Indiana Bones twitched his ears for the thousandth time, trying to rid himself of the cloud of flying insects swarming around his head as he used his machete to clear branches and vines in his path. He was on a narrow trail coursing his way through a dense jungle. He hadn’t seen his guide Roger, a mean little Chihuahua with squinty eyes, for the past half hour.
Suddenly he yelped in alarm and jumped back. His last swipe with the machete had revealed a large and vicious face with an open mouth bristling with saber-like teeth. Indiana chuckled at himself when he realized that the face was actually a statue cut out of the local rock. Closer inspection of the statue confirmed Indiana’s suspicion that he was close to his goal—-a pyramid temple complex of the ancient Puptec civilization.
After years of study and research as a Barkeologist (one who studies canine history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains), Indiana was certain that he was close to finding the lost Bark.
The Bark was mentioned frequently in the hieroglyphics found at Puptec excavation sites. Indiana had come to the conclusion that the Bark was the thigh bone of an extinct Wooly Mammoth which had been covered in pure gold and encrusted with precious jewels, and which was imbued with magical powers. He was convinced that the Bark was to be found deep within the main temple pyramid buried in vegetation somewhere ahead.
Roger had been hired as a guide in Mexico City (the ancient capital of the Puptecs) where Indiana was doing intense research. Roger claimed to have secret knowledge of a great treasure of the Puptecs. Indiana contacted his old friend Duke, a Saint Bernard who was a master at flying a float plane, to transport Indiana and Roger deep into Chiapas State on the Yucatan peninsula near its border with Guatemala.
Duke was staying with the plane on the river about five miles back. Roger had become progressively more surly and disrespectful as he and Indiana moved deeper into the jungle, and now Roger had disappeared.
Indiana cautiously moved forward, every hair on his body standing erect due to the sense of danger. He slipped past the statue and soon realized that he was walking on a stone-paved path. As he proceeded, he passed under a stone arch and within 20 yards came to a small hill.
He turned left along the base of the hill and soon came to a corner where he turned to the right. The realization dawned on Indiana that the small hill was actually the pyramid (covered with vines and foliage) for which he’d been searching.
Continuing forward, Indiana soon came to a large opening in the wall. He entered the opening and found himself in a walled tunnel, with hieroglyphic figures covering every surface. Knowing that he must proceed very carefully, Indiana retrieved his field notebook from the pack harnessed over his back and began to decipher the symbols on the wall.
He quickly came to the conclusion that the hieroglyphics were a warning of extreme danger if anyone was to proceed down the tunnel, and within the message were a series of clues to aid a bold traveler. The clues were three in number, and were as follows:
1) A dog who stays and a dog who prays is a good dog.
2) As a bird dances on the breeze must one move over the field of stones.
3) Slow and steady wins the race.
Indiana closed his notebook and replaced it in his pack. He moved slowly into the tunnel, every sense heightened beyond anything he’d ever experienced before. One step, two steps, a pause, another step … Indiana pulled a flashlight out of his pack and snapped it on, revealing a large stone altar in the center of the tunnel about twenty feet ahead.
He took another step … Indiana began playing the first clue over and over in his head, “A dog who stays and a dog who prays is a good dog,” “A dog who stays and a dog who prays is a good dog.” He was now within five feet of the altar and heard a slight whisper above and to his right.
He immediately dropped to a praying position on his knees, placed his head on the floor, and remained still as a stone. He heard a whirring sound over his head and then sharp pings on either side. After what seemed an eternity of silence, he slowly lifted his head and saw a row of arrows embedded in the floor to each side, and additional rows of these arrows embedded in both walls at the level of his body if he’d been standing.
Shaking so badly that he could hardly open his pack, Indiana Bones retrieved water and a dog treat to settle his nerves, and then arose to continue down the tunnel. He moved past the altar and shined his light ahead, where he saw a honeycomb pattern on the floor. Each hexagonal shape had a symbol imprinted into its surface.
As he studied the symbols, Indiana realized that three shapes (a dog, a cat, and a feather) were intermixed across the honeycomb surface. Without his customary caution, Indiana confidently stepped onto the first stone containing the shape of a dog (that’s the obvious choice, of course).
The stone immediately crumbled into dust and Indiana fell into the space below. He was able to grab the edge of the floor with one paw, and then retrieved his trusty bullwhip from within the collar around his neck with his other paw. CRACK! He was able to wrap the end of the whip around one of the legs of the altar and pull himself back onto the solid portion of the floor.
He was again shaking so badly, he could hardly function. This time, he consumed two dog treats and also chewed on a rawhide for a bit. As his racing heart slowed and his shaking paws settled, Indiana began to think on clue number two: “As a bird dances on the breeze must one move over the field of stones.” He again studied the stones on the floor ahead—a dog, a cat, and a feather.
“As a bird dances on the breeze must one move over the field of stones.” Indiana’s uncertain expression suddenly became firm and confident. Three stones from the solid edge of the floor on which he was standing was a stone with the emblem of a feather. “As a bird dances on the breeze one must move over the field of stones.”
Indiana took a graceful leap through the air and landed on the feather stone—it was solid. He then leaped from feather stone to feather stone (repeating all the while “I’m as light as a feather” in his mind) until he came to the other side of the honeycomb. Indiana then collapsed onto the surface of the floor and seemed to be unconscious for several minutes.
He slowly sat up, consumed three dog treats, finished the rawhide, and then consumed a Pupperoni (the king of junk foods which his veterinarian had forbidden him to ever eat). Feeling energy flowing through his veins, Indiana again arose and moved farther into the tunnel.
He could detect no alteration in the smooth surfaces of the tunnel that might be a clue of danger. He moved farther and farther into the tunnel, the tension mounting with each step. He rounded a bend in the tunnel and found himself in a large room or cavern. The center of the room was a large pit—Indiana pulled out one of his dog treats and tossed it into the pit—after a count of 10, he finally heard the treat hit the bottom.
Across the pit were five doors, each with a ledge in front. Above each of the doors was the shape of an animal: an old dog, an old cat, a turtle, a rabbit, and a snake. Indiana began to dwell on the third clue, “Slow and steady wins the race.” He studied the figures over the doors.
What was slow and steady? Old dogs were slow, but not necessarily steady. Old cats were usually still fairly agile—and besides, most dogs had an extreme dislike of the feline species. Rabbits were not slow at all. That left the turtle and the snake … hmmmn???
Suddenly Indiana Bones remembered a story about the tortoise (similar to a turtle) and the hare (another name for a rabbit) which he’d heard from his grand dog. This story can be found in variations throughout the world and throughout history, as it teaches a moral about pride and overconfidence.
In the story (as Indiana had been told), the hare challenged the tortoise to a race, which the tortoise accepted. The hare laughed, as he was sure to win the race due to his nimble speed. The race began, and the hare promptly outdistanced the tortoise. After a bit he spied a lovely pool of clear water surrounded by a shady grove of trees. As it was a hot day, the hare stopped for a swim.
It was wonderful, and the hare luxuriated in the cool water. He glanced up and saw that the tortoise was slowly ambling past the pool. Quickly exiting the pool and shaking the excess water from his fur, the hare sprinted past the tortoise, laughing all the while. Stupid tortoise!
Another mile or two down the trial, the hare came upon a garden and stopped for a feast—after all, there was no way he could lose this race. He sampled carrots, lettuce, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, and cabbage. His belly began to grow and grow and grow as he continued to eat. Finally, he could consume no more.
He looked up to see the tortoise slowly moving past the garden, and again laughed—stupid tortoise! The hare began to jog after the tortoise, because he could no longer sprint due to his large belly. It didn’t matter, as he quickly caught up to the tortoise and passed him by.
As the hare jogged, he became drowsier and drowsier, then sleepier and sleepier. Finally, he could go no farther. He stopped under an oak tree and told himself that he could easily take a ten-minute nap before completing (and winning) the race.
He lay down and soon fell into a deep sleep. The hare awoke with a start, wondering how long he’d been asleep. In a panic, he began to run as fast as he possibly could. He could see the tracks of the tortoise in the dirt of the trail in front of him, and thus he began to run even faster.
Just when it seemed he could run no farther the hare rounded a curve in the trail and saw the finish line. But wait! What was that ahead? It was the tortoise crossing the finish line ahead of him!
Indiana again became aware of the doors in front of him. He was convinced that the door over which was the image of a turtle was the correct door, but how to cross the deep pit? Indiana looked about for a plank or pole which might reach across the pit. Nothing!
He then gauged the distance across the pit—could he possibly jump across the space? Impossible! He looked up, and saw a beam supporting the ceiling of the room—could his bullwhip reach the beam? CRACK! The tip of the whip curled around the beam and held tightly.
Indiana took a deep breath and jumped out over the pit, swinging in a wide arc across the space and up onto the ledge in front of the door. Rewinding the whip back into his collar, Indiana opened the door and stepped through. What he saw stopped him in his tracks.
The room on the other side was bright as mid-day. A hole in the ceiling was letting in sunlight, but the real explanation for the brightness of the room was that the sunlight was reflected off of a million dazzling gems and jewels that covered the walls of the room. The floor appeared to be covered with pure silver.
In the center of the room was a pedestal, on which was a bone-shaped object about three feet long. This object was covered with precious stones which were even more brilliant than the gems covering the walls. The bone seemed to generate its own light from within.
Indiana knew that he had found the lost Bark! After remaining some long moments lost in awe at the beauty of the room and its contents, Indiana moved slowly toward the pedestal. Thoughts of danger did not enter his head, and he reached the Bark with no problem.
He studied the Bark closely. So fine! So beautiful! So intricate! Finally, Indiana retrieved a large, waterproof duffle bag which was folded up in his pack. He gently and carefully picked up the Bark and placed it into the duffle, which he tied to the harness holding his pack.
Now he braced himself for his escape from the temple. Suddenly Indiana’s gut clenched as he heard a new sound, which seemed to be the rushing of many waters. He looked around but could not determine the source of the sound. A few minutes more, and Indiana realized that water was rising up through cracks in the silver-coated floor.
He turned to retreat through the turtle door, but the door was no more—he was looking at a solid surface where the door had previously been located. Indiana looked about in desperation, but saw no exit save the hole in the ceiling, which appeared to be covered with a latticework of some sort.
Below the hole was another beam across the ceiling similar to that of the room of five doors, but it was too high to reach with his whip. The water quickly rose about his legs and onto his sides and chest. Indiana reached into his pack and pulled out a small rubber ball about the size of an orange—he pushed a small button, which caused a space to open—Indiana inserted one of his toenails and twisted 90 degrees to the right.
Suddenly with a pop and a swoosh of air, the ball exploded into a small raft just large enough for Indiana to sit upon. The water continued to rise closer and closer to the ceiling. When he gauged that the beam was close enough, Indiana retrieved his bullwhip and—CRACK!—he caught the beam and pulled himself up paw-by-mouth-by-paw until he was seated upon the beam.
He quickly collected his machete from the pack and began to hack at the latticework that was preventing his departure through the hole in the ceiling. The water came closer and closer. Hack, hack, hack—the latticework was made of a wood that was almost iron-like in its strength—hack, hack, hack. The water was now lapping at his rear paws dangling off of the beam.
Hack, hack, hack. Indiana was becoming desperate. Hack, hack, hack. The water was now halfway between the beam and the ceiling. Hack, hack, hack!!! The water rose above Indiana’s head. He stood upon the beam and gave a mighty push against the latticework.
He felt a slight movement. He again shoved mightily against the wood, and this time it broke into a dozen pieces and Indiana slid through the hole, gasping for breath. Indiana did not have time to enjoy his freedom, however, as he found himself plunging down a groove on the back of the pyramid on a torrent of water.
He quickly found himself flying off of the edge of the pyramid, falling toward a river far below. He hit the surface of the river, sank deeply into the waters, and then rose spluttering above the surface. The river was swift and was pulling him rapidly downstream. Suddenly he heard a whisper of sound and saw a splash ahead of him. Then more whispers and more splashes.
He turned his head toward the bank of the river and there saw Roger surrounded by a dozen local tribe-dogs who were using their blow guns in an effort to fill his hide with poisoned darts. He plunged deep under the water until he could no longer hold his breath. He surfaced to find that the native dogs were running along the bank and continuing to shoot their darts.
Indiana was swept over a small waterfall, dropping about 20 feet. He came up gasping for breath and hoping against hope that the darts would not find their target. Deo gratias!!!! Up ahead he saw Duke fishing off of one of the pontoons on which his plane floated. He started to yell at Duke, who was confused, as he could not make out Indiana’s words over the roar of the river.
Indiana yelled even louder, “Start the plane!” Duke was still confused, but a look of enlightenment came over his face as poisoned darts began to bounce off of the plane and Duke spied the native dogs (with Roger urging them on) on the river bank. Duke turned over the plane’s engine once, twice, and then with a cough and a cloud of smoke, the plane’s engine roared into action.
Duke pulled the anchor and began to motor upstream toward Indiana, darts flying through the air the entire time. The plane quickly approached Indiana, who grabbed hold of a pontoon while holding on for dear life. Duke turned away from the shore, punched the throttle, and quickly lifted off of the water’s surface. Indiana gladly opened the door and climbed inside of the plane as it turned northwest toward the Caribbean port town of Coatzacoalcos.
After docking the plane at the port, and saying his goodbye to Duke, Indiana immediately boarded a train for Mexico City, where he planned to fly home and present his findings at the University where he had his professorship. Indiana was utterly exhausted, filthy to his core, and smelling badly of wet dog. He wanted nothing so much as a hot bath, a good supper, and a full night’s sleep.
He hailed a taxi at the train station and was soon off loaded at the door of his hotel. He collected his key at the front desk and proceeded immediately to his room. He entered, turned on the water in the bathtub, and then fell with a sigh onto the bed. What a relief!
Out of the corner of his eye, Indiana saw the large stuffed chair begin to turn. As if in a dream, the chair turned fully to reveal Jacques LePugh, who was holding a large revolver in his paw. LePugh was a skunk! He was a bottom dweller art collector and trader, who had been stealing ancient artifacts for the past 20 years, and who had been Indiana’s arch enemy for the past 10 of those years.
LePugh laughed derisively as he greeted Indiana in his thick French accent, “How are you doing my fine friend?” He continued, “Once again it appears that you have been bested by a higher intellect. Hand over the Bark, Dr. Bones.”
Indiana had no strength and no choice—he handed over the duffle without a word.
LePugh opened the bag to ascertain its contents, and again laughed, “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you, Dr. Bones.” He opened the window, through which could now be heard the rotors of a helicopter. LePugh jumped through the window, grabbing a dangling rope ladder.
As the helicopter began to depart, Indiana rushed to the window, full of fury and despair, yelling, “We will meet again LePugh! Nothing will prevent me from tracking you down, you fiend!”