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Chapter 2 The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw by Edgar Rice Burroughs

I've always been inclined to putter around with inventions (Pat Morgan said), and after my wife died I tried to forget my loneliness by centering my interest on my laboratory work. It was a poor substitute for the companionship I had lost, but at that I guess it proved my salvation.
I was working on a new fuel which was much cheaper and less bulky than gasoline; but I found that it required radical changes in engine design, and I lacked the capital to put my blueprints into metal.

About this time my grandfather died and left me a considerable fortune. Quite a slice of it went into experimental engines before I finally perfected one. It was a honey.

I built a ship and installed my engine in it; then I tried to sell the patents on both engine and fuel to the Government—but something happened. When I reached a certain point in these official negotiations I ran into an invisible stone wall—I was stopped dead. I couldn't even get a permit to manufacture my engine.

I never did find out who or what stopped me, but I remembered the case of the Doble steam car. Perhaps you will recall that, also.

Then I got sore and commenced to play around with the Russians. The war-winds were already beginning to blow again in Europe, and the comrades of the Soviet were decidedly interested in new aircraft developments. They had money to burn, and their representatives had a way with them that soothed the injured ego of a despondent inventor. They finally made me a splendid offer to take my plans and formulae to Moscow and manufacture engines and fuel for them. In addition, as a publicity and propaganda stunt, they offered a whacking bonus if I would put my new developments to the test by flying there.

I jumped at this chance to make monkeys out of those bureaucratic boneheads in Washington. I'd show those guys what they were missing.

During the course of these negotiations I met Dr. Stade who was also flirting with the brethren of the U.S.S.R. Professor Marvin Stade, to give him his full name and title, and he was quite a guy. A big fellow, built like an ox, with a choleric temper and the most biting pair of blue eyes I've ever gazed upon. You must have read in the papers about Stade's experiments with frozen dogs and monkeys. He used to freeze them up solid for days and weeks, and then thaw them out and bring them alive again. He had also been conducting some unique studies in surgical hypnosis, and otherwise stepping on the toes of the constituted medical poobahs.

The S.P.C.A. and the Department of Health had thrown a monkey-wrench into Stade's program-stopped him cold—and there was fire in his eye. We were a couple of soreheads, perhaps, but I think we had a right to be. Lord knows we were both sincere in what we were trying to accomplish—he to fight disease, I to add something to the progress of aviation.

The Reds welcomed Dr. Stade with open arms. They agreed not only to let him carry his experiments as far as he liked but to finance him as well. They even promised to let him use human beings as subjects and to furnish said humans in job lots. I suppose they had a large supply of counter-revolutionists on hand.

When Stade found that I planned to fly my ship to Moscow, he asked if he might go along. He was a showman as well as a scientist, and the publicity appealed to him. I told him the risk was too great, that I didn't want to take the responsibility of any life other than my own, but he pooh-poohed every objection in that bull-bellow voice of his. Finally I shrugged and said okay.

I won't bore you with the details of the flight. You couldn't have read about it in the papers, of course, for the word went out through official channels that we were to get a cold shoulder. The press put a blanket of silence on us, and that was that. There were passport difficulties, refusals to certify the plane, all that sort of thing. But we managed to muddle through.
The engine functioned perfectly. So did the fuel. So did everything, including my navigation, until we were flying over the most God-forsaken terrain anyone ever saw—some place in Northern Siberia according to our maps. That's where my new-fangled carburetor chose to go haywire.

We had about ten thousand feet elevation at the time, but that wasn't much help. There was no place to land. As far as I could see there was nothing but forests and rivers—hundreds of rivers.

I went into a straight glide with a tail-wind, figuring I could cover a lot more territory that way than I could by spiralling; and every second I was keeping my eyes peeled for a spot, however small, where I might set her down without damage. We'd never get out of that endless forest, I knew, unless we flew out.

I've always liked trees—a nature-lover at heart—but as I looked down on that vast host of silent sentinels of the wilderness, I felt the chill of fear and something that was akin to hate. There was a loneliness and an emptiness inside me. There they stood—in regiments, in divisions, in armies, waiting to seize us and hold us forever; to hold our broken bodies, for when we struck them, they would crush us, tear us to pieces.

Then I saw a little patch of yellow far ahead. It was no larger than the palm of my hand, it seemed, but it was an open space—a tiny sanctuary in the very heart of the enemy's vast encampment. As we approached, it grew larger until at last it resolved itself into a few acres of reddish yellow soil devoid of trees. It was the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen.

As the ship rolled to a stop on fairly level ground, I turned and looked at Dr. Stade. He was lighting a cigarette. He paused, with the match still burning, and grinned at me. I knew then that he was regular. It's funny, but neither one of us had spoken since the motor quit. That was as it should have been; for there was nothing to say—at least nothing that would have meant anything.

We got down and looked around. Beside us, a little river ran north to empty finally into the Arctic Ocean. Our tiny patch of salvation lay in a bend on the west side of the river. On the east side was a steep cliff that rose at least three hundred feet above the river. The lowest stratum looked like dirty glass. Above that were strata of conglomerate and sedimentary rock; and, topping all, the grim forest scowled down upon us menacingly.

"Funny looking rock," I commented, pointing toward the lowest ledge.

"Ice," said Stade. "My friend, you are looking at the remnants of the late lamented glacial period that raised havoc with the passing of the Pleistocene. What are we going to use for food?"

"We got guns," I reminded him.

"Yes. It was very thoughtful of you to get permission to bring firearms and ammunition, but what are we going to shoot?"

I shrugged. "There must be something. What are all these trees for? They must have been put here for birds to sit on. In the meantime we've sandwiches and a couple of thermoses of hot coffee. I hope it's hot."

"So do I."

It wasn't....

I took a shotgun and hunted up river. I got a hare—mostly fur and bones—and a brace of birds that resembled partridges. By the time I got back to camp the weather had become threatening. There was a storm north of us. We could see the lightning, and faint thunder began to growl.

We had already wheeled the plane to the west and highest part of our clearing and staked it down as close under the shelter of the forest as we could. Nothing else to do.

By the time we had cooked and eaten our supper it commenced to rain. The long, northern twilight was obliterated by angry clouds that rolled low out of the north. Thunder bombarded us. Lightning laid down a barrage of pale brilliance all about. We crawled into the cabin of the plane and spread our mattresses and blankets on the floor behind the seats.

It rained. And when I say it rained, I mean it rained. It could have given ancient Armenia seven-and-a-half honor tricks and set it at least three; for what it took forty days and forty nights to do in ancient Armenia, it did in one night on that nameless river somewhere in Siberia, U.S.S.R. I'll never forget that downpour.

I don't know how long I slept, but when I awoke it was raining not cats and dogs only, but the entire animal kingdom. I crawled out and looked through a window. The next flash of lightning showed the river swirling within a few feet of the outer wing.
I shook Dr. Stade awake and called his attention to the danger of our situation.

"The devil!" he said. "Wait till she floats." He turned over and went to sleep again. Of course it wasn't his ship, and perhaps he was a strong swimmer; I wasn't.

I lay awake most of what was left of the night. The rising flood was a foot deep around the landing gear at the worst; then she commenced to go down.

The next morning the river was running in a new channel a few yards from the ship, and the cliff had receded at least fifty feet toward the east. The face of it had fallen into the river and been washed away. The lowest stratum was pure and gleaming ice.

I called Stade's attention to the topographical changes.

"That's interesting," he said. "By any chance is there any partridge or hare left?"

There was, and we ate it. Then we got out and sloshed around in the mud. I started to work on the carburetor. Stade studied the havoc wrought by the storm.

He was down by the edge of the river looking at the new cliff face when he called to me excitedly. I had never before seen the burly professor exhibit any enthusiasm except when he was damning the S.P.C.A. and the health authorities. I went on the run.

I could see nothing to get excited about. "What's eating you?" I asked.

"Come here, you dumb Irishman, and see a man fifty thousand years old, or thereabouts." Stade was mainly Scotch and German, which may have accounted for his crazy sense of humor.

I was worried. I thought maybe it might be the heat, but there wasn't any heat. No more could it have been the altitude; so I figured it must be hereditary, and crawled down and walked over to him.

"Look!" he said. He pointed across the river at the cliff.

I looked—and there it was. Frozen into the solid ice, was the body of a man. He was clothed in furs and had a mighty beard. He lay on his side with his head resting on one arm, as though he were soundly sleeping.

Stade was awe struck. He just stood there, goggle-eyed, staring at the corpse. Finally he drew in his breath in a long sigh.

"Do you realize, Pat, that we are looking at a man who may have lived fifty thousand years ago, a survivor of the old Stone Age?"

"What a break for you, Doc," I said.

"Break for me? What do you mean?"

"You can thaw him out and bring him to life."

He looked at me in a sort of blank way, as though he didn't comprehend what I was saying. His lips moved, mumbling, then he shook his head.

"I'm afraid he's been frozen too long," he said.

"Fifty thousand years is quite a while, but wouldn't it be worth trying? Keep you busy while I'm fixing things to get us out of here."

Again he fixed his blank stare upon me. His eyes were cold and expressionless as that distant cliff of ice. "All right, Paddy me boy," he said suddenly. "But you'll have to help me."

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