When our guards aroused us from sleep we were much refreshed.
They gave us food. Strips of dried meat it was, but it put new
life and strength into us, so that now we too marched with
high-held heads, and took noble strides. At least I did, for I
was young and proud; but poor Perry hated walking. On earth I had
often seen him call a cab to travel a square--he was paying for
it now, and his old legs wobbled so that I put my arm about him
and half carried him through the balance of those frightful
By this time we had picked up a smattering of the bastard
language in which our guards addressed us, as well as making good
headway in the rather charming tongue of our co-captives.
Directly ahead of me in the chain gang was a young woman. Three
feet of chain linked us together in a forced companionship which
I, at least, soon rejoiced in. For I found her a willing teacher,
and from her I learned the language of her tribe, and much of the
life and customs of the inner world--at least that part of it
with which she was familiar.
"How came you here?" I asked her.
"Who is Jubal the Ugly One?" I asked. "And why did you run
away from him?"
"Why DOES a woman run away from a man?" she answered my
question with another.
But she could not understand. Nor could I get her to grasp the
fact that I was of another world. She was quite as positive that
creation was originated solely to produce her own kind and the
world she lived in as are many of the outer world.
"Jubal the Ugly One placed his trophy before my father's
house. It was the head of a mighty tandor. It remained there and
no greater trophy was placed beside it. So I knew that Jubal the
Ugly One would come and take me as his mate. None other so
powerful wished me, or they would have slain a mightier beast and
thus have won me from Jubal. My father is not a mighty hunter.
Once he was, but a sadok tossed him, and never again had he the
full use of his right arm. My brother, Dacor the Strong One, had
gone to the land of Sari to steal a mate for himself. Thus there
was none, father, brother, or lover, to save me from Jubal the
Ugly One, and I ran away and hid among the hills that skirt the
land of Amoz. And there these Sagoths found me and made me
Again she looked her incredulity.
I was loath to do it, and further incur her scorn; but there
was no alternative if I were to absorb knowledge, so I made a
clean breast of my pitiful ignorance as to the mighty Mahars. She
was shocked. But she did her very best to enlighten me, though
much that she said was as Greek would have been to her. She
described the Mahars largely by comparisons. In this way they
were like unto thipdars, in that to the hairless lidi.
Perry learned the language with me. When we halted, as we
occasionally did, though sometimes the halts seemed ages apart,
he would join in the conversation, as would Ghak the Hairy One,
he who was chained just ahead of Dian the Beautiful. Ahead of
Ghak was Hooja the Sly One. He too entered the conversation
occasionally. Most of his remarks were directed toward Dian the
Beautiful. It didn't take half an eye to see that he had
developed a bad case; but the girl appeared totally oblivious to
his thinly veiled advances. Did I say thinly veiled? There is a
race of men in New Zealand, or Australia, I have forgotten which,
who indicate their preference for the lady of their affections by
banging her over the head with a bludgeon. By comparison with
this method Hooja's lovemaking might be called thinly veiled. At
first it caused me to blush violently although I have seen
several Old Years out at Rectors, and in other less fashionable
places off Broadway, and in Vienna, and Hamburg.
After passing over the first chain of mountains we skirted a
salt sea, upon whose bosom swam countless horrid things.
Seal-like creatures there were with long necks stretching ten and
more feet above their enormous bodies and whose snake heads were
split with gaping mouths bristling with countless fangs. There
were huge tortoises too, paddling about among these other
reptiles, which Perry said were Plesiosaurs of the Lias. I didn't
question his veracity--they might have been most anything.
I had forgotten what little geology I had studied at
school--about all that remained was an impression of horror that
the illustrations of restored prehistoric monsters had made upon
me, and a well-defined belief that any man with a pig's shank and
a vivid imagination could "restore" most any sort of paleolithic
monster he saw fit, and take rank as a first class
paleontologist. But when I saw these sleek, shiny carcasses
shimmering in the sunlight as they emerged from the ocean,
shaking their giant heads; when I saw the waters roll from their
sinuous bodies in miniature waterfalls as they glided hither and
thither, now upon the surface, now half submerged; as I saw them
meet, open-mouthed, hissing and snorting, in their titanic and
interminable warring I realized how futile is man's poor, weak
imagination by comparison with Nature's incredible genius.
"David," he remarked, after we had marched for a long time
beside that awful sea. "David, I used to teach geology, and I
thought that I believed what I taught; but now I see that I did
not believe it--that it is impossible for man to believe such
things as these unless he sees them with his own eyes. We take
things for granted, perhaps, because we are told them over and
over again, and have no way of disproving them--like religions,
for example; but we don't believe them, we only think we do. If
you ever get back to the outer world you will find that the
geologists and paleontologists will be the first to set you down
a liar, for they know that no such creatures as they restore ever
existed. It is all right to IMAGINE them as existing in an
equally imaginary epoch--but now? poof!"
I was not then familiar with the customs or social ethics
which prevailed within Pellucidar; but even so I did not need the
appealing look which the girl shot to me from her magnificent
eyes to influence my subsequent act. What the Sly One's intention
was I paused not to inquire; but instead, before he could lay
hold of her with his other hand, I placed a right to the point of
his jaw that felled him in his tracks.
And the girl? At first she looked at me with wide, wondering
eyes, and then she dropped her head, her face half averted, and a
delicate flush suffused her cheek. For a moment she stood thus in
silence, and then her head went high, and she turned her back
upon me as she had upon Hooja. Some of the prisoners laughed, and
I saw the face of Ghak the Hairy One go very black as he looked
at me searchingly. And what I could see of Dian's cheek went
suddenly from red to white.
Again the weary and apparently interminable marching became a
perfect nightmare of horrors to me. The more firmly fixed became
the realization that the girl's friendship had meant so much to
me, the more I came to miss it; and the more impregnable the
barrier of silly pride. But I was very young and would not ask
Ghak for the explanation which I was sure he could give, and that
might have made everything all right again.
The guards had no torches or light of any description. In fact
we had seen no artificial light or sign of fire since we had
entered Pellucidar. In a land of perpetual noon there is no need
of light above ground, yet I marveled that they had no means of
lighting their way through these dark, subterranean passages. So
we crept along at a snail's pace, with much stumbling and
falling--the guards keeping up a singsong chant ahead of us,
interspersed with certain high notes which I found always
indicated rough places and turns.
But with it came a sudden realization of what meant to me a
real catastrophe--Dian was gone, and with her a half-dozen other
prisoners. The guards saw it too, and the ferocity of their rage
was terrible to behold. Their awesome, bestial faces were
contorted in the most diabolical expressions, as they accused
each other of responsibility for the loss. Finally they fell upon
us, beating us with their spear shafts, and hatchets. They had
already killed two near the head of the line, and were like to
have finished the balance of us when their leader finally put a
stop to the brutal slaughter. Never in all my life had I
witnessed a more horrible exhibition of bestial rage--I thanked
God that Dian had not been one of those left to endure it.
"Hooja the Sly One," murmured Ghak, who was now next to me in
line. "He has taken the girl that you would not have," he
continued, glancing at me.
He looked at me closely for a moment.
"I do not know, Ghak," I replied.
"I did not know, Ghak," I cried. "I did not know. Not for all
Pellucidar would I have harmed Dian the Beautiful by word, or
look, or act of mine. I do not want her as my slave. I do not
want her as my--" but here I stopped. The vision of that sweet
and innocent face floated before me amidst the soft mists of
imagination, and where I had on the second believed that I clung
only to the memory of a gentle friendship I had lost, yet now it
seemed that it would have been disloyalty to her to have said
that I did not want Dian the Beautiful as my mate. I had not
thought of her except as a welcome friend in a strange, cruel
world. Even now I did not think that I loved her.
"Man of another world," he said, "I believe you. Lips may lie,
but when the heart speaks through the eyes it tells only the
truth. Your heart has spoken to me. I know now that you meant no
affront to Dian the Beautiful. She is not of my tribe; but her
mother is my sister. She does not know it--her mother was stolen
by Dian's father who came with many others of the tribe of Amoz
to battle with us for our women--the most beautiful women of
Pellucidar. Then was her father king of Amoz, and her mother was
daughter of the king of Sari--to whose power I, his son, have
succeeded. Dian is the daughter of kings, though her father is no
longer king since the sadok tossed him and Jubal the Ugly One
wrested his kingship from him. Because of her lineage the wrong
you did her was greatly magnified in the eyes of all who saw it.
She will never forgive you."
"If ever you find her, yes," he answered. "Merely to raise her
hand above her head and drop it in the presence of others is
sufficient to release her; but how may you ever find her, you who
are doomed to a life of slavery yourself in the buried city of
"Hooja the Sly One escaped and took the others with him,"
replied Ghak. "But there are no more dark places on the way to
Phutra, and once there it is not so easy--the Mahars are very
wise. Even if one escaped from Phutra there are the
thipdars--they would find you, and then--" the Hairy One
shuddered. "No, you will never escape the Mahars."
"Do not interrupt him," I said. "He is a very holy man in the
world from which we come. He is speaking to spirits which you
cannot see--do not interrupt him or they will spring out of the
air upon you and rend you limb from limb--like that," and I
jumped toward the great brute with a loud "Boo!" that sent him
Two marches after this episode we came to the city of Phutra.
The entrance to it was marked by two lofty towers of granite,
which guarded a flight of steps leading to the buried city.
Sagoths were on guard here as well as at a hundred or more other
towers scattered about over a large plain.