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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 138 pages of information about The Adventures of Akbar.

These were not needed, however, for the next instant a wild-looking figure clad in a brown blanket started up from behind a rock and shouted to the dog.  It stopped instantly, but stood still—­snarling, though obedient.

It was the funniest looking dog you can imagine.  Bigger than a big collie, it was furry all over even to its tail.  And it was black as ink.  In fact with its tiny prick ears and small sharp pointed muzzle all lost in a huge soft black ruff and nothing to be seen but red tongue, white teeth and beady black eyes, it was a regular golliwog of a dog.

When Foster-father saw the man in the brown blanket, who from his crook was evidently a shepherd, he heaved a sigh of relief.  “Now,” he said, “we shall be able to find out our way.”

But he was mistaken.  The man did not understand a word they said, neither could they understand a word he said.

Head-nurse was in despair.  “He speaks like a ghost of the desert,” she wept.  “We shall all die of starvation before he understands.”

“Die?” echoed Foster-father stoutly.  “Not so, woman!  There is one language all understand.”

Whereupon he placed himself right in front of the shepherd, opened his mouth wide and then shook his head.  Next he pointed to his stomach and shook his head again.  Finally he began to chew violently, rubbed his stomach and grinned.

The shepherd grinned too and rubbed his stomach, whereupon Foster-father turned triumphantly to Head-nurse.

“Said I not sooth, woman,” he asked.  “Hunger hath a tongue of its own, and all men know it.”

Once begun, signs soon brought so much understanding, that, whistling to his dog, the shepherd started down the hill at a great pace, beckoning them to follow.

“Not so fast, friend, not so fast!” panted Foster-father, “we be not all born on a mountain as thou art.  And there are women and children, too.”  He pointed to poor Head-nurse and Foster-mother, who were indeed dropping with fatigue, and the man seemed to understand, for he pulled up.  But he had to keep some way off because his dog, who kept close as a shadow to his master’s heels, never ceased growling.  So they tramped on wearily until just below them they saw a marg or mountain upland, where some goats were grazing.  One part of this dipped down into a little valley, and there, in the shelter of some huge rocks, they saw two or three small brown blanket tents, such as shepherds use on the Beluchistan hills.  They were just like waggon tilts only not so large.

Here, at any rate, was prospect of food and rest, and the poor travellers brisked up again.  But alas! between them and the tents lay a formidable obstacle.  Nothing less than a birch-twig bridge over a rushing stream which filled up the bottom of a wide rift or chasm in the upland.  This chasm stretched right across the upland from a steep rock which blocked up the head of the little valley, and

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