The following is a narrative of how The Jungle Patrol was formed and how the 17th century Phantom met his wife. (The text below has been adapted by from the comic book story 'Phantom and the Jungle Patrol'.)



THE PHANTOM CHRONICLES

As Entered By: The 17th Century Phantom
In The Year: 1664


'Today I had the idea of a patrol. There is need of a border patrol of some nature. A vast jungle, in which wild tribes bow to no authority. Even worse are the coastal towns, dens of thieves, and evil men -- worst of these towns is the pirate port of Sanloi -- where life is cheap. Ruler of this lawless rabble is the pirate chief, Redbeard -- a huge rogue! I decided I must see this Redbeard.

Redbeard
1990 King Features Syn.

'I decided to enter Sanloi, and did. The pirate capital, Sanloi was heavily guarded; I could have entered over the wall by stealth -- instead, I decided to enter the main gate. Three rogues guarded it. I dispatched them. I asked an on-looker where Redbeard was -- he told me.

'Though I am of good size, Redbeard was a veritable giant. "I'm told you will fight any challenger", I spoke. The pirate king replied, "I do not dirty my hands on any strange runt who wanders in -- first prove yourself against my lieutenant, Big Bart! Let it be with axes!"

'I faced Redbeard's huge lieutenant Bart. The brutal weapons chosen were antique battle-axes. The bloodthirsty crowd roared as Bart swung at me. He was strong but slow. I avoided the blow and resolved to end matters quickly. I swung at Bart's axe, instead of Bart -- an unexpected blow. Bart was furious and dove at me -- I put him down.

'Once more this Redbeard called me a runt -- now, I am a man of good size -- and was annoyed. The pirates' leader now sent forth Salla. The mob howled for my blood. I baited the swordsman, Salla. Anger can make men reckless. He was furious. He swung his broad sword. I caught it on my blade -- little art with broadswords -- more like tree-chopping. I was content to let him hack away and exhaust himself, which he did. These fellows swill liquor, eat like hogs, gamble all night -- naturally, they're never in good condition -- empty shells. Finally, I caught his blade and made it sail. Panting like an old horse, he collapsed.

'Redbread called me a runt again. I lost my temper -- a foolish thing to do. Luckily, the Crusher stepped up.

Crusher

'Crusher boasted his strength by crushing an egg and claiming that he crushed men's skulls like that. Braggarts always bored me but I knew the value of implanting fear. "That proves only that you crush eggs like eggs! What can you do to this coconut?" I teased while I crushed a coconut single-handedly. I crushed another with a clap. "I can do it!" said the Crusher, trying to save face. At this moment, the angry giant Redbeard roared at us, "Stop! You are fighting each other -- not coconuts! Get on with it!"


'I faced this "Crusher" -- wide as he was tall -- like a bull. Not easy, I decided. He had arms and chest of granite -- but he had the audacity to display his gluttony before fighting -- I'd fought hollow shells before -- chests of granite -- but stomachs like soft dough. I realized this when I punched him in his belly. He then wrapped those arms around me -- for a moment I understood his name "Crusher". Once more I drove at his midriff -- and again -- and he crashed to the ground like a felled ox.

'I whirled on Redbeard and with a roar that was heard for miles, he leaped up to face me. The pirate town of Sanloi was wild with excitement. "How will you fight me, runt?" growled Redbeard. "Barehanded, with toothpicks or boulders -- as you wish, overgrown ox!" I calmly replied.

'This angry Redbeard, shaking with fury, was a sight to see, like a storm at sea. "We fight as gentlemen -- with sword and dagger! To the death!"

To the death!
1990 King Features Syn.

'Big as he was, he moved like a flash. He dared me to close in on him -- I did. He threw me off -- he was powerful as a bear. I knew I was in for the fight of my life! The pirate crowd roared as I fought their giant king. Never had they seen such bold swordplay -- and in truth -- neither had I! Oh, it was a beautiful fight. This Redbeard dueled like an angel -- or a demon. We fought all over the town of Sanloi -- on the walls, in the street, on the beach -- sometimes he pressed -- sometimes I pressed. We worked our way to the wharf -- the roaring crowd followed -- onto the deck of a pirate ship (I later learned it was Redbeard's own craft).

'There I saw a girl of such bewitching beauty that for a moment I forgot Redbeard. But Redbeard was not asleep and at that moment, made me lose my sword. Ah, she was a beauty -- well worth the loss of a sword!

She was a beauty!

'Now Redbeard thought he had me -- he lunged -- I leaped like a mighty flea. But I knew a trick or two he didn't know -- and grasping a wooden stool -- showed him. Redbeard had swung his sword at me which got stuck on my shield -- the wooden stool. Now without swords, we were hand-to-hand with daggers. Redbeard grinned -- he was bigger. I dropped my dagger and hit hard into his stomach. He roared like a bull elephant. He proved deficient in fisticuffs. I smashed him on the jaw. He dropped like a felled ox. And the fight was won!

'Redbeard was helpless on the deck, beaten. Yet the pirate crowd watched with glittering eyes, waiting. I'd defeated Redbeard, king of pirates but the crowd waited expectantly. I understood now -- these rogues fought to the death.

'Redbeard, a brave man, asked no quarter. "Do as they ask -- if I had won -- I would've killed you!" he spoke gallantly.

'"But you did not win -- and I am not you", I replied calmly. A new look came to this pirate crowd -- some had tears -- they'd forgotten the quality of mercy. Even the mysterious beauty had tears -- who was she, I wondered.

'As I wondered who this rare and beauteous lady might be, Redbeard wondered why, though defeated, he still lived -- what would he do now, he asked. I had a plan. "You have hailed me as your king of pirate Sanloi. Correct?" I shouted onto the crowd. "Hail the King!" was the loud reply. I then appointed the four bold men I had fought as my lieutenants. After that, I inquired about the lady.

'"Last month, I captured a fleet. She was the prize catch -- Natala, Queen of Navarra! I held her for a great ransom.", said Redbeard.

'A queen! She smiled at me -- I felt strange -- as though my heart was exploding! A real queen! Her beauty dazzled me. The lovely queen was now my captive -- but I had other important problems.

'Now a risky try to end the piracy of Sanloi. I ordered that all men turn in all weapons at once. Then I told each of my lieutenants to choose out of the 500, 25 such trusted men who will take an oath and keep it. Following my order, my 4 lieutenants chose 100 from the pirate mob. They took the oath to obey me and my orders without question. I ordered that these men be armed -- and they were.

'A spokesman for the unarmed 400 demanded for their weapons. The time had come to tell them -- I did. "Now hear this! As of this moment, all Sanloi piracy, either on land or sea, is ended forever!" All, including my 4 lieutenants were amazed -- nay, stunned! The angry unarmed 400 charged for weapons -- this was the moment -- would my men remain loyal?

'As the unarmed 400 pirates rushed for the weapons pile, the 100 picked, armed men, sworn to me, looked uncertain. I gave them my first order -- "Stop them!" My trusty lieutenants, Redbeard, Salla, Bart and Crusher, repeated the order -- "Stop them!" The 100 picked men obeyed! They held off the unarmed 400! They'd passed their first test! But they were confused. What was to happen to them? And what was to happen to Queen Natala?

'Now was the moment of decision -- to unfold my plan for the pirates of Sanloi and the Queen of Navarra. I decided that 12 out of 13 ships were to be given to Queen Natala and those of the 400 who weren't killers be appointed the navy of Navarra.

'"Are you really freeing me?" asked a surprised Natala.

'"You are free, lady". She had tears in her lovely eyes -- I turned from her -- blast me -- I didn't want to free her -- I wanted to hold her in my arms -- but she was a queen -- and I -- a gentleman.

'We first weeded out the known killers in the pirate mob. Then put the remainder to work. They swabbed the 12 ships for the Queen of Navarra till they shone. They also swapped themselves -- I insist on personal cleanliness.

What's that white stuff?
1990 King Features Syn.

'It was a fine and proper ceremony when I handed over the 12 ships to replace those stolen from the Queen. "I thank you for the people of Navarra", Natala expressed her gratitude. Then she revealed a wish, "Before I return to Navarra, may I see your home in the jungle that you told me about?" An odd request -- but how could one refuse a queen.

'We had a happy ride to the Deep Woods. She was as full of delight and wonder as a child. I conducted Natala through the skull cave -- she saw our chronicles -- our treasure room -- and then made another request -- "May I sit upon the throne?"

'No female had ever sat upon the Skull Throne -- but Natala was a queen -- and such a queen!
1st female on throne

'Then she asked me whether I was married. "No, highness. I live in single blessedness" was my reply.

'We then returned to Sanloi for her departure. On the ship while exchanging "goodbyes", I said, "A safe and happy voyage, your highness -- I... ur... If you were not queen, I would ask for your hand". I continued while I jumped off the ship, "Since it can never be -- let it be farewell". I was off and away before she could reply.

'We watched the fleet of Queen Natala of Navarra sail from Sanloi, manned by ex-pirate crews. They say Natala wept that day. If Natala wept, it must not have been sadness, but relief at her freedom.

'Anyway, coming back to matters at hand, I explained my further plans to my men.

'"You know this coast -- 12 kingdoms, 1000 miles of jungle border -- no law and order -- thieves hop from one place to another?"

'My lieutenants replied with an air of mixed humour and pride, "We know, since we were the biggest thieves of all -- and did the most hopping -- and broke the most laws!"

'"Now, I plan to form a military type of group to patrol this entire border of the 12 kingdoms -- you, Redbeard, I appoint colonel. You three other scoundrels shall be majors under him".

'"How shall our group be called, Commander?"

'"The Jungle Patrol!"

'These rough pirates were delighted with their new ranks. One of them bowed as a salute.

'"No, we will not bow like that -- a real military salute -- like this", I said while raising my right hand to the forehead.
Salute

'To maintain a hundred men, we needed funds. So I sent my men to all the rulers to convince them to come to my jungle throne for a parley. While this went on, there was one image I could not lose -- Natala.

'Convincing the kings was not an easy task. But Redbeard was persuasive with words. "Our ship's cannons will blow up your castle if you refuse. Any questions?" he spoke diplomatically. On the other hand, Crusher was more direct. "Do as I ask or I will break your neck", said he while squeezing the rebellious king's neck.

'One by one, the 12 kings came to the Deep Woods. In the Skull Cave, I explained my new proposal of peace to the kings. "I've formed a patrol to police the jungle along all borders of the 12 kingdoms, to be financed by all of you, to be ruled by none". When a few raised their doubts, I made things clearer, "Either the patrol -- or a return to piracy and lawlessness". This did the trick. So it was decided -- and the Jungle Patrol was born.

'Even as we signed the agreement, my mind was far away, thinking of lovely Natala. Did she think of me, I wondered.

'The 12 kings signed the agreement creating the Jungle Patrol -- it was a historic moment -- the founding of the Jungle Patrol. Next, the important matter of uniforms -- then, the first headquarters, an abandoned castle -- and then, we went to work -- first, a gang of highwaymen, then many others. But my thoughts were elsewhere -- Natala. I knew it was hopeless. But far away, Natala in her palace got wearied of her court. The violence and wars of her world sickened her. She dreamed of the quiet and peace of the Deep Woods -- I like to think she dreamed of me.

'Remember, Natala was a royal queen -- and when she made up her mind -- there was no stopping her! With a few faithful followers, Queen Natala secretly left her palace. In the darkness, she boarded her flagship. "Whither are we bound, highness?" asked her captain. "To Bengal, by the fastest wind, Captain!"

'I was day-dreaming about her, I suppose, when it happened! My daydream in the flesh -- Natala, Queen of Navarra! I could hardly believe my eyes! As always, her beauty stunned me. I rattled on like a flabby-mouthed courtier.

'And then she said something that left my head spinning. "By our laws and customs a man may not propose wedlock to the Queen. The Queen must propose... Will you do me the honour of permitting me to become your lawful-wedded wife?"

'Here was a bolt from the blue that almost knocked me flat! "Uh -- marry you -- Natala?" I stuttered. "But -- highness -- your crown -- your throne -- your country?"

'"I left my crown, my throne and my country to my brother -- to come here -- to you".

'I was stunned. This was a lady who knew what she wanted -- and she wanted me! I was so amazed, I was tongue-tied! I could not speak -- I could not believe my luck. Urged on by my friends who stood beside me, I finally spoke up, "Yes, we will marry! You will still be Queen -- of the jungle, Natala!"

'Soon all the drums of the jungle carried the news! In far-off Navarra, they were puzzled by the disappearance of their Queen. Their loss was our gain! I wanted a wedding worthy of my queen -- that the jungle would never forget!

'The news was out. All the jungle chiefs trooped to the Deep Woods -- also, the 12 coastal kings escorted by the new Jungle Patrol. All invited to see the marriage of the shining Queen from across the ocean-sea.

Marriage
1990 King Features Syn.

'All the jungle chiefs came to see my wedding to Natala. The 12 coastal kings and my new Jungle Patrol looked on. The wedding feast that followed lasted a week! They devoured 100 steers, 200 sheep, 50 barrels of wine -- and -- we lived happily ever after!'



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