Og, Boy of Battle
Chapter 5, "Treed by the Great Snake" 35-42
Chapter 6, "Og's Snake Knife" 43-50
Chapter 7, "Stalking the Three-Toed Horses" 51-59
Chapter 8, "Death to the Great Snake" 60-67
The reptile raised its head and long neck and arched it above the figure clinging to the swaying branch just out of reach, with terrible jaws open, ready to strike.
In the Valley of Fear
Part II -- Conclusion
by J. Irving Crump
This is the conclusion of the first of a new series of the adventures of Og, the Hairy Boy, and his companion, Ru. They have gone alone to the Great Swamp in an endeavor to kill the Great Snake, which has been taking toll of the Hairy People. At night a Mammoth invades their primitive camp but is driven off and killed by Og. This danger is barely over when the scent of the Great Snake is borne to them.
illustrated by Charles Livingston Bull
[Chapter 5, "Treed by the Great Snake"]
THE great snake's head and long slender neck glistened in the morning sun as it stood above the tops of the waving reeds and the softly rattling cane stalks of the great swamp. Slowly with a smooth, pendulous, weaving motion it swayed from side to side as its cold green eyes peered toward the tree into which Og and Ru had taken refuge. Its darting tongue flashed inquisitively in and out between the cruel, thin, scaly lips of its powerful jaws, and it seemed to pause there as if trying to make up its mind just what to do.
Then suddenly, soundlessly, like the flash the head disappeared, and Og and his companion, huddled in the branches of the big tree into which they had taken refuge, knew instinctively that the snake had seen them and that it was sliding swiftly and silently toward them. They could see the undulating movement in the reeds as the long, slender body moved in their direction.
It was like the coming of relentless, hideous doom and both Hairy Boys shivered with fear and consternation, for in their mad and hurried scramble at first catching sight of the Great Snake they had climbed into the tree nearest to them, not paying much attention to the fact that while it was a big tree, it stood to a certain extent alone. The other trees about it were too far away for them to swing from branch to branch across the intervening space, and now they were cornered; marooned as it were in that one tree and their only chance of getting away would be to drop back to the ground and dash for another tree. But now the big snake was too close for them to do even that.
On it came, swiftly, silently save for the sickening sound of its scaly body dragging through the marsh growth. Og and Ru looked at each other and each knew that the other felt that death was close upon him. But Og, ever valiant, and perhaps with better control of his fears and emotions than Ru, grunted words of encouragement to his companion and gripping his stone hammer more securely indicated that he did not intend to yield without a struggle.
Closer drew the serpent. They could see the great undulating folds of its mottled green and black and brown body among the reeds now, but the ugly flat head remained hidden as it pushed its way through the tangle of undergrowth. Then suddenly it came into the opening where reeds and cane and all other vegetation had been trampled down, or uprooted by the death struggle of the hairy mammoth, and there it paused a moment while it raised its head and shining neck and peered up into the foliage of the tree where Og and Ru crouched trembling against the swelling trunk.
For many horror-fraught seconds it hesitated there and the Hairy boys saw by the cold, wicked gleam in its green eyes, that it had marked them for its prey. But they saw, too, that despite its great size and tremendous strength the Great Snake was cautious. It did not intend to take any needless risk in getting them. Og and Ru sensed this caution, and Og's brain, ever working, though sometimes slowly perhaps, found a measure of encouragement in its hesitation. Perhaps he could make it fear him enough to have it decide to give over the attack, so he began to frown and make ugly faces and brandish his stone hammer belligerently. He even began to call the great snake names; ugly names. He reviled it and hurled imprecations and threats at it. He even warned it that he would come down out of the tree and kill it if it did not go away. In his heart he knew this was idle boasting, but somehow it seemed the natural, human thing to do, for he sensed that if he could make himself appear big and formidable he might be able to make the snake fear him as much as he feared the snake. Ru looked at Og and marveled at what he heard him say. And then because Og appeared so big and brave Ru took heart too. With Og's bluffing both of them gained courage.
But of course their threats were nothing but so much noisy chatter to the Great Snake. The reptile hesitated only because it sensed a difference between these two Hairy boys and the people who always lived in the trees the tree folk, apes that were its natural prey. The serpent had often lain in wait, its ugly length draped and hidden among the lianas that intertwined among the trees of the forest, lurking thus until some wandering band of tree people came trooping noisily by. Then it would strike and whipping its great body about one of them would crush out its life while the others scattered chattering through the forest. But the Great Snake knew that these two were different; they were not tree people, they were the people who lived in the cliff caves.
But it feared them not much more than it feared the tree people, for when it was really hungry and food was hard to find it had more than once made a nocturnal visit to the cliff dwellings and dragged one of these men kicking and struggling and screaming from his cave, and crushed it and devoured it with little more trouble than it did a goat or a three-toed horse. And it was hungry now, and hunting food, and here was all it wanted for one meal, cornered and trembling with fear.
The Great Snake presently began to slide toward the trunk of the tree, and Og and Ru, seeing this, and realizing that their threats and boasting had been in vain, with calls of fear began to scramble higher among the branches. Unhurried, slowly, relentlessly the snake began to climb. It reached its ugly flat head and scaly neck along the tree trunk until it slid part of its body over one of the lower branches. Then it climbed swiftly, weaving from branch to branch and draping it's scaly folds among them as it made its way upward.
Higher and higher climbed Og and Ru. They were getting into the very top now where the branches were the thickness of their wrists and smaller. The top was swaying under their weight and the leaves rustled as if in a windstorm. But they knew that as high as they climbed the snake would eventually reach higher and pull them down for they could go nowhere in the tree that it could not follow them.
Suddenly Ru stopped as if to think a moment. Then with an exclamation he pointed to where, lower down and on the other side of the trunk one limb a little longer than all the rest reached out until it's leaves and smaller twigs intertwined with an adjacent tree. There was just one chance of escape that way. If they could run out onto that branch and leap safely into the next tree they could get away for they knew they could travel much faster among the trees than the snake could. Ru determined to take that one chance and shouting for Og, who was higher up, to follow him, he swung down toward the long branch and onto it. But he reached it just as the snake's head curled over it where the branch joined the trunk, and Og who was above them realized with a sickening feeling that he was cut off ; that the snake was between him and escape and that Ru had successfully reached the branch that might be the pathway deeper into the forest.
FOR an instant the snake and the two Hairy boys hesitated, Og in the tree top, Ru on the swaying branch and the snake between them, looking at first one and then the other with his cold evil eyes. It was as if the reptile was trying to make up his mind which one to pursue. Then perhaps because Ru was the nearest, for he stood balancing uncertainly on the limb which proved to be not as thick and strong as he hoped, the snake decided that he was the one he would make a meal of, and began to slide his big flat ugly head and scaly length slowly out onto the branch on which Ru stood.
With a scream of terror, Ru ran out onto the branch until it began to bend and sway perilously under his weight. And then he discovered to his horror that the limb sagged far down and that the space between himself and the other tree was far too great for him to leap across. He was cornered indeed.
Turning, with horror and the fear of death in his eyes, he faced the Great Snake moving out on the branch toward him. Sitting astride the swaying branch and gripping it with his feet and one free hand he waited; waited for death; a terrible death. But he waited with his fist clenched grimly about his upraised stone hammer, determined to strike as soon as the snake's head came within striking distance. And the snake, seeing his threatening attitude, raised its head and long neck swan-like and arched it above him just out of reach of his stone hammer, but still moving slowly toward him, with terrible jaws open and long gleaming teeth distended, ready to strike and encompass his whole head in its cavernous mouth. Ru, sick and trembling with fear and nauseated with the stench that came to him as he felt the hot breath of the serpent in his face, stared up at the snake as if paralyzed by the awful doom that hung over him.
[Chapter 6, "Og's Snake Knife"]
Og, from the temporary safety of a few limbs above them, watched the terrible situation develop with an expression of horror on his face too. But Og had enough intelligence to appreciate the irony of the situation. They had come to kill the Great Snake; to hunt it down and exterminate it and rid their little cliff world of the terror of its raids. And here they were cornered by it. The hunters were the hunted, and one of them if not both were in grave danger of being killed and eaten by it. It aroused in him anger and resentment that grew so strong as to dominate his fear. He was on the point of swinging down upon it; of crashing and clashing at the scaly folds of its great body that were draped all through the tree beneath him.
But somehow he knew that that would be futile; that the flesh was too thick and heavy for him to wound it mortally in the body. He knew that it's only vulnerable point was the head. Oh, for a longer handled stone hammer; for a longer knife, for The glimmering of an idea flickered in Og's brain. Quickly he thrust his hand into the pouch of tiger skin he carried on his back between his shoulders and from it drew the hollow goat's horn, that Hol the hunter had given him as a farewell present. The point of it had been sharpened and polished until it was like the point of a flint knife. Og held it in his hand a moment and studied it with wrinkled brow. Then, looking about him until he saw a long, strong branch of the thickness he wanted, with a mighty wrench of his powerful hands and strong arms he broke it off, and shoved the end of it into the hollowed end of the horn. And in that exigency Og had conceived and made the first spear, for the long branch quickly stripped of its twigs made a creditable shaft and the goat's horn on the end made of the combination a formidable weapon.
SOMEHOW his ingenuity gave Og tremendous courage, and with the spear balanced in his hand he gave a ringing shout his war cry, and swinging downward until he was just a branch above the snake's head, he lunged at it viciously with the spear. His shout and the sudden movement above took the snake's attention from Ru just at the critical moment, and when the serpent looked up in time to receive a vicious jab in the head by the sharp goat's horn, its surprise was evident to Og, who shouted again and jabbed once more with his new-found weapon whose shaft was so long that he could keep well out of danger and deliver telling blows.
So sudden and unexpected was the attack from above that the snake was taken off guard for a moment. Og, above the ugly, swaying, flat head, could see the green eyes turn almost red with the rage that swept over the monster. Like lightning the serpent struck upward at him, hissing wickedly, and Og in consternation almost tumbled from the branch to which he clung. But the snake could not reach him and the long-handled spear kept him well out of danger and Og, when he had regained his composure, struck back with more vigor and better results than at first, for he jabbed the sharp horned point dangerously close to one of the snake's eyes. The serpent struck at the spear then, once, twice, thrice in rapid succession but Og only laughed in derision and jabbed back viciously.
The Great Snake was beside itself with anger and the pain of the slashing wounds that the sharp spear made about its head. It began to writhe and lash about in the tree and reaching upward as high as it could it struck more viciously. And so great was the commotion that it made that poor Ru clinging to the end of the swaying branch with hands and feet was tossed about like a bird in a wind storm. So close was he to the enraged serpent that although he knew that Og, above him, was carrying on the battle valiantly, he did not know when the enraged reptile might strike at him instead of Og. And needing both hands and his feet as well to cling onto the thrashing branch, he could not wield his stone hammer to protect himself.
Suddenly the serpent with a mighty effort strove to throw part of its ponderous body upward and across the limb on which Og crouched, to get within striking distance of him, and the force it exerted was so great that the limb over which it was draped, and to which Ru clung, was whipped downward so violently that Ru was snapped from the end like a nut from a burr, and with arms and legs reaching and grasping, and with a cry of fright on his lips he went whirling through the air to the ground. But the branches that he crashed through on his way down served to break the violence of his fall, and almost the moment he reached the ground he bounded to his feet again and with a cry of relief darted for the nearest tree on the edge of the forest.
Og saw him scuttling to safety with satisfaction, and he saw, too, that the snake, thwarted in its efforts to throw its body over the limb to which he clung, was fast losing heart in the battle. This gave him redoubled confidence in himself and his new weapon, and with shrill cries of victory he reached downward and slashed and jabbed without mercy until the snake's anger turned to fear and its courage to cowardice, and with more haste than it had climbed it began to drop its great folds out of the tree, sliding swiftly, head first downward from branch to branch. And Og, in the ecstasies of his victory, jabbed at each undulating fold of the big body as it slipped past him accelerating the retreat of the serpent until with a swish and a jarring thud it whipped the remainder of its body out of the tree to the ground and slid swiftly into the undergrowth.
Then giving voice to ringing shouts of triumph Og swung out of the tree to the ground and called lustily to Ru to come out of the forest and join him. Og was so elated and so pleased with himself and his achievements that he could not refrain from boasting.
"He has gone. He has run away. He is afraid of Og with his stabbing snake-knife. Behold this is Co-ro-ka, the snake-knife." Thus did Og in his picture language name the spear, Co-ro-ka, which meant to him and to Ru, a knife-with-a-long-body-and-head-that-strikes-death.
Og and Ru crouched under the tree and examined closely the new weapon Og had made. And Ru envied Og it and wanted one. But Ru had no goat's horn with a hollow end. Both he and Og thought and thought a long time. Og wondered why a flint knife could not be fastened to a long shaft and serve the same purpose. With their stone hammers they found and cut several long, straight saplings, and Og with his elementary aptitude for handicraft, worked and puzzled over a method of fastening his flint knife to one end of it. And gradually he worked out a. way, by splitting the shaft, and binding the flint into place with strips of the tough hide of the hairy mammoth. And when he had finished his weapon he saw that it was even better than the one made with the goat's horn, for the point was harder and keener and would stay fastened to the shaft, where the hollow goat's horn slipped off when the spear was used with too much force or the shaft was pulled away from instead of pushed against the head.
Elated with his handiwork, Og made a second weapon for Ru, and when it was finished both boys began a strange little dance of triumph under the tree, beating their chests with one clenched fist while they brandished their spears above their heads with the other hand and made fierce battle noises. Then when they were tired of this and were panting with their exertions but were still in high spirits, they crouched down under the tree and began to make plans.
Presently with their long spears over their shoulders and their stone hammers in belts about their waists, Og, with his tiger skin pouch on his back took up the trail of the Great Snake and Ru followed after.
[Chapter 7, "Stalking the Three-Toed Horses"]
The trail was not hard to follow because the monster serpent's great body crushed down the reeds wherever it traveled. Its sickening odor lingered over everything too, and Og saw with satisfaction here and there along the trail blood spots and he knew that he had wounded the serpent more than he had thought.
On they pushed, following the trail of the Great Snake until soon they reached the far edge of the swamp and came out upon a little knoll covered by a spreading banyan tree that was like a miniature forest itself with all its drooping limbs that reached down and took root again as if they were new trees. On the top of this knoll they paused, for the odor of the great snake was strong and fresh in that vicinity, and then, too, a number of moving objects out there in the grassy meadow had caught their attention. Og looked down the waving green slope and exclaimed excitedly, pointing the while but taking great care to stoop low and hide himself as much as possible. Ru crouched, too, and looked out into the meadow.
Below, working up the wind that blew softly across the valley toward them, moving the tops of the lush meadow grass in soft undulations, was a band of queer looking animals. They were sturdy and stocky but nowhere near as tall as Og. They were striped white and black and dun and their heads with their big eyes and protruding teeth seemed far too large for their bodies. Og recognized them immediately as a band of three-toed horses, for their feet all terminated in a strange arrangement of toes, a large one between two small ones, which thus arranged gave them a broader foot to tread on boggy ground, and yet did not detract from their speed in running, for they were indeed swift of foot; swifter than any animal Og knew.
The Hairy boys were highly interested in the little band of horses. They knew them to be excellent food animals, their flesh being very much sought. But because they were so fleet of foot and so alert at all times it was not often that they were brought down. Great cunning and patience were necessary to stalk them and it was usually only luck that let a Hairy man get within striking distance of one so that it could be brought down with a stone hammer.
Og wondered if perhaps his new weapon might not be effectual in killing one. He would not need to get so close as if he carried only a stone hammer. And maybe if he could get close enough to throw it the idea smote him with such force that he grunted in surprise. To throw the snake-knife; that was an inspiration. He and his people were experts at throwing stones. Og had killed a wolf with a thrown stone. Now if he could learn to throw the snake-knife with the same swiftness and accuracy he would indeed have a great weapon.
Eagerly he told Ru of his idea, and the other Hairy Boy quickly grew as excited as his companion. They withdrew into the shade of the banyan tree and balanced their spears and threw them, and after a half dozen flings got the knack of hurling the shaft through the air so that it would strike sharp end first with terrific force.
They were both experts at stalking. With the hunting instincts of predatory animals they could move soundlessly through the fields and forests, they could freeze like statues and hold immovably for an unbelievably long period and they could follow a trail with their eyes and with their sensitive noses as well. But they needed all this skill to hunt the three-toed horse and they realized it as stealthily and shadow-like, they slipped into the lush meadow grass and began stalking the little band that was working slowly away from them across the meadow.
They moved swiftly forward at first, for the horses were at some distance. But soon they became more cautious, moving more slowly and pausing each time one of the band tossed its head and sniffed the wind. The grass was deep enough to afford them good cover when they kept to a crouching position, and when all of the members of the band were feeding with heads down they could slip along quite swiftly. But Og could see that the horses were nervous and restless. Did their instinct tell them that they were being hunted? Og felt that they were unusually alert, for while they were yet some distance from the nearest of the band, several of the animals tossed up their long heads and shook their manes restlessly and looked about them, and now and then one of them would stamp impatiently and nicker loud and shrill as if he could not understand the reason for his own nervousness.
The leader of the band, a stallion rather larger than the rest with a great, thick, powerful neck and a heavy, shaggy mane, was working well up the wind and to one side of the band, but to his left and straggling from the rest of the herd was a young horse that seemed to be less cautious than the rest and more careless of the direction it was wandering. It was this animal that Og and Ru had marked down, for they saw that if they could get between it and the band they might be able to come up very close and if it did become alarmed and tried to join the others again it would have to run past them and thus give them an opportunity to hurl their spears.
Closer and closer Og and Ru drew to their quarry, moving with the utmost caution. The young horse was becoming restless, too. It would crop the grass for a few minutes, then toss up its head and snort and look all about before it resumed feeding. Og knew that it felt a menacing presence and though it did not know exactly what the danger was that threatened it, still it was worried. Og had often felt that way, too, for his instincts were almost as keen as those of any animal. In truth he felt that way at almost the same moment the horse showed its greatest signs of annoyance. He realized suddenly that somewhere, close at hand, a danger still greater than his sharp-pointed shafts menaced the herd of horses and perhaps threatened him and Ru too. Og reached cautiously behind him and touched Ru as a warning and they lay motionless in the grass.
Then suddenly the horse they were stalking gave a shrill whinny of fear that was prolonged into a terrible ear-piercing scream the death scream of a horse, which is a sound dreadful to hear. Og and Ru saw it start in terror and leap into the air. But before its four feet reached the ground again a hideous, ugly, flat head with evil green eyes, darting tongue and tremendous teeth-armored jaws on a long scaly neck, shot swiftly out of the grass, then struck with a blood-chilling hiss, the great cavernous mouth closing completely over the nose and long face of the horse. Then Og knew why the little band had been so nervous and why he, too, had had presentiments of danger the Great Snake had been hunting the horses too.
Suddenly the horse gave a scream of fear and bounded into the air. A hideous, flat, ugly head with evil green eyes, darting tongue, and tremendous teeth-armored jaws on a long scaly neck, shot out of the grass and struck.
With lightning-like swiftness coil after coil of the great constrictor were thrown about the body of the kicking and frantically struggling animal, and it was instantly completely enveloped in the deadly fold. A moment longer it continued its futile struggles against the fate that was imminent, then, making Og and Ru turn sick with the horror of it all, the coils were suddenly tightened and contracted. The two Hairy Boys heard the muffled crunch and thump of breaking bones, they saw the struggles of the horse suddenly cease save for the nervous twitching of its muscles and they knew that the little animal had met an instant and very horrible death. They could see blood trickling out from between the folds of the snake's body where broken bones had pierced the flesh, they could see little stream. of it flow from the animal's ears and they shivered as they realized the terrific strength the serpent had brought into use to kill the horse.
[Chapter 8, "Death to the Great Snake"]
The great snake for several minutes lay quiet with its mouth still encompassing the horse's head and its coils contracted around its body. It seemed to be resting after its terrific efforts. Then presently it began to move ever so slowly and Og and Ru were awed when they realized just what the monster was doing. It was slowly swallowing whole the limp remains of the horse. The great jaws that held the animal's head seemed to be elastic, almost boneless things, able to stretch and spread enough to engulf anything. Slowly they moved forward along the head of the horse until the crushed animal's ears had disappeared. Then the neck went faster for it was smaller than the head and apparently easier to swallow. But when the snake reached the chest and shoulders and shattered legs, the snake's jaws expanded until the Hairy boys felt certain that they would split and tear apart. The snake made slow work of this part of the operation, spewing out and covering the horse with sickening, slimy saliva as it had done the rest of the animal, in that way making the swallowing process easier to accomplish. The air reeked with the stench of the snake by that time and Og and Ru were becoming dreadfully nauseated. But still they were fascinated by the gruesome operation and stayed to watch.
The bulky part of the horse once beyond the snake's throat it swallowed the rest of its meal faster, and when the animal's rear hoofs and the last whisp of its tail had disappeared between the thin scaly lips of the serpent and its mouth had come back to its normal size, Og and Ru watched with wonder, as the great bulk of the horse moved slowly down the snake's body toward its stomach, making a series of bulges and bumps, until it finally settled in the thickest portion of the snake's anatomy making this about twice its normal circumference. While accomplishing that part of the operation the snake lay quite still and motionless as if it were enjoying its meal to the utmost. Then presently it raised its head and head above the grass and looked sleepily about.
Og and Ru could see that it was not vigilant or alert. All its ferocity had disappeared, presently its head dropped slowly back into the grass and it fell sound asleep. Og and Ru marveled at this, for they did not know that it is characteristic of all snakes, after they have eaten their fill, to become very sluggish and sleep for hours while the food is slowly digesting, scarcely moving from the spot where they make their kill providing no danger threaten them.
For a long time they waited there in the grass and watched the big serpent, expecting to see it awaken and move off into the swamp again. But the longer they waited the more soundly the snake seemed to sleep and slowly it dawned upon Og that now was the time, if ever, to kill the monster; to put an end to the great reptile that all too frequently found its way to the colony of the Hairy Men and ruthlessly invaded their caves to drag out and kill one of their number.
The mere thought of venturing any closer than he was to the monster made Og shiver with fear as he recalled their experiences of the morning and the death of the little horse they had just witnessed. But Og was fast learning to master some of those instinctive fears that possessed him; to dominate them with his fast developing will-power, and so presently he whispered a plan to Ru.
With the suggestion that they approach any closer to the Great Snake than they were Ru, also, recalled his experiences of the morning, and became dreadfully frightened. But the courage that Og possessed gave Ru a stronger heart and presently he nodded his head in assent. Gripping their spears they began to creep forward in the long grass. Slowly and cautiously they moved, hardly rustling the grass stalks together for fear of awaking the sleeping monster. Soon they came out into the open space where the struggles of the snake and the little horse had beaten flat the long grass, and there, so close to them that they could reach out and touch the great, ugly, repulsive looking scaly folds of its body, lay the great snake. Once more instinctive fear swept over them both. What they wanted to do more than anything else was to spring to their feet and rush madly, blindly away. By sheer will-power alone did they drive themselves to going on with the task, for they realized all too fully that should the serpent awaken suddenly they would suffer the same horrible sort of a death that had come to the little horse. But still they drove themselves fearfully to the work they had set out to do.
Prone and still moving with scarcely a sound they made their way toward the head of the reptile, which seemed an extremely long way off. Fold after fold of the monster they skirted, sometimes so near to its ugly body that they almost brushed against it. Time and again they shuddered and shivered with repressed fear for there was something cold, clammy and deathlike about the scaly sides of the monster, so close to them, and something sinister and terrible in its undulating contour. And once the huge reptile moved ever so slightly in its slumbers, and Og and Ru could scarcely restrain a cry of fear and a desire to leap up and run. They huddled close together and lay motionless for a long time before they could muster courage to go on again.
Slowly they worked their way toward the huge, ugly, flat head of the monster which, because it lay doubled back over several folds of its body, they could not see until they approached very close to it. They came upon it suddenly, unexpectedly. They were within a foot of the horrible scaly lips and blank, staring hideous eyes and they could feel warm, fetid breath full in their faces before they realized it. For a moment they were both paralyzed with fear. But Og knew that they must act quickly, and strike swiftly and surely else they would come to a sudden and dreadful end.
Indeed even as Og and Ru got stealthily to their feet and poised their spears above their heads to strike the harder, a tremor ran through the huge reptile, its blank, hideous eyes became awake and focused, and it started sleepily to raise its head.
With yells of fear and consternation, both boys struck. Og with all the force of his powerful long arms, broad back and sloping shoulders drove his spear downward, deep into the thin skull of the reptile. Then exerting all his strength he shoved on it until the flint point went clear through and deep into the earth pinning the reptile to the ground. Ru's spear, as effectively aimed, pierced one of the snake's eye sockets and went deep into its brain.
Both Hairy Boys leaped away and scuttled to a safe distance to stand and watch in awed and trembling silence. And it was well that they did for it its last convulsions the Great Snake whipped and lashed its huge body about and writhed in terrible fashion, and had they been within striking distance of those ugly folds they would certainly have been crushed to death. The Great Snake broke Og's spear from the ground and raising its bloody head with the two spear shafts protruding struck blindly, once, twice and then again, at an enemy it could not see. Then it dropped back limply to the ground and the convulsions suddenly grew less and less until they ceased entirely, save for the occasional twitch of the extreme end of its tail which seemed to take a long time to die.
What a wild shout of triumph was raised by the Hairy boys, when they saw they had really killed the terrible enemy. They dashed in and pulled and wrenched their spears from the head and began a little dance of victory around the reptile, climbing over it, kicking it, calling it names, and gloating because of their triumph.
And when they had tired of this sort of amusement Og suggested that they each take a big strip of the gaily colored scaly skin, for he had conceived the idea of making a belt of it in which to carry his stone hammer, and then, too, he wanted something to take back to the cliff colony of the Hairy people as a trophy; something over which to boast when all the tribe should gather around the council rock to hear the story of their achievements.
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