”

Not really alarmed, but a trifle uneasy regarding his friend’s absence, he sat down and leaned back against the trunk of a tree. The minutes passed and Rex did not return.

“Hope he hasn’t gone and got lost,” he thought. “I’m afraid he doesn’t realize how easy it is to get lost in these woods.”

When a half hour had passed and still no Rex, he began to be really uneasy. Taking the flash light, he made a wide detour of the camping place, calling every few minutes as loudly, as he dared for fear of waking Jack and Kernertok.

“This is getting serious,” he told himself, as he returned to his previous position. “Wonder if I’d better call the others.”

Somewhat against his better judgment he decided to wait a while longer, hoping that Rex would return. He knew that it would be light in a little more than an hour, and he hated to disturb his brother and the Indian. But when the first tinge of the coming day lighted up the eastern sky and Rex had not returned, he was really alarmed, and decided to wait no longer.

“Eh, what’s up?” Jack asked sleepily, as he sat up and rubbed his eyes.


“Rex has gone.”

“Gone where?”

“That’s what I’d like to know,” and Bob told him what had happened.

“It’s mighty funny how he could get lost so quickly.”

“I wasn’t gone over thirty minutes,” Bob assured him.

Their talking awakened Kernertok, and Bob quickly told him of Rex’s disappearance.

“That heap bad,” the Indian grunted. “Him get lost take long time mebby find him.”

“Well, to-day’s Sunday, so we won’t be losing any time,” Jack said.

“Do you think Sicum can track him?” Bob turned to Kernertok.

“We try um.”

But although they let the dog sniff at Rex’s cap and took him to where he had been sitting when Bob left him, the dog refused to stir.

“Him heap fool dog,” Kernertok declared disgustedly.

“You mustn’t blame him,” Bob cautioned. “Remember, we don’t know what he has been through.”

“It doesn’t seem as though he could have gone very far in the darkness,” Jack said, “and we ought not to have a great deal of trouble in finding him.”


By this time it was nearly daylight even in the woods, and, after a short discussion, it was decided that they would separate. Jack was to go up along the shore of the lake and Bob in the opposite direction, while Kernertok was to strike off at right angles to their course.

“Remember now, two shots will mean that he’s found and three that there’s trouble and help needed,” Bob told them. “It’s now a quarter to five, and we’ll keep on till seven o’clock, if we don’t find him. He wouldn’t go very far in the dark, and if we don’t locate him in that time it’ll mean that we’ve probably passed him. And don’t be afraid to yell. He may have fallen into a bear pit or something.”

After Bob had left him, Rex fell into a light dose for a moment, but was quickly aroused by a slight noise to his right. Instantly he was wide awake and straining his eyes. Was that something moving up along the shore of the lake? He was not sure at first, but a moment later he was certain that there was something there. Getting to his feet as quietly as possible he stole softly through the darkness. He could just make out a dim shape which seemed to glide rather than walk a few yards ahead of him. He followed slowly, careful to make no sound. If this was Jack’s lalapaloosla he had no wish to come into close quarters with it. But here was a chance to solve the mystery he felt, and the thought of not doing his best never entered his head.


For some thirty yards the shape led him along the shore of the lake and then seemed to turn and plunge into the thick woods nearly at right angles. As the shape disappeared he ran quickly forward to where it had turned, and listened. He could hear it as it made its way between the trees and, after a moment’s hesitation, he struck off after it. It never occurred to him that he could get lost so near the camp, and to wait for Bob might mean that he would lose the chance entirely.

It was pitch dark in the thick woods and he had only his sense of hearing to guide him as he hurried along. It seemed to him that, for so bulky a form, the thing moved with amazing swiftness, and he was hard put to it to keep in hearing distance. So intent was he on not losing track of the thing that he was wholly unaware of the passage of time, and it was with a start of surprise that he noticed that it was getting light. He had no idea as to how far he had come.

Rex stopped and listened. Not a sound of his quarry could he hear. Either the thing had stopped or else it had outdistanced him.

“Guess I’ll have to wait till it gets a little lighter and see if I can follow his tracks,” he thought. “It ought not to be hard if he makes as big ones in here as down by the lake.”


He sat down on a dead tree trunk and waited for perhaps a half hour.

“Guess it’s light enough now,” he said half aloud.

He began his search for the trail of the mysterious creature, full of hope that he would quickly pick it up. But in this he was disappointed, for he was unable to locate it.

“It’s a case of now you see it and now you don’t,” he muttered as he looked about him. “Well, guess I might as well get back to camp. I’ll bet they are wondering what has become of me,” he chuckled.

But which way should he go? Not until he was ready to start had it occurred to him that there could be any question about so simple a matter. He would simply go back the way he had come. But now, as he paused and looked about, he was forced to admit to himself that he had no idea as to the direction of the lake.

“I wonder if I’m lost,” he thought.

He remembered now how many times the boys had warned him how easily a man could get lost in the big Maine woods. But he was not worried. He would, of course, find his way out in a short time. It would at the most mean only a few hours’ delay.

“I’ll go in a straight line till I run across a brook, and then all I’ll have to do will be to follow it to the lake, and then follow the lake round to the camp,” he told himself as he started off.


He pushed his way through the woods as rapidly as possible, for he wanted to get back without any unnecessary delay. But he came to no stream, and after more than an hour had passed, he decided to take another short rest.

He again sat down on a fallen tree trunk.

“Brooks don’t seem to be as thick up here as I thought they were,” he said to himself, as he took his jack knife from his pocket.

It had long been a habit with Rex to carve his initials on the trunk of a tree whenever he was in the woods, and now he started to do it almost without thinking. He had cut an R through the bark close to his side, when he happened to raise his eyes to meet the log a little farther toward the end. There, only a few feet from where he sat, were some initials cut in the bark. He moved over so that he could read them. His eyes opened wide with astonishment as he saw R. D. in large letters.

“It’s sure a wonderful coincidence that another fellow having my initials should cut them on this very same tree,” he thought. “Don’t look as though they had been cut very long, either,” he muttered, as he moved over to examine the marks closer.

Then suddenly the truth came to him. They were the marks he had cut only an hour or two before.


“And that means that I’ve been traveling round in a circle and have come back to where I started,” he muttered. “Now what do you know about that?”

He remembered then that he had heard that a person lost in the woods is very apt to walk in a circle, owing to the tendency to take a slightly longer step with the right foot than with the left.

“Right back where I started from,” he mused, as he stared at the letters. “How the dickens is a fellow going to keep a straight line? If the sun would only come out from behind those clouds I might go by it, but it doesn’t look as though it had any intention of doing it. Well, here goes for another try at it. I may be back later,” he grinned as he looked again at the log.

Starting off in the same direction that he had taken before, he picked out a tree as far away as he could see through the thick woods and made his way to it.

“I’ve come straight so far at least,” he smiled, as he leaned against the tree and with his eye picked out another for his second goal.

In this way he kept on for what seemed to him a long time. He kept looking about half expecting to find himself back where he started from a second time. But as the time passed and he saw no sign of the fallen tree he began to take heart.

“I really believe I’m going straight this time,” he told himself.


It was nearly noon and he knew that he must have gone many miles before he thought of being hungry. But now the thought came to him with striking force. He remembered that he had eaten nothing since the night before and, as he expressed it, he felt empty clear down to his toes.



Bob was the first to get back to the camp. He had, in the three hours, covered nearly ten miles, he thought. He had called Rex’s name till he was hoarse, but only the echo of the forest had answered him.

“Hope one of the others has had better luck,” he thought as he reluctantly turned back.

It was nearly eleven o’clock when he got back, and he was somewhat surprised to find that neither Jack or Kernertok had returned.

Jack, however, was only a few minutes later and Kernertok, with Sicum following close to his heels, came just before half past eleven. All reported the same. No trace of Rex had been found.

“This is a serious matter,” Bob declared. “It isn’t as if he were used to the woods. Any one of us could live almost indefinitely in the woods, but it’s altogether different with a fellow who doesn’t know the ropes, so to speak.”

“Heap bad,” Kernertok shook his head.


“If only Sicum was all right, we’d have found him long before this,” Jack declared.

“No doubt about that,” Bob agreed. “But that doesn’t help just now. The big question is what are we going to do next?”

“Did he have a revolver with him?” Jack asked.

“I’m pretty sure he didn’t,” Bob replied.

“I reckon he didn’t or we’d have heard him shooting before this.”

“What gets me is where he could have gotten to in so short a time,” Bob mused.

“You don’t suppose that thing that made those tracks has carried him off, do you?”

“Reckon I’d have heard him yell if anything had attacked him,” Bob shook his head, but Jack knew from his expression that the thought had been in his mind.

“White boys stay here an’ Injun go out again,” Kernertok suggested.

“Not much,” Bob replied quickly. “We’ll get dinner and then we’ll all have another try at it and this time we must hunt till we find him.”

“You said something,” Jack agreed.

“Heap good,” Kernertok added.

They made short work of dinner and by twelve o’clock they were ready to start off once more.

“White boys be careful no get lost,” Kernertok warned them.


“We’ll be all right,” both assured him.

“Now we must go slow and really hunt this time,” Bob said as they were about to start. “We must have passed him somewhere the other time. He couldn’t have gotten so far as we went in the short start he had.”

“Doesn’t seem likely for a fact.”

Each of the three took with him a small amount of food, not so much for himself, but they knew that Rex would be nearly starved when he was found. Not one of them had admitted even to himself that there was a possibility of never finding him.

“Well, so long and good luck,” Bob waved his hand as he disappeared in the woods.

“Here’s hoping,” Jack called back.

“We find um,” Kernertok encouraged them.

Each had taken the same direction as he had on the first trip, judging that they would save a little time, having gone over the ground before.

It was just four o’clock when Rex finally came to a brook.

“Now I’ve got something to go by,” he told himself as he knelt down and drank for a long time. It was the first water he had found and his throat was nearly parched. He had hoped that he would find some berries of some kind, but had not, and he was beginning to feel weak from lack of food.


The cold water refreshed him somewhat, and after a short rest he started to follow the brook. It was a very crooked stream and the underbrush and bushes were thick along its banks, so that his progress was slow. But he did not dare to try any short cuts, as he feared he might lose it. It had been cloudy all day and darkness came on early.

“Guess I won’t be able to reach the lake to-day,” he panted, as he stumbled and fell headlong over a stick. “Guess one place is as good as another to camp and I’m going to stop right here. My but I’d give a lot for something to eat,” he muttered, as he picked himself up.

Only a few feet to his right was a thick clump of cedars, and he was moving toward it, thinking it would be a good place for a bed, when an ear-splitting yell made him jump back with a suddenness, which caused him to strike his heel on a stick and send him sprawling on his back. In falling his head struck a rock and for a moment he lay half stunned. Another yell from the clump of cedars brought him to his senses and he slowly got to his knees.

“I’ll bet there’s no fake about that wild cat,” he thought, rubbing the back of his head.


Bob had told him that a wild cat will seldom attack a man unless it is cornered, but if there should be two of them together they will sometimes take the initiative. All this passed through his mind as he was getting to his feet. He stood for a moment, his head still reeling from the contact with the stone. Another fierce shriek sent him rushing away toward the brook. He fancied that the last yell differed somewhat from the others, indicating that there were two cats in that clump of cedars.

“All right kitty-cat. You got there first, and I have no intention of turning you out of your bed,” he said as he reached the brook and crossed over to the other side. Somehow he felt safer with the brook between him and the cat.

In spite of the rapidly increasing darkness, he stumbled along down the stream, determined to put as much distance as possible between himself and the wild cat. Many times he fell headlong as his foot tripped on a root or hit against a stone. He stopped and listened every few minutes to determine whether or not the cat was following him.

“I don’t suppose I could hear it if it was,” he thought.

In a short time it grew so dark that he was obliged to stop whether or no. He thought that he had come at least a half mile from the clump of cedars. He had not heard the yell again and hoped that the cat had not followed him.

“I never knew what it was to be really hungry,” he thought as he drank once more from the brook.


Climbing up the steep bank, which at this point was about eight feet high, he groped his way about until he felt an open space at the foot of a large tree. The ground was hard, but he did not mind it, as he stretched himself out at full length.

Fortunately the night was warm and he did not suffer from the cold. His head ached slightly from the blow he had received, but he was asleep almost at once.

It was still dark when he awoke, and for some minutes he lay trying to make out where he was. Then as memory returned he raised himself on one elbow and looked about him. It was very dark and he could hardly see his hand before his face. He was about to sink back again when a slight rustle to his right caught his ear. He turned his head and the next moment his blood seemed to freeze in his veins. There, not ten feet from where he lay, he saw two balls of greenish fire. They were about four feet from the ground and his horror increased as he saw the next moment two more similar balls a few feet to the left of the first pair.

“There are two of them and they have followed me,” he thought.

It would be hard to find a more ferocious animal for its size than the wild cat of northern Maine. Growing often to a weight of forty pounds, their long claws are like needles and pitted against an unarmed man the latter is almost helpless against their furious clawing and biting.


As he lay there too unnerved to think, suddenly one of the cats gave a blood-curdling yell, and before it had died out the other joined in. Galvanized into action he started to get to his feet, and as he did so his hands touched a rock about the size of his fist. Hardly realizing what he was doing he picked it up and, taking hasty aim, threw it with all his might at the nearer pair of eyes. He did not wait to see what the effect of his throw might be, but turned and ran toward the brook. Another, and if possible, a more terrifying shriek followed him as he fled. He did not realize how near he was to the bank, and before he could stop himself he was rolling over and over, landing somewhat bruised, but otherwise unhurt in about two feet of water. He scrambled to his feet and, shaking the water from his eyes, for his head had gone completely under, started to wade to the opposite bank. The stream at this point was about twelve feet wide, with a rocky bottom.

He had gotten about half way across when he felt with his outstretched hands a large rock just in front of him. Quickly he clambered up onto it.

“Reckon I’d better anchor here awhile till I get the lay of the situation,” he thought. “I don’t believe those cats will swim for the sake of sampling me.”


Another shriek interrupted his thoughts, and looking toward the shore he could again see the balls of fire.

Sitting on the rock in his wet clothes was anything but comfortable, but under the circumstances Rex felt very well satisfied with the situation.

“I’d a whole lot rather be wet than clawed into ribbons,” he told himself.

Soon the pair of eyes were joined by the second pair, and the two big cats whined as if they realized that they had, for the time being at least, lost the game.

The weather had turned slightly colder during the night and Rex shivered as he crouched on his perch.

“Pretty pussy,” he called. “Sorry to disappoint you, but safety first, you know.”

While he felt that he was safe for the time at least, his position was anything but comfortable. The rock was barely large enough for him to sit on and he did not dare leave it. In his wet clothes his teeth chattered with the cold, although it was not what he would have called a cold night under ordinary circumstances. Water must have gotten into his watch when he went under, for it had stopped, and he had no way of telling the time.

“Not that it would have made much difference,” he told himself as he held the watch to his ear. “Every match that I’ve got is as wet as I am.”


From time to time, first one of the cats and then the other would shatter the silence with its agonizing yell.

Rex wondered with a great deal of anxiety if they would go away with the coming of daylight. He had heard that the wild cat did most of its hunting during the night, but, as he told himself, he was not at all certain that they kept union hours.

“It seems to me that with all the rabbits and other small animals running around here you fellows ought to be able to keep from starving without serving me up. Guess you don’t know how tough I am,” he told the cats, and was answered by an angry snarl.

“Don’t agree with me, eh? Well, we won’t argue the question. I suppose we have different points of view on the subject, but I do wish that we could arbitrate.”

Slowly the time passed, although he had no way of telling just how slowly. But it seemed almost an eternity before he noticed the first hint of the coming dawn. So slowly as to be almost imperceptible the darkness began to lift, and he knew that day was at hand. Would the cats give it up and go? That was the question which he asked himself over and over again.

“If they don’t, I guess I’ll have to close with them and have it out. The winner can eat the victim. No use of all of us starving,” he said half aloud.


Soon he was able to make out the form of one of the cats as it paced back and forth close to the water’s edge. He was surprised at the size of the beast.

“Gee, I didn’t know you grew that big,” he said. “Guess I’ll have to revise my last statement. You can stare as long as you like, so far as I’m concerned.”

Only the one cat was in sight and he concluded that the other must have given up and gone off.

“Mebby he’s gone to get breakfast for his companion,” he thought. “And that reminds me that I haven’t had mine yet. Ugly as you look, kittie, I don’t believe you want to eat me a bit more than I want to eat you. Wish I had a fish line along,” he thought, feeling through his pockets without success. “I believe I could relish a trout raw. But I don’t suppose they’d take a hook without any bait on it even if I had one.”

As soon as it was light enough for him to see distinctly he determined to wade down the brook—cat or no cat.

“Might as well take a chance as to stay here and starve,” he thought as he let himself down from the rock into the water, which came a little above his knees.

The cat, seeing him move, gave an angry snarl.


“Can’t help it if you don’t like it, pussy. You can’t have everything your own way in this cold world.”

He found that he could make fairly good progress and keep to the middle of the stream. In places there were rocks where he could leap from one to the other for some distance. Again he would have to wade, at times nearly to his waist. The big cat followed him along the bank, snarling and at times giving its yell.

“There’s no use getting so mad about it, kitty,” he told him as he paused waist-deep in the water. “You don’t have to do this, you know. I didn’t ask you to come along. Why don’t you run along home if you don’t like it? I won’t be lonesome without you. In fact, I’d rather you would go.”

But for along time the cat evidenced no intention of giving up. Rex estimated that he had jumped and waded for all of two miles, and the cat seemed as determined as ever.

“Believe I’ll try taking the offensive,” he thought, as he came to a shallow place near the middle of the stream.

He stooped down and picked up a rock about the size of his fist, and with all the force he could muster, threw it. The rock caught the cat in the side and bowled it over. But it was up in a second, snarling and yelling.


“Take your base,” Rex shouted, as he stooped for another rock.

The cat was not more than seven feet away, and the second stone caught it square on the nose. Without a sound, save for a lone whine, the cat fell on its side and gave a few convulsive kicks and was still.

“Batter’s out,” Rex yelled, as he stood and watched the animal. “I really believe I’ve killed it,” he mused a moment later, as the cat gave no sign of life. “Now what do you know about that? Didn’t know I was that good, but I guess the old wing hasn’t forgot how it used to strike ’em out.”

Convinced after some moments of watching that the cat was really dead, he waded over and stood gazing at it.

“You’d never take a prize in a beauty show, but I’m sure glad I got you instead of you getting me,” he muttered. “If I only had some way of making a fire, I believe I’d sample you, ugly as you look, but I don’t believe I can quite go you raw just yet. But that friend of yours had better stay away, unless he wants to get sampled.”

With renewed courage he started off down the stream once more, after pulling his belt up a couple of notches.

“Hope I find something to eat before this belt buckle meets itself,” he grinned.


This time his hopes were realized, for he had gone not more than a hundred yards when he came upon a raspberry patch. The bushes hung red with the big, luscious berries, and his heart leaped for joy as he saw them. It was characteristic of him that before eating a berry he knelt down and whispered a brief but earnest prayer of thankfulness.

“I never knew that anything could taste so good,” he thought, as berry followed berry into his mouth.

He ate as many as he dared, but far from what he wanted, knowing that it would be dangerous to overload his stomach in its present condition. Then he made, not without considerable difficulty, owing to his inexperience, a basket of birch bark, which would hold several quarts. This he filled in a short time, and after eating a few more, he again set off down the stream.

As he trudged along he wondered that his friends had not found him, but he failed to take into account the vastness of the forest and the fact that sound waves, broken by the thickly growing trees, do not carry so far in the woods as in the open.

From the position of the sun he judged it to be about noon, when he suddenly emerged from the thick woods and found himself on the shore of a lake.

“Now the big question is whether or not this is the right lake,” he thought as he looked out upon its surface.


He fancied that it was not so large as the lake where they had camped two nights before, but he could not be sure.

“Guess the only thing to do is to follow the shore around,” he mused, as he sat down on a rock to eat his dinner of berries. “They are mighty good, but not what you’d call filling, and as for variety, it reminds me of the butcher who said he had pig, pork, hog and swine.”

He rested for an hour, knowing that it was necessary to conserve his strength, and then started off to circle the lake. It was hard going from the first, as the shore, in many places, was marshy and he had to make long detours.

“Reckon it’ll take about a week at this rate,” he thought as he noticed that the sun was getting low in the west.

He stopped to eat a few more of the berries and was about to start again when he was electrified by a sound. It came from what seemed a great distance. He was not sure that he had really heard the call. He realized that it is easy to imagine that one hears his name called, so he waited and listened. In a moment it came again, and this time he was sure that it was no fancy.

“Hello-o-o-o,” he shouted at the top of his voice.

“Rex-x-x-x,” came back the answer.


“It’s Bob for a fact,” he exulted. “Here I am,” he called.

“Stay right where you are and I’ll find you.”

Rex sat down calling from time to time to guide his friend, and in about fifteen minutes Bob came in view.

“Thank God, I’ve found you at last,” the latter cried as he grasped Rex by the hand. “It’s sure been a long trail.”

“It has seemed so to me,” Rex assured him.

“Had anything to eat?”

“Only these,” and he held up the half-filled basket.

Bob quickly threw off his pack and in another moment they were both eating sandwiches.

“Um, lapping good,” Rex declared as he reached for another.

“Better wait a bit before you tackle a second one,” Bob advised.

“All right. You’re the doctor, but I’ll tell you right now, that I could eat all you can carry and then holler for more.”

“I don’t doubt it. But if you did I’d have you to carry in place of the grub.”

The first pangs of hunger appeased, Rex told of his adventures.

“You say you killed that cat with a stone?” Bob asked when he had come to that part of the narrative.


“Well, he seemed dead to me. Of course, if he had nine lives like domestic cats, he may have eight left to enjoy, but I’m dead certain that I deprived him of one of them.”

“Sometimes you think they’re killed when they’re only stunned. They sure are tough customers, and whether they have nine lives or only one, they certainly take a lot of killing. All I’ve got to say is that you were mighty lucky.”

“Guess you’re right.”

“I’d rather run into a bear any day than one of those fellows when he is on the war path.”

“I’ll leave them alone in the future if they’ll return the compliment,” Rex assured him.

“Just a minute,” Bob said, “I forgot something,” and taking his revolver from his pocket, he fired two shots close together.

“That’s the signal that you’re found,” he explained, as he fired twice more. “Don’t know whether the others are near enough to hear ’em or not, but it’s the best I can do.”

“Is this the lake we were on?”

“Not much. This is Priestly Lake.”

“How far away are we?”

“About ten miles, I should judge.”

“Can we make it to-day?”

“That’s up to you. We’ve got about three hours of daylight left.”


“Well, if you’ll let me have one more of those sandwiches I’ll make a big stab at it.”

“All right. But you eat it slowly.”

“Which way would you say it is?” Bob asked as they were about to start.

Rex looked about a moment and then pointed.

“You’d have to go just twenty-five thousand miles in that direction to get there,” Bob laughed.

“Then let’s go the other way by all means.”

They struck off through the forest. Bob, knowing that Rex was already tired, set a slow pace. To tell the truth, he was pretty tired himself, but he was more used to tramping through the woods. Still they made good time and it was only partly dark when Bob announced that it was only about a mile more to the camp.

“How you can find your way through these woods is a mystery to me,” Rex panted, as they stopped for a short rest.

Bob laughed. “I guess it’s a kind of an instinct that one acquires after a while, and then Kernertok has taught us a lot about it. You see, you can always tell the points of the compass by the bark on the trees. I’ll show you how to do it sometime.”


Neither Jack or the Indian had returned when at last, tired almost to the point of exhaustion, they reached the camp. They had been in but a short time, however, when Kernertok, followed by the dog, carrying his tail between his legs, arrived. The old man looked very downcast at first, but his stolid face lighted up as he caught sight of Rex.

“You find um, heap good,” he grunted.

The Indian did not seem at all tired, and he at once set about building a fire. He would not listen to the boys’ offer to help, insisting that they were “heap tired,” an accusation which they did not even try to dispute.

“Injun have supper heap soon,” he promised as he hurried about his work.

“I do hope Jack isn’t lost,” Rex said anxiously, as he stretched on his bed of spruce boughs.

“You needn’t worry any about him. He—”

Before he had time to finish the sentence the shrill call of the whip-poor-will rang through the woods.

“There he is now. Listen!”

“Whooo! Whooo! Whooo!”

“I’d swear that was an owl if I didn’t see you do it,” Rex declared.

“Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will!”

“Jack can beat me all to hollow when it comes to imitations, but that is a signal we’ve had for a long time,” Bob told him.

It was only a few moments before Jack came trudging in and he gave a loud whoop of joy as he caught sight of Rex.



“Well, you sure did give us a good scare,” Jack declared, as he shook his friend’s hand and threw himself down on the ground by his side. “Tell us all about it.”

“Do you think that thing, whatever it was, knew that you were following it?” he asked as soon as Rex had finished his story.

“I don’t know, but it made off through the woods mighty fast. That’s what made me get so far away before I knew it.”

“You might not have been so far away at that,” Bob laughed. “You don’t have to go very far in these woods to get lost if you’re not used to them.”

“I’ll say you don’t,” Rex agreed, and then added: “Believe me, little Rexie is going to stick close to the fireside after this until he learns the ropes a bit better.”

They were all too tired to think of setting a watch that night.


“We’ll take a chance on it,” Bob declared. “But we’ll make it pretty hard for anyone to get any of our things just the same.”

So as soon as supper was over they rearranged their beds in the form of square, and piled all their supplies in the middle.

“Now Mr. Lalapaloosla has got to step over one of us in order to get away with any of our stuff, and I don’t believe even he can do it without waking at least one of us,” he declared, and Kernertok grunted approval.

They were up with the first break of day and found that nothing had been disturbed nor did a careful search disclose any additional tracks.

“I guess you scared him off,” Jack declared as they gathered about the fire for breakfast.

Breaking camp as soon as possible, they started for the upper end of Lake Umsaskis, which they reached about an hour later. Then, turning slightly to the right, they entered a long narrow pond, which Bob informed them was called Long Pond.

“And it looks as though it were well named,” Rex declared.

“When we get to the upper end of it we’ll enter the Allagash and then it’s only about forty miles to the Little Umsaskis,” Bob told him.


It was nearly noon when they reached the upper end of the pond, and they decided to land and eat dinner before starting down the river.

“We made one big mistake, Jack, when we started on this trip,” Bob said while they were eating.

“Only one?” Jack smiled.

“Well, I’ve only thought of one so far.”

“All right, spring it.”

“We should have left one of the pocket phones at home and brought the other with us.”

“What do you mean, phones?” Rex asked.

“Why, early in the summer we finished a couple of what we call pocket radio phones,” Bob explained. “We had been working on them for some time.”

“And let me tell you they came in mighty handy awhile ago.” Jack interrupted, and he told Rex and the Indian about their trip along the Canadian border in their search for liquor smugglers.

“And you didn’t bring them with you?” Rex asked.

“Oh, I brought them, but the trouble is that I brought both instead of leaving one at home, so we could talk with the folks.”

As Bob was speaking he took the two cases out of his pack and explained how they worked.

“Well, you boys do beat the bugs. And you never said a thing about it. Why, it’s wonderful. Mebby we’ll have a chance to use them before we get back.”

“Quien sabe,” Bob smiled.


The Allagash River flows from the upper end of Long Pond, nearly due north. In places nearly an eighth of a mile wide, it narrows in others to a small space through which the water rushes with the speed of an express train.

They had just finished dinner and were about to clean up when suddenly they heard a loud twang from a thicket near by, followed by a whirring sound as a feathered arrow flew just over their heads and stuck quivering in a white birch.

“What-do-you-know-about-that?” Jack gasped.

“I thought this was the twentieth century,” Rex whispered, as he gazed fascinated at the arrow. “A bit lower and you’d have been scalped, Bob.”

Only Kernertok seemed for the moment to retain his wits. Hardly had the arrow hit the tree than he leaped for the thicket whence it came. But even his swiftness was too slow, for he could find no trace of the shooter. For several minutes he beat about, but at length was forced to acknowledge that whoever had been responsible for the shot had been too quick for him.

Meanwhile Bob had noticed something peculiar about the arrow.

“Looks as though a piece of paper was wrapped about the end,” he declared, as he got to his feet. “There is, too,” he said a moment later, as he tried to pull the arrow from the tree.


So deep had the head of the arrow sunk into the tree that he broke it in pulling it out.

“That’s too bad,” he muttered. “Would have liked to keep that for a keepsake. Only time I ever had an arrow shot at me.”

“What does it say?” Jack asked impatiently.

“Just a minute and I’ll have it off.”

The slip of paper was tied tightly about the shank of the arrow with a short length of waxed thread, and it took him some time to get it off.

“Why it isn’t paper at all,” he declared, as he unwrapped it. “It’s a piece of white birch bark.”

“Any writing on it?” Jack asked impatiently.

“There’s something,” Bob replied as he smoothed the sheet of bark out.

“Well of all things.” Rex, who was peeping over Bob’s shoulders, made the remark.

There was no writing on the bark, but, drawn with a bit of charcoal, were a number of crude figures.

“You’d think this was back a hundred years ago,” Jack said, as he studied the drawings.

Three figures, evidently intended to represent white boys and one Indian, followed by a dog, were seen fleeing from a band of Indians. The air was filled with flying arrows.

“It seems to be a fairly broad hint to say the least,” Bob said.


“Whoever did it sure knows how to come to the point,” Jack agreed.

“Let’s see what Kernertok thinks about it,” Rex suggested.

“Good idea.”

The old Indian studied the drawing intently for several minutes, then handed it back shaking his head.

“What about it?” Bob asked.

“Injun no mak’ um.”

“You sure?”

“Heap sure.”

“What makes you think so?”

“Injun no mak’ many Injuns, mebby two, mebby three, no more.”

“Who did it then?” Jack asked.

“No can tell. Some white man.”

“Well, it’s dead sure that whoever did it wanted us to think that it was Indians,” Bob declared.

“That heap so,” Kernertok agreed.

“It all seems to fit in,” Bob said slowly.

“Fit in what?” Jack asked.

“Why some one is trying to scare us away from here. First they tried it with those tracks and then when that didn’t work they tried this warning.”

“And do we scare?”

“We do not.”


“Not so you’d notice it,” Rex joined in.

“But we’ve got to be on our guard every minute,” Bob insisted. “What do you say, Kernertok?”

“Must be heap sharp.”

“And then some,” Jack agreed.

“Well, it isn’t the first time we’ve been up against it and I guess we can take care of ourselves fairly well,” Bob declared.

“I reckon,” Jack joined in.

“They say that variety is the spice of life,” Rex said. “If that’s right, I’ll recommend Northern Maine to anyone who’s looking for spice. There’s more of that article to the square inch up here than any place I ever saw or heard of.”

“I guess you’re about right there,” Bob laughed. “But before we start, I move we take a look about and see if we find out anything about who shot that arrow.”

“I guess Kernertok made a pretty good search,” Jack said.

“Injun hunt quick. No look careful. We mak’ heap good look,” Kernertok advised.

But although they searched for the better part of half an hour beyond locating the place from which the arrow had been shot as indicated by a few broken twigs, they found nothing to help them. There was no trace of a trail to show in what direction the man had departed.


“He’s foxy all right,” Bob declared, as they gave up the search.

“Righto,” Jack agreed.

“Him heap good,” Kernertok added, shaking his head.

It was plain to the boys that the old man was worried. He always felt a keen sense of responsibility when in the woods with his boys, although he had great confidence in their ability to look out for themselves. “Them most as good as Injun,” he had once told Mr. Golden.

“Rex, do you think that this business can have any connection with that fellow who stole your money?” Bob asked.

Rex thought for some time before replying.

“That’s a pretty hard question to answer,” he said finally. “I do know that he came from somewhere up here.”

“But would he have any way of knowing that we were after him?”

“That’s what I don’t know. You see, he must know more or less people around here, and it’s possible that some one may have put him wise.”

“Well, it must be one of three things,” Bob declared after a moment’s thought. “It’s either he or some of those whiskey runners who think we are after them, or—”

“Or what?” Jack asked as he paused.


“Or a real lalapaloosla,” he said with a grin.

“Oh, rats,” Jack laughed.

“Mebby,” Bob replied.

“Mebby what?”

“What you said.”

“You know that you don’t believe in any lalapaloosla business,” Jack said.

“Who said I did?” Bob smiled.

“You came pretty near to it,” Rex broke in, but Bob only laughed.

“Well, this isn’t getting us anywhere,” Jack said as he started toward the canoe.

“Great Scott! Look at this, will you,” he shouted a moment later, pointing to the canoe.

All rushed to where he was standing.

“Well, I’ll be jiggered,” Bob said, and Rex added:

“Of all things.”

“Him heap big cut,” Kernertok shook his head slowly, as he gazed at the slit in the bottom of the canoe.

“Who could have done it?” Rex gasped.

“Same one who has done all the rest of this monkey business,” Jack snapped angrily.

“You mean who shot that arrow?” Bob asked.

“Well, I hope there isn’t more than one party after us.”

“That’s a consummation devoutly to be desired,” Bob declared.


“This is no time for verboseness,” Jack told him, and Bob apologized.

“But when could he have done it?” he asked.

“While we were hunting for him back in the woods, of course,” Jack told him.

“Of course,” Bob repeated. “We were big dunces not to have left one of us to watch the canoe.”

“You said a mouthful,” Jack declared, adding: “Seems to me we’re always locking the door after the horse is stolen.”

“You can’t think of everything,” Rex consoled.

“It beats me why he didn’t smash it all to pieces while he was about it,” Bob mused.

“Perhaps he intended to, but didn’t have time,” Rex suggested.

“I think you hit it,” Jack told them. “See. Here’s the big cut and right back of it is a little one. Looks as though he had just started on the second one when he saw us and had to beat it. I’ll bet he intended to cut it all up, so that it would be impossible to fix it.”

“That heap right,” Kernertok said sadly. “Him start to spoil boat.”

“Well, we can thank our lucky stars that we didn’t stay back there any longer,” Bob said.

“And we mustn’t let this canoe out of our sight for a single minute after this,” Jack added.

“We won’t,” Bob assured him.


They lifted the canoe from the water and carried it up the bank, where they placed it bottom up. Kernertok at once went off in search of bark and pitch, and, as there seemed nothing else to do, the boys threw themselves on the ground to await his return.

“Guess we might as well get some trout for supper while we’re waiting,” Jack said after a while.

“I’ll go with you if Bob don’t mind staying alone,” Rex said.

“Sure. Go ahead. I’ll watch the canoe and things,” Bob assured them.

Kernertok was gone longer than Bob expected and he was beginning to get a bit uneasy when the Indian returned.

“Pitch heap few,” he explained his long absence. “Have to go heap long ways before find.”

“Didn’t see any sign of anyone, did you?”

“No sign,” the Indian replied, as he set about the work of repairing the canoe.

He had it nearly completed when Rex and Jack returned with a dozen fair-sized trout.

“She be right in mornin’,” he assured them.

“Another half day lost,” Bob sighed.

“Never mind. We’re lucky to have the canoe at all,” Rex declared.


The afternoon, or what was left of it, passed slowly to the boys, eager to be on their way. They arranged to keep watch by twos that night, Bob and the Indian to take the first turn until twelve o’clock.

“And mind you, don’t go to taking any midnight strolls,” Bob cautioned Rex as the latter said good-night and wrapped himself in his blanket.

“Don’t you believe it,” Rex assured him. “I’m going to stick closer than any brother you ever saw.”

“You’d better,” Jack laughed.

It was a clear night, with a new moon, which, although it did not give much light, relieved the intense darkness of the previous nights.

“It’s a whole lot better than nothing,” Bob told the Indian.

“Heap much,” Kernertok grunted.

Twelve o’clock came and nothing had happened.

“Reckon he or it or whatever it is knows we are on the watch and is afraid to try anything,” Bob told the Indian as he started to call Jack and Rex.

The moon had disappeared and it was very dark when the two latter came on watch.

“Keep your eyes peeled,” Bob cautioned, as he threw himself on his bed.

“Don’t you worry,” Jack assured him. “Nothing is going to get away with any monkey shines to-night.”


Two o’clock came and they had heard no sound to alarm them. It was almost three when a slight sound down close to the shore attracted Jack’s attention.

“Did you hear it?” he asked, trying to pierce the darkness.

“Yep. Let’s make a rush for it.”

“Come on.”

Together they ran for the lake, some twenty feet distant.

“There it goes,” Rex cried.

“After it,” Jack echoed.

But, although they ran as fast as they dared in the darkness, the thing had disappeared in the thick woods before they could reach it.

“Mebby it’s just as well at that,” Rex said as they paused at the edge of the forest.

“What do you mean, just as well?”

“Well, if we had caught up with it we might have more than we could have handled,” Rex said slowly.

“You may be right at that. Anyhow it’s no use running after it in the dark. But wait till next time,” he shouted.

Was it fancy or did they hear a low cackling laugh float back to them from the depths of the thick woods?

“What was it?” Rex asked.

“Never heard anything like it before,” Jack replied.


“And I hope I’ll never hear it again.”

“Did it look like the thing you chased the other night?”

“I guess so, but it was too dark to see much both times. All I could see the other time was an indefinite shape.”

Bob and Kernertok were up as soon as it was light.

“Well, you’re all here I see,” Bob greeted them.

“Yes, and we came pretty near catching the lalapaloosla,” Rex said.

“How near?”

“Well, as a matter of fact, I guess we really came about as near as the Irishman did to selling his pig,” Rex laughed.

“How was that?” Jack asked.

“Pat had a pig to sell, and after a trip to town with it, he told a friend that he came mighty near to selling it. His friend asked him the same question that you asked me, and he replied, ‘Sure an’ I asked a feller didn’t he want ter buy a foine pig, an’ he said no, but if he’d a said yes, sure an’ I’d sold him.’”

“And if you’d caught it, why you’d have caught it, eh?”

“That’s about the size of it,” Rex laughed.


After a hurried breakfast Kernertok announced that the canoe was in good shape for use, and packing up their stuff as quickly as possible, they pushed off. There is but little current to the Allagash, as it runs out of Long Pond, but with Bob and Kernertok at the paddles, they made good time.

“It seems strange to be going down river and north at the same time,” Rex said.

“Everything this side of Chamberlain Lake flows north and empties into the St. John River,” Bob told him.

A paddle of about fifteen miles brought them to another small lake some four miles long.

“What lake is this?” Rex asked.

“Pataquongamas Pond,” Bob replied.

“Pata who?”

“You pronounce the first syllable and then sneeze the rest,” Jack laughed.

“Can you tell me why they give the smallest lakes up this way the longest names?” Rex asked.

“It’s an Indian idea,” Bob told him. “They are great on big names.”

As they entered the pond, Rex, who had by this time acquired considerable skill with the paddle, and Jack took their turn, and the canoe shot out onto the pond in a fresh burst of speed.

“How long do you think you can keep that pace up?” Bob asked.

“Don’t know,” Rex laughed, “but we’re sure going while we do.”


“Well, look out that the friction doesn’t set the bottom of the canoe on fire.”

“If it does, there’s plenty of water here to put it out,” Jack laughed.

Although it was not quite noon when they reached the end of the pond, they decided to land for dinner before entering the river again.

“Now we don’t want to lose sight of the canoe for a single minute,” Bob said, as he dragged it up onto the sandy beach.

“I move that one of us stays right here by it while the rest get dinner,” Jack proposed.

To this plan all agreed and it was decided that Rex should be the one.

“Looks as though we were going to get a shower,” Jack said a little later as they were eating dinner close by the shore. “How about it, Kernertok?”

“Heap big rain coming,” the Indian replied, as he closely scanned the sky. “Be here heap soon, too.”

For some time a dark bank of clouds had been gathering in the west and even as the Indian spoke a low rumble of distant thunder was heard.

“Think we’d better wait till it’s over,” Bob asked him.

“Me think so. It coming heap big.”

“Guess he’s right,” Jack declared, as a louder rumble reached their ears.


“And she’s coming mighty fast,” Bob added. “We’d better get the things under cover as soon as we can.”

They quickly carried the canoe well up from the shore, and turning it over, packed all their provisions beneath it.

“Here it comes,” Jack cried, as the big drops began to beat on the bottom of the boat.

Before they could get beneath the boughs of a spruce tree near by, the drops had changed to hail stones, many of them the size of a filbert nut.

“Whow! Those fellows sting,” Rex shouted as he ran for the tree.

“They’re getting the heavy artillery into action up above,” Jack said, as a sharp flash of lightning followed by a heavy crash of thunder lighted up the sky.

Soon the hail changed back to rain, and the water fell almost in sheets.

“It’s a regular cloud burst,” Bob declared.

“And our roof’s beginning to leak,” Rex laughed, as a few drops of water found their way down his back.

“Better speak to the landlord about it,” Jack advised.

Flash! Bang!

“Hit that tree right over there,” Bob said.

Flash! Bang!


“This is getting a bit too close for comfort,” Rex declared. “Hope it doesn’t pick out our tree for a target.”

“Look at that buck down by the shore,” Jack cried. “Isn’t he a beauty?”

“Guess he’s wondering what it’s all about,” Rex declared.

They had seen so many deer that the appearance of one, unless a particularly large one, hardly excited comment.

The storm passed almost as quickly as it had come up, and in another half hour the sun was peeping through the clouds.

“Well, I guess the fireworks are over,” Bob said, as he stepped out from beneath the tree.

White caps were running as they pushed off, and the spray flew over them as they drove the canoe through the water.

“Might as well have stayed out in the rain as to get soaked after it’s all over,” Jack grumbled.

“But this water isn’t so wet,” Bob laughed. “Guess I’ll have to take that back,” he gasped a moment later, as the top of a big wave broke and dumped itself in his lap.

But they were in the river in a few minutes and here the water was not so rough.


“Life sure is getting mighty monotonous,” Jack declared a couple of hours later. “Not a single adventure outside of the thunder storm all day.”

“You must want a thrill a minute,” Rex laughed.

“You may have more excitement than you want before we get back,” Bob reminded him.

The excitement began even sooner than he expected. It was only a few minutes later, as they rounded a sharp bend, that they met another canoe carrying three men. That they were half-breeds was evident from their swarthy skins, and all three were much above the average man in size. So sharp was the bend that the canoes were within a few feet of each other before the occupants of either were aware of the others’ presence.

“You try heet us?” the man in the bow shouted angrily, as Bob dug his paddle in the water and swung the end of his canoe round just in time to avoid a collision.

“Certainly not,” he replied pleasantly.

“Eet look ver’ much like eet,” the man growled as he swung his canoe so as to bring it close to the other.

“I don’t think so.”

“You mak’ call me liar, oui?”

“No. I’m simply trying to make you understand that I think you are mistaken.”

“Me non mak’ meestake. Me all der time right.”


“All right, we’ll let it go at that,” Bob replied, anxious to avoid a quarrel if possible.

“Whar you go?” the man, who appeared to be the spokesman of the three, asked.

“Down the river.”

“For why?”

“That’s our business,” Bob replied a bit sharply, for the man’s attitude was getting on his nerves.

“Mebby we mak’ heem our beesiness, oui?”

“Do as you please about that,” Bob snapped.

For a moment the man made no reply. One of his companions said something to him in a tone so low that they were unable to hear. The man scowled and asked:

“Mebby your name Golden, oui?”

“Mebby,” Bob repeated.

“I thot so. You better turn an’ geet back where you come from.”

“What for?” Jack asked, before Bob had time to speak.

“For cause me say so.”

“Afraid you’ll have to give us a better reason than that,” Bob said, as he shook his head.

“You no go we mak’ you,” the man declared angrily.


It was plain to the boys that the man was a bully of a type common among the half-breeds of northern Maine, and they could also see that he was spoiling for a fight. They well knew that many of them had rather fight than eat, especially when the odds were on their side.

“Better beat it,” Jack whispered.

“While the beating’s good, eh?”

“They’re ugly.”

“I know it and I guess your advice is good.”

As he spoke, Bob dug his paddle into the water and swung the bow of the canoe away from the other. At the same time, Kernertok, who was in the stern, sent it ahead. Two of the men in the other canoe reached out in an effort to grasp hold of it as it shot past. So violent was their motion that their canoe narrowly escaped capsizing, and it was only the expert handling by the one who had done the talking that prevented it.

“Dig into it, Kernertok,” Bob cried.

“You make um think we scat,” Kernertok replied. “We go slow.”

“Kernertok’s right, Bob,” Jack broke in. “If they think we’re afraid of them they’ll be more apt to follow us.”

“Guess you’re right, but they’re coming anyway,” Bob said glancing back over his shoulder. “But we won’t run away from them. They’d probably catch us if that’s their game.”


They paddled along at about their usual speed for a few minutes, when Rex, who happened to be facing the rear, said:

“They’re not making any effort to catch us.”

“What are they doing?” Bob asked.

“Just keeping along about the same distance away.”

“What do you make of it, Kernertok?”

“Them heap bad mans.”

“No doubt about that, but what do you suppose they want with us?”

“Mebby steal.”

“I say, Bob,” Jack said suddenly, “how do you suppose that fellow knew your name?”

“Ask me something easy. I never saw the fellow before, to the best of my knowledge.”

“Well, it seems mighty strange that they should follow us. Their time can’t be very valuable, or else they’re up to some kind of a game that we aren’t in on.”

For some time the two canoes kept nearly the same distance apart, the half-breeds making no effort to catch up with them.



“We’ve got to camp pretty soon,” Bob announced a little later, as it began to get dark.

“What do you suppose those fellows will do when we stop?” Rex asked anxiously.

“I reckon they’ll stop too,” Jack replied dryly.

“I don’t like it at all,” Bob shook his head.

“Him heap bad,” Kernertok agreed.

“Well, we might as well land as soon as we come to a good place,” Bob declared. “They evidently intend to keep it up.”

“Don’t you think the four of us could handle them in a rough and tumble?” Rex asked, as they paddled slowly along close to the shore.

“That all depends,” Bob replied slowly. “So far as brute strength is concerned any one of them could probably handle two of us, but as a rule they don’t know much about either boxing or wrestling.”

“And it’s a mighty good thing they don’t,” Jack broke in. “If some of those fellows were properly trained they’d be world beaters.”


Just as Jack spoke Bob saw a good place to land, and a moment later the canoe was pulled up on the bank. When they landed the other canoe was about a hundred feet behind them, and they all waited anxiously to see what the half-breeds would do. They were not left long in doubt, for no sooner did the men see their intention than they headed for the same place, and, a few minutes later, landed only a little distance below.

“Let me do the talking,” Bob said a moment later, as he saw that they were coming toward them. “And don’t let them see that we have revolvers, unless I give the word.”

The man who had done all the talking before was in the lead, and as soon as he came near enough for the boys to see his face clearly, it was evident that his temper had not improved.

“You no go back, non?” he snapped.

“It would be useless to deny it,” Bob answered with a smile, which seemed to madden the man still more.

“You know me, oui?” he asked.

Bob looked at the man closely for a full minute before speaking.

“No. I don’t remember that I ever saw you before to-day.”

“My name Jacques Harbaugh.”



“You know mine broder, Pierre, oui.”

It was a statement rather than a question.

“I have met him, yes.”

“And you send heem to jail, you an’ dat oder kid dar.”

“Not guilty. He went to prison because he was smuggling whiskey.”

“But you catch heem.”

“I don’t deny that we were instrumental in having him arrested,” Bob replied firmly.

“An’ you beeg sneak.”

“As you please about that. We all have a right to our opinion.”

“Me Jacques Harbaugh. Me beeg fighter. No mans ever leek me.”

“Interesting, if true,” Bob smiled.

“Me geeve you one beeg licking, oui.”

“That’s as may be,” Bob shrugged his shoulders.

“Me show you ver’ queek.”

“One moment,” Bob held up his hand and the man stopped. “We are all armed and know how to protect ourselves. But we don’t want any more trouble than is absolutely necessary. So if you must have a fight I’ll fight you on the condition that the others keep hands off. How about it?”


The big half-breed looked at Bob, as Jack afterward declared, in much the same way that Goliath must have looked at David when the latter came out with his little sling. He stepped back and spoke with his companions for a moment and Bob could see that they were laughing as though at a huge joke.

“All right. We fight. Them no touch.”

“Will they keep their word?” Rex whispered to Jack.

“No telling.”

“Can Bob handle that big brute?”

“I’ve seen him handle as big a proposition and get away with it, but you never can tell. If this guy happens to know much about boxing, it’ll go hard, but, as he said, not many of them do.”

Meanwhile Bob and the half-breed had been stripping off their coats.

“Me spoil dat face in one leetle minute,” Jacques taunted, as he stepped forward.

“Well, it’s all ready for the spoiling,” Bob laughed in a way that seemed to exasperate the half-breed, for he suddenly sprang forward and aimed a vicious blow at Bob’s face.

So sudden was the movement that it all but caught the boy off his guard and he felt the wind as the man’s fist shot by within an inch of his nose. The man recovered his balance before Bob had time to get in a blow.

“Nearly got me the first time,” he declared with a smile.


“For goodness sake be careful,” Jack cautioned.

He, as well as Bob, knew that should one of those sledge-hammer blows land where it was aimed the fight would stop automatically. The continuance depended on Bob’s ability to dodge them.

But he was on his guard now and Jack knew that he would not be caught napping a second time. The man rushed again, almost at once and, from the way he handled himself, Jack saw that he possessed little if any knowledge of scientific boxing.

“Bob can handle him all right, barring an accident,” he whispered to Rex.

This time the man had struck with even more force than at first, and the momentum carried him off his balance. Before he could recover, Bob’s right fist had landed just back of his right ear. A loud grunt, more of astonishment than of pain, followed the blow. The bully stepped back a pace and glanced at his followers as if to ask what it was all about.

“Go on an’ beat heem up,” cried one of them. “Heem’s only a kid.”

As if ashamed of his indecision the man rushed back to the attack, and for a time Bob had all he could to do to protect himself from the avalanche of blows which were showered at him. The man’s two arms were working like piston rods, and so rapidly that the boy had no time to even attempt to get in a blow.


“Hope he won’t be able to keep that up very long,” Jack whispered. “In that kind of fighting there’s always a possibility of a blow landing and one of those punches, if it is struck fair, would pretty near stop a train of cars.”

“Him not got heap much wind,” Kernertok declared, as he caught the sound of the man’s quick breathing.

“Why you no heet heem?” one of the other breeds shouted.

The man paused an instant.

“Why you no stand still an’ fight?” he sneered.

“This suits me,” Bob laughed. “Remember this is your fight.”

Again the man rushed and once more he had his hands full to protect himself. But he knew that the harder the man worked the sooner would come the time when he could force the fighting. “Safety first,” he thought, as he dodged about.

“Bob’s tiring him out,” Jack whispered, as he listened to the heavy breathing.

But the next second he gave a gasp of fear. In backing away from a vicious rush Bob’s heel had struck a root, and before he could recover his balance, a blow had caught him on the chin and over he went.

A shout of encouragement came from the two half-breeds.


“Bon boy, Jacques! Jump on heem queek. You got heem.”

But fortunately Bob’s chin had been too far away to catch more than a small fraction of the force of the blow, and he was not even dazed. However, the breed was quick to take advantage of his opportunity, and before Bob could scramble to his feet he was upon him.

Bob knew that his only chance now depended on his ability to prevent the man from getting a hold. It required quick work, for the breed proved to be better at wrestling than at boxing. Throwing himself upon the boy he wrapped his arms about him in a hold that Bob had all he could do to break. It was fortunate indeed for him that he knew nearly all the important holds. Once the man got a grip on his neck, but it was quickly broken and, exerting all his strength and skill, Bob managed to roll the man over until he was on top. In another second he was on his feet.

“Good boy, Bob!” Jack shouted, jumping about in his excitement.

“Heap some boy,” Kernertok grunted.

“I’ll say he is,” Rex agreed.


The breed, angered anew at the failure of his attempt, got more slowly to his feet, and for a moment stood scowling at Bob. He was breathing hard, and it was evident to the boy that he was not in the best of physical condition. The easy life of the summer had softened his muscles, and twenty or more pounds of surplus fat had shortened his wind.

“Me geet you this time,” he shouted, as he started toward him.

Evidently realizing that he was not in Bob’s class when it came to boxing, he had decided to change his tactics and made a lunge at him with outstretched arms. Bob had little difficulty in eluding the grasp, and succeeded in placing a stiff punch on his nose. The breed started back with a grunt of pain and surprise, as the red blood gushed from his nostrils.

“First blood for Bob!” Jack shouted.

“Me keel you for dat,” the man shouted, now maddened beyond control.

“Look out for his foot!” Jack shouted.

But Bob was on the watch for just that move, and as the breed kicked, he stepped back and caught the foot as it was at its highest point. The man fell on his back, the wind knocked entirely out of his body.

At that moment one of the other breeds stepped forward.

“You keep out of this,” Jack said sternly, as he drew his automatic from his pocket.

On seeing the gun the breed stepped quickly back.

“This was to be a fair fight with no interference,” Jack told him.


For a minute or two the fighter lay writhing on the ground in an effort to regain his breath. As he struggled to his feet a look of astonishment mingled with one of fear was on his face. He could not understand why Bob had not finished him when he had him helpless.

“Had enough?” Bob asked pleasantly.

The man glanced at his companions and then at the automatic in Jack’s hand.

“I’ll put the gun back,” Jack said quickly, as he caught the glance. “There will be no use made of it so long as your friends play fair.”

“How about it?” Bob asked again.

The man still hesitated.

“Take your time. I’m in no hurry.”

But the fall had knocked the fight as well as the wind out of the bully, and muttering something which the boys failed to catch, he slouched off toward his canoe, followed by the other two.

“Did he hurt you any?” Jack asked anxiously, as soon as they were out of hearing.

“Nary a scratch,” Bob laughed, as he drew on his coat.

“Well, you’ve got about the biggest nerve I ever saw,” Rex declared, as he held out his hand.


“It’s not so much nerve as you think,” Bob explained. “You see, these fellows don’t know how to use their strength when it comes to fighting along scientific lines. Most all of them rely entirely on their strength, and a fellow who knows the rules can handle them easily enough.”

“It listens good the way you say it,” Rex declared, shaking his head, “but excuse me, and I know a little about boxing myself.”

“You could handle one of them,” Bob assured him, but Rex again shook his head.

“Just the same I hope we’ve seen the last of them,” he said, as he watched the three men shove off their canoe and paddle slowly away up the river.

“That is a consummation devoutly to be desired,” Bob said slowly, “but I’m very much afraid that—”

“That the consummation won’t be consummated,” Jack interrupted.

“Don’t you know that it is very impolite for small boys to interrupt their elders,” Bob turned to his brother with a look of mock severity on his face. “How many times have I told you that children should be seen and not heard?”

“You mean you think they’ll come back?” Rex asked anxiously.

“Mebby,” Bob nodded.


“Quien Sabe?”


“Seems to me there are several loose ends to this problem,” Jack declared some time later, as supper, having been finished, they sat around the camp fire.

“Meaning?” Rex asked.

“Well, in the first place we’re not at all sure that the guy we’re after is within a thousand miles of here. Then there’s that funny business of the big tracks, the likes of which no mortal man ever saw before, and the stealing of the rifle. And now those breeds are to be reckoned with. The big question is whether they just happened to meet us or had been after us.”

“Is that all?” Bob smiled.

“I should think that was enough.”


“Mebby what?” Jack asked.

“Oh, just mebby,” Bob laughed.

“Well, it seems that eternal vigilance is the price of safety up here on this trip, so I suppose it means that we keep watch again to-night, eh?” Rex asked, as he threw more wood on the fire.

“Right you are, son,” Bob replied.

But the night passed without incident, so far as they were aware. Again they watched by twos, but in spite of all their care the now familiar tracks were once more to be seen on the bank of the river in the morning.

“What-do-you-know-about-that?” Jack asked, as he gazed at the imprints. “I’d take my oath that nothing moved round here while I was on watch.”


“How’s Sicum?” Bob turned to the Indian as he asked the question.

“Sicum, him big fool dog yet.”

“But he’s getting better, isn’t he?”

“Some, but heap slow.”

“Suppose he’d track that thing?”

Kernertok shook his head: “We try um. Here, Sicum, you smell um track.”

But the dog only whined, and with his tail between his legs, slunk away from the tracks.

“Never mind, old fellow. We understand that it isn’t your fault,” and Bob, kneeling down, took the dog’s head between his hands and looked into his eyes.

The dog whined and eagerly licked his hand, as if fully appreciating the sympathy.

“He’ll come around in time,” Bob assured them. “Remember, he saved our lives once,” he added with a glance toward Jack.

“And he deserves our thanks and care if he never does another thing so long as he lives,” Jack declared, but Kernertok only shook his head sadly.

It was midafternoon when Rex, who at the time, was paddling in the bow, lifted his paddle and asked:

“What’s that roaring noise?”

“Him heap big falls,” Kernertok replied.

“Can we shoot them?”

“No. Have mak’ carry.”


The boys noticed that for some time the current had been growing swifter as the river narrowed. The banks on either side were very steep and from ten to thirty feet high.

“We land right round this curve,” Kernertok told them, as they approached a sharp bend in the river. “No other place before falls.”

“Which side?” Rex shouted.


As the canoe swept around the bend it was traveling at a speed of some fifteen miles or more an hour. The roar of the falls could now be plainly heard. Rex caught sight of the landing place, a narrow strip of sand between two large rocks, and dug his paddle into the water to turn the bow toward it. How it happened, he could never tell, but the paddle slipped from his hands just as he had the canoe headed for the shore. He made a frantic effort to recover it, nearly upsetting the boat, but the swift water whirled it away.

So quickly did it happen that the canoe swung around parallel with the shore before Jack, who was in the stern, realized what had happened.

“Dig into her, Jack boy,” Bob shouted.

But even as he spoke they all heard a loud snap above the rush of the water. Bob turned his head, his heart in his throat. Jack’s face was as white as chalk, as he held up the end of the broken paddle.


“God help us!” Bob groaned.

The canoe was nearly in the middle of the stream, which at this point is about sixty feet wide, and now was rushing with the speed of a race horse toward the falls, not more than a hundred rods away.

“Shall we try to swim it?” Rex shouted in a voice which was strangely calm.

“No can do,” Kernertok shouted back.

The boys realized the truth of the statement, as they glanced down at the swirling water.

“I wonder if this is the end,” Bob thought, as he gripped the sides of the canoe.

“Do we have a chance, Kernertok?” Jack shouted.

“God know,” the old Indian answered, so low that only Bob caught the words.

“Cling on tight,” Bob shouted, as the bow seemed to pause on the very brink of the falls where the water fell to the pool some twelve feet below.


So rapidly were they moving that the canoe seemed fairly to shoot off the top of the falls before it fell. Then down it dropped like a stone. As the canoe hit the water, Bob, who was sitting in the middle, tried to keep it on an even keel, but the weight carried it beneath the surface. As the water closed over his head he kicked himself free and struck out. But some unseen force seemed to be pulling him down. Struggle as he might, it seemed impossible to shake off the grip of the whirlpool. But with dogged determination he fought and finally, just as it seemed as though his lungs seemed on the point of bursting, his head emerged from the water. Shaking the water from his eyes he glanced about him. He was only a few feet from the rocky shore, and in another minute his feet touched bottom. He was safe, but where were the others?

He stood waist deep in the water gazing over the surface of the pool. Was that a head over there close under the falls? As he watched the object moved slowly and soon the form of the Indian rose from the water.

“Me on heap big rock,” he shouted as he caught sight of Bob.

“Where’s Jack and Rex?” Bob shouted back.

“Me no see um.”

“I’m all right,” a voice shouted from the opposite side.

It was Rex, and he waved his arms as he caught sight of Bob.

“Seen Jack?” Bob shouted at the top of his voice.

“No; haven’t you?”

Before Bob could answer Kernertok pointed down the stream. Bob followed his gesture and saw, some twenty feet from where he was standing, a small object moving slowly through the water.


“It’s Sicum,” he shouted.

“Him got something in him mouth,” Kernertok cried, still pointing.

Bob could see that the dog was tugging at something, and he quickly waded down to meet him.

“He’s got Jack,” he gasped as he reached the struggling dog.

Bob saw at once that his brother was unconscious, and fear that he might be dead gripped his heart as he laid him tenderly down on the sand. Blood was oozing from a cut at the back of the head, and Bob shuddered as he knelt and placed his ear over the heart.

“Don’t tell me that he’s dead,” Rex, who had crossed over some rocks a short distance below the falls, cried as he came running up.

“I—I can’t feel his heart beat,” Bob groaned, as he turned the boy over onto his stomach.

“Him hurt heap bad?” Kernertok panted, as he joined them.

“I’m afraid so,” Bob replied, as he placed his hands beneath Jack’s body and slowly raised him up.

A quantity of water ran from the boy’s mouth, and Bob repeated the movement as long as there was any result. Then turning him onto his back he said, “Now we’ll have to try artificial respiration. If we only had a pulmotor.”


Slowly he raised and lowered his arms, but the boy lay as dead. Rex and Kernertok stood with bowed heads, watching for the first sign of returning life.

“Come, Jack boy, you must come,” Bob repeated over and over again, as he continued the movement.

His heart began to grow faint when fully half an hour had passed, and still the boy gave no sign of life.

“I won’t give up,” Bob declared over and over, as he redoubled his efforts. “God won’t let him die.”

Rex had several times tried to make Bob let him relieve him, but he steadily refused and he could only kneel by his side and watch his face and pray.

“He’s coming, Bob,” he whispered suddenly, as he noticed a faint tinge of color in the boy’s cheeks. “Easy now.”

Rex placed his ear on Jack’s breast.

“He’s breathing,” he announced, as he raised his head.

“Thank God,” Bob cried, as he began the movements again. “Where’s Kernertok?”

“I don’t know. Haven’t seen him for some time, but I didn’t notice it.”

“It’s funny where he’s gone.”

The color in Jack’s cheeks slowly increased, and his breathing became deeper and more regular. Soon his eyes opened and he groaned.


“Jack boy,” Bob cried.


The whisper was so faint that Bob hardly heard it, but never had any sound seemed sweeter.

At that moment Kernertok emerged from the deep woods behind them. He was rubbing something in his hands as he ran towards them.

“Him heap better?”

“Yes, thank God, he’s come to,” Bob replied.

“Heap good,” the Indian bowed his head and the boys saw his lips move.

Soon Jack again opened his eyes and smiled as he glanced about him.

“White boy chew,” Kernertok ordered, as he knelt beside him and forced something between his teeth. “Injun had heap big hunt before find it,” he said, looking up at Bob.

At first Jack’s jaws moved but slowly, but as his strength began to return, he chewed faster.

“That heap good,” the Indian declared, as he put more of the crushed leaves in the boy’s mouth.

Rex was astonished at the rapidity of Jack’s recovery, but Bob, who knew something of the medicine which Kernertok had found, took it more as a matter of course. It was not long before Jack was able to sit up.

“How’d I get out?” he asked.


“If it hadn’t been for Sicum—” Bob began, but Rex interrupted him.

“Look at the dog,” he cried.

Sicum stood a few feet away wagging his tail violently, a thing he had not done since he had been beaten. It was the first time Bob had thought of the dog, and now he sprang toward him, and taking his shaggy head in his arms, he hugged him to his breast. Sicum accepted the caress with a low whine.

“Good old boy,” Bob whispered. “If it hadn’t been for you Jack would have been a goner for sure that time.”

Sicum wagged his tail as much as to say he understood.

Jack’s recovery was rapid, and they found that the cut on his head was slight, although it bled freely for a time.

“I remember feeling a bang on the back of my head just after I went under, and that was the last I knew until I saw you bending over me,” Jack told them. “But who pulled me out?”

“Your rescuer is standing there wagging his tail,” Bob told him, pointing to the dog.

“You mean he pulled me out?”

“Just that.”

“And in saving your life, I really believe he has gotten back his old self again,” Rex added.


“Jimminy crickets, but I’ll bet you’re right,” Jack declared. “Just look at him.”

It was a fact that the dog had lost all sign of his recent behavior, and as Jack spoke to him he bounded to him and nearly knocked him over in his eagerness.

“Good old fellow,” Jack said, as he patted his head. “Perhaps I’ll be able to return the compliment some day.”

“Wonder what’s become of the canoe,” Rex said.

“That’s so; first I’ve thought of it,” Bob added.

They all looked about the pool beneath the falls, but no canoe in sight.

“Would it stay down?” Rex asked.

“Not likely,” Bob replied.

“Her no stay down, no get caught on rock,” Kernertok confirmed Bob’s opinion.

“What’s that sticking up just around that point?” Rex asked, pointing to a place a little below them, where a point of land jutted out into the stream.

“Wait a minute and I’ll see,” Bob said, as he started toward the point.

“Here she is—what is left of her,” he shouted a moment later.


All except Jack, who was still too weak to move around much, hurried to the place. It was evident that the canoe, having risen to the surface, had been carried down until, caught in the little eddy, it had been whirled onto a sharp pointed rock, which had pierced the bottom near the bow. It was out several feet from the shore.

“Just a minute and I’ll have her in,” Bob said, as he waded out into the stream.

“I don’t think she’s damaged so much after all,” he said, as he pulled it up onto the shore. “But every bit of our stuff is gone.”

“That heap bad,” Kernertok shook his head sadly.

“I’ll say it is,” Bob agreed. “Here we are, miles from nowhere and nothing to eat. Oh, we won’t starve,” he added quickly, as he saw the look of alarm on Rex’s face.

“Suppose we look around and see if we can’t find some of the stuff,” the latter proposed.

“Afraid it’s not much use, but we’ll try.”

But although they hunted for some distance down the stream on both banks, they found nothing.

“That whirlpool at the foot of the falls has probably held it down as I thought,” Bob said ruefully. “I suppose it was knocked out of the canoe when it struck. If it hadn’t been it might have held the canoe down too.”

“No loss without some gain,” Rex declared, trying to speak cheerfully.

They lifted the canoe from the water and carried it back to where they had left Jack.


“Guess you’ll get a taste of real roughing it,” Bob said to Rex, as they placed the canoe on the ground bottom up.

“Reckon I can stand it if the rest of you can,” Rex smiled.

“You’re game all right,” Bob assured him.

“Let’s take an account of stock and see what we’ve got,” Jack proposed.

“That heap good,” Kernertok nodded his head. “Mebby we got much, mebby not.”

“I’m afraid the mebby not has it,” Bob said a moment later, after they had all searched through their pockets. “Still it might be worse.”

Each of them had a jack knife and Kernertok a small hatchet, which he usually carried strapped in his belt. The boys had their automatics, but all the ammunition save what was in the guns was lost. Bob had a water-proof match-safe containing a dozen matches and Jack found a short fish line and three hooks. That was all that they felt would be of any help to them.

“Well, if Jack Knowles could live six weeks in the Maine woods with absolutely nothing but his bare hands to depend on, I reckon we’ll make out,” Bob declared optimistically.

“It’s a cinch,” Jack agreed.

“Whatever you say goes here,” Rex added.

It was decided that Kernertok should set to work at once repairing the canoe.


“How about paddles?” Rex asked.

“Injun make um,” Kernertok assured him.

“It looks as though there might be some raspberries over there on the other side,” Bob pointed to a small clump of bushes a short distance back from the edge of the river. “If you’ll make a birch bark basket and see if you can find any I’ll see what I can do with this fish line.”


“And what am I to do?” Jack asked.

“You lay right where you are for the present,” Bob commanded.

In spite of his protests that he was all right, neither Bob or Rex would hear to his attempting to do any work, and after some argument he agreed to wait till he was stronger.

“It’s all bosh though,” he growled, as he leaned back against a tree and threw his arms about Sicum.

Rex went off in search of a birch tree and Bob after cutting a stout alder pole and fastening the line to it, began to dig under a stone, which he turned over, for angle worms. He had nothing but a stick with which to dig and the worms were, as he told himself, scarcer than hens’ teeth. But after nearly a half hour of persistent work he succeeded in getting six small worms.

“Be careful of that line,” Jack cautioned him. “A whole lot depends on it.”


“Don’t I know it,” he grinned, as he started off down the river.

He soon reached a promising looking place and, scrambling on to a large rock, he carefully lowered the hook into the water.

“Hope I don’t hook onto one of Jack’s whales,” he thought. “I’m afraid it would be good-bye line.”

Just then a sharp tug informed him that he had hooked onto something, and he pulled out a trout weighing a little over a pound. Each of the six worms served as well as the first, and in a few minutes he started back with six fish, all about the same size.

“We won’t go to bed hungry to-night at any rate,” he told Jack, as he held up the trout for his inspection. “Although,” he added, “our bill of fare will be pretty limited.”

“Reckon we can stand it,” Jack assured him.

Neither of the others had returned and Bob started to clean the fish. Kernertok returned just as he had finished, carrying birch bark and pitch, and a little later Rex came with nearly two quarts of large raspberries.

“Glad you didn’t get lost, old man,” Bob told him.

“You bet, I kept my eye on that tall tree there,” Rex laughed. “I see you got some fish.”


“Fish and raspberries for supper to-night,” Bob said.

“And enough is as good as a feast,” Rex laughed.

“We’ve got to be mighty sparing of these matches,” Bob said, as he gathered some dry leaves for a fire.

“How are you going to cook without anything to cook with?” Rex asked, after Bob had the fire going.

“If all our problems were as easy as that, I wouldn’t worry a bit,” he replied, piling on more wood. “One thing we aren’t short of and that’s wood.”

Bob found a place near the falls where there was a small amount of clay, and he soon had enough for his purpose.

“Going to make mud pies?” Rex laughed, as he saw him mixing the clay with water.

“Just that,” Bob laughed, as he smeared the clay over the fish until each one was incased in the mud. “We’re going to have trout served a la mud,” he declared.

Waiting until the fire had burned to a good bed of coals he dug a hole in the very center of them and buried the fish in it.

“I’m afraid they won’t be very good though without salt,” Bob said ruefully, as he raked away the coals a little later.

“Injun got salt.”


“You have?”

“Injun never go way in big woods no salt,” and he took from his pocket a small water-tight box. “Get long no have most anything, no get long no salt.”

“You’re right there,” Rex agreed. “Most things taste pretty flat without salt.”

By the time supper was ready Kernertok had the hole in the canoe repaired.

“Your mud pies are a great success, Bob,” Rex declared, after he had taken his first taste of the trout. “I never tasted anything quite so good as these.”

“Hope you won’t get sick of them before we get out of the woods.”

As soon as he had eaten Kernertok announced that he was going to find material out of which he could make paddles.

“There’s no great loss without some gain,” Bob declared, after the Indian had gone.

“What’s the gain?” Jack asked.

“Bet I can guess,” Rex laughed.

“Give you two guesses.”

“Only need one. There are no dishes to wash.”

“Right the first time.”



“Well, I suppose this means the end of this expedition.” Kernertok had not returned and the boys were sitting around the fire.

“What do you mean, end of the expedition?” Bob asked.

“Why, we’ll have to turn back now, won’t we?” Rex asked, with a note of sorrow in his voice.

“Turn back nothing. Have you any idea how long it would take us to paddle back up that river?”

“I didn’t think of that. I suppose it would take us longer to go back than it did to come down.”

“I’ll say it would,” Jack declared.

“What’ll we do then?”

“Unless I’m mistaken, that lake we’re after is not very far from here, and believe me, we’re going to make it if it’s a possible thing, after coming this far. If he’s there he’ll probably have a good stock of provisions and trout and raspberries will get kinder monotonous after a few meals.”


“I sure hope we’ve shaken off that lalapaloosla,” Jack said. “Sure and we’ve got trouble enough without that to help it along.”

“Perhaps we can track it if it comes around again, now that Sicum has got his nerve back,” Rex suggested.

“Mebby,” Bob agreed.

“Do you know it’s the strangest thing about that dog,” Rex said thoughtfully. “Do you suppose that plunge in the water made him forget all about his trouble?”

“Possibly he had gotten the idea in his head that he was old and of no more use and then when he pulled me out it convinced him that he had been mistaken and was as good as ever, all his old spunk returned.”

Just then Kernertok returned, carrying on his shoulder a small spruce tree about ten feet long and four inches through at the larger end.

“No could find cedar,” he said, as he threw the trunk down on the ground. “But spruce she do heap well.”


It was nearly dark, but the fire, which they kept burning brightly, gave a good light and he began work at once hewing out the paddles. Fortunately the little hatchet was sharp, but even so, it was slow work. It was late when at last he pronounced them finished. They were rough, to be sure, but Rex was amazed that they could be made so well with only a knife and a hatchet as tools.

“There’s not much outside of the canoe to watch to-night,” Bob said, after he had praised Kernertok’s skill.

“But that’s a very important article just now,” Jack asserted.

“Sicum him keep watch now him all right.” Kernertok was very positive in his statement.

“Then to make things doubly safe, I move that we make our beds two on each side of the canoe,” Bob suggested.

“Heap good think,” Kernertok grunted.

“Hope the weather stays warm till we get out,” Bob said. “If it should turn cold it would be mighty uncomfortable without blankets, and we’d better make the beds as close to the fire as possible, because it’s not going to be very hot round the edges along toward morning.”

It was nearly twelve o’clock by Rex’s watch, which, as it had a water-proof case, had not stopped, before they were ready for bed.

“It’s a mighty lucky thing that we went over in time to get our clothes dry before night,” Jack declared, as he stretched himself out on his bed of fragrant spruce boughs.


Bob and Rex had dragged onto the fire two good sized logs which they had found near the bank of the river, and Bob declared that they ought to keep it going until morning.

It was still dark when a low growl from the dog made Bob start up wide awake. He could see Sicum by the light of the fire, which still burned, standing a few feet away.

“What is it, boy?” he whispered.

The dog gave another low growl and Bob could see that the hair on his back was bristled. Just then Kernertok, who was on the same side of the canoe, awoke.

“Sicum hears something,” Bob whispered.

The dog paced back and forth, giving vent to low rumbling growls from time to time.

“White boy stay here, watch; Injun go see,” Kernertok whispered, and in another minute without making the slightest sound he was gone.

“Here Sicum,” Bob ordered in a low whisper.

The dog somewhat reluctantly came to his side.

“You stay right here. Remember what happened the last time you left camp alone.”

Bob strained his ears to listen, but except for the roaring of the water as it rushed over the falls, he could hear nothing. He had no way of telling the time, but it seemed to him a long time since the Indian had left, when he noticed that the east was beginning to lighten.

“Wonder why he doesn’t come,” he thought.


Soon it was daylight and Kernertok had not returned. He waited until he judged that another hour had passed and then woke Rex, but was careful not to disturb his brother.

“He needs all the rest he can get,” he told himself.

“S——h; don’t wake Jack,” he whispered, as he placed his hand on Rex’s arm. “Come over here a bit.”

As soon as they were far enough away so that they could talk without disturbing the sleeping boy, Bob told him what had happened.

“I can’t imagine what can be keeping him,” he finished.

“How long did you say he had been gone?”

“I didn’t say, but I should say not less than four hours. You know my watch isn’t going, so I had to guess at the time.”

“Sicum seems mighty uneasy.”

“He knows something’s wrong.”

The dog whined and showed an increasing disposition to take to the woods, but Bob restrained him with a word of command.

“If you’ll get some more of those berries, I’ll hook a few more trout, and if he doesn’t come by the time we’ve had breakfast we’ll have to go after him.”

They called Jack as soon as breakfast was ready.

“What’s the big idea?” he asked, sitting up and rubbing his eyes.


“We thought you needed to sleep,” Rex replied.

“Well, I want it distinctly understood from now on that I’m no invalid and don’t want to be treated like one. Where’s Kernertok?”

“I wish we knew,” Bob replied, and then told him of the happening in the night.

“Did you look to see if there are any more of those tracks?”

“No; I never thought of it to tell the truth.”

“Then let’s go see.”

As they reached the sandy spot, there, close to the water’s edge, were three of the imprints.

“Just as I expected,” Jack declared.

“Well, let’s get breakfast over with and if he hasn’t shown up by that time we’ll start out after him,” Bob said, as he turned back.

Breakfast was quickly cooked and eaten. Still there was no sign of the Indian.

“Suppose he has got lost!” Rex asked.

“Kernertok lost! You couldn’t lose that Indian in the State of Maine if you should blindfold him, let me tell you that,” Jack replied.

“Jack’s right about that,” Bob declared. “Kernertok knows the country up this way about as well as any man living, I reckon. No; it’s not a question of him being lost.”

“What then?”


“That’s it. What then?” Bob repeated. “But come on, let’s not lose any time. Here Sicum.”

After some argument and a good deal of objection on the part of Jack, who insisted that he was as strong as ever, it was decided that Bob and Rex should take up the search while Jack remained to guard the canoe.

“Now don’t you go too fast, boy,” Bob said to the dog, as he told him to go find Injun.

Sicum started off with a yelp of joy, and in spite of Bob’s warning, they had hard work to keep him in sight or hearing.

“Wish I’d had a leash to put on him,” Bob panted, as he called the dog back for the twentieth time.

Their course led them straight back from the river into the forest, and before they had gone far the ground began to rise, and the going became more and more difficult as they advanced.

“Does this hill have any top, I wonder?” Rex panted, as he pulled himself up by a bush. “I really believe we’ll be up in the clouds before long if we keep on going.”

It was nearly two hours since they had left Jack, and they were still climbing, when they heard the dog a few yards ahead give voice to a bark which Bob was quick to interpret.

“He’s found him,” he cried, as he hurried on closely followed by Rex.


A moment later they reached the spot where the dog was jumping frantically about, and, for the moment, they could scarcely believe their eyes. There, securely tied to a small spruce tree was the Indian. Over his head was a meal sack.

“Of all things!” Bob gasped, as he sprang forward. “Kernertok!”

But the old man made no reply, and Bob’s heart nearly stopped beating, as the fear came to him that his old friend was past help.

In an instant he had snatched the bag from his head. The old man’s eyes were closed and his head drooped low on his chest. Anxiously Bob placed his ear over his heart. To his joy he could hear the heart beats steady and fairly strong.

“He must have fainted,” he told Rex. “Here, you hold him, while I cut the ropes.”

In another moment the old Indian was lying on the ground, while Bob and Rex chafed his wrists. Presently his eyes opened.

“Don’t talk,” Bob cautioned. “Just lie still and rest. You’ll be all right in a minute.”

“Back heap sore,” he groaned.

They carefully turned him over onto his side and pulled up his shirt.

“Well-what-do-you-know-about-that?” Rex gasped.


“I know that whoever did it is going to settle accounts with me if I ever find him out,” Bob said and a look into his eyes told Rex that he was uttering no idle threat.

Criscrossed on the old man’s back were many broad whelts, evidently made by a heavy piece of rope.

“Oh, the brutes,” Bob groaned, as he carefully turned the Indian back. “Who did it, Kernertok?”

“Injun no know. No see um.”

“You mean that you didn’t see anybody?”

“No see um.”

“But what happened?”

“Injun walk along, him heap dark. No see um, no hear um. Bag drop on head. Two three men jump on Injun. No chance fight, heap too many.”

“But did they keep the bag on your head while they beat you?”

“No take bag off. Beat heap lot, then bang on head an’ no more.”

“I should say you did get a bang on the head,” Bob declared, as he felt a big lump on the back of the old man’s skull. “If I ever find out who did it I’ll, well he’d better look sharp, that’s all.”

After resting for about a half hour Kernertok declared that he was able to start back.

“Now you take it easy,” Bob cautioned him. “Remember, you are not as young as you were once.”


“Injun heap tough,” the old man grunted. “Take heap lot to kill him.”

“I’ll say it will,” Rex laughed.

Rex was astonished at the quick recovery of the old man and at his endurance. Indeed he was panting, when about an hour and a half later they got back to where Jack was waiting for them. The latter was overjoyed to see his old friend safe once more and was loud in his expression of indignation, as Bob told him what had happened.

“We’ll get those brutes sometime,” he declared, “and when we do, look out.”

While they had been away Jack had caught a good mess of trout and had picked several quarts of raspberries, so it took them but a short time to prepare dinner.

“Hadn’t we better rest the remainder of the day and start out good and early in the morning?” Bob asked Kernertok.

“We go now,” the Indian replied. “Injun all right. It only twenty mile more more down river, then twelve mile through woods to little lake.”

“All right, you’re the doctor,” Bob said.

“We’re sure traveling light, all right,” Rex laughed as they shoved off.

“Light is right,” Jack agreed. “A little too light for comfort. Hope we strike some grub soon.”


For the remainder of the distance down the stream the current was rapid, and they made splendid time. It was only a little after two o’clock when the Indian guided the canoe to a sandy spot and informed them that they were at the end of their trip, so far as travel by water was concerned.

“We better hide the canoe in a safe place,” Bob declared, as he stepped onto the shore.

“You bet,” Jack agreed. “We don’t want to come back here and find it gone. We sure would be in a pickle then.”

“We find um good place hide him,” Kernertok assured them.

Bob and Rex insisted on carrying the canoe, although Jack declared that he was getting tired of being treated like a baby and Kernertok insisted that he was all right.

“Injun heap tough,” he said several times, but the boys would not give in to him.

So with the Indian leading the way, they plunged at once into the dense forest of spruce and pine. For fully a quarter of a mile they carried the canoe before they found a hiding place which satisfied them. A thick clump of cedars, growing so closely together that it was impossible to see more than a few feet into it, offered what seemed to all of them, a secure place.


Using the utmost care to break no branches, they dragged the canoe into the center of the clump. After they emerged, Kernertok carefully removed all traces of their presence.

“Nobody find um now,” the Indian assured them, as he looked toward the cedars.

“I’ll say they won’t,” Rex declared. “But are you sure that we can find it again?”

“Trust Kernertok for that,” Bob reassured him.

Their way led through a forest more dense than Rex ever seen. The immense pines and spruce grew so closely together that at times it was only with great difficulty that they were able to make their way.

“I should think that there was lumber enough around here to supply the world for the next thousand years,” Rex declared, as they stopped for a short rest.

“There won’t be any great shortage for the next few years at any rate, I reckon,” Jack agreed.

“Is this what you call virgin forest?” Rex asked.

“How about it, Kernertok? Ever been any lumbering here?” Bob turned to the Indian.

Kernertok shook his head.

“No think so. Injun no remember it.”

After they had been walking about two hours the ground began to rise and the boys noticed that the trees were a little farther apart.

“How high is this hill, Kernertok?” Jack panted, after they had been climbing for some time.


“Him big hill, heap high.”

“Is the lake on the other side of it?” Bob asked.

“Lake on top, ’bout two three mile long.”

“How big is it?”

“Him no heap big. Mebby one mile long.”

As they neared the top their way became more and more steep, as the trees gave way to large rocks and cliffs, many of them so steep that they were obliged to make long detours to get around them.

“I’d call this a big hill,” Jack panted, as he pulled himself up by a bush.

“More like a mountain,” Rex declared.

“We near top now. Better keep heap still,” Kernertok cautioned.

“Mum’s the word,” Bob whispered.

There was no more talking as they struggled upward, now clinging to friendly bushes and then creeping carefully around an immense rock. Finally they reached a small plateau only a short distance from the summit, and here Kernertok advised that they eat their supper and wait until after dark before going farther.

“No want man see us first,” he said.

“Righto,” Bob agreed.

Eating supper was a very simple affair, as they had only fish and raspberries left from dinner.

“The larder’s pretty near the vanishing point,” Jack groaned.


“Well, I guess we can catch some more fish in that lake, but I don’t think we’ll be able to find any berries up here,” Bob declared.

The sun was sinking like a big ball of fire in the west as they ate, and soon the shades of night began to steal over the forest, while a new moon gave promise of a small amount of light. They had not heard a sound since stopping, save the gentle rustle of the wind, as it swept through the branches of a tall pine which grew a little to their right.

“We go now, heap still,” Kernertok announced about eight o’clock.

On the mountain top the moon gave sufficient light to enable them to see for some distance, and they were only a few minutes in reaching the top.

Rex happened to be next to the Indian and suddenly he started with a gasp of surprise.

“It’s fairyland.”

“You’re not far off,” Bob whispered, as he seized his friend by the arm. “Did you ever see anything more beautiful?”

There in a hollow, seemingly about twenty feet from where they stood, lay the lake. It was nearly circular in shape and bordered by a fringe of trees, and at that moment the moon shed a silvery pathway directly across the center.

For some minutes not another word was spoken as they looked on the scene.


“I’m afraid it’ll vanish if I speak,” Jack finally whispered.

At that moment Rex caught his arm in a firm grip.


Jack drew in his breath sharply, as he gazed out over the little sheet of water.

“What is it?” he asked.

It was no wonder that he asked the question, for out there seemingly floating in the air about three feet above the surface of the lake was the dim outline of a canoe, and in it was a figure in white, lazily wielding a paddle. The light was not sufficient to afford them more than a hazy outline of the strange craft and its ghostly occupant, and soon it passed out of the moon’s path and vanished in the shadow of the tall pines at the edge of the water.

“White Flower,” Jack whispered.

“White Flower your eye,” Bob mocked. “I’ll bet a thirty-eight would make short work of that ghost.”

Rex looked anxiously at Kernertok to see how he took the vision, and was relieved to note that there was an expression of contempt on the old man’s face.

“But that canoe was floating above the water,” Jack insisted.


“Seemed to be, you mean,” Bob replied. “Refraction of light could cause that.”

“I suppose so, but, believe me, it looked spooky, all right.”

“And no doubt that’s just the effect whoever’s doing it wanted to produce.”

“Well, I congratulate him on his success,” Jack laughed. “He’s sure got the goods, all right, when it comes to effects.”

“What’ll we do, Kernertok?” Bob asked.

“We go round where white canoe went. Go heap easy.”

The point where the canoe had vanished was about half way to the other side of the lake from where they were standing. They started, Kernertok leading the way, and had gone perhaps a little over a mile when he stopped.

“White boys stay here, Injun go see what to see,” he whispered.

“Look out you don’t get another crack on the head,” Bob cautioned.

“Injun look heap sharp,” he grunted, as he disappeared in the darkness, which, now as the moon had set, was intense.

“That guy in that canoe was never John Stebbins,” Rex whispered, as they stretched out close together beneath a large spruce.

“What makes you think so?” Jack asked.


“Because he hasn’t got enough originality in his makeup to plan a thing like that. He’s the most prosaic fellow you ever saw. Steady and all that, but I don’t believe he ever doped out a scheme of any kind in his life. It simply isn’t in his make-up.”

“And yet he got all that money,” Bob suggested.

“I know, but I’ll bet my hat that some one else planned it.”

“Any idea who?”

“Nary an idea, but it must have been some one besides him. You’d say the same thing if you knew him as I do.”

“Still waters run deep,” Jack reminded him.

“Not always,” Rex declared. “Stebbins was still enough, goodness knows, but he absolutely was not deep.”

“Well there’s some one connected with this affair who’s deep enough,” Bob said. “You know as well as I that somebody has been trying to scare us away from here. There’s that arrow and those tracks. It’s mighty lucky for us that Kernertok knows enough to be above superstition. I’ll bet there’s not another Indian in the state that wouldn’t have turned back long ago.”

“I dare say you’re right,” Rex agreed. “But I still insist that John Stebbins is not the one who is managing the fracas.”

“I wonder,” Bob mused.


“That idea’s been in the back of my mind ever since he skipped,” Rex continued. “I’d have banked on his honesty and I know that Father felt the same way about him.”

“Well, if we have any luck and if he’s up here we ought to clear the mystery up pretty soon or—”

“Or go hungry,” Jack interrupted.

“You said it,” Bob added.

“It’s about time Kernertok was getting back, I should think,” Jack said a little later.

“Hope he hasn’t gotten into trouble again,” Rex declared.

“I don’t think he has,” Bob assured him. “He got caught once and he won’t be likely to let ’em put it over on him a second time.”

As if in confirmation of Bob’s words the Indian, without making a sound, was at their side.

“What did you find?” Bob asked in a whisper.

“Little log cabin close to lake ’bout three four hundred feet away. Injun creep up close. No hear sound. Injun wait close under window. Pretty soon hear breath. Injun listen. No more sound. Injun come back.”

“Then you don’t know how many there are?”

“Injun no tell.”

“Sure no one saw you?”

“Heap sure. Injun no make noise.”

“I’ll bet you didn’t,” Jack muttered.


“What’s next?” Bob whispered.

But before the Indian could reply a sound broke the silence.

“What in the world was that?” Jack gasped.

“Listen,” Bob whispered.

Again the sound came to their ears. Beginning with a low rumble it grew louder until it ended in a piercing shriek.

“What is it, Kernertok?” Bob asked.

“Injun no know,” he replied.

“It’s only some more of their attempts to scare us,” Jack declared.

“And we don’t scare worth a cent,” Bob added.

Four times the cry rang out over the lake, and then all was still.



“Does a lalapaloosla make a noise like that?” Bob asked, as the last strain of the weird cry died out.

“Only the red ones, and they don’t raise that kind in Maine.”

“But what’ll we do next?” Bob turned to the Indian once more.

“We find good place watch cabin,” he replied.

“That’s a good plan, I should say,” Jack agreed. “We may find out just what we’re up against.”

Led by the Indian, they crept softly toward the lake, until they reached the edge of the forest.

“Here heap good place,” Kernertok announced in a loud whisper.

It was so dark where they stood that they could scarcely see each other when standing close together, but Kernertok told them that the cabin was only a few yards from them.

“White boys go sleep, Injun and Sicum keep watch.”


“Not so you’d notice it,” Bob insisted. “I know you haven’t got over that beating and you need the rest.”

Kernertok insisted that he was all right, but Bob wouldn’t listen to him. However, it was only after he told the Indian that he wouldn’t go to sleep anyhow and that if he sat up he would do the same that the old man finally yielded the point. Both Rex and Jack tried to get him to let them watch, but he was firm, and as usually the case, made them give in to him.

“Now stop your fussing and get to sleep like good children,” he said.

“But you’ve got to promise to call me at one o’clock,” Jack persisted.

“And me too,” Rex broke in.

“All right, I’ll promise.”

“I could eat a bit more supper if I had it,” Jack said, as he stretched out on the ground.

“That’s all right,” Rex added. “But how about breakfast?”

“Sufficient unto the day is the food thereof,” Bob grinned.

“Yes, but there wasn’t sufficient,” Jack growled.

“Well, there’ll be less to-morrow unless we strike something,” Bob assured him.

“There can’t be very much less than there is right now,” Jack retorted with a long sigh.


Bob called Rex and Jack according to his promise at one o’clock and reported that everything had been quiet.

“No more lalapalooslas howling around?” Jack laughed.

“Haven’t heard any.”

“Well, here’s hoping they will keep quiet for the rest of the night.”

“How still it is,” Jack whispered a little later, as he and Rex sat with their backs against a spruce tree.

“It’s so still you can almost feel it,” Rex agreed. “I’d give a good bit to know who’s in that cabin,” he added in a whisper.

“Well, we’ll probably find out before many hours. It’ll be light now in about three hours.”

“And I’ll bet they’ll seem like three years.”

“What did you think of that spook out on the lake?” Jack asked a few minutes later.

“It did look spooky for a fact, but I imagine that Bob’s explanation was about right. Things often look displaced in the night and especially in the moonlight, you know.”

“But what would anyone be doing out there at that time?”

“Ask me something easy. It’s quite evident that someone knows we are up here and is trying to throw a scare into us, and—”


“No doubt about that,” Jack interrupted.

“And there are two questions in my mind regarding it.”

“And I’ll bet I can guess them both first time.”

“All right, go ahead.”

“First you’d like to know who it is and second you’d like to know what they know about us, or rather what they think they know. How’s that?”

“You’re pretty near right on both counts. The main thing that’s puzzling me is whether or not Stebbins is mixed up in it.”

“What makes you think he isn’t?”

“I didn’t say I did think so, but as I was saying awhile ago, he’s not that kind of a guy.”

“Well, it seems to me—” Jack began, when he was interrupted by a sound which seemed to come from the direction of the lake.

“Listen,” he whispered.

“Sounds like a groan,” Rex replied after a moment.

“Let’s get up a bit nearer the cabin,” Jack suggested.

Followed by Rex he crept carefully forward on his hands and knees. It was very dark now, as the moon had set some time before and they had to feel their way as they advanced foot by foot.

“I think I can see the cabin,” Jack whispered, after they had gone a few yards.


The groaning had been repeated several times since they had first heard it, and now they were certain that the sound came from the cabin.

“Sounds as though someone was having a nightmare,” Rex whispered.

“What had we better do?” Jack asked, as he stopped a moment later. “We’re only a few feet away from the cabin now.”

“We want to be mighty careful for one thing,” Rex cautioned in a low whisper. “If we should get caught now all our work would probably go for nothing.”

“Let’s camp right here then.”

They stretched themselves flat on the ground behind a small clump of small cedars and listened.

“That’s no nightmare, if you ask me,” Jack declared, after a few minutes had passed and the sound still continued.

“Guess you’re right,” Rex agreed. “Who ever’s making that noise would have waked up before this if he was asleep.”

“My idea exactly. But somebody in there’s pretty bad off, unless it’s being done for our special benefit. The trouble is, we can’t tell which is right.”

“What do you think we’d better do?”

“I think we had better get back, if you ask me. It’ll be light in a short time now, and if we stay here much longer we may spill the beans, and it’s too much of a risk to do any investigating in the dark.”


So they crept back to their former position and waited with what patience they could summon until daylight stole over the forest.

“I hate like the dickens to wake Bob and Kernertok so early,” Jack whispered. “But I feel it in my bones that something is going to happen before long.”

“What you call a hunch, eh?”

“Something of the sort.”

“You did just right, son,” Bob declared a few minutes later, after Jack had apologized for calling him and Kernertok so early. “We don’t want to lose a single bet now.”

After a brief whispered conference it was decided to separate two and two and keep a close watch at both the front and back of the cabin.

“Jack, you and Kernertok stay here where you can see the rear, and Rex and I’ll get round where we can see the front. If either sees anything the whip-poor-will call will be the signal. All right?” Bob asked.

“All right is right,” Jack nodded his head.


Bob and Rex crept slowly toward the lake and soon found a position where they had a fair view of the front of the cabin without much risk of being seen. They could hear nothing of the groans and Rex whispered that he hardly thought they would be able to hear them at that distance. For over an hour they watched, and both boys were beginning to get uneasy, when suddenly the door opened and a man stepped out, and a moment later he was followed by two others.

“I thought as much,” Bob whispered. “You remember them, don’t you?”

“Sure; it’s Jacques Harbaugh and his two friends.”

“And the plot thickens,” Bob whispered, as he bent slightly forward to get a clearer view. “But I must signal the others.” And the clear shrill call of the whip-poor-will floated out in the still air.

For ten minutes or a little more the three men stood in front of the cabin talking in tones too low for the boys to catch any of the conversation. Then they went inside and a few minutes later smoke began to pour from the chimney.

“They’re getting breakfast, and I guess we might as well go back and tell Jack and Kernertok who’s here,” Bob suggested.

“I had a good-sized hunch that those fellows were mixed up in the case,” Jack declared, as soon as he learned of the presence of the three men. “What do you make of it?”


“Well, of course, it’s largely guesswork, but my guess is that they have Stebbins in that cabin and are holding him prisoner for some reason or other, hence the groans which you heard,” Bob said.

“And I’ll say you’re some guesser,” Jack replied, casting a questioning glance at Kernertok.

“Him heap good at guess,” the Indian agreed.

“What’s the next move then?” Rex whispered.

“I guess it’s their next move,” Bob said. “You see, they’re all powerful as well as desperate men, and we don’t want to come to a showdown with them if we can help it, until we have bigger odds on our side. I tell you those fellows would put a bullet through one of us as quick as lightning if he thought his safety depended on it.”

“Then you think—”

“That we’d better lay low for a while in the hope that they’ll go away and give us a chance to see what’s inside that cabin without meeting them,” Bob interrupted.

“That heap good plan,” Kernertok nodded his head.

“Then we’d better get back where we were, I suppose,” Rex suggested.

“Right away I should say,” Bob agreed.


It was nearly eight o’clock before the three men again emerged from the cabin. This time they did not hesitate, but made their way at once down to the shore of the lake, and by parting the bushes in front of him, Bob saw that they got into a canoe and started swiftly down the lake.

“Come on,” he whispered to Rex. “Let’s get back and tell Jack and Kernertok.”

“So you think the coast is clear,” Jack said, as soon as they had told what they had seen.

“It is, so far as those three are concerned.”

It was quickly decided that Kernertok should stay outside and keep watch while the three boys went into the cabin.

“Me an’ Sicum keep heap good watch,” the Indian assured them, as they started off.

They paused to listen, as they were close beside the cabin, but all was still. The tiny windows were too high to permit them to peep in from the ground, and besides they were so covered with dirt that Bob declared it would be impossible to see through them even if they got up high enough. So they quickly made their way around to the front. The door was closed and fastened with a heavy padlock.

“No getting in here without breaking that lock,” Bob declared. “Let’s see what it looks like around back.”

But the prospect was not much more promising, as the small door evidently was fastened with a bar on the inside, and although they pushed against it with all their strength, they were not able to make the slightest impression on it.


“Guess we’ll have to try the windows after all,” Bob declared, as he stepped back after a final push.

“All right, let’s make it snappy,” Jack agreed, as he started around to the side.

Here there were two small windows, each of a single pane of glass about twelve by fourteen inches. Bob took a stand under one of them and in an instant Jack was on his shoulders.

“Can’t see a blamed thing,” he declared a moment later.

“Is it puttied on the outside?” Bob asked.

“No; it’s just set into the frame from the inside.”

“Then we’ll have to smash it, I reckon.”

“How about cutting it with this diamond ring?” Rex asked, as he pulled the ring from his finger and passed it up to Jack.

It was but the work of a moment to make a deep scratch on the four sides of the glass close to the edge. Then by hitting it lightly with his pocket knife, he soon started a crack, and a moment later the pane fell in with a loud smash. Eagerly the boy pushed his head in and looked about.

“What about it?” Bob whispered loudly.

“Not much,” Jack replied, as he withdrew his head and leaped to the ground. “It’s about the same as you’d expect. An old stove, a table and a few old chairs and lots of dirt.”

“There’s no one there?”


“I didn’t say that. There are some bunks on the other side of the room, but it’s not light enough to see whether there’s any one in them or not.”

“Can you squeeze through?”

“Mebby, but it’ll be pretty close.”

“We’ll pull you out if you get stuck,” Rex assured him, as Jack again mounted to Bob’s shoulders.

It was but a minute’s work to pick out the thin strips of glass from the frame, and this accomplished, he began the task of squirming through. It was, as he said, a mighty close squeeze, but he was an adept at squirming through small openings. Indeed, Bob had often declared that he believed Jack could squeeze his way through a key hole if he had to. Once he thought he was stuck, but he managed to free himself, and after a few minutes he dropped lightly to the floor. In another moment he had unbarred the back door and admitted the others.

As they stood in the open doorway, a low groan reached their ears. Bob quickly ran to the side of the room where the bunks were. After a single glance he started back in amazement. Then, recovering himself, he stepped forward again and bent over for a closer look.


Bound hand and foot, his mouth tightly gagged, lay the form of a man. His eyes were closed and his face, covered with a stubble of several days’ growth, was gaunt almost to the point of emaciation. It was evident to Bob that the man was unconscious, if not at the point of death.

“Is this Stebbins?” he whispered to Rex, who was close behind him.

“I—I think so,” Rex stammered. “But it’s hard to tell, he’s so changed. Let me see his right hand. Yes, it’s he all right,” he declared a moment later, as he held up the man’s right hand. “See that middle finger.”

The first joint of the finger was gone and the fact settled the identity of the man beyond all question.

“See if you can find some water, Jack,” Bob ordered, as he drew out his knife and cut the ropes.

Jack was back almost immediately with a pan of water, and dipping his handkerchief in it, Bob proceeded to wet the man’s forehead, while Jack and Rex rubbed his wrists. In a few minutes their efforts were successful. The man groaned, and a moment later opened his eyes. At first there was no recognition in them, but as he glanced from one to the other, his eyes finally rested on Rex.

“Do you know me, old man?” Rex asked.

The man was too weak to reply, but from the look in his eyes they knew that he had recognized him.


“Don’t try to talk now,” Rex said bending over him. “It’s all right and we’ll have you on your feet in no time.”

“He’s nearly starved to death,” Bob whispered to Jack. “See what you can find. Some condensed milk mixed with water will be all right if you can find it.”

In the back of the room was a small closet, and Jack was delighted to find it well stocked with provisions, including several cans of milk. He quickly opened one of the latter with his knife, and pouring the contents into a dipper, he thinned it with water.

“Drink a little of this,” Bob cautioned. Then turning to Jack he ordered: “You get the fire going and I’ll see if I can find some oatmeal or something to make some gruel of. He’s got to have something a bit more substantial than that condensed milk.”

“But how about those fellows seeing the smoke?” Rex asked.

“We’ll have to take a chance on that. This man will die if we don’t get something inside him, and if they return we’ll have to do the best we can. Anyhow Kernertok’ll give us the word so they can’t take us by surprise.”


An hour later, after the man had taken as much of the gruel as Bob dared to give him, he seemed considerably stronger and the boys began to remember that they had had no breakfast themselves. Thanks to the provisions in the cabin this condition was soon remedied and a goodly portion taken out to Kernertok and Sicum. Stebbins was sleeping quietly as they returned to the cabin.

“What’s the next move?” Jack whispered.

“That’s the big question,” Bob replied. “That man won’t be fit to move for two or three days at the most, and they’ll probably be back before night at the longest.”

“That’s a safe bet at any rate,” Jack agreed. “And it’s another safe bet that they’ll make mince meat of us if we give them the chance.”

“Well we mustn’t give them the chance, that’s all,” Bob said, shaking his head.

“I think we’re unanimous on that point,” Rex broke in. “The only question seems to be how we’re going to help it.”

“We’ve got three good persuasive automatics, which will help some if it comes to a show down,” Bob declared. “I wish we had the rifle, but there’s no use worrying over that.”

“And there’s food enough here to stand a siege for two or three weeks if we have to,” Jack said slowly.

“Well it seems to me about the only thing we can do,” Rex said in a tone of resignation.

About eleven o’clock Stebbins awoke and Bob fed him some more of the gruel, and he seemed much stronger and inclined to talk.


“Better wait a little longer,” Bob continued. “You want to get your strength back as soon as you can, you know, and it will tire you to talk now.”

With a sigh, the man lay back on the bed and closed his eyes.

“He’ll be strong enough to tell us his story when he wakes up again and has had one more feed,” Bob whispered.

They prepared a good dinner, with the help of some trout which Jack got from a little brook a short distance up the lake. They had just finished cleaning up when Stebbins again opened his eyes and asked for food. As soon as he had finished eating, he declared that he was much stronger and insisted on talking.

“All right, but take it easy and stop as soon as you begin to feel tired,” Bob cautioned.

“I took the money,” he began slowly, looking at Rex, “but I want you to believe that I’m not so bad as you must think. It started the year before I went to work for your father. I was cashier in a bank in Waterville, and a large sum of money disappeared. No, I didn’t take it, but I knew that they suspected me and I was unable to prove that I was innocent. They never found out who took it, and after a time I resigned. At the time a big half-breed by the name of Jacques Harbaugh was janitor of the bank. He never liked me, as I had to reprimand him many times for poor work. Although Jacques is a half-breed, he is a pretty sharp fellow.”


Here Stebbins paused and the boys urged him to rest before telling more, but in a few minutes he insisted that he was strong enough to proceed.

“Well, I was happy in Philadelphia, and had nearly forgotten all about the matter, when suddenly, about three months ago, I met Jacques on Chestnut Street. He knew me at once. As a matter of fact, he had been hunting for me for some days. To make a long story short, he had found or made up a bit of evidence which seemed to prove conclusively that I had stolen that money so many years ago. I realize now that I was weak, but at that time I was scared so that I hardly knew what I was doing. Jacques promised that he would keep still about it, provided I paid him a large sum of money. Otherwise he declared that he would go back to Waterville and give me away. The sum, fifty thousand dollars, was entirely beyond my means, and I told him so. But he had learned in some way of my position and hinted that I could get the money all right. Finally I yielded, and it was arranged that we should meet up here, a place we both knew about.”

“But the amount you took was a good deal more than fifty thousand,” Rex interrupted.


“I know it, but as I had the chance, I thought I might as well take all I could get. As well be hanged for an old sheep as a lamb, you know. But I’ve got the money safe, and if possible, you shall have every cent of it back. You see, I got here first and had a day to think things over and made up my mind that I would give the money back and let Jacques do his worst. So I hid it in a place where no one can ever find it. I had just finished when Jacques and two other men arrived. I told them that I didn’t have the money and that they could do what they pleased about it. Of course, he was furious and insisted that I was lying and that I had the money. They have kept me here ever since and have done all sorts of things to make me tell where it is, but I made up my mind that I wouldn’t even if they killed me. If you hadn’t come just about when you did I’m afraid it would have been—”

Before he was able to finish the sentence the back door opened and Kernertok stole softly in.

“Men coming,” he announced. “Be here heap soon.”

“How far away are they?” Bob asked.

“Mebby quarter mile, no more.”

“All three of them?”

“All three.”

“All right. Bar that back door, Jack.”

“What are you going to do?” Rex asked anxiously.


“The only thing we can do. Just wait and see what they will do,” Bob replied.

“One thing’s on our side, and that is that we’ve got all the food and I reckon we can stand a siege longer than they can,” Jack declared.

“I’m not so sure about that,” Bob said slowly shaking his head. “Remember, they are skilled woodsmen, and I guess they can find plenty to eat such as is. They won’t starve.”

“They’re just landing,” Rex, who was watching from a little front window, announced.

“Quick! Get that front door barred,” Bob said. “I nearly forgot that.”

Fortunately the front door as well as the back was made to be fastened with a heavy bar of wood, and it was but an instant’s work to slip the bar in its place.

“Now keep quiet,” Bob cautioned, “and be sure to keep out of range of the windows. Remember, they would shoot us quick as a wink if they got the chance.”

The men were evidently in good humor, for they could hear them talking and laughing as they approached the cabin. Soon they heard one of them fumbling with the lock, and a moment later there came a heavy shove against the door, followed by an oath in French.


“We’ve got them guessing,” Jack whispered.

“Hush,” Bob cautioned.

For a moment all was still, then they could hear the man talking rapidly in broken French. Then came another push against the door, followed by more excited talking.

“They’re coming round back,” Rex whispered.

A moment later a shout from one of the breeds announced the discovery of the broken window. For several minutes after that they could hear no sound.

“Wonder what they’re up to,” Jack whispered.

“Guess they’re trying to make out what it means,” Bob replied.

Almost as he spoke there came the loud report of a revolver, and a bullet buried itself in a log on the side opposite the open window.

“They’re at a loss to know whether their prisoner has got free or some one has got in,” Bob suggested.

For another moment all was silent, then from directly beneath the open window came the voice of Jacques Harbaugh.

“You open dat door, oui, or we bust heem in.”

Bob held up his hand as a signal not to answer.

“When we geet in we keel you you no open door.”

Again Bob signaled for silence.

“Keep him guessing,” he whispered.


“You Stebbins, what you mean, eh?” Jacques’s voice now had more of a coaxing note in it.

“Guess he’s afraid to peep in,” Jack whispered.

After a short time they heard the man moving away from the cabin, and for fully half an hour there was no sound from outside.

“They’re hunting for a log with which to batter in the door, I reckon,” Bob whispered.

“Can they do it?” Rex asked.

“Well, it’s a pretty strong door, but with a heavy log, I suppose they can knock it from the hinges give them time enough,” Bob answered.

“Which we won’t,” Jack said.

“Well, you’d better make up your mind just how you’re going to stop them, for here they come,” Rex cried a few minutes later.



Bob jumped to Rex’s side and looked out the little window just in time to see the three men running toward the cabin with a log nearly ten feet long, and as big around as his leg.

“Get out your guns and be ready to cover them if she gives way,” he cried, in a low but distinct voice.

He had hardly finished speaking when the end of the log propelled by the great strength of the three men smashed against the door with a bang, which seemed to fairly shake the cabin. An ordinary door would have been shivered to pieces by the blow, but up in the Maine woods they make things to hold, and the only effect, so far as they could see, was a slight loosening of one of the hinges.

“About three more of them will knock out the hinges,” Bob declared, as he saw the men stepping back for a second rush.

“’Bout time to stop ’em, isn’t it?” Jack asked.


“Yes, I guess so, if we can,” Bob replied somewhat doubtfully.

As he spoke he pushed open the little window and looked out. The men had stopped about twenty feet from the door and had placed the log on the ground to recover their wind before making the second trial.

“Better not try it again,” he shouted, holding his automatic in his hand in such a way that the men could not fail to see it.

All three men gave a sudden start of surprise, and for a moment no one spoke. Then the leader, Jacques Harbaugh, stepped slowly toward the window.

“That’s near enough,” Bob told him, when he had advanced about half way to the window.

“So it’s you, oui?”

“Looks like it.”

“What you want up here?”

“Do you need to ask?”

“Me ask jess the same.”

“All right. I don’t mind telling you. We came for Mr. Stebbins.”

“Oui? You find heem, eh?’

“Sure we did.”

“What you tink you do with heem?”

“We’ll take him back with us.”


“Non!” And Bob could see a look of fierce determination on the face of the man as he spat out the word. “You never tak’ heem back till heem tell us where dat monies.”

“You may be right, but we’re going to make a big try for it just the same, and in the meantime don’t forget that we are well armed, and the first man who comes within ten feet of this cabin will get a hunk of lead in him.”

“We see ’bout dat.”

“All right, but remem—”

A violent pull which jerked Bob back into the room interrupted the sentence, and it was not a second too soon, for as he fell back onto the floor a shot rang out and a bullet buried itself in a log at the back of the room.

“That was pretty close,” Bob gasped, as he picked himself up.

“I’ll say it was,” Jack agreed. “If I hadn’t been peeping out through that crack and see that other fellow pull his gun, we’d have had two invalids on our hands.”

“To say nothing of a dead one,” Bob returned soberly. “It was very careless of me to take my eyes off those other two fellows. I might have known.”

“Well, let’s hope that those fellows haven’t much ammunition with them,” Jack said, as he again peeped out through the crack.

“What are they doing?” Bob asked.


“Just standing there talking.”

“It’s a lucky thing for us that this cabin is made of good big logs and not of thin boards. We’re safe for the time being if we keep out of line with the windows.”

“But those fellows aren’t going to give up easy, and don’t you kid yourself that they are,” Jack declared, with his eyes still at the crack. “They’re playing for big stakes.”

“I know,” Bob replied. “But don’t forget that we are playing for the same stakes.”

“You bet.”

“And what’s more, we’re going to win out.”

“You bet.” It was Rex who responded this time.

“They’re going down toward the lake,” Jack announced a moment later. “They’re getting into their canoe and pushing off. They’re paddling up the lake.”

“What do you suppose they’re up to now?” Rex asked.

“Hard to say,” Bob replied, “but one thing is sure, they’ll be back before long and they won’t go far; not far enough but they’ll know if we leave the cabin.”

“They’ve gone out of sight around the point,” Jack said, as he straightened up.


“And that’s about as far as they’ll go,” Bob declared. “Now we ought to have a peep hole on each side of the room. That crack is all right for the front, but there doesn’t seem to be any at the back and sides.”

“Then I guess it’s up to us to make ’em,” Jack declared.

“Spoken like a general,” Bob laughed. “Go to it.”

In the closet Jack soon found a long, slim knife, and with it set to work digging out the clay and moss between two logs near the center of the back. It was slow work, as the clay was almost as hard as cement, but he stuck at it and in the course of an hour had a hole through large enough to give a clear view of the ground at the back.

“Now for the sides,” he said, as he selected a point near the middle.

Meantime Stebbins had been fed small amounts of the gruel at frequent intervals and was gaining his strength rapidly, although he had been forbidden to get out of the bunk.

“I don’t suppose it’s any use to tell you how sorry I am,” he said to Rex, who was sitting by his side.

“That’s all right, old fellow, I think I understand what you were up against and your resolve to make good, even though it cost you your life has wiped out all the fault,” Rex assured him.


A look of great joy lighted up the thin face of the man.

“Then you can forgive me?”

“Sure thing, and forget it, too.”

“But your father.”

“Will feel exactly as I do about it,” Rex assured him, as he took his hand.

“Thank God,” Stebbins murmured, as he sank back and closed his eyes.

“There, we’ve got peep holes on all four sides,” Jack announced awhile later, “and I, for one, am mighty hungry.”

“Which is a chronic condition if I know anything about you,” Bob laughed.

“But dinner’ll be ready in about fifteen minutes. Think you can hold out that long?”

“I’ll try,” Jack sighed.

During the afternoon they kept close watch at the peep holes, but nothing was seen of the three men.

“All the same, I’ll bet a cent they’re not far off,” Bob declared.

“I wouldn’t take you,” Jack said.

“They watch heap sharp, see if we start go way,” Kernertok suggested.

“My idea exactly,” Bob agreed. “They think that if they can only get us out of the cabin we will be at their mercy.”


“Well, we’ll just fool them,” Jack declared.

“That’s all right so far as it goes, but the trouble is it doesn’t go very far,” Bob said. “I don’t know how you fellows feel about it, but it seems to me that we’re up against it good and hard. Those fellows aren’t going to let all that money slip through their hands if they can help it, and I think it’s about time that we were taking account of stock and finding out where we’re at.”

“No doubt about it,” Rex said, adding, “I’m mighty sorry—”

“Now nix on that stuff,” Jack interrupted. “We know all about it, and again I say nix.”

“Then we’d better go into executive session and discuss ways and means,” Bob suggested. “Kernertok, you’re the oldest and wisest. What’s your idea?”

For a time the old Indian sat with bowed head, then he got to his feet and said:

“Injun think only one thing do. It get heap dark pretty soon. Heap cloudy, no moon. Injun creep out, get canoe, go down river to St. Francis. Get help, back soon as can.”

“How far is it to St. Francis?” Bob asked.

“’Bout twenty mile from canoe.”

“Then you ought to get back some time to-morrow.”

The Indian nodded his head.


“What say, fellows?” Bob turned to Rex and Jack.

“I’d say it’s our best bet,” Jack agreed readily.

“Same here,” Rex joined in.

“Then Injun go soon as dark come.”

“Do you suppose there’s any possibility of getting any one with our radio?” Jack asked a little later.

“I doubt it,” Bob replied, shaking his head. “Wave length’s too short, but it won’t do any harm to try. If we’d only had brains enough to have left one of them at home we’d have had some help on the way before this.”

For a long time Jack tried to reach a station by means of the pocket set, but finally was forced to admit it was of no use.

“If we get out of this scrape, the first thing I’m going to do is to lengthen out that wave,” he declared, as he placed the case on the table.

As Kernertok had predicted, the night came on early and dark, for which they were very thankful. Had it been moonlight it would have been extremely difficult for him to get away, provided their enemies were on the watch, as the cabin stood in a clearing and on no side did the forest come nearer than twenty feet.

It was shortly after half past eight o’clock when he started, and all wished him good luck.


“Injun be back by noon to-morrow. No get caught,” he said, as he slipped out the back door.

“Pray God he may get through safely,” Bob murmured, as he put the bar back in its place.

Sicum had whined to go with his master, but on being ordered to stay he seemed to understand, and made no further protest.

The Indian had been gone not more than ten minutes when a shot rang out in the forest back of the cabin. The four looked at each other and a look of terror was on every face. For a moment no one spoke, then Jack gasped.

“They’ve got him.”

“Let’s hope not,” Bob said in a low tone.

For a long time they listened hardly daring to breathe, but no more shots were heard and no sound from outside, save the creaking of the boughs as they rubbed in the light breeze, came to their ears.

“Suppose I sneak out and do a little scouting,” Jack proposed.

“I suppose you won’t,” Bob shook his head. “If they got him you could do him no good, and the chances are that they’d get you. No, our best bet is to stick close to the cabin and play it safe.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Jack acknowledged. “But it’s simply awful to sit here and do nothing with Kernertok out there perhaps dying.”


“I know,” Bob soothed, “but it’s only perhaps. That shot may have meant nothing and he probably got through all right. Everything was in his favor, and you know Kernertok.”

“Yes, I know; but he’s human at that.”

Slowly the time passed. There was nothing they could do except listen for the faintest sound. So dark was it that the peep holes were of no use. But about half past ten Jack, who was near the broken window, announced that the clouds were breaking.

“It’ll be moonlight in a few minutes. She’s trying to peep through the clouds now.”

“That’ll help Kernertok,” Bob declared.

“Provided he got through,” Jack added mournfully.

“Well, I’m going to believe that he did till I find out that he didn’t,” Bob insisted.

In a short time Jack’s prediction proved true. The moon peeped out from behind the clouds and by eleven o’clock was riding in a clear sky, making it almost as light as the day outside. In a way it was a great relief to them, for they had feared to have a light in the cabin, and waiting so long in the intense darkness was trying to their nerves.

“I reckon we’d better get an eye at those peep holes now,” Bob suggested. “There’s one apiece, that is if Mr. Stebbins feels strong enough to take one.”

“Certainly I am,” Stebbins insisted.


“Any of you smell anything?” Rex, who was sniffing the air, asked, as they were about to take their places at the holes.

“Seems to me that I do,” Bob said. “Smells like something burning.”

“’Tis too,” Jack cried, “and what’s more, it’s birch bark.”

“You don’t suppose—” Bob began, but Jack interrupted.

“I suppose they’ve set fire to the shack, if that’s what you mean.”

“I’m afraid you’re right,” Bob said slowly, as the odor of burning bark became more pronounced.

“That’s apt to be serious, isn’t it?” Rex asked.

“There’s no apt to be about it. Unless we can get it out we’ll be at their mercy in a mighty short time,” Bob told him. “How much water is there in the place, Jack?”

“About half a bucket full.”

“Hum, not much to fight fire with. We should have got all we could.”

“I did, but there were only two buckets, and we’ve used a bucket and a half.”

“Well, let’s see if we can locate it.”

“It’s right in this corner,” Jack declared a moment later. “I can hear it when I put my ear close to the logs and see, there’s a little smoke working its way in.”


“If we could get at it the half bucket of water would probably put it out right now, but it would be sure death to go out there.”

“And it’s equally sure to stay here and let it burn, isn’t it?” Rex asked.

“While there’s life there’s hope,” Bob reminded him.

“I know, but we’ve got to do something.”

“And if we can find an axe we’ll be doing it. Do you know if there is one in the cabin?” he asked, turning to Stebbins.

“I think so,” Stebbins replied, and to their great joy he pulled one from beneath one of the bunks.

“Now we’ve got a chance at least,” Bob cried, as he grabbed the axe. “Jack, light that lantern and hold it for me.”

Jack sprang to obey, and in another minute Bob was making a vigorous attack on the logs in the corner where Jack had located the fire.

“It’s gaining pretty fast,” he gasped a few minutes later, as he paused to get his breath.

“And so are you,” Jack encouraged him. “That log’s most through, and then it’ll be easier. Here, let me have a try at it.”

“Not yet. I’m all right,” Bob panted, as the axe sank deep into the log.


Chopping a log out of a cabin is an entirely different matter from cutting that same log in two in the open, where one could get at all sides of it. It was slow hard work, as the cut had to be made very wide, and it was impossible to get the full benefit of the swing. But he kept doggedly at it, and at last the axe sank completely through the six-inch log. He had made the cut about three feet from the corner and a few blows with the back of the axe sufficed to knock out the short end.

“Now my turn,” Jack said, as he sat down the lantern and took the axe from Bob’s hand.

“It doesn’t seem to be burning very fast now,” Bob panted. “One more log will be enough, I reckon.”

The next log was not quite so large, and Jack soon had it out. Bob was ready with the bucket and a large dipper.

“Now if only it hasn’t got too big a start,” he said, as he thrust his head out in an effort to see where to throw the water.

For the moment he had forgotten all about the men outside in his eagerness to put out the fire, but memory returned in a flash as he heard a sharp ping and a bullet struck the log just over his head. He pulled his head in with a jerk.

“That was pretty close,” he gasped.

“I’ll say so,” Jack agreed; “but how’s the fire? Did you see it?”


Instead of replying, Bob threw himself on the floor directly beneath the opening, and filling the dipper with water, he reached out and poured it down the side of the logs.

“It’s hardly more than started to catch on the logs,” he explained, as he reached for a second dipper of water. “If I can hit the right spot this will put it out all right.”

Bob’s glance out of the opening had revealed the situation to him. The men had piled considerable birch bark and other light stuff against the cabin, but the logs had, fortunately, been slow in catching fire, and the kindling had nearly burned out before the cabin itself was fairly on fire.

He had just reached out with the third dipper of water when another shot was heard, and a bullet struck the dipper and knocked it from his hand.

“Be careful and don’t get in front of that hole,” he cried, as he drew back his arm. “I think it’s out,” he added; “but I guess we’ll have to wait a few minutes and see. It’d be pretty risky to look out just now.”

“You mean it’d be sure death,” Jack declared grimly.

Fifteen minutes passed, during which they watched closely at the peep holes, one on each side of the room.


“I think we put it out,” Bob finally announced. “It would be burning up in good shape by this time if we hadn’t.”

“Seems to be pretty quiet along the Potomac,” Jack said.

“Seems is right,” Bob returned. “But we must not let them have a chance to start another fire. We haven’t water enough left to put out a match, and if they get another one going it’s curtains for us.”

“Then they mustn’t start it, that’s all,” Rex said.

“I don’t believe they’ll try it while it is as light as it is now,” Bob declared. “They know that we can see them and they have a good deal of respect for their skins. It’s the time after the moon sets that’s worrying me. It’ll be mighty dark again along about two o’clock.”

“You think they’ll try it again?” Rex asked.

“I imagine it depends some on whether or not they got Kernertok. If they know that he has gone and they failed to get him, they of course know that he’s gone for help and they’ll be in a hurry to get us before he can get back. On the other hand, if they didn’t get him or don’t know that he’s left they’ll think that they have plenty of time. But, of course, it’s all guesswork on our part.”


But the intense darkness which he dreaded came even sooner than he had expected. It was shortly after twelve o’clock when the moon slipped behind a cloud, and it was only a short time until the rapidly gathering clouds had blotted out all the stars as well.

“No use trying to see out of these holes any longer,” Jack declared, as he crossed the room. “It’s as black as the ace of spades out there and getting darker every minute.”

“What can we do?” Rex asked. “I don’t fancy the thought of staying here and being burnt out.”

“If it wasn’t for Stebbins, I’d be in favor of sneak-out and having a try at getting away, but he could never do it, and of course we can’t go and leave him.”

“Of course not,” both Rex and Jack agreed.

“There’s only one thing to do that I can think of,” Bob began.

“What is it?” Jack interrupted.

“It’s for the three of us to go outside and stay there till it begins to get light. I know it sounds risky, and it is, but it’s a chance and we haven’t even got that cooped up here. It’ll be three against three and I believe we’ll have a slight advantage over them.”

“How so?” Rex asked.

“Well, we’ll be looking for them and they’ll naturally think we’re still inside.”

“Righto,” Jack said; “it’s the dope all right. Let’s not lose any time or we may be too late.”


Mr. Stebbins vigorously opposed the plan when they made known their intention to him.

“The thing for you to do,” he insisted, “is to get away and leave me here. I don’t believe they will kill me so long as they don’t know where the money is.”

“Nothing doing along that line,” Jack declared emphatically, and Bob and Rex quickly agreed with him.

“But it’s not right for you to risk your lives for me,” Stebbins insisted.

“Right or wrong, we’re going to stick together,” Bob said in a tone which told him that it would be useless to argue further.

“Then I think your plan is probably best,” he acknowledged reluctantly; “but please be careful. If anything should happen to any of you I’ll never be able to forgive myself.”

“We’ll be careful, all right,” Bob assured him.

Stebbins at first insisted that he was strong enough to go out and watch with them, but the boys finally convinced him that three would be as good as four, and the more there were the better chance the enemy would have of finding out that they had left the cabin.


“You see, we’ve only three guns,” Bob argued, “and if you go one of us will be out there unarmed. If it comes to a rough and tumble fight, of course, you can come in as a kind of reserve force.

“Now then, fellows, when we get out we want to keep close to the cabin, and much depends on not making the slightest noise. Don’t shoot unless you have to, and if you do, aim low. I don’t want to kill one of them, even if they do deserve it. We’ll go out the front door. Mr. Stebbins, you fasten it after us, but be ready to let us in on short notice if it’s necessary.”

“Do we keep together?” Rex asked, as Bob was about to slip the bar.

“Guess we’ll have to,” Bob replied, then after a moment’s thought he added, “I believe we’re going at this all wrong after all. If we all three go out we’ll have to keep close together or we’ll be unable to tell who’s who. It’s so dark you can’t see your hand before your face. No, the proper thing is for me to go alone. So far as watching is concerned, one will be as good as three, and if I call, you can come.”

“What’s the matter with me going?” Jack asked.

“Or me?” Rex put in.

“No, I’m going,” Bob insisted. “I don’t want to brag, but this is no time to stand on ceremony, and you both know that if it should come to a rough and tumble fight, as it may, I’ve had more experience than either of you. Now please don’t say anything more about it, because I’m going.”


It was no reflection on the courage of either Rex or Jack that they recognized the force of Bob’s argument and made no more protest.

“But before I go, I think it would be well for Mr. Stebbins to tell us where he has hidden that money,” Bob suggested.

“I should have told you before,” Stebbins said. “About a hundred yards down the lake there is a gray birch, which leans over the water. You can’t help finding it, and the money’s buried right at its foot, on the side away from the lake. It’s about eighteen inches down.”

“Now you be careful and don’t go to taking chances,” Jack cautioned, as Bob again reached for the bar.

“You know me,” he whispered, as he swung open the door and slipped out into the night.



“Well, I guess there’s nothing we can do except wait,” Jack said, after he had slipped the bar back in its place.

“And that’s often the hardest work of all,” Stebbins declared. “That brother of yours is a very brave lad.”

“I’ll tell the world he is, and then some,” Jack agreed.

“He doesn’t know the meaning of fear,” Rex added.

“And to think that it was my weakness that’s the cause of it all,” Stebbins groaned.

Outside it was as dark as the proverbial pocket. For a moment Bob stood still and listened. A slight murmur as the tree tops swayed in the light wind was all the sound that reached his ears. Careful to make not the slightest noise, he crept around the corner of the cabin, keeping close to it until he reached the back. Here again he paused to listen. No sound came, and after a moment he continued. Perhaps fifteen minutes had passed when he once more stood by the front door.


Again and again he made the circuit, stopping every few feet to listen. Once he thought he heard a sound as of some object moving a little in front of him, but as he paused to listen, he decided that it had been only his imagination. Nearly an hour had passed since he had come out, and he had passed around the cabin many times, when, as he crept around the front right-hand corner, his foot struck something. Stooping down he felt about with his hand. A small pile of what felt like birch bark was lying close up against the corner.

“Now I wonder if that’s been there all the time,” he thought, as he straightened up. “I’ll just camp around this corner for a while,” he decided, as he sat down and leaned his back against the logs.

It seemed to him that he had sat there a long time, and he was thinking that he had better make another round of the cabin, when his sharp ears caught a slight sound. Instantly he was all attention, trying to pierce the darkness. He could, however, see nothing, but in a moment he again heard the same noise. Someone was creeping slowly and carefully toward the cabin. He crouched ready for a sudden spring. Suddenly he heard a scraping sound and instantly a match flared up. And then he sprang.


Bob was not more than four feet from the man, and he landed fairly on his shoulders. With a grunt of surprise the man went over backward, with Bob on top, trying his best to get a hold on his throat. After the first grunt, neither made a sound, save for their heavy breathing. Over and over they rolled, each trying in vain to get a decisive hold on the other. Once Bob secured a half Nelson, but the great strength of his antagonist served to break it. A moment later the man got a hold on Bob’s throat, and for an instant he thought he was done for, but, exerting all his strength, he managed to free one hand, and grasping the other’s wrist, he tore his hand away, just in time to save his breath. The man was breathing heavily, and Bob was encouraged to believe that he would get the better of him shortly, provided his friends did not come to his assistance.


The end came sooner than he had dared hope for. Feeling his chance, Bob succeeded in getting a hold, which he had learned some years previous, from a Jap friend at college. The hold was such that the man’s right arm was forced back from the elbow and he was helpless to free himself. Slowly, inch by inch, Bob bent the arm back, until finally he heard the bone snap. With a sharp cry of pain the man struggled to his feet as Bob released his hold and in an instant was lost in the darkness. Bob, fearing that he would be back with the others, quickly ran to the front door of the cabin and calling softly, was at once admitted.

“I thought I heard a noise like someone rolling about on the ground,” Jack said, as soon as he had barred the door.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you did,” Bob grinned.

“What happened?” Rex asked.

“Jacques and I had a little set to. That is, I think it was he, although it was so dark that I couldn’t be sure.” And he told them about the fight.

“I hated to break his arm, but it was he or I, and I was afraid that the others would hear us and come to his help,” he concluded.

“You don’t need to waste any sympathy on him,” Stebbins said, “they’re a bad lot and it would have been a mighty good job if you had killed him.”

“Now, I think the three of us had better go out together and hang around,” Bob proposed. “They’ve got another fire all ready to light, and they may do it, although I doubt it. Anyhow, we’d better be on the safe side. I reckon we won’t run much risk with one of them with a broken arm.”


Keeping close together, they circled the cabin until the first streaks of light appeared in the east, but they heard nothing from their enemies.

“Guess we’d better go inside,” Bob said; “they might take a shot at us as soon as it gets light enough to see.”

They acted on the suggestion none too soon, for just as Rex, who happened to be the last one in, stepped inside, a bullet whistled past his head and struck the wall at the back of the room.

“I heard that one sing all right,” he said, as he banged the door shut and slipped the bar in its place.

“Now we’ve got to watch mighty close at those peep holes,” Bob declared.

“And I, for one, don’t think we ought to hesitate to shoot if we see one of them trying to set fire to the place, not after that last shot,” Rex declared.

“I hardly think they’ll try it again,” Bob said. “I kicked all that stuff they had piled up away, and I don’t believe they’ll risk it again, now that it’s getting light.”

“Mebby not,” Jack broke in, but we’ll play it safe and not give ’em the chance.”

Rapidly the light increased, and soon they were able to see plainly for some distance.

“I wonder if they’ve got any more tricks up their sleeves,” Jack said, as he took his eye from the hole.


“I’ll say they have,” Bob replied almost immediately.

Even as he spoke a slight sound as of something striking on the roof was heard.

“What was that?” Rex asked.

“Just what I’ve been afraid of, a fire arrow,” Bob told him.

“What do you mean by that?” Rex asked anxiously.

“They’re trying to set fire to the roof by shooting arrows which they have wrapped with birch bark and smeared with pitch. It’s an old Indian trick.”

“But will the roof catch?”

“I’m afraid it will. It’s made of pretty light stuff, I suppose. Most of them are, but let’s hope that this one’s an exception.

“There’s another one,” Jack said a moment later, as a second thud sounded on the roof.

“Is there nothing we can do?” Rex asked.

“Not a thing so far as I can see, except hope and pray that it doesn’t catch,” Bob answered sadly.

“Hark!” Jack whispered, about five minutes later.

“What is it?” Bob asked.

“Don’t you hear it?”

“It’s caught sure as guns,” Bob declared, after listening intently.

“It sure has,” Jack agreed, “and by the sound it’s going in good shape.”


Bob moved about the room, stopping every few feet, to listen and cautioning the others to keep quiet.

“I think it’s right here,” he announced, pointing to the roof about half way down one side. Quick, now, get that table under here and make it snappy.”

Without waiting to question his intention Rex dragged the table to the place where Bob was standing, and in almost less than no time, as Jack would say, he was on a chair which he had placed on the table, hacking away at the roof with the axe.

As Bob had said, the roof was made of light material, covered with bark and moss, and he made short work of cutting through it, and he soon had a hole large enough to admit his head.

“Don’t you poke your head out of that hole,” Jack ordered.

“I’ve got to, so don’t argue, but hand me that box there—quick.”

“They’ll take a shot at you.”

“Not the first time they won’t. I’ll be too quick for them.”

Placing the box on the chair he was tall enough to be able to get his head through the opening. As he had hoped, the fire was only about a foot away.

“Hand me that small shovel,” he ordered, as he withdrew his head.


With the shovel he soon succeeded in beating out the blaze, but as he again looked out to make sure that it was out a bullet sang past his head, making him duck back quickly.

“I told you,” Jack said, as he jumped down.

“I know, but I got the fire out, although I don’t expect it will do much good.”

“How come?” Rex asked.

“They’ll have another one going in a minute, and it’ll be pretty risky to try that stunt again, as they’ll be on the watch.”

“It seems kinder funny to me that as many times as they have shot at us not a bullet has hit. I thought that all those fellows up here were dead shots,” Rex said.

“Most of them are good shots, all right,” Bob declared, “but most of the time the light has been bad, and then I’m inclined to think that perhaps they haven’t yet shot to hit. You see, although they won’t hesitate to kill if they think their safety depends on it, they’d rather get that money without killing us if they can, and I reckon it looks to them just now as though they could.”

“And to tell the truth, it kinder looks that way to me,” Jack grinned.

As Bob had predicted, it was only a few minutes before they could tell by the sound that the roof was burning, not only in one place, but in at least three.


“It’s no use trying it again,” Bob sighed. “Even if they didn’t shoot, they can start those fires a good deal faster than we can put them out.”

“Then our only hope is that Kernertok’ll get back in time,” Rex suggested.

“I guess that’s about the size of it,” Bob replied.

“I wish I knew that he got through all right. What do you think about it?” Jack asked turning to Bob.

“I feel pretty sure, that unless they got him, they don’t know that he’s gone,” Bob replied.

“What makes you think that?” Rex asked.

“Because if they knew that he had gone for help, they wouldn’t have waited till now to start firing the roof,” Bob assured him.

“Sounds reasonable,” Rex said.

“But that shot—” Jack began, but Bob interrupted.

“Might not have had anything to do with it.”

“And then again it might,” Jack insisted.

By this time the roof was burning fiercely, as they could tell by the sound, and, to make matters worse, a stiff breeze had sprung up.

“It won’t take it long to go in this wind,” Jack declared.

“Well, the only thing we can do is to wait as long as we can in hopes that Kernertok will come with help. If he doesn’t, we’ll have to make a rush for it and trust to luck,” Bob said sadly.


“By the way, Mr. Stebbins, did you ever hear the legend connected with this lake?” Rex asked.

“Yes, I’ve heard it. Why?”

“I was just wondering. You see the other night we saw a canoe with a white figure in it out on the lake, and it looked kinder spooky.”

“That was Jacques. He knows about the legend, and every night he would wrap a sheet about himself and go out on the lake. He knew that you were headed up this way some how or other and he thought it would scare you away.”

“We have known for several days that someone was dogging us,” Bob told him, and then he explained about the mysterious tracks.

“I guess I can clear up that part of it also,” Stebbins said, as he stepped over to the bunks and knelt down on the floor. He reached far under the lower bunk and dragged out two objects, which he held out to Bob.

“Well, I’ll be jiggered,” he said.

The things which Stebbins had in his hands were two large frames made to strap on to a shoe.

“They made those tracks all right,” Bob declared, as he examined them.

“No doubt about that,” Jack agreed.

“Well, there’s two mysteries cleared up,” Rex said.


“And there’s only one left to be solved,” Bob said grimly.

“And what’s that?” Rex asked.

“How we’re going to get out of this scrape.”

“Never say die,” Jack said trying to make his voice sound hopeful. “We’ve been in some tight places before, and something tells me that this isn’t the last one.”

By this time the roof was burned through in a number of places, and charred fragments were falling to the floor.

“It’s getting pretty warm in here,” Jack declared, wiping the perspiration from his face.

“And what’s more, that roof is going to come down in a bunch before very long,” Bob added.

Just then a loud voice was heard from outside.

“Hey, there in der cabin.”

“What do you want?” Bob called at the top of his voice.

“You geet warm, oui?”

“Well, we’re not actually freezing,” Bob yelled back.

“Non? You roast ver’ queek you no tell where money be.”

To this Bob made no reply, and after a moment the man shouted:


“You come out geet shot, stay in geet roast, oui. You tell where money you all come out go way, no geet hurt.”

“I’ll be—” Bob began, but Rex caught him by the arm.

“Just a minute, Bob. They’ve got us, and what’s the money compared to our lives? Tell him where it is.”

“Not just yet,” Bob replied. “We’ve got a few minutes yet before the roof will fall and Kernertok may come at any moment. We’ll think it over,” he shouted to the men outside.

The roof was now a roaring mass of flames and they had great difficulty in keeping clear of the falling embers. In several places the side logs had caught, and fanned by the wind, were burning with great vigor. Bob knew, as did the others, that it could be but a matter of minutes now when they would have to leave the cabin.

“I guess we’ll have to give in,” he said sadly, a few minutes later, as a portion of the roof fell in with a crash, narrowly escaping Jack’s head.

“It’s the only thing to do,” Rex urged.

“Hello, outside there,” Bob shouted.

“You tell, oui?” Jacques’s voice called back.

“Yes, it’s—” Bob began, when suddenly above the crackling of the fire a rifle shot rang out.

“Hark!” Jack cried, catching Bob by the arm. “That may be Kernertok.”


They waited with bated breath for a moment, and then, to their great joy, Kernertok’s voice reached them.

“Bob, Jack, you come out heap soon.”

“Heap soon is right,” Jack shouted, dancing about like a wild man. “I told you I had a hunch.”

In another minute Bob had withdrawn the bar and they were outside breathing the pure, cool air. Just on the edge of the clearing they saw Kernertok beckoning to them, and they lost no time in hastening to his side.

“You got here just in time, thank God,” Bob cried, as he grasped his friend’s hand.

“Heap little time spare,” Kernertok declared gravely.

“I’ll tell the world it was,” Jack cried. “But where are the breeds?”


They followed the Indian a few feet into the forest, and there they found the three men surrounded by four sturdy Yankees. Bob quickly noted that one of the prisoners carried one arm in a sling, made from a large red handkerchief.

“So it wasn’t you, Jacques,” he said, turning to the leader, who was standing with dejected mien a little apart from the other two.

Jacques made no reply, but gave the boys a look of fierce hatred, to which they paid little heed.


“Come on, Jack,” Bob cried, turning to his brother, “let’s see if we can save enough of the food for breakfast.”

“Make it snappy,” Jack replied, as he followed Bob, who had started on a run toward the cabin.

As they had hoped, the part of the cabin containing the food closet was not as yet on fire, so far as the walls were concerned, and after a hurried struggle, they succeeded in tearing it out and saving all it contained.

“There,” Bob panted as they placed it on the ground beyond the reach of the flames. “I reckon we’ll have enough grub to last us till we get back to civilization.”

It did not take them long to prepare a hearty meal and in less than an hour they were ready to take the back trail. They found the money where Stebbins had said he had buried it and the latter breathed a deep sigh of relief as he saw it restored to the son of the man who owned it.

“That sure is a big relief off my mind,” he declared as he handed the bag to Rex.

A little later they were back again on the banks of the Allagash where they found their canoe together with two others which Kernertok and his companions had brought up with them. The trip down the river was uneventful and they arrived at the little town of St. Francis shortly after noon, highly elated with the successful ending of their adventure.


“I owe you boys and Kernertok a lot,” Rex declared as they walked down the street toward the little hotel.

“Bosh,” Jack exclaimed. “Never had a better time in my life.”

They left for home by train the following morning after making arrangements to have the canoe shipped back to North East Carry.

“Heap hard trip,” Kernertok grunted as he sank into his seat just as the train started.

“I didn’t think you had minded it,” Jack said in surprise.

“Trip up here all right. Trip back on train heap hard,” and the old Indian shook his head while the boys laughed.



If you have enjoyed reading about the adventures of the new friends you have made in this book and would like to read more clean, wholesome stories of their entertaining experiences, turn to the book jacket—on the inside of it, a comprehensive list of Burt’s fine series of carefully selected books for young people has been placed for your convenience.

Orders for these books, placed with your bookstore or sent to the Publishers, will receive prompt attention.


The Golden Boys Series

The Golden Boys in the Maine Woods

Dean of Pennsylvania Military College.

A new series of instructive copyright stories for boys of High School Age.

Handsome Cloth Binding.


The Boy Scout Series

The Boy Scouts’ First Campfire


For Boys 12 to 16 Years
All Cloth Bound Copyright Titles
Postage 10c Extra
New Stories of Camp Life

THE BOY SCOUTS’ FIRST CAMPFIRE; or, Scouting with the Silver Fox Patrol.
THE BOY SCOUTS IN THE BLUE RIDGE; or, Marooned Among the Moonshiners.
THE BOY SCOUTS ON THE TRAIL; or, Scouting through the Big Game Country.
THE BOY SCOUTS IN THE MAINE WOODS; or, The New Test for the Silver Fox Patrol.
THE BOY SCOUTS THROUGH THE BIG TIMBER; or, The Search for the Lost Tenderfoot.
THE BOY SCOUTS IN THE ROCKIES; or, The Secret of the Hidden Silver Mine.
THE BOY SCOUTS ON STURGEON ISLAND; or, Marooned Among the Game-Fish Poachers.
THE BOY SCOUTS DOWN IN DIXIE; or, The Strange Secret of Alligator Swamp.
THE BOY SCOUTS AT THE BATTLE OF SARATOGA; A story of Burgoyne’s Defeat in 1777.
THE BOY SCOUTS ALONG THE SUSQUEHANNA; or, The Silver Fox Patrol Caught in a Flood.
THE BOY SCOUTS ON WAR TRAILS IN BELGIUM; or, Caught Between Hostile Armies.
THE BOY SCOUTS AFOOT IN FRANCE; or, With The Red Cross Corps at the Marne.

The Rex Kingdon Series

Rex Kingdon of Ridgewood High


A fine series of stories for boys of High School age, written in an interesting and instructive style.

Rex Kingdon, the hero, a real, wide-awake boy, interested in outdoor games, enters into the school sports with enthusiasm. A rattling good baseball story holds the interest to the very end. Rex and his Ridgewood friends establish a campfire in the North woods; there, mystery, jealousy and rivalry enter to menace their safety, fire their interest and finally cement their friendship.

Stories boys will want to read.

Copyright Titles.



The Oakdale Academy Series

Oakdale Boys in Camp


A series of real boys’ stories at the Oakdale Academy. Ben Stone, the hero, wins his way under peculiar circumstances and against great odds.

Clean-cut stories of real experiences in athletics and sports of academy life, with adventures, mysteries and clever descriptions.

Just the kind of books a boy 12 to 16 years would like to read.


Copyright Titles


The Radio Boys Series

The Radio Boys as Soldiers of Fortune


A new series of copyright titles for boys of all ages.

Cloth Bound, with Attractive Cover Designs


The Boy Allies
(Registered in the United States Patent Office)
With the Army

The Boy Allies in Great Peril


For Boys 12 to 16 Years.
All Cloth Bound Copyright Titles

In this series we follow the fortunes of two American lads unable to leave Europe after war is declared. They meet the soldiers of the Allies, and decide to cast their lot with them. Their experiences and escapes are many, and furnish plenty of good, healthy action that every boy loves.

THE BOY ALLIES AT LIEGE; or, Through Lines of Steel.
THE BOY ALLIES ON THE FIRING LINE; or, Twelve Days’ Battle Along the Marne.
THE BOY ALLIES WITH THE COSSACKS; or, A Wild Dash Over the Carpathians.
THE BOY ALLIES IN THE TRENCHES; or, Midst Shot and Shell Along the Aisne.
THE BOY ALLIES IN GREAT PERIL; or, With the Italian Army In the Alps.
THE BOY ALLIES IN THE BALKAN CAMPAIGN; or, The Struggle to Save a Nation.
THE BOY ALLIES ON THE SOMME; or, Courage and Bravery Rewarded.
THE BOY ALLIES AT VERDUN; or, Saving France from the Enemy.
THE BOY ALLIES UNDER THE STARS AND STRIPES; or, Leading the American Troops to the Firing Line.
THE BOY ALLIES WITH HAIG IN FLANDERS; or, The Fighting Canadians of Vimy Ridge.
THE BOY ALLIES WITH PERSHING IN FRANCE: or, Over the Top at Chateau Thierry.
THE BOY ALLIES WITH MARSHAL FOCH: or, The Closing Days of the Great World War.

Boys of the Royal Mounted Police Series

Dick Kent With the Mounted Police


A new series of stories of Adventure in the North Woods
For Boys 12 to 16 Years
Handsome Cloth Binding


Dick and his friend Sandy meet with ambush and desperate hand-to-hand encounters while on a dangerous mission with the Canadian Mounted Police.


Outwitting the notorious outlaw “Bear” Henderson with the help of Malemute Slade, the two boys discover the secret of a lost gold mine.


In their search, with the mounted police, for an escaped murderer, Dick and Sandy have thrilling experiences with ice floes and animals in the Arctic.


On the trail with Corporal Rand, Dick Kent and his two associates unravel the mystery of the fur thieves.


Entrusted with the vaccine for an isolated trading post, Dick and his friends win through in spite of incredible difficulties.


Corporal Rand and his young recruits solve a mystery and find a hidden treasure.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent on receipt of price by the Publishers

A. L. BURT COMPANY, Publishers,

Transcriber’s Notes