When Goork and his people saw that I had no token they commenced to taunt me.
"You do not come from Kolk, but from the Sly One!" they cried.
"He has sent you from the island to spy upon us. Go away, or we will set
upon you and kill you."
I explained that all my belongings had been stolen from me, and that the
robber must have taken the token too; but they didn't believe me. As proof that
I was one of Hooja's people, they pointed to my weapons, which they said were
ornamented like those of the is- land clan. Further, they said that no good man
went in company with a jalok--and that by this line of 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 is- land upon which to
attempt a landing, though even as he told me I am sure that he thought my
request for information but a blind to deceive him as to my true knowledge of
the insular 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 I 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 be did not, so I shoved the awkward craft
through the surf and leaped into it.
I was still a little downcast by the desertion of my new-found friend, though
I tried to assure myself that it was nothing but what I might have expected.
The savage brute had served me well in the short time that we had been
together, and had repaid his debt of gratitude to me, since he had saved my
life, or at least my liberty, no less certainly than I had saved his life when
he was injured and drowning.
The trip across the water to the island was 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 man- aged,
after a good wetting, to beach my canoe and scale the cliffs.
The country beyond them appeared more open and park-like than I had
anticipated, since from the main- land the entire coast that is visible seems
densely clothed with tropical jungle. This jungle, as I could see from the
vantage-point of the cliff-top, formed but a relatively narrow strip between the
sea and the more open forest and meadow of the interior. Farther back there was
a range of low but apparently very rocky hills, and here and there all about
were visible flat- topped masses of rock--small mountains, in fact--which
reminded me of pictures I had seen of landscapes in New Mexico. Altogether, the
country was very much broken and very beautiful. From where I stood I counted no
less than a dozen streams winding down from among the table-buttes and emptying
into a pretty river which flowed away in a northeasterly direction toward the
opposite end of the island.
As I let my eyes roam over the scene I suddenly be- came aware of figures
moving upon the flat top of a far-distant butte. Whether they were beast or
human, though, I could not make out; but at least they were alive, so I
determined to prosecute my search for Hooja's stronghold in the general
direction of this butte.
To descend to the valley required no great effort. As I swung along through
the lush grass and the fragrant flowers, my cudgel swinging in my hand and my
javelin looped across my shoulders with its aurochs-hide strap, I felt equal to
any emergency, ready for 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 cal- loused
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
be- hind my back, bound them securely.
Next my feet were bound. Then I was turned over upon my back to look up into
the faces of my captors.
And what faces! Imagine if you can a cross between a sheep and a gorilla, and
you will have some 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 speech-gaps.
I asked them what they intended doing with me; but, like our own North
American Indians when questioned by a white man, they pretended not to
understand me. One of them swung me to his shoulder as lightly as if I had been
a shoat. He was a huge creature, as were his fellows, standing fully seven feet
upon his short legs and weighing considerably more than a quarter of a ton.
Two went ahead of my bearer and three behind. In this order we cut to the
right through the forest to the foot of the hill where precipitous cliffs
appeared to bar our farther progress in this direction. But my escort never
paused. Like ants upon a wall, they scaled that seemingly unscalable barrier,
clinging, Heaven knows how, to its ragged perpendicular face. During most of the
short journey to the summit I must admit that my hair stood on end. Presently,
however, we topped the thing and stood upon the level mesa which crowned it.
Immediately from all about, out of burrows and rough, rocky lairs, poured a
perfect torrent of beasts similar to my captors. They clustered about, jabber-
ing at my guards and attempting to get their hands upon me, whether from
curiosity or a desire to do me bodily harm I did not know, since my escort with
bared fangs and heavy blows kept them off.
Across the mesa we went, to stop at last before a large pile of rocks in
which an opening appeared. Here my guards set me upon my feet and called out a
word which sounded like "Gr-gr-gr!" and which I later learned was the
name of their king.
Presently there emerged from the cavernous depths of the lair a monstrous
creature, scarred from a hundred battles, almost hairless and with an empty
socket where one eye had been. The other eye, sheeplike in its mildness, gave
the most startling appearance to the beast, which but for that single timid orb
was the most fearsome thing that one could imagine.
I had encountered the black, hairless, long-tailed ape-- things of the
mainland--the creatures which Perry thought might constitute the link between
the higher orders of apes and man--but these brute-men of Gr-gr- gr seemed to
set that theory back to zero, for there was less similarity between the black
ape-men and these creatures than there was between the latter and man, while
both had many human attributes, some of which were better developed in one
species and some in the other.
The black apes were hairless and built thatched huts in their arboreal
retreats; they kept domesticated dogs and ruminants, in which respect they were
farther advanced than the human beings of Pellucidar; but they appeared to have
only a meager language, and sported long, apelike tails.
On the other hand, Gr-gr-gr's people were, for the most part, quite hairy,
but they were tailless and had a language similar to that of the human race of
Pellucidar; nor were they arboreal. Their skins, where skin showed, were white.
From the foregoing facts and others that I have noted during my long life
within Pellucidar, which is now passing through an age analogous to some pre-
glacial age of the outer crust, I am constrained to the belief that evolution is
not so much a gradual transition from one form to another as it is an accident
of breeding, either by crossing or the hazards of birth. In other words, it is
my belief that the first man was a freak of nature--nor would one have to draw
over-strongly upon his credulity to be convinced that Gr-gr-gr and his tribe
were also freaks.
The great man-brute seated himself upon a flat rock-- his throne, I
imagine--just before the entrance to his lair. With elbows on knees and chin in
palms he 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
belong to the tribe of Hooja."
Ah! So they knew Hooja and he was their enemy! Good!
"I am an enemy of Hooja," I replied. "He has stolen my mate
and I have come here to take her away from him and punish Hooja."
"How could you do that alone?"
"I do not know," I answered, "but I should have tried had you
not captured me. What do you intend to do with me?"
"You shall work for us."
"You will not kill me?" I asked.
"We do not kill except in self-defense," he replied;
"self-defense and punishment. Those who would kill us and those who do
wrong we kill. If we knew you were one of Hooja's people we might kill you, for
all Hooja's people are bad people; but you say you are an enemy of Hooja. You
may not speak the truth, but until we learn that you have lied we shall not kill
you. You shall work."
"If you hate Hooja," I suggested, "why not let me, who hate
him, too, go and punish him?"
For some time Gr-gr-gr sat in thought. Then he raised his head and addressed
"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 warm spring.
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 I am
free to confess that time never had dragged so heavily as it did during the hour
or the year I spent there at that work. How long it really was I do not know, of
course; but it was all 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
Now they were afraid; but some day they would go in a body and fall upon
Hooja and his people and slay them all. I explained to him that I was Hooja's
enemy, and asked, when they were ready to go, that I be al- lowed to go with
them, or, better still, that they let me go ahead and learn all that I could
about the village where Hooja dwelt so that they might attack it with the best
chance of 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 the matter.
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
"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 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.