The Bridge in the Jungle (Jungle Novels)
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The locale is "huts by the river," a nameless Indian settlement deep in the Mexican bush, too small to appear on any map. Just as a party that has attracted many Indians from neighboring settlements is about to begin, death marches silently in. A small boy has disappeared. As the intimation of tragedy spreads among the people gathered in the jungle clearing, they unite, first to find the lost boy and then to console the grieving mother. The Bridge in the Jungle, regarded by many as B. Traven's finest novel, is a tale of how a simple, desperately poor people come together in the face of death. Traven never allows an iota of sentimentality to enter his story, but the reader finishes the book with renewed faith in the courage and dignity of human beings. "B. Traven is coming to be recognized as one of the narrative masters of the twentieth century."―New York Times Book Review. "Great storytellers often arise like Judaic just men to exemplify and rehearse the truth for their generation. The elusive B. Traven was such a man."―Book World.
music. Besides, it would do nobody any good to blame anybody or anything for the failure of the party. It had to be: destiny's orders. 7 The married women sat around on benches, on planks, on old sleepers, on gas drums, chatting and laughing. The girls were giggling, watching the boys pass by, criticizing them, making fun of them, telling stories and exchanging bits of scandalous gossip about them. Now and then two or three girls would get up to stroll after some favoured pair of boys, or
longer. From where I was standing I couldn't see whether they were still sitting on the bridge. Perhaps they were telling stories to one another. It might be that they had been attracted by the mouth-organ players and that they had joined them to try their skill as musicians. Since we — Sleigh, the pump-master, another man, and myself — were standing between the bridge and the pump-master's, it was only natural that anybody coming from the bridge should pass us on the way to the hut. When the
if any.' The pump-master woman came out of her house holding in her hand a fairly thick candle half burned down and adorned with a little cross of gold paper. It was the sort of candle which the children of the poor carry to their first communion. The children of the rich carry thicker and longer candles, richly decorated to show the Lord and His Virgin Mother, who otherwise might not know that the parents of these children can afford to be more generous — so far as candles are concerned, for in
direction to go to find out the truth.' While vaguely thinking about where I could find an explanation of how the board was made to sail towards the body, there came to my mind another method by which a drowned man could be found, which I remembered having seen once back home in the States. So I said: 'Look here, Sleigh, I'll tell you that we are not so much dumber than the Indians. I remember a time, when I was a boy, that a drowned man was found in a way which at first looked very mysterious
all. I took off my hat and entered the hut to see what changes had taken place. The hut was crowded with women who were fanning themselves with pieces of cardboard and with fans made of pasteboard on which were printed advertisements of cigarettes, beer, tequila, habanero, and dry-goods stores, and kissing couples with titles of moving pictures. The women fanned themselves automatically, as if their hands were moved by a little machine. All candles were bent and at every candle a woman worked