Chapter XXIII. Stacy as an Indian Fighter
 

In the meantime there was a lively scrimmage going on near the "Have-a-chicken" circle. The stones of the circle had been kicked away, the younger savages forming a human ring about the combatants.

Afraid Of His Face was much the superior of the fat boy in physical strength, but he knew nothing of the tricks of the boxer. Therefore Stacy had played a tattoo on the face of the Indian before the latter woke up to the fact that he was getting the worst of it.

In an unguarded moment the young buck put a smashing blow right on Stacy's nose, now extremely sensitive from its near boiling in the "Hole In The Wall."

Not being fast enough in the get away, the young buck received on his own face some of the blood that spurted from Brown's nose.

"Ow-wow!" wailed Chunky, rendered desperate by the severe pain at this tender point. But his rage made him cooler. Chunky made a feint. As Afraid Of His Face dodged the feint Stacy bumped the young Indian's nose.

"Have another," offered Stacy dryly, as his left drove in a blow that sent the young Indian to his back on the turf. Frightened screams came from some of the young Indian girls, who gazed dismayed at the human whirlwind into which Stacy had been transformed.

"Ugh!" roared Afraid Of His Face, and reached his feet again. "Ugh! Boy heap die! Plenty soon!"

Again the combatants closed in. There was a rattling give-and-take.

"Here! Stop that!" ordered Professor Zepplin, striding forward. The chief and his Indians were coming up also. The chief caught at one of the Professor's waving arms and drew him back.

"Let um fight," grunted the chief. He next spoke a few guttural words of command to his own people, who fell back, giving the combatants plenty of room.

"Yes, let 'em have it out!" roared the boys. "Stacy never will learn to behave, but this ought to help."

Stacy, having it all his own way with his fists, now received a kick from the buck that nearly ended the fight.

"Wow! That's your style, is it?" groaned Chunky, then he ducked, came up and planted a smashing blow on the buck's jaw that sent the latter fairly crashing to earth.

That ended the fight. Afraid Of His Face made a few futile struggles to get to his feet, then lay back wearily. Chunky puffed out his chest and strutted back and forth a few times.

"Huh!" grunted Chick-a-pan-a-gi. "Fat boy heap brave warrior."

"You bet I am. But it's nothing. You ought to see me in a real fight."

"Hurrah for Chunky!" shouted Ned Rector. "Hip, hip, hurrah!"

Professor Zepplin now strode forward, laying a heavy hand on the fat boy's shoulder.

"Ouch!" groaned Chunky. "Don't do that Don't you know I haven't any skin on my body?"

"You don't deserve to have any. Be good enough to explain how this trouble arose?"

The chief was asking the same question of the other young savages in his own language and they were telling him in a series of guttural explosions.

"It was this way, I was playing the game with them when I stepped on Elephant Face's foot. He didn't like it. I guess he has corns on his feet as well as on his face. He punched me. I punched him back. Then the show began. We had a little argument, with the result that you already have observed," answered Stacy pompously.

"You needn't get so chesty about it," rebuked Ned.

"Chief," said the Professor, turning to Chick-a-pan-a-gi, "I don't know what to say. I am deeply humiliated that one of our party should engage in a fight with---"

"I didn't engage in any fight," protested Stacy. "It wasn't a fight, it was just a little argument."

"Silence!" thundered the Professor.

"I trust you will overlook the action of this boy. He was very much excited and-----"

"Fat boy him not blame. Fat boy him much brave warrior," grunted the chief. "Afraid Of His Face he go ha-wa. Stay all day, all night. Him not brave warrior."

The chief accentuated his disgust by prodding his homely son with the toe of a moccasin. Afraid Of his Face got up painfully, felt gingerly of his damaged nose, and with a surly grunt limped off toward his own ha-wa, there to remain in disgrace until the following day.

"Fat boy come smoke pipe of peace," grunted the chief.

"No, thank you. No more pieces of pipe for mine. I've had one experience. That's enough for a life time," answered Stacy.

"Stacy, if I see any more such unseemly conduct I shall send you home in disgrace," rebuked the Professor as they walked back to the village.

"The boy wasn't to blame, Professor," interceded Dad. "The buck pitched into him first. He had to defend himself."

"No, don't be too hard on Chunky," begged Tad. "You must remember that he wasn't quite himself. First to be boiled alive, then set upon by an Indian, I should say, would be quite enough to set anyone off his balance."

The Professor nodded. Perhaps they were right, after all. So long as the chief was not angry, why should he be? The chief, in his unemotional way, seemed pleased with the result of the encounter. But Professor Zepplin, of course, could not countenance fighting. That was a certainty. With a stern admonition to Chunky never to engage in another row while out with the Pony Rider Boys, the Professor agreed to let the matter drop.

The day was well spent by that time, and the party was invited to pass the night in the village, which they decided to do. The chief gave the Professor a cordial invitation to share his ha-wa with him, but after a sniff at the opening of the hovel Professor Zepplin decided that he would much prefer to sleep outside on the ground. The others concluded that they would do the same. The odors coming from the ha-was of the tribe were not at all inviting.

After sitting about the camp fire all the evening, the Pony Rider Boys wrapped themselves in their blankets and lay down to sleep under the stars with the now gloomy walls of the Canyon towering above them, the murmur of the silvery Havasu in their ears.