by Captain W. E. Johns





The old hag sees Biggles and she rallies the warriors who remain unburnt. The crocodile is still burning and near death. Biggles runs to the cave entrance but burdened by the three heavy cans of petrol, he is on the verge of being overtaken by his pursuers. Unscrewing a petrol can, Biggles hurls it down the path behind him and throws a lighted match after it. The can explodes shooting lines of fire in all directions like a bursting rocket. Biggles traverses the chamber of tombs using his last remaining matches and pages from his note book to light the way. Biggles waits until dawn before exiting the cave as he remembers the scorpions and wants to avoid them. The two petrol cans Biggles has with him will give him twenty minutes in the air but that will be enough time to fly to the oasis. As he exits the cave, Biggles narrowly misses being crushed by a boulder pushed down from above by the old woman, who must have been waiting for him to emerge. Biggles reaches the aircraft and drinks tepid water and munches a few biscuits. He then pours the petrol in the gravity tank. He removes the worst of the dust from the air intakes of the engines and is able to start the plane. He loads a signal pistol and places it on the seat beside him. He then goes down the wadi and clears boulders large and small. Opening up the throttle of the aircraft he races down the valley to take off.