Edgar Rice Burroughs
Part 2 out of 4
Perry was going as far as possible by water, with the chances that
the entire trip might be made in that manner, which proved to be
With a couple of Mezops as companions I started for Sari. In order
to avoid crossing the principal range of the Mountains of the Clouds
we took a route that passed a little way south of Phutra. We had
eaten four times and slept once, and were, as my companions told
me, not far from the great Mahar city, when we were sud-denly
confronted by a considerable band of Sagoths.
They did not attack us, owing to the peace which exists between
the Mahars and the Mezops, but I could see that they looked upon
me with considerable sus-picion. My friends told them that I was
a stranger from a remote country, and as we had previously planned
against such a contingency I pretended ignorance of the language
which the human beings of Pellucidar em-ploy in conversing with
the gorilla-like soldiery of the Mahars.
I noticed, and not without misgivings, that the leader of the Sagoths
eyed me with an expression that be-tokened partial recognition.
I was sure that he had seen me before during the period of my
incarceration in Phutra and that he was trying to recall my identity.
It worried me not a little. I was extremely thankful when we bade
them adieu and continued upon our journey.
Several times during the next few marches I became acutely conscious
of the sensation of being watched by unseen eyes, but I did not
speak of my suspicions to my companions. Later I had reason to
regret my reticence, for--
Well, this is how it happened:
We had killed an antelope and after eating our fill I had lain down
to sleep. The Pellucidarians, who seem seldom if ever to require
sleep, joined me in this instance, for we had had a very trying
march along the northern foothills of the Mountains of the Clouds,
and now with their bellies filled with meat they seemed ready for
When I awoke it was with a start to find a couple of huge Sagoths
astride me. They pinioned my arms and legs, and later chained my
wrists behind my back. Then they let me up.
I saw my companions; the brave fellows lay dead where they had
slept, javelined to death without a chance at self-defense.
I was furious. I threatened the Sagoth leader with all sorts of
dire reprisals; but when he heard me speak the hybrid language that
is the medium of communication between his kind and the human race
of the inner world he only grinned, as much as to say, "I thought
They had not taken my revolvers or ammunition away from me because
they did not know what they were; but my heavy rifle I had lost.
They simply left it where it had lain beside me.
So low in the scale of intelligence are they, that they had not
sufficient interest in this strange object even to fetch it along
I knew from the direction of our march that they were taking me
to Phutra. Once there I did not need much of an imagination to
picture what my fate would be. It was the arena and a wild thag or
fierce tarag for me--unless the Mahars elected to take me to the
In that case my end would be no more certain, though infinitely
more horrible and painful, for in the pits I should be subjected
to cruel vivisection. From what I had once seen of their methods
in the pits of Phutra I knew them to be the opposite of merciful,
whereas in the arena I should be quickly despatched by some savage
Arrived at the underground city, I was taken im-mediately before
a slimy Mahar. When the creature had received the report of the
Sagoth its cold eyes glistened with malice and hatred as they were
turned balefully upon me.
I knew then that my identity had been guessed. With a show of
excitement that I had never before seen evinced by a member of the
dominant race of Pellucidar, the Mahar hustled me away, heavily
guarded, through the main avenue of the city to one of the principal
Here we were ushered into a great hall where presently many Mahars
In utter silence they conversed, for they have no oral speech since
they are without auditory nerves. Their method of communication
Perry has likened to the pro-jection of a sixth sense into a fourth
dimension, where it becomes cognizable to the sixth sense of their
Be that as it may, however, it was evident that I was the subject
of discussion, and from the hateful looks bestowed upon me not a
particularly pleasant subject.
How long I waited for their decision I do not know, but it must
have been a very long time. Finally one of the Sagoths addressed
me. He was acting as interpreter for his masters.
"The Mahars will spare your life," he said, "and re-lease you on
"And what is that condition?" I asked, though I could guess its
"That you return to them that which you stole from the pits of
Phutra when you killed the four Mahars and escaped," he replied.
I had thought that that would be it. The great secret upon which
depended the continuance of the Mahar race was safely hid where
only Dian and I knew.
I ventured to imagine that they would have given me much more than
my liberty to have it safely in their keeping again; but after
Would they keep their promises?
I doubted it. With the secret of artificial propagation once more
in their hands their numbers would soon be made so to overrun the
world of Pellucidar that there could be no hope for the eventual
supremacy of the human race, the cause for which I so devoutly
hoped, for which I had consecrated my life, and for which I was
not willing to give my life.
Yes! In that moment as I stood before the heartless tribunal I felt
that my life would be a very little thing to give could it save
to the human race of Pellucidar the chance to come into its own by
insuring the eventual extinction of the hated, powerful Mahars.
"Come!" exclaimed the Sagoths. "The mighty Mahars await your
"You may say to them," I answered, "that I shall not tell them
where the great secret is hid."
When this had been translated to them there was a great beating of
reptilian wings, gaping of sharp-fanged jaws, and hideous hissing.
I thought that they were about to fall upon me on the spot, and so
I laid my hands upon my revolvers; but at length they became more
quiet and presently transmitted some command to my Sagoth guard,
the chief of which laid a heavy hand upon my arm and pushed me
roughly before him from the audience-chamber.
They took me to the pits, where I lay carefully guarded. I was
sure that I was to be taken to the vivi-section laboratory, and
it required all my courage to fortify myself against the terrors
of so fearful a death. In Pellucidar, where there is no time,
death-agonies may endure for eternities.
Accordingly, I had to steel myself against an endless doom, which
now stared me in the face!
But at last the allotted moment arrived--the moment for which I
had been trying to prepare myself, for how long I could not even
guess. A great Sagoth came and spoke some words of command to
those who watched over me. I was jerked roughly to my feet and
with little consideration hustled upward toward the higher levels.
Out into the broad avenue they conducted me, where, amid huge
throngs of Mahars, Sagoths, and heavily guarded slaves, I was led,
or, rather, pushed and shoved roughly, along in the same direction
that the mob moved. I had seen such a concourse of people once
be-fore in the buried city of Phutra; I guessed, and rightly, that
we were bound for the great arena where slaves who are condemned
to death meet their end.
Into the vast amphitheater they took me, stationing me at the
extreme end of the arena. The queen came, with her slimy, sickening
retinue. The seats were filled. The show was about to commence.
Then, from a little doorway in the opposite end of the structure,
a girl was led into the arena. She was at a considerable distance
from me. I could not see her features.
I wondered what fate awaited this other poor victim and myself,
and why they had chosen to have us die together. My own fate, or
rather, my thought of it, was submerged in the natural pity I felt
for this lone girl, doomed to die horribly beneath the cold, cruel
eyes of her awful captors. Of what crime could she be guilty that
she must expiate it in the dreaded arena?
As I stood thus thinking, another door, this time at one of the
long sides of the arena, was thrown open, and into the theater of
death slunk a mighty tarag, the huge cave tiger of the Stone Age.
At my sides were my re-volvers. My captors had not taken them from
me, be-cause they did not yet realize their nature. Doubtless they
thought them some strange manner of war-club, and as those who are
condemned to the arena are per-mitted weapons of defense, they let
me keep them.
The girl they had armed with a javelin. A brass pin would have been
almost as effective against the ferocious monster they had loosed
The tarag stood for a moment looking about him--first up at the
vast audience and then about the arena. He did not seem to see me
at all, but his eyes fell presently upon the girl. A hideous roar
broke from his titanic lungs--a roar which ended in a long-drawn
scream that is more human than the death-cry of a tortured woman--more
human but more awesome. I could scarce restrain a shudder.
Slowly the beast turned and moved toward the girl. Then it was
that I came to myself and to a realization of my duty. Quickly and
as noiselessly as possible I ran down the arena in pursuit of the
grim creature. As I ran I drew one of my pitifully futile weapons.
Ah! Could I but have had my lost express-gun in my hands at that
moment! A single well-placed shot would have crumbled even this
great monster. The best I could hope to ac-complish was to divert
the thing from the girl to myself and then to place as many bullets
as possible in it before it reached and mauled me into insensibility
There is a certain unwritten law of the arena that vouchsafes freedom
and immunity to the victor, be he beast or human being--both of
whom, by the way, are all the same to the Mahar. That is, they
were accus-tomed to look upon man as a lower animal before Perry
and I broke through the Pellucidarian crust, but I imagine that
they were beginning to alter their views a trifle and to realize
that in the gilak--their word for human being--they had a highly
organized, reasoning being to contend with.
Be that as it may, the chances were that the tarag alone would
profit by the law of the arena. A few more of his long strides,
a prodigious leap, and he would be upon the girl. I raised
a revolver and fired. The bullet struck him in the left hind leg.
It couldn't have damaged him much; but the report of the shot
brought him around, facing me.
I think the snarling visage of a huge, enraged, saber-toothed tiger
is one of the most terrible sights in the world. Especially if
he be snarling at you and there be nothing between the two of you
but bare sand.
Even as he faced me a little cry from the girl carried my eyes
beyond the brute to her face. Hers was fastened upon me with an
expression of incredulity that baffles description. There was both
hope and horror in them, too.
"Dian!" I cried. "My Heavens, Dian!"
I saw her lips form the name David, as with raised javelin she
rushed forward upon the tarag. She was a tigress then--a primitive
savage female defending her loved one. Before she could reach the
beast with her puny weapon, I fired again at the point where the
tarag's neck met his left shoulder. If I could get a bullet through
there it might reach his heart. The bullet didn't reach his heart,
but it stopped him for an instant.
It was then that a strange thing happened. I heard a great hissing
from the stands occupied by the Mahars, and as I glanced toward
them I saw three mighty thipdars--the winged dragons that guard the
queen, or, as Perry calls them, pterodactyls--rise swiftly from
their rocks and dart lightning-like, toward the center of the arena.
They are huge, powerful reptiles. One of them, with the advantage
which his wings might give him, would easily be a match for a cave
bear or a tarag.
These three, to my consternation, swooped down upon the tarag as
he was gathering himself for a final charge upon me. They buried
their talons in his back and lifted him bodily from the arena as
if he had been a chicken in the clutches of a hawk.
What could it mean?
I was baffled for an explanation; but with the tarag gone I lost
no time in hastening to Dian's side. With a little cry of delight
she threw herself into my arms. So lost were we in the ecstasy of
reunion that neither of us--to this day--can tell what became of
The first thing we were aware of was the presence of a body of
Sagoths about us. Gruffly they commanded us to follow them. They
led us from the arena and back through the streets of Phutra to the
audience chamber in which I had been tried and sentenced. Here we
found ourselves facing the same cold, cruel tribunal.
Again a Sagoth acted as interpreter. He explained that our lives
bad been spared because at the last moment Tu-al-sa had returned
to Phutra, and seeing me in the arena had prevailed upon the queen
to spare my life.
"Who is Tu-al-sa?" I asked.
"A Mahar whose last male ancestor was--ages ago--the last of the
male rulers among the Mahars," he replied.
"Why should she wish to have my life spared?"
He shrugged his shoulders and then repeated my question to the
Mahar spokesman. When the latter had explained in the strange
sign-language that passes for speech between the Mahars and their
fighting men the Sagoth turned again to me:
"For a long time you had Tu-al-sa in your power," he explained.
"You might easily have killed her or aban-doned her in a strange
world--but you did neither. You did not harm her, and you brought
her back with you to Pellucidar and set her free to return to
Phutra. This is your reward."
Now I understood. The Mahar who had been my in-voluntary companion
upon my return to the outer world was Tu-al-sa. This was the first
time that I had learned the lady's name. I thanked fate that I
had not left her upon the sands of the Sahara--or put a bullet in
her, as I had been tempted to do. I was surprised to discover that
gratitude was a characteristic of the dominant race of Pellucidar.
I could never think of them as aught but cold-blooded, brainless
reptiles, though Perry had de-voted much time in explaining to me
that owing to a strange freak of evolution among all the genera
of the inner world, this species of the reptilia had advanced to
a position quite analogous to that which man holds upon the outer
He had often told me that there was every reason to believe from their
writings, which he had learned to read while we were incarcerated
in Phutra, that they were a just race, and that in certain branches
of science and arts they were quite well advanced, especially in
genetics and metaphysics, engineering and architecture.
While it had always been difficult for me to look upon these things
as other than slimy, winged crocodiles--which, by the way, they do
not at all resemble--I was now forced to a realization of the fact
that I was in the hands of enlightened creatures--for justice and
grati-tude are certain hallmarks of rationality and culture.
But what they purposed for us further was of most imminent interest
to me. They might save us from the tarag and yet not free us.
They looked upon us yet, to some extent, I knew, as creatures of
a lower order, and so as we are unable to place ourselves in the
position of the brutes we enslave--thinking that they are happier
in bondage than in the free fulfilment of the purposes for which
nature intended them--the Mahars, too, might consider our welfare
better conserved in captivity than among the dangers of the savage
freedom we craved. Naturally, I was next impelled to inquire their
To my question, put through the Sagoth interpreter, I received the
reply that having spared my life they con-sidered that Tu-al-sa's
debt of gratitude was canceled. They still had against me, however,
the crime of which I had been guilty--the unforgivable crime of
stealing the great secret. They, therefore, intended holding Dian
and me prisoners until the manuscript was returned to them.
They would, they said, send an escort of Sagoths with me to fetch
the precious document from its hiding-place, keeping Dian at Phutra
as a hostage and releasing us both the moment that the document
was safely restored to their queen.
There was no doubt but that they had the upper hand. However,
there was so much more at stake than the liberty or even the lives
of Dian and myself, that I did not deem it expedient to accept
their offer without giving the matter careful thought.
Without the great secret this maleless race must even-tually become
extinct. For ages they had fertilized their eggs by an artificial
process, the secret of which lay hidden in the little cave of
a far-off valley where Dian and I had spent our honeymoon. I was
none too sure that I could find the valley again, nor that I cared
to. So long as the powerful reptilian race of Pellucidar continued
to propagate, just so long would the position of man within the
inner world be jeopardized. There could not be two dominant races.
I said as much to Dian.
"You used to tell me," she replied, "of the wonderful things you
could accomplish with the inventions of your own world. Now you
have returned with all that is necessary to place this great power
in the hands of the men of Pellucidar.
"You told me of great engines of destruction which would cast a
bursting ball of metal among our enemies, killing hundreds of them
at one time.
"You told me of mighty fortresses of stone which a thousand men
armed with big and little engines such as these could hold forever
against a million Sagoths.
"You told me of great canoes which moved across the water without
paddles, and which spat death from holes in their sides.
"All these may now belong to the men of Pellucidar. Why should we
fear the Mahars?
"Let them breed! Let their numbers increase by thou-sands. They
will be helpless before the power of the Emperor of Pellucidar.
"But if you remain a prisoner in Phutra, what may we accomplish?
"What could the men of Pellucidar do without you to lead them?
"They would fight among themselves, and while they fought the
Mahars would fall upon them, and even though the Mahar race should
die out, of what value would the emancipation of the human race be
to them without the knowledge, which you alone may wield, to guide
them toward the wonderful civilization of which you have told me
so much that I long for its comforts and luxuries as I never before
longed for anything.
"No, David; the Mahars cannot harm us if you are at liberty. Let
them have their secret that you and I may return to our people,
and lead them to the conquest of all Pellucidar."
It was plain that Dian was ambitious, and that her ambition had not
dulled her reasoning faculties. She was right. Nothing could be
gained by remaining bottled up in Phutra for the rest of our lives.
It was true that Perry might do much with the con-tents of the
prospector, or iron mole, in which I had brought down the implements
of outer-world civiliza-tion; but Perry was a man of peace. He
could never weld the warring factions of the disrupted federation.
He could never win new tribes to the empire. He would fiddle around
manufacturing gun-powder and trying to improve upon it until some
one blew him up with his own invention. He wasn't practical. He
never would get anywhere without a balance-wheel--without some one
to direct his energies.
Perry needed me and I needed him. If we were going to do anything
for Pellucidar we must be free to do it together.
The outcome of it all was that I agreed to the Mahars' proposition.
They promised that Dian would be well treated and protected from
every indignity during my absence. So I set out with a hundred
Sagoths in search of the little valley which I had stumbled upon
by acci-dent, and which I might and might not find again.
We traveled directly toward Sari. Stopping at the camp where I had
been captured I recovered my express rifle, for which I was very
thankful. I found it lying where I had left it when I had been
overpowered in my sleep by the Sagoths who bad captured me and
slain my Mezop companions.
On the way I added materially to my map, an occu-pation which did
not elicit from the Sagoths even a shadow of interest. I felt
that the human race of Pelluci-dar had little to fear from these
gorilla-men. They were fighters--that was all. We might even use
them later ourselves in this same capacity. They had not sufficient
brain power to constitute a menace to the advancement of the human
As we neared the spot where I hoped to find the little valley
I became more and more confident of success. Every landmark was
familiar to me, and I was sure now that I knew the exact location
of the cave.
It was at about this time that I sighted a number of the half-naked
warriors of the human race of Pellucidar. They were marching across
our front. At sight of us they halted; that there would be a fight
I could not doubt. These Sagoths would never permit an opportunity
for the capture of slaves for their Mahar masters to escape them.
I saw that the men were armed with bows and arrows, long lances
and swords, so I guessed that they must have been members of the
federation, for only my people had been thus equipped. Before
Perry and I came the men of Pellucidar had only the crudest weapons
wherewith to slay one another.
The Sagoths, too, were evidently expecting battle. With savage
shouts they rushed forward toward the human warriors.
Then a strange thing happened. The leader of the human beings
stepped forward with upraised hands. The Sagoths ceased their
war-cries and advanced slowly to meet him. There was a long parley
during which I could see that I was often the subject of their
discourse. The Sagoths' leader pointed in the direction in which
I had told him the valley lay. Evidently he was explaining the
nature of our expedition to the leader of the warriors. It was
all a puzzle to me.
What human being could be upon such excellent terms with the
I couldn't imagine. I tried to get a good look at the fellow,
but the Sagoths had left me in the rear with a guard when they
had advanced to battle, and the dis-tance was too great for me to
recognize the features of any of the human beings.
Finally the parley was concluded and the men con-tinued on their
way while the Sagoths returned to where I stood with my guard. It
was time for eating, so we stopped where we were and made our meal.
The Sa-goths didn't tell me who it was they had met, and I did not
ask, though I must confess that I was quite curious.
They permitted me to sleep at this halt. Afterward we took up the
last leg of our journey. I found the valley without difficulty
and led my guard directly to the cave. At its mouth the Sagoths
halted and I entered alone.
I noticed as I felt about the floor in the dim light that there
was a pile of fresh-turned rubble there. Presently my hands came
to the spot where the great secret had been buried. There was a
cavity where I had carefully smoothed the earth over the hiding-place
of the docu-ment--the manuscript was gone!
Frantically I searched the whole interior of the cave several times
over, but without other result than a com-plete confirmation of
my worst fears. Someone had been here ahead of me and stolen the
The one thing within Pellucidar which might free Dian and me was
gone, nor was it likely that I should ever learn its whereabouts.
If a Mahar had found it, which was quite improbable, the chances
were that the dominant race would never divulge the fact that they
had recovered the precious document. If a cave man had happened
upon it he would have no conception of its meaning or value, and
as a consequence it would be lost or destroyed in short order.
With bowed head and broken hopes I came out of the cave and told
the Sagoth chieftain what I had dis-covered. It didn't mean much
to the fellow, who doubt-less had but little better idea of the
contents of the document I had been sent to fetch to his masters
than would the cave man who in all probability had dis-covered it.
The Sagoth knew only that I had failed in my mission, so he took
advantage of the fact to make the return journey to Phutra as
disagreeable as possible. I did not rebel, though I had with me
the means to destroy them all. I did not dare rebel because of
the consequences to Dian. I intended demanding her release on the
grounds that she was in no way guilty of the theft, and that my
failure to recover the document had not lessened the value of the
good faith I had had in offering to do so. The Mahars might keep
me in slavery if they chose, but Dian should be returned safely to
I was full of my scheme when we entered Phutra and I was conducted
directly to the great audience-chamber. The Mahars listened to the
report of the Sagoth chief-tain, and so difficult is it to judge
their emotions from their almost expressionless countenance, that
I was at a loss to know how terrible might be their wrath as they
learned that their great secret, upon which rested the fate of
their race, might now be irretrievably lost.
Presently I could see that she who presided was com-municating
something to the Sagoth interpreter--doubt-less something to be
transmitted to me which might give me a forewarning of the fate
which lay in store for me. One thing I had decided definitely: If
they would not free Dian I should turn loose upon Phutra with my
little arsenal. Alone I might even win to freedom, and if I could
learn where Dian was imprisoned it would be worth the attempt to
free her. My thoughts were inter-rupted by the interpreter.
"The mighty Mahars," he said, "are unable to reconcile your statement
that the document is lost with your action in sending it to them
by a special messenger. They wish to know if you have so soon
forgotten the truth or if you are merely ignoring it."
"I sent them no document," I cried. "Ask them what they mean."
"They say," he went on after conversing with the Mahar for a moment,
"that just before your return to Phutra, Hooja the Sly One came,
bringing the great secret with him. He said that you had sent him
ahead with it, asking him to deliver it and return to Sari where
you would await him, bringing the girl with him."
"Dian?" I gasped. "The Mahars have given over Dian into the keeping
"Surely," he replied. "What of it? She is only a gilak," as you
or I would say, "She is only a cow."
A PENDENT WORLD
The Mahars set me free as they had promised, but with strict
injunctions never to approach Phutra or any other Mahar city. They
also made it perfectly plain that they considered me a dangerous
creature, and that having wiped the slate clean in so far as they
were under obligations to me, they now considered me fair prey.
Should I again fall into their hands, they intimated it would go
ill with me.
They would not tell me in which direction Hooja had set forth with
Dian, so I departed from Phutra, filled with bitterness against
the Mahars, and rage toward the Sly One who had once again robbed
me of my greatest treasure.
At first I was minded to go directly back to Anoroc; but upon second
thought turned my face toward Sari, as I felt that somewhere in
that direction Hooja would travel, his own country lying in that
Of my journey to Sari it is only necessary to say that it was
fraught with the usual excitement and adventure, incident to all
travel across the face of savage Pellucidar. The dangers, however,
were greatly reduced through the medium of my armament. I often
wondered how it had happened that I had ever survived the first ten
years of my life within the inner world, when, naked and primitively
armed, I had traversed great areas of her beast-ridden surface.
With the aid of my map, which I had kept with great care during my
march with the Sagoths in search of the great secret, I arrived at
Sari at last. As I topped the lofty plateau in whose rocky cliffs
the principal tribe of Sarians find their cave-homes, a great hue
and cry arose from those who first discovered me.
Like wasps from their nests the hairy warriors poured from their
caves. The bows with their poison-tipped arrows, which I had
taught them to fashion and to use, were raised against me. Swords
of hammered iron--another of my innovations--menaced me, as with
lusty shouts the horde charged down.
It was a critical moment. Before I should be recog-nized I might
be dead. It was evident that all semblance of intertribal relationship
had ceased with my going, and that my people had reverted to their
former savage, suspicious hatred of all strangers. My garb must
have puzzled them, too, for never before of course had they seen
a man clothed in khaki and puttees.
Leaning my express rifle against my body I raised both hands aloft.
It was the peace-sign that is recognized everywhere upon the surface
of Pellucidar. The charging warriors paused and surveyed me. I
looked for my friend Ghak, the Hairy One, king of Sari, and presently
I saw him coming from a distance. Ah, but it was good to see his
mighty, hairy form once more! A friend was Ghak--a friend well worth
the having; and it had been some time since I had seen a friend.
Shouldering his way through the throng of warriors, the mighty
chieftain advanced toward me. There was an expression of puzzlement
upon his fine features. He crossed the space between the warriors
and myself, halt-ing before me.
I did not speak. I did not even smile. I wanted to see if Ghak,
my principal lieutenant, would recognize me. For some time he
stood there looking me over carefully. His eyes took in my large
pith helmet, my khaki jacket, and bandoleers of cartridges, the two
revolvers swinging at my hips, the large rifle resting against my
body. Still I stood with my hands above my head. He examined my
puttees and my strong tan shoes--a little the worse for wear now.
Then he glanced up once more to my face. As his gaze rested there
quite steadily for some moments I saw recognition tinged with awe
creep across his countenance.
Presently without a word he took one of my hands in his and dropping
to one knee raised my fingers to his lips. Perry had taught them
this trick, nor ever did the most polished courtier of all the
grand courts of Europe perform the little act of homage with greater
grace and dignity.
Quickly I raised Ghak to his feet, clasping both his hands in mine.
I think there must have been tears in my eyes then--I know I felt
too full for words. The king of Sari turned toward his warriors.
"Our emperor has come back," he announced. "Come hither and--"
But he got no further, for the shouts that broke from those savage
throats would have drowned the voice of heaven itself. I had never
guessed how much they thought of me. As they clustered around,
almost fighting for the chance to kiss my hand, I saw again the
vision of empire which I had thought faded forever.
With such as these I could conquer a world. With such as these I
WOULD conquer one! If the Sarians had remained loyal, so too would
the Amozites be loyal still, and the Kalians, and the Suvians,
and all the great tribes who had formed the federation that was to
eman-cipate the human race of Pellucidar.
Perry was safe with the Mezops; I was safe with the Sarians; now
if Dian were but safe with me the future would look bright indeed.
It did not take long to outline to Ghak all that had befallen
me since I had departed from Pellucidar, and to get down to the
business of finding Dian, which to me at that moment was of even
greater importance than the very empire itself.
When I told him that Hooja had stolen her, he stamped his foot in
"It is always the Sly One!" he cried. "It was Hooja who caused
the first trouble between you and the Beautiful One.
"It was Hooja who betrayed our trust, and all but caused our
recapture by the Sagoths that time we escaped from Phutra.
"It was Hooja who tricked you and substituted a Mahar for Dian when
you started upon your return journey to your own world.
"It was Hooja who schemed and lied until he had turned the kingdoms
one against another and de-stroyed the federation.
"When we had him in our power we were foolish to let him live.
Ghak did not need to finish his sentence.
"He has become a very powerful enemy now," I re-plied. "That he is
allied in some way with the Mahars is evidenced by the familiarity of
his relations with the Sagoths who were accompanying me in search
of the great secret, for it must have been Hooja whom I saw conversing
with them just before we reached the valley. Doubtless they told
him of our quest and he hastened on ahead of us, discovered the
cave and stole the document. Well does he deserve his appellation
of the Sly One."
With Ghak and his head men I held a number of consultations. The
upshot of them was a decision to com-bine our search for Dian with
an attempt to rebuild the crumbled federation. To this end twenty
warriors were despatched in pairs to ten of the leading kingdoms,
with instructions to make every effort to discover the where-abouts
of Hooja and Dian, while prosecuting their missions to the chieftains
to whom they were sent.
Ghak was to remain at home to receive the various delegations which
we invited to come to Sari on the business of the federation. Four
hundred warriors were started for Anoroc to fetch Perry and the
contents of the prospector, to the capitol of the empire, which
was also the principal settlements of the Sarians.
At first it was intended that I remain at Sari, that I might be in
readiness to hasten forth at the first report of the discovery of
Dian; but I found the inaction in the face of my deep solicitude
for the welfare of my mate so galling that scarce had the several
units departed upon their missions before I, too, chafed to be
actively engaged upon the search.
It was after my second sleep, subsequent to the de-parture
of the warriors, as I recall that I at last went to Ghak with the
admission that I could no longer support the intolerable longing
to be personally upon the trail of my lost love.
Ghak tried to dissuade me, though I could tell that his heart was
with me in my wish to be away and really doing something. It was
while we were arguing upon the subject that a stranger, with hands
above his head, entered the village. He was immediately surrounded
by warriors and conducted to Ghak's presence.
The fellow was a typical cave man--squat muscular, and hairy, and
of a type I had not seen before. His features, like those of all
the primeval men of Pellucidar, were regular and fine. His weapons
consisted of a stone ax and knife and a heavy knobbed bludgeon of
wood. His skin was very white.
"Who are you?" asked Ghak. "And whence come you?"
"I am Kolk, son of Goork, who is chief of the Thurians," replied the
stranger. "From Thuria I have come in search of the land of Amoz,
where dwells Dacor, the Strong One, who stole my sister, Canda,
the Grace-ful One, to be his mate.
"We of Thuria had heard of a great chieftain who has bound together
many tribes, and my father has sent me to Dacor to learn if there
be truth in these stories, and if so to offer the services of Thuria
to him whom we have heard called emperor."
"The stories are true," replied Ghak, "and here is the emperor of
whom you have heard. You need travel no farther."
Kolk was delighted. He told us much of the wonderful resources of
Thuria, the Land of Awful Shadow, and of his long journey in search
"And why," I asked, "does Goork, your father, desire to join his
kingdom to the empire?"
"There are two reasons," replied the young man. "For-ever have the
Mahars, who dwell beyond the Lidi Plains which lie at the farther
rim of the Land of Awful Shadow, taken heavy toll of our people,
whom they either force into lifelong slavery or fatten for their
feasts. We have heard that the great emperor makes successful war
upon the Mahars, against whom we should be glad to fight.
"Recently has another reason come. Upon a great island which lies
in the Sojar Az, but a short distance from our shores, a wicked
man has collected a great band of outcast warriors of all tribes.
Even are there many Sagoths among them, sent by the Mahars to aid
the Wicked One.
"This band makes raids upon our villages, and it is constantly
growing in size and strength, for the Mahars give liberty to any of
their male prisoners who will promise to fight with this band against
the enemies of the Mahars. It is the purpose of the Mahars thus
to raise a force of our own kind to combat the growth and menace
of the new empire of which I have come to seek information. All
this we learned from one of our own warriors who had pretended
to sympathize with this band and had then escaped at the first
"Who could this man be," I asked Ghak, "who leads so vile a movement
against his own kind?"
"His name is Hooja," spoke up Kolk, answering my question.
Ghak and I looked at each other. Relief was written upon his
countenance and I know that it was beating strongly in my heart.
At last we had discovered a tan-gible clue to the whereabouts of
Hooja--and with the clue a guide!
But when I broached the subject to Kolk he demurred. He had come
a long way, he explained, to see his sister and to confer with Dacor.
Moreover, he had instructions from his father which he could not
ignore lightly. But even so he would return with me and show me
the way to the island of the Thurian shore if by doing so we might
"But we cannot," he urged. "Hooja is powerful. He has thousands
of warriors. He has only to call upon his Mahar allies to receive
a countless horde of Sagoths to do his bidding against his human
"Let us wait until you may gather an equal horde from the kingdoms
of your empire. Then we may march against Hooja with some show of
"But first must you lure him to the mainland, for who among you
knows how to construct the strange things that carry Hooja and his
band back and forth across the water?
"We are not island people. We do not go upon the water. We know
nothing of such things."
I couldn't persuade him to do more than direct me upon the way.
I showed him my map, which now in-cluded a great area of country
extending from Anoroc upon the east to Sari upon the west, and from
the river south of the Mountains of the Clouds north to Amoz. As
soon as I had explained it to him he drew a line with his finger,
showing a sea-coast far to the west and south of Sari, and a great
circle which he said marked the extent of the Land of Awful Shadow
in which lay Thuria.
The shadow extended southeast of the coast out into the sea half-way
to a large island, which he said was the seat of Hooja's traitorous
government. The island itself lay in the light of the noonday sun.
Northwest of the coast and embracing a part of Thuria lay the Lidi
Plains, upon the northwestern verge of which was situ-ated the
Mahar city which took such heavy toll of the Thurians.
Thus were the unhappy people now between two fires, with Hooja upon
one side and the Mahars upon the other. I did not wonder that they
sent out an appeal for succor.
Though Ghak and Kolk both attempted to dissuade me, I was determined
to set out at once, nor did I delay longer than to make a copy of
my map to be given to Perry that he might add to his that which
I had set down since we parted. I left a letter for him as well,
in which among other things I advanced the theory that the Sojar
Az, or Great Sea, which Kolk mentioned as stretching eastward
from Thuria, might indeed be the same mighty ocean as that which,
swinging around the southern end of a continent ran northward along
the shore opposite Phutra, mingling its waters with the huge gulf
upon which lay Sari, Amoz, and Greenwich.
Against this possibility I urged him to hasten the building of
a fleet of small sailing-vessels, which we might utilize should I
find it impossible to entice Hooja's horde to the mainland.
I told Ghak what I had written, and suggested that as soon as he
could he should make new treaties with the various kingdoms of the
empire, collect an army and march toward Thuria--this of course
against the possi-bility of my detention through some cause or
Kolk gave me a sign to his father--a lidi, or beast of burden,
crudely scratched upon a bit of bone, and be-neath the lidi a
man and a flower; all very rudely done perhaps, but none the less
effective as I well knew from my long years among the primitive
men of Pellucidar.
The lidi is the tribal beast of the Thurians; the man and the
flower in the combination in which they ap-peared bore a double
significance, as they constituted not only a message to the effect
that the bearer came in peace, but were also Kolk's signature.
And so, armed with my credentials and my small arsenal, I set out
alone upon my quest for the dearest girl in this world or yours.
Kolk gave me explicit directions, though with my map I do not believe
that I could have gone wrong. As a matter of fact I did not need
the map at all, since the principal landmark of the first half
of my journey, a gi-gantic mountainpeak, was plainly visible from
Sari, though a good hundred miles away.
At the southern base of this mountain a river rose and ran in
a westerly direction, finally turning south and emptying into the
Sojar Az some forty miles northeast of Thuria. All that I had to
do was follow this river to the sea and then follow the coast to
Two hundred and forty miles of wild mountain and primeval jungle, of
untracked plain, of nameless rivers, of deadly swamps and savage
forests lay ahead of me, yet never had I been more eager for
an adventure than now, for never had more depended upon haste and
I do not know how long a time that journey required, and only half
did I appreciate the varied wonders that each new march unfolded
before me, for my mind and heart were filled with but a single
image--that of a perfect girl whose great, dark eyes looked bravely
forth from a frame of raven hair.
It was not until I had passed the high peak and found the river
that my eyes first discovered the pendent world, the tiny satellite
which hangs low over the surface of Pellucidar casting its perpetual
shadow always upon the same spot--the area that is known here as
the Land of Awful Shadow, in which dwells the tribe of Thuria.
From the distance and the elevation of the highlands where I stood
the Pellucidarian noonday moon showed half in sunshine and half in
shadow, while directly be-neath it was plainly visible the round
dark spot upon the surface of Pellucidar where the sun has never
shone. From where I stood the moon appeared to hang so low above
the ground as almost to touch it; but later I was to learn that
it floats a mile above the surface--which seems indeed quite close
for a moon.
Following the river downward I soon lost sight of the tiny planet
as I entered the mazes of a lofty forest. Nor did I catch another
glimpse of it for some time--several marches at least. However, when
the river led me to the sea, or rather just before it reached the
sea, of a sudden the sky became overcast and the size and luxuriance
of the vegetation diminished as by magic--as if an omni-potent hand
had drawn a line upon the earth, and said:
"Upon this side shall the trees and the shrubs, the grasses and
the flowers, riot in profusion of rich colors, gigantic size and
bewildering abundance; and upon that side shall they be dwarfed
and pale and scant."
Instantly I looked above, for clouds are so uncommon in the skies
of Pellucidar--they are practically unknown except above the
mightiest mountain ranges--that it had given me something of a start
to discover the sun obliterated. But I was not long in coming to
a realization of the cause of the shadow.
Above me hung another world. I could see its moun-tains and
valleys, oceans, lakes, and rivers, its broad, grassy plains and
dense forests. But too great was the distance and too deep the
shadow of its under side for me to distinguish any movement as of
Instantly a great curiosity was awakened within me. The questions
which the sight of this planet, so tanta-lizingly close, raised in
my mind were numerous and unanswerable.
Was it inhabited?
If so, by what manner and form of creature?
Were its people as relatively diminutive as their little world, or
were they as disproportionately huge as the lesser attraction of
gravity upon the surface of their globe would permit of their being?
As I watched it, I saw that it was revolving upon an axis that lay
parallel to the surface of Pellucidar, so that during each revolution
its entire surface was once ex-posed to the world below and once
bathed in the heat of the great sun above. The little world had
that which Pellucidar could not have--a day and night, and--greatest
of boons to one outer-earthly born--time.
Here I saw a chance to give time to Pellucidar, using this
mighty clock, revolving perpetually in the heavens, to record the
passage of the hours for the earth below. Here should be located
an observatory, from which might be flashed by wireless to every
corner of the em-pire the correct time once each day. That this
time would be easily measured I had no doubt, since so plain were
the landmarks upon the under surface of the satellite that it would
be but necessary to erect a simple instrument and mark the instant
of passage of a given landmark across the instrument.
But then was not the time for dreaming; I must de-vote my mind to
the purpose of my journey. So I hastened onward beneath the great
shadow. As I ad-vanced I could not but note the changing nature
of the vegetation and the paling of its hues.
The river led me a short distance within the shadow before it emptied
into the Sojar Az. Then I continued in a southerly direction along
the coast toward the village of Thuria, where I hoped to find Goork
and deliver to him my credentials.
I had progressed no great distance from the mouth of the river when
I discerned, lying some distance at sea, a great island. This I
assumed to be the stronghold of Hooja, nor did I doubt that upon
it even now was Dian.
The way was most difficult, since shortly after leaving the river
I encountered lofty cliffs split by numerous long, narrow fiords,
each of which necessitated a con-siderable detour. As the crow
flies it is about twenty miles from the mouth of the river to
Thuria, but be-fore I had covered half of it I was fagged. There
was no familiar fruit or vegetable growing upon the rocky soil of
the cliff-tops, and I would have fared ill for food had not a hare
broken cover almost beneath my nose.
I carried bow and arrows to conserve my ammunition-supply, but so
quick was the little animal that I had no time to draw and fit a
shaft. In fact my dinner was a hundred yards away and going like
the proverbial bat when I dropped my six-shooter on it. It was
a pretty shot and when coupled with a good dinner made me quite
contented with myself.
After eating I lay down and slept. When I awoke I was scarcely
so self-satisfied, for I had not more than opened my eyes before
I became aware of the presence, barely a hundred yards from me, of
a pack of some twenty huge wolf-dogs--the things which Perry insisted
upon calling hyaenodons--and almost simultaneously I discovered
that while I slept my revolvers, rifle, bow, arrows, and knife had
been stolen from me.
And the wolf-dog pack was preparing to rush me.
FROM PLIGHT TO PLIGHT
I have never been much of a runner; I hate running. But if ever a
sprinter broke into smithereens all world's records it was I that
day when I fled before those hide-ous beasts along the narrow spit
of rocky cliff between two narrow fiords toward the Sojar Az. Just
as I reached the verge of the cliff the foremost of the brutes was
upon me. He leaped and closed his massive jaws upon my shoulder.
The momentum of his flying body, added to that of my own, carried
the two of us over the cliff. It was a hideous fall. The cliff
was almost perpendicular. At its foot broke the sea against a
solid wall of rock.
We struck the cliff-face once in our descent and then plunged into
the salt sea. With the impact with the water the hyaenodon released
his hold upon my shoulder.
As I came sputtering to the surface I looked about for some tiny
foot- or hand-hold where I might cling for a moment of rest and
recuperation. The cliff itself offered me nothing, so I swam toward
the mouth of the fiord.
At the far end I could see that erosion from above had washed down
sufficient rubble to form a narrow ribbon of beach. Toward this
I swam with all my strength. Not once did I look behind me, since
every unnecessary movement in swimming detracts so much from one's
endurance speed. Not until I had drawn myself safely out upon the
beach did I turn my eyes back toward the sea for the hyaenodon.
He was swimming slowly and apparently painfully toward the beach
upon where I stood.
I watched him for a long time, wondering, why it was that such a
doglike animal was not a better swimmer. As he neared me I realized
that he was weakening rapidly. I had gathered a handful of stones
to be ready for his assault when he landed, but in a moment I let
them fall from my hands. It was evident that the brute either was
no swimmer or else was severely in-jured, for by now he was making
practically no head-way. Indeed, it was with quite apparent
difficulty that he kept his nose above the surface of the sea.
He was not more than fifty yards from shore when he went under. I
watched the spot where he had disap-peared, and in a moment I saw
his head reappear. The look of dumb misery in his eyes struck a
chord in my breast, for I love dogs. I forgot that he was a vicious,
primordial wolf-thing--a man-eater, a scourge, and a terror. I
saw only the sad eyes that looked like the eyes of Raja, my dead
collie of the outer world.
I did not stop to weigh and consider. In other words, I did not stop
to think, which I believe must be the way of men who do things--in
contradistinction to those who think much and do nothing. Instead, I
leaped back into the water and swam out toward the drowning beast.
At first he showed his teeth at my approach, but just before
I reached him he went under for the second time, so that I had to
dive to get him.
I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, and though he weighed as
much as a Shetland pony, I managed to drag him to shore and well
up upon the beach. Here I found that one of his forelegs was
broken--the crash against the cliff-face must have done it.
By this time all the fight was out of him, so that when I had
gathered a few tiny branches from some of the stunted trees that
grew in the crevices of the cliff, and returned to him he permitted
me to set his broken leg and bind it in splints. I had to tear
part of my shirt into bits to obtain a bandage, but at last the
job was done. Then I sat stroking the savage head and talking to
the beast in the man-dog talk with which you are familiar, if you
ever owned and loved a dog.
When he is well, I thought, he probably will turn upon me and attempt
to devour me, and against that even-tuality I gathered together a
pile of rocks and set to work to fashion a stone-knife. We were
bottled up at the head of the fiord as completely as if we had been
behind prison bars. Before us spread the Sojar Az, and else-where
about us rose unscalable cliffs.
Fortunately a little rivulet trickled down the side of the rocky
wall, giving us ample supply of fresh water--some of which I kept
constantly beside the hyaenodon in a huge, bowl-shaped shell, of
which there were count-less numbers among the rubble of the beach.
For food we subsisted upon shellfish and an occa-sional bird that
I succeeded in knocking over with a rock, for long practice as a
pitcher on prep-school and varsity nines had made me an excellent
shot with a hand-thrown missile.
It was not long before the hyaenodon's leg was suffi-ciently mended
to permit him to rise and hobble about on three legs. I shall
never forget with what intent in-terest I watched his first attempt.
Close at my hand lay my pile of rocks. Slowly the beast came to
his three good feet. He stretched himself, lowered his head, and
lapped water from the drinking-shell at his side, turned and looked
at me, and then hobbled off toward the cliffs.
Thrice he traversed the entire extent of our prison, seeking, I
imagine, a loop-hole for escape, but finding none he returned in my
direction. Slowly he came quite close to me, sniffed at my shoes,
my puttees, my hands, and then limped off a few feet and lay down
Now that he was able to get around, I was a little un-certain as
to the wisdom of my impulsive mercy.
How could I sleep with that ferocious thing prowling about the
narrow confines of our prison?
Should I close my eyes it might be to open them again to the feel of
those mighty jaws at my throat. To say the least, I was uncomfortable.
I have had too much experience with dumb animals to bank very
strongly on any sense of gratitude which may be attributed to them
by inexperienced sentimen-talists. I believe that some animals
love their masters, but I doubt very much if their affection is
the outcome of gratitude--a characteristic that is so rare as to
be only occasionally traceable in the seemingly unselfish acts of
But finally I was forced to sleep. Tired nature would be put off
no longer. I simply fell asleep, willy nilly, as I sat looking
out to sea. I had been very uncomfortable since my ducking in the
ocean, for though I could see the sunlight on the water half-way
toward the island and upon the island itself, no ray of it fell upon
us. We were well within the Land of Awful Shadow. A per-petual
half-warmth pervaded the atmosphere, but clothing was slow in
drying, and so from loss of sleep and great physical discomfort, I
at last gave way to nature's demands and sank into profound slumber.
When I awoke it was with a start, for a heavy body was upon me. My
first thought was that the hyaenodon had at last attacked me, but
as my eyes opened and I struggled to rise, I saw that a man was
astride me and three others bending close above him.
I am no weakling--and never have been. My experi-ence in the hard
life of the inner world has turned my thews to steel. Even such
giants as Ghak the Hairy One have praised my strength; but to it
is added another quality which they lack--science.
The man upon me held me down awkwardly, leaving me many openings--one
of which I was not slow in taking advantage of, so that almost
before the fellow knew that I was awake I was upon my feet with
my arms over his shoulders and about his waist and had hurled him
heavily over my head to the hard rubble of the beach, where he lay
In the instant that I arose I had seen the hyaenodon lying asleep
beside a boulder a few yards away. So nearly was he the color of
the rock that he was scarcely discernible. Evidently the newcomers
had not seen him.
I had not more than freed myself from one of my antagonists before
the other three were upon me. They did not work silently now, but
charged me with savage cries--a mistake upon their part. The fact
that they did not draw their weapons against me convinced me that
they desired to take me alive; but I fought as desper-ately as if
death loomed immediate and sure.
The battle was short, for scarce had their first wild whoop
reverberated through the rocky fiord, and they had closed upon me,
than a hairy mass of demoniacal rage hurtled among us.
It was the hyaenodon!
In an instant he had pulled down one of the men, and with a single
shake, terrier-like, had broken his neck. Then he was upon another.
In their efforts to vanquish the wolf-dog the savages forgot all
about me, thus giv-ing me an instant in which to snatch a knife
from the loin-string of him who had first fallen and account for
another of them. Almost simultaneously the hyaenodon pulled down
the remaining enemy, crushing his skull with a single bite of those
The battle was over--unless the beast considered me fair prey, too.
I waited, ready for him with knife and bludgeon--also filched from
a dead foeman; but he paid no attention to me, falling to work
instead to devour one of the corpses.
The beast bad been handicapped but little by his splinted leg; but
having eaten he lay down and com-menced to gnaw at the bandage.
I was sitting some little distance away devouring shellfish, of
which, by the way, I was becoming exceedingly tired.
Presently, the hyaenodon arose and came toward me. I did not move.
He stopped in front of me and deliberately raised his bandaged leg
and pawed my knee. His act was as intelligible as words--he wished
the bandage removed.
I took the great paw in one hand and with the other hand untied and
unwound the bandage, removed the splints and felt of the injured
member. As far as I could judge the bone was completely knit. The
joint was stiff; when I bent it a little the brute winced--but he
neither growled nor tried to pull away. Very slowly and gently I
rubbed the joint and applied pressure to it for a few moments.
Then I set it down upon the ground. The hyaenodon walked around
me a few times, and then lay down at my side, his body touching
mine. I laid my hand upon his head. He did not move. Slowly, I
scratched about his ears and neck and down beneath the fierce jaws.
The only sign he gave was to raise his chin a trifle that I might
better caress him.
That was enough! From that moment I have never again felt suspicion
of Raja, as I immediately named him. Somehow all sense of loneliness
vanished, too--I had a dog! I had never guessed precisely what it
was that was lacking to life in Pellucidar, but now I knew it was
the total absence of domestic animals.
Man here had not yet reached the point where he might take the time
from slaughter and escaping slaugh-ter to make friends with any of
the brute creation. I must qualify this statement a trifle and say
that this was true of those tribes with which I was most familiar.
The Thurians do domesticate the colossal lidi, traversing the
great Lidi Plains upon the backs of these gro-tesque and stupendous
monsters, and possibly there may also be other, far-distant peoples
within the great world, who have tamed others of the wild things
of jungle, plain or mountain.
The Thurians practice agriculture in a crude sort of way. It is
my opinion that this is one of the earliest steps from savagery to
civilization. The taming of wild beasts and their domestication
Perry argues that wild dogs were first domesticated for hunting
purposes; but I do not agree with him. I believe that if their
domestication were not purely the result of an accident, as, for
example, my taming of the hyaenodon, it came about through the
desire of tribes who had previously domesticated flocks and herds
to have some strong, ferocious beast to guard their roam-ing
property. However, I lean rather more strongly to the theory of
As I sat there upon the beach of the little fiord eating my unpalatable
shell-fish, I commenced to wonder how it had been that the four
savages had been able to reach me, though I had been unable to
escape from my natu-ral prison. I glanced about in all directions,
searching for an explanation. At last my eyes fell upon the bow
of a small dugout protruding scarce a foot from behind a large
boulder lying half in the water at the edge of the beach.
At my discovery I leaped to my feet so suddenly that it brought
Raja, growling and bristling, upon all fours in an instant. For
the moment I had forgotten him. But his savage rumbling did not
cause me any uneasiness. He glanced quickly about in all directions
as if searching for the cause of my excitement. Then, as I walked
rapidly down toward the dugout, he slunk silently after me.
The dugout was similar in many respects to those which I had seen
in use by the Mezops. In it were four paddles. I was much delighted,
as it promptly offered me the escape I had been craving.
I pushed it out into water that would float it, stepped in and
called to Raja to enter. At first he did not seem to understand
what I wished of him, but after I had paddled out a few yards
he plunged through the surf and swam after me. When he had come
alongside I grasped the scruff of his neck, and after a considerable
struggle, in which I several times came near to over-turning the
canoe, I managed to drag him aboard, where he shook himself vigorously
and squatted down before me.
After emerging from the fiord, I paddled southward along the coast,
where presently the lofty cliffs gave way to lower and more level
country. It was here some-where that I should come upon the
principal village of the Thurians. When, after a time, I saw in
the distance what I took to be huts in a clearing near the shore, I
drew quickly into land, for though I had been furnished credentials
by Kolk, I was not sufficiently familiar with the tribal characteristics
of these people to know whether I should receive a friendly welcome
or not; and in case I should not, I wanted to be sure of having
a canoe hidden safely away so that I might undertake the trip to
the island, in any event--provided, of course, that I escaped the
Thurians should they prove bellig-erent.
At the point where I landed the shore was quite low. A forest of
pale, scrubby ferns ran down almost to the beach. Here I dragged
up the dugout, hiding it well within the vegetation, and with some
loose rocks built a cairn upon the beach to mark my cache. Then
I turned my steps toward the Thurian village.
As I proceeded I began to speculate upon the possible actions of
Raja when we should enter the presence of other men than myself. The
brute was padding softly at my side, his sensitive nose constantly
atwitch and his fierce eyes moving restlessly from side to
side--nothing would ever take Raja unawares!
The more I thought upon the matter the greater be-came my
perturbation. I did not want Raja to attack any of the people upon
whose friendship I so greatly depended, nor did I want him injured
or slain by them.
I wondered if Raja would stand for a leash. His head as he paced
beside me was level with my hip. I laid my hand upon it caressingly.
As I did so he turned and looked up into my face, his jaws parting
and his red tongue lolling as you have seen your own dog's beneath
a love pat.
"Just been waiting all your life to be tamed and loved, haven't
you, old man?" I asked. "You're nothing but a good pup, and the
man who put the hyaeno in your name ought to be sued for libel."
Raja bared his mighty fangs with upcurled, snarling lips and licked
"You're grinning, you old fraud, you!" I cried. "If you're not,
I'll eat you. I'll bet a doughnut you're nothing but some kid's
poor old Fido, masquerading around as a real, live man-eater."
Raja whined. And so we walked on together toward Thuria--I talking
to the beast at my side, and he seem-ing to enjoy my company no
less than I enjoyed his. If you don't think it's lonesome wandering
all by yourself through savage, unknown Pellucidar, why, just
try it, and you will not wonder that I was glad of the company of
this first dog--this living replica of the fierce and now extinct
hyaenodon of the outer crust that hunted in savage packs the great
elk across the snows of southern France, in the days when the mastodon
roamed at will over the broad continent of which the British Isles
were then a part, and perchance left his footprints and his bones
in the sands of Atlantis as well.
Thus I dreamed as we moved on toward Thuria. My dreaming was rudely
shattered by a savage growl from Raja. I looked down at him. He
had stopped in his tracks as one turned to stone. A thin ridge
of stiff hair bristled along the entire length of his spine. His
yel-low green eyes were fastened upon the scrubby jungle at our
I fastened my fingers in the bristles at his neck and turned my
eyes in the direction that his pointed. At first I saw nothing.
Then a slight movement of the bushes riveted my attention. I
thought it must be some wild beast, and was glad of the primitive
weapons I had taken from the bodies of the warriors who had attacked
Presently I distinguished two eyes peering at us from the vegetation.
I took a step in their direction, and as I did so a youth arose
and fled precipitately in the direction we had been going. Raja
struggled to be after him, but I held tightly to his neck, an act
which he did not seem to relish, for he turned on me with bared
I determined that now was as good a time as any to discover just
how deep was Raja's affection for me. One of us could be master,
and logically I was the one. He growled at me. I cuffed him
sharply across the nose. He looked it me for a moment in surprised
bewilderment, and then he growled again. I made another feint at
him, expecting that it would bring him at my throat; but in-stead
he winced and crouched down.
Raja was subdued!
I stooped and patted him. Then I took a piece of the rope that
constituted a part of my equipment and made a leash for him.
Thus we resumed our journey toward Thuria. The youth who had seen
us was evidently of the Thurians. That he had lost no time in
racing homeward and spreading the word of my coming was evidenced
when we had come within sight of the clearing, and the village--the
first real village, by the way, that I had ever seen constructed
by human Pellucidarians. There was a rude rectangle walled with
logs and boulders, in which were a hundred or more thatched huts
of similar con-struction. There was no gate. Ladders that could
be re-moved by night led over the palisade.
Before the village were assembled a great concourse of warriors.
Inside I could see the heads of women and children peering over the
top of the wall; and also, farther back, the long necks of lidi,
topped by their tiny heads. Lidi, by the way, is both the singular
and plural form of the noun that describes the huge beasts of
bur-den of the Thurians. They are enormous quadrupeds, eighty or
a hundred feet long, with very small heads perched at the top of
very long, slender necks. Their heads are quite forty feet from
the ground. Their gait is slow and deliberate, but so enormous
are their strides that, as a matter of fact, they cover the ground
Perry has told me that they are almost identical with the fossilized
remains of the diplodocus of the outer crust's Jurassic age. I
have to take his word for it--and I guess you will, unless you know
more of such matters than I.
As we came in sight of the warriors the men set up a great jabbering.
Their eyes were wide in astonishment--only, I presume, because
of my strange garmenture, but as well from the fact that I came
in company with a jalok, which is the Pellucidarian name of the
Raja tugged at his leash, growling and showing his long white fangs.
He would have liked nothing better than to be at the throats of
the whole aggregation; but I held him in with the leash, though it
took all my strength to do it. My free hand I held above my head,
palm out, in token of the peacefulness of my mission.
In the foreground I saw the youth who had discov-ered us, and
I could tell from the way he carried him-self that he was quite
overcome by his own importance. The warriors about him were all
fine looking fellows, though shorter and squatter than the Sarians
or the Amozites. Their color, too, was a bit lighter, owing, no
doubt, to the fact that much of their lives is spent within the
shadow of the world that hangs forever above their country.
A little in advance of the others was a bearded fel-low tricked out
in many ornaments. I didn't need to ask to know that he was the
chieftain--doubtless Goork, father of Kolk. Now to him I addressed
"I am David," I said, "Emperor of the Federated Kingdoms of
Pellucidar. Doubtless you have heard of me?"
He nodded his head affirmatively.
"I come from Sari," I continued, "where I just met Kolk, the son
of Goork. I bear a token from Kolk to his father, which will prove
that I am a friend."
Again the warrior nodded. "I am Goork," he said. "Where is the
"Here," I replied, and fished into the game-bag where I had placed
Goork and his people waited in silence. My hand searched the inside
of the bag.
It was empty!
The token had been stolen with my arms!
When Goork and his people saw that I had no token they commenced
to taunt me.
"You do not come from Kolk, but from the Sly One!" they cried. "He
has sent you from the island to spy upon us. Go away, or we will
set upon you and kill you."
I explained that all my belongings had been stolen from me, and that
the robber must have taken the token too; but they didn't believe
me. As proof that I was one of Hooja's people, they pointed to my
weapons, which they said were ornamented like those of the is-land
clan. Further, they said that no good man went in company with a
jalok--and that by this line of reason-ing I certainly was a bad
I saw that they were not naturally a war-like tribe, for they
preferred that I leave in peace rather than force them to attack
me, whereas the Sarians would have killed a suspicious stranger
first and inquired into his purposes later.
I think Raja sensed their antagonism, for he kept tug-ging at
his leash and growling ominously. They were a bit in awe of him,
and kept at a safe distance. It was evident that they could not
comprehend why it was that this savage brute did not turn upon me
and rend me.
I wasted a long time there trying to persuade Goork to accept me
at my own valuation, but he was too canny. The best he would do
was to give us food, which he did, and direct me as to the safest
portion of the is-land upon which to attempt a landing, though even
as he told me I am sure that he thought my request for information
but a blind to deceive him as to my true knowledge of the insular
At last I turned away from them--rather disheart-ened, for I had
hoped to be able to enlist a considerable force of them in an attempt
to rush Hooja's horde and rescue Dian. Back along the beach toward
the hidden canoe we made our way.
By the time we came to the cairn I was dog-tired. Throwing myself
upon the sand I soon slept, and with Raja stretched out beside me
I felt a far greater security than I had enjoyed for a long time.
I awoke much refreshed to find Raja's eyes glued upon me. The moment
I opened mine he rose, stretched himself, and without a backward
glance plunged into the jungle. For several minutes I could hear
him crash-ing through the brush. Then all was silent.
I wondered if he had left me to return to his fierce pack. A feeling
of loneliness overwhelmed me. With a sigh I turned to the work of
dragging the canoe down to the sea. As I entered the jungle where
the dugout lay a hare darted from beneath the boat's side, and a
well-aimed cast of my javelin brought it down. I was hungry--I
had not realized it before--so I sat upon the edge of the canoe and
devoured my repast. The last remnants gone, I again busied myself
with preparations for my expedition to the island.
I did not know for certain that Dian was there; but I surmised
as much. Nor could I guess what obstacles might confront me in
an effort to rescue her. For a time I loitered about after I had
the canoe at the water's edge, hoping against hope that Raja would
return; but be did not, so I shoved the awkward craft through the
surf and leaped into it.
I was still a little downcast by the desertion of my new-found
friend, though I tried to assure myself that it was nothing but
what I might have expected.
The savage brute had served me well in the short time that we had
been together, and had repaid his debt of gratitude to me, since he
had saved my life, or at least my liberty, no less certainly than
I had saved his life when he was injured and drowning.
The trip across the water to the island was unevent-ful. I was
mighty glad to be in the sunshine again when I passed out of the
shadow of the dead world about half-way between the mainland and
the island. The hot rays of the noonday sun did a great deal toward
raising my spirits, and dispelling the mental gloom in which I had
been shrouded almost continually since entering the Land of Awful
Shadow. There is nothing more dis-piriting to me than absence of
I had paddled to the southwestern point, which Goork said he
believed to be the least frequented por-tion of the island, as he
had never seen boats put off from there. I found a shallow reef
running far out into the sea and rather precipitous cliffs running
almost to the surf. It was a nasty place to land, and I realized
now why it was not used by the natives; but at last I man-aged,
after a good wetting, to beach my canoe and scale the cliffs.
The country beyond them appeared more open and park-like than I
had anticipated, since from the main-land the entire coast that is
visible seems densely clothed with tropical jungle. This jungle,
as I could see from the vantage-point of the cliff-top, formed but
a relatively narrow strip between the sea and the more open forest
and meadow of the interior. Farther back there was a range of low
but apparently very rocky hills, and here and there all about were
visible flat-topped masses of rock--small mountains, in fact--which
reminded me of pictures I had seen of landscapes in New Mexico.
Altogether, the country was very much broken and very beautiful.
From where I stood I counted no less than a dozen streams winding
down from among the table-buttes and emptying into a pretty river
which flowed away in a northeasterly direction toward the op-posite
end of the island.
As I let my eyes roam over the scene I suddenly be-came aware of
figures moving upon the flat top of a far-distant butte. Whether
they were beast or human, though, I could not make out; but at
least they were alive, so I determined to prosecute my search for
Hooja's stronghold in the general direction of this butte.
To descend to the valley required no great effort. As I swung
along through the lush grass and the fragrant flowers, my cudgel
swinging in my hand and my javelin looped across my shoulders with
its aurochs-hide strap, I felt equal to any emergency, ready for
I had covered quite a little distance, and I was pass-ing through
a strip of wood which lay at the foot of one of the flat-topped
hills, when I became conscious of the sensation of being watched.
My life within Pellucidar has rather quickened my senses of sight,
hearing, and smell, and, too, certain primitive intuitive or
instinctive qualities that seem blunted in civilized man. But,
though I was positive that eyes were upon me, I could see no sign
of any living thing within the wood other than the many, gay-plumaged
birds and little monkeys which filled the trees with life, color,
To you it may seem that my conviction was the re-sult of an
overwrought imagination, or to the actual reality of the prying
eyes of the little monkeys or the curious ones of the birds; but
there is a difference which I cannot explain between the sensation
of casual observation and studied espionage. A sheep might gaze at
you without transmitting a warning through your sub-jective mind,
because you are in no danger from a sheep. But let a tiger gaze
fixedly at you from ambush, and unless your primitive instincts
are completely cal-loused you will presently commence to glance
furtively about and be filled with vague, unreasoning terror.
Thus was it with me then. I grasped my cudgel more firmly and
unslung my javelin, carrying it in my left hand. I peered to left
and right, but I saw nothing. Then, all quite suddenly, there fell
about my neck and shoulders, around my arms and body, a number of
pliant fiber ropes.
In a jiffy I was trussed up as neatly as you might wish. One of
the nooses dropped to my ankles and was jerked up with a suddenness
that brought me to my face upon the ground. Then something heavy
and hairy sprang upon my back. I fought to draw my knife, but
hairy hands grasped my wrists and, dragging them be-hind my back,
bound them securely.
Next my feet were bound. Then I was turned over upon my back to
look up into the faces of my captors.
And what faces! Imagine if you can a cross between a sheep and a
gorilla, and you will have some concep-tion of the physiognomy of
the creature that bent close above me, and of those of the half-dozen
others that clustered about. There was the facial length and
great eyes of the sheep, and the bull-neck and hideous fangs of
the gorilla. The bodies and limbs were both man and gorilla-like.
As they bent over me they conversed in a mono-syllabic tongue that
was perfectly intelligible to me. It was something of a simplified
language that had no need for aught but nouns and verbs, but such
words as it included were the same as those of the human beings
of Pellucidar. It was amplified by many gestures which filled in
I asked them what they intended doing with me; but, like our own
North American Indians when questioned by a white man, they pretended
not to understand me. One of them swung me to his shoulder as
lightly as if I had been a shoat. He was a huge creature, as were
his fellows, standing fully seven feet upon his short legs and
weighing considerably more than a quarter of a ton.
Two went ahead of my bearer and three behind. In this order we
cut to the right through the forest to the foot of the hill where
precipitous cliffs appeared to bar our farther progress in this
direction. But my escort never paused. Like ants upon a wall,
they scaled that seemingly unscalable barrier, clinging, Heaven
knows how, to its ragged perpendicular face. During most of the
short journey to the summit I must admit that my hair stood on end.
Presently, however, we topped the thing and stood upon the level
mesa which crowned it.
Immediately from all about, out of burrows and rough, rocky lairs,
poured a perfect torrent of beasts similar to my captors. They
clustered about, jabber-ing at my guards and attempting to get their
hands upon me, whether from curiosity or a desire to do me bodily
harm I did not know, since my escort with bared fangs and heavy
blows kept them off.
Across the mesa we went, to stop at last before a large pile of
rocks in which an opening appeared. Here my guards set me upon
my feet and called out a word which sounded like "Gr-gr-gr!" and
which I later learned was the name of their king.
Presently there emerged from the cavernous depths of the lair a
monstrous creature, scarred from a hundred battles, almost hairless
and with an empty socket where one eye had been. The other eye,
sheeplike in its mildness, gave the most startling appearance to
the beast, which but for that single timid orb was the most fearsome
thing that one could imagine.
I had encountered the black, hairless, long-tailed ape--things of
the mainland--the creatures which Perry thought might constitute the
link between the higher orders of apes and man--but these brute-men
of Gr-gr-gr seemed to set that theory back to zero, for there was
less similarity between the black ape-men and these creatures than
there was between the latter and man, while both had many human
attributes, some of which were better developed in one species and
some in the other.
The black apes were hairless and built thatched huts in their
arboreal retreats; they kept domesticated dogs and ruminants, in
which respect they were farther advanced than the human beings of
Pellucidar; but they appeared to have only a meager language, and
sported long, apelike tails.
On the other hand, Gr-gr-gr's people were, for the most part, quite
hairy, but they were tailless and had a language similar to that
of the human race of Pellucidar; nor were they arboreal. Their
skins, where skin showed, were white.
From the foregoing facts and others that I have noted during my
long life within Pellucidar, which is now passing through an age
analogous to some pre-glacial age of the outer crust, I am constrained
to the belief that evolution is not so much a gradual transition
from one form to another as it is an accident of breeding, either by
crossing or the hazards of birth. In other words, it is my belief
that the first man was a freak of nature--nor would one have to
draw over-strongly upon his credulity to be convinced that Gr-gr-gr
and his tribe were also freaks.
The great man-brute seated himself upon a flat rock--his throne,
I imagine--just before the entrance to his lair. With elbows on
knees and chin in palms he re-garded me intently through his lone
sheep-eye while one of my captors told of my taking.
When all had been related Gr-gr-gr questioned me. I shall not
attempt to quote these people in their own ab-breviated tongue--you
would have even greater diffi-culty in interpreting them than did
I. Instead, I shall put the words into their mouths which will
carry to you the ideas which they intended to convey.
"You are an enemy," was Gr-gr-gr's initial declaration. "You belong
to the tribe of Hooja."
Ah! So they knew Hooja and he was their enemy! Good!
"I am an enemy of Hooja," I replied. "He has stolen my mate and
I have come here to take her away from him and punish Hooja."
"How could you do that alone?"
"I do not know," I answered, "but I should have tried had you not
captured me. What do you intend to do with me?"
"You shall work for us."
"You will not kill me?" I asked.
"We do not kill except in self-defense," he replied; "self-defense
and punishment. Those who would kill us and those who do wrong
we kill. If we knew you were one of Hooja's people we might kill
you, for all Hooja's people are bad people; but you say you are an
enemy of Hooja. You may not speak the truth, but until we learn
that you have lied we shall not kill you. You shall work."
"If you hate Hooja," I suggested, "why not let me, who hate him,
too, go and punish him?"
For some time Gr-gr-gr sat in thought. Then he raised his head
and addressed my guard.
"Take him to his work," he ordered.
His tone was final. As if to emphasize it he turned and entered
his burrow. My guard conducted me far-ther into the mesa, where
we came presently to a tiny depression or valley, at one end of
which gushed a warm spring.
The view that opened before me was the most sur-prising that I have
ever seen. In the hollow, which must have covered several hundred
acres, were numerous fields of growing things, and working all
about with crude implements or with no implements at all other than
their bare hands were many of the brute-men en-gaged in the first
agriculture that I had seen within Pellucidar.
They put me to work cultivating in a patch of melons.
I never was a farmer nor particularly keen for this sort of work,
and I am free to confess that time never had dragged so heavily
as it did during the hour or the year I spent there at that work.
How long it really was I do not know, of course; but it was all
The creatures that worked about me were quite sim-ple and friendly.
One of them proved to be a son of Gr-gr-gr. He had broken some
minor tribal law, and was working out his sentence in the fields.
He told me that his tribe had lived upon this hilltop always, and
that there were other tribes like them dwelling upon other hilltops.
They had no wars and had always lived in peace and harmony, menaced
only by the larger carniv-ora of the island, until my kind had come
under a crea-ture called Hooja, and attacked and killed them when
they chanced to descend from their natural fortresses to visit
their fellows upon other lofty mesas.
Now they were afraid; but some day they would go in a body and fall
upon Hooja and his people and slay them all. I explained to him
that I was Hooja's enemy, and asked, when they were ready to go,
that I be al-lowed to go with them, or, better still, that they
let me go ahead and learn all that I could about the village where
Hooja dwelt so that they might attack it with the best chance of
Gr-gr-gr's son seemed much impressed by my sug-gestion. He said
that when he was through in the fields he would speak to his father
about the matter.
Some time after this Gr-gr-gr came through the fields where we were,
and his son spoke to him upon the sub-ject, but the old gentleman
was evidently in anything but a good humor, for he cuffed the
youngster and, turning upon me, informed me that he was convinced
that I had lied to him, and that I was one of Hooja's peo-ple.
"Wherefore," he concluded, "we shall slay you as soon as the melons
are cultivated. Hasten, therefore."
And hasten I did. I hastened to cultivate the weeds which grew among
the melon-vines. Where there had been one sickly weed before, I
nourished two healthy ones. When I found a particularly promising
variety of weed growing elsewhere than among my melons, I forthwith
dug it up and transplanted it among my charges.
My masters did not seem to realize my perfidy. They saw me always
laboring diligently in the melon-patch, and as time enters not into
the reckoning of Pellucidar-ians--even of human beings and much
less of brutes and half brutes--I might have lived on indefinitely
through this subterfuge had not that occurred which took me out of
the melon-patch for good and all.
HOOJA'S CUTTHROATS APPEAR
I had built a little shelter of rocks and brush where I might crawl
in and sleep out of the perpetual light and heat of the noonday
sun. When I was tired or hungry I retired to my humble cot.
My masters never interposed the slightest objection. As a matter
of fact, they were very good to me, nor did I see aught while I
was among them to indicate that they are ever else than a simple,
kindly folk when left to themselves. Their awe-inspiring size,
terrific strength, mighty fighting-fangs, and hideous appearance
are but the attributes necessary to the successful waging of their
constant battle for survival, and well do they employ them when
the need arises. The only flesh they eat is that of herbivorous
animals and birds. When they hunt the mighty thag, the prehistoric
bos of the outer crust, a single male, with his fiber rope, will
catch and kill the greatest of the bulls.
Well, as I was about to say, I had this little shelter at the edge
of my melon-patch. Here I was resting from my labors on a certain
occasion when I heard a great hub-bub in the village, which lay
about a quarter of a mile away.
Presently a male came racing toward the field, shout-ing excitedly.
As he approached I came from my shelter to learn what all the
commotion might be about, for the monotony of my existence in the
melon-patch must have fostered that trait of my curiosity from
which it had always been my secret boast I am peculiarly free.
The other workers also ran forward to meet the mes-senger, who quickly
unburdened himself of his informa-tion, and as quickly turned and
scampered back toward the village. When running these beast-men
often go upon all fours. Thus they leap over obstacles that would
slow up a human being, and upon the level attain a speed that
would make a thoroughbred look to his laurels. The result in this
instance was that before I had more than assimilated the gist of
the word which had been brought to the fields, I was alone, watching
my co-workers speeding villageward.
I was alone! It was the first time since my capture that no beast-man
had been within sight of me. I was alone! And all my captors were
in the village at the op-posite edge of the mesa repelling an attack
of Hooja's horde!
It seemed from the messenger's tale that two of Gr-gr-gr's great
males had been set upon by a half-dozen of Hooja's cutthroats while
the former were peaceably returning from the thag hunt. The two
had returned to the village unscratched, while but a single one of
Hooja's half-dozen had escaped to report the outcome of the battle
to their leader. Now Hooja was coming to punish Gr-gr-gr's people.
With his large force, armed with the bows and arrows that Hooja
had learned from me to make, with long lances and sharp knives, I
feared that even the mighty strength of the beastmen could avail
them but little.
At last had come the opportunity for which I waited! I was free to
make for the far end of the mesa, find my way to the valley below,
and while the two forces were engaged in their struggle, continue
my search for Hooja's village, which I had learned from the beast-men
lay farther on down the river that I had been following when taken
As I turned to make for the mesa's rim the sounds of battle came
plainly to my ears--the hoarse shouts of men mingled with the
half-beastly roars and growls of the brute-folk.
Did I take advantage of my opportunity?
I did not. Instead, lured by the din of strife and by the desire
to deliver a stroke, however feeble, against hated Hooja, I wheeled
and ran directly toward the village.
When I reached the edge of the plateau such a scene met my astonished
gaze as never before had startled it, for the unique battle-methods
of the half-brutes were rather the most remarkable I had ever
witnessed. Along the very edge of the cliff-top stood a thin line
of mighty males--the best rope-throwers of the tribe. A few feet
behind these the rest of the males, with the exception of about
twenty, formed a second line. Still farther in the rear all the
women and young children were clus-tered into a single group under
the protection of the re-maining twenty fighting males and all the
But it was the work of the first two lines that in-terested me.
The forces of Hooja--a great horde of savage Sagoths and primeval
cave men--were work-ing their way up the steep cliff-face, their
agility but slightly less than that of my captors who had clambered
so nimbly aloft--even he who was burdened by my weight.
As the attackers came on they paused occasionally wherever a
projection gave them sufficient foothold and launched arrows and
spears at the defenders above them. During the entire battle both
sides hurled taunts and insults at one another--the human beings
naturally excelling the brutes in the coarseness and vileness of
their vilification and invective.
The "firing-line" of the brute-men wielded no weapon other than
their long fiber nooses. When a foeman came within range of them
a noose would settle unerringly about him and be would be dragged,
fighting and yell-ing, to the cliff-top, unless, as occasionally
occurred, he was quick enough to draw his knife and cut the rope
above him, in which event he usually plunged down-ward to a no less
certain death than that which awaited him above.
Those who were hauled up within reach of the power-ful clutches of
the defenders had the nooses snatched from them and were catapulted
back through the first line to the second, where they were seized
and killed by the simple expedient of a single powerful closing of
mighty fangs upon the backs of their necks.
But the arrows of the invaders were taking a much heavier toll
than the nooses of the defenders and I fore-saw that it was but a
matter of time before Hooja's forces must conquer unless the brute-men
changed their tactics, or the cave men tired of the battle.
Gr-gr-gr was standing in the center of the first line. All about
him were boulders and large fragments of broken rock. I approached
him and without a word toppled a large mass of rock over the edge
of the cliff. It fell directly upon the head of an archer, crush-ing
him to instant death and carrying his mangled corpse with it to
the bottom of the declivity, and on its way brushing three more of
the attackers into the here-after.
Gr-gr-gr turned toward me in surprise. For an in-stant he appeared
to doubt the sincerity of my motives. I felt that perhaps my time
had come when he reached for me with one of his giant paws; but I
dodged him, and running a few paces to the right hurled down another
missile. It, too, did its allotted work of destruc-tion. Then I
picked up smaller fragments and with all the control and accuracy
for which I had earned justly deserved fame in my collegiate days
I rained down a hail of death upon those beneath me.
Gr-gr-gr was coming toward me again. I pointed to the litter of
rubble upon the cliff-top.
"Hurl these down upon the enemy!" I cried to him. "Tell your
warriors to throw rocks down upon them!"
At my words the others of the first line, who had been interested
spectators of my tactics, seized upon great boulders or bits of
rock, whichever came first to their hands, and, without, waiting
for a command from Gr-gr-gr, deluged the terrified cave men with
a perfect avalanche of stone. In less than no time the cliff-face
was stripped of enemies and the village of Gr-gr-gr was saved.
Gr-gr-gr was standing beside me when the last of the cave men
disappeared in rapid flight down the valley. He was looking at me
"Those were your people," he said. "Why did you kill them?"
"They were not my people," I returned. "I have told you that before,
but you would not believe me. Will you believe me now when I tell
you that I hate Hooja and his tribe as much as you do? Will you
believe me when I tell you that I wish to be the friend of Gr-gr-gr?"
For some time he stood there beside me, scratching his head. Evidently
it was no less difficult for him to readjust his preconceived
conclusions than it is for most human beings; but finally the
idea percolated--which it might never have done had he been a man,
or I might qualify that statement by saying had he been some men.
Finally he spoke.
"Gilak," he said, "you have made Gr-gr-gr ashamed. He would have
killed you. How can he reward you?"
"Set me free," I replied quickly.
"You are free," he said. "You may go down when you wish, or you
may stay with us. If you go you may always return. We are your
Naturally, I elected to go. I explained all over again to Gr-gr-gr
the nature of my mission. He listened atten-tively; after I had
done he offered to send some of his people with me to guide me to
Hooja's village. I was not slow in accepting his offer.
First, however, we must eat. The hunters upon whom Hooja's men had
fallen had brought back the meat of a great thag. There would be
a feast to commemorate the victory--a feast and dancing.
I had never witnessed a tribal function of the brute-folk, though
I had often heard strange sounds coming from the village, where I
had not been allowed since my capture. Now I took part in one of
It will live forever in my memory. The combination of bestiality
and humanity was oftentimes pathetic, and again grotesque or horrible.
Beneath the glaring noonday sun, in the sweltering heat of the
mesa-top, the huge, hairy creatures leaped in a great circle. They
coiled and threw their fiber-ropes; they hurled taunts and insults
at an imaginary foe; they fell upon the carcass of the thag and
literally tore it to pieces; and they ceased only when, gorged,
they could no longer move.
I had to wait until the processes of digestion had re-leased my
escort from its torpor. Some had eaten until their abdomens were
so distended that I thought they must burst, for beside the thag
there had been fully a hundred antelopes of various sizes and varied
degrees of decomposition, which they had unearthed from bur-ial
beneath the floors of their lairs to grace the banquet-board.
But at last we were started--six great males and myself. Gr-gr-gr
had returned my weapons to me, and at last I was once more upon
my oft-interrupted way toward my goal. Whether I should find Dian
at the end of my journey or no I could not even surmise; but I was
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