'I've seen 'im more times 'n ye could shake a stick at,' said Ab crossing his legs comfortably and spitting into the fire. 'Kind o' thank he's the same man folks tells uv down 'n Paradise Valley there - 'at goes 'round 'n the clearin' after bedtime.'
'Guess thet's what they call 'im,' said Ab. 'Curus man! Sometimes I've hed a good squint at 'im off 'n the woods. He's wilder 'n a deer an' I've seen 'im jump over logs, half as high as this shanty, jest as easy as ye 'd hop a twig. Tried t' foller 'im once er twice but tain' no use. He's quicker 'n a wil' cat.'
'What kind of a lookin' manis he?' Tip Taylor asked.
'Great, big, broad-shouldered feller,' said Ab. 'Six feet tall if he's an inch. Hed a kind of a deerskin jacket on when I seen 'im an' breeches an' moccasins made o' some kind o' hide. I recollec' one day I was over on the ridge two mile er more from the Stillwater goin' south. I seen 'im gittin' a drink at the spring there 'n the burnt timber. An' if I ain't mistaken there was a real live panther playin' 'round 'im. If 't wa'n't a panther 'twas pesky nigh it I can'tell ye. The critter see me fast an' drew up 'is back. Then the man got up quickerin' a flash. Soon 'she see me -Jeemimey! didn't they move. Never see no human critter run as he did! A big tree hed fell 'cross a lot o' bush right 'n his path. I'll be gol dummed if 'twan't higher 'n my head! But he cleared it - jest as easy as a grasshopper'd go over a straw. I'd like t' know wher he comes from, gol dummed if I wouldn't. He's the consamdest queerest animal 'n these woods.'
Ab emphasised this lucid view of the night man by an animated movement of his fist that held the big hunting knife with which he whittled. Then he emptied his pipe and began cutting more tobacco.
'Some says 'e 's a ghost,' said Tip Taylor, splitting his sentence with a yawn, as he lay on a buffalo robe in the shanty.
'Shucks an' shoestrings!' said An, 'he looks too nat'ral. Don't believe no ghost ever wore whiskers an' long hair like his'n. Thet don't hol' t' reason.'
This remark was followed by dead silence. Tip seemed to lack both courage and information with which to prolong the argument.