A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
one of the forefeet of the mammoth, cut as cleanly as though with a knife from the leg
just above the ankle, and still warm. A little farther they found the huge trunk cut to
slivers, and, just beyond, the body of the unfortunate beast with three of its feet gone, and
the thick hide cut and slashed like so much paper. It still breathed, and Ayrault, who had
a tender heart, sent an explosive ball into its skull, which ended its suffering.
The three hunters then surveyed the scene. The largest and most powerful beast they had
believed could exist lay before them dead, not from the bite of a snake or any other
poison, but from mechanical injuries of which those they had inflicted formed but a very
small part, and literally cut to pieces.
"I am curious to see the animal," said Cortlandt, "capable of doing this, though nothing
short of dynamite bombs would protect us from him."
"As he has not stopped to eat his victim," said Bearwarden, "it is fair to suppose he is not
carnivorous, and so must have had some other motive than hunger in making the attack;
unless we can suppose that our approach frightened him away, which, with such power as
he must possess, seems unlikely. Let us see," he continued, "parts of two legs remain
unaccounted for. Perhaps, on account of their shape, he has been able the more easily to
carry or roll them off, for we know that elephant foot makes a capital dish."
"From the way you talk," said Cortlandt, "one would suppose you attributed this to men.
The Goliath we picture to ourselves would be a child compared to the man that could cut
through these legs, though the necessity of believing him to have merely great size does
not disprove his existence here. I think it probable we shall find this is the work of some
animal with incisors of such power as it is difficult for us to conceive of."
"There is no indication here of teeth," said Bearwarden, "each foot being taken off with a
clean cut. Besides, we are coming to believe that man existed on earth during the greater
part, if not the whole, of our Carboniferous period."
"We must reserve our decision pending further evidence," said Cortlandt.
"I vote we take the heart," said Ayrault, "and cook it, since otherwise the mammoth will
be devoured before our eyes."
While Bearwarden and Ayrault delved for this, Cortlandt, with some difficulty, parted the
mammoth's lips and examined the teeth. "From the conical projections on the molars,"
said he, "this should be classed rather as a mastodon than as a mammoth."
When the huge heart was secured, Bearwarden arranged slices on sharpened sticks, while
Ayrault set about starting a fire. He had to use Cortlandt's gun to clear the dry wood of
snakes, which, attracted doubtless by the dead mastodon, came in such numbers that they
covered the ground, while huge pterodactyls, more venomous-looking than the reptiles,
hovered about the opening above.