At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 37

upon the outer
earth. These terrible convulsions of nature time and time again wiped
out the existing species--but for this fact some monster of the
Saurozoic epoch might rule today upon our own world. We see here what
might well have occurred in our own history had conditions been what
they have been here.

"Life within Pellucidar is far younger than upon the outer crust. Here
man has but reached a stage analogous to the Stone Age of our own
world's history, but for countless millions of years these reptiles
have been progressing. Possibly it is the sixth sense which I am sure
they possess that has given them an advantage over the other and more
frightfully armed of their fellows; but this we may never know. They
look upon us as we look upon the beasts of our fields, and I learn from
their written records that other races of Mahars feed upon men--they
keep them in great droves, as we keep cattle. They breed them most
carefully, and when they are quite fat, they kill and eat them."

I shuddered.

"What is there horrible about it, David?" the old man asked. "They
understand us no better than we understand the lower animals of our own
world. Why, I have come across here very learned discussions of the
question as to whether gilaks, that is men, have any means of
communication. One writer claims that we do not even reason--that our
every act is mechanical, or instinctive. The dominant race of
Pellucidar, David, have not yet learned that men converse among
themselves, or reason. Because we do not converse as they do it is
beyond them to imagine that we converse at all. It is thus that we
reason in relation to the brutes of our own world. They know that the
Sagoths have a spoken language, but they cannot comprehend it, or how
it manifests itself, since they have no auditory apparatus. They
believe that the motions of the lips alone convey the meaning. That
the Sagoths can communicate with us is incomprehensible to them.

"Yes, David," he concluded, "it would entail murder to carry out your

"Very well then, Perry." I replied. "I shall become a murderer."

He got me to go over the plan again most carefully, and for some reason
which was not at the time clear to me insisted upon a very careful
description of the apartments and corridors I had just explored.

"I wonder, David," he said at length, "as you are determined

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