More from the original 1936 text for The Mystery of the Ivory Charm.
Rai joins Nancy and her friends...
"I did not wish you to misunderstand," he said with an oily smirk. "I love Coya very dearly, but he is a lazy lad and will not work unless I use the whip." The girls remained silent and Rai went on in a voice of forced cordiality: "Perhaps the young ladies would be amused to have their fortunes told? Rai is said to have the ability to read the future... First," said Rai significantly, "my hand must be crossed with silver...." "Never mind telling mine," Nancy remarked indifferently. Casually she leaned against a large crate which workmen had unloaded a few minutes before from the circus train and deposited near the tree. George caught her by the hand, jerking her away. "Nancy, don't sit on that box! Can't you read the sign?" "Snakes!" the Drew girl exclaimed, for the first time noticing the marking on the create. "I'd prefer a case of dynamite!" With a tiny shiver she started to move away, but George and Bess caught her by the hand, pulling her back to the tree where Rai stood. "Don't be so stubborn, Nancy," Bess laughed. "Be a good girl and have your fortune told. Then we'll all go back to the station." To satisfy her companions, Nancy obediently submitted herself to Rai's strange scrutiny. As he fixed his piercing dark eyes upon her face she experienced an uncomfortable sensation which she was at a loss to explain. For some moments he stared at the girl without speaking. Then, in a low, tense voice he said: "Rai can see no good fortune ahead. Alas, my daughter, it is written that you shall have great trouble. Ay! There will be dangers to face -- one which may claim your life ---" The monotonous voice of the man from India ended in a choked gasp, while Bess and George suddenly uttered a terrified screamn. From the lower branches of the tree a huge jungle snake had dropped directly upon the unsuspecting Nancy, wrapping its powerful coils about her in a venomous grip of death!
[End of Chapter]
The Drew girl, temporarily paralyzed with fear, uttered no sound as the huge snake, which had escaped from a nearby circus box to take refuge in the tree, wound itself about her body. Then, recovering slightly from the shock, she made a desperate though futile effort to free herself from its tightening coils. George and Bess, horrified at the sight, looked frantically about for weapons with which to fight off the reptile, all the while pleading with Rai to go to the aid of their chum. The Indian's eyes bulged with superstitious fear. Instead of hurrying to Nancy's assistance he dropped down upon his knees in a state of half- trance, and in a sing-song voice began an incantation in his native tongue. "Stop that chanting and help us!" Bess cried in distress, striking as hard as she could at the snake with a sharp stick. George looked desperately up and down the track, shouting for assistance. Little Coya, hearing her voice, came on a run to learn what was wrong. At one glance he took in the situation and darted away again. George and Bess feared that the boy had been terrified at sight of the snake, but a moment later he returned with an older man. The latter, Harold Blunt, who handled the reptiles for the circus, knew exactly what to do. WIth Coya's assistance he quickly freed Nancy and boxed up the dangerous reptile. Nancy's nerves were so shattered from the ordeal that with a little gasp she sank down on the grass. Her face was quite white, but she laughed shakily as Bess and George rushed to her side. "Are you badly hurt?" Bess inquired anxiously. "I'm not hurt at all. Only frightened. It really was nothing."