The Ivory Child eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 335 pages of information about The Ivory Child.

CHAPTER XVI

HANS STEALS THE KEYS

A few hours later some of the White Kendah arrived at the house and very politely delivered to us Ragnall’s and poor Savage’s guns and pistols, which they said they had found lying in the grass on the mountain-side, and with them the bull’s-eye lantern that Ragnall had thrown away in his flight; all of which articles I accepted without comment.  That evening also Harut called and, after salutations, asked where Bena was as he did not see him.  Then my indignation broke out: 

“Oh! white-bearded father of liars,” I said, “you know well that he is in the belly of the serpent which lives in the cave of the mountain.”

“What, Lord!” exclaimed Harut addressing Ragnall in his peculiar English, “have you been for walk up to hole in hill?  Suppose Bena want see big snake.  He always very fond of snake, you know, and they very fond of him.  You ’member how they come out of his pocket in your house in England?  Well, he know all about snake now.”

“You villain!” exclaimed Ragnall, “you murderer!  I have a mind to kill you where you are.”

“Why you choke me, Lord, because snake choke your man?  Poor snake, he only want dinner.  If you go where lion live, lion kill you.  If you go where snake live, snake kill you.  I tell you not to.  You take no notice.  Now I tell you all—­go if you wish, no one stop you.  Perhaps you kill snake, who knows?  Only you no take gun there, please.  That not allowed.  When you tired of this town, go see snake.  Only, ’member that not right way to House of Child.  There another way which you never find.”

“Look here,” said Ragnall, “what is the use of all this foolery?  You know very well why we are in your devilish country.  It is because I believe you have stolen my wife to make her the priestess of your evil religion whatever it may be, and I want her back.”

“All this great mistake,” replied Harut blandly.  “We no steal beautiful lady you marry because we find she not right priestess.  Also Macumazana here not to look for lady but to kill elephant Jana and get pay in ivory like good business man.  You, Lord, come with him as friend though we no ask you, that all.  Then you try find temple of our god and snake which watch door kill your servant.  Why we not kill you, eh?”

“Because you are afraid to,” answered Ragnall boldly.  “Kill me if you can and take the consequences.  I am ready.”

Harut studied him not without admiration.

“You very brave man,” he said, “and we no wish kill you and p’raps after all everything come right in end.  Only Child know about that.  Also you help us fight Black Kendah by and by.  So, Lord, you quite safe unless you big fool and go call on snake in cave.  He very hungry snake and soon want more dinner.  You hear, Light-in-Darkness, Lord-of-the-Fire,” he added suddenly turning on Hans who was squatted near by twiddling his hat with a face that for absolute impassiveness resembled a deal board.  “You hear, he very hungry snake, and you make nice tea for him.”

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The Ivory Child from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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