The People That Time Forgot HTML version

Chapter 5
We were sitting before a little fire inside a safe grotto one night shortly after we had quit
the cliff-dwellings of the Band-lu, when So-al raised a question which it had never
occurred to me to propound to Ajor. She asked her why she had left her own people and
how she had come so far south as the country of the Alus, where I had found her.
At first Ajor hesitated to explain; but at last she consented, and for the first time I heard
the complete story of her origin and experiences. For my benefit she entered into greater
detail of explanation than would have been necessary had I been a native Caspakian.
"I am a cos-ata-lo," commenced Ajor, and then she turned toward me. "A cos-ata-lo, my
Tom, is a woman" (lo) "who did not come from an egg and thus on up from the
beginning." (Cor sva jo.) "I was a babe at my mother's breast. Only among the Galus are
such, and then but infrequently. The Wieroo get most of us; but my mother hid me until I
had attained such size that the Wieroo could not readily distinguish me from one who had
come up from the beginning. I knew both my mother and my father, as only such as I
may. My father is high chief among the Galus. His name is Jor, and both he and my
mother came up from the beginning; but one of them, probably my mother, had
completed the seven cycles" (approximately seven hundred years), "with the result that
their offspring might be cos-ata-lo, or born as are all the children of your race, my Tom,
as you tell me is the fact. I was therefore apart from my fellows in that my children would
probably be as I, of a higher state of evolution, and so I was sought by the men of my
people; but none of them appealed to me. I cared for none. The most persistent was Du-
seen, a huge warrior of whom my father stood in considerable fear, since it was quite
possible that Du-seen could wrest from him his chieftainship of the Galus. He has a large
following of the newer Galus, those most recently come up from the Kro-lu, and as this
class is usually much more powerful numerically than the older Galus, and as Du-seen's
ambition knows no bounds, we have for a long time been expecting him to find some
excuse for a break with Jor the High Chief, my father.
"A further complication lay in the fact that Duseen wanted me, while I would have none
of him, and then came evidence to my father's ears that he was in league with the Wieroo;
a hunter, returning late at night, came trembling to my father, saying that he had seen Du-
seen talking with a Wieroo in a lonely spot far from the village, and that plainly he had
heard the words: `If you will help me, I will help you--I will deliver into your hands all
cos-ata-lo among the Galus, now and hereafter; but for that service you must slay Jor the
High Chief and bring terror and confusion to his followers.'
"Now, when my father heard this, he was angry; but he was also afraid--afraid for me,
who am cosata-lo. He called me to him and told me what he had heard, pointing out two
ways in which we might frustrate Du-seen. The first was that I go to Du-seen as his mate,
after which he would be loath to give me into the hands of the Wieroo or to further abide
by the wicked compact he had made--a compact which would doom his own offspring,
who would doubtless be as am I, their mother. The alternative was flight until Du-seen