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The Voodoo Idol
by [?]

Jones lay on the sofa watching the consul mix a long, cool drink of Apollinaris water and crushed sour-sop. His arm pained him a good deal and the bandages felt hot and uncomfortable. By his side was a little table on which were piled numerous articles in a manner common to mankind, among which were a bottle of whiskey, a revolver, several books, and a plate containing some bananas and sapodillias. A light breeze stirred the curtains behind him, and under the awning he could see the long stretch of green palms and waving cocoanuts, back of the city. A faint white line indicated the road to Lecoup.

“I tell you what, old man,” said the consul, as he poured the mixture from the shaker into the tall, thin glasses, “you are almightly lucky to get out alive, and you took big chances. Stealing a god of the Voodoo priests is about as dangerous an experiment as playing with fire over a barrel of gunpowder. From your description I should judge the place you found it was about fifteen miles back of Gantier.”

Jones nodded in silence.

“Well,” continued the consul, “it was somewhere in that vicinity they killed that Frenchman last year, and how they ever let you get out alive I don’t know. They meant to kill you fast enough, tried to poison you at Gantier, and knocked out that servant of yours. You escaped by not drinking the coffee. Then some one shot at you on the road, and even then you did not have sense enough to throw away the idol; but even if you had I don’t know that it would have made any difference. Then the day before yesterday they put a bullet through your arm at Lecoup, and if old Chabeau had not gone himself with you part of the way, I do not believe you would ever have reached here alive. What on earth made you monkey with that idol anyway?”

Jones explained that he could not resist the temptation to steal it. He had been camping on the banks of a nearly dry stream, ten miles or more east of Gantier, where he had found the little hummingbird, Mellisuga minima, the smallest bird in the world, very abundant. He had also trapped a specimen of the extremely rare Solenodon, and being anxious to procure more he had stayed there for several days. Within half a mile of his camp was a small stone tower open at the sides, in the middle of which stood a little idol on a sort of pedestal. This little idol was about eighteen inches high and was carved out of stone, the eyes oddly enough being bone. Jones had cast longing glances on this idol, but did not dare to touch it, or in fact to go into the tower, as the natives were sullen and suspicious, and on more than one occasion showed signs of being decidedly ugly.

Jones saw enough to confirm his impression that these people were a bad lot, and one dark night he “folded his tent like the Arabs and silently stole away,” taking with him as a souvenir the little idol, which he had carefully rolled in a blanket and packed on one side of his pack-horse to balance his box of specimens on the other. Fear of possible unpleasant consequences had caused Jones to ride fast, but he had been followed and three separate attempts made on his life by unknown persons. The last one resulted in a bullet through the upper part of the left arm. He was safe enough now, however, as he remarked, there being little likelihood of danger while under the protection of the American consul in the city of Porto Prince.

“Don’t you be too sure of that,” said the consul. “There, try that and see how you like it.”