Edgar Rice Burroughs
Part 1 out of 4
Created by Judith Boss, Omaha, Nebraska
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
I LOST ON PELLUCIDAR
II TRAVELING WITH TERROR
III SHOOTING THE CHUTES--AND AFTER
IV FRIENDSHIP AND TREACHERY
VI A PENDENT WORLD
VII FROM PLIGHT TO PLIGHT
IX HOOJA'S CUTTHROATS APPEAR
X THE RAID ON THE CAVE-PRISON
XIII RACING FOR LIFE
XIV GORE AND DREAMS
XV CONQUEST AND PEACE
SEVERAL YEARS had elapsed since I had found the op-portunity to do
any big-game hunting; for at last I had my plans almost perfected
for a return to my old stamping-grounds in northern Africa, where
in other days I had had excellent sport in pursuit of the king of
The date of my departure had been set; I was to leave in two weeks.
No schoolboy counting the lagging hours that must pass before the
beginning of "long vacation" released him to the delirious joys of
the sum-mer camp could have been filled with greater im-patience
or keener anticipation.
And then came a letter that started me for Africa twelve days ahead
of my schedule.
Often am I in receipt of letters from strangers who have found
something in a story of mine to commend or to condemn. My interest
in this department of my correspondence is ever fresh. I opened
this particular letter with all the zest of pleasurable anticipation
with which I had opened so many others. The post-mark (Algiers)
had aroused my interest and curiosity, es-pecially at this time,
since it was Algiers that was presently to witness the termination
of my coming sea voyage in search of sport and adventure.
Before the reading of that letter was completed lions and lion-hunting
had fled my thoughts, and I was in a state of excitement bordering
It--well, read it yourself, and see if you, too, do not find food
for frantic conjecture, for tantalizing doubts, and for a great
Here it is:
DEAR SIR: I think that I have run across one of the most remarkable
coincidences in modern literature. But let me start at the beginning:
I am, by profession, a wanderer upon the face of the earth. I have
no trade--nor any other occupation.
My father bequeathed me a competency; some remoter ancestors lust
to roam. I have combined the two and invested them carefully and
I became interested in your story, At the Earth's Core, not so much
because of the probability of the tale as of a great and abiding
wonder that people should be paid real money for writing such
impossible trash. You will pardon my candor, but it is necessary
that you understand my mental attitude toward this particular
story--that you may credit that which fol-lows.
Shortly thereafter I started for the Sahara in search of a rather
rare species of antelope that is to be found only occasionally
within a limited area at a certain season of the year. My chase
led me far from the haunts of man.
It was a fruitless search, however, in so far as antelope is
concerned; but one night as I lay courting sleep at the edge of a
little cluster of date-palms that surround an ancient well in the
midst of the arid, shifting sands, I suddenly became conscious of
a strange sound coming apparently from the earth beneath my head.
It was an intermittent ticking!
No reptile or insect with which I am familiar re-produces any such
notes. I lay for an hour--listening intently.
At last my curiosity got the better of me. I arose, lighted my
lamp and commenced to investigate.
My bedding lay upon a rug stretched directly upon the warm sand.
The noise appeared to be coming from beneath the rug. I raised
it, but found nothing--yet, at intervals, the sound continued.
I dug into the sand with the point of my hunting-knife. A few inches
below the surface of the sand I encountered a solid substance that
had the feel of wood beneath the sharp steel.
Excavating about it, I unearthed a small wooden box. From this
receptacle issued the strange sound that I had heard.
How had it come here?
What did it contain?
In attempting to lift it from its burying place I dis-covered that
it seemed to be held fast by means of a very small insulated cable
running farther into the sand beneath it.
My first impulse was to drag the thing loose by main strength;
but fortunately I thought better of this and fell to examining the
box. I soon saw that it was covered by a hinged lid, which was
held closed by a simple screwhook and eye.
It took but a moment to loosen this and raise the cover, when, to
my utter astonishment, I discovered an ordinary telegraph instrument
clicking away within.
"What in the world," thought I, "is this thing doing here?"
That it was a French military instrument was my first guess; but
really there didn't seem much likelihood that this was the correct
explanation, when one took into account the loneliness and remoteness
of the spot.
As I sat gazing at my remarkable find, which was tick-ing and
clicking away there in the silence of the desert night, trying to
convey some message which I was unable to interpret, my eyes fell
upon a bit of paper lying in the bottom of the box beside the
instrument. I picked it up and examined it. Upon it were written
but two letters:
They meant nothing to me then. I was baffled.
Once, in an interval of silence upon the part of the receiving
instrument, I moved the sending-key up and down a few times.
Instantly the receiving mechanism commenced to work frantically.
I tried to recall something of the Morse Code, with which I had
played as a little boy--but time had obliterated it from my memory.
I became almost frantic as I let my imagination run riot among the
possibilities for which this clicking instrument might stand.
Some poor devil at the unknown other end might be in dire need of
succor. The very franticness of the instrument's wild clashing
betokened something of the kind.
And there sat I, powerless to interpret, and so power-less to help!
It was then that the inspiration came to me. In a flash there
leaped to my mind the closing paragraphs of the story I had read
in the club at Algiers:
Does the answer lie somewhere upon the bosom of the broad Sahara,
at the ends of two tiny wires, hidden beneath a lost cairn?
The idea seemed preposterous. Experience and in-telligence combined
to assure me that there could be no slightest grain of truth or
possibility in your wild tale--it was fiction pure and simple.
And yet where WERE the other ends of those wires?
What was this instrument--ticking away here in the great Sahara--but
a travesty upon the possible!
Would I have believed in it had I not seen it with my own eyes?
And the initials--D. I.--upon the slip of paper!
David's initials were these--David Innes.
I smiled at my imaginings. I ridiculed the assumption that there
was an inner world and that these wires led downward through the
earth's crust to the surface of Pellucidar. And yet--
Well, I sat there all night, listening to that tantalizing clicking,
now and then moving the sending-key just to let the other end know
that the instrument had been discovered. In the morning, after
carefully returning the box to its hole and covering it over with
sand, I called my servants about me, snatched a hurried breakfast,
mounted my horse, and started upon a forced march for Algiers.
I arrived here today. In writing you this letter I feel that I am
making a fool of myself.
There is no David Innes.
There is no Dian the Beautiful.
There is no world within a world.
Pellucidar is but a realm of your imagination--noth-ing more.
The incident of the finding of that buried telegraph instrument
upon the lonely Sahara is little short of uncanny, in view of your
story of the adventures of David Innes.
I have called it one of the most remarkable coinci-dences in
modern fiction. I called it literature before, but--again pardon
my candor--your story is not.
And now--why am I writing you?
Heaven knows, unless it is that the persistent clicking of that
unfathomable enigma out there in the vast silences of the Sahara
has so wrought upon my nerves that reason refuses longer to function
I cannot hear it now, yet I know that far away to the south, all
alone beneath the sands, it is still pounding out its vain, frantic
It is maddening
It is your fault--I want you to release me from it.
Cable me at once, at my expense, that there was no basis of fact
for your story, At the Earth's Core.
Very respectfully yours,
Ten minutes after reading this letter I had cabled Mr. Nestor as
Story true. Await me Algiers.
As fast as train and boat would carry me, I sped toward my destination.
For all those dragging days my mind was a whirl of mad conjecture,
of frantic hope, of numbing fear.
The finding of the telegraph-instrument practically assured me that
David Innes had driven Perry's iron mole back through the earth's
crust to the buried world of Pellucidar; but what adventures had
befallen him since his return?
Had he found Dian the Beautiful, his half-savage mate, safe among
his friends, or had Hooja the Sly One succeeded in his nefarious
schemes to abduct her?
Did Abner Perry, the lovable old inventor and pale-ontologist,
Had the federated tribes of Pellucidar succeeded in overthrowing
the mighty Mahars, the dominant race of reptilian monsters, and
their fierce, gorilla-like sol-diery, the savage Sagoths?
I must admit that I was in a state bordering upon nervous prostration
when I entered the -and-Club, in Algiers, and inquired for Mr.
Nestor. A moment later I was ushered into his presence, to find
myself clasping hands with the sort of chap that the world holds
only too few of.
He was a tall, smooth-faced man of about thirty, clean-cut, straight,
and strong, and weather-tanned to the hue of a desert Arab. I
liked him immensely from the first, and I hope that after our three
months together in the desert country--three months not entirely
lack-ing in adventure--he found that a man may be a writer of
"impossible trash" and yet have some redeem-ing qualities.
The day following my arrival at Algiers we left for the south,
Nestor having made all arrangements in advance, guessing, as he
naturally did, that I could be coming to Africa for but a single
purpose--to hasten at once to the buried telegraph-instrument and
wrest its secret from it.
In addition to our native servants, we took along an English
telegraph-operator named Frank Downes. Nothing of interest enlivened
our journey by rail and caravan till we came to the cluster of
date-palms about the ancient well upon the rim of the Sahara.
It was the very spot at which I first had seen David Innes. If he
had ever raised a cairn above the telegraph instrument no sign of
it remained now. Had it not been for the chance that caused Cogdon
Nestor to throw down his sleeping rug directly over the hidden
instru-ment, it might still be clicking there unheard--and this
story still unwritten.
When we reached the spot and unearthed the little box the instrument
was quiet, nor did repeated attempts upon the part of our telegrapher
succeed in winning a response from the other end of the line.
After several days of futile endeavor to raise Pellucidar, we had
be-gun to despair. I was as positive that the other end of that
little cable protruded through the surface of the inner world as
I am that I sit here today in my study--when about midnight of the
fourth day I was awakened by the sound of the instrument.
Leaping to my feet I grasped Downes roughly by the neck and dragged
him out of his blankets. He didn't need to be told what caused
my excitement, for the instant he was awake he, too, heard the
long-hoped for click, and with a whoop of delight pounced upon the
Nestor was on his feet almost as soon as I. The three of us huddled
about that little box as if our lives depended upon the message it
had for us.
Downes interrupted the clicking with his sending-key. The noise
of the receiver stopped instantly.
"Ask who it is, Downes," I directed.
He did so, and while we awaited the Englishman's translation of
the reply, I doubt if either Nestor or I breathed.
"He says he's David Innes," said Downes. "He wants to know who we
"Tell him," said I; "and that we want to know how he is--and all
that has befallen him since I last saw him."
For two months I talked with David Innes almost every day, and
as Downes translated, either Nestor or I took notes. From these,
arranged in chronological order, I have set down the following
account of the further adventures of David Innes at the earth's
core, practically in his own words.
LOST ON PELLUCIDAR
The Arabs, of whom I wrote you at the end of my last letter (Innes
began), and whom I thought to be enemies intent only upon murdering
me, proved to be exceed-ingly friendly--they were searching for
the very band of marauders that had threatened my existence. The
huge rhamphorhynchus-like reptile that I had brought back with me
from the inner world--the ugly Mahar that Hooja the Sly One had
substituted for my dear Dian at the moment of my departure--filled
them with wonder and with awe.
Nor less so did the mighty subterranean prospector which had carried
me to Pellucidar and back again, and which lay out in the desert
about two miles from my camp.
With their help I managed to get the unwieldy tons of its great
bulk into a vertical position--the nose deep in a hole we had dug
in the sand and the rest of it supported by the trunks of date-palms
cut for the purpose.
It was a mighty engineering job with only wild Arabs and their
wilder mounts to do the work of an electric crane--but finally it
was completed, and I was ready for departure.
For some time I hesitated to take the Mahar back with me. She
had been docile and quiet ever since she had discovered herself
virtually a prisoner aboard the "iron mole." It had been, of course,
impossible for me to communicate with her since she had no auditory
organs and I no knowledge of her fourth-dimension, sixth-sense
method of communication.
Naturally I am kind-hearted, and so I found it beyond me to leave
even this hateful and repulsive thing alone in a strange and hostile
world. The result was that when I entered the iron mole I took
her with me.
That she knew that we were about to return to Pellucidar was
evident, for immediately her manner changed from that of habitual
gloom that had pervaded her, to an almost human expression of
contentment and delight.
Our trip through the earth's crust was but a repetition of my
two former journeys between the inner and the outer worlds. This
time, however, I imagine that we must have maintained a more
nearly perpendicular course, for we accomplished the journey in a
few min-utes' less time than upon the occasion of my first journey
through the five-hundred-mile crust. just a trifle less than
seventy-two hours after our departure into the sands of the Sahara,
we broke through the surface of Pellucidar.
Fortune once again favored me by the slightest of margins, for when
I opened the door in the prospector's outer jacket I saw that we
had missed coming up through the bottom of an ocean by but a few
The aspect of the surrounding country was entirely unfamiliar
to me--I had no conception of precisely where I was upon the one
hundred and twenty-four million square miles of Pellucidar's vast
The perpetual midday sun poured down its torrid rays from zenith,
as it had done since the beginning of Pellucidarian time--as it
would continue to do to the end of it. Before me, across the wide
sea, the weird, horizonless seascape folded gently upward to meet
the sky until it lost itself to view in the azure depths of distance
far above the level of my eyes.
How strange it looked! How vastly different from the flat and puny
area of the circumscribed vision of the dweller upon the outer
I was lost. Though I wandered ceaselessly throughout a lifetime,
I might never discover the whereabouts of my former friends of this
strange and savage world. Never again might I see dear old Perry,
nor Ghak the Hairy One, nor Dacor the Strong One, nor that other
infinitely precious one--my sweet and noble mate, Dian the Beautiful!
But even so I was glad to tread once more the surface of Pellucidar.
Mysterious and terrible, grotesque and savage though she is in many
of her aspects, I can not but love her. Her very savagery appealed
to me, for it is the savagery of unspoiled Nature.
The magnificence of her tropic beauties enthralled me. Her mighty
land areas breathed unfettered free-dom.
Her untracked oceans, whispering of virgin wonders unsullied by
the eye of man, beckoned me out upon their restless bosoms.
Not for an instant did I regret the world of my nativity. I was
in Pellucidar. I was home. And I was content.
As I stood dreaming beside the giant thing that had brought
me safely through the earth's crust, my travel-ing companion, the
hideous Mahar, emerged from the interior of the prospector and
stood beside me. For a long time she remained motionless.
What thoughts were passing through the convolutions of her reptilian
I do not know.
She was a member of the dominant race of Pel-lucidar. By a strange
freak of evolution her kind had first developed the power of reason
in that world of anomalies.
To her, creatures such as I were of a lower order. As Perry had
discovered among the writings of her kind in the buried city of
Phutra, it was still an open question among the Mahars as to whether
man pos-sessed means of intelligent communication or the power of
Her kind believed that in the center of all-pervading solidity
there was a single, vast, spherical cavity, which was Pellucidar.
This cavity had been left there for the sole purpose of providing
a place for the creation and propagation of the Mahar race.
Everything within it had been put there for the uses of the Mahar.
I wondered what this particular Mahar might think now. I found
pleasure in speculating upon just what the effect had been upon her
of passing through the earth's crust, and coming out into a world
that one of even less intelligence than the great Mahars could
easily see was a different world from her own Pel-lucidar.
What had she thought of the outer world's tiny sun?
What had been the effect upon her of the moon and myriad stars of
the clear African nights?
How had she explained them?
With what sensations of awe must she first have watched the sun
moving slowly across the heavens to disappear at last beneath the
western horizon, leaving in his wake that which the Mahar had never
before witnessed--the darkness of night? For upon Pellucidar there
is no night. The stationary sun hangs forever in the center of
the Pellucidarian sky--directly overhead.
Then, too, she must have been impressed by the wondrous mechanism
of the prospector which had bored its way from world to world and
back again. And that it had been driven by a rational being must
also have occurred to her.
Too, she bad seen me conversing with other men upon the earth's
surface. She had seen the arrival of the caravan of books and arms,
and ammunition, and the balance of the heterogeneous collection which
I had crammed into the cabin of the iron mole for trans-portation
She had seen all these evidences of a civilization and brain-power
transcending in scientific achieve-ment anything that her race had
produced; nor once had she seen a creature of her own kind.
There could have been but a single deduction in the mind of the
Mahar--there were other worlds than Pellucidar, and the gilak was
a rational being.
Now the creature at my side was creeping slowly toward the near-by
sea. At my hip hung a long-barreled six-shooter--somehow I had
been unable to find the same sensation of security in the newfangled
auto-matics that had been perfected since my first departure from
the outer world--and in my hand was a heavy express rifle.
I could have shot the Mahar with ease, for I knew intuitively that
she was escaping--but I did not.
I felt that if she could return to her own kind with the story of
her adventures, the position of the human race within Pellucidar
would be advanced immensely at a single stride, for at once man
would take his proper place in the considerations of the reptilia.
At the edge of the sea the creature paused and looked back at me.
Then she slid sinuously into the surf.
For several minutes I saw no more of her as she luxuriated in the
Then a hundred yards from shore she rose and there for another
short while she floated upon the surface.
Finally she spread her giant wings, flapped them vigorously a score
of times and rose above the blue sea. A single time she circled
far aloft--and then straight as an arrow she sped away.
I watched her until the distant haze enveloped her and she had
disappeared. I was alone.
My first concern was to discover where within Pel-lucidar I might
be--and in what direction lay the land of the Sarians where Ghak
the Hairy One ruled.
But how was I to guess in which direction lay Sari?
And if I set out to search--what then?
Could I find my way back to the prospector with its priceless
freight of books, firearms, ammunition, scien-tific instruments,
and still more books--its great library of reference works upon
every conceivable branch of ap-plied sciences?
And if I could not, of what value was all this vast storehouse
of potential civilization and progress to be to the world of my
Upon the other hand, if I remained here alone with it, what could
I accomplish single-handed?
But where there was no east, no west, no north, no south, no stars,
no moon, and only a stationary mid-day sun, how was I to find my
way back to this spot should ever I get out of sight of it?
I didn't know.
For a long time I stood buried in deep thought, when it occurred
to me to try out one of the compasses I had brought and ascertain
if it remained steadily fixed upon an unvarying pole. I reentered
the prospector and fetched a compass without.
Moving a considerable distance from the prospector that the needle
might not be influenced by its great bulk of iron and steel I turned
the delicate instrument about in every direction.
Always and steadily the needle remained rigidly fixed upon a point
straight out to sea, apparently pointing toward a large island some
ten or twenty miles distant. This then should be north.
I drew my note-book from my pocket and made a careful topographical
sketch of the locality within the range of my vision. Due north
lay the island, far out upon the shimmering sea.
The spot I had chosen for my observations was the top of a large,
flat boulder which rose six or eight feet above the turf. This
spot I called Greenwich. The boulder was the "Royal Observatory."
I had made a start! I cannot tell you what a sense of relief was
imparted to me by the simple fact that there was at least one spot
within Pellucidar with a familiar name and a place upon a map.
It was with almost childish joy that I made a little circle in my
note-book and traced the word Greenwich beside it.
Now I felt I might start out upon my search with some assurance of
finding my way back again to the prospector.
I decided that at first I would travel directly south in the hope
that I might in that direction find some familiar landmark. It
was as good a direction as any. This much at least might be said
Among the many other things I had brought from the outer world were
a number of pedometers. I slipped three of these into my pockets
with the idea that I might arrive at a more or less accurate mean
from the registrations of them all.
On my map I would register so many paces south, so many east, so
many west, and so on. When I was ready to return I would then do
so by any route that I might choose.
I also strapped a considerable quantity of ammuni-tion across my
shoulders, pocketed some matches, and hooked an aluminum fry-pan
and a small stew-kettle of the same metal to my belt.
I was ready--ready to go forth and explore a world!
Ready to search a land area of 124,110,000 square miles for my
friends, my incomparable mate, and good old Perry!
And so, after locking the door in the outer shell of the prospector,
I set out upon my quest. Due south I traveled, across lovely
valleys thick-dotted with graz-ing herds.
Through dense primeval forests I forced my way and up the slopes
of mighty mountains searching for a pass to their farther sides.
Ibex and musk-sheep fell before my good old revolver, so that I
lacked not for food in the higher altitudes. The forests and the
plains gave plentifully of fruits and wild birds, antelope, aurochsen,
Occasionally, for the larger game animals and the gigantic beasts
of prey, I used my express rifle, but for the most part the revolver
filled all my needs.
There were times, too, when faced by a mighty cave bear, a saber-toothed
tiger, or huge felis spelaea, black-maned and terrible, even my
powerful rifle seemed pitifully inadequate--but fortune favored
me so that I passed unscathed through adventures that even the
recollection of causes the short hairs to bristle at the nape of
How long I wandered toward the south I do not know, for shortly
after I left the prospector something went wrong with my watch, and
I was again at the mercy of the baffling timelessness of Pellucidar,
forging steadily ahead beneath the great, motionless sun which
hangs eternally at noon.
I ate many times, however, so that days must have elapsed, possibly
months with no familiar landscape rewarding my eager eyes.
I saw no men nor signs of men. Nor is this strange, for Pellucidar,
in its land area, is immense, while the human race there is very
young and consequently far from numerous.
Doubtless upon that long search mine was the first human foot to
touch the soil in many places--mine the first human eye to rest
upon the gorgeous wonders of the landscape.
It was a staggering thought. I could not but dwell upon it often
as I made my lonely way through this virgin world. Then, quite
suddenly, one day I stepped out of the peace of manless primality
into the presence of man--and peace was gone.
It happened thus:
I had been following a ravine downward out of a chain of lofty hills
and had paused at its mouth to view the lovely little valley that
lay before me. At one side was tangled wood, while straight ahead
a river wound peacefully along parallel to the cliffs in which the
hills terminated at the valley's edge.
Presently, as I stood enjoying the lovely scene, as insatiate for
Nature's wonders as if I had not looked upon similar landscapes
countless times, a sound of shouting broke from the direction of
the woods. That the harsh, discordant notes rose from the throats
of men I could not doubt.
I slipped behind a large boulder near the mouth of the ravine and
waited. I could hear the crashing of underbrush in the forest,
and I guessed that whoever came came quickly--pursued and pursuers,
In a short time some hunted animal would break into view, and a
moment later a score of half-naked savages would come leaping after
with spears or club or great stone-knives.
I had seen the thing so many times during my life within Pellucidar
that I felt that I could anticipate to a nicety precisely what I
was about to witness. I hoped that the hunters would prove friendly
and be able to direct me toward Sari.
Even as I was thinking these thoughts the quarry emerged from the
forest. But it was no terrified four-footed beast. Instead, what
I saw was an old man--a terrified old man!
Staggering feebly and hopelessly from what must have been some very
terrible fate, if one could judge from the horrified expressions
he continually cast behind him toward the wood, he came stumbling
on in my direction.
He had covered but a short distance from the forest when I beheld
the first of his pursuers--a Sagoth, one of those grim and terrible
gorilla-men who guard the mighty Mahars in their buried cities,
faring forth from time to time upon slave-raiding or punitive
expeditions against the human race of Pellucidar, of whom the
dominant race of the inner world think as we think of the bison or
the wild sheep of our own world.
Close behind the foremost Sagoth came others until a full dozen
raced, shouting after the terror-stricken old man. They would be
upon him shortly, that was plain.
One of them was rapidly overhauling him, his back-thrown spear-arm
testifying to his purpose.
And then, quite with the suddenness of an unex-pected blow, I realized
a past familiarity with the gait and carriage of the fugitive.
Simultaneously there swept over me the staggering fact that the
old man was--PERRY! That he was about to die before my very eyes
with no hope that I could reach him in time to avert the awful
catastrophe--for to me it meant a real catastrophe!
Perry was my best friend.
Dian, of course, I looked upon as more than friend. She was my
mate--a part of me.
I had entirely forgotten the rifle in my hand and the revolvers at
my belt; one does not readily syn-chronize his thoughts with the
stone age and the twentieth century simultaneously.
Now from past habit I still thought in the stone age, and in my
thoughts of the stone age there were no thoughts of firearms.
The fellow was almost upon Perry when the feel of the gun in my hand
awoke me from the lethargy of terror that had gripped me. From behind
my boulder I threw up the heavy express rifle--a mighty engine of
destruction that might bring down a cave bear or a mammoth at a
single shot--and let drive at the Sagoth's broad, hairy breast.
At the sound of the shot he stopped stock-still. His spear dropped
from his hand.
Then he lunged forward upon his face.
The effect upon the others was little less remarkable. Perry
alone could have possibly guessed the meaning of the loud report
or explained its connection with the sudden collapse of the Sagoth.
The other gorilla-men halted for but an instant. Then with renewed
shrieks of rage they sprang forward to finish Perry.
At the same time I stepped from behind my boul-der, drawing one of
my revolvers that I might conserve the more precious ammunition of
the express rifle. Quickly I fired again with the lesser weapon.
Then it was that all eyes were directed toward me. Another Sagoth
fell to the bullet from the revolver; but it did not stop his
companions. They were out for revenge as well as blood now, and
they meant to have both.
As I ran forward toward Perry I fired four more shots, dropping
three of our antagonists. Then at last the remaining seven wavered.
It was too much for them, this roaring death that leaped, invisible,
upon them from a great distance.
As they hesitated I reached Perry's side. I have never seen such
an expression upon any man's face as that upon Perry's when he
recognized me. I have no words wherewith to describe it. There
was not time to talk then--scarce for a greeting. I thrust the
full, loaded revolver into his hand, fired the last shot in my own,
and reloaded. There were but six Sagoths left then.
They started toward us once more, though I could see that they were
terrified probably as much by the noise of the guns as by their
effects. They never reached us. Half-way the three that remained
turned and fled, and we let them go.
The last we saw of them they were disappearing into the tangled
undergrowth of the forest. And then Perry turned and threw his
arms about my neck and, burying his old face upon my shoulder, wept
like a child.
TRAVELING WITH TERROR
We made camp there beside the peaceful river. There Perry told me
all that had befallen him since I had departed for the outer crust.
It seemed that Hooja had made it appear that I had intentionally
left Dian behind, and that I did not purpose ever returning to
Pellucidar. He told them that I was of another world and that I
had tired of this and of its inhabitants.
To Dian he had explained that I had a mate in the world to which I
was returning; that I had never intended taking Dian the Beautiful
back with me; and that she had seen the last of me.
Shortly afterward Dian had disappeared from the camp, nor had Perry
seen or heard aught of her since.
He had no conception of the time that had elapsed since I had
departed, but guessed that many years had dragged their slow way
into the past.
Hooja, too, had disappeared very soon after Dian had left. The
Sarians, under Ghak the Hairy One, and the Amozites under Dacor
the Strong One, Dian's brother, had fallen out over my supposed
defection, for Ghak would not believe that I had thus treacher-ously
deceived and deserted them.
The result had been that these two powerful tribes had fallen upon
one another with the new weapons that Perry and I had taught them
to make and to use. Other tribes of the new federation took sides
with the original disputants or set up petty revolutions of their
The result was the total demolition of the work we had so well
Taking advantage of the tribal war, the Mahars had gathered their
Sagoths in force and fallen upon one tribe after another in rapid
succession, wreaking awful havoc among them and reducing them for
the most part to as pitiable a state of terror as that from which
we had raised them.
Alone of all the once-mighty federation the Sarians and the Amozites
with a few other tribes continued to maintain their defiance of
the Mahars; but these tribes were still divided among themselves,
nor had it seemed at all probable to Perry when he had last been
among them that any attempt at re-amalgamation would be made.
"And thus, your majesty," he concluded, "has faded back into the
oblivion of the Stone Age our wondrous dream and with it has gone
the First Empire of Pel-lucidar."
We both had to smile at the use of my royal title, yet I was indeed
still "Emperor of Pellucidar," and some day I meant to rebuild what
the vile act of the treacherous Hooja had torn down.
But first I would find my empress. To me she was worth forty
"Have you no clue as to the whereabouts of Dian?" I asked.
"None whatever," replied Perry. "It was in search of her that I
came to the pretty pass in which you dis-covered me, and from which,
David, you saved me.
"I knew perfectly well that you had not intentionally deserted
either Dian or Pellucidar. I guessed that in some way Hooja the
Sly One was at the bottom of the matter, and I determined to go to
Amoz, where I guessed that Dian might come to the protection of her
brother, and do my utmost to convince her, and through her Dacor
the Strong One, that we had all been victims of a treacherous plot
to which you were no party.
"I came to Amoz after a most trying and terrible journey, only to
find that Dian was not among her brother's people and that they
knew naught of her whereabouts.
"Dacor, I am sure, wanted to be fair and just, but so great were
his grief and anger over the disap-pearance of his sister that he
could not listen to reason, but kept repeating time and again that
only your return to Pellucidar could prove the honesty of your
"Then came a stranger from another tribe, sent I am sure at the
instigation of Hooja. He so turned the Amozites against me that
I was forced to flee their country to escape assassination.
"In attempting to return to Sari I became lost, and then the Sagoths
discovered me. For a long time I eluded them, hiding in caves and
wading in rivers to throw them off my trail.
"I lived on nuts and fruits and the edible roots that chance threw
in my way.
"I traveled on and on, in what directions I could not even guess;
and at last I could elude them no longer and the end came as I had
long foreseen that it would come, except that I had not foreseen
that you would be there to save me."
We rested in our camp until Perry had regained sufficient strength
to travel again. We planned much, rebuilding all our shattered
air-castles; but above all we planned most to find Dian.
I could not believe that she was dead, yet where she might be in
this savage world, and under what frightful conditions she might
be living, I could not guess.
When Perry was rested we returned to the prospector, where he fitted
himself out fully like a civilized human being--under-clothing, socks,
shoes, khaki jacket and breeches and good, substantial puttees.
When I had come upon him he was clothed in rough sadak sandals,
a gee-string and a tunic fashioned from the shaggy hide of a thag.
Now he wore real clothing again for the first time since the
ape-folk had stripped us of our apparel that long-gone day that
had witnessed our advent within Pellucidar.
With a bandoleer of cartridges across his shoulder, two six-shooters
at his hips, and a rifle in his hand he was a much rejuvenated
Indeed he was quite a different person altogether from the rather
shaky old man who had entered the prospector with me ten or
eleven years before, for the trial trip that had plunged us into
such wondrous ad-ventures and into such a strange and hitherto
Now he was straight and active. His muscles, almost atrophied from
disuse in his former life, had filled out.
He was still an old man of course, but instead of appearing ten
years older than he really was, as he had when we left the outer
world, he now appeared about ten years younger. The wild, free
life of Pel-lucidar had worked wonders for him.
Well, it must need have done so or killed him, for a man of Perry's
former physical condition could not long have survived the dangers
and rigors of the primi-tive life of the inner world.
Perry had been greatly interested in my map and in the "royal
observatory" at Greenwich. By use of the pedometers we had retraced
our way to the prospector with ease and accuracy.
Now that we were ready to set out again we decided to follow
a different route on the chance that it might lead us into more
I shall not weary you with a repetition of the count-less adventures
of our long search. Encounters with wild beasts of gigantic size
were of almost daily occur-rence; but with our deadly express rifles
we ran com-paratively little risk when one recalls that previously
we had both traversed this world of frightful dangers inadequately
armed with crude, primitive weapons and all but naked.
We ate and slept many times--so many that we lost count--and so I
do not know how long we roamed, though our map shows the distances
and direc-tions quite accurately. We must have covered a great many
thousand square miles of territory, and yet we had seen nothing
in the way of a familiar landmark, when from the heights of
a mountain-range we were crossing I descried far in the distance
great masses of billowing clouds.
Now clouds are practically unknown in the skies of Pellucidar. The
moment that my eyes rested upon them my heart leaped. I seized
Perry's arm and, point-ing toward the horizonless distance, shouted:
"The Mountains of the Clouds!"
"They lie close to Phutra, and the country of our worst enemies,
the Mahars," Perry remonstrated.
"I know it," I replied, "but they give us a starting-point from
which to prosecute our search intelligently. They are at least a
"They tell us that we are upon the right trail and not wandering
far in the wrong direction.
"Furthermore, close to the Mountains of the Clouds dwells a good
friend, Ja the Mezop. You did not know him, but you know all that
he did for me and all that he will gladly do to aid me.
"At least he can direct us upon the right direction toward Sari."
"The Mountains of the Clouds constitute a mighty range," replied
Perry. "They must cover an enormous territory. How are you
to find your friend in all the great country that is visible from
their rugged flanks?"
"Easily," I answered him, "for Ja gave me minute di-rections. I
recall almost his exact words:
"'You need merely come to the foot of the highest peak of the
Mountains of the Clouds. There you will find a river that flows
into the Lural Az.
"'Directly opposite the mouth of the river you will see three large
islands far out--so far that they are barely discernible. The one
to the extreme left as you face them from the mouth of the river
is Anoroc, where I rule the tribe of Anoroc.'"
And so we hastened onward toward the great cloud-mass that was to
be our guide for several weary marches. At last we came close to
the towering crags, Alp-like in their grandeur.
Rising nobly among its noble fellows, one stupendous peak reared
its giant head thousands of feet above the others. It was he whom
we sought; but at its foot no river wound down toward any sea.
"It must rise from the opposite side," suggested Perry, casting
a rueful glance at the forbidding heights that barred our further
progress. "We cannot endure the arctic cold of those high flung
passes, and to traverse the endless miles about this interminable
range might re-quire a year or more. The land we seek must lie
upon the opposite side of the mountains."
"Then we must cross them," I insisted.
"We can't do it, David," he repeated, "We are dressed for the
tropics. We should freeze to death among the snows and glaciers
long before we had discovered a pass to the opposite side."
"We must cross them," I reiterated. "We will cross them."
I had a plan, and that plan we carried out. It took some time.
First we made a permanent camp part way up the slopes where there
was good water. Then we set out in search of the great, shaggy
cave bear of the higher altitudes.
He is a mighty animal--a terrible animal. He is but little larger
than his cousin of the lesser, lower hills; but he makes up for it
in the awfulness of his ferocity and in the length and thickness
of his shaggy coat. It was his coat that we were after.
We came upon him quite unexpectedly. I was trudg-ing in advance
along a rocky trail worn smooth by the padded feet of countless
ages of wild beasts. At a shoul-der of the mountain around which
the path ran I came face to face with the Titan.
I was going up for a fur coat. He was coming down for breakfast.
Each realized that here was the very thing he sought.
With a horrid roar the beast charged me.
At my right the cliff rose straight upward for thou-sands of feet.
At my left it dropped into a dim, abysmal canon.
In front of me was the bear.
Behind me was Perry.
I shouted to him in warning, and then I raised my rifle and fired
into the broad breast of the creature. There was no time to take
aim; the thing was too close upon me.
But that my bullet took effect was evident from the howl of rage
and pain that broke from the frothing jowls. It didn't stop him,
I fired again, and then he was upon me. Down I went beneath his
ton of maddened, clawing flesh and bone and sinew.
I thought my time had come. I remember feeling sorry for poor old
Perry, left all alone in this inhos-pitable, savage world.
And then of a sudden I realized that the bear was gone and that I
was quite unharmed. I leaped to my feet, my rifle still clutched
in my hand, and looked about for my antagonist.
I thought that I should find him farther down the trail, probably
finishing Perry, and so I leaped in the direction I supposed him
to be, to find Perry perched upon a pro-jecting rock several feet
above the trail. My cry of warn-ing had given him time to reach
this point of safety.
There he squatted, his eyes wide and his mouth ajar, the picture
of abject terror and consternation.
"Where is he?" he cried when he saw me. "Where is he?"
"Didn't he come this way?" I asked,
"Nothing came this way," replied the old man. "But I heard his
roars--he must have been as large as an elephant."
"He was," I admitted; "but where in the world do you suppose he
Then came a possible explanation to my mind. I re-turned to the
point at which the bear had hurled me down and peered over the edge
of the cliff into the abyss below.
Far, far down I saw a small brown blotch near the bottom of the
canon. It was the bear.
My second shot must have killed him, and so his dead body, after
hurling me to the path, had toppled over into the abyss. I shivered
at the thought of how close I, too, must have been to going over
It took us a long time to reach the carcass, and arduous labor to
remove the great pelt. But at last the thing was accomplished,
and we returned to camp dragging the heavy trophy behind us.
Here we devoted another considerable period to scraping and curing
it. When this was done to our satisfaction we made heavy boots,
trousers, and coats of the shaggy skin, turning the fur in.
From the scraps we fashioned caps that came down around our ears,
with flaps that fell about our shoulders and breasts. We were now
fairly well equipped for our search for a pass to the opposite side
of the Mountains of the Clouds.
Our first step now was to move our camp upward to the very edge
of the perpetual snows which cap this lofty range. Here we built
a snug, secure little hut, which we provisioned and stored with
fuel for its di-minutive fireplace.
With our hut as a base we sallied forth in search of a pass across
Our every move was carefully noted upon our maps which we now kept
in duplicate. By this means we were saved tedious and unnecessary
retracing of ways already explored.
Systematically we worked upward in both directions from our base,
and when we had at last discovered what seemed might prove a feasible
pass we moved our be-longings to a new hut farther up.
It was hard work--cold, bitter, cruel work. Not a step did we take
in advance but the grim reaper strode silently in our tracks.
There were the great cave bears in the timber, and gaunt, lean
wolves--huge creatures twice the size of our Canadian timber-wolves.
Farther up we were as-sailed by enormous white bears--hungry,
devilish fellows, who came roaring across the rough glacier tops
at the first glimpse of us, or stalked us stealthily by scent when
they had not yet seen us.
It is one of the peculiarities of life within Pellucidar that man
is more often the hunted than the hunter. Myriad are the huge-bellied
carnivora of this primitive world. Never, from birth to death,
are those great bellies sufficiently filled, so always are their
mighty owners prowling about in search of meat.
Terribly armed for battle as they are, man presents to them
in his primal state an easy prey, slow of foot, puny of strength,
ill-equipped by nature with natural weapons of defense.
The bears looked upon us as easy meat. Only our heavy rifles saved
us from prompt extinction. Poor Perry never was a raging lion at
heart, and I am convinced that the terrors of that awful period
must have caused him poignant mental anguish.
When we were abroad pushing our trail farther and farther toward
the distant break which, we assumed, marked a feasible way across
the range, we never knew at what second some great engine of
clawed and fanged destruction might rush upon us from behind, or
lie in wait for us beyond an ice-hummock or a jutting shoulder of
the craggy steeps.
The roar of our rifles was constantly shattering the world-old
silence of stupendous canons upon which the eye of man had never
before gazed. And when in the comparative safety of our hut we
lay down to sleep the great beasts roared and fought without the
walls, clawed and battered at the door, or rushed their colossal
frames headlong against the hut's sides until it rocked and trembled
to the impact.
Yes, it was a gay life.
Perry had got to taking stock of our ammunition each time we returned
to the hut. It became something of an obsession with him.
He'd count our cartridges one by one and then try to figure how
long it would be before the last was ex-pended and we must either
remain in the hut until we starved to death or venture forth, empty,
to fill the belly of some hungry bear.
I must admit that I, too, felt worried, for our progress was
indeed snail-like, and our ammunition could not last forever. In
discussing the problem, finally we came to the decision to burn
our bridges behind us and make one last supreme effort to cross
It would mean that we must go without sleep for a long period, and
with the further chance that when the time came that sleep could
no longer be denied we might still be high in the frozen regions
of perpetual snow and ice, where sleep would mean certain death,
exposed as we would be to the attacks of wild beasts and without
shelter from the hideous cold.
But we decided that we must take these chances and so at last we
set forth from our hut for the last time, carrying such necessities
as we felt we could least afford to do without. The bears seemed
unusually troublesome and determined that time, and as we clambered
slowly upward beyond the highest point to which we had previously
attained, the cold became infinitely more intense.
Presently, with two great bears dogging our footsteps we entered
a dense fog,
We had reached the heights that are so often cloud-wrapped for long
periods. We could see nothing a few paces beyond our noses.
We dared not turn back into the teeth of the bears which we could
hear grunting behind us. To meet them in this bewildering fog
would have been to court instant death.
Perry was almost overcome by the hopelessness of our situation.
He flopped down on his knees and began to pray.
It was the first time I had heard him at his old habit since my
return to Pellucidar, and I had thought that he had given up his
little idiosyncrasy; but he hadn't. Far from it.
I let him pray for a short time undisturbed, and then as I was about
to suggest that we had better be pushing along one of the bears in
our rear let out a roar that made the earth fairly tremble beneath
It brought Perry to his feet as if he had been stung by a wasp,
and sent him racing ahead through the blind-ing fog at a gait that
I knew must soon end in disaster were it not checked.
Crevasses in the glacier-ice were far too frequent to permit
of reckless speed even in a clear atmosphere, and then there were
hideous precipices along the edges of which our way often led us.
I shivered as I thought of the poor old fellow's peril.
At the top of my lungs I called to him to stop, but he did not
answer me. And then I hurried on in the di-rection he had gone,
faster by far than safety dictated.
For a while I thought I heard him ahead of me, but at last, though
I paused often to listen and to call to him, I heard nothing more,
not even the grunting of the bears that had been behind us. All
was deathly silence--the silence of the tomb. About me lay the
thick, impenetrable fog.
I was alone. Perry was gone--gone forever, I had not the slightest
Somewhere near by lay the mouth of a treacherous fissure, and far
down at its icy bottom lay all that was mortal of my old friend,
Abner Perry. There would his body he preserved in its icy sepulcher
for countless ages, until on some far distant day the slow-moving
river of ice had wound its snail-like way down to the warmer level,
there to disgorge its grisly evidence of grim tragedy, and what in
that far future age, might mean baffling mystery.
SHOOTING THE CHUTES--AND AFTER
Through the fog I felt my way along by means of my compass. I no
longer heard the bears, nor did I encoun-ter one within the fog.
Experience has since taught me that these great beasts are as
terror-stricken by this phenomenon as a landsman by a fog at sea,
and that no sooner does a fog envelop them than they make the best
of their way to lower levels and a clear atmosphere. It was well
for me that this was true.
I felt very sad and lonely as I crawled along the diffi-cult footing.
My own predicament weighed less heavily upon me than the loss of
Perry, for I loved the old fellow.
That I should ever win the opposite slopes of the range I began
to doubt, for though I am naturally sanguine, I imagine that the
bereavement which had befallen me had cast such a gloom over my
spirits that I could see no slightest ray of hope for the future.
Then, too, the blighting, gray oblivion of the cold, damp clouds
through which I wandered was distress-ing. Hope thrives best in
sunlight, and I am sure that it does not thrive at all in a fog.
But the instinct of self-preservation is stronger than hope. It
thrives, fortunately, upon nothing. It takes root upon the brink
of the grave, and blossoms in the jaws of death. Now it flourished
bravely upon the breast of dead hope, and urged me onward and upward
in a stern endeavor to justify its existence.
As I advanced the fog became denser. I could see nothing beyond
my nose. Even the snow and ice I trod were invisible.
I could not see below the breast of my bearskin coat. I seemed to
be floating in a sea of vapor.
To go forward over a dangerous glacier under such conditions was
little short of madness; but I could not have stopped going had I
known positively that death lay two paces before my nose. In the
first place, it was too cold to stop, and in the second, I should
have gone mad but for the excitement of the perils that beset each
For some time the ground had been rougher and steeper, until I
had been forced to scale a considerable height that had carried me
from the glacier entirely. I was sure from my compass that I was
following the right general direction, and so I kept on.
Once more the ground was level. From the wind that blew about me
I guessed that I must be upon some ex-posed peak of ridge.
And then quite suddenly I stepped out into space. Wildly I turned
and clutched at the ground that had slipped from beneath my feet.
Only a smooth, icy surface was there. I found nothing to clutch
or stay my fall, and a moment later so great was my speed that
nothing could have stayed me.
As suddenly as I had pitched into space, with equal suddenness did
I emerge from the fog, out of which I shot like a projectile from
a cannon into clear daylight. My speed was so great that I could
see nothing about me but a blurred and indistinct sheet of smooth
and frozen snow, that rushed past me with express-train velocity.
I must have slid downward thousands of feet before the steep incline
curved gently on to a broad, smooth, snow-covered plateau. Across
this I hurtled with slowly diminishing velocity, until at last
objects about me began to take definite shape.
Far ahead, miles and miles away, I saw a great valley and mighty
woods, and beyond these a broad expanse of water. In the nearer
foreground I discerned a small, dark blob of color upon the shimmering
whiteness of the snow.
"A bear," thought I, and thanked the instinct that had impelled
me to cling tenaciously to my rifle during the moments of my awful
At the rate I was going it would be but a moment before I should be
quite abreast the thing; nor was it long before I came to a sudden
stop in soft snow, upon which the sun was shining, not twenty paces
from the object of my most immediate apprehension.
It was standing upon its hind legs waiting for me. As I scrambled
to my feet to meet it, I dropped my gun in the snow and doubled up
It was Perry.
The expression upon his face, combined with the relief I felt at
seeing him again safe and sound, was too much for my overwrought
"David!" he cried. "David, my boy! God has been good to an old
man. He has answered my prayer."
It seems that Perry in his mad flight had plunged over the brink
at about the same point as that at which I had stepped over it
a short time later. Chance had done for us what long periods of
rational labor had failed to accomplish.
We had crossed the divide. We were upon the side of the Mountains
of the Clouds that we had for so long been attempting to reach.
We looked about. Below us were green trees and warm jungles. In
the distance was a great sea.
"The Lural Az," I said, pointing toward its blue-green surface.
Somehow--the gods alone can explain it--Perry, too, had clung to
his rifle during his mad descent of the icy slope. For that there
was cause for great rejoicing.
Neither of us was worse for his experience, so after shaking the
snow from our clothing, we set off at a great rate down toward the
warmth and comfort of the forest and the jungle.
The going was easy by comparison with the awful obstacles we had
had to encounter upon the opposite side of the divide. There were
beasts, of course, but we came through safely.
Before we halted to eat or rest, we stood beside a little mountain
brook beneath the wondrous trees of the primeval forest in an
atmosphere of warmth and com-fort. It reminded me of an early June
day in the Maine Woods.
We fell to work with our short axes and cut enough small trees to
build a rude protection from the fiercer beasts. Then we lay down
How long we slept I do not know. Perry says that inasmuch as there
is no means of measuring time within Pellucidar, there can be no
such thing as time here, and that we may have slept an outer earthly
year, or we may have slept but a second.
But this I know. We had stuck the ends of some of the saplings
into the ground in the building of our shelter, first stripping
the leaves and branches from them, and when we awoke we found that
many of them had thrust forth sprouts.
Personally, I think that we slept at least a month; but who may
say? The sun marked midday when we closed our eyes; it was still in
the same position when we opened them; nor had it varied a hair's
breadth in the interim.
It is most baffling, this question of elapsed time within Pellucidar.
Anyhow, I was famished when we awoke. I think that it was the pangs
of hunger that awoke me. Ptarmigan and wild boar fell before my
revolver within a dozen moments of my awakening. Perry soon had
a roaring fire blazing by the brink of the little stream.
It was a good and delicious meal we made. Though we did not eat the
entire boar, we made a very large hole in him, while the ptarmigan
was but a mouthful.
Having satisfied our hunger, we determined to set forth at once in
search of Anoroc and my old friend, Ja the Mezop. We each thought
that by following the little stream downward, we should come upon
the large river which Ja had told me emptied into the Lural Az
op-posite his island.
We did so; nor were we disappointed, for at last after a pleasant
journey--and what journey would not be pleasant after the hardships
we had endured among the peaks of the Mountains of the Clouds--we
came upon a broad flood that rushed majestically onward in the
di-rection of the great sea we had seen from the snowy slopes of
For three long marches we followed the left bank of the growing
river, until at last we saw it roll its mighty volume into the vast
waters of the sea. Far out across the rippling ocean we described
three islands. The one to the left must be Anoroc.
At last we had come close to a solution of our problem--the road
But how to reach the islands was now the foremost question in our
minds. We must build a canoe.
Perry is a most resourceful man. He has an axiom which carries the
thought-kernel that what man has done, man can do, and it doesn't
cut any figure with Perry whether a fellow knows how to do it or
He set out to make gunpowder once, shortly after our escape from
Phutra and at the beginning of the con-federation of the wild tribes
of Pellucidar. He said that some one, without any knowledge of the
fact that such a thing might be concocted, had once stumbled upon
it by accident, and so he couldn't see why a fellow who knew all
about powder except how to make it couldn't do as well.
He worked mighty hard mixing all sorts of things together, until
finally he evolved a substance that looked like powder. He had
been very proud of the stuff, and had gone about the village of
the Sarians exhibiting it to every one who would listen to him, and
explaining what its purpose was and what terrific havoc it would
work, until finally the natives became so terrified at the stuff
that they wouldn't come within a rod of Perry and his invention.
Finally, I suggested that we experiment with it and see what it
would do, so Perry built a fire, after placing the powder at a safe
distance, and then touched a glow-ing ember to a minute particle
of the deadly explosive. It extinguished the ember.
Repeated experiments with it determined me that in searching for
a high explosive, Perry had stumbled upon a fire-extinguisher that
would have made his fortune for him back in our own world.
So now he set himself to work to build a scientific canoe. I had
suggested that we construct a dugout, but Perry convinced me that
we must build something more in keeping with our positions of
supermen in this world of the Stone Age.
"We must impress these natives with our superiority," he explained.
"You must not forget, David, that you are emperor of Pellucidar.
As such you may not with dignity approach the shores of a foreign
power in so crude a vessel as a dugout."
I pointed out to Perry that it wasn't much more in-congruous for
the emperor to cruise in a canoe, than it was for the prime minister
to attempt to build one with his own hands.
He had to smile at that; but in extenuation of his act he assured
me that it was quite customary for prime ministers to give their
personal attention to the building of imperial navies; "and this,"
he said, "is the imperial navy of his Serene Highness, David I,
Emperor of the Federated Kingdoms of Pellucidar."
I grinned; but Perry was quite serious about it. It had always seemed
rather more or less of a joke to me that I should be addressed as
majesty and all the rest of it. Yet my imperial power and dignity
had been a very real thing during my brief reign.
Twenty tribes had joined the federation, and their chiefs had sworn
eternal fealty to one another and to me. Among them were many
powerful though savage na-tions. Their chiefs we had made kings;
their tribal lands kingdoms.
We had armed them with bows and arrows and swords, in addition to
their own more primitive weapons. I had trained them in military
discipline and in so much of the art of war as I had gleaned from
extensive read-ing of the campaigns of Napoleon, Von Moltke, Grant,
and the ancients.
We had marked out as best we could natural bounda-ries dividing
the various kingdoms. We had warned tribes beyond these boundaries
that they must not trespass, and we had marched against and severely
punished those who had.
We had met and defeated the Mahars and the Sagoths. In short, we had
demonstrated our rights to empire, and very rapidly were we being
recognized and heralded abroad when my departure for the outer
world and Hooja's treachery had set us back.
But now I had returned. The work that fate had undone must be done
again, and though I must need smile at my imperial honors, I none
the less felt the weight of duty and obligation that rested upon
Slowly the imperial navy progressed toward com-pletion. She was a
wondrous craft, but I had my doubts about her. When I voiced them
to Perry, he reminded me gently that my people for many generations
had been mine-owners, not ship-builders, and consequently I couldn't
be expected to know much about the matter.
I was minded to inquire into his hereditary fitness to design
battleships; but inasmuch as I already knew that his father had been
a minister in a back-woods village far from the coast, I hesitated
lest I offend the dear old fellow.
He was immensely serious about his work, and I must admit that in
so far as appearances went he did ex-tremely well with the meager
tools and assistance at his command. We had only two short axes
and our hunting-knives; yet with these we hewed trees, split them
into planks, surfaced and fitted them.
The "navy" was some forty feet in length by ten feet beam. Her
sides were quite straight and fully ten feet high--"for the purpose,"
explained Perry, "of adding dignity to her appearance and rendering
it less easy for an enemy to board her."
As a matter of fact, I knew that he had had in mind the safety
of her crew under javelin-fire--the lofty sides made an admirable
shelter. Inside she reminded me of nothing so much as a floating
trench. There was also some slight analogy to a huge coffin.
Her prow sloped sharply backward from the water-line--quite like a
line of battleship. Perry had designed her more for moral effect
upon an enemy, I think, than for any real harm she might inflict,
and so those parts which were to show were the most imposing.
Below the water-line she was practically non-existent. She should
have had considerable draft; but, as the enemy couldn't have seen
it, Perry decided to do away with it, and so made her flat-bottomed.
It was this that caused my doubts about her.
There was another little idiosyncrasy of design that escaped
us both until she was about ready to launch--there was no method
of propulsion. Her sides were far too high to permit the use of
sweeps, and when Perry suggested that we pole her, I remonstrated
on the grounds that it would be a most undignified and awk-ward
manner of sweeping down upon the foe, even if we could find or
wield poles that would reach to the bottom of the ocean.
Finally I suggested that we convert her into a sailing vessel. When
once the idea took hold Perry was most enthusiastic about it, and
nothing would do but a four-masted, full-rigged ship.
Again I tried to dissuade him, but he was simply crazy over the
psychological effect which the appearance of this strange and mighty
craft would have upon the natives of Pellucidar. So we rigged her
with thin hides for sails and dried gut for rope.
Neither of us knew much about sailing a full-rigged ship; but that
didn't worry me a great deal, for I was confident that we should
never be called upon to do so, and as the day of launching approached
I was positive of it.
We had built her upon a low bank of the river close to where it
emptied into the sea, and just above high tide. Her keel we had
laid upon several rollers cut from small trees, the ends of the
rollers in turn resting upon parallel tracks of long saplings. Her
stern was toward the water.
A few hours before we were ready to launch her she made quite an
imposing picture, for Perry had insisted upon setting every shred
of "canvas." I told him that I didn't know much about it, but I was
sure that at launch-ing the hull only should have been completed,
every-thing else being completed after she had floated safely.
At the last minute there was some delay while we sought a name
for her. I wanted her christened the Perry in honor both of her
designer and that other great naval genius of another world, Captain
Oliver Hazard Perry, of the United States Navy. But Perry was too
modest; he wouldn't hear of it.
We finally decided to establish a system in the naming of the fleet.
Battle-ships of the first-class should bear the names of kingdoms
of the federation; armored cruisers the names of kings; cruisers the
names of cities, and so on down the line. Therefore, we decided to
name the first battle-ship Sari, after the first of the federated
The launching of the Sari proved easier than I con-templated. Perry
wanted me to get in and break some-thing over the bow as she floated
out upon the bosom of the river, but I told him that I should feel
safer on dry land until I saw which side up the Sari would float.
I could see by the expression of the old man's face that my words
had hurt him; but I noticed that he didn't offer to get in himself,
and so I felt less contrition than I might otherwise.
When we cut the ropes and removed the blocks that held the Sari in
place she started for the water with a lunge. Before she hit it
she was going at a reckless speed, for we had laid our tracks quite
down to the water, greased them, and at intervals placed rollers
all ready to receive the ship as she moved forward with stately
dignity. But there was no dignity in the Sari.
When she touched the surface of the river she must have been going
twenty or thirty miles an hour. Her momentum carried her well out
into the stream, until she came to a sudden halt at the end of the
long line which we had had the foresight to attach to her bow and
fasten to a large tree upon the bank.
The moment her progress was checked she promptly capsized. Perry
was overwhelmed. I didn't upbraid him, nor remind him that I had
"told him so."
His grief was so genuine and so apparent that I didn't have the
heart to reproach him, even were I inclined to that particular sort
"Come, come, old man!" I cried. "It's not as bad as it looks.
Give me a hand with this rope, and we'll drag her up as far as we
can; and then when the tide goes out we'll try another scheme. I
think we can make a go of her yet."
Well, we managed to get her up into shallow water. When the tide
receded she lay there on her side in the mud, quite a pitiable
object for the premier battle-ship of a world--"the terror of the
seas" was the way Perry had occasionally described her.
We had to work fast; but before the tide came in again we had
stripped her of her sails and masts, righted her, and filled her
about a quarter full of rock ballast. If she didn't stick too fast
in the mud I was sure that she would float this time right side
I can tell you that it was with palpitating hearts that we sat upon
the river-bank and watched that tide come slowly in. The tides
of Pellucidar don't amount to much by comparison with our higher
tides of the outer world, but I knew that it ought to prove ample
to float the Sari.
Nor was I mistaken. Finally we had the satisfaction of seeing
the vessel rise out of the mud and float slowly upstream with the
tide. As the water rose we pulled her in quite close to the bank
and clambered aboard.
She rested safely now upon an even keel; nor did she leak, for she
was well calked with fiber and tarry pitch. We rigged up a single
short mast and light sail, fastened planking down over the ballast
to form a deck, worked her out into midstream with a couple of
sweeps, and dropped our primitive stone anchor to await the turn
of the tide that would bear us out to sea.
While we waited we devoted the time to the con-struction of an
upper deck, since the one immediately above the ballast was some
seven feet from the gunwale. The second deck was four feet above
this. In it was a large, commodious hatch, leading to the lower
deck. The sides of the ship rose three feet above the upper deck,
forming an excellent breastwork, which we loopholed at intervals
that we might lie prone and fire upon an enemy.
Though we were sailing out upon a peaceful mission in search of
my friend Ja, we knew that we might meet with people of some other
island who would prove unfriendly.
At last the tide turned. We weighed anchor. Slowly we drifted
down the great river toward the sea.
About us swarmed the mighty denizens of the prim-eval deep--plesiosauri
and ichthyosauria with all their horrid, slimy cousins whose names
were as the names of aunts and uncles to Perry, but which I have
never been able to recall an hour after having heard them.
At last we were safely launched upon the journey to which we had
looked forward for so long, and the results of which meant so much
FRIENDSHIP AND TREACHERY
The Sari proved a most erratic craft. She might have done well
enough upon a park lagoon if safely anchored, but upon the bosom
of a mighty ocean she left much to be desired.
Sailing with the wind she did her best; but in quarter-ing or when
close-hauled she drifted terribly, as a nautical man might have
guessed she would. We couldn't keep within miles of our course,
and our progress was pitifully slow.
Instead of making for the island of Anoroc, we bore far to the
right, until it became evident that we should have to pass between
the two right-hand islands and attempt to return toward Anoroc from
the opposite side.
As we neared the islands Perry was quite overcome by their beauty.
When we were directly between two of them he fairly went into
raptures; nor could I blame him.
The tropical luxuriance of the foliage that dripped almost to the
water's edge and the vivid colors of the blooms that shot the green
made a most gorgeous spectacle.
Perry was right in the midst of a flowery panegyric on the wonders
of the peaceful beauty of the scene when a canoe shot out from the
nearest island. There were a dozen warriors in it; it was quickly
followed by a second and third.
Of course we couldn't know the intentions of the strangers, but we
could pretty well guess them.
Perry wanted to man the sweeps and try to get away from them, but
I soon convinced him that any speed of which the Sari was capable
would be far too slow to outdistance the swift, though awkward,
dugouts of the Mezops.
I waited until they were quite close enough to hear me, and then I
hailed them. I told them that we were friends of the Mezops, and
that we were upon a visit to Ja of Anoroc, to which they replied
that they were at war with Ja, and that if we would wait a minute
they'd board us and throw our corpses to the azdyryths.
I warned them that they would get the worst of it if they didn't
leave us alone, but they only shouted in derision and paddled swiftly
toward us. It was evident that they were considerably impressed by
the appear-ance and dimensions of our craft, but as these fellows
know no fear they were not at all awed.
Seeing that they were determined to give battle, I leaned over the
rail of the Sari and brought the im-perial battle-squadron of the
Emperor of Pellucidar into action for the first time in the history
of a world. In other and simpler words, I fired my revolver at
the nearest canoe.
The effect was magical. A warrior rose from his knees, threw his
paddle aloft, stiffened into rigidity for an instant, and then
The others ceased paddling, and, with wide eyes, looked first at
me and then at the battling sea-things which fought for the corpse
of their comrade. To them it must have seemed a miracle that I
should be able to stand at thrice the range of the most powerful
javelin-thrower and with a loud noise and a smudge of smoke slay
one of their number with an invisible missile.
But only for an instant were they paralyzed with wonder. Then,
with savage shouts, they fell once more to their paddles and forged
rapidly toward us.
Again and again I fired. At each shot a warrior sank to the bottom
of the canoe or tumbled overboard.
When the prow of the first craft touched the side of the Sari
it contained only dead and dying men. The other two dugouts were
approaching rapidly, so I turned my attention toward them.
I think that they must have been commencing to have some doubts--those
wild, naked, red warriors--for when the first man fell in the
second boat, the others stopped paddling and commenced to jabber
The third boat pulled up alongside the second and its crews joined
in the conference. Taking advantage of the lull in the battle, I
called out to the survivors to return to their shore.
"I have no fight with you," I cried, and then I told them who I
was and added that if they would live in peace they must sooner or
later join forces with me.
"Go back now to your people," I counseled them, "and tell them
that you have seen David I, Emperor of the Federated Kingdoms of
Pellucidar, and that single-handed he has overcome you, just as
be intends over-coming the Mahars and the Sagoths and any other
peoples of Pellucidar who threaten the peace and wel-fare of his
Slowly they turned the noses of their canoes toward land. It was
evident that they were impressed; yet that they were loath to give
up without further con-testing my claim to naval supremacy was
also apparent, for some of their number seemed to be exhorting the
others to a renewal of the conflict.
However, at last they drew slowly away, and the Sari, which had not
decreased her snail-like speed during this, her first engagement,
continued upon her slow, uneven way.
Presently Perry stuck his head up through the hatch and hailed me.
"Have the scoundrels departed?" he asked. "Have you killed them
"Those whom I failed to kill have departed, Perry," I replied.
He came out on deck and, peering over the side, descried the lone
canoe floating a short distance astern with its grim and grisly
freight. Farther his eyes wan-dered to the retreating boats.
"David," said he at last, "this is a notable occasion. It is a great
day in the annals of Pellucidar. We have won a glorious victory.
"Your majesty's navy has routed a fleet of the enemy thrice its
own size, manned by ten times as many men. Let us give thanks."
I could scarce restrain a smile at Perry's use of the pronoun "we,"
yet I was glad to share the rejoicing with him as I shall always
be glad to share everything with the dear old fellow.
Perry is the only male coward I have ever known whom I could respect
and love. He was not created for fighting; but I think that if
the occasion should ever arise where it became necessary he would
give his life cheer-fully for me--yes, I KNOW it.
It took us a long time to work around the islands and draw in close
to Anoroc. In the leisure afforded we took turns working on our
map, and by means of the compass and a little guesswork we set down
the shoreline we had left and the three islands with fair accuracy.
Crossed sabers marked the spot where the first great naval engagement
of a world had taken place. In a note-book we jotted down, as had
been our custom, details that would be of historical value later.
Opposite Anoroc we came to anchor quite close to shore. I knew
from my previous experience with the tortuous trails of the island
that I could never find my way inland to the hidden tree-village
of the Mezop chieftain, Ja; so we remained aboard the Sari, firing
our express rifles at intervals to attract the attention of the
After some ten shots had been fired at considerable intervals a body
of copper-colored warriors appeared upon the shore. They watched
us for a moment and then I hailed them, asking the whereabouts of
my old friend Ja.
They did not reply at once, but stood with their heads together
in serious and animated discussion. Continually they turned their
eyes toward our strange craft. It was evident that they were greatly
puzzled by our appear-ance as well as unable to explain the source
of the loud noises that had attracted their attention to us. At
last one of the warriors addressed us.
"Who are you who seek Ja?" he asked. "What would you of our chief?"
"We are friends," I replied. "I am David. Tell Ja that David,
whose life be once saved from a sithic, has come again to visit
"If you will send out a canoe we will come ashore. We cannot bring
our great warship closer in."
Again they talked for a considerable time. Then two of them entered
a canoe that several dragged from its hiding-place in the jungle
and paddled swiftly toward us.
They were magnificent specimens of manhood. Perry had never seen
a member of this red race close to be-fore. In fact, the dead men
in the canoe we had left astern after the battle and the survivors
who were paddling rapidly toward their shore were the first he ever
had seen. He had been greatly impressed by their physical beauty
and the promise of superior intelligence which their well-shaped
The two who now paddled out received us into their canoe with
dignified courtesy. To my inquiries relative to Ja they explained
that he had not been in the village when our signals were heard,
but that runners had been sent out after him and that doubtless he
was already upon his way to the coast.
One of the men remembered me from the occasion of my former visit
to the island; he was extremely agree-able the moment that he came
close enough to recognize me. He said that Ja would be delighted to
welcome me, and that all the tribe of Anoroc knew of me by repute,
and had received explicit instructions from their chief-tain that
if any of them should ever come upon me to show me every kindness
Upon shore we were received with equal honor. While we stood
conversing with our bronze friends a tall warrior leaped suddenly
from the jungle.
It was Ja. As his eyes fell upon me his face lighted with pleasure.
He came quickly forward to greet me after the manner of his tribe.
Toward Perry he was equally hospitable. The old man fell in love
with the savage giant as completely as had I. Ja conducted us along
the maze-like trail to his strange village, where he gave over one
of the tree-houses for our exclusive use.
Perry was much interested in the unique habitation, which resembled
nothing so much as a huge wasp's nest built around the bole of a
tree well above the ground.
After we had eaten and rested Ja came to see us with a number of
his head men. They listened attentively to my story, which included
a narrative of the events lead-ing to the formation of the federated
kingdoms, the battle with the Mahars, my journey to the outer world,
and my return to Pellucidar and search for Sari and my mate.
Ja told me that the Mezops had heard something of the federation
and had been much interested in it. He had even gone so far as to
send a party of warriors toward Sari to investigate the reports,
and to arrange for the entrance of Anoroc into the empire in case
it ap-peared that there was any truth in the rumors that one of
the aims of the federation was the overthrow of the Mahars.
The delegation had met with a party of Sagoths. As there had been
a truce between the Mahars and the Mezops for many generations,
they camped with these warriors of the reptiles, from whom they
learned that the federation had gone to pieces. So the party
returned to Anoroc.
When I showed Ja our map and explained its purpose to him, he was
much interested. The location of Anoroc, the Mountains of the
Clouds, the river, and the strip of seacoast were all familiar to
He quickly indicated the position of the inland sea and close beside
it, the city of Phutra, where one of the powerful Mahar nations had
its seat. He likewise showed us where Sari should be and carried
his own coast-line as far north and south as it was known to him.
His additions to the map convinced us that Green-wich lay upon
the verge of this same sea, and that it might be reached by water
more easily than by the arduous crossing of the mountains or the
dangerous ap-proach through Phutra, which lay almost directly in
line between Anoroc and Greenwich to the northwest.
If Sari lay upon the same water then the shore-line must bend far
back toward the southwest of Greenwich--an assumption which, by
the way, we found later to be true. Also, Sari was upon a lofty
plateau at the southern end of a mighty gulf of the Great Ocean.
The location which Ja gave to distant Amoz puzzled us, for it
placed it due north of Greenwich, apparently in mid-ocean. As Ja
had never been so far and knew only of Amoz through hearsay, we
thought that he must be mistaken; but he was not. Amoz lies directly
north of Greenwich across the mouth of the same gulf as that upon
which Sari is.
The sense of direction and location of these primitive Pellucidarians
is little short of uncanny, as I have had occasion to remark in
the past. You may take one of them to the uttermost ends of his
world, to places of which he has never even heard, yet without
sun or moon or stars to guide him, without map or compass, he will
travel straight for home in the shortest direction.
Mountains, rivers, and seas may have to be gone around. but never
once does his sense of direction fail him--the homing instinct is
In the same remarkable way they never forget the location of any
place to which they have ever been, and know that of many of which
they have only heard from others who have visited them.
In short, each Pellucidarian is a walking geography of his own
district and of much of the country contiguous thereto. It always
proved of the greatest aid to Perry and me; nevertheless we were
anxious to enlarge our map, for we at least were not endowed with
the homing instinct.
After several long councils it was decided that, in order to expedite
matters, Perry should return to the prospector with a strong party
of Mezops and fetch the freight I had brought from the outer world.
Ja and his warriors were much impressed by our firearms, and were
also anxious to build boats with sails.
As we had arms at the prospector and also books on boat-building
we thought that it might prove an ex-cellent idea to start these
naturally maritime people upon the construction of a well built
navy of staunch sailing-vessels. I was sure that with definite
plans to go by Perry could oversee the construction of an adequate
I warned him, however, not to be too ambitious, and to forget about
dreadnoughts and armored cruisers for a while and build instead a
few small sailing-boats that could be manned by four or five men.
I was to proceed to Sari, and while prosecuting my search for Dian
attempt at the same time the rehabili-tation of the federation.
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