mountain ! He is dead ! The mountain will kill
you ! See the lights ! Who will bury me ? Ha
ha ! " And then the strange voice died away in
" What on earth can it be? " gasped Whopper.
His face was deadly pale,
" Don't ask me," answered Snap.
"What's up?" questioned Giant, who was a
light sleeper, and the sound of his voice awoke the
doctor's son. Soon he and the small youth were
acquainted with what had occurred.
" Where did the voice go to ? " asked Shep.
230 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
" It seemed to fade away In the air.'*
" Why didn't you take a shot at it? "
" How can you shoot something you don't see? "
demanded Snap, half Indignantly. " Just let me
spot that ghost and I'll show you what I'll do ! "
" Let us keep quiet," suggested Whopper.
** Perhaps it will come back."
All sat down around the fire, for further sleep
was out of the question. Thus an hour went by,
but nothing came to disturb them.
" Looks as if the ghost business was finished for
to-night," remarked Shep, glancing around down
the mountainside. Then he leaped to his feet.
"What did you see?" demanded the others,
leaping up also.
" There — down among those tall trees."
" I don't see anything," said Snap, after a care-
" It Is gone now. Oh, what a looking thing! "
The doctor's son was breathing heavily.
" Didn't you Imagine It? " asked Glanto
" No, I saw It as plain as day."
"Yellow or white?"
VISITED BY THE GHOST 231
" Yellow, and it had red horns, just as Ham
" Which way was it moving? "
" It seemed to be moving towards us, but it dis-
appeared behind some rocks."
After this the four boys were silent, straining
their eyes and ears to see or hear the ghost.
"There it is I" fairly shouted Whopper, a
There was no need to utter the words, for the
strange apparition was now in full view of all.
It resembled the body of a man, and glowed with
a strange yellow light, while the horns of red
waved menacingly toward them.
" Av/ay ! away I away 1 " came a deep voice.
" Go away from the mountain and the lake 1 "
And then, raising a warning finger and pointing
directly at the four young hunters, the ghostly
figure suddenly moved to one side and vanished I
THE SECRET OF THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE
" What do you think of that? "
Such was the question which several of the boys
|rtit to each other simultaneously.
"Why didn't somebody shoot at the ghost?"
"Why didn't you, Shep?" queried Giant.
*' I — er — I forgot about it."
" The ghost vanished too quickly," said Snap.
** But keep on guard — it may come back."
** If it does it will get something from me sure,"
murmured the doctor's son, and raised his shot-
" What do you think it was? " asked Whopper,
after a painful pause of several minutes.
"A man," answered Snap, promptly.
" A man ! " cried Giant.
*' Yes, a man — and I don't know whether we
otight to shoot at him or not," continued the leader
of the gun club. " We certainly don't want to
SECRET OF THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE 235
" But if it's a man what is he playing ghost
for? " queried the doctor's son.
" That remains to be found out."
" Your theory is all well enough,'' said Whop-
per, *' but it doesn't account for the ghostlike
" I know that. Nevertheless, I think that ghost
is a man."
The young hunters continued to discuss the sit-
uation from all possible points of view. Snap's
positive declaration that the ghost was a man made
all feel less frightened, and they were anxious to
get better acquainted with the apparition.
" If it's a man I'd like to capture him and give
him a piece of my mind," said Whopper. " What
right has he to roam around like this, frightening
everybody he meets ? "
" He ordered us away from the mountain.
Most likely, if it is a man, he wants this territory
to himself," answered Giant.
*' That's the way I figure it," said Snap. " He
may be crazy and may think he owns the moun-
tains and the lake."
" It couldn't be that old hermit, Peter Peterson,
could it? " queried Shep, suddenly.
" That's who It is ! " almost shouted Whopper.
" It's a trick of his to keep folks away from here."
234 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
" But why should he come to us with that story
of his? " questioned Giant.
" He told us that just to scare us. He thought
we might go away from the lake at once."
Again there was a lively discussion, and the
young hunters agreed that, if the ghost was indeed
a man, more than likely it was Peterson.
" A fellow who would play such a trick ought
to be tarred and feathered," was Whopper's com-
" If it proves to be Peterson we'll have him
driven out of this neighborhood fast enough,"
Another hour went by, and as the ghost did not
reappear the young hunters grew heavy-eyed, and
one after another took a short nap. Thus the
night passed, and at last the sun showed itself over
the mountain top to the eastward, heralding an-
With the coming of sunlight the boys were in-
clined to treat the coming of the ghost as a joke.
They could not explain the ghostly voice, however,
although Snap said he imagined the man playing
ghost might be a ventriloquist.
" Some of those ventriloquists are very clever,"
he asserted, " and they can throw their voices al-
most anywhere." i
SECRET OF THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE 235
The sun soon dried the grass and bushes, and
after eating what was left of the quail, and the
lunch brought from the camp, the young hunters
struck off in the direction whence the bear they had
shot had disappeared. They traveled with ex-
treme care, for none of them wished to risk a tum-
ble down the mountainside.
"Look! look!" yelled Snap, presently, and
pointed some distance ahead.
" Wolves, and they are at some game," returned
Whopper. " I do believe it is our bear ! "
" That's just what it is," put in Giant. " What
gall ! Let us open lire on 'em ! "
The wolves w^ere at least a dozen in number, all
big and powerful fellows. They had just come on
the bear, that was dead, and were quarreling
among themselves over the carcass.
With great care the four boy hunters took aim
at the wolves, and at a command from Snap, let
drive. As the reports died away two of the beasts
were seen to be dead and two others were wounded.
The other wolves turned and retreated a few paces,
then paused and glared at those who had molested
" They are coming for us I " shouted Whopper,
and the statement proved true. With wild yelps
and snarls the wolves leaped forward.
236 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
It was a moment of great peril and the young
hunters fully realized their critical condition.
*' Shoot and jump for the nearest trees ! " yelled
Snap, and then let drive again. The others dis-
charged the remaining loads in their shotguns, and
three more of the wolves were hit, and one killed.
Then one after another the young hunters scram-
bled up into the nearest trees.
The boys thought they would have a hard fight
with the remaining wolves, but evidently the pack
had had enough of the encounter, for those that
were wounded limped off growling savagely and
the others followed, leaving the dead where they
" We came up in the nick of time," said Snap,
as he reloaded and leaped to the ground, followed
by his chums. " A few minutes later and those
beasts would have torn this bear limb from limb.
I suppose they thought they were going to have the
feast of their lives."
The body of the bear was cold and stiff, show-
ing that it had died shortly after being shot. It
was a good-sized creature, and the young hunters
felt justly proud of their quarry.
" I knew we'd get plenty of small game, but I
was afraid we wouldn't get a bear," said Whop-
SECRET OF THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE 237
" A bear always tops off a hunt," said Snap.
'* That or a moose," put in Giant. " Fd like to
get a crack at a good, big moose."
*' I am afraid you want too much in this life,"
answered Snap, with a laugh.
The problem of how to get the carcass down to
their camp was a serious one. They did not want
to cut the bear up just yet, nor did they want to
spoil the skin by dragging it over the rocks.
" Let us make a good, strong drag of tree
limbs," suggested Whopper. " We can bind the
limbs together closely, so the skin of the beast won't
touch the ground after we have tied the bear on top.
Then we can all haul it down between the trees."
" Maybe the bear will go down quicker than we
anticipate," said Snap. " But I reckon your sug-
gestion is as good as anything."
It took the best part of the morning to make a
drag that was satisfactory and pry the big bear on
it. Then the carcass was bound down with vines
" Now, everybody be careful," cautioned Snap.
" Some of these rocks are very loose, and it will be
the easiest thing in the world to take a tumble and
break an ankle or your neck."
Then the trip down the mountainside began. It
was truly hard work, for the drag caught on some
238 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
rocks and slid altogether too fast over others.
Then, at one point, they came close to running Into
a nest of hornets. One of the wicked creatures
stung Whopper on the hand and another stung Shep
on the neck, and there followed a wild dancing and
yelling, while the boys allowed the drag to tumble
over and over down the rocks and ran for safety.
" Look out for the hornets ! "
" We'll be stung to death ! "
" Did you ever see the match I " groaned Whop-
per, after the excitement was over. " Just gaze
on that hand — as big as a baseball mitt ! ''
" And look at my neck! " came dolefully from
the doctor's son.
A few of the hornets were buzzing around the
fallen carcass of the bear and the young hunters
did not dare to approach until the pests had de-
parted. Then the drag was righted and the
journey down the mountainside was continued.
". Who ever thought so many things would hap-
pen on this trip," was Snap's comment. " First
we shot the bear, then we tumbled into the hole,
then we were buried alive, next the ghost came
along, and then followed the wolves and the
" Yes, and we are not back to camp yet," sighed
Giant. " I think I'll rest for a week after this."
SECRET OF THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE 239
" We ought to send this bear down to town,"
said Whopper. '^ I'd like to put it on exhibition,
just to show Ham Spink and some other folks what
we can do."
" Well, we might send it down in some way,"
answered Snap. " But come on, I am getting
hungry, and we're a long way still from the lake
" We are coming to a cliff of some sort," an-
nounced Giant, who was in advance. " Take it
easy now, or the drag will drag you where you
don't want to go."
They advanced with caution, and presently saw
the cliff. Below were some thick cedar trees, the
tops reaching just above the cliff.
" Listen I " cried Snap, and put up his hand for
For a full minute they heard nothing, and the
others were just going to ask the leader what he
had heard when there came a shrill laugh from the
" Ha ha! I am dead! He is dead! " said a
ghostly voice. "Who will bury me? See the
lights ! I am dead ! He is dead 1 Ha ha ! "
" The ghost 1 " gasped Giant, and made a move-
ment as if to retreat.
240 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
" Don't run," commanded Snap. " It Is broad
daylight. Let us investigate this matter."
" I am dead 1 He is dead 1 Ha ha 1 " came
the voice again, and then followed a laugh that
chilled them to the backbone. By this time all
of the young hunters had their firearms around in
front of them, ready for use.
" Well, if this isn't the queerest — " began
Shep, when there was a fluttering in the tops of the
cedars and a big bird flew directly over their heads.
As quick as a wink. Snap took aim with his rifle
and let drive. The bird uttered a shrill cry, al-
most human, and fluttered down at their feet.
Then Shep struck at it with his gun barrel, and It
fell over lifeless.
"A parrot! "
" Yes, and he's the one who made the ghostly
sounds ! "
" Did you ever see the beat ! "
" No wonder we couldn't locate that voice in
Such were some of the comments of the young
hunters as they gathered around the dead parrot.
Snap picked the creature up, made certain it was
dead, and opened its mouth.
" Yes, he was a talker right enough," he said.
SECRET OF THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE 241
•* But I'd like to know who taught him to say such
awful things and nothing else ? "
" Most likely the fellow who is playing ghost,"
" Yes, and that fellow must be close by," ejac-
ulated Giant. " He and the parrot probably
" In that case, let us try to find Mr. Ghost," said
the doctor's son. Now the mystery of the ghostly
voice was explained he was no longer afraid.
" What will we do with the bear? " asked Snap.
It was voted to leave the carcass where it was,
and this decided upon, the young hunters looked
around for some way of getting down the cliff.
" Here's a rope ladder! " cried Snap. " Boys,
do you know what I think? " he added.
" I think we are near to where that ghost lives ! "
" Then let us pay him a visit and ask him what
he means by his outrageous conduct," answered the
Then all commenced to descend the rope ladder,
which led to the bottom of the cliff.
THE LAST OF THE GHOST CONCLUSION
It was a strong ladder and put up with care, so
the young hunters had no fear of falling. At the
foot they discovered a well-defined trail running
along the base of the cliff to where gushed forth a
small stream of pure, cold water. Near the spring
was an empty can, evidently used as a drinking cup.
The boys were thirsty and all took a drink. Then
they continued on the trail, until they came in sight
of a small log hut, almost hidden among the trees
" Perhaps that is wjiere Mr. Ghost lives," sug-
gested Whopper, trying to speak as lightly as he
could, although his voice trembled slightly.
" We can knock on the door and ask," answered
" Beware ! " came suddenly, from the vicinity
of the hut. " Come not a step nearer, if you value
your lives ! "
And then they saw the ghost like figure in yel-
low, with the dangling red horns, moving among
For just one moment the young hunters were
badly frightened and inclined to run. Then they
gazed at each other questioningly and stood their
" We want to talk to you ! " cried Snap.
" We know you are a humbug."
" Yes, and we know all about your parrot,"
adde the doctor's son. He did not deem it wise to
mention that they had killed the talking bird.
** Go away ! Go away 1 " answered the figure
in yellow. *' This forest is mine ! The lake is
mine ! Go away, ere it is too late ! "
" I believe that man is crazy 1 " whispered
Whopper. " Maybe he thinks he owns the
" He IS certainly no ghost," answered Snap.
" But if he is crazy, we'll have to be careful how
we approach him. He may try to shoot us."
"See here, sir!" shouted the doctor's son,
kindly. " Won't you come and talk with us ? We
don't want to hurt you, or take your property away
" Ha ! ha ! I know you ! You want to rob me
of everything ! " cried the man in yellow, harshly.
They now saw that what looked like horns was
244 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
simply a yellow cap with two stuffed red append-
ages on top. The man had his face smeared with
" We'll not harm you in the least," said Giant,
and now, attracted by something in the strange
man's appearance, he went several steps closer.
When the small youth of the club spoke the man
turned to him. A moment later he started and
throw up his hands in surprise.
" Who are you, boy? Speak quickly! " he de-
" I am Will Caslette."
'* Ha ! Where do you come from? "
" I come from Fairview, on the Rocky River."
"And your — your mother?" The man in
yellow was now greatly agitated.
" My mother is a widow." Giant had now
come closer still and was looking the man over
carefully. *' What is your name?"
"My name? Ha ha I I have no name. lam
" But you had a name once — what was it? "
" My name — I cannot remember. Yes, I had
one once — when I was in France — fair France
— the belle of all countries! But the name is
gone — gone like the great history I was writing.
Yes, and it will never come back, never! " And
the man in yellow threw up his hands despairingly.
'* Was not your name Pierre Dunrot?" asked
The strange man staggered back as if shot.
''Pierre Dunrot? Pierre Dunrot?" he re-
peated slowly. *' Yes ! yes ! That was my name !
How — how did you know it ? "
" Because you are my uncle 1 " gasped Giant,
coming to the strange man's side. *' You are
Pierre Dunrot, my long-lost uncle."
" Yes, my uncle. Do you not remember my
mother, Kate Caslette, and do you not remember
me — your little Guillaume, the boy you used to
ride on your knee? " went on Giant, earnestly and
looking the man straight in the eyes.
" Yes ! yes ! I remember now 1 " cried the man,
and now his eyes searched the small youth's face.
*' You are my little Guillaume indeed I " He took
Giant by the hand. " But how is this — my
mind is in a whirl 1 I do not understand ! " And
he gazed from Giant to the others in simple-minded
" You ran away from home," answered Giant.
" It was after the storm, when the lightning hadi
burnt up the manuscript of your beloved his-
tory — "
246 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
"Yes, yes, yes! My beloved history! That
is true! Oh, it was cruel, cruel! After I had
worked so many years and so faithfully ! My be-
loved history! It is gone, never to return!"
And the tears ran down the cheeks of the man.
" Uncle Pierre, you must give up your lonely
life here," said Giant, after a pause. " You must
come home with me."
At this suggestion the hermit, for the man was
nothing less, shook his head vigorously. He was
certainly queer — talking sometimes quite ration-
ally and at others in a rambling fashion. He told
how he had come to make his home in the moun-
tains, how he had once visited a large city and pur-
chased three parrots and brought them to the wil-
derness, and how one parrot had died and another
had been shot.
" The third is still with me," he continued.
" But I am tired of him — he is driving me crazy."
" He shall never bother you again — if only
you will come home with me," said Giant. " You
must come home — mother wants to see you. All
your books are there. Don't you remember how
you used to love those books. Uncle Pierre? "
" Yes ! yes ! " The man's eyes began to glisten.
■ * And so you want me to go home ? You look like
a good boy, Guillaume."
"Why does he call Giant GuUlaume?** whis-
pered Whopper to Snap.
" It's the French for William/' answered the
leader of the club. *' Say, but doesn't this beat
** If giant can get this uncle of his to go home
perhaps they'll be able to get possession of that
fortune of one hundred thousand francs," was
Shep's comment. " I hope they can get it, for
Mrs. Caslette certainly deserves the money and
Giant continued to talk to the hermit, and grad-
ually the other boys joined in the conversation.
The young hunters soon saw that Pierre Dunrot's
mind was very hazy on some matters while clear
on others. Since running away from the Caslette
home he had lived in the mountains near the lake
and he had taken every precaution to keep other
folks away from him. He had taught his parrots
to scare newcomers, and had played ghost by rub-
bing phosphorus and other shining substances on
his clothing and cap. He said he owned several
canoes, hidden along the lake shore, and in these
he sometimes went fishing, usually at night.
" Well, this solves the mystery of the ghost any-
way," said Snap. " Won't folks around Fair-
view be astonished when they hear of it? '*
248 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
" I don't believe we ought to let folks know all
the details," answered the doctor's son. " It
would hurt Giant's feelings and also his mother's.
We can simply say we caught the ghost and he
proved to be a harmless old man with a talking
parrot, and that we shot the parrot and the man
left the vicinity of the lake after his parrot was
dead." And so It was agreed. Of course the
boys' parents heard the real story, but that was as
far as the tale circulated.
The boys went Into the log hut and there saw
how the hermit had been living in his primitive
way. In a comer he had a box filled with ammuni-
tion for his gun and also a large collection of hooks
and lines. He had a plate, a cup, and a kettle and
pan, and that was all. He ate from a block of
wood and slept on a heap of cedar boughs. His
clothing was almost worn to rags.
It took a great deal of talking to get him to con-
sent to return to civilization, but finally Giant ac-
complished his purpose. Then the young hunters
told about the dead bear, and the hermit showed
them how to get the carcass down to the lake front
without much trouble. Once at the camp, Pierre
Dunrot was given some clean garments, and before
donning them he took a bath in the lake. When
he had put on the clean clothing he looked like a
Of course Giant was anxious to get home at
once, and his chums could not blame him. The
others wanted to take the bear to town, and so it
was decided that the return home should begin the
The journey to Fairview took three days, the
boys pushing along as rapidly as circumstances
would permit. The companionship of the lads
appeared to brighten Pierre Dunrot's mind won-
derfully, and it was only now and then that he
relapsed into his former simpleness.
Fairview reached, Giant lost no time In hurry-
ing his uncle to his home. Mrs. Caslette was sit-
ting by a window sewing when the pair appeared.
*' Why, Will ! " she called out and arose. Then
she looked at the man. " Can it be possible ?
Pierre ! " And she stood still, staring at her rel-
" Yes, It is really Uncle Pierre ! " cried Giant.
The next moment the man and the woman were
kissing each other. Mrs. Caslette was bewildered
and it took some time for Giant to tell his story.
Then Pierre Dunrot had his say. He was greatly
excited over coming back, and that night had to be
250 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
placed In a physician's care. Dr. Reed attended
him, and came to see the former hermit for a week.
Pierre Dunrot had quite a severe spell of sickness,
mostly due to his weak brain, but when he got over
it he was clearer-minded than he had been for years.
" The past is like some awful dream," he said.
** I do not understand how I came to run away."
Later on he spoke of the fortune that was coming
to Mrs. Caslette and himself. He remembered all
the details, and through the efforts of a lawyer the
hundred thousand francs at last came into posses-
sion of the rightful owners.
The bringing In of the big bear by the boy hun-
ters caused something of a sensation In Fairview.
The bear was put on exhibition for a day at one of
the stores, and then cut up and the meat distributed.
The skin was properly cured, and to-day forms a
rug in the Reed parlor. How the doctor came to
gain possession of It will be told in another story.
Of course Ham Spink and his cronies were very
envious of the young hunters' luck, and they tried
to circulate a story that Snap and his friends had
bought the dead bear from some old hunter, but
nobody would listen to the yarn.
*' We know they can hunt," said one man.
" They are the best shots In this town," and his
opinion was the opinion of the majority.
" Shall we go back to the lake and the woods ?
asked Snap, one day. *' Remember, the vacation
is not yet half over."
" My father wants us to go back," answered
the doctor's son. " He's got a plan he would
like us to carry out." And then Shep told what
the plan was. The others instantly agreed to it,
and what they did will be related in the next volume
of this series, to be entitled, *^ Out with Gun and
Camera ; Or, The Boy Hunters in the Mountains."
Taking photographs of wild animals is both ex-
citing and dangerous, and in the new book we shall
learn much concerning this new fad.
" Well, we had a dandy time," observed Snap.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12