Bomba the Jungle Boy - Roy Rockwood - ebook

Bomba the Jungle Boy ebook

Roy Rockwood

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Separated from his parents since childhood, Bomba lived far back in the jungles of the Amazon with a half-demented naturalist who told the lad nothing of his past. The jungle boy was a lover of birds, and hunted animals with a bow and arrow and his trusty machete. He had a primitive education in some things, and his daring adventures will be followed with breathless interest by thousands. „Bomba the Jungle Boy” is a series of American boy’s adventure books produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate under the pseudonym Roy Rockwood. There are 20 books in the series. The first ten are set in South America, where Bomba, who grew up in the jungle, tries to discover his origin. The second set of ten books shift the scene to Africa, where a slightly older Bomba has jungle adventures. A highly entertaining literature being written for young readers in post-dime-novel America.

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Liczba stron: 205

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Contents

I. A NARROW ESCAPE

II. THE MEN WITH THE IRON STICK

III. A STEALTHY FOE

IV. HOW BOMBA SAVED THE CAMP

V. BEATEN OFF

VI. IN THE PUMA'S DEN

VII. A SIEGE OF TERROR

VIII. THE JAWS OF DEATH

IX. FROM OUT THE FLAMES

X. THE SHOUT OF WARNING

XI. THE VAMPIRES ATTACK

XII. KIKI, WOOWOO AND DOTO

XIII. PLAYING FOR HIS LIFE

XIV. THE CLOUD OF VULTURES

XV. THE WRATH OF THE STORM

XVI. GRIPPED

XVII. IN THE FOLDS OF A BOA CONSTRICTOR

XVIII. AT THE WATER HOLE

XIX. A BATTLE ROYAL

XX. AN UNEXPECTED RECEPTION

XXI. BY A HAIR'S BREADTH

XXII. THE TURN OF THE WHEEL

XXIII. WORDS OF DOOM

XXIV. AGAINST FEARFUL ODDS

XXV. IN THE NICK OF TIME

I. A NARROW ESCAPE

BOMBA came to a sudden halt in the densest part of the gigantic jungle.

A moment before he had been making his way with surprising suppleness and ease through the tangled brushwood, avoiding with equal dexterity the vines that trailed from the branches of the trees and the roots that reached out to trip him up. Now he stood as though turned to stone.

Far overhead the sun beat down fiercely from a brazen sky, though its rays were caught and held by the heavy foliage, so that beneath the branches of the trees semi-darkness prevailed. But if the brightness of the sun was thus excluded, its heat made itself felt, and masses of steaming vapor rose from the lush vegetation drenched by recent rains.

From a distance came the screams of parrot and the howling of monkeys, but otherwise the jungle was silent.

It had not been silent a moment before. From a point toward which Bomba was facing had come a sound that was new to the jungle and almost new to Bomba–a sound he had heard but twice. And each of those times was indelibly graven on his memory.

Once had been when Casson had brought down the savage jaguar with the iron stick or “rifle,” as Casson had called it. The beast had been crouching on the limb of a tree beneath which Bomba had sat down to rest. He had not seen the creature, whose huge body had been flattened close against the bough.

He had had no intimation of danger until he had seen the startled look in the eyes of Casson and heard his shout of warning. Then he had leaped to his feet. At the same instant the jaguar sprang. But Casson drew the iron stick to his shoulder, and a flame leaped from the end of it, accompanied by a sharp report.

The beast whirled about in mid-air and fell to the ground, one of its outstretched claws grazing Bomba’s leg as the latter sprang aside. The jaguar writhed and twisted about for a moment and then lay still.

When Bomba was sure the creature was dead, he had approached and examined it curiously. He had seen the natives kill game with arrows, and he half expected to see some missile protruding from the body. But there was no sign of this–only a tiny hole through the center of its forehead, from which blood was oozing.

He had questioned Casson curiously, but the latter was in one of his silent moods that day and gave no explanation. But the convulsive way in which he had strained Bomba to his breast told how deeply he had been stirred by the narrow escape.

The other time and the last that Bomba had witnessed the work of the iron stick had been when a giant anaconda had reared its horrid head in v front of Bomba and darted forward to enclose him in its folds. Again Casson had fired, but this time instead of a loud crack there had been a thunderous roar, and the stick had exploded into a thousand fragments. Casson had fallen over on his back. The great snake, frightened by the noise and struck by some of the flying bits of iron, had hastily retreated. Bomba, who had escaped with some scratches, had managed to get the unconscious Casson back to the hut in which they dwelt, and there the old man had lain for many days, nursed by Bomba and treated with some of the simple remedies he had learned from the natives.

Casson had finally recovered, but had never again been the same. His head had been injured by the explosion, and his memory, which had been failing for some time, now almost wholly disappeared. At times he had flashes of recollection of his old life, but these were few and transient. Most of the time he was wrapped in moody silence, and Bomba felt more alone than ever.

But this had happened years ago, and the sound of the iron stick had almost passed from Bomba’s memory. Now he heard it again, and his pulses leaped.

It came from a distance perhaps half a mile away. Who had fired the stick? He knew that none of the natives had any weapon of the kind. Could it be some man like Casson, a man with a white skin like Casson’s and his own?

A white skin! Something tugged at Bomba’s heart. He could not have told what it was. It might have been memory, intuition, instinct. But whatever it was, it took instant and entire possession of him.

He must find out who had fired the Iron stick!

The primal law of the jungle is to mind one’s own business. Intrusion on the affairs of another is never welcomed and usually resented. Bomba had learned to obey that law.

Ordinarily he would have given a wide berth to the locality from which the sound had come, swerved aside, and plunged deeper into the jungle. Where the iron stick sounded there was probably danger. It was associated in his mind with deadly beasts and reptiles. There was trouble enough in the jungle without looking for it.

Why, then, did he depart from all his usual caution and begin making his way toward the spot from which the sound had come?

He did not know. A confused tumult of thoughts and longings swept through his brain. He was conscious of a desperate urge that impelled him in that direction; and that urge came from the profoundest depths of his soul.

A white man must have fired that iron stick. The stick itself had some appeal to his curiosity. He would like to see it again–that mysterious thing that killed like magic from a distance.

But that desire was not compelling. Had he thought a native had fired it, he would not have risked intruding on what might be a hostile hunting party, possibly some of the dreaded head-hunters that occasionally invaded this region.

No, it was the craving to see a man with a white skin like his own, like Casson’s, that drew him on, drew him with a power he could no more resist than a chip could stem the current of Niagara.

To be sure, the white man might prove hostile. The deadly fire stick might be turned on himself. But he did not believe this. Casson had always been kind to him. All white men would be. Were they not his own kind? Was he not their brother? A wild surge of yearning swept over him.

All the longings he had felt so often, that came to him with increasing intensity day and night, that he had never been able to analyze and understand came to a head at the report of the iron stick. He could not resist them. He did not want to resist them.

He must see the man with the white skin!

Bomba was a striking figure as he worked his way through the jungle over sprawling roots and through a network of vines, gradually drawing closer to the spot from which the sound had come.

He was nothing more than a boy, fourteen years at most, of a little above the ordinary height at that age, compact and muscular. He had brown eyes and brown wavy hair and the whitest of teeth. His skin was darkly tanned by exposure to the sun.

On his feet were rude home-made sandals, and around his body was wrapped a bit of native cloth and a small puma-skin–the skin of Geluk, the puma, who had tried to eat the friendly parrots, Kiki and Woowoo. Bomba had caught him in the attempt and killed him with an arrow.

The skin heightened the resemblance of Bomba to a young panther as, light and supple, the muscles of arms and legs rippling under the bronzed skin, he threaded his way deftly through the underbrush.

Bomba lived with an old naturalist, Cody Casson, in the depths of the Amazonian jungle, so remote from civilization that it was rarely if ever visited by white men. Of his past he knew nothing, and so far Casson had told him next to nothing. He had given the boy some rudiments of education, especially in his own line of botany and natural history, but even this teaching had ceased years before when the old naturalist’s mind had been weakened by the exploding rifle.

Bomba knew nothing of the world at large, nothing of the white race to which he belonged, little even of the life of the natives of the region. For the pair did not mingle much with the latter and were themselves shunned by the superstitious natives, who had got the idea from the old naturalist’s queer actions that he was a Man of Evil.

Two eyes of which he was not aware were watching Bomba as he approached a narrow part of the rude native trail he was following, wicked eyes, malignant eyes glowing with lurid fires.

The eyes were set in the swaying head of a cooanaradi, the most terrible serpent on earth.

It lay in its lair just beside the path that Bomba was following, its body, fourteen feet in length, thrown into coils, above which the slender head swayed back and forth. Evilly beautiful, it glowed with all the colors of the rainbow.

Had it been a rattlesnake or any other poisonous denizen of the jungle, it would have glided away into the bushes, glad enough to avoid an encounter with human enemies unless attacked. Even the boa or the anaconda is apathetic and, except when moved by hunger, seldom takes the initiative.

But what makes the cooanaradi so dreaded, apart from its deadly poison, is its ferocity. It does not avoid attack; it seeks to make it. Nor is it satisfied when its enemy flees; it follows in pursuit.

But there was no need yet for that. All unsuspecting, its prey was coming toward it. Soon he would be in reach of the lightning stroke. The evil eyes gloated in anticipation.

Then, when Bomba was barely ten feet away, he saw it!

There was no time to string his arrow. There was no time to draw his machete. Even while he looked, the snake launched its spring.

Like a flash Bomba turned and ran for his life!

II. THE MEN WITH THE IRON STICK

AT the moment that Bomba made his first startled leap he heard close behind him the thud of a body as it struck the earth. The reptile had missed its spring.

But this brought Bomba small comfort. He knew that the fight had just begun, that behind him death was coming and traveling fast.

One look was all he cast behind him, but that was sufficient to show the slithering long body of his implacable foe moving swiftly along the trail.

Bomba was agile and fleet of foot, and he tore along at an astounding rate of speed. But he knew too much of his adversary to believe that he could distance it. In the long run, the endurance of the snake would outlast that of the fugitive.

But if Bomba’s feet were fast, so was his brain, and it was working now with lightning rapidity. It was recalling every turn and oddity of the trail along which he was speeding.

There were plenty of trees, but before he could get a grip and begin to climb, the fearful thing would be upon him. And even if he had sufficient start to avoid the first stroke, the snake could climb much more rapidly than Bomba could dream of doing.

Had there been a stream at hand, he would have plunged into it, although he might have become the prey of some lurking cayman or been torn to bits by the fierce piranhas. Either of those fates would have been a possibility. But he would at least have had a chance of not being attacked, while, unless he could escape from the cooanaradi, death was a certainty.

At times, when he came to a little opening, he would dart off to the right or the left, so as to disconcert the enemy. This had the desired effect more than once, and enabled him to get some space ahead before the snake was again at full speed on his trail.

Bomba’s breath was fast failing him, but his courage and mental alertness still remained. Then he caught sight of something that gave him a gleam of hope.

It was a thick, matted mass of whiplike streamers hanging from one of the trees. It spread out like a huge fan with narrow interstices between the tough withes. Behind this screen he darted like a flash and stood there panting, facing the enemy.

The cooanaradi was not twenty feet away, coming at tremendous speed, its eyes red with fury. As it approached, Bomba thrust his face against the screen and shouted.

What he had hoped came to pass. The snake, infuriated at the challenge, reared and struck at the face of his foe. Bomba dodged, and the opened jaws of the snake caught and in turn were held by the matted mass into which the fangs had sunk.

It writhed wildly and tried to extricate itself. But in an instant Bomba had leaped to the other side of the screen. His hands worked like lightning, deftly winding the withes like cords around the twisting body, until it was securely enmeshed in a net from which there was no escape.

Only when he had made sure of his victory did Bomba desist and stand panting a little distance off, watching the unavailing efforts of the captive to free itself.

Craft and cunning had triumphed over the fiend of the jungle. The boy had had a narrow escape from one of the most terrible of deaths, and he owed it solely to his own speedy feet and active brain.

He was drenched with perspiration from head to foot. His lungs were strained almost to bursting. His breath came in great gasping sobs. But he had won, and every nerve tingled with exultation.

His hand slid to the handle of his machete, a formidable double-edged knife ground to almost a razor’s sharpness and fully a foot in length.

But after a moment’s reflection he slipped the partly drawn weapon back in his belt. A slash at the snake might sever some of the withes with which it was bound, only wound the reptile and permit it to get free.

No, the jungle itself could be trusted to finish the work begun by the boy. The peccaries, or wild pigs, would happen along, and to them a snake was the daintiest of foods.

Or there were the vultures. Bomba cast his eyes upward through an opening in the trees and saw one of these rapacious creatures circling about and slowly descending, already attracted by that almost miraculous instinct that tells the carrion eaters where death has come or is imminent.

And even the vulture would have to come soon, or a swarm of ants would be going over the reptile stripping the flesh from the bones.

In the excitement of the flight and pursuit, Bomba had forgotten for the moment the object of his quest. Now it came back to him with the force of a shock.

The white man with the iron stick! Could he find him now? Or was he too late?

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