But the awful stare which was fixed upon him convinced him that he had made a mistake; and he shrunk into an abashed silence. "We must do something to retrieve our honor," continued the chief, earnestly; "we must--take steps--to to get upon our legs again," he finished, blushing with embarrassment.
"I would suggest that we get upon our legs first, and take the steps afterward," remarked the flippant Ironbeard, with a sly wink at Thore the Hound.
The chief held it to be beneath his dignity to notice this interruption, and after having gazed for a while in silence at the blood-red mountain peaks, he continued, more at his ease:
"I propose, comrades, that we go on a bear hunt. Then, when we return with a bear-skin or two, our honor will be all right; no one will dare laugh at us. The brave boy-hunters will be the admiration and pride of the whole valley."
"But Brummle-Knute," observed the Skull-Splitter; "do you think he will allow us to go bear-hunting?"
"What do we care whether he allows us or not?" cried Wolf-in-the-Temple, scornfully; "he sleeps like a log; and I propose that we tie his hands and feet before we start."
This suggestion met with enthusiastic approval, and all the boys laughed heartily at the idea of Brumle-Knute waking up and finding himself tied with ropes, like a calf that is carried to market.
"Now, comrades," commanded the chief, with a flourish of his sword, "get to bed quickly. I'll call you at four o'clock; we'll then start to chase the monarch of the mountains."