No mortal had ever seen the Martians, but they had heard their whisperings—without knowing the terrible secret they kept hidden.
t Bill. "How many men in the camp wear number-twelve shoes?"
"We'll find out soon enough."
All this time we hadn't mentioned Larsen. Not one word about Larsen, not one spoken word. Cheating, yes. Lying, and treacherous disloyalty, and viciousness, and spite. Fights around the campfires at midnight, battered faces and broken wrists and a cursing that never ceased. All that we could blame on Larsen. But a harmless little guy lying dead by a well in a spreading pool of blood--that was an outrage that stopped us dead in our legend-making tracks.
There is something in the human mind which recoils from too outrageous a deception. How wonderful it would have been to say, "Larsen was here again last night. He found a little guy who had never harmed anyone standing by a well in the moonlight. Just for sheer delight he decided to kill the little guy right then and there." Just to add luster to the legend, just to send a thrill of excitement about the camp.
No, that would have been the lie co