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Irving Crump's
1936. Og - Son of Fire
"Based on the famous radio adventure series"

Big Little Book #1115
Racine, Wisconsin
Whitman Publishing Co.

CHAPTER THREE

Ak's Gift to His People

The brave quartet of cave dwellers fought a perilous path through ever-thickening mists of steam. Og and Ru kept in the lead; Nada exerted all her strength to assist her father over the tortuous way.
Suddenly she stopped and gave a terror-stricken cry.


Nada Exerted All Her Strength

 "Look, Og! Bones! Human skeletons!"

 See that skull yonder, grinning," deplored Ru.

 Og looked from the huddled skeletons to the passive face of Ak.

 "Bones of dead men, Ak! Behold them."

 "Aye," lamented Ak the flint worker, "I see them. Fearsome sights. But they are only the skeletons of poor old men and old women who could no longer earn their living. They were sent here by the People to die. They had not the courage to go on. But we will!"

 Nada covered her eyes to hide the fearsome sight. Ru looked at her contemptuously.

 "Bah, Rabbit," he said. "Find courage. I am fearful, too, but I am going on."

 "Yes, we must go on." Og spoke emphatically. "We cannot huddle among the black rocks to die as the old ones did."

 The heat from the bubbling springs increased as they made their onward way. Great gusts of steam swirled in a dizzy round, and then, of a sudden, they seemed to unwind and leave a clearer path.

 "The steam makes ghostly shapes," mourned Nada, and gave a sudden cry of alarm.

 "Look!" She indicated a spot directly in their path. "See! Something big, dark and ugly-looking with great horns. See it, Og?"

 A heavy bellowing sound came to them through the mists. Then, a tremendous uproar which receded as swiftly as it had come.

 "They are fading back into the steam," said Ak. "I know that sound of pounding feet. They are great elk."

 "Perhaps we can surprise one and kill it." Og was eager for the adventure. "Then we will have food. Hurry, follow me."

 Ru hastened his steps. "If I could only get one with this axe of mine. What a feast we would have."

 "They have gone up the valley," Og called back over his shoulder, "Let us push on through these bubbling hot springs."

 Through the thinning mists they beheld the valley — a place of desolation. Smoke and steam oozed from holes in the earth. Burned trees stood stark and dead. The Fire Mountain had spilled its red froth and burned everything in its path.

 Nada lifted her head above the desolation.

 "I smell something — something good — a meat smell!" She sniffed the air eagerly.

 Og's enthusiasm matched her own. "I smell it, too. It makes me hungry."

 "It IS meat," Ru said positively.

 "It is elk meat touched with fire," Ak explained. "Once, on the mountain side I found such meat, and it was good."

 Og led on with renewed zeal. "We must follow that smell and track it down!"

 Hunger overcame fear and Og pushed on up the slope of the mountain. Ru and Nada, assisting Ak, could not keep his pace. But it was not long before Og returned to them bearing the haunch of an elk.

 "Never did I taste the like!" Og cried as he came to them. There is much more. A great bull elk was killed by a falling rock and burned by the fire. Let us feast!"

 "Even the smell is food for a starving man," Ak commented.

 After they had appeased their hunger, Og made a discovery. It was a charred stick, the fire still burning in it.

 "It is not such a fearsome thing," pronounced the old flint maker. "See the red eyes glowing. That is fire."

 Cautiously, at first, they carefully examined the stick. They blew upon it and a flame leaped forth.

 "Oh, look!" Nada cried, "a flame leaped forth. See how it licks and curls."

 "Bring more sticks," commanded Ak. "See? It grows stronger as we feed it."

 "Fire is wonderful!" Og exclaimed, deeply impressed. "It would drive back the wolves and warm our People."

 "It would cook our food for us!" cried Ru.

 Ak, the flint maker, lifted his head high and his voice rang with power.

 "We have conquered the Fire Monster!"

 As he spoke there came a mighty rumbling sound from the volcano. The earth began to tremble. The Fire Mountain spat clouds of yellow smoke.

 "We must leave at once, father!" Nada moaned in dread. "The Monster heard you. Maybe you spoke evil! Come, let us hurry."

 "I spoke no evil," insisted Ak. "We must leave, but we must take this fire back to the People."

 There came a deafening crash, and great stones rumbled down the mountainside. Presently a great crack opened in the top of the mountain and red froth spilled from the opening.

 "Father, hurry!" Nada pleaded and tried to urge him on. "The rumbling grows more terrible."

 "Go on. I cannot run so fast. Og, Ru — guard her!"

 Suddenly Ak gave a sharp cry of pain, as a boulder crashed upon him, crushing his legs and pinning him down.

 "We cannot leave him! We cannot!" Nada sobbed.

 "Never fear," Og seized the boulder, "we shall not leave him! Help me move that boulder, Ru."

 "Nay, we shall not leave him!" And Ru put all his strength to the task.

 "It is folly," Ak groaned. "My legs are crushed. I must die. Leave, and save yourselves."

 "Hush," Og replied. "Ru and I will save you."

 With a tremendous effort they freed the flint maker. Then, despite the waves of red hot lava, Og and Ru carried the injured one across the valley to the safety of a cave in the cliffs.

 Through the long night they watched over him as he lay beside the little fire they had kindled in the cave.

 "Father," said Nada pleadingly, "see? We have brought the fire with us safely. Oh, father, you must not die!"

 "It does not matter — now." The words came feebly through the dying lips. "I — am — happy — Nada. Og — I — have — built — a — fire! Take  — it — to — the — People."

 "I will, oh, wise flint maker,"' promised Og. "I will take to the People the Gift of Ak."


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