Death Seeks For Congo Treasure by John Peter Drummond
The blood-cries of the wild dogs, called the ‘Mad Ones,’ filled the jungle with savage terror and Ki-Gor, hunted as a criminal, follows a trail of lust and black murder to the cavern of the Golden Birds.
Death Seeks for Congo Treasure (1946) – The blood-cries of the wild dogs, called the ‘Mad Ones,’ filled the jungle with savage terror . . . and Ki-Gor, hunted as a criminal, follows a trail of lust and black murder to the cavern of the Golden Birds.
The Ki-Gor series ran quarterly for 16 years in Jungle Stories from the Winter 1938 issue to the Spring 1954 issue. The Ki-Gor stories were originally written by John Murray Reynolds but after the second year they were assigned to the house name “John Peter Drummond.” Reynolds continued to write stories and was joined by Dan Cushman, Robert Turner, Wilbur S. Peacock, and James McKimmey.
While Ki-Gor is an obvious imitation of the better known Tarzan, these stories are terrific adventure tales in their own right. The blond-haired jungle lord and his friends, Masai chief Tembu George and pygmy chief N’Geeso, as well as his flame-haired wife Helene, risk life and limb for each other on numerous occasions, battling ferocious animals and evil men.
Death Seeks for Congo Treasure is a six chapter novella and contains 14 illustrations.
Excerpt: Death Seeks for Congo Treasure
N’GEESO, chief of the pygmies, glanced warily around the circle of elders. His face, sharp-featured and wise, was relaxed, but worry tugged at his vitals. He had delayed this moment as long as possible, but now at last the issue must be met.
He shifted uneasily as his eyes fell on Ki-Gor, White Lord of the Jungle. The huge, bronzed Ki-Gor, made doubly large by contrast with the pygmies, sat cross-legged in the circle of wrinkled old men. It was not good that a man’s best friend should be present at such a time.
And the golden Helene, the White Lord’s mate, waited in the kraal with the women. She, too, would know of his disgrace, his failure as chief of the tribe. Why, N’Geeso wondered sorrowfully, had the jungle couple picked this of all times to visit him?
A cough, twice repeated, cut through N’Geeso’s flow of thought. Anger flared in him, but he caused a smile to play on his lips. The witch doctor, Konoi, that shrewd frightener of women, coughed to signify he knew N’Geeso was delaying. Konoi was a vulture waiting and eager for the feast.
N’Geeso’s eyes rested on the witch doctor, appeared to amiably study the lean features of the Seer of Mysteries. Konoi twitched his head nervously, looked away. He was not deceived as to the pygmy chief’s feelings toward him.
“Let us begin,” N’Geeso said abruptly, and shifted his attention to the oldest of the tribe’s elders who sat at his right.
Nuangaa, most ancient of the elders, waited for the chief’s nod. It was his right to speak first. But Nuangaa was filled with years and his voice and mind grown weak and hesitant. He was an easy one to influence.
“Konoi speaks for me,” he said in his high, thin tones, thus relegating to the witch doctor the stating of the serious problem before the pygmy council.
Ki-Gor, in his place, sat toying with a small white stone. He gave no undue attention to the proceedings, yet behind the expressionless planes of his strong face, thoughts moved swiftly. The talk he had heard was correct. He saw now it was good he had come.
The witch doctor rose. He spat vigorously in the opening manner of a pygmy speechmaker. Then in jerky, explosive phrases, he poured out his warning.
“Death comes along the trails and still we squat here talking. A moon ago— aaaiiieee—two moons ago I warned that the “mad ones,” the blood-hungry dog packs from the veldt, would come. Yet at the command of our great chief, we sit here still.”
Konoi spat again. His thin flanks trembled with the violence of his feeling. Quick and birdlike, he darted a look at the elders. They shifted uneasily, thought of the dog packs stabbing fear into their old bellies.
“The mad ones come. They race along the trails, hungering for the flesh of our people. The drums from the South tell us so. Yet our great chief delays, saying always he will have a plan.”
The maker of magic waved his arms in nervous exasperation. For the first time he looked directly at N’Geeso and scowled.
Ki-Gor kept his attention focused on the white stone, spun it with his fingers. Full understanding began to come to him. Konoi played a clever game.
FOR the second time within a hand of years, drought seared the great veldt which lay far to the South. As the game died or was driven by hunger to new pastures, the wild dogs, famished and maddened by the burning heat, poured north in a ravening flood. The crazed dogs, moving in vast packs, spread a trail of blood through the jungle, killed every living thing in their path.
Konoi used this opportunity to discredit N’Geeso. Possessing scant respect for witch doctors, N’Geeso long had held tight rein on Konoi. The maker of magic thought with one stroke to weaken the chief, win first place for himself in the tribe.
Konoi spoke on, growing ever more heated and venomous. Finally, he concluded with the statement:
“We must trek to the rich valley at the foot of the Mountains of the Cloud. There the wild dogs never run. There we will be safe. This place is cursed and if we stay, we die!”
As Konoi flung himself down, the elders by their silence gave him support for now was the time to offer objections. When none spoke, N’Geeso saw that he must stand alone.
N’Geeso spoke slowly, almost softly, but the steel in his voice carried easily to every ear. He did not stand.
“So you would flee the dogs to war against the Bambilli. The valley, as Konoi knows, belongs to the Bambilli and was their fathers’ land before them.”
“Aaaiiieee! And is our blood so thin we fear the Bambilli,” flung Konoi scornfully. “The whole jungle feared our fathers. Let it fear us also. Let us once more be great warriors and take what we want!”
“We have pledged the peace,” replied N’Geeso.
Once more Konoi spat, and this time the gesture verged on insult.
“Have you a better plan, N’Geeso?” stabbed the witch doctor. “Or shall we let the dogs tear our women and children to bits because we are afraid to war on the Bambilli. Long have you promised a plan! Let us hear it—or if you have none,” he taunted, “let the tribe follow one who protects them.”
A glance told Ki-Gor that N’Geeso had no plan. This was the moment the little chief had tried to defer. The pygmies were not bound to follow a heriditary chieftain. They named the chief they thought strongest and wisest, and if he failed, then he must give way to another.
Forgotten by the pygmies in the heat of their discussion, the White Lord of the Jungle knew it was time for him to take a hand. He spun the round stone into the center of the circle with a swift twist of his fingers. The tense pygmies roused to his presence.
This bronzed giant with the look of a stalking lion about him, this gray-eyed, blond-maned man without fear was the one who made and kept the jungle peace. And forgetting him, they had spoken of war. Nervously the elders shifted, feeling the cold stare of the jungle man sweeping them.
N’Geeso, on the verge of admitting his failure, glanced with surprise at Ki-Gor, choked back his words. The White Lord stirred and made to speak. What was it the big man was saying?
“O Chief N’Geeso, may I speak now of the plan which we made?”
N’Geeso gulped. They had discussed no plan. Not finding his voice, he quickly nodded assent to the jungle man’s question. Any delay was welcome at this point.
“I sit here at your chief’s invitation,” Ki-Gor told the elders. His voice was a barbed arrow. “War is a fool’s plan. Why sacrifice young warriors to win land you do not need? It is a simple thing to stop the dog packs! In the South, I have seen it done many times.”
Excerpt From: John Peter Drummond. “Death Seeks for Congo Treasure.”
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