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Chain Of Patience
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THE SKULL THRONE
and THE CHAIN OF PATIENCE

The great throne in the Skull Cave is carved from a single piece of stone. It is, among other things, the seat of justice, from which the Phantom arbitrates disputes among local tribes, and helps keep the peace that he made in the jungle hundreds of years ago. It befits the Phantom, since he is known to the local tribes as an immortal, The Ghost Who Walks, and is held in the greatest respect by all the people of the jungle.

It is also the Phantom's favorite place to think.

The chain hanging on the left-hand skull is The Chain of Patience. It is a permanent reminder to the Phantom of one of his most trying adventures.

The Phantom's bride-to-be was en route to marry The Phantom in Bengalla, traveling via ocean liner. She was an uncommonly beautiful woman and attracted the attentions of a wealthy and mysterious stranger on board, a man with a hawk-like face and cold, reptilian eyes. He followed her all over the ship. He discouraged other men who were interested in her by intimidation and threats. He eventually proposed marriage to her, and when she told him that she was in love and to be married soon, he became enraged and violent. He had to be dragged away from her cabin door.

In Bengalla, she was escorted off the ship under the guard of all the ship's officers, and entrusted to the protection of the Jungle Patrol to take her to her rendezvous with The Phantom. She never arrived at the appointed place. The mysterious stranger from the ship was, in fact, Prince Hakon, the ruthless feudal lord of an isolated kingdom in the Misty Mountains. His forces ambushed her escort and kidnapped her.

When she arrived in the Misty Mountains, Hakon informed her that he wished her to be his wife, and would give her time to become accustomed to that idea. She resisted fiercely, and he had her locked in a tower to consider her choices. Hakon visited her day after day, but was continually rebuffed. Finally, he asked who was that distant lover that she clung to in her heart so fiercely. She told him it was the Phantom. Hakon, like all others in that part of the world, had heard stories of the Phantom, but had never known if he was a man or just a legend. Hakon let word drift out that the missing woman was a guest in his castle, and would soon be his bride.

When the Phantom heard this, he became furious, and rode off at breakneck speed into the Misty Mountains. His fury made him impatient and incautious, and he rode straight into Hakon's castle, into the throne room on horseback with pistol drawn. Hakon's guards immediately shot him down, but not fatally.

When the Phantom recovered from his wounds, Hakon had him chained to a huge millstone (taking the place of two oxen) located in the courtyard below the tower window. Hakon thought that if he degraded the Phantom within the woman's sight, she would lose interest in the Phantom and gradually give her heart to Hakon. He was, of course, completely wrong. It hardened her against Hakon irrevocably. Every day she watched as the Phantom was brought out from his cell and chained to the mill, and whipped to make him push the heavy stone around. She almost despaired completely.

But the Phantom had not lost hope. He noticed that one link of the chain scraped against the stone every time it went around. Each day from sunrise to sunset, for almost a year, he pushed the shaft of the mill, because every push grund the chain a little more. He watched and waited as the link was worn down bit by bit.

Finally, one day, Hakon had brought a party of lords and ladies into the courtyard to ridicule his captive "jungle beast." They had just returned from a hunt, and were having their lunch. Without warning, the Phantom raised up, snapped the worn-through link of the chain, and swung the broken chain in a mighty arc, mowing down a dozen guests and Hakon himself. He sprang upon Hakon, seized him by the throat, and put Hakon's own gun to the prince's head. The Phantom ordered his fiancee brought to him. She took one horse, and the Phantom mounted his own and pulled Hakon up with him, still holding him at gunpoint. They rode off, bringing the chain with them, back to the Deep Woods. Hakon was turned over to the Jungle Patrol, tried, and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The Phantom kept the chain, as a reminder of the value of patience and persistence, and hung it on the left skull of his throne.

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