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"Wolf! Wolf!"
by [?]

Andy Green, of the Flying U, loped over the grassy level and hummed a tune as he rode. The sun shone just warm enough to make a man feel that the world was good enough for him, and the wind was just a lazy, whispering element to keep the air from growing absolutely still and stagnant. There was blue sky with white, fluffy bits of cloud like torn cotton drifting as lazily as the wind, and there were meadow-larks singing and swaying, and slow-moving range cattle with their calves midway to weaning time. Not often may one ride leisurely afar on so perfect a day, and while Andy was a sunny-natured fellow at all times, on such a day he owned not a care.

A mile farther, and he rode over a low shoulder of the butte he was passing, ambled down the long slope on the far side, crossed another rounded hill, followed down a dry creek-bed at the foot of it, sought with his eye for a practicable crossing and went headlong down a steep, twenty-foot bank; rattled the loose rocks in the dry, narrow channel and went forging up a bank steeper than the first, with creaking saddle-leather and grunting horse, and struck again easy going.

“She slipped on me,” he murmured easily, meaning the saddle. “I’m riding on your tail, just about; but I guess we can stand it the rest uh the why, all right.” If he had not been so lazy and self-satisfied he would have stopped right there and reset the saddle. But if he had, he might have missed something which he liked to live over o’ nights.

He went up a gentle rise, riding slowly because of the saddle, passed over the ridge and went down another short slope. At the foot of the slope, cuddled against another hill, stood a low, sod-roofed cabin with rusty stove-pipe rising aslant from one corner. This was the spot he had been aiming for, and he neared it slowly.

It was like a dozen other log cabins tucked away here and there among the foothills of the Bear Paws. It had an air of rakish hominess, as if it would be a fine, snuggy place in winter, when the snow and the wind swept the barren land around. In the summer, it stood open-doored and open-windowed, with all the litter of bachelor belongings scattered about or hanging from pegs on the wall outside. There was a faint trail of smoke from the rusty pipe, and it brought a grunt of satisfaction from Andy.

“He’s home, all right. And if he don’t throw together some uh them sour-dough biscuits uh his, there’ll be something happen! Hope the bean-pot’s full. G’wan, yuh lazy old skate.” He slapped the rein-ends lightly down the flanks of his horse and went at a trot around the end of the cabin. And there he was so utterly taken by surprise that he almost pulled his mount into a sitting posture.

A young woman was stooping before the open door, and she was pouring something from a white earthen bowl into a battered tin pan. Two waggle-tailed lambs–a black one and a white–were standing on their knees in their absorption, and were noisily drinking of the stuff as fast as it came within reach.

Andy had half a minute in which to gaze before the young woman looked up, said “Oh!” in a breathless sort of way and retreated to the doorstep, where she stood regarding him inquiringly.

Andy, feeling his face go unreasonably red, lifted his hat. He knew that she was waiting for him to speak, but he could not well say any of the things he thought, and blurted out an utterly idiotic question.

“What are yuh feeding ’em?”

The girl looked down at the bowl in her hands and laughed a little.

“Rolled oats,” she answered, “boiled very thin and with condensed cream added to taste. Good morning.” She seemed about to disappear, and that brought Andy to his senses. He was not, as a rule, a bashful young man.