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giant's game of billiards. The thickets crackled and broke beneath their great feet.

It lasted only a moment. It was so easy, after all. In a very few seconds indeed, the old rogue became aware that he had made a very dangerous and disagreeable mistake. There were better mud-baths on the 10 river, anyway.

He had not been able to land a single blow. And his wrath gave way to startled amazement when Muztagh sent home his third. The rogue did not wait for the fourth.

Muztagh chased him into the thickets. But he was too proud to chase a beaten elephant for long. He halted, trumpeting, and swung back 20 to his mud-bath.

All

But he did not enter the mud again. All at once he remembered the herd and the fights of his calfhood. at once he knew that his craft and strength and power were beyond that of any elephant in all the jungle. Who was the great, arrogant herd-leader to stand against him? What yellow tusks were to meet his and come away 30 unbroken?

His little eyes grew ever more red as he stood rocking back and forth, his trunk lifted to catch the sounds and smells of the distant jungle. Why should he abide alone when he could be the ruler of the herd and the jungle king? Then he grunted softly and started away down the river. away, beyond the mountains and 40 rivers and the villages of the hill folk, the herd of his youth roamed in joyous freedom. He would find them and assert his mastery.

V

Far

The night fire of a little band of elephant-catchers burned fitfully at the edge of the jungle. They were silent men-for they had lived long

on the elephant trails-and curiously scarred and somber. They smoked their cheroots and waited for Ahmad 50 Din to speak.

"You have all heard?" he asked at last.

All but one of them nodded. Of course this did not count the most despised one of them all-old Langur Dass-who sat at the very edge of the shadow. His long hair was gray, and his youth had gone where the sun goes at evening. They scarcely ad- 60 dressed a word to him, or he to them. True, he knew the elephants, but was he not possessed of evil spirits? He was always without rupees, too, a creature of the wild that could not seem to understand the gathering of money. As a man, according to the standards of men, he was an abject failure.

"Khusru has failed to catch White- 70 Skin, but he has lived to tell many lies about it. He comes tonight."

It was noticeable that Langur Dass, at the edge of the circle, pricked up his ears.

"Do you mean the white elephant of which the Manipur people tell so many lies?" he asked. "Do you, skilled catchers that you are, believe that such an elephant is still wild in the jungle?” so

Ahmad Din scowled. "The Manipur people tell of him, but for once they tell the truth," was the reply. "He is the greatest elephant, the richést prize, in all of Burma. Too many people have seen him to doubt. I add my word to theirs, thou son of immorality!"

Ahmad Din hesitated a moment before he continued. Perhaps it was a 90 mistake to tell of the great, lightcolored elephant until this man should have gone away. But what harm

could this wanderer do them? All men knew that the jungle had maddened him.

Langur Dass's face lit suddenly. "Then it could be none but Muztagh, escaped from Dugan Sahib fifteen years ago. That calf was also white. He was also for his years." overgrown One of the trackers suddenly gasped. "Then that is why he spared Khusru!" he cried. "He remembered men."

The others nodded gravely. "They 10 never forget," said Langur Dass.

"You will be silent while I speak," Ahmad Din went on. Langur grew silent as commanded, but his thoughts were flowing backward twenty years, to days at the elephant lines in distant hills. Muztagh was the one living creature that in all his days had loved Langur Dass. The man shut his eyes, and his limbs seemed to relax as if 20 he had lost all interest in the talk. The evil one took hold of him at such times, the people said, letting understanding follow his thoughts back into the purple hills and the far-off spaces of the jungle. But tonight he was only pretending. He meant to hear every word of the talk before he left the circle.

"He tells a mad story, as you know, 30 of the elephant sparing him when he was beneath his feet," Ahmad Din went on; "that part of his story does not matter to us. Hai! He might have been frightened enough to say that the sun set at noon. But what matters to us more is that he knows where the herd is but a day's journey beyond the river. And there is no time to be lost."

40 His fellows nodded in agreement.

"So tomorrow we will break camp. There can be no mistake this time. There must be no points overlooked. The chase will cost much, but it will return a hundredfold. Khusru says that at last the white one has started back toward his herd, so that all can be taken in the same keddah. And the white sahib that holds the license is

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Langur Dass pretended to waken. "I have gone hungry many days," he said. "If the drive is on, perhaps you will give your servant a place among 60 the beaters."

The circle turned and stared at him. It was one of the stories of Langur Dass that he never partook in the elephant hunts. Evidently poor living had broken his resolution.

"You shall have your wish, if you know how to keep a closed mouth," Ahmad Din replied. "There are other hunting parties in the hills."

Langur nodded. He was very adept indeed at keeping a closed mouth. It is one of the first lessons of the jungle.

For another long hour they sat and perfected their plans. Then they lay down by the fire together, and sleep dropped over them one by one. At last Langur sat by the fire alone.

70

"You will watch the flame tonight," Ahmad Din ordered. "We did not so feed you tonight for pity on your gray hairs. And remember a gypsy died in a tiger's claws on this very slopenot six months past."

Langur Dass was left alone with his thoughts. Soon he got up and stole out into the velvet darkness. The mists were over the hills as always.

"Have I followed the tales of your greatness all these years for this?" he 90 muttered. "It is right for pigs with the hearts of pigs to break their backs in labor. But you, my Muztagh! Jewel among elephants! King of the jungle! Thou art of the true breed! Moreover, I am minded that thy heart and mine are one!

"Thou art born ten thousand years

10

"In that case," Ahmad Din went on, “there will be a great drive after the monsoon of next year. Picked men will be chosen. No detail will be overlooked. It will cost more, but it will be sure. And our purses will be fat from the selling-price of this king of elephants with a white coat!"

IV

There is no need to follow Khusru on his long pursuit through the elephant trails. He was an able hunter and, after the manner of the elephanttrackers, the scared little man followed Muztagh through jungle and river, over hill and into dale, for countless days, and at last, as Muztagh slept, he crept up within a half-dozen feet of him. He intended to loop a horse20 hair rope about his great feet-one of the oldest and most hazardous methods of elephant-catching. But Muztagh wakened just in time.

And then a curious thing happened. The native could never entirely believe it, and it was one of his best stories to the day he died. Any other wild tusker would have charged in furious wrath, and there would have been a 30 quick and certain death beneath his

great knees. Muztagh started out as if he had intended to charge. He lifted his trunk out of the way-the elephant trunk is for a thousand uses, but fighting is not one of them—and sprang forward. He went just two paces. Then his little eyes caught sight of the brown figure fleeing through the bamboos. And at once 40 the elephant set his great feet to brake himself, and drew to a sliding halt six feet beyond.

He did not know why. He was perfectly aware that this man was an enemy, jealous of his most-loved liberty. He knew perfectly it was the man's intention to put him back

into his bonds. He did not feel fear, either because an elephant's anger is too tremendous an emotion to leave room for any other impulse such as fear. It seemed to him that memories came thronging from long ago, so real and insistent that he could not think of charging.

He remembered his days in the elephant lines. These brown creatures had been his masters then. They had cut his grass for him in the jungle, and brought him bundles of sugar cane. The hill people say that the elephant memory is the greatest single marvel in the jungle, and it was that memory that saved Khusru then. It wasn't deliberate gratitude for the grass-cutting of long ago. It wasn't any particular emotion that he could reach out his trunk and touch. It was simply an impulse—another one of the thousand mysteries that envelop, like a cloud, the mental processes of these largest of forest creatures.

These were the days when he lived apart from the herd. He did it from choice. He liked the silence, the solitary mud-baths, the constant watchfulness against danger.

One day a rhino charged himwithout warning or reason. This is quite a common thing for a rhino to do. They have the worst tempers in the jungle, and they would just as soon charge a mountain if they didn't like the look of it. Muztagh had awakened the great creature from his sleep, and he came bearing down like a tank over "no man's land.”

Muztagh met him squarely, with the full shock of his tusks, and the battle ended promptly. Muztagh's tusk, driven by five tons of might behind it, would have pierced a ship's side, and the rhino limped away to let his hurt grow well and meditate revenge. Thereafter, for a full year, he looked

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carefully out of his bleary, drunken eyes and chose a smaller objective before he charged.

Month after month Muztagh wended alone through the elephant trails, and now and then rooted up great trees just to try his strength. Sometimes he went silently, and sometimes like an avalanche. He swam alone in the deep holes, and sometimes shut his eyes and stood on the bottom, just keeping the end of his trunk out of the water. One day he was obliged to kneel on the broad back of an alligator who tried to bite off his foot. He drove the long body down into the muddy bottom, and no living creature, except possibly the catfish that burrow in the mud, ever saw it again.

He loved the rains that flashed through the jungles, the swift-climbing dawns in the east, the strange, tense, breathless nights. And at midnight he loved to trumpet to the herd on some far-away hill, and hear, fainter than the death-cry of a beetle, its answer come back to him. At twentyfive he had reached full maturity; and ■ no more magnificent specimen of the elephant could be found in all of British India. At last he had begun to learn his strength.

Of course he had known for years his mastery over the inanimate things of the world. He knew how easy it was to tear a tree from its roots, to jerk a great tree-limb from its socket. He knew that under most conditions he had nothing to fear from the great tigers, although a fight with a tiger is a painful thing and well to avoid. But he did not know that he had developed a craft and skill that would avail him in battle against the greatest of his own kind. He made the discovery one sunlit day beside the Manipur River.

and bubbling with content. It was a 50 bath with just room enough for one. And seeing that he was young, and perhaps failing to measure his size, obscured as it was in the mud, a great "rogue" bull came out of the jungle to take the bath for himself.

He was a huge creature-wrinkled and yellow-tusked and scarred from the wounds of a thousand fights. His little red eyes looked out ma- 60 lignantly, and he grunted all the insults the elephant tongue can compass to the youngster that lolled in the bath. He confidently expected that Muztagh would yield at once, because as a rule young twenty-five-year-olds do not care to mix in battle with the scarred and crafty veterans of sixty years. But he did not know Muztagh.

The latter had been enjoying the 70 bath to the limit, and he had no desire whatever to give it up. Something hot and raging seemed to explode in his brain and it was as if a red glare, such as sometimes comes in the sunset, had fallen over all the stretch of river and jungle before his eyes. He squealed once, reared up with one lunge out of the bath-and charged. They met with a shock.

Of all the expressions of power in the animal world, the elephant fight is the most terrible to see. It is as if two mountains rose up from their roots of strata and went to war. It is terrible to hear, too. The jungle had been still before. The river glided softly, the wind was dead, the midafternoon silence was over the thickets.

80

The jungle people were asleep. A 90 thunderstorm would not have broken more quickly, or could not have created a wilder pandemonium. The jungle seemed to shiver with the sound.

They squealed and bellowed and trumpeted and grunted and charged.

He was in the mud-bath, grunting Their tusks clicked like the noise of a

giant's game of billiards. The thickets crackled and broke beneath their great feet.

It lasted only a moment. It was so easy, after all. In a very few seconds indeed, the old rogue became aware that he had made a very dangerous and disagreeable mistake. There were better mud-baths on the 10 river, anyway.

He had not been able to land a single blow. And his wrath gave way to startled amazement when Muztagh sent home his third. The rogue did not wait for the fourth.

Muztagh chased him into the thickets. But he was too proud to chase a beaten elephant for long. He halted, trumpeting, and swung back 20 to his mud-bath.

All

But he did not enter the mud again. All at once he remembered the herd and the fights of his calfhood. at once he knew that his craft and strength and power were beyond that of any elephant in all the jungle. Who was the great, arrogant herd-leader to stand against him? What yellow tusks were to meet his and come away 30 unbroken?

His little eyes grew ever more red as he stood rocking back and forth, his trunk lifted to catch the sounds and smells of the distant jungle. Why should he abide alone when he could be the ruler of the herd and the jungle king? Then he grunted softly and started away down the river. Far away, beyond the mountains and 40 rivers and the villages of the hill folk, the herd of his youth roamed in joyous freedom. He would find them and assert his mastery.

V

The night fire of a little band of elephant-catchers burned fitfully at the edge of the jungle. They were silent men-for they had lived long

on the elephant trails-and curiously scarred and somber. They smoked their cheroots and waited for Ahmad Din to speak.

"You have all heard?" he asked at

last.

All but one of them nodded. Of course this did not count the most despised one of them all—old Langur Dass-who sat at the very edge of the shadow. His long hair was gray, and his youth had gone where the sun goes at evening. They scarcely addressed a word to him, or he to them. True, he knew the elephants, but was he not possessed of evil spirits? He was always without rupees, too, a creature of the wild that could not seem to understand the gathering of money. As a man, according to the standards of men, he was an abject failure.

"Khusru has failed to catch White- a Skin, but he has lived to tell many lies about it. He comes tonight."

It was noticeable that Langur Dass, at the edge of the circle, pricked up his ears.

"Do you mean the white elephant of which the Manipur people tell so many lies?" he asked. "Do you, skilled catchers that you are, believe that such an elephant is still wild in the jungle?" s

Ahmad Din scowled. "The Manipur people tell of him, but for once they tell the truth," was the reply. "He is the greatest elephant, the richest prize, in all of Burma. Too many people have seen him to doubt. I add my word to theirs, thou son of immorality!"

Ahmad Din hesitated a moment before he continued. Perhaps it was a 90 mistake to tell of the great, lightcolored elephant until this man should have gone away. But what harm could this wanderer do them? All men knew that the jungle had maddened him.

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