Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Part 2 out of 6
small experience, and in these he found the contents much
Among other things he found a sharp hunting knife, on the
keen blade of which he immediately proceeded to cut his
finger. Undaunted he continued his experiments, finding that
he could hack and hew splinters of wood from the table and
chairs with this new toy.
For a long time this amused him, but finally tiring he
continued his explorations. In a cupboard filled with books
he came across one with brightly colored pictures--it was a
child's illustrated alphabet--
A is for Archer
Who shoots with a bow.
B is for Boy,
His first name is Joe.
The pictures interested him greatly.
There were many apes with faces similar to his own, and
further over in the book he found, under "M," some little
monkeys such as he saw daily flitting through the trees of his
primeval forest. But nowhere was pictured any of his own
people; in all the book was none that resembled Kerchak, or
Tublat, or Kala.
At first he tried to pick the little figures from the leaves,
but he soon saw that they were not real, though he knew not
what they might be, nor had he any words to describe them.
The boats, and trains, and cows and horses were quite
meaningless to him, but not quite so baffling as the odd little
figures which appeared beneath and between the colored
pictures--some strange kind of bug he thought they might be,
for many of them had legs though nowhere could he find one
with eyes and a mouth. It was his first introduction to the
letters of the alphabet, and he was over ten years old.
Of course he had never before seen print, or ever had
spoken with any living thing which had the remotest idea that
such a thing as a written language existed, nor ever had he
seen anyone reading.
So what wonder that the little boy was quite at a loss to
guess the meaning of these strange figures.
Near the middle of the book he found his old enemy,
Sabor, the lioness, and further on, coiled Histah, the snake.
Oh, it was most engrossing! Never before in all his ten
years had he enjoyed anything so much. So absorbed was he
that he did not note the approaching dusk, until it was quite
upon him and the figures were blurred.
He put the book back in the cupboard and closed the door,
for he did not wish anyone else to find and destroy his
treasure, and as he went out into the gathering darkness he closed
the great door of the cabin behind him as it had been before
he discovered the secret of its lock, but before he left he had
noticed the hunting knife lying where he had thrown it upon
the floor, and this he picked up and took with him to show to
He had taken scarce a dozen steps toward the jungle when
a great form rose up before him from the shadows of a low
bush. At first he thought it was one of his own people but in
another instant he realized that it was Bolgani, the huge gorilla.
So close was he that there was no chance for flight and
little Tarzan knew that he must stand and fight for his life;
for these great beasts were the deadly enemies of his tribe, and
neither one nor the other ever asked or gave quarter.
Had Tarzan been a full-grown bull ape of the species of
his tribe he would have been more than a match for the gorilla,
but being only a little English boy, though enormously
muscular for such, he stood no chance against his cruel
antagonist. In his veins, though, flowed the blood of the best
of a race of mighty fighters, and back of this was the training
of his short lifetime among the fierce brutes of the jungle.
He knew no fear, as we know it; his little heart beat the
faster but from the excitement and exhilaration of adventure.
Had the opportunity presented itself he would have escaped,
but solely because his judgment told him he was no match
for the great thing which confronted him. And since reason
showed him that successful flight was impossible he met the
gorilla squarely and bravely without a tremor of a single
muscle, or any sign of panic.
In fact he met the brute midway in its charge, striking its
huge body with his closed fists and as futilely as he had been
a fly attacking an elephant. But in one hand he still clutched
the knife he had found in the cabin of his father, and as the
brute, striking and biting, closed upon him the boy accidentally
turned the point toward the hairy breast. As the knife
sank deep into its body the gorilla shrieked in pain and rage.
But the boy had learned in that brief second a use for his
sharp and shining toy, so that, as the tearing, striking beast
dragged him to earth he plunged the blade repeatedly and to
the hilt into its breast.
The gorilla, fighting after the manner of its kind, struck
terrific blows with its open hand, and tore the flesh at the
boy's throat and chest with its mighty tusks.
For a moment they rolled upon the ground in the fierce
frenzy of combat. More and more weakly the torn and bleeding
arm struck home with the long sharp blade, then the little
figure stiffened with a spasmodic jerk, and Tarzan, the young
Lord Greystoke, rolled unconscious upon the dead and decaying
vegetation which carpeted his jungle home.
A mile back in the forest the tribe had heard the fierce
challenge of the gorilla, and, as was his custom when any
danger threatened, Kerchak called his people together, partly
for mutual protection against a common enemy, since this
gorilla might be but one of a party of several, and also to see
that all members of the tribe were accounted for.
It was soon discovered that Tarzan was missing, and Tublat
was strongly opposed to sending assistance. Kerchak himself
had no liking for the strange little waif, so he listened to
Tublat, and, finally, with a shrug of his shoulders, turned
back to the pile of leaves on which he had made his bed.
But Kala was of a different mind; in fact, she had not
waited but to learn that Tarzan was absent ere she was fairly
flying through the matted branches toward the point from
which the cries of the gorilla were still plainly audible.
Darkness had now fallen, and an early moon was sending
its faint light to cast strange, grotesque shadows among the
dense foliage of the forest.
Here and there the brilliant rays penetrated to earth, but
for the most part they only served to accentuate the Stygian
blackness of the jungle's depths.
Like some huge phantom, Kala swung noiselessly from
tree to tree; now running nimbly along a great branch, now
swinging through space at the end of another, only to grasp
that of a farther tree in her rapid progress toward the scene
of the tragedy her knowledge of jungle life told her was being
enacted a short distance before her.
The cries of the gorilla proclaimed that it was in mortal
combat with some other denizen of the fierce wood. Suddenly
these cries ceased, and the silence of death reigned throughout
Kala could not understand, for the voice of Bolgani had at
last been raised in the agony of suffering and death, but
no sound had come to her by which she possibly could determine
the nature of his antagonist.
That her little Tarzan could destroy a great bull gorilla she
knew to be improbable, and so, as she neared the spot from
which the sounds of the struggle had come, she moved more
warily and at last slowly and with extreme caution she
traversed the lowest branches, peering eagerly into the moon-
splashed blackness for a sign of the combatants.
Presently she came upon them, lying in a little open space
full under the brilliant light of the moon--little Tarzan's torn
and bloody form, and beside it a great bull gorilla, stone dead.
With a low cry Kala rushed to Tarzan's side, and gathering the
poor, blood-covered body to her breast, listened for a sign of
life. Faintly she heard it--the weak beating of the little heart.
Tenderly she bore him back through the inky jungle to
where the tribe lay, and for many days and nights she sat
guard beside him, bringing him food and water, and brushing
the flies and other insects from his cruel wounds.
Of medicine or surgery the poor thing knew nothing. She
could but lick the wounds, and thus she kept them cleansed,
that healing nature might the more quickly do her work.
At first Tarzan would eat nothing, but rolled and tossed in
a wild delirium of fever. All he craved was water, and this
she brought him in the only way she could, bearing it in her
No human mother could have shown more unselfish and
sacrificing devotion than did this poor, wild brute for the
little orphaned waif whom fate had thrown into her keeping.
At last the fever abated and the boy commenced to mend.
No word of complaint passed his tight set lips, though the
pain of his wounds was excruciating.
A portion of his chest was laid bare to the ribs, three of
which had been broken by the mighty blows of the gorilla.
One arm was nearly severed by the giant fangs, and a great
piece had been torn from his neck, exposing his jugular vein,
which the cruel jaws had missed but by a miracle.
With the stoicism of the brutes who had raised him he endured
his suffering quietly, preferring to crawl away from the
others and lie huddled in some clump of tall grasses rather
than to show his misery before their eyes.
Kala, alone, he was glad to have with him, but now that he
was better she was gone longer at a time, in search of food;
for the devoted animal had scarcely eaten enough to support
her own life while Tarzan had been so low, and was in
consequence, reduced to a mere shadow of her former self.
The Light of Knowledge
After what seemed an eternity to the little sufferer he was
able to walk once more, and from then on his recovery
was so rapid that in another month he was as strong and
active as ever.
During his convalescence he had gone over in his mind
many times the battle with the gorilla, and his first thought
was to recover the wonderful little weapon which had transformed
him from a hopelessly outclassed weakling to the superior
of the mighty terror of the jungle.
Also, he was anxious to return to the cabin and continue
his investigations of its wondrous contents.
So, early one morning, he set forth alone upon his quest.
After a little search he located the clean-picked bones of his
late adversary, and close by, partly buried beneath the fallen
leaves, he found the knife, now red with rust from its exposure
to the dampness of the ground and from the dried blood
of the gorilla.
He did not like the change in its former bright and gleaming
surface; but it was still a formidable weapon, and one
which he meant to use to advantage whenever the opportunity
presented itself. He had in mind that no more would he
run from the wanton attacks of old Tublat.
In another moment he was at the cabin, and after a short
time had again thrown the latch and entered. His first concern
was to learn the mechanism of the lock, and this he did
by examining it closely while the door was open, so that he
could learn precisely what caused it to hold the door, and by
what means it released at his touch.
He found that he could close and lock the door from
within, and this he did so that there would be no chance
of his being molested while at his investigation.
He commenced a systematic search of the cabin; but his
attention was soon riveted by the books which seemed to
exert a strange and powerful influence over him, so that he
could scarce attend to aught else for the lure of the wondrous
puzzle which their purpose presented to him.
Among the other books were a primer, some child's readers,
numerous picture books, and a great dictionary. All of
these he examined, but the pictures caught his fancy most,
though the strange little bugs which covered the pages where
there were no pictures excited his wonder and deepest thought.
Squatting upon his haunches on the table top in the cabin
his father had built--his smooth, brown, naked little body
bent over the book which rested in his strong slender hands, and
his great shock of long, black hair falling about his well-
shaped head and bright, intelligent eyes--Tarzan of the apes,
little primitive man, presented a picture filled, at once, with
pathos and with promise--an allegorical figure of the primordial
groping through the black night of ignorance toward the
light of learning.
His little face was tense in study, for he had partially
grasped, in a hazy, nebulous way, the rudiments of a thought
which was destined to prove the key and the solution to the
puzzling problem of the strange little bugs.
In his hands was a primer opened at a picture of a little
ape similar to himself, but covered, except for hands and
face, with strange, colored fur, for such he thought the jacket
and trousers to be. Beneath the picture were three little bugs--
And now he had discovered in the text upon the page that
these three were repeated many times in the same sequence.
Another fact he learned--that there were comparatively
few individual bugs; but these were repeated many times,
occasionally alone, but more often in company with others.
Slowly he turned the pages, scanning the pictures and the
text for a repetition of the combination B-O-Y. Presently he
found it beneath a picture of another little ape and a strange
animal which went upon four legs like the jackal and resembled
him not a little. Beneath this picture the bugs appeared as:
A BOY AND A DOG
There they were, the three little bugs which always accompanied
the little ape.
And so he progressed very, very slowly, for it was a hard
and laborious task which he had set himself without knowing
it--a task which might seem to you or me impossible--learning
to read without having the slightest knowledge of letters or
written language, or the faintest idea that such things existed.
He did not accomplish it in a day, or in a week, or in a
month, or in a year; but slowly, very slowly, he learned after
he had grasped the possibilities which lay in those little bugs,
so that by the time he was fifteen he knew the various
combinations of letters which stood for every pictured figure
in the little primer and in one or two of the picture books.
Of the meaning and use of the articles and conjunctions, verbs
and adverbs and pronouns he had but the faintest conception.
One day when he was about twelve he found a number of
lead pencils in a hitherto undiscovered drawer beneath the
table, and in scratching upon the table top with one of them
he was delighted to discover the black line it left behind it.
He worked so assiduously with this new toy that the table
top was soon a mass of scrawly loops and irregular lines and
his pencil-point worn down to the wood. Then he took another
pencil, but this time he had a definite object in view.
He would attempt to reproduce some of the little bugs that
scrambled over the pages of his books.
It was a difficult task, for he held the pencil as one would
grasp the hilt of a dagger, which does not add greatly to ease
in writing or to the legibility of the results.
But he persevered for months, at such times as he was able
to come to the cabin, until at last by repeated experimenting
he found a position in which to hold the pencil that best
permitted him to guide and control it, so that at last he could
roughly reproduce any of the little bugs.
Thus he made a beginning of writing.
Copying the bugs taught him another thing--their number;
and though he could not count as we understand it, yet he
had an idea of quantity, the base of his calculations being
the number of fingers upon one of his hands.
His search through the various books convinced him that
he had discovered all the different kinds of bugs most often
repeated in combination, and these he arranged in proper
order with great ease because of the frequency with which he
had perused the fascinating alphabet picture book.
His education progressed; but his greatest finds were in the
inexhaustible storehouse of the huge illustrated dictionary, for
he learned more through the medium of pictures than text,
even after he had grasped the significance of the bugs.
When he discovered the arrangement of words in alphabetical
order he delighted in searching for and finding the
combinations with which he was familiar, and the words which
followed them, their definitions, led him still further into the
mazes of erudition.
By the time he was seventeen he had learned to read the
simple, child's primer and had fully realized the true and
wonderful purpose of the little bugs.
No longer did he feel shame for his hairless body or his
human features, for now his reason told him that he was of a
different race from his wild and hairy companions. He was a
M-A-N, they were A-P-E-S, and the little apes which scurried
through the forest top were M-O-N-K-E-Y-S. He knew, too,
that old Sabor was a L-I-O-N-E-S-S, and Histah a S-N-A-K-E,
and Tantor an E-L-E-P-H-A-N-T. And so he learned to read.
From then on his progress was rapid. With the help of the
great dictionary and the active intelligence of a healthy mind
endowed by inheritance with more than ordinary reasoning
powers he shrewdly guessed at much which he could not
really understand, and more often than not his guesses were
close to the mark of truth.
There were many breaks in his education, caused by the
migratory habits of his tribe, but even when removed from
his books his active brain continued to search out the
mysteries of his fascinating avocation.
Pieces of bark and flat leaves and even smooth stretches of
bare earth provided him with copy books whereon to scratch
with the point of his hunting knife the lessons he was learning.
Nor did he neglect the sterner duties of life while following
the bent of his inclination toward the solving of the mystery
of his library.
He practiced with his rope and played with his sharp knife,
which he had learned to keep keen by whetting upon flat stones.
The tribe had grown larger since Tarzan had come among
them, for under the leadership of Kerchak they had been
able to frighten the other tribes from their part of the jungle
so that they had plenty to eat and little or no loss from
predatory incursions of neighbors.
Hence the younger males as they became adult found it
more comfortable to take mates from their own tribe, or if
they captured one of another tribe to bring her back to
Kerchak's band and live in amity with him rather than attempt
to set up new establishments of their own, or fight with the
redoubtable Kerchak for supremacy at home.
Occasionally one more ferocious than his fellows would
attempt this latter alternative, but none had come yet who
could wrest the palm of victory from the fierce and brutal ape.
Tarzan held a peculiar position in the tribe. They seemed
to consider him one of them and yet in some way different.
The older males either ignored him entirely or else hated him
so vindictively that but for his wondrous agility and speed
and the fierce protection of the huge Kala he would have
been dispatched at an early age.
Tublat was his most consistent enemy, but it was through
Tublat that, when he was about thirteen, the persecution of
his enemies suddenly ceased and he was left severely alone,
except on the occasions when one of them ran amuck in the
throes of one of those strange, wild fits of insane rage which
attacks the males of many of the fiercer animals of the jungle.
Then none was safe.
On the day that Tarzan established his right to respect, the
tribe was gathered about a small natural amphitheater which
the jungle had left free from its entangling vines and creepers
in a hollow among some low hills.
The open space was almost circular in shape. Upon every
hand rose the mighty giants of the untouched forest, with the
matted undergrowth banked so closely between the huge
trunks that the only opening into the little, level arena was
through the upper branches of the trees.
Here, safe from interruption, the tribe often gathered. In
the center of the amphitheater was one of those strange
earthen drums which the anthropoids build for the queer rites
the sounds of which men have heard in the fastnesses of the
jungle, but which none has ever witnessed.
Many travelers have seen the drums of the great apes, and
some have heard the sounds of their beating and the noise of
the wild, weird revelry of these first lords of the jungle, but
Tarzan, Lord Greystoke, is, doubtless, the only human being
who ever joined in the fierce, mad, intoxicating revel of the
From this primitive function has arisen, unquestionably, all
the forms and ceremonials of modern church and state, for
through all the countless ages, back beyond the uttermost
ramparts of a dawning humanity our fierce, hairy forebears
danced out the rites of the Dum-Dum to the sound of their
earthen drums, beneath the bright light of a tropical moon in
the depth of a mighty jungle which stands unchanged today
as it stood on that long forgotten night in the dim, unthinkable
vistas of the long dead past when our first shaggy ancestor
swung from a swaying bough and dropped lightly upon
the soft turf of the first meeting place.
On the day that Tarzan won his emancipation from the
persecution that had followed him remorselessly for twelve of
his thirteen years of life, the tribe, now a full hundred strong,
trooped silently through the lower terrace of the jungle trees
and dropped noiselessly upon the floor of the amphitheater.
The rites of the Dum-Dum marked important events in the
life of the tribe--a victory, the capture of a prisoner, the
killing of some large fierce denizen of the jungle, the death or
accession of a king, and were conducted with set ceremonialism.
Today it was the killing of a giant ape, a member of another
tribe, and as the people of Kerchak entered the arena
two mighty bulls were seen bearing the body of the
vanquished between them.
They laid their burden before the earthen drum and then
squatted there beside it as guards, while the other members of
the community curled themselves in grassy nooks to sleep
until the rising moon should give the signal for the
commencement of their savage orgy.
For hours absolute quiet reigned in the little clearing,
except as it was broken by the discordant notes of brilliantly
feathered parrots, or the screeching and twittering of the
thousand jungle birds flitting ceaselessly amongst the vivid
orchids and flamboyant blossoms which festooned the myriad,
moss-covered branches of the forest kings.
At length as darkness settled upon the jungle the apes
commenced to bestir themselves, and soon they formed a great
circle about the earthen drum. The females and young squatted
in a thin line at the outer periphery of the circle, while
just in front of them ranged the adult males. Before the drum
sat three old females, each armed with a knotted branch fifteen
or eighteen inches in length.
Slowly and softly they began tapping upon the resounding
surface of the drum as the first faint rays of the ascending
moon silvered the encircling tree tops.
As the light in the amphitheater increased the females
augmented the frequency and force of their blows until presently
a wild, rhythmic din pervaded the great jungle for miles in
every direction. Huge, fierce brutes stopped in their hunting,
with up-pricked ears and raised heads, to listen to the dull
booming that betokened the Dum-Dum of the apes.
Occasionally one would raise his shrill scream or thunderous
roar in answering challenge to the savage din of the
anthropoids, but none came near to investigate or attack, for
the great apes, assembled in all the power of their numbers,
filled the breasts of their jungle neighbors with deep respect.
As the din of the drum rose to almost deafening volume
Kerchak sprang into the open space between the squatting
males and the drummers.
Standing erect he threw his head far back and looking full
into the eye of the rising moon he beat upon his breast with
his great hairy paws and emitted his fearful roaring shriek.
One--twice--thrice that terrifying cry rang out across the
teeming solitude of that unspeakably quick, yet unthinkably
Then, crouching, Kerchak slunk noiselessly around the
open circle, veering far away from the dead body lying before
the altar-drum, but, as he passed, keeping his little,
fierce, wicked, red eyes upon the corpse.
Another male then sprang into the arena, and, repeating
the horrid cries of his king, followed stealthily in his wake.
Another and another followed in quick succession until the
jungle reverberated with the now almost ceaseless notes of
their bloodthirsty screams.
It was the challenge and the hunt.
When all the adult males had joined in the thin line of
circling dancers the attack commenced.
Kerchak, seizing a huge club from the pile which lay at
hand for the purpose, rushed furiously upon the dead ape,
dealing the corpse a terrific blow, at the same time emitting
the growls and snarls of combat. The din of the drum was
now increased, as well as the frequency of the blows, and the
warriors, as each approached the victim of the hunt and
delivered his bludgeon blow, joined in the mad whirl of the
Tarzan was one of the wild, leaping horde. His brown,
sweat-streaked, muscular body, glistening in the moonlight,
shone supple and graceful among the uncouth, awkward,
hairy brutes about him.
None was more stealthy in the mimic hunt, none more
ferocious than he in the wild ferocity of the attack, none
who leaped so high into the air in the Dance of Death.
As the noise and rapidity of the drumbeats increased the
dancers apparently became intoxicated with the wild rhythm
and the savage yells. Their leaps and bounds increased, their
bared fangs dripped saliva, and their lips and breasts were
flecked with foam.
For half an hour the weird dance went on, until, at a sign
from Kerchak, the noise of the drums ceased, the female
drummers scampering hurriedly through the line of dancers
toward the outer rim of squatting spectators. Then, as one,
the males rushed headlong upon the thing which their terrific
blows had reduced to a mass of hairy pulp.
Flesh seldom came to their jaws in satisfying quantities, so
a fit finale to their wild revel was a taste of fresh killed meat,
and it was to the purpose of devouring their late enemy that
they now turned their attention.
Great fangs sunk into the carcass tearing away huge hunks,
the mightiest of the apes obtaining the choicest morsels,
while the weaker circled the outer edge of the fighting,
snarling pack awaiting their chance to dodge in and snatch a
dropped tidbit or filch a remaining bone before all was gone.
Tarzan, more than the apes, craved and needed flesh.
Descended from a race of meat eaters, never in his life, he
thought, had he once satisfied his appetite for animal food;
and so now his agile little body wormed its way far into the
mass of struggling, rending apes in an endeavor to obtain a
share which his strength would have been unequal to the task
of winning for him.
At his side hung the hunting knife of his unknown father
in a sheath self-fashioned in copy of one he had seen among
the pictures of his treasure-books.
At last he reached the fast disappearing feast and with his
sharp knife slashed off a more generous portion than he had
hoped for, an entire hairy forearm, where it protruded from
beneath the feet of the mighty Kerchak, who was so busily
engaged in perpetuating the royal prerogative of gluttony that
he failed to note the act of LESE-MAJESTE.
So little Tarzan wriggled out from beneath the struggling
mass, clutching his grisly prize close to his breast.
Among those circling futilely the outskirts of the banqueters
was old Tublat. He had been among the first at the feast,
but had retreated with a goodly share to eat in quiet, and was
now forcing his way back for more.
So it was that he spied Tarzan as the boy emerged from
the clawing, pushing throng with that hairy forearm hugged
firmly to his body.
Tublat's little, close-set, bloodshot, pig-eyes shot wicked
gleams of hate as they fell upon the object of his loathing. In
them, too, was greed for the toothsome dainty the boy carried.
But Tarzan saw his arch enemy as quickly, and divining
what the great beast would do he leaped nimbly away toward
the females and the young, hoping to hide himself among
them. Tublat, however, was close upon his heels, so that he
had no opportunity to seek a place of concealment, but saw
that he would be put to it to escape at all.
Swiftly he sped toward the surrounding trees and with an
agile bound gained a lower limb with one hand, and then,
transferring his burden to his teeth, he climbed rapidly
upward, closely followed by Tublat.
Up, up he went to the waving pinnacle of a lofty monarch
of the forest where his heavy pursuer dared not follow him.
There he perched, hurling taunts and insults at the raging,
foaming beast fifty feet below him.
And then Tublat went mad.
With horrifying screams and roars he rushed to the
ground, among the females and young, sinking his great
fangs into a dozen tiny necks and tearing great pieces from
the backs and breasts of the females who fell into his
In the brilliant moonlight Tarzan witnessed the whole mad
carnival of rage. He saw the females and the young scamper
to the safety of the trees. Then the great bulls in the center of
the arena felt the mighty fangs of their demented fellow, and
with one accord they melted into the black shadows of the
There was but one in the amphitheater beside Tublat, a
belated female running swiftly toward the tree where Tarzan
perched, and close behind her came the awful Tublat.
It was Kala, and as quickly as Tarzan saw that Tublat was
gaining on her he dropped with the rapidity of a falling
stone, from branch to branch, toward his foster mother.
Now she was beneath the overhanging limbs and close
above her crouched Tarzan, waiting the outcome of the race.
She leaped into the air grasping a low-hanging branch, but
almost over the head of Tublat, so nearly had he distanced
her. She should have been safe now but there was a rending,
tearing sound, the branch broke and precipitated her full
upon the head of Tublat, knocking him to the ground.
Both were up in an instant, but as quick as they had been
Tarzan had been quicker, so that the infuriated bull found
himself facing the man-child who stood between him and Kala.
Nothing could have suited the fierce beast better, and with
a roar of triumph he leaped upon the little Lord Greystoke.
But his fangs never closed in that nut brown flesh.
A muscular hand shot out and grasped the hairy throat,
and another plunged a keen hunting knife a dozen times into
the broad breast. Like lightning the blows fell, and only
ceased when Tarzan felt the limp form crumple beneath him.
As the body rolled to the ground Tarzan of the Apes
placed his foot upon the neck of his lifelong enemy and,
raising his eyes to the full moon, threw back his fierce young
head and voiced the wild and terrible cry of his people.
One by one the tribe swung down from their arboreal retreats
and formed a circle about Tarzan and his vanquished
foe. When they had all come Tarzan turned toward them.
"I am Tarzan," he cried. "I am a great killer. Let all
respect Tarzan of the Apes and Kala, his mother. There be
none among you as mighty as Tarzan. Let his enemies beware."
Looking full into the wicked, red eyes of Kerchak, the
young Lord Greystoke beat upon his mighty breast and
screamed out once more his shrill cry of defiance.
The Tree-top Hunter
The morning after the Dum-Dum the tribe started slowly
back through the forest toward the coast.
The body of Tublat lay where it had fallen, for the people
of Kerchak do not eat their own dead.
The march was but a leisurely search for food. Cabbage
palm and gray plum, pisang and scitamine they found in
abundance, with wild pineapple, and occasionally small mammals,
birds, eggs, reptiles, and insects. The nuts they cracked
between their powerful jaws, or, if too hard, broke by pounding
Once old Sabor, crossing their path, sent them scurrying to
the safety of the higher branches, for if she respected their
number and their sharp fangs, they on their part held her
cruel and mighty ferocity in equal esteem.
Upon a low-hanging branch sat Tarzan directly above the
majestic, supple body as it forged silently through the thick
jungle. He hurled a pineapple at the ancient enemy of his
people. The great beast stopped and, turning, eyed the
taunting figure above her.
With an angry lash of her tail she bared her yellow fangs,
curling her great lips in a hideous snarl that wrinkled her
bristling snout in serried ridges and closed her wicked eyes to
two narrow slits of rage and hatred.
With back-laid ears she looked straight into the eyes of
Tarzan of the Apes and sounded her fierce, shrill challenge.
And from the safety of his overhanging limb the ape-child
sent back the fearsome answer of his kind.
For a moment the two eyed each other in silence, and then
the great cat turned into the jungle, which swallowed her as
the ocean engulfs a tossed pebble.
But into the mind of Tarzan a great plan sprang. He had
killed the fierce Tublat, so was he not therefore a mighty
fighter? Now would he track down the crafty Sabor and slay
her likewise. He would be a mighty hunter, also.
At the bottom of his little English heart beat the great desire
to cover his nakedness with CLOTHES for he had learned
from his picture books that all MEN were so covered, while
MONKEYS and APES and every other living thing went naked.
CLOTHES therefore, must be truly a badge of greatness; the
insignia of the superiority of MAN over all other animals, for
surely there could be no other reason for wearing the hideous
Many moons ago, when he had been much smaller, he had
desired the skin of Sabor, the lioness, or Numa, the lion, or
Sheeta, the leopard to cover his hairless body that he might
no longer resemble hideous Histah, the snake; but now he
was proud of his sleek skin for it betokened his descent from
a mighty race, and the conflicting desires to go naked in
prideful proof of his ancestry, or to conform to the customs
of his own kind and wear hideous and uncomfortable apparel
found first one and then the other in the ascendency.
As the tribe continued their slow way through the forest
after the passing of Sabor, Tarzan's head was filled with
his great scheme for slaying his enemy, and for many days
thereafter he thought of little else.
On this day, however, he presently had other and more
immediate interests to attract his attention.
Suddenly it became as midnight; the noises of the jungle
ceased; the trees stood motionless as though in paralyzed
expectancy of some great and imminent disaster. All nature
waited--but not for long.
Faintly, from a distance, came a low, sad moaning. Nearer
and nearer it approached, mounting louder and louder in volume.
The great trees bent in unison as though pressed earthward
by a mighty hand. Farther and farther toward the ground
they inclined, and still there was no sound save the deep and
awesome moaning of the wind.
Then, suddenly, the jungle giants whipped back, lashing
their mighty tops in angry and deafening protest. A vivid and
blinding light flashed from the whirling, inky clouds above.
The deep cannonade of roaring thunder belched forth its fearsome
challenge. The deluge came--all hell broke loose upon the jungle.
The tribe shivering from the cold rain, huddled at the bases
of great trees. The lightning, darting and flashing through the
blackness, showed wildly waving branches, whipping streamers
and bending trunks.
Now and again some ancient patriarch of the woods, rent
by a flashing bolt, would crash in a thousand pieces among
the surrounding trees, carrying down numberless branches
and many smaller neighbors to add to the tangled confusion
of the tropical jungle.
Branches, great and small, torn away by the ferocity of the
tornado, hurtled through the wildly waving verdure, carrying
death and destruction to countless unhappy denizens of the
thickly peopled world below.
For hours the fury of the storm continued without surcease,
and still the tribe huddled close in shivering fear.
In constant danger from falling trunks and branches and
paralyzed by the vivid flashing of lightning and the
bellowing of thunder they crouched in pitiful misery until
the storm passed.
The end was as sudden as the beginning. The wind ceased,
the sun shone forth--nature smiled once more.
The dripping leaves and branches, and the moist petals of
gorgeous flowers glistened in the splendor of the returning day.
And, so--as Nature forgot, her children forgot also. Busy life
went on as it had been before the darkness and the fright.
But to Tarzan a dawning light had come to explain the
mystery of CLOTHES. How snug he would have been beneath
the heavy coat of Sabor! And so was added a further incentive
to the adventure.
For several months the tribe hovered near the beach where
stood Tarzan's cabin, and his studies took up the greater
portion of his time, but always when journeying through the
forest he kept his rope in readiness, and many were the smaller
animals that fell into the snare of the quick thrown noose.
Once it fell about the short neck of Horta, the boar, and
his mad lunge for freedom toppled Tarzan from the overhanging
limb where he had lain in wait and from whence he
had launched his sinuous coil.
The mighty tusker turned at the sound of his falling body,
and, seeing only the easy prey of a young ape, he lowered his
head and charged madly at the surprised youth.
Tarzan, happily, was uninjured by the fall, alighting catlike
upon all fours far outspread to take up the shock. He was on
his feet in an instant and, leaping with the agility of the
monkey he was, he gained the safety of a low limb as Horta,
the boar, rushed futilely beneath.
Thus it was that Tarzan learned by experience the limitations
as well as the possibilities of his strange weapon.
He lost a long rope on this occasion, but he knew that had
it been Sabor who had thus dragged him from his perch the
outcome might have been very different, for he would have
lost his life, doubtless, into the bargain.
It took him many days to braid a new rope, but when,
finally, it was done he went forth purposely to hunt, and lie
in wait among the dense foliage of a great branch right above
the well-beaten trail that led to water.
Several small animals passed unharmed beneath him. He did
not want such insignificant game. It would take a strong
animal to test the efficacy of his new scheme.
At last came she whom Tarzan sought, with lithe sinews
rolling beneath shimmering hide; fat and glossy came Sabor,
Her great padded feet fell soft and noiseless on the narrow
trail. Her head was high in ever alert attention; her long tail
moved slowly in sinuous and graceful undulations.
Nearer and nearer she came to where Tarzan of the Apes
crouched upon his limb, the coils of his long rope poised
ready in his hand.
Like a thing of bronze, motionless as death, sat Tarzan.
Sabor passed beneath. One stride beyond she took--a second,
a third, and then the silent coil shot out above her.
For an instant the spreading noose hung above her head
like a great snake, and then, as she looked upward to detect
the origin of the swishing sound of the rope, it settled about
her neck. With a quick jerk Tarzan snapped the noose tight
about the glossy throat, and then he dropped the rope and
clung to his support with both hands.
Sabor was trapped.
With a bound the startled beast turned into the jungle, but
Tarzan was not to lose another rope through the same cause
as the first. He had learned from experience. The lioness had
taken but half her second bound when she felt the rope
tighten about her neck; her body turned completely over in
the air and she fell with a heavy crash upon her back. Tarzan
had fastened the end of the rope securely to the trunk of the
great tree on which he sat.
Thus far his plan had worked to perfection, but when he
grasped the rope, bracing himself behind a crotch of two
mighty branches, he found that dragging the mighty, struggling,
clawing, biting, screaming mass of iron-muscled fury up to
the tree and hanging her was a very different proposition.
The weight of old Sabor was immense, and when she braced
her huge paws nothing less than Tantor, the elephant,
himself, could have budged her.
The lioness was now back in the path where she could see
the author of the indignity which had been placed upon her.
Screaming with rage she suddenly charged, leaping high into
the air toward Tarzan, but when her huge body struck the
limb on which Tarzan had been, Tarzan was no longer there.
Instead he perched lightly upon a smaller branch twenty
feet above the raging captive. For a moment Sabor hung half
across the branch, while Tarzan mocked, and hurled twigs
and branches at her unprotected face.
Presently the beast dropped to the earth again and Tarzan
came quickly to seize the rope, but Sabor had now found that
it was only a slender cord that held her, and grasping it in
her huge jaws severed it before Tarzan could tighten the
strangling noose a second time.
Tarzan was much hurt. His well-laid plan had come to
naught, so he sat there screaming at the roaring creature
beneath him and making mocking grimaces at it.
Sabor paced back and forth beneath the tree for hours;
four times she crouched and sprang at the dancing sprite
above her, but might as well have clutched at the illusive
wind that murmured through the tree tops.
At last Tarzan tired of the sport, and with a parting roar
of challenge and a well-aimed ripe fruit that spread soft and
sticky over the snarling face of his enemy, he swung rapidly
through the trees, a hundred feet above the ground, and in a
short time was among the members of his tribe.
Here he recounted the details of his adventure, with swelling
chest and so considerable swagger that he quite impressed
even his bitterest enemies, while Kala fairly danced for joy
Man and Man
Tarzan of the Apes lived on in his wild, jungle existence
with little change for several years, only that he grew
stronger and wiser, and learned from his books more and
more of the strange worlds which lay somewhere outside his
To him life was never monotonous or stale. There was always
Pisah, the fish, to be caught in the many streams and the
little lakes, and Sabor, with her ferocious cousins to keep
one ever on the alert and give zest to every instant that one
spent upon the ground.
Often they hunted him, and more often he hunted them,
but though they never quite reached him with those cruel,
sharp claws of theirs, yet there were times when one could
scarce have passed a thick leaf between their talons and his
Quick was Sabor, the lioness, and quick were Numa and
Sheeta, but Tarzan of the Apes was lightning.
With Tantor, the elephant, he made friends. How? Ask not.
But this is known to the denizens of the jungle, that on
many moonlight nights Tarzan of the Apes and Tantor, the
elephant, walked together, and where the way was clear Tarzan
rode, perched high upon Tantor's mighty back.
Many days during these years he spent in the cabin of his
father, where still lay, untouched, the bones of his parents
and the skeleton of Kala's baby. At eighteen he read
fluently and understood nearly all he read in the many and
varied volumes on the shelves.
Also could he write, with printed letters, rapidly and plainly,
but script he had not mastered, for though there were several
copy books among his treasure, there was so little written
English in the cabin that he saw no use for bothering with this
other form of writing, though he could read it, laboriously.
Thus, at eighteen, we find him, an English lordling, who
could speak no English, and yet who could read and write his
native language. Never had he seen a human being other
than himself, for the little area traversed by his tribe was
watered by no greater river to bring down the savage natives of
High hills shut it off on three sides, the ocean on the
fourth. It was alive with lions and leopards and poisonous
snakes. Its untouched mazes of matted jungle had as yet
invited no hardy pioneer from the human beasts beyond its
But as Tarzan of the Apes sat one day in the cabin of his
father delving into the mysteries of a new book, the ancient
security of his jungle was broken forever.
At the far eastern confine a strange cavalcade strung, in
single file, over the brow of a low hill.
In advance were fifty black warriors armed with slender
wooden spears with ends hard baked over slow fires, and long
bows and poisoned arrows. On their backs were oval shields,
in their noses huge rings, while from the kinky wool of their
heads protruded tufts of gay feathers.
Across their foreheads were tattooed three parallel lines of
color, and on each breast three concentric circles. Their
yellow teeth were filed to sharp points, and their great
protruding lips added still further to the low and bestial
brutishness of their appearance.
Following them were several hundred women and children,
the former bearing upon their heads great burdens of cooking
pots, household utensils and ivory. In the rear were a
hundred warriors, similar in all respects to the advance guard.
That they more greatly feared an attack from the rear than
whatever unknown enemies lurked in their advance was
evidenced by the formation of the column; and such was the
fact, for they were fleeing from the white man's soldiers who
had so harassed them for rubber and ivory that they had
turned upon their conquerors one day and massacred a white
officer and a small detachment of his black troops.
For many days they had gorged themselves on meat, but
eventually a stronger body of troops had come and fallen upon
their village by night to revenge the death of their comrades.
That night the black soldiers of the white man had had
meat a-plenty, and this little remnant of a once powerful
tribe had slunk off into the gloomy jungle toward the
unknown, and freedom.
But that which meant freedom and the pursuit of happiness
to these savage blacks meant consternation and death to
many of the wild denizens of their new home.
For three days the little cavalcade marched slowly through
the heart of this unknown and untracked forest, until finally,
early in the fourth day, they came upon a little spot near the
banks of a small river, which seemed less thickly overgrown
than any ground they had yet encountered.
Here they set to work to build a new village, and in a
month a great clearing had been made, huts and palisades
erected, plantains, yams and maize planted, and they had
taken up their old life in their new home. Here there were no
white men, no soldiers, nor any rubber or ivory to be gathered
for cruel and thankless taskmasters.
Several moons passed by ere the blacks ventured far into
the territory surrounding their new village. Several had
already fallen prey to old Sabor, and because the jungle was so
infested with these fierce and bloodthirsty cats, and with lions
and leopards, the ebony warriors hesitated to trust themselves
far from the safety of their palisades.
But one day, Kulonga, a son of the old king, Mbonga,
wandered far into the dense mazes to the west. Warily he
stepped, his slender lance ever ready, his long oval shield
firmly grasped in his left hand close to his sleek ebony body.
At his back his bow, and in the quiver upon his shield
many slim, straight arrows, well smeared with the thick, dark,
tarry substance that rendered deadly their tiniest needle prick.
Night found Kulonga far from the palisades of his father's
village, but still headed westward, and climbing into the fork
of a great tree he fashioned a rude platform and curled himself
Three miles to the west slept the tribe of Kerchak.
Early the next morning the apes were astir, moving
through the jungle in search of food. Tarzan, as was his
custom, prosecuted his search in the direction of the cabin so
that by leisurely hunting on the way his stomach was filled by
the time he reached the beach.
The apes scattered by ones, and twos, and threes in all
directions, but ever within sound of a signal of alarm.
Kala had moved slowly along an elephant track toward the
east, and was busily engaged in turning over rotted limbs and
logs in search of succulent bugs and fungi, when the faintest
shadow of a strange noise brought her to startled attention.
For fifty yards before her the trail was straight, and down
this leafy tunnel she saw the stealthy advancing figure of a
strange and fearful creature.
It was Kulonga.
Kala did not wait to see more, but, turning, moved rapidly back
along the trail. She did not run; but, after the manner of her
kind when not aroused, sought rather to avoid than to escape.
Close after her came Kulonga. Here was meat. He could
make a killing and feast well this day. On he hurried, his
spear poised for the throw.
At a turning of the trail he came in sight of her again
upon another straight stretch. His spear hand went far back
the muscles rolled, lightning-like, beneath the sleek hide. Out
shot the arm, and the spear sped toward Kala.
A poor cast. It but grazed her side.
With a cry of rage and pain the she-ape turned upon her
tormentor. In an instant the trees were crashing beneath the
weight of her hurrying fellows, swinging rapidly toward the
scene of trouble in answer to Kala's scream.
As she charged, Kulonga unslung his bow and fitted an
arrow with almost unthinkable quickness. Drawing the shaft
far back he drove the poisoned missile straight into the heart
of the great anthropoid.
With a horrid scream Kala plunged forward upon her face
before the astonished members of her tribe.
Roaring and shrieking the apes dashed toward Kulonga,
but that wary savage was fleeing down the trail like a
He knew something of the ferocity of these wild, hairy
men, and his one desire was to put as many miles between
himself and them as he possibly could.
They followed him, racing through the trees, for a long
distance, but finally one by one they abandoned the chase
and returned to the scene of the tragedy.
None of them had ever seen a man before, other than Tarzan,
and so they wondered vaguely what strange manner of
creature it might be that had invaded their jungle.
On the far beach by the little cabin Tarzan heard the faint
echoes of the conflict and knowing that something was
seriously amiss among the tribe he hastened rapidly toward the
direction of the sound.
When he arrived he found the entire tribe gathered jabbering
about the dead body of his slain mother.
Tarzan's grief and anger were unbounded. He roared out
his hideous challenge time and again. He beat upon his great
chest with his clenched fists, and then he fell upon the body
of Kala and sobbed out the pitiful sorrowing of his lonely heart.
To lose the only creature in all his world who ever had
manifested love and affection for him was the greatest
tragedy he had ever known.
What though Kala was a fierce and hideous ape! To Tarzan
she had been kind, she had been beautiful.
Upon her he had lavished, unknown to himself, all the
reverence and respect and love that a normal English boy
feels for his own mother. He had never known another, and
so to Kala was given, though mutely, all that would have
belonged to the fair and lovely Lady Alice had she lived.
After the first outburst of grief Tarzan controlled himself,
and questioning the members of the tribe who had witnessed
the killing of Kala he learned all that their meager vocabulary
It was enough, however, for his needs. It told him of a
strange, hairless, black ape with feathers growing upon its
head, who launched death from a slender branch, and then ran,
with the fleetness of Bara, the deer, toward the rising sun.
Tarzan waited no longer, but leaping into the branches of the
trees sped rapidly through the forest. He knew the windings
of the elephant trail along which Kala's murderer had
flown, and so he cut straight through the jungle to intercept
the black warrior who was evidently following the tortuous
detours of the trail.
At his side was the hunting knife of his unknown sire, and
across his shoulders the coils of his own long rope. In an
hour he struck the trail again, and coming to earth examined
the soil minutely.
In the soft mud on the bank of a tiny rivulet he found
footprints such as he alone in all the jungle had ever made,
but much larger than his. His heart beat fast. Could it be
that he was trailing a MAN--one of his own race?
There were two sets of imprints pointing in opposite directions.
So his quarry had already passed on his return along the
trail. As he examined the newer spoor a tiny particle of
earth toppled from the outer edge of one of the footprints to
the bottom of its shallow depression--ah, the trail was very
fresh, his prey must have but scarcely passed.
Tarzan swung himself to the trees once more, and with
swift noiselessness sped along high above the trail.
He had covered barely a mile when he came upon the
black warrior standing in a little open space. In his hand
was his slender bow to which he had fitted one of his death
Opposite him across the little clearing stood Horta, the
boar, with lowered head and foam flecked tucks, ready to
Tarzan looked with wonder upon the strange creature beneath
him--so like him in form and yet so different in face
and color. His books had portrayed the NEGRO, but how
different had been the dull, dead print to this sleek thing of
ebony, pulsing with life.
As the man stood there with taut drawn bow Tarzan recognized him
not so much the NEGRO as the ARCHER of his picture book--
A stands for Archer
How wonderful! Tarzan almost betrayed his presence in
the deep excitement of his discovery.
But things were commencing to happen below him. The sinewy
black arm had drawn the shaft far back; Horta, the
boar, was charging, and then the black released the little
poisoned arrow, and Tarzan saw it fly with the quickness of
thought and lodge in the bristling neck of the boar.
Scarcely had the shaft left his bow ere Kulonga had fitted
another to it, but Horta, the boar, was upon him so quickly
that he had no time to discharge it. With a bound the black
leaped entirely over the rushing beast and turning with
incredible swiftness planted a second arrow in Horta's back.
Then Kulonga sprang into a near-by tree.
Horta wheeled to charge his enemy once more; a dozen steps
he took, then he staggered and fell upon his side. For a
moment his muscles stiffened and relaxed convulsively, then
he lay still.
Kulonga came down from his tree.
With a knife that hung at his side he cut several large
pieces from the boar's body, and in the center of the trail he
built a fire, cooking and eating as much as he wanted. The
rest he left where it had fallen.
Tarzan was an interested spectator. His desire to kill
burned fiercely in his wild breast, but his desire to learn
was even greater. He would follow this savage creature for a
while and know from whence he came. He could kill him at
his leisure later, when the bow and deadly arrows were laid
When Kulonga had finished his repast and disappeared beyond
a near turning of the path, Tarzan dropped quietly to
the ground. With his knife he severed many strips of meat
from Horta's carcass, but he did not cook them.
He had seen fire, but only when Ara, the lightning, had
destroyed some great tree. That any creature of the jungle
could produce the red-and-yellow fangs which devoured
wood and left nothing but fine dust surprised Tarzan greatly,
and why the black warrior had ruined his delicious repast by
plunging it into the blighting heat was quite beyond him.
Possibly Ara was a friend with whom the Archer was sharing his food.
But, be that as it may, Tarzan would not ruin good meat in
any such foolish manner, so he gobbled down a great quantity
of the raw flesh, burying the balance of the carcass beside
the trail where he could find it upon his return.
And then Lord Greystoke wiped his greasy fingers upon
his naked thighs and took up the trail of Kulonga, the son of
Mbonga, the king; while in far-off London another Lord
Greystoke, the younger brother of the real Lord Greystoke's
father, sent back his chops to the club's CHEF because they
were underdone, and when he had finished his repast he
dipped his finger-ends into a silver bowl of scented water
and dried them upon a piece of snowy damask.
All day Tarzan followed Kulonga, hovering above him in
the trees like some malign spirit. Twice more he saw him
hurl his arrows of destruction--once at Dango, the hyena,
and again at Manu, the monkey. In each instance the animal
died almost instantly, for Kulonga's poison was very fresh
and very deadly.
Tarzan thought much on this wondrous method of slaying
as he swung slowly along at a safe distance behind his
quarry. He knew that alone the tiny prick of the arrow could
not so quickly dispatch these wild things of the jungle, who
were often torn and scratched and gored in a frightful manner
as they fought with their jungle neighbors, yet as often
recovered as not.
No, there was something mysterious connected with these
tiny slivers of wood which could bring death by a mere
scratch. He must look into the matter.
That night Kulonga slept in the crotch of a mighty tree
and far above him crouched Tarzan of the Apes.
When Kulonga awoke he found that his bow and arrows
had disappeared. The black warrior was furious and
frightened, but more frightened than furious. He searched
the ground below the tree, and he searched the tree above the
ground; but there was no sign of either bow or arrows or of
the nocturnal marauder.
Kulonga was panic-stricken. His spear he had hurled at
Kala and had not recovered; and, now that his bow and arrows
were gone, he was defenseless except for a single knife.
His only hope lay in reaching the village of Mbonga as
quickly as his legs would carry him.
That he was not far from home he was certain, so he took
the trail at a rapid trot.
From a great mass of impenetrable foliage a few yards
away emerged Tarzan of the Apes to swing quietly in his wake.
Kulonga's bow and arrows were securely tied high in the
top of a giant tree from which a patch of bark had been
removed by a sharp knife near to the ground, and a branch
half cut through and left hanging about fifty feet higher up.
Thus Tarzan blazed the forest trails and marked his caches.
As Kulonga continued his journey Tarzan closed on him
until he traveled almost over the black's head. His rope he
now held coiled in his right hand; he was almost ready for
The moment was delayed only because Tarzan was anxious to
ascertain the black warrior's destination, and presently he
was rewarded, for they came suddenly in view of a great
clearing, at one end of which lay many strange lairs.
Tarzan was directly over Kulonga, as he made the discovery.
The forest ended abruptly and beyond lay two hundred
yards of planted fields between the jungle and the village.
Tarzan must act quickly or his prey would be gone; but
Tarzan's life training left so little space between decision and
action when an emergency confronted him that there was not
even room for the shadow of a thought between.
So it was that as Kulonga emerged from the shadow of the
jungle a slender coil of rope sped sinuously above him from
the lowest branch of a mighty tree directly upon the edge of
the fields of Mbonga, and ere the king's son had taken a half
dozen steps into the clearing a quick noose tightened about
So quickly did Tarzan of the Apes drag back his prey that
Kulonga's cry of alarm was throttled in his windpipe. Hand
over hand Tarzan drew the struggling black until he had him
hanging by his neck in mid-air; then Tarzan climbed to a
larger branch drawing the still threshing victim well up into
the sheltering verdure of the tree.
Here he fastened the rope securely to a stout branch, and
then, descending, plunged his hunting knife into Kulonga's
heart. Kala was avenged.
Tarzan examined the black minutely, for he had never
seen any other human being. The knife with its sheath and
belt caught his eye; he appropriated them. A copper anklet
also took his fancy, and this he transferred to his own leg.
He examined and admired the tattooing on the forehead
and breast. He marveled at the sharp filed teeth.
He investigated and appropriated the feathered headdress,
and then he prepared to get down to business, for Tarzan
of the Apes was hungry, and here was meat; meat of the kill,
which jungle ethics permitted him to eat.
How may we judge him, by what standards, this ape-man
with the heart and head and body of an English gentleman,
and the training of a wild beast?
Tublat, whom he had hated and who had hated him, he
had killed in a fair fight, and yet never had the thought of
eating Tublat's flesh entered his head. It could have been as
revolting to him as is cannibalism to us.
But who was Kulonga that he might not be eaten as fairly
as Horta, the boar, or Bara, the deer? Was he not simply
another of the countless wild things of the jungle who preyed
upon one another to satisfy the cravings of hunger?
Suddenly, a strange doubt stayed his hand. Had not his
books taught him that he was a man? And was not The
Archer a man, also?
Did men eat men? Alas, he did not know. Why, then, this
hesitancy! Once more he essayed the effort, but a qualm of
nausea overwhelmed him. He did not understand.
All he knew was that he could not eat the flesh of this
black man, and thus hereditary instinct, ages old, usurped the
functions of his untaught mind and saved him from transgressing
a worldwide law of whose very existence he was ignorant.
Quickly he lowered Kulonga's body to the ground, removed
the noose, and took to the trees again.
From a lofty perch Tarzan viewed the village of thatched
huts across the intervening plantation.
He saw that at one point the forest touched the village, and
to this spot he made his way, lured by a fever of curiosity
to behold animals of his own kind, and to learn more of
their ways and view the strange lairs in which they lived.
His savage life among the fierce wild brutes of the jungle
left no opening for any thought that these could be aught else
than enemies. Similarity of form led him into no erroneous
conception of the welcome that would be accorded him
should he be discovered by these, the first of his own kind he
had ever seen.
Tarzan of the Apes was no sentimentalist. He knew nothing
of the brotherhood of man. All things outside his own
tribe were his deadly enemies, with the few exceptions of
which Tantor, the elephant, was a marked example.
And he realized all this without malice or hatred. To kill
was the law of the wild world he knew. Few were his primitive
pleasures, but the greatest of these was to hunt and kill,
and so he accorded to others the right to cherish the same
desires as he, even though he himself might be the object of
His strange life had left him neither morose nor bloodthirsty.
That he joyed in killing, and that he killed with a joyous
laugh upon his handsome lips betokened no innate cruelty.
He killed for food most often, but, being a man, he sometimes
killed for pleasure, a thing which no other animal does;
for it has remained for man alone among all creatures to kill
senselessly and wantonly for the mere pleasure of inflicting
suffering and death.
And when he killed for revenge, or in self-defense, he did
that also without hysteria, for it was a very businesslike
proceeding which admitted of no levity.
So it was that now, as he cautiously approached the village of
Mbonga, he was quite prepared either to kill or be killed should
he be discovered. He proceeded with unwonted stealth, for Kulonga
had taught him great respect for the little sharp splinters of
wood which dealt death so swiftly and unerringly.
At length he came to a great tree, heavy laden with thick
foliage and loaded with pendant loops of giant creepers.
From this almost impenetrable bower above the village he
crouched, looking down upon the scene below him, wondering
over every feature of this new, strange life.
There were naked children running and playing in the village
street. There were women grinding dried plantain in
crude stone mortars, while others were fashioning cakes from
the powdered flour. Out in the fields he could see still other
women hoeing, weeding, or gathering.
All wore strange protruding girdles of dried grass about
their hips and many were loaded with brass and copper
anklets, armlets and bracelets. Around many a dusky neck hung
curiously coiled strands of wire, while several were further
ornamented by huge nose rings.
Tarzan of the Apes looked with growing wonder at these
strange creatures. Dozing in the shade he saw several men,
while at the extreme outskirts of the clearing he occasionally
caught glimpses of armed warriors apparently guarding the
village against surprise from an attacking enemy.
He noticed that the women alone worked. Nowhere was
there evidence of a man tilling the fields or performing
any of the homely duties of the village.
Finally his eyes rested upon a woman directly beneath him.
Before her was a small cauldron standing over a low fire
and in it bubbled a thick, reddish, tarry mass. On one side of
her lay a quantity of wooden arrows the points of which she
dipped into the seething substance, then laying them upon a
narrow rack of boughs which stood upon her other side.
Tarzan of the Apes was fascinated. Here was the secret of
the terrible destructiveness of The Archer's tiny missiles.
He noted the extreme care which the woman took that none of
the matter should touch her hands, and once when a particle
spattered upon one of her fingers he saw her plunge the
member into a vessel of water and quickly rub the tiny stain
away with a handful of leaves.
Tarzan knew nothing of poison, but his shrewd reasoning
told him that it was this deadly stuff that killed, and not the
little arrow, which was merely the messenger that carried it
into the body of its victim.
How he should like to have more of those little death-dealing
slivers. If the woman would only leave her work for an
instant he could drop down, gather up a handful, and be
back in the tree again before she drew three breaths.
As he was trying to think out some plan to distract her
attention he heard a wild cry from across the clearing. He
looked and saw a black warrior standing beneath the very
tree in which he had killed the murderer of Kala an hour before.
The fellow was shouting and waving his spear above his
head. Now and again he would point to something on the
ground before him.
The village was in an uproar instantly. Armed men rushed
from the interior of many a hut and raced madly across the
clearing toward the excited sentry. After them trooped the
old men, and the women and children until, in a moment, the
village was deserted.
Tarzan of the Apes knew that they had found the body of
his victim, but that interested him far less than the fact that
no one remained in the village to prevent his taking a supply
of the arrows which lay below him.
Quickly and noiselessly he dropped to the ground beside
the cauldron of poison. For a moment he stood motionless,
his quick, bright eyes scanning the interior of the palisade.
No one was in sight. His eyes rested upon the open doorway
of a nearby hut. He would take a look within, thought Tarzan,
and so, cautiously, he approached the low thatched building.
For a moment he stood without, listening intently. There was
no sound, and he glided into the semi-darkness of the interior.
Weapons hung against the walls--long spears, strangely
shaped knives, a couple of narrow shields. In the center of
the room was a cooking pot, and at the far end a litter of dry
grasses covered by woven mats which evidently served the
owners as beds and bedding. Several human skulls lay upon
Tarzan of the Apes felt of each article, hefted the spears,
smelled of them, for he "saw" largely through his sensitive
and highly trained nostrils. He determined to own one of
these long, pointed sticks, but he could not take one on this
trip because of the arrows he meant to carry.
As he took each article from the walls, he placed it in a
pile in the center of the room. On top of all he placed the
cooking pot, inverted, and on top of this he laid one of the
grinning skulls, upon which he fastened the headdress of the
Then he stood back, surveyed his work, and grinned.
Tarzan of the Apes enjoyed a joke.
But now he heard, outside, the sounds of many voices, and
long mournful howls, and mighty wailing. He was startled.
Had he remained too long? Quickly he reached the doorway
and peered down the village street toward the village gate.
The natives were not yet in sight, though he could plainly
hear them approaching across the plantation. They must be
Like a flash he sprang across the opening to the pile of arrows.
Gathering up all he could carry under one arm, he overturned
the seething cauldron with a kick, and disappeared into
the foliage above just as the first of the returning natives
entered the gate at the far end of the village street. Then he
turned to watch the proceeding below, poised like some wild
bird ready to take swift wing at the first sign of danger.
The natives filed up the street, four of them bearing the
dead body of Kulonga. Behind trailed the women, uttering
strange cries and weird lamentation. On they came to the
portals of Kulonga's hut, the very one in which Tarzan had
wrought his depredations.
Scarcely had half a dozen entered the building ere they
came rushing out in wild, jabbering confusion. The others
hastened to gather about. There was much excited gesticulating,
pointing, and chattering; then several of the warriors
approached and peered within.
Finally an old fellow with many ornaments of metal about
his arms and legs, and a necklace of dried human hands
depending upon his chest, entered the hut.
It was Mbonga, the king, father of Kulonga.
For a few moments all was silent. Then Mbonga emerged,
a look of mingled wrath and superstitious fear writ upon his
hideous countenance. He spoke a few words to the assembled
warriors, and in an instant the men were flying through the
little village searching minutely every hut and corner within
Scarcely had the search commenced than the overturned
cauldron was discovered, and with it the theft of the poisoned
arrows. Nothing more they found, and it was a thoroughly
awed and frightened group of savages which huddled around
their king a few moments later.
Mbonga could explain nothing of the strange events that
had taken place. The finding of the still warm body of
Kulonga--on the very verge of their fields and within easy
earshot of the village--knifed and stripped at the door of
his father's home, was in itself sufficiently mysterious, but
these last awesome discoveries within the village, within the
dead Kulonga's own hut, filled their hearts with dismay, and
conjured in their poor brains only the most frightful of
They stood in little groups, talking in low tones, and ever
casting affrighted glances behind them from their great
Tarzan of the Apes watched them for a while from his
lofty perch in the great tree. There was much in their
demeanor which he could not understand, for of superstition
he was ignorant, and of fear of any kind he had but a vague
The sun was high in the heavens. Tarzan had not broken
fast this day, and it was many miles to where lay the
toothsome remains of Horta the boar.
So he turned his back upon the village of Mbonga and
melted away into the leafy fastness of the forest.
"King of the Apes"
It was not yet dark when he reached the tribe, though he
stopped to exhume and devour the remains of the wild
boar he had cached the preceding day, and again to take
Kulonga's bow and arrows from the tree top in which he had
It was a well-laden Tarzan who dropped from the branches
into the midst of the tribe of Kerchak.
With swelling chest he narrated the glories of his adventure
and exhibited the spoils of conquest.
Kerchak grunted and turned away, for he was jealous of
this strange member of his band. In his little evil brain he
sought for some excuse to wreak his hatred upon Tarzan.
The next day Tarzan was practicing with his bow and arrows
at the first gleam of dawn. At first he lost nearly every
bolt he shot, but finally he learned to guide the little shafts
with fair accuracy, and ere a month had passed he was no
mean shot; but his proficiency had cost him nearly his entire
supply of arrows.
The tribe continued to find the hunting good in the vicinity
of the beach, and so Tarzan of the Apes varied his archery
practice with further investigation of his father's choice
though little store of books.
It was during this period that the young English lord found
hidden in the back of one of the cupboards in the cabin a
small metal box. The key was in the lock, and a few moments
of investigation and experimentation were rewarded
with the successful opening of the receptacle.
In it he found a faded photograph of a smooth faced
young man, a golden locket studded with diamonds, linked to
a small gold chain, a few letters and a small book.
Tarzan examined these all minutely.
The photograph he liked most of all, for the eyes were
smiling, and the face was open and frank. It was his father.
The locket, too, took his fancy, and he placed the chain
about his neck in imitation of the ornamentation he had seen
to be so common among the black men he had visited. The
brilliant stones gleamed strangely against his smooth, brown hide.
The letters he could scarcely decipher for he had learned
little or nothing of script, so he put them back in the box
with the photograph and turned his attention to the book.
This was almost entirely filled with fine script, but while
the little bugs were all familiar to him, their arrangement and
the combinations in which they occurred were strange, and
Tarzan had long since learned the use of the dictionary,
but much to his sorrow and perplexity it proved of no avail
to him in this emergency. Not a word of all that was writ in
the book could he find, and so he put it back in the metal
box, but with a determination to work out the mysteries of it
Little did he know that this book held between its covers
the key to his origin--the answer to the strange riddle of
his strange life. It was the diary of John Clayton, Lord
Greystoke--kept in French, as had always been his custom.
Tarzan replaced the box in the cupboard, but always thereafter
he carried the features of the strong, smiling face of his
father in his heart, and in his head a fixed determination to
solve the mystery of the strange words in the little black book.
At present he had more important business in hand, for his
supply of arrows was exhausted, and he must needs journey
to the black men's village and renew it.
Early the following morning he set out, and, traveling
rapidly, he came before midday to the clearing. Once more he
took up his position in the great tree, and, as before, he saw
the women in the fields and the village street, and the cauldron
of bubbling poison directly beneath him.
For hours he lay awaiting his opportunity to drop down
unseen and gather up the arrows for which he had come; but
nothing now occurred to call the villagers away from their
homes. The day wore on, and still Tarzan of the Apes
crouched above the unsuspecting woman at the cauldron.
Presently the workers in the fields returned. The hunting
warriors emerged from the forest, and when all were within
the palisade the gates were closed and barred.
Many cooking pots were now in evidence about the village.
Before each hut a woman presided over a boiling stew, while
little cakes of plantain, and cassava puddings were to be seen
on every hand.
Suddenly there came a hail from the edge of the clearing.
It was a party of belated hunters returning from the north,
and among them they half led, half carried a struggling animal.
As they approached the village the gates were thrown open
to admit them, and then, as the people saw the victim of the
chase, a savage cry rose to the heavens, for the quarry was a man.
As he was dragged, still resisting, into the village street, the
women and children set upon him with sticks and stones, and
Tarzan of the Apes, young and savage beast of the jungle,
wondered at the cruel brutality of his own kind.
Sheeta, the leopard, alone of all the jungle folk, tortured
his prey. The ethics of all the others meted a quick and
merciful death to their victims.
Tarzan had learned from his books but scattered fragments
of the ways of human beings.
When he had followed Kulonga through the forest he had
expected to come to a city of strange houses on wheels,
puffing clouds of black smoke from a huge tree stuck in the
roof of one of them--or to a sea covered with mighty floating
buildings which he had learned were called, variously, ships
and boats and steamers and craft.
He had been sorely disappointed with the poor little village
of the blacks, hidden away in his own jungle, and with not a
single house as large as his own cabin upon the distant beach.
He saw that these people were more wicked than his own apes,
and as savage and cruel as Sabor, herself. Tarzan began
to hold his own kind in low esteem.
Now they had tied their poor victim to a great post near
the center of the village, directly before Mbonga's hut, and
here they formed a dancing, yelling circle of warriors about
him, alive with flashing knives and menacing spears.
In a larger circle squatted the women, yelling and beating
upon drums. It reminded Tarzan of the Dum-Dum, and so he
knew what to expect. He wondered if they would spring upon
their meat while it was still alive. The Apes did not do such
things as that.
The circle of warriors about the cringing captive drew closer
and closer to their prey as they danced in wild and savage
abandon to the maddening music of the drums. Presently
a spear reached out and pricked the victim. It was the signal
for fifty others.
Eyes, ears, arms and legs were pierced; every inch of the
poor writhing body that did not cover a vital organ became
the target of the cruel lancers.
The women and children shrieked their delight.
The warriors licked their hideous lips in anticipation of the
feast to come, and vied with one another in the savagery and
loathsomeness of the cruel indignities with which they tortured
the still conscious prisoner.
Then it was that Tarzan of the Apes saw his chance. All eyes
were fixed upon the thrilling spectacle at the stake. The
light of day had given place to the darkness of a moonless night,
and only the fires in the immediate vicinity of the orgy had
been kept alight to cast a restless glow upon the restless scene.
Gently the lithe boy dropped to the soft earth at the end of
the village street. Quickly he gathered up the arrows--all of
them this time, for he had brought a number of long fibers to
bind them into a bundle.
Without haste he wrapped them securely, and then, ere he
turned to leave, the devil of capriciousness entered his heart.
He looked about for some hint of a wild prank to play upon
these strange, grotesque creatures that they might be again
aware of his presence among them.
Dropping his bundle of arrows at the foot of the tree, Tarzan
crept among the shadows at the side of the street until he
came to the same hut he had entered on the occasion of his
Inside all was darkness, but his groping hands soon found
the object for which he sought, and without further delay he
turned again toward the door.
He had taken but a step, however, ere his quick ear caught
the sound of approaching footsteps immediately without. In
another instant the figure of a woman darkened the entrance
of the hut.
Tarzan drew back silently to the far wall, and his hand
sought the long, keen hunting knife of his father. The woman
came quickly to the center of the hut. There she paused for
an instant feeling about with her hands for the thing she
sought. Evidently it was not in its accustomed place, for she
explored ever nearer and nearer the wall where Tarzan stood.
So close was she now that the ape-man felt the animal
warmth of her naked body. Up went the hunting knife, and
then the woman turned to one side and soon a guttural "ah"
proclaimed that her search had at last been successful.
Immediately she turned and left the hut, and as she passed
through the doorway Tarzan saw that she carried a cooking
pot in her hand.
He followed closely after her, and as he reconnoitered
from the shadows of the doorway he saw that all the women
of the village were hastening to and from the various huts
with pots and kettles. These they were filling with water and
placing over a number of fires near the stake where the dying
victim now hung, an inert and bloody mass of suffering.
Choosing a moment when none seemed near, Tarzan hastened
to his bundle of arrows beneath the great tree at
the end of the village street. As on the former occasion he
overthrew the cauldron before leaping, sinuous and catlike,
into the lower branches of the forest giant.
Silently he climbed to a great height until he found a point
where he could look through a leafy opening upon the scene
The women were now preparing the prisoner for their cooking
pots, while the men stood about resting after the fatigue of
their mad revel. Comparative quiet reigned in the village.
Tarzan raised aloft the thing he had pilfered from the hut,
and, with aim made true by years of fruit and coconut throwing,
launched it toward the group of savages.
Squarely among them it fell, striking one of the warriors
full upon the head and felling him to the ground. Then it
rolled among the women and stopped beside the half-butchered
thing they were preparing to feast upon.
All gazed in consternation at it for an instant, and then,
with one accord, broke and ran for their huts.
It was a grinning human skull which looked up at them from
the ground. The dropping of the thing out of the open sky
was a miracle well aimed to work upon their superstitious fears.
Thus Tarzan of the Apes left them filled with terror at this
new manifestation of the presence of some unseen and unearthly
evil power which lurked in the forest about their village.
Later, when they discovered the overturned cauldron, and
that once more their arrows had been pilfered, it commenced
to dawn upon them that they had offended some great god by
placing their village in this part of the jungle without
propitiating him. From then on an offering of food was daily
placed below the great tree from whence the arrows had
disappeared in an effort to conciliate the mighty one.
But the seed of fear was deep sown, and had he but known
it, Tarzan of the Apes had laid the foundation for much
future misery for himself and his tribe.
That night he slept in the forest not far from the village,
and early the next morning set out slowly on his homeward
march, hunting as he traveled. Only a few berries and an
occasional grub worm rewarded his search, and he was half
famished when, looking up from a log he had been rooting
beneath, he saw Sabor, the lioness, standing in the center
of the trail not twenty paces from him.
The great yellow eyes were fixed upon him with a wicked
and baleful gleam, and the red tongue licked the longing lips
as Sabor crouched, worming her stealthy way with belly
flattened against the earth.
Tarzan did not attempt to escape. He welcomed the
opportunity for which, in fact, he had been searching for
days past, now that he was armed with something more than a
rope of grass.
Quickly he unslung his bow and fitted a well-daubed arrow,
and as Sabor sprang, the tiny missile leaped to meet her
in mid-air. At the same instant Tarzan of the Apes jumped
to one side, and as the great cat struck the ground beyond
him another death-tipped arrow sunk deep into Sabor's loin.
With a mighty roar the beast turned and charged once
more, only to be met with a third arrow full in one eye; but
this time she was too close to the ape-man for the latter to
sidestep the onrushing body.
Tarzan of the Apes went down beneath the great body of
his enemy, but with gleaming knife drawn and striking home.
For a moment they lay there, and then Tarzan realized that
the inert mass lying upon him was beyond power ever again
to injure man or ape.
With difficulty he wriggled from beneath the great weight,
and as he stood erect and gazed down upon the trophy of his
skill, a mighty wave of exultation swept over him.
With swelling breast, he placed a foot upon the body of his
powerful enemy, and throwing back his fine young head,
roared out the awful challenge of the victorious bull ape.
The forest echoed to the savage and triumphant paean.
Birds fell still, and the larger animals and beasts of prey
slunk stealthily away, for few there were of all the jungle
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