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The Boy Ranchers on Roaring River by Baker

Fifteen minutes later Billee rode back alone


"You look as though you might be good for several hundred years yet, if that's the case," laughed Dick. "Anyway, you sure showed me a few things. Say, that race made me pretty thirsty. Is there a water hole near here, Kid, or shall I use my canteen?"

"Save it--I think I can find water for you. Guess the ponies could use a little too. Let's see now--'pears to me there should be a water hole right over here to the left. You boys stay here while I go look. Be back in a jiffy."

Leaving the four on the trail, Yellin' Kid rode swiftly away to the left. Water holes are few and far between in that section, and a cowboy who rides a country a great deal knows the location of every single one. Often that knowledge means the saving of a human life.

The Kid had been gone ten minutes when Bud said:

"Thought Yellin' Kid said he'd be right back? I guess he's all right though. He knows the country about here pretty well, doesn't he, Billee?"

"Like the palm of his hand, Bud--like the palm of his hand! But maybe his pony broke his leg in a prairie dog hole--seein' as how it's a new pony, he might do that. Tell you--I'll just have a look. You fellows wait here for me."

The three boys watched Billee ride off in the direction the Kid had taken. It was a deserted, lonesome place.

Fifteen minutes later Billee rode back--alone.

"The Kid show up yet?" he asked as he pulled up.

"No--couldn't you find him?" Dick asked, a look of anxiety on his face.

"Nope! Neither hide nor hair! Something sure must have happened. The Kid isn't one to go wanderin' off and get lost. I'm afraid he's in trouble, boys!"

CHAPTER III

A SUSPICIOUS VISITOR

The three looked at each other in alarm.

"Golly, I never thought anything could happen to the Kid," Bud said slowly. "He was brought up in this country, and always said he could find his way about blindfolded."

"Perhaps the water hole was farther away than he thought," suggested Nort hopefully. "It's easy for any man to go astray on a matter of distance, you know."

"Well, maybe--but I doubt it. What I think happened is that his pony stumbled into a hole and lamed hisself. Well--we'll have to go looking for him, that's all. Nort, you and Dick branch out here to the right. Bud, you take the left trail. I'll try straight ahead. Now remember your trails, boys--we don't want no more accidents to happen. We'll all meet here in one hour. If anything happens, fire three shots. Git along there!" And Billee Dobb, together with the rest set out to find Yellin' Kid who was so mysteriously and unaccountably lost.


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