Ĉe la koro de la tero

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 18

interno
nur malgranda, supervarmega kerno de gasa materio, kiun postlasis la
maldilatigxo de la malvarmigxantaj gasoj. La el cxiuj direktoj egala
gravita altiro de la solida krusto fikse tenis tiun luman kernon cxe
la preciza centro de la Tero. Al cxiu parto de la interna mondo
egale, gxi radias sian cxiam tagmezan lumon kaj brulan varmegon."

"Sxajnas, ke la interna mondo suficxe malvarmigxis por vivteni
animalan vivon nur longajn epokojn post la apero de vivo sur la
ekstera krusto, sed la familiaraj formoj de animala kaj planta vivo,
kiujn ni vidis cxi tie, evidentigas, ke funkcias la samaj fortoj
ankaux cxi tie. Prenu ekzemple la grandan beston, kiu atakis nin.
Eksterdube, gxi estas similulo de la megaterio el la postpliocena
epoko de la ekstera krusto, kies fosiliigxintan skeleton oni trovis
en Suda Ameriko."

"Sed la groteskaj arbaruloj?" mi insistis. "Certe ili ne havas
similulojn el la historio de la Tero."

"Kiu povus diri?" li respondis. "Tiu specio povus esti kvazauxa
cxenero inter la simioj kaj la homoj, kies postrestajxoj cxiuj
neniigxis en la sennombraj tertremoj, kiuj konvulsiigis la eksteran
kruston, aux gxi povus esti nur la rezulto de iom alispeca
evolucio--ambaux estas tute eblaj."

Pluan konjektadon interrompis la apero de kelkaj el niaj kaptintoj
antaux la enirejo de la dometo. Du el ili envenis kaj eltrenis nin.
La dangxeraj vojetoj kaj la cxirkauxaj arboj estis plenaj je nigraj
simiohomoj kaj iliaj inoj kaj idoj. Ecx ne unu portis ian ornamajxon,
armilon aux vestajxon.

"Tre malalte evoluintaj," jugxis Perry.

"Sed suficxe alte por kauxzi grandan cxagrenon al ni," mi respondis.
"Kion ili intencas fari kun ni, laux via supozo?"

Ni eksciis nelonge poste. Kiel cxe nia vojagxo al la vilagxo, nin
kaptis kelkaj el la fortikaj estajxoj, kiuj forrapidigis nin tra la
arbosuproj, dum cxirkaux ni kaj malantaux ni kuradis babilanta,
ridetanta hordo da lertmovaj nigraj simiohomoj.

Dufoje mispasxis miaj portantoj, kaj mia koro ekcxesis bati, kiam ni
ekplongxis al tuja morto cxe la mortaj brancxamasoj malsupre. Sed
ambauxfoje, tiuj lertaj, potencaj vostoj etendis sin kaj trovis
apogajn brancxojn, kaj nek unu el ili ecx iom malfirmigis sian tenon
al mi. Efektive, sxajnis, ke tiuj okazajxoj gxenis ilin neniom pli,
ol frapi la piedfingron cxe stratkrucigxo gxenus homon de la ekstera
mondo; ili nur eligis rideksplodon kaj rapidis antauxen kun mi.

Dum longa tempo ili dauxrigis tra la arbaro--dum kiom da tempo, mi ne
povis diveni, cxar mi ankoraux lernadis tion, kion mia menso pli
poste tre klare ekkomprenis: ke la tempo tuj cxesas esti faktoro,
kiam malaperas rimedoj por mezuri gxin. Ni ne plu havis niajn
brakhorlogxojn kaj ni vivadis sub senmova suno.

Jam estis al mi malfacile kalkuli la tempon, kiu pasis, de kiam

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