A NIGHT OF TERROR 201
daring recklessness that is born of unfettered imaginations, and the lack of a rudimentary knowledge of arithmetic. But even this absorbing topic could not hold the attention of their hearers for long. Before Ptek and Kassim had well finished the enumeration of the heavy artillery, of the thousands of the elephants, and th tens of thousands of the followers, with which they credited the adventurous, but slender bands of raga-nivtfins, who followed Ahmad's fortunes, Che' Sman broke into their talk with words on a subject which, at that time, was ever uppermost in the minds of the Tmbling people, and the conversation straight-Way drifted into the channel in which it had run, with only casual interruptions, for many weeks past.
cHe of the Hairy Face1 is with us once more,' ejaculated Che' Sman ; and when this announcement had caused a dead silence to fall upon his hearers, and had even stilled the chatter of the women-folk near the fireplace, he continued :
cAt the hour when the cicada is heard (sunset), I niet Imam Sdik of Gmroh, and bade him stay to ^t rice, but he would not, saying that He of the Hairy Face had made his kill at Lbu yesternight, and *t behoved all men to be within their houses before the darkness fell. And so saying he paddled his dug-out down stream with the short quick stroke used when We race boats. Imm Sdik is a wise man, and his words are true. He of the Hairy Face spares neither
1 Si Pdong = one of the names used by jungle-bred Malays to describe a tiger. They avoid using the beast's real name lest the sound of it should reach his ears, and cause him to come to the speaker.1 Si PA dong = one of the names used by jungle-bred Malays to describe a tiger. They avoid using the beast's real name lest the sound of it should reach his ears, and cause him to come to the speaker.