The Jeweled Ibis by J.C. Kofoed
The Jeweled Ibis – a sailor gets mixed up in a quest to find the elixir that will bring an ancient Egyptian prophetess back to life.
In The Jeweled Ibis, sailor Dave Hudson gets mixed up in a quest to find the elixir that will bring an ancient Egyptian prophetess back to life. Pursued by the priests of the Theban Zeus, the quest takes him from Alexandria, Egypt to London, back to Alexandria and then out into the desert to a hidden pyramid on the high plateau.
This full length novel was originally published in two parts in 1919 in The Thrill Book Semi-Monthly Magazine.
THE JEWELED IBIS – PART ONE
Chapter I – SOMETHING OF MYSTERY
Chapter II – IN THE DARKNESS
Chapter III – NOT KNOWN
Chapter IV – THE STORY OF THE IBIS
Chapter V – MISSING
Chapter VI – THE CLASH
THE JEWELED IBIS – PART TWO
Synopsis Of Preceding Chapters
Chapter VII – IN THE DESERT
Chapter VIII – IN THE PYRAMID
Chapter IX – LURKING UNSEEN
Chapter X – IN THE BALANCE
Chapter XI – AIWA
John Christian Kofoed (1894-1979) and his twin brother William were born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1894. John died in 1979. The Kofoed twins began to become interested in writing in high school when they contributed to their school newsletter. After graduation from high school, the brothers began to work for The Philadelphia Daily Public Ledger.
During World War I, brother William served in the infantry while Jack served as a war correspondent in France. After the war, the brothers resumed their literary careers with William becoming a founding editor for Fiction House and Jack writing for a number of magazines such as Fight Stories, Sport Story, All-American Sports, Champion Sports, Ace Sports, Thrilling Football, Popular Sports, Popular Detective, G-Men, and Thrilling Adventures.
The Jeweled Ibis has 2 illustrations.
Excerpt: The Jeweled Ibis
SOMETHING OF MYSTERY
WHEN Dave Hudson walked into the United States consulate at Alexandria the night the leaky old Mozambique foundered the consul was so startled that he nearly swallowed his cigar. In reality, only Dave’s failure to appear should have surprised him. Every sailorman from Bangkok to Liverpool knew Hudson for the strongest, bravest, and luckiest dare-devil that sailed the Seven Seas. The consul knew it, too, but he had counted a three-mile swim through a heavy storm beyond even Dave’s extraordinary powers of endurance.
Though bruised and soaking wet from his buffet with the sea, Hudson wore his eternally cheerful grin. He was a big, nut-brown chap, with hair crisped tawny by the sun, and a jaw whose breadth proclaimed the only yellow streak he possessed to be in his hair.
His visit lasted only until morning. A major in the Sudanese corps—a man named Helim—had deserted with enough papers to plunge Britain into a native war, and an expedition was hastily preparing to follow him. As he could not secure a berth on any of the ships in port, Hudson joined them. The colonel warned him at the time that the chase would take them across the Libyan Desert, perhaps even to the gates of forbidden Jarabub, where no Christian had ever been.
Six months later Hudson limped into Alexandria alone and in rags. The deserter apparently had many friends among the shenzis—wild men—for ambuscades had been frequent. Broken by numberless savage attacks, the pursuers had been easy victims of the desert.
The novelty of the ancient empire no longer gripped Dave. On the contrary, the bazaars, the clack of many tongues, and the stench of camels grew intolerable. He had brought nothing back with him except a knowledge of the Egyptian tongue and mannerisms, so his need of a job became imperative. As luck would have it, the opportunity of signing on a freighter bound for London presented itself, and Hudson snapped it up. Later he regretted his haste.
The work itself was not particularly hard. English skippers are slacker taskmasters than their Yankee cousins, but they lack the American largeness of soul. They are petty in their discipline; they pay wretchedly ; and the food they supply is vilely worm-eaten and bitter. Hudson made no complaint. His stomach had been insulted too often to rebel at anything remotely eatable.
He found it more difficult to get along with Captain Cullen, however. In his years of seafaring Dave had sailed with thieves and brutes in the cabin, but Cullen was the worst of the lot. The jackal and the pig struggled in his face. He bulldozed and heckled the men from morning till night.
Late in the afternoon of their third day out from Alexandria, Hudson lay stretched out in the bottom of the captain’s gig, smoking his pipe and enjoying the cool breeze. He was wondering how he could make money—big money. Silver had always been quicksilver in Dave’s fingers, so this sudden desire to accumulate a share of the world’s goods certainly suggested an ulterior motive.
He had spent his last night ashore with the amiable consul. He remembered that night vividly. It was not until nearly twelve o’clock that he had started for his own quarters. The narrow streets were quite dark. From the darkest and narrowest of these he had heard the sound of panting breaths and scuffling feet, and then, for an instant, the fear-smothered voice of a woman.
The struggle was in a little hovel at the end of the alley, and Hudson projected his six foot of bone and sinew into the fray with the speed of a Mauser bullet. A half dozen fellaheen had attacked an American girl and her servant, but, being as cowardly as they were ruffianly, they stampeded for the door at the first sign of his prowess.
The girl—whose name was Marian Chandler—appeared tremendously grateful. Though dusty and disheveled, her beauty transcended such obstacles and impressed itself on Dave as the most wonderful he had ever seen. She was about twenty, he judged, but there was nothing of the callow debutante about her. She looked one straight in the eyes, and shook hands with a sincere grip.
She had supplied the motive for Hudson’s desire to accumulate wealth. He had met pretty girls before, but none who gave him that peculiar, confused sort of a thrill that Miss Chandler did. As she was rich, he did not think it would be honorable to try for her favor unless he was equally independent.
Lying there on his back, he grinned up at the sky, but it was a wistful sort of a grin.
Two men came along the deck. Without troubling to look up, Hudson knew who they were. One, by the clatter of hobnailed shoes, was Cullen, and the walloping of bare feet on the boards proclaimed his companion to be Toni, the coal-black Sudanese cook.
“Now, look ‘ere, Toni,” the captain was saying in his slovenly cockney dialect, “if y’ keep up yer cursed chatter y’ll never see yer wench again, I’ll l’y ten to two on that. Y’re in on the deal if y’ keep a still tongue in yer head and let the rum alone. If y’ don’t—” His pause was full of menace.
“Thass all right, boss,” said Toni, with a drunken snicker. He had an accent like a North Carolina darky and a voice that carried around the ship. “I know sumthin’ ’bout this Ra an’ the jeweled-ibis biz- ness”
“Silence, y’ fool! Would y’ have every bleedin’ tyke in the fo’cas’le guessin’ the secret then? Y’ know too much as ’tis.”
“I know this much,” said the cook, and he began to chant throatily:
“Sesostris, mighty ruler, Has hid de secret in Hebben-sent boss of Upper an’ Lower Egypt, De belly ob de ibis”
The illiterate dirge ended in a shriek of pain and a gurgle. Hudson sprang to his feet, an instant too late to save the Sudanese. Cullen seized Toni by the throat, and with a heave of his hairy ape arms flung him over the side. Dave caught a glimpse of his black, agonized face in the swirl of foam before he disappeared.
“That was murder!” declared the engineer grimly.
He stood upright, bracing his tall, muscular body against the roll of the ship, and glared down at Cullen like an accusing Nemesis. There was something unclean about the captain that rasped on Hudson like a rough singlet. He was repulsive as a vulture.
Dave repeated aggressively: “That was murder!”
Cullen turned a pair of coldly expressionless eyes on him. “Blimey if it was,” he denied. “It goes down in the log as mutiny, and ye’ll ‘ave to admit, Mr. ‘Udson, that Toni was a mutinous dog. Nobody’ll miss the likes o’ ‘im, and ye’ll forget ‘im, too, d’ye hear; ye’ll forget ‘im, too.”
With a shrug indicative of contempt, the engineer jumped out of the gig and walked away. Though he did not turn around, he could feel the captain staring malevolently at his back.
Afterward Hudson wondered as to the origin of the quarrel between Cullen and his cook. It was evident—from Toni’s chant—that they shared a secret concerning Sesostris, a several-thousand-year-dead king, and the ibis— the sacred bird of Egypt.
Excerpt From: J.C. Kofoed. “The Jeweled Ibis.”
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