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   Chapter 7 TWO NAVAJOS

The Go Ahead Boys and Simon's Mine By Ross Kay Characters: 10381

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03


Early the following morning, while the boys were preparing breakfast, they were startled by the approach of two men.

"Look yonder!" exclaimed Fred, who naturally was the first to discover the approach of the strangers. "Are those the two men that were in the camp the other day?"

"No," replied Zeke quickly after he had gazed long and earnestly at the men who could be seen coming down the pathway from the top of the cliff. "They're Indians."

"Is that so?" demanded George who was instantly excited. "What are they?"

"Navajoes," replied Zeke after another inspection.

"What do you suppose they want?" asked Grant.

"Everything you have got and some things besides," answered Zeke, his affection for the redmen being not very strong. "The first thing they'll ask us for will be the breakfast."

"We'll give them some breakfast," said Fred promptly.

"I didn't say nothin' about some breakfast," spoke up Zeke. "I said the breakfast. They'll want it all and some besides."

"Then the only thing for us to do," laughed Fred, "is to begin right away."

Fred's example was speedily followed by his friends, who quickly took pieces of the sputtering bacon on sharpened sticks which they held in their right hands while with their left they grasped pieces of the cooked cereal which Zeke had been frying for breakfast.

All were busily engaged in this pleasing occupation when the two Indians approached the camp. The redmen were the first to speak and to the surprise of the Go Ahead Boys they addressed them in excellent English, at least the one who appeared to be the leader was able to express himself clearly and in correct form.

"We would like some breakfast," said the spokesman, who was a young Indian perhaps twenty-one years of age.

"All right, sir," spoke up Fred before any one else could respond to the request. "We'll fix you some in a minute."

Fortunately the supply was ample for the present meal at least, and both Navajos, seating themselves upon a projecting rock, almost devoured the food which was given them.

The Go Ahead Boys were eager to talk with the redmen, but silence rested over the camp. Zeke was particularly gruff in his manner and apparently ignored the presence of the strangers.

At last the Indian who had been chief spokesman said, "We have come to ask if two white men have come to your camp within a few days."

"What do you want to know for?" asked Zeke quickly.

Whatever his reasons may have been for inquiring the Navajo did not offer any explanations.

"Yes, there were two men here but they have gone," said Zeke slowly.

"Did one of them have a scar across his cheek that reached almost from his nose to his ear?"

"Yes."

"Was the other man larger and heavier?"

"That's right," said Fred, aware that both his companions were as deeply interested as he in the conversation.

"Where did they go?"

"We do not know," spoke up Zeke. "We didn't invite them to come here and they didn't stop to say good-by when they left."

"Do you know their names?"

"I can't say that we do," replied Zeke. "Was there anything special that you wanted o' them?"

The Navajo glanced quickly at his companion, who plainly understood the question and then said, "Yes, we want very much to see them."

"Well, I'm afraid then that you'll have to go where they are."

"Did they go down the river or did they go up the cliffs?"

"The last we saw of them they were headed for the sky," said Zeke glumly.

"Did they have ponies?"

"We didn't see any. They may have left them up yonder, but they didn't bring any into the camp."

The Navajo again turned to his companion and carried on a conversation in a low voice, apparently ignoring the presence of the others.

"If there was any message you wanted left," suggested Zeke, "we might take it and tell them that two Navajoes are waiting for them."

"No," replied the Indian abruptly. "Say nothing. Do you know whether they are coming back to your camp or not?"

"I hope not," said Zeke.

"Have you any reason to think they were bad men?"

"I don't know nothin' about them, just as I told you," responded Zeke gruffly. "As I said, the only way you can find that out is to go where they are."

"And do you know whether they started toward Thorn's Gulch?"

"Where?" demanded Fred quickly.

"Thorn's Gulch."

"What makes you think they were headed for Thorn's Gulch?" demanded Zeke.

"I didn't say we knew," said the Indian solemnly. "I asked you if you knew."

"Well, we don't," said Zeke. "What is there about Thorn's Gulch that makes you think they might want to go there?"

Instead of replying to the question the Navajo again turned to his companion and carried on another conversation with him in still lower tones than before. Then abruptly rising, the Indian, who had been acting as chief spokesman, said, "I don't think we need to trouble you any more."

"Hold on a minute," said Fred. "What's your hurry?"

Both Indians had turned as if they were about to retrace their way along the steep incline by which they had approached the camp. Halting abruptly at the question, before either could speak Fred continued, "Y

ou talk a good deal like a man who has not been trained as most of the Indians I have seen around here have been."

"Yes," said the Indian, a broad smile appearing on his face as he spoke, "My name is Thomas Jefferson, in the white man's language."

"Thomas Jefferson?" demanded Grant. "Where in the world did you get that name?"

"When I went to the white man's school they gave me a white man's name."

"Where were you in school?"

"Pennsylvania."

"Is that so?" exclaimed Grant, who was especially interested in such matters.

"Yes," explained the Indian, "I was sent east by some missionaries to be educated. As I told you they gave me a white man's name and I was there three years in the school."

"So that is where you learned to speak such good English is it?" said George.

"Yes."

"Do you find that your education helps you a good deal out here in your life among the Navajos?"

For a moment the young Indian stared blankly at the inquirer and then without replying to the question, once more turned to his companion and after a brief conversation he again faced the boys and said, "We thank you for the breakfast you have given us. We must go now."

"Shall I tell those men if they come back," spoke up Zeke, "that Thomas Jefferson and another Navajo have been here to see them?"

There was a gleam in the eyes of the namesake of the great statesman when he answered, "Say nothing."

"Yes," said Zeke, "but I would like to know if they are looking for you."

"We are looking for them," retorted the Navajo.

"Well, all I can say," said Zeke, "is that I hope you'll find them. Maybe you'll find them too before they find the claim staked by old Sime Moultrie."

Plainly the Navajo was startled by the guide's suggestion for he stopped abruptly and said, "Is Simon Moultrie dead?"

"Yes, and his bones have been buried," answered Zeke.

"Where?"

"Not far from where he died."

"When did he die?"

"That I can't say."

"And did he stake a claim?"

"Did I say he did? Did you know him?"

"Everybody knew Simon Moultrie," said the Indian. "He came to Tombstone many times for supplies."

"That's right, he did," acknowledged Zeke. "He was a great old prospector. He kept it up all his life but I never knew of his finding anything worth staking."

"He did not stake any claim?"

"I can't say."

The Indian looked keenly at the guide and then turning looked with equal keenness at the boys who were greatly enjoying the conversation. He did not say any more, however, and in company with the other Navajo at once departed from the camp.

Silently the Go Ahead Boys watched the departing redmen until their forms had been hidden from sight by one of the numerous projecting cliffs. Then the tension was somewhat relieved and Fred turned to Zeke and said, "What do you think those Indians wanted?"

"My opinion is that they have gotten wind somehow that those two men are looking for the claim that old Sime Moultrie may have staked."

"What will happen," inquired Grant, "if the Navajos begin to look for the claim and come upon those two white men there?"

"It will depend on which party can draw his gun first," replied Zeke dryly.

"Do you think it's as bad as that?" demanded Fred excitedly.

"I don't think nothin' about it. I haven't much use for those white men, and when it comes to a Navajo-why you have heard what the only kind of a good Indian is, haven't you?"

"A dead Indian," answer Grant with a laugh.

"Well, I didn't say it. You said it. Did I ever tell you about the Navajo squaw that some of the women up here, stopping over at Albuquerque, fitted out for her wedding?"

"No," replied the boys together. "What did they do?"

"Why they gave her six dresses and a lot of other things they thought she would need as soon as she was in her own house. Some of them stopped there a year or two afterward and looked her up. The squaw was wearing one of the dresses that the white women had given her, but they found out that when one dress had become so old and torn that the squaw couldn't wear it much longer she would just put another dress right on over it and wear that until it was worn out, and then she put on number three and then number four. She was wearing six altogether when this white woman found her."

"That's a fine story, Zeke," laughed Fred.

"It's almost good enough to be true."

"No, sir, it's too good to be true," spoke up George.

"That doesn't make any difference," said Zeke sturdily. "I'm telling you what was told me. That's all I know about it."

"Zeke," said Grant, who up to this time had taken little part in the conversation, "if you really think those Indians are after those two white men and that something may happen if they happen to meet, don't you think we ought to get word to them somehow?"

A grin appeared on the face of the guide as he replied, "That's a good 'un! That's a good 'un! The chances are ten to one that if you interfered with them in their little game you would have all four o' 'em turn against you. But that hasn't anything to do with what's facin' us. We've got to make up our minds pretty quick what we'll do."

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