you know this place is haunted?" And Peter
Peterson looked at the boys very solemnly.
" We've heard something about that, but we
aren't afraid," said Shep.
" We are more afraid of snakes than we are
of ghosts," added Whopper. " We met a lot of
them just before we reached the lake."
" To be sure you did, — the river is full of them,
and so is the north side of the lake shore — any-
body who has camped up here can tell you that.
But I don't mind the snakes — but I do mind
ghosts." And the old hermit shook his head in
a manner to prove he meant what he said. " I
would stay up here to do some fishing and hunting
only — "
"Only what?" asked Giant.
" I don't like the ghosts, or spirits, or whatever
you may call them."
" Have you seen any ghosts? " asked Snap.
" Well, I've seen something, and heard it, too.
I don't know what It was, — but it didn't suit me,"
answered Peter Peterson. " But maybe I hadn't
THE OLD HERMIT'S TALE 139
better tell you about it — it might only worry
you," he continued, thoughtfully.
But the boys wanted to hear the old man's story,
and so they invited him to take dinner with them.
During the meal he told his tale, which was cer-
tainly a curious one.
" The first of it happened day before yester-
day," said Peter Peterson. " I was up to the very
end of the lake, in a little cove, looking for wild
turkeys. I was tired out and I rested against a
tree and went into a doze. All at once I felt
something cross my face. What it was I couldn't
make out. I jumped up and just them I heard
somebody cry out : ' I am dead ! Who will bury
me ! ' or something like that. I thought some-
body was fooling me, and I called back: ' Who'
Is there ? ' Then, as true as I am sitting here, I
heard somebody in the air laugh at me ! I called
again, ' Who are you ? ' And the party, or ghost,
or whatever it was answered : * They murdered
me ! Who will bury me ! ' Then I got scared
and leaped into my canoe and paddled away.
When I was out on the lake I looked back Into the
woods, but I could not see a soul."
" Are you sure you weren't asleep and dreamed
all that? " asked Snap.
" No, I was wide awake. But that Isn't all.
I40 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
Early this morning I was asleep over on the shore
yonder, just where you can see that blasted pine.
It was, I think, about three o'clock, and quite
dark. I heard a cry and I sat up to listen. Then
I heard the most hideous laugh you can imagine.
Then a voice called out again, ^ I am dead ! Come
to my grave! He is dead! I am dead! He is
dead ! ' Then I looked out on the lake and I saw
something like a ghost, only it was yellow instead
of white. It moved over the water like a spirit,
and in a few minutes I couldn't see it any more.
Then I made up my mind I wouldn't stay up here
any longer. You can camp here if you want to —
I am done with Lake Narsac."
The young hunters of the lake looked at each
other. What the hermit had to say coincided in
many respects with the story told by Jed Sanborn.
Certainly there was something queer in these
strange calls, and in the appearance of the ghost
or spirit in yellow.
" I must say I don't like this," said Shep, after
they had questioned the old hermit to ascertain
that his story was a straight one. " There seems
to be something supernatural about it; don't you
*' Perhaps it can be explained," answered Snap,
THE OLD HERMIT'S TALE 141
" We promised ourselves not to be afraid of
any ghost," put in little Giant. " I, for one, don't
believe in turning back until we have seen and
heard these things for ourselves.'*
" I'd like to have my shotgun handy when that
yellow ghost shows itself," said Whopper. " I'd
soon find out whether it was real or not."
" I don't think your shotgun would do you any
good," answered Peter Peterson, with deep con-
viction. " You can't shoot a spirit."
" Well, if I aimed right at it and it wasn't
touched, I'd know it was a ghost for sure."
" That's true, but I reckon when you came to
fire on that ghost your hand would be so shaky
that you couldn't hit the side of a barn," answered
the old hermit. " After I saw that spirit I felt
like I had a chill. I am not going to stay up here
another night — it's bad enough to be here in the
The old hermit remained with the boys two
hours, and then embarked In his canoe and was
soon out of sight down the stream leading to Fire-
fly Lake. The young hunters watched him out of
sight with some regret. He had told them he did
not think anybody was now on the lake but them-
*^ Well, if we really are here alone we ought not
142 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
to be troubled by anybody," was Shep's comment.
*' Still, it does seem tremendously lonely."
" Just listen to the stillness," remarked Whop-
per. " You can cut it out in chunks ! "
" No use of listening — I can feel it," answered
Giant. '' But what*s the use of acting like that?
— you'll give us all the blues. Let's be cheer-
ful," and he began to whistle a merry tune, and
one after another the others joined in. Then they
started to fix up the tent for the night and cut a
quantity of wood for the fire, and this put them
in better spirits. For supper they had some fine
fish, baking them to a turn on some hot stones, in a
fashion Jed Sanborn had taught them. They also
had hot biscuits — the first since leaving home.
" I think somebody ought to remain on guard
after this," said Shep, when it came time to retire.
" We don't know what to expect in such a place as
this. There are the ghosts, and the snakes, and
unknown wild beasts, and other things we know
" I am willing," answered Snap. " We can
divide the night into watches of two hours and a
half each, and draw sticks for turns," and so it was
It must be confessed that the boys were a trifle
timid that night, and those that tried to sleep had
THE OLD HERMIT'S TALE 143
hard work to close their eyes. But no alarm
came, and when the sun came up all felt relieved.
" We may stay up here for weeks and never see
or hear of that ghost," said Snap. *' I don't be-
lieve it shows itself very often."
" Oh, I don't suppose it appears and disappears
by the clock, like -a cuckoo," said Whopper. " It
will most likely lay low and scare us to death when
we least expect it."
It was the middle of the forenoon before they
were ready to embark on a tour of the lake.
They decided to skirt the entire shore, or at least
such a portion of It as looked inviting, and then
pick out a spot for a regular camp. They pro-
ceeded slowly, for there was no need to hurry and
they did not wish to miss any spot that might be
of especial advantage.
It was not yet noon when they turned Into a
little cove, bordered by low-hanging bushes.
They looked ahead, and then Shep ordered the
others to stop rowing.
" I just saw something, back of yonder bushes,"
he whispered, excitedly. " I am not sure, but I
think it was a couple of deer! "
A DANGEROUS DEER HUNT
" Deer ! " came from the others.
" Let me get a shot at 'em/' added Whopper,
excitedly. " That's what I came for — to bring
down a dozen deer or so ! "
" Make it two or three dozen, Whopper,'* an-
swered Snap. " What would you do with a dozen
In this warm weather? "
** Send 'em down to the poor folks of the town."
The announcement that deer were in that vicin-
ity thrilled all the young hunters, and they at
once resolved to go ashore and see if they could
not bring down the game.
" Let us go back a bit," suggested Shep. " We
don't want this breeze to carry our scent to them.
If it does, they'll be off like a shot."
The others knew that the doctor's son spoke the
truth, and so the Snapper was turned around, and
they went ashore at a point where the trees were
thick. Snap carried the rifle and the others had
their shotguns, and all looked to the firearms to be
A DANGEROUS DEER HUNT 145
sure they were in condition for immediate use.
With great care the four boys started to stalk
the deer, as it is called. Snap led the way, and
never was an Indian hunter more careful of his
steps. He knew that the deer's ears were wide
open for any unusual sound and even the crack-
ing of a dry stick would attract their attention.
The journey over the rocks and through the
timber was a laborious one. In some spots the
undergrowth was so thick that further progress
seemed, at first, impossible. Once Giant got
caught so completely that the others had to help
him free himself. Hardly a word was uttered,
and then only in the faintest of whispers.
At last Snap felt they must be close to where
Shep had seen the game, and he motioned for the
doctor's son to take the lead.
" You saw 'em — you ought to have first chance
at 'em," he whispered.
" I want you all to fire," was the reply.
An instant later came a faint sound ahead, and
looking through the trees, the four boy hunters
saw three deer walking swiftly along. One was
a beautiful doe not more than half grown.
"There is our chance! " cried Shep, excitedly.
" Now then, all together! "
Snap wanted to know what animal he was to
146 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
fire at, but got no chance to ask, for just then one
of the deer raised its head and sniffed the air sus-
piciously. Then the two large ones began to run
with the doe at their heels.
Crack ! bang ! went the rifle and shotguns, as the
young hunters took hasty aim. When the smoke
cleared away they saw the doe stretched on the
ground and one of the deer limping forward pain-
fully. The other deer was out of sight.
" Come on — we can get that wounded one! "
cried Whopper, and ran forward with might and
As it happened the wounded deer was the
mother of the doe, and the wound, and the loss of
its offspring, made the animal savage. As Whop-
per turned towards it, the deer suddenly made for
" Look out ! " yelled Snap, but before Whop-
per could turn aside the deer was on him and had
knocked him to the ground. Then the deer struck
out with its hoofs, landing on Whopper's shoulder
It was a moment of extreme peril, for there
could be no doubt but that the deer meant to kill
the young hunter. Shep raised his shotgun to
fire, but was afraid to do so for fear of hitting
Whopper, who was trying to rise.
A DANGEROUS DEER HUNT 147
"He'll be killed!" shrieked Giant, but just
then Snap, using his rifle as a club, struck the
mother deer in the side. The creature rolled over.
Bang! went Giant's shotgun, and the report of
Shep's firearm followed. The deer struggled for
a moment, then gave a final kick and expired.
When the boys ran to Whopper's side they
found his eyes closed. He was breathing faintly
and that was all.
" Is he — he dead? " asked Gi^^t hoarsely, for
Whopper was very dear to the s*^all youth.
" No, but he is badly hur'";" answered Snap.
" Shep, run and fill your cap with water. I'll
loosen his coat and collar."
The blood was pouring from the sharp cut In
Whopper's cheek and his coat was torn on the
shoulder from the deer's hoofs. When the water
was brought, Snap bathed him tenderly, and Giant
fanned him with a cedar branch. In a few min-
utes he opened his eyes.
" Ta — take the de — deer away!" he mur-
" It's all right, Whopper, the deer Is dead,"
"Oh!" Whopper breathed a sigh of relief.
"I am gl — glf \of It!"
" You've h^' close call of It," said Shep. " I
148 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
was scared to death.'' And his still pale face
showed that he spoke the truth.
It was several minutes before Whopper felt like
sitting up. He was " all of a tremble," as he ex-
pressed it, and standing on his feet was out of the
"You take it easy," ordered Snap. "We'll
bring the boat around to that cove below here and
then carry you down."
" Do — don't leave me ! " pleaded the hurt one.
" That other deer may come back! "
" No danger," said Giant. " But I'll stay with
you, Whopper, while Snap and Shep get the boat.'*
It was a good half hour before they had the
hurt one and the game aboard the Snapper, Here
the doctor's son opened up the medicine case which
his father had insisted he should take along, and
Whopper was given a little stimulant, and the cuts
on his cheek and his shoulder were properly plas-
tered up. He was made comfortable on some
cushions in the stern and told to take it easy.
" I had no idea a deer would fight so fiercely,"
he said, when the others had resumed their row-
ing. " Those hoofs were mighty hard and sharp,
I can tell you I "
By one o'clock the young hunters reached a spot
that looked good enough for a midday camp, and
THE DEER STRUCK OUT WITH ITS HOOFS — Page I46.
A DANGEROUS DEER HUNT 149
going ashore they ht a fire and prepared dinner..
They made themselves a pot of rich cocoa and of
this Whopper partook freely and it seemed to
strengthen him wonderfully.
" I think we ought to stay here until to-mor-
row," said Snap. " It will give Whopper a
chance to recover/' and so it was decided, and the
tent was gotten out and erected between two small
trees which stood handy.
That night they treated themselves to venison
steak, cut from the doe, and never was deer meat
more tender or sweeter. They also had hot bread,
made by Giant in a little stone oven. In the same
oven Snap made a pan of baked beans, which were
put away for future use.
The entire afternoon of the next day was spent
in rowing around Lake Narsac. They did not
linger around the north shore, for it was wild and
uninviting, and they had no desire to make the
acquaintance of the snakes said to swarm there.
They spent two hours Inspecting a large cove to the
westward, and finally concluded that this spot
offered the best place for a permanent camp.
There was a sandy beach, where swimming would
be good, plenty of the right kind of growth for
firewood, and from the rocks some distance back
gushed a spring of cold and pure water.
I50 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
" This Is good enough for anybody," said Snap,
after a careful inspection. " We can use the tent
if we wish, or we can erect a cabin."
" Oh, let us put up a cabin ! " cried Giant. " It
is such fun building one. Don't you remember
the other shelters we built? "
** If you build a cabin you'll have to count me
out," said Whopper. " I think I'll be on the re-
tired list for at least a few days more."
*' Whopper shall be the general boss," ' cried
Snap. He took off his cap. " In honor of our
wounded comrade, I move we call this spot Camp
Whopper. All in favor say aye ! "
" Aye ! " came from Shep and Giant promptly.
*' Camp Whopper it is," said Snap. ** Three
cheers for Whopper and his namesake ! " And
the cheers were given with a will.
" Whopper, you ought to make a speech," said
Giant. *' Tell us how grateful you are, how you
appreciate the deep honor, and all that — and then
invite us all out to cake, lemonade, ice cream soda,
strawberry shortcake, cocoanut pie, cream puffs,
and a few more delicacies."
'' Ice cream ! " murmured Whopper. " Say,
some ice cream would be great, eh ? But we can't
have it out here, so what's the use of talking about
it? As for a speech, I haven't got anything to
A DANGEROUS DEER HUNT 151
say, excepting that I appreciate your kindness in
naming the camp after yours truly. When I am
a rich man and retired, and own a castle among
the Thousand Islands, I shall surely call it —
let me see — Snap-Shep-Giant Villa. There now,
" Fine ! " was the cry.
" Hark I " added Shep, a moment later.
"What did you hear?'' questioned the others.
" I thought I heard somebody calling. There
it goes again. Listen ! "
All listened, and from out of the forest behind
them came a cry, followed by a blood-curdling
laugh. Then they heard as plain as day these
" I am dead ! He is dead ! Who will bury
me ? I am dead 1 He is dead ! Ha I ha I "
THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE
The four boy hunters were so astonished that
for the moment they did not move or speak. The
voice seemed to come from the trees behind the
camp, and it was so uncanny and ghostHke it made
them shiver from head to foot.
"It's th — the ghost!'* whispered Giant at
last. " Le — let's get out of here I " and he
started for the shore.
" Don't run away," answered Snap. " I don't
believe in ghosts, and neither do you."
After that the boys remained silent for several
minutes, waiting to hear that mysterious voice
again. But only the mournful hum of the breeze
through a clump of cedars reached them.
" I beheve I'll investigate this," said Snap, aris-
ing and reaching for a shotgun. " I don't believe
in ghosts, so there ! "
"I'll go along," put in the doctor's son.
" Please don't leave me alone ! " pleaded Whop-
THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE 153
per. " I can't go and I don't want to be left be-
" Giant, will you stay with Whopper? " asked
the leader of the club.
" Yes, but I hope you won't be gone long,"
answered the small youth, in a voice he tried in
vain to steady.
" If anything happens, whistle or fire a shot,"
added Snap, and walked slowly to the rear of the
camping place, with Shep by his side.
The two young investigators soon found them-
selves beside the spring, and here both stopped
for a drink, for their throats seemed to be sud-
denly parched. They looked on all sides with ex-
treme care, but saw nothing out of the ordinary.
Once a bird flew up directly in front of them, caus-
ing themi to jump and raise their guns. But they
were not after game just then, so the bird got
" We certainly heard that voice, just as plain
as day," said Shep. " What do you make of this.
" I am sure I don't know."
"Can somebody be fooling us?"
" I don't know. It's very queer proceedings,
that's all I have to say."
" Listen I I thought I heard it again I "
154 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
They came to a sudden halt and strained their
ears. Sure enough, there was the voice again, ap-
parently coming from no place at all.
"I am dead! He is dead! Go away! Go
away! " repeated the voice a dozen times or more,
and then it grew fainter and fainter and presently
died out altogether.
It would be hard to tell whether the boys were
frightened or not. They were much disturbed,
but they had a strong curiosity to know what the
mysterious voice really was. Had it been night
they might have experienced more fear, but it was
still daylight, although the sun was well over in the
Holding their guns ready to shoot anything on
sight, they advanced slowly through the forest,
making a circle first to one side and then to the
other. As they advanced they stirred up several
birds and also two squirrels but did not fire at
them. Thus an hour passed, and at last they came
back to the spring utterly baffled.
'* I can't understand it at all," declared Snap.
" There must be some reason for this."
" It's a trick, that's what it is, and some day
somebody will get to the bottom of it," added the
They returned to where they had left Whopper
THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE 155
and Giant. As it grew darker they built a good
campfire and resolved to keep it burning brightly
*' Maybe if this particular spot is haunted, we
had better go somewhere else," suggested Giant.
" I move we stay right here until we find out
what that thing means," said Snap, stubbornly.
" I agree with Snap," added the doctor's son.
" We all know well enough there are no such
things as ghosts. Some day we'll solve this mys-
Both Snap and Shep spoke so positively that
Whopper and Giant were reassured. The tent
was fixed up for the night, and Whopper was soon
fast asleep. The others took turns at standing
guard, but nothing came to disturb them.
In the morning it was decided to begin building
a cabin without delay. As Whopper could not
work he went out to fish, but remained wdthin easy
The young hunters worked all of that week and
also Monday of the next, and during that time
nothing came to disturb them. Once they sighted
a deer up the lake shore and went after the game,
but without success. Whopper spent most of his
time fishing and brought in, besides trout and
perch, several good sized maskalonge, although no
156 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
particular fish as large as the maskalonge Giant
had captured the summer previous.
As the days went by and nothing more was
heard of the mysterious voice, the young hunters
grew more confident and almost forgot about the
affair. The building of the cabin interested them
very much, and although the structure was four-
square and plain, it was waterproof and fairly
comfortable. It had two small windows, and the
door opened on the lake side. In the rear a
small opening was left near the ground, and here
they constructed a rude fireplace and chimney of
such rocks as they found handy, smearing the
cracks full of clay. Their work on the fireplace
and chimney might have caused a regular mason
to smile, but the chimney drew well, and that was
all they wanted.
As soon as the cabin was finished the young
hunters moved in and proceeded to make them-
selves at home. Then they cut enough firewood
to last for a week or more, stacking it up so that
it might keep dry even in rainy weather. This
done, they felt they could now take It easy, and
fish and hunt whenever It pleased them to do so.
A hard rain, lasting a day and a night, was
followed by a clear, warm spell and during that
time the boys enjoyed themselves to their hearts'
THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE 157
content. Whopper was now practically well, al-
though the cut on his cheek still sported several
bits of court-piaster. Every morning the young
hunters got up at sunrise and took a dip in the
lake, following this up by a good rub-down, for
they had brought the necessary coarse towels with
them. This always rendered them wideawake and
gave them appetites which could not have been
better. They took turns at cooking and baking,
and at washing dishes and keeping the fire sup-
plied with wood. They were certainly happy, and
the time seemed to ''fairly fly," as Shep expressed
One afternoon, when Snap and Giant were fish-
ing just below the camp, both boys chanced to
glance down the lake and saw a large boat hugging
the shore. It contained several persons, but was
too far off for anybody to be recognized. The
boat remained in sight several minutes and then
disappeared into one of the numerous coves along
" More campers," was Snap's comment.
" Well, I suppose they have as much right up here
as we have."
"I'd like to know who they are," answered
158 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
" Perhaps they'll come this way later in the day,
" I always like to know if other hunters are m
the woods, and I like them to know I am there,
too," went on the leader of the club. " Then
there is not so much danger of an accident. I
don't want somebody to take me for a deer or a
bear and shoot me."
" If we find they are stopping around this vicin-
ity we'll have to notify them that we are here,"
That day went by and also the next, and they
saw no more of the strangers. Then Shep came
in with the announcement that he had seen four
or five deer up the lake shore.
" I am sure we can get one or more of them if
we hurry," declared the doctor's son.
They were all willing to go after the deer, and
having shut up the cabin and kicked out the camp-
fire so that it might not set fire to the woods should
a stiff breeze spring up, they set off on foot, taking
to a deer trail, which ran a short distance back
from the water's edge.
The walking was by no means good, but this the
boys did not mind. The life in the open was mak-
ing them strong and able to endure almost any-
thing. Their cheeks were full and round and
'look out! I'm going to drag this fire outside," cried
SNAF— Page i6o.
THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE 159
their complexions a healthy tan. All felt like
whistling and singing, but they knew they must
make as little noise as possible.
If anybody was nervous it was Whopper and the
others said nothing when he dragged a little be-
hind. But all kept on steadily until they knew
they must be close to the spot where the game had
" Suppose I go ahead and take a look? " asked
Shep, and the others nodded. A moment later
the doctor's son disappeared among the bushes
lining the lake shore.
When he came back he said the deer were mov-