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1936. Og - Son of Fire
"Based on the famous radio adventure series"
Big Little Book #1115
Racine, Wisconsin
Whitman Publishing Co.


The Big Little Book
 

Irving Crump's

OG, SON OF FIRE

"Based on the famous radio adventure series"

CHAPTER ONE

The Cave People

If time turned backward a hundred thousand years or so, active volcanoes would be heaving upward through the earth's crust, belching fire and smoke across the heavens and holding the cave-dwelling human beings in superstitious fear of the monsters that they believed dwelt inside the dreadful fire mountains.

On the banks of the Mussel River, at the foot of cliffs in which they had carved out their cave homes, some of the Cave People had gathered. They stood there trembling with terror, listening to the exhortations of Pong, their Devil Doctor, while a volcano close by rumbled and roared with a threat of imminent eruption. These people were brawny and big-muscled, clad only in skins of animals they had killed in the hunt.

The Cave People Trembled With Terror

Og and Ru, two of the young men of the tribe, were coming up the steep trail leading from the river. But before they reached the council circle, a girl from the village, attired in the skin of a jackal, slipped from behind a huge bowlder where she had been waiting for them. She was Nada, daughter of Ak the Old One.

A Girl Slipped From Behind a Bowlder

"Og! Ru! Stop!" Nada cried, fear in her voice.

The two cave youths came to a standstill.

"Come behind the bowlder so no one will see us talking together," Nada urged.

"Hi-yah! You startled me, Nada, leaping out that way," Og reproached her.

Fear Was in Her Voice

"I thought you were a stalking jackal," Ru added, "and that you had come to steal a baby from the caves. My stone ax was ready for a mighty swing, O Stupid One. Some day you will have a split skull for such folly."

"Perhaps it would have been better if you had cracked my head open," Nada asserted. "Then at least my fears would be over."

"Something more than hunger troubles you, Nada," Og concluded solemnly.

"Speak up Rabbit," Ru murmured impatiently. "What are you afraid of?"

The Girl Was Troubled

"Why are the drums beating?" Og suddenly asked.

"Pong is making medicine against — against —," Nada stammered, and blurted out, "against my father!"

"Against Ak the Old One?" Ru cried in astonishment. "Against Ak the flint worker?"

Why Are the Drums Beating?

"Hi-yah! That cannot be!" Og almost shouted.

"It is so," Nada insisted. "Pong had invoked the law of the tribe for old men and women. Ak must be sacrificed to the monster in the fire mountain because he can no longer dig for mussels. The Devil Doctor has spoken."

"This is treachery," Og growled.

"Ak is not bound by the law, for we need his wisdom. He is a great thinker. Besides his flint work is good."

Hi-yah! That Cannot Be!

"He is not a burden on the tribe even though a cave tiger did claw out one of his eyes," Ru agreed. "Anyway, you dig his mussels, Nada. And even now we bring him these bear skins full of food."

"You have come too late," Nada moaned. "the Cave People have long been hungry. Pong places the blame on Ak my father. He says the fire monster is angry because Ak has tried to capture fire and make it serve us. For this evil we must sacrifice Ak."

Ak, the Flint Maker

"This is madness," Og repeated.

"But you know, Og, that for one whole moon there have been no mussels in the river," Nada pointed out. "There are no nuts and no berries this year. Even the three-toed horses have vanished. Famine is upon us. You can hear the wolves howling to the north."

Nada Explained to Them

Og and Ru both shivered at the mention of wolves. They had heard them howling the night before, and might have heard them now except for the rumbling drums.

"But the wolves are driven from the north by the cold," Og explained "That is why Ru and I traveled down the river to find a warm land where our People can make new homes."

The Wolves Howled

"It was Ak who told us to go south," Ru reminded them. "We found a land of plenty. Great is the wisdom of Ak the Old One."

"Pong's brain is crooked," said the girl. "He is jealous of my father, who has laughed at his magic. Pong cheats the People by taking their best food by means of his tricks."

Ak Had Advised Them

"I do not fear Pong or his magic!" Og cried, lifting his weapon. "With this ax I will split his skull!"

"No, Og — wait!" Nada pleaded. "Pong has the People on his side now. Let us creep close and listen to what he is saying."

The girl and the two young men made their way nearer to the gathered tribe, where the Devil Doctor was chanting his persuasive words above the steady and monotonous beating of the drums.

The Cave People Gathered Around

"By the dark of the night, three times a bat came to my cave," Pong chanted in slow, measured tones. "The bat brought a warning. Our People have broken the law. Too long have the People kept Ak the Old One among them. He must be cast out. He must be flung to the monster in the fire mountain! He must be sacrificed today!"

"Ak is evil! The bat has spoken! Ak must die!" the People shouted in unison.

"Hear the fire monster roar inside his mountain!" Pong chanted, "He demands to be appeased!"

The Bat Brought a Warning

"Let us kill Pong now," Ru urged in an undertone.

"I will fight the whole tribe!" Og vowed recklessly.

"Wait," whispered Nada firmly. "Wait and listen. My father stands up. He will give the lie to Pong."

A proud old man stood up straight and held his head high as he addressed the Cave People of his tribe.

He Was Addressing the Cave People

"O my people, I have no magic. I hold no evil. Do not believe the Devil Doctor. All he tells are lies. Whoever heard of a bat that could utter a message?"

A murmur passed through the crowd.

"Aye, that's reasonable!" one man shouted.

"There is no magic," Ak went on, in a strong clear voice. "I am Ak the Old One. I have lived long. I have traveled far. My eyes have seen more than the eyes of all who stare at me now from this council circle. And my eyes have never seen magic."

"Do Not Believe the Devil Doctor."

A louder murmur came from the crowd.

"You have all seen MY magic!" Pong shouted. "I have made berries grow. I have brought rain. I have driven away clouds. That is magic."

"You Have All Seen MY Magic!"

"All lies," Ak answered, scornfully. "If this Devil Doctor has magic, why does he not bring mussels to the river? Why does he not hold back the cold weather and bring warm sunshine? Pong has a long tongue filled with empty words. I challenge him to slay me with his magic."

The crowd gasped and waited for Pong to speak.

"Ak has strong magic which is evil. I cannot slay him," Pong retorted wrathfully.

"All Lies!"

"I have no magic," Ak repeated calmly. "All I know is what I have learned in a long life. That is why I have sought fire so our People may keep warm in winter and keep the wolves away. That is why I have worked with my fire stones."

"Hear him!" Pong shrieked. "He dares to defy the fire monster. And hear the monster roar in yonder mountain!"

He Pointed to the Volcano

At that moment the volcano rumbled anew, as though in answer to Pong's cries.

"What became of Og and Ru, who floated down the river on a log?" Pong then shouted. "Ak told them to go. I told you they would never come back. A monster destroyed them."

Pong Shreiked at Ak

"They have strong hearts," Ak asserted proudly. "Og and Ru will come back with glad news for our People."

"They have been destroyed!" Pong repeated. "Cast out Ak the old One. Stone him! Drive him from us!"

Some of the cave men stooped to gather stones to carry out Pong's urgings.

"They Have Strong Hearts."

"Stop! This must not be!"

It was the voice of Og. He and Ru advanced.

"Og and Ru — they have returned!" the People cried.

"Stop! This Must Not Be!"

"Aye, we have returned," Og said. "We traveled far. We come back to say that Ak has spoken words of wisdom. We found a land of warm sunshine where there is food in plenty. See — we brought some. You must not cast Ak out."

At the sight of the food, the People believed Og — for the moment.

There Was Plenty of Food


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