Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 71

convinced that Gr-gr-gr and his tribe were also
freaks.

The great man-brute seated himself upon a flat rock--his throne, I
imagine--just before the entrance to his lair. With elbows on knees
and chin in palms he regarded me intently through his lone sheep-eye
while one of my captors told of my taking.

When all had been related Gr-gr-gr questioned me. I shall not attempt
to quote these people in their own abbreviated tongue--you would have
even greater difficulty in interpreting them than did I. Instead, I
shall put the words into their mouths which will carry to you the ideas
which they intended to convey.

"You are an enemy," was Gr-gr-gr's initial declaration. "You belong to
the tribe of Hooja."

Ah! So they knew Hooja and he was their enemy! Good!

"I am an enemy of Hooja," I replied. "He has stolen my mate and I have
come here to take her away from him and punish Hooja."

"How could you do that alone?"

"I do not know," I answered, "but I should have tried had you not
captured me. What do you intend to do with me?"

"You shall work for us."

"You will not kill me?" I asked.

"We do not kill except in self-defense," he replied; "self-defense and
punishment. Those who would kill us and those who do wrong we kill.
If we knew you were one of Hooja's people we might kill you, for all
Hooja's people are bad people; but you say you are an enemy of Hooja.
You may not speak the truth, but until we learn that you have lied we
shall not kill you. You shall work."

"If you hate Hooja," I suggested, "why not let me, who hate him, too,
go and punish him?"

For some time Gr-gr-gr sat in thought. Then he raised his head and
addressed my guard.

"Take him to his work," he ordered.

His tone was final. As if to emphasize it he turned and entered his
burrow. My guard conducted me farther into the mesa, where we came
presently to a tiny depression or valley, at one end of which gushed a
warm spring.

The view that opened before me was the most surprising that I have ever
seen. In the hollow, which must have covered several hundred acres,
were numerous fields of growing things, and working all about with
crude implements or with no implements at all other than their bare
hands were many of the brute-men engaged in the first agriculture that
I had seen within Pellucidar.

They put me to work cultivating

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