National Geographic : 1920 Jan
BY MOTOR THROUGH THE EAST COAST OF SUMATRA top, which was up, to the level of the road surface, while between the top and the ground on the other side there was barely enough space left to crawl through. Any further sinking of the car might have perma nently imprisoned us, so we hastily crept out on our stomachs through the sticky clay-mud and viewed the catastrophe. It was not en couraging. A careful sur vey of the car showed it to be hopelessly buried, be yond any possibility of my disinterring it unaided. The chainfalls, in the equipment box on the rear, were completely out of sight some four feet un derground; but even had I dug them out there was nothing to which to attach them, and in any case the car was too thoroughly in the grip of the mud to have yielded to single-handed ef forts. With some difficulty I . discovered the cause of the accident. A bamboo cul vert far under the road, which had rotted peacefully and undisturbed since it EVERY had been laid, had finally collapsed from our weight, after being weakened by our first pas sage over it. To extricate the car was a task for a first-class train-wrecking crew, and I felt little confidence of being able to raise half a dozen helpers in that country, especially as I had left Joseph in Sariboe Dolok and would be unable to explain our predicament to any natives I might meet. Kebon Djahe seemed the one light on the situation; but night was falling rap idly, and as my speedometer cable had broken in the morning and there were no noticeable landmarks, I had only a dim idea how far away the compound might be. MOTHER IS IER OWN PERAMBULATOR IN SUMATRA For my mother to be left alone at night in the wilds of a country until recently addicted to cannibalism, while I set out on an indeterminate search for help was an unpleasant prospect; but as Kebon Djahe might have been eight or ten miles away-a nasty walk in the mud and the dark-that seemed the only solution. NATIVE PRISONERS MARCH TO THE RESCUE For over an hour I walked, or rather waded, down the road in the utter still ness of the desolate highlands. Then a few barely audible shouts drifted up from across the plain, and I struggled through the grass in their direction to a tiny paddy field on the top of a low hill.