Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 58

the
beach. Here I found that one of his forelegs was broken--the crash
against the cliff-face must have done it.

By this time all the fight was out of him, so that when I had gathered
a few tiny branches from some of the stunted trees that grew in the
crevices of the cliff, and returned to him he permitted me to set his
broken leg and bind it in splints. I had to tear part of my shirt into
bits to obtain a bandage, but at last the job was done. Then I sat
stroking the savage head and talking to the beast in the man-dog talk
with which you are familiar, if you ever owned and loved a dog.

When he is well, I thought, he probably will turn upon me and attempt
to devour me, and against that eventuality I gathered together a pile
of rocks and set to work to fashion a stone-knife. We were bottled up
at the head of the fiord as completely as if we had been behind prison
bars. Before us spread the Sojar Az, and elsewhere about us rose
unscalable cliffs.

Fortunately a little rivulet trickled down the side of the rocky wall,
giving us ample supply of fresh water--some of which I kept constantly
beside the hyaenodon in a huge, bowl-shaped shell, of which there were
countless numbers among the rubble of the beach.

For food we subsisted upon shellfish and an occasional bird that I
succeeded in knocking over with a rock, for long practice as a pitcher
on prep-school and varsity nines had made me an excellent shot with a
hand-thrown missile.

It was not long before the hyaenodon's leg was sufficiently mended to
permit him to rise and hobble about on three legs. I shall never
forget with what intent interest I watched his first attempt. Close at
my hand lay my pile of rocks. Slowly the beast came to his three good
feet. He stretched himself, lowered his head, and lapped water from
the drinking-shell at his side, turned and looked at me, and then
hobbled off toward the cliffs.

Thrice he traversed the entire extent of our prison, seeking, I
imagine, a loop-hole for escape, but finding none he returned in my
direction. Slowly he came quite close to me, sniffed at my shoes, my
puttees, my hands, and then limped off a few feet and lay down again.

Now that he was able to get around, I was a little uncertain as to the
wisdom of my impulsive mercy.

How could

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