The Moon Pool HTML version

Chapter 31. Larry And The Frog-Men
LONG had been her tale in the telling, and too long, perhaps, have I been in the
repeating--but not every day are the mists rolled away to reveal undreamed secrets of
earthyouth. And I have set it down here, adding nothing, taking nothing from it;
translating liberally, it is true, but constantly striving, while putting it into idea-forms and
phraseology to be readily understood by my readers, to keep accurately to the spirit. And
this, I must repeat, I have done throughout my narrative, wherever it has been necessary
to record conversation with the Murians.
Rising, I found I was painfully stiff--as muscle-bound as though I had actually trudged
many miles. Larry, imitating me, gave an involuntary groan.
"Faith, mavourneen," he said to Lakla, relapsing unconsciously into English, "your roads
would never wear out shoe-leather, but they've got their kick, just the same!"
She understood our plight, if not his words; gave a soft little cry of mingled pity and self-
reproach; forced us back upon the cushions.
"Oh, but I'm sorry!" mourned Lakla, leaning over us. "I had forgotten--for those new to it
the way is a weary one, indeed--"
She ran to the doorway, whistled a clear high note down the passage. Through the
hangings came two of the frog-men. She spoke to them rapidly. They crouched toward
us, what certainly was meant for an amiable grin wrinkling the grotesque muzzles, baring
the glistening rows of needle-teeth. And while I watched them with the fascination that
they never lost for me, the monsters calmly swung one arm around our knees, lifted us up
like babies--and as calmly started to walk away with us!
"Put me down! Put me down, I say!" The O'Keefe's voice was both outraged and angry;
squinting around I saw him struggling violently to get to his feet. The Akka only held him
tighter, booming comfortingly, peering down into his flushed face inquiringly.
"But, Larry--darlin'!" --Lakla's tones were--well, maternally surprised--"you're stiff and
sore, and Kra can carry you quite easily."
"I WON'T be carried!" sputtered the O'Keefe. "Damn it, Goodwin, there are such things
as the unities even here, an' for a lieutenant of the Royal Air Force to be picked up an'
carted around like a--like a bundle of rags--it's not discipline! Put me down, ye
omadhaun, or I'll poke ye in the snout!" he shouted to his bearer--who only boomed
gently, and stared at the handmaiden, plainly for further instructions.
"But, Larry--dear!"--Lakla was plainly distressed--"it will HURT you to walk; and I don't
WANT you to hurt, Larry-darlin'!"