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Chapter 3 The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw by Edgar Rice Burroughs

My suggestion was a joke, of course, but Stade was in deadly earnest once he got started. I wasn't much help, I'm afraid, after the first couple of days, for I came down with a queer combination of chills and fever that had me light-headed most of the time. But I worked when I could.
It took us two weeks to build a rude hut of saplings and chink it with clay. It had a fireplace and a bench for the queer paraphernalia that Stade had brought along—more gadgets than you could shake a stick at. Then it took us another two weeks to chip our cave man out of the ice. We had to be careful; there was danger of breaking him.

I'm the one who gave our corpse his name. There in the ice, with his skin-clad body and his hairy face, he looked like a big lantern-jawed grizzly I'd seen one time up the Yellowstone. Jimber-Jaw had been the grizzly's name, and that's what I called our discovery. That fever had me so dizzy, I tell you, that I felt like a man on a spree most of the time.

Anyway, we worked all around our frozen subject, leaving him encased in a small block of the glacier. Then we lowered him to the ground, floated him across the river, and dragged him up to the laboratory on a crude sled we had built for that purpose.

All the time we were working on him we did a lot of thinking. I kept on treating the whole thing as a sort of joke, but Stade grew more grimly serious with every day. He worked with a furious driving energy that swept me along. Nights, by the fire, he would talk on and on about the memories that were locked in that frozen brain. What sights had those ice-cased eyes beheld in the days when the world was young? What loves, what hates had stirred that mighty breast?

Here was a creature that had lived in the days of the mammoth and the sabre-tooth and the great flying monsters. He had survived against the odds, with only a stone spear and a stone knife against a predatory world, until the cold of the great glacier had captured and overpowered him.

Stade said he had been hunting and that he had been caught in a blizzard. Numb with cold, he had at last dropped down on the chill ice, succumbing to that inevitable urge to sleep that overtakes all freezing men. For fifty thousand years he had slept on, undisturbed. (Lord, how I sometimes envied him!)

I was pretty well played out by the time the final test arrived. My temperature was well past 102°, and I walked around in a semi-delirium most of the morning. But Stade insisted that he needed me, that I had to stay on my feet. He crammed me full of quinine and whiskey and I went on a singing jag. I remembered the words to some of the old songs that I thought I'd forgotten.

That's why there are parts of that day that I remember distinctly and other parts that are only a hazy blank.

Stade built a roaring blaze in the fireplace and our laboratory-hut was oven warm. The propeller of the plane, idling, kept the air of the room in circulation, blowing wind through an opening in the wall that had been built for that purpose. I helped to prop our subject in front of the fire, then slumped back, all groggy, and left the rest to Stade. It was his picnic.

He kept turning Jimber-Jaw over—first one side then the other toward the fire—until the ice was all melted. Then the body commenced to warm.

I stopped my singing long enough to get sensible. I shook the fog out of my brain and stared at Stade. I knew perfectly well that the best we could expect was that in due course our prehistoric statue would turn blue and commence to smell, but for some reason I couldn't fight off my mounting excitement. Stade's tension had got into my blood. The big doctor was trying to be the cool and collected man-of-science and failing miserably in the attempt. His eyes blazed and his big body was taut with tension. His fingers trembled as he lit a cigarette, and the half-smile on his lips was a nervous grimace, frozen there.

I chuckled. "What if he does come to life, doc?" I asked. "You thought of that? You thought what it's going to mean to old Jimber to be fifty thousand years away from all his friends? You thought of what he may do to us?"

It was amusing to imagine that and I laughed at the notion. "What sort of people were the men of the old Stone Age?" I went on. "We named this baby after a grizzly bear and he certainly looks the part. He looks like a guy who would have definite ideas about strangers who waken people to whom they haven't been introduced—people who've been peacefully sleeping for fifty thousand years. Suppose he acts up, doc?"

Stade shrugged. Devil-fire danced in his eyes. "Do you really think he'll come to life, Pat?" he whispered.

"You ought to know—you're the doctor."

He nodded. "Well, theoretically he should. It's not impossible.... Come on, sit over here, Pat."

Stade bent over me, half-smiling, and his eyes burned down into mine. He didn't say anything and neither did I. Then he practically carried me across the room and propped me in a chair.

The rest of it is rather hazy. I saw it all clearly enough—I remember the whole scene now as vividly as on that day—but it was all like a vision through a pale gray veil. Like something seen through a spirit disembodied. Perhaps it was my fever and the whiskey; I still don't know.
First Stade gave Big Jim a blood transfusion, using me as the donor. After that he injected an adrenalin chloride solution into the belly. The doctor crouched over the slumped body and turned a tense face to stare at me. His eyes were lambent fire. Suddenly he jerked back to his patient and I heard his startled gasp.

Jimber-Jaw opened his mouth and yawned!

I felt as if all the giants in the world had slapped me across the face. My breath caught and I couldn't see for a moment. Stade peered at me as if for confirmation, and I nodded. I have never in my life felt such a weight of responsibility. Why in the devil's name hadn't the man stayed frozen—why hadn't he started to decay? Now that he had shown signs of life we had to go on. It would have been murder not to finish what we started. I remember thinking dizzily: It wouldn't be right to murder a man who was born fifty thousand years ago....

Stade injected an ounce and a half of anterior pituitary fluid. Big Jim scowled and wiggled his fingers. He was definitely alive, and it frightened me. I almost whimpered. It was like messing around with business that belongs only to God.

Stade filled his hypodermic with posterior pituitary fluid and gave our discovery a shot of that. For a second nothing happened. Then the man of the old Stone Age turned over and tried to sit up. Stade let a yell out of him and I began to grow fainter and fainter.

As in a dream I saw Stade push him back gently and speak soothingly. I coudn't hear what he said. Then the doctor injected sex hormones from sheep and squared his shoulders triumphantly. He came toward me, eyes glowing, and about that time I passed completely out of the picture....

It was dark when I came to again. I had a splitting headache, my arm was sore as a boil, but otherwise I was okay again. Those fever attacks of mine have a way of vanishing swiftly. Stade was sitting at the table, shirt-sleeved, with a bottle at his elbow.
"How long have I been passed out?" I demanded.

"Three-four hours."

"What day is this?"

He frowned at me. "What's the matter, Pat? Have you gone completely haywire?"

I sat up—and then I saw the figure on the bench. It hadn't been a bad dream after all. Apparently Stade had stripped the soggy skins from Jimber-Jaw, and he was wrapped in our blankets from the ship, peacefully sleeping. I went across to him and touched the bare shoulder lightly—real flesh. I could see his chest rise and fall, could hear his breathing. Slowly I went back to my home-made chair and sank down in it. I put my face in my hands and tried to think. At last I looked up and met Stade's level stare. He shrugged and I nodded.

We had worked a miracle—and now we were stuck with it.

Big Jim was a fine specimen of a man, about six-feet-three and beautifully muscled. Beneath his beard he appeared to have good and regular features, though perhaps the jaw was a little heavy. Stade thought he might be in his twenties. He certainly was not old.

Some two hours later our guest from the past sat up and looked at us. A scowl darkened his forehead, and he looked about him quickly as though for his weapons. But they weren't there—Stade had seen to that. He tried to get up, but he was too weak.

"Take it easy, pal," I told him and he finally sprawled back. For a while he watched us from eyes that were wide and calm and animal-alert. Then he went to sleep again.

He was a pretty sick boy for a long time. We both thought he'd never pull through. All the time we nursed him like a baby and took care of him; and by the time he commenced to convalesce he seemed to have gained confidence in us. He no longer scowled or shrank away or looked for his weapons when we came around; he smiled at us now, and it was a mighty winning smile.

At first he had been delirious; he talked a lot in a strange tongue that we couldn't make head nor tail of. A soft, liquid tongue with l's and vowels flowing through it; but low, like a deep river. There was one word that he repeated often in his delirium—lilami. The way he said it sounded sometimes like a prayer and sometimes like a wail of anguish.

I had repaired the carburetor. There was nothing serious the matter with it—just clogged and jammed up a little. We could have gone on as soon as our flood receded but there was Jimber-Jaw—whose name we had shortened to "Jim." We couldn't leave him to die, and he was too sick to take along; so we stayed with him. We never even discussed the matter much—just took it for granted that the responsibility was ours, and stuck along.

Stade was, of course, elated by the success of this first practical demonstration of the soundness of his theory. I don't believe you could have dragged him away from Jim with an ox team. Yet as the days went on the good doctor seemed to draw farther back into a shell of reserve. The training of our charge was mainly left to my hands.

The fact that we couldn't talk with Jim irked me. There were so many questions I wanted to ask him. Just think of it! Here was a man of the old Stone Age who could have told us all about conditions in the Pleistocene, fifty thousand years ago, perhaps; and I couldn't exchange a single thought with him. But we set out to cure that.

As soon as he was strong enough, we commenced to teach him English. At first it was aggravatingly slow work; but Jim proved an apt pupil, and as soon as he had a little foundation he progressed rapidly. He had a marvelous memory. He never forgot anything—once he had a thing, he had it.

No use reviewing the long weeks of his convalescence and education. He recovered fully, and he learned to speak English—excellent English, for Stade was a highly cultured man and a scholar. It was just as well that Jim didn't learn his English from me—barracks and hangars are not the places to acquire academic English.
If Jim was a curiosity to us, imagine what we must have been to him. The little one-room shack we had built and in which he had convalesced was an architectural marvel beyond the limits of his imagining. He told us that his people lived in caves; and he thought that this was a strange cave that we had found, until we explained that we had built it.

Our clothing intrigued him; our weapons were a never ending source of wonderment. The first time I took him hunting with me and shot game, he was astounded. Perhaps he was frightened by the noise and the smoke and the sudden death of the quarry; but if he were, he never let on. Jim never showed fear; perhaps he never felt fear. Alone, armed only with a stone-shod spear and a stone knife, he had been hunting the great red bear when the glacier had claimed him. He told us about it.

"The day before you found me," he said, "I was hunting the great red bear. The wind blew; the snow and sleet drove against me. I could not see. I did not know in which direction I was going. I became very tired. I knew that if I lay down I should sleep and never awaken; but at last I could stand it no longer, and I lay down. If you had not come the next day, I should have died." How could we make him understand that his yesterday was fifty thousand years ago?

Eventually we succeeded in a way, though I doubt if he ever fully appreciated the tremendous lapse of time that had intervened since he started from his father's cave to hunt the great red bear.

When he first realized that he was a long way from that day and that it and his times could never be recalled, he again voiced that single word—lilami. It was almost a sob. I had never dreamed that so much heart-ache, so much longing could be encompassed within a single word.

I asked him what it meant.

He was a long time in answering. He seemed to be trying to control his emotions, which was unusual for Big Jim. Ordinarily he appeared never to have emotions. One day he told me why. A great warrior never let his face betray anger or pain or sorrow. You will notice that he didn't mention fear. Sometimes I think he had never learned what fear is. Before a youth was admitted to the warrior class, he was tortured to make certain that he could control his emotions.

But to get back to lilami:

At last he spoke: "Lilami is a girl—was a girl. She was to have been my mate when I came back with the head of the great red bear. Where is she now, Pat Morgan?"

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There was a question! If we hadn't discovered Jim and thawed him out, Lilami wouldn't have been even a memory. "Try not to think about her, old man," I said. "You'll never see Lilami again—not in this world."

"Yes, I will," he replied. "If I am not dead, Lilami is not dead. I shall find her."