By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 73

realize my perfidy. They saw me always
laboring diligently in the melon-patch, and as time enters not into the
reckoning of Pellucidarians--even of human beings and much less of
brutes and half brutes--I might have lived on indefinitely through this
subterfuge had not that occurred which took me out of the melon-patch
for good and all.



I had built a little shelter of rocks and brush where I might crawl in
and sleep out of the perpetual light and heat of the noonday sun. When
I was tired or hungry I retired to my humble cot.

My masters never interposed the slightest objection. As a matter of
fact, they were very good to me, nor did I see aught while I was among
them to indicate that they are ever else than a simple, kindly folk
when left to themselves. Their awe-inspiring size, terrific strength,
mighty fighting-fangs, and hideous appearance are but the attributes
necessary to the successful waging of their constant battle for
survival, and well do they employ them when the need arises. The only
flesh they eat is that of herbivorous animals and birds. When they
hunt the mighty thag, the prehistoric bos of the outer crust, a single
male, with his fiber rope, will catch and kill the greatest of the

Well, as I was about to say, I had this little shelter at the edge of
my melon-patch. Here I was resting from my labors on a certain
occasion when I heard a great hub-bub in the village, which lay about a
quarter of a mile away.

Presently a male came racing toward the field, shouting excitedly. As
he approached I came from my shelter to learn what all the commotion
might be about, for the monotony of my existence in the melon-patch
must have fostered that trait of my curiosity from which it had always
been my secret boast I am peculiarly free.

The other workers also ran forward to meet the messenger, who quickly
unburdened himself of his information, and as quickly turned and
scampered back toward the village. When running these beast-men often
go upon all fours. Thus they leap over obstacles that would slow up a
human being, and upon the level attain a speed that would make a
thoroughbred look to his laurels. The result in this instance was that
before I had more than assimilated the gist of the word which had been
brought to the fields, I was alone, watching my co-workers speeding

I was alone! It was the first

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