Troubles and Arrowheads
By Mina Arnold Young
Brent slapped the saddle on old Julie, tightened it, and sprang on.
"Don't go too far off and get lost," Aunt Anna said, as she waved to him from the porch.
"Get lost?" Brent laughed. "Don't you remember I got saved this summer? Now that I've received Christ as my Savior my troubles are over.
"Don't be too sure of that," Aunt Anna called after him.
"Now what did she mean by that?" Brent mumbled as he trotted off.It was too early to go for the cows, but he had a little exploring to do. He'd been all over the long ridge that ran through part of Uncle Fred's ranch. He'd found lots of little teeth of sharks and fishes that had died there long ago. Perhaps they had been washed there by the flood in the days of Noah, his uncle had said, and the teeth had been embedded in the stone. Some were still in the rocks but many could be found in the loose ground. Brent had a nice collection of perfect ones.
There was a little round hill behind the long ridge. He had never been to the top of it, and he wanted to explore that today. Perhaps he would even find an arrowhead there. Although his uncle had some he'd found on the hill, Brent had never found an arrowhead. When he went home after vacation he wanted some to take back East with him. It would be nice to show the other boys what he had found in Wyoming.
Brent tied Julie to a fence post, crawled under the barbed wire, and hurried up the hill. He searched all over the top, but he couldn't find an arrowhead. There wasn't any use staying there any longer. Disappointed, he turned to go back down the hill. "Oh well," he said to himself, "I can at least take a canter on old Julie. Better do as much. of that as I can before I go back to the city,"
Brent slapped his thigh, gave what he thought was a good imitation 'of a cowboy yell, and jumped over a sagebrush. Brent felt himself falling farther than he expected. He landed in a heap at the bottom of a little gully that had been washed away below the bush. His yell ended in a groan as pain shot through his left ankle. Pushing himself up to a sitting position, he felt something scratching his hand. He looked down at a couple of sharp rocks, and because of their odd shape absently stuck them in his pocket. But his attention was on his throbbing ankle.
He tried to stand, but it was too painful. Half crawling, half sliding, he reached the fence where he had left Julie. But how was he to get on her? He couldn't put, his full weight on his left ankle. And a horse was likely to kick or buck if someone tried to mount from the right side. But he would have to try.
Slowly Brent stood up and braced himself against, the fence post. He coaxed Julie up close to him and just below him on the slope. Cautiously he reached out and took hold of the saddle with both hands. "Dear Lord," he prayed, "please make Julie stand still." As he leaned his weight against Julie's right side, her nostrils flared and she quivered. Otherwise, she didn't move. Gripping the saddle to keep most of' his weight off his left ankle, Brent got his right foot in-to the stirrup and crawled into the saddle.
"Good' girl," Brent gasped as he patted Julie's neck. He eased her down the slope and turned her toward the range where the cows were. Brent breathed a sigh of relief as he saw them all in the lower pasture. At least wouldn't have to go' looking for them. Brent gave Julie her lead. She seemed to sense there was something wrong with her young rider and started off toward the cows in an easy lope. Suddenly she jumped sideways with a jerk that almost threw Brent out of the saddle. "Z-z-z-z-z!" said something almost where the horse had stepped. "Rattle-snake!" said Brent to himself as Julie hurried on. He hadn't seen it, but he knew that warning rattle.
Ambling along behind the cows, Brent began to wonder how he would open the gates. Usually he jumped off his horse, opened a gate, led his horse through and drove the cows through, then closed the gate and mounted again. He couldn't do that this time! But if he could get the gate open and throw the end pole so that the animals could get through without stepping on the barbed wire, he could go on and leave it open. There wasn't any more livestock in those pastures right now. It was hard to get Julie close enough to the first gate, and when she got there she didn't want to stand still. But finally Brent managed to slip the wire loop off the pole. Then he pulled the pole tip out of the wire loop at the bottom and threw it as far as he could. The barbed wire lay in high arches, and there was plenty of room to drive the cows through between the gate and the gatepost. That wasn't so bad. He could do it again at the next gate. Then Brent's heart sank as he remembered he had to cross the railroad tracks and the highway. It would be hard to herd the cows across the highway.
But when he rode over the ridge he saw Uncle Fred riding toward the highway. Brent cupped his hands to his mouth. "Help me!" he called. Uncle Fred met him at the first gate and helped get the cows across the highway and into the barnyard. As they rode to the house, Brent told him what had happened.
"You certainly sprained your ankle," said Aunt Anna as she soaked his foot in a pan of hot water. "You'll have to stay off that for a few days. Maybe Uncle Fred will make some crutches so you can get around."
"Why did God let that happen to me? asked Brent. "Christians shouldn't have trouble like that!" "Why not?" asked Aunt Anna. Brent couldn't think how to answer, so he kept still.
When the milking was done and they were seated at the supper table, Brent asked again, "Why should Christians have trouble? Shouldn't God take care of them?" "God said He would help His people in trouble," Uncle Fred told him. "He didn't say they would never get into any. "Trouble makes us better Christians, if we take it right,'' said Aunt Anna. "You wouldn't be good for anything if things were always easy for you."
"I guess God did help me all right," said Brent though thoughtfully. "He made Julie stand still so I could get on the wrong side of her. He kept me from falling off when we passed that rattlesnake. And I believe He helped me open that gate."
"Besides the fact that I felt I should be out there when you came to the highway," said Uncle Fred.
Brent put his hand into his pocket. "I picked up something up there by the sagebrush where I fell," he said. "I forgot about them until now."
Uncle Fred took the stones Brent handed him and brushed the dirt off them. Then he laid them on the table. "Best arrowheads I've ever seen," he said. "You say you found both of them in the same place?"
"Yes, right where I fell," said Brent. He studied the arrowheads carefully. "Here I was fussing because God let me sprain my ankle," he said. "And He not only helped me to get home all right, but let me have these as well. I hope I never find fault again with the way God does things!"