Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

Download links will be available after you disable the ad blocker and reload the page.

The Young Mountaineers Short Stories

Download options:

  • 290.06 KB
  • 734.55 KB
  • 377.78 KB



Picture to yourself a wild ravine, gashing a mountain spur, and with here and there in its course abrupt descents. One of these is so deep and sheer that it might be called a precipice.

High above it, from the steep slope on either hand, beetling crags jut out. Their summits almost meet at one point, and thus the space below bears a rude resemblance to a huge window. Through it you might see the blue heights in the distance; or watch the clouds and sunshine shift over the sombre mountain across the narrow valley; or mark, after the day has faded, how the great Scorpio draws its shining curves along the dark sky.

One night Jonas Creyshaw sat alone in the porch of his log cabin, hard by on the slope of the ravine, smoking his pipe and gazing meditatively at "Old Daddy's Window." The moon was full, and its rays fell aslant on one of the cliffs, while the rugged face of the opposite crag was in the shadow.

Suddenly he became aware that something was moving about the precipice, the brink of which seems the sill of the window. Although this precipice is sheer and insurmountable, a dark figure had risen from it, and stood plainly defined against the cliff, which presented a comparatively smooth surface to the brilliant moonlight.

Was it a shadow? he asked himself hastily.

His eyes swept the ravine, only thirty feet wide at that point, which lies between the two crags whose jutting summits almost meet above it to form Old Daddy's Window.

There was no one visible to cast a shadow.

It seemed as if the figure had unaccountably emerged from the sheer depths below.

Only for a moment it stood motionless against the cliff. Then it flung its arms wildly above its head, and with a nimble spring disappeared—upward.

Jonas Creyshaw watched it, his eyes distended, his face pallid, his pipe trembling in his shaking hand.

"Mirandy!" he quavered faintly.

His wife, a thin, ailing woman with pinched features and an uncertain eye, came to the door.

"Thar," he faltered, pointing with his pipe-stem—"jes' a minit ago—I seen it!—a ghost riz up over the bluff inter Old Daddy's Window!"

The woman fell instantly into a panic.

"'Twarn't a-beckonin', war it? 'Twarn't a-beckonin'? 'Kase ef it war, ye'll hev ter die right straight! That air a sure sign."

A little of Jonas Creyshaw's pluck and common sense came back to him at this unpleasant announcement.

"Not on his say-so," he stoutly averred. "I ain't a-goin' ter do the beck nor the bid of enny onmannerly harnt ez hev tuk up the notion ter riz up over the bluff inter Old Daddy's Window, an' sot hisself ter motionin' ter me."

He rose hastily, knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and followed his wife into the house. There he paused abruptly.

The room was lighted by the fitful flicker of the fire, for the nights were still chilly, and an old man, almost decrepit, sat dozing in his chair by the hearth.

"Mirandy," said Jonas Creyshaw in a whisper, "'pears like ter me ez father hed better not be let ter know 'bout'n that thar harnt. It mought skeer him so ez he couldn't live another minit. He hev aged some lately—an' he air weakly."

This was "Old Daddy."

Before he had reached his thirtieth year, he was thus known, far and wide....