At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 51

race inhabit the islands.

"We are fishermen, though we be great hunters as well, often going to
the mainland in search of the game that is scarce upon all but the
larger islands. And we are warriors also," he added proudly. "Even
the Sagoths of the Mahars fear us. Once, when Pellucidar was young,
the Sagoths were wont to capture us for slaves as they do the other men
of Pellucidar, it is handed down from father to son among us that this
is so; but we fought so desperately and slew so many Sagoths, and those
of us that were captured killed so many Mahars in their own cities that
at last they learned that it were better to leave us alone, and later
came the time that the Mahars became too indolent even to catch their
own fish, except for amusement, and then they needed us to supply their
wants, and so a truce was made between the races. Now they give us
certain things which we are unable to produce in return for the fish
that we catch, and the Mezops and the Mahars live in peace.

"The great ones even come to our islands. It is there, far from the
prying eyes of their own Sagoths, that they practice their religious
rites in the temples they have builded there with our assistance. If
you live among us you will doubtless see the manner of their worship,
which is strange indeed, and most unpleasant for the poor slaves they
bring to take part in it."

As Ja talked I had an excellent opportunity to inspect him more
closely. He was a huge fellow, standing I should say six feet six or
seven inches, well developed and of a coppery red not unlike that of
our own North American Indian, nor were his features dissimilar to
theirs. He had the aquiline nose found among many of the higher
tribes, the prominent cheek bones, and black hair and eyes, but his
mouth and lips were better molded. All in all, Ja was an impressive
and handsome creature, and he talked well too, even in the miserable
makeshift language we were compelled to use.

During our conversation Ja had taken the paddle and was propelling the
skiff with vigorous strokes toward a large island that lay some
half-mile from the mainland. The skill with which he handled his crude
and awkward craft elicited my deepest admiration, since it had been so
short a time before that I had made such pitiful work of it.


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