The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 86

full with provisions
and cooking utensils. Von Horn had been careful to see that the boat
was furnished with a mast and sail, and now, under a good breeze the
party was making excellent time toward the mysterious land of their
destination.

They had scarcely cleared the harbor when they sighted a ship far out
across the strait. Its erratic movements riveted their attention upon
it, and later, as they drew nearer, they perceived that the strange
craft was a good sized schooner with but a single short mast and tiny
sail. For a minute or two her sail would belly with the wind and the
vessel make headway, then she would come suddenly about, only to repeat
the same tactics a moment later. She sailed first this way and then
that, losing one minute what she had gained the minute before.

Von Horn was the first to recognize her.

"It is the Ithaca," he said, "and her Dyak crew are having a devil of a
time managing her--she acts as though she were rudderless."

Von Horn ran the small boat within hailing distance of the dismasted
hulk whose side was now lined with waving, gesticulating natives. They
were peaceful fishermen, they explained, whose prahus had been wrecked
in the recent typhoon. They had barely escaped with their lives by
clambering aboard this wreck which Allah had been so merciful as to
place directly in their road. Would the Tuan Besar be so good as to
tell them how to make the big prahu steer?

Von Horn promised to help them on condition that they would guide him
and his party to the stronghold of Rajah Muda Saffir in the heart of
Borneo. The Dyaks willingly agreed, and von Horn worked his small boat
in close under the Ithaca's stern. Here he found that the rudder had
been all but unshipped, probably as the vessel was lifted over the reef
during the storm, but a single pintle remaining in its gudgeon. A half
hour's work was sufficient to repair the damage, and then the two boats
continued their journey toward the mouth of the river up which those
they sought had passed the night before.

Inside the river's mouth an anchorage was found for the Ithaca near the
very island upon which the fierce battle between Number Thirteen and
Muda Saffir's forces had occurred. From the deck of the larger vessel
the deserted prahu which had borne Bulan across the strait was visible,
as were the bodies of the slain Dyaks and the misshapen creatures

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