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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 NINE

Saber Tooth Snarls

The Cave People were carried to a deep, rocky canyon, walled in by high cliffs, the prisoners of Scar Face and his tribe. Here they found Wab who told them of the gentle and kind treatment he had received.
"They gave me fruit and nuts," he said. "I think they want to be friends with us."


Prisoners

Ru tenderly caressed an aching head. "They have a strange way of showing it," he muttered. "I am bruised in every bone."

"I, too." Og rose with difficulty. "They are powerful fighters. I cannot understand why they do not kill us."

"I know!" Nada spoke with deadly certainty. "Yonder in that dark opening in the rocks is the den of Saber Tooth, the Cave Tiger. We are to be fed to him as a sacrifice that the Tree People may be spared!"

Og tested the air and found the scent of the tiger.

"Nada has spoken truth;" he pronounced. "Saber Tooth is there. We must build fires for protection. Hurry, before night is upon us!"

In a fever of activity they set to work, forgetful for a time of Scar Face and his tribe. Then Ru pointed to the Tree People who watched from a distance.

"Look, Og, how they watch us They wonder at our fires."

A sharp cry from Little Wab brought their attention to the boy. In trying to break a branch for fuel the tough, springy wood had slipped from his hand and shot a splinter into his leg. Og tended him carefully and thereafter ignored the fire. Springy wood that threw a sliver! Painstakingly he set to work, till at last he had made the first bow.

"Hi-yah! I have found what Ak the thinker dreamed! The great weapon! The stick that fights back! And now to make the short spears!"

Ru was instantly enthusiastic, and helped to fashion the arrows. When darkness fell they were prepared to battle with the tiger.

From the cave in the rock came a muffed snarl of warning. "Come, Saber Tooth!" Og took steady aim as the tiger appeared in the entrance of his den. With a singing twang he shot the arrow. It cracked on a rock close to the animal's head.

"Old Saber Tooth!" shouted Ru. "It is you who will be sacrificed!"

The second arrow flew to its mark. Saber Tooth rolled upon the ground, clawing and biting at his side. Crazed with pain, the tiger leaped up and prepared to charge, but the third arrow brought forth a horrible roar — the last cry of Saber Tooth.

The Tree People huddled together, murmuring among themselves. From that time on there was a reverence in their manner as they regarded the Cave Men. With looks of wonder they watched Nada fashion jackets of the tiger skin for herself and the others, using the claws for needles. In the days that followed they drew nearer and nearer the Cave Men, striking stones as they did and copying their movements.

"They cannot think as we do," Og spoke in contempt. "They are animals. We must await the opportunity to outwit them and escape from this canyon."

Growing bolder, Scar Face came to the fire and snatched a brand.

"Take care!" warned Ru. "You scorched your hand once, Scar Face!"

But the leader shook his head and blew on the brand as the Cave Men had done. The Tree People boomed in excitement. Dancing and beating their chests, they formed a procession and followed Scar Face into the forest.

"I do not like that!" Og watched the departing Tree People. "Fire is evil in the hands of those who do not know how to use it."

His speech was one of prophecy. That night a great, moaning sound came from the forest as black clouds of smoke arose among the trees.

"They have set the forest on fire!" Little Wab clung to Nada. The Tree People crowded into the canyon as the crackling of the hungry fire sent up rolling clouds of choking smoke. There was terror on their faces; an anxious, pleading appeal in their cries.

"They are begging you to save them, Og." Nada choked the words.

"Aye." Og looked about him desperately. "And I am thinking of a way to save ourselves. There is only one hope of escape from the fire — the tiger's lair!"

"But there may be another Saber Tooth in there!" Nada protested in fear. "The mate to the one we killed!"

Ru hastened to collect the stone axe he had fashioned and Og's bow and arrows. "We must take that chance, Rabbit," he spoke shortly. "If we remain here we will be roasted like goats!"

"This way, Scar Face!" Og made a sweeping motion toward the den. "Bring your Tree People!"

He led the way into the cave of Saber Tooth.


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