More Cowboy Wisdom
During the night his horse nickered, and Cody was awake at once. He silently got up from his blanket, took his rifle and moved carefully to the door of the barn. There was no light on the horizon, so it was still the middle of the night.
He could see nothing to explain the horse’s warning, but he waited, keeping in the shadow of the barn. Then he heard a footstep, soft, but enough to alert him. Looking in that direction, he was able to discern some movement. Suddenly a light flared and he realized it was a torch being lit, then a second one.
Dodge’s men were going to set fire to John’s cabin!
Coby was in a perfect situation. They could not see him, but they were perfectly visible in the torch light. As the two arsonists moved towards the house, Coby knelt and took careful aim, squeezing off two quick shots, hitting both torches, which were dropped to the ground while the men ran. Cody immediately changed position, and just in time as three shots were fired from the right side of the yard. Those men had probably been waiting for John’s family to run out of the burning house so they could be shot.
“So, there’s more than two here,” he thought. “I hope John and Amanda remember what I told them,” for they would certainly be awakened by the shots. One thing he’d told them was not to light a lamp in a night attack and not to come outside.
Another shot sounded, this time from a window of the house, and a man shouted in surprise and pain. Cody heard running feet, and then a shotgun blast from the house. Two men cried out, hit by the buckshot.
“They won’t be hurt too badly,” he thought, “but they’ll have trouble sitting down for a while!”
Then came the sound of horses’ hooves as the attackers mounted up and retreated. Coby waited a while, the called out to the house,
“Are you all ok?”
John answered, “Yes we are, and you?”
“I am fine,” Cody answered and cautiously stepped out of the barn. He stayed away from the still burning torches so as not to give anyone a chance to get a shot at him. The torches were lying in the dirt and would burn themselves out soon.
Cody circled around and came to the house door from the side. “It’s me,” he said, and John opened the door. He had his rifle in his hand, and Amanda her shotgun. He could see that she had already reloaded. “Well done, you two!” he said.
Amanda was shaking some and her son was wide eyed, standing there sleepy in his night clothes. “That was a close one,” John said, “Dodge really does mean to burn us out.”
Cody nodded. “It’s a good thing my horse is so alert and woke me up! I’m not sure how many there were, but at least 5. In the morning we’ll look at the tracks and that will give us a better idea. They won’t bother us again tonight–they got a lot more than they bargained for–so go back to bed and get some rest. I’ll see you in the morning.” Cody turned towards the door, then paused to ruffle Sam’s hair. “See how God protected us?” he asked. Sam nodded.
Cody went back to the barn and laid down. Sleep was hard coming, but in the end he dozed off.
Early the next morning, before light, he was up, prepared for the next step, and read his Bible before breakfast. At breakfast he made an announcement. “I’m going to the fort to talk with both the Captain and the land office. They should know about your situation–and maybe able to do something to help.”
“How long will you be gone?” Amanda asked.
“Two to three days, if all goes well.” He finished his coffee, put on his hat and headed out the door, Sam right behind him, following him to the barn
“Are we going to be safe while you’re gone?” he asked.
“Well, from a human point of view, it’s not possible to say. But if we trust in God, and join Him by acting wisely, there is a good possibility of nothing happening while I’m gone. Besides, Dodge doesn’t know that I’m leaving, so it’s unlikely he’ll try something right away.
Cody swung into the saddle, gathered the reigns and rode out of the barn, careful to avoid the warning rope at the gate.
John called to Sam, “Come on let’s see how much we can get done on that fence today.”
Picture: the arsonist (from the internet)