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The Boy Ranchers at Spur Creek - or Fighting the Sheep Herders
by Willard F. Baker
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And in this conflict lies my story, such as it is.

After the third attempt to cross the creek with their sheep, being driven back each time, the Mexicans seemed to lose patience. There were angry voices as most of the Greasers gathered about one man who seemed to be their leader, and who had, it was evident, counseled pacific measures. Now these came to an end.

For on the "fourth down," as Dick laughingly referred to it, the Greasers began shooting bullets as they rode their horses into the stream.

"Now it's a fight in earnest!" cried Bud.

"Draw your guns!" ordered Billee sternly.

The real battle was about to open.



CHAPTER XX

THE FLAG OF TRUCE

The advantage in the fight was on the side of the Diamond X outfit, even though it was outnumbered. For the Greaser sheep herders nearly doubled the force of the cowboys. But this, in itself, was not such a handicap as would at first appear.

Naturally any cowboy held himself more than a match for any two Greasers, and if this were not enough, the sheep men had the disadvantage of having to cross a stream in the face of fire. This is always likely to result in disaster, even in more modern warfare than that which I am writing about. There are several reasons for this, whether the attacking party, crossing the stream, is afoot or on horses.

Progress through water is always slow. If you have ever tried to run while wading in a millpond or at the stream adjacent to the "old swimming hole," you realize what I mean. It is easier to swim than to run through water, even where it is not very deep. The same holds true for horses. And to attempt to swim was out of the question, for the Greasers, as they must keep their guns out of water.

The only thing for them to do was to start their horses across, with the men in the saddles. And the Mexicans probably knew, from a test, that the water was not deep enough to sweep the animals off their legs.

So then, with the handicap of rushing water against them, the horses could not make much progress, and, while crossing, the enemy force would be subject to the fire of the boy ranchers and the cowboys from Diamond X ranch.

"Well, boys, I guess we'll have to let 'em have it," said Billee regretfully as he saw the advancing sheep men. Nearly all the Greaser force was concentrated on crossing Spur Creek, only a few being left in charge of the animals. "But shoot at the horses first," advised Billee. "I hate to do it, but it's better to have the killing of a horse on your mind than the murder of a man. Though this isn't murder—defending your property against a band of thieves. So shoot at the horses first!"

This, cruel as it may sound, had to be done. It was a case of the lives of the animals or the lives of our friends. For it could not be doubted that, once the Mexicans had gained a footing on the northern side of the stream, they would drive the defenders away—shooting to kill if need be—and then the way would be clear for bringing over the sheep.

Several shots rang out from the ranks of the cowboys, and there was a wild flurry and scramble among the horses in the stream. Two of them were hit and spilled their riders into the creek. But these men grasped the tail of other horses and kept on.

"They aren't going to give up easy," murmured Dick.

"But it's up to us to make 'em," said Bud fiercely. "If they get over it will be all up with us, for they're twice as many as we are."

"They shan't get over!" declared Nort. And it was with the same spirit that the intrepid Frenchman muttered:

"They shall not pass!"

If the boy ranchers and their comrades hoped to escape scathless they were painfully disappointed. For though the sheep herders were under the handicap of having to cross the stream, manage their frantic horses and shoot—all at the same time—they managed to do enough of the latter to wound several of the cowboys, one seriously, as developed later.

And, just as Dick was reloading his gun, he gave a cry and the weapon dropped from his hands.

"Hit?" cried Bud.

"A little," Dick answered, and he tried to smile, though it was not a very good attempt.

"Get back under cover," advised Nort, for there was cover, of a sort, behind where the cowboys were fighting, a range of low hills that would effectually screen the bullets of the Greasers.

"Oh, it doesn't amount to anything," Dick insisted, holding his left hand over his right, for it was the latter that was hit. "It's only a scratch."

"Well, get a bandage on it and come back in the game—if you can, boy," advised Billee, who had ridden up on hearing Dick's cry. "We'll look after it later—when we drive these skunks back where they belong."

This, from Billee, amounted to an order, and Dick obeyed, wheeling his horse and taking refuge behind a hill. There, in anticipation of some casualties, a sort of emergency dressing station had been laid out, with water, lint and bandages. There was water not only for man but for beast, since it was impossible to let the horses go to the creek in the face of the fire from the sheep men. So Dick and his steed drank thirstily and then Dick bandaged, as best he could, his wounded hand. It was more than a scratch, being, in fact, a deep flesh wound, but the bullet had struck a glancing blow and had gone out again, for which Dick was thankful.

Meanwhile he could hear the shooting going on at the scene he had left. The cowboys, riding up and down the bank of the creek on their fleet horses, offered very poor marks for the indifferent shooting of the Mexicans, or the casualties on the part of the Diamond X forces would have been much heavier than it was. Even then several were hit, and Billee's hat was carried off his head by a bullet, which, if it had gone a few inches lower, would have ended the career of that versatile cowboy.

But the quick and accurate firing of the cowboys was having its effect, and it was an effect that was telling not only on the morale but on the fighting ability of the sheep men. For several horses were killed, and a number of men put out of the game.

For a few minutes, though, it seemed that, after all, the attackers would make a landing. But with a burst of furious yells Snake and Kid led a charge against the foremost of the sheepmen and turned them back.

They could not stand the withering fire that was poured in on them and they wheeled their plunging horses in the swirling stream and made for the opposite shore whence they had come.

"Hurray!" cried Bud as he saw this.

"We've got 'em on the run!" shouted Nort.

Just then Dick rode back to join the fray, having bound up his wounded hand as best he could unaided.

"What's doing?" he asked.

For answer his brother and cousin pointed to the retreating Greasers.

"Good!" exclaimed Dick. "Do you think they'll come back?" he asked.

"No telling," remarked Bud.

"I don't believe we'll have gotten rid of them so easily," was Nort's opinion.

There was some confusion now amid the ranks of the sheep men. Those who were wounded were being cared for, and they all gathered around what had been their central camp fire.

"They're debating whether to give up or not," was Snake's view of it.

And if this was the subject of the talk it ended in a decision not to give up the fight. For presently another attempt was made to cross the creek. This time the Greasers divided forces, separating about a quarter of a mile, and thus necessitating a division in the ranks of the cowboys. This, of course, made the odds against the Diamond X outfit rather heavier.

But again the Greasers were repulsed, with several wounded, though the same might be said of Old Billee's forces. Again the sheep men withdrew across the creek.

Again was there a conference, and then the same tactics were tried as at first—the main body came directly across the stream.

But now a new element entered into the battle. For, no sooner had the fight started for the third time than some of the Mexicans began driving into the water, at a point perhaps half a mile from the fray, a flock of sheep.

"Look at that!" cried Yellin' Kid.

It was evident that something must be done. It called for another division of the defending force, now somewhat reduced in numbers because of injuries. But the crossing of the sheep had to be stopped, as well as the passage of the armed men.

And, after a hard struggle, this was accomplished. The sheep were the easier driven back, for the animals were soon frightened and thrown into confusion. But the Mexicans themselves were desperate, and some of them even succeeded in reaching the opposite shore, setting their horses on Mr. Merkel's land.

However, there was a fierce rally against them on the part of the cowboys and they were driven back.

This was not without desperate work, however, and several on each side suffered minor injuries. The trouble was that the cowboys held their enemies too lightly. It was easy, and perhaps natural, for them to despise the sheep herders.

But, after all, these were men, and rough and ready men at that. They had something to fight for—their lives and their charges, and to lose one was to endanger the other. So, for a time it looked, as Bud said afterward, "like touch and go," so near was the tide of battle to turning against the cowboys.

Both sides were now pretty well exhausted, but the disadvantage of having to cross the stream still hampered the Greasers. They must have felt this, for after another consultation among themselves something new and unexpected happened.

A lone rider was seen to separate himself from the hated band on the Mexican side of the creek, and he slowly approached the ford.

"Watch him!" cried Billee, who had picked up his hat with a hole in the brim.

"He's up to some trick!" declared Bud.

"Shouldn't wonder, son," agreed Billee.

A moment later they saw what the "trick" was, if such it could be called. From under his coat the man produced a white flag and waved it vigorously toward the boy ranchers and their friends.

"A truce!" cried Bud. "Guess they've had enough!"



CHAPTER XXI

A LEGAL CONTEST

Holding the flag of truce above his head with both hands, the better to indicate that he was unarmed, the man, a bearded Mexican to all appearances, rode his horse half way across the stream. He was then within easy talking distance of the cowboys and Old Billee called:

"That's far enough, Greaser! Stay right where you are and speak your little piece. Keep him covered, boys," he went on in a low voice to those around him.

"Oh, he's covered all right," replied Bud. And, indeed, half a dozen guns were trained, more or less conspicuously, on the bearer of the flag of truce.

"Well, say what you've got to say," ordered Billee grimly.

"Senors, we have had enough of fight—for the time," came from the herald.

And at the sound of his voice the boy ranchers, with one accord, exclaimed:

"Del Pinzo!"

"At your service, senors," came the mocking retort, and Del Pinzo, for he it was, smiled, showing his white teeth through his black, curling beard. It was the beard which had prevented his recognition up to now. Though there was something vaguely familiar about the actions of the leader of the sheep men. And he who bore the flag of truce—Del Pinzo no less—had been the leader in the attempts to cross the creek.

"Well, what do you want?" demanded Billee. "We might have known it was some of your dirty work, though I must say you've got a pretty good false face on with all them whiskers. What do you want?"

"To cross the creek, of course, Senor Billee, and pasture our sheep on that land which belongs to us."

"Belongs to you! How do you make that out?" demanded Bud, unable to keep still longer.

"Ah, the young senor speaks," mocked Del Pinzo, smilingly. "Then he should know that this land has been thrown open to all who may wish to graze sheep on it."

"This land was never intended for sheep, Del Pinzo, and you know it!" cried Billee. "Even if it was, it belongs to Mr. Merkel, though you'll never see the day he raises sheep—the stinking critters!"

"You say the land belongs to Senor Merkel?" asked Del Pinzo, lowering his hands and the flag of truce, perhaps unconsciously.

"Keep 'em up!" snarled Snake Purdee, and the flag went up again in a trice.

"You know this land belongs to Mr. Merkel," went on Billee.

"Doubtless, then, he can prove it in a court of law," mocked the half-breed Greaser.

"Sure he can!" asserted the old cowboy earnestly and with conviction, though he knew in his heart this was not so. But, as he said afterward, he wasn't going to let Del Pinzo do all the "bluffing."

"Then we shall go to law about it," said the Mexican leader. "And we shall have action against you for shooting at us when we peaceably tried to cross and pasture our flocks on the open range land that is given away by the so grand government of the United States."

"They wouldn't give any to you!" cried Billee. "All the land you'll ever own in the good old U.S.A. will be six feet to hold you after somebody shoots your head off, as ought to be done long ago. You're not a citizen and you know it, and you can't claim a foot of land, even if Mr. Merkel didn't own it!"

"I claim it not for myself—but for my friends, the so poor sheep herders," said Del Pinzo, in what he meant for a humble voice. "I but act as their leader and adviser. I seek nothing for myself."

"First time I've ever known that to happen!" chuckled Billee. "You're generally looking out for number one first of all. Well, if you want to give your friends good advice, tell 'em to go back home and start making frijoles for a living. They'll never earn their salt raising sheep—that is, not on this side of Spur Creek."

"That is to be seen, Senor Billee," mocked Del Pinzo, still smiling. "Once more I demand of you that we are permit to pass the stream and let our so hungry sheep feed."

"And once more I tell you there's nothin' doin'!" snapped Billee. "Your sheep can starve for all of me!"

"For the third time I ask and demand that you let us pass," called Del Pinzo, who seemed to have more patience than Billee, whatever else might be said in disfavor of the Greaser.

"And for the third and last time I tell you to take your gang and your sheep back where they came from!" cried Billee. "Now what are you going to do—fight?"

"Yes, senor," was the calm answer. "I shall fight, but not no longer with guns. I fight you in the courts. My friends, they are of citizens of the United States. They have of a rights to the land and of their rights I shall see that they get. Adios!"

He bowed courteously—he was a polite villain, I'll say that for him—and, lowering the flag of truce, he rode back to join his comrades on the other bank.

For a time there was silence amid the boy ranchers and their friends, and then, as movements among the sheep men indicated that they were getting ready to depart, Bud asked:

"What do you think is up, Billee?"

"Wa'al, I think, just as Del Pinzo said, he and those with him have had enough of powder and lead. Now they'll try the courts. I'm afraid your father is in for a legal battle, Bud."



CHAPTER XXII

NORT'S PLAN

Silently the cowboys from Diamond X ranch watched the sheep herders and their innocent, though undesirable, charges fade away to the south. The Greasers took their wounded with them, and several spare horses they had brought along made up for those that regretfully were shot by the cowboys.

"I hope we've seen the last of that bunch," remarked Dick, tenderly feeling of his wounded hand.

"No such good luck," declared Nort. "Do you really think they mean to try and get pasturage here, Billee?" he asked.

"I sure do," replied the veteran. "They can't feed their sheep much longer on the other side of the creek—they'll have to come here—if they can."

"But we stopped 'em," said Snake.

"Only for a time," said Billee. "As Del Pinzo boasts, now they'll try the courts."

"But that Greaser won't have a standing in any decent court," exclaimed Bud. "He's a jail bird—he isn't even a citizen!"

"How does it come he is working for the interests of these Greasers, some of whom may be citizens?" asked Nort.

"Del Pinzo will do anything by which he can get a dollar or have a little power," was Billee's opinion. "How he got out of jail I don't know. Maybe it's by some power over a government official, and maybe he hopes, by that same hold, to influence the courts against us. Anyhow, he's out of jail and he's cast his lot in with the sheep men for his own advantage, you can gamble on that—not theirs. He has stirred them up to demand certain things which they regard as their rights under the new law.

"Well, maybe they are their rights, on land that hasn't already been claimed, but that doesn't apply here. Your dad owns this land, Bud, and we're going to see he doesn't lose it by any tricks of Del Pinzo."

"He seems to have given up his tricks for a time," remarked Bud.

"But only for a time," added Billee. "He'll have us in court next. Not that there's an awful lot of law out this section," he said with a grim smile, "but what there is can be mighty troublesome when you rub it the wrong way."

There was nothing more to be done now as long as the sheep men had departed. Though at that, Billee and his cowboys were not going to be caught unawares. With all Del Pinzo's talk of applying to the law, he might be "bluffing." He might seek to draw the defenders away and then rush back, getting the sheep across the stream. Once on the Diamond X range it would be hard to dislodge them.

"And it only takes a few hours of sheep on a pasture to spoil it for horses," remarked Bud.

So, fearing treachery, a guard was left at the point where the battle of the crossing had been fought. The remainder of the cowboys returned to the "fort," and from there word was sent to Mr. Merkel of what had occurred.

"So Del Pinzo will have me in court, will he?" remarked the owner of Diamond X ranch. "Well, I reckon I won't worry until I see sheep on my land."

But for all that, Mr. Merkel could not help wishing his papers had not been stolen. For though he might, eventually, prove his claim without them, it meant a delay. And during this delay the other side—the sheep men—might obtain some legal advantage that would enable them to take at least temporary possession of the land in dispute.

And, as Bud had truthfully remarked, only a short occupancy of pasture by the odorous sheep would spoil the grazing and water for sensitive cattle and horses.

For several days after the fight nothing happened. Dick and the wounded cowboys received medical treatment, and all except one were soon on the road to recovery. Poor Lanky had received a grievous wound which eventually caused his death, and he was sincerely mourned.

Meanwhile Mr. Merkel kept on with his ranch work, and the boys, visiting Happy Valley, found matters there going well. They were far enough away not to need to worry about sheep for a time. Then, too, their papers were safe and in case dispute arose as to ownership the matter could easily be settled.

During this comparatively quiet spell, part of which time was utilized by Mr. Merkel in a vain attempt to discover the missing deeds and other documents, the boy ranchers paid several visits to the camp of Professor Wright. That eager scientist was delving away after fossil bones as enthusiastically as if he had never discovered any.

"What are you on the track of now?" asked Nort.

"A Brontotherium," answered the professor.

"What did he say—a bronco?" asked Bud. "We've got some over at our place you can have for nothing," he added with a laugh. "They're not dead yet, though some of the boys who tried to ride 'em wish they were."

"A Brontotherium," explained Professor Wright, "is an extinct animal, something like the rhinoceros, but much larger—more than the size of an elephant, I hope to prove. There are indications that I may find the bones here."

"I hope you do," remarked Dick.

The boys wandered around the camp, and were about to leave the scene of the digging and excavating when Nort uttered an exclamation.

"What's the matter?" asked his brother.

"Look! There's Del Pinzo!" exclaimed Nort, and, surely enough, the figure of the wily Greaser or half-breed was seen moving among the men engaged by the professor to help him and his assistant in digging up fossil bones.

"You have that rascal again, I see, Professor," said Bud rather coldly.

"Well, he certainly is a great help," was the answer. "He has great influence over the Mexican laborers."

"Too much," grimly remarked Bud. They went away, paying no further attention to Del Pinzo though he smiled at them in what he doubtless intended for a genial manner.

"What do you make of it, Bud?" asked Nort.

"Of what?"

"Professor Wright having that rascal with him?"

"Well," remarked Bud, with as judicial an air as he could assume on short notice, "you can look at it in two ways."

"For instance?" suggested Dick, teasingly. "We're in for something good, now," he whispered to his brother, though not so low but that Bud could not hear.

"Well, either Professor Wright knows Del Pinzo is a rascal, and takes to him in spite of that, or he doesn't know it—though how he can be ignorant I can't understand," declared Bud. "If he doesn't—he's the only one who knows the game who thinks Del is any better than a common, onery horse thief!"

"Maybe something will happen, soon, to open his eyes," suggested Nort, as they rode on.

When they reached the headquarters at Diamond X they found Sheriff Hank Fowler in earnest conversation with Mr. Merkel.

"Anything doing, Dad?" asked Bud.

"Yes. I'm summoned to court to prove my title to the Spur Creek land," was the answer. "Hank has just served me with the papers."

"I'm tellin' him he don't need to worry none," said Mr. Fowler, with a genial grin. "He can easy prove his title."

"Perhaps not so easy as you think," remarked Mr. Merkel, "since my papers are missing. If I could only get them back!"

"And I think I have a plan that will get them back!" suddenly exclaimed Nort.



CHAPTER XXIII

IN DISGUISE

All eyes were turned on the lad, but he did not seem abashed.

"What's the idea?" asked Dick, who thought perhaps his brother was "joshing."

"It just occurred to me, after I saw Del Pinzo at the professor's camp," Nort said. "It may sound foolish, but it's worth trying, I think."

And when, a little later, he had explained to Mr. Merkel and Sheriff, they clapped the lad on the back heartily and said:

"Go ahead! It's worth trying!"

Nort needed several days to perfect his plans for a daring excursion into the enemy's country, so to speak. But before he had completed his arrangements Del Pinzo, through some rascally lawyers, had gotten in the first blow of the legal battle.

As Mr. Merkel had said, he was summoned to court to defend his claim to the rich grazing lands of Spur Creek. If he had had his documents this would have been comparatively easy, but with the stealing of the deeds and other papers, the task was harder.

Of course Mr. Merkel engaged a lawyer, but the first skirmish resulted in victory for the sheep men. As had been surmised, Del Pinzo did not directly appear in the matter, though he was in court consulting with the lawyers engaged by the herders. And, as might have been expected, some of the claimants to rights under the new open range law were legal citizens of the United States and, as such, entitled to take up a certain amount of land.

"But they have no right to take Mr. Merkel's land!" said the ranchman's lawyer. "We grant that they have a right to pasture sheep, or even elephants, for that matter, on land they can rightfully claim. But they can't claim land already taken up and given over to the pasture of cattle. We recognize, Your Honor, that to the Court there is no difference between a sheep and a cow."

"You are right there," admitted the Judge, "and I suppose you are prepared, Mr. Bonnett, to substantiate your client's legal claim to this land by deeds and other papers."

"Unfortunately my client's deeds are missing," Mr. Bonnett had to admit, at which admission there was a grin from Del Pinzo, so Bud thought, at least. "But if we have time we can bring the necessary papers into court. Therefore we ask for delay."

"And we oppose delay, for the reason that our sheep are suffering from lack of fodder and we have a right to pasture them on the Spur Creek lands!" cried the opposing lawyer.

"I'll grant a week's postponement," decided the Judge. "If in that time, Mr. Bonnett, you can not file proof, I'm afraid——"

He did not finish, but they all knew what he meant. He would be obliged, in strict law, though perhaps not justice, to let the sheep men come in on land that Mr. Merkel claimed under rights of former laws, when he had taken them up after a government opening.

As has been said, legal matters in this sparsely settled part of the United States were not as strictly enforced as in large cities. There the loss of deeds could be made up by other evidence. But in the west the papers were needed and without them, even though in possession, there would be trouble to prove a claim.

"But if the sheep come, even though the court says they may, there'll be another fight!" declared the ranchman, in spite of his lawyer's efforts to keep him quiet.

It was two days after that when Nort started out of the ranch house one early evening. There had been a consultation before he left, and when he was ready to go he almost collided with Yellin' Kid, who entered.

"What's the matter with you, Greaser?" cried the Kid angrily. "What you doin' in here, anyhow?"

"Well, Kid, if you don't recognize me I guess I'm safe!" chuckled Nort.

"Nort!" shouted the Yellin' Kid. "What the——"

"Not so loud!" cautioned Nort, laughing. "How do you like my disguise?" he asked. And then, changing his voice to a whine, he begged in slangy Spanish for a cigaret (which, of course, he did not smoke) though he muttered his "thanks, Senor," in a manner that caused Yellin' Kid to exclaim:

"They'll never find you out! Good luck to you!"

"Adios," laughed Nort.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE BRONTOTHERIUM

There were busy times in the camp of Professor Wright, who was searching for the fossil bones of a once living Brontotherium. The scientist felt sure he was on the right track, though one of his college assistants was openly skeptical.

"This isn't the right rock formation at all, to dig for a Brontotherium," he declared.

"So some of my helpers held the time I discovered the other gigantic fossil bones," retorted the professor. "But I proved that I was right. We shall yet find a Brontotherium—or what is left of one—you'll see!"

Bud and Dick found time to stroll, occasionally, over to the camp of the scientist, for there was much to interest them there, and they wanted to be on hand when the "great discovery," as Professor Wright referred to it, should be made.

"Do you know," remarked Bud, as he and his chum were riding over to the scene of excavating operations one day, "there's something quite satisfying in going over among so much scientific knowledge."

"Particularly when we don't have to absorb any of it ourselves, under compulsion," remarked Dick with a chuckle. "It's like visiting a school and watching the other fellows boning away."

"Yes," agreed Bud. "We don't have to open a book nor learn a lot of names as long as your arm. I wonder why they gave such long names to these prehistoric monsters, anyhow?"

"Give it up," spoke Dick shortly. "There must be a reason."

"I reckon there is, but why in the name of Tunket couldn't they call 'em something shorter? Wouldn't it sound funny if we had to call a horse a Brontosaurus?"

"I'd teach mine to come without calling if it had a name like that!" chuckled Dick. "But say, Bud, while we're over there—in the camp I mean," and he pointed to it among the distant hills, "don't mention Nort's name."

"No, dad said not to, but I don't understand it at all."

"Neither do I, but the least said the better. And if anyone over there—especially Del Pinzo—asks for Nort, we're not to even admit he isn't with us. Sort of say he'll be along presently."

"I savey!"

The boys reached the scene of the digging operations which were quite extensive, Professor Wright being liberally supplied with money from some learned society that was interested in securing for the college the largest possible collection of fossil bones of long extinct monsters.

The boys knew some of the workers, and more than a few of the young college men—some of the professors—who had been brought to the place by Mr. Wright. And it was while Bud and Dick were again talking over how foolish it seemed (to them) to use such long names in speaking of the long-dead monsters that Professor Wright heard them.

He did not happen to be busy at that particular moment, and he was a man who never neglected an opportunity of imparting knowledge. He would do this not always with discrimination, for Bud used to tell with a laugh how once he overheard Professor Wright talking most learnedly to an ignorant Greaser who had merely stopped to inspect a pile of bones.

"He was getting off the longest string of jaw-breaking Greek and Latin terms," said Bud, telling the story, "spouting away how many millions of years ago the Dinosaurs trod the earth, what they lived on, how they fought among themselves, and he was dwelling particularly on how a change of conditions wiped all these birds off the earth."

"Meaning, by birds, the Dinosaurs and the like?" asked Dick.

"Sure."

"And how did the Greaser respond to it all?" Dick wanted to know.

"Oh, he took it all in with open mouth," chuckled Bud. "Every now and then he'd out with a 'si senor,' which encouraged Professor Wright to go on."

"And how did it end?" asked Dick.

"Oh, the prof. kept spouting away for an hour or more, showing bone after bone of some he'd dug up (this was before the present occasion) and when he was all through he leaned back with a jolly satisfied smile on his phiz.

"But say, Dick," went on Bud, "I wish yon could have seen the look on the dear old prof.'s face when the Greaser pointed to the bones and grunted out:

"'Him good plenty much make soup!'"

"No! Really?"

"As sure as I can throw a rope! The idea of boiling up the million-year bones to make soup! I sure thought the prof. would die! After that he didn't spout his wise stuff to any more Greasers."

"I shouldn't think he would."

But on this occasion Professor Wright had a ranch more receptive and intelligent audience. For, as I have said, overhearing Dick and Bud discussing the "jaw-breaking names," as the boys termed them, the scientist approached them with a reassuring smile on his face and said:

"You are somewhat like the old lady, told of in the book written by Professor Lucas of the American Museum of Natural History. In his introduction he speaks of the necessity for using what are termed 'big' words—that is scientific terms, and he mentions an old lady who said she wasn't so surprised at the discovery of all these strange animals, as she was at the fact that someone knew their names when they were found."

"But you don't know the names when you find them; do you?" asked Dick. "Don't you name them after they are found?"

"In a way we do, yes," answered the scientist. "But in the case of those already found—and I am searching for specimens of some extinct animals already identified—we have settled upon names.

"As Professor Lucas remarks, the real trouble is that there are no common names for these animals. As a matter of fact, when they existed there were no people on earth to name them, or, if there were, the names given by prehistoric man were not preserved, since they wrote no histories.

"And, as a matter of fact, those who complain that these names are hard to pronounce do not stop to think that, in many cases, the names of the Dinosaurs are no harder than others. They are simply less familiar and not so often used. You wouldn't call hippopotamus a hard word; would you, boys?" he asked.

"It isn't hard to pronounce, but I'd hate to have to spell it," chuckled Bud.

"It's easy if you take it slow," declared Dick, and, then and there he spelled it.

"Well, you've been to more circuses than I have," countered Bud.

"That's it!" cried the professor, seizing on the opportunity to impart a little information. "The word hippopotamus is familiar to you—and even to small children—because it has often been used, and because you have seen circus pictures of it. Well, if we had Brontotheriums on earth now, everyone would be using the name without stopping to think how to pronounce it, and they could spell it as easily as you can spell hippopotamus. Most words of Latin or Greek derivation are easy to pronounce once you try them.

"There are other names of animals in everyday use that would 'stump' us if we stopped to think of them, but we don't. We rattle off mammoth, rhinoceros, giraffe and boa constrictor easily."

"Yes, they sound easy enough," argued Bud.

"Well, all you need to do is to apply to the extinct monsters the same principle of pronunciation that you use in saying hippopotamus, and you have done the trick," went on Professor Wright. "In fact, it is all rather simple."

"Simple," murmured Dick. "Bront—bront—brontotherium!"

"Take it by degrees," advised Professor Wright, "and remember that generally these names are made up of one or two or even more Greek or Latin words. Sometimes a Greek and Latin word is combined, but that really is not scientific.

"Now, in the case of the brontotherium, we have two Greek words which excellently describe the animal whose bones I am after. That is the description fits, as nearly as anything can to something we have never seen.

"There is a Greek word—bronte it is pronounced in English, and it means, in a sense, thunder. Another Greek word is therion, which means wild beast.

"Then bronto—bronto—therion must mean—thunder beast!" cried Dick, rather proud that he had thus pieced together some information.

"That's it!" announced Professor Wright. "You see how easy it is. Change therion to therium and you have it."

"But why did they call it a thunder beast?" Bud wanted to know.

"There doesn't seem much sense in that," admitted the scientist, "until you stop to think that paleontologists adopted the word 'thunder' as meaning something large and monstrous, as thunder is the loudest noise in the world."

"Not so bad, after all," was Dick's admission.

"I'm glad to hear you say so," commented the professor. "To go a bit farther, take the word Dinosaur."

"I know the last end of it means a big lizard," put in Bud.

"Yes, and the front of it—the prefix dino, means the same thing that bronto signifies—something large, terrible and fear-inspiring. Dino is a form of word taken from the Greek, deinos meaning terrible and mighty, from its root deos, which means fear.

"So those who first discovered these great bones, having reconstructed the animals whose skeletons they formed, gave them scientific names best fitted to describe them. Can you think of anything more aptly descriptive than 'thunder-lizard,' to indicate a beast shaped like the lizards we see to-day, and yet whose size would terrify ancient man as thunder terrified him?"

The boys were really enjoying this scientific information, dry and complicated as it must seem in the way I have written it down here. But the professor had a way of making the most dry and scientific subject seem interesting.

"What gets me, though," said Dick, "is how they know about how these big lizards and other things look when they only find a single bone, or maybe one or two."

"That is puzzling at first," admitted Professor Wright. "Perhaps I can illustrate it for you. Take, for instance, the Dinornis—and before we go any farther let me see if you can give me a good English name for the creature. Try it now—the Dinornis."

He looked expectantly at the boys.

"Dino—dino—" murmured Bud. "That must mean—why that must mean fierce or terrible, if it's anything like Dinosaur."

"I'll encourage you so far as to say you're on the right track. In other words, you are half right," said the scientist. "Suppose you take a try at it," and he turned to Dick.

"There isn't much left," laughed the lad.

"Suppose you take it this way," suggested the scientist. "Lop off just di—and assume that Bud has used that. You have left the syllable nornis."

"Nornis—nornis—it doesn't seem to mean anything to me," sighed Dick, for he was rather disappointed at Bud's success and his own seeming failure so far.

"I'll help you a little," offered the professor. "Instead of saying di-nornis, call it din-ornis. Did you ever hear the word ornithology?"

"Sure!" assented Bud. "It means—ology that's the science of," he was murmuring to himself. "Don't tell me now—I have it—the science or study of birds. That's what ornithology is—the study of birds."

"Correct," said the professor. "Ornis is the Greek word for bird, and when we put in front of it Di, or din, meaning fear, thunder or terror, we have a word meaning a terribly large bird, and that's just what the Dinornis is—an extinct bird of great size.

"But what I started to tell you was how we can sometimes—not always and sometimes not correctly—reconstruct from a single bone the animal that once carried it around with it. The Dinornis is a good example.

"Some years ago there was discovered the pelvic and leg bones of what was evidently an enormous extinct bird. Now, of course, our knowledge of the past is based somewhat on our knowledge of the present, and if we had but the pelvic and leg bones of, say, a crow, we could, even without ever seeing a crow, come pretty nearly drawing the picture of how large a bird it is, and of what shape to be able to use such a pelvis and such leg bones.

"So the men who reconstructed the Dinornis went at it. They set up the pelvis and leg bones and then, with plaster or some substance, and by working in proportion, they reconstructed the Dinornis, which is about the shape of the ostrich or the extinct moa of New Zealand, only larger. Here, I'll show you what I mean."

Sitting down on a pile of dirt and shale rock, excavated by some of his workers, Professor Wright, on the back of an envelope, sketched the pelvic and leg bones and then from them he drew dotted lines in the shape of a big bird like an ostrich.

"You see how it is proportionately balanced," he remarked. "A bird with that shape and size of leg would be about so tall—he could not be much taller or larger or his legs would not have been able to carry him around.

"Take, for instance, the giraffe. If you found some of their long, thin leg bones, and had nothing else, and had never seen a giraffe, what sort of a beast would you imagine had been carried around on those legs?" he asked the boys.

"Well, a giraffe is about the only kind of a beast that could logically walk on such long, thin legs," admitted Bud.

"And there you are," said the professor.

The boys were more interested than they had believed possible, and they began to look forward eagerly to the time when some of the giant bones might be uncovered.

"What gets me, though," said Dick, believing that while knowledge was "on tap," he might as well get his fill, "what I can't understand is how long ago they figure these things lived—I mean the Dinornis and Dinosaurs," he added quickly, lest the professor resent his "pets" being called "things."

"There's a good deal of guess-work about it," admitted the scientist. "The question is often asked—how long ago did such monsters live. But we are confronted with this difficulty. The least estimate put on the age of the earth is ten million years. The longest is, perhaps, six thousand million——"

"Six thousand million!" murmured Bud in an awed voice.

"And maybe more," said Professor Wright. "So you see it is pretty hard to set any estimate on just when an animal lived who may have passed away six billion years ago—it really isn't worth while. All we can say is that they lived many, many ages ago, and we are lucky if we can come upon any slight remains of them."

"Do you really think you'll find some fossil bones?" asked Dick.

"I'm sure of it!" was the answer. "Hello! That looks as if they had found something over there!" he cried, as some excitement was manifest amid a group of laboring Greasers some distance away.

The professor hurried there, followed by the boys. They saw where some men, down in a shale pit had uncovered what at first looked to be a tree-trunk.

"It is part of the hind leg of the great Brontosaurus!" cried Professor Wright, in intense excitement. "That's what it is—the Brontosaurus!"

"But you want a Brontotherium," insisted one of the helpers, a professor in the making.

"I don't care what I get, as long as they are fossil bones!" cried Mr. Wright. "But I shall yet find a Brontotherium here—of that I am certain. Careful now, men!"

"Say, he's really found something!" cried Dick.

But alas for the hopes of the professor! When the object was taken out it proved to be only part of the skeleton of a long dead buffalo, the bones being so encrusted with clay or mud as to appear much larger than they really were.

"Well, too bad," sighed the professor. "But better luck next time. Come again, boys."

And so the digging went on as fast as could be done, for each shovel of earth and each dislodged stone was carefully examined by the scientist or one of his scientific companions for any trace of the bones of an extinct monster.

Under the urging of Del Pinzo, the Greasers, all of whom had been engaged by him, worked hard—harder than they would have done had Del Pinzo not been there to spur them on. Professor Wright admitted this, and said it was why he was willing to pay the half-breed to oversee the laborers.

And of all who labored none was more active than a certain young Greaser, in ragged garments and with a most dirty face, who seemed to be in all parts of the excavating camp at once. He leaped down into holes, he climbed mounds and delved there a while; he labored with pick and shovel. He was all over at all times, it seemed.

So active was he that he attracted the attention of Del Pinzo, who, strolling over to the youth remarked, in Mexican Spanish:

"I don't seem to remember you. Where are you from?"

To which, in native dialect, he was answered:

"I come in my brother's place. San Feliece he is much sick this day. I take his place."

Del Pinzo thought back rapidly. One of his workers of this name was missing, and, well—all Greasers looked alike. He turned, and the youth, with a quiet chuckle, resumed his activities.

But, as the youth labored, his eyes seemed to follow Del Pinzo more than they kept to the matters immediately in hand. Though he struck hard with his pick, and took out heaping shovelfuls, this youth ever had his eyes on the half-breed, watching and watching as Del Pinzo strolled about the camp grounds.

It was the third day of this young Greaser's appearance in the fossil excavations, and coming close to the end of the week, which period of grace had been allowed Mr. Merkel by the court. Unless the deeds were soon produced the sheep would scatter over the Spur Creek lands and this would mean the beginning of the end for the cattle men.

Suddenly the comparative quiet of the fossil camp was broken by loud yells, and there seemed much excitement in a place where Professor Wright had been examining earth and rocks as the debris was deposited from an excavation.

The ragged youth, who had said he came to take the place of his ill brother, raced over the ground toward the excited group. He found the professor gazing eagerly down into a sort of cave that had been discovered when the digging reached a certain depth.

"Look out there now! Be careful!" cautioned the scientist. "I think we have found it. Here, you look intelligent!" and he motioned to the Greaser youth whom Del Pinzo had questioned. "Get down in there and make the opening a little wider so I can see what we've come upon. But be very careful. If there are bones we don't want to break them. Perhaps you'd better tell him, Del Pinzo," suggested Professor Wright. "He probably doesn't understand my English."

Thereupon Del Pinzo loosed a string of Mexican Spanish, at which the youth nodded, and proceeded to enlarge the opening to the small underground cavern.

As the light of day was allowed to enter, Professor Wright leaped down into the hole and stood almost at the side of the youth. Then, suddenly, the scientist cried:

"I've found it! I have discovered it! The gigantic Brontotherium! Success at last!"

And as the youth stepped aside to allow the scientist to enter and gaze upon the immense fossil bones which had just been laid bare, the youth looked at Del Pinzo, hastening across the camp ground, murmured:

"I, too, have found it! Success at last!"



CHAPTER XXV

THE END OF THE SHEEP

Court had convened. It was the day set for the decision in the Spur Creek open range matter—a decision which would say whether or not sheep could be pastured on land that the owner of Diamond X had long claimed as his own.

In the open West—where there is much hard work and little play—unless a man makes the latter for himself—the opening of court, even for small matters, was an occasion for the "gathering of the clans." From far and near, those who could get away to attend the sitting of the judge, and sometimes the trial of cases, were always on hand. It was the same sort of an occasion as in the East is the circus, the cattle show or the county fair.

At court, as at the circus and fair, friends who had long been separated met again, and, not infrequently, relatives found those of whom they had long lost trace.

And so, as there was a gathering of lawyers, a judge or two, some witnesses and any number of mere hangers-on in the city where court had been convened, there were heard on all sides such greetings as:

"Well, ef thar ain't ole Bill! Put here there, Bill!"

"Horn-swoggle me ef 'tain't Nate! Well, gumsozzle me!"

Two hard and calloused hand would meet in a crack like that from a small gun and two bearded faces, seamed and wrinkled, would light up with pleasure.

Near them—all around them—similar scenes were being enacted, and, not infrequently, ancient enemies would thus come together, with none of the kindly greetings that I have indicated. Often as not there would be the drawing of guns and an exchange of shots, more or less dangerous under any circumstances, and particularly so where there was a throng as at the opening of court.

But on this occasion all grudges seemed to have been forgotten or buried, for there was no shooting. The feeling was of the friendliest, save that an important issue was to be fought out between the sheep men on one side and the cattle men on the other.

To both sides the issue meant much, for it meant success or failure in what they elected to gain their livings by means of. So it cannot be wondered at that there were more or less serious faces as men met and inquired one of the other:

"How do you think it's going?"

"Well, you can't tell much about it," the answer might be. "These lawyers and judges——"

"That's right. They don't seem to use common sense—some of 'em."

"But what sort of a case do you s'pose Diamond X has got, anyhow?"

"Pretty good, I hear."

"Well, I hope they have. Gosh! If we're goin' t' be overrun with them onery sheep jest as we've got things runnin' nicely fer cattle—wa'al, I don't want t' live around here—that's all I got to say!" exclaimed one grizzled cowman.

"Same here!" commented some of his hearers. "Sheep's no good; never were any good; an' what's more, never will be any good!"

"That's right!" came a deep-voiced chorus.

To hear them tell it one would think that a sheep had no rights at all and that a sheep man was the worst being on earth, and yet, as a matter of fact, many a cowman, sick of the eternal beef that he had to eat, welcomes a tender bit of roast lamb.

But such is the world!

To the cattlemen the sheep owners and herders were despised and hated of men—not fit to live within the same thousand-mile area of cattle and horses.

Of course sheep was not the direct issue. As was said, the point turned on whether the Spur Creek land came under the provisions of the open range, as defined by Congress, and once this was settled a man could pasture elephants on the land he staked out, provided he could get elephants to stay there.

But the coming of the sheep meant the going of the cattle. And that is why the courtroom was so filled with spectators. Dick was there, his bullet-wounded hand almost better. Bud was there, as was his father and many cowboys from Diamond X.

Del Pinzo, with a grin on his evil, bearded face, was there also.

"We will take up first the matter of the open range land," said the Judge. "The matter was laid over until to-day to enable the defendant to produce certain papers in court substantiating his claim to pasturage along Spur Creek. Are you ready to proceed, Mr. Bonnett?" and he looked at Mr. Merkel's lawyer.

"Your Honor," began the attorney, "we hoped to be able to settle the matter definitely to-day. I expected to show the deeds proving our claim. But, unless a certain witness whom I depended on soon arrives, we shall have to proceed to trial. If this witness were here, and if he could prove what I hoped——"

"You will never be able to prove anything!" broke in the sneering voice of Del Pinzo.

"Silence in the court!" cried Sheriff Hank Fowler, but almost as he spoke the decorum was again broken by a voice which cried in ringing tones:

"Oh, yes, we can prove everything, Del Pinzo! Here are the deeds that prove Mr. Merkel's claim to the land, and I can prove that you stole them the night of the shooting!"

"San Diabalo!" muttered Del Pinzo, turning quickly. "It is the brother of Feliece!"

"Not exactly," laughed the voice of the newcomer. He snatched off a wig of black, wiry hair and stood revealed as—Nort Shannon!

He tossed a bundle of papers to Mr. Merkel's lawyer, and then all eyes turned on Del Pinzo, who feverishly was examining a bundle of documents he tore from an oiled-silk bag.

"San Diabalo!" he cried again. "They are gone!"

"No, they are here!" mocked Nort. "I found where you had hidden the real papers, and I just took them out and substituted some of my own."

Del Pinzo glared about the court for a moment, and then made a movement.

"Catch that scoundrel!" cried the Judge. But it was too late. Del Pinzo slipped out, leaped to the back of his fleet horse and though the pursuit was soon organized, he got away.

"Where did you come from, Nort?" asked Dick, as he shook hands with his brother.

"Direct from the professor's camp. Didn't get here any too soon, either, as it happens. My horse went lame and then there was a lot of excitement when they found the Brontotherium."

"Oh, did they find another of those monsters?" asked Bud.

"Yep! The Grandfather of 'em all, I reckon!" laughed Nort. "And during the ruction I managed to get to the place where Del Pinzo had hidden the deeds he stole. I took them out and put in some worthless documents so he wouldn't suspect. Then I came on here. Now I guess they won't pasture any sheep at Spur Creek."

And they did not. With the finding of Mr. Merkel's deeds, which had been stolen, his ownership was clearly established. No one now dared claim his lands. Of course there were parts of the open range where the sheep herders could go in, but none were as choice or as much desired as the pastures of Spur Creek. And they were far enough away not to menace Diamond X.

"The application of the plaintiff for permission to take over the Spur Creek range is hereby denied," announced the Judge. And thus ended the case of the men whose cause Del Pinzo had taken up. Some of them were innocent parties to his treachery, and he had engineered the whole scheme to enrich himself eventually. For these innocent victims sorrow was expressed. But even sorrow would not induce a cattleman to allow sheep on his ranch.

And so, a few days later the sheep which had been held in readiness south of Spur Creek were driven back into Mexico.

"Well, Nort, suppose you tell us how it all happened," suggested Bud, when matters at Diamond X were about normal again. "How did you come to disguise yourself like a Greaser, go off to the professor's camp and get the deeds where Del Pinzo had hidden them? Tell us."

"It isn't much of a story," began Nort, modestly enough. "In the first place, you know about as much of the beginning of it as I do. Del Pinzo heard about the government opening the range lands, and he knew the deeds to Spur Creek must be here. So he organized a robbery and carried it out, drawing us away from the place by a lot of shooting. Professor Wright, as of course you know, had nothing to do with it. His coming was just a coincidence.

"Those mysterious lone riders were sent by Del Pinzo to see how things were going, and that rocket signaling was, as we guessed, communication from one of Del Pinzo's gang to another. Then, when that Greaser had the deeds safely hidden, as he thought, he gave the signal for the sheep to start for Spur Creek."

"But how in the name of Zip Foster did you know where he had the deeds hidden?" cried Bud.

"I didn't," answered Nort. "I simply guessed that he had taken them, or had some one take them for him, and I reasoned he would keep them near him, in the professor's camp. So, with your dad's permission, Bud, I disguised like a Greaser and went to work in the fossil camp. I had to kidnap one of the regular Greasers, and pass myself off as his brother, which I did. By the way," he remarked to Slim, "we can let Feliece go now."

"All right," chuckled Slim, who was one of the few in the secret. "He didn't mind being a prisoner here, for he got well paid and had plenty of grub."

"After I established myself at the camp," went on Nort, "and even the professor didn't recognize me, I made it my business secretly to keep on Del Pinzo's trail until I located where he had hidden the deeds, in one of the many excavations made in searching for fossil bones.

"Then, when the Brontotherium was really found there was enough excitement so that I could sneak over to the hiding place, take out the right papers and stick in some dummies I had all ready. Then I sent word to Mr. Bonnett, and came on as soon as I could with the deeds. Zeb Tauth, the janitor whom the professor brought with him as a sort of personal aid, helped me out in that. He was a good scout, Zeb was, though he doesn't care much about fossils. He says he's anxious to get back to his furnace and ash cans."

"Shades of Zip Foster!" chuckled Bud, as the explanation was concluded. "It couldn't have been slicker if you'd practiced it for a year! I'll never forget Del Pinzo's face as he opened his oiled-silk package and realized that he had been fooled. Oh, Zip Foster!"

"So it's all over now," commented Dick.

"Well, it was a mighty good ending," said Mr. Merkel, "and I'm much obliged to you boy ranchers. You helped a lot. I'd like to catch Del Pinzo, however."

But the wily half-breed Greaser disappeared, though it might be feared he would bob up again in the lives of the boy ranchers. For they were destined to have other adventures.

"But we're through for a time," said Bud, as, with his cousins, he rode the trail that led to home.

Nell met them near the horse corral.

"You're just in time," she said.

"For what?" asked Dick.

"Pie!" answered Nell with a laugh. "Mother and I have baked some for you."

"Whoopee!" yelled the boy ranchers, and as they race for the kitchen we will take leave of them for a time.



THE END



THE BOY RANCHERS SERIES

BY WILLARD F. BAKER

12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. Jacket in full colors.

Stories of the great west, with cattle ranches as a setting, related in such a style as to captivate the hearts of all boys.

1. THE BOY RANCHERS or Solving the Mystery at Diamond X

Two eastern boys visit their cousin. They become involved in an exciting mystery.

2. THE BOY RANCHERS IN CAMP or The Water Fight at Diamond X

Returning for a visit, the two eastern lads learn with delight, that they are to become boy ranchers.

3. THE BOY RANCHERS ON THE TRAIL or The Diamond X After Cattle Rustlers

Our boy heroes take the trail after Del Pinzo and his outlaws.

4. THE BOY RANCHERS AMONG THE INDIANS or Trailing the Yaquis

Rosemary and Floyd are captured by the Yaqui Indians.

5. THE BOY RANCHERS AT SPUR CREEK or Fighting the Sheep Herders

Dangerous struggle against desperadoes for land rights.

6. THE BOY RANCHERS IN THE DESERT or Diamond X and the Lost Mine

One night a strange old miner almost dead from hunger and hardship arrived at the bunk house. The boys cared for him and he told them of the lost desert mine.

7. THE BOY RANCHERS ON ROARING RIVER or Diamond X and the Chinese Smugglers

The boy ranchers help capture Delton's gang who were engaged in smuggling Chinese across the border.

8. THE BOY RANCHERS IN DEATH VALLEY or Diamond X and the Poison Mystery

The boy ranchers track mysterious Death into his cave.

CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, Publishers. New York.

THE BASEBALL JOE SERIES

BY LESTER CHADWICK

12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, $.65, postpaid

1. BASEBALL JOE OF THE SILVER STARS or The Rivals of Riverside

2. BASEBALL JOE ON THE SCHOOL NINE or Pitching for the Blue Banner

3. BASEBALL JOE AT YALE or Pitching for the College Championship

4. BASEBALL JOE IN THE CENTRAL LEAGUE or Making Good as a Professional Pitcher

5. BASEBALL JOE IN THE BIG LEAGUE or A Young Pitcher's Hardest Struggles

6. BASEBALL JOE ON THE GIANTS or Making Good as a Twirler in the Metropolis

7. BASEBALL JOE IN THE WORLD SERIES or Pitching for the Championship

8. BASEBALL JOE AROUND THE WORLD or Pitching on a Grand Tour

9. BASEBALL JOE HOME RUN KING or The Greatest Pitcher and Batter on Record

10. BASEBALL JOE SAVING THE LEAGUE or Breaking Up a Great Conspiracy

11. BASEBALL JOE CAPTAIN OF THE TEAM or Bitter Struggles on the Diamond

12. BASEBALL JOE CHAMPION OF THE LEAGUE or The Record that was Worth While

13. BASEBALL JOE CLUB OWNER or Putting the Home Town on the Map

14. BASEBALL JOE PITCHING WIZARD or Triumphs Off and On the Diamond

CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, Publishers. New York.

THE JEWEL SERIES

BY AMES THOMPSON

12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. Jacket in colors.

A series of stories brimming with hardy adventure, vivid and accurate in detail, and with a good foundation of probability. They take the reader realistically to the scene of action. Besides being lively and full of real situations, they are written in a straight-forward way very attractive to boy readers.

1. THE ADVENTURE BOYS AND THE VALLEY OF DIAMONDS

Malcolm Edwards and his son Ralph are adventurers with ample means for following up their interest in jewel clues. In this book they form a party of five, including Jimmy Stone and Bret Hartson, boys of Ralph's age, and a shrewd level-headed sailor named Stanley Greene. They find a valley of diamonds in the heart of Africa.

2. THE ADVENTURE BOYS AND THE RIVER OF EMERALDS

The five adventurers, staying at a hotel in San Francisco, find that Pedro the elevator man has an interesting story of a hidden "river of emeralds" in Peru, to tell. With him as guide, they set out to find it, escape various traps set for them by jealous Peruvians, and are much amused by Pedro all through the experience.

3. THE ADVENTURE BOYS AND THE LAGOON OF PEARLS

This time the group starts out on a cruise simply for pleasure, but their adventuresome spirits lead them into the thick of things on a South Sea cannibal island.

CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, PUBLISHERS. New York.

THE BOMBA BOOKS

BY ROY ROCKWOOD

12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. With colored jacket.

Bomba lived far back in the jungles of the Amazon with a half-demented naturalist who told the lad nothing of his past. The jungle boy was a lover of birds, and hunted animals with a bow and arrow and his trusty machete. He had a primitive education in some things, and his daring adventures will be followed with breathless interest by thousands.

1. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY or The Old Naturalist's Secret

In the depth of the jungle Bomba lives a life replete with thrilling situations. Once he saves the lives of two American rubber hunters who ask him who he is, and how he had come into the jungle.

2. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AT THE MOVING MOUNTAIN or The Mystery of the Caves of Fire

Bomba travels through the jungle, encountering wild beasts and hostile natives. At last he trails the old man of the burning mountain to his cave and learns more concerning himself.

3. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AT THE GIANT CATARACT or Chief Nasconora and His Captives

Among the Pilati Indians he finds some white captives, and an aged opera singer, first to give Bomba real news of his forebears.

4. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY ON JAGUAR ISLAND or Adrift on the River of Mystery

Jaguar Island was a spot as dangerous as it was mysterious and Bomba was warned to keep away. But the plucky boy sallied forth.

5. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY IN THE ABANDONED CITY or A Treasure Ten Thousand Years Old

Years ago this great city had sunk out of sight beneath the trees of the jungle. A wily half-breed thought to carry away its treasure.

6. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY ON TERROR TRAIL or The Mysterious Men from the Sky

Bomba strikes out through the vast Amazonian jungles and soon finds himself on the dreaded Terror Trail.

CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, Publishers. New York.

THE END

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