Edgar Rice Burroughs
Part 3 out of 4
none the less impatient to be off, for if only the worst lay in
store for me I wished to know even the worst at once.
I could scarce believe that my proud mate would still be alive in
the power of Hooja; but time upon Pellucidar is so strange a thing
that I realized that to her or to him only a few minutes might have
elapsed since his subtle trickery had enabled him to steal her away
from Phutra. Or she might have found the means either to repel
his advances or escape him.
As we descended the cliff we disturbed a great pack of large hyena-like
beasts--hyaena spelaeus, Perry calls them--who were busy among the
corpses of the cave men fallen in battle. The ugly creatures were
far from the cowardly things that our own hyenas are reputed to
be; they stood their ground with bared fangs as we approached them.
But, as I was later to learn, so for-midable are the brute-folk
that there are few even of the larger carnivora that will not make
way for them when they go abroad. So the hyenas moved a little
from our line of march, closing in again upon their feasts when we
We made our way steadily down the rim of the beau-tiful river which
flows the length of the island, coming at last to a wood rather
denser than any that I had be-fore encountered in this country.
Well within this forest my escort halted.
"There!" they said, and pointed ahead. "We are to go no farther."
Thus having guided me to my destination they left me. Ahead of me,
through the trees, I could see what appeared to be the foot of a
steep hill. Toward this I made my way. The forest ran to the very
base of a cliff, in the face of which were the mouths of many
caves. They appeared untenanted; but I decided to watch for a
while before venturing farther. A large tree, densely foliaged,
offered a splendid vantage-point from which to spy upon the cliff,
so I clambered among its branches where, securely hidden, I could
watch what transpired about the caves.
It seemed that I had scarcely settled myself in a comfortable
position before a party of cave men emerged from one of the smaller
apertures in the cliff-face, about fifty feet from the base. They
descended into the forest and disappeared. Soon after came sev-eral
others from the same cave, and after them, at a short interval, a
score of women and children, who came into the wood to gather fruit.
There were several war-riors with them--a guard, I presume.
After this came other parties, and two or three groups who passed
out of the forest and up the cliff-face to enter the same cave.
I could not understand it. All who came out had emerged from the
same cave. All who returned reentered it. No other cave gave
evidence of habitation, and no cave but one of extraordinary size
could have accommodated all the people whom I had seen pass in and
out of its mouth.
For a long time I sat and watched the coming and going of great
numbers of the cave-folk. Not once did one leave the cliff by
any other opening save that from which I had seen the first party
come, nor did any re-enter the cliff through another aperture.
What a cave it must be, I thought, that houses an en-tire tribe!
But dissatisfied of the truth of my surmise, I climbed higher among
the branches of the tree that I might get a better view of other
portions of the cliff. High above the ground I reached a point
whence I could see the summit of the hill. Evidently it was
a flat-topped butte similar to that on which dwelt the tribe of
As I sat gazing at it a figure appeared at the very edge. It was
that of a young girl in whose hair was a gorgeous bloom plucked from
some flowering tree of the forest. I had seen her pass beneath me
but a short while before and enter the small cave that had swallowed
all of the returning tribesmen.
The mystery was solved. The cave was but the mouth of a passage
that led upward through the cliff to the summit of the hill. It
served merely as an avenue from their lofty citadel to the valley
No sooner had the truth flashed upon me than the realization came
that I must seek some other means of reaching the village, for to
pass unobserved through this well-traveled thoroughfare would be
impossible. At the moment there was no one in sight below me, so
I slid quickly from my arboreal watch-tower to the ground and moved
rapidly away to the right with the intention of circling the hill
if necessary until I had found an un-watched spot where I might
have some slight chance of scaling the heights and reaching the
I kept close to the edge of the forest, in the very midst of which
the hill seemed to rise. Though I carefully scanned the cliff as
I traversed its base, I saw no sign of any other entrance than that
to which my guides had led me.
After some little time the roar of the sea broke upon my ears.
Shortly after I came upon the broad ocean which breaks at this
point at the very foot of the great hill where Hooja had found safe
refuge for himself and his villains.
I was just about to clamber along the jagged rocks which lie at
the base of the cliff next to the sea, in search of some foothold
to the top, when I chanced to see a canoe rounding the end of the
island. I threw my-self down behind a large boulder where I could
watch the dugout and its occupants without myself being seen.
They paddled toward me for a while and then, about a hundred yards
from me, they turned straight in toward the foot of the frowning
cliffs. From where I was it seemed that they were bent upon
self-destruction, since the roar of the breakers beating upon the
perpen-dicular rock-face appeared to offer only death to any one
who might venture within their relentless clutch.
A mass of rock would soon hide them from my view; but so keen was
the excitement of the instant that I could not refrain from crawling
forward to a point whence I could watch the dashing of the small
craft to pieces on the jagged rocks that loomed before her, al-though
I risked discovery from above to accomplish my design.
When I had reached a point where I could again see the dugout, I was
just in time to see it glide un-harmed between two needle-pointed
sentinels of granite and float quietly upon the unruffled bosom of
a tiny cove.
Again I crouched behind a boulder to observe what would next transpire;
nor did I have long to wait. The dugout, which contained but two
men, was drawn close to the rocky wall. A fiber rope, one end of
which was tied to the boat, was made fast about a projection of
the cliff face.
Then the two men commenced the ascent of the almost perpendicular
wall toward the summit several hundred feet above. I looked on in
amazement, for, splendid climbers though the cave men of Pellucidar
are, I never before had seen so remarkable a feat per-formed.
Upwardly they moved without a pause, to dis-appear at last over
When I felt reasonably sure that they had gone for a while at least
I crawled from my hiding-place and at the risk of a broken neck
leaped and scrambled to the spot where their canoe was moored.
If they had scaled that cliff I could, and if I couldn't I should
die in the attempt.
But when I turned to the accomplishment of the task I found it easier
than I had imagined it would be, since I immediately discovered
that shallow hand and foot-holds had been scooped in the cliff's
rocky face, forming a crude ladder from the base to the summit.
At last I reached the top, and very glad I was, too. Cautiously
I raised my head until my eyes were above the cliff-crest. Before
me spread a rough mesa, liberally sprinkled with large boulders.
There was no village in sight nor any living creature.
I drew myself to level ground and stood erect. A few trees grew
among the boulders. Very carefully I ad-vanced from tree to tree
and boulder to boulder toward the inland end of the mesa. I stopped
often to listen and look cautiously about me in every direction.
How I wished that I had my revolvers and rifle! I would not have
to worm my way like a scared cat toward Hooja's village, nor did I
relish doing so now; but Dian's life might hinge upon the success
of my venture, and so I could not afford to take chances. To
have met suddenly with discovery and had a score or more of armed
warriors upon me might have been very grand and heroic; but it would
have immediately put an end to all my earthly activities, nor have
accomplished aught in the service of Dian.
Well, I must have traveled nearly a mile across that mesa without
seeing a sign of anyone, when all of a sud-den, as I crept around
the edge of a boulder, I ran plump into a man, down on all fours
like myself, crawl-ing toward me.
THE RAID ON THE CAVE-PRISON
His head was turned over his shoulder as I first saw him--he was
looking back toward the village. As I leaped for him his eyes
fell upon me. Never in my life have I seen a more surprised mortal
than this poor cave man. Before he could utter a single scream
of warning or alarm I had my fingers on his throat and had dragged
him behind the boulder, where I proceeded to sit upon him, while
I figured out what I had best do with him.
He struggled a little at first, but finally lay still, and so I
released the pressure of my fingers at his windpipe, for which I
imagine he was quite thankful--I know that I should have been.
I hated to kill him in cold blood; but what else I was to do with
him I could not see, for to turn him loose would have been merely
to have the entire village aroused and down upon me in a moment.
The fellow lay looking up at me with the surprise still deeply
writ-ten on his countenance. At last, all of a sudden, a look of
recognition entered his eyes.
"I have seen you before," he said. "I saw you in the arena at the
Mahars' city of Phutra when the thipdars dragged the tarag from
you and your mate. I never understood that. Afterward they put
me in the arena with two warriors from Gombul."
He smiled in recollection.
"It would have been the same had there been ten warriors from
Gombul. I slew them, winning my free-dom. Look!"
He half turned his left shoulder toward me, exhibiting the newly
healed scar of the Mahars' branded mark.
"Then," he continued, "as I was returning to my peo-ple I met some
of them fleeing. They told me that one called Hooja the Sly One
had come and seized our village, putting our people into slavery.
So I hurried hither to learn the truth, and, sure enough, here I
found Hooja and his wicked men living in my village, and my father's
people but slaves among them.
"I was discovered and captured, but Hooja did not kill me. I am
the chief's son, and through me he hoped to win my father's warriors
back to the village to help him in a great war he says that he will
"Among his prisoners is Dian the Beautiful One, whose brother, Dacor
the Strong One, chief of Amoz, once saved my life when he came to
Thuria to steal a mate. I helped him capture her, and we are good
friends. So when I learned that Dian the Beautiful One was Hooja's
prisoner, I told him that I would not aid him if he harmed her.
"Recently one of Hooja's warriors overheard me talk-ing with
another prisoner. We were planning to combine all the prisoners,
seize weapons, and when most of Hooja's warriors were away, slay
the rest and retake our hilltop. Had we done so we could have held
it, for there are only two entrances--the narrow tunnel at one end
and the steep path up the cliffs at the other.
"But when Hooja heard what we had planned he was very angry, and
ordered that I die. They bound me hand and foot and placed me in
a cave until all the warriors should return to witness my death;
but while they were away I heard someone calling me in a muffled
voice which seemed to come from the wall of the cave. When I replied
the voice, which was a woman's, told me that she had overheard all
that had passed between me and those who had brought me thither,
and that she was Dacor's sister and would find a way to help me.
"Presently a little hole appeared in the wall at the point from which
the voice had come. After a time I saw a woman's hand digging with
a bit of stone. Dacor's sister made a hole in the wall between
the cave where I lay bound and that in which she had been confined,
and soon she was by my side and had cut my bonds.
"We talked then, and I offered to make the attempt to take her away
and back to the land of Sari, where she told me she would be able
to learn the whereabouts of her mate. Just now I was going to the
other end of the island to see if a boat lay there, and if the way
was clear for our escape. Most of the boats are always away now,
for a great many of Hooja's men and nearly all the slaves are upon
the Island of Trees, where Hooja is hav-ing many boats built to
carry his warriors across the water to the mouth of a great river
which he discovered while he was returning from Phutra--a vast
river that empties into the sea there."
The speaker pointed toward the northeast. "It is wide and smooth
and slow-running almost to the land of Sari," he added.
"And where is Dian the Beautiful One now?" I asked.
I had released my prisoner as soon as I found that he was Hooja's
enemy, and now the pair of us were squat-ting beside the boulder
while he told his story.
"She returned to the cave where she had been im-prisoned," he
replied, "and is awaiting me there."
"There is no danger that Hooja will come while you are away?"
"Hooja is upon the Island of Trees," he replied.
"Can you direct me to the cave so that I can find it alone?" I
He said he could, and in the strange yet explicit fash-ion of the
Pellucidarians he explained minutely how I might reach the cave
where he had been imprisoned, and through the hole in its wall
I thought it best for but one of us to return, since two could
accomplish but little more than one and would double the risk of
discovery. In the meantime he could make his way to the sea and
guard the boat, which I told him lay there at the foot of the cliff.
I told him to await us at the cliff-top, and if Dian came alone to
do his best to get away with her and take her to Sari, as I thought
it quite possible that, in case of detection and pursuit, it might
be necessary for me to hold off Hooja's people while Dian made her
way alone to where my new friend was to await her. I impressed
upon him the fact that he might have to resort to trick-ery or even
to force to get Dian to leave me; but I made him promise that he
would sacrifice everything, even his life, in an attempt to rescue
Then we parted--he to take up his position where he could watch the
boat and await Dian, I to crawl cau-tiously on toward the caves.
I had no difficulty in fol-lowing the directions given me by Juag,
the name by which Dacor's friend said he was called. There was the
leaning tree, my first point he told me to look for after rounding
the boulder where we had met. After that I crawled to the balanced
rock, a huge boulder resting upon a tiny base no larger than the
palm of your hand.
From here I had my first view of the village of caves. A low bluff
ran diagonally across one end of the mesa, and in the face of this
bluff were the mouths of many caves. Zig-zag trails led up to them,
and narrow ledges scooped from the face of the soft rock connected
those upon the same level.
The cave in which Juag had been confined was at the extreme end of
the cliff nearest me. By taking advan-tage of the bluff itself,
I could approach within a few feet of the aperture without being
visible from any other cave. There were few people about at the
time; most of these were congregated at the foot of the far end of
the bluff, where they were so engrossed in ex-cited conversation
that I felt but little fear of detection. However I exercised
the greatest care in approaching the cliff. After watching for a
while until I caught an in-stant when every head was turned away
from me, I darted, rabbitlike, into the cave.
Like many of the man-made caves of Pellucidar, this one consisted
of three chambers, one behind another, and all unlit except for what
sunlight filtered in through the external opening. The result was
gradually increas-ing darkness as one passed into each succeeding
In the last of the three I could just distinguish objects, and that
was all. As I was groping around the walls for the hole that should
lead into the cave where Dian was imprisoned, I heard a man's voice
quite close to me.
The speaker had evidently but just entered, for he spoke in a loud
tone, demanding the whereabouts of one whom he had come in search
"Where are you, woman?" he cried. "Hooja has sent for you."
And then a woman's voice answered him:
"And what does Hooja want of me?"
The voice was Dian's. I groped in the direction of the sounds,
feeling for the hole.
"He wishes you brought to the Island of Trees," replied the man;
"for he is ready to take you as his mate."
"I will not go," said Dian. "I will die first."
"I am sent to bring you, and bring you I shall."
I could hear him crossing the cave toward her.
Frantically I clawed the wall of the cave in which I was in an
effort to find the elusive aperture that would lead me to Dian's
I heard the sound of a scuffle in the next cave. Then my fingers
sank into loose rock and earth in the side of the cave. In an
instant I realized why I had been unable to find the opening while
I had been lightly feeling the surface of the walls--Dian had
blocked up the hole she had made lest it arouse suspicion and lead
to an early discovery of Juag's escape.
Plunging my weight against the crumbling mass, I sent it crashing
into the adjoining cavern. With it came I, David, Emperor of
Pellucidar. I doubt if any other potentate in a world's history
ever made a more un-dignified entrance. I landed head first on
all fours, but I came quickly and was on my feet before the man in
the dark guessed what had happened.
He saw me, though, when I arose and, sensing that no friend came
thus precipitately, turned to meet me even as I charged him. I had
my stone knife in my hand, and he had his. In the darkness of the
cave there was little opportunity for a display of science, though
even at that I venture to say that we fought a very pretty duel.
Before I came to Pellucidar I do not recall that I ever had seen
a stone knife, and I am sure that I never fought with a knife of
any description; but now I do not have to take my hat off to any
of them when it comes to wielding that primitive yet wicked weapon.
I could just see Dian in the darkness, but I knew that she could
not see my features or recognize me; and I enjoyed in anticipation,
even while I was fighting for her life and mine, her dear joy when
she should discover that it was I who was her deliverer.
My opponent was large, but he also was active and no mean knife-man.
He caught me once fairly in the shoulder--I carry the scar yet,
and shall carry it to the grave. And then he did a foolish thing,
for as I leaped back to gain a second in which to calm the shock
of the wound he rushed after me and tried to clinch. He rather
neglected his knife for the moment in his greater desire to get
his hands on me. Seeing the opening, I swung my left fist fairly
to the point of his jaw.
Down he went. Before ever he could scramble up again I was on him
and had buried my knife in his heart. Then I stood up--and there
was Dian facing me and peering at me through the dense gloom.
"You are not Juag!" she exclaimed. "Who are you?"
I took a step toward her, my arms outstretched.
"It is I, Dian," I said. "It is David."
At the sound of my voice she gave a little cry in which tears were
mingled--a pathetic little cry that told me all without words how
far hope had gone from her--and then she ran forward and threw
herself in my arms. I covered her perfect lips and her beautiful
face with kisses, and stroked her thick black hair, and told
her again and again what she already knew--what she had known for
years--that I loved her better than all else which two worlds had
to offer. We couldn't devote much time, though, to the happiness
of love-making, for we were in the midst of enemies who might
discover us at any moment.
I drew her into the adjoining cave. Thence we made our way to the
mouth of the cave that had given me entrance to the cliff. Here I
reconnoitered for a mo-ment, and seeing the coast clear, ran swiftly
forth with Dian at my side. We dodged around the cliff-end, then
paused for an instant, listening. No sound reached our ears to
indicate that any had seen us, and we moved cautiously onward along
the way by which I had come.
As we went Dian told me that her captors had in-formed her how close
I had come in search of her--even to the Land of Awful Shadow--and
how one of Hooja's men who knew me had discovered me asleep and
robbed me of all my possessions. And then how Hooja had sent four
others to find me and take me prisoner. But these men, she said,
had not yet re-turned, or at least she had not heard of their
"Nor will you ever," I responded, "for they have gone to that place
whence none ever returns." I then related my adventure with these
We had come almost to the cliff-edge where Juag should be awaiting
us when we saw two men walking rapidly toward the same spot from
another direction. They did not see us, nor did they see Juag,
whom I now discovered hiding behind a low bush close to the verge
of the precipice which drops into the sea at this point. As quickly
as possible, without exposing our-selves too much to the enemy, we
hastened forward that we might reach Juag as quickly as they.
But they noticed him first and immediately charged him, for one
of them had been his guard, and they had both been sent to search
for him, his escape having been discovered between the time he
left the cave and the time when I reached it. Evidently they had
wasted precious moments looking for him in other portions of the
When I saw that the two of them were rushing him, I called out to
attract their attention to the fact that they had more than a single
man to cope with. They paused at the sound of my voice and looked
When they discovered Dian and me they exchanged a few words, and one
of them continued toward Juag while the other turned upon us. As
he came nearer I saw that he carried in his hand one of my six-shooters,
but he was holding it by the barrel, evidently mistaking it for
some sort of warclub or tomahawk.
I could scarce refrain a grin when I thought of the wasted
possibilities of that deadly revolver in the hands of an untutored
warrior of the stone age. Had he but reversed it and pulled the
trigger he might still be alive; maybe he is for all I know, since
I did not kill him then. When he was about twenty feet from me
I flung my javelin with a quick movement that I had learned from
Ghak. He ducked to avoid it, and instead of receiving it in his
heart, for which it was intended, he got it on the side of the
Down he went all in a heap. Then I glanced toward Juag. He was
having a most exciting time. The fellow pitted against Juag was a
veritable giant; he was hack-ing and hewing away at the poor slave
with a villainous-looking knife that might have been designed for
butch-ering mastodons. Step by step, he was forcing Juag back
toward the edge of the cliff with a fiendish cunning that permitted
his adversary no chance to side-step the terrible consequences of
retreat in this direction. I saw quickly that in another moment
Juag must de-liberately hurl himself to death over the precipice
or be pushed over by his foeman.
And as I saw Juag's predicament I saw, too, in the same instant,
a way to relieve him. Leaping quickly to the side of the fellow
I had just felled, I snatched up my fallen revolver. It was
a desperate chance to take, and I realized it in the instant that
I threw the gun up from my hip and pulled the trigger. There was
no time to aim. Juag was upon the very brink of the chasm. His
relentless foe was pushing him hard, beat-ing at him furiously with
the heavy knife.
And then the revolver spoke--loud and sharp. The giant threw his
hands above his head, whirled about like a huge top, and lunged
forward over the precipice.
He cast a single affrighted glance in my direction--never before,
of course, had he heard the report of a firearm--and with a howl
of dismay he, too, turned and plunged headforemost from sight.
Horror-struck, I hastened to the brink of the abyss just in time
to see two splashes upon the surface of the little cove below.
For an instant I stood there watching with Dian at my side. Then,
to my utter amazement, I saw Juag rise to the surface and swim
strongly toward the boat.
The fellow had dived that incredible distance and come up unharmed!
I called to him to await us below, assuring him that he need have
no fear of my weapon, since it would harm only my enemies. He
shook his head and mut-tered something which I could not hear at
so great a distance; but when I pushed him he promised to wait for
us. At the same instant Dian caught my arm and pointed toward the
village. My shot had brought a crowd of natives on the run toward
The fellow whom I had stunned with my javelin had regained consciousness
and scrambled to his feet. He was now racing as fast as he could
go back toward his people. It looked mighty dark for Dian and me
with that ghastly descent between us and even the begin-nings of
liberty, and a horde of savage enemies ad-vancing at a rapid run.
There was but one hope. That was to get Dian started for the bottom
without delay. I took her in my arms just for an instant--I felt,
somehow, that it might be for the last time. For the life of me
I couldn't see how both of us could escape.
I asked her if she could make the descent alone--if she were not
afraid. She smiled up at me bravely and shrugged her shoulders.
She afraid! So beautiful is she that I am always having difficulty
in remembering that she is a primitive, half-savage cave girl of the
stone age, and often find myself mentally limiting her ca-pacities
to those of the effete and overcivilized beauties of the outer
"And you?" she asked as she swung over the edge of the cliff.
"I shall follow you after I take a shot or two at our friends," I
replied. "I just want to give them a taste of this new medicine
which is going to cure Pellucidar of all its ills. That will stop
them long enough for me to join you. Now hurry, and tell Juag to
be ready to shove off the moment I reach the boat, or the instant
that it becomes apparent that I cannot reach it.
"You, Dian, must return to Sari if anything happens to me, that
you may devote your life to carrying out with Perry the hopes and
plans for Pellucidar that are so dear to my heart. Promise me,
She hated to promise to desert me, nor would she; only shaking her
head and making no move to descend. The tribesmen were nearing
us. Juag was shouting up to us from below. It was evident that
he realized from my actions that I was attempting to persuade Dian
to descend, and that grave danger threatened us from above.
"Dive!" he cried. "Dive!"
I looked at Dian and then down at the abyss below us. The cove
appeared no larger than a saucer. How Juag ever had hit it I could
"Dive!" cried Juag. "It is the only way--there is no time to climb
Dian glanced downward and shuddered. Her tribe were hill people--they
were not accustomed to swim-ming other than in quiet rivers and
placid lakelets. It was not the steep that appalled her. It was
the ocean--vast, mysterious, terrible.
To dive into it from this great height was beyond her. I couldn't
wonder, either. To have attempted it myself seemed too preposterous
even for thought. Only one consideration could have prompted me
to leap headforemost from that giddy height--suicide; or at least
so I thought at the moment.
"Quick!" I urged Dian. "You cannot dive; but I can hold them until
you reach safety."
"And you?" she asked once more. "Can you dive when they come too
close? Otherwise you could not escape if you waited here until I
reached the bottom."
I saw that she would not leave me unless she thought that I could
make that frightful dive as we had seen Juag make it. I glanced
once downward; then with a mental shrug I assured her that I would
dive the mo-ment that she reached the boat. Satisfied, she began
the descent carefully, yet swiftly. I watched her for a moment,
my heart in my mouth lest some slight mis-step or the slipping of
a finger-hold should pitch her to a frightful death upon the rocks
Then I turned toward the advancing Hoojans--"Hoosiers," Perry dubbed
them--even going so far as to christen this island where Hooja held
sway Indiana; it is so marked now upon our maps. They were coming
on at a great rate. I raised my revolver, took deliberate aim at
the foremost warrior, and pulled the trigger. With the bark of
the gun the fellow lunged forward. His head doubled beneath him.
He rolled over and over two or three times before he came to a
stop, to lie very quietly in the thick grass among the brilliant
Those behind him halted. One of them hurled a javelin toward me,
but it fell short--they were just beyond javelin-range. There were
two armed with bows and arrows; these I kept my eyes on. All of
them appeared awe-struck and frightened by the sound and effect of
the firearm. They kept looking from the corpse to me and jabbering
I took advantage of the lull in hostilities to throw a quick glance
over the edge toward Dian. She was half-way down the cliff and
progressing finely. Then I turned back toward the enemy. One of
the bowmen was fitting an arrow to his bow. I raised my hand.
"Stop!" I cried. "Whoever shoots at me or advances toward me I
shall kill as I killed him!"
I pointed at the dead man. The fellow lowered his bow. Again
there was animated discussion. I could see that those who were
not armed with bows were urging something upon the two who were.
At last the majority appeared to prevail, for simul-taneously the
two archers raised their weapons. At the same instant I fired
at one of them, dropping him in his tracks. The other, however,
launched his missile, but the report of my gun had given him such
a start that the arrow flew wild above my head. A second after
and he, too, was sprawled upon the sward with a round hole between
his eyes. It had been a rather good shot.
I glanced over the edge again. Dian was almost at the bottom. I
could see Juag standing just beneath her with his hands upstretched
to assist her.
A sullen roar from the warriors recalled my attention toward them.
They stood shaking their fists at me and yelling insults. From
the direction of the village I saw a single warrior coming to join
them. He was a huge fellow, and when he strode among them I could
tell by his bearing and their deference toward him that he was a
chieftain. He listened to all they had to tell of the happenings
of the last few minutes; then with a command and a roar he started
for me with the whole pack at his heels. All they had needed had
arrived--namely, a brave leader.
I had two unfired cartridges in the chambers of my gun. I let the
big warrior have one of them, thinking that his death would stop
them all. But I guess they were worked up to such a frenzy of rage
by this time that nothing would have stopped them. At any rate,
they only yelled the louder as he fell and increased their speed
toward me. I dropped another with my remaining cartridge.
Then they were upon me--or almost. I thought of my promise
to Dian--the awful abyss was behind me--a big devil with a huge
bludgeon in front of me. I grasped my six-shooter by the barrel
and hurled it squarely in his face with all my strength.
Then, without waiting to learn the effect of my throw, I wheeled,
ran the few steps to the edge, and leaped as far out over that
frightful chasm as I could. I know something of diving, and all
that I know I put into that dive, which I was positive would be my
For a couple of hundred feet I fell in horizontal position. The
momentum I gained was terrific. I could feel the air almost as
a solid body, so swiftly I hurtled through it. Then my position
gradually changed to the vertical, and with hands outstretched
I slipped through the air, cleaving it like a flying arrow. Just
before I struck the water a perfect shower of javelins fell all
about. My enemies bad rushed to the brink and hurled their weapons
after me. By a miracle I was untouched.
In the final instant I saw that I had cleared the rocks and was
going to strike the water fairly. Then I was in and plumbing the
depths. I suppose I didn't really go very far down, but it seemed
to me that I should never stop. When at last I dared curve my hands
upward and divert my progress toward the sur-face, I thought that
I should explode for air before I ever saw the sun again except
through a swirl of water. But at last my bead popped above the
waves, and I filled my lungs with air.
Before me was the boat, from which Juag and Dian were clambering.
I couldn't understand why they were deserting it now, when we were
about to set out for the mainland in it; but when I reached its
side I under-stood. Two heavy javelins, missing Dian and Juag by
but a hair's breadth, had sunk deep into the bottom of the dugout
in a straight line with the grain of the wood, and split her almost
in two from stem to stern. She was useless.
Juag was leaning over a near-by rock, his hand out-stretched to aid
me in clambering to his side; nor did I lose any time in availing
myself of his proffered as-sistance. An occasional javelin was
still dropping perilously close to us, so we hastened to draw as
close as possible to the cliffside, where we were compara-tively
safe from the missiles.
Here we held a brief conference, in which it was decided that our
only hope now lay in making for the opposite end of the island as
quickly as we could, and utilizing the boat that I had hidden there,
to con-tinue our journey to the mainland.
Gathering up three of the least damaged javelins that had fallen
about us, we set out upon our journey, keeping well toward the
south side of the island, which Juag said was less frequented by
the Hoojans than the central portion where the river ran. I think
that this ruse must have thrown our pursuers off our track, since
we saw nothing of them nor heard any sound of pursuit during the
greater portion of our march the length of the island.
But the way Juag had chosen was rough and round-about, so that we
consumed one or two more marches in covering the distance than if
we had followed the river. This it was which proved our undoing.
Those who sought us must have sent a party up the river immediately
after we escaped; for when we came at last onto the river-trail not
far from our destination, there can be no doubt but that we were
seen by Hoojans who were just ahead of us on the stream. The
result was that as we were passing through a clump of bush a score
of warriors leaped out upon us, and before we could scarce strike
a blow in defense, had disarmed and bound us.
For a time thereafter I seemed to be entirely bereft of hope. I
could see no ray of promise in the future--only immediate death
for Juag and me, which didn't concern me much in the face of what
lay in store for Dian.
Poor child! What an awful life she had led! From the moment that
I had first seen her chained in the slave caravan of the Mahars
until now, a prisoner of a no less cruel creature, I could recall
but a few brief intervals of peace and quiet in her tempestuous
ex-istence. Before I had known her, Jubal the Ugly One had pursued
her across a savage world to make her his mate. She had eluded
him, and finally I had slain him; but terror and privations, and
exposure to fierce beasts had haunted her footsteps during all
her lonely flight from him. And when I had returned to the outer
world the old trials had recommenced with Hooja in Jubal's role.
I could almost have wished for death to vouchsafe her that peace
which fate seemed to deny her in this life.
I spoke to her on the subject, suggesting that we expire together.
"Do not fear, David," she replied. "I shall end my life before
ever Hooja can harm me; but first I shall see that Hooja dies."
She drew from her breast a little leathern thong, to the end of
which was fastened a tiny pouch.
"What have you there?" I asked.
"Do you recall that time you stepped upon the thing you call viper
in your world?" she asked.
"The accident gave you the idea for the poisoned arrows with which
we fitted the warriors of the em-pire," she continued. "And, too,
it gave me an idea. For a long time I have carried a viper's fang
in my bosom. It has given me strength to endure many dan-gers, for
it has always assured me immunity from the ultimate insult. I am
not ready to die yet. First let Hooja embrace the viper's fang."
So we did not die together, and I am glad now that we did not. It
is always a foolish thing to con-template suicide; for no matter
how dark the future may appear today, tomorrow may hold for us
that which will alter our whole life in an instant, revealing to
us nothing but sunshine and happiness. So, for my part, I shall
always wait for tomorrow.
In Pellucidar, where it is always today, the wait may not be so long,
and so it proved for us. As we were passing a lofty, flat-topped
hill through a park-like wood a perfect network of fiber ropes fell
suddenly about our guard, enmeshing them. A moment later a horde
of our friends, the hairy gorilla-men, with the mild eyes and long
faces of sheep leaped among them.
It was a very interesting fight. I was sorry that my bonds
prevented me from taking part in it, but I urged on the brutemen
with my voice, and cheered old Gr-gr-gr, their chief, each time
that his mighty jaws crunched out the life of a Hoojan. When the
battle was over we found that a few of our captors had escaped,
but the majority of them lay dead about us. The gorilla-men paid
no further attention to them. Gr-gr-gr turned to me.
"Gr-gr-gr and all his people are your friends," he said. "One
saw the warriors of the Sly One and fol-lowed them. He saw them
capture you, and then he flew to the village as fast as he could
go and told me all that he had seen. The rest you know. You did
much for Gr-gr-gr and Gr-gr-gr's people. We shall always do much
I thanked him; and when I had told him of our escape and our
destination, he insisted on accom-panying us to the sea with a great
number of his fierce males. Nor were we at all loath to accept
his escort. We found the canoe where I had hidden it, and bidding
Gr-gr-gr and his warriors farewell, the three of us embarked for
I questioned Juag upon the feasibility of attempting to cross to
the mouth of the great river of which he had told me, and up which
he said we might paddle almost to Sari; but he urged me not to
attempt it, since we had but a single paddle and no water or food.
I had to admit the wisdom of his advice, but the desire to explore
this great waterway was strong upon me, arousing in me at last a
determination to make the attempt after first gaining the mainland
and rectify-ing our deficiencies.
We landed several miles north of Thuria in a little cove that
seemed to offer protection from the heavier seas which sometimes
run, even upon these usually pacific oceans of Pellucidar. Here I
outlined to Dian and Juag the plans I had in mind. They were to
fit the canoe with a small sail, the purposes of which I had to
explain to them both--since neither had ever seen or heard of such
a contrivance before. Then they were to hunt for food which we
could transport with us, and prepare a receptacle for water.
These two latter items were more in Juag's line, but he kept muttering
about the sail and the wind for a long time. I could see that he
was not even half convinced that any such ridiculous contraption
could make a canoe move through the water.
We hunted near the coast for a while, but were pot rewarded with any
particular luck. Finally we decided to hide the canoe and strike
inland in search of game. At Juag's suggestion we dug a hole
in the sand at the upper edge of the beach and buried the craft,
smooth-ing the surface over nicely and throwing aside the excess
material we had excavated. Then we set out away from the sea.
Traveling in Thuria is less arduous than under the midday sun which
perpetually glares down on the rest of Pellucidar's surface; but
it has its draw-backs, one of which is the depressing influence
exerted by the everlasting shade of the Land of Awful Shadow.
The farther inland we went the darker it became, until we were
moving at last through an endless twi-light. The vegetation here
was sparse and of a weird, colorless nature, though what did grow
was wondrous in shape and form. Often we saw huge lidi, or beasts
of burden, striding across the dim landscape, browsing upon the
grotesque vegetation or drinking from the slow and sullen rivers
that run down from the Lidi Plains to empty into the sea in Thuria.
What we sought was either a thag--a sort of gigantic elk--or one
of the larger species of antelope, the flesh of either of which
dries nicely in the sun. The bladder of the thag would make a
fine water-bottle, and its skin, I figured, would be a good sail.
We traveled a considerable distance inland, entirely crossing the
Land of Awful Shadow and emerging at last upon that portion of
the Lidi Plains which lies in the pleasant sunlight. Above us the
pendent world revolved upon its axis, filling me especially--and
Dian to an almost equal state--with wonder and insatiable curiosity
as to what strange forms of life existed among the hills and valleys
and along the seas and rivers, which we could plainly see.
Before us stretched the horizonless expanses of vast Pellucidar, the
Lidi Plains rolling up about us, while hanging high in the heavens
to the northwest of us I thought I discerned the many towers which
marked the entrances to the distant Mahar city, whose in-habitants
preyed upon the Thurians.
Juag suggested that we travel to the northeast, where, he said,
upon the verge of the plain we would find a wooded country in which
game should be plentiful. Acting upon his advice, we came at last
to a forest-jungle, through which wound innumerable game-paths.
In the depths of this forbidding wood we came upon the fresh spoor
Shortly after, by careful stalking, we came within javelin-range
of a small herd. Selecting a great bull, Juag and I hurled our
weapons simultaneously, Dian reserving hers for an emergency. The
beast staggered to his feet, bellowing. The rest of the herd was
up and away in an instant, only the wounded bull remaining, with
lowered head and roving eyes searching for the foe.
Then Juag exposed himself to the view of the bull--it is a part of
the tactics of the hunt--while I stepped to one side behind a bush.
The moment that the savage beast saw Juag he charged him. Juag ran
straight away, that the bull might be lured past my hiding-place.
On he came--tons of mighty bestial strength and rage.
Dian had slipped behind me. She, too, could fight a thag should
emergency require. Ah, such a girl! A rightful empress of a stone
age by every standard which two worlds might bring to measure her!
Crashing down toward us came the bull thag, bel-lowing and snorting,
with the power of a hundred outer-earthly bulls. When he was
opposite me I sprang for the heavy mane that covered his huge neck.
To tangle my fingers in it was the work of but an instant. Then
I was running along at the beast's shoulder.
Now, the theory upon which this hunting custom is based is one
long ago discovered by experience, and that is that a thag cannot
be turned from his charge once he has started toward the object of
his wrath, so long as he can still see the thing he charges. He
evidently believes that the man clinging to his mane is attempting
to restrain him from overtaking his prey, and so he pays no attention
to this enemy, who, of course, does not retard the mighty charge
in the least.
Once in the gait of the plunging bull, it was but a slight matter
to vault to his back, as cavalrymen mount their chargers upon the
run. Juag was still run-ning in plain sight ahead of the bull. His
speed was but a trifle less than that of the monster that pursued
him. These Pellucidarians are almost as fleet as deer; because I
am not is one reason that I am always chosen for the close-in work
of the thag-hunt. I could not keep in front of a charging thag
long enough to give the killer time to do his work. I learned that
the first--and last--time I tried it.
Once astride the bull's neck, I drew my long stone knife and, setting
the point carefully over the brute's spine, drove it home with
both hands. At the same in-stant I leaped clear of the stumbling
animal. Now, no vertebrate can progress far with a knife through
his spine, and the thag is no exception to the rule.
The fellow was down instantly. As he wallowed Juag returned, and
the two of us leaped in when an opening afforded the opportunity
and snatched our javelins from his side. Then we danced about him,
more like two savages than anything else, until we got the opening
we were looking for, when simulta-neously, our javelins pierced
his wild heart, stilling it forever.
The thag had covered considerable ground from the point at which I
had leaped upon him. When, after despatching him, I looked back for
Dian, I could see nothing of her. I called aloud, but receiving no
reply, set out at a brisk trot to where I had left her. I had no
difficulty in finding the self-same bush behind which we had hidden,
but Dian was not there. Again and again I called, to be rewarded
only by silence. Where could she be? What could have become of
her in the brief interval since I had seen her standing just behind
I searched about the spot carefully. At last I was re-warded by
the discovery of her javelin, a few yards from the bush that had
concealed us from the charging thag--her javelin and the indications
of a struggle revealed by the trampled vegetation and the overlap-ping
footprints of a woman and a man. Filled with consternation and
dismay, I followed these latter to where they suddenly disappeared
a hundred yards from where the struggle had occurred. There I saw
the huge imprints of a lidi's feet.
The story of the tragedy was all too plain. A Thurian had either
been following us, or had accidentally espied Dian and taken a fancy
to her. While Juag and I had been engaged with the thag, he had
abducted her. I ran swiftly back to where Juag was working over
the kill. As I approached him I saw that some-thing was wrong in
this quarter as well, for the islander was standing upon the carcass
of the thag, his javelin poised for a throw.
When I had come nearer I saw the cause of his belligerent attitude.
Just beyond him stood two large jaloks, or wolf-dogs, regarding him
intently--a male and a female. Their behavior was rather peculiar,
for they did not seem preparing to charge him. Rather, they were
contemplating him in an attitude of question-ing.
Juag heard me coming and turned toward me with a grin. These
fellows love excitement. I could see by his expression that he was
enjoying in anticipation the battle that seemed imminent. But he
never hurled his javelin. A shout of warning from me stopped him,
for I had seen the remnants of a rope dangling from the neck of
the male jalok.
Juag again turned toward me, but this time in sur-prise. I was
abreast him in a moment and, passing him, walked straight toward
the two beasts. As I did so the female crouched with bared fangs.
The male, however, leaped forward to meet me, not in deadly charge,
but with every expression of delight and joy which the poor animal
It was Raja--the jalok whose life I had saved, and whom I then had
tamed! There was no doubt that he was glad to see me. I now think
that his seeming desertion of me had been but due to a desire to
search out his ferocious mate and bring her, too, to live with me.
When Juag saw me fondling the great beast he was filled with
consternation, but I did not have much time to spare to Raja while
my mind was filled with the grief of my new loss. I was glad to
see the brute, and I lost no time in taking him to Juag and making
him understand that Juag, too, was to be Raja's friend. With the
female the matter was more difficult, but Raja helped us out by
growling savagely at her whenever she bared her fangs against us.
I told Juag of the disappearance of Dian, and of my suspicions as
to the explanation of the catastrophe. He wanted to start right
out after her, but I suggested that with Raja to help me it might
be as well were he to remain and skin the thag, remove its bladder,
and then return to where we had hidden the canoe on the beach. And
so it was arranged that he was to do this and await me there for
a reasonable time. I pointed to a great lake upon the surface of
the pendent world above us, telling him that if after this lake
had ap-peared four times I had not returned to go either by water
or land to Sari and fetch Ghak with an army. Then, calling Raja
after me, I set out after Dian and her abductor. First I took the
wolf dog to the spot where the man had fought with Dian. A few
paces behind us followed Raja's fierce mate. I pointed to the
ground where the evidences of the struggle were plainest and where
the scent must have been strong to Raja's nostrils.
Then I grasped the remnant of leash that hung about his neck and
urged him forward upon the trail. He seemed to understand. With
nose to ground he set out upon his task. Dragging me after him,
he trotted straight out upon the Lidi Plains, turning his steps
in the direc-tion of the Thurian village. I could have guessed as
Behind us trailed the female. After a while she closed upon us,
until she ran quite close to me and at Raja's side. It was not
long before she seemed as easy in my company as did her lord and
We must have covered considerable distance at a very rapid pace,
for we had re-entered the great shadow, when we saw a huge lidi
ahead of us, moving leisurely across the level plain. Upon its
back were two human figures. If I could have known that the jaloks
would not harm Dian I might have turned them loose upon the lidi
and its master; but I could not know, and so dared take no chances.
However, the matter was taken out of my hands presently when Raja
raised his head and caught sight of his quarry. With a lunge that
hurled me flat and jerked the leash from my hand, he was gone with
the speed of the wind after the giant lidi and its riders. At his
side raced his shaggy mate, only a trifle smaller than he and no
whit less savage.
They did not give tongue until the lidi itself dis-covered them and
broke into a lumbering, awkward, but none the less rapid gallop.
Then the two hound-beasts commenced to bay, starting with a low,
plaintive note that rose, weird and hideous, to terminate in a series
of short, sharp yelps. I feared that it might be the hunting-call
of the pack; and if this were true, there would be slight chance
for either Dian or her abductor--or myself, either, as far as
that was concerned. So I redoubled my efforts to keep pace with
the hunt; but I might as well have attempted to distance the bird
upon the wing; as I have often reminded you, I am no runner. In
that instance it was just as well that I am not, for my very
slowness of foot played into my hands; while had I been fleeter,
I might have lost Dian that time forever.
The lidi, with the hounds running close on either side, had
almost disappeared in the darkness that en-veloped the surrounding
landscape, when I noted that it was bearing toward the right. This
was accounted for by the fact that Raja ran upon his left side,
and unlike his mate, kept leaping for the great beast's shoul-der.
The man on the lidi's back was prodding at the hyaenodon with his
long spear, but still Raja kept springing up and snapping.
The effect of this was to turn the lidi toward the right, and the
longer I watched the procedure the more convinced I became that
Raja and his mate were work-ing together with some end in view,
for the she-dog merely galloped steadily at the lidi's right about
op-posite his rump.
I had seen jaloks hunting in packs, and I recalled now what for the
time I had not thought of--the several that ran ahead and turned
the quarry back toward the main body. This was precisely what Raja
and his mate were doing--they were turning the lidi back toward
me, or at least Raja was. Just why the female was keeping out of
it I did not understand, unless it was that she was not entirely
clear in her own mind as to precisely what her mate was attempt-ing.
At any rate, I was sufficiently convinced to stop where I was and
await developments, for I could readily realize two things. One
was that I could never overhaul them before the damage was done if
they should pull the lidi down now. The other thing was that if
they did not pull it down for a few minutes it would have completed
its circle and returned close to where I stood.
And this is just what happened. The lot of them were almost,
swallowed up in the twilight for a mo-ment. Then they reappeared
again, but this time far to the right and circling back in my
general direction. I waited until I could get some clear idea of
the right spot to gain that I might intercept the lidi; but even as
I waited I saw the beast attempt to turn still more to the right--a
move that would have carried him far to my left in a much more
circumscribed circle than the hyaenodons had mapped out for him.
Then I saw the female leap forward and head him; and when he would
have gone too far to the left, Raja sprang, snapping at his shoulder
and held him straight.
Straight for me the two savage beasts were driving their quarry!
It was wonderful.
It was something else, too, as I realized while the monstrous beast
neared me. It was like standing in the middle of the tracks in
front of an approaching express-train. But I didn't dare waver;
too much de-pended upon my meeting that hurtling mass of terrified
flesh with a well-placed javelin. So I stood there, wait-ing to
be run down and crushed by those gigantic feet, but determined to
drive home my weapon in the broad breast before I fell.
The lidi was only about a hundred yards from me when Raja gave a
few barks in a tone that differed materially from his hunting-cry.
Instantly both he and his mate leaped for the long neck of the
Neither missed. Swinging in mid-air, they hung te-naciously, their
weight dragging down the creature's head and so retarding its speed
that before it had reached me it was almost stopped and devoting
all its energies to attempting to scrape off its attackers with
Dian had seen and recognized me, and was trying to extricate herself
from the grasp of her captor, who, handicapped by his strong and
agile prisoner, was un-able to wield his lance effectively upon the
two jaloks. At the same time I was running swiftly toward them.
When the man discovered me he released his hold upon Dian and sprang
to the ground, ready with his lance to meet me. My javelin was no
match for his longer weapon, which was used more for stabbing than
as a missile. Should I miss him at my first cast, as was quite
probable, since he was prepared for me, I would have to face his
formidable lance with nothing more than a stone knife. The outlook
was scarcely entrancing. Evidently I was soon to be absolutely at
Seeing my predicament, he ran toward me to get rid of one antagonist
before he had to deal with the other two. He could not guess, of
course, that the two jaloks were hunting with me; but he doubtless
thought that after they had finished the lidi they would make after
the human prey--the beasts are notorious killers, often slaying
But as the Thurian came Raja loosened his hold upon the lidi and
dashed for him, with the female close after. When the man saw
them he yelled to me to help him, protesting that we should both
be killed if we did not fight together. But I only laughed at him
and ran toward Dian.
Both the fierce beasts were upon the Thurian simul-taneously--he
must have died almost before his body tumbled to the ground. Then
the female wheeled to-ward Dian. I was standing by her side as
the thing charged her, my javelin ready to receive her.
But again Raja was too quick for me. I imagined he thought she was
making for me, for he couldn't have known anything of my relations
toward Dian. At any rate he leaped full upon her back and dragged
her down. There ensued forthwith as terrible a battle as one would
wish to see if battles were gaged by volume of noise and riotousness
of action. I thought that both the beasts would be torn to shreds.
When finally the female ceased to struggle and rolled over on her
back, her forepaws limply folded, I was sure that she was dead.
Raja stood over her, growling, his jaws close to her throat. Then
I saw that neither of them bore a scratch. The male had simply
admin-istered a severe drubbing to his mate. It was his way of
teaching her that I was sacred.
After a moment he moved away and let her rise, when she set about
smoothing down her rumpled coat, while he came stalking toward
Dian and me. I had an arm about Dian now. As Raja came close I
caught him by the neck and pulled him up to me. There I stroked
him and talked to him, bidding Dian do the same, until I think he
pretty well understood that if I was his friend, so was Dian.
For a long time he was inclined to be shy of her, often baring his
teeth at her approach, and it was a much longer time before the
female made friends with us. But by careful kindness, by never
eating without sharing our meat with them, and by feeding them from
our hands, we finally won the confidence of both animals. However,
that was a long time after.
With the two beasts trotting after us, we returned to where we had
left Juag. Here I had the dickens' own time keeping the female from
Juag's throat. Of all the venomous, wicked, cruel-hearted beasts
on two worlds, I think a female hyaenodon takes the palm.
But eventually she tolerated Juag as she had Dian and me, and the
five of us set out toward the coast, for Juag had just completed
his labors on the thag when we arrived. We ate some of the meat
before starting, and gave the hounds some. All that we could we
car-ried upon our backs.
On the way to the canoe we met with no mishaps. Dian told me that
the fellow who had stolen her had come upon her from behind while
the roaring of the thag had drowned all other noises, and that the
first she had known he had disarmed her and thrown her to the back
of his lidi, which had been lying down close by waiting for him.
By the time the thag had ceased bellowing the fellow had got well
away upon his swift mount. By holding one palm over her mouth he
had prevented her calling for help.
"I thought," she concluded, "that I should have to use the viper's
tooth, after all."
We reached the beach at last and unearthed the canoe. Then we
busied ourselves stepping a mast and rigging a small sail--Juag
and I, that is--while Dian cut the thag meat into long strips for
drying when we should be out in the sunlight once more.
At last all was done. We were ready to embark. I had no difficulty
in getting Raja aboard the dugout; but Ranee--as we christened her
after I had ex-plained to Dian the meaning of Raja and its feminine
equivalent--positively refused for a time to follow her mate aboard.
In fact, we had to shove off without her. After a moment, however,
she plunged into the water and swam after us.
I let her come alongside, and then Juag and I pulled her in, she
snapping and snarling at us as we did so; but, strange to relate,
she didn't offer to attack us after we had ensconced her safely in
the bottom alongside Raja.
The canoe behaved much better under sail than I had hoped--infinitely
better than the battle-ship Sari had--and we made good progress
almost due west across the gulf, upon the opposite side of which
I hoped to find the mouth of the river of which Juag had told me.
The islander was much interested and impressed by the sail and its
results. He had not been able to under-stand exactly what I hoped
to accomplish with it while we were fitting up the boat; but when
he saw the clumsy dugout move steadily through the water with-out
paddles, he was as delighted as a child. We made splendid headway
on the trip, coming into sight of land at last.
Juag had been terror-stricken when he had learned that I intended
crossing the ocean, and when we passed out of sight of land be was
in a blue funk. He said that he had never heard of such a thing
before in his life, and that always he had understood that those
who ventured far from land never returned; for how could they find
their way when they could see no land to steer for?
I tried to explain the compass to him; and though he never really
grasped the scientific explanation of it, yet he did learn to
steer by it quite as well as I. We passed several islands on the
journey--islands which Juag told me were entirely unknown to his
own island folk. Indeed, our eyes may have been the first ever to
rest upon them. I should have liked to stop off and explore them,
but the business of empire would brook no unnecessary delays.
I asked Juag how Hooja expected to reach the mouth of the river
which we were in search of if he didn't cross the gulf, and the
islander explained that Hooja would undoubtedly follow the coast
around. For some time we sailed up the coast searching for the
river, and at last we found it. So great was it that I thought it
must be a mighty gulf until the mass of driftwood that came out upon
the first ebb tide convinced me that it was the mouth of a river.
There were the trunks of trees uprooted by the undermining of the
river banks, giant creepers, flowers, grasses, and now and then
the body of some land animal or bird.
I was all excitement to commence our upward jour-ney when there
occurred that which I had never before seen within Pellucidar--a
really terrific wind-storm. It blew down the river upon us with
a ferocity and sud-denness that took our breaths away, and before
we could get a chance to make the shore it became too late. The
best that we could do was to hold the scud-ding craft before the
wind and race along in a smother of white spume. Juag was terrified.
If Dian was, she hid it; for was she not the daughter of a once
great chief, the sister of a king, and the mate of an emperor?
Raja and Ranee were frightened. The former crawled close to my
side and buried his nose against me. Finally even fierce Ranee
was moved to seek sympathy from a human being. She slunk to Dian,
pressing close against her and whimpering, while Dian stroked her
shaggy neck and talked to her as I talked to Raja.
There was nothing for us to do but try to keep the canoe right side
up and straight before the wind. For what seemed an eternity the
tempest neither increased nor abated. I judged that we must have
blown a hun-dred miles before the wind and straight out into an
As suddenly as the wind rose it died again, and when it died it
veered to blow at right angles to its former course in a gentle
breeze. I asked Juag then what our course was, for he had had
the compass last. It had been on a leather thong about his neck.
When he felt for it, the expression that came into his eyes told
me as plainly as words what had happened--the compass was lost!
The compass was lost!
And we were out of sight of land without a single celestial body to
guide us! Even the pendent world was not visible from our position!
Our plight seemed hopeless to me, but I dared not let Dian and Juag
guess how utterly dismayed I was; though, as I soon discovered,
there was nothing to be gained by trying to keep the worst from
Juag--he knew it quite as well as I. He had always known, from
the legends of his people, the dangers of the open sea beyond the
sight of land. The compass, since he had learned its uses from
me, had been all that he had to buoy his hope of eventual salvation
from the watery deep. He had seen how it had guided me across
the water to the very coast that I desired to reach, and so he had
implicit confidence in it. Now that it was gone, his confidence
had departed, also.
There seemed but one thing to do; that was to keep on sailing
straight before the wind--since we could travel most rapidly along
that course--until we sighted land of some description. If it
chanced to be the mainland, well and good; if an island--well, we
might live upon an island. We certainly could not live long in
this little boat, with only a few strips of dried thag and a few
quarts of water left.
Quite suddenly a thought occurred to me. I was surprised that it
had not come before as a solution to our problem. I turned toward
"You Pellucidarians are endowed with a wonderful instinct,"
I reminded him, "an instinct that points the way straight to your
homes, no matter in what strange land you may find yourself. Now
all we have to do is let Dian guide us toward Amoz, and we shall
come in a short time to the same coast whence we just were blown."
As I spoke I looked at them with a smile of re-newed hope; but there
was no answering smile in their eyes. It was Dian who enlightened
"We could do all this upon land," she said. "But upon the water
that power is denied us. I do not know why; but I have always heard
that this is true--that only upon the water may a Pellucidarian be
lost. This is, I think, why we all fear the great ocean so--even
those who go upon its surface in canoes. Juag has told us that
they never go beyond the sight of land."
We had lowered the sail after the blow while we were discussing the
best course to pursue. Our little craft had been drifting idly,
rising and falling with the great waves that were now diminishing.
Sometimes we were upon the crest--again in the hollow. As Dian
ceased speaking she let her eyes range across the limitless expanse
of billowing waters. We rose to a great height upon the crest of
a mighty wave. As we topped it Dian gave an exclamation and pointed
"Boats!" she cried. "Boats! Many, many boats!"
Juag and I leaped to our feet; but our little craft had now dropped
to the trough, and we could see nothing but walls of water close
upon either hand. We waited for the next wave to lift us, and
when it did we strained our eyes in the direction that Dian had
indicated. Sure enough, scarce half a mile away were several boats,
and scattered far and wide behind us as far as we could see were
many others! We could not make them out in the distance or in the
brief glimpse that we caught of them before we were plunged again
into the next wave canon; but they were boats.
And in them must be human beings like ourselves.
RACING FOR LIFE
At last the sea subsided, and we were able to get a better view of
the armada of small boats in our wake. There must have been two
hundred of them. Juag said that he had never seen so many boats
before in all his life. Where had they come from? Juag was first
to hazard a guess.
"Hooja," he said, "was building many boats to carry his warriors to
the great river and up it toward Sari. He was building them with
almost all his warriors and many slaves upon the Island of Trees.
No one else in all the history of Pellucidar has ever built so many
boats as they told me Hooja was building. These must be Hooja's
"And they were blown out to sea by the great storm just as we were,"
"There can be no better explanation of them," I agreed.
"What shall we do?" asked Juag.
"Suppose we make sure that they are really Hooja's people," suggested
Dian. "It may be that they are not, and that if we run away from
them before we learn definitely who they are, we shall be running
away from a chance to live and find the mainland. They may be a
people of whom we have never even heard, and if so we can ask them
to help us--if they know the way to the mainland."
"Which they will not,' interposed Juag.
"Well," I said, "it can't make our predicament any more trying to
wait until we find out who they are. They are heading for us now.
Evidently they have spied our sail, and guess that we do not belong
to their fleet."
"They probably want to ask the way to the mainland themselves,"
said Juag, who was nothing if not a pes-simist.
"If they want to catch us, they can do it if they can paddle faster
than we can sail," I said. "If we let them come close enough to
discover their identity, and can then sail faster than they can
paddle, we can get away from them anyway, so we might as well wait."
And wait we did.
The sea calmed rapidly, so that by the time the foremost canoe had
come within five hundred yards of us we could see them all plainly.
Every one was headed for us. The dugouts, which were of unusual
length, were manned by twenty paddlers, ten to a side. Besides
the paddlers there were twenty-five or more warriors in each boat.
When the leader was a hundred yards from us Dian called our attention
to the fact that several of her crew were Sagoths. That convinced
us that the flotilla was indeed Hooja's. I told Juag to hail them
and get what information he could, while I remained in the bottom
of our canoe as much out of sight as possible. Dian lay down at
full length in the bottom; I did not want them to see and recognize
her if they were in truth Hooja's people.
"Who are you?" shouted Juag, standing up in the boat and making a
megaphone of his palms.
A figure arose in the bow of the leading canoe--a figure that I
was sure I recognized even before he spoke.
"I am Hooja!" cried the man, in answer to Juag.
For some reason he did not recognize his former prisoner and
slave--possibly because he had so many of them.
"I come from the Island of Trees," he continued. "A hundred of
my boats were lost in the great storm and all their crews drowned.
Where is the land? What are you, and what strange thing is that
which flutters from the little tree in the front of your canoe?"
He referred to our sail, flapping idly in the wind.
"We, too, are lost," replied Juag. "We know not where the land
is. We are going back to look for it now."
So saying he commenced to scull the canoe's nose before the wind,
while I made fast the primitive sheets that held our crude sail.
We thought it time to be going.
There wasn't much wind at the time, and the heavy, lumbering dugout
was slow in getting under way. I thought it never would gain any
momentum. And all the while Hooja's canoe was drawing rapidly
nearer, propelled by the strong arms of his twenty paddlers. Of
course, their dugout was much larger than ours, and, consequently,
infinitely heavier and more cum-bersome; nevertheless, it was
coming along at quite a clip, and ours was yet but barely moving.
Dian and I remained out of sight as much as possible, for the two
craft were now well within bow-shot of one an-other, and I knew
that Hooja had archers.
Hooja called to Juag to stop when he saw that our craft was moving.
He was much interested in the sail, and not a little awed, as I
could tell by his shouted remarks and questions. Raising my head,
I saw him plainly. He would have made an excellent target for one
of my guns, and I had never been sorrier that I had lost them.
We were now picking up speed a trifle, and he was not gaining upon
us so fast as at first. In consequence, his requests that we stop
suddenly changed to com-mands as he became aware that we were trying
to escape him.
"Come back!" he shouted. "Come back, or I'll fire!"
I use the word fire because it more nearly translates into English
the Pellucidarian word trag, which covers the launching of any
But Juag only seized his paddle more tightly--the paddle that
answered the purpose of rudder, and com-menced to assist the wind
by vigorous strokes. Then Hooja gave the command to some of his
archers to fire upon us. I couldn't lie hidden in the bottom of
the boat, leaving Juag alone exposed to the deadly shafts, so I
arose and, seizing another paddle, set to work to help him. Dian
joined me, though I did my best to persuade her to remain sheltered;
but being a woman, she must have her own way.
The instant that Hooja saw us he recognized us. The whoop of
triumph he raised indicated how certain he was that we were about
to fall into his hands. A shower of arrows fell about us. Then
Hooja caused his men to cease firing--he wanted us alive. None of
the mis-siles struck us, for Hooja's archers were not nearly the
marksmen that are my Sarians and Amozites.
We had now gained sufficient headway to hold our own on about
even terms with Hooja's paddlers. We did not seem to be gaining,
though; and neither did they. How long this nerve-racking experience
lasted I cannot guess, though we had pretty nearly finished our
meager supply of provisions when the wind picked up a bit and we
commenced to draw away.
Not once yet had we sighted land, nor could I understand it, since
so many of the seas I had seen before were thickly dotted with
islands. Our plight was anything but pleasant, yet I think that
Hooja and his forces were even worse off than we, for they had no
food nor water at all.
Far out behind us in a long line that curved upward in the distance,
to be lost in the haze, strung Hooja's two hundred boats. But
one would have been enough to have taken us could it have come
alongside. We had drawn some fifty yards ahead of Hooja--there
had been times when we were scarce ten yards in advance-and were
feeling considerably safer from capture. Hooja's men, working in
relays, were com-mencing to show the effects of the strain under
which they had been forced to work without food or water, and I think
their weakening aided us almost as much as the slight freshening
of the wind.
Hooja must have commenced to realize that he was going to lose
us, for he again gave orders that we be fired upon. Volley after
volley of arrows struck about us. The distance was so great by this
time that most of the arrows fell short, while those that reached
us were sufficiently spent to allow us to ward them off with our
paddles. However, it was a most exciting ordeal.
Hooja stood in the bow of his boat, alternately urging his men to
greater speed and shouting epithets at me. But we continued to
draw away from him. At last the wind rose to a fair gale, and we
simply raced away from our pursuers as if they were standing still.
Juag was so tickled that he forgot all about his hunger and thirst.
I think that he had never been entirely recon-ciled to the heathenish
invention which I called a sail, and that down in the bottom of
his heart he believed that the paddlers would eventually overhaul
us; but now he couldn't praise it enough.
We had a strong gale for a considerable time, and eventually dropped
Hooja's fleet so far astern that we could no longer discern them.
And then--ah, I shall never forget that moment--Dian sprang to her
feet with a cry of "Land!"
Sure enough, dead ahead, a long, low coast stretched across our
bow. It was still a long way off, and we couldn't make out whether
it was island or mainland; but at least it was land. If ever
shipwrecked mariners were grateful, we were then. Raja and Ranee
were commencing to suffer for lack of food, and I could swear that
the latter often cast hungry glances upon us, though I am equally
sure that no such hideous thoughts ever entered the head of her
mate. We watched them both most closely, however. Once while
stroking Ranee I managed to get a rope around her neck and make her
fast to the side of the boat. Then I felt a bit safer for Dian.
It was pretty close quarters in that little dugout for three human
beings and two practically wild, man-eating dogs; but we had to
make the best of it, since I would not listen to Juag's sug-gestion
that we kill and eat Raja and Ranee.
We made good time to within a few miles of the shore. Then the wind
died suddenly out. We were all of us keyed up to such a pitch of
anticipation that the blow was doubly hard to bear. And it was a
blow, too, since we could not tell in what quarter the wind might
rise again; but Juag and I set to work to paddle the remaining
Almost immediately the wind rose again from pre-cisely the opposite
direction from which it had formerly blown, so that it was mighty
hard work making progress against it. Next it veered again so that
we had to turn and run with it parallel to the coast to keep from
being swamped in the trough of the seas.
And while we were suffering all these disappoint-ments Hooja's
fleet appeared in the distance!
They evidently had gone far to the left of our course, for they were
now almost behind us as we ran parallel to the coast; but we were
not much afraid of being overtaken in the wind that was blowing. The
gale kept on increasing, but it was fitful, swooping down upon us
in great gusts and then going almost calm for an instant. It was
after one of these momentary calms that the catastrophe occurred.
Our sail hung limp and our momentum decreased when of a sudden
a par-ticularly vicious squall caught us. Before I could cut the
sheets the mast had snapped at the thwart in which it was stepped.
The worst had happened; Juag and I seized paddles and kept the
canoe with the wind; but that squall was the parting shot of the
gale, which died out immediately after, leaving us free to make
for the shore, which we lost no time in attempting. But Hooja had
drawn closer in toward shore than we, so it looked as if he might
head us off before we could land. However, we did our best to
distance him, Dian taking a paddle with us.
We were in a fair way to succeed when there ap-peared, pouring
from among the trees beyond the beach, a horde of yelling, painted
savages, brandishing all sorts of devilish-looking primitive weapons.
So menac-ing was their attitude that we realized at once the folly
of attempting to land among them.
Hooja was drawing closer to us. There was no wind. We could not
hope to outpaddle him. And with our sail gone, no wind would help
us, though, as if in derision at our plight, a steady breeze was
now blowing. But we had no intention of sitting idle while our
fate overtook us, so we bent to our paddles and, keeping parallel
with the coast, did our best to pull away from our pursuers.
It was a grueling experience. We were weakened by lack of food. We
were suffering the pangs of thirst. Capture and death were close
at hand. Yet I think that we gave a good account of ourselves
in our final effort to escape. Our boat was so much smaller and
lighter than any of Hooja's that the three of us forced it ahead
almost as rapidly as his larger craft could go under their twenty
As we raced along the coast for one of those seem-ingly interminable
periods that may draw hours into eternities where the labor is
soul-searing and there is no way to measure time, I saw what I took
for the opening to a bay or the mouth of a great river a short
distance ahead of us. I wished that we might make for it; but
with the menace of Hooja close behind and the screaming natives
who raced along the shore paral-lel to us, I dared not attempt it.
We were not far from shore in that mad flight from death. Even
as I paddled I found opportunity to glance occasionally toward
the natives. They were white, but hideously painted. From their
gestures and weapons I took them to be a most ferocious race. I
was rather glad that we had not succeeded in landing among them.
Hooja's fleet had been in much more compact forma-tion when we
sighted them this time than on the occasion following the tempest.
Now they were moving rapidly in pursuit of us, all well within the
radius of a mile. Five of them were leading, all abreast, and were
scarce two hundred yards from us. When I glanced over my shoulder
I could see that the archers had already fitted arrows to their
bows in readiness to fire upon us the moment that they should draw
Hope was low in my breast. I could not see the slightest chance
of escaping them, for they were over-hauling us rapidly now, since
they were able to work their paddles in relays, while we three were
rapidly wearying beneath the constant strain that had been put upon
It was then that Juag called my attention to the rift in the
shore-line which I had thought either a bay or the mouth of a great
river. There I saw moving slowly out into the sea that which filled
my soul with wonder.
GORE AND DREAMS
It was a two-masted felucca with lateen sails! The craft was long
and low. In it were more than fifty men, twenty or thirty of whom
were at oars with which the craft was being propelled from the lee
of the land. I was dumbfounded.
Could it be that the savage, painted natives I had seen on shore
had so perfected the art of navigation that they were masters of
such advanced building and rigging as this craft proclaimed? It
seemed impossible! And as I looked I saw another of the same type
swing into view and follow its sister through the narrow strait
out into the ocean.
Nor were these all. One after another, following closely upon one
another's heels, came fifty of the trim, graceful vessels. They
were cutting in between Hooja's fleet and our little dugout,
When they came a bit closer my eyes fairly popped from my head
at what I saw, for in the eye of the leading felucca stood a man
with a sea-glass leveled upon us. Who could they be? Was there
a civilization within Pellucidar of such wondrous advancement as
this? Were there far-distant lands of which none of my people had
ever heard, where a race had so greatly outstripped all other races
of this inner world?
The man with the glass had lowered it and was shouting to us. I
could not make out his words, but presently I saw that he was
pointing aloft. When I looked I saw a pennant fluttering from the
peak of the forward lateen yard--a red, white, and blue pen-nant,
with a single great white star in a field of blue.
Then I knew. My eyes went even wider than they had before. It
was the navy! It was the navy of the empire of Pellucidar which I
had instructed Perry to build in my absence. It was MY navy!
I dropped my paddle and stood up and shouted and waved my hand.
Juag and Dian looked at me as if I had gone suddenly mad. When I
could stop shouting I told them, and they shared my joy and shouted
But still Hooja was coming nearer, nor could the leading felucca
overhaul him before he would be along-side or at least within
Hooja must have been as much mystified as we were as to the identity
of the strange fleet; but when he saw me waving to them he evidently
guessed that they were friendly to us, so he urged his men to
redouble their efforts to reach us before the felucca cut him off.
He shouted word back to others of his fleet--word that was passed
back until it had reached them all--directing them to run alongside
the strangers and board them, for with his two hundred craft
and his eight or ten thousand warriors he evidently felt equal to
over-coming the fifty vessels of the enemy, which did not seem to
carry over three thousand men all told.
His own personal energies he bent to reaching Dian and me first,
leaving the rest of the work to his other boats. I thought that
there could be little doubt that he would be successful in so far
as we were concerned, and I feared for the revenge that he might
take upon us should the battle go against his force, as I was sure
it would; for I knew that Perry and his Mezops must have brought
with them all the arms and ammunition that had been contained in
the prospector. But I was not prepared for what happened next.
As Hooja's canoe reached a point some twenty yards from us a great
puff of smoke broke from the bow of the leading felucca, followed
almost simultaneously by a terrific explosion, and a solid shot
screamed close over the heads of the men in Hooja's craft, raising
a great splash where it clove the water just beyond them.
Perry had perfected gunpowder and built cannon! It was marvelous!
Dian and Juag, as much surprised as Hooja, turned wondering eyes
toward me. Again the cannon spoke. I suppose that by comparison
with the great guns of modern naval vessels of the outer world it
was a pitifully small and inadequate thing; but here in Pellucidar,
where it was the first of its kind, it was about as awe-inspiring
as anything you might imagine.
With the report an iron cannonball about five inches in diameter
struck Hooja's dugout just above the water-line, tore a great
splintering hole in its side, turned it over, and dumped its
occupants into the sea.
The four dugouts that had been abreast of Hooja had turned to
intercept the leading felucca. Even now, in the face of what must
have been a withering catastrophe to them, they kept bravely on
toward the strange and terrible craft.
In them were fully two hundred men, while but fifty lined the gunwale
of the felucca to repel them. The commander of the felucca, who
proved to be Ja, let them come quite close and then turned loose
upon them a volley of shots from small-arms.
The cave men and Sagoths in the dugouts seemed to wither before
that blast of death like dry grass before a prairie fire. Those
who were not hit dropped their bows and javelins and, seizing
upon paddles, attempted to escape. But the felucca pursued them
relentlessly, her crew firing at will.
At last I heard Ja shouting to the survivors in the dugouts--they
were all quite close to us now--offer-ing them their lives if they
would surrender. Perry was standing close behind Ja, and I knew
that this merciful action was prompted, perhaps commanded, by the
old man; for no Pellucidarian would have thought of showing leniency
to a defeated foe.
As there was no alternative save death, the survivors surrendered
and a moment later were taken aboard the Amoz, the name that I
could now see printed in large letters upon the felucca's bow, and
which no one in that whole world could read except Perry and I.
When the prisoners were aboard, Ja brought the felucca alongside
our dugout. Many were the willing hands that reached down to lift
us to her decks. The bronze faces of the Mezops were broad with
smiles, and Perry was fairly beside himself with joy.
Dian went aboard first and then Juag, as I wished to help Raja and
Ranee aboard myself, well knowing that it would fare ill with any
Mezop who touched them. We got them aboard at last, and a great
com-motion they caused among the crew, who had never seen a wild
beast thus handled by man before.
Perry and Dian and I were so full of questions that we fairly burst,
but we had to contain ourselves for a while, since the battle with
the rest of Hooja's fleet had scarce commenced. From the small
forward decks of the feluccas Perry's crude cannon were belching
smoke, flame, thunder, and death. The air trembled to the roar
of them. Hooja's horde, intrepid, savage fighters that they were,
were closing in to grapple in a last death-struggle with the Mezops
who manned our vessels.
The handling of our fleet by the red island warriors of Ja's clan
was far from perfect. I could see that Perry had lost no time
after the completion of the boats in setting out upon this cruise.
What little the captains and crews had learned of handling feluccas
they must have learned principally since they embarked upon this
voyage, and while experience is an excellent teacher and had done
much for them, they still had a great deal to learn. In maneuvering
for position they were continually fouling one another, and on two
occasions shots from our batteries came near to striking our own
No sooner, however, was I aboard the flagship than I attempted to
rectify this trouble to some extent. By passing commands by word
of mouth from one ship to another I managed to get the fifty feluccas
into some sort of line, with the flag-ship in the lead. In this
formation we commenced slowly to circle the position of the enemy.
The dugouts came for us right along in an attempt to board us, but
by keeping on the move in one direction and circling, we managed
to avoid getting in each other's way, and were enabled to fire our
cannon and our small arms with less danger to our own comrades.
When I had a moment to look about me, I took in the felucca on
which I was. I am free to confess that I marveled at the excellent
construction and stanch yet speedy lines of the little craft. That
Perry had chosen this type of vessel seemed rather remarkable,
for though I had warned him against turreted battle-ships, armor,
and like useless show, I had fully ex-pected that when I beheld
his navy I should find considerable attempt at grim and terrible
magnifi-cence, for it was always Perry's idea to overawe these
ignorant cave men when we had to contend with them in battle. But
I had soon learned that while one might easily astonish them with
some new engine of war, it was an utter impossibility to frighten
them into surrender.
I learned later that Ja had gone carefully over the plans of various
craft with Perry. The old man had explained in detail all that the
text told him of them. The two had measured out dimensions upon
the ground, that Ja might see the sizes of different boats. Perry
had built models, and Ja had had him read carefully and explain all
that they could find relative to the handling of sailing vessels.
The result of this was that Ja was the one who had chosen the
felucca. It was well that Perry had had so excellent a balance
wheel, for he had been wild to build a huge frigate of the Nelsonian
era--he told me so himself.
One thing that had inclined Ja particularly to the felucca was
the fact that it included oars in its equip-ment. He realized the
limitations of his people in the matter of sails, and while they
had never used oars, the implement was so similar to a paddle that
he was sure they quickly could master the art--and they did. As
soon as one hull was completed Ja kept it on the water constantly,
first with one crew and then with another, until two thousand red
warriors had learned to row. Then they stepped their masts and a
crew was told off for the first ship.
While the others were building they learned to handle theirs. As
each succeeding boat was launched its crew took it out and practiced
with it under the tutorage of those who had graduated from the first
ship, and so on until a full complement of men had been trained
for every boat.
Well, to get back to the battle: The Hoojans kept on coming at us,
and as fast as they came we mowed them down. It was little else
than slaughter. Time and time again I cried to them to surrender,
promising them their lives if they would do so. At last there were
but ten boatloads left. These turned in flight. They thought they
could paddle away from us--it was pitiful! I passed the word from
boat to boat to cease firing--not to kill another Hoojan unless they
fired on us. Then we set out after them. There was a nice little
breeze blowing and we bowled along after our quarry as gracefully
and as lightly as swans upon a park lagoon. As we approached them
I could see not only wonder but admiration in their eyes. I hailed
the nearest dugout.
"Throw down your arms and come aboard us," I cried, "and you shall
not be harmed. We will feed you and return you to the mainland.
Then you shall go free upon your promise never to bear arms against
the Emperor of Pellucidar again!"
I think it was the promise of food that interested them most.
They could scarce believe that we would not kill them. But when I
exhibited the prisoners we already had taken, and showed them that
they were alive and unharmed, a great Sagoth in one of the boats
asked me what guarantee I could give that I would keep my word.
"None other than my word," I replied. "That I do not break."
The Pellucidarians themselves are rather punctilious about this
same matter, so the Sagoth could understand that I might possibly
be speaking the truth. But he could not understand why we should
not kill them unless we meant to enslave them, which I had as much
as denied already when I had promised to set them free. Ja couldn't
exactly see the wisdom of my plan, either. He thought that we
ought to follow up the ten remaining dugouts and sink them all;
but I insisted that we must free as many as possible of our enemies
upon the mainland.
"You see," I explained, "these men will return at once to Hooja's
Island, to the Mahar cities from which they come, or to the countries
from which they were stolen by the Mahars. They are men of two
races and of many countries. They will spread the story of our
victory far and wide, and while they are with us, we will let them
see and hear many other wonderful things which they may carry back
to their friends and their chiefs. It's the finest chance for free
publicity, Perry," I added to the old man, "that you or I have seen
in many a day."
Perry agreed with me. As a matter of fact, he would have agreed
to anything that would have restrained us from killing the poor
devils who fell into our hands. He was a great fellow to invent
gunpowder and fire-arms and cannon; but when it came to using these
things to kill people, he was as tender-hearted as a chicken.
The Sagoth who had spoken was talking to other Sagoths in his
boat. Evidently they were holding a council over the question of
the wisdom of surrender-ing.
"What will become of you if you don't surrender to us?" I asked.
"If we do not open up our batteries on you again and kill you all,
you will simply drift about the sea helplessly until you die of
thirst and starvation. You cannot return to the islands, for you
have seen as well as we that the natives there are very numerous
and warlike. They would kill you the moment you landed."
The upshot of it was that the boat of which the Sagoth speaker was
in charge surrendered. The Sagoths threw down their weapons, and
we took them aboard the ship next in line behind the Amoz. First
Ja had to impress upon the captain and crew of the ship that the
prisoners were not to be abused or killed. After that the remaining
dugouts paddled up and sur-rendered. We distributed them among
the entire fleet lest there be too many upon any one vessel. Thus
ended the first real naval engagement that the Pel-lucidarian seas
had ever witnessed--though Perry still insists that the action in
which the Sari took part was a battle of the first magnitude.
The battle over and the prisoners disposed of and fed--and do not
imagine that Dian, Juag, and I, as well as the two hounds were not
fed also--I turned my attention to the fleet. We had the feluccas
close in about the flag-ship, and with all the ceremony of a medieval
potentate on parade I received the com-manders of the forty-nine
feluccas that accompanied the flag-ship--Dian and I together--the
empress and the emperor of Pellucidar.
It was a great occasion. The savage, bronze warriors entered into
the spirit of it, for as I learned later dear old Perry had left
no opportunity neglected for impressing upon them that David was
emperor of Pellucidar, and that all that they were accomplishing and
all that he was accomplishing was due to the power, and redounded
to the glory of David. The old man must have rubbed it in pretty
strong, for those fierce warriors nearly came to blows in their
efforts to be among the first of those to kneel before me and kiss
my hand. When it came to kissing Dian's I think they enjoyed it
more; I know I should have.
A happy thought occurred to me as I stood upon the little deck of
the Amoz with the first of Perry's primi-tive cannon behind me.
When Ja kneeled at my feet, and first to do me homage, I drew from
its scabbard at his side the sword of hammered iron that Perry
had taught him to fashion. Striking him lightly on the shoulder I
created him king of Anoroc. Each captain of the forty-nine other
feluccas I made a duke. I left it to Perry to enlighten them as
to the value of the honors I had bestowed upon them.
During these ceremonies Raja and Ranee had stood beside Dian and me.
Their bellies had been well filled, but still they had difficulty
in permitting so much edible humanity to pass unchallenged. It was
a good education for them though, and never after did they find it
difficult to associate with the human race with-out arousing their
After the ceremonies were over we had a chance to talk with Perry
and Ja. The former told me that Ghak, king of Sari, had sent my
letter and map to him by a runner, and that he and Ja had at once
decided to set out on the completion of the fleet to ascertain the
correctness of my theory that the Lural Az, in which the Anoroc
Islands lay, was in reality the same ocean as that which lapped
the shores of Thuria under the name of Sojar Az, or Great Sea.
Their destination had been the island retreat of Hooja, and they
had sent word to Ghak of their plans that we might work in harmony
with them. The tempest that had blown us off the coast of the
continent had blown them far to the south also. Shortly before
dis-covering us they had come into a great group of islands, from
between the largest two of which they were sail-ing when they saw
Hooja's fleet pursuing our dugout.
I asked Perry if he had any idea as to where we were, or in
what direction lay Hooja's island or the continent. He replied
by producing his map, on which he had carefully marked the newly
discovered islands--there described as the Unfriendly Isles--which
showed Hooja's island northwest of us about two points West.
He then explained that with compass, chronometer, log and reel,
they had kept a fairly accurate record of their course from the
time they had set out. Four of the feluccas were equipped with
these instruments, and all of the captains had been instructed in
I was very greatly surprised at the ease with which these savages
had mastered the rather intricate detail of this unusual work, but
Perry assured me that they were a wonderfully intelligent race,
and had been quick to grasp all that he had tried to teach them.
Another thing that surprised me was the fact that so much had been
accomplished in so short a time, for I could not believe that I had
been gone from Anoroc for a sufficient period to permit of building
a fleet of fifty feluccas and mining iron ore for the cannon and
balls, to say nothing of manufacturing these guns and the crude
muzzle-loading rifles with which every Mezop was armed, as well as
the gunpowder and ammunition they had in such ample quantities.
"Time!" exclaimed Perry. "Well, how long were you gone from Anoroc
before we picked you up in the Sojar Az?"
That was a puzzler, and I had to admit it. I didn't know how much
time had elapsed and neither did Perry, for time is nonexistent in
"Then, you see, David," he continued, "I had almost unbelievable
resources at my disposal. The Mezops in-habiting the Anoroc
Islands, which stretch far out to sea beyond the three principal
isles with which you are familiar, number well into the millions,
and by far the greater part of them are friendly to Ja. Men,
women, and children turned to and worked the moment Ja ex-plained
the nature of our enterprise.
"And not only were they anxious to do all in their power to hasten
the day when the Mahars should be overthrown, but--and this counted
for most of all--they are simply ravenous for greater knowledge
and for better ways of doing things.
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