in a patch of melons.
I never was a farmer nor particularly keen for this sort of work, and I
am free to confess that time never had dragged so heavily as it did
during the hour or the year I spent there at that work. How long it
really was I do not know, of course; but it was all too long.
The creatures that worked about me were quite simple and friendly. One
of them proved to be a son of Gr-gr-gr. He had broken some minor
tribal law, and was working out his sentence in the fields. He told me
that his tribe had lived upon this hilltop always, and that there were
other tribes like them dwelling upon other hilltops. They had no wars
and had always lived in peace and harmony, menaced only by the larger
carnivora of the island, until my kind had come under a creature called
Hooja, and attacked and killed them when they chanced to descend from
their natural fortresses to visit their fellows upon other lofty mesas.
Now they were afraid; but some day they would go in a body and fall
upon Hooja and his people and slay them all. I explained to him that I
was Hooja's enemy, and asked, when they were ready to go, that I be
allowed to go with them, or, better still, that they let me go ahead
and learn all that I could about the village where Hooja dwelt so that
they might attack it with the best chance of success.
Gr-gr-gr's son seemed much impressed by my suggestion. He said that
when he was through in the fields he would speak to his father about
Some time after this Gr-gr-gr came through the fields where we were,
and his son spoke to him upon the subject, but the old gentleman was
evidently in anything but a good humor, for he cuffed the youngster
and, turning upon me, informed me that he was convinced that I had lied
to him, and that I was one of Hooja's people.
"Wherefore," he concluded, "we shall slay you as soon as the melons are
cultivated. Hasten, therefore."
And hasten I did. I hastened to cultivate the weeds which grew among
the melon-vines. Where there had been one sickly weed before, I
nourished two healthy ones. When I found a particularly promising
variety of weed growing elsewhere than among my melons, I forthwith dug
it up and transplanted it among my charges.
My masters did not seem to
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