The Jungle Tales of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Part 4 out of 5
folk they alone resembled Tarzan closely in form.
Tarzan was a man, and they, too, must be some manner of men,
just as the little monkeys, and the great apes, and Bolgani,
the gorilla, were quite evidently of one great family,
though differing in size and appearance and customs.
Tarzan was ashamed, for of all the beasts of the jungle,
then, man was the most disgusting--man and Dango, the hyena.
Only man and Dango ate until they swelled up like a dead rat.
Tarzan had seen Dango eat his way into the carcass of a dead
elephant and then continue to eat so much that he had been
unable to get out of the hole through which he had entered.
Now he could readily believe that man, given the opportunity,
would do the same. Man, too, was the most unlovely
of creatures--with his skinny legs and his big stomach,
his filed teeth, and his thick, red lips. Man was disgusting.
Tarzan's gaze was riveted upon the hideous old warrior
wallowing in filth beneath him.
There! the thing was struggling to its knees to reach
for another morsel of flesh. It groaned aloud in pain
and yet it persisted in eating, eating, ever eating.
Tarzan could endure it no longer--neither his hunger nor
his disgust. Silently he slipped to the ground with the
bole of the great tree between himself and the feaster.
The man was still kneeling, bent almost double in agony,
before the cooking pot. His back was toward the ape-man.
Swiftly and noiselessly Tarzan approached him. There was
no sound as steel fingers closed about the black throat.
The struggle was short, for the man was old and already half
stupefied from the effects of the gorging and the beer.
Tarzan dropped the inert mass and scooped several large
pieces of meat from the cooking pot--enough to satisfy even
his great hunger--then he raised the body of the feaster
and shoved it into the vessel. When the other blacks awoke
they would have something to think about! Tarzan grinned.
As he turned toward the tree with his meat, he picked
up a vessel containing beer and raised it to his lips,
but at the first taste he spat the stuff from his mouth
and tossed the primitive tankard aside. He was quite
sure that even Dango would draw the line at such filthy
tasting drink as that, and his contempt for man increased
with the conviction.
Tarzan swung off into the jungle some half mile or
so before he paused to partake of his stolen food.
He noticed that it gave forth a strange and unpleasant odor,
but assumed that this was due to the fact that it had
stood in a vessel of water above a fire. Tarzan was,
of course, unaccustomed to cooked food. He did not like it;
but he was very hungry and had eaten a considerable
portion of his haul before it was really borne in upon
him that the stuff was nauseating. It required far less
than he had imagined it would to satisfy his appetite.
Throwing the balance to the ground he curled up in a
convenient crotch and sought slumber; but slumber seemed
difficult to woo. Ordinarily Tarzan of the Apes was asleep
as quickly as a dog after it curls itself upon a hearthrug
before a roaring blaze; but tonight he squirmed and twisted,
for at the pit of his stomach was a peculiar feeling
that resembled nothing more closely than an attempt upon
the part of the fragments of elephant meat reposing there
to come out into the night and search for their elephant;
but Tarzan was adamant. He gritted his teeth and held
them back. He was not to be robbed of his meal after
waiting so long to obtain it.
He had succeeded in dozing when the roaring of a lion
awoke him. He sat up to discover that it was broad daylight.
Tarzan rubbed his eyes. Could it be that he had really
slept? He did not feel particularly refreshed as he
should have after a good sleep. A noise attracted
his attention, and he looked down to see a lion standing
at the foot of the tree gazing hungrily at him.
Tarzan made a face at the king of beasts, whereat Numa,
greatly to the ape-man's surprise, started to climb up into
the branches toward him. Now, never before had Tarzan seen
a lion climb a tree, yet, for some unaccountable reason,
he was not greatly surprised that this particular lion
should do so.
As the lion climbed slowly toward him, Tarzan sought
higher branches; but to his chagrin, he discovered that it
was with the utmost difficulty that he could climb at all.
Again and again he slipped back, losing all that he
had gained, while the lion kept steadily at his climbing,
coming ever closer and closer to the ape-man. Tarzan
could see the hungry light in the yellow-green eyes.
He could see the slaver on the drooping jowls,
and the great fangs agape to seize and destroy him.
Clawing desperately, the ape-man at last succeeded in gaining
a little upon his pursuer. He reached the more slender
branches far aloft where he well knew no lion could follow;
yet on and on came devil-faced Numa. It was incredible;
but it was true. Yet what most amazed Tarzan was
that though he realized the incredibility of it all,
he at the same time accepted it as a matter of course,
first that a lion should climb at all and second that he
should enter the upper terraces where even Sheeta, the panther,
dared not venture.
To the very top of a tall tree the ape-man clawed his awkward
way and after him came Numa, the lion, moaning dismally.
At last Tarzan stood balanced upon the very utmost pinnacle
of a swaying branch, high above the forest. He could go
no farther. Below him the lion came steadily upward,
and Tarzan of the Apes realized that at last the end had come.
He could not do battle upon a tiny branch with Numa,
the lion, especially with such a Numa, to which swaying
branches two hundred feet above the ground provided as
substantial footing as the ground itself.
Nearer and nearer came the lion. Another moment and he
could reach up with one great paw and drag the ape-man
downward to those awful jaws. A whirring noise above
his head caused Tarzan to glance apprehensively upward.
A great bird was circling close above him. He never had
seen so large a bird in all his life, yet he recognized
it immediately, for had he not seen it hundreds of times
in one of the books in the little cabin by the land-locked
bay--the moss-grown cabin that with its contents was
the sole heritage left by his dead and unknown father
to the young Lord Greystoke?
In the picture-book the great bird was shown flying far
above the ground with a small child in its talons while,
beneath, a distracted mother stood with uplifted hands.
The lion was already reaching forth a taloned paw to seize
him when the bird swooped and buried no less formidable
talons in Tarzan's back. The pain was numbing; but it
was with a sense of relief that the ape-man felt himself
snatched from the clutches of Numa.
With a great whirring of wings the bird rose rapidly
until the forest lay far below. It made Tarzan sick
and dizzy to look down upon it from so great a height,
so he closed his eyes tight and held his breath. Higher and
higher climbed the huge bird. Tarzan opened his eyes.
The jungle was so far away that he could see only a dim,
green blur below him, but just above and quite close was
the sun. Tarzan reached out his hands and warmed them,
for they were very cold. Then a sudden madness seized him.
Where was the bird taking him? Was he to submit thus
passively to a feathered creature however enormous? Was he,
Tarzan of the Apes, mighty fighter, to die without striking
a blow in his own defense? Never!
He snatched the hunting blade from his gee-string
and thrusting upward drove it once, twice, thrice into
the breast above him. The mighty wings fluttered a few
more times, spasmodically, the talons relaxed their hold,
and Tarzan of the Apes fell hurtling downward toward
the distant jungle.
It seemed to the ape-man that he fell for many minutes before
he crashed through the leafy verdure of the tree tops.
The smaller branches broke his fall, so that he came
to rest for an instant upon the very branch upon which he
had sought slumber the previous night. For an instant he
toppled there in a frantic attempt to regain his equilibrium;
but at last he rolled off, yet, clutching wildly,
he succeeded in grasping the branch and hanging on.
Once more he opened his eyes, which he had closed during
the fall. Again it was night. With all his old agility he
clambered back to the crotch from which he had toppled.
Below him a lion roared, and, looking downward, Tarzan could
see the yellow-green eyes shining in the moonlight as they
bored hungrily upward through the darkness of the jungle
night toward him.
The ape-man gasped for breath. Cold sweat stood out
from every pore, there was a great sickness at the pit
of Tarzan's stomach. Tarzan of the Apes had dreamed
his first dream.
For a long time he sat watching for Numa to climb into the tree
after him, and listening for the sound of the great wings
from above, for to Tarzan of the Apes his dream was a reality.
He could not believe what he had seen and yet,
having seen even these incredible things, he could
not disbelieve the evidence of his own perceptions.
Never in all his life had Tarzan's senses deceived
him badly, and so, naturally, he had great faith in them.
Each perception which ever had been transmitted to Tarzan's
brain had been, with varying accuracy, a true perception.
He could not conceive of the possibility of apparently
having passed through such a weird adventure in which there
was no grain of truth. That a stomach, disordered by
decayed elephant flesh, a lion roaring in the jungle,
a picture-book, and sleep could have so truly portrayed
all the clear-cut details of what he had seemingly
experienced was quite beyond his knowledge; yet he knew
that Numa could not climb a tree, he knew that there
existed in the jungle no such bird as he had seen,
and he knew, too, that he could not have fallen a tiny
fraction of the distance he had hurtled downward, and lived.
To say the least, he was a very puzzled Tarzan as he tried
to compose himself once more for slumber--a very puzzled
and a very nauseated Tarzan.
As he thought deeply upon the strange occurrences of
the night, he witnessed another remarkable happening.
It was indeed quite preposterous, yet he saw it all
with his own eyes--it was nothing less than Histah,
the snake, wreathing his sinuous and slimy way up the bole
of the tree below him--Histah, with the head of the old
man Tarzan had shoved into the cooking pot--the head and
the round, tight, black, distended stomach. As the old
man's frightful face, with upturned eyes, set and glassy,
came close to Tarzan, the jaws opened to seize him.
The ape-man struck furiously at the hideous face, and as he
struck the apparition disappeared.
Tarzan sat straight up upon his branch trembling in
every limb, wide-eyed and panting. He looked all around
him with his keen, jungle-trained eyes, but he saw naught
of the old man with the body of Histah, the snake,
but on his naked thigh the ape-man saw a caterpillar,
dropped from a branch above him. With a grimace he
flicked it off into the darkness beneath.
And so the night wore on, dream following dream, nightmare
following nightmare, until the distracted ape-man started
like a frightened deer at the rustling of the wind in the
trees about him, or leaped to his feet as the uncanny laugh
of a hyena burst suddenly upon a momentary jungle silence.
But at last the tardy morning broke and a sick and feverish
Tarzan wound sluggishly through the dank and gloomy mazes
of the forest in search of water. His whole body seemed
on fire, a great sickness surged upward to his throat.
He saw a tangle of almost impenetrable thicket, and,
like the wild beast he was, he crawled into it to die
alone and unseen, safe from the attacks of predatory carnivora.
But he did not die. For a long time he wanted to;
but presently nature and an outraged stomach relieved
themselves in their own therapeutic manner, the ape-man broke
into a violent perspiration and then fell into a normal and
untroubled sleep which persisted well into the afternoon.
When he awoke he found himself weak but no longer sick.
Once more he sought water, and after drinking deeply,
took his way slowly toward the cabin by the sea.
In times of loneliness and trouble it had long been his
custom to seek there the quiet and restfulness which he
could find nowhere else.
As he approached the cabin and raised the crude latch
which his father had fashioned so many years before,
two small, blood-shot eyes watched him from the concealing
foliage of the jungle close by. From beneath shaggy,
beetling brows they glared maliciously upon him,
maliciously and with a keen curiosity; then Tarzan entered
the cabin and closed the door after him. Here, with all
the world shut out from him, he could dream without
fear of interruption. He could curl up and look at
the pictures in the strange things which were books,
he could puzzle out the printed word he had learned to read
without knowledge of the spoken language it represented,
he could live in a wonderful world of which he had no
knowledge beyond the covers of his beloved books.
Numa and Sabor might prowl about close to him, the elements
might rage in all their fury; but here at least,
Tarzan might be entirely off his guard in a delightful
relaxation which gave him all his faculties for the
uninterrupted pursuit of this greatest of all his pleasures.
Today he turned to the picture of the huge bird which bore
off the little Tarmangani in its talons. Tarzan puckered
his brows as he examined the colored print. Yes, this was
the very bird that had carried him off the day before,
for to Tarzan the dream had been so great a reality
that he still thought another day and a night had passed
since he had lain down in the tree to sleep.
But the more he thought upon the matter the less positive
he was as to the verity of the seeming adventure through
which he had passed, yet where the real had ceased and
the unreal commenced he was quite unable to determine.
Had he really then been to the village of the blacks at all,
had he killed the old Gomangani, had he eaten of the
elephant meat, had he been sick? Tarzan scratched his
tousled black head and wondered. It was all very strange,
yet he knew that he never had seen Numa climb a tree,
or Histah with the head and belly of an old black man whom
Tarzan already had slain.
Finally, with a sigh he gave up trying to fathom
the unfathomable, yet in his heart of hearts he knew
that something had come into his life that he never before
had experienced, another life which existed when he slept
and the consciousness of which was carried over into his waking
Then he commenced to wonder if some of these strange
creatures which he met in his sleep might not slay him,
for at such times Tarzan of the Apes seemed to be a
different Tarzan, sluggish, helpless and timid--wishing
to flee his enemies as fled Bara, the deer, most fearful
Thus, with a dream, came the first faint tinge of a knowledge
of fear, a knowledge which Tarzan, awake, had never experienced,
and perhaps he was experiencing what his early forbears
passed through and transmitted to posterity in the form of
superstition first and religion later; for they, as Tarzan,
had seen things at night which they could not explain
by the daylight standards of sense perception or of reason,
and so had built for themselves a weird explanation
which included grotesque shapes, possessed of strange
and uncanny powers, to whom they finally came to attribute
all those inexplicable phenomena of nature which with
each recurrence filled them with awe, with wonder, or with
And as Tarzan concentrated his mind on the little bugs
upon the printed page before him, the active recollection
of the strange adventures presently merged into the text
of that which he was reading--a story of Bolgani,
the gorilla, in captivity. There was a more or less
lifelike illustration of Bolgani in colors and in a cage,
with many remarkable looking Tarmangani standing against
a rail and peering curiously at the snarling brute.
Tarzan wondered not a little, as he always did, at the odd
and seemingly useless array of colored plumage which covered
the bodies of the Tarmangani. It always caused him to grin
a trifle when he looked at these strange creatures.
He wondered if they so covered their bodies from shame
of their hairlessness or because they thought the odd things
they wore added any to the beauty of their appearance.
Particularly was Tarzan amused by the grotesque headdresses
of the pictured people. He wondered how some of the shes
succeeded in balancing theirs in an upright position,
and he came as near to laughing aloud as he ever had,
as he contemplated the funny little round things upon
the heads of the hes.
Slowly the ape-man picked out the meaning of the various
combinations of letters on the printed page, and as he read,
the little bugs, for as such he always thought of the letters,
commenced to run about in a most confusing manner,
blurring his vision and befuddling his thoughts.
Twice he brushed the back of a hand smartly across his eyes;
but only for a moment could he bring the bugs back
to coherent and intelligible form. He had slept ill the
night before and now he was exhausted from loss of sleep,
from sickness, and from the slight fever he had had,
so that it became more and more difficult to fix his attention,
or to keep his eyes open.
Tarzan realized that he was falling asleep, and just
as the realization was borne in upon him and he had
decided to relinquish himself to an inclination which
had assumed almost the proportions of a physical pain,
he was aroused by the opening of the cabin door.
Turning quickly toward the interruption Tarzan was amazed,
for a moment, to see bulking large in the doorway the huge
and hairy form of Bolgani, the gorilla.
Now there was scarcely a denizen of the great jungle
with whom Tarzan would rather not have been cooped up
inside the small cabin than Bolgani, the gorilla, yet he
felt no fear, even though his quick eye noted that Bolgani
was in the throes of that jungle madness which seizes
upon so many of the fiercer males. Ordinarily the huge
gorillas avoid conflict, hide themselves from the other
jungle folk, and are generally the best of neighbors;
but when they are attacked, or the madness seizes them,
there is no jungle denizen so bold and fierce as to
deliberately seek a quarrel with them.
But for Tarzan there was no escape. Bolgani was glowering
at him from red-rimmed, wicked eyes. In a moment he
would rush in and seize the ape-man. Tarzan reached
for the hunting knife where he had lain it on the table
beside him; but as his fingers did not immediately locate
the weapon, he turned a quick glance in search of it.
As he did so his eyes fell upon the book he had been
looking at which still lay open at the picture of Bolgani.
Tarzan found his knife, but he merely fingered it idly
and grinned in the direction of the advancing gorilla.
Not again would he be fooled by empty things which came
while he slept! In a moment, no doubt, Bolgani would turn
into Pamba, the rat, with the head of Tantor, the elephant.
Tarzan had seen enough of such strange happenings
recently to have some idea as to what he might expect;
but this time Bolgani did not alter his form as he came
slowly toward the young ape-man.
Tarzan was a bit puzzled, too, that he felt no desire
to rush frantically to some place of safety, as had been
the sensation most conspicuous in the other of his new
and remarkable adventures. He was just himself now,
ready to fight, if necessary; but still sure that no flesh
and blood gorilla stood before him.
The thing should be fading away into thin air by now,
thought Tarzan, or changing into something else;
yet it did not. Instead it loomed clear-cut and real
as Bolgani himself, the magnificent dark coat glistening
with life and health in a bar of sunlight which shot
across the cabin through the high window behind the young
Lord Greystoke. This was quite the most realistic
of his sleep adventures, thought Tarzan, as he passively
awaited the next amusing incident.
And then the gorilla charged. Two mighty, calloused hands
seized upon the ape-man, great fangs were bared close
to his face, a hideous growl burst from the cavernous
throat and hot breath fanned Tarzan's cheek, and still he
sat grinning at the apparition. Tarzan might be fooled
once or twice, but not for so many times in succession!
He knew that this Bolgani was no real Bolgani, for had he
been he never could have gained entrance to the cabin,
since only Tarzan knew how to operate the latch.
The gorilla seemed puzzled by the strange passivity of the
hairless ape. He paused an instant with his jaws snarling
close to the other's throat, then he seemed suddenly
to come to some decision. Whirling the ape-man across
a hairy shoulder, as easily as you or I might lift a babe
in arms, Bolgani turned and dashed out into the open,
racing toward the great trees.
Now, indeed, was Tarzan sure that this was a sleep
adventure, and so grinned largely as the giant gorilla
bore him, unresisting, away. Presently, reasoned Tarzan,
he would awaken and find himself back in the cabin
where he had fallen asleep. He glanced back at the
thought and saw the cabin door standing wide open.
This would never do! Always had he been careful to close
and latch it against wild intruders. Manu, the monkey,
would make sad havoc there among Tarzan's treasures should
he have access to the interior for even a few minutes.
The question which arose in Tarzan's mind was a baffling one.
Where did sleep adventures end and reality commence? How
was he to be sure that the cabin door was not really open?
Everything about him appeared quite normal--there were none
of the grotesque exaggerations of his former sleep adventures.
It would be better then to be upon the safe side and make
sure that the cabin door was closed--it would do no harm
even if all that seemed to be happening were not happening at
Tarzan essayed to slip from Bolgani's shoulder; but the
great beast only growled ominously and gripped him tighter.
With a mighty effort the ape-man wrenched himself loose,
and as he slid to the ground, the dream gorilla turned
ferociously upon him, seized him once more and buried
great fangs in a sleek, brown shoulder.
The grin of derision faded from Tarzan's lips as the pain
and the hot blood aroused his fighting instincts.
Asleep or awake, this thing was no longer a joke! Biting,
tearing, and snarling, the two rolled over upon the ground.
The gorilla now was frantic with insane rage. Again and again
he loosed his hold upon the ape-man's shoulder in an attempt
to seize the jugular; but Tarzan of the Apes had fought
before with creatures who struck first for the vital vein,
and each time he wriggled out of harm's way as he
strove to get his fingers upon his adversary's throat.
At last he succeeded--his great muscles tensed and knotted
beneath his smooth hide as he forced with every ounce
of his mighty strength to push the hairy torso from him.
And as he choked Bolgani and strained him away,
his other hand crept slowly upward between them until
the point of the hunting knife rested over the savage
heart--there was a quick movement of the steel-thewed
wrist and the blade plunged to its goal.
Bolgani, the gorilla, voiced a single frightful shriek,
tore himself loose from the grasp of the ape-man, rose to
his feet, staggered a few steps and then plunged to earth.
There were a few spasmodic movements of the limbs and the
brute was still.
Tarzan of the Apes stood looking down upon his kill,
and as he stood there he ran his fingers through his thick,
black shock of hair. Presently he stooped and touched
the dead body. Some of the red life-blood of the gorilla
crimsoned his fingers. He raised them to his nose and sniffed.
Then he shook his head and turned toward the cabin.
The door was still open. He closed it and fastened the latch.
Returning toward the body of his kill he again paused
and scratched his head.
If this was a sleep adventure, what then was reality? How
was he to know the one from the other? How much of all
that had happened in his life had been real and how much
He placed a foot upon the prostrate form and raising his face
to the heavens gave voice to the kill cry of the bull ape.
Far in the distance a lion answered. It was very real and,
yet, he did not know. Puzzled, he turned away into the jungle.
No, he did not know what was real and what was not;
but there was one thing that he did know--never again
would he eat of the flesh of Tantor, the elephant.
The Battle for Teeka
THE DAY WAS perfect. A cool breeze tempered the heat
of the equatorial sun. Peace had reigned within the tribe
for weeks and no alien enemy had trespassed upon its
preserves from without. To the ape-mind all this was
sufficient evidence that the future would be identical
with the immediate past--that Utopia would persist.
The sentinels, now from habit become a fixed tribal custom,
either relaxed their vigilance or entirely deserted
their posts, as the whim seized them. The tribe was
far scattered in search of food. Thus may peace and
prosperity undermine the safety of the most primitive
community even as it does that of the most cultured.
Even the individuals became less watchful and alert,
so that one might have thought Numa and Sabor and Sheeta
entirely deleted from the scheme of things. The shes
and the balus roamed unguarded through the sullen jungle,
while the greedy males foraged far afield, and thus it
was that Teeka and Gazan, her balu, hunted upon the extreme
southern edge of the tribe with no great male near them.
Still farther south there moved through the forest
a sinister figure--a huge bull ape, maddened by solitude
and defeat. A week before he had contended for the
kingship of a tribe far distant, and now battered,
and still sore, he roamed the wilderness an outcast.
Later he might return to his own tribe and submit to the
will of the hairy brute he had attempted to dethrone;
but for the time being he dared not do so, since he
had sought not only the crown but the wives, as well,
of his lord and master. It would require an entire moon
at least to bring forgetfulness to him he had wronged,
and so Toog wandered a strange jungle, grim, terrible,
It was in this mental state that Toog came unexpectedly upon
a young she feeding alone in the jungle--a stranger she,
lithe and strong and beautiful beyond compare.
Toog caught his breath and slunk quickly to one side
of the trail where the dense foliage of the tropical
underbrush concealed him from Teeka while permitting
him to feast his eyes upon her loveliness.
But not alone were they concerned with Teeka--they roved
the surrounding jungle in search of the bulls and cows
and balus of her tribe, though principally for the bulls.
When one covets a she of an alien tribe one must take
into consideration the great, fierce, hairy guardians
who seldom wander far from their wards and who will
fight a stranger to the death in protection of the mate
or offspring of a fellow, precisely as they would fight
for their own.
Toog could see no sign of any ape other than the strange
she and a young balu playing near by. His wicked,
blood-shot eyes half closed as they rested upon the charms
of the former--as for the balu, one snap of those great
jaws upon the back of its little neck would prevent
it from raising any unnecessary alarm.
Toog was a fine, big male, resembling in many ways
Teeka's mate, Taug. Each was in his prime, and each was
wonderfully muscled, perfectly fanged and as horrifyingly
ferocious as the most exacting and particular she could wish.
Had Toog been of her own tribe, Teeka might as readily have
yielded to him as to Taug when her mating time arrived;
but now she was Taug's and no other male could claim
her without first defeating Taug in personal combat.
And even then Teeka retained some rights in the matter.
If she did not favor a correspondent, she could enter
the lists with her rightful mate and do her part toward
discouraging his advances, a part, too, which would prove
no mean assistance to her lord and master, for Teeka,
even though her fangs were smaller than a male's, could use
them to excellent effect.
Just now Teeka was occupied in a fascinating search
for beetles, to the exclusion of all else. She did not
realize how far she and Gazan had become separated from
the balance of the tribe, nor were her defensive senses upon
the alert as they should have been. Months of immunity from
danger under the protecting watchfulness of the sentries,
which Tarzan had taught the tribe to post, had lulled them
all into a sense of peaceful security based on that fallacy
which has wrecked many enlightened communities in the past
and will continue to wreck others in the future--that
because they have not been attacked they never will be.
Toog, having satisfied himself that only the she and her balu
were in the immediate vicinity, crept stealthily forward.
Teeka's back was toward him when he finally rushed upon her;
but her senses were at last awakened to the presence
of danger and she wheeled to face the strange bull just
before he reached her. Toog halted a few paces from her.
His anger had fled before the seductive feminine charms
of the stranger. He made conciliatory noises--a species
of clucking sound with his broad, flat lips--that were,
too, not greatly dissimilar to that which might be produced
in an osculatory solo.
But Teeka only bared her fangs and growled. Little Gazan
started to run toward his mother, but she warned him away
with a quick "Kreeg-ah!" telling him to run high into
a tall tree. Evidently Teeka was not favorably impressed
by her new suitor. Toog realized this and altered
his methods accordingly. He swelled his giant chest,
beat upon it with his calloused knuckles and swaggered
to and fro before her.
"I am Toog," he boasted. "Look at my fighting fangs.
Look at my great arms and my mighty legs. With one bite I
can slay your biggest bull. Alone have I slain Sheeta.
I am Toog. Toog wants you." Then he waited for the effect,
nor did he have long to wait. Teeka turned with a
swiftness which belied her great weight and bolted
in the opposite direction. Toog, with an angry growl,
leaped in pursuit; but the smaller, lighter female was too
fleet for him. He chased her for a few yards and then,
foaming and barking, he halted and beat upon the ground
with his hard fists.
From the tree above him little Gazan looked down and
witnessed the stranger bull's discomfiture. Being young,
and thinking himself safe above the reach of the heavy male,
Gazan screamed an ill-timed insult at their tormentor.
Toog looked up. Teeka had halted at a little distance--she
would not go far from her balu; that Toog quickly realized
and as quickly determined to take advantage of. He saw
that the tree in which the young ape squatted was isolated
and that Gazan could not reach another without coming
to earth. He would obtain the mother through her love
for her young.
He swung himself into the lower branches of the tree.
Little Gazan ceased to insult him; his expression of
deviltry changed to one of apprehension, which was quickly
followed by fear as Toog commenced to ascend toward him.
Teeka screamed to Gazan to climb higher, and the little
fellow scampered upward among the tiny branches which would
not support the weight of the great bull; but nevertheless
Toog kept on climbing. Teeka was not fearful. She knew
that he could not ascend far enough to reach Gazan,
so she sat at a little distance from the tree and applied
jungle opprobrium to him. Being a female, she was a past
master of the art.
But she did not know the malevolent cunning of Toog's
little brain. She took it for granted that the bull
would climb as high as he could toward Gazan and then,
finding that he could not reach him, resume his pursuit
of her, which she knew would prove equally fruitless.
So sure was she of the safety of her balu and her own ability
to take care of herself that she did not voice the cry
for help which would soon have brought the other members
of the tribe flocking to her side.
Toog slowly reached the limit to which he dared risk
his great weight to the slender branches. Gazan was
still fifteen feet above him. The bull braced himself
and seized the main branch in his powerful hands, then he
commenced shaking it vigorously. Teeka was appalled.
Instantly she realized what the bull purposed.
Gazan clung far out upon a swaying limb. At the first
shake he lost his balance, though he did not quite fall,
clinging still with his four hands; but Toog redoubled
his efforts; the shaking produced a violent snapping
of the limb to which the young ape clung. Teeka saw
all too plainly what the outcome must be and forgetting
her own danger in the depth of her mother love,
rushed forward to ascend the tree and give battle to the
fearsome creature that menaced the life of her little one.
But before ever she reached the bole, Toog had succeeded,
by violent shaking of the branch, to loosen Gazan's hold.
With a cry the little fellow plunged down through the foliage,
clutching futilely for a new hold, and alighted with
a sickening thud at his mother's feet, where he lay
silent and motionless. Moaning, Teeka stooped to lift
the still form in her arms; but at the same instant Toog
was upon her.
Struggling and biting she fought to free herself; but the giant
muscles of the great bull were too much for her lesser strength.
Toog struck and choked her repeatedly until finally,
half unconscious, she lapsed into quasi submission.
Then the bull lifted her to his shoulder and turned
back to the trail toward the south from whence he had come.
Upon the ground lay the quiet form of little Gazan.
He did not moan. He did not move. The sun rose slowly
toward meridian. A mangy thing, lifting its nose to
scent the jungle breeze, crept through the underbrush.
It was Dango, the hyena. Presently its ugly muzzle broke
through some near-by foliage and its cruel eyes fastened
Early that morning, Tarzan of the Apes had gone to
the cabin by the sea, where he passed many an hour at
such times as the tribe was ranging in the vicinity.
On the floor lay the skeleton of a man--all that remained
of the former Lord Greystoke--lay as it had fallen
some twenty years before when Kerchak, the great ape,
had thrown it, lifeless, there. Long since had the
termites and the small rodents picked clean the sturdy
English bones. For years Tarzan had seen it lying there,
giving it no more attention than he gave the countless
thousand bones that strewed his jungle haunts.
On the bed another, smaller, skeleton reposed and the
youth ignored it as he ignored the other. How could he
know that the one had been his father, the other his
mother? The little pile of bones in the rude cradle,
fashioned with such loving care by the former Lord Greystoke,
meant nothing to him-- that one day that little skull
was to help prove his right to a proud title was as far
beyond his ken as the satellites of the suns of Orion.
To Tarzan they were bones--just bones. He did not
need them, for there was no meat left upon them, and they
were not in his way, for he knew no necessity for a bed,
and the skeleton upon the floor he easily could step over.
Today he was restless. He turned the pages first of one
book and then of another. He glanced at pictures which he
knew by heart, and tossed the books aside. He rummaged
for the thousandth time in the cupboard. He took out a bag
which contained several small, round pieces of metal.
He had played with them many times in the years gone by;
but always he replaced them carefully in the bag,
and the bag in the cupboard, upon the very shelf where
first he had discovered it. In strange ways did heredity
manifest itself in the ape-man. Come of an orderly race,
he himself was orderly without knowing why. The apes
dropped things wherever their interest in them waned--in
the tall grass or from the high-flung branches of the trees.
What they dropped they sometimes found again, by accident;
but not so the ways of Tarzan. For his few belongings
he had a place and scrupulously he returned each
thing to its proper place when he was done with it.
The round pieces of metal in the little bag always
interested him. Raised pictures were upon either side,
the meaning of which he did not quite understand.
The pieces were bright and shiny. It amused him to arrange
them in various figures upon the table. Hundreds of times
had he played thus. Today, while so engaged, he dropped
a lovely yellow piece-- an English sovereign--which rolled
beneath the bed where lay all that was mortal of the once
beautiful Lady Alice.
True to form, Tarzan at once dropped to his hands and knees
and searched beneath the bed for the lost gold piece.
Strange as it might appear, he had never before looked
beneath the bed. He found the gold piece, and something
else he found, too--a small wooden box with a loose cover.
Bringing them both out he returned the sovereign to
its bag and the bag to its shelf within the cupboard;
then he investigated the box. It contained a quantity
of cylindrical bits of metal, cone-shaped at one
end and flat at the other, with a projecting rim.
They were all quite green and dull, coated with years
Tarzan removed a handful of them from the box and examined them.
He rubbed one upon another and discovered that the green
came off, leaving a shiny surface for two-thirds of
their length and a dull gray over the cone-shaped end.
Finding a bit of wood he rubbed one of the cylinders rapidly
and was rewarded by a lustrous sheen which pleased him.
At his side hung a pocket pouch taken from the body
of one of the numerous black warriors he had slain.
Into this pouch he put a handful of the new playthings,
thinking to polish them at his leisure; then he replaced
the box beneath the bed, and finding nothing more to
amuse him, left the cabin and started back in the direction
of the tribe.
Shortly before he reached them he heard a great commotion
ahead of him--the loud screams of shes and balus,
the savage, angry barking and growling of the great bulls.
Instantly he increased his speed, for the "Kreeg-ahs"
that came to his ears warned him that something was amiss
with his fellows.
While Tarzan had been occupied with his own devices
in the cabin of his dead sire, Taug, Teeka's mighty mate,
had been hunting a mile to the north of the tribe.
At last, his belly filled, he had turned lazily back toward
the clearing where he had last seen the tribe and presently
commenced passing its members scattered alone or in twos
or threes. Nowhere did he see Teeka or Gazan, and soon
he began inquiring of the other apes where they might be;
but none had seen them recently.
Now the lower orders are not highly imaginative.
They do not, as you and I, paint vivid mental pictures
of things which might have occurred, and so Taug did
not now apprehend that any misfortune had overtaken
his mate and their off-spring-- he merely knew that he
wished to find Teeka that he might lie down in the shade
and have her scratch his back while his breakfast digested;
but though he called to her and searched for her and
asked each whom he met, he could find no trace of Teeka,
nor of Gazan either.
He was beginning to become peeved and had about made up
his mind to chastise Teeka for wandering so far afield
when he wanted her. He was moving south along a game trail,
his calloused soles and knuckles giving forth no sound,
when he came upon Dango at the opposite side of a
small clearing. The eater of carrion did not see Taug,
for all his eyes were for something which lay in the grass
beneath a tree--something upon which he was sneaking
with the cautious stealth of his breed.
Taug, always cautious himself, as it behooves one to be
who fares up and down the jungle and desires to survive,
swung noiselessly into a tree, where he could have
a better view of the clearing. He did not fear Dango;
but he wanted to see what it was that Dango stalked.
In a way, possibly, he was actuated as much by curiosity
as by caution.
And when Taug reached a place in the branches from
which he could have an unobstructed view of the clearing
he saw Dango already sniffing at something directly
beneath him-- something which Taug instantly recognized
as the lifeless form of his little Gazan.
With a cry so frightful, so bestial, that it momentarily
paralyzed the startled Dango, the great ape launched his
mighty bulk upon the surprised hyena. With a cry and a snarl,
Dango, crushed to earth, turned to tear at his assailant;
but as effectively might a sparrow turn upon a hawk.
Taug's great, gnarled fingers closed upon the hyena's
throat and back, his jaws snapped once on the mangy neck,
crushing the vertebrae, and then he hurled the dead body
Again he raised his voice in the call of the bull ape
to its mate, but there was no reply; then he leaned down to
sniff at the body of Gazan. In the breast of this savage,
hideous beast there beat a heart which was moved,
however slightly, by the same emotions of paternal love
which affect us. Even had we no actual evidence of this,
we must know it still, since only thus might be explained
the survival of the human race in which the jealousy
and selfishness of the bulls would, in the earliest
stages of the race, have wiped out the young as rapidly
as they were brought into the world had not God implanted
in the savage bosom that paternal love which evidences
itself most strongly in the protective instinct of the male.
In Taug the protective instinct was not alone highly developed;
but affection for his offspring as well, for Taug was an
unusually intelligent specimen of these great, manlike apes
which the natives of the Gobi speak of in whispers;
but which no white man ever had seen, or, if seeing,
lived to tell of until Tarzan of the Apes came among them.
And so Taug felt sorrow as any other father might feel
sorrow at the loss of a little child. To you little
Gazan might have seemed a hideous and repulsive creature,
but to Taug and Teeka he was as beautiful and as cute
as is your little Mary or Johnnie or Elizabeth Ann to you,
and he was their firstborn, their only balu, and a he--three
things which might make a young ape the apple of any fond
For a moment Taug sniffed at the quiet little form.
With his muzzle and his tongue he smoothed and caressed
the rumpled coat. From his savage lips broke a low moan;
but quickly upon the heels of sorrow came the overmastering
desire for revenge.
Leaping to his feet he screamed out a volley of "Kreegahs,"
punctuated from time to time by the blood-freezing
cry of an angry, challenging bull--a rage-mad bull
with the blood lust strong upon him.
Answering his cries came the cries of the tribe as they swung
through the trees toward him. It was these that Tarzan
heard on his return from his cabin, and in reply to them he
raised his own voice and hurried forward with increased speed
until he fairly flew through the middle terraces of the forest.
When at last he came upon the tribe he saw their members
gathered about Taug and something which lay quietly upon
the ground. Dropping among them, Tarzan approached
the center of the group. Taug was stiff roaring
out his challenges; but when he saw Tarzan he ceased
and stooping picked up Gazan in his arms and held him
out for Tarzan to see. Of all the bulls of the tribe,
Taug held affection for Tarzan only. Tarzan he trusted
and looked up to as one wiser and more cunning.
To Tarzan he came now--to the playmate of his balu days,
the companion of innumerable battles of his maturity.
When Tarzan saw the still form in Taug's arms, a low growl
broke from his lips, for he too loved Teeka's little balu.
"Who did it?" he asked. "Where is Teeka?"
"I do not know," replied Taug. "I found him lying here
with Dango about to feed upon him; but it was not Dango
that did it--there are no fang marks upon him."
Tarzan came closer and placed an ear against Gazan's breast.
"He is not dead," he said. "Maybe he will not die."
He pressed through the crowd of apes and circled once
about them, examining the ground step by step. Suddenly he
stopped and placing his nose close to the earth sniffed.
Then he sprang to his feet, giving a peculiar cry.
Taug and the others pressed forward, for the sound told them
that the hunter had found the spoor of his quarry.
"A stranger bull has been here," said Tarzan. "It was he
that hurt Gazan. He has carried off Teeka."
Taug and the other bulls commenced to roar and threaten;
but they did nothing. Had the stranger bull been within
sight they would have torn him to pieces; but it did not
occur to them to follow him.
"If the three bulls had been watching around the tribe
this would not have happened," said Tarzan. "Such things
will happen as long as you do not keep the three bulls
watching for an enemy. The jungle is full of enemies,
and yet you let your shes and your balus feed where they will,
alone and unprotected. Tarzan goes now--he goes to find
Teeka and bring her back to the tribe."
The idea appealed to the other bulls. "We will all go,"
"No," said Tarzan, "you will not all go. We cannot
take shes and balus when we go out to hunt and fight.
You must remain to guard them or you will lose them all."
They scratched their heads. The wisdom of his advice
was dawning upon them, but at first they had been carried
away by the new idea--the idea of following up an enemy
offender to wrest his prize from him and punish him.
The community instinct was ingrained in their characters
through ages of custom. They did not know why they had not
thought to pursue and punish the offender--they could not know
that it was because they had as yet not reached a mental
plane which would permit them to work as individuals.
In times of stress, the community instinct sent them
huddling into a compact herd where the great bulls,
by the weight of their combined strength and ferocity,
could best protect them from an enemy. The idea of separating
to do battle with a foe had not yet occurred to them--it was
too foreign to custom, too inimical to community interests;
but to Tarzan it was the first and most natural thought.
His senses told him that there was but a single bull
connected with the attack upon Teeka and Gazan. A single
enemy did not require the entire tribe for his punishment.
Two swift bulls could quickly overhaul him and rescue Teeka.
In the past no one ever had thought to go forth in search
of the shes that were occasionally stolen from the tribe.
If Numa, Sabor, Sheeta or a wandering bull ape from another
tribe chanced to carry off a maid or a matron while no
one was looking, that was the end of it--she was gone,
that was all. The bereaved husband, if the victim chanced
to have been mated, growled around for a day or two and then,
if he were strong enough, took another mate within the tribe,
and if not, wandered far into the jungle on the chance
of stealing one from another community.
In the past Tarzan of the Apes had condoned this
practice for the reason that he had had no interest
in those who had been stolen; but Teeka had been
his first love and Teeka's balu held a place in his
heart such as a balu of his own would have held.
Just once before had Tarzan wished to follow and revenge.
That had been years before when Kulonga, the son of Mbonga,
the chief, had slain Kala. Then, single-handed, Tarzan
had pursued and avenged. Now, though to a lesser degree,
he was moved by the same passion.
He turned toward Taug. "Leave Gazan with Mumga," he said.
"She is old and her fangs are broken and she is no good;
but she can take care of Gazan until we return with Teeka,
and if Gazan is dead when we come back," he turned to
address Mumga, "I will kill you, too."
"Where are we going?" asked Taug.
"We are going to get Teeka," replied the ape-man, "and
kill the bull who has stolen her. Come!"
He turned again to the spoor of the stranger bull,
which showed plainly to his trained senses, nor did he
glance back to note if Taug followed. The latter laid
Gazan in Mumga's arms with a parting: "If he dies Tarzan
will kill you," and he followed after the brown-skinned
figure that already was moving at a slow trot along
the jungle trail.
No other bull of the tribe of Kerchak was so good a
trailer as Tarzan, for his trained senses were aided
by a high order of intelligence. His judgment told him
the natural trail for a quarry to follow, so that he
need but note the most apparent marks upon the way,
and today the trail of Toog was as plain to him as type
upon a printed page to you or me.
Following close behind the lithe figure of the ape-man came
the huge and shaggy bull ape. No words passed between them.
They moved as silently as two shadows among the myriad
shadows of the forest. Alert as his eyes and ears,
was Tarzan's patrician nose. The spoor was fresh, and now
that they had passed from the range of the strong ape odor
of the tribe he had little difficulty in following Toog
and Teeka by scent alone. Teeka's familiar scent spoor
told both Tarzan and Taug that they were upon her trail,
and soon the scent of Toog became as familiar as the other.
They were progressing rapidly when suddenly dense
clouds overcast the sun. Tarzan accelerated his pace.
Now he fairly flew along the jungle trail, or, where Toog
had taken to the trees, followed nimbly as a squirrel along
the bending, undulating pathway of the foliage branches,
swinging from tree to tree as Toog had swung before them;
but more rapidly because they were not handicapped by a
burden such as Toog's.
Tarzan felt that they must be almost upon the quarry,
for the scent spoor was becoming stronger and stronger,
when the jungle was suddenly shot by livid lightning,
and a deafening roar of thunder reverberated through the
heavens and the forest until the earth trembled and shook.
Then came the rain--not as it comes to us of the
temperate zones, but as a mighty avalanche of water--a
deluge which spills tons instead of drops upon the bending
forest giants and the terrified creatures which haunt
And the rain did what Tarzan knew that it would do-- it
wiped the spoor of the quarry from the face of the earth.
For a half hour the torrents fell--then the sun burst forth,
jeweling the forest with a million scintillant gems;
but today the ape-man, usually alert to the changing wonders
of the jungle, saw them not. Only the fact that the spoor
of Teeka and her abductor was obliterated found lodgment
in his thoughts.
Even among the branches of the trees there are well-worn trails,
just as there are trails upon the surface of the ground;
but in the trees they branch and cross more often,
since the way is more open than among the dense undergrowth
at the surface. Along one of these well-marked trails
Tarzan and Taug continued after the rain had ceased,
because the ape-man knew that this was the most logical
path for the thief to follow; but when they came to a fork,
they were at a loss. Here they halted, while Tarzan
examined every branch and leaf which might have been
touched by the fleeing ape.
He sniffed the bole of the tree, and with his keen eyes
he sought to find upon the bark some sign of the way
the quarry had taken. It was slow work and all the time,
Tarzan knew, the bull of the alien tribe was forging
steadily away from them--gaining precious minutes that might
carry him to safety before they could catch up with him.
First along one fork he went, and then another, applying every
test that his wonderful junglecraft was cognizant of;
but again and again he was baffled, for the scent had been
washed away by the heavy downpour, in every exposed place.
For a half hour Tarzan and Taug searched, until at last,
upon the bottom of a broad leaf, Tarzan's keen nose caught
the faint trace of the scent spoor of Toog, where the leaf
had brushed a hairy shoulder as the great ape passed
through the foliage.
Once again the two took up the trail, but it was slow
work now and there were many discouraging delays when
the spoor seemed lost beyond recovery. To you or me
there would have been no spoor, even before the coming
of the rain, except, possibly, where Toog had come
to earth and followed a game trail. In such places
the imprint of a huge handlike foot and the knuckles
of one great hand were sometimes plain enough for an
ordinary mortal to read. Tarzan knew from these and
other indications that the ape was yet carrying Teeka.
The depth of the imprint of his feet indicated a much greater
weight than that of any of the larger bulls, for they
were made under the combined weight of Toog and Teeka,
while the fact that the knuckles of but one hand touched
the ground at any time showed that the other hand was
occupied in some other business--the business of holding
the prisoner to a hairy shoulder. Tarzan could follow,
in sheltered places, the changing of the burden from one
shoulder to another, as indicated by the deepening of the
foot imprint upon the side of the load, and the changing
of the knuckle imprints from one side of the trail to the other.
There were stretches along the surface paths where the ape had
gone for considerable distances entirely erect upon his hind
feet--walking as a man walks; but the same might have been
true of any of the great anthropoids of the same species,
for, unlike the chimpanzee and the gorilla, they walk
without the aid of their hands quite as readily as with.
It was such things, however, which helped to identify
to Tarzan and to Taug the appearance of the abductor,
and with his individual scent characteristic already
indelibly impressed upon their memories, they were in a
far better position to know him when they came upon him,
even should he have disposed of Teeka before, than is a modern
sleuth with his photographs and Bertillon measurements,
equipped to recognize a fugitive from civilized justice.
But with all their high-strung and delicately attuned
perceptive faculties the two bulls of the tribe of Kerchak
were often sore pressed to follow the trail at all,
and at best were so delayed that in the afternoon of the
second day, they still had not overhauled the fugitive.
The scent was now strong, for it had been made since the rain,
and Tarzan knew that it would not be long before they
came upon the thief and his loot. Above them, as they
crept stealthily forward, chattered Manu, the monkey,
and his thousand fellows; squawked and screamed the
brazen-throated birds of plumage; buzzed and hummed the
countless insects amid the rustling of the forest leaves,
and, as they passed, a little gray-beard, squeaking and
scolding upon a swaying branch, looked down and saw them.
Instantly the scolding and squeaking ceased, and off
tore the long-tailed mite as though Sheeta, the panther,
had been endowed with wings and was in close pursuit of him.
To all appearances he was only a very much frightened
little monkey, fleeing for his life--there seemed nothing
sinister about him.
And what of Teeka during all this time? Was she at last
resigned to her fate and accompanying her new mate
in the proper humility of a loving and tractable spouse?
A single glance at the pair would have answered these
questions to the utter satisfaction of the most captious.
She was torn and bleeding from many wounds, inflicted by the
sullen Toog in his vain efforts to subdue her to his will,
and Toog too was disfigured and mutilated; but with
stubborn ferocity, he still clung to his now useless prize.
On through the jungle he forced his way in the direction
of the stamping ground of his tribe. He hoped that his
king would have forgotten his treason; but if not he
was still resigned to his fate--any fate would be better
than suffering longer the sole companionship of this
frightful she, and then, too, he wished to exhibit
his captive to his fellows. Maybe he could wish her
on the king--it is possible that such a thought urged him on.
At last they came upon two bulls feeding in a parklike
grove--a beautiful grove dotted with huge boulders half
embedded in the rich loam--mute monuments, possibly, to a
forgotten age when mighty glaciers rolled their slow course
where now a torrid sun beats down upon a tropic jungle.
The two bulls looked up, baring long fighting fangs,
as Toog appeared in the distance. The latter recognized
the two as friends. "It is Toog," he growled. "Toog has
come back with a new she."
The apes waited his nearer approach. Teeka turned a snarling,
fanged face toward them. She was not pretty to look upon,
yet through the blood and hatred upon her countenance
they realized that she was beautiful, and they envied
Toog--alas! they did not know Teeka.
As they squatted looking at one another there raced through
the trees toward them a long-tailed little monkey with
gray whiskers. He was a very excited little monkey when he
came to a halt upon the limb of a tree directly overhead.
"Two strange bulls come," he cried. One is a Mangani,
the other a hideous ape without hair upon his body.
They follow the spoor of Toog. I saw them."
The four apes turned their eyes backward along the trail
Toog had just come; then they looked at one another for
a minute. "Come," said the larger of Toog's two friends,
"we will wait for the strangers in the thick bushes beyond
He turned and waddled away across the open place,
the others following him. The little monkey danced about,
all excitement. His chief diversion in life was to bring
about bloody encounters between the larger denizens of
the forest, that he might sit in the safety of the trees
and witness the spectacles. He was a glutton for gore,
was this little, whiskered, gray monkey, so long as it was
the gore of others-- a typical fight fan was the graybeard.
The apes hid themselves in the shrubbery beside the
trail along which the two stranger bulls would pass.
Teeka trembled with excitement. She had heard the words
of Manu, and she knew that the hairless ape must be Tarzan,
while the other was, doubtless, Taug. Never, in her
wildest hopes, had she expected succor of this sort.
Her one thought had been to escape and find her way back
to the tribe of Kerchak; but even this had appeared to her
practically impossible, so closely did Toog watch her.
As Taug and Tarzan reached the grove where Toog had come
upon his friends, the ape scent became so strong that
both knew the quarry was but a short distance ahead.
And so they went even more cautiously, for they wished
to come upon the thief from behind if they could
and charge him before he was aware of their presence.
That a little gray-whiskered monkey had forestalled them
they did not know, nor that three pairs of savage eyes
were already watching their every move and waiting for them
to come within reach of itching paws and slavering jowls.
On they came across the grove, and as they entered
the path leading into the dense jungle beyond, a sudden
"Kreeg-ah!" shrilled out close before them--a "Kreeg-ah"
in the familiar voice of Teeka. The small brains
of Toog and his companions had not been able to foresee
that Teeka might betray them, and now that she had,
they went wild with rage. Toog struck the she a mighty
blow that felled her, and then the three rushed forth
to do battle with Tarzan and Taug. The little monkey
danced upon his perch and screamed with delight.
And indeed he might well be delighted, for it was a
lovely fight. There were no preliminaries, no formalities,
no introductions-- the five bulls merely charged and clinched.
They rolled in the narrow trail and into the thick
verdure beside it. They bit and clawed and scratched
and struck, and all the while they kept up the most
frightful chorus of growlings and barkings and roarings.
In five minutes they were torn and bleeding, and the little
graybeard leaped high, shrilling his primitive bravos;
but always his attitude was "thumbs down." He wanted
to see something killed. He did not care whether it
were friend or foe. It was blood he wanted--blood and death.
Taug had been set upon by Toog and another of the apes,
while Tarzan had the third--a huge brute with the strength
of a buffalo. Never before had Tarzan's assailant beheld
so strange a creature as this slippery, hairless bull with
which he battled. Sweat and blood covered Tarzan's sleek,
brown hide. Again and again he slipped from the clutches
of the great bull, and all the while he struggled to free
his hunting knife from the scabbard in which it had stuck.
At length he succeeded--a brown hand shot out and clutched
a hairy throat, another flew upward clutching the sharp blade.
Three swift, powerful strokes and the bull relaxed
with a groan, falling limp beneath his antagonist.
Instantly Tarzan broke from the clutches of the dying bull
and sprang to Taug's assistance. Toog saw him coming
and wheeled to meet him. In the impact of the charge,
Tarzan's knife was wrenched from his hand and then Toog
closed with him. Now was the battle even--two against
two--while on the verge, Teeka, now recovered from the blow
that had felled her, slunk waiting for an opportunity
to aid. She saw Tarzan's knife and picked it up.
She never had used it, but knew how Tarzan used it.
Always had she been afraid of the thing which dealt death
to the mightiest of the jungle people with the ease that
Tantor's great tusks deal death to Tantor's enemies.
She saw Tarzan's pocket pouch torn from his side,
and with the curiosity of an ape, that even danger and
excitement cannot entirely dispel, she picked this up, too.
Now the bulls were standing--the clinches had been broken.
Blood streamed down their sides--their faces were crimsoned
with it. Little graybeard was so fascinated that at last
he had even forgotten to scream and dance; but sat rigid
with delight in the enjoyment of the spectacle.
Back across the grove Tarzan and Taug forced their adversaries.
Teeka followed slowly. She scarce knew what to do.
She was lame and sore and exhausted from the frightful
ordeal through which she had passed, and she had
the confidence of her sex in the prowess of her mate
and the other bull of her tribe--they would not need
the help of a she in their battle with these two strangers.
The roars and screams of the fighters reverberated through
the jungle, awakening the echoes in the distant hills.
From the throat of Tarzan's antagonist had come a score
of "Kreeg-ahs!" and now from behind came the reply he
had awaited. Into the grove, barking and growling,
came a score of huge bull apes--the fighting men of
Teeka saw them first and screamed a warning to Tarzan and Taug.
Then she fled past the fighters toward the opposite
side of the clearing, fear for a moment claiming her.
Nor can one censure her after the frightful ordeal from
which she was still suffering.
Down upon them came the great apes. In a moment Tarzan
and Taug would be torn to shreds that would later form
the PIECE DE RESISTANCE of the savage orgy of a Dum-Dum.
Teeka turned to glance back. She saw the impending
fate of her defenders and there sprung to life in her
savage bosom the spark of martyrdom, that some common
forbear had transmitted alike to Teeka, the wild ape,
and the glorious women of a higher order who have invited
death for their men. With a shrill scream she ran toward
the battlers who were rolling in a great mass at the foot
of one of the huge boulders which dotted the grove;
but what could she do? The knife she held she could
not use to advantage because of her lesser strength.
She had seen Tarzan throw missiles, and she had learned
this with many other things from her childhood playmate.
She sought for something to throw and at last her fingers
touched upon the hard objects in the pouch that had been
torn from the ape-man. Tearing the receptacle open,
she gathered a handful of shiny cylinders--heavy for
their size, they seemed to her, and good missiles.
With all her strength she hurled them at the apes battling
in front of the granite boulder.
The result surprised Teeka quite as much as it did the apes.
There was a loud explosion, which deafened the fighters,
and a puff of acrid smoke. Never before had one there
heard such a frightful noise. Screaming with terror,
the stranger bulls leaped to their feet and fled back
toward the stamping ground of their tribe, while Taug
and Tarzan slowly gathered themselves together and arose,
lame and bleeding, to their feet. They, too, would have
fled had they not seen Teeka standing there before them,
the knife and the pocket pouch in her hands.
"What was it?" asked Tarzan.
Teeka shook her head. "I hurled these at the stranger bulls,"
and she held forth another handful of the shiny metal
cylinders with the dull gray, cone-shaped ends.
Tarzan looked at them and scratched his head.
"What are they?" asked Taug.
"I do not know," said Tarzan. "I found them."
The little monkey with the gray beard halted among the trees
a mile away and huddled, terrified, against a branch.
He did not know that the dead father of Tarzan of the Apes,
reaching back out of the past across a span of twenty years,
had saved his son's life.
Nor did Tarzan, Lord Greystoke, know it either.
A Jungle Joke
TIME SELDOM HUNG heavily upon Tarzan's hands. Even where
there is sameness there cannot be monotony if most of
the sameness consists in dodging death first in one form
and then in another; or in inflicting death upon others.
There is a spice to such an existence; but even this Tarzan
of the Apes varied in activities of his own invention.
He was full grown now, with the grace of a Greek god
and the thews of a bull, and, by all the tenets of apedom,
should have been sullen, morose, and brooding; but he
was not. His spirits seemed not to age at all--he was
still a playful child, much to the discomfiture of his
fellow-apes. They could not understand him or his ways,
for with maturity they quickly forgot their youth and
Nor could Tarzan quite understand them. It seemed strange
to him that a few moons since, he had roped Taug about an ankle
and dragged him screaming through the tall jungle grasses,
and then rolled and tumbled in good-natured mimic battle
when the young ape had freed himself, and that today when
he had come up behind the same Taug and pulled him over
backward upon the turf, instead of the playful young ape,
a great, snarling beast had whirled and leaped for his throat.
Easily Tarzan eluded the charge and quickly Taug's anger
though it was not replaced with playfulness; yet the ape-man
realized that Taug was not amused nor was he amusing.
The big bull ape seemed to have lost whatever sense of humor
he once may have possessed. With a grunt of disappointment,
young Lord Greystoke turned to other fields of endeavor.
A strand of black hair fell across one eye. He brushed
it aside with the palm of a hand and a toss of his head.
It suggested something to do, so he sought his quiver which
lay cached in the hollow bole of a lightning-riven tree.
Removing the arrows he turned the quiver upside down,
emptying upon the ground the contents of its bottom--
his few treasures. Among them was a flat bit of stone
and a shell which he had picked up from the beach near
his father's cabin.
With great care he rubbed the edge of the shell back and
forth upon the flat stone until the soft edge was quite
fine and sharp. He worked much as a barber does who hones
a razor, and with every evidence of similar practice; but his
proficiency was the result of years of painstaking effort.
Unaided he had worked out a method of his own for putting
an edge upon the shell--he even tested it with the ball
of his thumb-- and when it met with his approval he
grasped a wisp of hair which fell across his eyes,
grasped it between the thumb and first finger of his left
hand and sawed upon it with the sharpened shell until it
was severed. All around his head he went until his black
shock was rudely bobbed with a ragged bang in front.
For the appearance of it he cared nothing; but in the
matter of safety and comfort it meant everything.
A lock of hair falling in one's eyes at the wrong moment
might mean all the difference between life and death,
while straggly strands, hanging down one's back were
most uncomfortable, especially when wet with dew or rain
As Tarzan labored at his tonsorial task, his active
mind was busy with many things. He recalled his
recent battle with Bolgani, the gorilla, the wounds
of which were but just healed. He pondered the strange
sleep adventures of his first dreams, and he smiled
at the painful outcome of his last practical joke upon
the tribe, when, dressed in the hide of Numa, the lion,
he had come roaring upon them, only to be leaped upon
and almost killed by the great bulls whom he had taught
how to defend themselves from an attack of their ancient enemy.
His hair lopped off to his entire satisfaction, and seeing
no possibility of pleasure in the company of the tribe,
Tarzan swung leisurely into the trees and set off in
the direction of his cabin; but when part way there his
attention was attracted by a strong scent spoor coming
from the north. It was the scent of the Gomangani.
Curiosity, that best-developed, common heritage of man
and ape, always prompted Tarzan to investigate where the
Gomangani were concerned. There was that about them
which aroused his imagination. Possibly it was because
of the diversity of their activities and interests.
The apes lived to eat and sleep and propagate.
The same was true of all the other denizens of the jungle,
save the Gomangani.
These black fellows danced and sang, scratched around in the
earth from which they had cleared the trees and underbrush;
they watched things grow, and when they had ripened,
they cut them down and put them in straw-thatched huts.
They made bows and spears and arrows, poison, cooking pots,
things of metal to wear around their arms and legs.
If it hadn't been for their black faces, their hideously
disfigured features, and the fact that one of them had
slain Kala, Tarzan might have wished to be one of them.
At least he sometimes thought so, but always at the thought
there rose within him a strange revulsion of feeling, which he
could not interpret or understand--he simply knew that he
hated the Gomangani, and that he would rather be Histah,
the snake, than one of these.
But their ways were interesting, and Tarzan never tired
of spying upon them. and from them he learned much more than
he realized, though always his principal thought was of some
new way in which he could render their lives miserable.
The baiting of the blacks was Tarzan's chief divertissement.
Tarzan realized now that the blacks were very near
and that there were many of them, so he went silently
and with great caution. Noiselessly he moved through
the lush grasses of the open spaces, and where the forest
was dense, swung from one swaying branch to another,
or leaped lightly over tangled masses of fallen trees
where there was no way through the lower terraces,
and the ground was choked and impassable.
And so presently he came within sight of the black
warriors of Mbonga, the chief. They were engaged in a
pursuit with which Tarzan was more or less familiar,
having watched them at it upon other occasions.
They were placing and baiting a trap for Numa, the lion.
In a cage upon wheels they were tying a kid, so fastening
it that when Numa seized the unfortunate creature,
the door of the cage would drop behind him, making him
These things the blacks had learned in their old home,
before they escaped through the untracked jungle to their
new village. Formerly they had dwelt in the Belgian
Congo until the cruelties of their heartless oppressors
had driven them to seek the safety of unexplored solitudes
beyond the boundaries of Leopold's domain.
In their old life they often had trapped animals for the
agents of European dealers, and had learned from them
certain tricks, such as this one, which permitted them
to capture even Numa without injuring him, and to transport
him in safety and with comparative ease to their village.
No longer was there a white market for their savage wares;
but there was still a sufficient incentive for the taking
of Numa--alive. First was the necessity for ridding the
jungle of man-eaters, and it was only after depredations
by these grim and terrible scourges that a lion hunt
was organized. Secondarily was the excuse for an orgy
of celebration was the hunt successful, and the fact that
such fetes were rendered doubly pleasurable by the presence
of a live creature that might be put to death by torture.
Tarzan had witnessed these cruel rites in the past.
Being himself more savage than the savage warriors
of the Gomangani, he was not so shocked by the cruelty
of them as he should have been, yet they did shock him.
He could not understand the strange feeling of revulsion
which possessed him at such times. He had no love for Numa,
the lion, yet he bristled with rage when the blacks
inflicted upon his enemy such indignities and cruelties
as only the mind of the one creature molded in the image
of God can conceive.
Upon two occasions he had freed Numa from the trap before
the blacks had returned to discover the success or failure
of their venture. He would do the same today--that he
decided immediately he realized the nature of their intentions.
Leaving the trap in the center of a broad elephant trail
near the drinking hole, the warriors turned back toward
their village. On the morrow they would come again.
Tarzan looked after them, upon his lips an unconscious
sneer--the heritage of unguessed caste. He saw them file
along the broad trail, beneath the overhanging verdure
of leafy branch and looped and festooned creepers,
brushing ebon shoulders against gorgeous blooms which
inscrutable Nature has seen fit to lavish most profusely
farthest from the eye of man.
As Tarzan watched, through narrowed lids, the last
of the warriors disappear beyond a turn in the trail,
his expression altered to the urge of a newborn thought.
A slow, grim smile touched his lips. He looked down upon
the frightened, bleating kid, advertising, in its fear
and its innocence, its presence and its helplessness.
Dropping to the ground, Tarzan approached the trap and entered.
Without disturbing the fiber cord, which was adjusted to drop
the door at the proper time, he loosened the living bait,
tucked it under an arm and stepped out of the cage.
With his hunting knife he quieted the frightened animal,
severing its jugular; then he dragged it, bleeding,
along the trail down to the drinking hole, the half smile
persisting upon his ordinarily grave face. At the water's
edge the ape-man stooped and with hunting knife and quick
strong fingers deftly removed the dead kid's viscera.
Scraping a hole in the mud, he buried these parts which he
did not eat, and swinging the body to his shoulder took
to the trees.
For a short distance he pursued his way in the wake of the
black warriors, coming down presently to bury the meat
of his kill where it would be safe from the depredations
of Dango, the hyena, or the other meat-eating beasts
and birds of the jungle. He was hungry. Had he been
all beast he would have eaten; but his man-mind could
entertain urges even more potent than those of the belly,
and now he was concerned with an idea which kept a smile
upon his lips and his eyes sparkling in anticipation.
An idea, it was, which permitted him to forget that he
The meat safely cached, Tarzan trotted along the elephant
trail after the Gomangani. Two or three miles from the
cage he overtook them and then he swung into the trees
and followed above and behind them--waiting his chance.
Among the blacks was Rabba Kega, the witch-doctor. Tarzan
hated them all; but Rabba Kega he especially hated.
As the blacks filed along the winding path, Rabba Kega,
being lazy, dropped behind. This Tarzan noted, and it
filled him with satisfaction--his being radiated a grim
and terrible content. Like an angel of death he hovered
above the unsuspecting black.
Rabba Kega, knowing that the village was but a short
distance ahead, sat down to rest. Rest well, O Rabba
Kega! It is thy last opportunity.
Tarzan crept stealthily among the branches of the tree
above the well-fed, self-satisfied witch-doctor.
He made no noise that the dull ears of man could
hear above the soughing of the gentle jungle breeze
among the undulating foliage of the upper terraces,
and when he came close above the black man he halted,
well concealed by leafy branch and heavy creeper.
Rabba Kega sat with his back against the bole of a tree,
facing Tarzan. The position was not such as the waiting
beast of prey desired, and so, with the infinite patience
of the wild hunter, the ape-man crouched motionless and
silent as a graven image until the fruit should be ripe
for the plucking. A poisonous insect buzzed angrily out
of space. It loitered, circling, close to Tarzan's face.
The ape-man saw and recognized it. The virus of its
sting spelled death for lesser things than he--for
him it would mean days of anguish. He did not move.
His glittering eyes remained fixed upon Rabba Kega
after acknowledging the presence of the winged torture
by a single glance. He heard and followed the movements
of the insect with his keen ears, and then he felt it
alight upon his forehead. No muscle twitched, for the
muscles of such as he are the servants of the brain.
Down across his face crept the horrid thing--over nose
and lips and chin. Upon his throat it paused, and turning,
retraced its steps. Tarzan watched Rabba Kega.
Now not even his eyes moved. So motionless he crouched
that only death might counterpart his movelessness.
The insect crawled upward over the nut-brown cheek and stopped
with its antennae brushing the lashes of his lower lid.
You or I would have started back, closing our eyes
and striking at the thing; but you and I are the slaves,
not the masters of our nerves. Had the thing crawled upon
the eyeball of the ape-man, it is believable that he could
yet have remained wide-eyed and rigid; but it did not.
For a moment it loitered there close to the lower lid,
then it rose and buzzed away.
Down toward Rabba Kega it buzzed and the black man heard it,
saw it, struck at it, and was stung upon the cheek before
he killed it. Then he rose with a howl of pain and anger,
and as he turned up the trail toward the village of Mbonga,
the chief, his broad, black back was exposed to the silent
thing waiting above him.
And as Rabba Kega turned, a lithe figure shot outward
and downward from the tree above upon his broad shoulders.
The impact of the springing creature carried Rabba Kega
to the ground. He felt strong jaws close upon his neck,
and when he tried to scream, steel fingers throttled his throat.
The powerful black warrior struggled to free himself;
but he was as a child in the grip of his adversary.
Presently Tarzan released his grip upon the other's throat;
but each time that Rabba Kega essayed a scream, the cruel
fingers choked him painfully. At last the warrior desisted.
Then Tarzan half rose and kneeled upon his victim's back,
and when Rabba Kega struggled to arise, the ape-man
pushed his face down into the dirt of the trail.
With a bit of the rope that had secured the kid,
Tarzan made Rabba Kega's wrists secure behind his back,
then he rose and jerked his prisoner to his feet,
faced him back along the trail and pushed him on ahead.
Not until he came to his feet did Rabba Kega obtain
a square look at his assailant. When he saw that it
was the white devil-god his heart sank within him and
his knees trembled; but as he walked along the trail
ahead of his captor and was neither injured nor molested
his spirits slowly rose, so that he took heart again.
Possibly the devil-god did not intend to kill him after all.
Had he not had little Tibo in his power for days without
harming him, and had he not spared Momaya, Tibo's mother,
when he easily might have slain her?
And then they came upon the cage which Rabba Kega,
with the other black warriors of the village of Mbonga,
the chief, had placed and baited for Numa. Rabba Kega
saw that the bait was gone, though there was no lion
within the cage, nor was the door dropped. He saw and he
was filled with wonder not unmixed with apprehension.
It entered his dull brain that in some way this combination
of circumstances had a connection with his presence there
as the prisoner of the white devil-god.
Nor was he wrong. Tarzan pushed him roughly into
the cage, and in another moment Rabba Kega understood.
Cold sweat broke from every pore of his body--he trembled
as with ague--for the ape-man was binding him securely
in the very spot the kid had previously occupied.
The witch-doctor pleaded, first for his life, and then
for a death less cruel; but he might as well have saved
his pleas for Numa, since already they were directed toward
a wild beast who understood no word of what he said.
But his constant jabbering not only annoyed Tarzan,
who worked in silence, but suggested that later the black
might raise his voice in cries for succor, so he stepped out
of the cage, gathered a handful of grass and a small stick
and returning, jammed the grass into Rabba Kega's mouth,
laid the stick crosswise between his teeth and fastened
it there with the thong from Rabba Kega's loin cloth.
Now could the witch-doctor but roll his eyes and sweat.
Thus Tarzan left him.
The ape-man went first to the spot where he had cached
the body of the kid. Digging it up, he ascended into a
tree and proceeded to satisfy his hunger. What remained
he again buried; then he swung away through the trees
to the water hole, and going to the spot where fresh,
cold water bubbled from between two rocks, he drank deeply.
The other beasts might wade in and drink stagnant water;
but not Tarzan of the Apes. In such matters he was fastidious.
From his hands he washed every trace of the repugnant
scent of the Gomangani, and from his face the blood of
the kid. Rising, he stretched himself not unlike some huge,
lazy cat, climbed into a near-by tree and fell asleep.
When he awoke it was dark, though a faint luminosity still
tinged the western heavens. A lion moaned and coughed
as it strode through the jungle toward water. It was
approaching the drinking hole. Tarzan grinned sleepily,
changed his position and fell asleep again.
When the blacks of Mbonga, the chief, reached their village
they discovered that Rabba Kega was not among them.
When several hours had elapsed they decided that something
had happened to him, and it was the hope of the majority
of the tribe that whatever had happened to him might
prove fatal. They did not love the witch-doctor. Love
and fear seldom are playmates; but a warrior is a warrior,
and so Mbonga organized a searching party. That his own
grief was not unassuagable might have been gathered from
the fact that he remained at home and went to sleep.
The young warriors whom he sent out remained steadfast to
their purpose for fully half an hour, when, unfortunately for
Rabba Kega-- upon so slight a thing may the fate of a man
rest--a honey bird attracted the attention of the searchers
and led them off for the delicious store it previously
had marked down for betrayal, and Rabba Kega's doom was sealed.
When the searchers returned empty handed, Mbonga was wroth;
but when he saw the great store of honey they brought with
them his rage subsided. Already Tubuto, young, agile and
evil-minded, with face hideously painted, was practicing
the black art upon a sick infant in the fond hope of
succeeding to the office and perquisites of Rabba Kega.
Tonight the women of the old witch-doctor would moan
and howl. Tomorrow he would be forgotten. Such is life,
such is fame, such is power--in the center of the world's
highest civilization, or in the depths of the black,
primeval jungle. Always, everywhere, man is man, nor has
he altered greatly beneath his veneer since he scurried
into a hole between two rocks to escape the tyrannosaurus
six million years ago.
The morning following the disappearance of Rabba Kega,
the warriors set out with Mbonga, the chief, to examine
the trap they had set for Numa. Long before they
reached the cage, they heard the roaring of a great
lion and guessed that they had made a successful bag,
so it was with shouts of joy that they approached
the spot where they should find their captive.
Yes! There he was, a great, magnificent specimen--a huge,
black-maned lion. The warriors were frantic with delight.
They leaped into the air and uttered savage cries--hoarse
victory cries, and then they came closer, and the cries
died upon their lips, and their eyes went wide so that the
whites showed all around their irises, and their pendulous
lower lips drooped with their drooping jaws. They drew
back in terror at the sight within the cage--the mauled
and mutilated corpse of what had, yesterday, been Rabba Kega,
The captured lion had been too angry and frightened to feed
upon the body of his kill; but he had vented upon it much
of his rage, until it was a frightful thing to behold.
From his perch in a near-by tree Tarzan of the Apes,
Lord Greystoke, looked down upon the black warriors
and grinned. Once again his self-pride in his ability
as a practical joker asserted itself. It had lain dormant
for some time following the painful mauling he had received
that time he leaped among the apes of Kerchak clothed
in the skin of Numa; but this joke was a decided success.
After a few moments of terror, the blacks came closer to
the cage, rage taking the place of fear--rage and curiosity.
How had Rabba Kega happened to be in the cage? Where was
the kid? There was no sign nor remnant of the original bait.
They looked closely and they saw, to their horror,
that the corpse of their erstwhile fellow was bound
with the very cord with which they had secured the kid.
Who could have done this thing? They looked at one another.
Tubuto was the first to speak. He had come hopefully out
with the expedition that morning. Somewhere he might find
evidence of the death of Rabba Kega. Now he had found it,
and he was the first to find an explanation.
"The white devil-god," he whispered. "It is the work
of the white devil-god!"
No one contradicted Tubuto, for, indeed, who else could it
have been but the great, hairless ape they all so feared? And
so their hatred of Tarzan increased again with an increased
fear of him. And Tarzan sat in his tree and hugged himself.
No one there felt sorrow because of the death of Rabba Kega;
but each of the blacks experienced a personal fear of
the ingenious mind which might discover for any of them
a death equally horrible to that which the witch-doctor
had suffered. It was a subdued and thoughtful company
which dragged the captive lion along the broad elephant
path back to the village of Mbonga, the chief.
And it was with a sigh of relief that they finally rolled
it into the village and closed the gates behind them.
Each had experienced the sensation of being spied upon from
the moment they left the spot where the trap had been set,
though none had seen or heard aught to give tangible food
to his fears.
At the sight of the body within the cage with the lion,
the women and children of the village set up a most
frightful lamentation, working themselves into a joyous
hysteria which far transcended the happy misery derived
by their more civilized prototypes who make a business of
dividing their time between the movies and the neighborhood
funerals of friends and strangers--especially strangers.
From a tree overhanging the palisade, Tarzan watched
all that passed within the village. He saw the frenzied
women tantalizing the great lion with sticks and stones.
The cruelty of the blacks toward a captive always induced
in Tarzan a feeling of angry contempt for the Gomangani.
Had he attempted to analyze this feeling he would have
found it difficult, for during all his life he had been
accustomed to sights of suffering and cruelty. He, himself,
was cruel. All the beasts of the jungle were cruel;
but the cruelty of the blacks was of a different order.
It was the cruelty of wanton torture of the helpless,
while the cruelty of Tarzan and the other beasts was the
cruelty of necessity or of passion.
Perhaps, had he known it, he might have credited this
feeling of repugnance at the sight of unnecessary
suffering to heredity--to the germ of British love
of fair play which had been bequeathed to him by his
father and his mother; but, of course, he did not know,
since he still believed that his mother had been Kala,
the great ape.
And just in proportion as his anger rose against the
Gomangani his savage sympathy went out to Numa, the lion,
for, though Numa was his lifetime enemy, there was neither
bitterness nor contempt in Tarzan's sentiments toward him.
In the ape-man's mind, therefore, the determination
formed to thwart the blacks and liberate the lion;
but he must accomplish this in some way which would
cause the Gomangani the greatest chagrin and discomfiture.
As he squatted there watching the proceeding beneath him,
he saw the warriors seize upon the cage once more and drag
it between two huts. Tarzan knew that it would remain
there now until evening, and that the blacks were planning
a feast and orgy in celebration of their capture.
When he saw that two warriors were placed beside the cage,
and that these drove off the women and children and young
men who would have eventually tortured Numa to death,
he knew that the lion would be safe until he was needed
for the evening's entertainment, when he would be more
cruelly and scientifically tortured for the edification of
the entire tribe.
Now Tarzan preferred to bait the blacks in as theatric
a manner as his fertile imagination could evolve.
He had some half-formed conception of their superstitious
fears and of their especial dread of night, and so he
decided to wait until darkness fell and the blacks partially
worked to hysteria by their dancing and religious rites
before he took any steps toward the freeing of Numa.
In the meantime, he hoped, an idea adequate to the
possibilities of the various factors at hand would occur
to him. Nor was it long before one did.
He had swung off through the jungle to search for food
when the plan came to him. At first it made him smile
a little and then look dubious, for he still retained
a vivid memory of the dire results that had followed
the carrying out of a very wonderful idea along almost
identical lines, yet he did not abandon his intention,
and a moment later, food temporarily forgotten, he was
swinging through the middle terraces in rapid flight
toward the stamping ground of the tribe of Kerchak,
the great ape.
As was his wont, he alighted in the midst of the little
band without announcing his approach save by a hideous
scream just as he sprang from a branch above them.
Fortunate are the apes of Kerchak that their kind is
not subject to heart failure, for the methods of Tarzan
subjected them to one severe shock after another,
nor could they ever accustom themselves to the ape-man's
peculiar style of humor.
Now, when they saw who it was they merely snarled and
grumbled angrily for a moment and then resumed their
feeding or their napping which he had interrupted, and he,
having had his little joke, made his way to the hollow tree
where he kept his treasures hid from the inquisitive eyes
and fingers of his fellows and the mischievous little manus.
Here he withdrew a closely rolled hide--the hide of Numa with
the head on; a clever bit of primitive curing and mounting,
which had once been the property of the witch-doctor,
Rabba Kega, until Tarzan had stolen it from the village.
With this he made his way back through the jungle toward
the village of the blacks, stopping to hunt and feed upon
the way, and, in the afternoon, even napping for an hour,
so that it was already dusk when he entered the great
tree which overhung the palisade and gave him a view
of the entire village. He saw that Numa was still alive
and that the guards were even dozing beside the cage.
A lion is no great novelty to a black man in the lion country,
and the first keen edge of their desire to worry the brute
having worn off, the villagers paid little or no attention
to the great cat, preferring now to await the grand event
of the night.
Nor was it long after dark before the festivities commenced.
To the beating of tom-toms, a lone warrior, crouched
half doubled, leaped into the firelight in the center
of a great circle of other warriors, behind whom stood
or squatted the women and the children. The dancer
was painted and armed for the hunt and his movements
and gestures suggested the search for the spoor of game.
Bending low, sometimes resting for a moment on one knee,
he searched the ground for signs of the quarry;
again he poised, statuesque, listening. The warrior
was young and lithe and graceful; he was full-muscled
and arrow-straight. The firelight glistened upon his ebon
body and brought out into bold relief the grotesque
designs painted upon his face, breasts, and abdomen.
Presently he bent low to the earth, then leaped high in air.
Every line of face and body showed that he had struck the scent.
Immediately he leaped toward the circle of warriors about him,
telling them of his find and summoning them to the hunt.
It was all in pantomime; but so truly done that even
Tarzan could follow it all to the least detail.
He saw the other warriors grasp their hunting spears
and leap to their feet to join in the graceful,
stealthy "stalking dance." It was very interesting;
but Tarzan realized that if he was to carry his design
to a successful conclusion he must act quickly.
He had seen these dances before and knew that after
the stalk would come the game at bay and then the kill,
during which Numa would be surrounded by warriors,
With the lion's skin under one arm the ape-man dropped
to the ground in the dense shadows beneath the tree and
then circled behind the huts until he came out directly
in the rear of the cage, in which Numa paced nervously
to and fro. The cage was now unguarded, the two warriors
having left it to take their places among the other dancers.
Behind the cage Tarzan adjusted the lion's skin about him,
just as he had upon that memorable occasion when the apes
of Kerchak, failing to pierce his disguise, had all but
slain him. Then, on hands and knees, he crept forward,
emerged from between the two huts and stood a few paces
back of the dusky audience, whose whole attention was
centered upon the dancers before them.
Tarzan saw that the blacks had now worked themselves to a
proper pitch of nervous excitement to be ripe for the lion.
In a moment the ring of spectators would break at a point
nearest the caged lion and the victim would be rolled
into the center of the circle. It was for this moment
that Tarzan waited.
At last it came. A signal was given by Mbonga, the chief,
at which the women and children immediately in front
of Tarzan rose and moved to one side, leaving a broad
path opening toward the caged lion. At the same instant
Tarzan gave voice to the low, couching roar of an angry
lion and slunk slowly forward through the open lane toward
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