He thought a great deal about this remarkable experience as he made his way back to Thuria on his giant lidi. What could the thing have been? He was sure that it was not alive, for he had seen no wings nor any movement of any kind; the thing had seemed just to drift along on the wind.
Being a Stone Age man living in a savage world, he had had so many exciting adventures that he didn’t even bother to mention most of them after he got home; unless he hadn’t had any adventures at all and hadn’t killed any one or anything, nor hadn’t been nearly killed himself; then he told his mate about that, and they both marvelled.
But this thing that he had seen above the nameless strait was different; this was something really worth talking about. No one else in the world had ever seen anything like that, and the chances were that nobody would believe him when he told about it. He would have to take that chance, but nothing could change the fact that he had seen it.
As soon as he got home, he commenced to talk about it; and, sure enough, no one believed him, his mate least of all. That made him so angry that he beat her.
“You were probably off in that village of Liba with that frowzy, fat, she-jalok; and are trying to make me believe that you went all the way to the end of the world,” she had said; so perhaps he should have beaten her.
He had been home no great time, perhaps a couple of sleeps, when a runner came from Sari. Everybody gathered around the chief to hear what the runner had to say.
“I have run all the way from Sari,” he said “to ask if any man of Thuria has seen a strange thing floating through the air. It is round—”
“And it has something fastened to the bottom of it,” fairly shouted the man whom no one would believe.
“Yes!” cried the runner. “You have seen it?”
“I have seen it,” said the man.
His fellow Thurians looked at him in amazement; after all he had told the truth—that was the amazing part of it. His mate assumed an air of importance and an I-told-you-so expression as she looked around at the other women.
“Where did you see it?” demanded the runner.
“I had gone to the end of the world in search of my lost lidi,” explained the man, “and I saw this thing floating out across the nameless strait.”
“Then she is lost,” cried the runner.
“Who is lost?” demanded the chief.
“Dian the Beautiful who was in the basket which hung from the bottom of the great round ball that Perry called a balloon.”
“She will never be found,” said the chief. “No man knows what lies beyond the nameless strait. Sometimes, when it is very clear, men have thought that they saw land there; that is why it is called a strait; but it may be an ocean bigger than the Sojar Az, which has no farther shore as far as any man knows.”