It was only a few minutes later that Ziffak halted, his friends immediately doing the same.
The cause was apparent: they had reached the dwelling place of Haffgo king of the Murhapas.
HAFFGO, KING OF THE MURHAPAS.
It was a memorable interview which the explorers held with Haffgo, king of the mighty Murhapas.
Since Bippo and Pedros were servants, they were not admitted to an audience with the potentate. Ziffak conducted the others into the hut adjoining the palace. This was his own building, where his aged mother had charge. She understood matters from her son, and the frightened fellows were made to feel that they were safe for a time from the annoyances and persecutions of the multitude.
The apartment was an oblong one, being at the front, and was characteristically furnished. Instead of the smooth bare ground which formed the floors of the other buildings, the palace was entirely covered with the skins of wild animals, gaudily stained. The whole looked like a gorgeous, oriental carpet, which was as soft as down to the tread.
There were no chairs or benches for auditors, for no one presumed to sit in the presence of majesty. The walls were hung with the same species of ornamented furs, set off here and there by spears, bows and arrows, arranged in fantastic fashion.
At the further end of the apartment, was a platform several feet high, with a broad seat, covered with still more brilliant peltries, a footstool, and on each side a vase of magnificent flowers. These vases were of native manufacture, beautifully ornamented, while the flowers were of a radiant loveliness, such as are seen nowhere outside of tropical countries. Their delicious fragrance filled the apartment and affected the strangers the moment the blanket was pulled aside by Ziffak and they stepped within the royal reception room.
On each side was a broad open window, without glass, which admitted enough sunlight to flood the place with illumination.
At the right of the dais or throne, the curtains were draped so as to serve as a door for the king or any member of the royal household to enter or withdraw.
On this barbaric throne sat the extraordinary personage known as King Haffgo, ruler of the warlike Murhapas.
To say the least, his appearance was stunning, if not bewildering.
In the first place, it maybe doubted whether the intrinsic value of his crown was not the equal of any that can be found to-day in the monarchical countries of Europe, Asia or Africa. Its foundation seemed to be a network of golden wire, in which were set scores upon scores of diamonds, weighing from five to ten carats apiece, with a central sun the equal of the great Pitt diamond. The coruscations from these brilliants were overwhelming. As the king moved his head while speaking, every hue of the rainbow flashed and scintillated, the rays at times seeming to dart entirely across the room.