by Captain W. E. Johns



XI.                   BIGGLES TAKES A RIDE  (Pages 137 - 148)


Biggles reappears and announces "It isn't too bad".  The fabric can be cut away but they will need an acetylene cutter to cut the metal away.  Biggles sends Bertie back to Aden to get explosive to blow up the dam, an acetylene cutter and an experienced operator and a spare wheel or tyre for a Gypsy Moth.  If need be, he is to contact Raymond by signal to get the necessary authority.  Biggles only has one plane and can't look for Ginger and send Bertie back.  He knows that the Moth pilot will be making for El Moab and when he arrives the enemy will return in force so there is no time to lose.  Biggles and Zahar work on cutting away the fabric until a small group of native horsemen arrive.  They only see Biggles as Zahar is still under the fabric.  The horsemen greet Biggles and this is the picture on the cover of the first edition of the book.  They ask him if he has lost a man of his tribe.  They say that have him stricken with sickness at their menzil and invite Biggles to go to him.  They have even bought a horse to lend to Biggles for the purpose.  Biggles goes with them willingly but he realises that he effectively has no choice.  He is not that surprised when they take him to El Moab.  Biggles is seized and taken to Nicolo Ambrimos, the Sultan.  Ginger is bought to see Biggles and he has now recovered from his bad experience with the hashish.  Ambrimos wants to talk.  He reminds Biggles his men are outside.  "They do not like infidels at the best of times, and the knowledge that you have come here with the object of depriving them of their livelihood, has, quite naturally, done nothing to make them well-disposed towards you".  Biggles lit a cigarette.  "Go ahead," he invited.  "I'm listening".