Finding Gold and Meeting a Judge

Ethan decides to take his niece and nephews to Colorado Springs for a week. The children have been with him for ten months. Ethan has decided to adopt the children. This is the story of all that happens during the trip and the visit to Colorado Springs.

Characters; Ethan Cord 34 Claire Carroll 13 Joseph Carroll 11 Ben Carroll 8 and George Carroll 7 (Based on the TV series Paradise)

Background: Ethan Cord is an ex gunfighter living in Paradise, Colorado in the late 1800's. Paradise is a mining town. Ethan has recently become the sole guardian of his sister's four children. She was living with her children in St. Louis, Missouri and working as a singer in stage shows. The children came to live with their Uncle after she died from tuberculosis.

Ethan purchased a small ranch and is determined to keep the children together as he struggles to make a living. Although he wants to stop using his gun as a way to make a living, he is called on to help out the local sheriff at times.

June, 1887

Ethan and the children are traveling to Colorado Springs by wagon. Ethan is on his horse and Joseph is driving the wagon.

"Joseph, we'll make camp right up there by that line of trees. There's a watering hole from a stream there where we can water the horses."

"Claire, there's a stream up there by the trees. You can use it to get water for whatever you need. We'll be camping there for the night" Ethan tells the older children.

"Can George and I wade in the water, Uncle Ethan?" Asks Ben

"You may not want to, Ben. That water might be pretty cold." Ethan answers

"Uncle Ethan, its June. How can the water be cold in the summer? "

"It's water that comes off the top of the mountains, Ben. It can be very cold even in June." Ethan answers smiling at the boy's skeptical look.

"But if it's not too cold, can we get in? We'll see when we get there, Ben."

When they reach the trees, Ethan says

"Ben, you and George need to go get us some branches for a fire. We'll need smaller twigs too. Go look along the tree line, but don't go near the water."

"Yes, Sir" Ben answers with a sigh. He really wants to get in that water.

"Come on George, let's get the firewood." As they gather branches Ben looks longingly at the clear water. It is sparkling in the sunlight.

"Look George!" Ben calls excitedly. "There's something yellow and shiny in the stream. Let's go in and look at it! It's probably GOLD! "

"Ben, I'm NOT going in that water! Uncle Ethan said to get branches and not to go near the water. If you get in that water, I'll tell."

"Don't you want to get rich George?" asks Ben

George looks at the water, then says "Yes, but right now, I'd rather be able to sit down to eat supper! I'm hungry! If you want to get walloped, you go ahead and get in the water. I'm not going!"

"OK, OK! You don't ever want to go on an adventure. Come on let's finish getting all the branches we can carry." Ben tells him.

When the boys get back to the campsite, they see Claire has the cooking pot ready for the fire. Claire tells them "Lay out the some of the bigger branches under the pot. We'll use the twigs to start the fire."

When they finish Ben asks "Uncle Ethan, can we PLEASE go back up and wade in the water now?"

Ethan looks at the pile of branches the boys gathered.

"You boys did a great job getting our firewood and helping to lay out the fire. It looks like we have enough left for the breakfast fire too! Well Boys, I felt of the water, while letting the horses drink and it isn't too cold to wade in. The weather has been warmer than usual this winter. Joseph, Claire, would you like to try your luck at catching some fish for supper while I take the boys wading? "

Claire answers "I'll take the boys wading, Uncle Ethan. You and Joseph can get fish for supper."

"C'mon Claire, Let's go! " Ben urges.

"Boys? " At the tone of Ethan's voice, both boys stop and look at him before they run off.

"Boys, I want your promise that you'll listen and mind what Claire tells you."

"I promise, Uncle Ethan." George is quick to tell him. Ethan looks at Ben who has that stubborn look he gets at times.

"Ben" Ethan's voice has that warning sound to it. Ben realizes he'd better answer or he won't be going.

"Yes, Sir, I'll be good and do what Claire says."

"Good to hear, Ben. Now go, but don't get your clothes wet. Be sure to roll up your pant legs before you go in the water."

Ben and George take Claire up to the spot where Ben saw the shiny yellow rocks in the water.

"Claire, LOOK! It's gold! " Ben calls to his sister. We can take all this back to Paradise and we'll be so rich!"

Claire looks at the "gold". She knows by looking that it is iron pyrite or "fool's gold". Uncle Ethan has shown both she and Joseph what real gold and fool's gold look like. Looking at her excited little brothers she makes a decision. She'll let her uncle explain the difference to the boys!

"That's really nice, Ben. Just leave it there while you and George wade. We'll take some back and show Uncle Ethan."

After about 30 minutes, she calls the boys to come out. "Ben, George, time to go back to camp."

George comes right away, Ben continues to wade and play.

"Ben, come on, it's time to go!" Claire says watching as Ben keeps walking away from her.

"Ben, do you want me to tell Uncle Ethan you didn't mind me?"

"No. I'm coming, " Ben says as he climbs out of the stream.

"I'm sorry, Claire, I just saw a big gold piece right over there. You're not going to tell him I didn't come when you called are you? Not this time, but I will tell him the next time you don't mind me."

"Now both of you can pick out one gold piece to carry back down to show Uncle Ethan and Joseph."

The boys scamper to grab the biggest one they can find.

When they get back to camp, they find Joseph and Ethan sitting next to the fire. They have already started the water boiling.

"Where are the fish? " Claire asks.

"They weren't biting. The water is too cold right now." Joseph tells her.

"I'll take the gun and go get us some rabbits I saw back up the way we came." Ethan reassures Claire.

"Joseph, I need you to stay here and watch out for Claire and the boys. I'll be back in an hour, or at least before dark."

"Can't I go with you?' Please?" Joseph asks. "Claire can keep the boys!"

"No, Joseph. You are needed here to protect your brothers and sister. Ben and George, you stay here by the wagon with Joseph and Claire. Neither of you is to wander off from this wagon without Joseph or Claire with you. Do you hear me?" He asks sternly.

"Yes, sir." Then Ben remembers their gold.

" Uncle Ethan, we have something to show you." Ben says pulling the gold out of his pocket.

"Look what we found up at the stream."

Ethan answers "Ben, I just can't stay and look at it right now. I have to go hunting while there is enough light to see. I'll look at it as soon as I get back."

"Ben, George, come here please." Ethan says pointing to the ground in front of him. When both boys obey he says; " Now remember boys, STAY with Joseph and Claire. I don't want to hear that you didn't mind them when I get back!"

Ethan leaves the children by the wagon as he rides his horse back along the trail they came up on. He finds the wooded area and manages to get four of the wild hares he had seen on the drive by the woods earlier in the day. He skins the animals and prepares them for cooking before he rides back to the children. This takes a little longer than he anticipated. Ethan realizes he has been gone over two hours. He heads back to the wagon ready to pop these rabbits in the cooking pot.

Back at the wagon, Joseph has taken the horses back down to the stream to drink. When he comes back, Claire asks "Joseph, why didn't the boys come back up with you?"

" What'dya mean, they weren't down there with me."

"Aren't they here with you?" He asks

"No, I saw them walk off right after you and I thought they were going to help you!" Claire says.

"Joseph, you know this stream turns into rapids right past that bend, don't you?" She asks.

"Don't worry Claire. We'll find them. They couldn't have gone too far."

Joseph calls " BEN! GEORGE! ANSWER ! ME ! NOW ! " When he doesn't hear anything he starts towards the stream.

Claire calls "Wait Joseph, I think I know where they went."

She tells Joseph about the boys finding the "gold".

Joseph starts running up the hill towards the stream. When he gets to the top of the hill, he sees two very wet little boys trudging back towards him. They are holding their shirts out in front of them making a pouch. Joseph waits for them to catch up to him. He gives them both a stern look and asks

"Just what do you two think you are doing up here? You were told to stay by the wagon! What is that you have in your shirts?"

Ben grins at him. "We came up here to get more gold. Look we're rich, Joseph! We can buy anything we want!"

Joseph just takes them both by the hand and walks them back to the wagon. When they get there he makes them leave the "gold" on the ground as he lifts them into the wagon.

"Both of you are going to stay INSIDE the wagon until Uncle Ethan comes back." He tells them. Ben and George look at each other. Both know they are in serious trouble.

When Ethan returns and hears the story of the "gold rush" he has a stern conversation with his two younger nephews.

Ethan tells the boys "Since you both disobeyed me and left the wagon by yourselves, you will stay in the wagon the rest of the night. After your supper, you will go straight to bed. No playing around or talking at all! If you do not mind me this time, you will find yourself over my lap getting your backside warmed! We will have a talk about the gold you found tomorrow morning."

The next morning, he tries to explain the difference in fool's gold and real gold.

He tells the boys "Don't feel bad about being fooled into thinking that was real gold. There have been many grownups fooled by it too. Maybe someday we'll find some real gold, but this just isn't it."

He and the boys take most of their gold back up to the top of the stream. He lets the boys keep two of the "gold pieces" to take with them to Colorado Springs.