by Captain W. E. Johns



X.    DISCOVERIES AND DISASTERS  (Pages 104 – 111)


Worrals is able to work her way around to the remains of the Dragon aeroplane without being seen.  She gets in and starts it up, but the throttle is wide open and the plane jerks forward and away with such a bellowing roar that even she is taken by surprise!  “It stopped the dance as effectively as a high explosive bomb would have done”.  The natives flee in a “frantic stampede, the dancers scattering like sparks from a blacksmith’s anvil, most of them making for the forest”.  The Dragon goes straight through the native’s fire but by this time Worrals is able to retard the throttle.  Uncle Dick runs into the witch-doctor’s hut and comes out beckoning.  However, Wongorobo has recovered from the surprise and is back on the fringe of the clearing.  He runs and hurls his spear at the cabin of the Dragon and the spear crashes through it, the blade missing Worrals’ face by a matter of inches.  (This is the picture on the cover of the book).  Worrals gets out and joins Dick at the hut he indicated and here she finds Bill Ashton in a state of unconsciousness.  Dick thinks he has been poisoned.  They discuss carrying him back to their plane.  Dick says “That sort of thing is all right in books, or on the films, but in real life it just can’t be done”.  “Quite impossible, I should say” sneers a voice behind them and Worrals and Dick turn to see that the speaker is Shardwell with Gronk and Wongorobo behind him.  Worrals asks what they have done to Bill and she is told to ask Ooma, the witch-doctor.  “Your boy friend is dying of slow poison.  Only one man knows the antidote, and that’s the man who poisoned him – Ooma”.  Worrals and Dick are tied up.  Shardwell tells Dick to sign over his concession otherwise Ooma will do the same to them as he has done to Bill.  He gives them until the morning to think about it.  Worrals says they still have a hope left - Frecks.  “Frecks is never at her best until things get really grim”.