Gladys stood in her tent under the
big murmuring pine tree washing handkerchiefs in her
washbasin. “I haven’t enough left
to last any time at all now,” she confided plaintively
to Sahwah, “and I had three dozen when I came.
They’re all gone where the good handkerchiefs
go, I guess. Somebody is forever getting cut
and needing a bandage in a hurry and my handkerchief
is invariably the one to be sacrificed to the emergency.”
“That’s what you get for
always having a clean one,” remarked Sahwah.
“Mine are never in fit condition to be used for
bandages, consequently I still have them all.”
“But you never know where they
are,” said Gladys. “If you don’t
keep your things in order you might as well not own
them, for you never have them when you want them anyway.”
“And if you do keep them in
order somebody else always borrows them and then you
don’t have them when you want them either,”
“Life is awfully complicated, isn’t it?”
“I should say it was awfully
simple,” said Sahwah, laughing at Gladys’s
solemn tone. “No matter what you do it turns
out the same way anyway. I shouldn’t call
Gladys hung her handkerchiefs on the
tent ropes where they would dry in the wind and emptied
the basin of water out of the end of the tent, which
opened directly on the bluff. A dismal shriek
from below proclaimed that somebody had received a
shower bath. Gladys and Sahwah leaned over the
tent railing at a perilous angle and peered down.
Half way down the bluff, “between the devil
and the deep sea,” as Sahwah remarked, sat Katherine
on a narrow ledge of rock, dangling her feet over
the edge and leaning her head dejectedly on her hands.
The descending flood had landed on her head and was
running in streams over her face from the ends of
her wispy hair, making her look more dejected than
ever. Her appearance made both the girls above
think immediately of Fifi on the occasion of his memorable
“Oh, Katherine, I’m sorry,”
said Gladys contritely. “I ought to have
looked before I poured. But I never expected anybody
to be sitting there like a fly on the wall. What
are you doing there anyway?”
“Just sitting,” replied Katherine in her
“What’s the matter?”
asked Gladys, catching the doleful note in her voice
and having inward qualms.
“Just low in my mind,” replied Katherine
“Goodness gracious!” exclaimed
Gladys. “What about? Can’t we
come down and cheer you up? Is there room for
two more on that ledge?”
“Always plenty of room on the
mourners’ bench,” said Katherine, moving
“All right, we’ll come,”
said Gladys. “How do you get down?
Oh, I see, there’s a sort of path going down
behind mother’s tent. Look out, we’re
Sahwah and Gladys crawled backward
down the bluff, hanging on to the grass and roots,
and dropped to the ledge beside Katherine. They
settled themselves comfortably and swung their feet
over the edge.
“Now, tell us your trouble,”
said Gladys, mopping Katherine’s head with her
last clean handkerchief and getting it as wet as those
up on the tent ropes.
Katherine hunched her shoulders and
drooped her head until it almost touched her chest.
“I can’t bear to think of going home!”
she said heavily.
“Going home!” echoed Sahwah
and Gladys, nearly falling off the ledge in alarm.
“You’re not going home, are you? Don’t
tell us that you ” Words
failed them and they stared in blank dismay.
It was Katherine’s turn to look
alarmed when she caught their meaning. “Oh,
I don’t mean that I’m going home now,”
she said hastily. “I mean that I can’t
bear to think of going home at the end of the summer.”
“Gracious!” said Gladys
weakly. “Who’s thinking about the
end of the summer already? Why, it’s hardly
begun. You don’t mean to say that you’re
worrying now about going home in September?”
Katherine nodded, without cheering
up one bit. “That’s the trouble,”
she said laconically. “I know it’s
a crazy thing to worry about, but when we were having
such a good time on the lake this morning I got to
thinking how I hated to leave it, even to go to college,
and started to get blue right away. And the more
I thought about it the bluer I got, and the bluer
I got the more I thought about it, and that’s
all there is to it!” she finished with a characteristic
gesture of her long arms. “And now I can’t
stop thinking about it and I’ve just got the
“Well, of all things!”
exclaimed Sahwah. “Aren’t some people
the funniest things, though?”
She and Gladys leaned back and regarded
Katherine curiously. Here was the girl who stood
unmoved by fire or flood, who never worried about an
exam; the girl who had calmly rallied the demoralized
volley ball team and snatched victory in the face
of overwhelming odds, who seemed to have optimism
in her veins instead of blood, at the very beginning
of the most charming summer in her life, worrying
because some time or other it must come to an end!
Katherine’s “indigoes” were as startling
and unaccountable as her inspirations. And it
was not put on for momentary effect, either.
She sat limp and listless, the very picture of dejection,
and no amount of rallying on the part of the two served
to bring her back to her breezy, merry self.
They left her at last in despair,
and wearily climbed back to the tents. “I
wish we hadn’t talked to her at all,” wailed
Sahwah. “Now the thought of going home
makes me so blue I can’t bear to think about
it.” And her voice had such a suspicious
catch in it that it made a sympathetic moisture rise
in Gladys’s eyes, and she declared she wished
they had never come, because it would be so hard to
“Oh, mercy! What geese
we are!” said Sahwah, coming to herself with
a start. “Worrying about something that’s
miles off! Cheer up. We may all get drowned
and never have to go home at all. You always want
to look on the bright side of things!” And then
the pendulum swung the other way, and the two leaned
against each other and laughed until their sides ached
at their foolishness.
“But poor Katherine was really
blue,” said Gladys, when they were themselves
again. “She has those awful spells once
in a long while and they last for days unless she
gets mixed up in something exciting and forgets herself.
I was really worried on her account once and asked
Nyoda about it and she said it was because Katherine
has always had to work too hard all her life and it’s
done something to her nerves, or whatever you call
them, and that’s what makes her have the blues
sometimes. She said we should always try to give
her something else to think about right off when she
got that way and she’d get over it sooner and
by and by when she grew stronger she wouldn’t
have them at all any more.”
“Poor, dear old Katherine!”
said Sahwah fervently. “I wish something
would happen to cheer her up. If she doesn’t
get over it soon she will have the whole family feeling
as she does, and think how dreadful it would be!”
And then the Captain and the Bottomless Pitt appeared
between the trees and challenged them to a canoe race
and they speedily forgot Katherine and her woes.
That evening the twins got into a
dispute as to who should sit on the bow of the launch
on the trip to St. Pierre with the mail and neither
would give in, so Uncle Teddy suggested that they settle
the point by a crab race on the beach. The crab
race consisted of traveling on all fours in a sidewise
direction and was as difficult as it was ridiculous.
Anthony won because Antha stepped on her skirt and
lost her balance. Then Sahwah spoke up and said
she must insist on her sex having fair play and that
in order to make the race fair and above board Anthony
must wear a skirt, too. Anthony protested loudly,
but the Chiefs ruled that it was right and just, and
Anthony, still protesting, was hustled into a skirt
of his sister’s and made to run the race over
again. The spectators wept with laughter as he
fell all over himself, first to one side and then
to the other, as he stepped on the skirt, and Antha
touched the goal before he had completed half the distance.
“Oh, Anthony,” jeered
Pitt, “can’t you make a better showing
“He probably did as well as
any of you would,” said Hinpoha.
“Bet I could do better,” said the Captain.
“Let’s see you do it,” said Hinpoha.
“I will if the other fellows
will,” said the Captain, looking around at the
rest. “Will you, Slim?”
“Sure,” said Slim.
“Slim will do anything once,”
A few minutes later, an old turtle
who had been sitting on a log near the water all afternoon
poked his head out of his shell in astonishment at
the sight of the enormous human crabs who suddenly
swarmed over the beach, laughing, tripping, shrieking
and rolling over on the sand. The Captain did
beautifully, because he was tall and the skirt that
fell to him was short and did not impede his progress,
but Slim, to whom Sahwah had wickedly given one of
Katherine’s longest, got so tangled up that he
finally turned a somersault right into the water, where
he lay kicking and splashing. Katherine rescued
him and the skirt, which was rather the worse for
the experience, while Uncle Teddy, who was judge, declared
the Captain to be the winner. He was the only
one who had finished without falling once.
“You’re elected to take
a lady’s part in the next play we give,”
said Gladys. “Such talent shouldn’t
be wasted on a desert isle.”
The Captain smiled a ladylike smile
and minced along, holding an imaginary parasol over
his head. “Bertha the Beautiful Cloak Model,”
he said, laughing. “Now won’t somebody
rescue Pitt. He’s all tied up in a knot
“And he has my skirt on,”
wailed Gladys. “Do rescue him, somebody.”
“Never again,” said Pitt
solemnly, when he had been helped to his feet and
separated from the hampering garment. “How
you girls do anything at all with those horrible things
on is more than I can see.”
“Hurry up, all you who want
to go in the launch,” called Uncle Teddy, and
there was a general scramble. In the excitement
of the big crab race the twins had forgotten their
quarrel and both sat side by side on the bow.
“Wasn’t that crab race
the funniest ever?” said Gladys to Katherine,
as they gathered up the skirts and wended their way
up the path.
“The funniest of all was when
Slim fell over backward into the lake,” said
Sahwah from behind them.
“Funny for you, perhaps,”
replied Katherine, who still was steeped in her indigoes,
“but that was my skirt he had on. And he
burst it open in three places. It’s ruined.”
“Cheer up,” said Sahwah.
“Consider in what a good cause it perished.
You’d have ruined it sooner or later anyhow,
but minus the grand spectacle Slim made.”
“Maybe so,” grumbled Katherine,
“but I was thinking that perhaps this one would
escape the usual fate. I had a fondness for that
“Then what did you let him take it for?”
“I didn’t give it to him, Sahwah did,”
“Well, you said I might,”
retorted Sahwah, “and, anyway, I’m as badly
off as you. Mine is finished, too.”
“Let’s not argue over
it,” said Gladys hastily. “We’re
getting as bad as the twins. We started the business,
so let’s be game and not let the boys hear us
say anything about the skirts.”
“All right,” said Sahwah, and the subject
“What’s this?” asked Hinpoha, as
they came to the top of the hill.
“A piece of paper tacked to a tree,” said
Sahwah. “What does it say?”
They all stopped to read. The
only writing on the paper was the legend, THE DARK
OF THE MOON SOCIETY. Above it there were three
marks done in red paint, which gave them a curiously
lurid effect. They consisted of a circle with
two diamond-shaped marks underneath it.
“What on earth !” said
“Those funny-shaped marks are
a blaze,” said Sahwah. “It was one
of the number we learned, don’t you remember,
Hinpoha? I believe it means ‘warning,’
or something like that. ‘Important warning,’
that’s it. Now I remember. This message
is supposed to read:
DARK OF THE MOON SOCIETY.’”
“What on earth is The Dark of
the Moon Society?” asked Katherine.
They all shook their heads. “It’s
something the boys are up to,” said Gladys.
“I suppose they are going to play some joke on
us in return for our neat little trick the day we
climbed the trees and watched them get supper.
Just watch out, something will be doing before very
“Let’s find out what it
is and get ahead of them,” said Katherine, her
eyes beginning to sparkle.
From that time on there was a suppressed
feeling of excitement on Ellen’s Isle.
The Winnebagos watched every movement the Sandwiches
made, and it seemed that there was something suspicious
about the glances that were constantly being exchanged
between the Captain, Slim and the Bottomless Pitt.
“Those three are at the bottom
of it,” declared Katherine to the other girls
who were gathered on her bed. “I don’t
believe the rest of the Sandwiches know a thing about
it. I heard Dan Porter asking the Captain what
they were talking about down on the beach awhile ago
and the Captain said, ‘Oh, nothing,’ in
that tone of voice that means, ’It’s none
of your business.’”
“But I saw Slim and Dan and
the Monkey slipping off into the woods by themselves
just now,” said Sahwah, “and they were
laughing to themselves and acting mighty mysterious.”
The next day Hinpoha found a piece
of birchbark in Eeny-Meeny’s wooden hand, bearing
the now familiar warning blaze and signed with the
initials D. M. S.
“The handwriting on the wall
again,” she said to Gladys. “What
can the Dark of the Moon Society be, anyhow?”
After that mysterious warnings appeared
all over camp. The girls would find them tacked
to the trees in front of their tents, tied to the
handles of the water pails and slipped in between the
logs piled ready for firewood. True to their
agreement they never said a word about finding them
to the Sandwiches, but were constantly on the lookout
for the joke, which they knew would be sprung sooner
or later. Katherine, who had flung her indigoes
to the winds at the first hint of mystery, was the
most intent on finding out what the boys were planning
to do and meant to get ahead of them if she could
possibly do it.
“The thing to do first,”
said she with the air of a general, “is to find
out which ones are the Dark of the Moon Society.
Then we can watch those particularly.”
“They’re probably all in it,” said
“I don’t think they are,”
said Katherine. “I’ll lay my wager
on the Captain, Slim and the Bottomless Pitt.
Those three are mighty chummy all of a sudden.
And I saw them go right past one of those signs on
a tree and never look at it. That looks suspicious.
They saw me and pretended they didn’t notice
That night, Katherine, restless and
unable to sleep, developed a thirst from rolling around
on her pillow, and rising quietly, made for the water
pail at the door of the tent. It was empty.
Thirsts had been prevalent that night. She stood
a moment irresolute and then, putting on her slippers
and her gown, started boldly for the little spring
on the hillside. It was bright moonlight and
she could find her way easily. She took a drink
from the cup hanging on a broken branch beside the
spring, and filling the pail so as to be prepared
for a return of the thirst, she started back up the
hill. Half way up she paused and stood still,
looking out over the silvered surface of the lake,
drinking in the magic beauty of the scene with eager
“Oh, you wonderful, wonderful
lake!” she murmured to herself.
A branch cracked sharply behind her
and a small stone came rolling down the hillside.
She turned hastily and looked up. Someone was
moving among the trees up there. “The Dark
of the Moon Society!” thought Katherine, and,
dropping the pail of water, she ran up the path.
The person above made no effort at flight or concealment,
but walked out of the shadow of the trees onto a moonlit
rock at the edge of the bluff. Then Katherine
saw that it was Sahwah.
“Are you thirsty, too?”
she called up. Sahwah made no answer. She
took a step nearer the edge of the cliff and stood
looking out over the lake.
“She’s walking in her
sleep again!” exclaimed Katherine. Since
the memorable night of the Select Sleeping Party when
Sahwah had wandered out into the snow, the Winnebagos
lived in constant expectation of some new performance.
As Katherine started toward her to
lead her gently back to the tent, Sahwah began to
raise her arms slowly above her head, palms together.
“Mercy!” exclaimed Katherine, “she’s
going to dive off the cliff!” And rushing up
pell-mell she seized her around the waist and dragged
her back unceremoniously, regardless of the accepted
rule about waking sleep walkers suddenly.
“Goodness, how you scared me!”
said Katherine, when she had deposited Sahwah in her
bed and answered her yawning inquiries as to what was
the matter. “You can’t be trusted
without a bodyguard.” And in spite of Sahwah’s
protests that she had never in her life “walked”
twice in the same night, Katherine insisted upon tying
a string to her ankle and fastening the other end
around her own. Sahwah was asleep again in five
minutes, but Katherine lay and watched her for hours,
expecting to see her rise and try to wander forth
a second time.
Once she thought she heard footsteps
on the path along the bluff and rose hastily to investigate,
but the string she had tied around her ankle tripped
her and jerked Sahwah, who bade her lie down and be
quiet. Katherine subsided, rubbing her knee,
which had received a smart bump, and grimacing with
pain in the darkness. She heard the footsteps
no more, but she had her suspicions that they belonged
to the Dark of the Moon Society.
The next day at noon she called a
hasty council on her bed. “Girls,”
she said in a thrilling whisper, “I’ve
found the place where the Dark of the Moon Society
“Where? Where?” they all cried.
“In a cave under the east bluff.
I just discovered it today. The entrance is all
covered by trees. I found the ashes of a little
fire inside. That’s where they’re
cooking up their plans and preparing something to
spring as a surprise on us.”
“Oh, if we could only hide back
in that cave when they are there and hear and see
what they are doing,” said Sahwah.
“How are we going to know when
they will be there?” asked Gladys.
Nobody was able to answer this.
“If we’re smart enough
we’ll find out,” said Katherine, waving
her long arms. She was as keen on the scent of
the mysterious Dark of the Moon Society as a hound
after a stag.
That night darkness had hardly fallen
when the Captain, Slim and the Bottomless Pitt complained
of being utterly tired out and announced their intention
of going to bed.
“What made you so tired, boys?”
asked Mrs. Evans solicitously. “Are we
expecting you young people to do too much? I don’t
want you to go home worn out.”
“Oh, it was probably from running
up and down the path so often with the boards for
the dock,” said the Captain. “That’s
all.” He yawned widely behind his hand.
“We’re not doing too much every day, really
we aren’t. You mustn’t feel anxious.”
Mrs. Evans made a mental resolve to
see that the boys and girls all had a definite rest
hour each day.
Katherine’s thoughts went into
a widely different channel. At the first mention
of going to bed before the others she became suspicious,
and, looking closely, she was positive that the Captain’s
yawn was feigned. Lying on her back on the sand
so that her head was behind Sahwah and Gladys she
whispered very quietly, “D. M. S. meeting.”
Gladys and Sahwah squeezed her arm to let her know
they understood and as soon as the three boys had
started up the hill they rose also, saying they were
going up on the Council Rock. Hinpoha rose and
followed them; Migwan and Nakwisi apparently did not
catch on, and remained where they were.
There was no time to follow the boys.
The girls must be in the cave before the Sandwiches
got there to be able to overhear anything. Taking
a short cut, they came out on the bluff just above
the cave. They could hear the boys stopping for
a drink at the spring on the other side of the island.
“How’ll we get down?” asked Gladys
in a whisper.
“Crawl down the face of the
cliff,” said Sahwah. “And we’ll
probably skin our whole mortal frames doing it.”
“Sh!” said Katherine.
“There’s no time to crawl down. We’ve
got to hurry. Go half way down and jump the rest
of the way. It’s all soft sand underneath.”
“We’ll be killed,” said Gladys.
“Nonsense!” said Katherine
scornfully. “Didn’t I say it was all
soft sand underneath? Sh! I’ll go
She swung over the edge, poised on
the little ledge, flung out her arms and leapt into
the darkness below. There was a crash, a smash,
a plump, and a startled wail.
“What is it?” cried Gladys,
throwing caution to the winds and shouting.
“I’m in the lake, I guess,”
called Katherine from below. “First I jumped
in and then the sky fell on me.” Her voice
sounded oddly muffled and far away.
Gladys flashed her little bug light
over the cliff and then shrieked with laughter at
the spectacle below. Flat on the beach sat Katherine,
her feet straight out in front of her and a tin washtub
upside down on her head, completely hiding the upper
half of her. From the edge of it the water was
dripping in tiny streamlets. The main deluge had
already descended. All around her lay the clothes
which had been soaking in the tub ready to be washed
out bright and early the next morning.
Of course her yell and the shouts
of those above brought the rest of the family on the
run, and after one look at her nobody had strength
enough to lift the tub off her head. Uncle Teddy
recovered first and removed the eclipse.
“I forgot to tell you folks
I had set the tub there,” said Aunt Clara.
“But how could I guess that one of you would
jump into it? Whatever induced you to jump off
the cliff in the dark anyway?”
“I was just ‘exploragin’,’”
replied Katherine meekly, rising and shaking the water
from her clothes like a dog.
There was no spying on the Dark of
the Moon Society that night. Mrs. Evans ordered
Katherine off to bed at once, because it was too late
to get into dry clothes and the air was too cool to
keep the wet clothes on, and as Katherine was chief
spy there was nothing doing unless she headed it.
So if there was a meeting in the cave after all that
commotion it went unobserved.
But a day or two later there was consternation
in Katherine’s tent. The rumor had just
gone around that the Dark of the Moon Society was going
to kidnap Eeny-Meeny and burn her at the stake.
Sahwah had overheard a bit of conversation in the
woods that gave her the clue. It was going to
happen that night.
Katherine went “straight up
in the air.” “They sha’n’t
burn Eeny-Meeny!” she declared, shaking her
fist above her head. “They’ll only
touch her over my prostrate body!”
Many were the elaborate plans made
for Eeny-Meeny’s defense. Katherine’s
plan was voted the simplest and best. “Hide
her!” she suggested, and this course was agreed
upon. But simple as this plan sounded it presented
unexpected difficulties. They couldn’t get
a chance to do it. No matter when they approached
Eeny-Meeny there was always one of the Sandwiches
close at hand.
“They’re picketing her!”
announced Katherine, baffled in several attempts.
“I pretended I wanted to touch her up with color
and carried her away from the Council Rock, and the
Captain came right along, so I had to do it, and the
minute I was through he insisted on carrying her back
and I couldn’t object without rousing his suspicions,
so back she went. Now Slim’s sitting and
leaning his head against her.”
“The thing to do,” said
Hinpoha, “is to have a counter attraction at
the other end of the island that will draw them all
away, and in the meantime one of us can hide her.”
“Good,” said Katherine, “what shall
“It ought to be a panic,”
said Hinpoha, “and then if we yell loud enough
they’ll forget everything and run to the rescue.”
“What would we scream for?” asked Gladys.
“Oh, for most anything,”
answered Hinpoha. “The main idea is to scream
loud enough to start a panic. I’ll think
up something in a minute.”
“Well, let us know when you’re
ready, and we’ll bring our voices,” said
Hinpoha departed to attend to her
dinner duties and Katherine went out into the woods
to look for berries. In a little hollow she stumbled
over Antha, sitting in a heap against a tree shedding
tears into her handkerchief. “What’s
the matter?” asked Katherine, sinking down beside
her. She was so used to seeing Antha in tears
that she was not greatly concerned, but out of general
sympathy she inquired what was the matter.
“I want to go home!” wailed
Antha. “This is a horrible mean old place
and I can’t have any fun at all.”
“Why can’t you have any fun?” asked
“Because you girls are always
running away from me and having secrets that you won’t
tell me,” said Antha with a gulp. “You’re
doing something now that you won’t let me know
True enough. They hadn’t
told Antha about the danger threatening Eeny-Meeny
nor the plan for her defense. Katherine reflected.
“It was kind of mean to leave her out
of that. I wouldn’t like it myself if I
were the younger one of a group and they kept having
secrets from me. I’m not being a real nice
big sister at all.”
“Never mind, Antha,” she
said, patting her hand. “I’ll tell
you about it. The boys are planning to steal
Eeny-Meeny tonight and burn her at the stake and we’re
trying to keep them from doing it. We’re
going to hide her. You may help us if you like.
Won’t that be fun?”
Antha sniffed, and with the perverseness
of her nature lost interest in the secret as soon
as she found out what it was, and didn’t seem
to care whether Eeny-Meeny was burned at the stake
or not. And when Katherine went farther and invited
her to be her special helper in everything, and offered
to show her where the oven bird’s nest was that
everybody was looking for, Antha declined to come
along, preferring to go into the kitchen where dinner
was being prepared.
So Katherine went out alone to pay
the oven bird’s nest a visit and on the way
found a chipmunk with a broken leg, hopping around
on the other three and cheeping shrilly in distress.
She tried to coax it to her with peanuts and succeeded
in getting it to take one, when suddenly from the
direction of the kitchen came the sound of a terrific
explosion, shaking the earth and making the air ring
with echoes. The sound had scarcely died away
when there was a second report more violent than the
first, followed in a moment by a third.
“The gasoline stove!”
thought Katherine. “Antha’s been trying
to fill it and it’s exploded!” And she
set off like the wind toward the kitchen, from which
direction terrible shrieks were puncturing the air.
She did not know it, but she was yelling like a Comanche
Indian all the way. She staggered into the clearing,
expecting to find the kitchen tent in flames, but
it was lying on the ground in a tangled mass from which
apparently detached hands and feet were waving wildly.
“What exploded?” she demanded.
Hinpoha was leaning against a tree,
pale as death, and she grasped Katherine by the arm
and led her out of earshot of the others. “The
cans of beans,” she said faintly. “Don’t
look so scared, Katherine, it’s only the panic!”
“What on earth did you do?” asked Katherine.
“I remembered that Migwan set
a can of beans in the fire to heat once when we were
camping and it exploded, and I thought that would be
a fine way to start a panic here. So to make
sure I took three cans great big ones and
buried them in the hot ashes. When they exploded
I was going to scream and make everybody come running.”
“Well, they exploded all right,”
said Katherine drily. “I thought the island
“So did I,” said Hinpoha.
“They went up just like dynamite. The kettle
was blown off the hanger and landed fifty feet away.”
“To say nothing of blowing the
tent down,” said Katherine.
“Oh,” said Hinpoha hastily,
“that didn’t blow down. The boys and
Uncle Teddy had taken it down this morning to fix
it differently and they were just setting it up again
when the awful explosion came. They all yelled
and jumped and the whole thing came down on their heads.”
Katherine looked over to where the
arms and legs were still waving under the billows
of canvas and doubled up against a tree in silent spasms.
Then she suddenly straightened up. “Who
is hiding Eeny-Meeny?” she asked.
“Why,” gasped Hinpoha, “you are!”
“I?” said Katherine.
“Yes, you!” said Hinpoha.
“I had forgotten all about the
panic,” said Katherine, “and the noise
scared everything out of my head.”
“Quick, before it’s too
late!” said Hinpoha. “Run down and
do it now while everybody’s still up here.
It’ll take at least five minutes to get the
boys out from under that tent.”
Katherine fled from the scene as quietly
as possible and ran to the Council Rock. That
whole end of the island was deserted. But when
she came to the place where Eeny-Meeny had always
been she stood still in amazement. Eeny-Meeny
was not there. She had vanished mysteriously and
entirely, and in her place was a twig stuck upright
into the ground, topped with a piece of paper on which
was drawn a picture of an Indian maiden tied to the
stake with the flames mounting around her, and underneath
was drawn in scrawling capitals: THE DARK OF THE
Katherine pulled the twig from the
earth and stood looking at it, fascinated. Slowly
the truth dawned on her. The Sandwiches had gotten
ahead of them again. Without having planned the
panic they had instantly seen the value of it and
one of them had spirited Eeny-Meeny away during the
confusion. “Boys are smarter than
girls,” she admitted ruefully to herself.
“At least, some are.”
Then another thought flashed through
her mind. She had told Antha not half an hour
ago that they were planning to hide Eeny-Meeny.
Antha had told the boys and they had decided to do
the same thing themselves. Her eyes filled with
tears of rage and disappointment. After her championship
of Antha her action cut her to the quick. Her
philosophy had received a rough jolt. Utterly
crushed, she returned to the girls and spread the
news that Eeny-Meeny had disappeared into the hands
of the Dark of the Moon Society. The Winnebagos
were sunk in despair, but were rallied by Katherine’s
oratory. Anyone hearing her would have thought
she was speaking on a matter of life and death, so
eloquent did she wax and so emphatic were her gestures,
as she bade them rise up and rescue Eeny-Meeny at
the last minute.
“Not a word to any of them until
we are ready to pour the water down into the fire,”
cautioned Katherine, after she had outlined her plans
for rescue. “They must not guess what we
intend to do or they’ll change their plans and
get ahead of us again.”
Needless to say, Antha was not admitted
into this last council. The suspicion of her
perfidy had gone around the circle and it was agreed
that she was a horrid little tattletale and deserved
to be left out of everything that went on thereafter.
As Sahwah had overheard the plot, a large fire was
to be built on the beach that night and then at a signal
Eeny-Meeny was to be flung into it from above.
“We’ll get her first,
never fear,” said Katherine with a warlike gesture.
At times like this she became a creature inspired.
Her hair bristled up, her eyes shone, her husky voice
gained strength until it rang like a trumpet.
Rather to their surprise, immediately
after supper the tom-tom sounded its monotonous call,
summoning them to the Council Rock. “What
is this?” asked Hinpoha uneasily. “Something
“I don’t know,”
said Katherine agog, with curiosity and on the alert
Both exclaimed in wonder when they
reached the Council Rock. Around it, in a circle,
low seats had been placed, built of rustic logs with
comfortable back rests. There was one for each
“Where did they come from?”
all the Winnebagos were asking.
“We made them,” announced
the Captain with pride. “What do you think
of them? Don’t you like them?”
“Splendid!” said Aunt
Clara. “How did you ever get them made without
“Down in a cave under the east
bluff,” said the Captain. “That’s
where we had our workshop. We used to slip away
quietly one or two at a time and work on them whenever
we had a chance. Sit in them and see how comfortable
The Sandwiches were circling around
like polite shopkeepers, begging the girls to try
first this seat and then that, to find out which suited
them best. Wondering, the girls sank back into
the seats, trying to get the meaning of this new development.
“There’s something else
coming,” said Slim importantly, going off with
Soon they reappeared, carrying a sort
of pedestal with a flagpole attached to it. “It’s
for Eeny-Meeny to stand on,” explained the Captain
proudly, “and we put up the pole so the Stars
and Stripes could float over her and the people going
by in boats could see her.”
He set the pedestal down and turned
toward the tree where Eeny-Meeny had stood. “Why,
where’s Eeny-Meeny?” he asked in amazement.
“Where is she?” echoed Slim.
The girls sat dumb. “You
ought to know where she is,” said Katherine
accusingly to the Captain at last. “You
took her during the panic yesterday.”
“We took her during the panic?”
said the Captain wonderingly. “We never
did! What do you mean? I never noticed until
just now that she wasn’t in her place.”
“You have too got her,”
said Hinpoha. “The sign of the Dark of the
Moon Society was left tied to a twig where she had
“The sign of the what?” asked the Captain.
“The Dark of the Moon Society,”
said Katherine sharply. It struck her that the
Captain was trying to appear dense.
“I don’t know what you’re
talking about,” he said. He looked perplexed
for a moment and then strode over to Anthony and caught
him by the neck. “Where’s Eeny-Meeny?”
he said in an ominously even voice.
“I don’t know what you’re
talking about,” said Anthony, struggling to
pull out of his grasp. “Ouch! Quit
your pinching me.”
The Captain took a little firmer hold.
“You’d better tell,” he advised.
“It might not be healthy for you to keep it to
yourself. So that’s what you meant when
you said you knew something we didn’t.”
Anthony still wiggled and tried to
free himself, protesting his innocence.
Uncle Teddy pounded on the tom-tom.
“Will somebody please tell me,” he said,
“what’s the matter with you boys and girls.
There’s been something going on under the surface
for the last week. Just now one of you mentioned
a ‘Dark of the Moon Society.’ Will
whoever it is please tell?”
There was a rustle from where the
girls sat and Sahwah rose to her feet. “The
time has come,” she said with twinkling eyes,
“for all dread secrets to be revealed.
You just asked who the Dark of the Moon Society was.
I’ve known for quite a while, and now I’m
going to tell.”
You could have heard a pin drop and
all eyes were fixed on her expectantly. “There
isn’t any DARK OF THE MOON SOCIETY!” she
announced. “Or rather, I’m it.”
An incredulous murmur went around the circle.
Sahwah continued. “I kidnapped
Eeny-Meeny during the panic yesterday and hid her
in that roll of sail cloth. The whole thing is
a joke, gotten up for Katherine’s benefit.
She was having such a terrible fit of blues Gladys
was afraid she would never get over it unless she had
something to occupy her mind, so I started this business
to give her something to think about. I wrote
those mysterious warning notices and posted them around
the camp. When I saw what a beautiful effect it
was having on Katherine I couldn’t resist the
temptation to keep it up. I knew how fond she
was of Eeny-Meeny and decided that if anything threatened
her Katherine would think of nothing else night and
day. I pretended I had heard voices of the boys
plotting to take Eeny-Meeny and burn her up tonight.
“That night when Katherine thought
I was walking in my sleep I had been up putting a
notice on Eeny-Meeny. When I saw Katherine I was
afraid she would be suspicious of my being out at
that hour and the only thing I could think of was
to pretend that I was asleep.” Here Sahwah
interrupted herself with a convulsive giggle.
“And she tied a string to my foot and kept ahold
of it for the rest of the night!”
“And I jumped into that tub
of water thinking I was on the trail of the Dark of
the Moon Society!” exclaimed Katherine, righteous
wrath and amazement struggling for possession of her.
“And I destroyed three perfectly
good cans of beans getting up a panic!” said
“And brought down the house,”
added the Captain, who had been one of those caught
in the fall of the tent.
“And you mean to say,”
demanded Katherine, “that those boys never intended
to burn up Eeny-Meeny?”
“Perish the thought,”
said Sahwah, enjoying herself in the extreme.
“They’re as innocent as day old lambs.”
“Then so is Anthony,” said Hinpoha.
said the Captain. Then, turning to Anthony, he
made a frank apology for accusing him of hiding Eeny-Meeny.
And all the Winnebagos were filled
with remorse when they thought how they had blamed
Antha for that same disappearance.
Katherine lay back overcome and fanned
herself with a bunch of leaves.
“Well, I’ll be jiggered!”
she exclaimed feelingly. “All that trouble
to bring me out of a fit of the blues!”
“Boys,” she went on in
her best oratorical manner, “you certainly did
give us a surprise party tonight, much more of a one
than you planned. We came prepared to rescue
Eeny-Meeny from a fiery death witness the
water buckets concealed behind every bush on the hillside and
we find some perfectly gorgeous council seats that
you have been toiling to make in secret while we suspected
you of plotting base deeds. Instead of seeking
to destroy Eeny-Meeny you plan to honor her. Girls,
let’s make fruit punch and drink to the health
of the Sandwiches, and a long life to the council
seats, and to Eeny-Meeny on her pedestal.”
“And don’t forget the
Dark of the Moon Society,” added Sahwah, and
once more the woods resounded with laughter.