During a dinner with his friends, Allan Quatermain tells them a story. So "Long Odds" is a story within a story).
The story is set in South Africa. Allan Quatermain had decided to leave to trade for some ivory. In his opinion, South Africa was a beautiful place, but that was the beauty of death. During his trip, Allan stopped at a small village to get some provisions. He entered the main hut, where he found a whole family of dead people. He was about to leave when he noticed two bright eyes staring at him; they belonged to a skinny old woman. She yelled because she thought Allan was a devil. Allan rescued and fed her. The old woman told him that the people he had seen had died of fever and the inhabitants of the village had escaped from there. Allan took her to the next village and told the chief to take care of her.
The next day, after trekking, Allan decided to sleep a little bit; when he woke up, all his oxen had disappeared a part from old Kaptein. Allan reproached the man who led the carriage for letting them go away and ordered him and Tom, the driver, to go and find them. That night a lion attacked old Kaptein. While the lion was eating the ox, Allan didn’t dare moving; he thought that lion was a magnificent animal. Then the lioness and two cubs came. The two cubs were restless; one of them began to sniff and lick Allan’s leg. When they heard the two young men approaching with the rest of the oxen, the lions went away and Allan fainted.
Allan ends his story and goes to bed.