There crowded upon her all the stories she had been told of Marooners Rock, so called because evil captains put sailors on it and leave them there to drown. They drown when the tide rises, for then it is submerged.
Of course she should have roused the children at once; not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them, but because it was no longer good for them to sleep on a rock grown chilly. But she was a young mother and she did not know this; she thought you simply must stick to your rule about half an hour after the midday meal. So, though fear was upon her, and she longed to hear male voices, she would not waken them. Even when she heard the sound of muffled oars, though her heart was in her mouth, she did not waken them. She stood over them to let them have their sleep out. Was it not brave of Wendy?
It was well for those boys then that there was one among them who could sniff danger even in his sleep. Peter sprang erect, as wide awake at once as a dog, and with one warning cry he roused the others.
He stood motionless, one hand to his ear.
Pirates! he cried. The others came closer to him. A strange smile was playing about his face, and Wendy saw it and shuddered. While that smile was on his face no one dared address him; all they could do was to stand ready to obey. The order came sharp and incisive.
There was a gleam of legs, and instantly the lagoon seemed deserted. Marooners Rock stood alone in the forbidding waters, as if it were itself marooned.
The boat drew nearer. It was the pirate dinghy, with three figures in her, Smee and Starkey, and the third a captive, no other than Tiger Lily. Her hands and ankles were tied, and she knew what was to be her fate. She was to be left on the rock to perish, an end to one of her race more terrible than death by fire or torture, for is it not written in the book of the tribe that there is no path through water to the happy hunting-ground? Yet her face was impassive; she was the daughter of a chief, she must die as a chiefs daughter, it is enough.
They had caught her boarding the pirate ship with a knife in her mouth. No watch was kept on the ship, it being Hooks boast that the wind of his name guarded the ship for a mile around. Now her fate would help to guard it also. One more wail would go the round in that wind by night.
In the gloom that they brought with them the two pirates did not see the rock till they crashed into it.
Luff, you lubber, cried an Irish voice that was Smees; heres the rock. Now, then, what we have to do is to hoist the redskin on to it, and leave her there to drown.
It was the work of one brutal moment to land the beautiful girl on the rock; she was too proud to offer a vain resistance.
Quite near the rock, but out of sight, two heads were bobbing up and down, Peters and Wendys. Wendy was crying, for it was the first tragedy she had seen. Peter had seen many tragedies, but he had forgotten them all. He was less sorry than Wendy for Tiger Lily; it was two against one that angered him, and he meant to save her. An easy way would have been to wait until the pirates had gone, but he was never one to choose the easy way.
There was almost nothing he could not do, and he now imitated the voice of Hook.
Ahoy there, you lubbers, he called. It was a marvellous imitation.
The captain, said the pirates, staring at each other in surprise.
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