Thursday, 4 September 2008

The Boy Adventurers In the Land of the Monkey Men

The Boy Adventurers

In the Land of the Monkey Men


A. Hyatt Verrill

Author of “In the Forbidden Land,” “In the Land of El Dorado,” etc.

Illustrated with drawings and photographs by the author

Copyright, 1923

by A. Hyatt Verrill




In the Land of the Monkey Men
The search for the source of the strange idol that the boys had bought in New York had led them into many adventures, numerous tight places and dreadful perils; but none so bad as this. They had penetrated into the unknown district of Guiana, had sent their men back to an Indian village for supplies, and were alone amid the prehistoric ruins with only one Arekuna Indian youth, Joseph, and now they had been surprised by two fearsome, fierce-visaged black savages whom the Indians had told them were cannibals.

Harry and Fred were too horrified to move or to cry out, and even Dr. Woodward seemed frozen to the spot as the three stood within the ancient chamber of the ruins, there in the depths of the Guiana forest. They had not dreamed that an enemy was within hundreds of miles and while their discovery of the great golden idol, with human skulls as offerings upon it, had unnerved the boys, and their later discovery, that two of the gruesome relics were the skulls of white men had filled them with terror, still it had not prepared them for the terrible predicament in which they now found themselves.
And they were unarmed and helpless. The boys had left their guns with Joseph outside the chamber and they had no doubt that he had been surprised and killed, for no cry of alarm had come from him to warn them of the savages' approach.
That they would be attacked, seized, or even killed in an instant more, the three felt certain as they stood there, gazing with horror-filled faces at the two awful figures crouching within the doorway and revealed in the light from the electric torch in Fred's hand.
And then, as the seconds passed and their enemies made no move to leap upon them, they realized for the first time that the glowering, fierce visages of the cannibals were filled with expressions of combined fear and amazement.
And little wonder. The three whitemen, whom they had seen so plainly but an instant before, had vanished before their eyes, had been swallowed up in blackness, and in their place an awful, staring white eye had appeared, dazzling and blinding them. Here was some terribly potent magic and the two savages were filled with a nameless dread. What fearful death might not lurk back of that unwinking eye? What undreamed of giant shape might not leap from the darkness? But they dared not move, dared not do anything save wink and blink in the glare from the thing.
And as the boys realized the effect that the light had upon their enemies, a ray of hope came to them.
"It's the light," whispered Fred. "It's frightened them. They think it's magic. I'm going to try to scare them still more."
As he spoke, the beam of light was suddenly snuffed out and the room was plunged into inky blackness. A howl of terror arose from the two savages and when, an instant later, the blinding beam again stabbed the darkness, they were knocking their foreheads upon the stone floor and fairly gibbering with superstitious terror.
"Perhaps, perhaps we can get out," stammered Harry. "Keep the light on them, Fred, and we'll try."
"I believe we can," agreed Dr. Woodward. "They think it's magic. Come, boys, we must try. It's our only chance."
Trembling, with fast beating hearts, the three edged towards the door, with Fred keeping his flashlight focussed unwaveringly upon the two crouching, mouthing beings who, in a frenzy of fear as they knew the awful blinding eye was approaching them, were so dazzled by the glare that to them the three whitemen were merely huge, shapeless, dark forms, appearing like monstrous evil spirits to their superstition-filled, simple minds.
Without interference, without the slightest movement to molest them on the part of the savages, the two boys and the scientist gained the door.
So intent had they been in keeping the light upon their enemies that they had not glanced outside the entrance to the chamber, but backed slowly, cautiously, through the aperture.
The next instant they were seized by powerful hands and the boys' frenzied screams of terror echoed through the ruins as they found themselves surrounded by at least a dozen of the terrifying black savages.
In a moment they were bound and helpless, and Dr. Woodward groaned at the fate which had fallen upon them and at the thought that his scientific ardor had brought the boys to death or worse. Near them, gagged and bound, lay Joseph, and as the boys gazed about at the gigantic, indescribably savage-looking beings, they felt that there was no hope, that death at the hands of the cannibals would soon end all, and they shivered and sank to the ground at thought of being devoured by these awful creatures. It had all happened in a moment and scarcely were the three secured when the two other savages leaped from the chamber, and with wildly rolling eyes and excited gestures, commenced haranguing their fellows. And instantly, as their meaning dawned upon the others, the crowd drew away from their prisoners, glancing at them with furtive, half-frightened faces as if expecting to see them vanish into thin air or to witness some manifestation of the magic the two black rascals were so vividly describing.
"Gee, I wish my hands were free," lamented Fred. "They're half scared now and if I could use that flashlight I'd have them all on the run."
But with his elbows lashed together behind his back he was powerless to use the light and, moreover, it had fallen out of reach as he had been seized. So, as no magic was forthcoming and the savages regained confidence, one great, muscular fellow, who appeared to be the leader, stepped forward, grunted a command, and the three prisoners, as well as Joseph, were lifted to their feet and by unmistakable signs were ordered to march.
"Gosh, this is worse than the time those Kunas had us," groaned Harry, as surrounded with the naked, terrifying cannibals, they moved from the ruined buildings.
But as the savages offered no violence the boys’ hopes and spirits again revived, although Dr, Woodward was so overwhelmed and unnerved by the boys' predicament that he walked with head bowed, lips tight shut and feeling utterly hopeless, for the bleaching skulls of other white men he had seen upon the hideous idol, convinced him that only death awaited himself and the two boys.
The boys, however, had been in too many tight places and had escaped unscathed to feel that all was lost, and despite their terror of their captors, they could not help feeling that, somehow or other, they would yet manage to escape unharmed from these black savages, as they had when prisoners of the wild Kunas in Panama.
So, as Harry referred to the Kunas, who had been on the point of torturing the boys when help arrived from an unexpected source in the nick of time, Fred replied quite cheerfully.
"You bet it's worse," he agreed. "But we're not dead yet and while there's life there's hope, you know. Maybe these chaps'll turn out all right, the same as the Kunas did."
“Maybe the Billikins or something will save us," suggested Harry. "Gosh, I wish we had the radio set here. I'll bet that'd make 'em treat us right."
"We can only hope and pray for the best," said his father, striving hard to appear cheerful. "How I blame myself for bringing you to this, my boys! If we ever get out I shall never let you take any risks again."
"Nonsense, Dad," cried Harry. "It's not your fault and—" he added mischievously,— "didn't someone say there were none of these fellows within a hundred miles of the ruins?"
"And that no Guiana Indians would dare come near the place," put in Fred. "These fellows don't seem to be much afraid of old Billikins or the ruins."
"Don't rub it in, boys," begged the scientist. "I was terribly, horribly mistaken about the danger; but I was right about the Indians. I don't believe any of them would dare come here. I only wish they would."
The two boys glanced at Dr. Woodward as though they thought he had taken leave of his senses.
"But, but, Dad, how can you say that," stammered Harry, hardly able to believe he had heard his father aright. "These Indians are—"
"Indians!" exclaimed Dr. Woodward. "Indians! These are not Indians,"
"Not Indians," cried Fred, now convinced the scientist had given way under the strain. "Well, if they're not then—"
"I thought you'd noticed," interrupted his uncle. “Don't you see that they're black and have kinky hair? And there's nothing Indian about their features. They're Africans, negroes—"
"Negroes!" ejaculated Harry incredulously. "Why, this isn't Africa and there are no savage negroes in America. How can they be, Dad?"
"I'm not sure," replied his father. "But I believe they're Jakos-Bush Niggers—the descendants of runaway slaves who took to the bush and have reverted to savagery like their ancestors in Africa. There are many in Surinam—though not hostile—but it has always been thought there have been none in British Guiana for over one hundred years. But then," he added dolefully. "No one thought there was a prehistoric city in here and in an unknown district there may be anything unknown. Jove, if we could only talk to these fellows."
"Perhaps we can," suggested Fred. "Let's try."
But all attempts to converse with the giant blacks, who were urging the prisoners along the old paved way, were futile. English, Spanish and talky-talky were tried and when Dr. Woodward essayed a few words in French he was greeted with such a savage, threatening glare from the leader that he promptly ceased.
"Sounds like German or Dutch, that they're speaking," commented Harry. "Gosh, I wish old Boters were here. He might be able to talk with them."
"But, Uncle" cried Fred, as a new thought came to him. "Are the Bush Niggers cannibals?"
"I don't know," admitted the scientist. "I've never been sufficiently interested in them to learn anything of their habits. In the old days, when they fought the whites, they were said to be cannibals, and no doubt they hold human sacrifices. Our only chance is that we are being taken to their ruler or 'Grandiman' who can understand us or who realizes that white men are no longer enemies of his tribe."
"Hello, they're taking us before old Billikins," exclaimed Harry. "Gee, perhaps they're going to kill us here!"
But to the boys' unutterable relief, their captors made no preparations for a sacrifice, and merely kowtowing and beating their breasts with their fists as they approached the golden idol, they passed behind it. And then, as the boys in utter amazement looked on, the leader of the savage negroes stepped forward with two of his men, and pressing shoulders against the apparently solid rock that formed the base of the god, forced a section of stone aside and revealed a narrow black aperture like the entrance to a cave.
"By Jove!" exclaimed Dr. Woodward, forgetting for the moment their terrible plight in the interest of this wholly unexpected discovery. "It's the entrance to an underground chamber. That solves the mystery. These rascals came from there."
"You mean," cried Harry, "that they live down there under the idol?"
"The Lord alone knows," replied his father. "But I think it is a secret way leading to some hidden spot where the tribe dwells. I—"
But there was no time for further words. The leader of the savages stepped forward and with strips of woven fiber quickly, and far from gently, blindfolded the four prisoners.
The next second they were forced forward between the savages and felt a draught of cold, damp air upon their faces. Their feet trod a pavement, they heard a light jar behind them and they knew that the hidden door had been shut. They were being led, blindfolded, helpless captives into the bowels of the mountain under the golden idol!

FOR what seemed miles, the savages half led, half forced their prisoners along. At times they trod smoothly paved floors, again they stumbled over what was apparently roughly-hewn rock. Once they climbed a long flight of uneven stairs and later they descended winding irregular steps.
Blindfolded as they were, Dr. Woodward and the boys had no idea whether they turned to right or left, but they had a vague feeling that the route wound and twisted as they were urged on and they knew, by the smell of resinous smoke, that their captors were lighting the way by torches.
Once or twice too, they felt draughts of clearer, warmer air and were sure they had emerged from the underground way and were in the open; but always they again entered the dead, damp, tomb-like atmosphere of the subterranean chambers.
Then, at last, they heard a grating sound as their guards halted them, and a moment later, they felt a fresh, warm breeze carrying the odor of vegetation and knew that they had come out into the open air. For a time they were led along a narrow path, for they felt weeds and grass switching their limbs, and soon after, they entered a forest, as they knew by the roots against which they stubbed their toes and the branches and leaves that brushed against them as they passed along. But whether it was low brushy jungle or an open forest of great trees they could not tell. They knew they were descending and presently, from some spot in the distance, came a strange, low roar that rapidly increased in volume until it became almost deafening.
"Oh, what is it?" cried Harry as the roar seemed to fill the air about them and the earth shook and trembled under their feet.
"A cataract," replied the scientist. "And an enormous fall by the sound."
A moment later they felt a cool, moisture-laden wind; spray was flung against their faces and hands; they were led along a narrow swaying, undulating footway and in their ears was a thundering, terrible roar that made the boys cower with fear. Then, once more, their feet trod solid rock, the roar seemed to come from behind, and rapidly it decreased and was lost. For some time they went on the way that led up a sharp, rough ascent and over rocks. Then, once more, they felt the warm balmy air, the strips were torn from over their eyes and in silent wonder they gazed incredulously, utterly dumbfounded, scarcely able to believe their senses, at the scene that lay before them. They were standing upon the summit of a low, sharp ridge, and below them, in a circular plain a mile or more across and surrounded by low green hills, was a beautiful shimmering lake. But they scarcely glanced at the fair green valley or the silvery lake nestling in its bosom, for scattered over the plain, bordering the lake, in groups and singly, were scores of low massive buildings. Some were small, square, plain structures, others larger, more elaborate and enclosing open courts, while on the very shores of the lake was one, great, imposing ornate building that dwarfed all its fellows. All were of stone, a deep rich-red in color, and the rays of the sun just sinking behind the western hills, shone full upon them and painted them with the gleaming golden light.
Harry was the first to find his voice. "Hurrah!” he shouted, forgetting they were captives, forgetting their plight. "Hurrah! it's the Golden City!"
"Gee!" shouted Fred. "Gee! Gosh! You're right. Hurrah, we've found it!"
"Yes, the City of Manoa!" exclaimed the scientist, almost as excited as the two boys. "The fabulous, mythical city of Raleigh's tales."
Wildly, frantically the bound boys yelled and pranced about, while the savages, apparently thinking their prisoners had gone suddenly mad, drew back with frightened faces.
"And to think we had to be taken prisoners to find it," cried Harry.
"Gosh, yes. Say, we ought to be thankful to these fellows after all. If they hadn't captured us we'd never have found it," said Fred.
"Well, I'd almost be willing to be taken by them to see that city," declared Harry. "Golly, it doesn't seem possible. And isn't it beautiful! Say, I know why they called it the Golden City—it looks just as if it were made of gold."
"And say!" cried Fred excitedly. "If Raleigh was right about this, maybe there is all that gold there. Perhaps we can pick it up ‘the bigness of eggs' as he said, on the lake shore."
"It would do you no good if it were there," said Dr. Woodward solemnly. "You forget we are prisoners. And we may never escape. We haven't the least idea where we are or how we got here."
"Well, we know it's not far from a big fall and we could find it with an airplane—now we know it's really here," argued Harry. "And say, look, there are people here."
"Yes, the same black savages," assented his father. "They're not the people who built the city. They've merely taken possession."
As they spoke, they were being urged down the steep hillside and just as the sun disappeared below the horizon and the day grew dim, the captives entered the long-lost, long-sought, supposedly mythical city of Manoa.
It was already dark in the shadows and while the boys saw numerous black figures staring at them from doorways, and even joining their captors, they could obtain but a poor idea of the city as they were hurried along towards the lake shore. They noticed that most of the buildings were half in ruins, although they had appeared in perfect condition when viewed from the distance, and that the negroes had built flimsy huts and shacks among them and did not occupy the stone buildings in most cases. Also, they could see that once there had been many more buildings, for piles of fallen masonry and shattered walls were everywhere, and as they walked along they realized that the city had been well laid out and had had paved streets in times long past.
Rapidly their captors hurried them along until, reaching the large building by the lake shore, they passed through a low opening, followed a dark corridor and entered a large room, or rather a court, with its centre open to the sky, but with wide, injutting cornices forming a protection from the weather, around the sides.
Here their captors left them, only one black giant remaining on guard. The two boys looked about. "Golly, a fellow could never get out of here," declared Harry as he gazed up at the stone walls with their ten foot projecting cornices.
"Not that way, anyhow," agreed Fred. "But look there, there's another door. I wonder where it leads to."
It was now dark and the boys could barely distinguish the opening through which they had entered, and the one Fred had found, from the dark shadows of the walls, and when they looked within the smaller door they could see nothing.
Dr. Woodward also had been examining the walls. "It's very ancient," he declared. "And made of red jasper. And see, boys, it has the same carvings as were in those ruins and the cave of the skulls."
"Gee, yes, and old Billikins is here too," cried Harry. "But I'm a lot more interested in knowing what's going to happen than in these old ruins. Maybe—"
Before he could finish there was a ruddy glow at the doorway, and an instant later, a huge black savage appeared, carrying a flaring torch of some resinous wood. With a few words to the sentry, he entered with two companions and seizing the four prisoners by the shoulders, the negroes hurried them through the doorway and along a passage. Presently, ahead, the boys saw the glimmer of light and the next instant a curtain of painted, woven palm fibre was drawn aside and they were shoved into a brilliantly lighted room.
The walls, of the same red jasper, were covered from floor to ceiling with intricate, deeply-cut carving; great, elaborately carved, square pillars supported the wide cornices and formed an arcade around the room, and stuck into crevices and cracks in these, were scores of blazing, smoking, sputtering torches. Squatting on their haunches, or standing, in a semicircle, the ruddy glow from the torches glaring weirdly on their naked skins, were a crowd of the blacks, each man with a long, wicked-looking lance and a bow and arrows in hand, and all with eyes fixed half-threateningly, half-fearfully at the three white captives and the Indian youth.
But the boys and Dr. Woodward gave no heed to either the room itself or the crowd of savages gathered in the torch light, for the attentions of all were focussed upon the object that confronted them directly opposite the door by which they had entered. Monstrous, hideous in the glare of the torches, was the same grotesque repulsive figure they knew so well, — the radium god, but far more terrible in aspect than any they had seen. Carved from a solid block of red jasper, the hideous thing glowed, blood-colored, in the torch light, while from the great, staring eyes, green, baleful fire seemed to blaze and the spikes on shoulders and arms, the high, hat-like headdress, the bosses on arms and legs and the sun-like disk upon the stomach gleamed with the sheen of gold.
But what held the prisoners' attention even more than the repulsive blood-red god with its green eyes and golden ornaments, was the figure seated between the great stone knees. A figure almost as savage looking and as ugly as the leering, thick-lipped stone face above him. A giant negro, his arms and legs encircled by wide bands of gold, his chest and limbs horribly scarified and with the great welts filled with white, red and yellow clay, and an enormous, murderous-looking war club in one black hand. And as the boys looked at the fellow's face they shuddered and drew back, crowding close to Dr. Woodward. His thick, cruel lips were twisted into a wicked grin, his broad, flat nose seemed to cover half his ugly face, his small bloodshot eyes gleamed savagely and his kinky hair was twisted into innumerable horn-like tufts, while from either side of his head, projected two long, black and orange feathers.
"Gosh! it's old Billikins again," muttered Fred.
"Yes, and his twin brother in the flesh," whispered Harry.
But now the figure seated on the idol-throne was speaking, gesticulating, talking rapidly and exposing yellow, sharp-pointed teeth between his hideous lips. Most of his words were utter gibberish to the boys and Dr. Woodward, but among them they caught, "Eng'ish," "Fanch," "Portay" and others that seemed to have some meaning.
"I believe he's asking our nationality," muttered the scientist, as the giant negro ceased speaking and glared at the three.
Then, in talky-talky, Dr. Woodward spoke. "Americans," he said, pointing to himself and the boys. "No makeum Engrish, no makeum French. Me no sabby what feller callum Portay."
The negro wrinkled his brows and was evidently striving to make sense from the scientist's words. Then a slow leer spread over his ugly face. Striking his breast he exclaimed. "Graniman! Me gran' graniman!"
"Jove!" ejaculated Dr. Woodward. "He's the Grand Grandiman—the all powerful ruler of all the Bush Negroes. Boys, we are looking at a man whom perhaps no white man has ever before seen!"
"Well, I don't think much of him," muttered Harry. "If he'd put on some clothes and get a hair cut and take off those feathers he'd look a lot like old Sam, the janitor at our school. What is he trying to say?" The Grandiman was again jabbering away, but not a word was intelligible to the prisoners.
"I'm sure I don't know," declared Dr. Woodward. "Perhaps—"
Joseph interrupted him. "Him feller talky, say you feller makeum plenty peai. Him wantum seeum peai light. Him say he no sabby you feller Engrish, no sabby you feller French feller. Mebbe Portay, how can tell. He talk you feller must for makeum peai all same in house where dead feller."
“Gosh! how does Joseph understand him?" exclaimed Fred. Then, turning to the Arekuna, he asked, "How you sabby him feller same way?"
The Indian grinned. "Him speakum talky-talky. Speakum talky-talky all same Surinam side. Me sabby him same way. One time me makeum walk Surinam side longside Engrish feller. Me sabby him feller talky-talky."
"Jove, that's lucky," declared Dr. Woodward. Then, to Joseph. "You tellum no can makeum peai same time. Tellum must for eatum food. Must for no tieum like so. Must for waitum one day, mebbe two day. Peai no can makeum when tie so. Tellum mebbe makeum peai light killum him feller, mebbe makeum no can see."
In rapid words the Arekuna translated, and a cunning look, combined with suspicion, spread over the Grandiman's black face as the Indian spoke.
Then he replied to Joseph, and from his tones the prisoners knew he was threatening, and their hearts sank.
"Gosh, we are in a fix!" whispered Fred. “We haven't the flashlight and how can we make 'peai’ for him? Why did you tell him we could do it in a day or two, Uncle?"
"Anything to gain time, Fred," replied Dr. Woodward. "Perhaps, if we can convince him the magic light is dangerous, he'll be afraid to let us demonstrate it."
"Him feller speak, say no sabby 'Merican feller. Sabby French feller, Portay, plenty bad, killum all same time. Sabby Engrish feller, him good feller. Sabby Dutch feller, him friend. No sabby you feller no makeum plenty lie. Say makeum peai light him sabby you feller Grandiman, no hurtum. No makeum light must for killum, all same French feller Portay. Him say no can makeum peai one day makeum dead all same Portay. Him speakum why you feller makeum live same place dead mans? Why you feller come this side?" said Joseph.
The scientist groaned. "We're lost if we can't convince him we are not French," he declared. "I understand now what he means by 'Portay.' He's trying to say 'Deporte'—escaped French convicts from Cayenne. I've read somewhere that the Bush Negroes kill the convicts on sight. Oh, if we only had that light."
"Or the radio set," added Fred. "Gee, that would be better than the light."
"One's as hopeless as the other," replied his uncle despondently. Then, again turning to Joseph. "Tellum 'Merican all same Engrish. 'Merican sabby plenty him Portay feller plenty bad. Tellum makeum for live longside dead feller place for makeum peai. Tellum look see, all same like so."
As Dr. Woodward spoke he drew out his note book, and opening it at the pages covered with his sketches of the carvings in the cave, he handed it to Joseph.
The Indian stepped towards the Grandiman and the old fellow bent forward and peered at the book. Instantly, with a sharp cry, he drew back and glanced apprehensively at his prisoners.
"Hurrah! You've got him going," exclaimed Harry. "Perhaps we can work some other peai for him."
But despite the fact that the Grandiman was visibly impressed and not a little frightened at the copies of the carvings in the book, he was firm in his demands that the peai light should be produced. His men had told him marvelous tales of the glaring, blinding eye that made the white men invisible and he was bound to see it for himself. And to all Dr. Woodward's pleadings and suggestions through Joseph, the negro's one reply was that unless the magic light was produced within the next twenty-four hours he would assume that the whitemen were liars and Deportes and would act accordingly.
Dr. Woodward sighed and bowed his head. "There's nothing more we can do," he said in trembling tones. "Only the flashlight will convince him we are what we claim. Nothing else can save us."
"Well, a lot can happen in twenty-four hours," said Fred optimistically. "Think how things turned out when we thought it was all up with us among those Kunas."
"Yes, or the time that earthquake knocked things about in the lost city in Darien," added Harry.
"And besides, they're not as savage as we thought," continued Fred. "And they're not going to hurt us if we can prove we're English or Dutch or anything but French. And I don't believe they are cannibals. I'm going to hope for something to turn up. Why, we thought we'd all be dead before now and we're still here and I'm awfully hungry."
But despite his cheerful words, there was really but little hope in the hearts of any of the captives as they were led from the throne room and down the passageway to their place of confinement.

BUT their prison was no longer dark. Torches were fastened to the walls, and as soon as they had entered the court their captors unfastened the tough lianas that bound their arms.
"Golly, that's better," exclaimed Harry with a sigh of relief, as he rubbed his wrists and stretched his cramped muscles. "Old Uncle Tom isn’t so bad after all."
"I hope he sends in supper pretty quick," said Fred. "I'm starving."
As if in answer to his words, one of the negroes appeared, carrying a big earthenware pot and some calabashes, and setting them down he made a hurried exit as if fearing the prisoners might transfix him with their magic eye before he could escape.
"I don't know what 'tis but it smells mighty nice," declared Fred, as he sniffed the steam rising from the big olla. "And," he added, "I don't care what 'tis,—as long as these fellows aren't cannibals. Come on, let's eat."
"It's pepper-pot," announced Dr. Woodward, as the three helped themselves to the food and Joseph filled the largest calabash and squatted near.
"Well, that doesn't tell me anything," said Fred with his mouth full of the savory food. "But it's just as good as it smells."
The scientist laughed. "You boys are irrepressible," he declared. "No matter how great the danger, your appetites never fail and nothing seems to disturb your optimism. And as for pepper-pot—it's another food made from poison, —from your old friend the cassava."
"Gosh, I hope there's no poison in it," cried Harry.
"No fear," his father assured him. "It's the poisonous juice of cassava boiled down to a thick, dark-colored syrup, and the heat drives off all the poison it contains. It's a preservative of meat and is a favorite dish of the Indians of Guiana."
"And of the Bush Niggers, apparently," said Fred.
"And of two American boys and an American scientist, by the looks of things," laughed Harry.
"Well, if old Panjandrum, or whatever his name is, decides to kill us I'm not going to die hungry at any rate," muttered Fred, as he leaned back contentedly. Then, as he glanced about and he again noticed the smaller door. "Come on, Harry," he cried. "Let's have a look in there and see what's inside.”
Together the two boys crossed the court to the small door, carrying one of the torches with them. Thrusting the flaring stick inside the opening they peered within and the next instant shouted wildly with delight.
"Hurrah!” screamed Fred. "All our things are here.”
"Even the radio set!" yelled Harry.
Dr. Woodward hurried to them while Joseph, not knowing what it was all about, but realizing some great discovery had been made, followed at his heels.
The two boys had dashed into the room and were examining their property so unexpectedly found.
"How on earth did it get here?” cried Fred, as they found everything intact. "We left the stuff back there by the cave and here 'tis in this old city."
"By Jove, it's amazing!" ejaculated Dr. Woodward. "They must have had another party of men bring it along. It was not carried by the negroes who captured us."
"But our guns aren't here," lamented Harry. "I wish they'd brought them along."
"Never fear they'd do that," said his father. "These men know what firearms are and they're taking no chances. We're lucky enough as it is."
"And the flashlight's not here either," put in Fred. "If we only had that we’d be all right.”
"Yes, the most important thing of all is missing,” said the scientist. "Too bad you dropped it. But it can't be helped."
Harry leaped up with a shout. "We are boobs!" he cried. "We won't need the old flashlight. The radio ‘ll be a heap more 'peai' to Uncle Tom than the light."
"Golly, yes!" agreed Fred. "Let's try it."
Rapidly the boys connected the set, and with receivers to ears, tuned it carefully, but not a sound came to them.
"That's funny," declared Harry. "That fellow in Georgetown must be sending at this hour, but we don't hear a thing."
"Are you sure the set's all right?" asked Dr. Woodward, as intent on the experiment as the two boys. "Our lives may depend upon it, so don't give up until you are sure."
But despite every effort, and although Fred and Harry went over every connection and every portion of the instruments, not a sound came in and at last they gave up in despair.
"It must be we're out of his range," declared Harry.
"No, that can't be it," insisted Fred. "There isn't a place in Guiana beyond the range of that Georgetown station with this set."
"More likely we're in a dead zone," said Dr. Woodward. "A spot surrounded by hills—and perhaps strongly magnetic, —many of these mountains in Guiana are of magnetic iron ore."
"I understand," said Harry. "Exactly like trying to get signals between steel structures in a city."
"Yes, and without a high aerial, impossible to get results here," assented his father.
Well, whatever it is, it knocks our plans all to pieces," commented Fred. "And I don't see as there's any chance for—Hurrah! I've a scheme!"
Leaping up, he danced wildly about, yelling with delight.
"For gracious' sake be quiet and tell us the great idea," demanded Harry.
"Gee, it is great!" declared the other controlling himself. "We can work that old peai light yet."
"Like fun we can, without the light," said Harry disgustedly.
"Can't we?" cried" Fred. "Oh, gosh, we're boobs not to have thought of it before. Don't you see, Harry? There's that tube and we've got a battery. All we've got to do is to carry the battery and the tube along and turn on the current when we want to make a light. Of course it may spoil the tube, running the filament bright, but who cares as long as it saves our lives."
"Gee whittaker, that's right!" agreed Harry. "And we have an extra tube if this one gives out. Say, Fred, you're a wonder!"
"And I can add an idea to that," cried Dr. Woodward enthusiastically. "I believe that with my magnifying glass and a tube—either made of paper or a section of bamboo—we can produce a powerful beam of light. I doubt if the glow from the tube alone would be enough to impress the Grandiman."
"I have it!" yelled Fred. "We can fix the tube in the cylinder that the coil's wound on and fasten the lens in one end."
"Bully, Fred!" cried his uncle. "We'll get at work on it at once."
Crazy to find out if Fred's idea would work, the two boys rapidly dismantled the radio set, working with nervous fingers and hoping against hope that the guttering torches would not burn out until they had finished.
"No use in trying to complete it tonight," declared Dr. Woodward, as he noticed the torches burning low. "We'll give it a test without making the permanent connections and we can finish it tomorrow."
With anxious hearts the boys placed the formica cylinder of the coil over the tube, and while Harry held the lens over the end, Fred connected the battery and turned on the rheostat.
"Hurrah!" they fairly screamed. "It works!"
And it did. To be sure, the glow of the tube lament was faint, as compared with the brilliant glare of an incandescent bulb, but the light, focussed by the lens, produced a fairly bright beam that all were sure would be sufficient to impress the savages.
"Well, we said we'd need twenty-four hours to make the peai work," commented Harry, as they reluctantly put away their instruments, just as one of the torches flared and went out. "And I can see that Uncle Tom's going to have a jolt. He didn't think we could do it."
"And to think that we almost left our radio set behind," said Fred. "Gee, it's lucky for us we brought it. But I never dreamed we'd make a tube receiver into a flashlight."
"And luckier yet we found that wrecked plane," said Harry with a yawn. "And that the battery wasn't ruined in that washout we had."
"It's been lucky all around," agreed his father. "But honestly, Harry, what had the plane to do with it? You don't need the storage battery."
"No, but if we hadn't found that we'd never have brought the set along, for it wouldn't have worked."
"Jove, that's so!" admitted Dr. Woodward. "Well, let's thank heaven we had the set and found the plane."
Fred chuckled. "I'll bet the fellows that were wrecked in that plane never guessed they'd be saving other peoples' lives by their accident," he said.
"And I'll bet these Jakos never dreamed they were making our magic possible when they brought our things here," said Harry. "And I'm mighty glad they remembered to bring along our hammocks."
" Yes, all in all, our plight is not so bad," agreed the scientist, as Joseph slung the hammocks and they crawled into them. "And I think we can sleep with easier minds now."
"Gee, I could sleep, even if I knew we were going to be made into pepper-pot in the morning," declared Fred. "I'm dead tired out."
"Me too," said Harry sleepily. "I always wondered how soldiers could sleep in the trenches; but I know now."
"Well, bad as it is, this is a lot better than the trenches," remarked Fred. "We know nothing will hurt us before tomorrow night, anyway."
"And if all goes well we may be free and unharmed the next day," said Dr. Woodward.
"Hm, me sabby him feller Gra'man no plenty good feller," muttered Joseph. "Mebbe him seeum peai light, likeum too well. Mebbe wantum all time, all same him feller Wai-Woi."
"Well, if he wants it he's welcome to it," said Fred, "as long as he lets us go."
"Only we'll have to put a lot of distance between ourselves and this city right after," added Harry. "That tube's not going to last long and when it gives out—good night!"
"Gosh, yes, but if we only had our guns I'd be almost happy," commented Fred. "I wonder what they did with them."
"Oh, go to sleep and stop worrying," commanded Harry. "If we get away I guess we can get on without the guns. Joseph can make a bow and arrows or Uncle Tom may give us our guns. What's the use in looking for more trouble than we've got?"
"Me sabby mebbe 'Merican feller sabby make-um peai guns all same peai light," mumbled the Arekuna, to whom anything was possible for white men.

DESPITE their plight, the boys slept soundly and were aroused by a negro who brought a basket of fruit and a pile of cassava cakes for their breakfast. It was evident that their captors had no intention of starving them, and all ate heartily. As soon as they had finished, the boys busied themselves with their extemporized flashlight and by noon had it completed, with the lens and tube fastened in the cylinder, and all ready to connect with the battery at an instant's notice.
"Now let the old Panjandrum ask for our peai and we'll show him," laughed Fred. "I'll bet he's surprised too."
And the boys and Dr. Woodward had other reasons for feeling encouraged, aside from the success that they felt sure would attend Fred's invention. By daylight they had examined their possessions and to their delight had discovered that there were two machetes among the things, as well as a box of matches, fish hooks and lines, and numerous other articles which would be most useful and indispensable in case they were given their freedom, especially if they had no firearms.
"We'll leave the machetes," advised Dr. Woodward, "hidden among the other things, for I feel sure the negroes would never let them remain in our possession if they knew of them."
"And we can catch fish, even if we can't hunt," said Harry. "We won't have to starve in the bush."
"I don't think we'll have any trouble,” declared his father. "If the Grandiman is convinced that we are friends and not Deportés he will undoubtedly free us and return the guns. It all depends upon our being able to impress him with the light, and I'm sure we can do that."
"I wish I knew what became of Boters and the men," said Fred regretfully. "They had all our trophies and we may never get them."
"Hang the trophies!" exclaimed Harry. If we get away from here I'll be satisfied. But what do you suppose Boters and the rest will think, when they get back and can't find us or any of our things?"
"Probably think we've been carried off bodily by evil spirits” replied his father. "Even Captain Boters has superstitious fears of the cave with the skulls."
"Well, we may see him yet” declared Harry. "Say, wouldn't he be surprised to meet us in Georgetown or Bartica, after he's reported us gone?"
"And maybe he'll still have our trophies," added Fred. "We thought we'd never see Claudio or our things we lost in Darien, but we got them all again."
So, talking and discussing their past, present and future, the prisoners passed the day; eating the lunch brought them at noon and becoming more and more nervous and excited as the afternoon passed and the time for the demonstration of their magic approached.
"Gosh, I'm as nervous as a cat," declared Fred. "Suppose the tube won't work just when we want it!"
"Croaker!" exclaimed Harry irritably. "Of course it'll work."
But when the sun set and the shadows in the court lengthened and the light grew dim, Harry became as worried as Fred for fear that something would go wrong. Indeed, no sooner had it become dusky than the two boys could wait no longer, and with no little trepidation connected the battery. But they had no reason for fear. The tube glowed, a slender beam of light gleamed through the darkness, and fearing to destroy the delicate filament, the boys instantly disconnected it, once more confident that all would go well.
Soon afterwards two of the negroes appeared, and with signs ordered the prisoners forward and led the way down the passage, with the two boys carrying the makeshift light and the battery. Once more the palm-leaf curtain was drawn aside and the four entered the huge throne room and faced the monarch of the Jakos, who looked even more repellent than on the previous evening.
Turning to Joseph, the Grandiman spoke rapidly and the Indian, translating, told Dr. Woodward the king asked if the white men were ready to show their peai light.
"Tellum must for makeum all same night," replied the scientist. "Tellum peai no makeum come when light like so."
The Grandiman scowled and growled a protest, but even his mind could understand that if he was to witness the phenomenon his men had described there must be darkness, and rather reluctantly, he ordered the torches removed. But as he did so, the boys noticed that several armed men stepped forward and stood with ready weapons about the idol-throne, while others took up positions between the prisoners and the exit. Very evidently the monarch was taking no chances of being attacked under cover of darkness or of letting his captives escape.
A moment later the big chamber was almost as black as a cave, and with fast beating hearts and trembling with nervousness and excitement, Fred touched one of the battery wires to the terminal on the cylinder containing the tube.
And as the slender stream of light leaped through the darkness, and wavering for an instant, brought the great idol and the black king into sharp relief, a moaning cry of fear came from the Jako’s lips and the Grandiman, covering his face with his hands, wriggled from his seat and cowered at the feet of the god.
The next second Fred had shut off the current and as the room was once more in blackness wild cries of terror came from every side.
Then again, Fred flashed the light, to disclose the king, wild eyed and frightened half out of his wits, grovelling before the idol.
"Tellum must for bringum light," Dr. Woodward ordered Joseph. "Tellum no bringum light, peai light makeum dead mebbe; makeum no can see.”
The Grandiman needed no second bidding. With trembling voice he shouted to his men to bring torches, and as the blazing wood lit up the huge chamber, the Grandiman, still shaking, crawled back to his seat and stared at the three prisoners with such a grotesque expression of mingled fear, reverence and wonder that the boys could not resist laughing.
"Gosh, maybe it didn't work!" exclaimed Fred. "The old boy was scared to death."
"You bet he was," agreed Harry. "And all the rest of the bunch too."
"Wonderfully effective," declared Dr. Woodward. "I think we have won, boys."
Then, turning to Joseph, he said: "Tellum Grandiman he sabby we feller 'Merican same time now. Him sabby we feller no Portays. Must for lettum go. No lettum 'Merican feller go, peai light makeum plenty bad time."
Rapidly the Indian translated; but for a space the king made no reply, his bloodshot, pig-like eyes fixed unwaveringly upon the three white prisoners and apparently debating some matter in his savage brain.
Then at last he spoke, talking in decisive tones, while the look of wonder and fright upon his ugly features gave way to an expression of cunning and avariciousness.
"Him speakum, no can lettum 'Merican feller go," declared the Arekuna, as the Grandiman ceased speaking. "Him tellum must for waitum here some day. Him tellum you feller no can go walk same way; must for takum 'longside black feller all same come. Black feller no can makeum walk same time one day. He tellum him feller good friend 'Merican feller. Him sabby you feller plenty big peaimen. Mebbe one day, mebbe two day, him feller makeum you feller walk topside."
The boys' faces fell. "Gosh, he doesn't want us to go," cried Fred.
"Perhaps he's telling the truth," said Dr. Woodward, "and the men don't wish to start on that long trip back so soon. I don't think he wishes us harm—he says he's convinced we are friends—and we're not badly off here. Probably, in a day or two, he'll send us away with guides."
"And maybe he'll want to see this peai light every little while and it'll give out and we'll be in a nice fix," said Harry lugubriously.
"We'll prepare for that," declared his father. "If he fears it, he's not likely to ask to see it again and I'll add a bit to his fears."
Turning to Joseph, the scientist bade him tell the Grandiman that unless they were sent away unharmed within three days the peai light would come at night and blind him, and he added that, even if they were killed, the peai would remain and appear nightly.
The old savage listened as the Indian translated this and he glanced nervously from Dr. Woodward to the boys and back again. Then he muttered a few words to Joseph in reply.
"He tellum sabby one feller makeum peai light, wantum sabby must do same way odder feller.
Wantum seeum peai makeum all feller. No seeum, how can sabby all same way!"
"Didn't I say so?" exclaimed Harry. "He wants to see the light again and it's liable to stop working at any minute. We're in an awful fix."
"No, he merely wants to be sure we are all endowed with magic powers," said Dr. Woodward. "We must humor him. This time, Harry, you hold the light."
But when it came to darkening the room the old savage absolutely refused. Only after arguments and threats did he consent to have all but one torch removed, and in the light from that, the tube glowed weakly and faintly. However, it seemed to satisfy the king, and then Dr. Woodward took the tube and produced the light. But now a new and unforseen difficulty had arisen. In the torchlight, the Grandiman had been able to watch the boys and the scientist and he was no fool. His sharp eyes had seen that the light was produced by means of some little device. Though he was still evidently in fear of the thing, he realized that the magic was in the apparatus and not in the hand or persons of his prisoners. He reasoned that as it did not harm the white man who used it, it might be equally harmless to a black man and that, could he produce the magic light, his prestige would be enormously increased. But he was still too fearful of the peai to make any attempt to secure it or to experiment with it.
So, with savage cunning, he decided to keep his captives near until he had mustered sufficient courage to make the acquaintance of the magic light and then dicker with the prisoners for possession of it.
Again turning to Joseph, he told the Indian that while he was convinced that the white men were not enemies or Deportés, still it was impossible for him to take them back to where they had been seized for a day or two and that, in the meantime, they must remain in the Jakos' city.
There was nothing to do but submit, and only hoping that the old negro would not demand demonstrations of the light too often, the two boys and Dr. Woodward returned to their room.
"Say, Dad," asked Harry anxiously, as they reached their quarters, "do you think he's planning some treachery?"
"I don't think so," his father assured him. "I imagine he looks upon us as assets—really marvelous people,—and hates to let us go. But he’ll not hold us long, I'm sure. These Jakos are not really hostile to whitemen and as long as he's convinced we are not French convicts we are safe from bodily harm. I don't think we need to worry.
"Well, I'm worrying," declared Fred. "There's something so sneaky and underhanded about that old rascal that he gives me the creeps. It would be just like him to keep us here forever, just as a sort of entertainment."
"And I'm worried half to death for fear this old tube'll go wrong or the battery give out at any time," said Harry. "Gosh, I wish we were out of here."
But when, after an uneasy night, the boys awoke the next morning, they were both delighted and surprised to find that the black sentry was no longer on guard at their door.
"Hurrah! we can walk anywhere we please," cried Harry, as he stepped into the passage and no one appeared to stop him. "Say, I guess you were right. Dad, old Uncle Tom isn't treating us like prisoners any more."
As usual, their breakfast was brought to them by a giant black, who retreated even more hastily than before when he caught sight of the battery near Fred's hammock. Then, having eaten, the boys suggested they should explore the building and find how much liberty they had. The place seemed deserted and without interference they reached the big throne room. By the light of day the red idol did not seem nearly as gruesome or repulsive as by torchlight and the boys and Dr. Woodward examined it with interest.
Suddenly Fred burst out laughing. "Gosh!" he exclaimed. "Isn't it funny? Here we've forgotten all about our hunt for Billikins and that radium stuff. Gee, for all we know he may have come from this very place and that mine may be right near this city."
"That's so!" cried Harry. "Dad, why didn't you show the old king that little copy of Billikins? Maybe it would have worked as well with him as it did with the Kunas."
"I thought of it," replied his father. "But unless we have to, I don't like to play our last card."
"But the old fellow may know where it came from and where the radium stuff is," persisted Harry.
Dr. Woodward shook his head. "I don't think there's any chance of that," he declared. "I have an idea the god originated here, or near here, but these negroes know nothing of its origin. They look upon these idols as fetishes rather than gods— if they did not you'd not find the Grandiman using one as his throne—and they certainly don't know where the material came from. If we are free to go about, we can search for it ourselves."
But the boys' hopes, that they were at liberty to hunt for the radio-active ore, were soon dashed to pieces, for when they reached the outer doors of the building two huge, armed negroes barred their way. There were two more at the only other exit, and crestfallen, Harry and Fred returned to the throne room where the scientist was absorbed in sketching the carvings and jotting down notes.
"We're still prisoners all right," announced Fred. "There are two big Jakos on guard at each door. I told you the old Panjandrum was treacherous."
"Hmm," muttered Dr. Woodward. "Strange he should allow us to roam about here and not permit us to go outside. But I don't think that means he's treacherous or hostile. Perhaps he's afraid we'll try to go away by ourselves and get lost."
"Like fun he does," said Harry. "He doesn't strike me as being so mighty careful of our safety. I'd rather take chances in the bush than in here with him."
But there was nothing they could do. Even Joseph could not talk with the guards, and the Grandiman was nowhere to be found. All they could do was to wander about the buildings, and while Dr. Woodward was perfectly content to spend the time studying the wonderful carvings and the architecture of the building, and even expressed a desire to remain in the ruined city for days, the boys were far from contented.
"Boys, boys!" exclaimed the scientist. "We'll never have another opportunity like this. Why, you were crazy to find Manoa and now we're here you don't take the least interest in it. All you want is to get away. And we're perfectly comfortable and in no danger. I'm convinced of that."
"And you were convinced the Kunas were harmless and that none of these back savages were near that cave back there," Fred reminded him. "And I am just as interested in the old city as ever. But what's the use of the place if we can't hunt for the gold or that radium ore? We might as well be in New York, as far as that goes."
"And old El Dorado's a fakir too," added Harry. "The one back there by the ruins was just gold plated and this fellow here's just red stone with some gilt trimmings."
His father chuckled. "Fakir!" he exclaimed. "Why, Harry my boy, if you could have carried away that gold covering to the first idol you'd be a millionaire. There was fully a ton of gold on him. And as for the one here. Do you realize that the 'gilt' is solid, beaten gold and that his eyes are enormous emeralds? One of those alone would make you rich."
"Gosh! "cried Fred. "I never knew that. Say, Harry, let's get those eyes before we go. We could climb up there now and—"
"Don't you dare attempt it," said Dr. Woodward sternly. "Even if you succeeded in getting the stones our lives would pay for the deed. And there's not one chance in ten thousand that you could succeed. I haven't the least doubt that we are constantly watched by spies in hiding."
"Me sabby so, same way," interrupted Joseph. "Me seeum plenty feller lookum all time. Plenty feller hideum. Me seeum eye."
"Golly, I never thought of that," declared Harry, glancing nervously about. Then, as another thought occurred to him. "Say!" he cried excitedly. "Maybe they've been meddling with our things. It would be just like the old king to steal our light."
"Gee, you're right!" exclaimed Fred. "Maybe that's why he let us walk about—just to give him a chance. Come on, Harry, let's see if it's all right."
Leaping up, the boys raced down the passage, followed by Dr. Woodward, and the next moment their wild, excited cries told him the worst had happened. There was no sign of their battery and extemporized lamp. The Grandiman had stolen their magic. They were as badly off as ever.

THE two boys sank limply to the floor, too utterly appalled at their loss to speak, while Dr. Woodward, overcome with the thought that the Grandiman had proved himself treacherous and that under such circumstances they were once more in the gravest danger stood silent, gazing at the spot where they had left the precious lamp.
Joseph was the only one of the four who did not appear wholly discouraged. "Me sabby him plenty bad feller," he remarked laconically. “Him Gran'man wantum peai plenty, stealum same time."
The Indian's words broke the tension and brought the three others back to earth and a full realization that they must prepare to do something. "I expect we'll have to show him the god," said Dr. Woodward. "But bad as it seems, it may not be as serious as we think. Perhaps the Grandiman did not steal the light, or perhaps he did and yet has no idea of harming us. I can't really believe he's hostile. The Jakos have a treaty of peace with the Dutch Government at Paramaribo and it doesn't seem possible they'd dare kill whitemen without provocation."
"Anything seems possible to me, and for that old scarecrow," declared Harry dolefully. "I'll bet he asks us to show the magic again and when we can't do it just kills us."
"Maybe he can't work it," exclaimed Fred hopefully. "Then he'll have to call on us and we can bargain with him before we show him how."
"Not much chance of that," declared Harry. "It's too simple."
"Nevertheless, I believe Fred may be right," said the scientist. "It may be very simple to you boys and yet quite beyond him. Moreover, if he should break the tube investigating it, or should burn out the filament, he would imagine he did not possess our magical powers and he would no doubt hesitate to do us any harm. Yes, I think that's our greatest hope."
Very soon after, Dr. Woodward's words and Fred's guess were borne out.
The Grandiman sent for them and demanded that they should exhibit the peai light again.
"The old thief," exclaimed Harry. "He's pretending he thinks we have it and he's stolen it."
When, through Joseph, Dr. Woodward told the king that the light had been stolen and demanded, point blank, that he should produce it, the wily old negro expressed the greatest surprise and insisted he knew nothing about it. Indeed, he even professed to doubt the scientist's word and insisted that one of the prisoners should go with a negro to the court in order to prove the light missing. And when Fred, who was the one to accompany the Jako, reached the place, he could scarcely believe his eyes, for the light and battery were exactly where they had been before.
"He stole it and when he couldn't make it work he put it back," declared Harry. "He's the foxiest old rascal that ever lived."
"After you make the light this time, take off one of the wires," Dr. Woodward cautioned Fred, as the boy prepared to make the connection. "Then if he takes it again he won't be able to make it light."
Very narrowly the Grandiman watched Fred and after he had recovered from his amazement at seeing the light glow in the boy's hands, when it would not in his own, he demanded that he should have a chance to try it, declaring boastfully that as he was the Grandiman and possessed wonderful magic powers, he should be able to make the light as well as the whitemen.
And as, rather timidly, he attempted it and with no result, his wonder was as great as when he had first seen the light. Over and over again he commanded the boys and Dr. Woodward to produce the peai light, and over and over again he tried it himself without results, until the boys were in fear and trembling that the battery would be exhausted or that the vacuum tube would burn out. But at last, convinced that it was really white man's magic and such as he did not possess, the negro gave up and appeared terribly chagrinned and disappointed.
Then Dr. Woodward again demanded that he and the two boys and the Indian should be released, but the Grandiman again declared that they would have to wait a day or two. The scientist asked why, if be considered them friends, they should not be allowed to go about the city. This question the old rascal evaded, replying in words that Joseph could not understand, and crest-fallen the prisoners returned to their room.
"As long as we have the light we are safe at any rate," declared Dr. Woodward. "He's convinced it is our own magic and that he cannot bring the light."
"Yes, and he'll keep us here just to show it to him," prophesied Fred. "We're a sort of royal entertainers and I don't like the job a bit."
"I wish we had the radio set going or something to give him a real jolt," said Harry. "If we could just scare these fellows enough we could walk away and nobody'd stop us."
"If they were as scary as the Kunas or the Indians here they wouldn't be in the old city," said Fred. "Remember how afraid the Kunas were of that lost city in Darien and of old Billikins? And these fellows aren't a mite afraid of them."
"It's a most interesting condition," declared Dr. Woodward. "Negroes reverting to savagery and taking possession of this ancient city—no doubt they massacred the inhabitants—and accepting the Indians’ gods as fetishes. It's a striking illustration of the distinction between fetish and god worship. The Indian fears his gods and makes offerings while the negro—"
“Gee whittaker, I've got it!" yelled Fred, rudely interrupting his uncle's discourse and leaping into the air.
"Got what?" demanded Harry, wondering what on earth had caused his cousin to dance and leap about and become suddenly so excited.
"A scheme to give the old Panjandrum a jolt!" replied Fred. "It's bully and it'll work, I'll bet. If it does we'll have the whole gang so scared we can clear out."
"Well, what is it?" cried Harry. "I'm with you if it'll give Uncle Tom the shock of his life."
"I'll say it will!" declared Fred. "That's exactly what it will do—shock him. But not the way you meant. Did you notice that throne he sits on—old Billikins?"
"Of course I did," said Harry. "Who wouldn't? But what's that got to do with your scheme?"
"Everything," replied Fred. "What I meant was did you notice the way the old god has gold bands on his arms and wrists and that the old king sits down and rests his elbows or hands on the gold plates?"
"Couldn't put 'em anywhere else," declared Harry. "But for gracious' sake, what's that to do with it?"
Fred was thoroughly enjoying the mystery. "Didn't the old throne make you think of anything?" he asked, grinning at Harry's impatience. "Just think hard and see?"
Dr. Woodward was as interested as Harry. "By Jove!" he exclaimed, "I didn't realize it before, but it was a bit like an electric chair."
"Hurrah, go to the head of the class. Uncle!" cried Fred. "That's it exactly. And I'm going to make it into one. Not that it'll electrocute the old fellow," he added, "but it'll give him the shock of his life, as Harry said."
"Gosh, if you only could!" exclaimed Harry, instantly interested. "But I don't see how it's possible. We haven't any—Gee! you're right. We have a battery and a spark coil. Jiminy, Fred, how are you going to do it?"
"Easy," declared Fred. "I'm going to connect a wire to one of the gold bracelets on the idol and ground the other and when the old king sits down and puts his hand on the gold you're going to see some fun, I'll bet"
"But you haven't any wire and he'll see it, and how are you going to carry that storage battery and spark coil and everything in there without him getting suspicious?" objected Harry.
"We have got the wire," affirmed Fred. "We've the wire that's wound on the tuning coil and there's over a hundred feet of it and it isn't that far from here to the old Billikins' throne. And I'll work the coil from here when the old rascal's in there. And he won't see the wire if we're careful and run it along between the cracks in the stone floor. Oh, it's a jim-dandy scheme."
"Jove, I believe it can be done," agreed Dr. Woodward. "But we must be very careful. We can lay the wire at night, but how will you know when the Grandiman is on the throne or when to turn on your current?"
"I've thought that all out," replied Fred. He's bound to send for us and you can tell him the light's in here and I'll come back for it, the same as I did today, and then turn on the current. We can make it awfully impressive too. After I've gone you can tell the old Panjandrum that if he doesn't let us go the god will be angry and sting him and then you can yell out 'shoot' as loudly as you can and I'll hear and turn on the current. Gee Christopher! I'll bet he won't dare go near his throne for a year afterwards."
All agreed that Fred's scheme would work and all busied themselves preparing the apparatus. The spark coil was in good shape and the storage battery was still charged, and when the insulated wire had been carefully unwound from the radio set's tuning coil it was found to be more than long enough to reach from the prisoners' apartment to the throne room and the idol. Then, in the darkness, the two boys and Dr. Woodward carefully laid the wire along the passageway and across the floor of the great, silent room, hiding it in crevices of the pavement, covering it with dust and dirt, and finally connecting the end to the gold bracelets on the god's arms.
"You'd better run wires to various parts of the idol," suggested the scientist. "It might happen that when you turned on the current the Grandiman did not have his hands against these bands. You've enough wire left and we can connect these strips with the disk on the idol's stomach and with the other gold ornaments, and then the old fellow will be bound to touch one of them."
So, taking his advice, the boys worked, running short wires from one plate of gold to another, until all the pieces of metal that the Grandiman might touch were connected.
"Gee!" suddenly exclaimed Fred. "I'm a boob!"
"What's wrong?" asked his uncle.
"How are we going to ground the current?" replied the boy. "This is all stone."
"Golly, you're right," cried Harry. "Now we're in a fix. We haven't enough wire to connect this gold plate under foot with the battery."
His father chuckled. "I thought you boys were up on electricity," he laughed, "and yet a little thing like this baffles you. All you have to do is to run a short wire into the earth between the stones and connect it to this plate between the idol's legs."
"Well, didn't I say I was a boob," laughed Fred, as the wire was connected as Dr. Woodward directed. "Now I'll try it out," he added. "You stay here, Harry, and stand on the plate and touch your fingers to the gold and see if you feel anything."
Hurrying back to the court, Fred connected the battery to the coil and Harry, although he had been expecting it, gave a suppressed cry and leaped from the idol, as his fingers tingled to the powerful current. "Did you get it?" asked Fred excitedly, as he returned to the room.
"Did I!" exclaimed Harry. "Say, it was like taking hold of a spark plug with the current on. And I've got on shoes and just touched my fingers to the gold bands. If that naked old savage gets that through his body he'll go right up through the roof."
"Only there isn't any roof," his father reminded him. "But I think, as Fred said, he'll get the shock of his life."
So excited were the boys over the prospects of surprising and terrifying the Grandiman that they hardly slept that night, and the following day passed all too slowly. For the first time since their capture they were anxious to be summoned before the negro monarch, and throughout the day, they were worried for fear he might not send for them. Joseph had made no comments as he had watched the boys at work the preceding evening, but he evidently thought some plan was being put into shape to be used to the Grandiman's discomfiture. Fred and Harry tried to explain their scheme to him, but electricity was far beyond his comprehension, and he still looked upon the magic light with no little fear, although he had decided in his mind that it was harmless. But he could grasp the fact that this other peai was intended to injure or frighten the Jakos' king and he grinned broadly, as Fred graphically described how the Grandiman would behave when the peai was brought about.
"Me tellum him feller makeum plenty 'fraid, mebbe makeum die, mebbe makeum run too far," said Fred, and striving in the limited vocabulary of the talky-talky to elucidate matters for the Indian's benefit.
"Eh eh!" exclaimed Joseph. "Mebbe him feller makeum 'fraid plenty, mebbe makeum dead, makeum run, me sabby you feller mebbe makeum walk 'long side me topside this feller place."
"Right you are!" cried Harry. "You're no fool, Joseph. You've got the idea exactly. If old Uncle Tom and his crowd are scared enough they won't notice us and we'll beat it."
The Arekuna looked puzzled, but he got the boy's meaning and grinned more widely than ever. "Mebbe me sabby takeum machete, takeum fish hook," he suggested. "No can makeum walk, no gettum machete."
"Good boy!" cried Fred, slapping the Indian on the back. "We'll have everything ready and if the gang gets on the run we'll grab the things and go while the going's good."
"I don't know," objected Dr. Woodward. "It will be a great risk. It will be dark and we don't know the way and after their first fright is over the negroes will perhaps chase us. Perhaps it would be wiser to remain and trust to frightening the Grandiman sufficiently to induce him to set us free. He may be glad to be rid of us—after he's shocked."
"Well, of course we've got to obey you," said Harry dejectedly. "But I think we'd better make a break for it. If the king's friendly he won't chase us and he won't if he wants to get rid of us. And anyhow, if he's scared enough he'll think we've vanished by magic."
"Hmm, yes, that's true," agreed his father. "There is peril either way, but the greatest danger is getting lost in the darkness."
"I'll bet Joseph won't get lost," declared Fred. "How about it, Joseph? You sabby same way takeum walk topside Wai-Woi place?"
The Indian thought a moment and then, in his quaint jargon, assured the others that he could lead them to the spot where they had had the bandages taken from their eyes, and that if he could not find the same route back under ground he was quite sure he could guide them to some Indian village or a settlement.
"Must for findum river," he declared. "All same findum river, findum town. All river this place makeum run for sea."
"Yes, I rather think we can manage it," admitted the scientist. "So, if results warrant our trying, I'll give the word and we'll try to escape. But don't start off before I tell you or until we're all together."
The boys had little appetites for their evening meal, but Dr. Woodward reminded them that in case they made their escape they would need all their strength and that it might be their last full meal for some time. And to their delight the summons to the throne room came soon after they had eaten.
As Harry, and Fred glanced at the Grandiman they nudged each other and grinned. The old fellow was not only resting his arms on the golden ornaments on the god's wrists, but was leaning back against the great gold disk upon the idol's stomach and both his feet were resting upon the gold plate covering the stone base of the odd throne.
"Gee, I hope he stays like that!" whispered Fred. "If he does,—good night; he'll get the full current everywhere at once. Gosh, I wish I could be here to see him."
Just as the prisoners had expected, the Grandiman ordered them to exhibit the light, and just as they had planned, Dr. Woodward told him it was in the other room. Fred was accordingly sent for it and as soon as he had entered the passage Dr. Woodward told Joseph to inform the king that unless he released them at once the god would be angry and would bring vengeance upon him. He had intended to follow Fred's suggestion about the idol stinging him, but feared the old negro might leave his seat if he did so. For a moment the Grandiman looked a bit frightened. Then an expression of contempt and cunning swept over his ugly face and he informed Joseph that he did not believe the whitemen had any influence with the god, and, moreover, that he had no intention of setting them free until he was good and ready, or until he had been given the secret of the magic light.
"Very well then," said Dr. Woodward, "we'll try and show him."
Pointing his finger at the Grandiman, and taking a quick step forward, so that unconsciously the negro cowered back against the gold disk, the scientist raised his voice and at the top of his lungs shouted "Shoot!"
Hardly had the words left his lips when the Grandiman's face was horribly contorted, his eyes rolled wildly, his whole body quivered and twisted, he uttered a terrible piercing shriek and with a tremendous effort tried to rise. But he seemed to be fastened to the throne.
Instantly two of the Jakos leaped to him and tried to aid him. But no sooner had their hands touched him than they doubled up, shrieking and screaming, writhing and twisting, while the Grandiman bounded from his throne, and yelling like mad, dashed with prodigious leaps for the exit. At sight of their monarch contorted with pain, shrieking as if possessed of demons, the negroes were crazed with terror. As their king came bounding and yelling towards them they broke and ran, striving to get away, stumbling over one another, fighting madly among themselves and blocking the doorway. With savage yells of insane fear and superstitious terror, the Grandiman sprang among them, swinging his great club and leaping over the bodies of his fellows.
Everything but escape from the presence of the god was forgotten; no one gave the least heed to the prisoners; and seizing Harry by the arm, Dr. Woodward, Joseph and the boy dashed down the passage, grasped the machetes and with Fred beside them ran unhindered into the night.
Behind them, in the great red building, all was pandemonium. The yells and shouts of the struggling fear-mad negroes came faintly to the ears of the fugitives, and the few negroes they saw were rushing towards the scene of the uproar and paid no attention to the four scurrying figures.
Straight towards the hills the Indian led them; soon the sounds of the Jakos’ voices were lost, and panting, but overjoyed at the success of their ruse and their escape, the four raced up the hillside and left the city far behind.

IT was fortunate that Joseph accompanied Dr. Woodward and the two boys, for alone they would have been hopelessly lost in the darkness and the jungle-covered hills. But the Indian, with unerring instinct, led them to the exact spot whence they had first looked upon the Golden City and in a few moments had picked up the trail, and along it, stumbling over roots, scratching their faces on branches, tripping in tangled vines, they hurried on. Whether the Jakos would follow, after their first terror was over, the fugitives could not know. But they were taking no chances and their every effort was to put as much distance as possible between themselves and any possible pursuers. Up hill and down the path led, and ever the ears of the four were strained to catch the first distant shouts that might announce the Bush Negroes on their trail.
An hour, two hours passed, another hour went by and the fugitives breathed more freely, but did not slacken their pace. Ever the Arekuna hurried ahead at his jogging walk, his keen eyes piercing the blackness and following every turn and twist of the narrow pathway as readily as though it were broad daylight. The dense shadows became lighter and a faint glow showed between the interlaced branches of the trees when, faintly to their ears, came the dull, far-away roar like a heavy wind.
"The cataract!" exclaimed Dr. Woodward. "We are on the right trail."
But scarcely had he spoken when, louder than the noise of the waterfall, came another sound, a sound that caused the boys to feel faint and brought terror to their hearts—the sound of a human voice,—a distant but unmistakable savage shout.
"Oh gosh, they're after us!" cried Fred. "It's all up with us."
"Yes but they haven't got us yet," panted Harry. "Gee, how I wish we had our guns!"
But it was no time to waste breath in talking. Ever louder before them, roared the cataract and ever closer in their rear, came the occasional shout of their pursuers. It was rapidly becoming light, there was no chance to turn aside or to hide. The Jakos would ferret them out, would trail them anywhere, and all felt that their minutes were numbered. To be sure, even if they were taken, they might not be killed; but not one of the four had any desire to be carried back to that ruined city and the savage Grandiman. As long as they could put one foot before another, they would keep on, would use every ounce of their strength to get away, and yet not one could see a chance for ultimate escape unless some miracle happened.
Now the roar of the waterfall was thundering ahead, and as they half-slid, half-scrambled down a steep, rocky slope they could feel the earth tremble and shake to the terrific fall. Then the pathway bent sharply to one side, it passed between immense blocks of stone and the noise was deafening. Nearer and nearer together were the masses of rock, the trail plunged into a tunnellike crevice, and the next moment Joseph halted and uttered an exclamation of wonder. They had come out into an immense cavern; water dripped from the roof and trickled down the walls, and before them, like a gigantic white curtain, was a stupendous mass of falling water, translucent, and filling the cavern with a weird greenish light as the rays of the rising sun streamed through it.
"The falls!" shouted Dr. Woodward, placing his mouth close to the boys' ears. "We are behind them."
But Joseph was again hurrying on. With signs, for he could not make his voice heard above the terrific thunder of the falls, he pointed to the wet rocky floor and ahead, and the three, knowing he was still upon the trail, followed at his heels.
So close to the falling sheet of water that the spray dashed in their faces, and by stretching out their arms they could have touched the cataract, the way led, until, rounding a jutting rock, the boys saw brilliant sunlight streaming into the cavern.
Then, despite the danger of the Jakos in their rear, the four stopped and gazed in amazement. Before them the wall of water was divided, leaving an open space barely five feet in width. And at this spot, fastened to jutting rocks within the cavern, and stretching like a spider's web between the roaring avalanches of water and across a foaming, tumbling, churning torrent filled with sharp, jagged black rocks, was a slender bridge of lianas.
"Gosh!" cried Harry, drawing back. "Must we cross that?"
"Oh, I can't!" shouted Fred.
"Yes, you can," yelled his uncle. "We came that way and we can go back. It's safe enough. Come on."
But as the boys gazed at the fragile, swaying, unsteady bridge spanning that maelstrom below the falls, and barely two feet in width, their courage failed them for once. The very thought of attempting to cross that narrow footway of vines, with the seething torrent plunging over the rocks fifty feet below, made them dizzy and they cowered, trembling and faint at heart, in the cavern.
There was no time for hesitation. Joseph was already stepping out upon the frail pathway, and rapidly stripping the boys' kerchiefs from their necks, the scientist blindfolded them. Then, with the Indian leading Fred, and guiding Harry himself, he hurried across the swinging, undulating suspension bridge. Not daring to glance down, his own nerves shaken, his head swimming, Dr. Woodward was obliged to use every bit of his will power, all his self-control, to maintain his balance and to cross the terrible chasm with the thunder of the cataract behind him. But at last it was accomplished. A few steps ahead rose the rocky shore and its jungle. Joseph was already stepping from the bridge when a wild shout that rose above the thunder of the falls caused the scientist to clear the few remaining steps with a bound and to wheel about.
And all hope left him at the sight which greeted his eyes. Leaping from the cavern under the falls onto the bridge, was a huge Jako, and in the dim shadows of the cave he could see others crowding. There was no doubt that they were bent on destroying the white men. Even as Dr. Woodward gained the shore and the boys tore the handkerchiefs from their eyes, a shower of long arrows sped from the cavern and plunged into the rushing water at the fugitives' feet. In a moment the savages would be swarming over the bridge. Long before the tired boys could clamber up the precipitous trail before them the negroes would be within bowshot. Already the foremost negro was a dozen feet out upon the bridge and his comrades were pressing in his rear.
At that instant Joseph gave a hoarse, piercing yell, the savage war cry of the Arekunas, and leaped past the scientist and the two boys, a machete in his hand. With a bound he reached the stout vine cables that supported the bridge. Once, twice, thrice, his machete flashed. There was a ripping snap, and transfixed, speechless, the boys saw the bridge sway, sag, swing far to one side, as the vines parted. With a fearful shriek that rose high above the roar of the waters, the Jakos clutched wildly at the madly swaying bridge and turning, strove to retreat. But the others behind blocked the way. Before those upon the bridge could gain the cavern, Joseph was hacking at the second cable. The next instant, the final strand snapped, the bridge dropped into the racing torrent beneath, and with one, wild, despairing cry the foremost Jako plunged with it into the maelstrom.
Faint with weariness, weak from the ordeal they had undergone, overcome by the sight they had just witnessed, Harry and Fred dropped to the ground.
Thank heaven we are safe for a time!" exclaimed Dr. Woodward fervently.
Joseph stuck his machete through the belt of his breech-clout and grinned. "Me sabby him plenty bad feller," he remarked. "Me tellum no makeum plenty bad more. Me tellum must gettum plenty peai for no makeum dead this time." He nodded significantly towards the plunging torrent into which the unfortunate Jako had been swept.
"Gee, it was awful!" cried Fred, as he recovered his breath and his shaken senses.
"Yes," agreed Harry. "But the most awful part was crossing that bridge. Jimmy, I'll dream about it the rest of my life. I'm not sorry for that Bush Nigger though. He was doing his best to kill us."
"Well, we're not responsible for him anyhow," said Fred. "But I think it was bully of Joseph to save us that way."
But when Dr. Woodward and the boys tried to thank the Indian he merely grinned, shrugged his shoulders, and remarked. "Me tellum you feller must for gettum machete. No haveum machete, no makeum plenty run away that feller."
"Come, boys," said Dr. Woodward. "We mustn't wait here. Those fellows may have another trail around the falls. But, Jove, what a cataract! It's larger than Kaietuerk."
It was with the utmost difficulty that the tired boys dragged themselves up the slope, and presently Joseph announced that there was no trail. In vain they searched. All about were the broken, lichen-covered rocks thrown helter-skelter, as though tossed about by some giant hand. Among them and finding a roothold in the crevices were trees, bushes and spiny-leaved aloes, and at last, giving up in despair, the four worked their way, inch by inch, among the enormous boulders, following the only route possible, towards the summit of the ridge.
"The entrance to that underground tunnel is somewhere among those rocks," declared Dr. Woodward, as they stopped to get their breaths and to rest when half-way up the steep mountainside. "That's why we could find no trail. Probably the entrance is closed by a balanced rock which is indistinguishable from the others to one not in the secret."
"Well, we must get out somewhere," panted Fred. "Maybe, when we get to the top, we can see where we are."
But when, after nearly three hours' heartbreaking, muscle-straining climbing, they gained the summit, Joseph looked about and admitted that he had not the least idea where he was.
Half a mile away, the stupendous cataract poured over the rocky brink, and one huge, up-jutting boulder, that split the stream at the very verge of the falls, revealed the mystery of the break in the water through which they had passed from the cavern. Far below them, the foaming torrent they had safely crossed wound like a thread of white between the precipitous sides of an immense awe-inspiring gorge, that extended, like a titanic gash in the earth, for miles and miles into the dim distance.
In vain the Indian searched the horizon for some peak, some mountain that he could recognize. Aside from the gorge and the flat, rocky plateau on which they stood, there was nothing but unbroken, level forest extending to the horizon. There was but one of two things to do. They must either travel up stream, in the hope of finding an Indian camp, or must descend into the gorge and follow the foaming torrent to the sea, for a short examination proved conclusively that it was impossible to follow the river down stream along the summit of the plateau. Everywhere it was cut by great fissures, enormous cañons impossible to cross, and extending down as sheer as though cut by a gigantic saw for a thousand feet or more.
And to descend into the gorge meant terrific labor while no one could say if, when they gained the bottom, they would find a passable way along the gorge.
Joseph poised himself upon a jutting rock at the edge of the terrific abyss and gazed long and steadfastly into the great chasm, studying the tumbled rock masses, the gnarled trees, the winding rock-filled stream. Presently he turned.
"No makeum walk that side," he announced. "No can makeum walk all same foots, no can makeum walk woodskin. Must for makeum walk topside."
There was no choice left to them. They must go up stream; must penetrate still farther into the wilderness. They were lost in the heart of the unknown land.

THERE was one consolation in their predicament. There was no sign of the Jakos and when, at the end of the first day's weary tramp, they made camp, they felt quite sure that they were safe from the negroes.
The plateau fell away in a sheer wall on the side towards the old city, and Dr. Woodward expressed the opinion that the only way that the Bush Negroes could gain the tableland was by the bridge which Joseph had destroyed in the nick of time.
"I believe this high area with its sheer side has served as a barrier to keep the Jakos out," he said.
"But, Dad," objected Harry, "we met one way up there by the Wai-Wois' village."
"Undoubtedly he came over the bridge and by the underground route," replied his father.
"Some of them must have got over there in order to build the bridge," commented Fred. "How did they manage?"
"That's a question that cannot be answered," declared the scientist. "There may have been a bridge there for centuries. The fact that the negroes used the old subterranean tunnel to the idol and the cave of the skulls points to their having learned the secret from the original inhabitants of Manoa. No doubt they had a bridge, and after the Jakos killed the Indians off, they probably maintained the bridge as before."
"Well, I don't care how they built it or when," yawned Harry. "It'll be some job for them to make another and if we're safe until then I'm satisfied."
Joseph had cut a staff and a number of long, slender canes as they had marched along during the day, and he was now busy whittling and shaving the hard wood into a bow and fashioning arrows from the canes. With fibre obtained from a long-leaved plant which he called silk grass, he deftly twisted thread and cord, and with this strung his bow and bound heads of fire-hardened palm wood to his arrows.
The boys thought the weapons crude and had little faith in the Indian's ability to kill game with them, but when, after a half hour in the jungle the following morning, he returned with a wild turkey, their opinions underwent a great change.
"Hurrah, we won't go hungry at any rate," cried Fred. "That fish we caught yesterday may have been all right, but I'd hate to live on fish as a steady thing."
"Golly, yes," agreed Harry. "Say, we're lucky Joseph is along."
All through the forenoon the party continued on their way and though the Arekuna studied the stream at frequent intervals he declared it was still too swift to use woodskins. As the boys were exhausted, Dr. Woodward then suggested that Joseph should devote the afternoon to exploring the country to the west in the hope of finding a better route or another stream. The boys were only too glad of the chance to rest but when, at nightfall, the Indian returned, bringing a paca he had killed, he reported that the western edge of the plateau fell off as sharply as the eastern side.
"Jove!" ejaculated Dr. Woodward. "I believe we are on the summit of one of those isolated masses of rock, like Roraima. Not as high, but the same formation and far larger. In that case we may find that the only place we can descend is back by the cataract."
"But how can there be a big river on such a place?" asked Fred.
"No reason why not, if the mountain is large enough," replied his uncle. "This great butte may be several hundred miles long and in Guiana a large river can be formed in that distance."
But whatever the case, there was nothing to be done but go on, and for day after day the weary four followed the course of the rapid-filled stream towards the south. Then, one day, they came to a spot where the river forked and a second stream flowed, almost as large as the other, towards the east. "Here we are!" cried the scientist jubilantly. "We can follow that down and will eventually reach the sea."
"Unless we come to another cataract and have to come all the way back," said Harry. "Gee, I'm beginning to think we'll never get away from here."
"And it may lead us right into that Bush Nigger country again," said Fred.
"Hardly," declared Dr. Woodward. "And it's a chance we must take. We are getting farther and farther from civilization by going South. If we keep on we'll find ourselves in Brazil, and we must strive to work north or east or west. If this stream goes north we'll be all right and if it flows east it no doubt empties into one of the Dutch Guiana rivers. No, there's not one chance in a thousand that there are two such cataracts as the one we saw. And possibly we can use a woodskin on this stream. How about it, Joseph?"
The Indian watched the water for a time. "Me tellum mebbe one, two, day makeum woodskin," he replied.
Encouraged at the thought of being able to travel easily and swiftly by canoe, the party tramped on through the dense forest. It was impossible to follow along the river bank and in a few hours even the sound of running water was lost. But on the second day Joseph led the way to the right; they descended a gentle slope, and pushing through a dense growth of giant canes and bamboos, came out upon the low and sandy banks of the river. Between them and the farther bank, the river flowed swiftly but smoothly and free from rapids and rocks, and the Arekuna announced that it was navigable for a woodskin. But then another difficulty arose. Although Joseph searched everywhere he could not find a tree whose bark was suitable for making a canoe.
The boys were discouraged as they thought of endless days of tramping and felt that their luck had deserted them.
Dr. Woodward was thinking deeply. '' I have it!" he exclaimed, jumping up. "We'll build a raft."
"It'll be harder work cutting down trees for that than walking," declared Harry. "It makes mc tired just to think of chopping them down with machetes."
His father laughed. "Yes, that would be a bit beyond us, if we had to cut hard wood trees," he said. "But we can build a raft without chopping down a single hard wood tree or any tree worthy of the name."
And as the scientist explained his scheme, the boys brightened up and all through the afternoon the four worked, cutting and hauling the material for their raft and by sundown they had everything ready to commence building the contrivance the next morning.
The material they had cut had been a surprise to the boys. Joseph, after hearing the scientist's plans, had selected four great trees with smooth, greenish trunks and broad, hand-shaped leaves, and to the boys' amazement had felled one after the other with a few strokes of his machete. These Dr. Woodward had called "trumpet trees" and the boys found that they were merely giant tubes, hollow in the centre, and divided into sections or compartments like bamboo. Although each of the logs was over a foot in diameter and fully fifteen feet in length, they were so light that the two boys had no difficulty in handling them. These were rolled onto the beach and placed two feet apart, resting upon lengths of stout bamboo eleven feet long. On top of the logs, other sections of bamboo were placed and the ends of the pieces of bamboo above and below the logs were then lashed firmly together with lianas. By twisting these "bush ropes" with short sticks thrust between them, the ends of the bamboos were bent together somewhat and between each of the logs other lashings of vines were drawn from the lower to the upper bamboos.
Finally each log was firmly bound to every bamboo crosspiece, and by noon the raft was completed. Although exceedingly strong, yet the lianas and bamboos were flexible and would yield to strains instead of breaking apart, and when the rude craft was pushed into the water it floated buoyantly. But still it was wet and uncomfortable, for each time the raft moved the water slopped up between the logs. The following morning the boys and Dr. Woodward worked at decking the raft with split bamboo and cane, while Joseph hacked some of the thin, slab-like roots of a hard wood tree into rough paddles.
Although everything was ready soon after noon, all were tired with their unaccustomed labor, and mooring the raft with a liana, the four spent the afternoon resting.
At dawn the raft was pulled to shore, the boys and Dr. Woodward climbed on board and Joseph pushed the affair into the river and leaped onto it. For a moment, as it was caught in the swift current, it whirled round and round in dizzying fashion, but with a paddle at one end, the Indian soon steadied it and heading down stream, the raft and its four passengers swept swiftly past the cane covered shores with their background of forest.
"Hurrah!" shouted Harry. "We're on our way."
"Yes, and we don't know where we're going," added Fred. "Golly, this is a heap better than walking."
Every one was in high spirits. After their weary tramping it was luxury indeed to sit upon the buoyant raft and see the jungle speed by, and for hour after hour they floated swiftly along, the raft bearing them safely and dry above the water and with no effort on their part except to steer their craft away from the few rocks in the stream and from the points and bends of the shores.
And the boys grew wildly excited as, time after time, tapir, deer, peccary and other game were seen and they constantly lamented the fact that they had no guns. But there was no danger of going without food in such a game country, as long as Joseph was along, while the abundance and tameness of the animals and birds made all confident that there was little danger of human enemies. At noon the raft was run ashore, a fire was built and a fat capybara was cooked, and then they once more continued on their way down stream. When they camped that night they were many miles from their starting point and all were highly elated at their success.
“At this rate we'll soon be down to Indian camps or settlements," declared the scientist. "And even if we come to falls or rapids we can go around and can build another raft or a woodskin below the broken water."
"Well, we couldn't at that other cataract," said Harry.
"Ah, but that was most exceptional," replied his father. "Our chances are all in favor of being able to continue down stream with only short interruptions, and within the week we should be out of the unknown district. No matter where we come out we'll be within easy reach of civilization."
The next day and the next they continued down the river, everything going smoothly, until on the third day, as they floated around a sharp bend, they were startled by an ominous sound from ahead, the unmistakable noise of rushing, tumbling water, the warning of a series of rapids or a fall.
Seizing their paddles all strove to force the raft to shore, but too late. In vain they strained and worked, urged on by desperation. The current had become suddenly swifter and irresistibly, despite every effort, the raft whirled and swung and shot forward at terrific speed.
The next instant Joseph uttered a warning cry of terror for, straight ahead, not a dozen yards distant, and stretching from shore to shore, was a line of dashing, tossing, frothing waves that roared between ragged, black fangs of rock. Straight towards the raging rapids the raft dashed madly. To spring into the stream would be certain death, no swimmer could stem that swirling flood, and the only hope was to cling desperately to the raft and trust to luck that it might escape destruction.
With a shout to hold fast, to the boys, Dr. Woodward flung himself flat upon the bobbing, leaping raft, and with the boys beside him, they grasped the tough lashings and held on for their lives.
The next moment the raft was lifted, flung into air as if by an explosion below; with a sickening jar it was dashed against a stone; it spun like a top, and over the terrified boys swept the furious waters. For what seemed hours they lay there, digging their toes into the spaces between the bamboos, clinging to the lianas, choking, drowning, suffocating, expecting each second to be torn from their frail support, while the raft dove, twisted, rose on end and jerked about like a bucking bronco.
Then, as their heads seemed bursting, as their fingers seemed about to give way, the water parted, the raft rose to the surface, and drawing long, grateful breaths of the blessed air, the three looked about to find their raft floating quietly on a broad, tranquil pool below the falls.
But Joseph was nowhere to be seen. Somewhere, during that fearful passage, he had been torn from the raft, drowned in the torrent, and dazed, benumbed, speechless at their loss, the two boys and the scientist gazed at one another in hopeless despair. Without the Indian they were doomed to an awful fate. Even if they could make a bow and arrows they realized they could not use the weapons with any success. Their fish hooks and lines were all that stood between them and starvation. Their matches were soaked; they had only the clothes they stood in, without a weapon, a utensil or a necessity, and they were adrift upon an unknown river in the heart of the unknown jungle.
Still dazed, they slowly, listlessly, paddled the raft to shore with their hands, and dejectedly, chilled with the cold water, flung themselves upon the sun-warmed rocks.
Suddenly Dr. Woodward started. From the bushes in their rear came the sounds of some creature approaching. Silently the scientist reached out and picked up a heavy stone. It might be a deer, a paca or a capybara and if the creature approached unsuspiciously a well aimed rock might provide a meal. The next instant the scientist leaped to his feet, the stone dropped from his hand and he uttered an exclamation of incredulous amazement.
Pushing through the thick brush, a broad grin on his face, was Joseph!
The three upon the shore could scarcely credit their senses. It seemed utterly impossible that any human being could have survived the rapids after being washed from the raft. It had been a terrible ordeal for Dr. Woodward and the boys, even with the raft to support them and to cling to, and yet, here was the Indian, walking calmly through the bush and apparently as fresh, strong and unharmed as ever.
"Gosh! Gee whittaker!" exclaimed Harry.
"Golly it is Joseph!" cried Fred.
"Eh, eh!" ejaculated the Arekuna. "Me tellum me sabby him plenty bad falls. Me thinkum you feller plenty dead. How you makeum for so?"
Evidently Joseph was quite as much astonished to find Dr. Woodward and the two boys alive and unharmed as they were at his appearance, for when he had been washed from the raft and had gained the shore he had seen no signs of his companions or the raft and had felt sure the frail structure had been driven to pieces on the rocks and its passengers drowned. The fact that he had been able to reach land through the fearful torrent did not appear at all remarkable to him, for like all his race, he could swim like a fish and dozens of times had found himself struggling in falls and rapids when his woodskins had been capsized or swamped.
To be sure, he had lost his bow and arrows, but his machete was still in his belt and a short search about the shores of the pool below the falls revealed his primitive weapons unharmed.
"Me must for makeum hunt," he announced, as he reappeared carrying his bow and arrows. "Must for makeum eat same time."
"All right," assented Dr. Woodward. "But we'll have to eat raw meat. All our matches are ruined and we can't make a fire."
The Indian grinned. "Me sabby, makeum fire," he replied. "Me gettum meat, me cookum same time."
Without another word he slipped into the bush.
"I'd like to know how he'll do it," commented Fred.
"Maybe he's got a flint and steel," suggested Harry.
"Whatever method he uses we may be sure he'll succeed," declared the scientist. "We'll have to wait and see."
And they were not compelled to wait long. In a very short time the Indian returned with an agouti, and throwing down his game, he glanced about and stepped towards a low palm tree. Climbing quickly up the trunk, he cut the flower-stalks from the tree and descended. Then, whittling one piece into a slender spindle and cutting a notch in the other, he squatted on the sand, held the notched bit of dead stem between his toes and placing one end of the spindle in the notch he twirled it rapidly back and forth between his palms.
The boys watched him interestedly.
"Say, I've heard of making fire by rubbing two sticks together," exclaimed Harry. "But I never thought it could be done. I'll bet we're some hungry before he makes a fire that way."
Hardly had he spoken when a little wisp of smoke rose from the wood between the Indian's feet. Blowing upon the glowing wood, Joseph soon had a blaze, and half an hour later, they were all dining upon the broiled agouti.
All were, however, too exhausted from their experience in the rapids to think of resuming their journey that day, and they camped for the night beside the pool under a rude lean-to shelter of palm leaves constructed by the resourceful Arekuna.
On the following morning they again embarked upon their raft, but within an hour after starting they once more heard the warning roar of broken water ahead and hastily paddled the raft ashore, only too thankful that this time they had escaped going through the falls. The Indian went on through the bush to inspect the rapids and see if it were possible to continue by river below them, but he brought back a discouraging report. The stream, he declared, was filled with rocks and was a long series of rapids with steep, rocky banks, and all hopes of continuing by the easy means of a raft were abandoned for the present.
"Never mind, boys," said Dr. Woodward cheerily. "We've had an easy time for several days and we can no doubt take to the river again farther down. Sooner or later we're bound to find smooth water again."
"I'm afraid it will be later, rather than sooner," declared Harry. "But even hiking through the bush is better than running rapids on that raft."
All that day they toiled on their way, across rocky ridges and through deep, shadowy ravines filled with a tangle of twisted vines, fallen trees and impenetrable thickets of saw-grass, thorn trees and cactus, and though the Indian always chose the easiest way, he was obliged to hack a pathway with his machete for mile after mile.
They camped that night in a narrow, sheltered cañon, dining on a wild turkey the Indian secured, and with weary limbs resumed their journey at dawn. They had now left the river far behind and despite the Indian's statements that he knew the stream's whereabouts and would work back towards it as he proceeded, the boys and Dr. Woodward began to have misgivings. It seemed impossible to them that any one could maintain any sense of direction in this wild, broken mountainous country, but they trusted implicitly to Joseph and followed his lead. If anything, the way was even more difficult than on the day before. The jungle was thicker, the hillsides steeper. Slipping, sliding and stumbling down the sides of the ravines, picking their way across sharp, flinty ridges and fording trickling streams of icy cold mountain water, they trudged onward. Sore, scratched, bruised and utterly tired out, they crept into a tiny cavern in a rocky cliffside for the night, and from the temperature of the air, which made the boys shiver as they huddled over the fire in the cave, Dr. Woodward judged that they were at a very high altitude.
"I think we're at the very summit of the plateau or the mountains," he declared. "That's encouraging. If it is so, tomorrow we shall begin descending and the chances are all in favor of finding the river navigable."
And to the boys' delight they found, when they started on their way the following morning, that the scientist had been right. It was still rough, broken country, but mostly downhill, and every hour the air became warmer, the forest more open and the bare rocks and ledges fewer. By nightfall they were again in the forest of huge trees, dripping with moisture, reeking with the dank smell of decaying vegetation and with no hint of chill in the air. The country too was almost level, and on the next morning, the Indian swung to the right towards the distant river, confident that they would find the stream navigable. Throughout the forenoon they kept on, the land rising gradually in an easy slope, and lunch was eaten in a park-like forest of great trees, their trunks forming aisle-like vistas filled with soft shadows, and their limbs draped with lianas and flowering vines. Here there was no underbrush, no dense jungle, and over the soft carpet of damp earth and rotting leaves the party resumed their journey after their midday meal.
Joseph was well in the lead, keeping ever on the alert for game, when, about mid-afternoon, the boys saw brighter light between the trees ahead and cried out with delight, for all felt sure that they were nearing the verge of forest with the river beyond. Elated, they hurried on, when suddenly, Joseph crouched low, held up his hand for silence and instantly the others halted, thinking the Indian had sighted game. But the Arekuna did not fit an arrow to his bowstring, did not make a move as if to shoot. Silently, immovably he crouched there, gazing steadfastly ahead. Then, with one hand, he beckoned for the others to draw near, and wondering, not understanding what the Indian could have seen, the boys and Dr. Woodward crawled to his side.
Almost at their feet the earth ended in a sheer precipice and at its base—a full thousand feet beneath and stretching away for miles—was a great sunlit valley. And as they gazed the three gasped, utterly astounded at the sight, for the entire valley gleamed like a sea of blood.
It was the most wonderful, most beautiful, most amazing thing they had ever seen. A vast expanse of vivid scarlet, broken only by the silvery thread of a river that wound and curved through its centre and by little open patches of green; a truly marvelous sight.
"Golly!" gasped Fred. "What is it?"
Dr. "Woodward was peering, striving to fathom the mystery of the blazing color.
"Foliage," he replied in a low voice, "or flowers. The place is filled with some form of red vegetation. It's the most remarkable, the most incredible sight I've ever looked upon."
"Gosh, yes!" agreed Harry. "But say, look at the river. It's all right for a raft. If we can get down there we can go on by water. Come on, let's try."
Joseph seemed absolutely hypnotized as he gazed at the scarlet valley. "Eh, eh!" he exclaimed at last, drawing back from the verge of the cliff, "Me sabby him place plenty peai!"

IT was really little wonder that the Indian looked upon the place as supernatural. It seemed preposterous, like some weird dream, or like a scene such as might be expected on Mars, and it was hard indeed for the boys and Dr. Woodward to believe it was real or to withdraw their eyes from the spot. But fascinated as they were, they realized that if they were to descend to the valley and the riverside, they must be up and doing, for the afternoon was waning. They were upon the summit of a precipice and only a glance was required to assure them that it was beyond the means of any human being to descend the sheer cliff; but as the river flowed through the valley it was obvious that it must find its way down the rocky walls, and rising, Joseph led the way to the right. Within half an hour they came unexpectedly to the edge of the forest and found themselves on the shore of a great lake in the midst of the jungle. The upper end of the placid sheet of water was lost among the brush and trees upon its banks, but near where they stood, the lower end washed against a low, rocky barrier covered with a sparse growth of ferns and bushes. Apparently there was no outlet to this forest lake and yet, dim and faint in the distance, they could hear the sound of falling water.
For a few moments the Indian hesitated, bending his head and listening intently, and then, as if sure of himself, he turned and led the way through a dense jungle of thick vines and small growth that covered the sides of a rough, deep gorge. And as the four slipped and picked their way down the declivity they caught glimpses of the strange scarlet valley between the trees and vines, and realized they were getting nearer and nearer to their goal. Each moment too, the roar of falling water became louder, and presently, rounding a turn in the cañon walls, they saw the cataract ahead. Before them, and towering fully two hundred feet above the valley, rose an almost perpendicular wall and half way up its face a great, white, column of water rushed outward through a rounded, tunnel-like opening in the solid rock. Straight into the air it shot for nearly a hundred feet, to spread and fall in an immense, fan-shaped, dazzling mass to the valley far beneath. It was an awe inspiring sight; this great scimitar of flashing water bathed in a veil of prismatic mist, and forced with irresistible power, through a fissure in the rocky cliff by a pressure of countless millions of tons of water pent in the great lake by the marvelous natural dam of rock.
"Gosh!" cried Fred, as they gazed in wonder at the strange phenomenon. "It looks like that break in the wall in the lost city, that time after the earthquake knocked down the old aqueduct."
"Yes, and it would be good-bye to that valley if this rock were shaken by a quake," said Harry.
"There are no earthquakes in Guiana—that is, no severe ones," said Dr. Woodward, "and no danger. You must remember this has been here for untold ages. That aqueduct in the lost city was a flimsy, man-made affair, while this wall is as enduring as the mountains themselves."
"I hope we won't be here long enough to let it break," declared Harry. "Let's get on down to the river."
But as they saw the only way by which they could descend farther, they hesitated. Ahead, there was nothing but the sheer precipice while the only foothold was a narrow shelf of rock leading directly under the stupendous, spouting, roaring mass of water. But the Indian did not hesitate, and so anxious were the boys to reach the river far beneath them, that despite their tingling nerves and their fear at attempting the dizzying passage, they followed after him. Crawling along, clinging to the rough cliffside, and trembling, the boys made their way, holding back but an instant as over their heads thundered the huge sheet of water.
But all passed safely, and reaching the opposite side of the cliff, they found a rough rock-strewn defile or gully leading down towards the valley.
If the place had appeared beautiful and marvelous beyond words from above, it seemed even more wonderful as the four left the end of the rocky trail behind and stepped onto a smooth green glade which stretched along the banks of a small river. All stood silent, gazing about at the scene around them. Everywhere, beyond the little stretch of grassy meadow, rose great, broad-trunked, towering trees, their branches growing in a dense, impenetrable tangle of intertwining limbs, and with hanging aerial roots like banyan trees, the whole forming an almost solid network, a veritable roof, far above the earth. But it was not their trunks or their matted branches which held the attentions of the four who stood there in the strange valley, but the great banner-like leaves of the trees. Huge they were, broad, a yard or more in length, and all a vivid, blazing, intense scarlet.
Then, as they stared at this wonderful foliage, they were aware of an odd musical sound, a note that rose and fell like the strumming of a guitar, and seemingly coming from the direction of the river.
"There's someone here," declared the scientist, breaking the silence. "Someone playing some musical instrument."
Cautiously peering ahead, they stepped towards the stream, while Joseph, visibly nervous and troubled and muttering "peai," held back with bow half drawn and arrow ready for instant use.
But there was no sign of human beings within sight as they gained the river bank, and yet, the music was there, a mysterious, weird sound appearing to come from everywhere at once. Even the boys became uneasy. Nothing like it had ever come to there ears before, and they glanced nervously about and crowded closer to the scientist as the four stood there, baffled, puzzled and wondering.
Suddenly Dr. Woodward laughed. "It's the river!" he exclaimed.
"The river," reiterated Fred. "How can the river make that music?"
"It's a so-called 'singing river,'" explained his uncle. "They are not uncommon in other parts of the world. The sound is caused by loose stones moved about by the current on the bed of the stream and tinkling against one another, the sound being magnified by the water."
"Maybe," said Fred with a tone of relief. "But just the same it's mighty uncanny."
"The whole place is uncanny," declared Harry. "I don't like it. Who ever heard of red trees and singing rivers and that big spout of water? I vote we make a boat and get out of here."
"No time today," said his father. "We'll have to camp here tonight and start early tomorrow. And I don't see anything uncanny about this place. It's marvelous—incredibly wonderful— but nothing unnatural about it. Many trees have red leaves—crotons and coleus and others are grown for the sake of their colored leaves—and you've seen plenty of Poinsetta at Christmas time. The strange part of it is that here we have a whole forest of one kind of red-leaved trees. And singing rivers are well known. You're nervous, boys, and—"
His words were interrupted by a harsh, metallic cry, and instantly everyone wheeled and stared into the trees in the direction from which the sound had come. Among the branches there was a flash of dazzling purple, and upon a dead branch, in plain view, alighted the most gorgeously beautiful bird any of the four had ever seen. Instantly Dr. Woodward recognized it as a trogan; but such a trogan as no white man had ever dreamed existed. In form it was similar to the resplendent trogan or quetzal,—the sacred bird of the Aztecs—but three times as large and a thousand times more vivid, more wonderful in color. From its head a great, curved crest fell forward over its beak and down its neck while, from above its tail, long, graceful, fern-like plumes extended for several feet. And from head to tail the creature was intense royal-purple, shining and gleaming with myriad hues of violet, gold and magenta as the light played upon its plumage, while from shoulder to shoulder across the breast, stretched a broad, milk-white band edged with intense crimson.
All this the boys and Dr. Woodward took in at a glance. The next instant there was the sharp twang of a bowstring beside them, the Indian's long arrow flashed upward, and with fluttering wings, the gloriously beautiful bird came tumbling to earth, transfixed by the shaft.
Eagerly Dr. Woodward picked up the wonderful creature, while beside him, the two boys gazed with wondering admiration at the indescribably beautiful bird that no white man had ever before seen.
"Golly, isn't he beautiful!" ejaculated Fred.
"Wonderful!" agreed his uncle. "And I think it a totally unknown species. We must save the skin, or at least the feathers, to take back. Ornithologists will go mad about it."
"It's a shame to kill it," declared Harry.
"Mebbe him good for eatum," muttered Joseph in matter-of-fact tones.
As he spoke, the discordant scream of another of the birds issued from the tree tops, and as the four wheeled about, they caught a glimpse of a second purple bird flashing away on swift-moving wings.
At the same instant there was a movement among the scarlet leaves and some large, dark body showed through the foliage. Instantly the Arekuna drew his bow. Here was game, a monkey or some other good-sized creature, and with a twang of the string the arrow sped unerringly on its mission. The next moment the branches bent and thrashed about, and a huge, dark, ape-like body came hurtling, crashing to the ground. Instantly, before the astounded boys or the scientist could rush forward to see what it was, pandemonium broke loose above their heads and screams, cries and yells resounded from the tree tops, while the branches swayed and trembled as unseen, invisible beings leaped and rushed among them.
Horror stricken, seized with mortal terror, the four turned and fled wildly towards the open glade by the river. The Indian, mad with superstitious fear, was in the lead and had almost reached the open ground when he threw up his arms, the bow and arrows dropped from his hands and he plunged headlong to the earth. And as they dashed by him the boys paled and shuddered, for sticking from one of the Indian's shoulders was a tiny, tufted dart—the deadly poisoned arrow from a blowgun!
With mad shrieks of deadly terror they raced on, nauseated, sick at heart, at the sudden death of Joseph, expecting any moment to feel the twinge of a poisoned dart in their own bodies and to meet his fate, and hoping against hope to escape the murderous beings who lurked in the tree tops of this weird scarlet valley. Spurred on by blind fright, Dr. Woodward and the boys dashed towards the river, gained its bank, and driven almost insane by the savage, awful cries of rage from the forest behind them, plunged head first into the stream.
But scarcely had the water closed over them when a new and terrible fear gripped them. They had expected to find shallow water, a placidly flowing stream through which they could wallow or swim. Instead, they sank deep into a swirling, eddying current that swept them irresistibly along, sucking them beneath the surface and spinning them about like bits of chaff.
Struggling, striking out desperately, the boys, who were splendid swimmers, used every effort, every endeavor, to keep themselves from being swept under, while Dr. Woodward strove with superhuman efforts to aid the boys, and each time his mouth came to the surface he shouted words of encouragement. But the terror of the unseen, unknown savages had driven all sense from their brains. Excitedly, madly, they thrashed about, struggling, exhausting their strength, the water filling their lungs, until they felt themselves drowning, losing consciousness.
Then, just as they felt that all was over, as their senses became numbed, they felt bottom beneath their feet, they kicked and struggled convulsively, and dropped senseless upon a sand bar.
Almost unconscious they lay there, gasping for breath, scarcely remembering the awful screams in the scarlet trees, the death of Joseph or their own fears and danger; only knowing, only realizing that they still lived, that they had escaped death in the river. Then slowly, gradually, it dawned upon them that they could hear the sounds of voices, coming apparently from far away. Very strange they sounded, hoarse, guttural, discordant, and instantly all their former terror swept back upon them and with hearts filled with horror they sat up. For a moment their heads swam dizzily and everything was an indistinct blur. Then their visions cleared and they looked about.
They were resting upon a bar of gravel near the river's edge, their feet still in the water, and beside them Dr. Woodward was just raising himself on one elbow. But as the eyes of the three turned to the river's bank their blood seemed to cease flowing through their veins; they felt sick, nauseated, frozen with horror and fear. Crouching upon the shore, and with one of their number within a few feet of the boys, were a score or more of the strangest, most terrifying beings human eyes had ever looked upon.
That they were human was evident, but they were the most repulsively hideous men that the wildest fancy could conceive. Beside them the old Grandiman would have been a beauty, and the boys felt that they must be in the throes of some awful nightmare, or suffering an hallucination from their near drowning, as they gazed, speechless and paralyzed with dread, at the scarcely human creatures. Black as coal, with bowed legs and enormous flat feet, stooping shoulders and long powerful arms, they appeared like a troop of monsters rather than men. Their faces were broad, flat and brutal, with high cheek bones, enormously developed jaws, small turned-up, flat noses and little, roving, restless eyes that reminded the boys of those of an elephant. Their chins were covered with a growth of thick, matted beard and a mop of tangled hair overhung their foreheads and fell over their shoulders and backs like a mane. But despite their hideousness, there was a certain look of intelligence in their faces and eyes, and their high foreheads spoke of a large brain capacity, very different from the Bush Negroes. And everyone was a giant, with great, corded, rippling muscles which would have made the largest, most powerful of the Jakos look weak and puny in comparison.
That they were neither Indians nor negroes. Dr. Woodward knew at a glance, but whatever they were, they were savages of the lowest type, implacable enemies, and he and the two boys were helpless prisoners of the hideous, fearful monsters.
But neither he nor the boys had time to gaze long at the fearsome beings or to speculate on who they were or what their own fates were to be. The nearest fellow half-stepped, half-crouched forward, with two others at his heels. Reaching out great black paws, they grasped the shoulders of the scientist and the boys, and without any apparent effort dragged them to their feet. The boys shuddered and drew back with hoarse cries of fear, but the savages showed no anger, no desire to harm them. Uttering strange, guttural sounds they signed that their prisoners were to accompany them, and knowing it was useless to resist, that they were wholly in the creatures' power, the three staggered towards the river bank.
Then a strange thing happened. The boys, faint, weak and with lungs filled with water, coughed and spluttered, and reeling, almost fell. Instantly the huge creatures by their sides reached out with black hands, and not ungently nor unkindly, supported and half-carried the terror stricken lads to the shore. There was something about their manner in doing this, something friendly in their touch, that went a long way towards quelling the boys' fears, and sick at heart as they were, they felt a bit reassured. "Gosh!" stammered Fred. "Perhaps they won't kill us."
"I don't think they will," declared his uncle, striving hard to put more confidence in his tones than he felt. "I think they regard us as superior beings."
"But—but, they killed Joseph," murmured Harry.
"He was brown skinned and he shot one of their number," replied his father. "We must hope for the best."
Evidently the appearance of the white man and the boys was as strange and amazing to the savages as theirs was to the captives, for of course they had never seen a white man, while clothing was something absolutely unknown to them. They gathered about the three, clucking, gesticulating, jabbering; now and then reaching out with tentative, hesitating fingers to touch the boys garments, peeking up their sleeves, rubbing their hands across their captives' shoes, feeling the boys puttees. And when one of the fellows came half-running, half stooping from the river, carrying the boys' hats, their odd guttural words rose high in excitement. Approaching their prisoners, they held out the headgear, evidently realizing it belonged to them, and when the scientist placed the hats on the boys' heads the queer creatures leaped away as if they had witnessed some awe-inspiring magic.
All this time they were slowly approaching the red-leaved forest, and as they proceeded, the boys, who had rapidly recovered from their near-drowning and first awful terror, noticed that the black fellows wore strings of bone, teeth and claws about their necks, ankles and arms, that some had slender skewers of bone thrust through ears, lips and noses, and that all carried short blowguns less than a yard in length.
"Say, I shouldn't think those blowguns could hurt anyone," said Harry as he called his father's attention to the weapons.
"No, but we have proof of their efficiency," replied Dr. Woodward. "Poor Joseph! He was a faithful fellow and I don't know what we'll do without him, after we get away from here. But we may be thankful he did not suffer. Death came to him instantly."
"I don't believe we'll ever get out of here," declared Fred. "I'll bet these fellows are cannibals and are going to eat us."
"Nonsense!" cried his uncle, trying to keep up the boys' courage. "They—"
But his sentence was left unfinished, for they had now reached the first of the trees and the scientist forgot what he was about to say in the astonishment that filled all three as one of the hideous beings sprang into the trees with the agility of a monkey, and with his blowgun in his teeth, raced off among the branches like a giant ape.
"Jove! What a sight!" exclaimed Dr. Woodward. "He's as much at home in the trees as on the earth. I never would have believed it."
"Gosh, he's a regular Tarzan!" cried Harry.
"And there goes another, and another!" added Fred, as several more of the weird beings leaped into the branches overhead. "Gee, they're regular monkey men!"
But these last who had gained the tree tops made no move to race off as had the first. Instead, they made motions for their prisoners to follow them, and chattered away in anything but pleasant tones.
"Great Scott, they expect us to go up too!" said the scientist. "They must think we're as apelike as themselves."
"Well, we're not," said Harry. "And I couldn't climb that tree for—for a million dollars, or to save my life."
Very evidently, however, the monkey men, as Fred had called them, had very different ideas on the subject. They pushed the boys and Dr. Woodward forward against the tree and ordered them in unmistakable tones to climb the smooth, slippery trunk. And when, using every effort, the boys tried to obey in order to appease their captors, their attempts brought chuckles of amusement from the savages.
Then, as their prisoners slipped back to the ground, the monkey men examined the boys' shoes, gabbled together volubly, and called excitedly to their fellows in the tree tops. Although not a word was intelligible, yet so expressive were the tones, that Dr. Woodward and the boys felt sure they were explaining that the strange feet of their prisoners were not adapted to climbing.
"What do they want us to go up there for, anyway?" asked Fred.
His uncle shook his head. "Who can say?" he replied. "Perhaps they live in the tree tops—some Indians and other savages do."
But whatever their reason for wanting their captives to clamber into the scarlet trees, the monkey men had made up their minds that, despite all obstacles and difficulties, their captives were going to accomplish the feat. If they couldn't get to the branches by their own unaided efforts, then means would have to be found to help them. Accordingly, one of the giant blacks seized Harry, and lifted him above his head as easily as though raising a baby. The next second one of the fellows above had reached down, and grasping the boy by the waist, heaved him up like a sack of meal and tossed him like a ball to another of the savages still farther up in the tree. Too frightened and astounded even to cry out, and almost breathless from his rough handling, yet Harry could not help roaring with laughter as he saw Fred and Dr. Woodward tossed up in the same manner.
"Gee whittaker!" gasped Fred, as he regained his breath. "Now I know how a handball feels when a fellow throws it into the basket!"
"Jove, and those rascals handled me as though I weighed ten pounds instead of nearly one hundred and sixty!" exclaimed the scientist. "They're brutes for strength."
Meanwhile the monkey men were chattering away, apparently holding some sort of a consultation, and a moment later, three huge fellows approached Dr. Woodward and the two boys. Without any preliminaries they seized the prisoners in their immense arms and leaped off through the branches of the trees, carrying the frightened, amazed, white man and the boys with them.
Never had mortals such a ride. The monkey men traveled with the speed and agility of squirrels. From branch to branch they leaped, sometimes catching by their free hands and their feet, sometimes grasping a branch with one hand, swinging forward through the air for a dozen feet or so to a neighboring tree; and again running upright along some projecting limb and leaping off into space, or through dense foliage—but invariably landing as softly and easily as a bird; never missing a foothold or colliding with a branch or twig. At first the boys were horribly frightened, their heads whirled and they felt dizzy and sick, and they were in awful mortal terror of being swept from their carriers' grasps by the branches. But presently they became easier in their minds. The gigantic beings traveled as easily and surely as though they bore no burdens and never a branch or limb touched them. Still terrified though they were, still unnerved from the amazing experiences they had undergone, and from this last and most astounding adventure, yet the sensation was so strange and wonderful—a sensation almost like flying—that in a way they rather enjoyed it.
As Harry said afterwards, if they could only have hired the monkey men to carry them it would have been a fine way to get out of the bush.
But at the time they had no opportunity to talk or even to think collectedly. For mile after mile they were carried through the tree tops, until at last, the monkey men slackened their mad pace and broke the silence they had hitherto maintained by loud cries. Instantly their calls were answered from ahead, and a moment later, the tree tops vanished, the boys felt themselves flying through space, their carriers landed softly on some solid substance and suddenly released their hold.
Dazed and wondering, the three captives gasped, and gazed about, to find themselves resting on a narrow shelf of rock with a sheer precipice above and below. Before them, the red-leaved forest stretched far into the distance; but some twenty feet away, and a little above the shelf where they were, a great tree spread its branches towards them. Even as they collected their scattered senses and looked about, the last of the monkey men ran out upon a branch of this tree, leaped into the air, and like a gigantic flying squirrel sailed through the intervening space and landed lightly upon the rocky ledge. It was more than marvelous, it was absolutely incredible, that any human being could be so agile, so sure-footed and so monkeylike in habits as to accomplish the feat.
Yet Dr. Woodward and the boys had seen it, and more, they knew that they themselves had reached the narrow shelf upon the cliff by the same method—borne through the twenty feet of air in the grasps of these terrible creatures. And glancing down the perpendicular precipice to the jagged rocks, fully a hundred feet below, the boys drew back, shuddering at the thought of what would have been their fates had their captors missed their footing or dropped their human burdens.

"SAY, look at the crowd!" exclaimed Harry suddenly. "Where on earth did they come from? There weren't more than twenty here a minute ago and now there are twice as many?"
Then, for the first time, the others noticed that the strange beings had greatly increased in numbers and that the ledge was fairly crowded with them. All were chattering excitedly and it was evident that those who had brought the prisoners through the forest were telling the others of the trip. They gathered about the boys and the scientist, examining their clothing, peering quizzically into their faces and filled with the greatest wonder and curiosity. Presently there was a shout and the boys turned to see another of the monkey men leap from the great tree to the ledge. He was greeted with loud cries and excited exclamations, and as he pushed his way through the crowd, the boys saw that he was carrying the purple bird that Joseph had killed, as well as the dead Arekuna's bow and arrows.
At sight of the dead bird every monkey man bowed to the rock and uttered low moaning cries. Then they arose and with awe-struck faces listened as the new arrival apparently told of the death of the bird and the monkey man killed by the Indian, all of which the scientist and the boys could understand by the graphic gestures of the story teller. Pointing his arms aloft, with one of the arrows in his hand, he uttered a low cry and dropped the bird upon the rock, then he repeated the gestures, and throwing himself down, writhed about as though in his death agonies. The exclamations of wonder and awe, not to say fear, with which his fellows received his narration convinced the scientist that the strange and beautiful bird was sacred to these people, if not indeed, worshipped as a god, and that the use of bow and arrows was absolutely unknown to them, while the fact that he and the boys wore such strange coverings to their bodies, and had escaped the poisoned darts and had white skins, no doubt caused the savages to regard them as some sort of supernatural beings.
"I don't think we'll be harmed," he assured the two boys. "I'm convinced these fellows look upon us as gods and the fact they have not attempted to hurt us is encouraging.”
"Well, I hope so," said Fred. "But I wish we bad that radio set or a flash light or even that spark coil and battery here."
"Even matches might be peai to them," added Harry. "But we can't do a thing. All our matches are spoiled and we haven't even got a gun or anything else to impress them with."
But now the monkey men were hurrying along the ledge and those who had captured the boys were signing to their prisoners to rise and go along. With no choice but to obey, the three rose and trudged over a narrow, well-worn trail along the ledge on the face of the rock wall. The path rapidly ascended, and presently, they rounded a projecting angle of the mountain side and, turning abruptly, entered a narrow fissure in the face of the cliff.
The sudden transition from the brilliant sunshine of the late afternoon to the stygian darkness, blinded the boys and they walked a hundred feet or more through the tunnel-like passageway before they were able to distinguish the rough sides and roof of the cavern through which they were being led. Then, ahead, they caught a glimmer of ruddy light, and a moment later, they emerged in an immense, lofty chamber within the mountain, a huge cavern formed by nature and with its vaulted roof hung with pendent stalactites among which was some aperture that admitted daylight and illuminated the cave with a soft, dim radiance. In the centre of the rock floor, a large fire burned brightly, casting a lurid red glare upon the rugged sides of rock that glistened with minute specks of crystals which gleamed and scintillated like myriads of gems.
Everywhere in the walls, yawning black openings of other caves or subterranean passages could be seen, while, squatting about the fire, seated around the walls and peering from the numerous holes in the rock, were scores of the strange monkey men and their women and children.
All this the boys saw as they covered the few yards of space that separated the entrance way from the fire. Then their captors halted, threw themselves upon the floor and uttered a short wailing cry. In front of the prisoners, seated upon a rude natural bench of stone formed by knocking a cluster of stalagmites to pieces, was an enormous monkey man, his tangled beard falling to his waist, his stiff hair standing out about his sinister face like a lion's mane, and on his head a crown composed of the long tail plumes of the magnificent purple bird the boys had seen. Instantly they knew that they were standing in the presence of the ruler, the king of the monkey men, and the boys’ hearts sank as they saw the savage, glowering, cruel expression on his face.
They had thought the Grandiman ugly, they had thought nothing could be more hideous than the beings who had captured them in the scarlet valley; but all paled into insignificance beside the indescribably repulsive savage monarch who frowned at them in the ruddy light of the fire in the great cave.
And yet, despite his ugly features, his matted hair and beard, his naked black body, there was something really king-like in his aspect, as with a frown on his forehead and his little red eyes gleaming, he surveyed his white captives in a haughty, almost contemptuous, manner.
Although Dr. Woodward and the boys knew that he must be filled with wonder and consumed with curiosity at their appearance, yet the king gave no outward sign, merely staring at them with his wicked eyes, and though his gaze was most malignant and disconcerting, the three managed to stare back unflinchingly. This was very evidently most disconcerting to His Majesty, and the boys could see that his ill temper was rapidly rising. No doubt he was accustomed to having all who looked upon his regal person bow to the ground before him, as the monkey men were doing, and he had no liking for beings who looked him boldly in the face as though he had no claim to superiority. Twice he seemed about to speak, but the next moment, the fellow who was carrying the dead bird came cringingly towards the throne and reverently placed the bird upon the stone floor before the king. Instantly the monarch flew into a furious rage. His mane and beard fairly bristled with anger, his eyes blazed and he roared out a perfect tirade of words or sentences to his men, pointing first at the prisoners and then at the dead bird, and in his excitement rising from his seat and crouching, like a jaguar about to spring.
It was very evident that the king of the monkey men possessed a terrible temper and a nasty disposition, and the captives expected to be seized and slaughtered at any moment. And it was equally apparent that the killing of the purple bird was an unpardonable offense, a most terrible crime. But before the king had finished speaking the man who had brought the bird placed the bow and arrows before his ruler, and with graphic gestures, again related the events that had taken place in the valley.
The king listened intently, looking first at the Indian's weapons, then at his prisoners, and acting as though he doubted the truth of the man's statements. Finally he uttered a sharp command, and to the boys’ amazement, one of the men lifted the dead bird, carried it across the cave and placed it upon a jutting point of rock.
Then, seizing the bow and arrows, he brought the weapons to the captives and with easily understood signs commanded them to fire an arrow into the dead bird, at the same time lifting his blowgun to his lips and pointing it at the prisoners.
The boys felt that now indeed all was over. The king wanted to see for himself how the sacred bird had been killed, wanted to prove that the prisoners could use the strange weapons, and they knew that if they refused, or worse if they tried and failed to hit the target, that the deadly blow-gun darts would be their reward.
They were in a terrible dilemma. They must shoot an arrow into the dead bird or die a fearful, if sudden death, and not one of the three knew how to use a bow and arrow. To attempt it would be more than hopeless, and almost crazed with terror the boys drew back with fear-whitened faces. But Dr. Woodward took the proffered bow and arrow.
"We must do something," he groaned. "Perhaps Providence will guide the shaft. If not—"
"Oh, Dad, don't try!" begged Harry. "You can't do it and if you miss—"
"If I refuse, the results will be the same," replied his father grimly.
"But can't you show him the little god or something?" persisted the shaking, trembling boy. "Maybe—"
"Gee, I've an idea!" interrupted Fred, who had been nervously running his hands in and out of his pockets. "I'll bet we can scare the king."
"Well, your last idea scared the Jako king," said Dr. Woodward. "Is this scheme as good?"
"I—I think so," stammered Fred. "I'd forgotten I had some cartridges in my pockets. If I throw one into the fire there'll be an explosion and it may frighten the king so he'll forget about the bird and the arrows."
"By Jove, it will frighten him!" exclaimed his uncle. "But I can make it even more impressive. As you throw the shell into the fire I'll raise the bow and shoot the instant the explosion occurs."
The king was getting impatient. They must act at once. As Fred edged closer to the blazing fire, the scientist raised the bow, fitted an arrow to the weapon, and as king and subjects fixed their gaze upon him, he drew the string.
"Now!" cried Fred as he tossed a loaded cartridge into the flames. For the fraction of a second. Dr. Woodward stood with drawn bow and the arrow pointed towards the dead bird. Then, with a sharp cry, he released the string. He had timed his shot to perfection. As the arrow sped, there was a tense moment of suspense and then, with a deafening report, the coals and firebrands flew into the air, there was a puff of dense white smoke and the roar of the exploding cartridge reverberated through the cavern with the noise of thunder.
Not a monkey man ever saw the arrow strike. A mighty cry of abject fear rose from the horde of savages, and as the smoke cleared away, the three prisoners looked about, to see every occupant of the cave, and even the king himself, prone upon the floor while, like some weird chant, a low moaning wail arose from the terrified and awe-struck beings.
The king was the first to recover, and cautiously raising his head, he glanced about. Then, catching sight of the three captives, standing unhurt and erect among his prostrate tribesmen, he bobbed his head back to the floor, fairly quaking with superstitious fear.
Fred's scheme had more than fulfilled all expectations and fully five minutes elapsed before the monkey men regained their composure enough to raise their heads. Then, as their gaze turned towards the spot where the bird had been, another wail rose from their throats. The bird had disappeared. Dislodged by the shock of the explosion, it had fallen to the floor, but to the simple, superstitious minds of the primitive people, it had been brought down by the arrow and the explosion was but the manifestation of some terrible power, some awful magic, possessed by the white strangers they had dared to threaten.
Then, as nothing more happened, the king slowly, and still trembling, rose to his feet and again seated himself on his throne, and one at a time his subjects also arose. But they looked upon the prisoners with entirely different expressions on their faces than before. The king's savage glare had altered to one of absolute awe, and while he was evidently ashamed to have shown his terror before his people, there was no hint of animosity or temper in his voice as he again spoke. What he said meant nothing to Dr. Woodward or the boys, but they felt sure that, for the present at least, they were safe, and as Fred and Harry between them had at least a dozen shells in their pockets they felt quite sure that, as long as there was a fire available, they could keep the monkey men and their king in deadly fear of their powers.
Now the man who had handed them the bow and arrow was approaching them, grovelling on the floor at their feet and signing for the three to follow him. Nodding, Dr. Woodward stepped forward and the giant black rose, and passing the fire—at which he glanced askance—led the way across the cavern towards one of the openings in the opposite wall.
For some distance they passed along a narrow tunnel, but the boys' eyes were now accustomed to the darkness and they could easily make out the rocky walls and rounded roof. At last their guide turned to one side and they found themselves in a fairly large cavern with a rude couch of palm leaves on one side and a smouldering fire in the centre; the whole partly illuminated by a crevice high in the wall. Evidently this was to be their quarters or their cell, and with a final obeisance the monkey man withdrew.
Harry threw himself upon the bed of palm leaves and gave a great sigh of relief.
"Golly!" he exclaimed. "I'm weak as a cat. I didn't expect to be alive now."
"And for once I'm glad you boys disobeyed me and carried cartridges in your pockets," declared Dr. Woodward.
"I'm only sorry it wasn't a stick of dynamite," said Fred.

Now that Dr. Woodward and the two boys were alone and relieved of the terrible excitement and tense strain they had been under, they felt utterly worn out and exhausted, and despite their plight, they threw themselves upon the pile of palm leaves and almost instantly were sound asleep.
How long they slept they had no means of telling, for their watches had stopped when soaked with water in the river, but as no glimmer of light showed on the walls of their cavern they felt sure it was still night. They were greatly refreshed and rested, but were terribly thirsty and hungry, and they wondered if the monkey men intended to let them die for want of food or water.
Then, as Fred glanced about, he saw, by the dim light of the glowing coals of the fire, a calabash on the floor, and to his joy found it full of water.
Between the three they drained it dry and with sighs of satisfaction once more dropped off to sleep.
They were aroused by the sounds of some one moving near them and, opening their eyes, saw the same giant savage who had led them to the cave. He was stooping over the fire and fanning it into a blaze, and beside him was a broad wild-plantain leaf on which were several odd fruits and a piece of meat. Evidently he was about to serve the prisoners’ breakfast and all fears of being starved were dispersed.
As the monkey man heard the boys move he turned about, grinned amiably and nodded reassuringly. Altogether, despite his ugliness, he seemed a rather good-natured brute and the fact that he had brought food rather won the boys' liking for him.
"Say," exclaimed Harry. “I’ll bet he's a pretty good old scout. Maybe we can make friends with him."
"Well, if he's going to be our jailer we'd better," declared Fred.
But to do so, unable as they were to understand a word of the fellow's tongue or to make him understand a word of any language they understood, was something of a handicap. However, both the scientist and the boys had had a good deal of experience among wild tribes and had picked up a very useful knowledge of sign language, and to the boys' delight, their gigantic attendant seemed to understand that they wished to be on friendly terms with them.
He soon served the half-cooked meat and fruits, and as the three ate, they talked over their prospects. Then, as the sun rose higher and flooded the cave with light, the place seemed more cheerful and less like a dungeon. Meanwhile the big black fellow was kow-towing, twisting his ugly face into ludicrous grimaces and acting, as Fred said, like a big overgrown puppy trying to make friends with strangers. And as they ate he squatted before them, gazing fixedly up at them with an expression of such curiosity and wonder in his little eyes that the boys could not help laughing.
"He's just like some big negro looking at animals in the zoo," cried Harry.
"I expect we're more wonderful to him than any wild animal would be to a civilized negro," said Dr. Woodward.
"Well, we won't growl and snap at him, anyway," laughed Fred, "but I never expected to see anyone watch the animals fed when I was one of the animals."
Between mouthfuls of food, the boys spoke to the savage, making any remarks or jokes that came to their minds; but the mere fact that they were laughing and smiling and their tones were pleasant seemed to make the monkey man delighted and quite happy at the idea of such wonderful and superior beings deigning to take any notice of him.
"We'll have to try to learn his language," said the scientist, "and we might as well begin now."
"I don't see how we can," declared Harry. "How does a fellow begin to learn a language when he doesn't know a word of it and can't make the other chap understand a word of his, and there's no interpreter?"
His father chuckled. "Easily enough," he replied. "Just as children learn to talk. See here."
Pointing to the fruit in his hand. Dr. Woodward said "Fruit?" For a moment the fellow looked puzzled. Then, a look of comprehension spread over his features, he grinned delightedly and muttered "Poot." Then, reaching out his hand, he gingerly touched the fruit with his finger and said "Imtah."
"There you are," announced Dr. Woodward. "This fruit is Imtah."
As the scientist pronounced the word, the big savage bobbed his head and fairly beamed with joy, and having grasped the idea that the strangers wished to learn his language, he leaped about, pointing to first one object and then another, pronouncing, or rather trying to pronounce, the English names that Dr. Woodward gave to the things, and very slowly and carefully enunciating the equivalents in his own tongue.
"Golly, it's a regular game," declared Harry delightedly. "We can pass the time away learning the jargon if nothing else."
"And it may mean life or death to us," his father reminded him. "We now know the names for fruit, meat, fire, water, calabash, rock, feet, hands, and a lot of other things."
"But a fellow can't talk by just knowing names," objected Fred. "How can we learn verbs and adjectives and grammar and everything?"
"It will take time," replied his uncle. "But it's simple. For example, see here."
Rising, the scientist jumped into the air and said "Jump?" Instantly the monkey man imitated his actions and replied, "Ik."
"There's one verb," laughed Dr. Woodward. "Ik is jump or to jump. It would be equally simple to learn all the other verbs and by making a long jump and a short jump we could learn the adjectives, long and short."
"Only the ones he told us might mean big or little, or high or low," said Fred. "Then we might ask for a 'high fruit' or a 'low drink' or make some other mistake."
"Of course we might, at first," admitted Dr. Woodward," just as children make exactly similar mistakes. But we could very soon find out whether the words we thought meant 'long' and 'short' were right, for by taking a large and a small fruit, or any other objects, we could discover whether the words for big and little were the same or different."
"Yes, I see how we can do all that," admitted Fred. "But how about the conjugations of verbs and the formation of sentences?"
"All in the same general way," replied Dr. Woodward. "And even if we did make mistakes in grammar, or in using the verbs, we could still make ourselves understood and could understand these people. Just as we understand and speak talky-talky which has no correct grammar or verb forms."
"Well, we'll take a lesson every time the old boy comes here," declared Harry. "And say," he continued. "I wonder what his name is. How can we find out?"
It was some time before the savage could be made to understand what it was the scientist and the boys wanted, but at last it dawned upon his primitive mind, and striking his breast, he said proudly "Mumba!" repeating the word several times.
"All right, Mumba," laughed Harry, delighted at the success of their efforts. "Me Harry." As he spoke he struck his own breast. But Mumba's attempts to pronounce the boys' names were as ludicrous to them as their efforts to repeat his throaty guttural sounds must have appeared to him.
However, they had all made good progress, and when the big fellow finally picked up the remains of the breakfast and went hopping away down the passage, they felt on quite friendly terms with him. Although the boys were greatly cheered at finding Mumba was willing to be friendly and that they were to be fed, yet they also realized that they were prisoners. What their ultimate fate might be not one of the three could even surmise, but Dr. Woodward expressed confidence that they would not be harmed. And the boys had gone through so many trying experiences among savages, and had so often feared death and yet had come out unscathed, that they had faith that they would win through in safety this time.
To attempt to escape was, all knew, quite out of the question. To be sure, there was no one on guard as far as they could see, and when Fred tiptoed to the doorway and peered into the dark passage not a monkey man was in sight. But in order to reach the open air they would be forced to pass through the big main cavern with its horde of denizens, and even did they succeed in stealing out unseen how could they gain the bottom of the valley? They had been brought to the caves held in the grasps of the monkey men and by the air route from the scarlet trees to the cliffside, and to go back that way was impossible. Even if all these insurmountable obstacles were overcome would they better themselves any by getting out of the valley? Without Joseph they would be helpless in the jungle. They had neither weapons nor matches, and even the machete, which was an indispensable implement in the bush, was lying with the Indian's body somewhere in the valley.
All these matters they discussed, and realizing that there was no hope of escaping from their strange captors, they all agreed that the only thing to be done was to win the friendship and confidence of the monkey men, try to impress them with their superiority and await what fate held in store for them. In the meantime they must keep their minds occupied, as Dr. Woodward reminded them, and he suggested that to while away their time they should practice memorizing the words they had learned and should write them down for future reference. So, for an hour or two, the boys amused themselves in this way, until they knew by heart every word they had learned of the monkey men's tongue.
"Why don't you show them Billikins?" asked Harry, as Dr. Woodward replaced his notebook in his pocket. "Maybe that would help impress them?"
"Possibly, but not probably," replied his father. "These people, I think, are even too primitive to have idols or gods and we have seen no carvings or anything that suggests a knowledge of sculpture or molding. Why, come to think of it, I don't remember having seen any earthenware pottery."
"Well, the old cave might have been full of pottery and idols and I wouldn't have seen them," declared Fred. "I was too scared and was thinking too much about that old king and Joseph and everything, to notice what there was there."
"Let's go and have another look at the place," suggested Harry. "Maybe we can find a way out or see something that'll give us an idea."
"No harm in trying," agreed his father. "And I am deeply interested in these most remarkable people. Do you know, boys, I have come to the conclusion that they are the original and most ancient inhabitants of the country?"
"Well, they're not much of a credit to it," declared Fred. "But I almost expected to find they had tails, when I saw the way they ran through the trees."
His uncle laughed. "Just because they've adopted such a habit does not make them any more ape-like or less human than the fact that a squirrel lives in trees makes him a monkey. They are merely very primitive savages and offer a marvelous field for study. Why, they don't even have bows and arrows—the most primitive of weapons—and yet they possess blowguns."
And know how to use them too," added Fred. "Poor old Joseph! I can't realize we'll never see him again."
As they talked they stepped from the cave into the passageway, and without interference, proceeded along it until they saw a light ahead, and turning a corner, came to the main cavern. A few women and children and one or two men were in sight, and at the appearance of the three prisoners, all the adults threw themselves upon the floor with one accord while the youngsters scuttled off into the black holes in the walls like frightened rats.
“Gosh, they act more as if we were gods than captives," said Harry.
“Well, I'm not anxious to be even a god to these fellows," declared Fred. "It was bad enough being royal entertainers to the old Panjandrum of those Bush Niggers; but I'd hate to have to spend my life here in these caves, posing as an idol for these monkey men."
"Right you are, Fred," agreed his uncle. "But as long as they fear or worship us we are safe—even the most savage and primitive races do not harm those they look upon as supernatural or superior beings."
By now the denizens of the cave had raised their heads and were gazing with awe upon the three who were examining the cavern and the utensils scattered about.
"They're still in the stone age," announced the scientist, as he picked up a rude stone implement. "And in the very beginning of that too. See, boys, they have not even learned to chip decent axe-heads yet. By Jove! I think I see a way to maintain our prestige among them. We can teach them to make better implements and a number of other arts."
"School teachers to monkey men!" chuckled Harry. "Say, won't that be some yarn to tell the fellows back home?"
"Yes, if we ever get back," said Fred. "But come on, let's see if we can't find our way out to the open air. I'm sick of this cave life."
The savages seemed to have no objection to the boys and the scientist going where they pleased, and while neither Dr. Woodward or either of the boys could possibly remember which opening was the one by which they had first entered the huge cave, still one was as good as another, and taking the largest, they proceeded carefully through the darkness along the tunnel. Presently a faint light filtered in, and a moment or two later, they found themselves once more on the ledge overlooking the scarlet valley. No one was in sight upon the narrow shelf and the boys began to wonder if, after all, they were prisoners.
"They don't seem to care where we go or what we do," remarked Fred. "Maybe we could walk away and they wouldn't dare stop us."
"They probably realize we can't get away,” said Dr. Woodward. "We are as securely imprisoned as though confined by bolts and bars."
But the joy of being once more in the open sunlit air was too great to allow the boys to be depressed, and seating themselves upon the rocks, they carefully scrutinized the valley, trying to locate the spot where they had entered it and where Joseph had been killed.
There was little difficulty in finding the place. About two miles away, the silvery flash of the great column of water that spouted from the cliffside could be seen, and from there the boys could follow the course of the river by its sparkle, seen through the red leaves of the forest.
Following the winding stream with their eyes, the boys were surprised to find that it apparently ended in a second towering cliff, while hemming in the opposite side of the valley, was a precipice, —a long, irregular rock wall much like the one on which they were seated.
“Golly, where does that river go, do you suppose?" exclaimed Fred.
"I can't say," replied the scientist. "Possibly there is a cañon or ravine, or a fissure, through which it flows, or there may be a fall."
"Or it may spout out like a big fire hydrant on the other side," suggested Harry.
"Well, anyway, we're in a regular pit," said Fred. "Gee, I feel like one of those bears up in the zoo."
“Hmm, it appears to me like the crater of an extinct volcano," said his uncle, surveying the surrounding cliffs with a critical eye. "But if so, it's the only one in Guiana."
"And if so, we seem to have luck in getting into craters," remarked Harry. "The lost city in Darien was in one and here we are again in another."
"Well, there's one comfort," declared Fred. "If there's an earthquake and that lake floods the old valley we'll be safe enough up here."
"There's no danger of a quake," the scientist assured him. "But, as you say, this spot is so high it would be safe, I think, in case such a phenomenon occurred."
"I don't see but what we can get out of here if we want to," said Harry. "There's the trail we came in by. All we've got to do is to get down to the bottom of the valley. There's no one to stop us."
"And a swell chance we have of getting down," said Fred sarcastically. "You'd need wings or would have to jump like a monkey man to do it."
"I'm not so sure about that," declared Dr. Woodward, who had been leaning out and studying the face of the cliff beneath them. "This ledge appears to lead down. Possibly we could follow it to the valley. I think it will be well to try, if only to find out how much liberty we have."
Rising, the three started to explore the narrow shelf of stone, with Dr. Woodward in the lead. Just beyond where they had been sitting there was a jutting projection of the cliff which at first glance had appeared to be the end of the ledge. But as they reached it they discovered that although the shelf narrowed it was still passable, and crawling cautiously around the projection, they found the precarious footway widened and descended. Trying each foot of the ledge before they trusted their weights upon it, they proceeded. Here and there little gullies or wide cracks extended from the pathway downwards towards the valley, and time after time, the scientist and the boys thought they had found a trail they could follow down. But each time they were disappointed, for the little ravines either ended abruptly or led away so sharply that no human being could maintain a foothold in them.
Still hoping that they could yet find a way, they kept on, until at last, they came to the spot where they had landed after their ride through the tree tops. Here they stopped to rest and the boys could not restrain a nervous shudder as they again peered into the yawning chasm below the edge of the cliff.
"Jove!" suddenly exclaimed Dr. Woodward. "That proves it. There is a way to the valley!"
"What proves it?" asked Harry. "Of course there's that way—by jumping across to that tree. But who wants to try that?"
"That's not the idea." replied his father. "But the tree is what proves there is another way out of here. Do you notice the tree is higher than this path?"
"Yes, I know that," declared Harry. "That's what made it easy for those fellows to jump down here with us."
"Exactly!" cried his father. "And for the same reason it would be much harder, if not impossible, for them to jump back."
"Gee, aren't we stupid?" exclaimed Fred. "I see your idea. They can come from the valley to here through the trees, but have to go out another way."
"Righto!" laughed his uncle clapping him on the back.
"But that may be by way of a lower tree," objected Harry. "We can't go flying through air like these black fellows."
"Possibly," admitted his father, "but I don't think so. I believe they descend to the valley by foot. Come on, we'll have a look beyond here."
Encouraged, the boys rose and followed Dr. Woodward. For nearly quarter of a mile they picked their way along the narrow shelf which at every step became more and more difficult and more dangerous, until suddenly it came to an abrupt end against the face of a projecting rock. Discouraged, they were about to turn back when they heard voices from below, and very cautiously they peered over the edge of the cliff. Almost directly beneath them in the valley, a monkey woman was moving about, stooping over and picking up some sort of fruits under a tree.
As the three looked down at her she half-turned towards the cliff and uttered a shout as if calling to someone. In answer there was a low cry, and the next instant, a monkey man issued from a fissure in the rock, scrambled down a few yards of uneven broken stone and joined the woman. After him came another and another, until half a dozen of the beings were under the tree. As the three upon the pathway watched them they saw the monkey men wrap the fruits in leaves, secure the bundles with vines, and clamber up the rocky slope and disappear.
"That settles it!" announced Dr. Woodward. "There is a way,—down there. This ledge doesn't extend down, but there is a subterranean entrance. Come on, boys, we'll hurry back and find where it is."
"I—I don't see how we can find out," panted Fred, as the scientist hurried back along the narrow shelf.
"Easily," called back his uncle. "Those people will no doubt carry the fruit to the main cavern and if we get there first we can see which entrance they come from."
"Hurrah! and then we can go out the same way," cried Harry.
Hurrying as fast as possible up the dangerous footpath, the three reached the dark entrance by which they had emerged, and dashing along this, gained the main cavern just in time. As they entered, two men were crossing the floor carrying leaf-covered packages, and a moment later, a woman, followed by several others of the tribe, emerged from a narrow opening in the wall. Each one carried bundles such as the boys had seen being prepared in the valley, and they realized that the secret had been discovered. The main cave was connected with the valley by a tunnel, and carefully noting the position and shape of the opening by which the people had entered, they felt assured that they would be able to find their way to the valley whenever they chose.
"I think it will be a wise plan to make a sort of sketch map of this cavern," announced Dr. Woodward, seating himself on a fallen stalactite and drawing out his note book and pencil. "There are so many entrances that we will get confused if we're not careful."
As the scientist began to sketch a rough plan of the cave, the savages cast frightened, sidelong glances in his direction, evidently fearing he was engaged in some magic which might bring dire results, or was about to produce some startling manifestation of his power, for the explosion of the preceding evening was still fresh in their minds.
But as nothing happened they began to regain confidence, and presently, with insatiable curiosity, one or two drew nearer and nearer.
Having completed his rough plan of the cave, the scientist began sketching the men and women, and had just completed a drawing of a woman roasting a piece of meat over a fire, when one of the men came within sight of the open book. As he craned his neck and caught sight of the sketch he uttered a shrill cry, sprang back and poured out a perfect torrent of excited words.
At the sound of his voice every monkey man and women rushed to him, and the boys, not knowing what to expect, crowded close to Dr. Woodward's side as the jabbering, gesticulating throng closed about them.
Dr. Woodward burst into a hearty laugh. "Nothing to fear, boys," he cried. "They've merely seen a drawing for the first time in their lives. To them it's nothing short of a miracle. Funny I didn't think of it before. Now watch them."
As he spoke, he tore out the leaf of the book bearing the drawing, and handed it to the nearest savage. Never had an artist a more enthusiastic and appreciative audience, and the cries of approval, admiration and wonder mingled with roars of laughter as the paper was passed from hand to hand.
The noise evidently attracted the attention of those in the nearby caves, for men and women appeared from every side and from every dark hole in the walls. Then, in the midst of the hubbub, the boys glanced up to see the king himself entering the cave. But so thoroughly engrossed with the drawing were the people that they paid no heed to their monarch, not even bothering to bow down before him. For an instant he glowered, as if about to pronounce dire punishment on all, and then, as one of the men handed him the sheet of paper, his expression underwent a wonderful change and incredulity and amazement spread over his hideous face.
Intently he studied it for a time and then, approaching Dr. Woodward, he made it understood by signs that he wished the scientist to make a picture of him.
With a smile Dr. Woodward commenced sketching and as he did so an awed silence fell upon the assembled people. Perhaps the drawing was a very inferior work of art, for Dr. Woodward laid no claims to being a portrait artist, but still, even if it was not flattering, yet the sketch was unmistakably the king; long beard, bristling hair, feather crown and all. As he completed the drawing, Dr. Woodward tore the page from the book, and rising, handed it to the monarch. The expression upon the ruler's face as he saw the sketch was so ludicrous that the boys shook with laughter despite every effort to control their merriment.
The king examined the sketch carefully, lifted his hand and touched his crown, felt his hair, stroked his beard and seemed puzzled to find they were all in their proper places and that they had not been transferred bodily to the paper. Then he turned the sheet over, looked at the blank side, and utterly unable to solve the mystery, his grim awed features broke into a smile of self-satisfaction, and running to his throne he placed the picture upright on the seat. Then, squatting before it, he gave himself up to admiring his own portrait.
"Isn't that the funniest ever?" cried Harry, trying to suppress his laughter. "The old fellow sitting there and fairly worshipping his own picture."
"It's the first time he's ever seen himself as others see him," said Dr. Woodward.
"Well, he must love himself an awful lot to like it," declared Fred.

THAT the three captives had risen tremendously in the estimation of the monkey men was evident, and while Dr. Woodward's ability as an artist was no doubt fully as wonderful and supernatural to the savages as the exploding cartridge had been, still it lacked the terrifying qualities of the latter. So, from being feared and treated with awed respect, the boys found they had been transformed into popular idols. But their popularity was not without its drawbacks, and wherever the three went the monkey men crowded about and followed them around like a throng of small boys in the wake of a famous ball player. But the boys and Dr. Woodward were thoroughly convinced that they need no longer fear death, for, as the scientist pointed out, as long as he could amuse the people and their king, or could impress them with his power to transfer their likenesses to paper, the three were safe.
"Talk about a Yankee at King Arthur's Court," exclaimed Fred. "Here we are, Yankees at the court of the King of the Monkey Men. I'll bet old King Arthur was an up-to-date old scout compared with these fellows."
"Yes," laughed his uncle. "Although you put it a bit flippantly, King Arthur's people were thousands of years ahead of these. They are more primitive than the prehistoric cave dwellers of Europe. They have not even learned to trace the crudest outlines with a burnt stick upon the walls of their cavern homes."
And to the boys' delight also, there was not the least objection made to their going where they pleased. They wandered about, entering the various tunnels and exploring the numerous passageways and rooms, and discovered that the mountain was fairly honeycombed with caves, forming chambers, passageways and residences. Every one of the rooms was inhabited and Dr. Woodward declared that there must be at least one thousand members of the strange race dwelling there.
The life of the monkey men was of the simplest description. The furnishings of their rooms or homes consisted of piles of palm leaves, fires, calabashes for utensils, rough river-worn cobbles and irregularly broken pieces of stone for pounders and knives. For a time Dr. Woodward was puzzled to know how these people kindled their fires, but the riddle was soon solved, for in one room they found a woman using a bow and drill.
"Gee, that's the way the Boy Scouts are taught to make fire," exclaimed Fred. "Say, they aren't so far behind hand after all."
"It's a method known to nearly every savage race," his uncle informed him. "But I am surprised that people who do not use bows should have discovered it."
"Seems to me they must be terribly stupid not to have learned to make bows and arrows," said Harry. "Why, if that woman should just place the drill against the thong and draw it back and let go accidentally she'd have a bow and arrow."
"Undoubtedly," replied the scientist. "But probably that particular accident has never occurred. Moreover, their blowguns serve every purpose even better than bows and arrows. Even Theophilus preferred his blowgun to his bow. However, we'll teach them the use of bows and arrows before we leave."
"I just hope we don't have time," declared Fred. "Of course you don't mind being here because these folks are so interesting to you. But they'll interest me a lot more when I'm about a thousand miles away from them."
As they talked, they entered another room and here a man was skinning and cutting up a cavy by means of a jagged sliver of stone which he used more like a saw than a knife. The boys watched him for a few moments.
"What do you suppose he'd think if we showed him a real knife?" exclaimed Harry, reaching in his pocket for his jackknife.
"Don't let him see it!" cried his father. "He'd be wonderfully impressed of course, but if the king heard of it he might demand the knife. We can't take any chances like that. Remember how the Grandiman wanted that light."
"That's so," agreed Harry, as he dropped the knife back into his pocket. "Just the same, I'd give a lot to see the expression on this fellow's face if I showed him how to use it."
"They'd be just as much impressed if we showed them decent stone implements," declared his father.
"Only we can't," objected Fred. "We don't know how to make them ourselves."
"Possibly not," said Dr. Woodward with a smile. "But I have seen the Indians make stone arrow heads and I think we can manage it. Even if we do not succeed in impressing these people by doing so, still they will be useful to us if we get away and have to depend upon getting game with bows and arrows we make ourselves."
"Gosh, I'd starve to death before I could kill anything with a bow and arrow," declared Fred.
"One never knows until one tries," laughed the scientist. "For all you know you may be a born archer."
The sight of the man dressing the cavy had reminded the boys that they were hungry, and wondering if they would be fed or were expected to forage for themselves, they retraced their steps to the main cavern and along the passage to their own room. There was no sign of food there, but within a minute or two, the man Mumba appeared, bearing a meal of fruit, some sort of roasted tubers or roots and a piece of broiled meat. He seemed in high spirits and talked and gesticulated excitedly, until at last, the boys realized that he was trying his best to relate what he had heard about Dr. Woodward's drawing.
"Come to think of it I didn't see him there," exclaimed Fred. "Poor old boy, he must have been awfully cut up about it when he heard the rest telling about your magic."
The scientist smiled. "We'll make up for that," he said, "and reward Mumba for his faithful service, and win his undying friendship, all at one time."
Taking out his notebook, Dr. Woodward rapidly sketched the big fellow as he squatted by the fire, and tearing out the leaf handed it to him.
Mumba fairly danced about with wonder and joy as he saw the picture and he fawned upon the scientist like a grateful puppy. To him the rough sketch was wealth untold, and to receive such a gift from the superior beings he served was an honor equal to that they had bestowed upon the king. He could scarcely wait for the three to finish their meal before scampering off to exhibit his prize to his friends and family, and if the mind of a monkey man held such a thing as gratitude, Dr. Woodward and the boys felt that in Mumba they now had a grateful and faithful friend.
"Golly, isn't he the funny old thing!" cried Fred, as the fellow went, half-hopping, half-running down the tunnel.
"Wouldn't we make a hit in a side show with him?" laughed Harry. "Say, if we could get away from here and take him along, old Zip the what-is-it wouldn't be in it."
A moment later, Mumba came scampering back and by signs made the three understand that they were to follow him.
"I wonder what's up now," exclaimed Dr. Woodward.
"I expect the old king wants another picture made," said Harry. "I'll bet you've got your life work cut out, Dad,—portrait maker to His Majesty."
As Harry had surmised, the king wanted to see the prisoners or guests, whichever they were, and they found the big cavern filled with men and women, while the monarch was seated on his rude throne with his picture in his hand. And as Harry had guessed, the king desired Dr. Woodward to again exhibit his skill with the pencil. For an hour or more the scientist was kept busy, drawing the monkey men, and for variety he sketched birds, animals, insects, trees, flowers and anything else that came to his mind. Each time, when a sketch was handed to the king and was passed about, the wonder and admiration of the savages increased, until the boys expected the people actually to worship them.
But Dr. Woodward realized that this sort of thing could not go on indefinitely. His stock of paper would be exhausted and he would then be in serious difficulties and so, closing his note book, he slipped it into his pocket and started to leave the cave. This did not at all suit the king. The old fellow wanted to be entertained and in peremptory tones he made it clear that Dr. Woodward was to continue. The scientist was in a quandary. If he obeyed, the monarch would realize that the three were in his power and would doubtless insist upon frequent and extended exhibitions that would soon exhaust the leaves in the note book. Moreover, if he showed fear of the king or complied with his demands, he and the boys would lose respect and prestige in the minds of the savages, perhaps with dire results. On the other hand, if he defied the king, the anger of the monarch and of the people might be aroused, and without stopping to consider the consequences, they might fall upon the three prisoners and destroy them at once.
All this flashed through the scientist's brain, as for a moment, he hesitated, and then he determined upon a bit of bluff. Stepping towards the fire, he drew himself up, faced the king and imitated the motions of drawing a bow. Instantly a wild howl of fear arose from the assembled throng, many threw themselves face down upon the floor, and the king, springing from his throne, cried out in alarm, by his gestures and tones plainly begging Dr. Woodward not to produce a second explosion in the fire.
The scientist had won. The monkey men had no desire for another demonstration of the terrible magic, and without hindrance Dr. Woodward and the boys left the cavern, walked down the passage and gained their own room.
Tired out, the three threw themselves upon their bed of palm leaves and did not awaken until Mumba arrived with the evening meal. They slept well that night and after a good breakfast, and another lesson in the monkey men's language with Mumba, they started out with the intention of exploring the passageway to the valley.
Few people were in the main cavern and those who were there greeted the three with mumbled words that sounded friendly, and without any difficulty Dr. Woodward and the boys crossed the room to the tunnel through which they had seen the men and the woman come from the valley.
It was narrow and dark and in many places sloped steeply down, but the way was not difficult and no side tunnels branched off to confuse the three. Often it was so black that they were forced to feel their way along, but in other places the roof was cracked or broken and daylight filtered in. At last they saw brighter light ahead, and a moment later, looked out from the entrance of the tunnel across the valley. Before them was a steep pile of broken and loose rock that sloped for fifty feet or more to the brush below, and scrambling down this, the boys stood beneath the towering cliff and under the shade of the scarlet trees. Greatly elated at their success, they leaped and danced about in the sunlight feeling sure that they were not prisoners after all, and were free to go where they pleased.
In fact the two boys were anxious to start at once, but Dr. Woodward pointed out that they would die of hunger or privation, and that, before they made an attempt to escape from the valley, they must provide themselves with food and other necessities.
"Well, let's go a ways and look about anyhow," begged Harry.
"Yes, that will be a good idea," agreed his father, "and we can have a chance to see if they buried poor Joseph."
The boys shivered, "No, please don't," cried Fred. "I couldn't bear seeing him."
"Very well," agreed his uncle. "When we get near the spot you can stay behind. If he's still there I shall try to get his machete. We need it too badly to let any foolish nervousness or repugnance prevent us from getting it."
So saying, he stepped forward with the boys beside him, but before they had gone a dozen yards there was a rustle in the foliage of the trees above them, and glancing up, they saw a black face peering at them. The next instant, a huge monkey man dropped to the ground before them and, by gestures and words, signified they were to go no farther.
"Oh, Gosh, we are prisoners after all," cried Harry in disappointed tones.
"Possibly we can go in another direction.” suggested the scientist.
But no sooner had they started than once more the savage halted them and turned them back.
"It's no use,” sighed Dr. Woodward. "They don't intend to let us go yet. However, there's no use worrying. We're well treated and there's no danger.”
"No, but who wants to stay here forever?" protested Fred, "Gee, I thought we were going to get away."
Crestfallen and discouraged, the three could only obey the monkey man, who seemed perfectly satisfied as soon as they turned back, and once more leaped into his tree top. Apparently there was no objection to the three remaining outside the caves and walking in the valley, as long as they did not wander beyond a certain distance, and even this liberty was most welcome. Throwing themselves upon the grass in a little open space under the trees, they gave themselves up to the enjoyment of the warm sunshine, the fresh air and the balmy breeze, listening to the chirps of insects and the notes of birds, and trying to be as cheerful and as contented as possible under the circumstances.
"Golly, it seems as if we'd been here for months," declared Harry, suddenly.
"And we've only been here two days,” said Fred, "or, is it three? Gee, how long has it been, Uncle?"
"Two," replied the scientist, "but the fact that you were uncertain makes me think how important it is that we should arrange some means for keeping track of the time.”
"I don't see anything important about it," declared Harry. "What difference does it make whether it's Monday or Saturday, or whether it's two days or two weeks? As long as we're prisoners, one day is the same as another."
"There are many reasons," said his father earnestly. "In the first place it will help to occupy our minds; in the second it is important to keep account of time and when you feel as if months had gone by, as you put it, it will be a great relief to find it has been only days. I could keep account of the days in my note book, but that might be lost or destroyed and we'll need the paper—every bit of it—for sketches. You boys can be calendar keepers. Each of you take a bit of string and each day tie a knot in it, and make every seventh knot twice the size of the others, for the Sundays. Let's see, we came here the afternoon of Wednesday the sixteenth. This, then, is Friday, so you should tie three knots in your strings to begin with."
The boys laughed. "Well," declared Fred, "as long as it's a sort of amusement to keep us busy, I'm willing."
Taking a piece of his fish line from his pocket, he tied the three knots, as did Harry, in his string.
"How will we know the days of the month?" asked Fred, when the three knots had been tied.
"You'll have to remember the date on which we arrived and count from that, I expect," said his uncle. "And now," he added, rising. "Let's see if we can't find some stone suitable for making arrow heads for these hosts of ours."
Glad to do anything to occupy their minds and hands, the boys and Dr. Woodward wandered about, searching among the piles of fallen debris. But the cliff was of crystalline granite, which was wholly unsuited to the scientist's purpose, and for some time they found no stones that were at all satisfactory. But at last Harry discovered a number of fragments of a fine-grained, dark-colored rock, like some sort of jasper or quartz, and which the scientist declared would serve their purpose.
Gathering the best pieces, the three made their way back to their cave, the boys now quite anxious to see how the rough bits of stone could be transformed into implements or weapons.
Selecting a good sized piece of rock, Dr. Woodward placed it in the fire, turning it over and over with a piece of stick until it was evenly heated.
"Looks as if you were going to try to hammer it out, like iron," laughed Fred. "What's the idea in heating it?"
"Wait and see," his uncle replied, smiling.
"But I thought you just chipped the pieces into shape," said Harry. "I can't understand what heating it has to do with it."
"Some races do chip their stone implements into shape," replied his father. "But there's a much easier method which I've seen used by some Indian tribes I have visited."
As he spoke, he drew the stone from the coals, and as the boys watched him closely, he dipped a stick into the water in the calabash and carefully let a drop fall upon one edge of the hot stone. Instantly there was a sharp snapping sound and a tiny flake of the stone flew off. Drop after drop was placed along the edges of the rock, and as each drop touched it and bits of the stone flaked off, the piece began to take definite form.
"Gee, isn't that great?" cried Fred delightedly. "Say, it would be just fun to make things that way."
"I'll say it is," agreed Harry heartily. "I believe if these people saw that they'd think it was as much magic as the drawings."
"No doubt," assented his father, as he replaced the stone in the fire. "And after we have become experts in making implements of stone we'll give an exhibition of our skill."
Once more the heated stone was chipped by drops of water and over and over again the process was repeated until, in a surprisingly short time, Dr. Woodward had produced a crude spear-head or trowel-shaped implement of stone. The edges were, however, still blunt, and Harry jokingly remarked that they ought to have a grindstone to sharpen it.
"We'll soon sharpen it without a grindstone," said the scientist, and by turning the stone first on one side and then the other and dropping water on each side alternately, he soon produced a keen, knife-like edge.
"Gosh, you're some arrow-head maker!" cried Fred enthusiastically, as the boys examined the completed object. "Why, I've seen real Indian arrow heads that weren't as good as this."
"It's not bad for the first attempt," admitted his uncle. "But only practice makes perfect in this art, as in many others. Come, boys, try your hands at it."
Fascinated with the work, the two boys and the scientist worked away, treating stone after stone, until the light grew dim and the afternoon waned. And as they ceased work the boys looked proudly upon the results of their labor, for each had produced five or six very creditable stone implements. To be sure, no North American Indian arrow maker of the stone age would have considered the rough, irregular objects worthy of the name of either tools or weapons. But they were far superior to anything possessed by the monkey men, and the boys had no cause to be ashamed of their first attempt at this prehistoric art. Only practice, they knew, was required to enable them to produce well shaped and symmetrical implements.
"I'll bet none of the fellows back home will believe we made them," declared Fred. "Won't it be fun to show them some of these, and when they think we found them in some old grave or mound or something, just tell 'em we made them ourselves?"
"And won't it be fun to have them trying to chip the things out with hammers or rocks while we sit by and laugh to think how easy it is when you know how!" said Harry. "Golly, no wonder the old Indians didn't mind losing their arrow heads, when they were so easily made."
The boys were still admiring their handiwork and talking about it when Mumba arrived with their evening meal.
"Say," exclaimed Fred. "Let's play we're really in the stone age and try cutting up the food with these stone things."
Harry, boy-like, agreed it would be fun, and much to Dr. Woodward's amusement, they selected the sharpest of the chipped stones and commenced cutting the fruits with the crude affairs. Instantly, Mumba was all interest and attention. To the boys, the jagged-edged stones were poor make-shifts as knives, although they had no difficulty in slicing the fruit and severing the tender meat with them. But to Mumba, who had never seen any edged implement, except a natural flake of quartz, these sharp-edged implements were simply marvelous. The boys laughed heartily as they saw the stare of wonder and awe upon his face, and handing him one of the stone tools, Fred signed for him to try it.
And as he half-fearfully took the bit of stone and tested its edge, he fairly yelled with delight. He was like a small boy with his first jack-knife, and he leaped here and there, trying the implement upon everything he could find. He severed bits of palm leaf with it, half-whittled and half-cut the sticks of firewood and when, accidentally, he cut his own finger and the blood flowed freely, he danced and pranced about with inexpressible joy.
"Isn't that the funniest thing ever?" cried Harry, between shrieks of laughter over the fellow's antics. "He's cut his own finger and seems tickled to death."
"And no wonder," declared Dr. Woodward. "A moment ago he held only a tool—a wonderful implement to be sure—but merely a useful thing for peaceful purposes. But now he holds a weapon, something far more valuable, and his own injury is quite forgotten in the discovery it led to."
"Golly, he'll be cutting all the other people, just to show them how it works," chuckled Fred. "Why, it's just as if we had gone back thousands of years and were watching the first man who discovered the use of stone for weapons."
"Exactly," agreed his uncle, "and most interesting. Few civilized men have ever been privileged to study a race so primitive. Why, boys, this experience will furnish me material for the most remarkable treatise on savage development ever written."
"And it will furnish us with material for such whoppers of yarns that the fellows will think we're awful liars," laughed Harry.
Mumba all this time was still busy trying his wonderful gift, and as Harry spoke, he started for the door; but at a word and sign from Dr. Woodward he returned, looking a bit crestfallen, for he was impatient to exhibit his wonderful possession to his fellows.
"Come on, boys," said the scientist, as he gathered up the stone implements. "We'll make a visit to the king and see how he likes this new proof of our supernatural powers."
When the three, with Mumba prancing beside them, reached the big cavern, the king was nowhere to be seen; but Mumba soon grasped the idea that the monarch was wanted and hurried off, to return in a few moments accompanied by the hideous ruler.
The demonstration of the stone implements was received with fully as much interest and surprise on the part of the king as Mumba had shown, and when Dr. Woodward presented him with several of the best of the stone tools, his delight knew no bounds and he hacked and whittled at sticks and gloated over his gifts, as pleased as a child with a new toy.
Anxious to show the king and his subjects how useful the new tools would be in skinning and cutting up the game, Dr. Woodward drew a sketch of an agouti, and calling Mumba to his side, tried to make the fellow understand that he wished an animal brought to him. At first Mumba merely grinned and uttered the word, "Ikki," evidently thinking the scientist wanted to learn the creature's name. But presently, as Dr. Woodward pointed first at the drawing and then at the stone implements, and made motions as if he were cutting up the animal, understanding dawned upon the big fellow's features and he dashed off. When he reappeared he was carrying a dead agouti, and as the king and his subjects looked on in wonder, the scientist proceeded to skin the beast with a stone knife. It was hard, slow work, but to the monkey men little short of a miracle, and when he had partly skinned the creature Dr. Woodward motioned to the king to try his hand.
To the white man, accustomed to a keen-edged steel knife, the stone had appeared dull and almost useless; but to the black monarch, who had never known an edged tool of any sort, the rude stone knife was a marvel of excellence, and with amazing rapidity he removed the hide and cut up the carcass of the animal.
So interested were the people and so delighted with the tools, that Harry begged his father to show them how to fashion the things for themselves. There seemed no objection to this, and as Dr. Woodward and the two boys heated stones in the big fire and chipped them into shape with drops of water, the monkey men squatted in a circle about them, absolutely fascinated by the sight. Then, when Fred, with a laugh, passed the calabash of water and the stick to the king and tried to make him understand that he was to try his hand, both boys roared with merriment and even Dr. Woodward laughed heartily at the comical expression of suspicion that swept over the king's face. No doubt the old fellow feared that the magic might injure him, but he was no coward at heart, and with a look of determination on his face, he took the proffered stick and dipped it gingerly into the water, as he had seen the boys and Dr. Woodward do. And when he let the drop of water fall upon the hot stone and a chip flew off, he leaped to his feet and shouted with glee.
Like most savages, the monkey men were excellent mimics, and in a wonderfully short time they were busily chipping stones into shape and with far better success than the scientist or the boys.
"There's no use in our trying to show them anything more about that business," declared Harry. "They can beat us already."
"Yes, it's a savage art," agreed his father, "and primitive man is superior to civilized man in such matters."
"Well, we've shoved them ahead for a few thousand years anyway," commented Fred, as the three left the monkey men to their implement making and made their way to their cave.
"And we'll push them still farther along the road towards civilization," declared his uncle.
"Maybe, if they keep us long enough, we'll be able to teach them to make airplanes and carry us out of here," said Harry rather bitterly. Then, with a laugh, he added. "Gosh, wouldn't they get an awful jolt if they should see an airplane."
"Not so much of a jolt as I got when I first saw them run through the trees," declared Fred, as with a yawn, he threw himself on the palm leaf bed.

As the days passed and drew into weeks, and the two boys and the scientist still remained virtual captives of the savages, they devoted much of their time to teaching the tribe new arts and accomplishments.
Impatient as the boys were to get away from the valley, still they were gradually becoming accustomed to their life among the monkey men and took no little interest in teaching the primitive people. They had long since given up all hopes of escaping, until the savages saw fit to let them go, for every time they had gone to the valley they had been turned back as on their first attempt. Once, when Dr. Woodward, to test the matter, disregarded the guard's warning and continued on his way, the gigantic fellow picked the scientist up bodily and carried him back to the tunnel entrance where he released him.
The boys could not help laughing, as they saw Dr. Woodward carried, as helpless as a child, in the fellow's enormous black arms.
"He's a fine nurse," cried Harry. "Gee, Dad, you looked just like a white baby being carried by a big black mammy."
Dr. Woodward smiled ruefully. "Well, I proved what I wanted to," he declared. "It's no use trying to go beyond that dead line he's set. And it's also proved that they will not harm us. We're prisoners, but honored and respected ones."
But very soon the boys and their companion found it impossible to go even a few steps in the valley. A heavy rain fell, the lake at the head of the valley rose and poured over its natural dam in a stupendous cataract, and when the boys looked from the cliffside into the valley on the following morning, they found it had been transformed into a vast lake with only the scarlet-leaved trees rising above the surface of the water.
"Jove!" ejaculated Dr. Woodward. "That's solved a puzzle for me."
"What's solved a puzzle and what's the puzzle?" asked Fred.
"Why these people have developed such monkey-like habits," replied his uncle. ''And the flood has solved it. Look there; see those fellows moving through the trees? The valley is impassable by foot, but the tree tops afford a way. No doubt, during countless centuries, these savages have developed their arboreal habits through the necessity of moving about in the only possible way— through the tree tops—during the rainy season."
"I guess you're right," agreed Harry. "I can see how it might happen, especially as the rainy season's longer than the dry season here. Say, Dad, this isn't the rainy season yet, is it?"
"No," replied his father. "It's merely a heavy rain, but it presages the coming of rainy months. If we don't get away before then it will mean we will be here for at least five months more."
The boys groaned. "Gosh, I'd die before then," declared Fred. "Think of five months here!"
"Far better than dying," his uncle said, rather severely, "I don't want to hear you talk that way again, Fred. We're alive, healthy and unharmed and with plenty to eat, and while I quite understand your feelings, we might be far worse off if we were free in the bush."
Fred looked thoroughly ashamed of himself. "I know it, Uncle," he replied contritely. "I ought to be ashamed of myself. After all, we can find something to amuse us. I won't act discouraged again."
And so, making the best of their plight, the boys occupied their time, teaching their captors many useful things and learning the savages' language. Already they had acquired a sufficient knowledge of the dialect to make their wants known and to carry on a limited conversation with the strange people, and daily they were becoming more proficient.
The monkey men also had taken rapid strides ahead since they had learned to make serviceable stone implements, for with the acquisition of sharp-edged tools, a wonderful vista of possibilities had been opened to them, and things they had never dreamed of were now readily accomplished.
Wooden slabs had replaced the leaves for platters and dishes, the skins of animals, which had formerly been torn or hacked in pieces from the flesh, could now be removed entire and were used for various purposes, and sticks and limbs from trees could now be cut and shaped, whereas, formerly, fire had been the only means the people possessed for cutting wood. Partly to amuse themselves and in order to become expert in their use, and partly to help the monkey men to better things, the scientist and the boys had made bows and arrows—though in doing this they of course used their pocket knives without the savages’ knowledge —and with these new weapons the monkey men found they could secure larger game than had been possible before. And as was the case when making the stone tools, the savages had shown themselves far more proficient as archers than their teachers. Although the boys and Dr. Woodward practiced daily, and despite the fact that their weapons were far superior to the savages', yet Mumba and his fellows could outshoot the boys and the scientist with ease. At first the boys had been highly amused at the way the people received the bows and arrows. They still remembered the explosion that had been coincident with Dr. Woodward's use of the Indian's bow, and shaking with fear of a second deafening report, they watched the bows drawn and the arrows discharged, and it was a long time before any of them could be induced to try the things themselves.
They had also been taught to make wooden handles for their stone axes and hammers, while Dr. Woodward, fearing to exhaust the paper in his note book, had taught the people to draw rude figures on the walls of the caves by means of charred sticks. But several times trouble had been narrowly averted. Although the people regarded the three captives with superstitious awe and respect, yet the king was terribly jealous of his loss of prestige. At first the mere threat of causing a second eruption in the fire had been enough to bring him to terms, but gradually the monarch overcame his dread of this, and on one occasion, demanded that Dr. Woodward should give him his note book. And when the scientist had refused and had threatened to produce the terrifying magic in the fire, the king had flown into a rage and had ordered one of his men to take the book by force. As, for the fraction of a second, the fellow hesitated to obey, the boys had tossed several cartridges into the flames, and the series of explosions which roared through the cavern had caused a mad panic among the monkey men and had won the day. But the boys’ supply of shells was limited, and all realized that they must rely on other methods for impressing the monarch and his subjects. Dr. Woodward had tried showing them the replica of the ugly little idol, but while they had looked askance at it, they had shown no signs of fear or superstitious terror, such as had been exhibited by the Darien Indians and others. Evidently the god meant nothing to them, aside from its resemblance to a misshappen human being, and Dr. Woodward was convinced that they had never seen it, or anything like it, before.
"Old Billikins doesn't mean anything in their lives," declared Harry. "I guess we lost his trail back there among the Bush Negroes."
And then, one day, Harry had an inspiration. He was seated on the palm-leaf bed gazing at the fire when he suddenly leaped up.
"Gee whittaker!" he cried excitedly. "I have a bully idea, Dad. Why not make fire with flint and steel?"
"Jove, I never thought of it!" exclaimed his father.
"Fine, only we haven't the flint or steel," said Fred.
"Haven't we?" cried Harry. "Look here."
Picking up one of the broken stone implements, he drew out his pocket knife, struck the back of the blade against the quartz and a tiny shower of sparks flew forth.
"Golly, you're right!" exclaimed Fred. "But those won't make fire. Just try to light some wood with them."
"It's merely a matter of securing the proper tinder or punk," declared Dr. Woodward. "Yes, I think Harry's idea will be a most important factor in maintaining our position here. Strange we never thought of it before; but after all, it's not so remarkable that we didn't. There's been no necessity of building a fire—this one is always burning."
Then, for a long time, the three busied themselves experimenting with various substances in an endeavor to find a tinder that could be ignited by means of the tiny sparks. They tried shredded palm leaves from their bed, fine bark stripped from a slick of wood, and even sawdust, which they obtained by rubbing a rough-edged stone against a dry stick. But not one would burn, even when the sparks fell upon the material. Some would smolder and smoke, but they would not burst into flame, and the boys and Dr. Woodward knew, that for their purposes, they must have something that could be ignited quickly and surely. Fred suggested taking powder from a cartridge, but the scientist shook his head.
"No," he said, "the powder would blaze up with a puff and that would be all. Moreover, we would soon exhaust the supply of powder, and the cartridges are far more useful as they are. Now let me think. I've seen flint and steel used in many parts of Spanish America and the tinder they use is braided cotton. Jove, I have it! I saw some wild cotton in the valley near the cliffs. We'll gather some tomorrow and try it."
The next day they lost no time in going to the valley, and securing pocketfuls of the white fibre, they hurried back to their room. But when, filled with expectations, the boys struck sparks onto this, their faces fell, for it did not even smoulder.
"Oh, pshaw!" exclaimed Fred dejectedly. "This is as bad as the other things. I don't believe the stuff'll burn at all."
As he spoke, he touched a wisp of the cotton to the flames of the fire. It blazed up brightly and, to prevent burning his fingers, the boy dropped it to the stone floor and pressed his heel upon it.
"Maybe that piece is drier or something," suggested Harry, picking up the charred wisp of cotton. Holding it under the bit of stone, he struck the latter sharply with his knife, and the next second, leaped into the air as though a spring had been released under him.
"Hurrah!" he yelled. "I've got it! Look Fred! Look, Dad, it's burning!"
Sure enough, the cotton was glowing like a live coal, and blowing upon it and placing some strips of palm leaf against it, Harry soon had a blaze going.
Excited at their success at last, the two boys danced and pranced about.
"Let's try it again," cried Harry, when at last they had calmed down a bit. "Maybe it was just luck that time."
"Or perhaps there's a knack about it," suggested Fred.
But though the two boys tried and tried they could neither of them secure fire on their bits of cotton a second time and the scientist had no better luck. They had almost given up in despair when Fred picked up the wisp of cotton with its charred, black end, and to his intense joy and amazement, he instantly succeeded.
"Golly, that's funny!" he exclaimed. "This seems to be the only piece of cotton that works."
Dr. Woodward was thinking deeply. "There's some reason for it," he declared. "Now let's get at this and solve the riddle properly and with common sense. Both times you have secured fire with that particular bit of cotton and yet it differs in no way from the others except—Jove. I have it! It was charred and the others were not. That's it, boys. Try charring some other bits of cotton in the fire and then lighting them."
"Jiminy crickets, you're right!" yelled Fred, as after he had followed his uncle's suggestion he readily obtained fire on another wisp of cotton. "It's the charring that makes it work."
And now that the secret was discovered and the boys could make fire at will, they were terribly anxious to try the effect of their latest magic on the king. But Dr. Woodward counseled against it.
"No," he said. "We will wait until an occasion arises. It would be a great mistake to make our miracles everyday affairs. We'll hold this in reserve until we need it."
And little did any of the three dream how soon the need would arise. That night Fred was awakened by a slight sound, and opening his eyes he glanced about, expecting to see Mumba. The next instant something leaped upon him, he was seized and bound, and though he struggled furiously and tried to scream a warning to his companions, he was utterly helpless in the grip of his assailant and his yells were roughly smothered by a hand clapped over his mouth. The next moment a stick was thrust into the fire, and as it blazed up and illuminated the cave, Fred saw Harry and his uncle, lying trussed like himself, in the grasp of two of the monkey men, while gloating above them stood the king.
The boy shook and the sweat stood out on his forehead with terror. The end, he felt, had come at last. They had been seized, were about to be killed, and he felt faint and limp at the thought. But the next instant his hopes were revived. There was no move made to injure either of the prisoners, and the king, holding a blazing stick like a torch, began rummaging in the prisoners' pockets. Extracting the cartridges he found, he tossed his firebrand back into the flames, grinned triumphantly, and, with his men, disappeared in the passage.
Instantly it was all clear to Fred. The king had seen the boys reach into their pockets and throw the shells into the fire and he had reasoned that, could he secure the magic making objects, he himself could perform the same terrifying miracle as his captives.
"Gosh!" mumbled Harry, straining at the withes that bound him. "Isn't he the old villain."
"He's no fool," declared the scientist, trying his best to free his hands. "We thought we hoodwinked him, but we didn't. Now we're in a fine fix. The Lord alone knows why we're not all dead."
"We may be yet, in a minute," moaned Fred. "Oh, if only we could do something!"
But they were helpless; bound hard and fast, and despite their struggles they could not loosen their bonds in the least.
"I wish—" began Harry, but at that moment there was a muffled roar from the direction of the main cavern.
"He's done it!" cried Dr. Woodward. "That was the cartridges. Great Scott! he must have thrown all of them into the fire at once. I—"
Before he could complete his sentence, Mumba leaped into the room, and muttering incoherently, soon loosened the withes that bound the three prisoners. Hardly waiting to thank him, the boys and Dr. Woodward seized their bows and arrows and hurried down the passage after Mumba, who was excitedly urging them to follow him. That something important was taking place they knew by his manner and gestures, though he was so wrought up that not one word he uttered was intelligible. And so excited and anxious to see what was going on were the boys that they forgot all about their own danger, and the risks they ran, as they raced towards the big cavern at the heels of the monkey man.
As they neared the cave, a low, moaning wail came from within and as they reached the entrance they halted. The room was filled with dense smoke and the smell of gunpowder, while every occupant was prone on the floor.
The king was nowhere to be seen and the three gazed about, searching for the monarch. But Mumba was tugging at Dr. Woodward's sleeve and urging him forward, and with the boys by his side, he stepped among the prone savages towards the throne. The next instant, an exclamation of amazement burst from the scientist's lips.
Sprawled upon the floor, with arms outstretched, lay the king, his hideous face ghastly with blood, while from what had once been his eye the ragged fragments of a brass cartridge shell protruded.
"Dead!" ejaculated Dr. Woodward. "Killed by his own hand. One of the shells must have flown from the fire and penetrated his brain."
Nauseated at the sight of the dead king, the boys drew back, but not so the scientist. Stooping over the dead monarch, he snatched the crown of purple feathers from his head, and placing it on his own, stepped to the throne, dragging the boys with him. And when, an instant later, the prostrate people timidly raised their eyes, and looking about, saw the white man seated on the throne with the royal crown upon his head, a mighty shout arose. Then they caught sight of their dead king and like one they knocked their foreheads upon the floor. Here indeed was magic, something most awful. They had seen their king toss something into the fire, the magical noise and flying embers had followed, and now the monarch was dead and the white man sat in his place upon the throne. Truly the magic of such beings was not to be trifled with, and raising their heads, the people gazed upon the scientist and the two boys as though they were apparitions born of the terrifying explosions,—as they no doubt thought they were. For a moment Dr. Woodward sat motionless and then, at a whispered word from him, the boys drew out their flints and tinder and struck the stones sharply with their knives. As the cotton glowed and the bits of palm leaf blazed, the boys waved it about before the awestruck faces of the kneeling throng. It was the finishing touch to a most dramatic scene, and once more a wailing moan arose from the monkey men and they again prostrated themselves before the throne.
"Gee whittaker!" exclaimed Harry in low tones. "Didn't it work though!"
"You bet!" agreed Fred. "And there's no more danger from the old king."
"The king is dead, long live the king!" cried Harry, and then, his sense of humor overcoming every other thought, he dropped on one knee before his father and bowed in mock humility. "All honor to the new king of the monkey men," he laughed, "Dad the First!"
"And to think we're real princes now!" added Fred. "Gee, Harry, won't the fellows at home be crazy when they know we're Prince Harry and Prince Fred?"
Dr. Woodward smiled, pleased that the boys' irrepressible good humor had not deserted them even at this time. But before he could speak a great shout of joy and approbation arose from the monkey men, who had once more raised their heads. They had seen Harry's mock obeisance and had taken it as the genuine thing, and it had impressed them more than anything else. Even the white boys looked upon their white chief as a monarch; and no king ever crowned received a more heartfelt and sincere ovation than that given to Dr. Woodward by the savages in that vast cavern.

WITH savage callousness, the monkey men paid no attention to their late monarch, whose body lay where it had fallen. But at an order from Dr. Woodward, two of the men half-carried and half-dragged it from the room into one of the dark holes in the walls. Mumba was squatted beside the rude stone throne, and Harry jokingly remarked that he would make a good prime minister.
"That's not such a joke as you think," declared his father. "He's a faithful fellow and a true friend. We'll need someone to help us and there is no one better. We'll make him prime minister as you say."
"Gee, Dad, you're talking like a real king already," cried Harry, shaking with merriment. "You said 'we'll make him prime minister,' just the way kings talk in stories. Oh, just wait till I tell mother about this!"
"Enjoy yourselves, my boys," said Dr. Woodward, striving hard to maintain a regal air and not to laugh at thought of himself sitting there as king of the monkey men. "But remember this is no joke to the people. And if we're to make the most of our new power we mustn't appear frivolous."
Then, by signs and by means of his recently acquired ability to speak a little of the savages' tongue, he summoned Mumba and told the big fellow of his new status in life. For a time, Mumba did not seem able to grasp the idea, but when at last it dawned upon him, he fell at the new king's feet and then, rising, went strutting about and gabbling to his fellows in such an exalted self-important manner that the boys doubled up with laughter and even Dr. Woodward shook with merriment.
A moment later, however, Mumba came towards the throne, dragging two trembling and evidently terrified men with him, and by signs and words he informed the scientist that these were the fellows who had seized and bound him and the two boys at the late king's orders.
"Gee, Dad—I mean Your Majesty—" exclaimed Hairy. "You made a big mistake when you made old Mumba prime minister. You should have made him chief of police!"
It was very apparent that the two prisoners before the throne expected to receive most prompt and terrible punishment, and as Dr. Woodward looked fixedly at them, pondering what to do about their eases, the assembled people stood silent, awaiting his words. Undoubtedly, thought the scientist, the two were blameless, for they had merely obeyed their ruler and no good would come from punishing them. In fact, if they had been loyal and brave enough to have obeyed their late king to the extent of seizing himself and the boys, they would be just as loyal to their new monarch. So, using Mumba as an interpreter, for he could understand Dr. Woodward and the boys far better than the rest of his people—the scientist pardoned the two culprits and set them free. The crowd received the decision with cries of approval and the two men fairly grovelled at the feet of their new ruler.
It was now past midnight, and dismissing the crowd of monkey men, Dr. Woodward and the two boys went back to their own cave. Mumba followed at their heels like a faithful dog and when the three, tired out with the exciting events of the night, threw themselves upon their beds of palm leaves, the new prime minister of the monkey men curled up in the doorway, evidently considering it was part of his duties to act as a watchdog and personal guard for his royal master.
The whole affair seemed like a wild, weird dream to the boys when they awoke the next morning. But there was the purple crown, and they felt far happier and more free from worry than at any time since they had first met the monkey men. The king was dead and there was no fear from him, and with Dr. Woodward as accepted ruler in his place, no one would dare prevent them from going anywhere they pleased or from leaving the valley whenever they chose.
"Isn't it bully to think we can leave now?" cried Fred, as they ate the breakfast brought by Mumba. "Say, let's start off today."
"Not so fast," his uncle admonished him. "We must make preparations and not go running off to find ourselves in a worse fix."
"I'm beginning to think you like being a king," said Harry mischievously. "You were as keen to go as we were, a little while ago."
"I am still," his father assured him. "But you forget we will have grave perils and tremendous difficulties to overcome, once we leave here. We must have a supply of provisions and must be sure of our ability to win through. It's hopeless to try to get to civilization afoot, but we can build a boat of some sort here and go by river. But a boat, or even a raft, cannot be built in a day. A few days or even weeks will make no difference. Now that you can go where you please about the valley, and know you are no longer prisoners, there's no reason why you should not be content. You were crazy to get into the bush and the unknown country. Now you're here, make the best of it. There's as much fun and excitement here as anywhere else."
"Yes, Dad," admitted Harry, realizing that their status was very different from that of the preceding day, "If we only had our guns we'd be all right. But I guess we can find plenty to do. We can explore the valley and find where the river goes and can hunt with bows and arrows, and fish in the river."
"You bet we can," agreed Fred heartily. "I keep forgetting we're royalty now. And we can take old Mumba along with us so we won't get lost—that is," he added, "if Your Majesty doesn't require the services of the prime minister."
"Good for you, boys," laughed the scientist. "You can have Mumba, and this morning we'll make a round of all the caves and then have a look into the valley. I'm anxious to get hold of that machete that Joseph had. I can't imagine why these people haven't taken it long before now."
"Probably afraid to," suggested Harry. "They may have been too superstitious to go near the poor fellow's body."
"Lucky they didn't," declared Fred. "If the old king had got hold of that he'd have had magic worth while."
As soon as breakfast was over, the three, guided by Mumba, went through all the passages and chambers, but saw little of interest. In one room they found the ex-king's family, who did not seem in the least sorrowful over the death of their lord and master, and everywhere they went, the people bowed down and prostrated themselves before their new ruler.
"Regular triumphal procession," laughed Fred, as they started out through the tunnel leading to the valley. "Gee, it's not so bad being royalty after all—even if we are just monkey men princes."
It was delightful to find that no one attempted to interfere with them, as they reached the valley and wondered off among the trees towards the river. But they could find no trace of Joseph's body or the machete.
"I expect that flood carried it away down the river," said Dr. Woodward. "Well, it can't be helped, but I wish we had the machete. It would be a real treasure in building a craft of some sort."
Following the stream, the three walked towards the great cliff down whose face they had come into the valley. The great column of water still spouted from it, but as the three approached closely they found that a great change had taken place upon the precipice itself. Where the narrow trail, down which they had come, had been, there was now only a smooth, unbroken surface. The heavy rains and the water, pouring over the verge, had washed away every vestige of a pathway or a projecting ledge, and all the loose material had fallen to the valley in a great landslide. This route out of the place was barred forever.
"No going back that way," announced Dr. Woodward, as they gazed up at the precipitous cliff. "That leaves us but one choice—to go out the other end of the valley by river."
"It doesn't trouble me if it is cut off," declared Fred. "I thought we were going by river anyway. Gosh, I'd hate to go back over that country we tramped through with Joseph."
But when, the following day, the three, with Mumba accompanying them, explored the other end of the valley, they found their hopes dashed to pieces. They had expected to find a narrow cleft or a cañon through the rocky wall, and while they realized that the stream flowing through such a place might be filled with rapids or even cataracts, still they had hoped to find it navigable. But when, after their long tramp, they came within sight of the barrier, they found that the river flowed directly against the surface of the precipice and disappeared in a yawning black tunnel that pierced the base of the cliff.
"That settles it!" exclaimed Harry, sinking to the grass, utterly dejected and discouraged, “We're in a regular prison."
"And we'll have to spend the rest of our lives here," added Fred, almost ready to cry.
"Boys, boys!" cried Dr. Woodward. "The case is not hopeless yet. This place may be passable— when the stream is low—and we haven't explored the opposite side of the valley yet. There may be a dozen places where we can get out. Come, come, don't be so easily cast down."
His reassuring tones did much to encourage the boys, and with high hopes, they made their way up stream, searching for a spot where they could cross. But this, they soon found, was impossible. The river was swift, deep, and filled with treacherous eddies, and their first and nearly fatal experience in trying to swim the stream had taught them how dangerous it was. And by questioning Mumba, Dr. Woodward discovered that not one of the monkey men could swim, and that no member of the tribe had ever crossed the river.
"Now, what are we going to do?" asked Harry, as they realized the river barred farther progress in that direction.
"Hmm," muttered Dr. Woodward, as he stood thoughtfully regarding the rushing stream. "I think we'll bridge it."
"Bridge it!" cried Fred. “That's a great scheme. But how can we do it? We haven't any axes to cut down trees.”
"No, but the people can burn them down," said his uncle. "It won't take more than one or two."
"But what's the use?" objected Harry. "We can see there's a steep cliff over there."
"It looks impassable from here, I admit," replied his father. "But there may be a ravine or gulley, or even a ledge, like the one behind us that leads to the caves. We couldn't tell at this distance. Besides, it will give us something to do and," he laughed, "you boys are always keen on exploring new places, and the other side of this valley is totally unexplored. You don't know what wonderful things you may find there."
"I've found all the new things I want to," declared Fred. "But, as you say, maybe there is a way out over there, and anyway, it will keep us busy. I'm willing to help."
But when they came actually to attempt bridging the river, they found it by no means the simple and easy task they had thought. To be sure, the monkey men, with their stone axes and by fire, had little trouble in cutting down several trees— for the wood was soft—but they had no knowledge whatsoever of using their tremendous strength at manual labor, and the scientist was compelled patiently to teach them the use of levers and rollers, for the nearest trees were some distance from the river.
But the boys found the work interesting and the savages, once they grasped Dr. Woodward's ideas, were as delighted as children to find they could lift and move the heavy logs about. Nearly two weeks elapsed, however, before the felled trees were lying on the river bank, and then came the greatest problem of all; how to place them across the stream. But the very difficulty of this simple feat of engineering served to interest the boys and occupy their minds so they did not brood over their forced stay in the valley, and it was really for this reason more than anything else that had led Dr. Woodward to undertake building the bridge.
He really had little faith in finding a route out of the valley on the opposite side of the river, but he knew that the most important matter was to keep the boys busy and prevent them from becoming dejected and despondent, and the heavy work of bridge making and the solution of problems that constantly arose, were admirable for this.
In order to lift the logs and swing them from one bank to the other, the scientist planned to make a pair of "shears." To do this he had two of the lighter logs lashed together with lianas and then, by means of long twisted lianas used as stays, and with the savages hauling on them with their gigantic strength, the shears were raised above the logs lying on the river's brink. Next a crude sheave, made by slinging a section of a limb in a liana sling, was rigged as a pulley, and passing a long liana rope over this, the end was made fast to one of the big logs. Then, with a dozen lusty monkey men pulling on the line, the big tree trunk was slowly raised high in air. So delighted were the savages at seeing this apparently miraculous feat accomplished that they almost ruined everything by releasing their holds on the rope in order to dance about. But Fred saved the day by getting a turn of the rope around one of the legs of the shears in the nick of time.
When the hilarious monkey men were once more under control, Dr. Woodward directed them to lift the butt end of the suspended log and to push it forward, until at last, it stood erect with one end resting on the edge of the bank and the other towering twenty feet or more above the top of the shears. Stout stakes were then driven into the earth behind the log to prevent it slipping back, it was lashed loosely to these so it could not kick up, and while the monkey men looked on with wonder, the scientist severed the rope that held it up. With a tremendous crash it fell, with its tip resting on the opposite bank of the stream. The savages' delight at seeing the log spanning the river was wonderful. They yelled and shouted, pranced and leaped about, rolled over on the grass and roared with glee. Then, like a crowd of happy schoolchildren, they raced across the log which, to their feet, formed an easy and safe roadway. Never in the history of their race had any member of the tribe crossed the stream and now that the river, which had proved an insurmountable barrier, was spanned, they frolicked on the farther shores, racing madly about, leaping into the trees and chattering like a flock of parrots.
But the boys found the round log far from satisfactory as a footpath and the scientist, recalling his subjects with some difficulty, proceeded to have a second log placed beside the first. This was a comparatively easy matter, now one log was in place, and before nightfall, a good substantial roadway was completed and the farther side of the valley was open to the three amateur bridge builders.
The boys were almost as delighted with the success of their labors as had been the monkey men, and Harry declared that it was well worth all the trouble to see the delight of the people. In fact, both boys had become really fond of the huge, good-natured, friendly beings who looked upon them and the scientist as little less than gods, and now that they could converse quite fluently with them, they got on famously.
Indeed, under any other circumstances, they would thoroughly have enjoyed their experience with the strange race and would have thought it all a most wonderful and exciting adventure. But the mere fact that they could not go when they pleased robbed them of much of the enjoyment they otherwise would have had, and even though there was no longer any danger of coming to harm at the hands of the savages, still the feeling of restraint was there and they longed to get away from the valley. However, red-blooded, active, adventure-loving boys cannot help having a lot of fun, if they have the least chance, and Harry and Fred had every chance. They were living among the strangest, most primitive, if friendly, savages; they were virtually kings or rulers of a tribe no other white men had ever seen; they had a marvelous valley filled with game to roam in, and though they found bows and arrows very inferior weapons compared to their accurate, powerful rifles, still they had become so expert in their use that they had no difficulty in killing any birds or animals they needed, for the creatures were very tame and unsuspicious.
Now they had a new interest; several square miles of unknown country where the foot of man had never trod, to explore. So, on the day after the bridge had been built, as they crossed with Mumba to the opposite side of the river, they felt like discoverers of old and were filled with suppressed excitement at what they might find in the new portion of the valley. And in many ways they were not at all disappointed. This new side of the valley was far richer in natural resources than the other, its fruits, vegetables and wild life had never been molested or touched, and it would have been a perfect paradise for sportsmen. Deer, tapir, peccaries and other animals were everywhere and seemed utterly unafraid of man; curassows and pheasants fed in great flocks under the scarlet trees; and several times, the boys saw the magnificent purple birds which were looked upon as sacred by the monkey men.
Indeed, so delighted were the boys with the beauties and the interests of the place that they did not even become dispirited when a careful examination of the rocky cliffs showed no signs of a trail or a crevice that would be possible to negotiate. It was while they were wandering about the base of the cliff, searching for a possible way out, that the boys made an interesting discovery. They had found a number of pieces of stone, which was almost as clear as glass and would, they knew, make splendid implements, and were gathering the best pieces, when Harry noticed a bit of some semi-transparent, green material.
"Golly!" he exclaimed, as he picked it up. "Look here, Fred. Someone's been here before. See, here's a piece of an old bottle."
"That's so," agreed Fred, examining Harry's find. "We'll take this to Uncle. Won't we have the laugh on him, though? He thinks no other civilized man's ever been here, and here we find a piece of a green bottle. It'll be some joke on him."
"Maybe it dropped over the cliff," suggested Harry, "and perhaps they never came into the valley."
"That's so," agreed Fred. "Anyway, we'll jolly Uncle about it. But there should be more of it here. Let's look and see."
Searching among the rocks, the boys soon found a number of other fragments and Mumba, as soon as he found the boys wanted the green glass, as Fred called it, discovered a number of additional pieces which he brought to them.
"Gee, they must have dropped half a dozen bottles," declared Fred, as they wrapped the pieces in a leaf and handed them to Mumba to carry. "We've found enough to make at least three bottles, and there's plenty left."
"Must have dropped or thrown a lot over the cliff," said Harry, as they left the place and walked towards the scientist who was several hundred yards ahead of them.
As they approached him, Fred nudged his cousin. "Try to keep a straight face," he said in low tones.
Harry nodded and winked. Then, as he reached his father's side, he said innocently. "Oh, Dad, do savages know how to make glass?"
"Glass!" repeated his father. "Of course not. Whatever put any such idea in your head?"
"Oh, nothing," replied Harry. "Only if these monkey men don't know how, then we're not the first white men to come here."
His father stared at him fixedly. "Nonsense!" he exclaimed. "I'm positive no civilized man ever set foot in this valley before we arrived."
"Then please explain how they got bottles?" demanded Harry.
"Bottles!" reiterated the scientist. "Bottles! What sort of bottles?"
"Beer or something of the sort," replied the boy, trying hard not to laugh, as he saw the mystified, puzzled expression on his father's face. "We found a lot of broken ones over under the cliff."
Dr. Woodward snorted. "Have you boys taken leave of your senses?" he cried. "What on earth are you talking about?"
"Oh no, we're not crazy," Fred assured him, "and we're talking about bottles—green glass ones. Looks to me as if these monkey men had been having a regular spree over here."
"You mean to say you found glass bottles?" demanded Dr. Woodward.
"Yes, or rather parts of them” replied Fred. "Look, here they are."
As he spoke, he took the package from Mumba, unrolled it and showed its contents to the scientist. But as Dr. Woodward saw the green fragments, and seizing one, examined it closely, the boys saw a very different expression, from the one they had expected, come over his face. There was no sign of puzzlement, chagrin or disappointment; but instead, a look of incredulous amazement. Then he whistled.
"Bottles!" he cried, looking up. "Bottles! Why, my boys, bottles of that sort of glass would be worth countless thousands of dollars each. No, my boys, the joke's on you. Do you know what you've found?"
The boys, realizing something was amiss, shook their heads.
"They're emeralds!" declared the scientist. "And beautiful ones. Boys, you've stumbled upon a fortune!"
"Emeralds!" cried Harry, utterly unable to believe his cars. "Gosh! and there's lots more over there."
“Hurrah!" yelled Fred. "Say, this old valley's not so bad after all. Gee whittaker, Harry, we're rich! Emeralds are better than that old radium stuff!"
"You bet!" shouted Harry delightedly. "We're millionaires as well as princes! Golly, won't the fellows in New York open their eyes?"

EXCITED at their find and anxious to secure more of the precious crystals, the boys hurried back with the scientist to the spot. But only a few more of the gems were found.
"It's a pocket," announced Dr. Woodward, when the last bit of gleaming green crystal had been picked up. "There may be others in the cliff, but we'd need dynamite to blast them out. You're not literally millionaires, I'm afraid, but you have many thousand dollars worth of gems, I should judge."
"And a lot of good it does us, where there's no such thing as money and nothing to buy, if we had it," said Fred.
"And with a healthy chance of ever getting out, to turn these stones into cash," added Harry.
"I think we have a very good chance," declared his father. "I've been thinking over the matter and I'm not at all sure we cannot get out by river after all."
"Through that hole!" exclaimed Harry, utterly dumbfounded at the idea. "Why, Dad, we might find that the river filled the hole or ran over a fall, or some terrible thing. Ugh, it makes me shiver to think of it."
"I have no intention of attempting it without making sure of conditions," his father assured him. "I shall explore the place first and find out exactly what we may expect."
"I don't see how you can do that," said Fred.
"By a boat," replied Dr. Woodward, "or a raft. The craft can be secured to the shore and several of the men can then pay out the line gradually at my signals as the craft floats into the tunnel. If I find it becomes too low for safety, or if there are rapids or falls ahead, I can signal to be drawn back in safety."
"Oh, that's too dangerous!" cried Harry. "No, Dad, I'd rather stay here for years than to have you go into that hole alone. Gosh, think what would happen if the rope broke or anything!"
"Don't worry over that," laughed his father.
"I shall take no risks, and before I attempt it I shall send scouts ahead."
The boys laughed. "I'd like to see you get any of these people to go in there," said Harry. "Why, I'll bet they'd be scared stiff of a boat."
"I have another sort of scouts in mind," chuckled Dr. Woodward, "and this afternoon we'll send one of them into the tunnel."
Despite the boys' pleas to explain what he meant, the scientist refused to satisfy their curiosity and neither could even guess what his plan might be, or who he intended to employ as a scout to investigate the tunnel through which the stream flowed from the valley.
And when, after their noonday meal, they again started across the valley, Mumba alone accompanied them.
"Oh ho, so you think he'll go in there!" cried Fred. "I'll bet even your old prime minister’ll resign before he'll do that, though."
"Wait and see,'' was the scientist's only repsonse.
Mumba was carrying a long coil of liana, and as they reached the spot where the bridge had been built. Dr. Woodward had the fellow attach one end of his line to a section of tree trunk that was lying on the bank. Then, gathering a few small sticks. Dr. Woodward ordered Mumba to let the log float down stream, holding it in check with the line.
When they were a few rods above the dark hole wherein the river disappeared, the log was drawn ashore, and with the savage's aid. Dr. Woodward drove a number of slender sticks of varying lengths into one side of the timber.
"Look, he's putting masts on it," exclaimed Fred, laughing. “What's the idea, Uncle?"
Dr. Woodward merely grinned and continued with his work, which now consisted of fastening a number of stones to the other side of the log, binding them in place with lianas.
"Ballast!" cried Harry. "Say, Dad is going to make a toy boat! But I don't see what that has to do with investigating the old tunnel."
But very soon both he and his cousin did see. Launching the log, which, ballasted by the stones, floated with the sticks standing upright like masts. Dr. Woodward slowly paid out the line and let the affair drift down stream towards the yawning opening in the cliff.
"Now do you understand?" asked the scientist, as the log with its mast-like sticks disappeared in the tunnel.
"I think I do," replied Harry. "If you find those sticks broken off when you pull the log back, you'll know the roof is too low to let them pass."
"Right!" exclaimed his father. "And as the sticks are of varying heights we can tell exactly how low or how high the roof is.
"But I don't see how you can tell how narrow it is or whether there's a fall or rapids there," objected Fred.
"We can tell if there is swift water or rapids, by the pull of the log," explained his uncle. "And after this test for the height of the roof, we'll let the log in again with sticks arranged along its sides in the same way as those standing upright."
"But they might just be knocked off on rocks or by the log swinging against the sides of the tunnel," said Fred, "and then how would you know?"
"Yes, there is that chance," admitted Dr. Woodward, “but it's the best we can do until I am sure it is possible for me to enter the tunnel and explore it in person.”
"Well, I hope you find you can't," declared Harry. "I'd rather stay here than have you."
"Fiddlesticks!" replied his father. "There'll be no danger. Ah," he continued, "we're near the end of the rope. Now we’ll haul the log back and if all looks well we'll add more line."
To their delight, they found only one stick injured, and that the highest one, which projected fully four feet above the surface of the log.
"That looks promising," announced Dr. Woodward. "Even that piece may have struck some small projection. It is very evident that there is at least three feet of space between the water and the tunnel roof. Now let's see how far the log will travel before it strikes an obstruction or rapids."
Intensely interested in this novel method of investigating an underground passage, the boys hurried off with Mumba, and returned, carrying great rolls of lianas. When these were knotted together there was at least five hundred feet of line available, and as fathom after fathom ran out and the drag of the log on the line remained steady, all were in high spirits, for it was very evident that the passageway was safely navigable for at least the length of the line.
"Gosh, that must be pretty near clear through the mountain," declared Fred, when they drew the log back and found only the tallest of the sticks bent and broken.
His uncle smiled. "Hardly," he said. "This mountain may be miles wide, or again, it may be only a narrow wall of rock like the cliff at the upper end of the valley. Moreover, for all we know, the tunnel may turn and twist and the log may not have been fifty feet in the tunnel, in a direct line."
"Oh, pshaw, how can we find out anything then?" cried Harry in disgusted tones. "I vote we give up."
"Not a bit of it!" exclaimed his father. "If this is a possible way out of the valley I intend to find it out and if so, take it. My next step will be to build a raft or boat and explore it myself."
"It won't do any good," prophesied Fred. "You can't go in for more than a few hundred feet with a rope, and the place may be miles long, as you said."
"Very true," admitted his uncle. "But there are undoubtedly columns or projections of rock within the tunnel to which I can fasten lianas and then let my craft go farther and farther into the passage without the least fear of being unable to get back."
"I'm going to be frightened half to death all the time you're in there," declared Harry.
"And so am I," chimed in Fred.
"Don't be childish!" commanded Dr. Woodward. "Anyone would think I was a mere kid or a rank amateur at exploring. Do you think for a moment I'd take any risks, or chances of being killed or injured or carried away, with you two boys here? No, boys, your fears are without any foundation. Just because it's a black tunnel you have a sort of superstitious fear of the place—most people feel the same way about any black hole— but that doesn't make it dangerous. I shall be perfectly safe."
"Well, I suppose you know best," admitted Harry. "But how are you going to build a boat?"
"I guess it will have to be a raft," replied Dr. Woodward. "We can make one very much as we did back on the river in the forest."
"Only it'll be some job without machetes," Fred reminded him.
"But we have plenty of labor to do the work for us, don't forget that, Fred. Remember that with enough hands almost any feat may be accomplished —it was labor rather than tools that built the pyramids and countless other stupendous works of the past."
The next day work was commenced on the raft, for there was no time to be lost. The rainy season was rapidly approaching and Dr. Woodward knew that, with the rains, the river would rise and fill the tunnel, making passage through it out of the question. As there were no trumpet trees or bamboos growing near the river at the lower end of the valley. Dr. Woodward decided to have the raft built at the upper end near the spot where he and the boys had first descended from the cliffside. It would be just as easy to float the completed raft down the stream as to let the material drift down, and to construct it near the homes of the monkey men would save many weary journeys back and forth. Even at the spot selected there was little suitable material close to the river, and the monkey men searched about on the neighboring hillsides, cutting or burning down the trumpet trees and giant bamboos where they found them and then dragging the sections to the river and tossing them into the stream. As they came bobbing and swirling down with the swift current, they were caught by the men stationed on the banks and provided with long poles. Very often, however, a length of bamboo or a trumpet-tree log would slip by and go rushing down the valley. As each log or section of bamboo represented a vast amount of time and labor, Dr. Woodward could not afford to lose them and so, whenever one was carried past the men, a horde of the savages went racing along the banks in chase. This they considered great fun, and yelling and shouting, pushing one another aside, jostling and crowding, scuffling and struggling, they would go tearing after the derelict log, for all the world like a crowd of football players trying to make a goal.
Indeed, it became such a game to them that several times they quite forgot the object of their mad race and let the log get away while struggling among themselves, and to avoid this, the scientist told the boys to take charge of this log-chasing sport.
While doing this, one of the logs that had gone adrift grounded upon the gravel bar onto which the boys had crawled after their narrow escape from drowning. Leaping down from the bank upon the strip of coarse sand, Harry stubbed his toe and almost fell, and glancing down, he saw a peculiarly shaped, grayish object almost buried in the sand.
As he stooped to examine it he gave a delighted yell. It was the handle of a machete! The next moment he had drawn the rusty but still serviceable implement from its resting place
"Hurrah!" he shouted, forgetting all about the stranded log, and dashing back towards the spot where his father was busy directing the construction of the raft. "Hurrah! Look, Dad, look! Here's Joseph's machete."
"Jove, we're in luck!" exclaimed Dr. Woodward. "Now, we'll have much easier work."
To the monkey men, this new wonder was more remarkable than anything they had yet seen. They had become accustomed to seeing the boys and the scientist use their pocket knives, but as the keen blade of the machete bit into the wood of the logs and the chips flew, they gazed in absolute amazement. Then, with a loud shout, they turned, and dropping all their work, rushed pell-mell down stream and swarmed onto the sand bar where they commenced digging furiously with their hands.
The boys collapsed with uncontrollable laughter.
"Oh, Gosh!" cried Harry, between spasms of merriment. "They're digging for machetes!"
Harry was right. The simple savages, having seen the boy draw the wonderful implement from the sand, were seeking feverishly for more, squabbling and struggling with one another, wrestling and fighting in their mad desire to secure the precious things. And very crestfallen and disappointed they looked, as finding nothing, they came straggling back to their work on the raft.
Soon after noon, the raft was completed, and leaping onto it, the two boys poled it from shore and kept it in midstream, as the monkey men, under the scientist's orders, walked along the river bank holding fast to stout lianas attached to the clumsy affair. To the boys, it was a great lark to navigate the crude raft down the river, but to the savages, who had never seen or dreamed of a craft of any kind, it was another miracle, another proof of their white rulers' supernatural powers, and they gazed upon it with awe as it floated down stream.
Mooring the raft to the bank a few yards above the tunnel mouth, Dr. Woodward commenced preparations for exploring the passage through the cliff. Long coils of strong lianas were secured, a torch was made from resinous branches, and the boys were given minute instructions regarding their duties, and those of the monkey men, who were watching with puzzled faces, utterly unable to understand what it was all about.
"Pay out the line slowly," Dr. Woodward cautioned them. "And you, Harry, hold this smaller line. That will be my signal line and if all goes well it will run out evenly and smoothly. If I find any danger or difficulty ahead I’ll pull once and that will mean to hold the raft where it is. Two pulls will mean let it go on again, and three pulls will mean haul it back. Now do you all understand?"
The boys nodded. "Yes, one pull, stop letting out line; two pulls, let out more; three pulls, haul in," repeated Harry.
"Righto!" replied his father cheerily. "All ready? Now to see what's before us."
Stepping onto the raft, and lighting his torch. Dr. Woodward signalled to the men and the boys. Then, as the lines were slowly paid out, the raft was carried towards the yawning black chasm, and the next moment, had disappeared from sight. For an instant the boys could see the glow of the scientist's torch within the tunnel, and then all was blackness.
As the raft disappeared, a terrible moaning wail arose from the monkey men, and Fred had the utmost difficulty in preventing them from hauling the raft back, so fearful were the savages of losing their white king. But despite their primitive ways and limited intelligence, the monkey men were always obedient, and regardless of their own terror over Dr. Woodward's venture, they followed Fred's orders without hesitation.
Fathom after fathom of the strong liana line was let out and fathom after fathom of the lighter line slipped through Harry's hands, and yet no signal came from the scientist. Everything was evidently going well and then, so unexpectedly that Harry jumped, came a tug on the signal line. Instantly, at his shout, the men braced themselves and held the tugging, straining line fast, while, with suppressed excitement and wondering what Dr. Woodward had found, the two boys stood awaiting the next signal. Presently it came; two short tugs on the line.
"I guess it's all right," exclaimed Harry, as once more the men let out the line foot by foot. "Dad probably stopped to see something or to look ahead."
"Maybe there was a bend and he wanted to be sure it was all right before going on," suggested Fred.
"I—" He was interrupted by Harry's cry to hold fast as again he felt his father jerk the signal line once.
A long minute passed and then came three sharp pulls on the signal line, and at the boys' orders, the monkey men commenced hauling in.
"Gosh, he was pretty near at the end of the rope," cried Fred, as yard after yard of dripping liana was hauled in and coiled.
Then, a moment later, the glow of the torch was visible within the opening in the cliff and as the raft, bearing Dr. Woodward, reappeared, a tremendous shout of relief and joy went up from the crowd of black savages.
"Oh, what did you find?" cried Harry, rushing towards the raft the moment it touched the bank. "Is it all right? I'm crazy to know."
"Quite all right as far as I went," replied his father. "Almost straight and without rocks in the stream, and no rapids. But I could go no farther. The tunnel narrows until the raft could not pass."
"Then we can't tell whether we could get through or not," said Harry disappointedly. "Gee, that's tough luck."
"Yes we can," his father assured him. "I'm going to make a boat or a canoe. I feel quite sure there are no rapids and no falls there. I listened for some time and could hear nothing that sounded like broken or falling water and in that cavern the sound of falls or rapids could be heard for a long distance. I think there is every chance that the stream flows smoothly through and issues from the other side of the mountain without any falls."
"But perhaps it never comes out," suggested Fred. "Maybe it's one of those underground rivers and flows on and on through caves, like those rivers in Mammoth Cave. Gosh! It would be terrible to go floating around under ground until we died."
"There's hardly a possibility of that," declared the scientist. "This rock is granitic or volcanic and not the kind to be honeycombed with caves. Mammoth Cave and others that contain rivers are in limestone formations. No, I don't think there's the least danger of that."
"But there's this cave or tunnel," argued Harry, "and all those over in the mountain where the monkey men live. And they have stalactites just like those in Mammoth Cave."
"Yes, but these caves are merely fissures or cavities—formed, when the rock was molten, by gases, or possibly by veins or pockets of softer rock which has been decomposed and washed away,” explained Dr. Woodward. "And the stalactites are puny affairs composed of silica, instead of lime. Even those caverns yonder do not extend for any great distance. They're barely a thousand feet from one end to the other, in a direct line."
"Maybe," admitted Harry. "But still it makes me shiver to think of going into that hole in a boat, and not knowing where we may come out."
Dr. Woodward laughed. "You're imagining bogy-men, Harry," he replied. "You're like a child afraid of the dark. And with torches it's not dark in there. It's really beautiful, with the light gleaming on the crystals in the rock. However, we can do nothing more until we have a boat."
But to build a boat was a far greater undertaking than to construct a raft. The boys at once thought of woodskins, and a search of the woods about the borders of the valley resulted in their finding several trees whose bark was tough and thick and peeled readily from the wood.
But Dr. Woodward had doubts about the wisdom of using these frail craft in the cavern. "They're easily upset, unless handled by the Indians who understand them," he declared. "And while a capsize in an open river is not very serious usually, it would be a very different matter to be upset in the tunnel."
"But we can't make anything else," said Harry. "To make a dugout—even if we knew how— would take weeks and weeks, and the rainy season would be here."
"Why can't we make a catamaran?" suggested Fred. "They won't upset. We could make two woodskins and lash them side by side."
"Splendid!" declared his uncle. "Not only will that prevent them from capsizing, but if one should be injured or smashed, the other will still be serviceable."
Accordingly, all busied themselves making the woodskins, and though it was not nearly as simple a matter as the boys had thought from watching the Indians, and while they made many mistakes, still they at last succeeded in getting two huge, cylindrical sections of bark from the trees.
"I'm mighty glad we've got that machete," exclaimed Fred, as the boys watched Mumba wielding the keen-bladed implement and causing great chips to fly from the tree each time his enormous muscles brought the machete ringing against the wood. "It would have taken months to make woodskins and cut down these trees without it."
"You bet," agreed Harry. "It was the best luck ever, to have it there on the bar. It might have sunk in deep water just as well. I wonder what became of poor old Joseph."
"Washed down the river, as Uncle said, I guess," replied Fred. "But I'm mighty thankful his machete stayed behind."
Indeed, as Fred had said, it would have been a long and weary task to have constructed even the simple bark canoes without the machete, and the three guarded it as their most precious possession. In fact, as Harry remarked, the tool was worth far more to them than all their wealth of emeralds.
At the end of a week's labor the two woodskins were completed and were securely lashed side by side with crosspieces, and Dr. Woodward once more prepared to explore the underground portion of the river.
This time he was gone much longer and the last foot of the line was paid out before he was drawn back, "There's no danger, so far," he announced, "and not a sound of broken water ahead. There are plenty of projecting rocks to which we can fasten the boats and thus let ourselves move on slowly and cautiously and yet always be able to pull ourselves back. Indeed, we'll have a continuous line of lianas stretching from the entrance along the tunnel—a hand-line so to speak,—so that at any time or at any spot we can come back again if necessary."
"Hurrah!" screamed Fred. "Then we can start out. Gosh, Harry, just think of it! Getting out of this valley!"
"Jiminy, yes!" cried his cousin. "I feel as if I'd been here a year. Say, how long have we been here anyway? I haven't counted the knots on my string for a long time."
Pulling out their primitive string calendars, the two rapidly counted the large week-end knots and made a mental calculation.
"Nine weeks!” announced Fred, who was the first to arrive at the result. "Only a little over two months!"
"And with the rains due at any time now," added Dr. Woodward. "Yes, boys, if we are to get away from here before the rainy season sets in we'll have to start as soon as possible."
Fortunately there was little to be done in the way of preparations. Ever since the scientist had first suggested the possibility of escaping from the valley by means of the tunnel, the three had been getting ready for their attempt. They had bows and arrows and a large supply of stone implements on hand; provisions,—in the form of smoked dried meat and vegetable tubers and roots —had been stored away, and, best of all, they had hammocks. A discovery of the scientist's had made these possible, as well as many other comforts. He had found a number of trees of the kind known to the Spanish Americans as "Seda virgin" or "Virgin lace" and to the natives of Guiana as "Lace bark," and whose inner bark is as soft and strong as woven silk. Indeed, when stripped from the tree in great sheets, it resembled fine lace or cloth far more than any natural growth, and Dr. Woodward had told the boys that in Brazil the natives made garments, harness and even ropes from the material. The three had no need for garments as yet, and lianas were far easier to secure for ropes than the bark, but it filled a long-felt want when used as hammocks, and even the monkey men had been quick to see the superiority of these comfortable swing beds over bundles of palm leaves on the stone floors of their caves.
The scientist had also tried to teach the savages to spin and weave cotton, but in this he had been far from successful. The moment the lace-bark was discovered, all attempts at cotton spinning had been abandoned in favor of this natural cloth, and practically every member of the tribe now possessed a hammock and wore a breech clout of the bark.
"There's nothing else we can take," said Harry, as the three sat in their cave talking over their perilous venture. "We've got food enough to last us nearly a week, and fish-hooks and lines, and bows and arrows and our hammocks; and we can make fire with our flint and tinder."
"And our emeralds," Fred reminded him.
"And the machete," added Harry.
"Gosh, I wish we could take Mumba," said Fred regretfully. "Don't you think we can, Uncle?"
"He'd be very useful," replied Dr. Woodward. "His strength is tremendous and he's a faithful, willing fellow. But I doubt if he'd be happy away from his tribe. He'd probably die of loneliness and homesickness. However, if he's willing to go, we'll take him."
Now that the boys were about to leave the valley they felt rather sad at the thought. The strange savages seemed like old friends, and the boys wondered what they would think when the canoes and their occupants never came out of the tunnel, for it had been decided not to let the monkey men know of their plans to leave.
"They might try to prevent us," declared Dr. Woodward. "They have grown to regard us as rulers and supernatural beings, and it would be a tremendous blow to them to lose us."
“But won't they know, when they see us putting all the things into the woodskins, and see us start?" asked Harry.
"I hardly think they'll suspect what we intend to do," replied his father. "They don't dream any one could go away through that tunnel, and as they've seen me go in twice and return, they'll assume the same thing will happen this time. They'll hold onto the line just as before, expecting to pull us back, and after we have secured our line to the rocks inside the passage, we'll cast off the one they hold."
"Poor fellows!" exclaimed Fred. "Think how miserable and how terrified they'll be when they pull in the line and find nothing on the end of it."
"Possibly not so much as you think," said the scientist. "I imagine they'll think we've vanished —just as supernatural beings should do. At any rate, it cannot be helped. They'll have to work out their own salvation."
"And crown a new king," added Harry. "I wonder who he'll be."
"Mumba, I'll bet—if he doesn't go along with us," said Fred.
So excited were the boys at the prospect of making their desperate effort to escape from the valley, that little sleep came to them that night. When, the following morning, they reached the valley, they found the sky overcast and gray and a chill wind sweeping down from the hills.
"We're not a moment too soon," announced Dr. Woodward. "There's going to be rain and lots of it. The wind's changed and the rainy season is at hand."
Accompanied by Mumba and their other workmen, the three, carrying their packages and equipment, hurried down the valley towards the woodskins, and hastily stowed their belongings in the craft. They had already provided torches, rude paddles, poles and hundreds of feet of lianas, and very soon all was ready for them to embark.
"Now to see if Mumba'll come along," exclaimed Fred.
But it did not take long to find out. Mumba, faithful as he was, and fairly adoring his masters as he did, had no mind to trust himself in the canoes. Such things might be all very well for white kings and those who possessed magical powers; but the monkey men were no sailors, and even Mumba was taking no risks. Despite the boys' pleas, he absolutely refused to come near the boats, and at last the boys gave up.
"It's no use," declared Fred. "We'll have to go on without him."
Meanwhile, Dr. Woodward had been instructing the savages as to their duties in holding and paying out the lines, and as they had done the same thing before under the boys' directions, they understood readily.
"Well, good-bye, old chaps!" cried Harry, as the three stepped into the frail catamaran-like craft. "We may see you again and we may not."
Then, with fast beating hearts and trembling hands, the boys pushed the canoes from shore, and with the flaring torches held aloft, were borne rapidly towards the yawning mouth of the tunnel that led,—no one knew where.

NEVER, in all their adventures, had the two boys been so nervous and excited, so filled with vague fears, as when their canoes slipped into that black, yawning opening in the precipice that hemmed in the valley of the monkey men.
There was something awe-inspiring and uncanny in thus entering the mysterious aperture that led into the very heart of the mountain. And as the daylight was left behind, and the canoes passed into the black shadow of the archway and only the glare of their torches illuminated the rocky passage, while the only sound was the gurgle and lapping of the river, shivers ran up and down the boys' spines and their scalps tingled.
Despite the fact that a stout liana still stretched between them and the shore outside the tunnel, and that any moment they could signal the savages to draw them back, still the boys felt that they had left the outside world behind, that they might go on, floating down this black, ominous-looking stream forever, carried constantly farther and farther into the earth, and at last dying slowly of starvation in the awful darkness.
But it was not so bad as they had feared or imagined. Although it was mysterious, uncanny and fearsome, yet it was, as Dr. Woodward had said, beautiful in its way. The flaring torches cast a ruddy light upon the crystalline stone which glinted and sparkled as though studded with gems, and the water reflected the glow until it looked like a stream of liquid fire. But it was damp and chilly, and when the boys spoke in lowered tones, their voices boomed and echoed so that they cowered and huddled together in the bottom of the canoe.
"No danger of not hearing a fall in time," whispered the scientist. "Notice how your voices were magnified? We could hear broken water for hundreds of yards before we came to it."
And presently, the boys' first fears grew less, they breathed more freely and felt less nervous. As they came to a spot where there was an upstanding column of water-worn rock, Dr. Woodward swung the craft alongside it, made the end of one of the lianas fast to it and then, with the line running out, continued on down stream.
"There's our first line of retreat," he remarked. "When the line the men are holding reaches its limit we'll fasten it to another rock and signal them to hold the line there. Then we can continue, fastening lines as we go along, and if we have to come back we can still get the men to pull us out."
"Poor chaps!" exclaimed Fred. "If we don't signal they'll keep on holding to that line forever."
"Sorry, but it can't be helped," replied his uncle. "But we'll fix the line so it will part or untie if they tug very strongly on it. Then you won't have to worry over them, standing there indefinitely. Sooner or later they'll get tired and decide to haul in the line."
By now the first length of liana had run out, and swinging the craft to a projecting knob of rock, Dr. Woodward fastened the end of the first line, as well as the line to the open air and the signal line, and attaching a new length of liana to the same rock, again pushed into the current. They were now over five hundred feet from the entrance to the tunnel and still no sound of falling water reached their ears, no jutting rocks broke the surface of the stream, and the arched roof of the tunnel was still several feet above their heads. To be sure, the passageway had narrowed in places until the two canoes could barely slip between the walls, but in other spots it widened out into broad pondlike expanses where there was scarcely any current. Now the boys were gaining confidence, and they gazed expectantly forward at each turn of the tunnel hoping, if not fully expecting, to see the bright light of day ahead.
They had gone along very slowly, paying out the liana lines foot by foot, and fully an hour had passed since they first entered the unknown subterranean passage. All had gone well; only the soft swishing sound of the flowing water and the echoes of their own voices broke the silence, and as they reached one of the larger, wider areas of water the canoe was swung towards the walls to fasten another line in place. Here there was scarcely a perceptible current and the roof was at least five feet above the boys' heads.
Several minutes were spent in making the line fast, and as they once more pushed into midstream, Harry uttered a sharp exclamation.
"Dad!" he cried. "Look at the current! It's running like mad and a minute ago there was hardly any."
His father held the canoes stationary and studied the water rushing by. "Must be a current we didn't see before," he replied. "We'll run in nearer to one side."
But close to the gleaming, rocky walls the current was eddying and swirling almost as rapidly as in the centre of the stream.
"Oh, Gosh!" exclaimed Harry. "I'm scared. Something's wrong."
"Yes, do let's go back!" begged Fred in quavering tones. "I—"
A shriek from Harry cut his words short. "Oh!" he yelled. "Look at the roof, Dad! It's coming down!"
Dr. Woodward glanced up. The arched stone roof was barely two feet above their heads!
"Good Lord!" ejaculated the scientist. "The river's rising! There must have been a cloudburst outside!"
"Oh, oh!" moaned the terrified boys. "Go back! Let's get out!"
Seizing the liana that stretched back into the darkness, the three hauled and strained, and inch by inch the canoes crept up stream against the current that was now sweeping past them like a millrace. It was slow, muscle-straining work. The two canoes, bound together though they were, swayed and gyrated to the drag of the rushing torrent whose roar now filled the tunnel. Several times water poured into the open ends of the craft and then, with a wild yell of mortal terror, Fred dropped his hold on the line and sank, almost hysterical, into the bottom of the canoe. His head had touched the rock above! In a few moments more they would be forced against the roof of the passage by the rapidly rising water. Their craft would be crushed, filled, and they would be drowned like rats in this awful place.
As Fred released his grasp of the line, the sudden strain tore the liana from the others' grasp, the canoes shot forward with dizzying speed, they seemed to leap into the air as they reached the end of the line, there was a sharp snap, and with a wild plunge the craft careened and went spinning, rushing madly, through the tunnel. Paralyzed with fear, numbed by the awful realization of their plight, the two boys lay moaning in the bottom of the canoe, and utterly oblivious to the water that had poured in and was splashing over them. Dr. Woodward was almost as terror stricken as the boys. What was to be their fate? What terrible end had he brought upon Harry and Fred? He had never dreamed of such a fearful catastrophe, of the river rising suddenly, of the current increasing until they could not haul themselves back against it, of the water filling the tunnel to the roof and bringing all three to an awful death. And yet it had happened. A heavy downpour or a terrific shower had changed the smoothly flowing river into a tumbling, raging torrent; it would fill every inch of the tunnel and even, if by some miracle, there remained a tiny air space between the tumbling, rushing waters and the rocky roof, their frail craft would certainly be dashed to pieces against the walls. And they were absolutely helpless, at the mercy of the flood, for no line bound them to the rocks. As these thoughts flashed through his mind, the craft that bore him and the boys was tearing like a mad, wild thing through the underground tunnel while the roar of the water was deafening. There was not one chance in a million that any of the three would ever escape alive. Better by far had they remained forever in the scarlet valley among the monkey men. Even as this thought came to him, the scientist's stooping shoulders scraped against the roof and he crouched still lower. Only a few inches of space now remained above the tossing water and then, to add to their misery and their terror, the last torch sputtered and went out. The boys were too terrified even to cry out; and had they shouted at the top of their lungs they could not have made themselves heard above the tumult of the torrent as it dashed against the rocky walls. Lower and lower they crouched as their cockleshell of a bark craft dashed madly on through the dense blackness. Still, every few moments, their shoulders scraped along the roof, and with bated breaths, shaking in every limb, the three threw themselves prone in the canoes. And now they knew their minutes were numbered. The gunwales of the canoes rubbed against the rough rock over head!
It was terrible, agonizing beyond words, to lie there waiting for the doom they felt sure was to be theirs, and yet helpless to avert their fate, unable even to make a fight for life. Each moment they expected to feel the canoes wedged against the roof, to feel the water pouring in or to be dashed, with a sickening, rending crash, against the walls or upon some jutting rock. Already, the canoes were bumping against the roof continuously; a few seconds more and it would all be over. The boys felt themselves losing consciousness, becoming numb from fright and the cold water that soaked them through and through. And then—just as they felt the canoe slowing down by its pressure against the rock above—a flood of light dazzled them and their amazed terror-wide eyes saw a vast expanse of blue above.
Blinking, unable to believe it was not the delirium of death, or else that their awful experience had driven them mad, the boys and Dr. Woodward sat up and gazed about. Gone was the terrible black tunnel, gone the foaming torrent. Above them stretched a clear blue sky; they were floating upon the surface of a broad, tranquil stream bordered by mighty forests; behind them rose a towering mountain and at its base a mass of bubbling, seething foam poured from an opening in the rock.
They were saved! Saved by the narrowest of margins, for the tunnel opening through which they had come was filled with an irresistible flood that spouted from it like the stream from a gigantic hose nozzle.
As realization dawned upon them, a great shout of joy and happiness rose from their lips and then, dropping to their knees in the canoes, they thanked God for their deliverance.
A moment later, their craft grounded on the bank of the stream in the shade of the towering forest trees, and leaping ashore, taking deep breaths of the delicious air, the three shouted and laughed and danced about and cried, almost mad with the joy of being again alive, unhurt, and safe. Through the great mountain they had come. Everywhere were green leaves and vine-draped trunks of trees, air plants and orchids, palms and lush vegetation. But not a scarlet-leaved tree was to be seen. They had been left behind, left on the farther side of the vast mountain barrier, left in the valley of the monkey men.
Through innumerable dangers had the boys passed; many a time had they been close to death; but never had they escaped by a narrower margin than this, never had their terror been greater, and presently, their wild excitement and their mad delight gave way to utter weariness and exhaustion. There was no sign of human beings, nothing to suggest danger, and flinging themselves down upon the ground, they lay silent, motionless, resting from their terrible experience.
For hours they lay there. The sun rose high and slipped towards the west before they arose and looked about.
"Gee!" exclaimed Fred. "I'm hungry. Say, let's eat."
"I never expected to—again," declared Harry. "But you're right. I'm hungry enough to eat anything."
To build a fire was impossible, for their tinder was soaking wet, and so, munching the moist smoked meat and the sodden fruits they had provided, they sat there by the unknown river while, as they ate, the boys' strength and spirits returned and soon they were laughing and chatting as merrily as ever.
"Golly, I can't believe it's true," declared Fred. "That we're really out of that valley."
"That's not so hard for me to believe as that we're still alive," said Harry, "Jiminy crickets! Wasn't it awful?" He shuddered as he thought of it.
"And to think I brought you so near death," said Dr. Woodward. "Boys, no one can ever know the agonies I underwent in that fearful hole."
"Nonsense, Dad!" cried Harry. "It wasn't your fault. And anyway you were right—there weren't any rapids or falls and we did get out."
"And I'd like to know where we are now," said Fred.
"That doesn't make much difference," declared his cousin. "We're on a river and we've got a boat and we can go on until we get somewhere. This river must flow to the sea, sooner or later."
"Quite true," assented his father. "But it may be many days or even weeks before we reach any settlement."
"What do we care?" demanded Harry, gaily. "We've got food and bows and arrows and we can fish."
"And we have our hammocks and a machete, so we can camp out comfortably," added Fred. "Say, I think it's great sport."
Dr. Woodward laughed. "And don't forget your emeralds," he said, chuckling. "You're wealthy now, you know."
"Even if we aren't princes any longer," laughed Harry. "Oh, Dad, why didn't you bring your crown along. I'd love to have mother see you with it on."
"Yes," grinned Fred. "And just think how they'd print your picture in the papers, sitting with that crown on your head, and with a big head-line about the eminent scientist. Dr. Frank Woodward, King of the Monkey Men!"
Dr. Woodward's eyes twinkled. "Have your fun, boys," he said as he rose and secured a package from the canoe. "But see here."
"Gee Christopher!" exclaimed Fred, as the scientist undid the lacebark bundle. "It's the crown!"
"Hurrah!" cried Harry. "Isn't that great? Golly, you'll have to wear that when you get back to New York, Dad. Nobody'll think you are a real king if you don't."
Both boys roared with laughter as they imagined Dr. Woodward walking along the New York streets with the purple feather crown upon his head, and the scientist laughed as heartily as either of them.
"We'll see about that, when we get there," said Dr. Woodward, as he again wrapped the headdress in its bark covering. "But we're a long way from home yet. Now let's get serious, boys, and start down the river. The faster we travel the sooner we'll get home."
With little effort on their part, for the stream though smooth flowed swiftly, the three sped onward, between the forest covered shores of the river, for hour after hour. Somewhere, how far ahead they did not know, lay the seacoast and civilization. Where they were mattered little, as Harry had said. All streams led to the sea eventually, and while there might be hardships and perils ahead, the three were too filled with delight and thankfulness at their escape from the valley, and their present safety, to worry about their future.
And they were soon assured that they need not go hungry. As they rounded a bend in the stream, a herd of peccaries ran grunting into the undergrowth. Swinging the canoes to the bank, the boys seized their bows and arrows and slipped into the forest. Within a dozen paces of the river they came upon the wild pigs who, utterly unafraid, stood gazing at the boys with their wicked little eyes as if challenging them to approach. A glance had shown the boys that they were the small species of peccary and comparatively harmless, and with drawn bows they stepped within a few yards of the creatures. At such short range their stone-tipped arrows were as deadly as rifles, and two peccaries were left kicking on the ground as the remainder of the herd rushed, snorting and squealing, into the forest.
Highly elated at their success, the boys tossed their game into the canoes and once more continued on their way. Constantly, as their craft slipped silently down the river, they surprised deer, capybaras and other animals in the shoal water or feeding beside the stream. But none were molested and their craft was not stopped again, until just before sundown, when it was run ashore in a little cove sheltered by overhanging trees and with a low, sandy bank.
Rapidly a rude shelter of palm leaves was erected, hammocks were slung between trees, a rousing fire was kindled, and as darkness fell over forest and river, the three dined heartily on broiled pork and roasted yams.
Refreshed, light-hearted, but still tired and very sleepy, they curled up in their lace-bark hammocks.
"Well, here we are," yawned Harry, "even if we don't know where. I wouldn't have believed last night that we'd be here tonight. Gee, I wonder where we'll be tomorrow night.”
"Still where we don't know where we are, I'll bet," replied Fred sleepily.

HARDLY had the sun risen above the tree tops the following morning, when the two boys and Dr. Woodward were once more on their way. They had slept well and had entirely recovered from their terrifying experience of the previous day, and had no real fears of the future. Game was abundant, the boys had confidence in their ability as archers, they could make fire whenever they wanted it and their precious machete enabled them to construct shelters that would protect them even in a heavy rain. As long as they did not run into rapids or falls it would be an easy matter to speed towards the coast and fellowmen, and long before they neared civilization, they expected to find friendly Indians who would accompany them and see them safely through any rapids which might be beyond.
All their fears and worries had been left far behind them and even the danger of hostile Indians seemed so remote, after their adventures among the Jakos and monkey men, that the three hardly gave it a thought.
The river still ran, like a stream of brown oil, between the heavily wooded banks, and mile after mile was covered. Without even touching a paddle they traveled speedily, and all they had to do was to steer the twin canoes and swing them away from the few shoals and rocks that broke the surface of the river. Everything was going wonderfully well, when without warning, the catamaran careened wildly, almost pitching the boys into the water. There was a tearing, ripping sound and the craft hung motionless, with one of the woodskins half out of water, the other almost submerged.
"Gosh!" cried Harry. "Now we're done for. We're wrecked on a rock!"
"No, on a log," declared Fred, peering over the side. "Oh, Uncle Frank, what can we do?"
"Push off, of course," replied Dr. Woodward rather impatiently. "Just because we've run onto a sunken log is no reason for getting so excited."
"But we can't," exclaimed Fred hopelessly, as the scientist grasped a pole and attempted to push the craft free. "This canoe's all ripped open."
"Jove, you're right!" exclaimed the scientist, as he examined the other woodskin and saw a sharp snag projecting through a great rent in the bottom of the frail bark craft. "We'll have to cut that adrift” he continued, "and go on with this one. That's where your scheme saved the day, Fred. It's lucky we had this double affair and not a single woodskin."
In a few moments all the contents of the injured canoe were transferred to the other, and cutting the lashing that bound the two together, the three pushed their craft from the sunken tree trunk and again sped down the stream.
"Well, we're going much faster this way, at any rate," commented Harry, as he noticed how swiftly the shores slipped by. "And it's not so cranky after all. It's no worse than a birch-bark canoe."
Indeed, so much more rapid was their progress in the single woodskin that the boys laughingly declared that their accident had been fortunate rather than otherwise, and when, a little before noon, they came to a series of small rapids, and ran safely through them, the three felt greater confidence than ever in their light, buoyant craft and their ability to navigate the stream, even though they met rough water.
Camp was made on a low bluff and after a hasty meal they again went on their way. Once or twice, as the stream widened, they felt sure they were about to reach one of the great rivers of the country, but each time they were disappointed as the stream again narrowed. And they had no idea in what direction they were traveling. The river wound, bent and twisted in bewildering fashion. They moved east, west, north and even south by turns, and Dr. Woodward declared that he should not be greatly surprised if they eventually found themselves in the Rio Negro or some other branch of the Amazon, instead of at the sea coast. But it made little difference to them where they came out, as long as it was at some friendly Indian village or some outlying settlement.
After their long weeks and months in the monkey men's valley, and their longing to be free, the feeling of freedom, the fact that they were not hemmed in by impassable mountains, made the interminable green jungles delightful to the boys. The dank, reeking weeds on the banks below the towering trees were beautiful to their eyes; the screaming parrots and loud-voiced macaws appeared more brilliant and companionable than ever before; and even the chattering monkeys, that swung from branch to branch and scolded at the passing humans, seemed like old friends. And when they camped at night and the familiar sounds of frogs and insects and the reverberating roars of the howling monkeys echoed through the dark forests about them, the boys could scarcely believe that the weird scarlet valley, the hideous though good natured monkey men and the fearful tunnel through the mountain were not all dreams.
Day after day they continued on without mishap or trouble, killing what game they required for food or catching fish in the river, and each day feeling more and more confident that all their hardships and perils were over. And day by day too, the river widened; more and more creeks emptied into it; the dry banks and open forests gave way to low, swampy shores and tangled jungles, and all felt they were nearing tide water and the coast.
Then one day, their canoe swept around a low projecting point and they found themselves on a great, stagnant expanse of water which seemed to end in a solid wall of vegetation. There was no visible outlet and the three gazed about puzzled, wondering which way to turn.
"Golly!" exclaimed Fred, "Now where are we?"
"I haven't the least idea," replied Dr. Woodward, searching the surrounding jungle for some sign of an opening. "This is a sort of lake or lagoon—not far from the coast I imagine—and there must be a stream flowing from it."
"I guess we'll have to paddle all around it to find where 'tis," said Harry resignedly. "I can't see any opening from here. And there's no current to guide us."
There appeared to be no other course to pursue, and grasping their rude paddles, the three urged their craft along the shores of the silent lake in the jungle. But they soon found that, instead of one outlet to the place, there were scores. In fact, what had appeared as the wooded shore was merely a dense swamp, the trees growing from the water, their great sprawling roots and drooping, low-hanging branches forming a veritable labyrinth through which ran innumerable winding waterways. But there appeared to be no current in any, and wearily they made the entire circuit of the lake and came back to their starting point.
"Jiminy!" exclaimed Fred, dropping his paddle and staring helplessly about. "I don't see how we'll ever get out of here."
"And whatever way we go may be the wrong way," added Harry. "We're in a nice fix. Just to think that big river ended in a place like this!"
"I think that no matter where we go we'll be right," declared Dr. Woodward. "My idea is that this is a swamp rather than a lake, that it's very near tide-water level and that, by making our way through the trees in any direction, we will come to the sea."
"Whoopee, then let's start!" cried Fred. "Maybe we're close to Georgetown or somewhere, for all we know."
"We'd better have lunch first," suggested his uncle. "We'll have hard paddling ahead of us and there may be no dry land on which to camp. We can go ashore here at the river's mouth and have a good meal, and then start into the swamp at the first spot where the woodskin will pass between the trees."
So, landing upon the low bank where the river ended and the lake began, a fire was built and all ate a hearty meal. Then, reembarking in their canoe, they paddled slowly along the edge of the sombre swamp, seeking a navigable opening. It was not long before they found one, and a moment later, the open water was left behind while on every side stretched the sprawling, slimy roots and gnarled trunks of the trees, with the black water, sinister and stagnant, in the dense, mysterious shadows.
"Golly, this is creepy!" ejaculated Harry, as they pushed the canoe between the trees or pulled it along by the drooping branches.
"Merely a swamp," laughed the scientist. "I hope we get through before nightfall. It would be an unpleasant and unhealthy spot in which to spend the night. But what's creepy about it?"
"I don't know," confessed Harry. "But it is, just the same—it's so dark and dismal and, — and smelly."
His father laughed. "It's dark and a bit dismal, I'll admit," he said, "but the smell is merely that of decaying vegetation and mud."
But nevertheless the boys could not help feeling uneasy as they penetrated farther and farther into the swamp. Alligators startled them as the great reptiles slipped, with a splash, into the water; they jumped each time a flock of ibis or herons flapped, croaking, from the branches overhead and once, when a manatee rose suddenly, and with a tremendous bellow dove into the water before them, the boys yelled with fright.
And they soon found that they could not travel in any direction for long. They were obliged to turn the woodskin this way and that to avoid the immense twisted and coiled roots of the trees and sodden, fallen trunks; the swamp became thicker and thicker as they penetrated farther into it, and it seemed endless. For several hours they had been laboriously working their way through it, and over and over again, the branches hung so low that they were compelled to hack away the limbs with their machete.
Even Dr. Woodward was becoming nervous and worried. What if they could not find their way out, if they could not penetrate to the farther side of the swamp? For all he knew, they might be moving in a circle or zigzagging back and forth and in that case they might be lost, doomed to wander in the dismal place for days, or until they died. It was a horrible thought and he dared not mention his fears to the boys who were already frightened, tired and almost discouraged.
And then, just as he began to fear they were irretrievably lost, Harry gave a glad cry, and ahead they caught a glimpse of sunlight and open water. The next minute, Fred dropped his paddle and sank back with an expression of utter hopelessness on his face.
"Oh, Gosh!" he moaned. "We're back where we started from!"
As the woodskin glided from the swamp upon the surface of the sunlit lake, Dr. Woodward peered intently about him. "No, we're not," he cried confidently. "This is not the same lake. Look, boys! There are hills above the trees yonder."
"Golly, you're right!" agreed Harry, his hopes suddenly revived. "But we're no better off," he added dejectedly.
"Of course we are!" declared his father. "This is no swamp. We'll find a real stream flowing out of this. Come on, boys, don't give up."
Seizing his paddle, Dr. Woodward drove the canoe forward and the boys, their temporary discouragement over, followed his example. Swinging to the right, the canoe was urged rapidly along the borders of the lake, and to their delight, the boys found that the swamp from which they had merged rapidly gave way to solid ground, although it was still low and broken by pools and narrow lanes of black water. But within half a mile from their starting point they found what they sought, a fairly wide stream flowing slowly, but visibly, from the lake into the jungle.
"Here we are!" announced Dr. Woodward cheerily. "Now we're all right, boys."
Turning their craft into the waterway, and with high hopes of soon reaching their journey's end, the three urged the canoe as rapidly as possible through the water. Several smaller streams were passed, but as all flowed into the stream they were following they were sure they were on the right one, and to the boys' relief, there were no signs of swamp. Oftentimes, great trees grew upon the banks; at other times they passed under low overhanging masses of tangled vines and palms, and once or twice, fallen limbs and logs barred their way, and the three were obliged to stop and cut away the obstruction. The afternoon was waning and hoping to emerge from the forest before dark the three redoubled their efforts.
And then, so suddenly that the boys almost tumbled from their seats, Dr. Woodward backed water with his paddle, striving to bring the speeding woodskin to a stop. Before them, through the branches, gleamed open water, and plainly to their ears came the sounds of human voices. Instinctively, with the memory of the many dangers they had run into in the past in his mind, the scientist had tried to halt the canoe within the shelter of the jungle, until he could be sure whether the voices were those of friends or foes. But he had been too late. Before the canoe could be stopped, a big woodskin manned by naked Indians swept into view upon the open water ahead.
Startled, not stopping to reason that the Indians might not be hostile, the three dug their paddles into the stream and strove to force their craft back into the shelter of the jungle. But a savage, triumphant shout told them they had been seen. And then, as the approaching craft came into full view, the boys dropped their paddles and gaped, utterly speechless with amazement, at the figure standing in the stern.
"Boters! "gasped Fred at last. "Gee whittaker, am I dreaming!"
"It is!" screamed Harry.
"By Jove! What miracle is this?" cried Dr. Woodward.
The next instant, the canoe was being madly, furiously, urged towards the other woodskin, for incredible as it seemed, the steersman was Captain Boters!
Shouting, laughing, yelling like fiends, the two boys drove their craft alongside the other, and like beings bereft of their senses, poured out an incoherent torrent of exclamations, greetings and thanks, as they found themselves once again reunited with the wrinkled old Boviander, grinning Theophilus and the broad-faced, friendly Indians they knew so well. And the Boviander's wonder and incredulous amazement at the strange meeting was as great as their own.
"Wha la!" he exclaimed, when he could recover sufficiently to speak. "Fo' de Lord's sake! I'se never 'spectin' to see dis t'ing happen! Hukkum it I don' know mesself. But you all 'live, an' here we all meets up ag'in once more. Eh, eh I when I takes de t'ing in consid'ation I fin' de days of mir'cles ain't gwine, yes sir, dat's it puzzac'ly. It's a mir'cle, dat what it boun' to be, chief."
"But where have you been and what's happened and why are you here?" demanded Fred. "And where are we now?" cried Harry.
"Wha la!" replied the old fellow. "Dat's a long sto'y —yessir, a plenty long sto'y. An' I ain't know mesself jus' where we is or hukkum we here bouts."
"It's dis a-way," he continued, as the two boats drifted slowly side by side. "When I mek come back fo' to fin' you 'long of dat place wif de daid folks, I ain't fin' no sign. Yessir, you gone clean away, an' we sarch an' we sarch, but no can find nuffin' 'tall. Den T'ophilus he fin' you trail an' he bus' out wid big cry and he bawl an' come runnin' an' sayin' you been took clean away 'long dem Didoes, an' dey ain't no use tryin' mek dese Bucks humbug 'roun' dere no mo'. So I t'ink bes' retu'n to Bartica an' quaint de police wid de fac's of de case, chief. But wha la! Hukkum it I don’ know, but me clean los me way. Yessir, we gone clean astray an’ we been paddlin' an' s'archin’ 'bout fo' long time in de bush, but we don' get no place what none of us knows."
"Jove, you mean you’ve been wandering around for over two months?" cried Dr. Woodward.
Boters scratched his head and peered over his glasses. "Not puzzac'ly," he replied. "We get one washout an' los' de woodskin an' we tek to de bush, what plenty thick in dat part. Den we mek climb topside a plenty high mountain fo’ to mek look can we see wha'bouts we is. An' two of dese Bucks mek sick an' we stop an’ mek camp for a time fo' he to recuperate. Yessir, an' we ain't manage fo' to cotch de way to Bartica, not yet, sir,—not to save weself."
Eagerly the boys and the scientist plied the Boviander with questions, but darkness was coming on and all further explanations and narrations had to wait until a spot was found where camp could be made. As the boys and Dr. Woodward sat about the roaring fire and watched Theophilus cooking their evening meal, while the other Indians labored at building a shelter under the Boviander's supervision, they could not make themselves believe that, by some incredible whim of fate, they had met their old companions after being separated for nearly three months in the trackless wilderness. Rather, it seemed to them, as though they had just awakened from some vivid nightmare to find themselves still in a comfortable camp among their Indian friends with the grizzled captain in charge.
And as they ate, and later, lounged in their hammocks and related their adventures to the wondering Indians and the Boviander, and told of their experiences among the Jakos and the monkey men, the red men drew closer and glanced apprehensively about, as though half expecting to see a giant black savage leap out of the forest shadows.
"So da's who de scamps is," commented the Boviander, as the boys told him of the Bush Negroes. "Eh, eh, I ain't never t'ink dey's much truf 'bout dem Didoes, but I ain't never hear of Bush Niggers dis side of Surinam, chief. Wha la! When I tek dis t'ink in consid'ation I 'spec dey ain't no folks never seed dose monkey mans 'ceptin' you peoples, an' I ain't anxious fo' to see he mesself. No sir, chief, I ain't."
But as far as their present whereabouts were concerned, the Boviander was as ignorant as the boys and Dr. Woodward. None of the Indians had the least idea either, for once out of his own district, or in country with which he is unfamiliar, the Guiana red-man is hopelessly at sea.
And despite the fact that the Boviander insisted that he had been following down every navigable stream he had met, he declared that he did not think they were near the seacoast. He explained that the vegetation was that of the interior; that long before they reached tide water level they would find sand hills, whereas none had been seen; and both Dr. Woodward and the boys could see that the old fellow was becoming filled with superstitious fears that he might never find his way out of the forest.
The Indians, long before, had come to the conclusion that the place was "peai;" that by penetrating the vicinity of the cave of the skulls they had brought some form of witchcraft upon themselves,—some spell that doomed them to wander through the unknown forests forever. But with their racial stoicism and inherent fatalism, they continued to go on as long as there was game to be had and life remained in their bodies. Now that they had once more met the boys and the scientist, whom they had long thought dead, confidence returned to them and in their simple, primitive minds they took the marvelous coincidence of their meeting as proof that the peai had been lifted and that all would go well. Even Boters felt a little the same way, and as they at last crawled into their hammocks, the old fellow declared that, "Dey ain't gwine be no mo’ rangin’ 'bout. We gwine mek fo’ retu'n home P.D.Q. Yessir, das wha' we boun' do, chief."
Suddenly Fred sat up. "Gosh!" he exclaimed. "What did you do with our trophies, captain— the tiger and snake skin and everything?"
The old Boviander chuckled. "Wha la!" he exclaimed. "You don't 'spect I'se gwine be hum-buggin' totin' dat 'roun', does you, chief? "
The boy gave a disappointed sigh as he lay back in his hammock. "No," he replied resignedly. "I don't suppose you could be bothered with them."
"Don't you go fo' to mek no flustration about dat, chief," replied Boters consolingly. "I'se got de skins safe an' soun' wif all de res' of you t'ings."
"Bully for you!" exclaimed Fred. "You're a brick, captain." Then, kicking Harry's hammock, he cried triumphantly. "Didn't I say we might get our things back?"
"And didn't I say we might meet Boters again, and that he'd be some surprised to see us?" demanded Harry.
For a time all were silent. Then, "I wonder," said Harry sleepily, "if we'll have any more adventures."
"If you don't you'll break all your records," replied his father. "But for Heaven's sake haven't you had enough?"
"I don't believe we could ever have enough," declared Fred with a yawn. "And besides, we haven't found Billikins' home yet."
"Nor that radium stuff," mumbled Harry, as his eyes closed.

A Selection from the Catalogue of
Complete Catalogues sent on application.

The Boy Adventurers Series
A. Hyatt Verrill

The popularity of these stories for boys is a result of Mr. Verrill's unfailing ability to see things with their young eyes, to write for them and not down to them. The books follow the Young Adventurers through their strange wanderings in romantic countries.

Now Ready

The Boy Adventurers in the Forbidden Land
The Boy Adventurers in the Land of El Dorado

In Preparation

The Boy Adventurers in the Land of the Monkey Men
The Boy Adventurers in the Unknown Land

G. P. Putnam's Sons
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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.