It was a dozen yards away from the aeroplane and about the same from the nearest line of great bushy trees. Immediately the flame sprang up, dispelling the darkness to some extent.
“Shucks! but that makes a big improvement and no mistake,” said Andy, stooping to drop some wood on the fire. “I always like to see what I’m doing. And more than ever when I’m in a strange place. Hark! what was that, do you suppose, Frank?”
A sound had come from the depths of the forest not unlike the wailing of a babe. Frank could give a guess what made it, but he did not immediately say so.
“Say, we must have landed close to some native shack, and that’s a baby crying!” Andy declared.
“Hardly,” came from Frank. “That’s only one of our cat friends giving tongue, perhaps calling to his mate to come and see the funny objects that dropped from the skies.”
“Wow! reckon now you must mean a yellow boy, a jaguar! I bet you, Frank, there’s a heap of ’em around us right now. How do we know but what every tree hides one of the critters, watching everything we do? I can tell you right now that I don’t wander far from this jolly little blaze tonight. And besides, one of us has just got to keep a grip on this gun all the time. I don’t hanker after being carried away and made a meal of by a big hungry cat.”
“Oh, the fire will scare them away all right, I believe. There isn’t an animal that doesn’t dread fire. Always keep that in mind, Andy, when trouble comes,” said Frank, earnestly.
“I mean to,” replied the other, as he once more started to pick up wood, but it could be noticed that while doing so Andy always kept on eye on the alert, as if he really believed what he had said about the chances of their being watched by an army of jaguars.
“There’s another sort of cry, Frank,” he remarked, presently.
“Yes, and although I couldn’t say for sure, I believe it is made by a colony of monkeys, traveling through the woods at night,” the other replied, after stopping to listen for a minute to the odd sounds.
“Monkeys!” cried Andy, smiling broadly. “Well, I declare I had forgotten that they have them all through the tropical regions around the Orinoco, the Magdalena and the Amazon. And so that’s a menagerie traveling over the treetops, is it? Wish I could just get a look.”
“Well, I don’t think they’re far away,” remarked his chum.
“Not for me. I know when I’m well off. This camp looks good enough, without my wandering around in that awful place. Let ’em jabber, and the yellow cats snarl; but Andy Bird stays right at his fireside tonight.”
“And I guess you’re right,” said Frank, as more noises arose all around them.
WHEN FRANK STOOD GUARD.
Pretty soon things began to look fairly cheerful in that lonely glade situated in the heart of the tropical forest. A fine fire crackled and shot up its red flames, lighting up the opening in which the young aviators had so luckily alighted.