I LOST ON PELLUCIDAR
II TRAVELING WITH TERROR
III SHOOTING THE CHUTES--AND AFTER
IV FRIENDSHIP AND TREACHERY
VI A PENDENT WORLD
VII FROM PLIGHT TO PLIGHT
IX HOOJA'S CUTTHROATS APPEAR
X THE RAID ON THE CAVE-PRISON
XIII RACING FOR LIFE
XIV GORE AND DREAMS
XV CONQUEST AND PEACE
Several years had elapsed since I had found the opportunity to do any
big-game hunting; for at last I had my plans almost perfected for a
return to my old stamping-grounds in northern Africa, where in other
days I had had excellent sport in pursuit of the king of beasts.
The date of my departure had been set; I was to leave in two weeks.
schoolboy counting the lagging hours that must pass before the
beginning of "long vacation" released him to the delirious joys
summer camp could have been filled with greater impatience or keener
And then came a letter that started me for Africa twelve days ahead of
Often am I in receipt of letters from strangers who have found
something in a story of mine to commend or to condemn. My interest in
this department of my correspondence is ever fresh. I opened this
particular letter with all the zest of pleasurable anticipation with
which I had opened so many others. The post-mark (Algiers) had aroused
my interest and curiosity, especially at this time, since it was
Algiers that was presently to witness the termination of my coming sea
voyage in search of sport and adventure.
Before the reading of that letter was completed lions and lion-hunting
had fled my thoughts, and I was in a state of excitement bordering upon
It--well, read it yourself, and see if you, too, do not find food for
frantic conjecture, for tantalizing doubts, and for a great hope.
Here it is:
DEAR SIR: I think that I have run across one of the most remarkable
coincidences in modern literature. But let me start at the beginning:
I am, by profession, a wanderer upon the face of the earth. I have no
trade--nor any other occupation.
My father bequeathed me a competency; some remoter ancestors lust to
roam. I have combined the two and invested them carefully and without
I became interested in your story, At the Earth's Core, not so much
because of the probability of the tale as of a great and abiding wonder
that people should be paid real money for writing such impossible
trash. You will pardon my candor, but it is necessary that you
understand my mental attitude toward this particular story--that you
may credit that which follows.
Shortly thereafter I started for the Sahara in search of a rather rare
species of antelope that is to be found only occasionally within a
limited area at a certain season of the year. My chase led me far from
the haunts of man.
It was a fruitless search, however, in so far as antelope is concerned;
but one night as I lay courting sleep at the edge of a little cluster
of date-palms that surround an ancient well in the midst of the arid,
shifting sands, I suddenly became conscious of a strange sound coming
apparently from the earth beneath my head.
It was an intermittent ticking!
No reptile or insect with which I am familiar reproduces any such
notes. I lay for an hour--listening intently.
At last my curiosity got the better of me. I arose, lighted my lamp
and commenced to investigate.
My bedding lay upon a rug stretched directly upon the warm sand. The
noise appeared to be coming from beneath the rug. I raised it, but
found nothing--yet, at intervals, the sound continued.
I dug into the sand with the point of my hunting-knife. A few inches
below the surface of the sand I encountered a solid substance that had
the feel of wood beneath the sharp steel.
Excavating about it, I unearthed a small wooden box. From this
receptacle issued the strange sound that I had heard.
How had it come here?
What did it contain?
In attempting to lift it from its burying place I discovered that it
seemed to be held fast by means of a very small insulated cable running
farther into the sand beneath it.
My first impulse was to drag the thing loose by main strength; but
fortunately I thought better of this and fell to examining the box. I
soon saw that it was covered by a hinged lid, which was held closed by
a simple screwhook and eye.
It took but a moment to loosen this and raise the cover, when, to my
utter astonishment, I discovered an ordinary telegraph instrument
clicking away within.
"What in the world," thought I, "is this thing doing here?"
That it was a French military instrument was my first guess; but really
there didn't seem much likelihood that this was the correct
explanation, when one took into account the loneliness and remoteness
of the spot.
As I sat gazing at my remarkable find, which was ticking and clicking
away there in the silence of the desert night, trying to convey some
message which I was unable to interpret, my eyes fell upon a bit of
paper lying in the bottom of the box beside the instrument. I picked
it up and examined it. Upon it were written but two letters:
They meant nothing to me then. I was baffled.
Once, in an interval of silence upon the part of the receiving
instrument, I moved the sending-key up and down a few times. Instantly
the receiving mechanism commenced to work frantically.
I tried to recall something of the Morse Code, with which I had played
as a little boy--but time had obliterated it from my memory. I became
almost frantic as I let my imagination run riot among the possibilities
for which this clicking instrument might stand.
Some poor devil at the unknown other end might be in dire need of
succor. The very franticness of the instrument's wild clashing
betokened something of the kind.
And there sat I, powerless to interpret, and so powerless to help!
It was then that the inspiration came to me. In a flash there leaped
to my mind the closing paragraphs of the story I had read in the club
Does the answer lie somewhere upon the bosom of the broad Sahara, at
the ends of two tiny wires, hidden beneath a lost cairn?
The idea seemed preposterous. Experience and intelligence combined to
assure me that there could be no slightest grain of truth or
possibility in your wild tale--it was fiction pure and simple.
And yet where WERE the other ends of those wires?
What was this instrument--ticking away here in the great Sahara--but
travesty upon the possible!
Would I have believed in it had I not seen it with my own eyes?
And the initials--D. I.--upon the slip of paper!
David's initials were these--David Innes.
I smiled at my imaginings. I ridiculed the assumption that there was
an inner world and that these wires led downward through the earth's
crust to the surface of Pellucidar. And yet--
Well, I sat there all night, listening to that tantalizing clicking,
now and then moving the sending-key just to let the other end know that
the instrument had been discovered. In the morning, after carefully
returning the box to its hole and covering it over with sand, I called
my servants about me, snatched a hurried breakfast, mounted my horse,
and started upon a forced march for Algiers.
I arrived here today. In writing you this letter I feel that I am
making a fool of myself.
There is no David Innes.
There is no Dian the Beautiful.
There is no world within a world.
Pellucidar is but a realm of your imagination--nothing more.
The incident of the finding of that buried telegraph instrument upon
the lonely Sahara is little short of uncanny, in view of your story of
the adventures of David Innes.
I have called it one of the most remarkable coincidences in modern
fiction. I called it literature before, but--again pardon my
candor--your story is not.
And now--why am I writing you?
Heaven knows, unless it is that the persistent clicking of that
unfathomable enigma out there in the vast silences of the Sahara has so
wrought upon my nerves that reason refuses longer to function sanely.
I cannot hear it now, yet I know that far away to the south, all alone
beneath the sands, it is still pounding out its vain, frantic appeal.
It is maddening.
It is your fault--I want you to release me from it.
Cable me at once, at my expense, that there was no basis of fact for
your story, At the Earth's Core.
Very respectfully yours,
---- and ---- Club,
June 1st, --.
Ten minutes after reading this letter I had cabled Mr. Nestor as
Story true. Await me Algiers.
As fast as train and boat would carry me, I sped toward my destination.
For all those dragging days my mind was a whirl of mad conjecture, of
frantic hope, of numbing fear.
The finding of the telegraph-instrument practically assured me that
David Innes had driven Perry's iron mole back through the earth's crust
to the buried world of Pellucidar; but what adventures had befallen him
since his return?
Had he found Dian the Beautiful, his half-savage mate, safe among his
friends, or had Hooja the Sly One succeeded in his nefarious schemes to
Did Abner Perry, the lovable old inventor and paleontologist, still
Had the federated tribes of Pellucidar succeeded in overthrowing the
mighty Mahars, the dominant race of reptilian monsters, and their
fierce, gorilla-like soldiery, the savage Sagoths?
I must admit that I was in a state bordering upon nervous prostration
when I entered the ---- and ---- Club, in Algiers, and inquired for Mr.
Nestor. A moment later I was ushered into his presence, to find myself
clasping hands with the sort of chap that the world holds only too few
He was a tall, smooth-faced man of about thirty, clean-cut, straight,
and strong, and weather-tanned to the hue of a desert Arab. I liked
him immensely from the first, and I hope that after our three months
together in the desert country--three months not entirely lacking in
adventure--he found that a man may be a writer of "impossible trash"
and yet have some redeeming qualities.
The day following my arrival at Algiers we left for the south, Nestor
having made all arrangements in advance, guessing, as he naturally did,
that I could be coming to Africa for but a single purpose--to hasten at
once to the buried telegraph-instrument and wrest its secret from it.
In addition to our native servants, we took along an English
telegraph-operator named Frank Downes. Nothing of interest enlivened
our journey by rail and caravan till we came to the cluster of
date-palms about the ancient well upon the rim of the Sahara.
It was the very spot at which I first had seen David Innes. If he had
ever raised a cairn above the telegraph instrument no sign of it
remained now. Had it not been for the chance that caused Cogdon Nestor
to throw down his sleeping rug directly over the hidden instrument, it
might still be clicking there unheard--and this story still unwritten.
When we reached the spot and unearthed the little box the instrument
was quiet, nor did repeated attempts upon the part of our telegrapher
succeed in winning a response from the other end of the line. After
several days of futile endeavor to raise Pellucidar, we had begun to
despair. I was as positive that the other end of that little cable
protruded through the surface of the inner world as I am that I sit
here today in my study--when about midnight of the fourth day I was
awakened by the sound of the instrument.
Leaping to my feet I grasped Downes roughly by the neck and dragged him
out of his blankets. He didn't need to be told what caused my
excitement, for the instant he was awake he, too, heard the long-hoped
for click, and with a whoop of delight pounced upon the instrument.
Nestor was on his feet almost as soon as I. The three of us huddled
about that little box as if our lives depended upon the message it had
Downes interrupted the clicking with his sending-key. The noise of the
receiver stopped instantly.
"Ask who it is, Downes," I directed.
He did so, and while we awaited the Englishman's translation of the
reply, I doubt if either Nestor or I breathed.
"He says he's David Innes," said Downes. "He wants to
know who we are."
"Tell him," said I; "and that we want to know how he is--and
has befallen him since I last saw him."
For two months I talked with David Innes almost every day, and as
Downes translated, either Nestor or I took notes. From these, arranged
in chronological order, I have set down the following account of the
further adventures of David Innes at the earth's core, practically in
his own words.
LOST ON PELLUCIDAR
The Arabs, of whom I wrote you at the end of my last letter (Innes
began), and whom I thought to be enemies intent only upon murdering me,
proved to be exceedingly friendly--they were searching for the very
band of marauders that had threatened my existence. The huge
rhamphorhynchus-like reptile that I had brought back with me from the
inner world--the ugly Mahar that Hooja the Sly One had substituted for
my dear Dian at the moment of my departure--filled them with wonder and
Nor less so did the mighty subterranean prospector which had carried
to Pellucidar and back again, and which lay out in the desert about two
miles from my camp.
With their help I managed to get the unwieldy tons of its great bulk
into a vertical position--the nose deep in a hole we had dug in the
sand and the rest of it supported by the trunks of date-palms cut for
It was a mighty engineering job with only wild Arabs and their wilder
mounts to do the work of an electric crane--but finally it was
completed, and I was ready for departure.
For some time I hesitated to take the Mahar back with me. She had been
docile and quiet ever since she had discovered herself virtually a
prisoner aboard the "iron mole." It had been, of course, impossible
me to communicate with her since she had no auditory organs and I no
knowledge of her fourth-dimension, sixth-sense method of communication.
Naturally I am kind-hearted, and so I found it beyond me to leave even
this hateful and repulsive thing alone in a strange and hostile world.
The result was that when I entered the iron mole I took her with me.
That she knew that we were about to return to Pellucidar was evident,
for immediately her manner changed from that of habitual gloom that had
pervaded her, to an almost human expression of contentment and delight.
Our trip through the earth's crust was but a repetition of my two
former journeys between the inner and the outer worlds. This time,
however, I imagine that we must have maintained a more nearly
perpendicular course, for we accomplished the journey in a few minutes'
less time than upon the occasion of my first journey through the
five-hundred-mile crust. Just a trifle less than seventy-two hours
after our departure into the sands of the Sahara, we broke through the
surface of Pellucidar.
Fortune once again favored me by the slightest of margins, for when I
opened the door in the prospector's outer jacket I saw that we had
missed coming up through the bottom of an ocean by but a few hundred
The aspect of the surrounding country was entirely unfamiliar to me--I
had no conception of precisely where I was upon the one hundred and
twenty-four million square miles of Pellucidar's vast land surface.
The perpetual midday sun poured down its torrid rays from zenith, as
had done since the beginning of Pellucidarian time--as it would
continue to do to the end of it. Before me, across the wide sea, the
weird, horizonless seascape folded gently upward to meet the sky until
it lost itself to view in the azure depths of distance far above the
level of my eyes.
How strange it looked! How vastly different from the flat and puny area
of the circumscribed vision of the dweller upon the outer crust!
I was lost. Though I wandered ceaselessly throughout a lifetime, I
might never discover the whereabouts of my former friends of this
strange and savage world. Never again might I see dear old Perry, nor
Ghak the Hairy One, nor Dacor the Strong One, nor that other infinitely
precious one--my sweet and noble mate, Dian the Beautiful!
But even so I was glad to tread once more the surface of Pellucidar.
Mysterious and terrible, grotesque and savage though she is in many of
her aspects, I can not but love her. Her very savagery appealed to me,
for it is the savagery of unspoiled Nature.
The magnificence of her tropic beauties enthralled me. Her mighty land
areas breathed unfettered freedom.
Her untracked oceans, whispering of virgin wonders unsullied by the eye
of man, beckoned me out upon their restless bosoms.
Not for an instant did I regret the world of my nativity. I was in
Pellucidar. I was home. And I was content.
As I stood dreaming beside the giant thing that had brought me safely
through the earth's crust, my traveling companion, the hideous Mahar,
emerged from the interior of the prospector and stood beside me. For a
long time she remained motionless.
What thoughts were passing through the convolutions of her reptilian
I do not know.
She was a member of the dominant race of Pellucidar. By a strange
freak of evolution her kind had first developed the power of reason in
that world of anomalies.
To her, creatures such as I were of a lower order. As Perry had
discovered among the writings of her kind in the buried city of Phutra,
it was still an open question among the Mahars as to whether man
possessed means of intelligent communication or the power of reason.
Her kind believed that in the center of all-pervading solidity there
was a single, vast, spherical cavity, which was Pellucidar. This
cavity had been left there for the sole purpose of providing a place
for the creation and propagation of the Mahar race. Everything within
it had been put there for the uses of the Mahar.
I wondered what this particular Mahar might think now. I found
pleasure in speculating upon just what the effect had been upon her of
passing through the earth's crust, and coming out into a world that one
of even less intelligence than the great Mahars could easily see was a
different world from her own Pellucidar.
What had she thought of the outer world's tiny sun?
What had been the effect upon her of the moon and myriad stars of the
clear African nights?
How had she explained them?
With what sensations of awe must she first have watched the sun moving
slowly across the heavens to disappear at last beneath the western
horizon, leaving in his wake that which the Mahar had never before
witnessed--the darkness of night? For upon Pellucidar there is no
night. The stationary sun hangs forever in the center of the
Pellucidarian sky--directly overhead.
Then, too, she must have been impressed by the wondrous mechanism of
the prospector which had bored its way from world to world and back
again. And that it had been driven by a rational being must also have
occurred to her.
Too, she had seen me conversing with other men upon the earth's
surface. She had seen the arrival of the caravan of books and arms,
and ammunition, and the balance of the heterogeneous collection which I
had crammed into the cabin of the iron mole for transportation to
She had seen all these evidences of a civilization and brain-power
transcending in scientific achievement anything that her race had
produced; nor once had she seen a creature of her own kind.
There could have been but a single deduction in the mind of the
Mahar--there were other worlds than Pellucidar, and the gilak was a
Now the creature at my side was creeping slowly toward the near-by sea.
At my hip hung a long-barreled six-shooter--somehow I had been unable
to find the same sensation of security in the newfangled automatics
that had been perfected since my first departure from the outer
world--and in my hand was a heavy express rifle.
I could have shot the Mahar with ease, for I knew intuitively that she
was escaping--but I did not.
I felt that if she could return to her own kind with the story of her
adventures, the position of the human race within Pellucidar would be
advanced immensely at a single stride, for at once man would take his
proper place in the considerations of the reptilia.
At the edge of the sea the creature paused and looked back at me. Then
she slid sinuously into the surf.
For several minutes I saw no more of her as she luxuriated in the cool
Then a hundred yards from shore she rose and there for another short
while she floated upon the surface.
Finally she spread her giant wings, flapped them vigorously a score of
times and rose above the blue sea. A single time she circled far
aloft--and then straight as an arrow she sped away.
I watched her until the distant haze enveloped her and she had
disappeared. I was alone.
My first concern was to discover where within Pellucidar I might
be-and in what direction lay the land of the Sarians where Ghak the
Hairy One ruled.
But how was I to guess in which direction lay Sari?
And if I set out to search--what then?
Could I find my way back to the prospector with its priceless freight
of books, firearms, ammunition, scientific instruments, and still more
books--its great library of reference works upon every conceivable
branch of applied sciences?
And if I could not, of what value was all this vast storehouse of
potential civilization and progress to be to the world of my adoption?
Upon the other hand, if I remained here alone with it, what could I
But where there was no east, no west, no north, no south, no stars, no
moon, and only a stationary midday sun, how was I to find my way back
to this spot should ever I get out of sight of it?
I didn't know.
For a long time I stood buried in deep thought, when it occurred to me
to try out one of the compasses I had brought and ascertain if it
remained steadily fixed upon an unvarying pole. I reentered the
prospector and fetched a compass without.
Moving a considerable distance from the prospector that the needle
might not be influenced by its great bulk of iron and steel I turned
the delicate instrument about in every direction.
Always and steadily the needle remained rigidly fixed upon a point
straight out to sea, apparently pointing toward a large island some ten
or twenty miles distant. This then should be north.
I drew my note-book from my pocket and made a careful topographical
sketch of the locality within the range of my vision. Due north lay
the island, far out upon the shimmering sea.
The spot I had chosen for my observations was the top of a large, flat
boulder which rose six or eight feet above the turf. This spot I
called Greenwich. The boulder was the "Royal Observatory."
I had made a start! I cannot tell you what a sense of relief was
imparted to me by the simple fact that there was at least one spot
within Pellucidar with a familiar name and a place upon a map.
It was with almost childish joy that I made a little circle in my
note-book and traced the word Greenwich beside it.
Now I felt I might start out upon my search with some assurance of
finding my way back again to the prospector.
I decided that at first I would travel directly south in the hope that
I might in that direction find some familiar landmark. It was as good
a direction as any. This much at least might be said of it.
Among the many other things I had brought from the outer world were a
number of pedometers. I slipped three of these into my pockets with
the idea that I might arrive at a more or less accurate mean from the
registrations of them all.
On my map I would register so many paces south, so many east, so many
west, and so on. When I was ready to return I would then do so by any
route that I might choose.
I also strapped a considerable quantity of ammunition across my
shoulders, pocketed some matches, and hooked an aluminum fry-pan and a
small stew-kettle of the same metal to my belt.
I was ready--ready to go forth and explore a world!
Ready to search a land area of 124,110,000 square miles for my friends,
my incomparable mate, and good old Perry!
And so, after locking the door in the outer shell of the prospector,
set out upon my quest. Due south I traveled, across lovely valleys
thick-dotted with grazing herds.
Through dense primeval forests I forced my way and up the slopes of
mighty mountains searching for a pass to their farther sides.
Ibex and musk-sheep fell before my good old revolver, so that I lacked
not for food in the higher altitudes. The forests and the plains gave
plentifully of fruits and wild birds, antelope, aurochsen, and elk.
Occasionally, for the larger game animals and the gigantic beasts of
prey, I used my express rifle, but for the most part the revolver
filled all my needs.
There were times, too, when faced by a mighty cave bear, a
saber-toothed tiger, or huge felis spelaea, black-maned and terrible,
even my powerful rifle seemed pitifully inadequate--but fortune favored
me so that I passed unscathed through adventures that even the
recollection of causes the short hairs to bristle at the nape of my
How long I wandered toward the south I do not know, for shortly after
left the prospector something went wrong with my watch, and I was again
at the mercy of the baffling timelessness of Pellucidar, forging
steadily ahead beneath the great, motionless sun which hangs eternally
I ate many times, however, so that days must have elapsed, possibly
months with no familiar landscape rewarding my eager eyes.
I saw no men nor signs of men. Nor is this strange, for Pellucidar,
its land area, is immense, while the human race there is very young and
consequently far from numerous.
Doubtless upon that long search mine was the first human foot to touch
the soil in many places--mine the first human eye to rest upon the
gorgeous wonders of the landscape.
It was a staggering thought. I could not but dwell upon it often as
made my lonely way through this virgin world. Then, quite suddenly,
one day I stepped out of the peace of manless primality into the
presence of man--and peace was gone.
It happened thus:
I had been following a ravine downward out of a chain of lofty hills
and had paused at its mouth to view the lovely little valley that lay
before me. At one side was tangled wood, while straight ahead a river
wound peacefully along parallel to the cliffs in which the hills
terminated at the valley's edge.
Presently, as I stood enjoying the lovely scene, as insatiate for
Nature's wonders as if I had not looked upon similar landscapes
countless times, a sound of shouting broke from the direction of the
woods. That the harsh, discordant notes rose from the throats of men I
could not doubt.
I slipped behind a large boulder near the mouth of the ravine and
waited. I could hear the crashing of underbrush in the forest, and I
guessed that whoever came came quickly--pursued and pursuers, doubtless.
In a short time some hunted animal would break into view, and a moment
later a score of half-naked savages would come leaping after with
spears or club or great stone-knives.
I had seen the thing so many times during my life within Pellucidar
that I felt that I could anticipate to a nicety precisely what I was
about to witness. I hoped that the hunters would prove friendly and be
able to direct me toward Sari.
Even as I was thinking these thoughts the quarry emerged from the
forest. But it was no terrified four-footed beast. Instead, what I
saw was an old man--a terrified old man!
Staggering feebly and hopelessly from what must have been some very
terrible fate, if one could judge from the horrified expressions he
continually cast behind him toward the wood, he came stumbling on in my
He had covered but a short distance from the forest when I beheld the
first of his pursuers--a Sagoth, one of those grim and terrible
gorilla-men who guard the mighty Mahars in their buried cities, faring
forth from time to time upon slave-raiding or punitive expeditions
against the human race of Pellucidar, of whom the dominant race of the
inner world think as we think of the bison or the wild sheep of our own
Close behind the foremost Sagoth came others until a full dozen raced,
shouting after the terror-stricken old man. They would be upon him
shortly, that was plain.
One of them was rapidly overhauling him, his back-thrown spear-arm
testifying to his purpose.
And then, quite with the suddenness of an unexpected blow, I realized
past familiarity with the gait and carriage of the fugitive.
Simultaneously there swept over me the staggering fact that the old man
was--PERRY! That he was about to die before my very eyes with no hope
that I could reach him in time to avert the awful catastrophe--for to
me it meant a real catastrophe!
Perry was my best friend.
Dian, of course, I looked upon as more than friend. She was my mate--a
part of me.
I had entirely forgotten the rifle in my hand and the revolvers at my
belt; one does not readily synchronize his thoughts with the stone age
and the twentieth century simultaneously.
Now from past habit I still thought in the stone age, and in my
thoughts of the stone age there were no thoughts of firearms.
The fellow was almost upon Perry when the feel of the gun in my hand
awoke me from the lethargy of terror that had gripped me. From behind
my boulder I threw up the heavy express rifle--a mighty engine of
destruction that might bring down a cave bear or a mammoth at a single
shot--and let drive at the Sagoth's broad, hairy breast.
At the sound of the shot he stopped stock-still. His spear dropped
from his hand.
Then he lunged forward upon his face.
The effect upon the others was little less remarkable. Perry alone
could have possibly guessed the meaning of the loud report or explained
its connection with the sudden collapse of the Sagoth. The other
gorilla-men halted for but an instant. Then with renewed shrieks of
rage they sprang forward to finish Perry.
At the same time I stepped from behind my boulder, drawing one of my
revolvers that I might conserve the more precious ammunition of the
express rifle. Quickly I fired again with the lesser weapon.
Then it was that all eyes were directed toward me. Another Sagoth fell
to the bullet from the revolver; but it did not stop his companions.
They were out for revenge as well as blood now, and they meant to have
As I ran forward toward Perry I fired four more shots, dropping three
of our antagonists. Then at last the remaining seven wavered. It was
too much for them, this roaring death that leaped, invisible, upon them
from a great distance.
As they hesitated I reached Perry's side. I have never seen such an
expression upon any man's face as that upon Perry's when he recognized
me. I have no words wherewith to describe it. There was not time to
talk then--scarce for a greeting. I thrust the full, loaded revolver
into his hand, fired the last shot in my own, and reloaded. There were
but six Sagoths left then.
They started toward us once more, though I could see that they were
terrified probably as much by the noise of the guns as by their
effects. They never reached us. Half-way the three that remained
turned and fled, and we let them go.
The last we saw of them they were disappearing into the tangled
undergrowth of the forest. And then Perry turned and threw his arms
about my neck and, burying his old face upon my shoulder, wept like a
TRAVELING WITH TERROR
We made camp there beside the peaceful river. There Perry told me all
that had befallen him since I had departed for the outer crust.
It seemed that Hooja had made it appear that I had intentionally left
Dian behind, and that I did not purpose ever returning to Pellucidar.
He told them that I was of another world and that I had tired of this
and of its inhabitants.
To Dian he had explained that I had a mate in the world to which I was
returning; that I had never intended taking Dian the Beautiful back
with me; and that she had seen the last of me.
Shortly afterward Dian had disappeared from the camp, nor had Perry
seen or heard aught of her since.
He had no conception of the time that had elapsed since I had departed,
but guessed that many years had dragged their slow way into the past.
Hooja, too, had disappeared very soon after Dian had left. The
Sarians, under Ghak the Hairy One, and the Amozites under Dacor the
Strong One, Dian's brother, had fallen out over my supposed defection,
for Ghak would not believe that I had thus treacherously deceived and
The result had been that these two powerful tribes had fallen upon one
another with the new weapons that Perry and I had taught them to make
and to use. Other tribes of the new federation took sides with the
original disputants or set up petty revolutions of their own.
The result was the total demolition of the work we had so well started.
Taking advantage of the tribal war, the Mahars had gathered their
Sagoths in force and fallen upon one tribe after another in rapid
succession, wreaking awful havoc among them and reducing them for the
most part to as pitiable a state of terror as that from which we had
Alone of all the once-mighty federation the Sarians and the Amozites
with a few other tribes continued to maintain their defiance of the
Mahars; but these tribes were still divided among themselves, nor had
it seemed at all probable to Perry when he had last been among them
that any attempt at re-amalgamation would be made.
"And thus, your majesty," he concluded, "has faded back
oblivion of the Stone Age our wondrous dream and with it has gone the
First Empire of Pellucidar."
We both had to smile at the use of my royal title, yet I was indeed
still "Emperor of Pellucidar," and some day I meant to rebuild
vile act of the treacherous Hooja had torn down.
But first I would find my empress. To me she was worth forty empires.
"Have you no clue as to the whereabouts of Dian?" I asked.
"None whatever," replied Perry. "It was in search of
her that I came
to the pretty pass in which you discovered me, and from which, David,
you saved me.
"I knew perfectly well that you had not intentionally deserted either
Dian or Pellucidar. I guessed that in some way Hooja the Sly One was
at the bottom of the matter, and I determined to go to Amoz, where I
guessed that Dian might come to the protection of her brother, and do
my utmost to convince her, and through her Dacor the Strong One, that
we had all been victims of a treacherous plot to which you were no
"I came to Amoz after a most trying and terrible journey, only to
that Dian was not among her brother's people and that they knew naught
of her whereabouts.
"Dacor, I am sure, wanted to be fair and just, but so great were
grief and anger over the disappearance of his sister that he could not
listen to reason, but kept repeating time and again that only your
return to Pellucidar could prove the honesty of your intentions.
"Then came a stranger from another tribe, sent I am sure at the
instigation of Hooja. He so turned the Amozites against me that I was
forced to flee their country to escape assassination.
"In attempting to return to Sari I became lost, and then the Sagoths
discovered me. For a long time I eluded them, hiding in caves and
wading in rivers to throw them off my trail.
"I lived on nuts and fruits and the edible roots that chance threw
"I traveled on and on, in what directions I could not even guess;
at last I could elude them no longer and the end came as I had long
foreseen that it would come, except that I had not foreseen that you
would be there to save me."
We rested in our camp until Perry had regained sufficient strength to
travel again. We planned much, rebuilding all our shattered
air-castles; but above all we planned most to find Dian.
I could not believe that she was dead, yet where she might be in this
savage world, and under what frightful conditions she might be living,
I could not guess.
When Perry was rested we returned to the prospector, where he fitted
himself out fully like a civilized human being--under-clothing, socks,
shoes, khaki jacket and breeches and good, substantial puttees.
When I had come upon him he was clothed in rough sadak sandals, a
gee-string and a tunic fashioned from the shaggy hide of a thag. Now
he wore real clothing again for the first time since the ape-folk had
stripped us of our apparel that long-gone day that had witnessed our
advent within Pellucidar.
With a bandoleer of cartridges across his shoulder, two six-shooters
his hips, and a rifle in his hand he was a much rejuvenated Perry.
Indeed he was quite a different person altogether from the rather shaky
old man who had entered the prospector with me ten or eleven years
before, for the trial trip that had plunged us into such wondrous
adventures and into such a strange and hitherto undreamed-of-world.
Now he was straight and active. His muscles, almost atrophied from
disuse in his former life, had filled out.
He was still an old man of course, but instead of appearing ten years
older than he really was, as he had when we left the outer world, he
now appeared about ten years younger. The wild, free life of
Pellucidar had worked wonders for him.
Well, it must need have done so or killed him, for a man of Perry's
former physical condition could not long have survived the dangers and
rigors of the primitive life of the inner world.
Perry had been greatly interested in my map and in the "royal
observatory" at Greenwich. By use of the pedometers we had retraced
our way to the prospector with ease and accuracy.
Now that we were ready to set out again we decided to follow a
different route on the chance that it might lead us into more familiar
I shall not weary you with a repetition of the countless adventures of
our long search. Encounters with wild beasts of gigantic size were of
almost daily occurrence; but with our deadly express rifles we ran
comparatively little risk when one recalls that previously we had both
traversed this world of frightful dangers inadequately armed with
crude, primitive weapons and all but naked.
We ate and slept many times--so many that we lost count--and so I do
not know how long we roamed, though our map shows the distances and
directions quite accurately. We must have covered a great many
thousand square miles of territory, and yet we had seen nothing in the
way of a familiar landmark, when from the heights of a mountain-range
we were crossing I descried far in the distance great masses of
Now clouds are practically unknown in the skies of Pellucidar. The
moment that my eyes rested upon them my heart leaped. I seized Perry's
arm and, pointing toward the horizonless distance, shouted:
"The Mountains of the Clouds!"
"They lie close to Phutra, and the country of our worst enemies,
Mahars," Perry remonstrated.
"I know it," I replied, "but they give us a starting-point
to prosecute our search intelligently. They are at least a familiar
"They tell us that we are upon the right trail and not wandering
the wrong direction.
"Furthermore, close to the Mountains of the Clouds dwells a good
friend, Ja the Mezop. You did not know him, but you know all that he
did for me and all that he will gladly do to aid me.
"At least he can direct us upon the right direction toward Sari."
"The Mountains of the Clouds constitute a mighty range," replied
"They must cover an enormous territory. How are you to find your
friend in all the great country that is visible from their rugged
"Easily," I answered him, "for Ja gave me minute directions.
almost his exact words:
"'You need merely come to the foot of the highest peak of the Mountains
of the Clouds. There you will find a river that flows into the Lural
"'Directly opposite the mouth of the river you will see three large
islands far out--so far that they are barely discernible. The one to
the extreme left as you face them from the mouth of the river is
Anoroc, where I rule the tribe of Anoroc.'"
And so we hastened onward toward the great cloud-mass that was to be
our guide for several weary marches. At last we came close to the
towering crags, Alp-like in their grandeur.
Rising nobly among its noble fellows, one stupendous peak reared its
giant head thousands of feet above the others. It was he whom we
sought; but at its foot no river wound down toward any sea.
"It must rise from the opposite side," suggested Perry, casting
rueful glance at the forbidding heights that barred our further
progress. "We cannot endure the arctic cold of those high flung
passes, and to traverse the endless miles about this interminable range
might require a year or more. The land we seek must lie upon the
opposite side of the mountains."
"Then we must cross them," I insisted.
"We can't do it, David," he repeated. "We are dressed
for the tropics.
We should freeze to death among the snows and glaciers long before we
had discovered a pass to the opposite side."
"We must cross them," I reiterated. "We will cross them."
I had a plan, and that plan we carried out. It took some time.
First we made a permanent camp part way up the slopes where there was
good water. Then we set out in search of the great, shaggy cave bear
of the higher altitudes.
He is a mighty animal--a terrible animal. He is but little larger than
his cousin of the lesser, lower hills; but he makes up for it in the
awfulness of his ferocity and in the length and thickness of his shaggy
coat. It was his coat that we were after.
We came upon him quite unexpectedly. I was trudging in advance along
rocky trail worn smooth by the padded feet of countless ages of wild
beasts. At a shoulder of the mountain around which the path ran I
came face to face with the Titan.
I was going up for a fur coat. He was coming down for breakfast. Each
realized that here was the very thing he sought.
With a horrid roar the beast charged me.
At my right the cliff rose straight upward for thousands of feet.
At my left it dropped into a dim, abysmal canyon.
In front of me was the bear.
Behind me was Perry.
I shouted to him in warning, and then I raised my rifle and fired into
the broad breast of the creature. There was no time to take aim; the
thing was too close upon me.
But that my bullet took effect was evident from the howl of rage and
pain that broke from the frothing jowls. It didn't stop him, though.
I fired again, and then he was upon me. Down I went beneath his ton
maddened, clawing flesh and bone and sinew.
I thought my time had come. I remember feeling sorry for poor old
Perry, left all alone in this inhospitable, savage world.
And then of a sudden I realized that the bear was gone and that I was
quite unharmed. I leaped to my feet, my rifle still clutched in my
hand, and looked about for my antagonist.
I thought that I should find him farther down the trail, probably
finishing Perry, and so I leaped in the direction I supposed him to be,
to find Perry perched upon a projecting rock several feet above the
trail. My cry of warning had given him time to reach this point of
There he squatted, his eyes wide and his mouth ajar, the picture of
abject terror and consternation.
"Where is he?" he cried when he saw me. "Where is he?"
"Didn't he come this way?" I asked.
"Nothing came this way," replied the old man. "But I
roars--he must have been as large as an elephant."
"He was," I admitted; "but where in the world do you suppose
Then came a possible explanation to my mind. I returned to the point
at which the bear had hurled me down and peered over the edge of the
cliff into the abyss below.
Far, far down I saw a small brown blotch near the bottom of the canon.
It was the bear.
My second shot must have killed him, and so his dead body, after
hurling me to the path, had toppled over into the abyss. I shivered at
the thought of how close I, too, must have been to going over with him.
It took us a long time to reach the carcass, and arduous labor to
remove the great pelt. But at last the thing was accomplished, and we
returned to camp dragging the heavy trophy behind us.
Here we devoted another considerable period to scraping and curing it.
When this was done to our satisfaction we made heavy boots, trousers,
and coats of the shaggy skin, turning the fur in.
From the scraps we fashioned caps that came down around our ears, with
flaps that fell about our shoulders and breasts. We were now fairly
well equipped for our search for a pass to the opposite side of the
Mountains of the Clouds.
Our first step now was to move our camp upward to the very edge of the
perpetual snows which cap this lofty range. Here we built a snug,
secure little hut, which we provisioned and stored with fuel for its
With our hut as a base we sallied forth in search of a pass across the
Our every move was carefully noted upon our maps which we now kept in
duplicate. By this means we were saved tedious and unnecessary
retracing of ways already explored.
Systematically we worked upward in both directions from our base, and
when we had at last discovered what seemed might prove a feasible pass
we moved our belongings to a new hut farther up.
It was hard work--cold, bitter, cruel work. Not a step did we take in
advance but the grim reaper strode silently in our tracks.
There were the great cave bears in the timber, and gaunt, lean
wolves--huge creatures twice the size of our Canadian timber-wolves.
Farther up we were assailed by enormous white bears--hungry, devilish
fellows, who came roaring across the rough glacier tops at the first
glimpse of us, or stalked us stealthily by scent when they had not yet
It is one of the peculiarities of life within Pellucidar that man is
more often the hunted than the hunter. Myriad are the huge-bellied
carnivora of this primitive world. Never, from birth to death, are
those great bellies sufficiently filled, so always are their mighty
owners prowling about in search of meat.
Terribly armed for battle as they are, man presents to them in his
primal state an easy prey, slow of foot, puny of strength, ill-equipped
by nature with natural weapons of defense.
The bears looked upon us as easy meat. Only our heavy rifles saved us
from prompt extinction. Poor Perry never was a raging lion at heart,
and I am convinced that the terrors of that awful period must have
caused him poignant mental anguish.
When we were abroad pushing our trail farther and farther toward the
distant break which, we assumed, marked a feasible way across the
range, we never knew at what second some great engine of clawed and
fanged destruction might rush upon us from behind, or lie in wait for
us beyond an ice-hummock or a jutting shoulder of the craggy steeps.
The roar of our rifles was constantly shattering the world-old silence
of stupendous canons upon which the eye of man had never before gazed.
And when in the comparative safety of our hut we lay down to sleep the
great beasts roared and fought without the walls, clawed and battered
at the door, or rushed their colossal frames headlong against the hut's
sides until it rocked and trembled to the impact.
Yes, it was a gay life.
Perry had got to taking stock of our ammunition each time we returned
to the hut. It became something of an obsession with him.
He'd count our cartridges one by one and then try to figure how long
would be before the last was expended and we must either remain in the
hut until we starved to death or venture forth, empty, to fill the
belly of some hungry bear.
I must admit that I, too, felt worried, for our progress was indeed
snail-like, and our ammunition could not last forever. In discussing
the problem, finally we came to the decision to burn our bridges behind
us and make one last supreme effort to cross the divide.
It would mean that we must go without sleep for a long period, and with
the further chance that when the time came that sleep could no longer
be denied we might still be high in the frozen regions of perpetual
snow and ice, where sleep would mean certain death, exposed as we would
be to the attacks of wild beasts and without shelter from the hideous
But we decided that we must take these chances and so at last we set
forth from our hut for the last time, carrying such necessities as we
felt we could least afford to do without. The bears seemed unusually
troublesome and determined that time, and as we clambered slowly upward
beyond the highest point to which we had previously attained, the cold
became infinitely more intense.
Presently, with two great bears dogging our footsteps we entered a
We had reached the heights that are so often cloud-wrapped for long
periods. We could see nothing a few paces beyond our noses.
We dared not turn back into the teeth of the bears which we could hear
grunting behind us. To meet them in this bewildering fog would have
been to court instant death.
Perry was almost overcome by the hopelessness of our situation. He
flopped down on his knees and began to pray.
It was the first time I had heard him at his old habit since my return
to Pellucidar, and I had thought that he had given up his little
idiosyncrasy; but he hadn't. Far from it.
I let him pray for a short time undisturbed, and then as I was about
suggest that we had better be pushing along one of the bears in our
rear let out a roar that made the earth fairly tremble beneath our feet.
It brought Perry to his feet as if he had been stung by a wasp, and
sent him racing ahead through the blinding fog at a gait that I knew
must soon end in disaster were it not checked.
Crevasses in the glacier-ice were far too frequent to permit of
reckless speed even in a clear atmosphere, and then there were hideous
precipices along the edges of which our way often led us. I shivered
as I thought of the poor old fellow's peril.
At the top of my lungs I called to him to stop, but he did not answer
me. And then I hurried on in the direction he had gone, faster by far
than safety dictated.
For a while I thought I heard him ahead of me, but at last, though I
paused often to listen and to call to him, I heard nothing more, not
even the grunting of the bears that had been behind us. All was
deathly silence--the silence of the tomb. About me lay the thick,
I was alone. Perry was gone--gone forever, I had not the slightest
Somewhere near by lay the mouth of a treacherous fissure, and far down
at its icy bottom lay all that was mortal of my old friend, Abner
Perry. There would his body be preserved in its icy sepulcher for
countless ages, until on some far distant day the slow-moving river of
ice had wound its snail-like way down to the warmer level, there to
disgorge its grisly evidence of grim tragedy, and what in that far
future age, might mean baffling mystery.
SHOOTING THE CHUTES--AND AFTER
Through the fog I felt my way along by means of my compass. I no
longer heard the bears, nor did I encounter one within the fog.
Experience has since taught me that these great beasts are as
terror-stricken by this phenomenon as a landsman by a fog at sea, and
that no sooner does a fog envelop them than they make the best of their
way to lower levels and a clear atmosphere. It was well for me that
this was true.
I felt very sad and lonely as I crawled along the difficult footing.
My own predicament weighed less heavily upon me than the loss of Perry,
for I loved the old fellow.
That I should ever win the opposite slopes of the range I began to
doubt, for though I am naturally sanguine, I imagine that the
bereavement which had befallen me had cast such a gloom over my spirits
that I could see no slightest ray of hope for the future.
Then, too, the blighting, gray oblivion of the cold, damp clouds
through which I wandered was distressing. Hope thrives best in
sunlight, and I am sure that it does not thrive at all in a fog.
But the instinct of self-preservation is stronger than hope. It
thrives, fortunately, upon nothing. It takes root upon the brink of
the grave, and blossoms in the jaws of death. Now it flourished
bravely upon the breast of dead hope, and urged me onward and upward in
a stern endeavor to justify its existence.
As I advanced the fog became denser. I could see nothing beyond my
nose. Even the snow and ice I trod were invisible.
I could not see below the breast of my bearskin coat. I seemed to be
floating in a sea of vapor.
To go forward over a dangerous glacier under such conditions was little
short of madness; but I could not have stopped going had I known
positively that death lay two paces before my nose. In the first
place, it was too cold to stop, and in the second, I should have gone
mad but for the excitement of the perils that beset each forward step.
For some time the ground had been rougher and steeper, until I had been
forced to scale a considerable height that had carried me from the
glacier entirely. I was sure from my compass that I was following the
right general direction, and so I kept on.
Once more the ground was level. From the wind that blew about me I
guessed that I must be upon some exposed peak of ridge.
And then quite suddenly I stepped out into space. Wildly I turned and
clutched at the ground that had slipped from beneath my feet.
Only a smooth, icy surface was there. I found nothing to clutch or
stay my fall, and a moment later so great was my speed that nothing
could have stayed me.
As suddenly as I had pitched into space, with equal suddenness did I
emerge from the fog, out of which I shot like a projectile from a
cannon into clear daylight. My speed was so great that I could see
nothing about me but a blurred and indistinct sheet of smooth and
frozen snow, that rushed past me with express-train velocity.
I must have slid downward thousands of feet before the steep incline
curved gently on to a broad, smooth, snow-covered plateau. Across this
I hurtled with slowly diminishing velocity, until at last objects about
me began to take definite shape.
Far ahead, miles and miles away, I saw a great valley and mighty woods,
and beyond these a broad expanse of water. In the nearer foreground I
discerned a small, dark blob of color upon the shimmering whiteness of
"A bear," thought I, and thanked the instinct that had impelled
cling tenaciously to my rifle during the moments of my awful tumble.
At the rate I was going it would be but a moment before I should be
quite abreast the thing; nor was it long before I came to a sudden stop
in soft snow, upon which the sun was shining, not twenty paces from the
object of my most immediate apprehension.
It was standing upon its hind legs waiting for me. As I scrambled to
my feet to meet it, I dropped my gun in the snow and doubled up with
It was Perry.
The expression upon his face, combined with the relief I felt at seeing
him again safe and sound, was too much for my overwrought nerves.
"David!" he cried. "David, my boy! God has been good
to an old man.
He has answered my prayer."
It seems that Perry in his mad flight had plunged over the brink at
about the same point as that at which I had stepped over it a short
time later. Chance had done for us what long periods of rational labor
had failed to accomplish.
We had crossed the divide. We were upon the side of the Mountains of
the Clouds that we had for so long been attempting to reach.
We looked about. Below us were green trees and warm jungles. In the
distance was a great sea.
"The Lural Az," I said, pointing toward its blue-green surface.
Somehow--the gods alone can explain it--Perry, too, had clung to his
rifle during his mad descent of the icy slope. For that there was
cause for great rejoicing.
Neither of us was worse for his experience, so after shaking the snow
from our clothing, we set off at a great rate down toward the warmth
and comfort of the forest and the jungle.
The going was easy by comparison with the awful obstacles we had had
encounter upon the opposite side of the divide. There were beasts, of
course, but we came through safely.
Before we halted to eat or rest, we stood beside a little mountain
brook beneath the wondrous trees of the primeval forest in an
atmosphere of warmth and comfort. It reminded me of an early June day
in the Maine woods.
We fell to work with our short axes and cut enough small trees to build
a rude protection from the fiercer beasts. Then we lay down to sleep.
How long we slept I do not know. Perry says that inasmuch as there is
no means of measuring time within Pellucidar, there can be no such
thing as time here, and that we may have slept an outer earthly year,
or we may have slept but a second.
But this I know. We had stuck the ends of some of the saplings into
the ground in the building of our shelter, first stripping the leaves
and branches from them, and when we awoke we found that many of them
had thrust forth sprouts.
Personally, I think that we slept at least a month; but who may say?
The sun marked midday when we closed our eyes; it was still in the same
position when we opened them; nor had it varied a hair's breadth in the
It is most baffling, this question of elapsed time within Pellucidar.
Anyhow, I was famished when we awoke. I think that it was the pangs
hunger that awoke me. Ptarmigan and wild boar fell before my revolver
within a dozen moments of my awakening. Perry soon had a roaring fire
blazing by the brink of the little stream.
It was a good and delicious meal we made. Though we did not eat the
entire boar, we made a very large hole in him, while the ptarmigan was
but a mouthful.
Having satisfied our hunger, we determined to set forth at once in
search of Anoroc and my old friend, Ja the Mezop. We each thought that
by following the little stream downward, we should come upon the large
river which Ja had told me emptied into the Lural Az op-posite his
We did so; nor were we disappointed, for at last after a pleasant
journey--and what journey would not be pleasant after the hardships we
had endured among the peaks of the Mountains of the Clouds--we came
upon a broad flood that rushed majestically onward in the direction of
the great sea we had seen from the snowy slopes of the mountains.
For three long marches we followed the left bank of the growing river,
until at last we saw it roll its mighty volume into the vast waters of
the sea. Far out across the rippling ocean we descried three islands.
The one to the left must be Anoroc.
At last we had come close to a solution of our problem--the road to
But how to reach the islands was now the foremost question in our
minds. We must build a canoe.
Perry is a most resourceful man. He has an axiom which carries the
thought-kernel that what man has done, man can do, and it doesn't cut
any figure with Perry whether a fellow knows how to do it or not.
He set out to make gunpowder once, shortly after our escape from Phutra
and at the beginning of the confederation of the wild tribes of
Pellucidar. He said that some one, without any knowledge of the fact
that such a thing might be concocted, had once stumbled upon it by
accident, and so he couldn't see why a fellow who knew all about powder
except how to make it couldn't do as well.
He worked mighty hard mixing all sorts of things together, until
finally he evolved a substance that looked like powder. He had been
very proud of the stuff, and had gone about the village of the Sarians
exhibiting it to every one who would listen to him, and explaining what
its purpose was and what terrific havoc it would work, until finally
the natives became so terrified at the stuff that they wouldn't come
within a rod of Perry and his invention.
Finally, I suggested that we experiment with it and see what it would
do, so Perry built a fire, after placing the powder at a safe distance,
and then touched a glowing ember to a minute particle of the deadly
explosive. It extinguished the ember.
Repeated experiments with it determined me that in searching for a high
explosive, Perry had stumbled upon a fire-extinguisher that would have
made his fortune for him back in our own world.
So now he set himself to work to build a scientific canoe. I had
suggested that we construct a dugout, but Perry convinced me that we
must build something more in keeping with our positions of supermen in
this world of the Stone Age.
"We must impress these natives with our superiority," he explained.
"You must not forget, David, that you are emperor of Pellucidar. As
such you may not with dignity approach the shores of a foreign power in
so crude a vessel as a dugout."
I pointed out to Perry that it wasn't much more incongruous for the
emperor to cruise in a canoe, than it was for the prime minister to
attempt to build one with his own hands.
He had to smile at that; but in extenuation of his act he assured me
that it was quite customary for prime ministers to give their personal
attention to the building of imperial navies; "and this," he said,
the imperial navy of his Serene Highness, David I, Emperor of the
Federated Kingdoms of Pellucidar."
I grinned; but Perry was quite serious about it. It had always seemed
rather more or less of a joke to me that I should be addressed as
majesty and all the rest of it. Yet my imperial power and dignity had
been a very real thing during my brief reign.
Twenty tribes had joined the federation, and their chiefs had sworn
eternal fealty to one another and to me. Among them were many powerful
though savage nations. Their chiefs we had made kings; their tribal
We had armed them with bows and arrows and swords, in addition to their
own more primitive weapons. I had trained them in military discipline
and in so much of the art of war as I had gleaned from extensive
reading of the campaigns of Napoleon, Von Moltke, Grant, and the
We had marked out as best we could natural boundaries dividing the
various kingdoms. We had warned tribes beyond these boundaries that
they must not trespass, and we had marched against and severely
punished those who had.
We had met and defeated the Mahars and the Sagoths. In short, we had
demonstrated our rights to empire, and very rapidly were we being
recognized and heralded abroad when my departure for the outer world
and Hooja's treachery had set us back.
But now I had returned. The work that fate had undone must be done
again, and though I must need smile at my imperial honors, I none the
less felt the weight of duty and obligation that rested upon my
Slowly the imperial navy progressed toward completion. She was a
wondrous craft, but I had my doubts about her. When I voiced them to
Perry, he reminded me gently that my people for many generations had
been mine-owners, not ship-builders, and consequently I couldn't be
expected to know much about the matter.
I was minded to inquire into his hereditary fitness to design
battleships; but inasmuch as I already knew that his father had been a
minister in a back-woods village far from the coast, I hesitated lest I
offend the dear old fellow.
He was immensely serious about his work, and I must admit that in so
far as appearances went he did extremely well with the meager tools and
assistance at his command. We had only two short axes and our
hunting-knives; yet with these we hewed trees, split them into planks,
surfaced and fitted them.
The "navy" was some forty feet in length by ten feet beam.
were quite straight and fully ten feet high--"for the purpose,"
explained Perry, "of adding dignity to her appearance and rendering
less easy for an enemy to board her."
As a matter of fact, I knew that he had had in mind the safety of her
crew under javelin-fire--the lofty sides made an admirable shelter.
Inside she reminded me of nothing so much as a floating trench. There
was also some slight analogy to a huge coffin.
Her prow sloped sharply backward from the water-line--quite like a line
of battleship. Perry had designed her more for moral effect upon an
enemy, I think, than for any real harm she might inflict, and so those
parts which were to show were the most imposing.
Below the water-line she was practically non-existent. She should have
had considerable draft; but, as the enemy couldn't have seen it, Perry
decided to do away with it, and so made her flat-bottomed. It was this
that caused my doubts about her.
There was another little idiosyncrasy of design that escaped us both
until she was about ready to launch--there was no method of propulsion.
Her sides were far too high to permit the use of sweeps, and when Perry
suggested that we pole her, I remonstrated on the grounds that it would
be a most undignified and awkward manner of sweeping down upon the foe,
even if we could find or wield poles that would reach to the bottom of
Finally I suggested that we convert her into a sailing vessel. When
once the idea took hold Perry was most enthusiastic about it, and
nothing would do but a four-masted, full-rigged ship.
Again I tried to dissuade him, but he was simply crazy over the
psychological effect which the appearance of this strange and mighty
craft would have upon the natives of Pellucidar. So we rigged her with
thin hides for sails and dried gut for rope.
Neither of us knew much about sailing a full-rigged ship; but that
didn't worry me a great deal, for I was confident that we should never
be called upon to do so, and as the day of launching approached I was
positive of it.
We had built her upon a low bank of the river close to where it emptied
into the sea, and just above high tide. Her keel we had laid upon
several rollers cut from small trees, the ends of the rollers in turn
resting upon parallel tracks of long saplings. Her stern was toward
A few hours before we were ready to launch her she made quite an
imposing picture, for Perry had insisted upon setting every shred of
"canvas." I told him that I didn't know much about it, but I
that at launching the hull only should have been completed, everything
else being completed after she had floated safely.
At the last minute there was some delay while we sought a name for her.
I wanted her christened the Perry in honor both of her designer and
that other great naval genius of another world, Captain Oliver Hazard
Perry, of the United States Navy. But Perry was too modest; he
wouldn't hear of it.
We finally decided to establish a system in the naming of the fleet.
Battle-ships of the first-class should bear the names of kingdoms of
the federation; armored cruisers the names of kings; cruisers the names
of cities, and so on down the line. Therefore, we decided to name the
first battle-ship Sari, after the first of the federated kingdoms.
The launching of the Sari proved easier than I contemplated. Perry
wanted me to get in and break something over the bow as she floated
out upon the bosom of the river, but I told him that I should feel
safer on dry land until I saw which side up the Sari would float.
I could see by the expression of the old man's face that my words had
hurt him; but I noticed that he didn't offer to get in himself, and so
I felt less contrition than I might otherwise.
When we cut the ropes and removed the blocks that held the Sari in
place she started for the water with a lunge. Before she hit it she
was going at a reckless speed, for we had laid our tracks quite down to
the water, greased them, and at intervals placed rollers all ready to
receive the ship as she moved forward with stately dignity. But there
was no dignity in the Sari.
When she touched the surface of the river she must have been going
twenty or thirty miles an hour. Her momentum carried her well out into
the stream, until she came to a sudden halt at the end of the long line
which we had had the foresight to attach to her bow and fasten to a
large tree upon the bank.
The moment her progress was checked she promptly capsized. Perry was
overwhelmed. I didn't upbraid him, nor remind him that I had "told
His grief was so genuine and so apparent that I didn't have the heart
to reproach him, even were I inclined to that particular sort of
"Come, come, old man!" I cried. "It's not as bad as it
looks. Give me
a hand with this rope, and we'll drag her up as far as we can; and then
when the tide goes out we'll try another scheme. I think we can make a
go of her yet."
Well, we managed to get her up into shallow water. When the tide
receded she lay there on her side in the mud, quite a pitiable object
for the premier battle-ship of a world--"the terror of the seas"
the way Perry had occasionally described her.
We had to work fast; but before the tide came in again we had stripped
her of her sails and masts, righted her, and filled her about a quarter
full of rock ballast. If she didn't stick too fast in the mud I was
sure that she would float this time right side up.
I can tell you that it was with palpitating hearts that we sat upon the
river-bank and watched that tide come slowly in. The tides of
Pellucidar don't amount to much by comparison with our higher tides of
the outer world, but I knew that it ought to prove ample to float the
Nor was I mistaken. Finally we had the satisfaction of seeing the
vessel rise out of the mud and float slowly upstream with the tide. As
the water rose we pulled her in quite close to the bank and clambered
She rested safely now upon an even keel; nor did she leak, for she was
well calked with fiber and tarry pitch. We rigged up a single short
mast and light sail, fastened planking down over the ballast to form a
deck, worked her out into midstream with a couple of sweeps, and
dropped our primitive stone anchor to await the turn of the tide that
would bear us out to sea.
While we waited we devoted the time to the construction of an upper
deck, since the one immediately above the ballast was some seven feet
from the gunwale. The second deck was four feet above this. In it was
a large, commodious hatch, leading to the lower deck. The sides of the
ship rose three feet above the upper deck, forming an excellent
breastwork, which we loopholed at intervals that we might lie prone and
fire upon an enemy.
Though we were sailing out upon a peaceful mission in search of my
friend Ja, we knew that we might meet with people of some other island
who would prove unfriendly.
At last the tide turned. We weighed anchor. Slowly we drifted down
the great river toward the sea.
About us swarmed the mighty denizens of the primeval deep--plesiosauri
and ichthyosauria with all their horrid, slimy cousins whose names were
as the names of aunts and uncles to Perry, but which I have never been
able to recall an hour after having heard them.
At last we were safely launched upon the journey to which we had looked
forward for so long, and the results of which meant so much to me.
FRIENDSHIP AND TREACHERY
The Sari proved a most erratic craft. She might have done well enough
upon a park lagoon if safely anchored, but upon the bosom of a mighty
ocean she left much to be desired.
Sailing with the wind she did her best; but in quartering or when
close-hauled she drifted terribly, as a nautical man might have guessed
she would. We couldn't keep within miles of our course, and our
progress was pitifully slow.
Instead of making for the island of Anoroc, we bore far to the right,
until it became evident that we should have to pass between the two
right-hand islands and attempt to return toward Anoroc from the
As we neared the islands Perry was quite overcome by their beauty.
When we were directly between two of them he fairly went into raptures;
nor could I blame him.
The tropical luxuriance of the foliage that dripped almost to the
water's edge and the vivid colors of the blooms that shot the green
made a most gorgeous spectacle.
Perry was right in the midst of a flowery panegyric on the wonders of
the peaceful beauty of the scene when a canoe shot out from the nearest
island. There were a dozen warriors in it; it was quickly followed by
a second and third.
Of course we couldn't know the intentions of the strangers, but we
could pretty well guess them.
Perry wanted to man the sweeps and try to get away from them, but I
soon convinced him that any speed of which the Sari was capable would
be far too slow to outdistance the swift, though awkward, dugouts of
I waited until they were quite close enough to hear me, and then I
hailed them. I told them that we were friends of the Mezops, and that
we were upon a visit to Ja of Anoroc, to which they replied that they
were at war with Ja, and that if we would wait a minute they'd board us
and throw our corpses to the azdyryths.
I warned them that they would get the worst of it if they didn't leave
us alone, but they only shouted in derision and paddled swiftly toward
us. It was evident that they were considerably impressed by the
appearance and dimensions of our craft, but as these fellows know no
fear they were not at all awed.
Seeing that they were determined to give battle, I leaned over the rail
of the Sari and brought the imperial battle-squadron of the Emperor of
Pellucidar into action for the first time in the history of a world.
In other and simpler words, I fired my revolver at the nearest canoe.
The effect was magical. A warrior rose from his knees, threw his
paddle aloft, stiffened into rigidity for an instant, and then toppled
The others ceased paddling, and, with wide eyes, looked first at me and
then at the battling sea-things which fought for the corpse of their
comrade. To them it must have seemed a miracle that I should be able
to stand at thrice the range of the most powerful javelin-thrower and
with a loud noise and a smudge of smoke slay one of their number with
an invisible missile.
But only for an instant were they paralyzed with wonder. Then, with
savage shouts, they fell once more to their paddles and forged rapidly
Again and again I fired. At each shot a warrior sank to the bottom of
the canoe or tumbled overboard.
When the prow of the first craft touched the side of the Sari it
contained only dead and dying men. The other two dugouts were
approaching rapidly, so I turned my attention toward them.
I think that they must have been commencing to have some doubts--those
wild, naked, red warriors--for when the first man fell in the second
boat, the others stopped paddling and commenced to jabber among
The third boat pulled up alongside the second and its crews joined in
the conference. Taking advantage of the lull in the battle, I called
out to the survivors to return to their shore.
"I have no fight with you," I cried, and then I told them who
I was and
added that if they would live in peace they must sooner or later join
forces with me.
"Go back now to your people," I counseled them, "and tell
them that you
have seen David I, Emperor of the Federated Kingdoms of Pellucidar, and
that single-handed he has overcome you, just as he intends overcoming
the Mahars and the Sagoths and any other peoples of Pellucidar who
threaten the peace and welfare of his empire."
Slowly they turned the noses of their canoes toward land. It was
evident that they were impressed; yet that they were loath to give up
without further contesting my claim to naval supremacy was also
apparent, for some of their number seemed to be exhorting the others to
a renewal of the conflict.
However, at last they drew slowly away, and the Sari, which had not
decreased her snail-like speed during this, her first engagement,
continued upon her slow, uneven way.
Presently Perry stuck his head up through the hatch and hailed me.
"Have the scoundrels departed?" he asked. "Have you killed
"Those whom I failed to kill have departed, Perry," I replied.
He came out on deck and, peering over the side, descried the lone canoe
floating a short distance astern with its grim and grisly freight.
Farther his eyes wandered to the retreating boats.
"David," said he at last, "this is a notable occasion.
It is a great
day in the annals of Pellucidar. We have won a glorious victory.
"Your majesty's navy has routed a fleet of the enemy thrice its
size, manned by ten times as many men. Let us give thanks."
I could scarce restrain a smile at Perry's use of the pronoun "we,"
I was glad to share the rejoicing with him as I shall always be glad to
share everything with the dear old fellow.
Perry is the only male coward I have ever known whom I could respect
and love. He was not created for fighting; but I think that if the
occasion should ever arise where it became necessary he would give his
life cheerfully for me--yes, I KNOW it.
It took us a long time to work around the islands and draw in close to
Anoroc. In the leisure afforded we took turns working on our map, and
by means of the compass and a little guesswork we set down the
shoreline we had left and the three islands with fair accuracy.
Crossed sabers marked the spot where the first great naval engagement
of a world had taken place. In a note-book we jotted down, as had been
our custom, details that would be of historical value later.
Opposite Anoroc we came to anchor quite close to shore. I knew from
previous experience with the tortuous trails of the island that I could
never find my way inland to the hidden tree-village of the Mezop
chieftain, Ja; so we remained aboard the Sari, firing our express
rifles at intervals to attract the attention of the natives.
After some ten shots had been fired at considerable intervals a body
copper-colored warriors appeared upon the shore. They watched us for a
moment and then I hailed them, asking the whereabouts of my old friend
They did not reply at once, but stood with their heads together in
serious and animated discussion. Continually they turned their eyes
toward our strange craft. It was evident that they were greatly
puzzled by our appearance as well as unable to explain the source of
the loud noises that had attracted their attention to us. At last one
of the warriors addressed us.
"Who are you who seek Ja?" he asked. "What would you
of our chief?"
"We are friends," I replied. "I am David. Tell Ja that
life he once saved from a sithic, has come again to visit him.
"If you will send out a canoe we will come ashore. We cannot bring
great warship closer in."
Again they talked for a considerable time. Then two of them entered
canoe that several dragged from its hiding-place in the jungle and
paddled swiftly toward us.
They were magnificent specimens of manhood. Perry had never seen a
member of this red race close to before. In fact, the dead men in the
canoe we had left astern after the battle and the survivors who were
paddling rapidly toward their shore were the first he ever had seen.
He had been greatly impressed by their physical beauty and the promise
of superior intelligence which their well-shaped skulls gave.
The two who now paddled out received us into their canoe with dignified
courtesy. To my inquiries relative to Ja they explained that he had
not been in the village when our signals were heard, but that runners
had been sent out after him and that doubtless he was already upon his
way to the coast.
One of the men remembered me from the occasion of my former visit to
the island; he was extremely agree-able the moment that he came close
enough to recognize me. He said that Ja would be delighted to welcome
me, and that all the tribe of Anoroc knew of me by repute, and had
received explicit instructions from their chieftain that if any of
them should ever come upon me to show me every kindness and attention.
Upon shore we were received with equal honor. While we stood
conversing with our bronze friends a tall warrior leaped suddenly from
It was Ja. As his eyes fell upon me his face lighted with pleasure.
He came quickly forward to greet me after the manner of his tribe.
Toward Perry he was equally hospitable. The old man fell in love with
the savage giant as completely as had I. Ja conducted us along the
maze-like trail to his strange village, where he gave over one of the
tree-houses for our exclusive use.
Perry was much interested in the unique habitation, which resembled
nothing so much as a huge wasp's nest built around the bole of a tree
well above the ground.
After we had eaten and rested Ja came to see us with a number of his
head men. They listened attentively to my story, which included a
narrative of the events leading to the formation of the federated
kingdoms, the battle with the Mahars, my journey to the outer world,
and my return to Pellucidar and search for Sari and my mate.
Ja told me that the Mezops had heard something of the federation and
had been much interested in it. He had even gone so far as to send a
party of warriors toward Sari to investigate the reports, and to
arrange for the entrance of Anoroc into the empire in case it appeared
that there was any truth in the rumors that one of the aims of the
federation was the overthrow of the Mahars.
The delegation had met with a party of Sagoths. As there had been a
truce between the Mahars and the Mezops for many generations, they
camped with these warriors of the reptiles, from whom they learned that
the federation had gone to pieces. So the party returned to Anoroc.
When I showed Ja our map and explained its purpose to him, he was much
interested. The location of Anoroc, the Mountains of the Clouds, the
river, and the strip of seacoast were all familiar to him.
He quickly indicated the position of the inland sea and close beside
it, the city of Phutra, where one of the powerful Mahar nations had its
seat. He likewise showed us where Sari should be and carried his own
coast-line as far north and south as it was known to him.
His additions to the map convinced us that Greenwich lay upon the verge
of this same sea, and that it might be reached by water more easily
than by the arduous crossing of the mountains or the dangerous approach
through Phutra, which lay almost directly in line between Anoroc and
Greenwich to the northwest.
If Sari lay upon the same water then the shore-line must bend far back
toward the southwest of Greenwich--an assumption which, by the way, we
found later to be true. Also, Sari was upon a lofty plateau at the
southern end of a mighty gulf of the Great Ocean.
The location which Ja gave to distant Amoz puzzled us, for it placed
due north of Greenwich, apparently in mid-ocean. As Ja had never been
so far and knew only of Amoz through hearsay, we thought that he must
be mistaken; but he was not. Amoz lies directly north of Greenwich
across the mouth of the same gulf as that upon which Sari is.
The sense of direction and location of these primitive Pellucidarians
is little short of uncanny, as I have had occasion to remark in the
past. You may take one of them to the uttermost ends of his world, to
places of which he has never even heard, yet without sun or moon or
stars to guide him, without map or compass, he will travel straight for
home in the shortest direction.
Mountains, rivers, and seas may have to be gone around, but never once
does his sense of direction fail him--the homing instinct is supreme.
In the same remarkable way they never forget the location of any place
to which they have ever been, and know that of many of which they have
only heard from others who have visited them.
In short, each Pellucidarian is a walking geography of his own district
and of much of the country contiguous thereto. It always proved of the
greatest aid to Perry and me; nevertheless we were anxious to enlarge
our map, for we at least were not endowed with the homing instinct.
After several long councils it was decided that, in order to expedite
matters, Perry should return to the prospector with a strong party of
Mezops and fetch the freight I had brought from the outer world. Ja
and his warriors were much impressed by our firearms, and were also
anxious to build boats with sails.
As we had arms at the prospector and also books on boat-building we
thought that it might prove an excellent idea to start these naturally
maritime people upon the construction of a well built navy of staunch
sailing-vessels. I was sure that with definite plans to go by Perry
could oversee the construction of an adequate flotilla.
I warned him, however, not to be too ambitious, and to forget about
dreadnoughts and armored cruisers for a while and build instead a few
small sailing-boats that could be manned by four or five men.
I was to proceed to Sari, and while prosecuting my search for Dian
attempt at the same time the rehabilitation of the federation. Perry
was going as far as possible by water, with the chances that the entire
trip might be made in that manner, which proved to be the fact.
With a couple of Mezops as companions I started for Sari. In order to
avoid crossing the principal range of the Mountains of the Clouds we
took a route that passed a little way south of Phutra. We had eaten
four times and slept once, and were, as my companions told me, not far
from the great Mahar city, when we were suddenly confronted by a
considerable band of Sagoths.
They did not attack us, owing to the peace which exists between the
Mahars and the Mezops, but I could see that they looked upon me with
considerable suspicion. My friends told them that I was a stranger
from a remote country, and as we had previously planned against such a
contingency I pretended ignorance of the language which the human
beings of Pellucidar employ in conversing with the gorilla-like
soldiery of the Mahars.
I noticed, and not without misgivings, that the leader of the Sagoths
eyed me with an expression that betokened partial recognition. I was
sure that he had seen me before during the period of my incarceration
in Phutra and that he was trying to recall my identity.
It worried me not a little. I was extremely thankful when we bade them
adieu and continued upon our journey.
Several times during the next few marches I became acutely conscious
the sensation of being watched by unseen eyes, but I did not speak of
my suspicions to my companions. Later I had reason to regret my
Well, this is how it happened:
We had killed an antelope and after eating our fill I had lain down to
sleep. The Pellucidarians, who seem seldom if ever to require sleep,
joined me in this instance, for we had had a very trying march along
the northern foothills of the Mountains of the Clouds, and now with
their bellies filled with meat they seemed ready for slumber.
When I awoke it was with a start to find a couple of huge Sagoths
astride me. They pinioned my arms and legs, and later chained my
wrists behind my back. Then they let me up.
I saw my companions; the brave fellows lay dead where they had slept,
javelined to death without a chance at self-defense.
I was furious. I threatened the Sagoth leader with all sorts of dire
reprisals; but when he heard me speak the hybrid language that is the
medium of communication between his kind and the human race of the
inner world he only grinned, as much as to say, "I thought so!"
They had not taken my revolvers or ammunition away from me because they
did not know what they were; but my heavy rifle I had lost. They
simply left it where it had lain beside me.
So low in the scale of intelligence are they, that they had not
sufficient interest in this strange object even to fetch it along with
I knew from the direction of our march that they were taking me to
Phutra. Once there I did not need much of an imagination to picture
what my fate would be. It was the arena and a wild thag or fierce tarag
for me--unless the Mahars elected to take me to the pits.
In that case my end would be no more certain, though infinitely more
horrible and painful, for in the pits I should be subjected to cruel
vivisection. From what I had once seen of their methods in the pits of
Phutra I knew them to be the opposite of merciful, whereas in the arena
I should be quickly despatched by some savage beast.
Arrived at the underground city, I was taken immediately before a slimy
Mahar. When the creature had received the report of the Sagoth its
cold eyes glistened with malice and hatred as they were turned
balefully upon me.
I knew then that my identity had been guessed. With a show of
excitement that I had never before seen evinced by a member of the
dominant race of Pellucidar, the Mahar hustled me away, heavily
guarded, through the main avenue of the city to one of the principal
Here we were ushered into a great hall where presently many Mahars
In utter silence they conversed, for they have no oral speech since
they are without auditory nerves. Their method of communication Perry
has likened to the projection of a sixth sense into a fourth dimension,
where it becomes cognizable to the sixth sense of their audience.
Be that as it may, however, it was evident that I was the subject of
discussion, and from the hateful looks bestowed upon me not a
particularly pleasant subject.
How long I waited for their decision I do not know, but it must have
been a very long time. Finally one of the Sagoths addressed me. He
was acting as interpreter for his masters.
"The Mahars will spare your life," he said, "and release
you on one
"And what is that condition?" I asked, though I could guess
"That you return to them that which you stole from the pits of Phutra
when you killed the four Mahars and escaped," he replied.
I had thought that that would be it. The great secret upon which
depended the continuance of the Mahar race was safely hid where only
Dian and I knew.
I ventured to imagine that they would have given me much more than my
liberty to have it safely in their keeping again; but after that--what?
Would they keep their promises?
I doubted it. With the secret of artificial propagation once more in
their hands their numbers would soon be made so to overrun the world of
Pellucidar that there could be no hope for the eventual supremacy of
the human race, the cause for which I so devoutly hoped, for which I
had consecrated my life, and for which I was not willing to give my
Yes! In that moment as I stood before the heartless tribunal I felt
that my life would be a very little thing to give could it save to the
human race of Pellucidar the chance to come into its own by insuring
the eventual extinction of the hated, powerful Mahars.
"Come!" exclaimed the Sagoths. "The mighty Mahars await
"You may say to them," I answered, "that I shall not tell
the great secret is hid."
When this had been translated to them there was a great beating of
reptilian wings, gaping of sharp-fanged jaws, and hideous hissing. I
thought that they were about to fall upon me on the spot, and so I laid
my hands upon my revolvers; but at length they became more quiet and
presently transmitted some command to my Sagoth guard, the chief of
which laid a heavy hand upon my arm and pushed me roughly before him
from the audience-chamber.
They took me to the pits, where I lay carefully guarded. I was sure
that I was to be taken to the vivisection laboratory, and it required
all my courage to fortify myself against the terrors of so fearful a
death. In Pellucidar, where there is no time, death-agonies may endure
Accordingly, I had to steel myself against an endless doom, which now
stared me in the face!
But at last the allotted moment arrived--the moment for which I had
been trying to prepare myself, for how long I could not even guess. A
great Sagoth came and spoke some words of command to those who watched
over me. I was jerked roughly to my feet and with little consideration
hustled upward toward the higher levels.
Out into the broad avenue they conducted me, where, amid huge throngs
of Mahars, Sagoths, and heavily guarded slaves, I was led, or, rather,
pushed and shoved roughly, along in the same direction that the mob
moved. I had seen such a concourse of people once before in the
buried city of Phutra; I guessed, and rightly, that we were bound for
the great arena where slaves who are condemned to death meet their end.
Into the vast amphitheater they took me, stationing me at the extreme
end of the arena. The queen came, with her slimy, sickening retinue.
The seats were filled. The show was about to commence.
Then, from a little doorway in the opposite end of the structure, a
girl was led into the arena. She was at a considerable distance from
me. I could not see her features.
I wondered what fate awaited this other poor victim and myself, and why
they had chosen to have us die together. My own fate, or rather, my
thought of it, was submerged in the natural pity I felt for this lone
girl, doomed to die horribly beneath the cold, cruel eyes of her awful
captors. Of what crime could she be guilty that she must expiate it in
the dreaded arena?
As I stood thus thinking, another door, this time at one of the long
sides of the arena, was thrown open, and into the theater of death
slunk a mighty tarag, the huge cave tiger of the Stone Age. At my
sides were my revolvers. My captors had not taken them from me,
because they did not yet realize their nature. Doubtless they thought
them some strange manner of war-club, and as those who are condemned to
the arena are permitted weapons of defense, they let me keep them.
The girl they had armed with a javelin. A brass pin would have been
almost as effective against the ferocious monster they had loosed upon
The tarag stood for a moment looking about him--first up at the vast
audience and then about the arena. He did not seem to see me at all,
but his eyes fell presently upon the girl. A hideous roar broke from
his titanic lungs--a roar which ended in a long-drawn scream that is
more human than the death-cry of a tortured woman--more human but more
awesome. I could scarce restrain a shudder.
Slowly the beast turned and moved toward the girl. Then it was that
came to myself and to a realization of my duty. Quickly and as
noiselessly as possible I ran down the arena in pursuit of the grim
creature. As I ran I drew one of my pitifully futile weapons. Ah!
Could I but have had my lost express-gun in my hands at that moment! A
single well-placed shot would have crumbled even this great monster.
The best I could hope to accomplish was to divert the thing from the
girl to myself and then to place as many bullets as possible in it
before it reached and mauled me into insensibility and death.
There is a certain unwritten law of the arena that vouchsafes freedom
and immunity to the victor, be he beast or human being--both of whom,
by the way, are all the same to the Mahar. That is, they were
accustomed to look upon man as a lower animal before Perry and I broke
through the Pellucidarian crust, but I imagine that they were beginning
to alter their views a trifle and to realize that in the gilak--their
word for human being--they had a highly organized, reasoning being to
Be that as it may, the chances were that the tarag alone would profit
by the law of the arena. A few more of his long strides, a prodigious
leap, and he would be upon the girl. I raised a revolver and fired.
The bullet struck him in the left hind leg. It couldn't have damaged
him much; but the report of the shot brought him around, facing me.
I think the snarling visage of a huge, enraged, saber-toothed tiger is
one of the most terrible sights in the world. Especially if he be
snarling at you and there be nothing between the two of you but bare
Even as he faced me a little cry from the girl carried my eyes beyond
the brute to her face. Hers was fastened upon me with an expression of
incredulity that baffles description. There was both hope and horror
in them, too.
"Dian!" I cried. "My Heavens, Dian!"
I saw her lips form the name David, as with raised javelin she rushed
forward upon the tarag. She was a tigress then--a primitive savage
female defending her loved one. Before she could reach the beast with
her puny weapon, I fired again at the point where the tarag's neck met
his left shoulder. If I could get a bullet through there it might
reach his heart. The bullet didn't reach his heart, but it stopped him
for an instant.
It was then that a strange thing happened. I heard a great hissing
from the stands occupied by the Mahars, and as I glanced toward them I
saw three mighty thipdars--the winged dragons that guard the queen, or,
as Perry calls them, pterodactyls--rise swiftly from their rocks and
dart lightning-like, toward the center of the arena. They are huge,
powerful reptiles. One of them, with the advantage which his wings
might give him, would easily be a match for a cave bear or a tarag.
These three, to my consternation, swooped down upon the tarag as he was
gathering himself for a final charge upon me. They buried their talons
in his back and lifted him bodily from the arena as if he had been a
chicken in the clutches of a hawk.
What could it mean?
I was baffled for an explanation; but with the tarag gone I lost no
time in hastening to Dian's side. With a little cry of delight she
threw herself into my arms. So lost were we in the ecstasy of reunion
that neither of us--to this day--can tell what became of the tarag.
The first thing we were aware of was the presence of a body of Sagoths
about us. Gruffly they commanded us to follow them. They led us from
the arena and back through the streets of Phutra to the audience
chamber in which I had been tried and sentenced. Here we found
ourselves facing the same cold, cruel tribunal.
Again a Sagoth acted as interpreter. He explained that our lives had
been spared because at the last moment Tu-al-sa had returned to Phutra,
and seeing me in the arena had prevailed upon the queen to spare my
"Who is Tu-al-sa?" I asked.
"A Mahar whose last male ancestor was--ages ago--the last of the
rulers among the Mahars," he replied.
"Why should she wish to have my life spared?"
He shrugged his shoulders and then repeated my question to the Mahar
spokesman. When the latter had explained in the strange sign-language
that passes for speech between the Mahars and their fighting men the
Sagoth turned again to me:
"For a long time you had Tu-al-sa in your power," he explained.
might easily have killed her or abandoned her in a strange world--but
you did neither. You did not harm her, and you brought her back with
you to Pellucidar and set her free to return to Phutra. This is your
Now I understood. The Mahar who had been my involuntary companion upon
my return to the outer world was Tu-al-sa. This was the first time
that I had learned the lady's name. I thanked fate that I had not left
her upon the sands of the Sahara--or put a bullet in her, as I had been
tempted to do. I was surprised to discover that gratitude was a
characteristic of the dominant race of Pellucidar. I could never think
of them as aught but cold-blooded, brainless reptiles, though Perry had
devoted much time in explaining to me that owing to a strange freak of
evolution among all the genera of the inner world, this species of the
reptilia had advanced to a position quite analogous to that which man
holds upon the outer crust.
He had often told me that there was every reason to believe from their
writings, which he had learned to read while we were incarcerated in
Phutra, that they were a just race, and that in certain branches of
science and arts they were quite well advanced, especially in genetics
and metaphysics, engineering and architecture.
While it had always been difficult for me to look upon these things as
other than slimy, winged crocodiles--which, by the way, they do not at
all resemble--I was now forced to a realization of the fact that I was
in the hands of enlightened creatures--for justice and gratitude are
certain hallmarks of rationality and culture.
But what they purposed for us further was of most imminent interest to
me. They might save us from the tarag and yet not free us. They
looked upon us yet, to some extent, I knew, as creatures of a lower
order, and so as we are unable to place ourselves in the position of
the brutes we enslave--thinking that they are happier in bondage than
in the free fulfilment of the purposes for which nature intended
them--the Mahars, too, might consider our welfare better conserved in
captivity than among the dangers of the savage freedom we craved.
Naturally, I was next impelled to inquire their further intent.
To my question, put through the Sagoth interpreter, I received the
reply that having spared my life they considered that Tu-al-sa's debt
of gratitude was canceled. They still had against me, however, the
crime of which I had been guilty--the unforgivable crime of stealing
the great secret. They, therefore, intended holding Dian and me
prisoners until the manuscript was returned to them.
They would, they said, send an escort of Sagoths with me to fetch the
precious document from its hiding-place, keeping Dian at Phutra as a
hostage and releasing us both the moment that the document was safely
restored to their queen.
There was no doubt but that they had the upper hand. However, there
was so much more at stake than the liberty or even the lives of Dian
and myself, that I did not deem it expedient to accept their offer
without giving the matter careful thought.
Without the great secret this maleless race must eventually become
extinct. For ages they had fertilized their eggs by an artificial
process, the secret of which lay hidden in the little cave of a far-off
valley where Dian and I had spent our honeymoon. I was none too sure
that I could find the valley again, nor that I cared to. So long as
the powerful reptilian race of Pellucidar continued to propagate, just
so long would the position of man within the inner world be
jeopardized. There could not be two dominant races.
I said as much to Dian.
"You used to tell me," she replied, "of the wonderful
things you could
accomplish with the inventions of your own world. Now you have
returned with all that is necessary to place this great power in the
hands of the men of Pellucidar.
"You told me of great engines of destruction which would cast a
bursting ball of metal among our enemies, killing hundreds of them at
"You told me of mighty fortresses of stone which a thousand men
with big and little engines such as these could hold forever against a
"You told me of great canoes which moved across the water without
paddles, and which spat death from holes in their sides.
"All these may now belong to the men of Pellucidar. Why should
"Let them breed! Let their numbers increase by thousands. They
be helpless before the power of the Emperor of Pellucidar.
"But if you remain a prisoner in Phutra, what may we accomplish?
"What could the men of Pellucidar do without you to lead them?
"They would fight among themselves, and while they fought the Mahars
would fall upon them, and even though the Mahar race should die out, of
what value would the emancipation of the human race be to them without
the knowledge, which you alone may wield, to guide them toward the
wonderful civilization of which you have told me so much that I long
for its comforts and luxuries as I never before longed for anything.
"No, David; the Mahars cannot harm us if you are at liberty. Let
have their secret that you and I may return to our people, and lead
them to the conquest of all Pellucidar."
It was plain that Dian was ambitious, and that her ambition had not
dulled her reasoning faculties. She was right. Nothing could be
gained by remaining bottled up in Phutra for the rest of our lives.
It was true that Perry might do much with the contents of the
prospector, or iron mole, in which I had brought down the implements of
outer-world civilization; but Perry was a man of peace. He could never
weld the warring factions of the disrupted federation. He could never
win new tribes to the empire. He would fiddle around manufacturing
gun-powder and trying to improve upon it until some one blew him up
with his own invention. He wasn't practical. He never would get
anywhere without a balance-wheel--without some one to direct his
Perry needed me and I needed him. If we were going to do anything for
Pellucidar we must be free to do it together.
The outcome of it all was that I agreed to the Mahars' proposition.
They promised that Dian would be well treated and protected from every
indignity during my absence. So I set out with a hundred Sagoths in
search of the little valley which I had stumbled upon by accident, and
which I might and might not find again.
We traveled directly toward Sari. Stopping at the camp where I had
been captured I recovered my express rifle, for which I was very
thankful. I found it lying where I had left it when I had been
overpowered in my sleep by the Sagoths who had captured me and slain my
On the way I added materially to my map, an occupation which did not
elicit from the Sagoths even a shadow of interest. I felt that the
human race of Pellucidar had little to fear from these gorilla-men.
They were fighters--that was all. We might even use them later
ourselves in this same capacity. They had not sufficient brain power
to constitute a menace to the advancement of the human race.
As we neared the spot where I hoped to find the little valley I became
more and more confident of success. Every landmark was familiar to me,
and I was sure now that I knew the exact location of the cave.
It was at about this time that I sighted a number of the half-naked
warriors of the human race of Pellucidar. They were marching across
our front. At sight of us they halted; that there would be a fight I
could not doubt. These Sagoths would never permit an opportunity for
the capture of slaves for their Mahar masters to escape them.
I saw that the men were armed with bows and arrows, long lances and
swords, so I guessed that they must have been members of the
federation, for only my people had been thus equipped. Before Perry
and I came the men of Pellucidar had only the crudest weapons wherewith
to slay one another.
The Sagoths, too, were evidently expecting battle. With savage shouts
they rushed forward toward the human warriors.
Then a strange thing happened. The leader of the human beings stepped
forward with upraised hands. The Sagoths ceased their war-cries and
advanced slowly to meet him. There was a long parley during which I
could see that I was often the subject of their discourse. The
Sagoths' leader pointed in the direction in which I had told him the
valley lay. Evidently he was explaining the nature of our expedition
to the leader of the warriors. It was all a puzzle to me.
What human being could be upon such excellent terms with the
I couldn't imagine. I tried to get a good look at the fellow, but the
Sagoths had left me in the rear with a guard when they had advanced to
battle, and the distance was too great for me to recognize the features
of any of the human beings.
Finally the parley was concluded and the men continued on their way
while the Sagoths returned to where I stood with my guard. It was time
for eating, so we stopped where we were and made our meal. The Sagoths
didn't tell me who it was they had met, and I did not ask, though I
must confess that I was quite curious.
They permitted me to sleep at this halt. Afterward we took up the last
leg of our journey. I found the valley without difficulty and led my
guard directly to the cave. At its mouth the Sagoths halted and I
I noticed as I felt about the floor in the dim light that there was a
pile of fresh-turned rubble there. Presently my hands came to the spot
where the great secret had been buried. There was a cavity where I had
carefully smoothed the earth over the hiding-place of the document--the
manuscript was gone!
Frantically I searched the whole interior of the cave several times
over, but without other result than a complete confirmation of my worst
fears. Someone had been here ahead of me and stolen the great secret.
The one thing within Pellucidar which might free Dian and me was gone,
nor was it likely that I should ever learn its whereabouts. If a Mahar
had found it, which was quite improbable, the chances were that the
dominant race would never divulge the fact that they had recovered the
precious document. If a cave man had happened upon it he would have no
conception of its meaning or value, and as a consequence it would be
lost or destroyed in short order.
With bowed head and broken hopes I came out of the cave and told the
Sagoth chieftain what I had discovered. It didn't mean much to the
fellow, who doubt-less had but little better idea of the contents of
the document I had been sent to fetch to his masters than would the
cave man who in all probability had discovered it.
The Sagoth knew only that I had failed in my mission, so he took
advantage of the fact to make the return journey to Phutra as
disagreeable as possible. I did not rebel, though I had with me the
means to destroy them all. I did not dare rebel because of the
consequences to Dian. I intended demanding her release on the grounds
that she was in no way guilty of the theft, and that my failure to
recover the document had not lessened the value of the good faith I had
had in offering to do so. The Mahars might keep me in slavery if they
chose, but Dian should be returned safely to her people.
I was full of my scheme when we entered Phutra and I was conducted
directly to the great audience-chamber. The Mahars listened to the
report of the Sagoth chieftain, and so difficult is it to judge their
emotions from their almost expressionless countenance, that I was at a
loss to know how terrible might be their wrath as they learned that
their great secret, upon which rested the fate of their race, might now
be irretrievably lost.
Presently I could see that she who presided was communicating something
to the Sagoth interpreter--doubt-less something to be transmitted to me
which might give me a forewarning of the fate which lay in store for
me. One thing I had decided definitely: If they would not free Dian I
should turn loose upon Phutra with my little arsenal. Alone I might
even win to freedom, and if I could learn where Dian was imprisoned it
would be worth the attempt to free her. My thoughts were interrupted
by the interpreter.
"The mighty Mahars," he said, "are unable to reconcile
that the document is lost with your action in sending it to them by a
special messenger. They wish to know if you have so soon forgotten the
truth or if you are merely ignoring it."
"I sent them no document," I cried. "Ask them what they
"They say," he went on after conversing with the Mahar for
"that just before your return to Phutra, Hooja the Sly One came,
bringing the great secret with him. He said that you had sent him
ahead with it, asking him to deliver it and return to Sari where you
would await him, bringing the girl with him."
"Dian?" I gasped. "The Mahars have given over Dian into
the keeping of
"Surely," he replied. "What of it? She is only a gilak,"
as you or I
would say, "She is only a cow."
A PENDENT WORLD
The Mahars set me free as they had promised, but with strict
injunctions never to approach Phutra or any other Mahar city. They
also made it perfectly plain that they considered me a dangerous
creature, and that having wiped the slate clean in so far as they were
under obligations to me, they now considered me fair prey. Should I
again fall into their hands, they intimated it would go ill with me.
They would not tell me in which direction Hooja had set forth with
Dian, so I departed from Phutra, filled with bitterness against the
Mahars, and rage toward the Sly One who had once again robbed me of my
At first I was minded to go directly back to Anoroc; but upon second
thought turned my face toward Sari, as I felt that somewhere in that
direction Hooja would travel, his own country lying in that general
Of my journey to Sari it is only necessary to say that it was fraught
with the usual excitement and adventure, incident to all travel across
the face of savage Pellucidar. The dangers, however, were greatly
reduced through the medium of my armament. I often wondered how it had
happened that I had ever survived the first ten years of my life within
the inner world, when, naked and primitively armed, I had traversed
great areas of her beast-ridden surface.
With the aid of my map, which I had kept with great care during my
march with the Sagoths in search of the great secret, I arrived at Sari
at last. As I topped the lofty plateau in whose rocky cliffs the
principal tribe of Sarians find their cave-homes, a great hue and cry
arose from those who first discovered me.
Like wasps from their nests the hairy warriors poured from their caves.
The bows with their poison-tipped arrows, which I had taught them to
fashion and to use, were raised against me. Swords of hammered
iron--another of my innovations--menaced me, as with lusty shouts the
horde charged down.
It was a critical moment. Before I should be recognized I might be
dead. It was evident that all semblance of intertribal relationship
had ceased with my going, and that my people had reverted to their
former savage, suspicious hatred of all strangers. My garb must have
puzzled them, too, for never before of course had they seen a man
clothed in khaki and puttees.
Leaning my express rifle against my body I raised both hands aloft.
was the peace-sign that is recognized everywhere upon the surface of
Pellucidar. The charging warriors paused and surveyed me. I looked
for my friend Ghak, the Hairy One, king of Sari, and presently I saw
him coming from a distance. Ah, but it was good to see his mighty,
hairy form once more! A friend was Ghak--a friend well worth the
having; and it had been some time since I had seen a friend.
Shouldering his way through the throng of warriors, the mighty
chieftain advanced toward me. There was an expression of puzzlement
upon his fine features. He crossed the space between the warriors and
myself, halting before me.
I did not speak. I did not even smile. I wanted to see if Ghak, my
principal lieutenant, would recognize me. For some time he stood there
looking me over carefully. His eyes took in my large pith helmet, my
khaki jacket, and bandoleers of cartridges, the two revolvers swinging
at my hips, the large rifle resting against my body. Still I stood
with my hands above my head. He examined my puttees and my strong tan
shoes--a little the worse for wear now. Then he glanced up once more
to my face. As his gaze rested there quite steadily for some moments I
saw recognition tinged with awe creep across his countenance.
Presently without a word he took one of my hands in his and dropping
one knee raised my fingers to his lips. Perry had taught them this
trick, nor ever did the most polished courtier of all the grand courts
of Europe perform the little act of homage with greater grace and
Quickly I raised Ghak to his feet, clasping both his hands in mine.
think there must have been tears in my eyes then--I know I felt too
full for words. The king of Sari turned toward his warriors.
"Our emperor has come back," he announced. "Come hither
But he got no further, for the shouts that broke from those savage
throats would have drowned the voice of heaven itself. I had never
guessed how much they thought of me. As they clustered around, almost
fighting for the chance to kiss my hand, I saw again the vision of
empire which I had thought faded forever.
With such as these I could conquer a world. With such as these I WOULD
conquer one! If the Sarians had remained loyal, so too would the
Amozites be loyal still, and the Kalians, and the Suvians, and all the
great tribes who had formed the federation that was to emancipate the
human race of Pellucidar.
Perry was safe with the Mezops; I was safe with the Sarians; now if
Dian were but safe with me the future would look bright indeed.
It did not take long to outline to Ghak all that had befallen me since
I had departed from Pellucidar, and to get down to the business of
finding Dian, which to me at that moment was of even greater importance
than the very empire itself.
When I told him that Hooja had stolen her, he stamped his foot in rage.
"It is always the Sly One!" he cried. "It was Hooja who
first trouble between you and the Beautiful One.
"It was Hooja who betrayed our trust, and all but caused our recapture
by the Sagoths that time we escaped from Phutra.
"It was Hooja who tricked you and substituted a Mahar for Dian when
started upon your return journey to your own world.
"It was Hooja who schemed and lied until he had turned the kingdoms
against another and destroyed the federation.
"When we had him in our power we were foolish to let him live.
Ghak did not need to finish his sentence.
"He has become a very powerful enemy now," I replied. "That
allied in some way with the Mahars is evidenced by the familiarity of
his relations with the Sagoths who were accompanying me in search of
the great secret, for it must have been Hooja whom I saw conversing
with them just before we reached the valley. Doubtless they told him
of our quest and he hastened on ahead of us, discovered the cave and
stole the document. Well does he deserve his appellation of the Sly
With Ghak and his head men I held a number of consultations. The
upshot of them was a decision to combine our search for Dian with an
attempt to rebuild the crumbled federation. To this end twenty
warriors were despatched in pairs to ten of the leading kingdoms, with
instructions to make every effort to discover the whereabouts of Hooja
and Dian, while prosecuting their missions to the chieftains to whom
they were sent.
Ghak was to remain at home to receive the various delegations which we
invited to come to Sari on the business of the federation. Four
hundred warriors were started for Anoroc to fetch Perry and the
contents of the prospector, to the capitol of the empire, which was
also the principal settlements of the Sarians.
At first it was intended that I remain at Sari, that I might be in
readiness to hasten forth at the first report of the discovery of Dian;
but I found the inaction in the face of my deep solicitude for the
welfare of my mate so galling that scarce had the several units
departed upon their missions before I, too, chafed to be actively
engaged upon the search.
It was after my second sleep, subsequent to the departure of the
warriors, as I recall, that I at last went to Ghak with the admission
that I could no longer support the intolerable longing to be personally
upon the trail of my lost love.
Ghak tried to dissuade me, though I could tell that his heart was with
me in my wish to be away and really doing something. It was while we
were arguing upon the subject that a stranger, with hands above his
head, entered the village. He was immediately surrounded by warriors
and conducted to Ghak's presence.
The fellow was a typical cave man-squat muscular, and hairy, and of a
type I had not seen before. His features, like those of all the
primeval men of Pellucidar, were regular and fine. His weapons
consisted of a stone ax and knife and a heavy knobbed bludgeon of wood.
His skin was very white.
"Who are you?" asked Ghak. "And whence come you?"
"I am Kolk, son of Goork, who is chief of the Thurians," replied
stranger. "From Thuria I have come in search of the land of Amoz,
where dwells Dacor, the Strong One, who stole my sister, Canda, the
Grace-ful One, to be his mate.
"We of Thuria had heard of a great chieftain who has bound together
many tribes, and my father has sent me to Dacor to learn if there be
truth in these stories, and if so to offer the services of Thuria to
him whom we have heard called emperor."
"The stories are true," replied Ghak, "and here is the
emperor of whom
you have heard. You need travel no farther."
Kolk was delighted. He told us much of the wonderful resources of
Thuria, the Land of Awful Shadow, and of his long journey in search of
"And why," I asked, "does Goork, your father, desire to
kingdom to the empire?"
"There are two reasons," replied the young man. "Forever
Mahars, who dwell beyond the Lidi Plains which lie at the farther rim
of the Land of Awful Shadow, taken heavy toll of our people, whom they
either force into lifelong slavery or fatten for their feasts. We have
heard that the great emperor makes successful war upon the Mahars,
against whom we should be glad to fight.
"Recently has another reason come. Upon a great island which lies
the Sojar Az, but a short distance from our shores, a wicked man has
collected a great band of outcast warriors of all tribes. Even are
there many Sagoths among them, sent by the Mahars to aid the Wicked One.
"This band makes raids upon our villages, and it is constantly growing
in size and strength, for the Mahars give liberty to any of their male
prisoners who will promise to fight with this band against the enemies
of the Mahars. It is the purpose of the Mahars thus to raise a force
of our own kind to combat the growth and menace of the new empire of
which I have come to seek information. All this we learned from one of
our own warriors who had pretended to sympathize with this band and had
then escaped at the first opportunity."
"Who could this man be," I asked Ghak, "who leads so vile
against his own kind?"
"His name is Hooja," spoke up Kolk, answering my question.
Ghak and I looked at each other. Relief was written upon his
countenance and I know that it was beating strongly in my heart. At
last we had discovered a tangible clue to the whereabouts of Hooja--and
with the clue a guide!
But when I broached the subject to Kolk he demurred. He had come a
long way, he explained, to see his sister and to confer with Dacor.
Moreover, he had instructions from his father which he could not ignore
lightly. But even so he would return with me and show me the way to
the island of the Thurian shore if by doing so we might accomplish
"But we cannot," he urged. "Hooja is powerful. He has
warriors. He has only to call upon his Mahar allies to receive a
countless horde of Sagoths to do his bidding against his human enemies.
"Let us wait until you may gather an equal horde from the kingdoms
your empire. Then we may march against Hooja with some show of success.
"But first must you lure him to the mainland, for who among you
how to construct the strange things that carry Hooja and his band back
and forth across the water?
"We are not island people. We do not go upon the water. We know
nothing of such things."
I couldn't persuade him to do more than direct me upon the way. I
showed him my map, which now included a great area of country extending
from Anoroc upon the east to Sari upon the west, and from the river
south of the Mountains of the Clouds north to Amoz. As soon as I had
explained it to him he drew a line with his finger, showing a sea-coast
far to the west and south of Sari, and a great circle which he said
marked the extent of the Land of Awful Shadow in which lay Thuria.
The shadow extended southeast of the coast out into the sea half-way
a large island, which he said was the seat of Hooja's traitorous
government. The island itself lay in the light of the noonday sun.
Northwest of the coast and embracing a part of Thuria lay the Lidi
Plains, upon the northwestern verge of which was situated the Mahar
city which took such heavy toll of the Thurians.
Thus were the unhappy people now between two fires, with Hooja upon one
side and the Mahars upon the other. I did not wonder that they sent
out an appeal for succor.
Though Ghak and Kolk both attempted to dissuade me, I was determined
set out at once, nor did I delay longer than to make a copy of my map
to be given to Perry that he might add to his that which I had set down
since we parted. I left a letter for him as well, in which among other
things I advanced the theory that the Sojar Az, or Great Sea, which
Kolk mentioned as stretching eastward from Thuria, might indeed be the
same mighty ocean as that which, swinging around the southern end of a
continent ran northward along the shore opposite Phutra, mingling its
waters with the huge gulf upon which lay Sari, Amoz, and Greenwich.
Against this possibility I urged him to hasten the building of a fleet
of small sailing-vessels, which we might utilize should I find it
impossible to entice Hooja's horde to the mainland.
I told Ghak what I had written, and suggested that as soon as he could
he should make new treaties with the various kingdoms of the empire,
collect an army and march toward Thuria--this of course against the
possibility of my detention through some cause or other.
Kolk gave me a sign to his father--a lidi, or beast of burden, crudely
scratched upon a bit of bone, and beneath the lidi a man and a flower;
all very rudely done perhaps, but none the less effective as I well
knew from my long years among the primitive men of Pellucidar.
The lidi is the tribal beast of the Thurians; the man and the flower
the combination in which they appeared bore a double significance, as
they constituted not only a message to the effect that the bearer came
in peace, but were also Kolk's signature.
And so, armed with my credentials and my small arsenal, I set out alone
upon my quest for the dearest girl in this world or yours.
Kolk gave me explicit directions, though with my map I do not believe
that I could have gone wrong. As a matter of fact I did not need the
map at all, since the principal landmark of the first half of my
journey, a gigantic mountain-peak, was plainly visible from Sari, though
a good hundred miles away.
At the southern base of this mountain a river rose and ran in a
westerly direction, finally turning south and emptying into the Sojar
Az some forty miles northeast of Thuria. All that I had to do was
follow this river to the sea and then follow the coast to Thuria.
Two hundred and forty miles of wild mountain and primeval jungle, of
untracked plain, of nameless rivers, of deadly swamps and savage
forests lay ahead of me, yet never had I been more eager for an
adventure than now, for never had more depended upon haste and success.
I do not know how long a time that journey required, and only half did
I appreciate the varied wonders that each new march unfolded before me,
for my mind and heart were filled with but a single image--that of a
perfect girl whose great, dark eyes looked bravely forth from a frame
of raven hair.
It was not until I had passed the high peak and found the river that
eyes first discovered the pendent world, the tiny satellite which hangs
low over the surface of Pellucidar casting its perpetual shadow always
upon the same spot--the area that is known here as the Land of Awful
Shadow, in which dwells the tribe of Thuria.
From the distance and the elevation of the highlands where I stood the
Pellucidarian noonday moon showed half in sunshine and half in shadow,
while directly beneath it was plainly visible the round dark spot upon
the surface of Pellucidar where the sun has never shone. From where I
stood the moon appeared to hang so low above the ground as almost to
touch it; but later I was to learn that it floats a mile above the
surface--which seems indeed quite close for a moon.
Following the river downward I soon lost sight of the tiny planet as
entered the mazes of a lofty forest. Nor did I catch another glimpse
of it for some time--several marches at least. However, when the river
led me to the sea, or rather just before it reached the sea, of a
sudden the sky became overcast and the size and luxuriance of the
vegetation diminished as by magic--as if an omni-potent hand had drawn
a line upon the earth, and said:
"Upon this side shall the trees and the shrubs, the grasses and
flowers, riot in profusion of rich colors, gigantic size and
bewildering abundance; and upon that side shall they be dwarfed and
pale and scant."
Instantly I looked above, for clouds are so uncommon in the skies of
Pellucidar--they are practically unknown except above the mightiest
mountain ranges--that it had given me something of a start to discover
the sun obliterated. But I was not long in coming to a realization of
the cause of the shadow.
Above me hung another world. I could see its mountains and valleys,
oceans, lakes, and rivers, its broad, grassy plains and dense forests.
But too great was the distance and too deep the shadow of its under
side for me to distinguish any movement as of animal life.
Instantly a great curiosity was awakened within me. The questions
which the sight of this planet, so tantalizingly close, raised in my
mind were numerous and unanswerable.
Was it inhabited?
If so, by what manner and form of creature?
Were its people as relatively diminutive as their little world, or were
they as disproportionately huge as the lesser attraction of gravity
upon the surface of their globe would permit of their being?
As I watched it, I saw that it was revolving upon an axis that lay
parallel to the surface of Pellucidar, so that during each revolution
its entire surface was once exposed to the world below and once bathed
in the heat of the great sun above. The little world had that which
Pellucidar could not have--a day and night, and--greatest of boons to
one outer-earthly born--time.
Here I saw a chance to give time to Pellucidar, using this mighty
clock, revolving perpetually in the heavens, to record the passage of
the hours for the earth below. Here should be located an observatory,
from which might be flashed by wireless to every corner of the empire
the correct time once each day. That this time would be easily
measured I had no doubt, since so plain were the landmarks upon the
under surface of the satellite that it would be but necessary to erect
a simple instrument and mark the instant of passage of a given landmark
across the instrument.
But then was not the time for dreaming; I must devote my mind to the
purpose of my journey. So I hastened onward beneath the great shadow.
As I advanced I could not but note the changing nature of the
vegetation and the paling of its hues.
The river led me a short distance within the shadow before it emptied
into the Sojar Az. Then I continued in a southerly direction along the
coast toward the village of Thuria, where I hoped to find Goork and
deliver to him my credentials.
I had progressed no great distance from the mouth of the river when I
discerned, lying some distance at sea, a great island. This I assumed
to be the stronghold of Hooja, nor did I doubt that upon it even now
The way was most difficult, since shortly after leaving the river I
encountered lofty cliffs split by numerous long, narrow fiords, each of
which necessitated a considerable detour. As the crow flies it is
about twenty miles from the mouth of the river to Thuria, but before I
had covered half of it I was fagged. There was no familiar fruit or
vegetable growing upon the rocky soil of the cliff-tops, and I would
have fared ill for food had not a hare broken cover almost beneath my
I carried bow and arrows to conserve my ammunition-supply, but so quick
was the little animal that I had no time to draw and fit a shaft. In
fact my dinner was a hundred yards away and going like the proverbial
bat when I dropped my six-shooter on it. It was a pretty shot and when
coupled with a good dinner made me quite contented with myself.
After eating I lay down and slept. When I awoke I was scarcely so
self-satisfied, for I had not more than opened my eyes before I became
aware of the presence, barely a hundred yards from me, of a pack of
some twenty huge wolf-dogs--the things which Perry insisted upon
calling hyaenodons--and almost simultaneously I discovered that while I
slept my revolvers, rifle, bow, arrows, and knife had been stolen from
And the wolf-dog pack was preparing to rush me.
FROM PLIGHT TO PLIGHT
I have never been much of a runner; I hate running. But if ever a
sprinter broke into smithereens all world's records it was I that day
when I fled before those hideous beasts along the narrow spit of rocky
cliff between two narrow fiords toward the Sojar Az. Just as I reached
the verge of the cliff the foremost of the brutes was upon me. He
leaped and closed his massive jaws upon my shoulder.
The momentum of his flying body, added to that of my own, carried the
two of us over the cliff. It was a hideous fall. The cliff was almost
perpendicular. At its foot broke the sea against a solid wall of rock.
We struck the cliff-face once in our descent and then plunged into the
salt sea. With the impact with the water the hyaenodon released his
hold upon my shoulder.
As I came sputtering to the surface I looked about for some tiny foot-
or hand-hold where I might cling for a moment of rest and recuperation.
The cliff itself offered me nothing, so I swam toward the mouth of the
At the far end I could see that erosion from above had washed down
sufficient rubble to form a narrow ribbon of beach. Toward this I swam
with all my strength. Not once did I look behind me, since every
unnecessary movement in swimming detracts so much from one's endurance
and speed. Not until I had drawn myself safely out upon the beach did I
turn my eyes back toward the sea for the hyaenodon. He was swimming
slowly and apparently painfully toward the beach upon which I stood.
I watched him for a long time, wondering why it was that such a
doglike animal was not a better swimmer. As he neared me I realized
that he was weakening rapidly. I had gathered a handful of stones to
be ready for his assault when he landed, but in a moment I let them
fall from my hands. It was evident that the brute either was no
swimmer or else was severely injured, for by now he was making
practically no headway. Indeed, it was with quite apparent difficulty
that he kept his nose above the surface of the sea.
He was not more than fifty yards from shore when he went under. I
watched the spot where he had disappeared, and in a moment I saw his
head reappear. The look of dumb misery in his eyes struck a chord in
my breast, for I love dogs. I forgot that he was a vicious, primordial
wolf-thing--a man-eater, a scourge, and a terror. I saw only the sad
eyes that looked like the eyes of Raja, my dead collie of the outer
I did not stop to weigh and consider. In other words, I did not stop
to think, which I believe must be the way of men who do things--in
contradistinction to those who think much and do nothing. Instead, I
leaped back into the water and swam out toward the drowning beast. At
first he showed his teeth at my approach, but just before I reached him
he went under for the second time, so that I had to dive to get him.
I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, and though he weighed as much
as a Shetland pony, I managed to drag him to shore and well up upon the
beach. Here I found that one of his forelegs was broken--the crash
against the cliff-face must have done it.
By this time all the fight was out of him, so that when I had gathered
a few tiny branches from some of the stunted trees that grew in the
crevices of the cliff, and returned to him he permitted me to set his
broken leg and bind it in splints. I had to tear part of my shirt into
bits to obtain a bandage, but at last the job was done. Then I sat
stroking the savage head and talking to the beast in the man-dog talk
with which you are familiar, if you ever owned and loved a dog.
When he is well, I thought, he probably will turn upon me and attempt
to devour me, and against that eventuality I gathered together a pile
of rocks and set to work to fashion a stone-knife. We were bottled up
at the head of the fiord as completely as if we had been behind prison
bars. Before us spread the Sojar Az, and elsewhere about us rose
Fortunately a little rivulet trickled down the side of the rocky wall,
giving us ample supply of fresh water--some of which I kept constantly
beside the hyaenodon in a huge, bowl-shaped shell, of which there were
countless numbers among the rubble of the beach.
For food we subsisted upon shellfish and an occasional bird that I
succeeded in knocking over with a rock, for long practice as a pitcher
on prep-school and varsity nines had made me an excellent shot with a
It was not long before the hyaenodon's leg was sufficiently mended to
permit him to rise and hobble about on three legs. I shall never
forget with what intent interest I watched his first attempt. Close at
my hand lay my pile of rocks. Slowly the beast came to his three good
feet. He stretched himself, lowered his head, and lapped water from
the drinking-shell at his side, turned and looked at me, and then
hobbled off toward the cliffs.
Thrice he traversed the entire extent of our prison, seeking, I
imagine, a loop-hole for escape, but finding none he returned in my
direction. Slowly he came quite close to me, sniffed at my shoes, my
puttees, my hands, and then limped off a few feet and lay down again.
Now that he was able to get around, I was a little uncertain as to the
wisdom of my impulsive mercy.
How could I sleep with that ferocious thing prowling about the narrow
confines of our prison?
Should I close my eyes it might be to open them again to the feel of
those mighty jaws at my throat. To say the least, I was uncomfortable.
I have had too much experience with dumb animals to bank very strongly
on any sense of gratitude which may be attributed to them by
inexperienced sentimentalists. I believe that some animals love their
masters, but I doubt very much if their affection is the outcome of
gratitude--a characteristic that is so rare as to be only occasionally
traceable in the seemingly unselfish acts of man himself.
But finally I was forced to sleep. Tired nature would be put off no
longer. I simply fell asleep, willy nilly, as I sat looking out to
sea. I had been very uncomfortable since my ducking in the ocean, for
though I could see the sunlight on the water half-way toward the island
and upon the island itself, no ray of it fell upon us. We were well
within the Land of Awful Shadow. A perpetual half-warmth pervaded the
atmosphere, but clothing was slow in drying, and so from loss of sleep
and great physical discomfort, I at last gave way to nature's demands
and sank into profound slumber.
When I awoke it was with a start, for a heavy body was upon me. My
first thought was that the hyaenodon had at last attacked me, but as my
eyes opened and I struggled to rise, I saw that a man was astride me
and three others bending close above him.
I am no weakling--and never have been. My experience in the hard life
of the inner world has turned my thews to steel. Even such giants as
Ghak the Hairy One have praised my strength; but to it is added another
quality which they lack--science.
The man upon me held me down awkwardly, leaving me many openings--one
of which I was not slow in taking advantage of, so that almost before
the fellow knew that I was awake I was upon my feet with my arms over
his shoulders and about his waist and had hurled him heavily over my
head to the hard rubble of the beach, where he lay quite still.
In the instant that I arose I had seen the hyaenodon lying asleep
beside a boulder a few yards away. So nearly was he the color of the
rock that he was scarcely discernible. Evidently the newcomers had not
I had not more than freed myself from one of my antagonists before the
other three were upon me. They did not work silently now, but charged
me with savage cries--a mistake upon their part. The fact that they
did not draw their weapons against me convinced me that they desired to
take me alive; but I fought as desperately as if death loomed immediate
The battle was short, for scarce had their first wild whoop
reverberated through the rocky fiord, and they had closed upon me, than
a hairy mass of demoniacal rage hurtled among us.
It was the hyaenodon!
In an instant he had pulled down one of the men, and with a single
shake, terrier-like, had broken his neck. Then he was upon another.
In their efforts to vanquish the wolf-dog the savages forgot all about
me, thus giving me an instant in which to snatch a knife from the
loin-string of him who had first fallen and account for another of
them. Almost simultaneously the hyaenodon pulled down the remaining
enemy, crushing his skull with a single bite of those fearsome jaws.
The battle was over--unless the beast considered me fair prey, too.
waited, ready for him with knife and bludgeon--also filched from a dead
foeman; but he paid no attention to me, falling to work instead to
devour one of the corpses.
The beast bad been handicapped but little by his splinted leg; but
having eaten he lay down and commenced to gnaw at the bandage. I was
sitting some little distance away devouring shellfish, of which, by the
way, I was becoming exceedingly tired.
Presently, the hyaenodon arose and came toward me. I did not move. He
stopped in front of me and deliberately raised his bandaged leg and
pawed my knee. His act was as intelligible as words--he wished the
I took the great paw in one hand and with the other hand untied and
unwound the bandage, removed the splints and felt of the injured
member. As far as I could judge the bone was completely knit. The
joint was stiff; when I bent it a little the brute winced--but he
neither growled nor tried to pull away. Very slowly and gently I
rubbed the joint and applied pressure to it for a few moments.
Then I set it down upon the ground. The hyaenodon walked around me a
few times, and then lay down at my side, his body touching mine. I
laid my hand upon his head. He did not move. Slowly, I scratched
about his ears and neck and down beneath the fierce jaws. The only
sign he gave was to raise his chin a trifle that I might better caress
That was enough! From that moment I have never again felt suspicion of
Raja, as I immediately named him. Somehow all sense of loneliness
vanished, too--I had a dog! I had never guessed precisely what it was
that was lacking to life in Pellucidar, but now I knew it was the total
absence of domestic animals.
Man here had not yet reached the point where he might take the time
from slaughter and escaping slaughter to make friends with any of the
brute creation. I must qualify this statement a trifle and say that
this was true of those tribes with which I was most familiar. The
Thurians do domesticate the colossal lidi, traversing the great Lidi
Plains upon the backs of these grotesque and stupendous monsters, and
possibly there may also be other, far-distant peoples within the great
world, who have tamed others of the wild things of jungle, plain or
The Thurians practice agriculture in a crude sort of way. It is my
opinion that this is one of the earliest steps from savagery to
civilization. The taming of wild beasts and their domestication
Perry argues that wild dogs were first domesticated for hunting
purposes; but I do not agree with him. I believe that if their
domestication were not purely the result of an accident, as, for
example, my taming of the hyaenodon, it came about through the desire
of tribes who had previously domesticated flocks and herds to have some
strong, ferocious beast to guard their roaming property. However, I
lean rather more strongly to the theory of accident.
As I sat there upon the beach of the little fiord eating my unpalatable
shell-fish, I commenced to wonder how it had been that the four savages
had been able to reach me, though I had been unable to escape from my
natural prison. I glanced about in all directions, searching for an
explanation. At last my eyes fell upon the bow of a small dugout
protruding scarce a foot from behind a large boulder lying half in the
water at the edge of the beach.
At my discovery I leaped to my feet so suddenly that it brought Raja,
growling and bristling, upon all fours in an instant. For the moment I
had forgotten him. But his savage rumbling did not cause me any
uneasiness. He glanced quickly about in all directions as if searching
for the cause of my excitement. Then, as I walked rapidly down toward
the dugout, he slunk silently after me.
The dugout was similar in many respects to those which I had seen in
use by the Mezops. In it were four paddles. I was much delighted, as
it promptly offered me the escape I had been craving.
I pushed it out into water that would float it, stepped in and called
to Raja to enter. At first he did not seem to understand what I wished
of him, but after I had paddled out a few yards he plunged through the
surf and swam after me. When he had come alongside I grasped the
scruff of his neck, and after a considerable struggle, in which I
several times came near to overturning the canoe, I managed to drag
him aboard, where he shook himself vigorously and squatted down before
After emerging from the fiord, I paddled southward along the coast,
where presently the lofty cliffs gave way to lower and more level
country. It was here somewhere that I should come upon the principal
village of the Thurians. When, after a time, I saw in the distance
what I took to be huts in a clearing near the shore, I drew quickly
into land, for though I had been furnished credentials by Kolk, I was
not sufficiently familiar with the tribal characteristics of these
people to know whether I should receive a friendly welcome or not; and
in case I should not, I wanted to be sure of having a canoe hidden
safely away so that I might undertake the trip to the island, in any
event--provided, of course, that I escaped the Thurians should they
At the point where I landed the shore was quite low. A forest of pale,
scrubby ferns ran down almost to the beach. Here I dragged up the
dugout, hiding it well within the vegetation, and with some loose rocks
built a cairn upon the beach to mark my cache. Then I turned my steps
toward the Thurian village.
As I proceeded I began to speculate upon the possible actions of Raja
when we should enter the presence of other men than myself. The brute
was padding softly at my side, his sensitive nose constantly atwitch
and his fierce eyes moving restlessly from side to side--nothing would
ever take Raja unawares!
The more I thought upon the matter the greater became my perturbation.
I did not want Raja to attack any of the people upon whose friendship I
so greatly depended, nor did I want him injured or slain by them.
I wondered if Raja would stand for a leash. His head as he paced
beside me was level with my hip. I laid my hand upon it caressingly.
As I did so he turned and looked up into my face, his jaws parting and
his red tongue lolling as you have seen your own dog's beneath a love
"Just been waiting all your life to be tamed and loved, haven't
old man?" I asked. "You're nothing but a good pup, and the man
the hyaeno in your name ought to be sued for libel."
Raja bared his mighty fangs with upcurled, snarling lips and licked my
"You're grinning, you old fraud, you!" I cried. "If you're
eat you. I'll bet a doughnut you're nothing but some kid's poor old
Fido, masquerading around as a real, live man-eater."
Raja whined. And so we walked on together toward Thuria--I talking to
the beast at my side, and he seeming to enjoy my company no less than I
enjoyed his. If you don't think it's lonesome wandering all by
yourself through savage, unknown Pellucidar, why, just try it, and you
will not wonder that I was glad of the company of this first dog--this
living replica of the fierce and now extinct hyaenodon of the outer
crust that hunted in savage packs the great elk across the snows of
southern France, in the days when the mastodon roamed at will over the
broad continent of which the British Isles were then a part, and
perchance left his footprints and his bones in the sands of Atlantis as
Thus I dreamed as we moved on toward Thuria. My dreaming was rudely
shattered by a savage growl from Raja. I looked down at him. He had
stopped in his tracks as one turned to stone. A thin ridge of stiff
hair bristled along the entire length of his spine. His yellow green
eyes were fastened upon the scrubby jungle at our right.
I fastened my fingers in the bristles at his neck and turned my eyes
the direction that his pointed. At first I saw nothing. Then a slight
movement of the bushes riveted my attention. I thought it must be some
wild beast, and was glad of the primitive weapons I had taken from the
bodies of the warriors who had attacked me.
Presently I distinguished two eyes peering at us from the vegetation.
I took a step in their direction, and as I did so a youth arose and
fled precipitately in the direction we had been going. Raja struggled
to be after him, but I held tightly to his neck, an act which he did
not seem to relish, for he turned on me with bared fangs.
I determined that now was as good a time as any to discover just how
deep was Raja's affection for me. One of us could be master, and
logically I was the one. He growled at me. I cuffed him sharply
across the nose. He looked it me for a moment in surprised
bewilderment, and then he growled again. I made another feint at him,
expecting that it would bring him at my throat; but instead he winced
and crouched down.
Raja was subdued!
I stooped and patted him. Then I took a piece of the rope that
constituted a part of my equipment and made a leash for him.
Thus we resumed our journey toward Thuria. The youth who had seen us
was evidently of the Thurians. That he had lost no time in racing
homeward and spreading the word of my coming was evidenced when we had
come within sight of the clearing, and the village--the first real
village, by the way, that I had ever seen constructed by human
Pellucidarians. There was a rude rectangle walled with logs and
boulders, in which were a hundred or more thatched huts of similar
construction. There was no gate. Ladders that could be removed by
night led over the palisade.
Before the village were assembled a great concourse of warriors.
Inside I could see the heads of women and children peering over the top
of the wall; and also, farther back, the long necks of lidi, topped by
their tiny heads. Lidi, by the way, is both the singular and plural
form of the noun that describes the huge beasts of burden of the
Thurians. They are enormous quadrupeds, eighty or a hundred feet long,
with very small heads perched at the top of very long, slender necks.
Their heads are quite forty feet from the ground. Their gait is slow
and deliberate, but so enormous are their strides that, as a matter of
fact, they cover the ground quite rapidly.
Perry has told me that they are almost identical with the fossilized
remains of the diplodocus of the outer crust's Jurassic age. I have to
take his word for it--and I guess you will, unless you know more of
such matters than I.
As we came in sight of the warriors the men set up a great jabbering.
Their eyes were wide in astonishment--not only, I presume, because of my
strange garmenture, but as well from the fact that I came in company
with a jalok, which is the Pellucidarian name of the hyaenodon.
Raja tugged at his leash, growling and showing his long white fangs.
He would have liked nothing better than to be at the throats of the
whole aggregation; but I held him in with the leash, though it took all
my strength to do it. My free hand I held above my head, palm out, in
token of the peacefulness of my mission.
In the foreground I saw the youth who had discovered us, and I could
tell from the way he carried himself that he was quite overcome by his
own importance. The warriors about him were all fine looking fellows,
though shorter and squatter than the Sarians or the Amozites. Their
color, too, was a bit lighter, owing, no doubt, to the fact that much
of their lives is spent within the shadow of the world that hangs
forever above their country.
A little in advance of the others was a bearded fellow tricked out in
many ornaments. I didn't need to ask to know that he was the
chieftain--doubtless Goork, father of Kolk. Now to him I addressed
"I am David," I said, "Emperor of the Federated Kingdoms
Doubtless you have heard of me?"
He nodded his head affirmatively.
"I come from Sari," I continued, "where I just met Kolk,
the son of
Goork. I bear a token from Kolk to his father, which will prove that I
am a friend."
Again the warrior nodded. "I am Goork," he said. "Where
is the token?"
"Here," I replied, and fished into the game-bag where I had
Goork and his people waited in silence. My hand searched the inside
It was empty!
The token had been stolen with my arms!
When Goork and his people saw that I had no token they commenced to
"You do not come from Kolk, but from the Sly One!" they cried.
sent you from the island to spy upon us. Go away, or we will set upon
you and kill you."
I explained that all my belongings had been stolen from me, and that
the robber must have taken the token too; but they didn't believe me.
As proof that I was one of Hooja's people, they pointed to my weapons,
which they said were ornamented like those of the island clan.
Further, they said that no good man went in company with a jalok--and
that by this line of reasoning I certainly was a bad man.
I saw that they were not naturally a war-like tribe, for they preferred
that I leave in peace rather than force them to attack me, whereas the
Sarians would have killed a suspicious stranger first and inquired into
his purposes later.
I think Raja sensed their antagonism, for he kept tugging at his leash
and growling ominously. They were a bit in awe of him, and kept at a
safe distance. It was evident that they could not comprehend why it
was that this savage brute did not turn upon me and rend me.
I wasted a long time there trying to persuade Goork to accept me at my
own valuation, but he was too canny. The best he would do was to give
us food, which he did, and direct me as to the safest portion of the
island upon which to attempt a landing, though even as he told me I am
sure that he thought my request for information but a blind to deceive
him as to my true knowledge of the insular stronghold.
At last I turned away from them--rather disheartened, for I had hoped
to be able to enlist a considerable force of them in an attempt to rush
Hooja's horde and rescue Dian. Back along the beach toward the hidden
canoe we made our way.
By the time we came to the cairn I was dog-tired. Throwing myself upon
the sand I soon slept, and with Raja stretched out beside me I felt a
far greater security than I had enjoyed for a long time.
I awoke much refreshed to find Raja's eyes glued upon me. The moment
opened mine he rose, stretched himself, and without a backward glance
plunged into the jungle. For several minutes I could hear him crashing
through the brush. Then all was silent.
I wondered if he had left me to return to his fierce pack. A feeling
of loneliness overwhelmed me. With a sigh I turned to the work of
dragging the canoe down to the sea. As I entered the jungle where the
dugout lay a hare darted from beneath the boat's side, and a well-aimed
cast of my javelin brought it down. I was hungry--I had not realized
it before--so I sat upon the edge of the canoe and devoured my repast.
The last remnants gone, I again busied myself with preparations for my
expedition to the island.
I did not know for certain that Dian was there; but I surmised as much.
Nor could I guess what obstacles might confront me in an effort to
rescue her. For a time I loitered about after I had the canoe at the
water's edge, hoping against hope that Raja would return; but he did
not, so I shoved the awkward craft through the surf and leaped into it.
I was still a little downcast by the desertion of my new-found friend,
though I tried to assure myself that it was nothing but what I might
The savage brute had served me well in the short time that we had been
together, and had repaid his debt of gratitude to me, since he had
saved my life, or at least my liberty, no less certainly than I had
saved his life when he was injured and drowning.
The trip across the water to the island was uneventful. I was mighty
glad to be in the sunshine again when I passed out of the shadow of the
dead world about half-way between the mainland and the island. The hot
rays of the noonday sun did a great deal toward raising my spirits, and
dispelling the mental gloom in which I had been shrouded almost
continually since entering the Land of Awful Shadow. There is nothing
more dispiriting to me than absence of sunshine.
I had paddled to the southwestern point, which Goork said he believed
to be the least frequented portion of the island, as he had never seen
boats put off from there. I found a shallow reef running far out into
the sea and rather precipitous cliffs running almost to the surf. It
was a nasty place to land, and I realized now why it was not used by
the natives; but at last I managed, after a good wetting, to beach my
canoe and scale the cliffs.
The country beyond them appeared more open and park-like than I had
anticipated, since from the mainland the entire coast that is visible
seems densely clothed with tropical jungle. This jungle, as I could
see from the vantage-point of the cliff-top, formed but a relatively
narrow strip between the sea and the more open forest and meadow of the
interior. Farther back there was a range of low but apparently very
rocky hills, and here and there all about were visible flat-topped
masses of rock--small mountains, in fact--which reminded me of pictures
I had seen of landscapes in New Mexico. Altogether, the country was
very much broken and very beautiful. From where I stood I counted no
less than a dozen streams winding down from among the table-buttes and
emptying into a pretty river which flowed away in a northeasterly
direction toward the op-posite end of the island.
As I let my eyes roam over the scene I suddenly became aware of figures
moving upon the flat top of a far-distant butte. Whether they were
beast or human, though, I could not make out; but at least they were
alive, so I determined to prosecute my search for Hooja's stronghold in
the general direction of this butte.
To descend to the valley required no great effort. As I swung along
through the lush grass and the fragrant flowers, my cudgel swinging in
my hand and my javelin looped across my shoulders with its aurochs-hide
strap, I felt equal to any emergency, ready for any danger.
I had covered quite a little distance, and I was passing through a
strip of wood which lay at the foot of one of the flat-topped hills,
when I became conscious of the sensation of being watched. My life
within Pellucidar has rather quickened my senses of sight, hearing, and
smell, and, too, certain primitive intuitive or instinctive qualities
that seem blunted in civilized man. But, though I was positive that
eyes were upon me, I could see no sign of any living thing within the
wood other than the many, gay-plumaged birds and little monkeys which
filled the trees with life, color, and action.
To you it may seem that my conviction was the result of an overwrought
imagination, or to the actual reality of the prying eyes of the little
monkeys or the curious ones of the birds; but there is a difference
which I cannot explain between the sensation of casual observation and
studied espionage. A sheep might gaze at you without transmitting a
warning through your subjective mind, because you are in no danger from
a sheep. But let a tiger gaze fixedly at you from ambush, and unless
your primitive instincts are completely calloused you will presently
commence to glance furtively about and be filled with vague,
Thus was it with me then. I grasped my cudgel more firmly and unslung
my javelin, carrying it in my left hand. I peered to left and right,
but I saw nothing. Then, all quite suddenly, there fell about my neck
and shoulders, around my arms and body, a number of pliant fiber ropes.
In a jiffy I was trussed up as neatly as you might wish. One of the
nooses dropped to my ankles and was jerked up with a suddenness that
brought me to my face upon the ground. Then something heavy and hairy
sprang upon my back. I fought to draw my knife, but hairy hands
grasped my wrists and, dragging them behind my back, bound them
Next my feet were bound. Then I was turned over upon my back to look
up into the faces of my captors.
And what faces! Imagine if you can a cross between a sheep and a
gorilla, and you will have some conception of the physiognomy of the
creature that bent close above me, and of those of the half-dozen
others that clustered about. There was the facial length and great
eyes of the sheep, and the bull-neck and hideous fangs of the gorilla.
The bodies and limbs were both man and gorilla-like.
As they bent over me they conversed in a mono-syllabic tongue that was
perfectly intelligible to me. It was something of a simplified
language that had no need for aught but nouns and verbs, but such words
as it included were the same as those of the human beings of
Pellucidar. It was amplified by many gestures which filled in the
I asked them what they intended doing with me; but, like our own North
American Indians when questioned by a white man, they pretended not to
understand me. One of them swung me to his shoulder as lightly as if I
had been a shoat. He was a huge creature, as were his fellows,
standing fully seven feet upon his short legs and weighing considerably
more than a quarter of a ton.
Two went ahead of my bearer and three behind. In this order we cut to
the right through the forest to the foot of the hill where precipitous
cliffs appeared to bar our farther progress in this direction. But my
escort never paused. Like ants upon a wall, they scaled that seemingly
unscalable barrier, clinging, Heaven knows how, to its ragged
perpendicular face. During most of the short journey to the summit I
must admit that my hair stood on end. Presently, however, we topped
the thing and stood upon the level mesa which crowned it.
Immediately from all about, out of burrows and rough, rocky lairs,
poured a perfect torrent of beasts similar to my captors. They
clustered about, jabbering at my guards and attempting to get their
hands upon me, whether from curiosity or a desire to do me bodily harm
I did not know, since my escort with bared fangs and heavy blows kept
Across the mesa we went, to stop at last before a large pile of rocks
in which an opening appeared. Here my guards set me upon my feet and
called out a word which sounded like "Gr-gr-gr!" and which I later
learned was the name of their king.
Presently there emerged from the cavernous depths of the lair a
monstrous creature, scarred from a hundred battles, almost hairless and
with an empty socket where one eye had been. The other eye, sheeplike
in its mildness, gave the most startling appearance to the beast, which
but for that single timid orb was the most fearsome thing that one
I had encountered the black, hairless, long-tailed ape--things of the
mainland--the creatures which Perry thought might constitute the link
between the higher orders of apes and man--but these brute-men of
Gr-gr-gr seemed to set that theory back to zero, for there was less
similarity between the black ape-men and these creatures than there was
between the latter and man, while both had many human attributes, some
of which were better developed in one species and some in the other.
The black apes were hairless and built thatched huts in their arboreal
retreats; they kept domesticated dogs and ruminants, in which respect
they were farther advanced than the human beings of Pellucidar; but
they appeared to have only a meager language, and sported long, apelike
On the other hand, Gr-gr-gr's people were, for the most part, quite
hairy, but they were tailless and had a language similar to that of the
human race of Pellucidar; nor were they arboreal. Their skins, where
skin showed, were white.
From the foregoing facts and others that I have noted during my long
life within Pellucidar, which is now passing through an age analogous
to some pre-glacial age of the outer crust, I am constrained to the
belief that evolution is not so much a gradual transition from one form
to another as it is an accident of breeding, either by crossing or the
hazards of birth. In other words, it is my belief that the first man
was a freak of nature--nor would one have to draw overstrongly upon
his credulity to be convinced that Gr-gr-gr and his tribe were also
The great man-brute seated himself upon a flat rock--his throne, I
imagine--just before the entrance to his lair. With elbows on knees
and chin in palms he regarded me intently through his lone sheep-eye
while one of my captors told of my taking.
When all had been related Gr-gr-gr questioned me. I shall not attempt
to quote these people in their own abbreviated tongue--you would have
even greater difficulty in interpreting them than did I. Instead, I
shall put the words into their mouths which will carry to you the ideas
which they intended to convey.
"You are an enemy," was Gr-gr-gr's initial declaration. "You
the tribe of Hooja."
Ah! So they knew Hooja and he was their enemy! Good!
"I am an enemy of Hooja," I replied. "He has stolen my
mate and I have
come here to take her away from him and punish Hooja."
"How could you do that alone?"
"I do not know," I answered, "but I should have tried
had you not
captured me. What do you intend to do with me?"
"You shall work for us."
"You will not kill me?" I asked.
"We do not kill except in self-defense," he replied; "self-defense
punishment. Those who would kill us and those who do wrong we kill.
If we knew you were one of Hooja's people we might kill you, for all
Hooja's people are bad people; but you say you are an enemy of Hooja.
You may not speak the truth, but until we learn that you have lied we
shall not kill you. You shall work."
"If you hate Hooja," I suggested, "why not let me, who
hate him, too,
go and punish him?"
For some time Gr-gr-gr sat in thought. Then he raised his head and
addressed my guard.
"Take him to his work," he ordered.
His tone was final. As if to emphasize it he turned and entered his
burrow. My guard conducted me farther into the mesa, where we came
presently to a tiny depression or valley, at one end of which gushed a
The view that opened before me was the most surprising that I have ever
seen. In the hollow, which must have covered several hundred acres,
were numerous fields of growing things, and working all about with
crude implements or with no implements at all other than their bare
hands were many of the brute-men engaged in the first agriculture that
I had seen within Pellucidar.
They put me to work cultivating in a patch of melons.
I never was a farmer nor particularly keen for this sort of work, and
am free to confess that time never had dragged so heavily as it did
during the hour or the year I spent there at that work. How long it
really was I do not know, of course; but it was all too long.
The creatures that worked about me were quite simple and friendly. One
of them proved to be a son of Gr-gr-gr. He had broken some minor
tribal law, and was working out his sentence in the fields. He told me
that his tribe had lived upon this hilltop always, and that there were
other tribes like them dwelling upon other hilltops. They had no wars
and had always lived in peace and harmony, menaced only by the larger
carnivora of the island, until my kind had come under a creature called
Hooja, and attacked and killed them when they chanced to descend from
their natural fortresses to visit their fellows upon other lofty mesas.
Now they were afraid; but some day they would go in a body and fall
upon Hooja and his people and slay them all. I explained to him that I
was Hooja's enemy, and asked, when they were ready to go, that I be
allowed to go with them, or, better still, that they let me go ahead
and learn all that I could about the village where Hooja dwelt so that
they might attack it with the best chance of success.
Gr-gr-gr's son seemed much impressed by my suggestion. He said that
when he was through in the fields he would speak to his father about
Some time after this Gr-gr-gr came through the fields where we were,
and his son spoke to him upon the subject, but the old gentleman was
evidently in anything but a good humor, for he cuffed the youngster
and, turning upon me, informed me that he was convinced that I had lied
to him, and that I was one of Hooja's people.
"Wherefore," he concluded, "we shall slay you as soon
as the melons are
cultivated. Hasten, therefore."
And hasten I did. I hastened to cultivate the weeds which grew among
the melon-vines. Where there had been one sickly weed before, I
nourished two healthy ones. When I found a particularly promising
variety of weed growing elsewhere than among my melons, I forthwith dug
it up and transplanted it among my charges.
My masters did not seem to realize my perfidy. They saw me always
laboring diligently in the melon-patch, and as time enters not into the
reckoning of Pellucidarians--even of human beings and much less of
brutes and half brutes--I might have lived on indefinitely through this
subterfuge had not that occurred which took me out of the melon-patch
for good and all.
HOOJA'S CUTTHROATS APPEAR
I had built a little shelter of rocks and brush where I might crawl in
and sleep out of the perpetual light and heat of the noonday sun. When
I was tired or hungry I retired to my humble cot.
My masters never interposed the slightest objection. As a matter of
fact, they were very good to me, nor did I see aught while I was among
them to indicate that they are ever else than a simple, kindly folk
when left to themselves. Their awe-inspiring size, terrific strength,
mighty fighting-fangs, and hideous appearance are but the attributes
necessary to the successful waging of their constant battle for
survival, and well do they employ them when the need arises. The only
flesh they eat is that of herbivorous animals and birds. When they
hunt the mighty thag, the prehistoric bos of the outer crust, a single
male, with his fiber rope, will catch and kill the greatest of the
Well, as I was about to say, I had this little shelter at the edge of
my melon-patch. Here I was resting from my labors on a certain
occasion when I heard a great hub-bub in the village, which lay about a
quarter of a mile away.
Presently a male came racing toward the field, shouting excitedly. As
he approached I came from my shelter to learn what all the commotion
might be about, for the monotony of my existence in the melon-patch
must have fostered that trait of my curiosity from which it had always
been my secret boast I am peculiarly free.
The other workers also ran forward to meet the messenger, who quickly
unburdened himself of his information, and as quickly turned and
scampered back toward the village. When running these beast-men often
go upon all fours. Thus they leap over obstacles that would slow up a
human being, and upon the level attain a speed that would make a
thoroughbred look to his laurels. The result in this instance was that
before I had more than assimilated the gist of the word which had been
brought to the fields, I was alone, watching my co-workers speeding
I was alone! It was the first time since my capture that no beast-man
had been within sight of me. I was alone! And all my captors were in
the village at the op-posite edge of the mesa repelling an attack of
It seemed from the messenger's tale that two of Gr-gr-gr's great males
had been set upon by a half-dozen of Hooja's cutthroats while the
former were peaceably returning from the thag hunt. The two had
returned to the village unscratched, while but a single one of Hooja's
half-dozen had escaped to report the outcome of the battle to their
leader. Now Hooja was coming to punish Gr-gr-gr's people. With his
large force, armed with the bows and arrows that Hooja had learned from
me to make, with long lances and sharp knives, I feared that even the
mighty strength of the beastmen could avail them but little.
At last had come the opportunity for which I waited! I was free to
make for the far end of the mesa, find my way to the valley below, and
while the two forces were engaged in their struggle, continue my search
for Hooja's village, which I had learned from the beast-men lay farther
on down the river that I had been following when taken prisoner.
As I turned to make for the mesa's rim the sounds of battle came
plainly to my ears--the hoarse shouts of men mingled with the
half-beastly roars and growls of the brute-folk.
Did I take advantage of my opportunity?
I did not. Instead, lured by the din of strife and by the desire to
deliver a stroke, however feeble, against hated Hooja, I wheeled and
ran directly toward the village.
When I reached the edge of the plateau such a scene met my astonished
gaze as never before had startled it, for the unique battle-methods of
the half-brutes were rather the most remarkable I had ever witnessed.
Along the very edge of the cliff-top stood a thin line of mighty
males--the best rope-throwers of the tribe. A few feet behind these
the rest of the males, with the exception of about twenty, formed a
second line. Still farther in the rear all the women and young
children were clustered into a single group under the protection of
the remaining twenty fighting males and all the old males.
But it was the work of the first two lines that interested me. The
forces of Hooja--a great horde of savage Sagoths and primeval cave
men--were working their way up the steep cliff-face, their agility but
slightly less than that of my captors who had clambered so nimbly
aloft--even he who was burdened by my weight.
As the attackers came on they paused occasionally wherever a projection
gave them sufficient foothold and launched arrows and spears at the
defenders above them. During the entire battle both sides hurled
taunts and insults at one another--the human beings naturally excelling
the brutes in the coarseness and vileness of their vilification and
The "firing-line" of the brute-men wielded no weapon other
long fiber nooses. When a foeman came within range of them a noose
would settle unerringly about him and he would be dragged, fighting and
yelling, to the cliff-top, unless, as occasionally occurred, he was
quick enough to draw his knife and cut the rope above him, in which
event he usually plunged down-ward to a no less certain death than that
which awaited him above.
Those who were hauled up within reach of the powerful clutches of the
defenders had the nooses snatched from them and were catapulted back
through the first line to the second, where they were seized and killed
by the simple expedient of a single powerful closing of mighty fangs
upon the backs of their necks.
But the arrows of the invaders were taking a much heavier toll than the
nooses of the defenders and I foresaw that it was but a matter of time
before Hooja's forces must conquer unless the brute-men changed their
tactics, or the cave men tired of the battle.
Gr-gr-gr was standing in the center of the first line. All about him
were boulders and large fragments of broken rock. I approached him and
without a word toppled a large mass of rock over the edge of the cliff.
It fell directly upon the head of an archer, crushing him to instant
death and carrying his mangled corpse with it to the bottom of the
declivity, and on its way brushing three more of the attackers into the
Gr-gr-gr turned toward me in surprise. For an instant he appeared to
doubt the sincerity of my motives. I felt that perhaps my time had
come when he reached for me with one of his giant paws; but I dodged
him, and running a few paces to the right hurled down another missile.
It, too, did its allotted work of destruction. Then I picked up
smaller fragments and with all the control and accuracy for which I had
earned justly deserved fame in my collegiate days I rained down a hail
of death upon those beneath me.
Gr-gr-gr was coming toward me again. I pointed to the litter of rubble
upon the cliff-top.
"Hurl these down upon the enemy!" I cried to him. "Tell
to throw rocks down upon them!"
At my words the others of the first line, who had been interested
spectators of my tactics, seized upon great boulders or bits of rock,
whichever came first to their hands, and, without waiting for a
command from Gr-gr-gr, deluged the terrified cave men with a perfect
avalanche of stone. In less than no time the cliff-face was stripped
of enemies and the village of Gr-gr-gr was saved.
Gr-gr-gr was standing beside me when the last of the cave men
disappeared in rapid flight down the valley. He was looking at me
"Those were your people," he said. "Why did you kill
"They were not my people," I returned. "I have told you
but you would not believe me. Will you believe me now when I tell you
that I hate Hooja and his tribe as much as you do? Will you believe me
when I tell you that I wish to be the friend of Gr-gr-gr?"
For some time he stood there beside me, scratching his head. Evidently
it was no less difficult for him to readjust his preconceived
conclusions than it is for most human beings; but finally the idea
percolated--which it might never have done had he been a man, or I
might qualify that statement by saying had he been some men. Finally
"Gilak," he said, "you have made Gr-gr-gr ashamed. He
killed you. How can he reward you?"
"Set me free," I replied quickly.
"You are free," he said. "You may go down when you wish,
or you may
stay with us. If you go you may always return. We are your friends."
Naturally, I elected to go. I explained all over again to Gr-gr-gr the
nature of my mission. He listened attentively; after I had done he
offered to send some of his people with me to guide me to Hooja's
village. I was not slow in accepting his offer.
First, however, we must eat. The hunters upon whom Hooja's men had
fallen had brought back the meat of a great thag. There would be a
feast to commemorate the victory--a feast and dancing.
I had never witnessed a tribal function of the brute-folk, though I had
often heard strange sounds coming from the village, where I had not
been allowed since my capture. Now I took part in one of their orgies.
It will live forever in my memory. The combination of bestiality and
humanity was oftentimes pathetic, and again grotesque or horrible.
Beneath the glaring noonday sun, in the sweltering heat of the
mesa-top, the huge, hairy creatures leaped in a great circle. They
coiled and threw their fiber-ropes; they hurled taunts and insults at
an imaginary foe; they fell upon the carcass of the thag and literally
tore it to pieces; and they ceased only when, gorged, they could no
I had to wait until the processes of digestion had released my escort
from its torpor. Some had eaten until their abdomens were so distended
that I thought they must burst, for beside the thag there had been
fully a hundred antelopes of various sizes and varied degrees of
decomposition, which they had unearthed from burial beneath the floors
of their lairs to grace the banquet-board.
But at last we were started--six great males and myself. Gr-gr-gr had
returned my weapons to me, and at last I was once more upon my
oft-interrupted way toward my goal. Whether I should find Dian at the
end of my journey or no I could not even surmise; but I was 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 formidable 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 had passed.
We made our way steadily down the rim of the beautiful river which
flows the length of the island, coming at last to a wood rather denser
than any that I had before encountered in this country. Well within
this forest my escort halted.
"There!" they said, and pointed ahead. "We are to go
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 several 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
warriors 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
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 reenter the cliff through another aperture.
What a cave it must be, I thought, that houses an entire 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 Gr-gr-gr.
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 below.
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 unwatched spot where I might have some slight chance of
scaling the heights and reaching the top unseen.
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 myself 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 perpendicular rock-face
appeared to offer only death to any one who might venture within their
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, although 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 unharmed between two needle-pointed
sentinels of granite and float quietly upon the unruffled bosom of a
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 performed. Upwardly
they moved without a pause, to disappear at last over the summit.
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 advanced 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 sudden, as I crept around the
edge of a boulder, I ran plump into a man, down on all fours like
myself, crawling 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
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 written on his
countenance. At last, all of a sudden, a look of recognition entered
"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 freedom. 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 people
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
"I was discovered and captured, but Hooja did not kill me. I am
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 soon
"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 talking 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
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
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 having 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
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 imprisoned," he
"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?"
He said he could, and in the strange yet explicit fashion of the
Pellucidarians he explained minutely how I might reach the cave where
he had been imprisoned, and through the hole in its wall reach Dian.
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 trickery 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 Dacor's sister.
Then we parted--he to take up his position where he could watch the
boat and await Dian, I to crawl cautiously on toward the caves. I had
no difficulty in following 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 advantage 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 excited 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 instant 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 increasing 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 of.
"Where are you, woman?" he cried. "Hooja has sent for
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
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 side.
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
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
undignified 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
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 moment, 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 informed 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
returned, or at least she had not heard of their return.
"Nor will you ever," I responded, "for they have gone
to that place
whence none ever returns." I then related my adventure with these four.
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 ourselves 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 mesa.
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
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 head.
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 hacking and hewing away at the poor slave with a
villainous-looking knife that might have been designed for butchering
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 deliberately
hurl himself to death over the precipice or be pushed over by his
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,
beating 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
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 us.
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 beginnings of
liberty, and a horde of savage enemies advancing 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 capacities to those of
the effete and overcivilized beauties of the outer crust.
"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,"
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
devote your life to carrying out with Perry the hopes and plans for
Pellucidar that are so dear to my heart. Promise me, dear."
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 not guess.
"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 swimming 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
"And you?" she asked once more. "Can you dive when they
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
moment 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 below.
Then I turned toward the advancing Hoojans--"Hoosiers," Perry
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 wild flowers.
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 among
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 simu-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
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
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 last.
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 had
rushed to the brink and hurled their weapons after me. By a miracle I
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 surface, 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 head 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
understood. 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 assistance. 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 comparatively 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 continue
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
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 existence. 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
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
your world?" she asked.
"The accident gave you the idea for the poisoned arrows with which
fitted the warriors of the empire," she continued. "And, too,
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 dangers, 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 contemplate 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
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
warriors of the Sly One and followed 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 for you."
I thanked him; and when I had told him of our escape and our
destination, he insisted on accompanying 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 the mainland.
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 rectifying our
We landed several miles north of Thuria in a little cove that seemed
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 not 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, smoothing 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 twilight. 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 inhabitants preyed upon
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 of thag.
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, bellowing 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 running 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
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 instant 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 simultaneously, 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 me?
I searched about the spot carefully. At last I was rewarded 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 overlapping
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 something 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 questioning.
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 surprise. 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 could exhibit.
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 appeared 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 direction
of the Thurian village. I could have guessed as much!
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 master.
We must have covered considerable distance at a very rapid pace, for
had reentered 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
They did not give tongue until the lidi itself discovered 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 enveloped 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 shoulder. 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 working together with some end in view, for the
she-dog merely galloped steadily at the lidi's right about op-posite
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 attempting.
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 moment. 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
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
depended upon my meeting that hurtling mass of terrified flesh with a
well-placed javelin. So I stood there, waiting 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 ruminant.
Neither missed. Swinging in mid-air, they hung tenaciously, 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 its
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 unable 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
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 his mercy.
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 wantonly.
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 simu-taneously--he must
have died almost before his body tumbled to the ground. Then the
female wheeled toward 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 administered a
severe drubbing to his mate. It was his way of teaching her that I was
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
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 carried 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
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
getting Raja aboard the dugout; but Ranee--as we christened her after I
had explained 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 understand 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 without 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 he 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 journey 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 suddenness 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
hundred miles before the wind and straight out into an unknown sea!
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 Juag.
"You Pellucidarians are endowed with a wonderful instinct,"
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 renewed hope; but there was
no answering smile in their eyes. It was Dian who enlightened me.
"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 astern.
"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 boats."
"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,"
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
"They probably want to ask the way to the mainland themselves,"
Juag, who was nothing if not a pessimist.
"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
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
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
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
cumbersome; 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
another, and I knew that Hooja had archers.
Hooja called to Juag to stop when he saw that our craft was moving.
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 commands as he became aware that we were trying to
"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 deadly
But Juag only seized his paddle more tightly--the paddle that answered
the purpose of rudder, and commenced 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 missiles 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
Far out behind us in a long line that curved upward in the distance,
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 commencing 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 reconciled 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 suggestion 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 distance.
Almost immediately the wind rose again from precisely 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 disappointments 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 particularly 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 appeared, pouring from
among the trees beyond the beach, a horde of yelling, painted savages,
brandishing all sorts of devilish-looking primitive weapons. So
menacing 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 paddles.
As we raced along the coast for one of those seemingly 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 parallel 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 formation 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 within range.
Hope was low in my breast. I could not see the slightest chance of
escaping them, for they were overhauling 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 us.
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
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
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 pennant, 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 with me.
But still Hooja was coming nearer, nor could the leading felucca
overhaul him before he would be along-side or at least within bow-shot.
Hooja must have been as much mystified as we were as to the identity
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 overcoming 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--offering 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
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 commotion
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 ships.
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
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 expected that when I beheld his navy I should
find considerable attempt at grim and terrible magnificence, 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
One thing that had inclined Ja particularly to the felucca was the fact
that it included oars in its equipment. 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
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
"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
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
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,"
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
firearms 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
"What will become of you if you don't surrender to us?" I asked.
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 surrendered. 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 Pellucidarian 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 commanders 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 primitive 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 without arousing their appetites.
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 discovering us they
had come into a great group of islands, from between the largest two of
which they were sailing 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 their use.
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
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 inhabiting 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 explained the nature of our
"And not only were they anxious to do all in their power to hasten
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.
"The contents of the prospector set their imaginations to working
overtime, so that they craved to own, themselves, the knowledge which
had made it possible for other men to create and build the things which
you brought back from the outer world.
"And then," continued the old man, "the element of time,
lack of time, operated to my advantage. There being no nights, there
was no laying off from work--they labored incessantly stopping only to
eat and, on rare occasions, to sleep. Once we had discovered iron ore
we had enough mined in an incredibly short time to build a thousand
cannon. I had only to show them once how a thing should be done, and
they would fall to work by thousands to do it.
"Why, no sooner had we fashioned the first muzzle-loader and they
seen it work successfully, than fully three thousand Mezops fell to
work to make rifles. Of course there was much confusion and lost
motion at first, but eventually Ja got them in hand, detailing squads
of them under competent chiefs to certain work.
"We now have a hundred expert gun-makers. On a little isolated
have a great powder-factory. Near the iron-mine, which is on the
mainland, is a smelter, and on the eastern shore of Anoroc, a well
equipped ship-yard. All these industries are guarded by forts in which
several cannon are mounted and where warriors are always on guard.
"You would be surprised now, David, at the aspect of Anoroc. I
surprised myself; it seems always to me as I compare it with the day
that I first set foot upon it from the deck of the Sari that only a
miracle could have worked the change that has taken place."
"It is a miracle," I said; "it is nothing short of a miracle
transplant all the wondrous possibilities of the twentieth century back
to the Stone Age. It is a miracle to think that only five hundred
miles of earth separate two epochs that are really ages and ages apart."
"It is stupendous, Perry! But still more stupendous is the power
you and I wield in this great world. These people look upon us as
little less than supermen. We must show them that we are all of that.
"We must give them the best that we have, Perry."
"Yes," he agreed; "we must. I have been thinking a great
that some kind of shrapnel shell or explosive bomb would be a most
splendid innovation in their warfare. Then there are breech-loading
rifles and those with magazines that I must hasten to study out and
learn to reproduce as soon as we get settled down again; and--"
"Hold on, Perry!" I cried. "I didn't mean these sorts
of things at
all. I said that we must give them the best we have. What we have
given them so far has been the worst. We have given them war and the
munitions of war. In a single day we have made their wars infinitely
more terrible and bloody than in all their past ages they have been
able to make them with their crude, primitive weapons.
"In a period that could scarcely have exceeded two outer earthly
our fleet practically annihilated the largest armada of native canoes
that the Pellucidarians ever before had gathered together. We
butchered some eight thousand warriors with the twentieth-century gifts
we brought. Why, they wouldn't have killed that many warriors in the
entire duration of a dozen of their wars with their own weapons! No,
Perry; we've got to give them something better than scientific methods
of killing one another."
The old man looked at me in amazement. There was reproach in his eyes,
"Why, David!" he said sorrowfully. "I thought that you
pleased with what I had done. We planned these things together, and I
am sure that it was you who suggested practically all of it. I have
done only what I thought you wished done and I have done it the best
that I know how."
I laid my hand on the old man's shoulder.
"Bless your heart, Perry!" I cried. "You've accomplished
You have done precisely what I should have done, only you've done it
better. I'm not finding fault; but I don't wish to lose sight myself,
or let you lose sight, of the greater work which must grow out of this
preliminary and necessary carnage. First we must place the empire upon
a secure footing, and we can do so only by putting the fear of us in
the hearts of our enemies; but after that--
"Ah, Perry! That is the day I look forward to! When you and I can
sewing-machines instead of battle-ships, harvesters of crops instead of
harvesters of men, plow-shares and telephones, schools and colleges,
printing-presses and paper! When our merchant marine shall ply the
great Pellucidarian seas, and cargoes of silks and typewriters and
books shall forge their ways where only hideous saurians have held sway
since time began!"
"Amen!" said Perry.
And Dian, who was standing at my side, pressed my hand.
CONQUEST AND PEACE
The fleet sailed directly for Hooja's island, coming to anchor at its
north-eastern extremity before the flat-topped hill that had been
Hooja's stronghold. I sent one of the prisoners ashore to demand an
immediate surrender; but as he told me afterward they wouldn't believe
all that he told them, so they congregated on the cliff-top and shot
futile arrows at us.
In reply I had five of the feluccas cannonade them. When they
scampered away at the sound of the terrific explosions, and at sight of
the smoke and the iron balls I landed a couple of hundred red warriors
and led them to the opposite end of the hill into the tunnel that ran
to its summit. Here we met a little resistance; but a volley from the
muzzle-loaders turned back those who disputed our right of way, and
presently we gained the mesa. Here again we met resistance, but at
last the remnant of Hooja's horde surrendered.
Juag was with me, and I lost no time in returning to him and his tribe
the hilltop that had been their ancestral home for ages until they were
robbed of it by Hooja. I created a kingdom of the island, making Juag
king there. Before we sailed I went to Gr-gr-gr, chief of the
beast-men, taking Juag with me. There the three of us arranged a code
of laws that would permit the brute-folk and the human beings of the
island to live in peace and harmony. Gr-gr-gr sent his son with me
back to Sari, capital of my empire, that he might learn the ways of the
human beings. I have hopes of turning this race into the greatest
agriculturists of Pellucidar. When I returned to the fleet I found
that one of the islanders of Juag's tribe, who had been absent when we
arrived, had just returned from the mainland with the news that a great
army was encamped in the Land of Awful Shadow, and that they were
threatening Thuria. I lost no time in weighing anchors and setting out
for the continent, which we reached after a short and easy voyage.
From the deck of the Amoz I scanned the shore through the glasses that
Perry had brought with him. When we were close enough for the glasses
to be of value I saw that there was indeed a vast concourse of warriors
entirely encircling the walled-village of Goork, chief of the Thurians.
As we approached smaller objects became distinguishable. It was then
that I discovered numerous flags and pennants floating above the army
of the besiegers.
I called Perry and passed the glasses to him.
"Ghak of Sari," I said.
Perry looked through the lenses of a moment, and then turned to me with
"The red, white, and blue of the empire," he said. "It
is indeed your
It soon became apparent that we had been sighted by those on shore, for
a great multitude of warriors had congregated along the beach watching
us. We came to anchor as close in as we dared, which with our light
feluccas was within easy speaking-distance of the shore. Ghak was
there and his eyes were mighty wide, too; for, as he told us later,
though he knew this must be Perry's fleet it was so wonderful to him
that he could not believe the testimony of his own eyes even while he
was watching it approach.
To give the proper effect to our meeting I commanded that each felucca
fire twenty-one guns as a salute to His Majesty Ghak, King of Sari.
Some of the gunners, in the exuberance of their enthusiasm, fired solid
shot; but fortunately they had sufficient good judg-ment to train their
pieces on the open sea, so no harm was done. After this we landed--an
arduous task since each felucca carried but a single light dugout.
I learned from Ghak that the Thurian chieftain, Goork, had been
inclined to haughtiness, and had told Ghak, the Hairy One, that he knew
nothing of me and cared less; but I imagine that the sight of the fleet
and the sound of the guns brought him to his senses, for it was not
long before he sent a deputation to me, inviting me to visit him in his
village. Here he apologized for the treatment he had accorded me, very
gladly swore allegiance to the empire, and received in return the title
We remained in Thuria only long enough to arrange the treaty with
Goork, among the other details of which was his promise to furnish the
imperial army with a thousand lidi, or Thurian beasts of burden, and
drivers for them. These were to accompany Ghak's army back to Sari by
land, while the fleet sailed to the mouth of the great river from which
Dian, Juag, and I had been blown.
The voyage was uneventful. We found the river easily, and sailed up
for many miles through as rich and wonderful a plain as I have ever
seen. At the head of navigation we disembarked, leaving a sufficient
guard for the feluccas, and marched the remaining distance to Sari.
Ghak's army, which was composed of warriors of all the original tribes
of the federation, showing how successful had been his efforts to
rehabilitate the empire, marched into Sari some time after we arrived.
With them were the thousand lidi from Thuria.
At a council of the kings it was decided that we should at once
commence the great war against the Mahars, for these haughty reptiles
presented the greatest obstacle to human progress within Pellucidar. I
laid out a plan of campaign which met with the enthusiastic
indorsement of the kings. Pursuant to it, I at once despatched fifty
lidi to the fleet with orders to fetch fifty cannon to Sari. I also
ordered the fleet to proceed at once to Anoroc, where they were to take
aboard all the rifles and ammunition that had been completed since
their departure, and with a full complement of men to sail along the
coast in an attempt to find a passage to the inland sea near which lay
the Mahars' buried city of Phutra.
Ja was sure that a large and navigable river connected the sea of
Phutra with the Lural Az, and that, barring accident, the fleet would
be before Phutra as soon as the land forces were.
At last the great army started upon its march. There were warriors
from every one of the federated kingdoms. All were armed either with
bow and arrows or muzzle-loaders, for nearly the entire Mezop
contingent had been enlisted for this march, only sufficient having
been left aboard the feluccas to man them properly. I divided the
forces into divisions, regiments, battalions, companies, and even to
platoons and sections, appointing the full complement of officers and
noncommissioned officers. On the long march I schooled them in their
duties, and as fast as one learned I sent him among the others as a
Each regiment was made up of about a thousand bowmen, and to each was
temporarily attached a company of Mezop musketeers and a battery of
artillery--the latter, our naval guns, mounted upon the broad backs of
the mighty lidi. There was also one full regiment of Mezop musketeers
and a regiment of primitive spearmen. The rest of the lidi that we
brought with us were used for baggage animals and to transport our
women and children, for we had brought them with us, as it was our
intention to march from one Mahar city to another until we had subdued
every Mahar nation that menaced the safety of any kingdom of the empire.
Before we reached the plain of Phutra we were discovered by a company
of Sagoths, who at first stood to give battle; but upon seeing the vast
numbers of our army they turned and fled toward Phutra. The result of
this was that when we came in sight of the hundred towers which mark
the entrances to the buried city we found a great army of Sagoths and
Mahars lined up to give us battle.
At a thousand yards we halted, and, placing our artillery upon a slight
eminence at either flank, we commenced to drop solid shot among them.
Ja, who was chief artillery officer, was in command of this branch of
the service, and he did some excellent work, for his Mezop gunners had
become rather proficient by this time. The Sagoths couldn't stand much
of this sort of warfare, so they charged us, yelling like fiends. We
let them come quite close, and then the musketeers who formed the first
line opened up on them.
The slaughter was something frightful, but still the remnants of them
kept on coming until it was a matter of hand-to-hand fighting. Here
our spearmen were of value, as were also the crude iron swords with
which most of the imperial warriors were armed.
We lost heavily in the encounter after the Sagoths reached us; but they
were absolutely exterminated--not one remained even as a prisoner. The
Mahars, seeing how the battle was going, had hastened to the safety of
their buried city. When we had overcome their gorilla-men we followed
But here we were doomed to defeat, at least temporarily; for no sooner
had the first of our troops descended into the subterranean avenues
than many of them came stumbling and fighting their way back to the
surface, half-choked by the fumes of some deadly gas that the reptiles
had liberated upon them. We lost a number of men here. Then I sent
for Perry, who had remained discreetly in the rear, and had him
construct a little affair that I had had in my mind against the
possibility of our meeting with a check at the entrances to the
Under my direction he stuffed one of his cannon full of powder, small
bullets, and pieces of stone, almost to the muzzle. Then he plugged
the muzzle tight with a cone-shaped block of wood, hammered and jammed
in as tight as it could be. Next he inserted a long fuse. A dozen men
rolled the cannon to the top of the stairs leading down into the city,
first removing it from its carriage. One of them then lit the fuse and
the whole thing was given a shove down the stairway, while the
detachment turned and scampered to a safe distance.
For what seemed a very long time nothing happened. We had commenced
think that the fuse had been put out while the piece was rolling down
the stairway, or that the Mahars had guessed its purpose and
extinguished it themselves, when the ground about the entrance rose
suddenly into the air, to be followed by a terrific explosion and a
burst of smoke and flame that shot high in company with dirt, stone,
and fragments of cannon.
Perry had been working on two more of these giant bombs as soon as the
first was completed. Presently we launched these into two of the other
entrances. They were all that were required, for almost immediately
after the third explosion a stream of Mahars broke from the exits
furthest from us, rose upon their wings, and soared northward. A
hundred men on lidi were despatched in pursuit, each lidi carrying two
riflemen in addition to its driver. Guessing that the inland sea,
which lay not far north of Phutra, was their destination, I took a
couple of regiments and followed.
A low ridge intervenes between the Phutra plain where the city lies,
and the inland sea where the Mahars were wont to disport themselves in
the cool waters. Not until we had topped this ridge did we get a view
of the sea.
Then we beheld a scene that I shall never forget so long as I may live.
Along the beach were lined up the troop of lidi, while a hundred yards
from shore the surface of the water was black with the long snouts and
cold, reptilian eyes of the Mahars. Our savage Mezop riflemen, and the
shorter, squatter, white-skinned Thurian drivers, shading their eyes
with their hands, were gazing seaward beyond the Mahars, whose eyes
were fastened upon the same spot. My heart leaped when I discovered
that which was chaining the attention of them all. Twenty graceful
feluccas were moving smoothly across the waters of the sea toward the
The sight must have filled the Mahars with awe and consternation, for
never had they seen the like of these craft before. For a time they
seemed unable to do aught but gaze at the approaching fleet; but when
the Mezops opened on them with their muskets the reptiles swam rapidly
in the direction of the feluccas, evidently thinking that these would
prove the easier to overcome. The commander of the fleet permitted
them to approach within a hundred yards. Then he opened on them with
all the cannon that could be brought to bear, as well as with the small
arms of the sailors.
A great many of the reptiles were killed at the first volley. They
wavered for a moment, then dived; nor did we see them again for a long
But finally they rose far out beyond the fleet, and when the feluccas
came about and pursued them they left the water and flew away toward
Following the fall of Phutra I visited Anoroc, where I found the people
busy in the shipyards and the factories that Perry had established. I
discovered something, too, that he had not told me of--something that
seemed infinitely more promising than the powder-factory or the
arsenal. It was a young man poring over one of the books I had brought
back from the outer world! He was sitting in the log cabin that Perry
had had built to serve as his sleeping quarters and office. So
absorbed was he that he did not notice our entrance. Perry saw the
look of astonishment in my eyes and smiled.
"I started teaching him the alphabet when we first reached the
prospector, and were taking out its contents," he explained. "He
much mystified by the books and anxious to know of what use they were.
When I explained he asked me to teach him to read, and so I worked with
him whenever I could. He is very intelligent and learns quickly.
Before I left he had made great progress, and as soon as he is
qualified he is going to teach others to read. It was mighty hard work
getting started, though, for everything had to be translated into
"It will take a long time to solve this problem, but I think that
teaching a number of them to read and write English we shall then be
able more quickly to give them a written language of their own."
And this was the nucleus about which we were to build our great system
of schools and colleges--this almost naked red warrior, sitting in
Perry's little cabin upon the island of Anoroc, picking out words
letter by letter from a work on intensive farming. Now we have--
But I'll get to all that before I finish.
While we were at Anoroc I accompanied Ja in an expedition to South
Island, the southernmost of the three largest which form the Anoroc
group--Perry had given it its name--where we made peace with the tribe
there that had for long been hostile toward Ja. They were now glad
enough to make friends with him and come into the federation. From
there we sailed with sixty-five feluccas for distant Luana, the main
island of the group where dwell the hereditary enemies of Anoroc.
Twenty-five of the feluccas were of a new and larger type than those
with which Ja and Perry had sailed on the occasion when they chanced to
find and rescue Dian and me. They were longer, carried much larger
sails, and were considerably swifter. Each carried four guns instead
of two, and these were so arranged that one or more of them could be
brought into action no matter where the enemy lay.
The Luana group lies just beyond the range of vision from the mainland.
The largest island of it alone is visible from Anoroc; but when we
neared it we found that it comprised many beautiful islands, and that
they were thickly populated. The Luanians had not, of course, been
ignorant of all that had been going on in the domains of their nearest
and dearest enemies. They knew of our feluccas and our guns, for
several of their riding-parties had had a taste of both. But their
principal chief, an old man, had never seen either. So, when he
sighted us, he put out to overwhelm us, bringing with him a fleet of
about a hundred large war-canoes, loaded to capacity with javelin-armed
warriors. It was pitiful, and I told Ja as much. It seemed a shame to
massacre these poor fellows if there was any way out of it.
To my surprise Ja felt much as I did. He said he had always hated to
war with other Mezops when there were so many alien races to fight
against. I suggested that we hail the chief and request a parley; but
when Ja did so the old fool thought that we were afraid, and with loud
cries of exultation urged his warriors upon us.
So we opened up on them, but at my suggestion centered our fire upon
the chief's canoe. The result was that in about thirty seconds there
was nothing left of that war dugout but a handful of splinters, while
its crew--those who were not killed--were struggling in the water,
battling with the myriad terrible creatures that had risen to devour
We saved some of them, but the majority died just as had Hooja and the
crew of his canoe that time our second shot capsized them.
Again we called to the remaining warriors to enter into a parley with
us; but the chief's son was there and he would not, now that he had
seen his father killed. He was all for revenge. So we had to open up
on the brave fellows with all our guns; but it didn't last long at
that, for there chanced to be wiser heads among the Luanians than their
chief or his son had possessed. Presently, an old warrior who
commanded one of the dugouts surrendered. After that they came in one
by one until all had laid their weapons upon our decks.
Then we called together upon the flag-ship all our captains, to give
the affair greater weight and dignity, and all the principal men of
Luana. We had conquered them, and they expected either death or
slavery; but they deserved neither, and I told them so. It is always
my habit here in Pellucidar to impress upon these savage people that
mercy is as noble a quality as physical bravery, and that next to the
men who fight shoulder to shoulder with one, we should honor the brave
men who fight against us, and if we are victorious, award them both the
mercy and honor that are their due.
By adhering to this policy I have won to the federation many great and
noble peoples, who under the ancient traditions of the inner world
would have been massacred or enslaved after we had conquered them; and
thus I won the Luanians. I gave them their freedom, and returned their
weapons to them after they had sworn loyalty to me and friendship and
peace with Ja, and I made the old fellow, who had had the good sense to
surrender, king of Luana, for both the old chief and his only son had
died in the battle.
When I sailed away from Luana she was included among the kingdoms of
the empire, whose boundaries were thus pushed eastward several hundred
We now returned to Anoroc and thence to the mainland, where I again
took up the campaign against the Mahars, marching from one great buried
city to another until we had passed far north of Amoz into a country
where I had never been. At each city we were victorious, killing or
capturing the Sagoths and driving the Mahars further away.
I noticed that they always fled toward the north. The Sagoth prisoners
we usually found quite ready to trans-fer their allegiance to us, for
they are little more than brutes, and when they found that we could
fill their stomachs and give them plenty of fighting, they were nothing
loath to march with us against the next Mahar city and battle with men
of their own race.
Thus we proceeded, swinging in a great half-circle north and west and
south again until we had come back to the edge of the Lidi Plains north
of Thuria. Here we overcame the Mahar city that had ravaged the Land
of Awful Shadow for so many ages. When we marched on to Thuria, Goork
and his people went mad with joy at the tidings we brought them.
During this long march of conquest we had passed through seven
countries, peopled by primitive human tribes who had not yet heard of
the federation, and succeeded in joining them all to the empire. It
was noticeable that each of these peoples had a Mahar city situated
near by, which had drawn upon them for slaves and human food for so
many ages that not even in legend had the population any folk-tale
which did not in some degree reflect an inherent terror of the
In each of these countries I left an officer and warriors to train them
in military discipline, and prepare them to receive the arms that I
intended furnishing them as rapidly as Perry's arsenal could turn them
out, for we felt that it would be a long, long time before we should
see the last of the Mahars. That they had flown north but temporarily
until we should be gone with our great army and terrifying guns I was
positive, and equally sure was I that they would presently return.
The task of ridding Pellucidar of these hideous creatures is one which
in all probability will never be entirely completed, for their great
cities must abound by the hundreds and thousands in the far-distant
lands that no subject of the empire has ever laid eyes upon.
But within the present boundaries of my domain there are now none left
that I know of, for I am sure we should have heard indirectly of any
great Mahar city that had escaped us, although of course the imperial
army has by no means covered the vast area which I now rule.
After leaving Thuria we returned to Sari, where the seat of government
is located. Here, upon a vast, fertile plateau, overlooking the great
gulf that runs into the continent from the Lural Az, we are building
the great city of Sari. Here we are erecting mills and factories.
Here we are teaching men and women the rudiments of agriculture. Here
Perry has built the first printing-press, and a dozen young Sarians are
teaching their fellows to read and write the language of Pellucidar.
We have just laws and only a few of them. Our people are happy because
they are always working at something which they enjoy. There is no
money, nor is any money value placed upon any commodity. Perry and I
were as one in resolving that the root of all evil should not be
introduced into Pellucidar while we lived.
A man may exchange that which he produces for something which he
desires that another has produced; but he cannot dispose of the thing
he thus acquires. In other words, a commodity ceases to have pecuniary
value the instant that it passes out of the hands of its producer. All
excess reverts to government; and, as this represents the production of
the people as a government, government may dispose of it to other
peoples in exchange for that which they produce. Thus we are
establishing a trade between kingdoms, the profits from which go to the
betterment of the people--to building factories for the manufacture of
agricultural implements, and machinery for the various trades we are
gradually teaching the people.
Already Anoroc and Luana are vying with one another in the excellence
of the ships they build. Each has several large ship-yards. Anoroc
makes gunpowder and mines iron ore, and by means of their ships they
carry on a very lucrative trade with Thuria, Sari, and Amoz. The
Thurians breed lidi, which, having the strength and intelligence of an
elephant, make excellent draft animals.
Around Sari and Amoz the men are domesticating the great striped
antelope, the meat of which is most delicious. I am sure that it will
not be long before they will have them broken to harness and saddle.
The horses of Pellucidar are far too diminutive for such uses, some
species of them being little larger than fox-terriers.
Dian and I live in a great palace overlooking the gulf. There is no
glass in our windows, for we have no windows, the walls rising but a
few feet above the floor-line, the rest of the space being open to the
ceilings; but we have a roof to shade us from the perpetual noon-day
sun. Perry and I decided to set a style in architecture that would not
curse future generations with the white plague, so we have plenty of
ventilation. Those of the people who prefer, still inhabit their
caves, but many are building houses similar to ours.
At Greenwich we have located a town and an observatory--though there
nothing to observe but the stationary sun directly overhead. Upon the
edge of the Land of Awful Shadow is another observatory, from which the
time is flashed by wireless to every corner of the empire twenty-four
times a day. In addition to the wireless, we have a small telephone
system in Sari. Everything is yet in the early stages of development;
but with the science of the outer-world twentieth century to draw upon
we are making rapid progress, and with all the faults and errors of the
outer world to guide us clear of dangers, I think that it will not be
long before Pellucidar will become as nearly a Utopia as one may expect
to find this side of heaven.
Perry is away just now, laying out a railway-line from Sari to Amoz.
There are immense anthracite coal-fields at the head of the gulf not
far from Sari, and the railway will tap these. Some of his students
are working on a locomotive now. It will be a strange sight to see an
iron horse puffing through the primeval jungles of the stone age, while
cave bears, saber-toothed tigers, mastodons and the countless other
terrible creatures of the past look on from their tangled lairs in
We are very happy, Dian and I, and I would not return to the outer
world for all the riches of all its princes. I am content here. Even
without my imperial powers and honors I should be content, for have I
not that greatest of all treasures, the love of a good woman--my
wondrous empress, Dian the Beautiful?