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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

As he drew rein beside the leading mule wagon


the Redskin's head was raised. Kiddie fired at it. There was a wild, barbaric yell, and from both sides of the ravine Indians dashed forth from their ambush, riding downward to the attack.



When he had fired that first shot, and while the Redskins were still riding out from their ambush to rally on the level trail and charge down in a compact body upon his outfit, Kiddie turned his pony and galloped back under a hail of arrows. Most of them fell short; very few flew past him, and only one touched him, doing no harm.

"That's right, Nick," he called, as he drew rein beside the leading mule wagon.

"There's a whole crowd of em' comin' out from behind the rock," cried Rube Carter, going up to him. "I'm goin' ter git 'neath this yer wagon an' fire at 'em through one o' th' wheels."

"You ain't goin' ter handle any gun," frowned Kiddie. "You're goin' ter hang back in the rear an' keep an eye on the hosses. Quit!"

Nick Undrell, following his instructions, had promptly brought the three wagons into position, extending them obliquely across the level trail, one to the rear of the other, so that each should have its broadside presented like a redoubt towards the oncoming enemy,

the mule teams being swung round into cover on the sheltered side.

Kiddie's horses in the background were similarly protected from the line of fire, unless, indeed, the Indians should succeed in getting through on either flank, which was not at all probable.

Six picked marksmen were concealed under the canvas covers of each of the wagons, and every man from behind his particular loophole commanded a wide section of the valley and of the hillside.

The Indians, seeing that the outfit had come to a halt, as if in submission, delayed their advance while they closed into massed formation to sweep down upon their unresisting victims in one grand overwhelming rush. They could see only the three drivers, who had now jumped down to attend to their mules, and four riders, one of whom was a mere boy.

Clearly, they considered the prairie schooners and their precious contents already their own, as well as the horses bunched in the rear. They could not have divined that, apart from the guns carried by the horsemen, there were eighteen repeating rifles levelled against them from under the cover of three innocent-looking carts.

Kiddie dismounted, dropped his bridle rein over his pony's head, and took up a position behind the foot-board of the foremost wagon, from which he could look forward along the trail, with a rest for his elbows in levelling his gun. There was a neat little stack of cartridges in their clips within his easy reach.

"Don't reckon as I touched Broken Feather when I fired that first shot along there," he remarked to Nick Undrell, who was posted near him.

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