The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 69

in the scale of humanity, but they were a
step upward from those I had previously seen in Caspak.

But what interested me most was the slender figure of a dainty girl,
clad only in a thin bit of muslin which scarce covered her knees--a bit
of muslin torn and ragged about the lower hem. It was Lys, and she was
alive and so far as I could see, unharmed. A huge brute with thick
lips and prognathous jaw stood at her shoulder. He was talking loudly
and gesticulating wildly. I was close enough to hear his words, which
were similar to the language of Ahm, though much fuller, for there were
many words I could not understand. However I caught the gist of what he
was saying--which in effect was that he had found and captured this
Galu, that she was his and that he defied anyone to question his right
of possession. It appeared to me, as I afterward learned was the fact,
that I was witnessing the most primitive of marriage ceremonies. The
assembled members of the tribe looked on and listened in a sort of dull
and perfunctory apathy, for the speaker was by far the mightiest of the
clan.

There seemed no one to dispute his claims when he said, or rather
shouted, in stentorian tones: "I am Tsa. This is my she. Who wishes
her more than Tsa?"

"I do," I said in the language of Ahm, and I stepped out into the
firelight before them. Lys gave a little cry of joy and started toward
me, but Tsa grasped her arm and dragged her back.

"Who are you?" shrieked Tsa. "I kill! I kill! I kill!"

"The she is mine," I replied, "and I have come to claim her. I kill if
you do not let her come to me." And I raised my pistol to a level with
his heart. Of course the creature had no conception of the purpose of
the strange little implement which I was poking toward him. With a
sound that was half human and half the growl of a wild beast, he sprang
toward me. I aimed at his heart and fired, and as he sprawled headlong
to the ground, the others of his tribe, overcome by fright at the
report of the pistol, scattered toward the cliffs--while Lys, with
outstretched arms, ran toward me.

As I crushed her to me, there rose from the black night behind us and
then to our right and to our

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