Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 118

in flight. They thought they could
paddle away from us--it was pitiful! I passed the word from boat to
boat to cease firing--not to kill another Hoojan unless they fired on
us. Then we set out after them. There was a nice little breeze
blowing and we bowled along after our quarry as gracefully and as
lightly as swans upon a park lagoon. As we approached them I could see
not only wonder but admiration in their eyes. I hailed the nearest
dugout.

"Throw down your arms and come aboard us," I cried, "and you shall not
be harmed. We will feed you and return you to the mainland. Then you
shall go free upon your promise never to bear arms against the Emperor
of Pellucidar again!"

I think it was the promise of food that interested them most. They
could scarce believe that we would not kill them. But when I exhibited
the prisoners we already had taken, and showed them that they were
alive and unharmed, a great Sagoth in one of the boats asked me what
guarantee I could give that I would keep my word.

"None other than my word," I replied. "That I do not break."

The Pellucidarians themselves are rather punctilious about this same
matter, so the Sagoth could understand that I might possibly be
speaking the truth. But he could not understand why we should not kill
them unless we meant to enslave them, which I had as much as denied
already when I had promised to set them free. Ja couldn't exactly see
the wisdom of my plan, either. He thought that we ought to follow up
the ten remaining dugouts and sink them all; but I insisted that we
must free as many as possible of our enemies upon the mainland.

"You see," I explained, "these men will return at once to Hooja's
Island, to the Mahar cities from which they come, or to the countries
from which they were stolen by the Mahars. They are men of two races
and of many countries. They will spread the story of our victory far
and wide, and while they are with us, we will let them see and hear
many other wonderful things which they may carry back to their friends
and their chiefs. It's the finest chance for free publicity, Perry," I
added to the old man, "that you or I have seen in many a day."

Perry agreed with me. As a matter of fact, he would

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