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   Chapter 4 THE SURRENDER OF THE KURABUS

The Wonder Island Boys: Conquest of the Savages By Roger Thompson Finlay Characters: 16521

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


It was late that afternoon before John and the boys again drove over to the hill, and lost no time in entering the cave. The first care was to bring to the steps at the entrance all the vessels in the first recess.

Some of them were so heavy that it was necessary for four to carry each load. They then proceeded to the inner recess, and here a search was made for every trace of the treasures there, the time required thus making it almost dark before they were able to carry out all the different lots.

These were all stored in the bottom of the wagon. It was dark as they started for the Cataract. As they were leaving they heard the night cry of a bird which had often been noticed before, and Ralph shuddered, as he said:

"It makes me tremble whenever I hear that doleful sound. It was above our head all of the night before the Tuolos captured us, and since that time it always sounded like an omen to me."

John turned to him, as he replied: "That is the voice of the bird called by the Spanish, Alma Perdida."

"Well it isn't a pleasant sound, to say the least," added George.

"It is very significant at this time, however," remarked John.

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The boys all turned to him, as he continued: "It is the 'Cry of the Lost Soul'; that is what the name signifies."

And the boys thought of the terrible tragedy in the cave they had just left. The silence on the way home was significant.

The next morning marked the greatest activity in and about the buildings. The wagons were first loaded with the things contained in the shop, the laboratory and the home. Numerous packages were made up in form for the warriors to handle conveniently. Nothing was permitted to remain, as it was felt that the things they had made were too valuable to leave behind. It was past noon before the last articles were secured in bundles.

"You should explain to them, Uraso," said John, "that we shall have to give them pretty heavy loads for the first part of the journey, as the different things can be distributed to the others when we reach them."

"It will not be necessary to do this," he answered; "they are only too glad to carry the heaviest loads." And he refused to apologize to the warriors. This is referred to for the purpose of showing the spirit in which all of them worked to bring the things to their own country.

After the loads were all provided for, and the different ones instructed as to the parts which should be taken by each, John said:

"There is one thing which must now take our attention, and that is the bringing in of the flag."

The boys had forgotten this. "You may tell the warriors," said John, addressing Uraso, "that wep. 52 intend to go to the hill and bring in the flag, which must be taken with us."

As Uraso interpreted this to the people it had a remarkable significance to them. Uraso begged permission to take all of them on the expedition, and this was readily assented to.

The warriors all armed, as though going forth to battle, ascended the hill, with the boys in the lead. Arriving there John formed the column in a circle around the staff. Angel was present, and he shambled toward the pole and mounted it. He remembered the little wheel at the top, which had afforded them such an amusing incident when it was erected.

This time he came down without much solicitation on the part of George.

"As George and Harry were the ones to hoist the flag, I shall delegate them to lower it," said John.

The boys went forward, and at the quiet suggestion of John took off their hats. At this signal John took off his, and Uraso followed suit, and the hint was sufficient for the warriors, who stood with uncovered heads while the boys reverently lowered it.

The wonder and amazement depicted on the faces of those who witnessed it was a spectacle. What an impressive thing it was to them; it was the mystery, which to the savage mind is always an important factor, and John knew it.

The flag was folded with the greatest care, the natives watching each move with intense interest,p. 53 and was then wrapped in cloth, as though it was the most valuable treasure in the world.

"We want them to feel that it is something they must love and protect. It is safe to say, that after this exhibition, everyone of the warriors would have fought to the death to preserve that emblem of power, like the Israelites of old, who regarded the Ark of the Covenant as their fortress and strength."

The last night at the Cataract was a sad one for the boys. For a year and a half it had been their home. They had built every part of it. Each portion had some delicious memory connected with it, and all must now be left to the ravishes of time. Only the water wheel would be left.

It hardly seems possible that the accumulations at the Cataract would make over one hundred packages, aside from the contents of the wagon. When the entire stock of material was arranged the next morning, it was an interesting sight.

The two wagons were driven out from the yard, Harry and Tom in charge of one, and George and Ralph of the other team. Twenty-five light loads had been made for the advance warriors, so that in case of scouting work, one could take the loads of two, and thus leave at least a dozen free for that duty when required.

A quantity of lumber had been cut over six months before, and this was well dried, and would be very valuable to them in beginning operations, and the loads on the wagons were so great that but little of it could be taken in that way. Urasop. 54 saw the utility of the material and insisted that it should all be taken.

Besides the packages thus arranged the most expert of the warriors carried the thirty-two guns, and they had been instructed in their use. Each also carried a bow and set of arrows, and some of them were provided with spears.

During the preceding day no message had come from Blakely, but he knew that the party would leave the Cataract on this day, and they felt no apprehension on his account.

One of the runners from John reached the Professor on the day the train left the Cataract. While the latter tried to prevent the knowledge of his occupation of the Kurabus village from reaching the ears of the warriors, the scouts sent out by the Professor intercepted and tried to capture the messengers which were sent to inform the allies, but failed in their efforts.

When John and his party left, Blakely had drawn the allies to a point within eight miles of the Cataract, and with the reinforcements, headed by Muro, he made a stand. During the night, after a consultation with Muro, the latter, with fifty of his warriors, made a wide detour to the north, and swung around to the west, thus taking a position behind the allies, and this was effected without their knowledge, as they believed.

The object of this movement was to protect the Professor, as the force from the Cataract, joined to that of Blakely's, would be ample to drive them forward, and it was desirable to effect a capturep. 55 of the allies, and thus at one operation place them in their power.

Unfortunately, the messengers from the Kurabus' village reached the allies before Muro started on his trip. The effect on the allies was startling, and the Kurabus were determined to protect their homes. The latter believed that the object was to destroy the village and carry off the women and children, and it was but natural that they should go to their assistance.

As a result the allies during the night quietly stole to the south, which was in the direction of the Illyas' territory, intending to march thence west, and thus attack the Professor from the south.

Their departure was not discovered until morning had been well advanced, and Muro's runner did not reach Blakely until the train from the Cataract came in sight.

This was most discouraging news, as it meant danger to those left with the Professor.

"There is but one alternative now," said John. "We must make a forced march to the relief of the Professor. Uraso has the matter of controlling the force well in hand, and Blakely, you and I will take all the men excepting the one hundred in charge of the material, and go forward rapidly."

The first news the Prof

essor had of the new situation was gleaned from the messenger which Muro had dispatched the moment the escape of the allies was discovered.

"Has the Professor been notified?" asked Blakely.

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"I sent two messengers early this morning," was Muro's response.

"That was a wise thing," remarked John. "You are to be commended for the step. We must make a forced march at once, and you must lead the advance with your best men."

Muro was much gratified at this position of trust, and called up the warriors selected and spoke a few words to them. Without waiting to make any other preparations than to provide a day's provisions, his party sallied forth, and headed straight for the southwest.

The following day, the scouts sent out by the Professor to the southeast, discovered the allies rapidly moving toward the direction of the Kurabus' village, but he knew that he had not a sufficient force to meet them, and he also deemed it wise to permit them to reach their village, so that they might be able to learn for themselves that, while he had their homes in his power, he had not despoiled them.

This was surprising news to the allies. Such a course meant, either that the Professor and the tribes with him, were afraid of them, or, that Blakely's message to them was in reality true.

Muro's column reached the Professor the following day, and before evening John and the main body came up. The allies were still at the Kurabus' village, and without waiting for the wagon and the remaining part of the force to come up, all started on the march for the south.

The scouts reported commotion in the village, but its cause could not be determined. Undoubtp. 57edly they knew of the presence of the force from the north. Camp was made for the night, and when morning came it was evident that the Kurabus had been deserted by their allies, the Tuolos and the Illyas.

Early in the morning the advance was begun, and before ten o'clock a messenger from the Kurabus was taken, and he was brought before the Professor.

"Why have you been fighting us?" asked the Professor.

"My people thought you were trying to kill us."

"Why do you come to see us now?"

"Because my chief has been deserted by the Illyas and the Tuolos."

"Does he wish to surrender?"

"Yes; if the White Chief will not punish him and his people."

"Have any of your warriors gone with the two tribes?"

"No."

"You may tell your chief that we do not want war, but peace and friendship, and that we will not injure him or his people and that if we desired bloodshed we would have killed the warriors we took three days ago, and also would have destroyed your villages and taken your women and children captive."

The messenger was conducted to the front, and within two hours he returned with the message that the terms were accepted.

"Then tell your chief that all his weapons mustp. 58 be brought to this place within two hours, and he must come here with them, and surrender to us in person."

Within the stipulated time, the Kurabus, with their chief, appeared in their front, and Muro, with his warriors, went out to receive them. It must be understood that Muro's tribe, the Saboros, lived in the territory adjoining the Kurabus to the southeast, and that for years there had been bitter enmity between the two, but the Professor did not affect to know this.

When the chief, Tastoa, entered the camp, he glanced around at the warriors, but did not exhibit apparent alarm. He marched direct to the Professor, with arms folded, and showed a dignified attitude, notwithstanding his humiliation. His mien plainly showed that he surrendered to the White Chief, and not to his late allies or enemies.

In explanation of this, it should be said, that in a previous expedition against the Professor the Kurabus and the Saboros had been allied, and on the way, while they were surrounding the party of whites, had a disagreement which resulted in a separation and enmity.

"I have come to surrender to the White Chief. The Tuolo and the Illyas would not agree with me that you meant no harm, and that you would do as you said, and have left me."

"Then you have surrendered only because your allies left you?"

"No; but because we believed you did not want revenge."

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"What made you think so?"

"When we saw that you did not destroy our villages, and did not take our women and children, when you could have done so, we believed you. We believe the Great White Chief, but we do not believe the different tribes."

"Then I cannot accept your surrender. You may take all your weapons and return to your village, and if you choose to do so, join your late allies. We will not make a movement against you until you have done so. You must believe Suros and Uraso, and Oma and Muro, as well as myself."

He cast a curious glance about him, as the Professor spoke. This was a new species of warfare. What! allow him to return and continue the war, after he was in their power? The savage mind could not comprehend its meaning.

"Why does the White Chief offer me such terms? I am in his power."

"Because the white man does not believe in taking advantage of an enemy who has entrusted himself in his hands. As long as he is here he will not permit it, and the chiefs who are with me will not ask me to do it."

"I do not understand this. Does Suros say so?"

"The White Chief says the truth. He brings us a message from the Great Spirit. That message is different from the ones we learned. He has told me why our message is wrong, and my people will never again attack another people."

This declaration bewildered Tastoa. He had heard the words of the wise Suros. But Omap. 60 arose and said: "I have been your enemy and you have been ours. The White Chief has been good to us, and I could not understand why. He has told us new things, and how we may live in happiness, and we believe him. When we took your warriors and captured your villages three days ago, he ordered that no one should be hurt, and he has given the warriors the best of food, and treated them as he treated his own warriors. We will follow his ways."

Muro's eyes glistened as he arose to speak. "I and my people love the Great White Chief. I have come from their village, and all they have in the village is now coming to all of our people, and we are to learn the new way of living. From the time the White Chief rescued me from you, he has said to us, 'Do not kill; do not kill; but you have a right to defend yourselves.' They have made the weapons which talk with fire, and there are so many of them that they could quickly kill all of your people, if he would permit it. Now we are going to live like the White Chief tells us."

"Then, if the White Chief tells me I must believe the Chiefs I will do so."

"There is another thing which you must do. The Illyas have some of the white people in captivity. You must send a messenger and say that if they injure the captives I will visit them and destroy them and their villages, and that they must at once return to us, and if they do not, we will go there and take them by force."

"It shall be done."

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"Muro, you may restore the weapons to the Kurabus."

While the foregoing proceedings caused the utmost wonder in all of its phases, the restoration of the arms was one which so completely astonished them that the Chief could hardly speak. He finally approached the Professor, and grasping him by the hand, said:

"I have never heard of such things before."

"You must have your weapons, because your people must have food. Go to your villages now, and take with you the warriors we took three days ago. We have given them back their weapons, as you see."

Ralsea, Oma and Suros then pressed forward, and held out the hands of friendship to him. He then turned to the Professor and said: "I do not see Uraso."

"No; he is with the people who are coming from our village, but he will be the first one to go to you and tell you what the others have said."

The first act of Tastoa was to select the fleetest runner, to attempt overtaking the Illyas, in order to deliver the message which the Professor had instructed him to communicate.

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