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Another Pawn of Fate

by F. ST. Mars
Author of "The Hungry World, "Sunwing," etc.

But a desert stretched and stricken, left and right, left and right,
Where the piled mirages thicken under white-hot light—
A skull beneath a sand-hill, and a viper coiled inside,
And a red wind out of Libya, roaring, "Run and hide!"
—"Jabson's Amen" (Kipling).

IF YOU had killed, and what was worse, barely otherwise made use of, three colts, a heifer, twenty-one sheep and eleven pigs belonging to other people, so that four hundred dollars would not even begin to cover your debts—if, moreover, you had done to death two valuable dogs sent to interview you upon the subject, and spoiled the sleep of not less than two dozen stockmen for an uncounted number of nights, you might have expected consideration—but you would certainly not get it.

All these things, and more, had the jaguar done, and he was beginning to reap his harvest. Things became hectic for him, and by the time he had escaped death by bullet and poison four times, and worse than death by trap upon nine occasions, he came to the conclusion that a change of air was for him imperative.

The jaguar was like a large leopard, only with his spots run into rosettes. He was heftier than any leopard, though, and fiercer by some few fierces.

The trouble was, where was there a refuge to go to for a hunted wild hunter upon all those desolate plains and sun-baked stretches? Where, indeed?

The jaguar left home—the ruined tomb of the king of some long-forgotten race—in the almost intolerable glare of the full sun upon his journey. He would much have preferred to "flit" during the darkest night, but a pillar of dust as yet far away but approaching, warned him of the starting of a big hunt on horseback—for him.

As the horsemen might be accompanied by dogs, he knew he would be found if he stayed. So he decamped—at a long, loose, padded, swinging trot, that hiked him over the rough ground much fast...

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