He spat on his hands, took hold of a liana, and pulled himself up hand over hand, without using his legs, as he had seen acrobats do in the circus. For a moment a vision — a pale memory of the past — came to him of himself in gym class, dangling like a sack of flour from the bottommost end of the rope, while the rest of the class cackled with glee. He couldn’t help smiling. How they would gape if they saw him now! They’d be proud to know him. But he wouldn’t even look at them.
Without stopping once he finally reached the branch from which the liana was hanging, climbed up and straddled it. The branch gave off a red glow. He stood up and, balancing himself like a tightrope walker, made his way to the trunk. Here again a dense tangle of creepers barred his way, but he had no difficulty in opening up a passage through it.
At that height the trunk was still so thick that five men clasping hands could not have encircled it. Another, somewhat higher branch, jutting from the trunk in a different direction, was beyond his reach. So he leapt through the air, caught hold of an aerial root, swung himself into place, made another perilous leap, and grabbed the higher branch. From there he was able to pull himself up to a still higher one. By then he was high above the ground, at least three hundred feet, but the glowing branches and foliage still obstructed his view.