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The rocks were as hard and jagged as lava, and cactus hindered progress. Soon the rosy and golden lights had faded. All the walls turned pale and steely and the bridge loomed dark. We were to camp all night under the bridge. Just before we reached it Nas ta Bega halted with one of his singular motions. He was saying his prayer to this great stone god.

Halfway back he espied a tall, dark figure moving toward him, and presently the shape and the step seemed familiar. Then he recognized Nas Ta Bega. Soon they were face to face. Shefford felt that the Indian had been trailing him over the sand, and that this was to be a significant meeting. Remembering Withers's revelation about the Navajo, Shefford scarcely knew how to approach him now.

"You didn't believe in the God of the Bible.... Well, I've been in the desert long enough to know there IS a God, but probably not the one your Church worships. ... Shefford, go to the Navajo for a faith!" Shefford had forgotten the presence of Nas Ta Bega, and perhaps Withers had likewise.

Nas ta Bega and Wetherill climbed straight up for a while and then wound round a swell, to turn this way and that, always going up. I began to see similar mounds of rock all around me, of every shape that could be called a curve. There were yellow domes far above and small red domes far below. Ridges ran from one hill of rock to another.

The home of Nas Ta Bega lay far up the cedared slope, with the craggy yellow cliffs and the black canyon and the pine-fringed top of Navajo Mountain behind, and to the fore the vast, rolling descent of cedar groves and sage flats and sandy washes. No dim, dark range made bold outline along the horizon; the stretch of gray and purple and green extended to the blue line of sky.

When she had complied he called to her to hold herself out from the wall while he and Nas Ta Bega hauled her up. "Hold the rope tight," replied Fay, "I'll walk up." And to Shefford's amaze and admiration, she virtually walked up that almost perpendicular wall by slipping her hands along the rope and stepping as she pulled herself up.

They folded the tarpaulin three times, and with stout pieces of split plank and horseshoe nails from Shefford's saddle-bags and pieces of rope they rigged up a screen around bow and front corners. Nas Ta Bega put the saddles in the boat. The mustangs were far up Nonnezoshe Boco and would work their way back to green and luxuriant canyons.

"He meant the desert is my mother.... Will you go with Nas Ta Bega into the canyon and the mountains?" "Indeed I will." They unclasped hands and turned toward the trading-post. "Nas Ta Bega, have you spoken my tongue to any other white man since you returned to your home?" asked Shefford. "No." "Why do you why are you different for me?" The Indian maintained silence.

The sun was straight overhead and hot when Nas Ta Bega halted the party under the first lonely scrub-cedar. They all dismounted to stretch their limbs, and rest the horses. It was not a talkative group, Lassiter's comments on the never-ending green plain elicited no response. Jane Withersteen looked afar with the past in her eyes.

"My God!" exclaimed Shefford, huskily. "I never noticed I never thought.... Joe, hasn't she any friends?" "Sure. You and Ruth and me. Maybe Nas Ta Bega, too. He watches her a good deal." "We can do so little, when she needs so much." "Nobody can help her, unless it's you," went on the Mormon. "That's plain talk. She seemed different this morning.