THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 34: THE YANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES
"--and further instancing the known truth that in the case of
animals, the young, which may be called the green fruit of the
creature, is the better, all confessing that when a goat is ripe,
his fur doth heat and sore engame his flesh, the which defect,
taken in connection with his several rancid habits, and fulsome
appetites, and godless attitudes of mind, and bilious quality
They rose and went for him! With a fierce shout, "The one would
betray us, the other is mad! Kill them! Kill them!" they flung
themselves upon us. What joy flamed up in the king's eye! He
might be lame in agriculture, but this kind of thing was just in
his line. He had been fasting long, he was hungry for a fight.
He hit the blacksmith a crack under the jaw that lifted him clear
off his feet and stretched him flat on his back. "St. George for
Britain!" and he downed the wheelwright. The mason was big, but
I laid him out like nothing. The three gathered themselves up and
came again; went down again; came again; and kept on repeating
this, with native British pluck, until they were battered to jelly,
reeling with exhaustion, and so blind that they couldn't tell us
from each other; and yet they kept right on, hammering away with
what might was left in them. Hammering each other--for we stepped
aside and looked on while they rolled, and struggled, and gouged,
and pounded, and bit, with the strict and wordless attention to
business of so many bulldogs. We looked on without apprehension,
for they were fast getting past ability to go for help against us,
and the arena was far enough from the public road to be safe
Well, while they were gradually playing out, it suddenly occurred
to me to wonder what had become of Marco. I looked around; he
was nowhere to be seen. Oh, but this was ominous! I pulled the
king's sleeve, and we glided away and rushed for the hut. No Marco
there, no Phyllis there! They had gone to the road for help, sure.
I told the king to give his heels wings, and I would explain later.
We made good time across the open ground, and as we darted into
the shelter of the wood I glanced back and saw a mob of excited
peasants swarm into view, with Marco and his wife at their head.
They were making a world of noise, but that couldn't hurt anybody;
the wood was dense, and as soon as we were well into its depths
we would take to a tree and let them whistle. Ah, but then came
another sound--dogs! Yes, that was quite another matter. It
magnified our contract--we must find running water.