by Captain W. E. Johns



XV. BATTLE ON THE TRAIL  (Pages 154 – 164)


While Worrals is having her adventures, Frecks and her party have been having their own problems.  Having been charged by a rhino and some African buffalo, Dick has been forced to fire the rifle taken from Wongorobo and the shot has alerted the kraal to their escape.  “From the direction of Nakula came the thumping of drums, and yells”.  Ingoona says it is better to take a detour rather than a direct route to Hansvelt as the Ovambos will come after them.  Four Hereros are carrying Bill and they keep swapping regularly.  Frecks hears an aircraft in the distance and naturally assumes it is Worrals.  She can hardly believe her eyes when she sees the Junkers.  Their party is spotted from the air and Frecks realises that Gronk will be able to set the Ovambo on their trail.  Bill recovers consciousness for the first time and Frecks tells him that she and Worrals are there.  Frecks sees the Junkers land and sees natives armed with spears coming after them.  Ingoona and his men move to a low rocky hill and he says “Here we will fight”.  Ooma, the witch-doctor breaks free and runs down the hill but he is felled by a native who hurls his spear and hits Ooma between the shoulder-blades.  Frecks urges Dick to shoot Shardwell who is in the distance.  “You’re a bellicose young woman,” chided Uncle Dick.  “We shall all end up by being hung for murder”.  “I doubt it,” returned Frecks evenly.  “It looks to me far more likely that we shall finish on the business end of a spear, like snipe on a skewer”.  At least forty Ovambo are approaching, urged on by Shardwell and Gronk.  They set fire to the grass so they can advance under the cover of smoke.  An aircraft is heard and Dick recognises the District Commissioner’s plane.  The natives know it as well and the Ovambo begin to beat a hasty retreat.  “They know they’re in the wrong,” asserted Uncle Dick.  “The D.C. wields a stout stick when these chaps get out of hand.  They know the punishment for attacking white people.  They’re going home – as fast as they can get there”.  Shardwell and Gronk leave with them.  Frecks gets “the boys” together to clear a runway for the aircraft to land.