It should be explained that "standing" means not absolute inaction but slowly riding round and round the herd. Yes, it is trying, especially in bad weather and after working hard all day long from before sun-up. How well one gets to know the stars and their positions! The poor night-herders know that a certain star will set or be in such and such a position at the time for the next relief.
All nature seemed to be mourning about something, happened or going to happen. Down by the river an owl hooted dismally. Half a mile away the night-herders were riding round and round the herd. One of them was singing, faint but distinct came his song: "Bury me not on the lone prairie." Over and over again he sang it. After a short interval of silence he began again.
Horner sent out two men to relieve the night-herders, remarked philosophically "More rain, more rest," and retired to the shelter of the cook's canvas. His drivers sought cover in and under the wagons, where they had spent the night.
Rare stories were told, old songs were sung, the lusty chorus of which easily reached the night-herders, and was answered back like a distant refrain. The next morning the herds moved out on their way without a wasted step. Two men were detailed from each outfit, and with the foremen and the boys, a branding crew stood ready for the task before them.