The Beasts of Tarzan
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Part 2 out of 4
The trip was uneventful, the wind held, and after ten hours'
steady sailing the black shadows of the coast loomed close before
the straining eyes of the ape-man in the bow. It was far too dark
to distinguish whether they had approached close to the mouth of
the Ugambi or not, so Tarzan ran in through the surf at the closest
point to await the dawn.
The dugout turned broadside the instant that its nose touched the
sand, and immediately it rolled over, with all its crew scrambling
madly for the shore. The next breaker rolled them over and over,
but eventually they all succeeded in crawling to safety, and in a
moment more their ungainly craft had been washed up beside them.
The balance of the night the apes sat huddled close to one another
for warmth; while Mugambi built a fire close to them over which he
crouched. Tarzan and Sheeta, however, were of a different mind,
for neither of them feared the jungle night, and the insistent
craving of their hunger sent them off into the Stygian blackness
of the forest in search of prey.
Side by side they walked when there was room for two abreast.
At other times in single file, first one and then the other in
advance. It was Tarzan who first caught the scent of meat--a bull
buffalo--and presently the two came stealthily upon the sleeping
beast in the midst of a dense jungle of reeds close to a river.
Closer and closer they crept toward the unsuspecting beast, Sheeta
upon his right side and Tarzan upon his left nearest the great
heart. They had hunted together now for some time, so that they
worked in unison, with only low, purring sounds as signals.
For a moment they lay quite silent near their prey, and then at a
sign from the ape-man Sheeta sprang upon the great back, burying
his strong teeth in the bull's neck. Instantly the brute sprang
to his feet with a bellow of pain and rage, and at the same instant
Tarzan rushed in upon his left side with the stone knife, striking
repeatedly behind the shoulder.
One of the ape-man's hands clutched the thick mane, and as the
bull raced madly through the reeds the thing striking at his life
was dragged beside him. Sheeta but clung tenaciously to his hold
upon the neck and back, biting deep in an effort to reach the spine.
For several hundred yards the bellowing bull carried his two savage
antagonists, until at last the blade found his heart, when with a
final bellow that was half-scream he plunged headlong to the earth.
Then Tarzan and Sheeta feasted to repletion.
After the meal the two curled up together in a thicket, the man's
black head pillowed upon the tawny side of the panther. Shortly
after dawn they awoke and ate again, and then returned to the beach
that Tarzan might lead the balance of the pack to the kill.
When the meal was done the brutes were for curling up to sleep, so
Tarzan and Mugambi set off in search of the Ugambi River. They had
proceeded scarce a hundred yards when they came suddenly upon a
broad stream, which the Negro instantly recognized as that down which
he and his warriors had paddled to the sea upon their ill-starred
The two now followed the stream down to the ocean, finding that it
emptied into a bay not over a mile from the point upon the beach
at which the canoe had been thrown the night before.
Tarzan was much elated by the discovery, as he knew that in the
vicinity of a large watercourse he should find natives, and from
some of these he had little doubt but that he should obtain news
of Rokoff and the child, for he felt reasonably certain that the
Russian would rid himself of the baby as quickly as possible after
having disposed of Tarzan.
He and Mugambi now righted and launched the dugout, though it was a
most difficult feat in the face of the surf which rolled continuously
in upon the beach; but at last they were successful, and soon after
were paddling up the coast toward the mouth of the Ugambi. Here
they experienced considerable difficulty in making an entrance
against the combined current and ebb tide, but by taking advantage
of eddies close in to shore they came about dusk to a point nearly
opposite the spot where they had left the pack asleep.
Making the craft fast to an overhanging bough, the two made their
way into the jungle, presently coming upon some of the apes feeding
upon fruit a little beyond the reeds where the buffalo had fallen.
Sheeta was not anywhere to be seen, nor did he return that night,
so that Tarzan came to believe that he had wandered away in search
of his own kind.
Early the next morning the ape-man led his band down to the
river, and as he walked he gave vent to a series of shrill cries.
Presently from a great distance and faintly there came an answering
scream, and a half-hour later the lithe form of Sheeta bounded into
view where the others of the pack were clambering gingerly into
The great beast, with arched back and purring like a contented tabby,
rubbed his sides against the ape-man, and then at a word from the
latter sprang lightly to his former place in the bow of the dugout.
When all were in place it was discovered that two of the apes of
Akut were missing, and though both the king ape and Tarzan called
to them for the better part of an hour, there was no response, and
finally the boat put off without them. As it happened that the
two missing ones were the very same who had evinced the least desire
to accompany the expedition from the island, and had suffered the
most from fright during the voyage, Tarzan was quite sure that they
had absented themselves purposely rather than again enter the canoe.
As the party were putting in for the shore shortly after noon to
search for food a slender, naked savage watched them for a moment
from behind the dense screen of verdure which lined the river's
bank, then he melted away up-stream before any of those in the
canoe discovered him.
Like a deer he bounded along the narrow trail until, filled with
the excitement of his news, he burst into a native village several
miles above the point at which Tarzan and his pack had stopped to
"Another white man is coming!" he cried to the chief who squatted
before the entrance to his circular hut. "Another white man, and
with him are many warriors. They come in a great war-canoe to
kill and rob as did the black-bearded one who has just left us."
Kaviri leaped to his feet. He had but recently had a taste of the
white man's medicine, and his savage heart was filled with bitterness
and hate. In another moment the rumble of the war-drums rose from
the village, calling in the hunters from the forest and the tillers
from the fields.
Seven war-canoes were launched and manned by paint-daubed, befeathered
warriors. Long spears bristled from the rude battle-ships, as they
slid noiselessly over the bosom of the water, propelled by giant
muscles rolling beneath glistening, ebony hides.
There was no beating of tom-toms now, nor blare of native horn,
for Kaviri was a crafty warrior, and it was in his mind to take
no chances, if they could be avoided. He would swoop noiselessly
down with his seven canoes upon the single one of the white man,
and before the guns of the latter could inflict much damage upon
his people he would have overwhelmed the enemy by force of numbers.
Kaviri's own canoe went in advance of the others a short distance,
and as it rounded a sharp bend in the river where the swift current
bore it rapidly on its way it came suddenly upon the thing that
So close were the two canoes to one another that the black had only
an opportunity to note the white face in the bow of the oncoming
craft before the two touched and his own men were upon their feet,
yelling like mad devils and thrusting their long spears at the
occupants of the other canoe.
But a moment later, when Kaviri was able to realize the nature of
the crew that manned the white man's dugout, he would have given
all the beads and iron wire that he possessed to have been safely
within his distant village. Scarcely had the two craft come together
than the frightful apes of Akut rose, growling and barking, from the
bottom of the canoe, and, with long, hairy arms far outstretched,
grasped the menacing spears from the hands of Kaviri's warriors.
The blacks were overcome with terror, but there was nothing to do
other than to fight. Now came the other war-canoes rapidly down
upon the two craft. Their occupants were eager to join the battle,
for they thought that their foes were white men and their native
They swarmed about Tarzan's craft; but when they saw the nature of
the enemy all but one turned and paddled swiftly upriver. That
one came too close to the ape-man's craft before its occupants
realized that their fellows were pitted against demons instead
of men. As it touched Tarzan spoke a few low words to Sheeta and
Akut, so that before the attacking warriors could draw away there
sprang upon them with a blood-freezing scream a huge panther, and
into the other end of their canoe clambered a great ape.
At one end the panther wrought fearful havoc with his mighty talons
and long, sharp fangs, while Akut at the other buried his yellow
canines in the necks of those that came within his reach, hurling
the terror-stricken blacks overboard as he made his way toward the
centre of the canoe.
Kaviri was so busily engaged with the demons that had entered his
own craft that he could offer no assistance to his warriors in the
other. A giant of a white devil had wrested his spear from him as
though he, the mighty Kaviri, had been but a new-born babe. Hairy
monsters were overcoming his fighting men, and a black chieftain
like himself was fighting shoulder to shoulder with the hideous
pack that opposed him.
Kaviri battled bravely against his antagonist, for he felt that
death had already claimed him, and so the least that he could do
would be to sell his life as dearly as possible; but it was soon
evident that his best was quite futile when pitted against the
superhuman brawn and agility of the creature that at last found
his throat and bent him back into the bottom of the canoe.
Presently Kaviri's head began to whirl--objects became confused
and dim before his eyes--there was a great pain in his chest as
he struggled for the breath of life that the thing upon him was
shutting off for ever. Then he lost consciousness.
When he opened his eyes once more he found, much to his surprise,
that he was not dead. He lay, securely bound, in the bottom of
his own canoe. A great panther sat upon its haunches, looking down
Kaviri shuddered and closed his eyes again, waiting for the ferocious
creature to spring upon him and put him out of his misery of terror.
After a moment, no rending fangs having buried themselves in his
trembling body, he again ventured to open his eyes. Beyond the
panther kneeled the white giant who had overcome him.
The man was wielding a paddle, while directly behind him Kaviri saw
some of his own warriors similarly engaged. Back of them again
squatted several of the hairy apes.
Tarzan, seeing that the chief had regained consciousness, addressed
"Your warriors tell me that you are the chief of a numerous people,
and that your name is Kaviri," he said.
"Yes," replied the black.
"Why did you attack me? I came in peace."
"Another white man `came in peace' three moons ago," replied Kaviri;
"and after we had brought him presents of a goat and cassava and
milk, he set upon us with his guns and killed many of my people,
and then went on his way, taking all of our goats and many of our
young men and women."
"I am not as this other white man," replied Tarzan. "I should
not have harmed you had you not set upon me. Tell me, what was
the face of this bad white man like? I am searching for one who
has wronged me. Possibly this may be the very one."
"He was a man with a bad face, covered with a great, black beard,
and he was very, very wicked--yes, very wicked indeed."
"Was there a little white child with him?" asked Tarzan, his heart
almost stopped as he awaited the black's answer.
"No, bwana," replied Kaviri, "the white child was not with this
man's party--it was with the other party."
"Other party!" exclaimed Tarzan. "What other party?"
"With the party that the very bad white man was pursuing. There
was a white man, woman, and the child, with six Mosula porters.
They passed up the river three days ahead of the very bad white
man. I think that they were running away from him."
A white man, woman, and child! Tarzan was puzzled. The child must
be his little Jack; but who could the woman be--and the man? Was
it possible that one of Rokoff's confederates had conspired with
some woman--who had accompanied the Russian--to steal the baby from
If this was the case, they had doubtless purposed returning the
child to civilization and there either claiming a reward or holding
the little prisoner for ransom.
But now that Rokoff had succeeded in chasing them far inland, up
the savage river, there could be little doubt but that he would
eventually overhaul them, unless, as was still more probable, they
should be captured and killed by the very cannibals farther up the
Ugambi, to whom, Tarzan was now convinced, it had been Rokoff's
intention to deliver the baby.
As he talked to Kaviri the canoes had been moving steadily up-river
toward the chief's village. Kaviri's warriors plied the paddles
in the three canoes, casting sidelong, terrified glances at their
hideous passengers. Three of the apes of Akut had been killed in
the encounter, but there were, with Akut, eight of the frightful
beasts remaining, and there was Sheeta, the panther, and Tarzan
Kaviri's warriors thought that they had never seen so terrible a
crew in all their lives. Momentarily they expected to be pounced
upon and torn asunder by some of their captors; and, in fact,
it was all that Tarzan and Mugambi and Akut could do to keep the
snarling, ill-natured brutes from snapping at the glistening, naked
bodies that brushed against them now and then with the movements
of the paddlers, whose very fear added incitement to the beasts.
At Kaviri's camp Tarzan paused only long enough to eat the food
that the blacks furnished, and arrange with the chief for a dozen
men to man the paddles of his canoe.
Kaviri was only too glad to comply with any demands that the ape-man
might make if only such compliance would hasten the departure of
the horrid pack; but it was easier, he discovered, to promise men
than to furnish them, for when his people learned his intentions
those that had not already fled into the jungle proceeded to do
so without loss of time, so that when Kaviri turned to point out
those who were to accompany Tarzan, he discovered that he was the
only member of his tribe left within the village.
Tarzan could not repress a smile.
"They do not seem anxious to accompany us," he said; "but just
remain quietly here, Kaviri, and presently you shall see your people
flocking to your side."
Then the ape-man rose, and, calling his pack about him, commanded
that Mugambi remain with Kaviri, and disappeared in the jungle with
Sheeta and the apes at his heels.
For half an hour the silence of the grim forest was broken only
by the ordinary sounds of the teeming life that but adds to its
lowering loneliness. Kaviri and Mugambi sat alone in the palisaded
Presently from a great distance came a hideous sound. Mugambi
recognized the weird challenge of the ape-man. Immediately from
different points of the compass rose a horrid semicircle of similar
shrieks and screams, punctuated now and again by the blood-curdling
cry of a hungry panther.
The two savages, Kaviri and Mugambi, squatting before the entrance
to Kaviri's hut, looked at one another--Kaviri with ill-concealed
"What is it?" he whispered.
"It is Bwana Tarzan and his people," replied Mugambi. "But what
they are doing I know not, unless it be that they are devouring
your people who ran away."
Kaviri shuddered and rolled his eyes fearfully toward the jungle.
In all his long life in the savage forest he had never heard such
an awful, fearsome din.
Closer and closer came the sounds, and now with them were mingled
the terrified shrieks of women and children and of men. For twenty
long minutes the blood-curdling cries continued, until they seemed
but a stone's throw from the palisade. Kaviri rose to flee,
but Mugambi seized and held him, for such had been the command of
A moment later a horde of terrified natives burst from the jungle,
racing toward the shelter of their huts. Like frightened sheep
they ran, and behind them, driving them as sheep might be driven,
came Tarzan and Sheeta and the hideous apes of Akut.
Presently Tarzan stood before Kaviri, the old quiet smile upon his
"Your people have returned, my brother," he said, "and now you may
select those who are to accompany me and paddle my canoe."
Tremblingly Kaviri tottered to his feet, calling to his people to
come from their huts; but none responded to his summons.
"Tell them," suggested Tarzan, "that if they do not come I shall
send my people in after them."
Kaviri did as he was bid, and in an instant the entire population
of the village came forth, their wide and frightened eyes rolling
from one to another of the savage creatures that wandered about
the village street.
Quickly Kaviri designated a dozen warriors to accompany Tarzan.
The poor fellows went almost white with terror at the prospect of
close contact with the panther and the apes in the narrow confines
of the canoes; but when Kaviri explained to them that there was
no escape--that Bwana Tarzan would pursue them with his grim horde
should they attempt to run away from the duty--they finally went
gloomily down to the river and took their places in the canoe.
It was with a sigh of relief that their chieftain saw the party
disappear about a headland a short distance up-river.
For three days the strange company continued farther and farther
into the heart of the savage country that lies on either side of
the almost unexplored Ugambi. Three of the twelve warriors deserted
during that time; but as several of the apes had finally learned
the secret of the paddles, Tarzan felt no dismay because of the
As a matter of fact, he could have travelled much more rapidly on
shore, but he believed that he could hold his own wild crew together
to better advantage by keeping them to the boat as much as possible.
Twice a day they landed to hunt and feed, and at night they slept
upon the bank of the mainland or on one of the numerous little
islands that dotted the river.
Before them the natives fled in alarm, so that they found only
deserted villages in their path as they proceeded. Tarzan was
anxious to get in touch with some of the savages who dwelt upon
the river's banks, but so far he had been unable to do so.
Finally he decided to take to the land himself, leaving his company
to follow after him by boat. He explained to Mugambi the thing
that he had in mind, and told Akut to follow the directions of the
"I will join you again in a few days," he said. "Now I go ahead
to learn what has become of the very bad white man whom I seek."
At the next halt Tarzan took to the shore, and was soon lost to
the view of his people.
The first few villages he came to were deserted, showing that news
of the coming of his pack had travelled rapidly; but toward evening
he came upon a distant cluster of thatched huts surrounded by a
rude palisade, within which were a couple of hundred natives.
The women were preparing the evening meal as Tarzan of the Apes
poised above them in the branches of a giant tree which overhung
the palisade at one point.
The ape-man was at a loss as to how he might enter into communication
with these people without either frightening them or arousing their
savage love of battle. He had no desire to fight now, for he was
upon a much more important mission than that of battling with every
chance tribe that he should happen to meet with.
At last he hit upon a plan, and after seeing that he was concealed
from the view of those below, he gave a few hoarse grunts in
imitation of a panther. All eyes immediately turned upward toward
the foliage above.
It was growing dark, and they could not penetrate the leafy screen
which shielded the ape-man from their view. The moment that he had
won their attention he raised his voice to the shriller and more
hideous scream of the beast he personated, and then, scarce stirring
a leaf in his descent, dropped to the ground once again outside
the palisade, and, with the speed of a deer, ran quickly round to
the village gate.
Here he beat upon the fibre-bound saplings of which the barrier
was constructed, shouting to the natives in their own tongue that
he was a friend who wished food and shelter for the night.
Tarzan knew well the nature of the black man. He was aware that
the grunting and screaming of Sheeta in the tree above them would
set their nerves on edge, and that his pounding upon their gate
after dark would still further add to their terror.
That they did not reply to his hail was no surprise, for natives
are fearful of any voice that comes out of the night from beyond
their palisades, attributing it always to some demon or other
ghostly visitor; but still he continued to call.
"Let me in, my friends!" he cried. "I am a white man pursuing the
very bad white man who passed this way a few days ago. I follow
to punish him for the sins he has committed against you and me.
"If you doubt my friendship, I will prove it to you by going into
the tree above your village and driving Sheeta back into the jungle
before he leaps among you. If you will not promise to take me in
and treat me as a friend I shall let Sheeta stay and devour you."
For a moment there was silence. Then the voice of an old man came
out of the quiet of the village street.
"If you are indeed a white man and a friend, we will let you come
in; but first you must drive Sheeta away."
"Very well," replied Tarzan. "Listen, and you shall hear Sheeta
fleeing before me."
The ape-man returned quickly to the tree, and this time he made a
great noise as he entered the branches, at the same time growling
ominously after the manner of the panther, so that those below
would believe that the great beast was still there.
When he reached a point well above the village street he made a
great commotion, shaking the tree violently, crying aloud to the
panther to flee or be killed, and punctuating his own voice with
the screams and mouthings of an angry beast.
Presently he raced toward the opposite side of the tree and off into
the jungle, pounding loudly against the boles of trees as he went,
and voicing the panther's diminishing growls as he drew farther
and farther away from the village.
A few minutes later he returned to the village gate, calling to
the natives within.
"I have driven Sheeta away," he said. "Now come and admit me as
For a time there was the sound of excited discussion within the
palisade, but at length a half-dozen warriors came and opened the
gates, peering anxiously out in evident trepidation as to the nature
of the creature which they should find waiting there. They were
not much relieved at sight of an almost naked white man; but when
Tarzan had reassured them in quiet tones, protesting his friendship
for them, they opened the barrier a trifle farther and admitted
When the gates had been once more secured the self-confidence of
the savages returned, and as Tarzan walked up the village street
toward the chief's hut he was surrounded by a host of curious men,
women, and children.
From the chief he learned that Rokoff had passed up the river
a week previous, and that he had horns growing from his forehead,
and was accompanied by a thousand devils. Later the chief said
that the very bad white man had remained a month in his village.
Though none of these statements agreed with Kaviri's, that the
Russian was but three days gone from the chieftain's village and
that his following was much smaller than now stated, Tarzan was in
no manner surprised at the discrepancies, for he was quite familiar
with the savage mind's strange manner of functioning.
What he was most interested in knowing was that he was upon the right
trail, and that it led toward the interior. In this circumstance
he knew that Rokoff could never escape him.
After several hours of questioning and cross-questioning the ape-man
learned that another party had preceded the Russian by several
days--three whites--a man, a woman, and a little man-child, with
Tarzan explained to the chief that his people would follow him
in a canoe, probably the next day, and that though he might go on
ahead of them the chief was to receive them kindly and have no fear
of them, for Mugambi would see that they did not harm the chief's
people, if they were accorded a friendly reception.
"And now," he concluded, "I shall lie down beneath this tree and
sleep. I am very tired. Permit no one to disturb me."
The chief offered him a hut, but Tarzan, from past experience
of native dwellings, preferred the open air, and, further, he had
plans of his own that could be better carried out if he remained
beneath the tree. He gave as his reason a desire to be close at
hand should Sheeta return, and after this explanation the chief
was very glad to permit him to sleep beneath the tree.
Tarzan had always found that it stood him in good stead to leave
with natives the impression that he was to some extent possessed
of more or less miraculous powers. He might easily have entered
their village without recourse to the gates, but he believed that
a sudden and unaccountable disappearance when he was ready to leave
them would result in a more lasting impression upon their childlike
minds, and so as soon as the village was quiet in sleep he rose,
and, leaping into the branches of the tree above him, faded silently
into the black mystery of the jungle night.
All the balance of that night the ape-man swung rapidly through the
upper and middle terraces of the forest. When the going was good
there he preferred the upper branches of the giant trees, for then
his way was better lighted by the moon; but so accustomed were
all his senses to the grim world of his birth that it was possible
for him, even in the dense, black shadows near the ground, to move
with ease and rapidity. You or I walking beneath the arcs of Main
Street, or Broadway, or State Street, could not have moved more
surely or with a tenth the speed of the agile ape-man through the
gloomy mazes that would have baffled us entirely.
At dawn he stopped to feed, and then he slept for several hours,
taking up the pursuit again toward noon.
Twice he came upon natives, and, though he had considerable
difficulty in approaching them, he succeeded in each instance in
quieting both their fears and bellicose intentions toward him, and
learned from them that he was upon the trail of the Russian.
Two days later, still following up the Ugambi, he came upon a large
village. The chief, a wicked-looking fellow with the sharp-filed
teeth that often denote the cannibal, received him with apparent
The ape-man was now thoroughly fatigued, and had determined to
rest for eight or ten hours that he might be fresh and strong when
he caught up with Rokoff, as he was sure he must do within a very
The chief told him that the bearded white man had left his village
only the morning before, and that doubtless he would be able to
overtake him in a short time. The other party the chief had not
seen or heard of, so he said.
Tarzan did not like the appearance or manner of the fellow, who
seemed, though friendly enough, to harbour a certain contempt for
this half-naked white man who came with no followers and offered
no presents; but he needed the rest and food that the village would
afford him with less effort than the jungle, and so, as he knew no
fear of man, beast, or devil, he curled himself up in the shadow
of a hut and was soon asleep.
Scarcely had he left the chief than the latter called two of his
warriors, to whom he whispered a few instructions. A moment later
the sleek, black bodies were racing along the river path, up-stream,
toward the east.
In the village the chief maintained perfect quiet. He would permit
no one to approach the sleeping visitor, nor any singing, nor loud
talking. He was remarkably solicitous lest his guest be disturbed.
Three hours later several canoes came silently into view from up
the Ugambi. They were being pushed ahead rapidly by the brawny
muscles of their black crews. Upon the bank before the river
stood the chief, his spear raised in a horizontal position above
his head, as though in some manner of predetermined signal to those
within the boats.
And such indeed was the purpose of his attitude--which meant that
the white stranger within his village still slept peacefully.
In the bows of two of the canoes were the runners that the chief
had sent forth three hours earlier. It was evident that they had
been dispatched to follow and bring back this party, and that the
signal from the bank was one that had been determined upon before
they left the village.
In a few moments the dugouts drew up to the verdure-clad bank. The
native warriors filed out, and with them a half-dozen white men.
Sullen, ugly-looking customers they were, and none more so than
the evil-faced, black-bearded man who commanded them.
"Where is the white man your messengers report to be with you?" he
asked of the chief.
"This way, bwana," replied the native. "Carefully have I kept
silence in the village that he might be still asleep when you
returned. I do not know that he is one who seeks you to do you
harm, but he questioned me closely about your coming and your going,
and his appearance is as that of the one you described, but whom
you believed safe in the country which you called Jungle Island.
"Had you not told me this tale I should not have recognized him,
and then he might have gone after and slain you. If he is a friend
and no enemy, then no harm has been done, bwana; but if he proves
to be an enemy, I should like very much to have a rifle and some
"You have done well," replied the white man, "and you shall have
the rifle and ammunition whether he be a friend or enemy, provided
that you stand with me."
"I shall stand with you, bwana," said the chief, "and now come and
look upon the stranger, who sleeps within my village."
So saying, he turned and led the way toward the hut, in the shadow
of which the unconscious Tarzan slept peacefully.
Behind the two men came the remaining whites and a score of warriors;
but the raised forefingers of the chief and his companion held them
all to perfect silence.
As they turned the corner of the hut, cautiously and upon tiptoe,
an ugly smile touched the lips of the white as his eyes fell upon
the giant figure of the sleeping ape-man.
The chief looked at the other inquiringly. The latter nodded his
head, to signify that the chief had made no mistake in his suspicions.
Then he turned to those behind him and, pointing to the sleeping
man, motioned for them to seize and bind him.
A moment later a dozen brutes had leaped upon the surprised Tarzan,
and so quickly did they work that he was securely bound before he
could make half an effort to escape.
Then they threw him down upon his back, and as his eyes turned
toward the crowd that stood near, they fell upon the malign face
of Nikolas Rokoff.
A sneer curled the Russian's lips. He stepped quite close to
"Pig!" he cried. "Have you not learned sufficient wisdom to keep
away from Nikolas Rokoff?"
Then he kicked the prostrate man full in the face.
"That for your welcome," he said.
"Tonight, before my Ethiop friends eat you, I shall tell you what
has already befallen your wife and child, and what further plans
I have for their futures."
The Dance of Death
Through the luxuriant, tangled vegetation of the Stygian jungle
night a great lithe body made its way sinuously and in utter silence
upon its soft padded feet. Only two blazing points of yellow-green
flame shone occasionally with the reflected light of the equatorial
moon that now and again pierced the softly sighing roof rustling
in the night wind.
Occasionally the beast would stop with high-held nose, sniffing
searchingly. At other times a quick, brief incursion into the
branches above delayed it momentarily in its steady journey toward
the east. To its sensitive nostrils came the subtle unseen spoor
of many a tender four-footed creature, bringing the slaver of hunger
to the cruel, drooping jowl.
But steadfastly it kept on its way, strangely ignoring the cravings
of appetite that at another time would have sent the rolling,
fur-clad muscles flying at some soft throat.
All that night the creature pursued its lonely way, and the next
day it halted only to make a single kill, which it tore to fragments
and devoured with sullen, grumbling rumbles as though half famished
for lack of food.
It was dusk when it approached the palisade that surrounded a large
native village. Like the shadow of a swift and silent death it
circled the village, nose to ground, halting at last close to the
palisade, where it almost touched the backs of several huts. Here
the beast sniffed for a moment, and then, turning its head upon
one side, listened with up-pricked ears.
What it heard was no sound by the standards of human ears, yet
to the highly attuned and delicate organs of the beast a message
seemed to be borne to the savage brain. A wondrous transformation
was wrought in the motionless mass of statuesque bone and muscle
that had an instant before stood as though carved out of the living
As if it had been poised upon steel springs, suddenly released, it
rose quickly and silently to the top of the palisade, disappearing,
stealthily and catlike, into the dark space between the wall and
the back of an adjacent hut.
In the village street beyond women were preparing many little fires
and fetching cooking-pots filled with water, for a great feast
was to be celebrated ere the night was many hours older. About
a stout stake near the centre of the circling fires a little knot
of black warriors stood conversing, their bodies smeared with white
and blue and ochre in broad and grotesque bands. Great circles
of colour were drawn about their eyes and lips, their breasts and
abdomens, and from their clay-plastered coiffures rose gay feathers
and bits of long, straight wire.
The village was preparing for the feast, while in a hut at one side
of the scene of the coming orgy the bound victim of their bestial
appetites lay waiting for the end. And such an end!
Tarzan of the Apes, tensing his mighty muscles, strained at the
bonds that pinioned him; but they had been re-enforced many times
at the instigation of the Russian, so that not even the ape-man's
giant brawn could budge them.
Tarzan had looked the Hideous Hunter in the face many a time, and
smiled. And he would smile again tonight when he knew the end was
coming quickly; but now his thoughts were not of himself, but of
those others--the dear ones who must suffer most because of his
Jane would never know the manner of it. For that he thanked Heaven;
and he was thankful also that she at least was safe in the heart
of the world's greatest city. Safe among kind and loving friends
who would do their best to lighten her misery.
But the boy!
Tarzan writhed at the thought of him. His son! And now he--the
mighty Lord of the Jungle--he, Tarzan, King of the Apes, the only
one in all the world fitted to find and save the child from the
horrors that Rokoff's evil mind had planned--had been trapped like
a silly, dumb creature. He was to die in a few hours, and with
him would go the child's last chance of succour.
Rokoff had been in to see and revile and abuse him several times
during the afternoon; but he had been able to wring no word of
remonstrance or murmur of pain from the lips of the giant captive.
So at last he had given up, reserving his particular bit of exquisite
mental torture for the last moment, when, just before the savage
spears of the cannibals should for ever make the object of his
hatred immune to further suffering, the Russian planned to reveal
to his enemy the true whereabouts of his wife whom he thought safe
Dusk had fallen upon the village, and the ape-men could hear the
preparations going forward for the torture and the feast. The
dance of death he could picture in his mind's eye--for he had seen
the thing many times in the past. Now he was to be the central
figure, bound to the stake.
The torture of the slow death as the circling warriors cut him
to bits with the fiendish skill, that mutilated without bringing
unconsciousness, had no terrors for him. He was inured to suffering
and to the sight of blood and to cruel death; but the desire to
live was no less strong within him, and until the last spark of
life should flicker and go out, his whole being would remain quick
with hope and determination. Let them relax their watchfulness
but for an instant, he knew that his cunning mind and giant muscles
would find a way to escape--escape and revenge.
As he lay, thinking furiously on every possibility of self-salvation,
there came to his sensitive nostrils a faint and a familiar scent.
Instantly every faculty of his mind was upon the alert. Presently
his trained ears caught the sound of the soundless presence
without--behind the hut wherein he lay. His lips moved, and
though no sound came forth that might have been appreciable to a
human ear beyond the walls of his prison, yet he realized that the
one beyond would hear. Already he knew who that one was, for his
nostrils had told him as plainly as your eyes or mine tell us of
the identity of an old friend whom we come upon in broad daylight.
An instant later he heard the soft sound of a fur-clad body and
padded feet scaling the outer wall behind the hut and then a tearing
at the poles which formed the wall. Presently through the hole
thus made slunk a great beast, pressing its cold muzzle close to
It was Sheeta, the panther.
The beast snuffed round the prostrate man, whining a little.
There was a limit to the interchange of ideas which could take
place between these two, and so Tarzan could not be sure that Sheeta
understood all that he attempted to communicate to him. That the
man was tied and helpless Sheeta could, of course, see; but that
to the mind of the panther this would carry any suggestion of harm
in so far as his master was concerned, Tarzan could not guess.
What had brought the beast to him? The fact that he had come
augured well for what he might accomplish; but when Tarzan tried
to get Sheeta to gnaw his bonds asunder the great animal could
not seem to understand what was expected of him, and, instead, but
licked the wrists and arms of the prisoner.
Presently there came an interruption. Some one was approaching
the hut. Sheeta gave a low growl and slunk into the blackness of
a far corner. Evidently the visitor did not hear the warning sound,
for almost immediately he entered the hut--a tall, naked, savage
He came to Tarzan's side and pricked him with a spear. From the
lips of the ape-man came a weird, uncanny sound, and in answer to
it there leaped from the blackness of the hut's farthermost corner
a bolt of fur-clad death. Full upon the breast of the painted
savage the great beast struck, burying sharp talons in the black
flesh and sinking great yellow fangs in the ebon throat.
There was a fearful scream of anguish and terror from the black, and
mingled with it was the hideous challenge of the killing panther.
Then came silence--silence except for the rending of bloody flesh
and the crunching of human bones between mighty jaws.
The noise had brought sudden quiet to the village without. Then
there came the sound of voices in consultation.
High-pitched, fear-filled voices, and deep, low tones of authority,
as the chief spoke. Tarzan and the panther heard the approaching
footsteps of many men, and then, to Tarzan's surprise, the great
cat rose from across the body of its kill, and slunk noiselessly
from the hut through the aperture through which it had entered.
The man heard the soft scraping of the body as it passed over the
top of the palisade, and then silence. From the opposite side of
the hut he heard the savages approaching to investigate.
He had little hope that Sheeta would return, for had the great cat
intended to defend him against all comers it would have remained
by his side as it heard the approaching savages without.
Tarzan knew how strange were the workings of the brains of the mighty
carnivora of the jungle--how fiendishly fearless they might be in
the face of certain death, and again how timid upon the slightest
provocation. There was doubt in his mind that some note of the
approaching blacks vibrating with fear had struck an answering
chord in the nervous system of the panther, sending him slinking
through the jungle, his tail between his legs.
The man shrugged. Well, what of it? He had expected to die, and,
after all, what might Sheeta have done for him other than to maul
a couple of his enemies before a rifle in the hands of one of the
whites should have dispatched him!
If the cat could have released him! Ah! that would have resulted
in a very different story; but it had proved beyond the understanding
of Sheeta, and now the beast was gone and Tarzan must definitely
The natives were at the entrance to the hut now, peering fearfully
into the dark interior. Two in advance held lighted torches in
their left hands and ready spears in their right. They held back
timorously against those behind, who were pushing them forward.
The shrieks of the panther's victim, mingled with those of the
great cat, had wrought mightily upon their poor nerves, and now
the awful silence of the dark interior seemed even more terribly
ominous than had the frightful screaming.
Presently one of those who was being forced unwillingly within hit
upon a happy scheme for learning first the precise nature of the
danger which menaced him from the silent interior. With a quick
movement he flung his lighted torch into the centre of the hut.
Instantly all within was illuminated for a brief second before the
burning brand was dashed out against the earth floor.
There was the figure of the white prisoner still securely bound as
they had last seen him, and in the centre of the hut another figure
equally as motionless, its throat and breasts horribly torn and
The sight that met the eyes of the foremost savages inspired more
terror within their superstitious breasts than would the presence
of Sheeta, for they saw only the result of a ferocious attack upon
one of their fellows.
Not seeing the cause, their fear-ridden minds were free to attribute
the ghastly work to supernatural causes, and with the thought
they turned, screaming, from the hut, bowling over those who stood
directly behind them in the exuberance of their terror.
For an hour Tarzan heard only the murmur of excited voices from
the far end of the village. Evidently the savages were once more
attempting to work up their flickering courage to a point that would
permit them to make another invasion of the hut, for now and then
came a savage yell, such as the warriors give to bolster up their
bravery upon the field of battle.
But in the end it was two of the whites who first entered, carrying
torches and guns. Tarzan was not surprised to discover that neither
of them was Rokoff. He would have wagered his soul that no power
on earth could have tempted that great coward to face the unknown
menace of the hut.
When the natives saw that the white men were not attacked they,
too, crowded into the interior, their voices hushed with terror
as they looked upon the mutilated corpse of their comrade. The
whites tried in vain to elicit an explanation from Tarzan; but to
all their queries he but shook his head, a grim and knowing smile
curving his lips.
At last Rokoff came.
His face grew very white as his eyes rested upon the bloody thing
grinning up at him from the floor, the face set in a death mask of
"Come!" he said to the chief. "Let us get to work and finish this
demon before he has an opportunity to repeat this thing upon more
of your people."
The chief gave orders that Tarzan should be lifted and carried to
the stake; but it was several minutes before he could prevail upon
any of his men to touch the prisoner.
At last, however, four of the younger warriors dragged Tarzan
roughly from the hut, and once outside the pall of terror seemed
lifted from the savage hearts.
A score of howling blacks pushed and buffeted the prisoner down
the village street and bound him to the post in the centre of the
circle of little fires and boiling cooking-pots.
When at last he was made fast and seemed quite helpless and beyond
the faintest hope of succour, Rokoff's shrivelled wart of courage
swelled to its usual proportions when danger was not present.
He stepped close to the ape-man, and, seizing a spear from the hands
of one of the savages, was the first to prod the helpless victim.
A little stream of blood trickled down the giant's smooth skin from
the wound in his side; but no murmur of pain passed his lips.
The smile of contempt upon his face seemed to infuriate the Russian.
With a volley of oaths he leaped at the helpless captive, beating
him upon the face with his clenched fists and kicking him mercilessly
about the legs.
Then he raised the heavy spear to drive it through the mighty heart,
and still Tarzan of the Apes smiled contemptuously upon him.
Before Rokoff could drive the weapon home the chief sprang upon
him and dragged him away from his intended victim.
"Stop, white man!" he cried. "Rob us of this prisoner and our
death-dance, and you yourself may have to take his place."
The threat proved most effective in keeping the Russian from further
assaults upon the prisoner, though he continued to stand a little
apart and hurl taunts at his enemy. He told Tarzan that he
himself was going to eat the ape-man's heart. He enlarged upon
the horrors of the future life of Tarzan's son, and intimated that
his vengeance would reach as well to Jane Clayton.
"You think your wife safe in England," said Rokoff. "Poor fool!
She is even now in the hands of one not even of decent birth, and
far from the safety of London and the protection of her friends.
I had not meant to tell you this until I could bring to you upon
Jungle Island proof of her fate.
"Now that you are about to die the most unthinkably horrid death
that it is given a white man to die--let this word of the plight
of your wife add to the torments that you must suffer before the
last savage spear-thrust releases you from your torture."
The dance had commenced now, and the yells of the circling warriors
drowned Rokoff's further attempts to distress his victim.
The leaping savages, the flickering firelight playing upon their
painted bodies, circled about the victim at the stake.
To Tarzan's memory came a similar scene, when he had rescued
D'Arnot from a like predicament at the last moment before the final
spear-thrust should have ended his sufferings. Who was there now
to rescue him? In all the world there was none able to save him
from the torture and the death.
The thought that these human fiends would devour him when the
dance was done caused him not a single qualm of horror or disgust.
It did not add to his sufferings as it would have to those of an
ordinary white man, for all his life Tarzan had seen the beasts of
the jungle devour the flesh of their kills.
Had he not himself battled for the grisly forearm of a great ape
at that long-gone Dum-Dum, when he had slain the fierce Tublat and
won his niche in the respect of the Apes of Kerchak?
The dancers were leaping more closely to him now. The spears were
commencing to find his body in the first torturing pricks that
prefaced the more serious thrusts.
It would not be long now. The ape-man longed for the last savage
lunge that would end his misery.
And then, far out in the mazes of the weird jungle, rose a shrill
For an instant the dancers paused, and in the silence of the interval
there rose from the lips of the fast-bound white man an answering
shriek, more fearsome and more terrible than that of the jungle-beast
that had roused it.
For several minutes the blacks hesitated; then, at the urging of
Rokoff and their chief, they leaped in to finish the dance and the
victim; but ere ever another spear touched the brown hide a tawny
streak of green-eyed hate and ferocity bounded from the door of the
hut in which Tarzan had been imprisoned, and Sheeta, the panther,
stood snarling beside his master.
For an instant the blacks and the whites stood transfixed with
terror. Their eyes were riveted upon the bared fangs of the jungle
Only Tarzan of the Apes saw what else there was emerging from the
dark interior of the hut.
Chivalry or Villainy
From her cabin port upon the Kincaid, Jane Clayton had seen her
husband rowed to the verdure-clad shore of Jungle Island, and then
the ship once more proceeded upon its way.
For several days she saw no one other than Sven Anderssen, the
Kincaid's taciturn and repellent cook. She asked him the name of
the shore upon which her husband had been set.
"Ay tank it blow purty soon purty hard," replied the Swede, and
that was all that she could get out of him.
She had come to the conclusion that he spoke no other English, and
so she ceased to importune him for information; but never did she
forget to greet him pleasantly or to thank him for the hideous,
nauseating meals he brought her.
Three days from the spot where Tarzan had been marooned the Kincaid
came to anchor in the mouth of a great river, and presently Rokoff
came to Jane Clayton's cabin.
"We have arrived, my dear," he said, with a sickening leer. "I
have come to offer you safety, liberty, and ease. My heart has been
softened toward you in your suffering, and I would make amends as
best I may.
"Your husband was a brute--you know that best who found him naked
in his native jungle, roaming wild with the savage beasts that were
his fellows. Now I am a gentleman, not only born of noble blood,
but raised gently as befits a man of quality.
"To you, dear Jane, I offer the love of a cultured man and association
with one of culture and refinement, which you must have sorely
missed in your relations with the poor ape that through your
girlish infatuation you married so thoughtlessly. I love you,
Jane. You have but to say the word and no further sorrows shall
afflict you--even your baby shall be returned to you unharmed."
Outside the door Sven Anderssen paused with the noonday meal he
had been carrying to Lady Greystoke. Upon the end of his long,
stringy neck his little head was cocked to one side, his close-set
eyes were half closed, his ears, so expressive was his whole attitude
of stealthy eavesdropping, seemed truly to be cocked forward--even
his long, yellow, straggly moustache appeared to assume a sly droop.
As Rokoff closed his appeal, awaiting the reply he invited, the
look of surprise upon Jane Clayton's face turned to one of disgust.
She fairly shuddered in the fellow's face.
"I would not have been surprised, M. Rokoff," she said, "had you
attempted to force me to submit to your evil desires, but that you
should be so fatuous as to believe that I, wife of John Clayton,
would come to you willingly, even to save my life, I should never
have imagined. I have known you for a scoundrel, M. Rokoff; but
until now I had not taken you for a fool."
Rokoff's eyes narrowed, and the red of mortification flushed out
the pallor of his face. He took a step toward the girl, threateningly.
"We shall see who is the fool at last," he hissed, "when I have
broken you to my will and your plebeian Yankee stubbornness has
cost you all that you hold dear--even the life of your baby--for,
by the bones of St. Peter, I'll forego all that I had planned
for the brat and cut its heart out before your very eyes. You'll
learn what it means to insult Nikolas Rokoff."
Jane Clayton turned wearily away.
"What is the use," she said, "of expatiating upon the depths to
which your vengeful nature can sink? You cannot move me either by
threats or deeds. My baby cannot judge yet for himself, but I, his
mother, can foresee that should it have been given him to survive
to man's estate he would willingly sacrifice his life for the honour
of his mother. Love him as I do, I would not purchase his life
at such a price. Did I, he would execrate my memory to the day
of his death."
Rokoff was now thoroughly angered because of his failure to reduce
the girl to terror. He felt only hate for her, but it had come
to his diseased mind that if he could force her to accede to his
demands as the price of her life and her child's, the cup of his
revenge would be filled to brimming when he could flaunt the wife
of Lord Greystoke in the capitals of Europe as his mistress.
Again he stepped closer to her. His evil face was convulsed with
rage and desire. Like a wild beast he sprang upon her, and with
his strong fingers at her throat forced her backward upon the berth.
At the same instant the door of the cabin opened noisily. Rokoff
leaped to his feet, and, turning, faced the Swede cook.
Into the fellow's usually foxy eyes had come an expression of utter
stupidity. His lower jaw drooped in vacuous harmony. He busied
himself in arranging Lady Greystoke's meal upon the tiny table at
one side of her cabin.
The Russian glared at him.
"What do you mean," he cried, "by entering here without permission?
The cook turned his watery blue eyes upon Rokoff and smiled vacuously.
"Ay tank it blow purty soon purty hard," he said, and then he began
rearranging the few dishes upon the little table.
"Get out of here, or I'll throw you out, you miserable blockhead!"
roared Rokoff, taking a threatening step toward the Swede.
Anderssen continued to smile foolishly in his direction, but one
ham-like paw slid stealthily to the handle of the long, slim knife
that protruded from the greasy cord supporting his soiled apron.
Rokoff saw the move and stopped short in his advance. Then he
turned toward Jane Clayton.
"I will give you until tomorrow," he said, "to reconsider your answer
to my offer. All will be sent ashore upon one pretext or another
except you and the child, Paulvitch and myself. Then without
interruption you will be able to witness the death of the baby."
He spoke in French that the cook might not understand the sinister
portent of his words. When he had done he banged out of the cabin
without another look at the man who had interrupted him in his
When he had gone, Sven Anderssen turned toward Lady Greystoke--the
idiotic expression that had masked his thoughts had fallen away,
and in its place was one of craft and cunning.
"Hay tank Ay ban a fool," he said. "Hay ben the fool. Ay savvy
Jane Clayton looked at him in surprise.
"You understood all that he said, then?"
"You bat," he said.
"And you heard what was going on in here and came to protect me?"
"You bane good to me," explained the Swede. "Hay treat me like
darty dog. Ay help you, lady. You yust vait--Ay help you. Ay
ban Vast Coast lots times."
"But how can you help me, Sven," she asked, "when all these men
will be against us?"
"Ay tank," said Sven Anderssen, "it blow purty soon purty hard,"
and then he turned and left the cabin.
Though Jane Clayton doubted the cook's ability to be of any material
service to her, she was nevertheless deeply grateful to him for
what he already had done. The feeling that among these enemies
she had one friend brought the first ray of comfort that had come
to lighten the burden of her miserable apprehensions throughout
the long voyage of the Kincaid.
She saw no more of Rokoff that day, nor of any other until Sven
came with her evening meal. She tried to draw him into conversation
relative to his plans to aid her, but all that she could get from
him was his stereotyped prophecy as to the future state of the
wind. He seemed suddenly to have relapsed into his wonted state
of dense stupidity.
However, when he was leaving her cabin a little later with the empty
dishes he whispered very low, "Leave on your clothes an' roll up
your blankets. Ay come back after you purty soon."
He would have slipped from the room at once, but Jane laid her hand
upon his sleeve.
"My baby?" she asked. "I cannot go without him."
"You do wot Ay tal you," said Anderssen, scowling. "Ay ban halpin'
you, so don't you gat too fonny."
When he had gone Jane Clayton sank down upon her berth in utter
bewilderment. What was she to do? Suspicions as to the intentions
of the Swede swarmed her brain. Might she not be infinitely worse
off if she gave herself into his power than she already was?
No, she could be no worse off in company with the devil himself than
with Nikolas Rokoff, for the devil at least bore the reputation of
being a gentleman.
She swore a dozen times that she would not leave the Kincaid without
her baby, and yet she remained clothed long past her usual hour
for retiring, and her blankets were neatly rolled and bound with
stout cord, when about midnight there came a stealthy scratching
upon the panels of her door.
Swiftly she crossed the room and drew the bolt. Softly the door
swung open to admit the muffled figure of the Swede. On one arm
he carried a bundle, evidently his blankets. His other hand was
raised in a gesture commanding silence, a grimy forefinger upon
He came quite close to her.
"Carry this," he said. "Do not make some noise when you see it.
It ban you kid."
Quick hands snatched the bundle from the cook, and hungry mother
arms folded the sleeping infant to her breast, while hot tears of
joy ran down her cheeks and her whole frame shook with the emotion
of the moment.
"Come!" said Anderssen. "We got no time to vaste."
He snatched up her bundle of blankets, and outside the cabin door
his own as well. Then he led her to the ship's side, steadied
her descent of the monkey-ladder, holding the child for her as she
climbed to the waiting boat below. A moment later he had cut the
rope that held the small boat to the steamer's side, and, bending
silently to the muffled oars, was pulling toward the black shadows
up the Ugambi River.
Anderssen rowed on as though quite sure of his ground, and when after
half an hour the moon broke through the clouds there was revealed
upon their left the mouth of a tributary running into the Ugambi.
Up this narrow channel the Swede turned the prow of the small boat.
Jane Clayton wondered if the man knew where he was bound. She did
not know that in his capacity as cook he had that day been rowed
up this very stream to a little village where he had bartered with
the natives for such provisions as they had for sale, and that he
had there arranged the details of his plan for the adventure upon
which they were now setting forth.
Even though the moon was full, the surface of the small river was
quite dark. The giant trees overhung its narrow banks, meeting in
a great arch above the centre of the river. Spanish moss dropped
from the gracefully bending limbs, and enormous creepers clambered
in riotous profusion from the ground to the loftiest branch, falling
in curving loops almost to the water's placid breast.
Now and then the river's surface would be suddenly broken ahead of
them by a huge crocodile, startled by the splashing of the oars,
or, snorting and blowing, a family of hippos would dive from a
sandy bar to the cool, safe depths of the bottom.
From the dense jungles upon either side came the weird night cries
of the carnivora--the maniacal voice of the hyena, the coughing
grunt of the panther, the deep and awful roar of the lion. And
with them strange, uncanny notes that the girl could not ascribe to
any particular night prowler--more terrible because of their mystery.
Huddled in the stern of the boat she sat with her baby strained
close to her bosom, and because of that little tender, helpless thing
she was happier tonight than she had been for many a sorrow-ridden
Even though she knew not to what fate she was going, or how soon
that fate might overtake her, still was she happy and thankful for
the moment, however brief, that she might press her baby tightly
in her arms. She could scarce wait for the coming of the day that
she might look again upon the bright face of her little, black-eyed
Again and again she tried to strain her eyes through the blackness
of the jungle night to have but a tiny peep at those beloved
features, but only the dim outline of the baby face rewarded her
efforts. Then once more she would cuddle the warm, little bundle
close to her throbbing heart.
It must have been close to three o'clock in the morning that
Anderssen brought the boat's nose to the shore before a clearing
where could be dimly seen in the waning moonlight a cluster of
native huts encircled by a thorn boma.
At the village gate they were admitted by a native woman, the wife
of the chief whom Anderssen had paid to assist him. She took
them to the chief's hut, but Anderssen said that they would sleep
without upon the ground, and so, her duty having been completed,
she left them to their own devices.
The Swede, after explaining in his gruff way that the huts were
doubtless filthy and vermin-ridden, spread Jane's blankets on the
ground for her, and at a little distance unrolled his own and lay
down to sleep.
It was some time before the girl could find a comfortable position
upon the hard ground, but at last, the baby in the hollow of her
arm, she dropped asleep from utter exhaustion. When she awoke it
was broad daylight.
About her were clustered a score of curious natives--mostly men,
for among the aborigines it is the male who owns this characteristic
in its most exaggerated form. Instinctively Jane Clayton drew
the baby more closely to her, though she soon saw that the blacks
were far from intending her or the child any harm.
In fact, one of them offered her a gourd of milk--a filthy,
smoke-begrimed gourd, with the ancient rind of long-curdled milk
caked in layers within its neck; but the spirit of the giver touched
her deeply, and her face lightened for a moment with one of those
almost forgotten smiles of radiance that had helped to make her
beauty famous both in Baltimore and London.
She took the gourd in one hand, and rather than cause the giver
pain raised it to her lips, though for the life of her she could
scarce restrain the qualm of nausea that surged through her as the
malodorous thing approached her nostrils.
It was Anderssen who came to her rescue, and taking the gourd from
her, drank a portion himself, and then returned it to the native
with a gift of blue beads.
The sun was shining brightly now, and though the baby still slept,
Jane could scarce restrain her impatient desire to have at least
a brief glance at the beloved face. The natives had withdrawn at
a command from their chief, who now stood talking with Anderssen,
a little apart from her.
As she debated the wisdom of risking disturbing the child's slumber
by lifting the blanket that now protected its face from the sun,
she noted that the cook conversed with the chief in the language
of the Negro.
What a remarkable man the fellow was, indeed! She had thought him
ignorant and stupid but a short day before, and now, within the past
twenty-four hours, she had learned that he spoke not only English
but French as well, and the primitive dialect of the West Coast.
She had thought him shifty, cruel, and untrustworthy, yet in so
far as she had reason to believe he had proved himself in every
way the contrary since the day before. It scarce seemed credible
that he could be serving her from motives purely chivalrous. There
must be something deeper in his intentions and plans than he had
She wondered, and when she looked at him--at his close-set, shifty
eyes and repulsive features, she shuddered, for she was convinced
that no lofty characteristics could be hid behind so foul an
As she was thinking of these things the while she debated the wisdom
of uncovering the baby's face, there came a little grunt from the
wee bundle in her lap, and then a gurgling coo that set her heart
The baby was awake! Now she might feast her eyes upon him.
Quickly she snatched the blanket from before the infant's face;
Anderssen was looking at her as she did so.
He saw her stagger to her feet, holding the baby at arm's length
from her, her eyes glued in horror upon the little chubby face and
Then he heard her piteous cry as her knees gave beneath her, and
she sank to the ground in a swoon.
As the warriors, clustered thick about Tarzan and Sheeta, realized
that it was a flesh-and-blood panther that had interrupted their
dance of death, they took heart a trifle, for in the face of all
those circling spears even the mighty Sheeta would be doomed.
Rokoff was urging the chief to have his spearmen launch their
missiles, and the black was upon the instant of issuing the command,
when his eyes strayed beyond Tarzan, following the gaze of the
With a yell of terror the chief turned and fled toward the village
gate, and as his people looked to see the cause of his fright,
they too took to their heels--for there, lumbering down upon them,
their huge forms exaggerated by the play of moonlight and camp
fire, came the hideous apes of Akut.
The instant the natives turned to flee the ape-man's savage cry rang
out above the shrieks of the blacks, and in answer to it Sheeta and
the apes leaped growling after the fugitives. Some of the warriors
turned to battle with their enraged antagonists, but before the
fiendish ferocity of the fierce beasts they went down to bloody
Others were dragged down in their flight, and it was not until the
village was empty and the last of the blacks had disappeared into
the bush that Tarzan was able to recall his savage pack to his
side. Then it was that he discovered to his chagrin that he could
not make one of them, not even the comparatively intelligent Akut,
understand that he wished to be freed from the bonds that held him
to the stake.
In time, of course, the idea would filter through their thick
skulls, but in the meanwhile many things might happen--the blacks
might return in force to regain their village; the whites might
readily pick them all off with their rifles from the surrounding
trees; he might even starve to death before the dull-witted apes
realized that he wished them to gnaw through his bonds.
As for Sheeta--the great cat understood even less than the apes; but
yet Tarzan could not but marvel at the remarkable characteristics
this beast had evidenced. That it felt real affection for him there
seemed little doubt, for now that the blacks were disposed of it
walked slowly back and forth about the stake, rubbing its sides
against the ape-man's legs and purring like a contented tabby.
That it had gone of its own volition to bring the balance of the
pack to his rescue, Tarzan could not doubt. His Sheeta was indeed
a jewel among beasts.
Mugambi's absence worried the ape-man not a little. He attempted
to learn from Akut what had become of the black, fearing that the
beasts, freed from the restraint of Tarzan's presence, might have
fallen upon the man and devoured him; but to all his questions the
great ape but pointed back in the direction from which they had
come out of the jungle.
The night passed with Tarzan still fast bound to the stake, and
shortly after dawn his fears were realized in the discovery of
naked black figures moving stealthily just within the edge of the
jungle about the village. The blacks were returning.
With daylight their courage would be equal to the demands of a
charge upon the handful of beasts that had routed them from their
rightful abodes. The result of the encounter seemed foregone
if the savages could curb their superstitious terror, for against
their overwhelming numbers, their long spears and poisoned arrows,
the panther and the apes could not be expected to survive a really
That the blacks were preparing for a charge became apparent a few
moments later, when they commenced to show themselves in force upon
the edge of the clearing, dancing and jumping about as they waved
their spears and shouted taunts and fierce warcries toward the
These manoeuvres Tarzan knew would continue until the blacks had
worked themselves into a state of hysterical courage sufficient
to sustain them for a short charge toward the village, and even
though he doubted that they would reach it at the first attempt, he
believed that at the second or the third they would swarm through
the gateway, when the outcome could not be aught than the extermination
of Tarzan's bold, but unarmed and undisciplined, defenders.
Even as he had guessed, the first charge carried the howling warriors
but a short distance into the open--a shrill, weird challenge from
the ape-man being all that was necessary to send them scurrying
back to the bush. For half an hour they pranced and yelled their
courage to the sticking-point, and again essayed a charge.
This time they came quite to the village gate, but when Sheeta and
the hideous apes leaped among them they turned screaming in terror,
and again fled to the jungle.
Again was the dancing and shouting repeated. This time Tarzan felt
no doubt they would enter the village and complete the work that a
handful of determined white men would have carried to a successful
conclusion at the first attempt.
To have rescue come so close only to be thwarted because he could
not make his poor, savage friends understand precisely what he
wanted of them was most irritating, but he could not find it in
his heart to place blame upon them. They had done their best,
and now he was sure they would doubtless remain to die with him in
a fruitless effort to defend him.
The blacks were already preparing for the charge. A few individuals
had advanced a short distance toward the village and were exhorting
the others to follow them. In a moment the whole savage horde
would be racing across the clearing.
Tarzan thought only of the little child somewhere in this cruel,
relentless wilderness. His heart ached for the son that he might
no longer seek to save--that and the realization of Jane's suffering
were all that weighed upon his brave spirit in these that he thought
his last moments of life. Succour, all that he could hope for,
had come to him in the instant of his extremity--and failed. There
was nothing further for which to hope.
The blacks were half-way across the clearing when Tarzan's attention
was attracted by the actions of one of the apes. The beast was
glaring toward one of the huts. Tarzan followed his gaze. To his
infinite relief and delight he saw the stalwart form of Mugambi
racing toward him.
The huge black was panting heavily as though from strenuous physical
exertion and nervous excitement. He rushed to Tarzan's side, and
as the first of the savages reached the village gate the native's
knife severed the last of the cords that bound Tarzan to the stake.
In the street lay the corpses of the savages that had fallen before
the pack the night before. From one of these Tarzan seized a spear
and knob stick, and with Mugambi at his side and the snarling pack
about him, he met the natives as they poured through the gate.
Fierce and terrible was the battle that ensued, but at last the
savages were routed, more by terror, perhaps, at sight of a black
man and a white fighting in company with a panther and the huge
fierce apes of Akut, than because of their inability to overcome
the relatively small force that opposed them.
One prisoner fell into the hands of Tarzan, and him the ape-man
questioned in an effort to learn what had become of Rokoff and his
party. Promised his liberty in return for the information, the
black told all he knew concerning the movements of the Russian.
It seemed that early in the morning their chief had attempted to
prevail upon the whites to return with him to the village and with
their guns destroy the ferocious pack that had taken possession of
it, but Rokoff appeared to entertain even more fears of the giant
white man and his strange companions than even the blacks themselves.
Upon no conditions would he consent to returning even within sight
of the village. Instead, he took his party hurriedly to the river,
where they stole a number of canoes the blacks had hidden there.
The last that had been seen of them they had been paddling strongly
up-stream, their porters from Kaviri's village wielding the blades.
So once more Tarzan of the Apes with his hideous pack took up his
search for the ape-man's son and the pursuit of his abductor.
For weary days they followed through an almost uninhabited country,
only to learn at last that they were upon the wrong trail. The
little band had been reduced by three, for three of Akut's apes
had fallen in the fighting at the village. Now, with Akut, there
were five great apes, and Sheeta was there--and Mugambi and Tarzan.
The ape-man no longer heard rumors even of the three who had
preceded Rokoff--the white man and woman and the child. Who the
man and woman were he could not guess, but that the child was his
was enough to keep him hot upon the trail. He was sure that Rokoff
would be following this trio, and so he felt confident that so long
as he could keep upon the Russian's trail he would be winning so
much nearer to the time he might snatch his son from the dangers
and horrors that menaced him.
In retracing their way after losing Rokoff's trail Tarzan picked
it up again at a point where the Russian had left the river and
taken to the brush in a northerly direction. He could only account
for this change on the ground that the child had been carried away
from the river by the two who now had possession of it.
Nowhere along the way, however, could he gain definite information
that might assure him positively that the child was ahead of him.
Not a single native they questioned had seen or heard of this
other party, though nearly all had had direct experience with the
Russian or had talked with others who had.
It was with difficulty that Tarzan could find means to communicate
with the natives, as the moment their eyes fell upon his companions
they fled precipitately into the bush. His only alternative was
to go ahead of his pack and waylay an occasional warrior whom he
found alone in the jungle.
One day as he was thus engaged, tracking an unsuspecting savage,
he came upon the fellow in the act of hurling a spear at a wounded
white man who crouched in a clump of bush at the trail's side. The
white was one whom Tarzan had often seen, and whom he recognized
Deep in his memory was implanted those repulsive features--the
close-set eyes, the shifty expression, the drooping yellow moustache.
Instantly it occurred to the ape-man that this fellow had not been
among those who had accompanied Rokoff at the village where Tarzan
had been a prisoner. He had seen them all, and this fellow had
not been there. There could be but one explanation--he it was who
had fled ahead of the Russian with the woman and the child--and
the woman had been Jane Clayton. He was sure now of the meaning
of Rokoff's words.
The ape-man's face went white as he looked upon the pasty, vice-marked
countenance of the Swede. Across Tarzan's forehead stood out the
broad band of scarlet that marked the scar where, years before,
Terkoz had torn a great strip of the ape-man's scalp from his skull
in the fierce battle in which Tarzan had sustained his fitness to
the kingship of the apes of Kerchak.
The man was his prey--the black should not have him, and with the
thought he leaped upon the warrior, striking down the spear before
it could reach its mark. The black, whipping out his knife, turned
to do battle with this new enemy, while the Swede, lying in the
bush, witnessed a duel, the like of which he had never dreamed to
see--a half-naked white man battling with a half-naked black, hand
to hand with the crude weapons of primeval man at first, and then
with hands and teeth like the primordial brutes from whose loins
their forebears sprung.
For a time Anderssen did not recognize the white, and when at last
it dawned upon him that he had seen this giant before, his eyes
went wide in surprise that this growling, rending beast could ever
have been the well-groomed English gentleman who had been a prisoner
aboard the Kincaid.
An English nobleman! He had learned the identity of the Kincaid's
prisoners from Lady Greystoke during their flight up the Ugambi.
Before, in common with the other members of the crew of the steamer,
he had not known who the two might be.
The fight was over. Tarzan had been compelled to kill his antagonist,
as the fellow would not surrender.
The Swede saw the white man leap to his feet beside the corpse of
his foe, and placing one foot upon the broken neck lift his voice
in the hideous challenge of the victorious bull-ape.
Anderssen shuddered. Then Tarzan turned toward him. His face was
cold and cruel, and in the grey eyes the Swede read murder.
"Where is my wife?" growled the ape-man. "Where is the child?"
Anderssen tried to reply, but a sudden fit of coughing choked him.
There was an arrow entirely through his chest, and as he coughed
the blood from his wounded lung poured suddenly from his mouth and
Tarzan stood waiting for the paroxysm to pass. Like a bronze
image--cold, hard, and relentless--he stood over the helpless man,
waiting to wring such information from him as he needed, and then
Presently the coughing and haemorrhage ceased, and again the wounded
man tried to speak. Tarzan knelt near the faintly moving lips.
"The wife and child!" he repeated. "Where are they?"
Anderssen pointed up the trail.
"The Russian--he got them," he whispered.
"How did you come here?" continued Tarzan. "Why are you not with
"They catch us," replied Anderssen, in a voice so low that the
ape-man could just distinguish the words. "They catch us. Ay
fight, but my men they all run away. Then they get me when Ay
ban vounded. Rokoff he say leave me here for the hyenas. That
vas vorse than to kill. He tak your vife and kid."
"What were you doing with them--where were you taking them?" asked
Tarzan, and then fiercely, leaping close to the fellow with fierce
eyes blazing with the passion of hate and vengeance that he had with
difficulty controlled, "What harm did you do to my wife or child?
Speak quick before I kill you! Make your peace with God! Tell me
the worst, or I will tear you to pieces with my hands and teeth.
You have seen that I can do it!"
A look of wide-eyed surprise overspread Anderssen's face.
"Why," he whispered, "Ay did not hurt them. Ay tried to save them
from that Russian. Your vife was kind to me on the Kincaid, and
Ay hear that little baby cry sometimes. Ay got a vife an' kid
for my own by Christiania an' Ay couldn't bear for to see them
separated an' in Rokoff's hands any more. That vas all. Do Ay
look like Ay ban here to hurt them?" he continued after a pause,
pointing to the arrow protruding from his breast.
There was something in the man's tone and expression that convinced
Tarzan of the truth of his assertions. More weighty than anything
else was the fact that Anderssen evidently seemed more hurt than
frightened. He knew he was going to die, so Tarzan's threats had
little effect upon him; but it was quite apparent that he wished
the Englishman to know the truth and not to wrong him by harbouring
the belief that his words and manner indicated that he had entertained.
The ape-man instantly dropped to his knees beside the Swede.
"I am sorry," he said very simply. "I had looked for none but
knaves in company with Rokoff. I see that I was wrong. That
is past now, and we will drop it for the more important matter of
getting you to a place of comfort and looking after your wounds.
We must have you on your feet again as soon as possible."
The Swede, smiling, shook his head.
"You go on an' look for the vife an' kid," he said. "Ay ban as
gude as dead already; but"--he hesitated--"Ay hate to think of the
hyenas. Von't you finish up this job?"
Tarzan shuddered. A moment ago he had been upon the point of killing
this man. Now he could no more have taken his life than he could
have taken the life of any of his best friends.
He lifted the Swede's head in his arms to change and ease his
Again came a fit of coughing and the terrible haemorrhage. After
it was over Anderssen lay with closed eyes.
Tarzan thought that he was dead, until he suddenly raised his eyes
to those of the ape-man, sighed, and spoke--in a very low, weak
"Ay tank it blow purty soon purty hard!" he said, and died.
Tarzan scooped a shallow grave for the Kincaid's cook, beneath whose
repulsive exterior had beaten the heart of a chivalrous gentleman.
That was all he could do in the cruel jungle for the man who had
given his life in the service of his little son and his wife.
Then Tarzan took up again the pursuit of Rokoff. Now that he was
positive that the woman ahead of him was indeed Jane, and that she
had again fallen into the hands of the Russian, it seemed that with
all the incredible speed of his fleet and agile muscles he moved
at but a snail's pace.
It was with difficulty that he kept the trail, for there were many
paths through the jungle at this point--crossing and crisscrossing,
forking and branching in all directions, and over them all had
passed natives innumerable, coming and going. The spoor of the
white men was obliterated by that of the native carriers who had
followed them, and over all was the spoor of other natives and of
It was most perplexing; yet Tarzan kept on assiduously, checking
his sense of sight against his sense of smell, that he might more
surely keep to the right trail. But, with all his care, night
found him at a point where he was positive that he was on the wrong
He knew that the pack would follow his spoor, and so he had been
careful to make it as distinct as possible, brushing often against
the vines and creepers that walled the jungle-path, and in other
ways leaving his scent-spoor plainly discernible.
As darkness settled a heavy rain set in, and there was nothing for
the baffled ape-man to do but wait in the partial shelter of a huge
tree until morning; but the coming of dawn brought no cessation of
the torrential downpour.
For a week the sun was obscured by heavy clouds, while violent rain
and wind storms obliterated the last remnants of the spoor Tarzan
constantly though vainly sought.
During all this time he saw no signs of natives, nor of his own
pack, the members of which he feared had lost his trail during the
terrific storm. As the country was strange to him, he had been
unable to judge his course accurately, since he had had neither
sun by day nor moon nor stars by night to guide him.
When the sun at last broke through the clouds in the fore-noon of
the seventh day, it looked down upon an almost frantic ape-man.
For the first time in his life, Tarzan of the Apes had been lost in
the jungle. That the experience should have befallen him at such
a time seemed cruel beyond expression. Somewhere in this savage
land his wife and son lay in the clutches of the arch-fiend Rokoff.
What hideous trials might they not have undergone during those
seven awful days that nature had thwarted him in his endeavours to
locate them? Tarzan knew the Russian, in whose power they were,
so well that he could not doubt but that the man, filled with
rage that Jane had once escaped him, and knowing that Tarzan might
be close upon his trail, would wreak without further loss of time
whatever vengeance his polluted mind might be able to conceive.
But now that the sun shone once more, the ape-man was still at a
loss as to what direction to take. He knew that Rokoff had left
the river in pursuit of Anderssen, but whether he would continue
inland or return to the Ugambi was a question.
The ape-man had seen that the river at the point he had left it
was growing narrow and swift, so that he judged that it could not
be navigable even for canoes to any great distance farther toward
its source. However, if Rokoff had not returned to the river, in
what direction had he proceeded?
From the direction of Anderssen's flight with Jane and the child
Tarzan was convinced that the man had purposed attempting the
tremendous feat of crossing the continent to Zanzibar; but whether
Rokoff would dare so dangerous a journey or not was a question.
Fear might drive him to the attempt now that he knew the manner of
horrible pack that was upon his trail, and that Tarzan of the Apes
was following him to wreak upon him the vengeance that he deserved.
At last the ape-man determined to continue toward the northeast
in the general direction of German East Africa until he came upon
natives from whom he might gain information as to Rokoff's whereabouts.
The second day following the cessation of the rain Tarzan came
upon a native village the inhabitants of which fled into the bush
the instant their eyes fell upon him. Tarzan, not to be thwarted
in any such manner as this, pursued them, and after a brief chase
caught up with a young warrior. The fellow was so badly frightened
that he was unable to defend himself, dropping his weapons and
falling upon the ground, wide-eyed and screaming as he gazed on
It was with considerable difficulty that the ape-man quieted the
fellow's fears sufficiently to obtain a coherent statement from
him as to the cause of his uncalled-for terror.
From him Tarzan learned, by dint of much coaxing, that a party of
whites had passed through the village several days before. These
men had told them of a terrible white devil that pursued them,
warning the natives against it and the frightful pack of demons
that accompanied it.
The black had recognized Tarzan as the white devil from the descriptions
given by the whites and their black servants. Behind him he had
expected to see a horde of demons disguised as apes and panthers.
In this Tarzan saw the cunning hand of Rokoff. The Russian
was attempting to make travel as difficult as possible for him by
turning the natives against him in superstitious fear.
The native further told Tarzan that the white man who had led the
recent expedition had promised them a fabulous reward if they would
kill the white devil. This they had fully intended doing should
the opportunity present itself; but the moment they had seen Tarzan
their blood had turned to water, as the porters of the white men
had told them would be the case.
Finding the ape-man made no attempt to harm him, the native at last
recovered his grasp upon his courage, and, at Tarzan's suggestion,
accompanied the white devil back to the village, calling as he went
for his fellows to return also, as "the white devil has promised to
do you no harm if you come back right away and answer his questions."
One by one the blacks straggled into the village, but that their
fears were not entirely allayed was evident from the amount of
white that showed about the eyes of the majority of them as they
cast constant and apprehensive sidelong glances at the ape-man.
The chief was among the first to return to the village, and as it
was he that Tarzan was most anxious to interview, he lost no time
in entering into a palaver with the black.
The fellow was short and stout, with an unusually low and degraded
countenance and apelike arms. His whole expression denoted
Only the superstitious terror engendered in him by the stories poured
into his ears by the whites and blacks of the Russian's party kept
him from leaping upon Tarzan with his warriors and slaying him
forthwith, for he and his people were inveterate maneaters. But
the fear that he might indeed be a devil, and that out there in
the jungle behind him his fierce demons waited to do his bidding,
kept M'ganwazam from putting his desires into action.
Tarzan questioned the fellow closely, and by comparing his statements
with those of the young warrior he had first talked with he learned
that Rokoff and his safari were in terror-stricken retreat in the
direction of the far East Coast.
Many of the Russian's porters had already deserted him. In that
very village he had hanged five for theft and attempted desertion.
Judging, however, from what the Waganwazam had learned from those
of the Russian's blacks who were not too far gone in terror of the
brutal Rokoff to fear even to speak of their plans, it was apparent
that he would not travel any great distance before the last of
his porters, cooks, tent-boys, gun-bearers, askari, and even his
headman, would have turned back into the bush, leaving him to the
mercy of the merciless jungle.
M'ganwazam denied that there had been any white woman or child with
the party of whites; but even as he spoke Tarzan was convinced that
he lied. Several times the ape-man approached the subject from
different angles, but never was he successful in surprising the
wily cannibal into a direct contradiction of his original statement
that there had been no women or children with the party.
Tarzan demanded food of the chief, and after considerable haggling
on the part of the monarch succeeded in obtaining a meal. He then
tried to draw out others of the tribe, especially the young man
whom he had captured in the bush, but M'ganwazam's presence sealed
At last, convinced that these people knew a great deal more than
they had told him concerning the whereabouts of the Russian and the
fate of Jane and the child, Tarzan determined to remain overnight
among them in the hope of discovering something further of importance.
When he had stated his decision to the chief he was rather surprised
to note the sudden change in the fellow's attitude toward him. From
apparent dislike and suspicion M'ganwazam became a most eager and
Nothing would do but that the ape-man should occupy the best hut
in the village, from which M'ganwazam's oldest wife was forthwith
summarily ejected, while the chief took up his temporary abode in
the hut of one of his younger consorts.
Had Tarzan chanced to recall the fact that a princely reward had
been offered the blacks if they should succeed in killing him, he
might have more quickly interpreted M'ganwazam's sudden change in
To have the white giant sleeping peacefully in one of his own huts
would greatly facilitate the matter of earning the reward, and
so the chief was urgent in his suggestions that Tarzan, doubtless
being very much fatigued after his travels, should retire early to
the comforts of the anything but inviting palace.
As much as the ape-man detested the thought of sleeping within a
native hut, he had determined to do so this night, on the chance
that he might be able to induce one of the younger men to sit and
chat with him before the fire that burned in the centre of the
smoke-filled dwelling, and from him draw the truths he sought.
So Tarzan accepted the invitation of old M'ganwazam, insisting,
however, that he much preferred sharing a hut with some of the
younger men rather than driving the chief's old wife out in the
The toothless old hag grinned her appreciation of this suggestion,
and as the plan still better suited the chief's scheme, in that it
would permit him to surround Tarzan with a gang of picked assassins,
he readily assented, so that presently Tarzan had been installed
in a hut close to the village gate.
Back to Full Books