Then, collecting his prisoner's axe, snow-shoes, provisions, and tin pail, Tom started with them back along the Windego track for camp. Big Baptiste and his comrades had supped too full of fears to go to sleep. They had built an enormous fire, because Windegos are reported, in Indian circles, to share with wild beasts the dread of flames and brands.
Tom laughed so uproariously at this, that the other men scouted the idea, though it was quite in keeping with their information concerning Windegos' habits. Then Tom came in and gave a full and particular account of the Windego's pursuit, capture, and present predicament. "But how'd he make de track?" they asked.
This track, Tom reflected, was consistent with the Indian superstition that Windegos are monsters who take on or relinquish the human form, and vary their size at pleasure. He perceived that he must bring the maker of those tracks promptly to book, or suffer his men to desert the survey, and cost him his whole winter's work, besides making him a laughingstock in the settlements.
"Hermidas never come back!" "I'll bet he went away home. You'll find him at Saint Agathe in the spring. You can't be such fools as to believe in Windegos." "Don't you say dat name some more!" yelled Big Baptiste, now fierce with fright. "Hain't I just seen de track? I'm go'n' back, me, if I don't get a copper of pay for de whole winter!"