The First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
SAVAGE PELLUCIDAR Pt. 2
Nkima's Conclusion to Savage Pellucidar Pt. 1
Found in Chat # 10 ~ ERBzine 0325
Men of the Bronze Age
Ghak saves "Dolly Dorcas" from Hodon and renames him Ah-gliak, "old man." He likes the name better than Dolly Dorcas. Oose and the men from Kali meet David's party on the way back to the village. Blug and Hodon fight over O-aa, and Hodon pounds Blug's head into jelly with a rock. "Blug is not much good anymore." To say the least. O-aa has again disappeared. O-aa thinks Blug has killed Hodon, so she runs away to Sari. Abner Perry is so broken up over the loss of Dian in his balloon that he is thinking of suicide. She is drifting toward Thuria, the Land of the Awful Shadow. She is cold and hungry so she sleeps. A thipdar attacks the air bag.
O-aa is captured by a handsome man wearing a feathered loin cloth. He takes her in his double out-rigger canoe across the sea to the Island of Canda. He is La-ak. O-aa is to be his 7th wife. She tells him she will kill his other wives, so he decides to throw her overboard. David, Hodon and the old man sail on Ghak's ship. The old man tells them he can build a better one -- a clipper ship. They determine that he is 153 years old since he came to Pellucidar at age 40. They are aboard the Amoz, the flag ship of the little fleet of three. There are 500 warriors aboard. There are 8 cannons, and the lateen sail is made from the peritonea of dinosaurs. The sailors of the Amoz are copper colored Mezops from the Anoroc Islands. The captain is Ja, King of Anoroc. They are caught in a hurricane. The pterodactyl leaves Dian's balloon, but it is damaged and she descends. A shark, an aztarag, bites on the trailing rope, pulling her down, but she cuts it and sails away.
O-aa threatens to jump overboard (La-ak had really, just planned on knocking her out) so they sail on. They are attacked by a ta-ho-az, a giant sea lion. O-aa kills La-ak with his own spear! She throws him overboard to feed the sea lion and escapes. She drifts into a storm. David saves the old man from being washed overboard, and the storm ends. The mast is gone, as are all but 25 men. They drift derelict. The old man tells them to fix the ship rather than building rafts. O-aa's canoe rides the crests of the waves during the same hurricane. The little Sari, the smallest of the 3 ships, picks up O-aa when they meet her canoe. Raj wants to keep her, but she slaps his face. A man from Thuria riding a lidi (diplodocus) sees Dian's balloon passing overhead. When he gets home no one believes him. A runner from Sari confirms his sighting, but Dian has sailed away beyond the Nameless Strait.
Dian floats over a city, then lands near another one. The men from both cities fight over her with bows and arrows and 2 bladed short-swords. This second city is called Lolo-lolo. Dian is called their Noada. They are yellow men of the bronze age. She is welcomed to the House of the Gods by the priests who wear leather coats and masks. The Amoz is jury rigged by the old man, and they are led to Amoz city by their homing instinct. O-aa tells Raj that she is the daughter of a king, so they decide to treat her well. She brags about her prowess and Raj tells her to shut up. The Mezops take a lifeboat out to sea to go to Anaroc. The Sarians take another to Sari. O-aa does not go with the Sarians because they are not very good sailors. She decides to remain aboard the drifting derelict. O-aa lands at Tanga-tanga and becomes their true Noada. She swims ashore like Esther Williams. The men cover their eyes and she looks to see if she has lost her loin cloth. She has not.
O-aa goes along with being the long-awaited Noada who will help the Tanga-tanga's get to Karana (heaven) after death. Meanwhile, Dian is playing at being the Noada of the Xexots of Lolo-lolo. They believe she can send them to Karana or to Molop Az, the flaming sea upon which Pellucidar floats. The go-sha (king) of these yellow people of Lolo-lolo is Gamba. The high priest is Hor. King Gamba does not believe in religion of the priests. He knows that Dian is only a woman, and he wants her for his wife. Dian discovers that the priests are robbing the people of 'pieces,' their bronze coins. She demands that these "offerings" be used to pay the people what is owed them by the king and high priest. She suggests only a tithe be paid to the temple from now on, and she gets the people on her side.
A priest is sent to assassinate Dian as she sleeps, but she awakens in time. She learns that Hor is responsible for the plot. Dian makes new laws concerning "taxes" and temple upkeep. She asks for 50 warriors as her personal guard. The Tanga-tangas attack the city and the high priest demands that Dian save them, thinking she is finally headed for a downfall. "She was on the spot, and she knew it." The Tanga-tangas win the battle, but they are unable to get into the temple where Dian and the priests are safe from the carnage. The people of Lolo-lolo are so devastated that they just left their dead in the city to rot. Dian tells the people that they have lost the battle because of the greediness of the priests that has angered their god, Pu. The city is finally cleaned up, but it is too late to avoid a plague. Hor spreads rumors about Dian and Gamba's complicity in a plot to overthrow the temple. There is a revolution. The people led by Hor attack the temple and Gamba's palace, but Dian and Gamba escape in disguise. David, Hodon, Ghak, and Dolly Dorcas finally get back to Sari. Perry is still weeping over the loss of Dian, but they build a new balloon to search for her. A runner from Thuria arrives with the message that the balloon passed over, so they start searching in that direction. Hodon takes a ship to search for O-aa.
Dian and King Gamba get out of the city disguised as masked, rebel priests. They are rather friendly with each other now and decide to build a canoe to sail to Sari. The second balloon is finished, and David is prepared to go in search of his Dian. Meanwhile, Ope, the high priest of the Tanga-tanga's, is having trouble with his noada, O-aa. She keeps giving away the bronze money to the people since she does not know what money is. Furp, the go-sha (king) of Tanga-tanga is an atheist who is only interested in the split he normally receives from the temple offerings, so he is not happy with O-aa either. O-aa makes many mistakes as noada, but she is able to convince the ignorant priests and king that she is actually more powerful than Pu their god. Hodon, the Fleet one, sails off in search of O-aa. David floats off in the Dinosaur II balloon in search of Dian.
(The short story ends if not as a cliffhanger, at least open-ended for . . .
O-aa and Gamba set off on the sea in their canoe and are attacked by a sea monster. They kill it with arrows and swords. They are caught in a strong current and float out of the strait into the Kosar Az. David passes over Dian and Gamba sailing in the nameless strait and lands at Tanga-tanga. His balloon floats away when he steps out. The people think is us Pu (god).
O-aa declares that David is indeed Pu. She brings him up to date on the situation. David tells her that Hodon is still alive. David tells Ope, the high priest, to stop exacting so much money from the people, and he tells King Furg to stop demanding such high taxes. They are not happy. David tries to explain all of O-aa's previous lies about the relationship between Pu and the noada, and Ope and Furp are beginning to doubt that he is Pu.
Hodon picks up Raj the Mezop at Amoz. He is a sailor, the former commander of the abandoned Sari. By the time they arrive at the coast of the Xexot, a storm has carried off the Sari, so they pass by. Dian and Gamba arrive at the Kosar Az where a storm drives them to an island where they are captured by the Tandars. Hamlar is the chief. The Tandars keep trained tarags (saber-toothed tigers) and live in caves. Dian and Gamba are now slaves. Dian is the slave of Manai, mate of Hamlar. Bovar their son is attracted to her. He also wants her bronze (androde) knife enough to plan on killing her for it.
David and O-aa may be gods but they cannot leave Tanga-tanga since they are guarded by warriors of Furp. However, they are loved by the people since they lowered the taxes. They decide to set up a confessional to talk to the people privately, one at a time. This way they are able to make a list of loyal followers who will come to their aid if they are needed. Ah-gilak, the old man, proposes to Abner Perry the building of a clipper ship to follow David. They call it the John Tyler when it is finished because he was the last President the old man voted for 118 years ago. Stellara, mate of Tanar, christens the ship, and they set sail on the Lural Az for the Land of the Awful Shadow.
Both Dian and Gamba are tired of being slaves. Dian plans to escape. She has made friends with three tarags (tigers). Dian escapes into the jungle, but she is followed by Bovar, who wants her as a love-slave. Before he follows her, he kicks one of Dian's tigers, who follows him. Gamba kills Shrud, his shrewish mistress who is working him to death, and escapes into the same jungle. David and O-aa learn that they are about to be assassinated by the warriors of Furp. On the day of the attempt, he surrounds himself with loyal followers. David's men win the fight in the temple, but a larger battle is to come before Furp will be overcome entirely.
Gamba gets lost in the jungle and climbs a tree when he sees a tiger. Dian has 2 tarags with her when Bovar accosts her in the jungle, and he is killed by the tigers. Dian falls asleep as the tigers eat Bovar. When they have finished their meal, they drink at a stream and all sleep together in a comfortable pile. Gamba, hearing Bovar's screams, thinks that Dian is dead. Ope pledges a renewed loyalty to David and O-aa. There is another battle between the temple and the throne, and David's warriors win. He is now the master of Tanga-tanga. Ope is banished and Kanju, a loyal priest, takes his place upon David's orders. David builds a large canoe with a mast and sails to go in search of Dian. As they prepare to depart, they are attacked by warriors from Lolo-lolo. O-aa sets out in the canoe without David.
Hodon and Raj come to an island aboard the Lo-har. They find Dian's canoe, weapons, and sandals. Gamba sees Manats with ta-hos (cave lions) coming through the jungle. They are the enemies of the Tandars. The Manats capture Dian, which terrifies Gamba even more, and he decides to live up in the trees the rest of his life. Her tigers give their lives trying to protect her. Dian is led to Manat by brutal men. Ja, Abner, and Ah-gilak come upon O-aa in her canoe. They go and rescue David from the Lolo-lolos with their superior weapons -- muskets. Hodon and Mezop come upon Gamba who tells them about Dian's capture. They follow to the village of the Manats. Dian kills one of her captors in a cave as he tries to beat her. Just then, Hodon and his party arrives to save her.
David in search of Dian sails north on the Kosar Az while Hodon and his men sail south in search of O-aa [Unbeknownst to either party of stalwart searchers, Dian is already saved with Hodon and O-aa is with David]. They are searching for the lost who have already been found. Ghak's stone-age men are not sailors and after traveling 1400 miles with David they want to go home. It is 700 miles back to Sari by land, but 5000 by sea. Ghak's men choose to go by land. He, as their leader, goes with them as does Abner Perry to get home faster so he can invent a steam locomotive and a camera. David goes with them as well.
Ko, the Mezop Third mate, makes a play of O-aa, calling her "little one," but is rebuffed and slapped. Ja admonishes his angry mate, but Ah-gilak thinks she "needs a lesson." He wants to throw O-aa overboard in a calm and fog. To him, a woman on a ship is a "hoo doo." When they come near land, O-aa jumps overboard and swims ashore. As she examines a cliff wall she will have to climb out of the sea, she is attacked by a Tylosaurus.
The John Tyler is getting dangerously close to shore in the fog. The Lo-har is also fogbound; they have now turned north. Gamba does not like sailing and is furious when he learns they are sailing away from Sari. O-aa escapes the reptile and climbs the 100 foot cliff on vines. As she fights baby thipdars, she cuts the vine and falls but catches another. At the top she discovers she is on an island, and is immediately attacked by a jalok, the fierce dog of Pellucidar.
The John Tyler is caught on the rocks. Thinking that the ship is floundering, Ja and the Mezops abandon ship, but they make the old man remain aboard as punishment because they think he has thrown O-aa overboard when she cannot be found. The John Tyler comes off the rocks and sails out to sea with only Ah-gilak aboard. O-aa walks away, and the hyaenodon follows her but does not attack. When a codon, a timber wolf of the Pleistocene, appears, the jalok kills it and continues following. It likes her, and they become companions. O-aa discovers the reason for the jalok's behavior. It was the hunting companion of a man who was somehow killed, leaving behind a canoe and weapons. She has a way to reach the mainland, but she fears the reptiles in the sea. She is hungry so goes hunting with her jalok.
Ah-gilak cannot manage the ship alone so he plans to beach it when he can do so safely. O-aa and the jalok kill three small horses about the size of foxes. (These are Hyracotherri of the Lower Eocene.) The jalok also brings her a deer, and with a good wind to the coast they set off in the canoe. They escape a tandoraz, mammoth of the sea, (pleisiosaur) by giving it the deer viscera. They land safely, and she names her jalok "Rahna" which means killer.
As O-aa heads toward a ridge she is spotted by a cave man with his own jalok. (We learn that O-aa is a blonde.) The man confronts her. He is the brother of the man whose possessions she has appropriated. She explains what happened, and he believes her because the jalok would have killed her had she killed his brother. The man is Utan of the Zurts. He tells his jalok she is a friend, "Padang." They go to his village.
Hodon and Dian have just decided to give up looking for O-aa when they spot the sail of a big ship. When Utan and O-aa arrive at the village, O-aa asserts her independence and lies about her 11 brothers and great father as usual. Utan tells them she is on a journey home to Kali across the Terrible Mountains. Zurk, the king's son likes her, but she calls him "bowlegs" and makes a dangerous enemy. She is instructed to sleep in one of their houses on posts without her jalok. Ah-gilak is being blown back and forth over the sea by changing winds.
The Lo-har and John Tyler meet, and Ah-gilak brings them up to date on David and O-aa. Hodon puts Raj in charge of the John Tyler, and they start looking for the island. The Mezops need Ah-gilak to teach them the ropes on the clipper. He agrees to do this because they threaten to throw him overboard. Ah-gilak tries to cause dissension by raising race prejudice in the red Mezops. (ERB calls this "a Communist technique.") The cave men are bored with the idea. They want to throw him overboard again.
O-aa goes hunting with Rahna and Zurk, son of Jah the chief, follows. He tries to kill O-aa with an arrow, and when he misses, she shoots him in the shoulder with one of her own. Zurk says "Rah!" to his jalok, pointing to the fleeing O-aa. It means "kill!" The John Tyler is caught in a storm as it nears O-aa's island. Hodon is washed overboard and safely shore. He heads northeast toward Kali.
Zurk pulls the arrow out of his shoulder. Rahna sees the jalok heading for O-aa. Hodon comes upon the wounded Zurk. He tends his wound and carries him back to his village. (He is under the influence of a "Brotherhood of Man" idea planted by Abner in the Sarians.) Hodon is put under guard, for they suspect he has wounded Zurk. (So much for the Brotherhood of Man.) Hodon learns from Hala that O-aa is there but out hunting. Rahna kills Zurk's jalok. She tends his wounds and feeds him; then they sleep together.
Dian thinks Hodon is dead so they head back to Sari. David, Perry, and Ghak and the 200 Sarians are blocked by the Terrible Mountains (formidable as the Himalayas) so they go back. They meet Ja and the Mezops and go together toward the Lidi Plains and the Land of the Awful Shadow. Zurk survives and tells the truth of what happened! Jah helps Hodon search for O-aa. O-aa and Rhana are threatened by a tarag (tiger). She climbs a tree, and Rahna runs away. The tiger is harassed by Rahna when it returns to the tree, but the beast begins to climb toward O-aa. Hodon and Utan come in time to save O-aa. She weeps and embraces Hodon.
Jah's 20 warriors take O-aa and Hodon to the Terrible Mountains. They go the wrong way and meet David and his party.
They walk 2500 miles to Sari. Dian is there to greet them. Ah-gilak and Gamba are there but unhappy. Abner Perry is inventing a submarine.
Men of the Bronze AgeMen of the Bronze Age is basically a comic tale filled with humorous situations and dialogue on almost every page. The narrative line is playful and filled with "modern" phrases and in-jokes. It is an extremely rich store of Burroughsian humor.
The basic story line given in my chapter summary plays a secondary role to the overall humor of this short story. However, even this plot is a part of the pastiche-like character of the tale since ERB is playing with all of his story lines which were presented with at least a little more seriousness in his previous novels. There are all the usual fantastic captures and escapes of the heroines, but this time the deliverances are effected by the strong women themselves. Among the Xexots we get the comic overthrow of a false religion, another common Burroughsian theme played out many times before in his stories.
It's interesting that Burroughs here reveals that the priests are guilty of stealing the temple funds and of flagrant extortion of the people rather than exposing the entire religion as a hoax. Dian even suggests that giving a tenth of one's personal income to the temple as being a fair practice in the future.
Tiger Girl is not quite as humorous in tone, but it is a confused shuffling of capture and escape that almost requires a road map to remember who has captured whom and who has escaped and has been recaptured. It certainly helps to have the chapter summaries for this one in case you too get lost in the jungle or in one of the battling cities or on one of the ships or balloons. Burroughs must have had a chart to remember where everyone was as he was writing these stories. They are almost more like mystery puzzles than real stories, however, there is plenty of action and Dian the Beautiful with her tigers does remind one of Thuvia and the banths in his Mars Series.
Dian's relationships with the tigers is very lovely indeed. This human/beast rapport is always a keen tool in ERB's artistic arsenal. He could write about humans and animals living together better than anyone because he was able to treat them as equal partners in a relationship of mutual respect.
Jack London was unable to get into the mind of his dog characters; he actually gives his dogs the thoughts of men. Kipling sentimentalized dogs without shame, and his jungle animals seem to follow a artificial code of behavior that seems restrictive.
"Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they; But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is ____Obey!"
Part of ERB's success comes from allowing his characters to form relationships with lone hunters, the big cats: Tarzan's Sheeta in Beasts. Tarzan's Jad-bal-ja, the lion, who was raised from cubhood to be a lone hunter. Dian is a Tarzan figure who hunts and drinks and lies down to sleep with her cats. It is a very powerful image told in a litany almost like a prayer.
"She knew that they were going for water and when they had drunk they would sleep; nor was she wrong, for when they had had their fill of water they threw themselves down in the shade near the stream; and Dian laid down with them and they all slept." (chapter 6)
Burroughs is a very strong writer in these "timeless moments" as I like to call them. We feel a real oneness with Nature and with Nature's beasts that cannot be found in any other writer. Nothing is forced; there is no sentiment about it, just an easy telling that puts us close and at ease with the beasts of the jungle.
Nothing gets a lengthy development in Tiger Girl. There are just shifting scenes and characters at a dizzying pace, which usually places Savage Pellucidar on the "worst of ERB's novels" lists. However, these pieces should be seen for what they are: not real short stories that follow Poe's classical form, but rather Burroughsian extravaganzas that run riot through all of his career themes with touches of humor and adventure mixed in the large pot of Pellucidar. They are really quite charming when you know ERB's other works. It's "More Fun, More People Killed" with an emphasis on the fun. We actually get quite a lot of detail about the map of Pellucidar in these tales, and all of the new peoples introduced have ERB's magical quality of seeming to be real because they are basically so human in their societies and relationships.
There is no doubt that Burroughs was having fun with these stories, and that's what we can get from them if we just let them flow without thinking about them too deeply. Burroughs does have many things to say about society and religion in these tales, but it is usually presented in an easy, ironic tone of voice, so that we just nod our heads in agreement.
This is O-aa's story of adventure, and it's a very good one. It is the most serious tale of the four, but it has its own moments of humor as well. O-aa is one of ERB's great heroines. She may have started out seeming to be nothing more than a shallow braggart, a liar, and a flighty woman, but she turns out to be a tough warrior able to face anything Pellucidar can throw at her, which is considerable. My own personal favorite moment is in chapter 5 when her jalok leaves her to hunt for the deer. A lovely relationship has developed between her and the "dog," and when she thinks it has left her, she sits on the beach in a moment of despair.
"Suddenly the future looked very black. In her fit of despondency, the shore of the mainland seemed to have receded; and she peopled the world with terrifying menaces, which was wholly superfluous, as Nature had already attended to that."
However, O-aa has the stuff of the warrior in her soul.
"She gave herself up to self-pity for only a short time; then she lifted her chin and braced her shoulders and was the self-sufficient cave girl of Kali once more."
This is such a telling moment of her character, and I suspect in the character of the author himself. Self-pity has no place in the world of a warrior. It is the thing that marks the difference between a heroine and a common woman, and O-aa was far from being common.
The novel, Savage Pellucidar as a whole is quite an amazing accomplishment when you consider the strong heroines Burroughs developed over the course of the four stories. Dian and O-aa are strong, heroic women with real substance. They are women whom David and Hodon try repeatedly to rescue, but they always seem to be able to make their own way. The minor characters are also colorful, especially Dolly Dorcas--Ah-gilak. He is a memorable comic villain, a rarity in Burroughs, but perhaps a sign of things to come. Ah-gilak is a rather likable old codger despite his cannibalistic tendencies and his slippery villainy.
Burroughs' late work is informed by all he has written before. He is a strong, intelligent writer who knows his craft well. When the stories seem slight, it is only because they are so compact in their telling. When the tales seem rushed it is because he is playing with his own plots and forms in an experimental way. Burroughs' was always a humorist at heart, and when he combines his joking manner with characters and themes that his readers have taken to be serious, they feel that there is a falling off of his powers rather than a renewal. I love all of ERB's tales, but his late work is especially dear to me because I know what it is like to write "late work" -- how difficult it is to pick up the pen after writing so many lines for yet another effort. I sometimes imagine Burroughs might have thought as I often do: "This is who I am today. I am not the writer you think I am -- the writer who wrote those tales you love. I tell stories forever new. They are still the work of my mind and heart."
If I may paraphrase the closing dialogue of Llana of Gathol --
"Who are you? What are you?"
"I am the man whose flier you stole at Horz - - I am the man who took it from beneath your nose in Pankor - - I am Edgar Rice Burroughs - - have you ever heard of me?"
A Little "Men of the Bronze" Age Glossary
I copied this down (mostly from Brady) for myself as I read the story. It is not complete, but it may help someone someday, so I include it here.
Tanga-tanga - the northernmost city of the Land of Xexots in Pellucidar; it lies right on the Nameless Strait. Like Lolo-lolo it is a small walled city of clay houses, but a true city nonetheless. O-aa became the noada of this city.
Lolo-lolo - A Xexot city a few miles south of the Nameless Strait in Pellucidar. It was a small, mean city of clay houses and narrow, crooked streets, but was still a walled city, an amazing thing in primitive Pellucidar. Dian the Beautiful became the noada of this city.
Noada - In the religion of the Xexots of Pellucidar, a female messenger from their god, Pu, send as a sort of Christ-figure to save the souls of the believers.
Pu - The god of the Xexots of Pellucidar who is said to live in Karana (heaven). In the Polynesian religion, Po was a region above sky and below the floor of the ocean. When common people died they led a shadowy after-life in Po, followed by ultimate annihilation. However, ERB probably meant Pu to mean the expletive, pooh. I surmise that ERB was combining native Hawaiian religious traditions with the historic influx of Christianity on the islands in a satiric way to demonstrate the dismantling of a false religion led by a corrupt priesthood, as was the theme in so many of his novels.
Karana - The Xexot word for heaven.
Molop Az - "Fire sea" (Pellucidar) In the cosmology of the Gilaks of Pellucidar, the flaming sea upon which the flat Pellucidar floats. Dead people who are buried in the ground are believed to be taken bit by bit to Molop Az by tiny demons, thus accounting for decomposition. Because of this belief, only the bodies of enemies are buried in Pellucidar.
Dead World - A small planetoid which orbits the Pellucidarian sun in exactly the same time it takes the Earth to rotate, so that it seems to hover exactly above one area, the Land of the Awful Shadow. The Dead World is believed by Pellucidarians to be the site of their afterworld, so the honored dead are placed in trees to be taken piece by piece to the Dead World by birds, instead of down to Molop Az by the little demons as those buried in the ground are.
Gamba - The go-sha (king) of the Xexot city of Lolo-lolo in Pellucidar when Dian the Beautiful came there via balloon in 1931. He was a bronze age atheist and did not believe in the priests or their religion, even after the arrival of the Noada, Dian.
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