by Captain W. E. Johns



XIII.                         A STAGGERING ANNOUNCEMENT  (Pages 142 - 149)


Our heroes are stuck on a mud bar across the mouth of the tributary and they try to rock the plane off.  They need to do this with less weight on board so Bertie and Ginger risks the crocodiles and swim to the bank.  This gets the aircraft afloat and drifting with the stream.  Algy is able to get to the bank and make fast.  Bertie and Ginger set off back to the valley, but there is no path here and they are compelled to force a passage through sheer jungle.  This takes hours to do and when eventually they get to the edge of the forest there is a man there, waiting for them.  He is a stranger and he calls to them in English, with a strong north-country accent:  Hi!  Are you there?  Get a move on.  I'm waiting".  Ginger and Bertie are astonished.  "He's English, so we've nothing to worry about", Bertie pointed out.  The man asks if they are the chums of a bloke called Bigglestone.  "You mean Bigglesworth!" corrected Ginger.  The stranger introduces himself as Tom Brigham and then says "You'd better get a move on if you want to see your pal alive".  "What's happened" asks Ginger.  "I dunno, but he's dying", was the shattering response.  "He may be dead for all I know".  Brigham explains that he has been asked by Joe Clarke to come this way to see if they were about.  Brigham explains they need to return cautiously as there is a reward out for them of "five thousand bucks".  "I don't know who'd give you away, but some of the foreignerss might not be too particular.  They're a mixed lot we've got 'ere".  It is eventually explained that Biggles is in Joe Clarke's hut.  "Ginger could have struck the man for his ambiguity and off-hand manner, although he appreciated that as the fellow did not know Biggles he was naturally indifferent about his fate".  They set off for Clarke's hut.