Tom Swift in Captivity
Part 3 out of 3
"I guess his royal highness will remain friends with us," said Ned
with a smile, as he heard the music. "He can see what a lot of
presents and other things we have, and as for that Delby, he doesn't
seem to have much of anything."
"Oh, I haven't shown half the things I have as yet," spoke Tom. "But
I don't like this, just the same. Those giants may turn from us, and
favor him on the slightest pretence. I guess we've got our work cut
out for us."
"Then let's plan some way to beat him," suggested Mr. Damon. "Look
over your goods, Tom, and make the king a present that will bind his
friendship to us."
"I believe I will," decided the young inventor and then he and Ned
began overhauling the boxes and bales, while a crowd of curious
giants stood without their hut, and another throng surrounded the
palace of the giant king.
"There goes Delby out to get something from his baggage," announced
Ned, looking from the window. Tom saw his rival taking something
from one of the packs slung across the back of a mule. Soon the
circus agent hurried back into the king's hut, and a moment later
there was heard the strains of a banjo being picked by an
unpracticed hand. It was succeeded by a rattling tune played in good
"Bless my fiddlestick!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "Does your phonograph
have a banjo record, Tom?"
"No." was the somewhat hesitating answer of the young inventor.
"Delby who can play a banjo himself must have given Kosk one for a
present, and, like a child, the king is amused by the latest
novelty. So far he has scored one on us," he added, as once more
they heard the unmelodious strains of the banjo slowly picked. "The
king is evidently learning to play the instrument, and he'd rather
have that than a phonograph, which only winds up."
"But haven't you some other things you can give the king to off-set
the banjo?" asked Mr. Damon.
"Plenty of them," replied Tom. "But if I give him--say a toy steam
engine, for I have one among our things--what is to prevent Delby
giving him some other novelty that will take his attention? In that
way we'll sea-saw back and forth, and I guess Delby has had more
experience in this business than I have. It's going to be a question
which of us gets a giant."
"Bless my reserved seat ticket!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "I never heard
of such a thing! But, Tom, I'm sure we'll win out."
"Get something startling to give the king," advised Ned, and Tom
began opening one of the boxes that had been transported with such
labor from the coast.
"Delby had much better luck with his mule drivers than we did Tom,"
remarked Ned as he saw the two natives standing by the pack animals
of the rival circus man. "They evidently didn't get scared off by
"No, but probably he didn't tell them where they were headed for.
Though, as a matter of fact, I don't believe any one has anything to
fear from these big men. All they ask is to be let alone. They're
not at all warlike, and I don't believe they'd attack the other
natives. But probably their size makes them feared, and when our
drivers heard the word 'giant' they simply wilted."
"Guess you're right. But come on, Tom. If we're going to make the
king a present that will open his eyes, and get him on our side
instead of Delby's, we'd better be getting at it."
"I will. This is what I'm going to give him," and Tom brought out
from a box a small toy circus, with many performing animals and
acrobats, the whole being worked by a small steam engine that burned
alcohol for fuel. A little water put in the boiler of the toy
engine, a lighting of the alcohol wick and there would be a toy that
even a youngster of the United States might be proud to own.
"Mah land a massy!" exclaimed Eradicate as Tom got the apparatus
ready to work. "Dat shore will please him!"
"It ought to," replied the young inventor. "Come on, now I'm ready."
Delby had not yet come from the king's hut, and as Tom and his
friends, bearing the new toy, were about to leave the structure that
had been set aside for their use, they saw a crowd of the giant men
approaching. Each of the big men carried a club and a spear.
"Bless my eye glasses!" gasped Mr. Damon. "Something is wrong. What
can it be?"
He had his answer a moment later. With a firm but gentle motion the
chief giant shoved our four friends back into the hut, and then
pulled the grass mat over the opening. Then, as Tom and the others
could see by looking from a crack, he and several others took their
position in front, while other giants went to the various windows,
stationing themselves outside like sentries around a guard house.
"Bless my--" began Mr. Damon, but words failed him.
"We're prisoners!" gasped Ned.
"It looks like it," admitted Tom grimly. "Evidently Delby has
carried out his threat and set the king against us. We are to be
held captives here, and he can do as he pleases. Oh, why didn't I
TOM'S MYSTERIOUS BOX
The young inventor walked slowly back to the middle of the hut--a
prison now it was--and sat down on a bench. The others followed his
example, and the elaborate toy, with which they had hoped to win the
king's favor, was laid aside. For a moment there was silence in the
structure--a silence broken only by the pacing up and down of the
giant guards outside. Then Eradicate spoke.
"Massa Tom," began the aged negro, "can't we git away from heah?"
"It doesn't seem so, Rad."
"Can't we shoot some of dem giants wif de 'lectric guns, an' carry a
couple ob 'em off after we stun 'em like?"
"No, Rad; I'm afraid violent measures won't do, though now that you
speak of the guns I think that we had better get them ready."
"You're not going to shoot any of them, are you, Tom?" asked Mr.
"No, but if they continue to turn against us as easily as they have,
there is no telling what may happen. If they attack us we will have
to defend ourselves. But I think they are too gentle for that,
unless they are unduly aroused by what misstatements Hank Delby may
make against us."
"Misstatements?" inquired Ned.
"Yes. I don't doubt but what he told the king a lot of stuff that
isn't true, to cause his majesty to make us captives here. Probably
he said we came to destroy the giant city with magic, or something
like that, and he represented himself as a simple traveler. He's
used to that sort of business, for he has often tried to get ahead
of Mr. Preston in securing freaks or valuable animals for the
circus. He wants to make it look bad for us, and good for himself.
So far he has succeeded. But I've got a plan."
"What is it?" asked Mr. Damon.
"I'll tell you when I've got it more worked out. The thing to do now
is to get in shape to stand off the giants if they should attack us.
This hut is pretty strong, and we can risk a siege in here. Let's
arrange the boxes and bales into a sort of breastwork, and then
we'll take the electric rifles inside."
This was soon done, and, though there was considerable noise
attending the moving about of the boxes and bales, the giant guards
did not seem at all alarmed. They did not even take the trouble to
stop the work, though they looked in the windows. In a short time
there was a sort of hollow square formed in the middle of the big
main room, and inside of this our friends could give battle.
"And now for my plan of teaching these giants a lesson," said Tom,
when this work was finished. "Ned, help me open this box," and he
indicated one with his initials on in red letters.
"That's the same one you saved from the fire in the ship," commented
"Yes, and I can't put it to just exactly the use I intended, as the
situation has changed--for the worse I may say. But this box will
answer a good purpose," and Tom and Ned proceeded to open the
mysterious case which the young inventor had transported with such
"Bless my cannon cracker!" exclaimed Mr. Damon who watched them.
"You're as careful of that as if it contained dynamite."
"It does contain something like that," answered Tom. "It has some
blasting powder in, and I was going to use it to show the giants how
little their strength would prevail against the power which the
white man could secure from some harmless looking powder. There are
also a lot of fireworks in the box, and I intend to use them to
scare these big men. That's why I was so afraid when I heard that
there was a blaze near my box. I was worried for fear the ship would
be blown up. But I can't use the blasting powder--at least not now.
But we'll give these giants an idea of what Fourth of July looks
like. Come on, Ned, we'll take a look and see from which window it
will be safest to set off the rockets and other things, as I don't
want to set fire to any of the grass huts."
Eradicate and Mr. Damon looked on wonderingly while Tom and his chum
got out the packages of fireworks which had been kept safe and dry.
As for the giant guards, if they saw through the windows what was
going on, they made no effort to stop Tom.
Tom had brought along a good collection of sky rockets, aerial
bombs, Roman candles and similar things, together with the blasting
powder. The latter was put in a safe place in a side room, and then,
with some boards, the young inventor and his chum proceeded to make
a sort of firing stand. One big window opened out toward a vacant
stretch of woods into which it would not be dangerous to aim the
Building the stand took some time, and they knocked off to make a
meal from the food that had been brought, and which they had been
about to eat when the circus man had appeared. The food was good,
and it made them feel better.
"I hope they won't forget us to-morrow," observed Tom, for there was
enough of the first meal left for supper. "But if they do we have
some food of our own."
"Oh, I don't think they mean to starve us," remarked Ned. "I think
they are just acting on suggestions from that circus man."
"Perhaps," agreed Tom. "Well, they may sing another tune when we get
through with them."
As night approached the giant guards about the hut were changed, and
again the women came, bearing platters of food. There was plenty of
it, showing that the king, however fickle his friendship might be,
did not intend to starve his captives. Tom and his friends had not
seen Delby come out of the royal palace, and they concluded that he
was still with his giant majesty.
"Is it dark enough now, Tom?" asked Ned of his chum, as they sat
about the rude wooden platform which they had made to hold the
fireworks. "Shall we set them off?"
"Pretty soon now. Wait until it gets a little darker, and the effect
will be better." The room was dimly lighted by a small portable
electric lamp, one of several Tom had brought along in his
mysterious box. The lamps were operated by miniature but powerful
dry batteries. The giant guards were still outside, but they showed
no disposition to interfere with our friends.
"There's something going on at the palace," reported Mr. Damon, who
was watching the big hut. "There are a lot of giants around it with
"Maybe they're going to escort Delby to a hut with the same honors
they paid us," suggested Tom. "If they do, we'll set off the
fireworks as he comes out and maybe they'll think he is afflicted
with bad magic, and they'll give us our freedom."
"Good idea!" cried Ned. "Say, that's what they're going to do," he
added a moment later as, in the glare of a number of torches, there
could be seen issuing from the king's palace, the two big giants,
evidently his brothers. Between them was the figure of the circus
man, looking like a dwarf. He was not so far away but what the smile
of triumph on his face could be seen as he glanced in the direction
of the darkened hut where Tom and his friends were captives.
"Now's our chance!" cried the young inventor. "Set 'em off, Ned. You
help, Mr. Damon. The more noise and fuss we make at once, the more
impressive it will be. Set off everything in sight!"
There was a flicker of matches as they were applied to the fuses,
and then a splutter of sparks. An instant later it seemed as if the
whole heavens had been lighted up.
Sky rockets shot screaming toward the zenith, aerial bombs went
whirling slantingly upward amid a shower of sparks, then to burst
with deafening reports, sending out string after string of colored
lights. Red and green fire gleamed, and the hot balls from Roman
candles burst forth. There was a whizz, a rush and a roar. Blinding
flashes and startling reports followed each other as Tom and his
friends set off the fireworks. It was like the Independence Day
celebration of some little country village, and to the simple giants
it must have seemed as if a volcano had suddenly gone into action.
For several minutes the din and racket, the glare and explosions,
kept up, pouring out of the big window of the hut. And then, as the
last of the display was shot off, and darkness seemed to settle down
blacker than ever over the giant village, there arose howls of fear
and terror from the big men and their women and children. They cried
aloud in their thunderous voices, and there was fear in every cry.
A great silence followed the setting off of the fireworks--silence
and darkness--and even the circus man ceased to shout. He wanted to
see what the effect would be. So did Tom and the others. When their
eyes had become used to the gloom again, after the glare of the
rockets and bombs, the young inventor said:
"Look out of the windows, Ned, and see if our guards have run away."
Ned did as requested, but for a few seconds he could make out
nothing. Then he cried out:
"They've gone, but they're coming back again, and there are twice as
many. I guess they don't want us to escape, Tom, for fear we may do
a lot of damage."
"Bless my hitching post!" cried Mr. Damon. "The guards doubled? We
ARE in a predicament, Tom."
"Yes, I'm afraid so. The fireworks didn't just have the effect I
expected. I thought they'd be glad to let us go, fearing that we
could work magic, and might turn it on them. Most of the natives are
deadly afraid of magic, the evil eye, witch doctors, and stuff like
that. But evidently we've impressed the giants in the wrong way. If
we could only speak their language now, we could explain that unless
they let us go we might destroy their village, though of course we
wouldn't do anything of the kind. If we could only speak their
language but we can't."
"Do you suppose they understood what Delby said?" asked Ned.
"Not a bit of it! He was just desperate when he yelled out that way.
He saw that we had an advantage on him--or at least I thought we
did, but I guess we didn't," and Tom gazed out of the windows in
front of each of which stood two of the largest giants. By means of
the torches it could be seen that the circus man was being taken to
another hut, some distance away from the royal one. Then, after an
awed silence, there broke out a confused talking and shouting among
the giant population, that was drawn up in a circle a respectful
distance from the hut where the captives were confined. Doubtless
they were discussing what had taken place, hoping and yet fearing,
that there might be more fireworks.
"Well, we might as well go to bed," declared Tom at length. "We
can't do any more to-night, and I'm dead tired. In the morning we
can talk over new plans. My box of tricks isn't exhausted yet."
In spite of their strange captivity our friends slept well, and they
did not awaken once during the night, for they had worked hard that
day, and were almost exhausted. In the morning they looked out and
saw guards still about the hut.
"Now for a good breakfast, and another try!" exclaimed Tom, as he
washed in a big earthen jar of water that had been provided.
Freshened by the cool liquid, they were made hungry for the meal
which was brought to them a little later. They noticed that the
women cooks looked at them with fear in their eyes, and did not
linger as they had done before. Instead they set down the trays of
food and hurried away.
"They're getting to be afraid of us," declared Tom. "If we could
only talk their language--"
"By Jove!" suddenly interrupted Ned. "I've just thought of
something. Jake Poddington you know--the agent for Mr. Preston who
so mysteriously disappeared."
"Well, what about him?" asked Tom. "Did you see him?"
"No, but he may be here--a captive like ourselves. If he is he's
been here long enough to have learned the language of the giants,
and if he could translate for us, we wouldn't have any trouble. Why
didn't we think of it before? If we could only find Mr. Poddington!"
"Yes, IF we only could," put in Tom. "But it's a slim chance. I
declare I've forgotten about him in the last few days, so many
things have happened. But what makes you think he is here, Ned?"
"Why he started for giant land, you'll remember, and he may have
reached here. Oh, if we could only find him, and save him and save
"It would be great!" admitted Tom. "But I'm afraid we can't do it.
There's a chance, though, that Mr. Poddington may be here, or may
have been here. If we could only get out and make some explorations
or some inquiries. It's tough to be cooped up here like chickens."
Tom looked from the window, vainly hoping that the guards might have
been withdrawn. The giants were still before the windows and doors.
For a week this captivity was kept up, and in that time Tom and his
friends had occasional glimpses of Hank Delby going to and from the
king's hut. His majesty himself was not seen, but there appeared to
be considerable activity in the giant village.
From their prison-hut the captives could see the native market held
in the big open space, and giants from surrounding towns and the
open country came in to trade. There were also curious about the
white captives, and there was a constant throng around the big hut,
peering in. So also there was about the hut where the circus man had
his headquarters. Delby seemed to be free to come and go as he
"I guess he's laying his plans to take a giant or two away with
him," remarked Tom one day. "I wonder what will become of us, when
he does go?"
It was a momentous question, and no one could answer it. Tom was
doing some hard thinking those days. Two weeks passed and there was
no change. Our friends were still captives in giant land. They had
tried, by signs, to induce their guards to take some message to the
king, but the giants refused with shakes of their big heads.
Yet the adventurers could not complain of bad treatment. They were
well fed, and the guards seemed good natured, laughing among
themselves, and smiling whenever they saw any of the captives. But
let Tom or some of the others, step across the threshold of the
door, and they were kindly, but firmly, shoved back.
"It's of no use!" exclaimed Tom in despair one day, after a bold
attempt to walk out. "We've got to do something. If we can't get
word to the king we've got to plan some way to gain the friendship,
or work on the fear of the guards. We have about the same crowd
every time. If we can scare them they may keep far enough off so we
can have a chance to escape."
"Escape! That's the thing!" cried Mr. Damon. "Why can't we put the
airship together in this hut, Tom, and fly away in it?"
"We can, when the right time comes--if it ever does--but first we've
got to work on the guards. Let me see what I can do? Ha! I have it.
Ned, come here, I want your help. I'm going to show these giants
that, with all their strength, I can make each of them as weak as a
baby, and, at the same time prove that they can't lift even a light
"How you going to do it?" asked Mr. Damon.
"I'll soon show you. Come on, Ned."
Tom and his chum were busy for several days among the various boxes
and bales that formed the baggage. They rigged up two pieces of
apparatus which I will describe in due time. They also opened
several boxes of trinkets and trading goods, which had been brought
along for barter. These they distributed among the guards, and,
though the giants were immensely pleased, they did not get friendly
enough to walk off and leave our friends free to do as they pleased.
"Well, I guess we're ready for the lesson now," remarked Tom one
afternoon, when they had been held captives for about three weeks.
"If they won't respond to gentle treatment we'll try some other kind
The guards had become so friendly of late that some of them often
spent part of the day inside the hut, looking at the curious things
Tom and his party had brought with them. This was just what the
young inventor wanted, as he was now ready to give them a second
lesson in white man's magic.
Tom and Ned had learned a few words of the giant's language, which
was quite simple, though it sounded hard, and one day, after he had
shown them simple toys, the young inventor brought forth a simple-
looking box, with two shining handles.
"Here is a little thing," explained Tom, partly by words, and partly
by using signs, "a simple little thing which, if one of you will but
take hold of, you cannot let go of again until I move my finger. Do
you believe that a small white man like myself can make this little
thing stronger than a giant?" he asked.
One of the biggest of the guards shook his head.
"Try," invited Tom. "Take hold of the handles. At first you will be
able to let go easily. But, when I shall move my finger though but a
little, you will be held fast. Then, another movement, and you will
be loose again. Can I do it?"
Once more the giant shook his head.
"Try," urged Tom, and he put the two shining handles into the big
palms of the giant. The native grinned and some of his companions
laughed. Then to show how easy it was he let go. He took hold again.
"Now!" cried Tom, and he moved his finger.
Instantly the giant leaped up into the air. He uttered a howl that
seemed to shake the very roof of the hut, and his arms were as rigid
as poles. They were drawn up in knots, and though he tried with all
his great might, he could not loose his fingers from the shiny
handles. He howled in terror, and his companions murmured in
"It is as I told you!" exclaimed Tom. "Is it enough?"
"Loose me! Loose me! Loose me from the terrible magic!" cried the
giant, and, with a movement of his finger, Tom switched off the
current from the electric battery. Instantly the giant's arms
dropped to his side, his hands relaxed and the handles dropped
clattering to the floor.
With a look of fear, and a howl of anguish, the big guard fled, but
to the surprise and gratification of Tom and his friends the others
seemed only amused, and they nodded in a friendly fashion to the
captives. They all pressed forward to try the battery.
One and all endeavored to loose their hands after Tom, by a movement
of his forefinger, had turned the switch of the battery, and one and
all of the giant guards were unable to stir, as the electricity
gripped their muscles. They were evidently awed.
"This is working better than the fireworks did," murmured Tom. "Now
if I can only keep up the good work, and get ahead of Delby I'll be
all right. Now for the other test, Ned."
Ned brought from a box what looked to be a small iron bar, with a
large handle on the top. The bottom was ground very smooth.
"This is very small and light," explained Tom, partly by signs, and
partly by words. "I can easily lift it by one finger, and to a giant
it is but a feather's weight."
He let the giants handle it, and of course they could feel scarcely
any weight at all, for it tipped the scales at only a pound. But it
was shortly to be much heavier.
"See," went on the young inventor. "I place the weight on the floor,
and lift it easily. Can you do it?"
The giants laughed at such a simple trick. Tom set the iron bar down
and raised it several times. So did several of the giants.
"Now for the test!" cried Tom with a dramatic gesture. "I shall put
my magic upon you, and you shall all become as weak as babies. You
cannot lift the bar of iron!"
As he spoke he made a signal to Ned, who stood in a distant corner
of the room. Then Tom carefully placed the weight on a sheet of
white paper on a certain spot on the floor of the hut and motioned
to the largest giant to pick up the iron bar.
With a laugh of contempt and confidence, the big man stooped over
and grasped the handle. But he did not arise. Instead, the muscles
of his naked arm swelled out in great bunches.
"See, you are as a little babe!" taunted Tom. "Another may try!"
Another did, and another and another, until it came the turn of the
mightiest giant of all the guard that day. With a sudden wrench he
sought to lift the bar. He tugged and strained. He bent his back and
his legs; his shoulders heaved with the terrific effort he made--but
the bar still held to the floor of the hut as though a part of the
big beams themselves.
"Now!" cried Tom. "I shall show you how a white man's magic makes
him stronger than the biggest giant."
Once more he made a hidden sign to Ned, and then, stooping over, Tom
crooked his little finger in the handle of the iron bar and lifted
it as easily as if it was a feather.
THE LONE CAPTIVE
The murmurs of astonishment that greeted Tom's seemingly marvelous
feat of strength was even greater than that which had marked his
trick with the electric battery. The giants stared at him as though
they feared the next moment he might suddenly turn upon them and
hurl them about like ten-pins.
"You see, it is easy when one knows the white man's magic," spoke
Tom, making many gestures to help along. "Go tell your king that it
is not well that he keeps us prisoners here, for if he does not soon
let us go the magic may break loose and destroy his palace!"
There was a gasp of dismay from the giants at this bold talk.
"Better go easy, Tom," counseled Ned.
"I'm tired of going easy," replied the young inventor. "Something
has got to happen pretty soon, or it will be all up with us. I'm
getting weary of being cooped up here. Not that the king doesn't
treat us well, but I don't want to be a prisoner. I want to get out
and see if we can't arrange to take a couple of these giants back
for Mr. Preston. That Delby sneak has things all his own way."
And this was so, for the circus man had poisoned the king's mind
against Tom and his friends, representing (as our hero learned
later) that the first arrivals in giant land were dangerous people,
and not to be trusted. On his own part, Hank Delby intimated that he
would always be a friend to the king, would teach him many of the
white man's secrets, and would make him powerful. Thus the circus
man was making plans for his own ends, and he was scheming to get a
couple of giants for himself, who he intended to hurry away, leaving
Tom and his friends to escape as best they could.
And Delby had brought with him some novelties in the way of toys and
machinery that seemed greatly to take the fancy of the king. Tom
realized this when he saw his rival free to come and go, and one
reason why our hero did the experiments just related was so that the
king might hear of them, and wonder.
"Go tell the king that, strong as he is, I am stronger," went on Tom
boldly to the giant guards. "I am not afraid of him."
"Bless my war club, Tom, aren't you a little rash to talk that way?"
asked Mr. Damon.
"No. As I said, I want things to happen. If I can only get the king
curious enough to come here I can show him things to open his eyes.
I'll work the miniature circus, and explain that some of his
subjects can take part in a real one if they will come with us. I
want to beat this Delby at his own game."
"That's the stuff!" cried Ned. "Stick to it, Tom. I'll help you, and
we'll get a giant or two yet. And maybe we can get some news of poor
"I intend to make inquiries about him, now that these guards are a
little more friendly," said Tom. "It may be that he is a prisoner in
this very village."
The giant guards, now that they had gotten over their fright at
their own inability to raise the bar while Tom had lifted it with
one finger, again crowded around, asking that the trick be repeated.
Tom did it, with the same result.
None of the giants could move the iron, yet Tom had no difficulty in
doing so. Of course my readers have already guessed how the trick
was done. It was worked by a strong magnet, hidden in the floor. At
a signal from Tom, Ned would switch on the current. The iron would
be held fast and immovable, but when Tom himself went to raise it
Ned would cut off the electricity and the bar was lifted as easily
as an ordinary piece of iron. But simple as the trick was, it
impressed the giants. Then Tom did some other stunts for them,
simple experiments in physics, that every High School lad has done
"I want to get these guards friendly with me," he explained. "In
time the news will reach the king and he'll be so curious that he'll
come here and then--well, we'll see what will happen."
But this did not take place as soon as Tom desired. In fact, the
giants were very slow to act. The guards did get quite friendly, and
every day they wanted the same two first tricks performed over
again. Tom did them many times, wondering when the king would come.
Then he played a bold game, and made open inquiries about a white
man, one like the king's captives, who might have come to giant land
about a year previous.
"Is there a lone white captive here?" asked Tom.
The giant guard to whom he directed his question gave a start, for
Tom could now speak the language fairly well, and, after the first
indication of surprise, the guard muttered something to his
companions. There was a startled ejaculation, a curious glance at
the captives, and then--silence. The guards filed silently away,
and, a little later, could be seen going in the king's big hut.
"By Jove, Tom!" cried Ned. "You touched 'em that time. There's
something up, as sure as you're born!"
"I believe so myself," agreed the young inventor. "And now to throw
a real scare into these giants," he added, as he went to a distant
room of the hut where he had hidden some of the things he had taken
from his "box of tricks," as Ned dubbed it.
"Bless my necktie!" cried Mr. Damon. "What's up now, Tom."
"I'm going to show these giants that they'd better make friends with
us soon, or we may blow their whole town sky-high!" cried Tom. "I'm
going to use some of the blasting powder--just a pinch, so to speak-
-and knock an empty hut into slivers. I think that will impress
these fellows. If I can only--"
"Look, Tom!" suddenly cried Ned. "The king's two brothers are coming
here. Something's up. He's sent some of the family to interview us.
Get ready to receive them."
"Couldn't be better!" cried the young inventor. "I've been waiting
for this. Now I'll give them a surprise party."
The two big brothers of the king, for such Tom and his friends had
recently learned was the relationship the giants on either side of
the "throne" bore to the ruler, were indeed headed toward the hut of
the captives. They came alone, in their royal garments of jaguar
skins, and, standing about the palace hut, could be seen the giant
guards who had doubtless carried the news of the question Tom had
"Come on, Ned, we've got to get busy!" exclaimed Tom. "Connect the
electric battery, and get that magnet in shape. I'm going to make a
fuse for this blasting powder bomb, and if I can get those royal
brothers to plant it for me, there'll be some high jinks soon."
Tom busied himself in making an improvised bomb, while Ned attended
to the electrical attachments, and Mr. Damon and Eradicate acted as
The two giant brothers entered the hut and greeted Tom and the
others calmly. Then they explained that the king had sent them to
investigate certain stories told by the guard.
"I'll show you!" exclaimed Tom, and he induced them to take hold of
the handles of the battery. The current was turned on full strength,
and from the manner in which the royal brothers writhed and howled
Tom judged that the experiment was a success.
"With all your strength you can not let go until I move my finger,"
the young inventor explained, and it was so. Even the skeptical
giants agreed on that.
"Now I shall show you that I am stronger than you!" exclaimed Tom,
and though the giants smiled increduously so it was, for the magnet
trick worked as well as before. There were murmurs of surprise from
the two immense brothers, and they talked rapidly together.
"I will now show you that I can call the lightning from the sky to
do my bidding," went on Tom. "Is that possible to any of you
"Never! Never! No man can do it!" cried Tola and Koku together.
"Then watch me!" invited Tom. "Is there an empty hut near here?" he
asked. "One that it will do no harm to destroy?"
Tola pointed to one visible from the window of the prison of our
"Then take this little ball, with the string attached to it, and
place it in the hut," went on Tom. "Then flee for your lives, for
standing from here, I shall call the lightning down, and you shall
see the hut destroyed."
"Why don't you ask them something about Jake Poddington?" asked Ned.
"Time enough for that after I've shown them what a little powder
will do, when I attach electric wires to it and press a button,"
replied Tom. "I've got that bomb fixed so it will go off by an
electric fuse. If they'll only put it in the hut for me. I'd do it
myself, only they won't let me go out."
The brothers conferred for a moment and then, seeming to arrive at a
decision, Koku, who was slightly the larger, took the bomb, looked
curiously at it, and walked with it toward the empty hut, the
electric wire being reeled out behind him by Tom.
The bomb was left inside the frail structure, the two brothers
hurried away, and, standing at a safe distance from the hut of the
captives, as well as the one that Tom had promised to destroy by
lightning, they waved their hands to show that they were ready.
"Bless my admission ticket!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "You've got quite
an audience, Tom."
And so he had, for there was a crowd in the market square, another
throng about the king's palace, while all about, hidden behind trees
or huts, was nearly the whole population of the giant town.
"That's what I want," said the young inventor. "It will be all the
"And there's the king himself!" exclaimed Ned. "He's standing in the
door of his royal hut."
"Better yet!" cried Tom. "Are those wires all connected, Ned?"
"Yes," answered his chum, after a quick inspection.
"Then here she goes!" cried Tom, as he pressed the button.
Instantly the hut, in which the bomb had been placed, arose in the
air. The roof was lifted off, the sides spread out and there was a
great flash of fire and a puff of smoke.
Then as the smoke cleared away Ned cried out:
"Look, Tom! Look! You've blown a hole in the hut next to the one you
"Yes, and bless my check book!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "some one is
running out of it. A white man, Tom! A white man!"
"It's Poddington! Poor Jake Poddington. We've found him at last!
This way, Mr. Poddington! This way! Mr. Preston sent us to rescue
you!" cried Tom.
A ROYAL CONSPIRACY
Howls of terror, cries of anger, and a rushing to and fro on the
part of the giants, followed the latest trick of Tom Swift to
impress them with his power. But to all this the young inventor and
his friends paid no attention. Their eyes were fixed on the ragged
figure of the white man who was rushing toward their hut as fast as
his legs, manacled as they were, would let him.
"Come on! Come on!" cried Tom.
"Look out!" yelled Ned. "Some of the giants are after him, Tom!"
Several of the big men, after their first fright, had recovered
sufficiently to pursue the captive so strangely released by the
"Hand me an electric rifle, Ned!" cried Tom,
"Bless my shoe laces!" cried Mr. Damon. "You're not going to kill
any of the giants; are you, Tom?"
"Well, I'm not going to let them capture Jake Poddington again," was
the quick answer, "but I guess if I stun a few of them with the
electric bullets that will answer."
Poddington (for later the white captive did prove to be the missing
circus man) ran on, and close behind him came two of the giants,
taking long strides. Tom aimed his electric rifle at the foremost
and pulled the trigger. There was no sound, but the big man crumpled
up and fell, rolling over and over. With a yell of rage his
companion pressed on, but a moment later, he, too, went down, and
then the others, who had started in pursuit of their recent captive,
"I thought that would fix 'em," murmured Tom gleefully.
In another five seconds Poddington was inside the hut, gasping from
his run. He was very thin and pale, and the sudden exertion had been
too much for him.
"Water--water!" he gasped, and Mr. Damon gave him some. He sank on
one of the skin-covered benches, and his half-exhausted breath
slowly came back to him.
"Boys," he gasped. "I don't know who you are, but thank heaven you
came just in time. I couldn't have stood it much longer. I heard you
yell something about Preston. Is it possible he sent you to find
"Partly that and partly to get a giant," explained Tom. "We didn't
know you were in that hut, or we'd never have blown up the one next
to it, though we suspected you might be held captive somewhere
around here, from the queer way the giants acted when we asked about
"And so you blew up that hut?" remarked the circus agent. "I thought
it was struck by lightning. But it did me a good turn. I was chained
to the wall of the hut next door, and your explosion split the beam
to which my chains were fastened. I didn't lose any time running
out, I can tell you. Oh, but it's good to be free once more and to
see someone my own size!"
"How did you get here, and why did they keep you a prisoner?" asked
Tom. Then Poddington told his story, while Ned and Mr. Damon aided
Tom in filing off the rude iron shackles from his wrists and ankles.
As Mr. Preston had heard, Jake Poddington had started for giant
land. But he lost his way, his escort of natives deserted him, just
as Tom's did, and he wandered on in the jungle, nearly dying. Then,
merely by accident, he came upon giant land, but he had the
misfortune to incur the anger of the big men who took him for an
enemy. They at once made him a prisoner, and had kept him so ever
since, though they did not harm him otherwise, and gave him good
"I think they were a bit afraid of me in spite of my small size,"
explained the circus man. "I never thought to be rescued, for,
though I figured that Mr. Preston might hear of my plight, he could
never find this place. How did you get here?"
Then Tom told his story, and of how they themselves were held
captives because of the treachery of Hank Delby.
"That's just like him!" cried Poddington. "He was always mean, and
always trying to get the advantage of his rivals. But I'm glad I'm
with you. With what stuff you have here it oughtn't to be difficult
to get away from giant land."
"But I want a giant," insisted Tom. "I told Mr. Preston I'd bring
him back one, and I'm going to do it."
"You can't!" cried the circus man. "They won't come with you, and
it's almost impossible to make a prisoner of one. You'd better
escape. I want to get away from giant land. I've had enough."
"We'll get away," said Tom confidently, "and we'll have a giant or
two when we go."
"You'll have some before you go I guess!" suddenly interrupted Ned.
"There's a whole crowd of 'em headed this way, and they've got
clubs, bows and arrows and those blow guns! I guess they're going to
"All right!" cried Tom. "If they want to fight we can give 'em as
good as they send. Ned, you and Mr. Damon and I will handle the
electric rifles. Eradicate, use your shotgun, and fire high. We
don't want to hurt any of the big men. We'll merely stun them with
the electric bullets, but the noise of Rad's gun will help some."
"What can I do?" asked Mr. Poddington.
"You're too weak to do much," replied Tom. "You just keep on the
lookout, and tell us if they try any surprises. I guess we can
handle 'em all right."
With shouts and yells the big men came on. Evidently their
indifference toward their captives had turned to anger because of
the freeing of Poddington, and now they were determined to use harsh
measures. They advanced with wild yells, brandishing their clubs and
other weapons, while the weird sound of the tom-toms and natives
drums added to the din.
When a short distance from the hut the giants stopped, and began
firing arrows and darts from the blow guns.
"Look out for those!" warned Tom. "They probably are poisoned, and a
scratch may mean death. Give 'em a few shots now, Ned and Mr. Damon!
Rad, give 'em a salute, but fire high!"
"Dat's what I will, Massa Tom!"
The gun of the colored man barked out a noisy welcome, and, at the
same time three giants fell, stunned by the electric bullets, for
the rifles were adjusted to send out only mild charges.
Thrice they charged, and each time they were driven back, and then,
finding that the captives were ever ready for them, they gave up the
attempt to overwhelm them, and hurried away, many going into the
king's hut. His royal majesty did not show himself during the fight.
"Well, I guess they won't try that right away again," remarked Tom,
as he saw the stunned giants slowly arouse themselves and crawl
away. "We've taught them a lesson."
They felt better after that, and then, when they had eaten and
drank, they began to consider ways and means of escape. But Tom
would not hear of going until he could get at least one giant for
"But you can't!" insisted Mr. Poddington.
"Well, it's too soon to give up yet," declared Tom. "I'd like to
take the king's two brothers with me."
"By Jove!" exclaimed Mr. Poddington, "I never thought of that. There
is just a bare chance. Did you know that the two brothers, who are
twins, dislike the king, for he is younger than they, and he
practically took the throne away from them. They should rule jointly
by rights. If we could enlist Tola and Koku on our side we might win
"Then we'll try!" exclaimed Tom.
Jake Poddington, who had been a captive in the giant city long
enough to know something of its history, and had learned to talk the
language, explained how Kosk had ursurped the throne. His brothers
were subject to him, he said, but several times they had tried in
vain to start a revolution. To punish them for their rebellious
efforts the king made them his personal servants, and this explained
why he sent them to see the tricks Tom performed.
"If we could only get into communication with the big twins," went
on the circus man, "we could offer to take them with us to a country
where they would be bigger kings than their brother is here. It's a
royal conspiracy worth trying."
"Then we'll try it!" cried Tom enthusiastically.
THE TWIN GIANTS
Daring indeed was the scheme decided on by the captives, and yet its
very boldness might make it possible for them to carry it out. The
king would never suspect them of plotting to carry off his two royal
brothers, and this made it all the easier to lay their plans. In
this they were much helped by Poddington, who knew the language and
who had made a few friends among the more humble people of the
village, though none dared assist him openly.
"The first thing to do," said the circus man, "is to get into
communication with the twins."
That proved harder than they expected, for a week passed, and they
did not have a glimpse of Tola and Koku. Meanwhile the giant guard
was still maintained about the hut night and day. No more food was
given the prisoners, and they would have starved had not Tom
possessed a good supply of his own provisions. It was evidently the
intention of the king to starve his captives into submission.
"Suppose you do get those big brothers to accompany you, Tom?" asked
Ned one day. "How are you going to manage to get away, and take them
"My aeroplane!" answered Tom quickly. "I've got it all planned out.
You and I with Mr. Damon, Mr. Poddington and Eradicate will skip
away in the aeroplane. We can put it together in here, and I've got
enough gasolene to run it a couple of hundred miles if necessary."
"But the giants--you can't carry them in it."
"No, and I'm not going to try. If they'll agree to go they can set
off through the woods afoot. We'll meet them in a certain place--
where there's a good land mark which we can easily distinguish from
the aeroplane. We'll take what stuff we can with us, and leave the
rest here. Oh, it can be done, Ned."
"But when you start out with the aeroplane they'll make a rush and
"No, for I'll do it so quickly that they won't have a chance. I'm
going to saw through the beams of one side of this hut. To the rear
there is level ground that will make a fine starting place. When
everything is ready, say some night, we'll pull the side wall down,
start the aeroplane out as it falls, and sail away. Then we'll pick
up the giant brothers out in the woods, and travel to civilization
"By Jove! I believe that will work!" cried the circus man.
"Bless my corn plaster, I think so myself!" added Mr. Damon.
"But first we've got to get the brothers to agree," went on Tom,
"and that is going to be hard work."
It was not so difficult as it was tedious. Through an aged woman,
with whom he had made friends when a captive, Jake Poddington
managed to get word to the royal twins that he and the other
captives would like to see them privately. Then they had to wait for
In the meanwhile the giants tried several times to surprise Tom and
his friends by attacks, but the captives were on the alert, and the
electric rifles drove them back.
One night nearly all the guards were observed to be absent. There
were not more than half a dozen scattered about the hut.
"I wonder what that means?" asked Tom, who was puzzled.
"I know!" exclaimed Jake Poddington after a moment's thought. "It's
their big annual feast. Even the king goes to it. They were just
getting over it when I struck here last year, and maybe that's what
set them so against me. Boys, this may be our chance!"
"How?" asked Ned.
"The king's brothers may find an opportunity to come and talk to us
when the feast is at its height," was the reply.
Anxiously they waited, and in order that the royal brothers might
come in unobserved, if they did conclude to speak to the captives,
Tom and his companions hung some pieces of canvas over the windows
and doors, and had only a single light burning.
It was at midnight that a cautious knock sounded at the side of the
hut and Tom glided to the main door. In the shadows he saw the two
royal brothers, Tola and Koku.
"Here they are!" whispered Tom to Jake Poddington, who came forward.
"Come!" invited the circus man in the giants' tongue, and the
brothers entered the hut.
How Jake persuaded them to throw in their fortunes with the captives
the circus man hardly knew himself. Perhaps it was due as much as
anything to the dislike they felt toward the king, and the mean way
he had treated them.
"Come, and you will be kings among the small men in our country,"
invited Poddington. The brothers looked at each other, talked
together in low tones, and then Koku exclaimed:
"We will come, and we will help you to escape. We have spoken, and
we will talk with you again."
Then they glided out into the darkness, while from afar came the
sounds of revelry at the big feast.
A SURPRISE IN THE NIGHT
Tom and his friends could scarcely believe their good fortune. It
seemed incredible that they should have induced two of the biggest
giants to accompany them back, and, not only that, but that they had
the promise of the strong men to aid them.
"Now we must get busy," declared Tom, when their visitors had gone.
"We've got lots of work to do on the aeroplane, and we must try out
the engine. Then we've got to fix the side of the hut so it will
fall out when we're ready for it. And we've got to plan how to meet
the giants later in the forest."
"Yes," agreed the circus man, "and we must take care that Hank Delby
doesn't spoil our plans."
Then ensued busy days. In the seclusion of their hut the prisoners
could work undisturbed at the aeroplane, which had been almost
The engine was installed and tried, and, when the motor began its
thundering explosions, there was consternation among the giants, who
had again surrounded the hut to see that the prisoners did not
Meanwhile Delby seemed to be unusually active. He could be observed
going in and out from his hut to that of the king, and he often
carried large bundles.
"He's making himself solid with his royal highness," declared Tom.
"Well, if all goes right, we won't have to worry much longer about
what he does."
"If only those twin giants don't fail us," put in Ned.
"Oh, you can depend on them," said Mr. Poddington. "These giants are
curious creatures, but once they give their word they stick to it."
He told much about the strange big men, confirming Tom's theory that
favorable natural conditions, for a number of generations, had
caused ordinary South American natives to develope into such large
Our friends were under quite a nervous tension, for they could not
be sure of what would happen from day to day. They continued to work
on the aeroplane, and then, finding that it would work in the
seclusion of the hut, they were anxious for the time to come when
they could try it in the open.
"Do you think it will carry the five of us with safety?" asked the
circus man, as he gazed rather dubiously at the somewhat frail-
"Sure!" exclaimed Tom. "We'll get away all right if I can get enough
of a start. Now we must see to opening the side of the hut."
This work had to be done cautiously, yet the prisoners had a certain
freedom, for the guards were afraid to approach too closely.
The supporting and cross beams were sawed through, for Tom had
brought a number of carpenter tools along with him. Then, in the
silence of the night, the two royal brothers brought other beams
that could be put in place temporarily to hold up the roof when the
others were pulled out to allow the aeroplane to rush forth.
In due time all was in readiness for the attempt to escape. The
royal twins had agreed to slip off at a certain signal, and await
Tom and his party in the forest at the foot of a very large hill,
that was a landmark for miles around. The giants could travel fast,
but not as fast as the aeroplane, so it was planned that they were
to have a day and night's start. They would take along food, and
would arrange to have a number of Tom's mules hidden in the woods,
so that our hero and his friends would have means of transportation
back to the coast, after they had ended their flight in the airship.
"I wish we had brought along the larger one, so we could take the
giants with us," said Tom, "but I guess they're strong enough to
walk to the coast. We'll take what provisions we can carry, our
electric rifles, and the rest of the things we'll leave here for the
king, though he doesn't deserve them."
"What do you think Delby will do?" asked Ned.
"Give it up. He's got some plan though. I only hope he doesn't get a
giant. Then ours will be a greater attraction."
Several days passed, and the last of the preparations had been made.
"The giant twins will pretend to go off on a hunting trip to-morrow
morning," said the circus man one night, "but they won't come back.
They'll wait for us at the big hill."
"Then we must escape the following morning," decided Tom. "Well, I'm
ready for it."
From their hut, surrounded as it was still by the giant guards, our
friends watched the royal brothers start off, seemingly on a hunting
The day passed slowly. Tom went carefully over the aeroplane, to see
that it was in shape for a quick flight, and he looked to the wall
of the hut--the wall that was to be pulled from place to afford
egress for the air craft.
They went to bed early that night--the night they hoped would be
their last in giant land. It must have been about midnight when Tom
suddenly awoke. He thought he heard a noise outside the hut and in a
moment he had jumped up.
"Repel boarders!" cried Tom.
THE AIRSHIP FLIGHT
For a few moments there was confusion inside the hut that was to be
the last stronghold of our friends against the approaching force of
giants. Confusion and not a little fear were mingled, for Tom's
words sent a chill to every heart. Then, after the first panic,
there came a calmer feeling--a feeling that each one would do his
duty in the face of danger and, if he had to die, he would die
"Everyone take a window!" yelled Tom. "Don't kill any one if you can
help it. Shoot to disable, Rad. Mr. Poddington, there's an extra
shotgun somewhere about! See if you can find it. We'll use the
electric rifles. Get those Roman candles somebody!"
Tom was like a general giving orders, and once his friends realized
that he was managing things they felt more confidence. Ned grasped
his electric rifle, as did Mr. Damon, and they stood ready to use
"The strongest stunning charge!" ordered the young inventor.
"Something that will lay 'em out for a good while. We'll teach 'em a
That was Eradicate's shotgun going off. It had a double load in it,
and the wonder of it was that the barrel did not burst. It sounded
like a small cannon, but it had the good effect of checking the
first rush of giants, for the electric rifles had not yet been
adjusted, and Mr. Poddington, in the light of the single electric
torch that had been left burning, could find neither the spare
shotgun nor the Roman candles.
Eradicate let the other barrel go, almost in the faces of the
advancing giants, but over their heads, for he bore in mind Tom's
words not to injure.
"That's the stuff!" cried Tom. "Come on now, Ned, we're ready for
But the giants had retreated, and could be seen standing in groups
about the hut, evidently planning what to do next. Then from back in
the village there shone a glare of light.
"Bless my insurance policy! It's a fire!" cried Mr. Damon. "They're
going to burn us out!"
"Jove! If they do!" exclaimed Ned.
"We mustn't let 'em!" shouted Tom. "Fire, Ned!"
Together the chums discharged their electric rifles at the enemy and
a number of them fell, stunned, and were carried away by their
The glaring light approached and now it could be seen that it was
caused by a number of the big men carrying torches of some kind of
blazing wood. It did look as though they intended to fire the prison
"Give 'em another taste of it!" shouted Ned, and this time the three
electric rifles shot out their streaks of blue flame, for Mr. Damon
had his in action. It was still dark in the hut, for to set aglow
more of the electric torches meant that Tom and his friends would be
exposed to view, and would be the targets for the arrows, or darts
from the deadly blow guns.
Several more of the giants toppled over, and then began a retreat to
some distance, the first squad of fighters going to meet the men who
had come up with the torches. There was no sign of women or
"Shall we fire again?" asked Ned.
"No," answered Tom. "Save your ammunition until they are closer, and
we'll be surer of our marks. Besides, if they let us alone that's
all we ask. We don't want to hurt 'em."
"Bless my gizzard!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "I wonder why they attacked
"Maybe it's about the two giant brothers who have not come back,"
suggested Mr. Poddington. "They may imagine that we have them
captive, and they want to rescue them."
"That's so," admitted Tom. "Well, if they had only postponed this
reception for a few hours we'd have been out of their way, and they
wouldn't have had this trouble," and he glanced at the aeroplane,
that stood in the big hut, ready for instant flight.
"They're coming back!" suddenly shouted Ned, and a look from the
half-opened windows showed the giants again advancing.
"I've got the Roman candles!" called Mr. Poddington from a corner
where he had been rummaging in that box of Tom's which contained so
many surprises. "What shall I do with 'em?"
"Let 'em go right in their faces!" yelled Tom. "They won't do much
damage, but they'll throw a scare into the big fellows! Get ready,
"They're dividing!" shouted his chum. "They're coming at us from two
"They're only trying to confuse us," decided Tom. "Fire at the main
body!" And with that he opened up with his electric rifle, an
example followed by Mr. Damon and Ned.
With a whizz, and several sharp explosions, the circus man got the
Roman candles into action. The glaring fire of them lighted up the
scene better than did the flaming torches of the giants, and truly
it was a wonderful sight. There, in that lonely hut, in the midst of
a South American jungle, four intrepid white persons, and an aged
but brave negro, stood against hundreds of giants--mighty men, who,
had they come to a personal contact, any one of which would have
been more than a match for the combined strength of Tom and his
party. It was a weird picture that the young inventor looked out
upon, but his heart did not quail.
Giant after giant went down under the fierce rain of the electric
bullets, stunned, but not otherwise injured. There was a shower of
sparks, and a hail of burning balls from the Roman candles, but
still the advance was kept up. Eradicate was banging away with his
"Dis suah am hot work!" cried the colored man, as his hand came in
contact with the barrel. "Wow! It's most RED hot!" he added with a
cry of pain.
"Use the other gun," advised Tom, never turning his head from the
window through which he was aiming. "That one may get choked, and
explode in here."
"All right," answered Eradicate.
"Duck!" yelled Ned with sudden energy. "They're going to fire!" A
number of the giants could be seen fitting arrows to bow strings,
while others raised to their lips the long hollow reeds, from which
the blow guns were made. It was the first time the enemy had fired
and doubtless they had held back because they hoped to capture Tom
and his friends alive. But they did not count on such a stubborn
Every one moved away from the windows, and not an instant too soon,
for, a moment later, a shower of arrows and darts came in,
fortunately injuring no one.
Then, above the shouting and yelling of the giants, whose deep, bass
voices had a terrorizing effect, there came the din of the tom-toms,
making a weird combination of sound.
"We've got 'em on the run again!" cried Ned, and so it proved, for
the larger body of giants, who had approached the hut from the front
and two sides, were running back.
"Guess they've given it up," exclaimed Tom. "I'm glad of it, too,
He paused and glanced behind him. A tiny spurt of flame at the base
of the rear wall of the hut had caught his eye. Instantly the flame
grew larger, and a puff of smoke followed.
"Fire!" cried Ned. "We're on fire!"
"Bless my water bucket!" gasped Mr. Damon. "They've set fire to the
It was but too true. While Tom and the others had been standing off
the giants in front, a smaller force had crept around to the rear,
and set the inflamable side of the hut ablaze.
Desperately Tom looked around. There was no means at hand of
fighting fire. Hardly a bucket of water was in the place, and the
structure was filled with quick-burning stuff, while the fireworks
that remained, and the blasting powder, made it doubly dangerous.
Then Tom's eyes lighted on the big aeroplane, ready for instant
"That's it!" he cried suddenly. "It's our only hope, and the last
one! Come on, everybody! Down with that wall! Pull on the ropes and
it will come! We've got to go now. In another minute it will be too
late. Climb up, Mr. Poddington, Mr. Damon, Ned, and I will start the
"The wall first! The wall!" cried Ned.
"Sure," answered Tom. He and his friends grasped the two ropes that
had been attached to the key-beams in the structure. It had been so
arranged that when the supports were pulled out the wall would fall
outward, making a fairly smooth and level gangplank, on which the
aeroplane could rush from the hut.
There was a creaking of timbers, a straining of ropes, and then,
with a crash, the wall fell. Instantly there was a yell of surprise
from the giants, and a brighter glare from the torches, as those
carrying them rushed up to see what had happened. The din of the
tom-toms was well-nigh deafening. Fortunately the enemy forgot to
take advantage of the opening and pour in a flight of arrows or
"Start the motor!" cried Tom to his chum.
There was a rattling, banging noise, like a salvo of small arms, and
the big propellers revolved with incredible swiftness. The two white
men were already in place, and now Eradicate, still carrying his
shotgun, clambered up.
"Up with you, Ned!" yelled Tom. "I'm going to head her around and
make a flying start."
"I don't see anything of them, do you?"
"No, and yet this is the place where they said they'd meet us."
It was Tom who asked the question, and Ned who answered it. It was
the day after their sensational escape from the giants' prison, and
they were circling about in the aeroplane which had been the means
of getting them away from giant land. For they were safely away from
that strange and terrible place, and they were now seeking the two
giant brothers who had promised to meet them at a certain big hill.
For an hour that night Tom and his friends had traveled on the wings
of the Lark and when a rising moon showed them a level spot for a
landing, they had gone down and made a camp. They had provisions
with them, and plenty of blankets and it was so warm that more
shelter was not necessary.
The next day, leaving Mr. Damon, Eradicate and the circus man in the
temporary camp, Tom and Ned had gone aloft to see if they could pick
up the giant twins, who were to meet them and have some mules ready
for the journey back to civilization.
"Well, we're in no great hurry," went on Tom, after vainly scanning
the ground below. "They may not have traveled as fast as we thought
they could, and the mules may have given trouble. We'll stick around
here a day or so, and--"
"Look!" suddenly exclaimed Ned. "Didn't you see something moving
"By that big dead tree."
Tom took a look through a pair of field glasses, while Ned steered
the aeroplane. Then the young inventor cried:
"It's all right. It's one of the giants, but I can't tell which one.
Ned, I believe they're hiding because they're afraid of us. They've
never seen an aeroplane in action before. I'm going down."
Quickly and gracefully the Lark was volplaned to a level place near
the dead tree. No one was in sight, and Tom, after looking about,
"Tola! Koku! Where are you? It is I, Tom Swift! We have escaped!
Where are you? Don't be afraid!"
There was a moment's silence, and then two big forms rushed from the
dense bushes, one of them--Koku--advancing to Tom, and catching him
up in what was meant for a loving hug.
"Oh, I say now, Koku!" cried the young inventor, with a laugh. "I've
got ribs, you know. Easy on that squeeze!"
The two giant twins laughed too, and they were immensely pleased to
see their friends again, both talking at once and so fast that not
even the circus man could catch what they said.
"Have you got the mules?" asked Tom, for he knew that much depended
on the animals. "Is everything all right?"
"All right," answered Koku, the talk being conducted in the language
of the giants of which Tom was now fairly a master when it was
spoken slowly. Then the brothers explained that they had gotten
safely away, had gathered up the mules, and with a supply of food,
had hidden the beasts in a nearby valley. The giant twins were
waiting for Tom to arrive, but, though they had seen the areoplanes
in the hut they had no idea that it could fly so nearly like a bird,
and when they saw it hovering over them they had become frightened,
and hidden, until Tom's voice had reassured them.
"Well, get the animals," advised Tom, after he had told of the fight
of the night before, and the escape. "I'll go find the others and
we'll start from here. Then we'll hike for the United States as fast
as we can."
Mr. Damon, Eradicate and the circus man were soon brought to the
place where the giant brothers had made their camp, and it was
decided to remain there a few days until the aeroplane could be
taken apart for transportation, for Tom had no idea of abandoning
it. Of course it could not be packed up very well, as there were no
boxes or bales at hand. But it was made small enough so that the
parts could be slung across the backs of several mules, there being
a number of the pack animals available, some being the same ones Tom
had purchased after his native escort had deserted him.
It was the morning they had decided to begin their march for the
coast. Everything was in readiness, they had some food, and with the
shotguns and the electric rifles which they had brought along, they
could get game. All their other things, save a few necessaries, had
been left behind. Eradicate, as he had always done, rode his mule up
beside Tom, to look after his young master.
Suddenly Koku, who seemed to have become very fond of Tom, strode
forward and took his place on the other side of the mule ridden by
the young inventor.
"Me stay by you," he said with a grin on his big face. "Me like you!
Me take care of you, Tom--be your servant. Him too old," and he
motioned to Eradicate.
"Eh! What's dat yo' done said?" gasped the colored man. "Me too old?
Looky heah, giant man, I'd hab yo' know dat I's been in de Swift
fambly a good many years, an' I's jest as spry as I eber was. I kin
look after Massa Tom as good as eber. Now yo' git back where yo'
belongs, giant man, an' doan't let me heah no mo' ob dat foolishness
talk. Nobody waits on Massa Tom Swift but me. Does yo' heah dat,
"Me Tom's man!" exclaimed the big fellow, and in fairly good
English. Tom laughed. He had no idea the giant had picked up any
"Go on away!" cried Eradicate.
Koku gave the colored man one look, then, with a good natured grin
on his face, he reached over one hand, calmly lifted Eradicate from
his mule and set him on the ground. Then, with a push, he shoved the
mule galloping ahead, and took his place at the side of the young
"Well, what do you know about that?" gasped Ned.
"Bless my coffee cup!" cried Mr. Damon.
Eradicate stood still for a moment, gazing first at his master and
then at the big being who had so ruthlessly plucked him from the
mule's back, as easily as he would have lifted a child. Then
Eradicate, with a trace of tears in his eyes, stretched forth his
hands toward Tom, and turned aside. That was too much for our hero.
With one leap he was off his animal, and the next minute he had his
arms around the faithful old colored man.
"By Jove, Rad!" cried Tom, and his own eyes were not dry. "I'm not
going to be deserted by you in that way. You're just the same as
ever to me, giant or no giant, and don't you forget it!" and he
patted the old man on the back affectionately.
"Praise de Lord fo' heahin' yo' say dat, Massa Tom," gasped
Eradicate. "Praise de dear Lord!"
And then, knowing that he still held a place in his young master's
heart, the colored man was content. And from then on he rode on one
side of Tom, while the giant, Koku, strode along on the other. He
had established himself as Tom's bodyguard and even though Eradicate
insisted on remaining, Koku would not go away.
"I guess I'll have to keep 'em both," said Tom, with a grin, "but
I'm going to change Koku's name."
"What are you going to call him?" asked Ned.
"Let's see, what month is this?"
"August," said Mr. Damon.
"Then August is his name!" exclaimed Tom. "Koku sounds too much like
a cocoanut cake. Here, August, shift that package on the white
mule," he called, "it's cutting her back," and the giant, with a
pleased grin, did as he was bid. And August he was called from then
But my story is getting too long, so I must bring it to a close. And
really there is not much to tell. The march back to the coast was
full of hardships, danger and difficulties, but they accomplished
it. The two giants seemed glad that they had left their own country
behind and they were simple and affectionate beings. Tom made up his
mind he would let the circus man have one and keep the other for his
They traveled by day, and slept at night, shooting game as they
needed it. Several times they narrowly escaped getting mixed up in
the native conflicts. Tom had one striking evidence of his giant
servant's usefulness. One day he was stalking a small beast, like a
deer, when, from a tree overhead, a jaguar sprang down at him. But
Koku--I beg his pardon--August was at hand, and, like Sampson of
old, the giant slew the beast bare-handed, choking it to death.
In fine time our friends reached a native town and the wonder caused
by the giants was no less than the amusement of the big men at the
things they saw. They wondered more when they got to a city, and saw
more marvels of the white man's progress.
Then Tom and his friends reached the coast, and took a steamer for
New York. The giants created a great sensation, the more when it was
known that Tom intended to keep one for himself. With this
arrangement Mr. Preston agreed, for he only wanted one as an
"Couldn't have done it better myself!" the circus proprietor said to
Tom when he heard the story, and this was high praise from Mr.
"And you rescued old Jake, too! Well, well! Couldn't have done it
better myself! I really coudn't!"
"I wonder how our old enemy Delby made out?" asked Mr. Poddington.
They heard later that he was driven from giant land, not even being
allowed to take a boy as a specimen. He had worked on the "tip" Andy
Foger had given Mr. Waydell, but it failed. When Tom escaped, the
king confiscated all the things in the hut, and he was so taken up
with the novelties that he paid no more attention to the circus
agent, who had all his trouble, plotting and scheming against Tom
for his pains.
"A giant in the house!" cried Mrs. Baggert, when Tom got home with
August. "I never heard of such a thing in all my life! Where will he
sleep? Not a bed is big enough!"
"We'll give him two beds then," laughed Tom.
And so they did, and August was immensely pleased with his new life.
He proved to be very useful, and readily adapted himself to
Tola, the other giant, made a big sensation when exhibited, and Mr.
Preston said he was well worth the fifteen thousand dollars he had
"Well, Tom, what next?" asked Ned one day, when they had been home
several weeks and had told their story over and over again.
"No where!" exclaimed Tom. "I'm going to take a long rest."
But Tom Swift wasn't that kind of a young man, and he was soon
active again. If you care to learn more of his doings you may do so
in the next volume of this series, to be called, "Tom Swift and His
Electric Camera; Or Thrilling Adventures While Taking Moving
And now, for a time, we will take leave of the young inventor and
his new giant servant, to meet them again a little later.
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