But the little brook was all there was in the ravine, except the bare rocks, wet and glistening. There were no huts, no Rackbirds, nothing. Even the vines and bushes which had been growing up the sides of the stream were all gone. Not a weed, not a stick, not a clod of earth, was left—nothing but a great, rocky ravine, washed bare and clean.
Edna Markham stepped suddenly forward and seized the captain by the arm. “It was the lake,” she cried. “The lake swept down that ravine!”
“Yes,” said the captain, “it must have been. But listen—let us hear more. Go on,” he said to Cheditafa, who proceeded to tell how he and his companions looked out for a long time, but they saw nor heard nothing of any living creature. It would be easy enough for anybody to come back up the ravine, but nobody came.
They had now grown so hungry that they could have almost eaten each other. They felt they must get out of the cave and go to look for food. It would be better to be shot than to sit there and starve.
Then they devised a plan by which they could get down. The smallest man got out of the cave and let himself hang, holding to the outer edge of the floor with his hands. Then another man put his feet over the edge of the rock, and let the hanging man take hold of them. The other two each seized an arm of the second man, and lowered the two down as far as they could reach. When they had done this, the bottom man dropped, and did not hurt himself. Then they had to pull up the second man, for the fall would have been too great for him.
After that they had to wait a long time, while the man who had got out went to look for something by which the others could help themselves down—the ladder they had used having been carried away with everything else. After going a good way down the ravine to a place where it grew much wider, with the walls lower, he found things that had been thrown up on the sides, and among these was the trunk of a young tree, which, after a great deal of hard work, he brought back to the cave, and by the help of this they all scrambled down.
They hurried down the ravine, and as they approached the lower part, where it became wider before opening into the little bay into which the stream ran, they found that the flood, as it had grown shallower and spread itself out, had left here and there various things which it had brought down from the camp—bits of the huts, articles of clothing, and after a while they came to a Rackbird, quite dead, and hanging upon a point of projecting rock. Farther on they found two or three more bodies stranded, and later in the day some Rackbirds who had been washed out to sea came back with the tide, and were found upon the beach. It was impossible, Cheditafa said, for any of them to have escaped from that raging torrent, which hurled them against the rocks as it carried them down to the sea.