You could hear them pass now a faint rustle here, now a surreptitious "pad-pad" there. Once some bird-thing of the night cried out suddenly, very far away in the sky, "Keck! keck!" and was gone. It was not Pharaoh, however, that you would have heard move. None of the wild-folk could tell how at midnight he managed to land himself far out over the marsh, unperceived.
And, indeed, I to have a sudden memory how that there did be a picture in some book that I did read in the Mighty Pyramid, where it did show such a bird-thing as this; and to make remark in the book that these things had been seen no more in the Night Land for a score thousand of years, or more; and to be extinct, as we do say.
But this, indeed, to be no more than an odd thought; for how might any great multitude pass the Monsters; and I to ask that you take it for nothing of fact, but only as of my suppositions; and thiswise to come back again to happenings. Now, when the bird-thing did be gone a long way off, I to go forward again with Mine Own, and to have a new care, and to look very swift and frequent everyway.
But in a moment, as it made to draw off, that it should come the more hard upon me, I swung the Diskos very sure and quick, and I smote the Bird-thing above the place where the great seeming-leathern wing did join upon the right side, as it should be the shoulder of the Bird-monster.
And surely, the bird-thing did be scarce an hundred good paces off; and to make two lumbering and monstrous bounds, and to come at me.
They were just in time. From the neighborhood of the corral came an increasing roar. A sudden rush of cool morning wind brought dust and bits of hay and gravel flying in a cloud. A great, wide-winged, teetering bird-thing went racing out into sight, spurned the earth and lifted, climbed steadily, circling like a hungry hawk over a meadow full of mice. "By heck, the boy can fly, all right!"
But I jumpt speedy to this side, and again to that, and so in a moment to have chance to come in surely. And truly I split the skull of the Bird-thing, so that it died very quick and was gone from pain.