Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 19

discovered what seemed might prove a feasible pass
we moved our belongings to a new hut farther up.

It was hard work--cold, bitter, cruel work. Not a step did we take in
advance but the grim reaper strode silently in our tracks.

There were the great cave bears in the timber, and gaunt, lean
wolves--huge creatures twice the size of our Canadian timber-wolves.
Farther up we were assailed by enormous white bears--hungry, devilish
fellows, who came roaring across the rough glacier tops at the first
glimpse of us, or stalked us stealthily by scent when they had not yet
seen us.

It is one of the peculiarities of life within Pellucidar that man is
more often the hunted than the hunter. Myriad are the huge-bellied
carnivora of this primitive world. Never, from birth to death, are
those great bellies sufficiently filled, so always are their mighty
owners prowling about in search of meat.

Terribly armed for battle as they are, man presents to them in his
primal state an easy prey, slow of foot, puny of strength, ill-equipped
by nature with natural weapons of defense.

The bears looked upon us as easy meat. Only our heavy rifles saved us
from prompt extinction. Poor Perry never was a raging lion at heart,
and I am convinced that the terrors of that awful period must have
caused him poignant mental anguish.

When we were abroad pushing our trail farther and farther toward the
distant break which, we assumed, marked a feasible way across the
range, we never knew at what second some great engine of clawed and
fanged destruction might rush upon us from behind, or lie in wait for
us beyond an ice-hummock or a jutting shoulder of the craggy steeps.

The roar of our rifles was constantly shattering the world-old silence
of stupendous canons upon which the eye of man had never before gazed.
And when in the comparative safety of our hut we lay down to sleep the
great beasts roared and fought without the walls, clawed and battered
at the door, or rushed their colossal frames headlong against the hut's
sides until it rocked and trembled to the impact.

Yes, it was a gay life.

Perry had got to taking stock of our ammunition each time we returned
to the hut. It became something of an obsession with him.

He'd count our cartridges one by one and then try to figure how long it
would be before the last was expended and we must either remain in the
hut until we starved to death or venture forth, empty, to fill

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