A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
The Honey Of Death
At first nothing seemed to have been disturbed, when they suddenly perceived that both
forelegs were missing. On further examination they found that the ponderous tail, seven
feet in diameter, was cut through in two places, the thicker portion having disappeared,
and that the heavy bones in this extremity of the vertebral column had been severed like
straws. The cut surfaces were but little cooler than the interior of the body, showing how
recently the mutilation had been effected.
"By all the gods!" exclaimed Bearwarden, "it is easy to see the method in this; the hunters
have again cut off only those parts that could be easily rolled. These Jovian fellows must
have weapons compared with which the old scythe chariots would be but toys, with
which they amputate the legs of their victims. We must see to it that their scimitars do not
come too near to us, and I venture to hope that in our bullets they will find their match.
What say you, doctor?"
"I see no depression such as such heavy bodies would necessarily have made had they
been rolled along the ground, neither does it seem to me that these curious tracks in the
sand are those of men."
The loose earth looked as if the cross-ties of some railroad had been removed, the space
formerly occupied having been but partly filled, and these depressions were across the
probable direction of motion.
"Whatever was capable of chasing mastodons and carrying such weights," said Ayrault,
"will, I suspect, have little to fear from us. Probably nothing short of light artillery would
leave much effect."
"I dare say," replied Bearwarden, "we had better give the unknown quantity a wide berth,
though I would give a year's salary to see what it is like. The absence of other tracks
shows that his confreres leave 'Scissor- jaw' alone."
Keeping a sharp lookout in all directions, they resumed their march along the third side of
the square which was to bring them back to the Callisto. Their course was parallel to the
stream, and on comparatively high ground. Cortlandt's gun did good service, bringing
down between fifty and sixty birds that usually allowed them to get as near as they
pleased, and often seemed unwilling to leave their branches. By the time they were ready
for luncheon they saw it would be dark in an hour. As the rapidity of the planet's rotation
did not give them a chance to become tired, they concluded not to pitch their camp, but to
resume the march by moonlight, which would be easy in the high, open country they
While in quest of fire-wood, they came upon great heaps of bones, mostly those of birds,
and were attracted by the tall, bell-shaped flowers growing luxuriantly in their midst.