Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 59

I sleep with that ferocious thing prowling about the narrow
confines of our prison?

Should I close my eyes it might be to open them again to the feel of
those mighty jaws at my throat. To say the least, I was uncomfortable.

I have had too much experience with dumb animals to bank very strongly
on any sense of gratitude which may be attributed to them by
inexperienced sentimentalists. I believe that some animals love their
masters, but I doubt very much if their affection is the outcome of
gratitude--a characteristic that is so rare as to be only occasionally
traceable in the seemingly unselfish acts of man himself.

But finally I was forced to sleep. Tired nature would be put off no
longer. I simply fell asleep, willy nilly, as I sat looking out to
sea. I had been very uncomfortable since my ducking in the ocean, for
though I could see the sunlight on the water half-way toward the island
and upon the island itself, no ray of it fell upon us. We were well
within the Land of Awful Shadow. A perpetual half-warmth pervaded the
atmosphere, but clothing was slow in drying, and so from loss of sleep
and great physical discomfort, I at last gave way to nature's demands
and sank into profound slumber.

When I awoke it was with a start, for a heavy body was upon me. My
first thought was that the hyaenodon had at last attacked me, but as my
eyes opened and I struggled to rise, I saw that a man was astride me
and three others bending close above him.

I am no weakling--and never have been. My experience in the hard life
of the inner world has turned my thews to steel. Even such giants as
Ghak the Hairy One have praised my strength; but to it is added another
quality which they lack--science.

The man upon me held me down awkwardly, leaving me many openings--one
of which I was not slow in taking advantage of, so that almost before
the fellow knew that I was awake I was upon my feet with my arms over
his shoulders and about his waist and had hurled him heavily over my
head to the hard rubble of the beach, where he lay quite still.

In the instant that I arose I had seen the hyaenodon lying asleep
beside a boulder a few yards away. So nearly was he the color of the
rock that he was scarcely discernible. Evidently the newcomers

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