**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Mound Of Eternal Silence
by [?]

“I ought to know something about it,” said the Drummer, “for I went with the Prospector and the Eastern man to see Judson.

“I remember when we started out together the Eastern man asked the Prospector if he thought Judson was really crazy.

“‘Yes,’ said the Prospector, ‘he is as crazy as a loon, as you will see when you get there.’

“‘Tell me the story over again,’ said the Eastern man.

“‘Well, you see,’ said the Prospector, ‘they found him lying in the hot sand away off on the desert, with his head propped up against a rock, nearly dead for want of water. When they tried to rouse him he stared at them vacantly. They gave him a little water, and as soon as he had swallowed it he fought like a wild animal for more. It took three or four of them to hold him. He cursed and swore at them because they would not give him all he wanted, and his cries were pitiful. He alternately cursed and screamed for water, sometimes as loud as he could shout and then again in faint whispers.

“‘Later on, when they dared to give him more at a time, he became tranquil, and towards night, after he had drunk a bowl full of thin oatmeal gruel, he went to sleep. When he awoke they questioned him.

“‘He said that he had been prospecting with his partner, and had found a gulch with precipitous cliffs all around it where there was very rich placer digging. Directly in front was a high mound covered with big cacti, and they made their camp on the top of this. There was a little water in the canyon held in rock basins, and with this they washed out the gold and got a lot of it–Judson says three or four thousand dollars’ worth. Then bad luck came, and the burro died. Three days afterwards Judson’s partner was poisoned in some way, and died a few hours later, cursing Judson and saying he had poisoned him.

“‘Judson buried him and also the gold; it was too heavy for him to pack, especially as he had no way to carry water. Then taking a small bag of gold dust in his pocket he started across the desert. He had a hobby for taking photographs and carried a small camera with him, and before leaving he photographed the place, which he called “The Mound of Eternal Silence,” so that in case anything happened to him it could be found without trouble. They developed the negatives later, and he has them pasted all around his room. He called the place “The Mound of Eternal Silence” because during the two months he was there he never saw or heard a single living thing except jack-rabbits and a bird or two.’

“‘What was that about his killing the dog?’ asked the Eastern man.

“‘Well, you see when Judson started off alone the dog would not leave his dead master, and sat upon the hill howling. Judson was afraid he would attract somebody’s attention if they happened along that way, and after trying to get him to follow him without success, he went back and shot him. The first thing that Judson saw when he awoke the next morning after they had found him was the dog sitting on his haunches looking at him. Judson looked at the animal, but said nothing–something within him forced him to keep silence. After a time he snapped his fingers and called the dog by name.

“‘”Did you speak?” asked one of the men, Stevens it was, I believe.

“‘”I was only calling the dog,” said Judson.

“‘”What dog?” asked Stevens.

“‘”Why, that dog, of course,” said Judson, pointing at the animal.

“‘”You are crazy, man,” answered Stevens. “The heat yesterday was too much for you; there is no dog there.”

“‘Judson turned away; he began to fear there might be something the matter with his brain, and that there was no dog there after all. But when he looked again there he was as plain as ever. “I will take the brute outside of camp and kill him when I get a chance,” he thought.