By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 97

beast's shoulder.

Now, the theory upon which this hunting custom is based is one long ago
discovered by experience, and that is that a thag cannot be turned from
his charge once he has started toward the object of his wrath, so long
as he can still see the thing he charges. He evidently believes that
the man clinging to his mane is attempting to restrain him from
overtaking his prey, and so he pays no attention to this enemy, who, of
course, does not retard the mighty charge in the least.

Once in the gait of the plunging bull, it was but a slight matter to
vault to his back, as cavalrymen mount their chargers upon the run.
Juag was still running in plain sight ahead of the bull. His speed was
but a trifle less than that of the monster that pursued him. These
Pellucidarians are almost as fleet as deer; because I am not is one
reason that I am always chosen for the close-in work of the thag-hunt.
I could not keep in front of a charging thag long enough to give the
killer time to do his work. I learned that the first--and last--time I
tried it.

Once astride the bull's neck, I drew my long stone knife and, setting
the point carefully over the brute's spine, drove it home with both
hands. At the same instant I leaped clear of the stumbling animal.
Now, no vertebrate can progress far with a knife through his spine, and
the thag is no exception to the rule.

The fellow was down instantly. As he wallowed Juag returned, and the
two of us leaped in when an opening afforded the opportunity and
snatched our javelins from his side. Then we danced about him, more
like two savages than anything else, until we got the opening we were
looking for, when simultaneously, our javelins pierced his wild heart,
stilling it forever.

The thag had covered considerable ground from the point at which I had
leaped upon him. When, after despatching him, I looked back for Dian,
I could see nothing of her. I called aloud, but receiving no reply,
set out at a brisk trot to where I had left her. I had no difficulty
in finding the self-same bush behind which we had hidden, but Dian was
not there. Again and again I called, to be rewarded only by silence.
Where could she be? What could have become of her in the brief interval
since I had seen her standing just behind

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