Chapter 8. Captive
When Goork and his people saw that I had no token they commenced to taunt me.
"You do not come from Kolk, but from the Sly One!" they cried. "He has sent you from
the island to spy upon us. Go away, or we will set upon you and kill you."
I explained that all my belongings had been stolen from me, and that the robber must
have taken the token too; but they didn't believe me. As proof that I was one of Hooja's
people, they pointed to my weapons, which they said were ornamented like those of the
is- land clan. Further, they said that no good man went in company with a jalok--and that
by this line of reason- ing I certainly was a bad man.
I saw that they were not naturally a war-like tribe, for they preferred that I leave in peace
rather than force them to attack me, whereas the Sarians would have killed a suspicious
stranger first and inquired into his purposes later.
I think Raja sensed their antagonism, for he kept tug- ging at his leash and growling
ominously. They were a bit in awe of him, and kept at a safe distance. It was evident that
they could not comprehend why it was that this savage brute did not turn upon me and
I wasted a long time there trying to persuade Goork to accept me at my own valuation,
but he was too canny. The best he would do was to give us food, which he did, and direct
me as to the safest portion of the is- land upon which to attempt a landing, though even as
he told me I am sure that he thought my request for information but a blind to deceive
him as to my true knowledge of the insular stronghold.
At last I turned away from them--rather disheart- ened, for I had hoped to be able to enlist
a considerable force of them in an attempt to rush Hooja's horde and rescue Dian. Back
along the beach toward the hidden canoe we made our way.
By the time we came to the cairn I was dog-tired. Throwing myself upon the sand I soon
slept, and with Raja stretched out beside me I felt a far greater security than I had enjoyed
for a long time.
I awoke much refreshed to find Raja's eyes glued upon me. The moment I opened mine
he rose, stretched himself, and without a backward glance plunged into the jungle. For
several minutes I could hear him crash- ing through the brush. Then all was silent.
I wondered if he had left me to return to his fierce pack. A feeling of loneliness
overwhelmed me. With a sigh I turned to the work of dragging the canoe down to the sea.
As I entered the jungle where the dugout lay a hare darted from beneath the boat's side,
and a well- aimed cast of my javelin brought it down. I was hungry --I had not realized it