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Monday, March 24, 2014

ELLIOT JOHANSON STORY CHAPTER 10 HomeComing Ruined

The thief Found the Hiding Place and - -
courtesy free clip art
 
Sid said, “You don’t know how much we missed you.  
 
Watch this fool horse for he hasn’t been ridden since you left.  A top hand tried to exercise him and he lasted two jumps before he hit the ground and then Buck chased him out of the corral.  He was so mad he wanted to shoot him.  
 
One of the hands said I wouldn’t if I was you.  This horse is a friend of El and no one lives who has hurt one of El’s friends.  He said he didn’t believe anyone would kill someone over a horse.  He was mad for a while but got over it.  
 
I put Buck out to pasture after that for he didn’t want to be kept in the corral witnessed by the fact he tore it down a couple of times.  He liked the pasture and he stayed in the fenced area except for a couple of times when a filly who was in season and came over within smelling range.  
 
He jumped over the fence and in about another month there will be a couple of little Bucks appearing.  He wanted to be let back in the pasture afterward.  I think he liked to be alone except for those special times.”
 
El asked, “How is Lucy and the baby?”
 
Sid said, “Fine it is over a year old and will soon have a brother or sister.”
 
El said, “You aren’t wasting any time are you?”
 
Sid said, “Well I got a late start and have to make up some time.”
 
El started to mount Buck and he gave El a friendly nip and as he took the first steps he gave a couple of bucks.
 
El said, “He always does that just to let me know I’m special and that he likes me.”
 
Sid brought El up to date and it seemed that everything went well without El being there.
El asked if he knew why he left and Sid said yes, Clara told him.
 
Sid said, “I don’t know why you had to do that.  There must have been another way to deal with it.”
 
El said, “I’m sure there was but the idea of going to that part of the world intrigued me and I learned a lot about life.  I lived without my guns for a year and I hope I don’t need them again.  I’ve had enough killing and hope I can avoid any more if possible but I’m afraid sooner or later someone will cross me and they will die.”
 
Sid said, “That country is different than here, the people here are untamed, and thinking back no one died that didn’t deserve it.”
 
El said, “I have some good news and that is I brought five mares back with me and I want to breed them to Buck.  I think they will be the finest horses around here.  They will arrive in a couple of days.”
 
The ranch house was coming into view as they talked.  Mayfield and Clara were on the porch rocking and they gave El a good hugging when he got there.
 
Clara said, “I locked your room up when you left and no one has been in until I cleaned it today.”
 
El was wondering why she would say that.  He quickly went into his room and saw his hiding place had been found and broken into.  
 
Clara told him, “One of the hands was helping me move the furniture and he must have done it.  I hope there was nothing valuable in the hiding place.
 
“How long has it been,” El asked?
 
Clara said, “He lit out about an hour ago.”
 
El opened his suitcase and pulled his guns out and put them on.
 
Sid said, “I don’t know what is going on but I’m going with you.”
 
Sid quickly picked up the trail and said, “He is heading for the glades where he thinks no one can track him.”  
 
With the horses going at a slow lope the horses could run all day without tiring where they figured the thief would be going as fast as his horse could run till he run him down.  
 
They were right about that for they found the man’s horse still heaving with his head hanging down and the man had fled on foot.
 
Sid said, “I will cut him off a couple of miles ahead of him and you flush him out. Watch for birds being disturbed for they nest in the rocks at this time of year.”
 
Sid took off at a gallop and ten minutes later he had him boxed in.
 
El with guns drawn called out to the man and told him he didn’t want to kill him and wouldn’t if he came out now.
 
A shot rang out giving away the man’s location.  
 
El called out once again and said either come out now or you will be dead and I will leave your carcass for the buzzards to feast upon.  
 
Another shot rang out and then another.
 
A minute later Sid called out and said, “It is over.”
 
He came to where El was and said, “Let’s go.”
 
El said, “You carry one of these saddle bags for they are heavy.  I don’t know how he carried both of them.  Sometimes fear gives you extra strength I guess.”
 
Sid said, “It feels like lead in them for it is that heavy.  I think you better find a better place to hide your lead.”
 
El said, “Thank you for coming with me.  It made it much easier.”
 
Sid said, “Looks like this country is still too wild for a man, a good man to give up his guns.”
 
El said, “Perhaps you’re right.  I must think the same thing for I didn’t hesitate when I felt they were necessary.”
 
“It is a shame that your homecoming had to be spoiled by this guy.”
 
El said, “At least Buck got a good workout.  Is there any grub up at the line shack?”
 
Sid said, “There should be some flour, fat back, and some beans.”
 
El said, “I think I will go there for a few days and spend a little time getting used to this country again.  There should be some Polk Salad or Water Cress for the picking at this time of the year.”
 
Sid said, “You can hobble Buck and let him graze or feed him some of the hay in the horse barn.  If you are not back by Sunday I will have one of the hands bring you some fresh vittles; maybe some ham and eggs.”

On Sunday one of the old hands showed up in a wagon with some food and a note.  Sid wrote in the note; “If you need to stay longer here is some food but if you’re ready to get on with living then come on home.  You can put the lead in the wagon and save Buck’s back for that stuff is very heavy.”
 
El said to the driver, “Did you bring some ham and eggs?”
 
He said, “I got ham and eggs if they didn’t break.”
 
El said, “Let’s have some ham and eggs then and then head home.”
 
“Sounds like the best idea I’ve heard all day,” the man replied.
 
On the way back El thought; “Is this money worth killing or dying for?”
 
Several men have died for this particular money that he knew of.  
 
Then he thought, “It isn’t the money that’s important but what it represents which is people’s lives that make it worth dying for.  For it represents their labor and a part of their life span.  When you look at it that way it is worth protecting from those who would steal it from you.”
 
El’s new mares were delayed one day but when they arrived Sid went with him to pick them up.  
 
Sid said, “They need to be groomed and allowed to run for a couple of days but they are some of the finest stock I’ve seen.  With Buck as the sire you will have the finest horses in this part of the country.  
 
Meanwhile it will be interesting to see what Buck’s mating with the mustang fillies will look like.  I suspect they will be the toughest cow ponies around here.  It takes a tough animal to work cattle in all kinds of weather and all kinds of terrain.”
 
Two weeks later the first colt was born and a week later the second appeared.  El said when these colts are around two and a half years they are going to have to earn their keep.  
 
But from now on Buck will be the chief stud around here and I will need a new mount, in fact I will need two to take his place.
 
To be Continued

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