Reginald Ottley's boyhood on an Australian cattle station spawned the fictional trilogy that began with Boy Alone; now, from his years of roving--driving cattle, running brumbies (wild horses), trapping camels--comes a collection of yarns similarly spare and muscular and sentient which round out the portrait of the outback. ""You have to take it as it comes"": the stampeding cattle who carry a drover along in a ""solid wall of grinding flesh"" and spoil a rare chance for a Christmas Eve spree; the skeleton of a horse still tied lightly to a tree where it was trained to stay; the fierce ""hatter"" whose madness seems to flow out of him when he is pinned to the ground by Reg and his partner Mick; Midnight, the horse who could be ridden but wouldn't be broken; and for comic relief, the two old horse traders who outwit each other, and themselves, with the same ruse. All's fair. . . but there's a tradition of respect for the animals and mutual help among the men that, along with attachment to the life and the land, extend the tales beyond anecdotes. They're quietly satisfying for any age.