By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 60

had not
seen him.

I had not more than freed myself from one of my antagonists before the
other three were upon me. They did not work silently now, but charged
me with savage cries--a mistake upon their part. The fact that they
did not draw their weapons against me convinced me that they desired to
take me alive; but I fought as desperately as if death loomed immediate
and sure.

The battle was short, for scarce had their first wild whoop
reverberated through the rocky fiord, and they had closed upon me, than
a hairy mass of demoniacal rage hurtled among us.

It was the hyaenodon!

In an instant he had pulled down one of the men, and with a single
shake, terrier-like, had broken his neck. Then he was upon another.
In their efforts to vanquish the wolf-dog the savages forgot all about
me, thus giving me an instant in which to snatch a knife from the
loin-string of him who had first fallen and account for another of
them. Almost simultaneously the hyaenodon pulled down the remaining
enemy, crushing his skull with a single bite of those fearsome jaws.

The battle was over--unless the beast considered me fair prey, too. I
waited, ready for him with knife and bludgeon--also filched from a dead
foeman; but he paid no attention to me, falling to work instead to
devour one of the corpses.

The beast bad been handicapped but little by his splinted leg; but
having eaten he lay down and commenced to gnaw at the bandage. I was
sitting some little distance away devouring shellfish, of which, by the
way, I was becoming exceedingly tired.

Presently, the hyaenodon arose and came toward me. I did not move. He
stopped in front of me and deliberately raised his bandaged leg and
pawed my knee. His act was as intelligible as words--he wished the
bandage removed.

I took the great paw in one hand and with the other hand untied and
unwound the bandage, removed the splints and felt of the injured
member. As far as I could judge the bone was completely knit. The
joint was stiff; when I bent it a little the brute winced--but he
neither growled nor tried to pull away. Very slowly and gently I
rubbed the joint and applied pressure to it for a few moments.

Then I set it down upon the ground. The hyaenodon walked around me a
few times, and then lay down at my side, his body touching mine. I
laid my hand upon his head.

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