Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 103

a scratch. The male had simply administered a
severe drubbing to his mate. It was his way of teaching her that I was
sacred.

After a moment he moved away and let her rise, when she set about
smoothing down her rumpled coat, while he came stalking toward Dian and
me. I had an arm about Dian now. As Raja came close I caught him by
the neck and pulled him up to me. There I stroked him and talked to
him, bidding Dian do the same, until I think he pretty well understood
that if I was his friend, so was Dian.

For a long time he was inclined to be shy of her, often baring his
teeth at her approach, and it was a much longer time before the female
made friends with us. But by careful kindness, by never eating without
sharing our meat with them, and by feeding them from our hands, we
finally won the confidence of both animals. However, that was a long
time after.

With the two beasts trotting after us, we returned to where we had left
Juag. Here I had the dickens' own time keeping the female from Juag's
throat. Of all the venomous, wicked, cruel-hearted beasts on two
worlds, I think a female hyaenodon takes the palm.

But eventually she tolerated Juag as she had Dian and me, and the five
of us set out toward the coast, for Juag had just completed his labors
on the thag when we arrived. We ate some of the meat before starting,
and gave the hounds some. All that we could we carried upon our backs.

On the way to the canoe we met with no mishaps. Dian told me that the
fellow who had stolen her had come upon her from behind while the
roaring of the thag had drowned all other noises, and that the first
she had known he had disarmed her and thrown her to the back of his
lidi, which had been lying down close by waiting for him. By the time
the thag had ceased bellowing the fellow had got well away upon his
swift mount. By holding one palm over her mouth he had prevented her
calling for help.

"I thought," she concluded, "that I should have to use the viper's
tooth, after all."

We reached the beach at last and unearthed the canoe. Then we busied
ourselves stepping a mast and rigging a small sail--Juag and I, that
is--while Dian cut the thag meat into

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