A Story of the Great Woods



Author of "The Young Trailers," "The Forest Runners," Etc.


New York

Copyright, 1916, by

D. Appleton and Company

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, must not be

reproduced in any form without permission of the publishers.

Copyright, 1944, by Sallie B. Altsheler

Printed in the United States of America


"The Keepers of The Trail" deals with an episode, hitherto unrelated, in

the lives of Henry Ware, Paul Cotter, Shif'less Sol Hyde, Long Jim Hart,

and Silent Tom Ross. In point of time it follows "The Forest Runners,"

and, so, is the third volume of the "Young Trailer" series.





















A light wind blew over the great, primeval wilderness of Kentucky, the

dense, green foliage rippling under it like the waves of the sea. In

every direction forest and canebrake stretched in countless miles, the

trees, infinite in variety, and great in size, showing that Nature had

worked here with the hand of a master. Little streams flashing in silver

or gold in the sunlight, flowed down to the greater rivers, and on a

bush a scarlet tanager fluttered like a flash of flame.

A youth, uncommon in size and bearing, stepped into a little opening,

and looked about with the easy, natural caution belonging to the native

of the forest who knows that danger is always near. His eyes pierced the

foliage, and would have noticed anything unusual there, his ear was so

keen that he would have heard at once any sound not a part of the woods.

Eye and ear and the indefinable powers of primitive man told him no

enemy was at hand, and he stood on the green hill, breathing the fresh,

crisp air, with a delight that only such as he could feel. Mighty was

the wilderness, majestic in its sweep, and depth of color, and the lone

human figure fitted into it perfectly, adding to it the last and

finishing touch.

He blended, too, with the forest. His dress, wholly of fine, tanned

deerskin, was dyed green, the hunting shirt fringed, hunting shirt,

leggings and moccasins alike adorned with rows of little beads. Fitting

thus so completely into his environment, the ordinary eye would not have

observed him, and his footsteps were so light that the rabbits in the

bush did not stir, and the flaming bird on the bough was not frightened.

Henry Ware let the stock of his rifle rest upon the ground and held it

by the barrel, while he gazed over the green billows of the forest,

rolling away and away to every horizon. He was a fortunate human being

who had come into his own kingdom, one in which he was fitted supremely

to reign, and he would not have exchanged his place for that of any

titular sovereign on his throne.

His eyes gleamed with pleasure as he looked upon his world. None knew

better than he its immensevariety and richness. He noted the different

shades of the leaves and he knew by contrast the kind of tree that bore

them. His eye fell upon the tanager, and the deep, intensescarlet of

its plumage gave him pleasure. It seemed fairly to blaze against the

background of woodland green, but it still took no alarm from the

presence of the tall youth who neither stirred nor made any sound.

Another bird, hidden behind an immense leaf, began to pour forth the

full notes of a chattering, mocking song, almost like the voice of a

human being. Henry liked it, too, although he knew the bird was flinging

him a pretty defiance. It belonged in his world. It was fitting that one

singer, many singers, should live in his wilderness and sing for him.

A gray squirrel, its saucy tail curved over its back, ran lightly up an

oak, perched on a bough and gazed at him with a challenging, red eye.

Henry gave back his look, and laughed in the silent manner of the

border. He had no wish to hurt the swaggering little fellow. His heart

was bare of ill will against anything.

A deep, clear creek flowed at the base of the hill, and a fish, snapping

at a fly, leaped clear of the water, making a silver streak in the air,

gone in an instant as he fell back into the stream. The glimpse pleased

Henry. It, too, was a part of his kingdom, stocked with fur, fin and

feather, beyond that of any other king, and far more vast.

The brilliantsunlight over his head began to dim and darken. He looked

up. The van of a host, the wild pigeons flying northward appeared, and

then came the great wide column, millions and millions of birds,

returning from their winter in the south. He had seen the huge flights

before, but the freshness and zest of the sight never wore away. No

matter how far they came nor how far they went they would still be

flying over his forest empire. And then would come the great flocks of

wild ducks and wild geese, winging swiftly like an arrow toward the

north. They, too, were his, and again he took long, deep breaths of a

delight so keen that it made his pulses leap.

From the wood at the base of the hill came a crackling sound as of

something breaking, and then the long crash of a tree falling. He went a

little way down the slope and his moccasins made no sound in the grass.

Gently pulling aside the bough of a sheltering bush he saw the beavers

at work. Already they were measuring for lengths the tree they had cut

through at the base with their long, sharp teeth.

The creek here received a tributary brook of considerable volume, and

the dam erected by the beavers had sent the waters far back in a tiny

sheet like a little lake. But as Henry saw, they were going to raise the

dam higher, and they were working with the intelligence and energy that

belong so peculiarly to the beaver. Four powerful fellows were floating

a log in the water, ready to put it into place, and others on the bank

were launching another.

It was one of the largest beaver colonies he had ever seen, and he

watched it with peculiar enjoyment. He killed the beaver now and

then--the cap upon his head was made of its skin--but only when it was

needful. The industrious animals were safe from his rifle now, and he

felt that his wilderness had no more useful people.

He looked at them a long time, merely for the pleasure of looking. They

showed so much skill, so much quickness and judgment that he was willing

to see and learn from them. He felt, in a sense, that they were

comrades. He wished them well in their work, and he knew that they would

have snug houses, when the next winter came.

He left them in their peace, returned to the brow of the hill, and then

walked slowly down the other side. He heard a woof, a sound of

scrambling, and a black bear, big in frame, but yet lean from the

winter, ran from its lair in the bushes, stopped a moment at fifty or

sixty yards to look hard at him, and then, wheeling again in frightened

flight disappeared among the trees. Henry once more laughed silently. He

would not have harmed the bear either.

A puffing, panting sound attracted his attention, and, walking farther

on, he looked into a glade, in which the grass grew high and thick. He

had known from the character of the noise that he would find buffaloes

there, and they numbered about a dozen, grazing a while, and then

breathing heavily in content. He had seen them in countless herds on the

western plains, when he was with Black Cloud and his tribe, but south of

the Ohio, owing to the heavy forest, they were found only in small

groups, although they were plentiful.

The wind was blowing toward him, and standingpartially behind a huge

oak he watched them. They were the finest and largest inhabitants of his

wilderness, splendid creatures, with their leonine manes and huge

shoulders, beasts of which any monarch might be proud. He could easily

bring down any one of them that he wanted with his rifle, but they were

safe from all bullets of his.

He looked at them a while, as a man would gaze at a favorite horse.

There was a calf among them, and whenever it wandered from the middle of

the glade toward the edge of the forest the mother would push it back.

Henry, studying the woods there, saw just within their shadow the long

slinking figures of two gray wolves. He knew their purpose, but he knew

also that it would not be fulfilled.

He watched the little forest drama with an interest none the less

because it was not new to him. He saw the gray shadows creeping nearer

and nearer, while the calf persistently sought the woods, probably for

shade. Presently the leader of the herd, an immense bull, almost black,

caught an odor, wheeled like lightning and rushed upon the wolves. There

was a single yelp, as one was trampled to death, and the other fled

through the forest to seek easier prey.

The buffaloes returned to their grazing and the foolish calf, warned by

the danger from which he had been saved, stayed in the middle of the

glade, with his elders as a wall around him. Henry smiled. He had

foreseen the result, and it was wholly to his liking. He passed around

the opening, not wishing to disturb the animals, and went northward,

always on soundless feet.

A stag, catching the human odor on the wind, sprang from a thicket, and

crashed away in wild alarm. Henry laughed again and waved his hand at

the fleeting figure. The stag did not know that he had no cause to dread

him, but Henry admired his speed. A flock of wild turkeys rose from a

bough above his head, and uttering preliminary gobbles, sailed away in

a low flight among the trees. He waved his hand at them also, and

noticed before they disappeared how the sunlight glowed on their bronze


It was a fine morning in his kingdom, and he was seeing many forms of

its life. He remarked a bee tree, and thought it probable that the

runaway bear would make a try there some day for honey. Then he stopped

and looked at a tiny blue flower, just blooming in the shelter of a

bush. He examined it with appreciation and touched the delicate leaf

very gently, lest he break it away. Little and fragile, it had its place

nevertheless in his realm.

His course led him back to the creek, here very deep and clear and

running over a gravelly bottom. After looking and listening for a little

while, he undressed, laid his rifle and other weapons on the very edge

of the bank, where he could reach them in an instant, and dropped

silently into the water. It was cool and he shivered at first, but as he

swam the warmth returned to his veins.

He was a splendid swimmer, and he was careful not to splash or make any

other sound that could be heard far. It was glorious there in the water,

and he was loath to leave it. He lay on his back, floated a little with

the current, and then with strokes strong, swift and silent, swam back


His eyes looked up into a blue sky, sprinkled with many little white

clouds golden at the edge. The huge flight of pigeons had passed and no

longer dimmed the sun. He could just see the last of the myriads on the

edge of the northern horizon. But there was a sudden flash of black

across the blue, and a hawk shot down into the forest. A bald eagle

sailed in slow majesty above the trees, and, well within the shelter of

the foliage near him, many small birds were twittering. The air over his

realm as well as the forests and waters was full of life.

He came out, allowed himself to dry in the sun, while he flexed and

tensed his powerful muscles. Then he dressed. The swim had been good,

and he was glad that he had taken the risk. He was aware that the forest

contained inhabitants much more dangerous than those he had looked upon

that morning, but he had not yet seen any sign of them, and he was one

who had learned to use his opportunities.

After luxuriating for a little while on the grass, Henry, rifle on

shoulder, walked swiftly forward. He had a definite purpose and it was

to rejoin his four comrades, Paul Cotter, Shif'less Sol Hyde, Long Jim

Hart and Tom Ross, who were not far away in the greenwood, the five,

since the repulse of the great attack upon the wagon train, continuing

their chosen duties as keepers of the trail, that is, they were

continually on guard in the vast forest and canebrake against the

Northwestern Indians who were making such a bitter war upon the young

Kentucky settlements.

Henry had known that they would come again. Kentucky had been a huge

hunting ground, without any Indian villages, but for that reason it had

been prized most highly by the savage. The same reason made the ground

all the more dangerous for the white people, because the Indians,

unhampered by their women and children, came only with chosen bands of

warriors, selected for supreme skill in battle and forest lore. No

seekers of new homes ever faced greater dangers than the little white

vanguard that crossed the Alleghanies into the splendid new land beyond.

Hidden death always lurked in the bush, and no man went beyond the

palisade even on the commonest errand without his rifle.

It was a noble task that Henry and his comrades had undertaken, to act

as watchers, and it appealed to them all, to him most because he was

continually in the wilderness that he loved so well, and he felt that he

was doing a much greater work than when he was felling trees, and

helping to clear a place for crops. As for himself he would never have

cut down a single tree, although there were millions and millions of

them. Nature held nothing that he admired more. He knew no greater

delight than to stand on a high hill and look on the forest, deep green,

waving in the wind, and stretching to the complete circle of the horizon

and beyond.

He was now in one of the loneliest stretches of the wilderness, far

north of Wareville, and no great distance from the Ohio. A day's march

would take him to a favorite crossing of the savages, and that was why

he and his comrades were in this region. He increased his speed,

settling into the long swinging gait which the scouts of the border

always used, when they would hasten, but, in a half-hour, he stopped

suddenly and his figure seemed to vanish utterly in a dense mass of

green bushes.

Henry, now hidden himself, had seen. It was only a trace that scarcely

any eye save his would have noticed, but in a place where the earth was

soft he had observed the faint imprint of a moccasin, the toes turning

inward and hence made by an Indian. Other imprints must be near, but,

for a little while, he would not look, remaining crouched in the

thicket. He wished to be sure before he moved that no wearer of a

moccasin was in the bush. It might be that Yellow Panther, redoubtable

chief of the Miamis, and Red Eagle, equally redoubtable chief of the

Shawnees, were at hand with great war bands, burning to avenge their

  • permission [pə´miʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.允许;同意;许可   (初中英语单词)
  • volume [´vɔlju:m, ´vɑljəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.卷;书籍;体积;容量   (初中英语单词)
  • indian [´indiən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.印度的 n.印度人   (初中英语单词)
  • wilderness [´wildənis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.荒地,荒野   (初中英语单词)
  • variety [və´raiəti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.变化;多样(性);种类   (初中英语单词)
  • sunlight [´sʌnlait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.日光   (初中英语单词)
  • scarlet [´skɑ:lit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.猩红色 a.猩红的   (初中英语单词)
  • unusual [ʌn´ju:ʒuəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不平常的;异常的   (初中英语单词)
  • primitive [´primitiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.原始的 n.原始人   (初中英语单词)
  • wholly [´həul-li] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.完全,十足;统统   (初中英语单词)
  • barrel [´bærəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(琵琶)桶;圆筒   (初中英语单词)
  • horizon [hə´raizən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.地平线;范围;视野   (初中英语单词)
  • fortunate [´fɔ:tʃənət] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.幸运的,侥幸的   (初中英语单词)
  • sovereign [´sɔvrin] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.至高无上的 n.君主   (初中英语单词)
  • immense [i´mens] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.广大的,无限的   (初中英语单词)
  • contrast [´kɔntrɑ:st] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.对比 v.使对比(照)   (初中英语单词)
  • hidden [´hid(ə)n] 移动到这儿单词发声  hide 的过去分词   (初中英语单词)
  • squirrel [´skwirəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.松鼠   (初中英语单词)
  • lightly [´laitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.轻微地,稍微   (初中英语单词)
  • instant [´instənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.立即的 n.紧迫;瞬间   (初中英语单词)
  • stream [stri:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.河 vi.流出;飘扬   (初中英语单词)
  • glimpse [glimps] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&v.瞥见   (初中英语单词)
  • brilliant [´briliənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.灿烂的;杰出的   (初中英语单词)
  • column [´kɔləm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.柱;柱状物;纵队   (初中英语单词)
  • swiftly [´swiftli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.迅速地,敏捷地   (初中英语单词)
  • considerable [kən´sidərəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.重要的;值得重视   (初中英语单词)
  • working [´wə:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.工人的;劳动的   (初中英语单词)
  • intelligence [in´telidʒəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.智力;消息   (初中英语单词)
  • energy [´enədʒi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.活力,精力;能力   (初中英语单词)
  • beaver [´bi:və] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.海狸;獭皮(帽)   (初中英语单词)
  • peculiar [pi´kju:liə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.特有的;奇异的   (初中英语单词)
  • silently [´sailəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.寂静地;沉默地   (初中英语单词)
  • character [´kæriktə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.特性;性质;人物;字   (初中英语单词)
  • standing [´stændiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.持续 a.直立的   (初中英语单词)
  • monarch [´mɔnək] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.君主;(大)王   (初中英语单词)
  • whenever [wen´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.&ad.无论何时   (初中英语单词)
  • presently [´prezəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.不久;目前   (初中英语单词)
  • lightning [´laitniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.闪电 a.突然的   (初中英语单词)
  • opening [´əupəniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开放;开端 a.开始的   (初中英语单词)
  • disturb [di´stə:b] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.扰乱;使不安;打乱   (初中英语单词)
  • sprang [spræŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  spring 的过去式   (初中英语单词)
  • flight [flait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.逃走;飞行;班机   (初中英语单词)
  • probable [´prɔbəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.大概的n.很可能的事   (初中英语单词)
  • delicate [´delikət] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.精美的;微妙的   (初中英语单词)
  • gently [´dʒentli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.温和地;静静地   (初中英语单词)
  • warmth [wɔ:mθ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.温暖;热情;激动   (初中英语单词)
  • swimmer [´swimə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.游泳者   (初中英语单词)
  • splash [splæʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.溅水声;涉水而进   (初中英语单词)
  • glorious [´glɔ:riəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.光荣的;辉煌的   (初中英语单词)
  • majesty [´mædʒisti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.壮丽;崇高;尊严   (初中英语单词)
  • definite [´definit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.确定的,明确的   (初中英语单词)
  • savage [´sævidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.野蛮的 n.蛮人   (初中英语单词)
  • supreme [su:´pri:m, sju:-] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.最高的,无上的   (初中英语单词)
  • errand [´erənd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.差使,使命   (初中英语单词)
  • circle [´sə:kəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.圆圈 v.环绕;盘旋   (初中英语单词)
  • hasten [´heisən] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.催促;促进 vi.赶紧   (初中英语单词)
  • vanish [´væniʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.消失;消散;消灭   (初中英语单词)
  • equally [´i:kwəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.相等地;平等地   (初中英语单词)
  • hitherto [,hiðə´tu:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.至今,迄今   (高中英语单词)
  • kentucky [kən´tʌki] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.肯塔基   (高中英语单词)
  • foliage [´fəuli-idʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.叶子,簇叶   (高中英语单词)
  • countless [´kauntlis] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无数的   (高中英语单词)
  • infinite [´infinit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无限的,无穷的   (高中英语单词)
  • bearing [´beəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.举止;忍耐;关系   (高中英语单词)
  • caution [´kɔ:ʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vt.小心;告诫;警告   (高中英语单词)
  • mighty [´maiti] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.强有力的 ad.很   (高中英语单词)
  • majestic [mə´dʒestik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.雄伟的;崇高的   (高中英语单词)
  • perfectly [´pə:fiktli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.理想地;完美地   (高中英语单词)
  • environment [in´vaiərənmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.郊区;周围;条件   (高中英语单词)
  • intense [in´tens] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.强烈的;紧张的   (高中英语单词)
  • woodland [´wudlənd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.树林,林地   (高中英语单词)
  • defiance [di´faiəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.蔑视,挑衅;反抗   (高中英语单词)
  • streak [stri:k] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.纹理 v.用线条(条纹)   (高中英语单词)
  • darken [´dɑ:kən] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.变黑,转暗   (高中英语单词)
  • northward [´nɔ:θwəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&a.向北(的) n.北   (高中英语单词)
  • tributary [´tribjutəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.进贡的 n.进贡者   (高中英语单词)
  • enjoyment [in´dʒɔimənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.享受;愉快;乐趣   (高中英语单词)
  • industrious [in´dʌstriəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.勤勉的,刻苦的   (高中英语单词)
  • thicket [´θikit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.灌木丛;密集的东西   (高中英语单词)
  • preliminary [pri´liminəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.初步的 n.预赛   (高中英语单词)
  • seeing [si:iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  see的现在分词 n.视觉   (高中英语单词)
  • appreciation [ə,pri:ʃi´eiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.评价;感激   (高中英语单词)
  • learned [´lə:nid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有学问的,博学的   (高中英语单词)
  • avenge [ə´vendʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.替…报仇   (高中英语单词)
  • episode [´episəud] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.插曲;一段情节   (英语四级单词)
  • uncommon [ʌn´kɔmən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.非常的,非凡的,罕见的   (英语四级单词)
  • flaming [´fleimiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.熊熊燃烧的;热情的   (英语四级单词)
  • freshness [´freʃnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.新鲜   (英语四级单词)
  • peculiarly [pi´kju:liəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.特有地;古怪地   (英语四级单词)
  • partially [´pɑ:ʃəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.部分地;局部地   (英语四级单词)
  • blooming [´blu:miŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.正开花的;妙龄的   (英语四级单词)
  • fragile [´frædʒail] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.易碎的;虚弱的   (英语四级单词)
  • rejoin [ri:´dʒɔin] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.再参加;重聚;回答   (英语四级单词)
  • repulse [ri´pʌls] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.拒绝;排斥 n.击退   (英语四级单词)
  • holding [´həuldiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.保持,固定,存储   (英语六级单词)
  • hunting [´hʌntiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.打猎   (英语六级单词)
  • richness [´ritʃnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.富饶;富裕;华美   (英语六级单词)
  • plumage [´plu:midʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.羽毛;漂亮衣服   (英语六级单词)
  • fitting [´fitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.适当的 n.试衣   (英语六级单词)
  • liking [´laikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.爱好;嗜好;喜欢   (英语六级单词)
  • fleeting [´fli:tiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.飞逝的,疾驰的   (英语六级单词)
  • greenwood [´gri:nwud] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.绿林   (英语六级单词)
  • half-hour [´hɑ:f-auə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&a.(每)三十分钟的   (英语六级单词)
  • moccasin [´mɔkəsin] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.鹿皮鞋;软(拖)鞋   (英语六级单词)
  • panther [´pænθə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.豹;美洲狮   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 18:50:14
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