by Captain W. E. Johns



III.                   A RIDDLE IN THE SANDS  (Pages 33 - 46)


Five days later, two four-seat Proctor aircraft, single-engined, low-wing cabin monoplanes, are at Aden.  Biggles, Ginger and Bertie are in tropical kit.  Biggles has been making enquiries to try and find the three Arabs who helped Doctor Darnley but their whereabouts are unknown.  Biggles plans to fly out with Ginger to the wadi and land and burn the drugs.  Bertie will circle in the second plane in case of problems.  On arrival, all they can see is dirty brown, if not black, herbage.  Landing, they disturb vultures, and find all the foliage burnt already.  Scattered about are the bones of men and camels.  There are two exceptions, in the meagre shade available are two dead Arabs, emaciated to mere skin and bones.  Biggles examines the bodies and to his astonishment, he finds one of the Arabs still alive.  With water and care, Biggles is able to revive the man, whom he recognises from the photos as Zahar, one of Doctor Darnley's Arabs.  Ginger signals to Bertie to land and he comments "talk about snatching a bloke from the beastly jaws of death".  Biggles finds a bag of gurra seeds and recognises the other dead Arab as Kuatim.  After time, Zahar recovers sufficiently to speak.  He says he came there with Abu bin Hamud who took their camels and left them there.  They had come  to collect a sort of hashish that they could sell to the farengi (foreigner) to make money and grow rich.  They had burnt what remained so that they alone held the secret.  Our heroes give Zahar a hand to get into one of the aircraft.