At Mr. Hatfield’s shout, the Cubs, who had started toward the house, immediately turned back.

Dan was the first to reach the doorway of the hogan. He thought he could guess why the Cub leader had called.

“Something else stolen?” he demanded.

“No such thing. Take a look at this!” Mr. Hatfield focused the beam of his flashlight on the floor of the hogan.

Dan sucked in his breath, completely taken by surprise.

Skillfully laid out in brilliant colors, was a sand painting. In scope it was far more elaborate than the one which had been destroyed outside of the hut.

“Can you beat that!” Dan exclaimed. “How did it get here?”

Before Mr. Hatfield could voice an opinion, Mr. Holloway and the other Cubs had rushed up.

For awhile the hogan buzzed with excited conversation, as the boys speculated upon how the painting had been transferred.

“It wasn’t really transferred, though the basic design is the same,” Mr. Hatfield pointed out. “Dan’s painting was broken up so that the same materials could be used here to make this much more elaborate picture.”

“Who did it, and why?” Dan demanded.

“Not Ross, that’s sure,” contributed Red. “He doesn’t have that much skill.”

“This picture was done by an expert,” Mr. Holloway agreed. “An Indian, I’d judge. Note the skill with which the curving lines have been put on.”

“Why was the picture made here?” mused Brad. “Why inside the hogan?”

“I think I can guess the answer,” Mr. Hatfield replied. “Navajo sand paintings usually are done inside a hogan—often in the home of the person for whom a ‘cure’ is sought.”

“And the custom is to destroy the painting before the day is done,” Mr. Holloway added. “By tomorrow morning, we may find this picture wrecked as were the others.”

“Gosh, I hope not!” Dan exclaimed. “This painting is the best one yet.”

“It will be just the thing to set off our handicraft exhibition at the pow-wow tomorrow,” Brad declared. “We’ll really have something nifty to show the Den 1 Cubs when they show up for the canoe race!”

“Can’t we take turns guarding the hogan tonight?” suggested Mack. “I’m willing to take a trick.”

Mr. Hatfield turned down the proposal. “Your parents wouldn’t want you up all night,” he said. “Furthermore, if you did stay up, you’d be no good for the pow-wow.”

“But we don’t want to lose this sand painting, Mr. Hatfield.”

“Tell you what,” Mr. Holloway volunteered. “My house is just up the hill, so it won’t be a hardship for me to keep watch. I won’t guarantee to stay here all night, or to prevent destruction of the painting. But I’m willing to check occasionally.”

Mr. Hatfield and the Cubs thought the Den Dad would be taking too much upon himself. However, he insisted he wanted to assume guard duty, so finally it was agreed that he should assume responsibility for watching the river camp that night.

“Now, hike for home, boys,” Mr. Hatfield directed when the matter had been settled. “Get a lot of sleep tonight. Remember, tomorrow is the big day.”

The Cubs were thoroughly familiar with the program that had been planned. Early morning hours would be spent in last-minute preparations. The pow-wow, a money raising project, would start before noon and continue into the early afternoon. Parents and friends of both dens had been invited to attend.

In addition to an exhibition of craft items, a canoe race, and minor athletic events, the organization had planned an elaborate ceremonial. All Cubs planned to wear Indian costumes which they had made.

As a climax to the gathering, there was to be guitar music around a camp fire and the serving of “treats” from a chuck wagon.

A silver plaque would be awarded the den which won the highest number of points in both craft and athletic events.

Altogether, the Cubs felt that the pow-wow would be one of the most successful ceremonial affairs the organization ever had held. As an added attraction, the leaders had planned a side trip to the ravine where the parents and Den 1 boys for the first time would be given opportunity to view the mysterious carved face.

“I wish we had found out who carved the big head,” Dan remarked regretfully. “I’ll bet it was the same person who made this sand painting.”

“And very likely the same one who is hiding in the cave,” Brad muttered.

“What was that?” Midge demanded, not catching the mumbled words.

“Oh, nothing, just talking to myself,” Brad answered. He knew that Mr. Hatfield was not yet ready to reveal to the Cubs all of the observations made in the cave. Therefore, he remained silent.

Now that it was decided Mr. Holloway should remain to guard the camp, the Cubs were without means of transportation into Webster City. Mrs. Holloway, however, offered to drive them into town. All reached their homes a little late, but in time for dinner.

“See you tomorrow early,” Dan told Brad as they parted for the night. “We’ve got a busy day ahead of us.”

“Get a good night’s rest,” Brad advised. “Mr. Hatfield is putting us into the canoe race as a team. Midge will be a substitute.”

Dan was pleased to learn that he and Brad had been chosen to represent the den in the all-important race. The announcement was not exactly a surprise. For a long while everyone had taken it for granted that the two Cubs would be selected. By far, they were the best canoeists, with Midge a close second to Dan.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” Dan bade his friend goodbye.

True to his promise, he turned in very early after putting a few finishing touches on his Indian costume. When the alarm went off at seven o’clock the next morning, he was out of bed in a flash, ready and eager for a full day.

“You’re certainly brimming with pep today,” his mother observed as he raced down the stairs for breakfast. “It’s a beautiful morning too.”

Dan quickly assembled his belongings to take to Mr. Holloway’s place.

“Brad and I want to get there early,” he explained. “We’ve been assigned to buy all the groceries and take them out to Mrs. Holloway.”

“Do you need help getting supplies to the camp?” his mother inquired. “I can borrow the car, if necessary.”

“Brad and I won’t have more than we can carry,” Dan answered. “Thanks, a lot, Mom. You’ll be at the pow-wow?”

“I wouldn’t miss it, Dan. I aim to see you win that canoe race.”

“Sure hope I don’t let you down, Mom. Or the den,” Dan added with a grin. “See you later.”

He slammed out of the house, whistling as he went. The morning was bright, with not a hint of a cloud in the sky. Dan drew a deep breath as he started for Brad’s house. He felt fine, as if he could whip his weight in Den 1 Cubs!

At the next corner, Dan ran into Red, who had been out making a last minute collection of clothing to be sent to the Navajo reservation.

“I’m on my way to meet Brad and go to the grocery store,” Dan told him. “Want to come along?”

“Sure,” Red agreed.

Brad was sweeping the garage when the two boys joined him at his home. The job was nearly finished though.

“Got a list of what we’re supposed to buy?” he asked Dan.

Dan produced the scrap of paper Mrs. Holloway had given him the previous night.

“All right, let’s go,” Brad said, setting his broom against the garage wall. “I’m through here.”

The three Cubs walked briskly to the corner grocery where they did most of their buying for the den. As they entered, Brad suddenly gripped Dan’s arm so hard that it hurt.

At the counter, buying supplies, were White Nose and Eagle Feather.

Dan and Brad decided to greet the pair casually. Red, however, became greatly excited upon seeing the Indians.

“Let’s jump ’em!” he whispered to his companions. “They’re the ones who’ve been making trouble around our camp! Let’s tell ’em a thing or two!”

“Quiet!” Dan warned, giving him a hard look.

“Pipe down,” Brad muttered. “You want to get us into trouble?”

Red, however, was not to be silenced. Before Brad or Dan could stop him, he walked over to the two Indians.

“Good morning,” he said, to attract the attention of the two Indians.

They responded to the greeting without friendliness, continuing with the buying of supplies. Their very indifference further angered Red.

“I want to ask you some questions,” he burst out. “And I want some straight answers—see!”

“Red!” Dan remonstrated, trying to grab his arm.

Red pulled away. He had no intention of being silenced.

“First off, I want to know if you and White Nose weren’t the ones that wrecked our sand painting and then remade it inside the hogan?” he demanded.

Eagle Feather now paid him the honor of being most attentive. His eyes flickered with interest as he demanded mildly:

“Sand painting?”

“Oh, you needn’t pretend you know nothing about it,” Red snapped. “You’ve both been hanging around our camp ever since you came to Webster City!”

“Your sand painting has been redone?” inquired Eagle Feather, speaking with precise English.

“Late yesterday afternoon,” Red informed him. “Oh, you know all about it!”

Dan tried vainly to pull his friend away from the grocery counter. But Red, in one of his stubborn moods, would not budge.

“We know nothing about your sand painting,” Eagle Feather said distinctly.

“The work was done by an Indian—we know that from the skillful way the picture was put together,” Red rattled on. “It must have been you and White Nose.”

“We have no skill at sand painting,” said Eagle Feather. “We know one who does have cleverness in his hands—”

Red broke in, not giving the Indian an opportunity to finish.

“I’ll bet you’ve been living in the river cave on the park reservation,” he went on.

By this time Dan and Brad were thoroughly exasperated by the rash manner in which Red was revealing information. They were particularly annoyed because they could see that their den mate was supplying the Indians with facts of great interest to them.

“Where is this cave of which you speak?” Eagle Feather asked.

Dan stepped on Red’s foot so hard that he howled with pain.

“Button your flapping lips!” Dan hissed into his ear.

Belatedly, Red realized that he had talked too much. He lapsed into a crestfallen silence.

But the damage had been done. Eagle Feather and White Nose were keen enough to know that Dan and Brad had sought to prevent their friend from revealing the exact location of the cave. They did not ask for more information.

Instead, they spoke together in their own language. Then without completing their purchases or paying for the ones already ordered, they hurriedly left the store.

“Now what got into them?” the storekeeper demanded, scratching his head. “They order groceries and then go off without taking ’em along.”

“And what was the idea of stepping on my foot?” Red demanded indignantly of his friends.

“We ought to have stepped on your tongue,” Brad retorted. “You’ve done it now!”

“Done what?”

“You had to blurt out about that cave.”

“Well, I thought they knew about it, and the sand painting too.”

“You thought wrong,” Brad said furiously. “You just fed them a lot of useful information. Now, unless I’m tangled up, they’re out for mischief.”

“Mischief?” Red echoed blankly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Those Indians came here looking for someone,” Brad told him. “When you mentioned the sand-painting and the cave, you evidently gave them just the clues they needed.”

“And now they’re on the way to find that cave,” Dan added. “If they should find the man they’re looking for there—wow! Fireworks!”

“Gee, I didn’t know,” Red mumbled. “I’m sorry.”

Brad thought fast. He handed the grocer the list of supplies, asking him to fill the order as quickly as he could.

“We’ve got to get out to the camp right away,” he told the other two Cubs. “White Nose and Eagle Feather are looking for trouble. If they find the cave and the medicine man they’re after, there’s no telling what they may do! We’ve got to get there first and warn him!”

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