This is the third book in the first trilogy, consisting of the books Stoner’s Boy, The Red Runners, and The Gray Ghost.
Summary: Stoner’s Boy (the “Gray Ghost”) returns, after the Stoners Boy tale - he had secretly landed safely in deep waters of Cave River when he fell into the pit in Cliff Cave. Two old Red Runners are still in the neighborhood, too, namely Androfski and Jude. A member of Stoner’s old gang, Three-Finger Fred, is also present. A new figure is on the scene, the clever inventor Simon Bleaker, along with his side-kicks McJinty and Big Ike. There is a hint of some tension between Stoner’s Boy and Simon Bleaker, and the shifting alliances of the other characters. All is resolved, however, when a large animal, called a gnu. that had escaped from the Watertown Zoo, takes up residence on Burney’s Field; and gores and kills Mr. Stoner (Stoner’s Boy’s father). Androfski shoots and kills the gnu. The key characters (Stoner’s Boy, Androfski, and Simon Bleaker) meet with Hawkins in the clubhouse on a stormy night, and make amends. Stoner’s Boy and the others are leaving for a new life in New Orleans, but unexpectedly and for unstated reasons, Simon Bleaker collapses and dies of complications attending a serious leg injury.
*(FOR TKAM STUDENTS: both Stoners Boy and The Gray Ghost books contain the various references used in the TKAM novel.)
Stoner (the Gray Ghost) - a much older boy. Always hid his face with
gray handkerchief. Long coat and a cape down to the elbows. Odd hobnailed boots
and topped off with a brimmed hat. Used the Old Brass horn to signal his gang.
The most absorbing story of boyish adventures. It is
chuck full of adventure, mystery, and humor from cover to cover. Also, which is an
important thing with boy's books, it will teach the reader the importance of thinking
for himself and playing fair and square at all times." - from DJ.
The Gray Ghost will be eagerly read by those who have already made the acquaintance of Seckatary Hawkins in a previous volume. Our old friend, 'Stoner's Boy', pops up again in this story, after all the boys in the Seckatary's clubhouse had believed him dead. The merry chase he leads them, and the many mysteries the boys had to solve for themselves make this one of the most thrilling and enjoyable books ever written. Here is a book that will take front row on any child's bookshelf, and there will be many grown-ups, too, who will delight in perusing it while reflecting on the happy days of their own boyhood.
Shadow disturbs the boys by announcing that that he is going to resign for the good of the club. He says he feels that Androfski the Silent will be after him and, if he stays in the club, then the whole group will suffer. The boys all object and say that they are behind him. Doc and the Judge come in, and the Judge tells them that they have been harboring a runaway at the clubhouse. He is referring to John Loomis; and when the Rolling Stone tells him the facts and runs away, the Judge falls back on his old threat to disband the club and tear down the clubhouse. As usual they talk him out of it. When they leave, Shadow insists on his resignation not only because of Androfski, but also now because of his no account brother John. The boys reluctantly let him go, but they will not remove his name from the membership list and they also vote to add the name of Rolling Stone John Loomis.
At a bonfire on the riverbank Shadow comes back to rejoin the club. He says that his brother John had come home to stay. They go up to the clubhouse for the regular meeting and Dick shows a note that he had found tacked to the door. It does not seem to make a lot of sense as it talks about the sky changing from red to gray and that long times need long brains, and that all the king’s men could not put him together, but he ain’t no egg. While the boys are discussing the mysterious wording in the note, Hawkins gets an inspiration. He decodes it for them by saying the Red Runners are gone, but to look for something gray. Also that the writer had not seen them for a long time, but that he had not forgotten them. And that he had had a great fall, but had not broken like an egg. There was but one meaning to Hawkins - Stoner’s Boy was back.
As they are talking about this new/old threat, the sound of the old brass horn is heard. They run into Seck’s office and find the horn is missing from the wall. The inkwell had been upset and there was a strange handprint on the desk - a right hand missing the thumb and forefinger. They know of only one boy like that - Three finger Fred, old partner of Stoner’s boy. Outside they see a gray launch just turning the first bend towards Watertown. In it is a figure in gray and another boy at the motor. Seck tells them that Stoner’s Boy is back and that they will be seeing some hot times on the old river bank from then on.
The next day Shadow and Robby come down. Seck asks where John is and they say he is waiting in the boat to see if he is welcome. Seck tells them to bring him up. While they are gone, Jerry Moore comes in and he is talking about Seck writing a letter to the Skinny Guy inviting him back. At the meeting he makes a motion for Seck to write to the Skinny Guy and everyone agrees. There were three knocks at the door and Seck tries to open it, but it is stuck fast. John Loomis pulls it open. They find a note tacked to the door that says, “Plenty Time - Plenty Time”. Seck wrote a letter to Link as they fix a new and stronger door.
There is no answer to the letter and Hawkins is ordered to write again. He does that, but he tells Dick that they will have to give Link time. Perry had been rubbing out all the footprints around the old clubhouse every night and he reports that every day when he comes to the clubhouse, he finds the nail headed footprints that they know are Stoner’s. Hawkins goes to see Doc to discuss the Stoner’s Boy problem, and as they are talking, the old Judge comes in. He tells them that they have a right to defend themselves, but that they should stay away from where they know Stoner’s boy is. That gives Seck an idea for a second meeting place. The boys discuss this and Shadow suggests the old houseboat in the backwater pool on the island.
Jerry Moore tells them that he and Perry have been doing some spying and that the old hidden houseboat is no longer a secret. Perry describes the footprints that they found as made by shoes whose soles are covered with nail heads. Stoner’s boy obviously. They decided to go down and check and perhaps move the old houseboat to another location. At the island, they go to the backwater pool that Link always called the lily pond, and there they find the footprints outside; and they also find that the Skinny Guy is in the houseboat. He had found an old pair of shoes and was wearing them. He had been making those footprints. He said that after Stoner had taken that fall in the pit, he and Monk Bridges had carried away a lot of things from the old cave and those nail headed shoes of Stoner’s had been with the stuff. They decide to go back to the clubhouse to talk.
Link leads the way to a pile of brush and they uncover his old longboat and put it in the water where the canoes are beached. Hawkins and Link ride it in while Jerry Moore tows it behind his long green canoe. On the way up the river, they are passing the cliffs when they see the figure of Stoner’s boy silhouetted against the full moon. At the clubhouse, the boys finish their singing practice and they all sit around talking with Link. There is a discussion on who Stoner really was. He might be Androfski, since no one can recall ever seeing the two together.
Briggen and two of his boys come in to tell that they had seen Stoner’s shadow on the cliffs. While they are talking, there is the sound of a loud voice saying, “Send them guys out here right now if you know what’s good for you.” Parts of this are repeated several times and then Ham Gardner runs outside and Link and Shadow follow. Seck sees the figure of Stoner being pursued by the two boys. They hear his gray launch start up down at the landing and he gets away upstream.
Shadow and Seck are in the little writing room trying to figure out where the loud voice came from. Then John looks in at the door and asks what they want. They tell him that they had not called him and he went back to his seat at the stove reading a two weeks old paper. He came back a second time and Shadow rebukes him a little angrily. But Hawkins asks if John thought that they had called him. He replied that he had heard a voice saying, “Come here. Come here.” They follow him out into the clubroom where they hear a voice saying, “Come in. Come in.” They remain there listening, but it does not happen again. Seck invites them and Robby to his house for dinner and apple pie.
The boys are on their way back to the clubhouse and as they approach. They hear music, although the clubhouse is dark. They hear a motorboat coming up river. It lands at their little dock and the occupant comes up the dark path. His flashlight was searching in the trees and he apparently notes something for he said, “Ah”. Hawkins steps out, and the boy turned his flashlight on his face, and Seck whipped out his light and shines it on the newcomer. The strange boy identified himself as Simon Bleaker. Then they hear the sound of the music again coming from the clubhouse. Bleaker’s flashlight searched the trees, and he finds a wire running through them. Inside the clubhouse Bleaker finds a mahogany box under the stove and some wires connecting it to the stovepipe. He claims ownership of the box, takes his invention and leaves.
The boys hold a couple of meetings at the old hidden houseboat, but Link is nowhere around. They leave notes for him. Link finally comes to the clubhouse and finds Seck writing. He tells about the old Smokey City steamboat that was caught in the ice of last winter and now she lay on the bank. Shadow, Robby and John come down in Robby’s home made launch and they all discuss the situation including the wrecked steamboat. They paddle down to take a look. Hawkins, Shadow, Link and Dick are checking the old boat before the other boys will be allowed on, when they hear a voice singing. They follow it to the pilothouse and Seck sees the right hand on the wheel is missing the thumb and forefinger. It is Three Finger Fred, Stoner’s pal. Seck hurried up the steps to the pilothouse, but when he came into the room, it was empty. They search the floor and the walls but there is no way out. They go back to the canoes and head for home.
Four day pass since their visit to the wrecked steamboat. Link comes in to talk to Seck about how Three Finger Fred had managed to escape from the pilothouse of the old steamboat. Hawkins was going to join the baseball game when they heard the old brass horn. They paddle down to the wrecked steamboat and hear voices on board. They see Three finger Fred and he runs for the pilothouse. Hawkins is chasing him and once again when he enters, the room is empty. But this time, he looks up and sees the ornamental ceiling and a round metal ball. He stood on a windowsill, reached up and pushed on the ball and it moved. He jumped up and found Fred lying on the roof. Fred saw him and jumped off of the boat onto the bank. The old gray launch, with Stoner at the wheel, came swinging toward the shore and Fred made a leap into it and they sped away.
Seck finds a note on his desk containing a cryptic message. He makes nothing of it. Then Link comes in to tell him that he had found the note and he leads the way to an old sycamore tree. He shows Seck a secret post office cut into the tree trunk and inside is the original of the note he had left on Seck’s deck. He describes a boy who had left the note, but it means nothing right then. Back at the clubhouse, after they had tried to decode it, they gave up for awhile. Seck picked it up again and he tried skipping one and then two words and he worked it out. It said that, “He was here. Wait me at Hobbs.”
Which still meant nothing to the boys. Seck suggests that they go down and watch the old sycamore tree to see who comes for the note. They went down and hid in the area of the old tree. They waited and finally Androfski the Silent came for the note. He read it and then wrote an answer on the back of the note. He dropped it into the post office and walked away. Hawkins decoded the note for them and it read , “Better watch out - they have seen you and will be looking for you - can’t get down to Hobbs until tomorrow.” They hear the old brass horn and start running in the direction of the sound. They found Androfski sitting on a rock and Shadow jumps down beside him. Androfski leaves his rifle and runs, they chase him up the cliff path and into the cave. Ahead of them they saw a figure going out of a hole under an old fallen tree, and when they get outside they see Stoner’s Boy running ahead of them. He blew the brass horn as he ran. They had chased Androfski into the cave and Stoner’s Boy came out. It was a puzzle.
Hawkins is sick for a week and cannot get out of the house, but he manages to get away to the clubhouse on Saturday. He took a walk in the woods and there he meets Jude the Fifth. Hawkins says that he has to take Jude in as the Sheriff wants him. Jude, armed with a rifle, rejects that idea. While they are talking, Shadow steps out with the rifle he had captured from Androfski and makes Jude their prisoner. Naturally Jude thinks that Seck had kept him there until the others could come up and find them. They went back to the clubhouse. That evening, Seck, Perry, Shadow and John Loomis are in the clubhouse with Jude. They are waiting for the Sheriff but instead, Stoner’s Boy arrives and, holding them off with a pointed finger, he frees Jude. And then he warns them not to follow, suggesting that there are trip wires in the woods.
Link and Hawkins take a ride down to the hidden houseboat in Link’s long boat as Link wanted to change clothes. On the way back they are passing the wreck of the Smokey City and Link wants to stop and take another look. They see Jude the Fifth lying on the bank. Link says that Jude was the boy that he had seen dropping the note into the old sycamore tree post office. They capture Jude on the boat and lock him in a cabin to wait for the Sheriff. Hearing the sound of splintering wood, they run around to the window side of the cabin and there they see Jude jump out of the now opened window and run down the deck. Standing there with a crowbar in his hands is Simon Beaker. He tossed the bar into the river and then he climbs over the rail. Seck and Link see a gray launch shoot away from the steamer and head up stream. They could see Jude in the stern and Simon at the engine. As a parting gift they find that their long boat was gone, its rope cut. They would have to walk home.
The next day the Pelham leaders come in to tell about something ghostly on Burney’s field. Something that had terrified them. Link immediately heads over to Burney’s field to take a look. When the Pelham boys leave, the boys have a visit from their teacher, Brother Jim. He takes them to his house and shows them his study. Someone had taken his prized canaries during the night and left blackbirds in their places. The boys promise to look for the canaries. When they came back to the clubhouse Perry tells them that Link had been there and wants them to meet him on Burney’s field. They find him in the old dugout with a cage of canaries. Becky, Harkinson’s old owl, comes flying down and perches on Hawkins’ shoulder.
That evening they go back to the dugout and Hawkins looks the place over. While they are talking, they see someone approaching. It is Androfski. When they step out to question him about the theft of the birds, he runs. As Hawkins is reaching for his new pet Becky, they hear the sound of the old brass horn. Becky follows the sound as she had been taught to do by her former owner. They follow her outside and watch her flap away towards the river. Then, when they go back for the canaries, the birds are gone, the cage is empty.
The Pelham boys keep coming over to tell them about that mysterious and terrifying thing on Burney’s field. The boys argue that it was the old owl that was scaring them. That evening Seck is on his way to the clubhouse when he hears a terrible scream from across the river. After the singing practice, the boys leave. Shadow. Robby and John were going to take a frightened Dave Burns home across the river. Seck and Perry go along. They take Dave to his home and then they make a stop to check Burney’s field. While they are there they hear the unearthly scream again and something comes rushing towards them. They ran for their boat and pushed off for their side of the river. They hear the sound of the old brass horn. Seck and Perry walk to their homes while the other three head up river to Watertown in Robby’s motorboat.
Doc and the Sheriff come down to the clubhouse and they want to know what is going on over on Burney’s field. The boys tell them all they know and Hawkins promises to tell Doc whatever he finds out. At the meeting Hawkins wants to know how long it had been since Link was around? He is afraid that maybe Link has been trapped and is being held somewhere. He gets out a canoe and Perry insists on going along with his rifle. They paddle down to the island and check the hidden houseboat, but Link has not been around there for some time. They hear someone calling in the distance and when they get back to the canoe they see Simon Bleaker on the far shore. He is calling for someone named McJinty. After a little while he whistled and his pony came running up to him. He swung into the saddle and rode away. Seck and Perry paddle up river and when they get near the clubhouse they can see Link’s big white launch, the Cazanova, tied up at the landing. That explained where Link had been. As they are pulling up to the launch a funny looking little kid jumps out of a window and grabs Seck by the hair. Perry hits the boy with a paddle and he falls back inside the boat. As they are tying up, they see him run from the boat down towards the cliffs. Hawkins thinks that must be McJinty that Bleaker had been calling for.
The Court twins come in for the summer and Harold and Seck talk. Hawkins tells him that they have Stoner’s Boy back. Seck also mentions Androfski and Simon Bleaker as well. The boys are going to take a ride on Link’s big launch. On the way down to the landing they see an ugly dog. Shadow recalls seeing the dog with Androfski in Watertown. As they start to board the big launch they hear her engine start. Link leaped into the first window he came to and just as suddenly as the engine had started, it stopped They search the boat and Hawkins finds McJinty hiding in a new icebox. Simon Bleaker comes to the boat and takes McJinty away from them. As the boys move towards Bleaker, the ugly dog comes in and they all fall back. Then Bleaker ran after the dog and McJinty.
Hawkins receives a letter from Will Standish in Cuba saying that they were moving to the United States and that he would be coming to see them and spend a few days. Harold came in and said that John Loomis had told him about the terrifying cry they had heard on Burney’s field. Seck gives him all of the details. When the boys come back from swimming, Hawkins gives Dick the letter from Will Standish to read to them while he takes a quiet walk for himself. Perry Strokes follows him. In the woods, Three Finger Fred finds Seck and tells him that Big Ike is looking for him. Big Ike delivers a note to Seck. It is a warning for Hawkins or his boys not to try to punish McJinty and if they ever do they will hear from him. It is unsigned but Hawkins thinks it is from Bleaker. The old brass horn sounds and Big Ike dives into the bushes and was gone in an instant.
Hawkins sees Harold and Shadow doing a lot of talking together and then one day he follows them to the old post office in the sycamore tree. Perry follows him and they see the boys drop a note into the old post office. They leave and Seck reads the note. It is an invitation to Androfski to fight fair and square on the riverbank near the clubhouse on Friday night. As he is reading the note, Perry tells him that some one is coming. He does not have time to put the note back and drops it on the ground. Jude the Fifth comes up and finds the post office door open. He reaches inside and finds another note and reads it. Then, as he is leaving, he sees the note on the ground, picks it up and reads it, and he runs into the woods.
On Friday night they see Androfski approach and Shadow comes running up for the fight. Hawkins and the others come out yelling and Androfski runs away towards the clubhouse. On the big boat two figures go over the stern into the river. McJinty jumps out of a tree onto Androfski who is headed for the clubhouse. They run inside followed by Seck and the other boys. When they get inside, Androfski and McJinty are gone and in the little writing room. Seck finds the Gray ghost writing in his book. Stoner’s Boy runs out through the back door. He had left a message saying there was no use trying to fool him. They had tried it before and they would never do it. Now they are confused. - Simon Bleaker had tussled with Link on the big launch, they had chased Androfski and Stoner had been writing in Seck’s book.
Will Standish arrives and says that Doc Waters is putting him up for his stay. Abner Green brings a fine motor car down and tells them Mr. Lambert said that the car is at their disposal and that Abner would take them wherever they wanted to go. But Hawkins decides that the boys could do their joy riding later. A few days after WiIl had arrived, the Skinny guy came in with news that he had seen Stoner’s boy in a new electric launch and that he was headed down toward the old wrecked steamboat. They give chase in the Cazanova and Stoner’s boat disappears into a hole in the bottom of the steamboat. They land the big launch and climb on board. Stoner throws some kind of bomb at them and runs to one of the cabins and locks himself inside. When the door opens, it is Simon Bleaker who slips past them, runs down into the boat and they see the electric launch speeding away with Bleaker as its only occupant.
Hawkins is heading down the river path when Jude the Fifth steps out to bar his path with a rifle. They get ready to fight and as Hawkins hears a noise up the tree over him and looks up, Jude hits him on the chin and McJinty jumps down out of the tree onto Hawkins’ back. As he falls, Seck’s head hits a rock and he is knocked out. He awakens in a strange place, like a cave or a cellar. He is tied hand and foot. Three Finger Fred comes in and takes him out with a blindfold over his eyes. He cuts the ropes on his legs and leads Hawkins outside and helps him onto a pony. They rode that way for fifteen minutes and Fred helps him down and cut the bonds from his wrists. Hawkins rips off the blindfold. He thanks Fred for helping him and Fred jumps onto the pony, which Seck recognizes as Simon Bleaker’s, and rides away.
The ugly dog has been seen around the riverbank and indeed he had torn Jerry Moore’s pants. Perry is on guard while the regular meeting takes place. Will, Harold and Link have taken the big launch down to the island to look around. Then Perry and Hawkins find a spot on top of the cliffs where they can watch for the approaching Cazanova to warn them about Stoner being in the area with the dog. Then the ugly dog appears and Stoner sends him to attack the boys. As the dog knocks Seck down, Perry shoots him and he falls over the cliff into the water. Stoner attacks Perry and Hawkins aims the rifle at him. Stoner’s Boy runs away. Will, Harold and Link had seen the fighting on the cliff and head the launch over to pick them up.
Link tells Seck that while they had been down at the Island they had been roaming in neighboring Parks Hills and the woods. And they had seen Simon Bleaker on his pony heading into a little ravine. He rode into a cut in the hills that ended in a big tree growing in a rocky corner where there was no way out. Hawkins wanted to see the place so he and Link and Perry took the boat down and walked to the place Link had described. They are standing by the big tree when they see movement above them. It was Harold and Shadow. Then they see Shadow grappling with Big Ike. They see Harold bending over Shadow who was lying on the ground and Big Ike and McJinty were climbing down the tree. When they reached the bottom, Big Ike took a stone and pounded on the tree in a signal. A big door was opened in the tree by Jude the Fifth and they went inside. The door closed. Shadow and Harold came down the tree and they all looked for the secret door. They found a thin crack. Then they hear hoofbeats and hide behind some rocks as Simon Bleaker rides up, taps on the door with his whip and it opened. He rode inside and the door closed again.
Doc and the Sheriff come to visit Hawkins and he tells then about the death of the ugly dog. They tell him that Stoner’s father had escaped from prison. They figure that Stoner had helped his father escape as they had found his footprints under the cell window.
Two days later, after the meeting, Link is out in the meeting room quietly reading when Stoner comes in and asks if he had found Seck alone at last. He was holding a black cat. Link comes up behind him to take him prisoner and Stoner throws the black cat at Link’s head. Then he runs out the door. Hawkins pulls the cat off of Link and throws it out into the meeting room. They start chasing Stoner and run into a trip rope. They hear the old brass horn and know that Stoner had escaped again.
The Pelham boys come over to report that they are still hearing the unearthly screeching from Burney’s field. They also reported seeing a little blue flame that kept winking on and off. After the meeting, the boys all went fishing and they caught enough to have a fish fry that evening. While the others boys are eating, Seck, Will Standish, Harold and Link take the big boat and ride across to the Pelham side. They head for Burney’s field to watch. At the last moment Perry had come along with his rifle. They see the blue flame flickering intermittently and then they hear a drumming sound. They hear a terrible screaming, then the cry of a horse in agony and the frightened shout of a boy. The drumming sound goes away and they think they see a boy running the other way. They run out onto the field and find a dead pony. It was Simon Bleaker’s pony. But the boy is nowhere around. The pony had a terrible wound in his throat as though a sword had been run into him. The blue flame had also vanished.
The boys are heading down to the island for a picnic and on the way, Harold spots McJinty up in a treetop. They decided to see what he is doing. As they land their canoes on the bank they hear a thud and there is an arrow stuck in the side of one of the canoes. They find the boy and he is carrying a bow and some arrows. He pretends to be coming down and instead he jumps down on the other side of the tree and runs up the hill through the trees. As they had expected he made for the tree in the corner of the cliffs. He pounded on the door, but it was too late, they were almost on him. He threw a stone at them and when they all ducked he made his escape down the way they had come. Hawkins raps on the tree door in the secret signal and when it is opened Link jumps inside and captures Jude. They ask him whose place it was and Simon Bleaker answered from the open door that it was his. He was leaning on a stick like a crutch. He is lame. Seck tell him that they think that he is Stoner’s boy.
Three finger Fred shouted that that was a lie as he came running from further back in the cave. Big Ike comes in and Simon tells him to take Jude and Fred into his study while he talks to the others. In response to Seck’s question as to how he was lamed, he said that it was the unicorn on Burney’s field that had killed his pony and broken his leg. Then he fell to the floor. Big Ike came back to pick him up. The boys left them there in that strange place.
Seck goes to Doc Water’s office and tells him about Simon Bleaker. Doc packs up some medical supplies. They take the big launch and then they walk to the old tree. Hawkins pounds out the signal on the door. They get in to see Simon and Doc bandages his leg. He says that it is not broken, just a bad sprain. As he is instructing Big Ike, Jude and Fred how to care for him, Stoner’s boy arrives to get Three Finger Fred and they leave together. Doc wants to take Simon to the hospital, but Big Ike says that he will care for him.
Doc comes to the clubhouse to tell Hawkins that he had been going to see Simon every day, but that today the boy was gone. Big Ike told him that Simon’s father had come for him, but he refused to tell where they lived. Then Doc asks Hawkins what had killed the pony and injured Simon and what makes Simon so excited every time he asks about it. Hawkins tells him that he does not know, but he knows that there is no such animal as a unicorn. It is a one horned horse and it is a fable. When Doc leaves, Seck takes a walk in the woods and when he gets to the old sycamore tree, he sees Perry Stokes reading a note. Perry said that Jude the Fifth had left the note for Androfski. Perry said that Jude had obviously left the note to Androfski some time before. That today he had merely looked at the note and tossed it back before he went away.
They heard someone coming and they hide. It is Androfski who opens the post office, reads the note and writes an answer. Then he left. Hawkins and Perry read the note and it is instructions for Jude to take charge of the cave for him until he arrives. He gives a new door signal. The boys go back to the river where they see Stoner’s Boy arrive in his electric launch. He pulls into the shore and sits on a rock waiting. Three Finger Fred arrives in another gray launch. They talk about taking over Simon’s cave. Stoner’s Boy says that he has to be in Watertown to bring a party down river tonight. He follows Fred down river and they come back in the same boat and head upriver.
Seck leads some of the boys down to Simon’s cave behind the tree. They give the new signal and Jude opens it. They push their way in and Jude retreats further into the caves. They find Simon’s work shop with all kinds of tools, wires and parts of machines. Then Androfski arrives and enters through the open door. He knocks on the table in the new signal, but Jude had left through some secret exit and does not respond. They hear the sound of the old brass horn and Androfski runs to close the door. But Three Finger Fred knows how to open it from the outside and he and Stoner come inside. They see Androfski waiting. Stoner takes Androfski’s rifle and tells him to clear out. Then Jude comes running in from his hiding place and he calls to Fred to come over to their side. Fred does. A new voice is heard and it is Simon Bleaker. Despite his injury, he had come to hold his cave for himself. He gives both Stoner and Androfski one minute to get out of the cave. They did not go and Simon raised his hand. Fred shot away into the darkness and then suddenly everyone was feeling electric shocks, including Hawkins and his boys. Perry was firing his rifle with blanks until Hawkins took it away from him. When the smoke cleared, Stoner and Androfski and Jude were gone. Big Ike put Simon back in the saddle on of his new pony and they go away. The boys leave the cave.
Hawkins tells Link that he wants to go over to Burney’s field that night to find out what it going on over there. He feels that it has something to do with the old dugout. Then Doc and the Sheriff come in and they want Hawkins to go with them to the field that night. They are going to meet down at the landing while the others boys are at singing practice. They meet and Perry insists on going along with his rifle. They use Jerry Moore’s long green canoe and paddle across the river. On Burney’s field, they see the blue light flickering on and off and they see Jude the Fifth is in the dugout reading. He looks up and said to himself that “if they don’t get her soon, I’m going home by myself”. Seck and the others take up a position behind a little rise. They see Stoner arrive with another man that he calls “Pop”. He tells “Pop” that there is a steamboat coming by in the morning and that Stoner had a ticket for him and that the father would be safe in New Orleans.
They see Stoner and his father walk into the woods beyond the field and then they see Androfski running from the other direction. They hear a shot. They see Androfski running, pursued by some dark shadow whose hoofbeats thundered. Stoner is coming from the other direction and Jude comes out of the dugout with his rifle. Then the creature turns on Stoner, and Androfski fires several shots and the great animal puts its nose into the air and screamed. It fell with a crash. Androfski runs toward the fallen beast shouting that he had killed it. He had regained his voice. Doc and the Sheriff come up and Androfski and Jude run for the river where their boat is tied. Doc looks at the fallen animal and told them that it had escaped from the Zoo up in Watertown when they had had a fire. That some boatmen had seen it fall off the cliffs where it must have broken one of its horns. They return to their side of the river.
On a rainy night, Hawkins comes to the clubhouse to write of the past events. He described the unicorn as a gnu, a horned horse. As he is writing, someone comes in. It is Simon Bleaker on his hickory stick. Then Androfski comes in. His regained voice is rich and mellow. Simon learns that Androfski had killed the unicorn and had his voice back. Androfski, no longer the Silent, says that he and Jude are going to New Orleans and they will never be back again. Stoner’s Boy comes in and whips off the neckerchief to reveal his face, as he tells then that the unicorn had killed his father who had been trying to save Stoner himself. That he and Freddie are going to New Orleans. Doc and the Sheriff come in to capture Stoner, but the boy tells them that his father is dead, killed in saving him from the animal on Burney’s field and then he runs out into the storm. Simon hobbles in their way and tells the Sheriff to let them go. Then he sinks to the floor. Doc examines him and announces that Simon was dead. Seck is left alone in the clubhouse to consider what had all happened, thinking that they would never again see Stoner’s Boy. Which they never did.
DID YOU KNOW?
*Stoner and the Gray Ghost are mentioned in the book, To Kill a Mockingbird. The ending moral lesson is a Seckatary Hawkins parallel, but is the "scattering of papers and ink all over" correctly remembered?
*There is a Stoner river tributary near Lexington - part of the Licking river that Seckatary loved so well.